Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Going through internet withdrawls

I'm in internet limbo. My in-laws don't have a wireless router and I don't want to sit and tie up their computer all day like a rude guest.

I'm going bananas! I need a fix!!!! I need those bits and bytes and whatnots (especially the whatnots!).

My boys, sitting at home, are probably laughing at my situation.  They're home with laptops and desktops and tablets and smart phones.  My phone couldn't be any dumber.  All it does is dial numbers!

Technology is both a blessing and a curse. I'm living the "curse" part right now.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Speaking of getting fired...

Yesterday I wrote about Steven Screamin' A. Smith losing his gig as the Fox Sports Radio morning drive host.  Today I wish to write about a different individual losing a different type of job.

The Pharisee reported on Monday that the Caput a Palos, AKA TxBluesMan, AKA Sgt. Gregory Prickett, AKA The Prickette (pictured at left), has left the employ of UNT-Dallas.  It is unknown at this time if he jumped or was pushed.  Regardless of how or why, he is no longer employed by UNT.

I'm an empathetic person at heart, so I have a certain feeling of sadness for the Caput a Palos.  There is nothing more damaging to a man's self esteem than the loss of his employment.  Most of us feel somewhat defined by our occupation ("I'm a doctor", or "I'm a lawyer", or "I'm a glorified mall cop", for example).

That stated, I have to admit to a certain schadenfruede over the news.  After all, Mr. Bigshot has wrongfully maligned me and blogger friends of mine with the vilest of accusations, and did so under cover of anonymity.  That his cover has been blown and his shady acts of cowardice exposed is a satisfaction ranking right up there with a 49ers Super Bowl victory for me.

When The Prickette was outed, he lashed out against those most prominent in the exposure of his identity by filing a bogus lawsuit against them.  The Pharisee reported on Tuesday that the lawsuit is effectively kaput.  Given that it was strictly an intimidation ploy by The Prickette all along, Hugh has filed a criminal complaint against him.  It seems that in Texas -- and pretty much nowhere else -- it is a felony crime to engage in Barratry - the act or practice of bringing legal action solely to harass. The complaint also details The Prickette's harassment of Hugh's daughter, an innocent bystander in this particular pissing contest.

Hey, if this is a pissing contest, has Hugh succeeded in making it halfway up the 30' pole (as compared to The Prickette's measly 2 feet)?  I always suspected that The Prickette was a little...uh...lacking...in the man-plumbing department.

I hear that every time a cop gets fired a member of NWA gets his wings. Could be.  All I know is there's one less goon out there busting teeth today than there was last week at this time.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

One and done

It was just over one year ago that the programming geniuses at Fox Sports Radio fired long-time morning host Steve Czaban and crew.  My thoughts on the matter were, shall we say, not positive. 

I simply couldn't believe that FSR would drop a successful morning drive show and replace it with Steven Screamin' A. Smith.  It was beyond counter-intuitive to me.  Smith's act had gotten tired at ESPN, being that it is a one-pony trick: express an opinion, and express it more loudly than those with whom you disagree.  WHY would FSR think that he would succeed as a morning drive host?

Apparently the Screamin' A. Smith show was...how shall I put this?...somewhat less than successful.
"Zack and Jack" will take over morning drive from 6-9 a.m. on WOFX-AM (980). The show replaces the "Stephen A. Smith Show." Smith will be moving into the roll of NBA analyst for all of Fox Sports Radio's shows. Smith's last show is Dec. 31.
One year. One solitary year. Yeah........how'd that work out for you, FSR?

Naturally, Czaban wasn't exactly crying about this development. And who could blame him? His show ran 7 years at FSR. Seven. Now he's back on morning drive with Sporting News Radio, which XM has FINALLY added to their lineup, albeit on channel 242, WAAAAAAY out past the traffic report stations.

No matter. The story has a happy ending.

FSR dumped a popular host in search of....what exactly? That lucrative Black urban professional demographic (approximately 1% of the population)?   That lucrative Black urban 18-34 demographic (approximately 4% of the population)?

In return they got one lousy year of Screamin' A., affiliate cancellations, and yet another lineup change. Meanwhile, Czaban is right back in prime time, better than ever.

Suck on it, FSR.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Neutral? Hardly.

The lame duck (with heavy emphasis on the "lame") Congress is trying to force through all manner of ill-conceived legislation.  Gays in the military.  The DREAM act.  The START treaty.

But that stuff is merely a distraction.  There's something more sinister afoot than any of that.  Matt Drudge is posting one, after another, after another, after another, link to stories that identify a threat far more dangerous to our freedoms than anything else in the news right now.
The Federal Communications Commission will vote on Dec. 21 on whether to adopt regulations that ban the blocking of lawful traffic but allow Internet service providers to ration Web traffic on their networks.
So? What's the big deal? This is.
The fixers here are pursuing something called "net neutrality," which will change the way certain Internet providers pay for privileged rights to the Web and charge their customers accordingly. "Net neutrality" sounds good to anyone not paying attention, but it must be accomplished by a seizure of authority to do so, a seizure not by Congress (which would be scary enough), but by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Here's the skinny. The Internet is currently the last bastion of freedom. It exists, for the most part, free from interference from government or regulators. It is the one place where an American citizen can still speak his or her mind unfiltered.

While the Internet is pooh-poohed as being frivolous and "experts" insist that it is not subject to the protections in place for Big Media (the BM for short), the fact is that a number of extremely important news stories, including Matt Drudge's breaking of the Monica Lewinsky story, have had as their mode of conveyance the "frivolous" Internet.

An authoritarian government seeks to restrict freedom of the press at all costs.  Ours is becoming increasingly authoritarian.  The BM is already working under the thumb of government regulation.  They are also tied to corporate masters whose survival hinges on government's selective picking of winners and losers.  The BM is no threat to the government.  The Internet is.

If you understand government, you'll understand that the FCC won't be content with setting "fairness" rules.  They'll also want to regulate content.  Politically charged speech would most surely be restricted ("We have to stamp out hate speech!").  The writings of this particular blogger, fond of referring to the past two Presidents as King George the Dim and Il Duce, would most certainly fall under their definition of hate speech.

But, hey.  You go right on sweating gays in the military, the DREAM act, and the START treaty.  Nothing to see here.  Move along now.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Horrible and ironic ways to die

This item speaks for itself.
A 33-year-old man who was part of a crew renovating an apartment on Milwaukee's west side was killed Tuesday when he was struck by a refrigerator his co-workers threw from the building, a Milwaukee police spokeswoman said.

Initial reports indicated the refrigerator fell from a fourth-floor porch to the ground, where the man was struck.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Weekend wrapup: a tale of two weekends

After last week's spanking by the Green Bay Packers (34-16, and it wasn't as close as the score would indicate), I was ready to sign off for the season.  After all, who wants to hear me bitch about my mediocre, under-achieving team?

Then Sunday the heavens opened and all was right with the world again.  The 49ers delivered a beatdown on the hated Seahawks (40-21, and it wasn't as close as the score would indicate).

Sadly, "...and it wasn't as close as the score would indicate" has become the modus operandi for the 49ers for the past 4 games.  Blown out by Tampa Bay.  Dominated the Cardinals our bitch.  Humiliated by the Packers.  Dominated the Seabags. 

Alex Smith made his triumphal return to the starting lineup, and, although his numbers weren't spectacular (255 yards passing), he threw for 3 touchdowns and didn't turn the ball over at all. 

Matt Hasselsuck lived up to the name, throwing 4 picks and losing a fumble.  One interception was in the end zone, killing a productive drive.  One interception was a pick-six. 

So, at 5-8, the 49ers are still alive in the abysmal NFC Worst.  The Seabags loss, coupled with the Rams humiliating loss to the Saints, puts the 49ers one game out of first place in the Worst.  Fortune smiles: the 49ers have only one really tough game left, in San Diego on Thursday.  The 49ers could conceivably go 7-9 (which I predicted two weeks ago as being their final record) and win the division.  OY!

I'm not sure if I'm happy about this or not.  Winning a Division title with a losing record (and then, in all likelihood, getting pummeled by a real playoff team) isn't what I had in mind for this year.  I thought we'd be so much better than that.

There's another aspect to this.  The team most likely to be left on the outside looking in as the 49ers enter the playoffs with their losing record is Tampa Bay.  Youngest son is a die-hard Bucs fan.  I hate seeing his team sitting at home for the post season with a significantly better record (and significantly better chance of advancing) than my boys.

In the immortal words of Dennis Leary, "Life isn't fair.  Get a f***ing helmet".


Monday, December 13, 2010

Put up or shut up

The small-L libertarian has for years sat on the sidelines when it comes to our ability to actually effect change in Washington.  That has effectively changed.
After years of blocking him from a leadership position, Mr.Paul’s fellow Republicans have named him chairman of the House subcommittee on domestic monetary policy, which oversees the Federal Reserve as well as the currency and the valuation of the dollar.
Finally! This is awesome news. But, as Vox Day so adroitly noted in his WorldNetDaily column published today, getting the position means it's "put up or shut up" time.
Ron Paul, sound money champion and author of "End the Fed," has been named chairman of the House subcommittee for monetary policy.

Note to Paul: I am your biggest fan at WorldNetDaily, but put up or shut up time has now officially arrived. There is no time for meandering lectures on the theoretical advantages of a gold standard or esoteric soliloquies regarding the correct definition of money. The American people just want the facts about their money and where it has gone. They need the facts. And then they need action.
He's absolutely right. It's one thing to "talk the talk", something we small-L libertarians have been limited to in the past. Now he has to "walk the walk".

I have the utmost faith that Representative Paul is up to the task. Where I have my doubts is with the Team Elephant leadership. Will they allow him to do the things he needs to do -- like, for instance, a complete audit -- in order to bring the Fed to task for their crimes against the U.S. economy? Lest you think I'm being over-the-top hysterical in referring to "crimes", let me remind you that the U.S. Dollar has lost 96% of its buying power since the Fed came into being. If that's not a crime, tell me what is?

Go to town, Dr. Paul. Slay the dragon.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A change in talk radio?

I don't normally listen to Quinn and Rose in the morning.  Oh, sure, I used to on occasion, if for no other reason than for confirmation of the latest "conservative" talking points and for their histrionics about "the most importantest election ever!", whichever election it might be.

But this morning Mike Church went to commercial and The Sports Junkies were in a commercial break as well, so I tuned in Q-n-R.  What a surprise!  Rose (of course it wasn't Quinn!) was waxing wroth against a dangerous man.  And it wasn't Il Duce!

Rose read from an article written some months ago by WorldNetDaily founder Joseph Farah.  The last sentence of the article reads,
There is perhaps no more dangerous man in America today than Mitt Romney. If he succeeds Obama, it will be the final nail in the coffin of American liberty. You've been duly warned.
That Farah, a man of principles, would say this about Mitt Romney is not unexpected.  Farah isn't one of those "vote for the guy with the 'R' after his name or we'll all die!" pseudo-conservatives.  He sees the Elephants for what they are.

But for Rose to read his article -- and agree with it wholeheartedly -- is something of a "man bites dog" moment.

Is there something happening out there in Talk Radio land?  Have the blathering heads seen the writing on the wall and started distancing themselves from the Rockefellerite elitists of Team Elephant?

It's too soon to say for sure.  But I, for one, hope that, like the old folk song says, "the times they are a changin'".


Monday, December 6, 2010

Shady Marketing

Hat tip to xfloggingkylex for passing on this story.
If you read tech news today, expect to see a story making the rounds concerning a "consumer poll" rating the iPad versus the Galaxy Tab. According to the report, an "overwhelming majority" of consumers prefer Apple's tablet over its nearest Android competitor -- a whopping 85 percent of those queried felt the iPad had a higher perceived value than the Tab. Sounds shocking, right? Except there's one small problem. The "survey" (and really, you have to use the term loosely here) consisted of 65 people. Let's just say that again: 65 respondents. That's problem number one.

Problem number two is that the survey was conducted by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, who is not only using a bizarre and somewhat useless metric like "perceived value" to judge these devices, but is also known for wildly miscalculating sales numbers and expectations for Apple products. In fact, Gene Munster should probably be close to the top of the most wanted list for irresponsible analysts. Some of his famous misses? Take the wildly speculative report that Apple would sell 5.6m iPads in 2010 (a baseless prediction which he quickly reassessed to more reasonable digits... the day after the device's launch), or the prediction that Apple would build its own search engine (so far so good!), and of course, Gene's news that Apple will have an HDTV on the market by 2011. Did we mention the $1,000 AAPL stock price call? No? Okay.

So this latest report, in which Gene apparently just polled the families living on his block, seems beyond disingenuous. The margin of error on a group of 65 people is so high that it makes the results of the iPad vs. Galaxy Tab study all but meaningless, and further demonstrates the insidious, dangerous power of some analysts and their fantasy football stock manipulations. The moral of the story? Next time you see the names Gene and Munster in the same sentence, don't just take the news with a grain of salt -- use the whole shaker.
Let's set the stage here, shall we?

Apple fan-boy "analyst" makes outrageous claim.

So-called "tech news" magazines run with it - without questioning either the claim or the source of the claim.

Did I miss anything?

Just remember to always keep that shaker of salt handy. Because pretty much everything you read these days requires it.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Weekend Wrapup: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good: The 49ers beat the Arizona Cardinals their bitch by a score of 27-6 Monday night.  The game wasn't as close as the score would indicate.  Had Troy Smith played even marginally well, this could have been a 44-6 blowout.

The 49ers are now just one game out of first place in the putrid NFC West.  Un.  Freaking.  Believable.

The Bad: The 49ers lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by a score of 21-0 the week before.  The game wasn't as close as the score would indicate.  The 49ers best offensive penetration into Bucs territory was to the 33 yard line, and that resulted in a punt. 

Hideous.  Truly hideous.

The Ugly:  Could we have a moment of silence for the loss of 40% of the 49ers offense?  Frank Gore, the best player on the entire team, with the possible exception of Patrick Willis, is out for the season with a broken hip.  At the time Gore went down with his injury, he was personally accountable for over 40% of all yardage gained by the 49ers offense.  This was, BTW, the fourth season in the last five that Gore has contributed at that level.  Only Eric Dickerson, Walter Payton, and Jim Brown had been at that level of productivity with greater frequency.  Last I heard, those three used to be pretty good.  Now that monster productivity is gone.

Yes, Brian Westbrook did a stellar job of filling in Monday night, rushing for over 130 yards.  But Westbrook has a lot of miles on his odometer, and a history of concussions.  Not much of a confidence builder, that.

Prognosis: The 49ers will probably finish at 7-9 this year, second in the West behind the suddenly mediocre St. Louis Rams (trust me - in the West, mediocre is king).  Troy Smith has come back to earth and revealed just why the Ravens gave up on him.  He's a stellar backup quarterback.  He's not a reliable starter.

In the immortal words of fans everywhere: wait 'til next year!