Belichick gave Tedy Bruschi the greatest compliment today, calling him the "perfect player." Bruschi - 36 and a stroke survivor - retired today, having played over a decade for the Pats and nowhere else.

Me? I just bought a Bruschi jersey this month, so color me surprised. That said, better to wear 54 in his one and only set of colors, than to wear, say, No. 4 in a rainbow. I suppose it is more a tribute jersey now and that is bittersweet.


Gimme Some of that Ole' Time Law-Talk

I was researching the satire/parody distinction in copyright today. (A quick primer: Copyright permits others' "fair use" of the material so that (c) does not inhibit communication in the same way patent can stymie innovation. Fair use includes newsworthy content, etc. Parody is permitted as a fair use because criticism of a thing often requires creating a likeness of the thing itself. Satire, which is using something to criticize something else, is generally not permitted.) Not surprisingly, the distinction is eroding because it is hard to demarcate. In the mean time, lawyers have to rationalize their client's work as parody as best they can. Witness this beauty of a parenthetical explanation:

Abilene Music, Inc. v. Sony Music Entm’t, Inc., 320 F. Supp. 2d 84,
89–92 (S.D.N.Y. 2003) (commenting first that the relevant inquiry
was not whether rapper Ghostface Killah intended his song as a
parody of Wonderful World but whether the song differs from the
original in a way that may reasonably be perceived as commenting
on what a viewer might reasonably think is the unrealistically
uplifting message of Wonderful World, and consequently holding
that Ghostface Killah’s song could be perceived as commenting on
the innocence reflected in the lyrics of the original, in order to
drive home its hard-knock life message more effectively);

A "Vhimper."

The Eagles played last night. In case nobody saw them, they were the guys standing around Michael Vick for those infamous six plays last night. They continued to do something after he stepped off the field. I don't know that for sure, all sports TV went dead after that for the night, having lost its sense of purpose.

Seriously, that is what it felt like listening to the coverage. Now, of course, we know Vick did little, showed less, and left a lot of people wondering whether all the money, time and effort will lead to anything resembling a QB, let alone the QB phenom that Vick once was. I'd need to see more. A lot more.


I've Got It! We'll Make it Harder!

While the rest of the world is working towards usability, Londoners are apparently above that. Enter the Cockney Rhyming Slang ATM. I can't believe this is seriously being considered, but here you go nonetheless: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/money/consumer_affairs/article6808494.ece.
Locals might like it, but the rest of us are in Barney. Don't know what that means, check it:

Basher: So unless we intend to do this job in Reno, we're in barney.
[everyone pauses]
Basher: Barney Rubble.
[they look bewildered]
Basher: Trouble!
Ocean's Eleven.


This is a rant against Fox masquerading as a Ted Kennedy retrospective. I understand that we'll likely get too much Ted for the next 24-48 hours. His history, his family, his commitment to healthcare. Maybe tomorrow it will be too much already, but this morning it is indubitably the top story. CNN, MSNBC, and the local stations got that. Fox and Friends had on their friend Lou Holtz from Notre Dame. So they asked him about Ted Kennedy. Twice. Then moved on.


Not a Newsflash

The CDC has just released a report indicating that the average US gamer is male, 35, overweight, aggressive, introverted and unhappy. Glad to know my perception and reality match up on this one. Mind you, these aren't casual players, those with a Wii and Wii sports, or iPhone gamers. These are gamer gamers. "Dedicated" might be disturbing, but I think it is the right word.


Tough but worth the time.

This is a longish video, walking through good visualizations of the 10 theoretical dimensions. It's worth the 11 minutes, considering you will not find a clearer explanation.


Memphis Naughty, Stripped

The NCAA is going to strip Memphis of 38 games in its run up to the Final Four of men's basketball in the 07-08 season. The move comes after an investigation into Memphis practices of having third parties take (academic) tests for players, etc. How much is this going to cost offices around the country who now have to revisit their pools and recalculate payouts? Just think of the cost of tracking down employees that have left or - worse - were laid off in the recent downturn and now have to return their winnings. I jest, but if you won or lost thousands in Vegas pool, how would you feel right now?


My Hero

Calm, collected, but unafraid to call a spade a spade. This is what is so great about Barney.

HT: Dorkowitz

Further Favre Flappings

Actually, this isn't about Favre per se, but the havoc he has wreaked on the Vikes. No position is more deeply affected by this move than QB, where folks like Don Banks have noted that Jackson - erstwhile savior of the Vikes - and Rosenfels - the spurned favorite to start - are likely pissed. He points out, I think correctly, that neither man will want to pony up a ton of effort if and when Favre is either injured or too gassed to be effective.

That's all fine and good, but let's not forget the Third Man - John David Booty. One of USC's super passers for two years, he broke convention before the draft and stated clearly that he wanted to be a Viking. They obliged, though at a much later stage in the draft that JDB might otherwise have been taken. That left him as the number 3 man on the roster, wearing #4. As of Monday, he's now the #4 man wearing #9. To me, that's insult and injury in one tasty package.


Vikes Pack Pack's Punch

Or so they would have you believe. The Vikes have signed Favre. Ding dong the legacy is dead folks. He's coming in with an unresolved injury - one his good sense has told him was serious up until the first week of pre-season. Then his competitive spirit took over and decided, "Heck, why not make percentages on a whole new set of Jerseys?" (And don't forget the folks over at http://www.judasfavre.com/shop/judas-favre-t-shirt.html). Mark my works Minnie. This will not end well, though at the very least it will most likely end this year.

24.6 MegaPixels. Now You Can Actually Tell That Ugly Is To The Bone

Sony just announced the price for its 24.6 MegaPixel DSLR and Gizmodo is complaining that the $2900 price for the body is nearly 50% than the expected $2000 price. Let me say that again - this is a 24.6 MP camera - nearly 5 times the resolution on my DSLR. The Nikon D300 is $1300 for a 12.3MP camera. MegaPixels don't achieve an economy of scale. If anything, it is the opposite. Take the Canon 1Ds Mark ii as an example - 16.7MP with a professional body for $2500 (at the very least). With these as the comparators, the Sony is a steal.

Wait Wait Highlights.

Wait Wait..Don't Tell Me had a wonderful reaction to Obamacare protestors:
They don't want anyone giving them healthcare. Their motto is, "Live Free and Die."


Brady and Vick

[NFL Network highlights from last night.]

The mechanics looked like they needed a touch of work when he aired it out - neither really long pass to Moss hit the superstar WR in stride. That said, the short to medium game looked really good.

Things were a little more confusing on the other side of the ball with Eagle's acquisition of Vick. That makes 5 QBs for the Birds. I understand that rookie Adam DeMichele isn't coming off the practice squad for a while, but that still leaves McNabb, Feeley and Kolb (Kevin). Is this a sign that McNabb really is done? And, if so, isn't Feeley good enough to step in? And, if not, what was the point of drafting Kolb in the second round of 07 and developing him only to leave him in the cold now? Or is this all a ploy toward a multi-QB package using Vick in a modified Wildcat? And then there's always the possibility that the 1000+ rushing QB could end up as a running back. See? I have now idea what the thinking was. That said, if there was a team and a town that could accept Vick back into the fold culturally, it is Philly, with its hard edge and solid urban backing.


Anarchist's Cookbook II

Absinthe and flamethrowers is much prettier than the black and white photocopied version of the Anarchist's Cookbook that my high school buddies got their hands on, but isn't it basically the same. Perhaps including Absinthe, a product that is increasingly legal in the U.S., in the title is an indication of a more tempered approach. Nevertheless, the presentation may be novel, but the idea is seriously dated.

HT: Uncrate.com


U.S. Air Guitar Championships

So...this was in town last week and I missed it. Um. Yeah. Just watch this and decide for yourself - do you have "airness"? That, and I loved the poster.


A One Man Iso Booth

Paul Carr over at TechCrunch just published this rant on unreliable sources. His point: If you lie to me off the record, and I find out, I'll consider it on the record and out you as a liar. Maybe that's a good idea if you have a lot of influence, so people want to go to you to the exclusion of others. I don't know Paul - perhaps he has this power. I know that if I did this, I'd simply be turning of the source spigot. That's bad, because from the source flows the information that becomes a scoop. Didn't we used to pay journalists to sniff out the BS? Oh, right. We used to pay journalists.

Vatican 3.0? Presbys...I guess not.

via: Flickr


Apple Tablet. Take $1.2B and call me in the morning.

Do you believe that the Apple Tablet is the next big thing? It is part of a budding segment of products, like Michael Arrington's CrunchPad, known as "Mobile Internet Devices" - MIDs. These are touch-based, keyboardless netbooks, whose main purpose is web surfing in all its glory. I for one already have a perfect MID - the Touch. It travels, it has internet, and I am happy. That said, could we see a revolution in home computing as the paper is replaced by the pad? Between the Kindle and other readers + the MIDs, it is a possibility. On the other hand, this has been tried before, recently by Nokia and in the receding past by Palm. Even the analysts see this more as a niche product, like Apple TV, so I'd dampen those hopes a bit.

Things You Already Knew Because You're Smarter Than Me

Here's Krugman's take on the mobs swarming the healthcare townhalls being held by the recently on-recess members of Congress. I don't cite the man much, but there were two items of note in the article:

"Astroturf organization" - A fake grass-roots organization.

and this bit:

There was a telling incident at a town hall held by Representative Gene Green, D-Tex. An activist turned to his fellow attendees and asked if they “oppose any form of socialized or government-run health care.” Nearly all did. Then Representative Green asked how many of those present were on Medicare. Almost half raised their hands.

Healthcare is a complicated issue, made all the more so when it butts up against the other challenge we face as Americans - ignorance.

Just Gorgeous

This is a stepwell - a well in which access is had through the use of multiple staired tiers. I had never seen one before, and this one - Chand Baori in India - is among the world's deepest at over 100 feet. It is also eye-poppingly impressive.


Sony Reader Might Best Kindle

As someone who unhooked from the ever-online world of BB to an iPod Touch and realized that I didn't need to be that connected, I think Kindle's whispernet is nice, but not a killer app. Gimme WiFi and we're cool.

With that as a premise, check out the new Sony Reader and Reader Touch ($200 and $300 this fall). With 1 million free books, the ability to read office docs (for FREE mind you), and Sony's tight hardware design, I don't know that its worth waiting around for Kindle or its DX big sister. Seriously.

[HT: Gizmodo]


Hammacher Schmammacher, This is Awful!

Hammecher Schlemmer is known for outlandish stuff, but it is supposed to be outlandish COOL stuff. Just watch the game-play video. The humans are stuck in little ravines with one, easily defended hole through which to put the ball.

Hammacher: So it's a trampoline?
Schlemmer: Yes.
Hammacher: But it is no fun at all?
Schlemmer: Exactly.
Hammacher: Novel. I like it!

Cash for Free

Politicos have had mostly plaudits for Cash for Clunkers - the magnanimous government subsidy plan that pays $4500 for your trade-in when you decide you want something newer and sitting-forever-in-inventorier. Car dealers were far more enthusiastic, taking orders and making sales on the plan well before it was fully implemented. Now, having racked up thousands of sales and fronted rebates in the millions, they are wondering why the government can't process their claims fast enough. Seems to me that the government reasonably expected a conveyor belt of claims and instead got an upturned dump truck. I sympathize with Uncle Sam to this point.

But Uncle Sam and I parted ways on this program from its inception. While this stimulus clearly stimulates buying, the sheer number of people to take advantage of it indicates to me not that it is wildly successful, but rather that it is too generous. If I gave out one dollar bills in Washington Square Park in NY at lunch, I might have maybe 10,000 show up from a few square blocks. But if I gave out $100, you can expect that many times that would show up. Same thing here. Clearly Americans needed a kick in the pants to show up and buy, but I think we may have kicked too hard. I think it is a good thing that dealer inventories are finally shrinking, but this is a blip. It doesn't mean that car sales next year or the year after will return from the current 6M/year level to the prior 10M/year level. It means that, for the next few weeks, there is a fire sale on cars.

What is a Congress to do? This is populism at its best - giving the people bread and circus in the same bite. Having fed the masses and been lauded for it, Congress can't stop now. They can't lower the incentive or risk cries of "unfair!" On the other hand, they can't give away money forever. Representatives took one look at this and 2010 election and voted "Yea" for $2B more. Senators with a little breathing room are doing just that and asking, if they can't lower the amount, whether perhaps they tack on a few riders. $4500 requires a certain improvement in fuel efficiency. Under the plan, people are already trading down in fuel consumption by themselves - prompting Sen. Schumer to quip, "If it ain't broke..." But I say it is broke and we can't fix it because the backlash will be too great. Instead, let's tweak it to get what we can for our money. Let's restrict the rebate to cars achieving over a certain MPG and those with ULEV ratings (ultra low emission vehicles). That's your small cars, small SUVs, cross-overs and most Hybrids (I am looking at you Escalade). Perhaps we can salvage something from this program after all.


The Elusive Tablet

Bill Gates sees tablets as the next big thing in computing. Actually, he's seen it as the next big thing for about a decade. Steve jobs has seen it as the next best thing for longer - ever since the Apple Newton showed up, was amazing, and then totally bombed. Even with tablets well under $1000 and TechCruch's CrunchPad and Apple's Tablet coming out in the fall - offering pure tablets with less power for "couchtop computing -- I am still very skeptical. I have long looked for a tablet myself. Avid readers will know that I eventually settled on an iPod Touch and have never looked back. At best, I see them as a niche product. I don't know why users don't rush to these most natural of form factored devices, but the ample data shows they don't.


So you get bike racing and action sports on this blog. Go figure.

X-Games 15 just wrapped up in LA and it proved to be a tad mediocre.
Mediocre even with 90 foot drop ramps to 70 foot skateboard jumps, no
handed back flips on dirt bikes, and gnarly landings in bmx vert.
Thing is, by now, a lot of this has been done, as evidenced by the
fact that best trick in moto x this year was just a repeat of the best
trick last year. What the audience wants to see is innovation, nit
execution. Missing the newest inverted 900 Ollie spin fakir nose
gainer and exploding in a hail of safety gear is always better than
perfecting that double back flip I have already seen 5 times today. I
know I am picky, but execution is what traditional sports are about.
This is entertainment through danger.

And speaking of danger, I was sad to see safety equipment disappearing
at X. Moto X, rally, and the huge air events have better safety
equipment then ever before. But on skate park, bmx park, and other
sports performed on an impressive array of concrete and metal helmets,
knee pads, etc. were markedly absent. These are precisely the sports
kids will emulate, so it's up to the worldwide leader in sports to
suit up thier atheletes as an example.

If you need an example, look at Andy Macdonald. A contemporary of Tony
Hawk's, he is still competing at 36, thanks to a helmet and some very
serious padding. Think, "Go big AND go home."

Some other thoughts
- The loss of sponsorship cash was obvious as helmets etc were
emblazened with energy drink logos and not much else. On the track,
the only logo in prominent position was Dell's.

- I like Rally. I don't know how extreme it is, but I like it.

- The female supercross champ is deaf and nobody cares. Awesome.

- Jam session format is a new addition to the games. You get 30
seconds, and they score you immediately as I immediately drop in for
my run. It's fast and awesome. The cameramen must be exhausted by the
end of the half hour.

Sent from my iPod