So Favre is not joining up with the Vikes. Fine. There's way too much coverage for me to add much, other than to ask: If he doesn't start for a team this year, is there any chance he would somehow reconsider next year? If so, would anyone take him? The real question is: Did Brett's call to Richard (Childress) effectively end his career?

I, for one, think Favre did tremendous damage to his legacy by returning to the Jets, despite the massive windfall in jersey sales. Imagine if he had walked away, tear-filled, as the golden boy of Lambeu two years ago and never looked back. He'd be the golden boy forever. Everything since then has served to tarnish that image. Even his ability to rally the lackluster Jets to a near-playoff run. I, mean, it was near the playoffs. It wasn't the playoffs. And did you think he could lead them to a Superbowl? I don't know anyone who did. At Green Bay, he didn't need to - and that's really the point.

Now Favre leaves as the injured and indecisive former golden boy who held out for a bit on an offer to play for his one-time greatest rival, the Vikes. And, of course, there will be speculation all this year and next about his possible impending likely rumored return. That is something quite a bit less than golden.


MySpace Isn't Dead. Actually Maybe Evite is Dead?

Myspace just surpassed evite as the top invitation service. Wierd. I thought MySpace had started to go the way of the Republican party (zing!), but I guess I was wrong (maybe about both, d'oh!).

Evite has recently partnered with FaceBook to bridge invites across platforms. I don't think it's going anywhere any time soon, but perhaps that will help it regain its dominance.


Tour de Classe


Lance didn't win, yet he emerged the better for it. At 37, he did something the Lance of 27 would not have done: He made sure his teammate won. He kept to the party line amidst the constant stream of media attention. He kept his cool. And when his teammate was secure in yellow, he put on some of the most impressive shows of cycling I have seen in a long time. Covering a 2 minute gap up a mountainside, not once, but twice, borders on the heroic.

Contador, Schleck, Hushovd, and Pellizotti are all champions. (Yellow, Youngest, Most Consistent - e.g. sprint, and King of the Mountains). Perhaps it is not fair that Lance get so much attention when he didn't win. Still, he really did emerge looking like a champion and a gentleman. What more could you ask for?


Palin steps down today. I know 75% of conservative Republicans still like her, which means we'll likely be seeing a lot of her for a long time to come. Still, I can't keep the "Hi, ho! The Wicked Witch is dead!" refrain out of my head.

Before I get flamed out here - I like that she's gone not because her ideas are bad or shouldn't be aired. I like that she's gone because she practices the sort of vapid politics of distraction that lowers the level of discourse in this country. If you need a reminder of the incoherent buzz word babbling that exemplifies her style, just look up her resignation speech.

Well Aren't You A Class Act

I encountered this wireless network this morning:
You do know your wireless network name is transmitted far and wide, right?


Walking with Dinosaurs


There are few things that make me stop and stare. The video preview on
the Verizon Center jumbotron made me do just that. Pictures of 20 and
30 foot tall dinos walking around the arena smoothly and majestically
were mezmerising.

Now, I am pretty sure my impression of this show is better than the
reality. I imagine a serious, sciency talk - like a zookeeper talk or
something. The actual show is likely more like The Land Before Time.

Oh well. For that moment it was pretty cool.

If You Just Noticed, You Deserve It

Behold, another brilliant report:

The Drawbacks of 'Owning' Digital Books


It says that those who own kindle books have fewer powers than do people who own, y'know, books. Worse yet, they are surprised. At least the few thousand that had bought 1984 were when they woke up and discovered it was no longer on their machine one morning. Amazon had agreed with the publisher to take it down and remove it from the machines. 

You can tell just how much sympathy I have. You own a proprietary format work on a proprietary machine. You therefore don't control anything. Think of it like Tivo. You buy the unit but they retain a lot of lattitude. You are ok with that because of the convenience of the service. Sure it's annoying if the company takes something back or changes the terms on you, but that was always the deal and you knew that. 

If you wanted an ebook to keep, buy  a sony reader ir similar product that requires that you download a full version of the book and sync it. Or buy a paperback. What did you think was happening when Amazon was selling you whole books at 30% the price? Seriously. The pissing and moaning you hear is just that.



Death of a Salesman

Congress has refused to continue funding the F22. (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124821970259970233.html). To this I say congratulations.  

This is the right move even though it is tough politically. Lockheed, which builds the now decade old next generation fighter, is the nation's largest defense contractor by a long shot. More importantly, lockheed has the political savvy that comes with owning over 30% market share of the huge defense contract spending budget. 

Lockheed builds the F22 in 44 states and several allied countries, so the jobs argument is spread far and wide. Far enough that 15 dems voted against the budget cut. That, despite the fact that the F22 never flew in Iraq or Afghanistan.   

Of course, thirty percent market share  means that Lockheed builds both the F22, which lives in the dreams of grown boys like me, who still long to go to work at the crack of dawn, strap on several thousand pounds of thrust and blaze into the dawn sky, and also the UAVs that made the F22 obsolete. Why send a man at all if dogfighting is done over the horizon by missile. The atmospheric controls, ejection seat, and control consoles have moved out to make way for more ordnance.  Not to mention the fact that even dogfighting - were it ever necessary - would be best off in a UAV, which can pull g forces no human could sustain. Oh, and they are a fraction of the price and the pilots have breakfast with their families before heading to their remote piloting centers and they always come home. 

And before I get a lot if comments on bloated budgets or the lack of dem military support, know that Chambliss tried to keep this program alive with $850m from the defense maintenance account. That the bread and butter account, sending parts, armor and fuel to the troops currently in harms way. Folks on both sides of the aisle and nipped it in the bud. It was gross behavior and I am glad congress rose above it. 

Sent from my iPod


Who Are You And Where Is Lance?

Warning - this is a post about cycling; the Sick Man of Europe of sports.

Alberto Contador of team Astana took the overall lead in the Tour after today's stage. The other pillar of Astana - the New York Yankees of the TdF - Lance is second, but lagging by over a minute and a half. Given the hills and dales to come, that lead could prove insurmountable for another rider unless Contador was going to collapse. But this is Lance Armstrong. Seven time winner. International superstar. Surely, Astana is his team. Let's get his reaction.

The interviews boil down to this: I was not the best man out there today. I will ride the rest of the Tour as Contador's lieutenant (In French - "domestique" - the term for all the rest of the guys on a team who attack to tire out the field, ride in front to give you a draft, etc.).

This is the equivalent of having Peyton Manning sit after a lousy first quarter and say, "You know, I just didn't have it out there today. I'll review the photos during the first half, throw my support behind our backup QB, and hope we can win as a team today." Ain't gonna happen.

And yet, it did. More impressively, it happened after a blow out on Team Astana in stage 7, when Contador broke from the team at the end of the stage to accelerate on to personal victory. Reporters clamored around a meeting on the team bus at the end of the day. Riders emerged stone-faced. Now, Lance, famous for years for his style, equal parts ice and vitriol, has not only bowed his head to become a domestique to his domestique, but did so after that self-same domestique showed him up a week before. Depending on who you are, this is either a sign of maturity or the golden boy has lost some of that competitive lustre.

I, for one, couldn't tell you which it is.


It's New to Me, OK?

Heard on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me from June 27, 2009:
Michael Bay is to movies what Hurricane Katrina was to urban planning.
I couldn't agree more. Ooh, look! A Megan Fox. Ooh, a shiny object! Ooh, explosions. Wait, wait, this still sucks martian balls.


You Just Have To See This

This is not a fake. Seriously. Enjoy!


I'm Too Sexy for My Own Good

"The Frisky" at CNN (God, is this even a news outlet any more?) asks, "Is narcissism keeping you single?" and cites a report that nearly one in 10 younger Americans is a narcissist. We can't be in good relationships because we think we're too good to need to compromise. The culprit is our 'feel good' culture having succeeded so well in raising our self image. I'm not worried. After all, it's just one in 10. I'm probably better than those people anyway.


When Ads Go Bad

Papa Johns has an radio ad in the DC area touting "cheese made from
one hundred percent mozzarella." Guys, you make pizza. Should we have
to point out that mozarella is the product and milk the ingredient?
Unless, you 100% mozarella is indeed just an ingredient and "cheese"
has become something of a fuzzy concept for you. In which case, "Ew."
And stop touting it!

Sent from my iPod


Those Shoes You've Seen Me Wearing

If you've seen me walking around any time in the last month, you've likely seen (and commented on) the above. They are Vibram Five Fingers classics, a pair of so-called barefooting shoes. This all started about two summers ago when I broke my right foot for the second time. Going in to the Orthopaedist, I learned that, in addition to the break, I had bone spurs. I have still have the x-rays here. Then five months later, I had pain near my hip flexor. Another visit to the doc, another relatively clean bill of health, but this time with a warning that the spurs would worsen with time and more running.

Now, I don't run that much. Maybe 15-18 miles a week. On top of that, in the summers, I play Basketball once a week and Frisbee once or twice a week. Nothing too serious. I don't get shin splints or achy knees. Instead, the nerves in my right leg feel like they are tightening and pulling my lower back causing my gait to go off-center. That assumes, of course, that my form was right to begin with - something I cannot confirm having never been coached or analyzed by video or even watched by someone with a critical eye for this stuff.

Which brings us back to the orthopaedist. Now there on my third visit, I was following up on my hip and took the opportunity to ask about my shoe choices. Rockport - his favorite kind. Soft and -- good for an orthopaedist -- with removable insoles. The doc recommended inserts. Not custom, at $300+, but still $95 a pair. For 4 pairs of regular use shoes, I bought 3 pair, turning every $50 pair of New Balance into the equivalent of a top-of-the-line running shoe. And I'll need to start replacing them soon, along with the new Size 10 shoes that I needed to buy to accommodate them. My old 9.5s just couldn't contain all that cushioning.

Perhaps you are starting to feel the same sense of bafflement that I did at this point. Why is this so complicated? How much equipment do I need just to walk? Worse yet, if I need this much now, what will I need at 40 and 50 and 60 to ambulate?

So I started looking into other options. I had seen the Vibrams on the Frisbee fields the previous year and asked about them. How could I not? I learned they were basically a rubber sole on a bare foot and very comfortable despite that. Digging a bit further, I found a community of barefooters. These folks are hard core and a little quirky. Not a lot of credibility there. Still, they loved the Vibram. And they linked to a Runners World article on barefooting: http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-240-319--6728-0,00.html. Great runners run barefoot. More importantly, amateur runners who run without shoes see no ill effects of going barefoot. Then I read Born to Run, which is more fun than fact intensive, but still contains about 2 chapters of the science of barefooting. I was sold, at least to try a pair of shoes that cost less than one of my orthopaedic inserts, with the promise that I might be able to one day do without the inserts altogether.

The results so far are as promised. The shoes take a bit of getting used to. It took me 3 hours. Not because of the shoes, but because I don't walk barefoot very much. It is amazing how different the gait is. Much more forward without nearly as tough a heel strike. I find myself using the rise of my foot when I strike the ball as a shock absorber. The movement uses a different set of muscles than do shoes, making the first few weeks a workout, but now I walk 2-3 miles in them without noticing. I spend all day in the now on paternity leave and feel better at the end of the day than I did in shoes. No more hot feet, squished toes, blisters, or the more serious and important leg and hip strains.

While they may not replace my running shoes, I have seen improvements there as well, where a forward tilted step is the ideal. That, and going out for a run without having the leg and hip pains to work out in stretching or warm up is a real boon.

Safeway's Useless Affinity Card

Safeway issues an affinity card, like just about every other retailer in America. The card permits you to take a few cents off a few items in the store. Thing is, the register attendant always has a spare card to scan if you - like me - constantly "forget" your card. The thing is, I don't get anything for the information I give Safeway about my shopping and eating habits. Give me reward dollars, better deals, special circulars, ...something for all that information. Instead I get nothing.

So I found out how to get around the card without losing the benefits...or having to schnorr someone else's number at every transaction. Safeway permits customers to enter their phone number instead of swipe their card. This is what really got my goat, since the market is most likely selling this phone number + the detailed customer metrics to third parties for a pretty penny. That means they are making more while I still get nothing. I entered my number, which I know does not work, only to hear the klangon that tells the teller the same thing. I asked, as I do, if she has a spare card, and she just entered a number on her keypad. So I watched.

To get all the savings on a bogus number, just enter 617.555.1212 in a Safeway keypad next time you're in the store. Voila! Worth reading to the end of the post, wasn't it?


I do not think that means what you think it means.

Here's a short article from the WSJ regarding the current US/Russia arms talks. What you'll find in the article is that there has been moderate progress. What you won't find is any description of the START treaty being discussed, or of the state of arms control now, or even what the key points of discussion are for the two sides. This is a 200 word headline. How about a little reporting?!

U.S., Russia Move Forward on Arms



Sports from the Fourth

Did anyone out there see the last lap of the Coca Cola 400? Simply
amazing. The lesson - block me once, shame on me. Block me twice,
anything goes. Stewart was exceedingly gracious in victory. Maybe when
you are an owner, inflicting damage that expensive strikes a little
closer to home.

The tour de France is on. It's nice of them to show a sport that only
I watch. Well, I and some groggy expats. Seriously, even with a
dampened Armstrong, is there enough audience for VS to bother?

And E-Trade is sponsoring the standings board on the World Series of
Poker. Is this really the message they want to send, now or at any
time really?

And now back to the 10 lb bag of wonderful in my arms.

Sent from my iPod


You've Got Some Serious Stones

For once, you really can say, "Ha! We didn't have [blank] , we just had rocks!" Just pick up these whiskey stones, chill them, and place them in your spirit for all that cold with none of that pesky, flavor-altering water. And here I thought that adding a touch of water to Single Malts, Single Barrels, etc. broke the internal hydrocarbon bonds and released the aroma. In fact, I suspect it does, but Whiskey drinkers are all adamant that their various and contradictory drinking strategies are the only right way. C'est la vie.


I just punched in "How to Rent" into Google and got this: http://rent-a-negro.blogspot.com/. Exactly how did that get to be the 3rd most popular site for this search string?!


Officially a Father

Right down to the pitiable attempts at humor. While watching a Discovery special last night on the salmon run, I let loose with the following original:

You know how modern salmon swim up-river? Lox.

It's all downhill from here.