Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Too Hot for TV?

Too hot for TV?

As you may or may not know by now, I am the proud father of two boys. Alex is 6 and Mark Jr. is almost a year old. I get to watch all of the really cool kids programming out there when we watch TV. So this morning, much like any other morning, while I went to take a shower, I set Marco and Alex up to watch Sesame Street. It is a good wholesome program that they learn while watching. It is a little below Alex’s level, but he’ll watch it, and Marco loves any segment with Elmo in it. As you may or may not know Sesame Street often has celebrities on to host small segments. I think it is supposed to help appease the adults that are forced into watching this stuff with their kids. Much like the adult humor in today’s Pixar movies. It just so happens that today’s (that term being relative when it comes to this program as the cut and paste in segments like crazy so this could have been several years old) guest celebrity is Jenny McCarthy. I am not really some stuck up prude of a guy and my kids have no real idea (at least I think they don’t Alex is a player), but she was Playboy’s Playmate of the year for 1994, and has appeared in the magazine nude several times since then. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely appreciated her “sharing”, and it was interesting to see her again on TV with her clothes on, but… It is weird to watch a kid’s preschool program with your children and be turned on. There I said it, I know it was the elephant in the room, alb eight a short trunked little guy, but I was excited at seeing Jenny McCarthy on this kids program. All I could think about was her centerfold poses, and how well everything seemed to move as she jumped around. Now I feel guilty, which I normally never do in this type of situation, but it is an uncomfortable feeling. It would be like Alex bringing home his 18-year-old girlfriend and thinking she’s hot. Only it was worse because I have seen this girl NAKED! Like I said it may be one of those things where I am sort of over analyzing this, but it seems to me that Sesame Street is either trying to attract a more male audience, or they slipped up a little on hiring a Playmate to host. Just a thought.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Te Bow or not Tebow?

Te bow or not Tebow?

(No Pirates in this one, that was stupid)

Look, let me preface this with the fact that I HATE the Gators. I mean I despise them; I don’t even drink Gatorade! They stink and I feel horrible for anyone who lives in the state of Florida right now because they are going to be impossible to live with for years to come.

That said, I am wondering what the hell is wrong with people in the NFL right now? Tebow would be a great NFL athlete and Quarterback. Why is it that people were falling over themselves to get Vince Young, but Tebow is being considered as almost undraftable? Tebow has better completion percentage, touchdown to interception ratio, more touchdowns, more passing yards, the list goes on. He won the Heisman, something that Young never did. The year that Tebow won, he had more than 20 rushing and passing touchdowns, which no one has ever done before. If he does come back next year, the Gators have to be a top 5 team and Tebow a candidate to win his second Heisman (remember on the great Archie Griffin has ever done that). Tebow is bigger than Young was. I mean the comparisons don’t stop. They both willed their teams to great victories, and without Tebow, I don’t think the Gators win the 06 title (I know it was a run away, but I think that Ohio State didn’t know what to do with him). By the way if the Gators did not have Percy Harvin on the team, Tebow already has that second one.

Look NFL teams, you guys are idiots anyway. With Quarterbacks, they are all system quarterbacks. Tom Brady is great, but would he have been great in San Francisco or Detroit? They all need tools to succeed. Grab Tebow get off your butts and make a great move! He may not pan out as a quarterback, but he will be a great athlete on your team. The thing is don’t draft him as a running back, keep him as a quarterback and let him see if he can’t do it. He will only shift to another position if he is proven to be unsuccessful. The guy will work hard and learn the skills he needs to win. Draft Tebow in the first round, you won’t regret it like the 50 past 1st rounders of which most didn’t pan out for you. TAKE HIM!!! I must admit that I am a bit selfish on this point as well because I don’t want my boys to have to play against him again next year, nor do I want the Gators to win another National Title. Regardless, this guy would be great, take him for quarterback today!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Control Information, Control Perception

Control Information, Control Perception

I know that I may have had a rocky road writing again after the lame Ben and Jerry’s piece, but I was trying to branch off of sports and it was the only thing that came to mind. It has also come to my attention that, especially as I get longer and longer winded, I need pictures to break up the action (this thanks to my only reader mwood919), but as I refuse to spend time digging for relevant pictures, prepare to be entertained as I dig up every possible pirate image I can find and create an incredulous, credibility killing pirate picture environment.

Today, the thing that has been consuming me, and it may be something that everyone else takes for granted, is that the better we control the information that is released, the better we control perception. Now let me qualify this by stating that I understand that as you can lie to people, and damned if they don’t believe you the bulk of the time. I really don’t see the appeal in being a liar for a living, but if you are, then this may just amuse you. I have always been an honest person, sometimes painfully so. This is my charm. Or lack of charm I guess… The problem is that even though people crave HONESTY, what they really want is honesty. What is the difference you might be asking yourself, well it is the capital letters! In addition to that, the difference between HONESTY and honesty is that HONESTY is that in your face perspective of truth that no one wants to hear, and honesty is just not lying to people.

Let’s explore lying for a brief second as it pertains to the argument but not totally. Some believe that a lie is a blatant exclusion of the truth. However there seem to be several shades of lies. The best ones seem to have mostly truth in them, they are far more believable that way. Others believe in a lie of omission. That one is more touchy with me and is also part of my argument. Now there are things that need to be stated when asked, I cheated on you, I stole from the company, I did kill that man, etc. However, telling someone that you backburnered that “important” task because you had several other more important to you tasks, is not really important information, it is only important that you finished the task set before you in a reasonable amount of time. To me, that is not a lie of omission, and also goes with the point of controlling information to control perception. Let’s examine this situation for a second:

Carl comes into your cubicle and tells you that he needs these ABC reports stat. Carl uses terms like stat because he thinks it’s cool, but that is irrelevant because you pretty much have to do what he says. The thing is that as it is every day, you have a butt load (which is a lot for those of you who were unaware) of other things that are equally urgent at least to you and your job. You of course say that you are right on it, and Carl leaves. Then you proceed to do some other tasks, filtering the new assignment. At the end of the day, you have finished your pertinent tasks and Carl’s new task. The only thing that you tell Carl is that you got it done as soon as you could.

The question is did you lie to Carl? In order to have a valid argument, I have to definitively say no. If you tell Carl that you filtered in his assignment along with the other urgent things that you had to do, he will become exceedingly distraught at you effective time management and that you did not perceive his urgency as the true urgency (when in fact, that is a lie, they are all urgent tasks). You will then make Carl’s list of people that need to be fired soon, and he will do his best to make your life miserable. No there is that counter argument that Carl may not be that type of guy, but really we all have worked for a Carl and they are all that type of guy. The thing is that by not telling Carl the HONEST truth, you have controlled his perception of your work. You haven’t lied to him; you really did get the task done as soon as you could. You just had a LOT of other things on your plate and you needed to get them all done.

As you can see honesty is critical to my argument because otherwise it becomes obvious drivel. Besides, I have tried to be as honest as possible with everyone as I have lived my life. The thing that I have learned, especially in marriage is that HONESTY may pay off in immortality, but honesty will pay off here and there. There is just some information that does not need to be shared about yourself depending on your audience. It is important to determine before your dealings how you feel you need to be perceived and then adjust you information flow like CNN does or the government in Vietnam.

I know that there is also the counter argument that the truth will always come out. Well my argument is that if it is something is important enough to tell someone that it will be killer if they find out that you excluded it later…. THEN TELL THEM! Easy peasy… did I just write that? Wow, it is early though. The idea is not to keep important information from people, the idea is to control the information that you have to tell them to control their perception of you. The idea is that some things are just inflammatory, and need to not be told. They don’t gain you or anyone anything, they don’t harm anyone, they only can hurt you and your relationship with the other person. The idea is to begin with the end result (the perception) in mind, and constantly work towards that.

Again I know that this may be old news to the rest of you all (mwood919 my only reader. By the way does this count as a shout out? I am not much for shouting, but I know that shout outs are a big deal or something.), but it is something that I have thought about incessantly. It helps especially when you are a little odd like me.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Ben and Jerry's

I’m gonna diverge a bit here seeing as how I have been all sports focused. By the way I only ever play soccer, and that was on a club team, not high school. So I can absolutely appreciate any ire from these messages, but I really don’t care. God bless the internet!

Anyway, this blog should be short…ahem. I am going to discuss Ben and Jerry’s. Yeah you all know it, you all eat it and if you don’t you aren’t human. I believe that if we ever get really worried about alien invasion we can administer a Ben and Jerry’s test to anyone we doubt. That should give us all the pertinent data. I digress anyway. I was considering the top flavors. Not because I even really eat it that often, but when I do it is always an experience. FYI, they took a correspondence course at Penn State for Ice Cream making. So for those of you that doubts the capabilities of distance learners…nyahh! They have for years and years combined creative flavors and ideas to make theme ice cream. Their, by far and easily debatable, top flavors have to be Cherry Garcia, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Neapolitan Dynamite (combining the two) and Everything but the… which shows all the goodies at once. Being a former sundae bar junkie, I can relate to this flavor in that if the ingredients are there, might as well use them. I need to mention that the craftsmanship that goes into each flavor to create the experience that they (Ben and Jerry) intended is PHENOMENAL! They just created a waffle cone ice cream that is both crunchy and chewy just like eating a real waffle cone! Astounding! Not really sure of the purpose of this blog, but it has been awhile since I have written anything, so take what you can get.

Friday, October 24, 2008

BCS Detractors...

BCS detractors, step down!

Listen, now that I am off and blogging, there is something that has bothered me since its inception. The number of sports reporters that hate on the BCS system. A little background may be necessary here. The BCS is a series of bowl games with the controversy following the National Championship game. Previously in college football, the National Champion was determined by a poll of sports writers and a second poll of coaches. Now they don’t have to agree, and therefore there could be to different National Champions. Now this is ridiculous! How can two teams at the end of the season both be the best of the year? That doesn’t even make any sense. Now as the college season would go along, the teams would play for these prestigious bowl games, such as the Rose Bowl, which had always been a match of the PAC-10 champion and the Big-10 champion. The problem comes in when the best teams are in different conferences that never ever play each other. In many cases, under this old system, the two teams might never even play the same teams at all during the year! How could we even come close to determining who was really the champion?

Well, then the BCS was invented. It is a combination of polls from throughout the country that uses several factors to determine the top two teams in college football that year so that they can play each other to determine which team is better. The polls take into account the strength of the schedule, not the perceived strength, the computers assign a value to each team beaten and lost to. This helps to eliminate the opinion of the sports writers as to how great certain teams are. It also helps to balance the sports writer’s bias that the SEC is always the best conference top to bottom. Now I have to say that I agree for the most part, but there are years that they are not. Everything is cyclical. This year the Big-12 is the best conference, not real argument against that. A few years ago, the ACC was the best conference. By evaluation the ranking of the team when they were played what they ended up ranked as, who the other team lost to, by how much, etc. The computers are able to better determine the competition. So the BCS poll seems to give the most complete picture of the best two teams and since they are guaranteed to play against each other, we can determine who is the definitive best team that year.

The problem is that reporters that like to hear themselves talk argue against the system because of “failures”. When you have three undefeated teams at the end of the year, it is hard to separate the top two out. That is why the writers get a vote, the computers get a vote, and the coaches got a vote. Well the writers got pissy and pulled out of the BCS poll (ridiculous!), and now it is computer polls and coach’s polls. The real issue is that these self same writers can only criticize the system. They never complained about the old system, in which number one and number two might never play or have any comparables. I can concede the point that it may not be the most perfect system because there is a dividing line after the top two as opposed to having a playoff system. The problem is that the colleges make far more money across the board in the bowl system. Several teams that would never have a shot at being in the big game or the playoffs are able to compete in a bowl game and earn more money for their school’s athletic program. If you cut out the number of teams that get to play, there is certainly lost revenue. The other factor here is that number one and number two get to play each other! Even if you consider the number two team to be a number three team; at least there is a highly competitive game in which two teams that may never ever have played each other compete. The BCS may not be perfect, but it is a good system. The system works for the most part and the fans and schools benefit from this new system.

Athletes and Politics

Athletes and politics

I really wasn’t going to blog today. I mean it. I was going to take a break and relax. I was going to do a million other things that occupied my time and maybe work on some running projects. Then I sat down to watch ESPN this morning. They had a show on discussing the topic of athletes and politics. The reason being that LeBron James is going to be a major player in a Barak Obama rally. The presenters made a couple of good points. They mentioned that it is the athletes right to defend any cause they feel is right, but they take on risk of alienating fans. They also mentioned that an athlete struggles with this pigeon holing, in which we as fans only consider them as good at one thing. They struggle to define themselves as human beings and therefore will branch out into politics, business, etc.

I say that these are good points, but they really don’t get at the true core of the issue. A professional athlete more than an actor or musician has more of a responsibility to stay out of the political arena. They are paid endorsement deals that help not only themselves, but the team and the league. When you accept endorsement funds, you are becoming a contractual employee of the company. You are responsible for being a face of the organization. You are taking money for a job in which you are essentially a marketing piece for the company. If your company does not agree with your politics, or they fear that you are going to alienate their customers, then they can fire you! They should. If the CEO of a corporation publicly supports a presidential candidate, and the company loses business because of it; that company has the responsibility to fire the CEO. Why should it be any different for any other face of the company?

While I don’t dispute the fact that athletes have the right as everyone else to support their political views, I think that they have other responsibilities as well. I am absolutely positive that the endorsement contracts that they sign have a clause in them about negative image. An athlete that wants to be a political force can be, but they can’t at the same time collect a check, a very large check, from a company that doesn’t share their view. If the sponsoring company has the same politics and is not worried about the portrayal of themselves to their consumer base, then go for it, it is another chance for more exposure. If not, then cut the athlete off, and stop throwing good money after bad decisions.

BYU does it again!

BYU does it again!

For the second time in as many years that they were competitive, BYU managed to do something that no other college football D-I team has: They have managed to lose while whining about not being included in the BCS championship talk. Now BYU is in what is considered a second tier conference the WAC. They play San Jose State for Christ’s sake! Ooops, I blasphemed, but it bothers me. This team has in the last 4 or 5 years had a pretty good team and a WEAK schedule. They whined about being left out of the BCS title game even the BCS bowls in general. Sure enough, they manage to lose shortly after the complaint. I believe it is poetic, or religious justice. Ha ha! They are a predominantly Mormon University and have pumped out great talent like Steve Young. I have never known whining to get a religious our morally correct person anything. It goes against their character as a team and a school! How can you pretend to be a modest and humble, religious University and whine about your place in the world? It is hypocrisy and they have suffered each and every time! I am greatly disappointed often by the character or more to the point the lack of character that is exhibited in armature and professional sports. I am even more disappointed when a school that is supposed to exemplify character demonstrates this lack of character! How can we expect the other schools to follow a leader in character when the self-proclaimed leaders have no integrity! The only sign that there is any justice in the world is that the pillars of integrity get busted by themselves when they do not follow their own credo. By the way I just think that it is funny. The power of conferences tends to shift year to year, though the SEC tends to be better overall. The WAC can produce A good team, not several, and their non conference schedule tends to stink. Does this mean that they are not the best team in the nation? Not necessarily, but the way the current system, in fact any system of ranking works, is that you have to prove that you are the best for many years before the judges believe you. My question is, “If they were to be considered and given the national focus, could they handle it?” They can’t even handle the pressure of going undefeated which is the DIV-I standard for making the national championship. In short if you want respect, shut up and play! No one respects a whiner. If they would show up for every game and beat the crap out of their opponents on a yearly basis, then they will be considered top tier, until then try harder!