Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Even though I don't really care about college basketball, I still filled out a bracket this year on I don't follow college basketball, so most of my picks were made with about five seconds of thought. Interestingly enough, I checked this morning and found that I was in the 94th percentile of all brackets on the ESPN site. There are a number of possible reasons for this result:
  • I am some kind of college basketball savant
  • I am unreasonably lucky
  • The tournament committee had no idea what they were doing when they set up the brackets this year
  • The rest of the world isn't near as smart as it likes to think it is.
I leave it up to you, dear reader, to draw your own conclusion.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sports Night

This week has been filled with work during the day, and sports at night. On Tuesday, my work team and I drove out to Auburn Hills to enjoy the Pistons/Pacers basketball game. Well, "enjoy" might be a strong word. We were at the game, but we spent maybe half of the time there actually watching the basketball game, which was pretty lousy. Seriously, only one player on the Pistons (Andrew Bynum) actually seemed to be putting forth any real effort, and the Pacers weren't much better. Anyway, we spent the rest of the evening in the club that our super swank tickets got us access to. Free food and drink the entire day, plus a great view of the parking lot. I also picked up a Pistons T-shirt for 40% off. It can't say good things about a franchise when they start selling T-shirts for almost half off and the season isn't even over yet.

Last night, I went to the Red Wings/Blues game here in Detroit, which was more enjoyable than the basketball game (because the players cared about winning), but also less enjoyable (because the Blues lost). Interestingly enough, I got to sit next to the sister and nephew of Andy McDonald, a player for the Blues. Who knew that I would be able to find some rabid Blues partisans in the heart of Red Wings country? Surely not I. I didn't even bring a jersey to the game because I didn't want to get doused in beer by the drunk locals, but they turned out to be quite well behaved, even while inebriated. Who knew?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Lehman Brothers, the Post-Mortem

So, the Valukas Report is out on the downfall of Lehman Brothers. Those of you with adult attention spans may note that Lehman Brothers was the Wall Street investment bank that Paul Volker, then the Treasury Secretary, allowed to go bankrupt. Then the banking world quite literally blew up and the government felt obliged to use my tax money to pay bonuses to AIG executives because they had lost so much money they couldn't afford to pay for those bonuses (or anything else) on their own.

I haven't read the entire report. I mean, it's 2200 pages, and I don't have a stake in the inevitable lawsuits. I did read the executive summary, though, and things look bad for some former Lehman executives. Not that they care, of course. It gave me flashbacks to when I recently watched the documentary The Smartest Guys in the Room, about the failure of Enron, where you see that executive management knew that they were cheating and just didn't give a damn. Just crazy stuff.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I Don't Know How To Respond To This

Everyone once in a while I come across something so indescribable, I just don't know how to respond. I mean, you took only God knows how much of your valuable free time to create this? Really? Yeah, it's awesome, but really? Wow.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Unsorted Thoughts From Last Night's Detroit/Calgary Hockey Game

  • Joe Louis Arena (hereafter referred to as "The Joe") is old. It is so old that they didn't build a sound system into the arena, they just have a bunch of speakers hanging from the ceiling over the jumbotron. It looked like when you walk into a church that was built in the '60s and then they had to jury-rig some contraption to hang speakers when they realized that sound systems were useful inventions.
  • The jumbotron hanging over center ice couldn't be any newer than 1985. I've seen college rinks with nicer jumbotrons. The video screens had obviously been redone at some point, but the rest of it screamed "old school."
  • The Wings have over 50 banners hanging from the rafters, including eleven Stanley Cup champion banners. The Wings have been around for about twice as long as the St. Louis Blues, and they have 11 Stanley Cup banners (very roughly, one championship ever eight years), while we have bupkis. Depressing.
  • It had been a number of years since I sat in a seat near the top of the upper bowl, and had forgotten the unintentional hilarity of sitting near guys who obviously started pounding their alcohol at least two hours before they even opened the doors to the arena.
  • The attendees at last night's game had obviously not gotten over the US/Canada Olympic gold medal game, no matter which side of the Detroit River they hailed from. I heard more than one random "&#*% Crosby!" at completely inappropriate points, followed by cackling from the Canucks in the building.
  • The most obnoxious Flames fan in my section was wearing a San Jose Sharks Joe Thornton jersey, so it was hard to figure out why he was rooting for the Flames. Maybe he just roots for all Canadian teams?
  • The Joe looks smaller than the Scottrade Center, but I don't think there is a bad seat in the entire place. I could almost touch the ceiling I was so high up, but I had a good view of the action. Well, except when those jerks started walking down the stairs and then stopped and stood right in my line of sight while Calgary scored their final goal, but the only cure for stupidity is pretty permanent and not legal in most civilized countries, so I refrained.
  • Inside The Joe you can get Tim Horton's vanilla dip donuts with red and white sprinkles. I was sorely tempted to get one.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Sometimes Things Actually Work Out

The Saturday before last I had the extreme pleasure of watching a part of one of my teeth ping off of the bathroom mirror while I was flossing. Well, actually, it was part of a partial porcelain crown that had been put on that tooth almost four years ago, but the important thing is that what should have been securely fashioned in my mouth was instead flying through the air and bouncing around the room. On the plus side, there was no pain involved, or cold sensitivity, or anything that would indicate actual damage to the tooth material. Instead, the porcelain addition just broke off. I was pretty sure that the dentist would use this as an excuse to charge me hundreds of dollars to completely redo the original work. Instead, they just glued the piece right back in place (thankfully I had saved it) and shaved a bit off the top so that there is a little less impact when I chew, and that was that. Didn't even charge me anything. Hey, sometimes things work out OK.

Monday, March 01, 2010

A Voice of Reason

When I lived in the Washington, D.C. area I generally avoided the Washington Times newspaper. It wasn't that its reporting was horrible, but its editorials were written by people who could only see one side of an issue, and defended the Republican cause to the death no matter how wrong-headed or outright dumb it might be. Granted, the Washington Post generally does this for the Democrats, but at least the Post occasionally admits that some issues have certain shades of grey that require thought. Anyway, so I generally ignore the Times. However, one of their "community" writers, Jim Picht, is consistently good, and quite level headed. I have no idea how he got a job writing for the Times, but there it is. He has some pretty good things to say about the current "government is broken" meme that I completely agree with, having worked for Congress for over five years. The system is working exactly as it was intended to by those who wrote the rules 200+ years ago. And where there is failure, it belongs to the voters for putting utter nimrods in high office.