Archive for November, 2009

Thoughts on Bills/Dolphins

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

A few thoughts as I reflect on a too-rare 31-14 thrashing of the ‘phins at the Ralph.

  • Damn, Fitz has some wheels. I did not see that coming.
  • Another week, another long touchdown strike on an audible. This guy really knows how to read a defense, and he sure has a rapport with TO.
  • I’m like Perry Fewell more and more. This team did not look like the hangdog, let’s play not to lose bunch that they were even a few weeks ago. They look fired up for a change.
  • Was that a Maybin sighting?
  • A little bit better clock management at the end of the half, but not by much.
  • Finally, the Drayton Florence that played in San Diego and not the one that got cut by the Jags.
  • Ashlee Palmer, Chris Draft, Ellis Lankster — do we have any starters from the beginning of our season left in the defense?
  • A short week — the next game is Thursday night, against the Jets in Toronto. Last I heard, there were a _ton_ of tickets left. Apparently Canadians don’t like their football with 11 men and 4 downs. Hope it sells out, or it’s a blackout around here.

The Bills are now 4-7 and I’m 73% (8/11) on my predictions from the beginning of the season. Not bad considering how much has changed.

Good Friday

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Last year I posted an article about a young Wal Mart employee being trampled to death on Black Friday by swarms of bargain-seeking sheeples flocking into America’s Largest Retailer. This year, I darkly predicted an over-under on the number of shopping deaths on this yearly phenomenon.

So far, its been none. So, maybe we’re edging back a bit from the brink of insanity. Or perhaps the still-bleak economy has some shoppers saving their sheckles instead of squandering them.  Either way, the TV cameras and the shoppers were still out en masse this morning, one happy fellow shown practically skipping down an ice-coated parking lot with his new Westinghouse flat sceen clutched in his mittens. What a Merry Christmas he and his family will have, basked in the glow of millions of photon-emitting diodes!

*sigh* I hate to sound like the typical, preachy, self-important and self-righteous stereotypical anti-consumerist. Yet despite the lack of any trampling deaths (so far…) I still throw up a little in my mouth when I remember that the radio stations and television shows were broadcasting Christmas music and Christmas specials and the retailers were advertising Christmas discounts before the Halloween costumes were tossed into the landfill. I’ve had to actively isolate myself from society for damn near a month to avoid the bombardment.

The funny thing, though, is that this phenomenon seems to piss off normally diametrically-opposed groups, namely, the religious fundamentalists who want the “Christ” back in “Christmas”, and the liberal, anti-capitalist hippies who eschew organized religion AND rampant consumerism.

Well, I guess they say, tis the season for togetherness.


Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Just a note to wish everyone a fun and happy Thanksgiving. Much like the Mormon faith, the pet rock, or the streamlined fins of an old Biscayne, Thanksgiving is a holiday that could only have been invented by Americans: a chance to gluttonously embarrass ourselves with the riches and spoils of a continent that we have been exploiting at breakneck speed for a couple of centuries.

Dibs on the drumsticks.

Gubernatorial Authority

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

So, New York State is about three weeks away from being unable to meet its financial obligations. We’re on the brink of handing out IOUs, like California. And what does the state legislature do? Nothing. They know that the public think it’s all the governor’s fault, so they’re willing to stand pat and let him take the heat for their inaction.

The governor, in what must be a fit of exasperation, has suggested something new. Let him make the budget. Since the legislature apparently lacks the political will to cut spending and balance the books, he has offered to do it himself. Then the craven toadies in the Senate and Assembly don’t have to look ungrateful to their union masters.

I doubt it’ll work, but it certainly shows that the governor is sick of taking all the blame for something he neither caused nor has the power to fix.

Segway Skis

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

One of the most amazing things to me, in the field of personal transportation, is that so many exciting new designs are drafted and yet nobody has managed to substantially improve on the design of the bicycle.

For example, this little number from Nissan. It looks like someone left a NordicTrack and a pair of old rental roller skates alone in the dark with some Barry White playing. But at least it’s ridiculously slow and cumbersome.

Props for thinking outside the box, but really, put this idea back in there. Okay?


Monday, November 23rd, 2009

This was the back page of the Buffalo News sports section yesterday morning:


“Dear Bills fans — Sorry your team sucks and I gave you the finger. Here’s a picture of a false start! Enjoy.”

Thoughts on Bills/Jaguars

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

A few thoughts on the first game of the Perry Fewell Era, a close 15-18 loss to Jacksonville.

  • The stands looked remarkably full for a Jaguars game. It was still blacked out, of course, but at least there weren’t huge, gaping holes in the seating like there usually are.
  • I think Trent is pretty much done for with this franchise. It’s a shame, and it’s not his fault, but between benching him this week and picking up Brohm, they’re clearly ready to move on without him. I don’t know how much it has to do with the concussions, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s considered “damaged goods” at this point.
  • Speaking of quarterbacks, Fitz sure seems to have a better rapport with TO than Trent ever did. That 98 yard play was supposed to be a run, and Fitz audibled it out. Wow.
  • The O-line continues to fall. It’s gotten so ridiculous that we benched our left tackle (Scott), moved our rookie left guard over (Levitre), and had our general purpose O line backup play guard (McKinney). Then McKinney gets hurt, so Scott comes off the bench to play guard. So last week’s starting guard is playing tackle, and the starting tackle is playing guard. Fantastic. And it looks like Wood is out for the season, so we better sign a right guard right away.
  • “We’ve replaced Marshawn Lynch with Folger’s Crystals. Let’s see if anyone notices that he can’t run any more.”
  • What was up with the clock management at the end of the half? Yikes. Was Perry in charge of time for Jauron or what? That was a vintage Dickie J move.
  • Overall, I was impressed with the effort. If Fewell can keep the guys playing like this, he deserves a shot at the head coach slot for next season.
  • Bonus observation from the night game: Hey, Philly, that’s why we didn’t want to pay Jason Peters. Hope you’re enjoying Mr Toad’s Inconsistent Ride.

The Bills are now 3-7, and I’m 70% (7/10) on my predictions from the preseason.

Laptop Death

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Short article with some interesting numbers on laptops. Apparently, somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 in 3 laptops die within 3 years. What they mean by “die” is unclear, but considering how cheaply modern electronics are made, I would imagine anything worse than a hard drive crash would be grounds for hucking the old portable into the (politically correct) hardware recycling bin. Of course, like any product, there’s two reasons for this: If it was an inexpensive product, its not worth it to repair when you can simply buy another one. And, if its an inexpensive product, constructed from lowest-bidder-grade pacific rim crapshoot chips, its probably more likely to break. Welcome to consumerism.

Happily, I see that the manufacturer of my laptop, Toshiba, came out favorably ranked in reliability. And I’ve noticed the Toshiba laptops aren’t appreciably pricier than the HP or Acer units, though those manufacturers seem to add loads of superfluous bells and whistles that probably draw in the supposedly value-minded consumer.

Rugged as my Toshiba has been, after 6+ years the touchpad has died (probably from my greasy, trian-fixing mits attempting to use it) and the charging circuit occassionally fritzes out, leaving me with a dying battery. I’ve replaced the battery once, and bought a $10 external mouse, but other than that its been a decent unit. I’l probably replace it sometime within the next two years, and it’ll probably be with another Toshiba.

Biking Around The World

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

So, if you’re going to ride a bike all the way around the world — more than 25k miles on six continents — what sort of components do you need?

This guy found out. Looks like a pretty interesting book.

Banking Failure

Friday, November 20th, 2009

One of the very few bank branches servicing the East Side of Buffalo is closing.

It’s a tough spot. There’s really not enough money or customers to sustain a bank branch there, so it’s an intelligent business decision on their part. But without banking services, residents are going to be stuck with payday lenders and check-cashing storefronts, which are just a polite way of saying “parasitical usurers”.

The ironic part is that someone like myself could get by without a physical bank at all — there are plenty of online-only banks, which allow for all the services of a regular bank. But that assumes access to a computer, an Internet connection, a job that doesn’t pay in cash – everything that’s common in my neighborhood and uncommon in this one. Yet my neighborhood has plenty of banking services available, while this one no longer does.

The invisible hand squashes someone else like a bug.