R.I.P Bill Walsh


Who's Running This Show Anyway?!

So, my wife is watching HGTV's reality television show "Design Star" which, in its second season, has gained enough popularity to begin its "kiss of death" karmic run into oblivion. But that's besides the point. To say my wife is watching means that I, with intermittent glances over my laptop, catch several moments during the episode while my wife is watching it at warp speed on our Digital Video Recorder (DVR).

Well, besides being a source of high unintentional comedy, this show's producers baffle me and are proof that my suggestion they are on their way to irrelevancy is sound. Why? Because the first episode that debuted- i.e., the "casting special" was really more like "special ed" for producers. Besides having a repeated hack job on the opening sequence (ooh wait, that may have been the second episode- more incompetence, yay!) the idiots made the biggest faux pas in television, especially reality TV.

They gave away the ending.

OK, so whoopee, the revelation of the show's 2 biggest draws, "who" and "where" was literally after the next commercial break, but come on people!

So what happened? Well, it's simple. From minute one the "Design Star" casting special was touting: a) who makes the cut? and b) in what city/state/design-needy locale will they be designing? They continued to play this angle up in virtually every fade out to commercial and during commercials. Until the last commercial break.

What did they do that was so dumb? The frickin' producers ran a promo spot for the upcoming season of their own show! OK, so? Well, it would be OK except for the fact that said spot showed, um, well... geez ALL the finalists during upcoming episodes and THEN proceeded to tout the "secret" location via host Clive "I'm so British and so... well, British, I simply must be overly dramatic so you know I'm, um, British. OH, and gay!" Pearse. (This author, blog and site do not in any way, shape or form condone expressions, actions, or any form of public scrutiny, bias, or mockery of other people's biological, ancestral or geographic origin, personal preferences such as religion, gender and sexual preferences, or others' personal and public opinions and the previous comments are simply meant as innocent jesting. If you do not believe me, go and ask several of my best friends who are, indeed, gay men and women, but unfortunately, not British- which is OK because EVERYONE makes fun of the British.)

So, my wife was fast forwarding through a show that's purpose was to create drama by highlighting 30 some-odd contestants that were being screened down to 11 finalists and finding out the "surprise" location the show would take place all to very quietly be scooped/spoiled by its own commercial right before the shocking/dramatic/suprising reveal at the end? What a mockery of itself!

Now granted, because of the wonderful invention of DVR (if you don't have it, or your cable provider does not offer it inclusively, get it) this revelation probably only cost my wife about 10 minutes instead of the hour she would have wasted, but still it's hilarious (and somewhat pathetic) evidence that you don't need to be a genius to work behind the scenes in Hollywood. Still, at least knowing how to edit your promos would help.


Cool Sandals

Surprisingly stylish for inexpensive sandals, you can get these at your local JCPenny, or online at JCPenny.com. They remind me of a monk strap shoe (which I really like right now), but are quite appropriate for the (current) summer season with shorts or a casual night out (i.e., with pants). Personally, I would probably just wear a monk strap shoe, sans socks if I was going with pants and save these for days I wear shorts, but I digress.


Ebay- Without the Hassle

Second Rotation will be the biggest thing to online consumerism since Ebay. That's my thought for the day. Why?

First, what is Second Rotation? Well, this Cnet/Webware article is a pretty good briefing on the new site. Basically, these guys will buy your old tech shat- so far, cell phones, digital camcorders, MP3 players, and GPS devices. They'll give you a fair, but under-market, price for your junk and in turn go sell it Ebay-style. No hassle for you with Ebay or listing auctions. Just take the price they give you (or don't take it). That's it. Get a check or Paypal payment in return. They even pay for shipping (DHL service). How cool is that?!!!!

Now, why is this big- nay- HUGE? Well, in marketing there is a principle that (without getting too detailed) filters consumers into groups like "Innovators" (
the first consumers of a new product), "Early Adopters" (consumers who buy new products soon after release), "Late Adopters", "Laggards", etc.

The Second Rotation idea is perfect for the Innovators and Early Adopters because the vast majority of consumers are Middle/Late Adopters. Especially with technology/gadgets- Second Rotation's focus. Those consumer segments at the front of the purchasing curve are going to make bank off this service. Your 6-month old cell phone that you now consider a relic is the cutting edge for the majority of consumers. You just salvaged probably 50% or more of the original price you paid for it- quite the score to help fund the new phone you want. What about all those cell phones that are bought upon a new 2-year service agreement with a cell-phone service provider that people are getting for next to nothing? Well, now that phone has more value than it cost the person at sign up. Ridiculous!

Granted, I am somewhat brainstorming here and have not done a whole lot of quantitative analysis of the product segments, pricing and such that Second Rotation is promoting, but a quick glance at their site tells me this much is true- consumers early to the buying game will be at an advantage and make money off of this. But if you have older products? Well, consider your "old junk" money well spent and this is a way to: a) get rid of it and b) get a little something for it.

Now, take me. I do a lot of surfing/reviewing of tech products that I am interested in and sometimes, likely to or will purchase. Many times I do not, but my product sleuthing leads me to garner information about product popularity, quality, and most importantly, price, that many others (see: the "Late Adopters and Laggards") do not ever imbibe. Well, now I have a way to take my knowledge, find the best price out there for some of these gadgets and maybe, just maybe, buy and sell items to Second Rotation simply because I know I can get more than I paid for it. Genius! Certainly, you have to be diligent and strike while the iron is hot to take advantage of one site's deal to go to Second Rotation armed and ready. But like the saying goes, "no pain, no gain".

So, I am going to try this service out, probably both with junk I have at home, but certainly with deals I know exist to take advantage of Second Rotation's buyback. More to come as I experience this brave new world.

UPDATE: I've tested the "estimate calculator" mutliple times across categories, and my observation is that, except for one gadget, I have not been able to find any product that would get nearly equal value (heck even 75% value) versus its CMV (current market value), let alone any off of which you could make money. Tracking...


Must. Have. One.

Who cares how the new Belkin Wi-Fi Router, the N1 Vision, works? It's so damn stylish, you just have to own it for how it looks. Of course, a positive rating or two from the pro's- like its predecessor- will make it irresistible.


Gentlemen... If You Ever Wonder the Proper Way to Wear a Suit,

Please follow Mr. Shannon W. Hill's example here (h/t to the Sartorialist, Mr. Scott Schuman)...

Several points to emulate guys:
  • Notice the length of the pants
  • Notice where the pants sit (at his natural waist- not loose).
  • Notice the reveal on the shirt cuffs and length of the jacket sleeves (at the wrist break).
  • Very subtle pocket square


None of Us Are Angels, All of Us Have Been There.

Regardless of how this thing shakes out, Miss New Jersey definitely has my vote in the next Miss America pageant.

Amy Polumbo, aka Miss New Jersey, who was being blackmailed with some, um.. cough, cough- denigrating photos (*raised eyebrow* followed by *snoring*), has
released the photos to the Today Show.

I mean, seriously? SERIOUSLY?! Give the girl a break. She's a 22-year old college student. As, oh, about 99.99999999% of the population that has been to college (and probably 99.9999999999999999999% of those that have not attended) can attest- welcome to, er... LIFE.

Note to moms, dads, grandparents, the NCAA and that pesky little censorship group, "
The Committee to Save Miss America"... college kids:
a) Drink
b) Drink
c) Engage in and enact sexual acts with friends and lovers
d) Drink
e) Have fun doing it
f) Drink

Now, as a parent of young children, am I looking forward to those days faaaaar down the line when my kids come home with an, "Um dad, there's some pictures of me out there..." story? HELL NO! But, I cannot point the figure because if I do, I better be looking in the mirror. And that's not because I feel I parented badly- NO. It's because I know, as most do, when the time comes there's not much my kids can say they did that I hadn't already done. Short of any
(um, er... well) criminal act, my kids- and most kids- deserve a little bit of understanding in these situations.

And really, this blackmailing of Amy Polumbo to me is such a non-issue that I am commenting on it to show people and groups like "The Committee to Save Miss America" that they are truly morons. And a solid pat on the back to the pageant officials who told Ms. Polumbo she can keep her crown.

Seriously who comes up with this shat? It's like Miss Congeniality 3 or some B-movie on Lifetime. Wait, aren't they the same?

In fact, I think what would make this truly a, well, "happy-ending" story would be if Amy Polumbo wins the Miss America Pageant. Come on, you know "The Donald" loves a good ratings booster! Nothing says "Nielsen Ratings" or "movie rights" better than a script like "pretty girl gets wronged then wins" plot line. I say this year's pageant should be rigged to make it happen. Can we get Sandra Bullock and Michael Caine in here please?

Poor Sports Reporting

I find the major sports websites (which, to clarify, I respect much less than the quality sports BLOGS out there) are severely lacking in their reporting skills these days. I could list numerous reasons, but right up there has got to be the abuse of the A/P wire. What really bugs me about the way sites like the 4-letter use the A/P is because there is simply no true reporting- no thoughtful questions or insight that makes you want to read or take an interest. By the way, this is something that the blogs out there like Deadspin, Dan Shanoff, and AOL Fanhouse do very well.

Case in point... OK ,so no one will probably bring up the NHL in the off-season (let alone during the season) other than me, but I just need to point out yet another reason why "chop shops" like the 4-letter are so weak in their sports reporting:

Sheldon Souray signed a 5-year deal with the Oilers, which seems like a little bit of a shock that anyone these days, let alone the premier FA defenseman on the market, would signed with Edmonton.

But then you look where Souray grew up- Elk Point, Alberta, Canada. Hello! 2 and a half hours outside of Edmonton!

Gee, I wonder why the guy signed there? Souray even says it was not about the money. But does anyone interview the guy and say, "Well, Sheldon, if it was not the money, then what are the specific reasons for signing in Edmonton?" or, "Sheldon, did growing up in Alberta play a factor in your signing here?" and, "Were you an Oilers fan growing up?"

Now , it is quite possible, even probable, one of the local Alberta guys did ask such questions. But because the big guys utilize the A/P instead of their ridiculous reservoir of personnel and send someone up there, you would never know if those questions were asked.

Ah well, at least I still have the sports blogs.


No Reason Whatsoever

For some reason, I have the word "minutiae" stuck in my head. And that pretty much sums up today... nothing extraordinary to discuss, just the random minutiae of the day making time pass slowly. But it does pass and tomorrow should have something better to ponder here.


A Man Who (Literally) Knows His Shirt

(picture courtesy of Scott Schulman, aka the Sartorialist)

I give you, Mr. Luciano Barbera. Well, not directly mind you, but here's a great link to his site- in particular to his advice on men's style for particular parts to one's wardrobe. When you go to this page on his site, take a look at the links via the pictures at the bottom of the page. Those will guide you through Mr. Barbera's various waxings on different parts of a man's wardrobe- suits, pants, seasons, etc.

Who is Mr. Barbera? The man is a sartorial (fashion) icon who's been providing men's garments since the 1970's. Why should you care about him? Like I said, the man knows his "shirt". And simply put, I like his wisdom, so here he stands on my site.

2 For Tuesday

Wow, so much going on for a Tuesday in the sports world (that's unusual). The best O' the best in 2 almost-quick points:

1. MLB ASG- I'll admit, for the 1st time I
didn't watch the HR Derby last night- last year's so was embarrassingly long, I simply shunned it last evening and caught the highlights on ESPN and ESPNews. But I'm definitely "all in" for the real deal tonight. I'm curious to see which stud pitcher gets lit up (you knwo there's always one). Better yet, I'm psyched to see who "pulls a Penny" (as in 2006 ASG starter, Brad Penny) and tanks the second half of the season because he let it all hang out for a 1 or 2 inning uber-appearance in front of a national audience. Somehow, I think Alyssa Milano is not upset she's no longer dating such an idiot by the way.

2. Dan Patrick is leaving ESPN.

As a product of Sportcenter from the "Glory Days", my fondest memories (for lack of a better term) of Sportscenter were from back in the day when Patrick and Olberman rescued my mornings between classes in college- ok, sometimes during classes in college, but back when I matriculated, I couldn't "sling" the broadcast to my phone like I can now. Back then I actually had to skip class. Anyway, somehow the departure of Mr. Patrick was lead balloon-ish. Or maybe more accurately, awfully , um... well, ho-hum. Seriously, it was as resounding as the 14th hour of the HR Derby. Not many people "tuned in" and fewer still, I imagine said anything other than, "Oh. Well, er... OK." And I think that sums up the impact of individual anchors on Sportscenter, not to mention the proliferation of new media on the sports scene:
    1. In its day, Sportscenter was the medium. I mean, if I stopped any guy over 25 years of age on the street and hummed to him, "Dah-dah-dah. Dah-dah-dah" he'd probably smile and have some fleeting memory of safety, security and maybe (like me) the smoggy feel of a hangover (I did say my Sportscenter anecdotes were from my college days).
    2. But today, Sportscenter is, well, passe. The Internet has simply made it irrelevant. Why would I wait for 8AM every day and 6PM and 11PM every night to get my sports updates? Not when I can go to, oh, about a dozen highly respected (and frequented) blogs that give me more up-to-date news and information than any television program produced intermittently would ever or could ever do. Oh, and if I need an actual game highlight? Well, those who know, YouTube. What if I need a stat? Gee, maybe the actual league or team site? Or any of the big guns CBSSportsline, Yahoo Sports, or cough, even... cough cough, ESPN.com gives me exactly what I want when I want it. I don't have to wait for Mr. Patrick (or any of his cloned offspring they now call anchors since he and Mr. Olbermann's departures from behind the desk) to tell me the highlight I want to see is coming up in 5 minutes in the next segment.
    3. Hell, even as far as TV goes (if you are still into that sort of thing), the 4-letter has even surpassed its own news show creation with ESPnews which I am much more into now simply because you can leave it droning on in the background between checking blogs and fantasy league stats.
    4. And that brings me to the last point. Seriously, nowadays the only reason I need any type of player or game stat is simply because I need to know: a) how it impacts my fantasy league team in a given sport, or b) whether or not it is relevant to blog about here or comment on in said respected blogs. Do I really care that only 1 team in the modern era of MLB has come back to win a playoff series after being down 0-3 like the 2004 Red Sox? Well, I do love that one, but you get the point. But, I do need to know how many HRs Big Papi hit in September and October leading up to the playoffs because maybe I want to trade him from my Fantasy Team if I know he's going to slow down and get rested (as is typically the case) and give him to someone willing to give me a stud starting pitcher and a late season call-up (for a keeper league) in the middle of a pennant or wild card race.
I guess my observation is thus... Dan Patrick was a cathartic and relevant presence at the height of popularity for one of the most pertinent shows on television, not just sports television. But that was then and this is not Sportscenter. This is now. So congratulations on your 18-year tenure Mr. Patrick. I appreciate your place in television history. But don't let the laptop hit you on the way out.


Guys.. Know Thy Wardrobe

Most of these points I agree with- a couple of them, not so much- but most of them are good rule of thumb for a men's wardrobe.


Girls Gone Wild... Sort of.

Gentlemen (and ladies),

We (men) all dream of that girl who gets it... the one that would drop the Mani/Pedi for a round of golf, cash in the long-planned vacation to Bermuda for Super Bowl tickets because your team made it or would cancel the girls night out because there's a "Rocky" marathon on again.

Well, sometimes guys, I guess you better be careful what you wish for.

and P.S... thank the maker for dads and offspring (just read the article and you'll understand).

All Work and No Play...

As the father of 3, that tends to be the case, but at least now I have proof!


The MLB ASG quandry

Isn't it funny how the All-Star rosters' pitchers are now comprised of distinctly, starter/closer roles?

There are not even setup men (as there were a few years back). It's simply, get through 7 innings with gas from starters then turn the game over to the experts in the 8th.

I'm actually surprised that there are not a couple of middle relief guys picked by the manager- especially now that the game has World Series HFA at stake. You'd think, if this game really meant something the managers would play it like a "real" game and make the ASG roster selections accordingly. In other words, why not string your pitchers together like you would in any real game?

Now, I know there is an argument for voting in- and managers selecting- worthy starting pitchers. After all, aren't the starters the eye candy the fans want to see? I mean, really, after the 7th inning who wants to see the likes of Akinori Otsuka, followed by Scot Shields, Hideki Okajima, all to lead up to, say, J.J. Putz and Jonathan Papelbon closing it out? Actually, I would, and it's why I am all for Okajima or Pat Neshek winning the "Final Vote" on MLB.com for the last ASG roster spot.

I mean, seriously, these guys are pitching in their defined roles (7th inning/8th inning setup men backed up by "hard/high cheese" closers). You want to win this game? Do it right, with the right guys instead of a bunch of starters who are not used to warming up in-game and trying to gear up to throw 95 MPH gas every pitch for 1 IP only.

You may recall last year's ASG at one point in between the 1st and 2nd innings and they cut to a recorded feed from the NL dugout. Bronson Arroyo was discussing with NL starter Brad Penny as to how he was throwing 100 MPH gas right out of the gate. Arroyo alluded several times to the fact that he takes a couple of innings before he lets it fly at top speed (hmm, why did the Red Sox get rid of him again?). Why would he do that?

Because starters prepare in a completely different way than relievers. Look at the way converted bullpen guys (or starters rehabbing) get "stretched out" over the course of several games/weeks. It builds arm strength and endurance. A starter cannot limber up and be prepared to throw the way a reliever does. The physical and mental preparation are completely different. Then coming into a game, a reliever is already warmed up and their arm has been trained to go balls to the wall for an inning. A starter's arm "knows" it will get a little break-in time (look at Arroyo's comments to Penny).

And it can be argued that Arroyo is right because Penny was definitely not the same pitcher after the All Star break that he was before it last year. Look at his Pre-ASG and Post-ASG stats:

Hell, if I am Tony LaRusa, I throw Penny out there ASAP simply to knock the Dodgers rotation out of whack should they face each other come October. Of course, that's saying either the Cardinals or Dodgers crank it up in the second half, but hey, you never know. And All-Star Game "Manager Monkey Wrenching" should be a post/argument all its own.

So why screw it up with World Series HFA on the line? Because, at the end of the day, the All-Star Game is not about HFA, it's about TV and revenue and the "star" appeal of the starters. Bud Selig is a moron for attaching such a game changing effect to an exhibition, yes. But if you are going to adhere to that policy, you might as well do it the right way- with pitchers who know their roles.