Monday, November 30, 2009

Crystal Reports stinks

Agony, Crystal Reports is sheer agony. I hate it with a passion. Let me tell you a story about Crystal Reports.

Once upon a time there were no reporting tools. Programmers would simply format a canvas, in your chosen programming language, and then dump that canvas to the printer. This approach was reviled by a lot of Computer Science types. You see, you embedded the very formatting of the report into the EXE file you distributed. This meant that lesser business experts could not modify a report. Only a programmer god could do something as elementary as changing to the numerical formating of currency values on a report. Every time such trivial changes were made, a new EXE would have to be compiled and distributed. Clipper programmers made out like Bandits.

Then there was Crystal Reports, and there was nothing else but Crystal Reports. Crystal provided us a with a relatively simple editor tool which resembled any other modestly powerful office application. You would point to a database, fetch sample results, arrange them on a canvas, and save out a report file. The *.rpt file defined what the report did, and what it looked like. You embedded the Crystal Browser inside your app, but the report defs were separate. They could be changed ad infinitum by any fool smart enough to use the editor. There were plenty of these guys. Now the reports could change, and the EXE would not have too.

There was a serious downside to all this. Crystal was not famous for durability, reliability, dependability, stability, and robustness. If you took a dependency on Crystal, you very well might be embedding a source of bugs in your app; bugs you could do absolutely nothing about.

If you were a PowerBuilder, Visual Basic or Delphi programmer, you had to rely on this crap. Various people attempted to build competitor products. I only saw one that worked... while externalizing the report editing function. Unfortunately, Crystal became the institutionalized standard. Microsoft and Borland both included Crystal inside their development tools. This was unfortunate. Microsoft and Crystal became business buddies. Crystal did everything Microsoft's way, until...

Then came .NET. Microsoft wanted to kill COM and ActiveX. Microsoft also wanted everything on the web. This horrified Crystal Decisions. You see, Crystal had built the entire plumbing of their system according to the COM architecture. It was all Visual C++ and Active Template Library. This stuff doesn't work well at all in a webserver context, and it doesn't play well with the CLR.

Basically, Crystal gave Microsoft the finger. They never changed their plumbing. Crystal is a COMmie technology to this very day. That is a very bad thing. The company was sold around to an assortment of different owners. There were several points in recent history where we openly questioned whether Crystal would survive. Unfortunately, nothing seems to be able to kill these bastards. This despite the fact that their product looks like shit on the web.

Finally, sometime around 2004, Microsoft introduced SQL Reporting Services. At first it was primitive, and I didn't like it much. It got better in a hurry. This system was built from the ground XML up to play beautifully on the web. The engine is written in fully managed .NET CLR objects all the way down to the core. It works great with .NET apps. The stability and reliability difference was like night and day.

Microsoft didn't do this on a whim. According to various accounts, they built their reporting tools reluctantly, under duress. They had to. Their partners at Crystal would not keep pace with the times. They would not introduce native .NET technology. They would not flush the COM. They would not fix their ugly web presentation. They would not get rid of the unsafe code running under the web server. They had to be replaced.

I stopped using Crystal altogether sometime early in 2005. I am very happy I did. There is nothing Crystal does that SQL Reports can't do better. SQL Reports can do anything better than Crystal.

Now, today, I am suffering this infamous tool yet again. We took delivery on an out-source tool that does not work. We terminated the firm's contract abnormally, without full-deliverables. This is because they could not deliver. They were a bunch of Java guys trying to write VB.NET. They did not do very well. The part that has to work is the IDLR reports. Forget what those are. The key point is that they are in Crystal, and they will not run. We are getting errors from within the bowels of the Crystal Engine. These are inner-inner-inner exceptions that are driving us crazy.

My mission is clear cut: Make it work. Don't replace these reports... yet. What fresh hell is this? Several attempts to upgrade these reports to the latest Crystal runtimes have failed. I'm digging deep now. This is dread man. This is truly dread-y man!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Marc Bulger has a fractured Tibia

So, I went to my penultimate physical rehab session yesterday around 4:30pm. The owner/manager and senior therapist is a guy named Jeff. He is a big Steeler fan. He has Fatheads on the walls at this facility. He also has a 50 inch LCD which is constantly set on ESPN. Naturally, this is Monday night. Naturally, ESPN is prepping for Monday Night Football.

Toward the end of my session the announcement comes: Marc Bulger has a fractured Tibia. He is out for at least 3 weeks; maybe the season. Boomer cracked a wicked funny: "Well if Bulger is out, there goes the Rams' playoff spot." Of course, he is speaking of a 1-9 football team. I have never seen a 7-9 football team make the playoffs, so I am close to saying that is a mathematical impossibility.

I immediately asked Jeff, the owner/manager senior therapist, if he believed a man could come back from a fractured tibia in just 3 weeks. "Absolutely not", said Jeff, "I wouldn't let a guy run around or take a hit for at least 2 months after such an injury." You best believe Bulger is done for the season. I can do one better than that: Maybe Marc has thrown his last pass in a Ram uniform.

So why do I think Bulger is done? After about 26 injuries in 6 seasons, you have to say that the man simply does not have a body constructed for NFL football. It would have helped him a lot of he had an offensive line once upon a time, but he still does not have a body constructed for pro football. Bulger may have a nice throwing arm, but it never stays well for very long. Like Mr. Glass, he shatters at the slightest contact. At the end of the day, the Marc Bulger story makes us appreciate the importance of durability in assessing a QB prospect, or any NFL prospect. A similar story is currently unfolding with the Colts' own Bob Sanders. Hush your mouth, Dave, but something similar may also be unfolding with Troy Polamalu.

It should be noted that the 49er faithful are already scheming to acquire Bulger. He may have another job lined up soon. I wish him well, but I don't think it will work out. The Ram line has improved. The 49er line hasn't much improved. The prospects don't look good. He will have better weapons, but not better protection.

So here we go. The time has arrived. We now at the point where most Ram faithful expected us to be a little bit earlier. Bulger is out for the season. It is now Kyle Boller's watch. Show us what you've got kid. Do us proud. Let's win some games. Don't obsess about your performance. Just win baby. Remember what Al Davis told Jim Plunkett in 1980: It is not important whether you play well. It is important that we win games.

I know you don't have many weapons to work with, but we are going to fix that in the 2010 draft. Do your best, and we'll take it from there. Just be oportunistic. Look for chances to steal the game.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

What is so messy about the NFC playoff picture?

If there was anything messy about the NFC playoff picture it less so today. Let's check on the standings:

In the South, New Orleans now holds a 5 game lead over their next closest competitor. The Saints get week 12 off. They will have 2 weeks to prep for the New England Patriots, who have to come down to the Super Dome. Boy is that Dome going to be rockin'! The Saints could mathematically clinch their division with a huge victory over the Patriots. This game would show they are more than worthy to take on the Colts in the Super Bowl.

In the North, the #2 seed Vikings continue to hold a 3 game lead with just 6 games remaining. It will take them longer than the Saints to clinch, but not much longer.

In the West, the Cardinals just improved their lead to 3 games over the 4-6 49ers. Don't sweat the injury to Kurt Warner. He looked fine. They just didn't want to risk him. The Cards could be clinching the West pretty soon. Maybe as soon as 3 weeks.

This leaves us with the Cowboys, who maintain the shortest lead in the bunch: Just 1 game. They also have the Giants and the Eagles to contend with. Expect both the G-Men and Eagles to win those wildcard births. Green Bay continues to sputter.

There's nothing messy about the NFC Playoff picture

So I just heard a report on the NFL network that my caused my skin to crawl. Tom Waddle said that the NFC playoff picture is extremely messy. Come again? Repeat that please?

Let's see, Arizona holds a 2 game lead on the 49ers in the West and they are about to play my Rams. Nothing messy their. Cardinals are in control in the West.

New Orleans has a 4 game lead in the South. There is nothing messy about that. The question is how soon will they clinch.

Minnesota holds a 3 game lead in the North. Can anybody tell me why that is messy?

Dallas holds a 1 game lead in the East. Now, the East is somewhat questionable because of the extreme inconsistency of the citizens who dwell their. I figure somebody has to win this division. I still reckon Dallas is the best of the breed, and they also happen to hold a 1 game lead. Not too terribly messy.

Now the two wildcard slots... heheheh... well that is totally unclear. However, let me pose this question to you: When was the last time you saw Wildcards decided by midseason? Maybe 1986 when the Giants finished 14-2 and the Redskins were 13-3. Even then, the 2nd Wildcard was not decided until my Rams took it.

There is no reason to complain about the NFC playoff picture. It is a hell of a lot more clear cut now than it was last season.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I am becoming comfortable with the notion of Jevan Snead as our new Quarterback

For those of you who don't know him, Jevan Bryce Snead is the QB of the University of Missisippi. They are better known as a the Ole Miss Running Rebs. He happens to be a damn good one. He wears number 4 like another Missisippi QB named Brett Farve.

For those of you who didn't see it today, Jevan engineered an upset over the #8 ranked LSU Tigers. Ole Miss prevailed 25-23. They were lucky. The clock ran out on LSU. Jevan hit 14 of 21 for 206 yards. He had no Ints and no TDs, but he was instrumental. His QB rating in this game was 149.07, and they wouldn't won it without him. His QB rating this year is 122.9, and that is pretty good. Better still, he is a big play-maker.

He looks a hell of a lot like the Charger's Philip Rivers, but he is much more athletic, and he has better looking mechanics. As effective as he is, I have always felt that Rivers has ackward mechanics. Jevan is 6'3" and 215 pounds. He could put on a few more pounds, but he looks very solid. Rivers is bigger at 6'5" and 228, but he has far less mobility. Who has the bigger arm? I think that might be Snead. He's got a sniper rifle. He throws 95 mph heaters.

If you could get a bit more compact Philip Rivers with better speed, more arm, and similar gamesmanship, would you do it? If all that is true, you would be stupid not too.

Jevan shares a birthday with me, Terry Bradshaw, Salma Hayek, and Keanu Reeves. Yes, we were all born on September 2nd.

In my last blog entry on the Draft 2010, I was not pleased by the selection of QBs we have this year. At that point, I was unwilling to part with our customary #2 pick overall for any of these QBs. I can tell you now that this is begining to change. I am getting very comfortable with the notion that Jevan Snead will be the next Ram QB. I am begining to worry about who his big-play maker recievers will be.

The joy of development renewed

During the time I was convalencing, after my athroscopic surgery, in my hometown Fresno, my father introduced me to a non-profit organization he has been working with for the better part of two years now.

The group is a non-denominational 501C3 that provides housing, medical care, financial support, foster care, and education for homeless children. The organization has been in business for 24 years, and the turbines are begining to flip on. Partially due to my father's grand writing skills, this organization has obtained several million dollars in new funding over the past year and half. They have expanded their services to 5 group homes, a medical clinic, and educational facility.

With all this growth comes all of the problems of growth. The right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. Control and communication are poor. There is a constant background terror that the costs are escalating and out of control, just because there is no easy way to run a balance sheet report. Doing a balance sheet manually, from paper and Quickbooks, is very difficult and labor intensive. You can do about one a month with 5 accountants working on it.

The founder and president of this mission is a very forward thinking lady. She has been pondering how much scalability would be possible if she had a fancy web-based database application that could coordinate all of the organization's activities, and give her an immediate balance sheet of assets and liabilities.

Imagine a system in which all of the intake paperwork you have to do when you recieve a new child happens on the web. It immediately goes into the central 501C3 database. All the medical services you provide that child go in the same database. Meal costs go into the same database. Housing assignments and resource costs go into that same database. School materials are recorded in that same database. If you have such a database, and your workers are dilligent about keeping up, you can draw a real-time, fully automated balance sheet for your entire 501C3.

Enter Dave. That is what I am working on right now. I was given the contract to do this project for her. I have been working on this off and on for several weeks now. With electro stim and an icepack on my knee, I sat here for many long hours today trying to button up a beta copy to show the boss during Thanks Giving week, when I will return home. The prospects look good. The database is finished and splendid. The Web app is a state-of-the-art Microsoft C# 4.0, .NET 4.0, MVC 2.0 app using the Entity Framework for data access. I even tossed in some JQuery 1.3.2, and boy was that an eye-opener! It isn't finished, but it is very nice. I have written a lot of test code, and my business classes are passing under much punishing stress. I am confident the pluming is very good.

Folks, I cannot tell you the joy I have experianced here at my workstation, calling all the shots, creating the entire system from Green Fields, with no legacy bullshit, no jack-ass managers, and no weak-ass co-workers to constrain me. I am using my ultra-badass Core i7 and my 30 inch Dell 3008WFP to do the work. This is not an out-dated weak-ass machine like my unit at work. I am working with SQL Server 2008, not the outdated 2005. As implied by the statements above, I am using Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2, not VS2008. All the reports are in Microsoft SQL Reporting Services 2008. The tablix absolutely rocks. There is no reporting technology on the planet that can compete with this; except maybe Excel 2007 if you know how to use it well. The tablix was born to pivot financial data, and it makes an A&L balance sheet pretty damn trivial. I could do it with the SQL Pivot, but this is better and more dynamic.

In short, this is the way it aught to be done if you are a Microsoft developer. No compromise. My one and only regret is that I am not using the Unity IoC in this project, but that is only because it is unclear how or whether Unity should fit into the scheme.

Best of all is the pay. I am not quite at twice the base-hourly pay I get from informa, but it is pretty damn close. I cut this 501C3 a big break because they do have a few cash-flow issues due to poor control. I am here to provide that control.

Now for the problem: This is spoiling me for nearly every other approach. I am remembering the glory days of 1998-2001 when I was a lone-gunman consultant who went into a fresh development situation, kicked ass for 6 months at a high rate of pay, and walked out with my pockets full of cash. I have weaped endless bitter tears over the end of those days that came with the Internet Buble bust and the 9/11 recession. I almost feel as if happy days are here again.

There is a serious problem with being a permanent-party employee developer. Often, you have no job to do at all. You are still chastized for not showing up at 9:00 anyhow. To say that I am unchalleged and under-utlized would be an understatement for the ages. Further, if you are not the lead dog...

There is an old funny saying that was quoted recently in The Taking of Pelham 123. Imagine you are a dog in an Alaskan Dog Sled race. If you are not the lead dog, the view never changes. Why? Because you are always staring directly into the asshole of the dog in front of you.

This is life as a permanent-party programmer developer. You are always given trivial, penny-ante assignments. You work on some piece of shit software that was originally developed by an incompetent 24 or 25 year old some 8 years ago. It is now a mazework of undocumented patches. The problems you are given to solve should never have existed in the first place. If the original developer had known anything about patterns and practices, entire categories of these problems would never have existed in the first place. This is legacy code, and by that, I mean code which is not under a suite of automatic tests. Ergo, you are terrified to change it. You know this piece of crap will break with even slight changes.

Folks, I have been gazing into the assholes of the dogs in front of me for far too long. I think one of my New Years Resolutions is going to be to drum up as much external moonlight as I possibly can in 2010. Let us hope that this will lead to a full independent consultant status once again. I can hardly bear the thought of continuing an unchallanged life of fixing someone else's giant errors.

Another word on California's HDTV law

Jeff Bertolucci of PC Magazine posted an interesting piece casting out the question of whether California's new ruling on HDTV power consumption will spell out the death warrant for Plasma HDTV.

That is a trifle sensationalistic, and will certainly galvanize the HDTV critics who seem to love the technology. I think the simple answer is "No, the new law will not kill Plasma." The longer answer is as follows: Small plasma will cease to exist. Plasma's between the size of 59inches and 85inches will become the focal point of LG and Panasonic. The small ground will be yielded to LCD and OLED... if OLED ever happens.

I see no reason to weep tears of pain over this potential outcome, as the small sector (HDTVs smaller than 58 inches) are the least compelling segment of the market. I can just hear the chorus of horror out there gawking as I write that. "What the hell are you talking about, David? Everybody buys HDTVs smaller than 58 inches?!?!?!"

I shouldn't have, and neither should you. For the record, I live in an 890 sqft home, although I intend to move to a full-scale 2000+ SqFt home at the start of 2010. Inside my meager 890 sqft apartment once sat a 61 inch HL-S6187W. Unfortunately, I was stupid enough to sell that masterpiece to raise revenue for a Luxia UN55B7000. That is a 55 inch unit. I cannot wait to lay my hands on the new 73 inch LaserVue. I am planning to add a rider to mortgage to ensure that I get this unit for my new home. I am going to watch Super Bowl 44 in the greatest of style.

This brings me to the ultimate point of my blog: If you are still targeting HDTVs between the sizes of 37inches and 55inches, you are absolutely and completely wrong. I mean you are dead wrong, with a 100% chance of being 100% wrong. The big screen experience only begins at 55inches. It doesn't end there. It doesn't end at 58inches either. You are being way too conservative. It fit in my apartment, it will fit in yours.

Big doesn't have to cost more. I want you to know that you can buy a big and beautiful 60 inch LG 60PS80 at Fry's this weekend for a meager $1499 bucks (before tax). That is an outrageous deal. It is possibly the best deal on an HDTV that I have ever seen. I turned green with mental illness over the thought that I laid down twice the bucks for an LED LCD Luxia UN55B7000. I fucked up, plain and simple. I fucked up. It should be noted that at half the price, this LG has no sign of motion blur and jutter, two forces that often spoil my enjoyment of NFL football. What do the critics say about this TV? They complain about less than absolute black levels. Once again the black fetish shows itself.

I want to ask the black fetish critics a series of questions:
  1. Why is black the only color you care about?
  2. If black level is important, it stands to reason that white point would be equally important. Why do you never discuss the luminosity of the white point?
  3. Why do you never speak of Red level?
  4. Why do you never speak of Green level?
  5. Why do you never speak of Blue level?
  6. Why do you fetishize black
Before you answer, understand this: I have already heard and read all the arguments about the importance of black levels. You are answering for the general public. They need to hear your feeble case. I get it. Believe me, I totally get it, and I think it is completely stupid fetish to obsess about. There is no argument you can spin that can justify the quantity of HTML byte space you have squandered writing about this subject.

The LG 60PS80 is an absolutely fantastic HDTV. If you don't have an HDTV, run right out and buy this unit. You will thank me. You will love the hell out of it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

So California just banned power hungry HDTVs?

It would appear that our famous California Energy Commission has placed new & sharp limits on HDTV power consumption. These rules go into effect in 2011, so the change is not eminent. The rules govern power consumption for all HDTVs 58 inches and smaller. The new rules specify hard caps for how much wattage an HDTV at any given size can consume. For instance, in the year 2011, 42 inch HDTVs cannot exceed 183 watts. In 2013, 42s will be cut down lower to 116 watts.

What is the impact of this supra-legislative action? About 75% of all HDTVs currently on the market will meet the 2011 requirements. That is an easy jump. Only about 21% of the 1,400 known HDTV models will be vendible in 2013. About 300 of our current HDTVs will be able to remain on the market about 4 years from now.

The industry's response was to scream. They declared that this action would force the industry to cut image quality and features. Oh really? Some of your best quality models actually meet the current spec. For instance, my 55inch Luxia 7000 meets the spec. My intended, the LaserVue, would not be impacted at all by this spec. Even the power-hog 60 inch Panasonic Kuro would be vendible in 2013. By all accounts, these three HDTVs belong at the top of the heap in terms of quality.

So what in the devil are the HDTV vendors crying about? Let us do a more logical and rational assessment of the situation.

  1. If you want to make a smaller HDTV (smaller than 58 inches) you better make sure that it is based on the very latest efficient technology.
  2. This will raise the price.
  3. You better make sure it is not bloated with stupid features, such as an integrated DVD player.
  4. This will lower the price, and produce more focused products.
  5. Both facts will enhance the quality of the HDTV, not reduce it.
  6. Old stock will have to liquidated at any price necessary to clear it.
  7. This would put smaller and worse quality technology in the hands of precisely the people who can least afford to foot the power bill: The poor!
  8. The poor will gladly buy these liquidation units anyway, completely oblivious of the cost of ownership
  9. You can make the case that this is rational policy, as it has several coherent effects. It forces bad stock off the market. It makes future stock better. This helps both the poor and the middle class. It prevents Cali from needing to build more power infrastructure. It will allow the rich to continue doing anything they like.
  10. That is how you define a rational policy in governmental terms.
So why are HDTV companies crying? Nobody likes supra-legislative bodies. Nobody likes it when an unelected group steps hard on your neck. There are a lot of lame and crappy HDTVs that will be flat-cold killed by this action. Low-power features such as LED back-lighting will have to become the norm. Older and inferior tech will be killed outright.

Basically, the industry doesn't like the fact that they will have to kill (early in their minds) a series of low cost HDTVs that they think are perfectly fine machines. They don't like the fact that they will have to clear them from the market during 2010, and probably at painfully low prices. They don't like the fact that they won't be allowed to bilk old architecture for a bit more profit in the low-end market. All of this adds up to lower margins or higher prices or both for the next several years.

One technology is going to get hit hard by these changes: Plasma. One company in particular has much to loose: Panasonic. Although Panasonic has made strides in reducing Plasma power consumption over the past two years, Plasma still consumes a lot more wattage than LaserVue or LED LCD.

So here is how we would expect this legislation to play out.
  1. LCD vendors will have to complete the transition to LED back lighting, and limit stupid features. Old stock will have to be purged soon. Expect fire sales soon.
  2. DLP & Laser vendors can keep on doing whatever the hell they want, as long as it is bigger than 58 inches. Since both are pretty power efficient, I would not expect 56 inch models to be harmed by this move.
  3. Plasma is going to get hammered. Expect small plasmas to disappear from the market. Expect plasma to get larger than 58 inches.
If I were to evaluate this as a partisan fan of DLP and LaserVue, I would be pleased. This move will place the two competitor technologies under great stress. It will leave DLP and LaserVue alone. Eventually, it will flush Plasma in our direction (really big screens), but this will not be soon.

Dynasty Pilots vs. Great Quarterbacks

Before the Sunday night spectacular between the Patriots and Colts, NBC showed the results of a fantastic poll they conducted. The question was simple: Who is the better QB, Peyton Manning or Tom Brady? The question was put to all Hall of Fame quarterbacks still living in this world today. Greats such as Unitas, Waterfield, Van Brocklin, Baugh, Luckman have been silenced by Death.

The result was a landslide for Peyton Manning. He won 13.5 to 3.5. Four members abstained. What the hell is the 0.5 at the end of those figures? Joe Montana split his vote. He said he would start Brady in the first half and Manning in the second half. Rodney Harrison violently objected to that. He believes Brady finishes better than Manning. Not last Sunday he didn't. Maybe Joe actually knows a thing or two about Quarterbacking.

I would not have commented on this poll were it not for the shocking fact that so many took umbrage over it. Their simple argument is so simple that it must come from a simpleton: Brady has 3 rings, Manning has 1, ergo Brady must be the better QB.

This is a classic example of how the QB gets too much credit when things go well, and too much blame when things go badly. Folks, I cannot say it loudly enough. No quarterback ever won a Super Bowl. Those who use this terminology radio & TV put their massive ignorance on parade before the public. Quarterbacks do not win championships, teams do. It takes 40 men together, plus some luck, plus a bad call or two, to put a Super Bowl ring on your finger. If you think quarterbacks win Super Bowls, you are a fucked up bitch indeed.

Everybody who knows and understands the sport of football knows Manning plays better than Brady. This is evidenced by the landslide victory Peyton just won among the Hall of Fame Quarterbacks. This has been true for a long time.

So why does Brady have more championships? Because he had the better defense, that's why. If you know and understand football, you know that offense wins games, and defense wins championships. In the first half of the 2000s, the Patriots had the most consistently excellent defense in the NFL. Sorry Ravens, you weren't consistently great during that stretch. The Patriot offense was nothing special. Brady would do enough to win, not a lot more. The defense was pretty stellar. Belichick's defense won those championships.

On the other hand, the Colts did not have a consistently good defense. They were not expected to be a factor at all in 2006 because their defense was collapsing as they went into the post season. Nobody could have predicted that that defense would go on one of the most dominant tears we had ever seen during that 2006 tournament. Guess what? The Colts won the Super Bowl that year. Offense wins games. Defense wins championships.

If I were to consistently apply your fallacious logic, I would have to say Trent Dillford was a better QB than Dan Fouts because he has a ring and Dan doesn't. I would also have to say that Terry Bradshaw is a better QB than John Unitas because Bradshaw has 4 rings and Unitas only had 1. I would have to say that Brad Johnson is a better QB that Dan Marino because Johnson got one with Tampa, and Marino got none with Miami.

Naturally, each and every one of those statements is absolute bullshit. You cannot judge a QB by his jewelry. Any attempt to do so is a homosexual assessment indeed.

Also, Bart Starr is better than Brett Favre because Bart got 2 rings and Brett only got 1. It should be noted that Bart doesn't even claim that. Bart Starr has said many times, in public, that Brett can throw the ball on his knees better than Bart can standing up.

Dynasty pilots get way too much credit folks. Bart Starr got a hell of a lot of credit because his Packers won a hell of a lot of championships. Everybody knows that was a running team folks. Some tried to say he was a better QB than Unitas. Why? Because he handed off more frequently?

I am sorry to say this about my fellow Virgo, born on September 2nd just like me, but Terry Bradshaw is the ultimate case of title inflation. While Bradshaw remains one of my favorite characters around the league, truth be told, he wasn't that good of quarterback. The Steelers were a running team. Bradshaw only had 4 games where he passed for 300 or more yards. That was for his entire career. Further, you should know that he was considered a serious draft bust until 1976. The pressure turned off when the Steelers won their 2nd Super Bowl. Bradshaw didn't turn into a quality quarterback until the 1978 rules changes suddenly transformed him into the Blond-Bomber. Even then, he averaged about 27 TDs and about 25 Ints per year.

During the time he played, everybody knew Staubach and Stabler were better than Bradshaw. Still, 'Bradshaw often beat' these guys in head to head competition. Guess why? Bradshaw had the better defense. He won more championships because he had a better defense. Offense wins games. Defense wins championships.

Then we go forward to Joe Montana. I have already blogged about the NFL's greatest myth. Look it up on my blog. Folks, everybody who watched football during the 1980s knew Joe was a good quarterback, but we also knew Elway and Marino were better. Now the 49ers never had any defense, right? BULLSHIT! BULL FUCKING SHIT! You go check out the statistics my friend. The 49ers were #2 in total team defense in 1981, the year they first won the Super Bowl. That defense was so good, they were able to overcome 4 turnovers by Joe in the NFC championship game against Dallas. You go check out the film. You will see Joe throw a few dastardly picks during that game.

What about Aikman? Well, that was truly a stellar QB on a running team. Aikman had limited statistical success in the league because the Dallas offense was about muscling it down your throat with Moose Johnston and Emit Smith. Still, everybody who saw him play knew he could be called upon to any extent you needed to make any throw in the book at any time. It should be noted that he had a Hellacious defense in his back-pocket also.

Tom is a good guy, but like several before him, he was very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time. Similar to Joe Montana, many believe he would not have been successful anywhere else in the league. On the other hand, Manning would have piloted New England to 4 or 5 championships easy.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A few last thoughts about week 10 of the NFL season

Steven Young made a great point about week 10 of the 2009 NFL season right after Monday Night Football. "Thank God for the Colts and Patriots, otherwise this would have been an absolutely terrible weekend of football."

No shit! As Young stated, the weekend got underway with a pretty dreadful game between two incompetent teams in the 49ers and Bears. It ended with a dreadful mismatch between the Ravens and Browns. The Ravens should have buried the Browns deep and quick. It did not happen. The Ravens played pretty poor football. They did just enough to win. No mas. All night long there were only a few topics of discussion:
  1. How deep is a disaster in progress in Cleveland?
  2. Why are the Ravens, a supposedly good team, under performing so badly?
  3. Man this game is terrible!!!!
  4. Man wasn't that Patriots @ Colts game incredible last night?!?!?
After MNF, they took five minutes to revile the disaster in Cleveland, then it was off to Indianapolis for more passionate discourse about that instant classic.

I wonder how Steve Young views the Saints @ Rams? In all seriousness, I am just curious to know. Was that disastrously poor football, typical of the entire weekend? Was that just a great team in funk because they looked past an 'easy' opponent? Was that a game where the Rams got up on their hind legs and demonstrated that we are actually better than the Browns of this world? Was it some of all of the above? What happened in St. Louis?

If you compare and constrast the performance of the Ravens and the Saints, then compare and contrast the performance of the Rams & the Browns, I think you will have your answer. The Saints were vastly superior to the Ravens this weekend. The Rams were vastly superior to the Browns this weekend. That may not be saying a tremendous amount in either case, but the Saints @ Rams was a hell of a lot better football game then what we saw on MFN.

I myself am wondering if the Rams did enough in this game against--arguably--the best team in pro football to gain the confidence necessary to go on winning streak against some of the weaker opponents we have left on our schedule.

We have Arizona next. That will be a tough game. Then we have Seattle. We need to beat them. Then we have Chicago. That is a winable game. Then we have the Titans. That will be tough. A few weeks ago, that looked pretty good. Not now. Also, the Titans hate us for beating them in the Super Bowl. They always get up their dander for the Rams. Next Texas, and then the Cardinals again. Then we close with San Francisco.

I think we should close the season with at least 4 victories. That should put us out of the top 5 in the draft. Perhaps that is a good thing. I don't like the top ranked QBs in this draft. Let them go high.

A few words about last night's classic meeting between the Colts and Patriots

For those of you who missed it or changed the channels early, the Colts defeated the Patriots 35-34 in a heart-attack thriller that went down to the wire. If I were to give you the super short executive summary of the game it would look like this.
  1. The Patriots dominated the first three quarters of play
  2. Belichick dialed up a defense that gave Peyton Manning fits in the first three quarters. He cut off Dallas Clark. He disrupted communications between Manning and Wayne. He really messed the Colt machinery.
  3. By the 4th quarter Manning figured out just exactly what Belichick was doing to him. The Manning computer came up with a solution set, and Peyton got red-hot.
  4. Still, with about 7 minutes to go, the Patriots had a 13 point lead. That would disintegrate quickly.
  5. With 2:23 showing on the clock, and Patriots clinging to a 6 point lead, the Patriots could not make a single first down. They did not attempt to run much in that series. They tried to throw the ball. Their passing attempts were crushed by the Colts. Several incomplete passes resulted in very few seconds running off the clock. Worse still, Brady burned precious time outs because he hated what the Colts were showing him defensively.
  6. It came down to 4th & 2 on the 28 yard line. Belichick decided to go for it. Most of us thought he was bluffing. We though he would line up, try to jerk the Colts into an off-sides penalty, then punt from the 23. Nope, he wasn't Bluffing. Brady took the snap, threw a quick outlet pass to Faulk, and Faulk got power-slammed by the Colt's Melvin Bullitt. He looked like Dan Bunz knocking down David Verser in Super Bowl 16.
  7. Some die-hard Patriot fans think Faulk got it, but this clearly not the case. As the ref said, Faulk was juggling the ball and did not establish possession until Bullitt had nearly slammed him on his back. The play could not be challenged or reviewed because Brady had burned all of the Patriots' timeouts. WOW!
  8. The clock stopped for change of possession, and the ball went to the Colts on the 28 yard line with 2:08 showing on the clock. It was almost too easy for Peyton. He had to take it easy and kill the clock on the final drive. The Colts ran several times (in the center of the field) during this final drive, forcing the clock to run down. The Pats couldn't do anything about it because Brady had already killed their timeouts.
  9. Reggie Wayne made one of the greatest catches I've ever seen to win the game. The coverage on him was unbelievably tight, and Manning had to lead Wayne way too much, but Wayne hulked up and made one hell of a catch. I guarantee you he is going to remember that as one of his greatest career plays.
  10. Immediately after the game, former Patriot Strong Safety Rodney Harrison poured gasoline on his former coach and ignited it. He busted Belichick for the entire play selection, use of timeouts, and the 4th & 2 call. He felt the entire end sequence was miss-managed.
  11. Trent Dilford followed, igniting Belichick some more. Teddi Bruschi didn't like the call either. One of the Boston newspapers led with the hadline "Braincramp", describing Belichick's manuevers at the end of the game. Most people are second-guessing Belichick this morning.
  12. Tom Brady defended his coach, saying "It's a game of inches. 7 more inches, and we kneel down with the ball three times, and the game is over. You would all be praising the coach's decision then."
So what do I think?
  • If Belichick had slammed Kevin Faulk into the middle of the line 3 times, and forced the Colts to burn their timeouts, what Brady said might make sense. This is not the case.
  • Belichick called 3 passing plays on 4 downs. That is wacky.
  • At the same time Bellichick allowed Brady to burn the Patriots' timeouts.
  • By the time we arrived at 4th and 2, I can almost go along with Belichick's decision making process.
  • Belichick is smart enough to know that Manning had computed a firing solution for his defense. He knew Manning was red-hot, and Bill did not want to give the ball back to Peyton. He knew he had had it.
  • 28 yards or 68 yards would have made little difference in my estimation. With 2:08 on the clock and all his timeouts, Peyton would have carved up the Patriot defense. I think Belichick knew this. I believe he had more confidence in his offense's ability to stop Colts than his defense's ability to stop the Colts. I concur with that conclusion. The only way to stop Manning at that point was to keep him off the field.
  • The Pats were crushed on the rocks of the Colt defense. That defense is a clutch defense. They have the ability to rise up in crucial moments and destroy you. We have to give a hell of a lot of credit to the Colts' defense for thumping the Patriots in the clutch.
So what can we say in the final analysis?
  1. Belichick remains a hell of defensive thinker.
  2. Belichick could not stop Manning all game long.
  3. Manning is now better than ever at recognizing patterns in defenses, finding difficult solutions, and making real-time adjustments.
  4. Tom Terrific and the Patriot offense choked in the clutch.
  5. The Colt defense has the capacity to rise in crucial situations
So who is the better team? Right now we have to say the Colts. Let's wait for the playoffs and see the final outcomes.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

2010 may not be the bumper-crop of quarterbacks we originally suspected

So, if you are Ram fan, it is never too early to begin thinking of the 2010 draft. The team is getting better. I am working on my mid-season report, although we are now past midseason. Although our most average ranking in most team categories is right around #26. We were dead last in scoring, touchdowns, and redzone efficiency. [Those three stats are tightly correlated, and it is not unusual to see them group like that.] As a direct consequence we are on pace to draft 1 or 2 again this year. You would expect the #26 ranked team to draft #6 in a 32 team league, however, as Coach Dick Vermeil said just before SB34, this game is about scoring points. Points are how you win and loose the game. Ergo, we will probably wind up drafting #1 or #2.

Our greatest suspicion is that the Rams will draft a QB 2010. The reasoning is simple:
  1. Bulger is a China Doll
  2. Bulger doesn't comprehend the West Coast Offense.
  3. Bulger was the NFL's 26th ranked passer with a rating of about 68. We'll have to see how today's better performance against New Orleans helped him.
  4. Even when Bulger faces an empty, injury depleted secondary like New Orleans, he still doesn't light up the board with TDs. Any one of your good franchise QBs would have had a turkey shoot today against New Orleans.
  5. There are supposed to be a bumper crop of QBs in the 2010 draft
  6. If not now, when? If not here, where? If not one of these guys, then who?
Well friends, I have investigated the claims regarding a bumper crop of QBs. I have looked at several scouting sites and what I have read has more of less horrified me. I will discus the several QBs listed most often on this site in the order they are most often ranked.
  1. Jimmy Clauson Notre Dame
  2. Jake Locker University of Washington
  3. Sam Bradford Oklahoma
  4. Jevan Sneed Ole Miss
  5. Colt McCoy, Texas
  6. Tim Tebow, Florida
Some say that Locker is the #1 prospect. Mel Kiper Jr. is one of those guys. Some say Clauson is the #1 prospect. I eagerly await Mike Mayock's opinion. I distrust Kiper for a generation of bust prospects I have seen him extol. Mayock still hasn't made a vicious mistake yet. Mayock is the authoritative voice.

So what do I think? I think you can take the top two ranked QBs on that list and flush them. He who busts... er... drafts Clauson or Locker will loose a first round pick. I have seen almost nothing out of either prospect that would or could creat the kind of confidence necessary to burn a #2 or #3 overall pick on either of them. If Clauson is going to be the next Joe Montana, then let me have him in the 3rd round. Locker was instrumental in Washington's upset of USC, but this upset is looking less and less compelling every day. I do not know what manner of voodoo logic draft scouts use for ordering prospects, but any possible logic behind the top two rankings eludes me. If I put you in front of the 9 U.S. Federal Supreme Court justices, how would you make a case for these two guys? Would those justices cut your logic & evidence to pieces, or would it stand up?

I loved Sam Bradford until he double-injured his throwing shoulder. He had two bad raps on him going into this season (1) he is way to light/needs to put on muscle, (2) at his weight he will be injury prone in the NFL. Well folks, he put on no muscle weight, and he suffered the atomic bomb of QB injuries: Aggravated damage to passing shoulder shoulder. Now his shoulder must be surgically repaired. This is bad folks, real bad. I would still be inclined to take a risk on him, because I believe Bradford is one hell of a kid, but I would need to drop way down the board to do so. Probably all the way to the 2nd round. At the same time, I would need to use that top pick on a lineman so Sam would enjoy better protection, and have a chance in life.

Jevan Snead just caught my eye yesterday. For those who did not watch it, Ole Miss put on an offensive show yesterday. It brought back memories of the Greatest Show on Turf. Ole Miss was playing Checkers all by themselves yesterday. Ole Miss did anything they wanted to do against the Volunteer defense. Stop me if I am wrong, but is not the famous Monte Kiffen in charge of the Tennessee defense? Yes, Snead caught my eye. He did look very good, but I am much more interested in his partner Dexter McCluster. McCluster was the game breaker yesterday. It seemed that Snead's primary task was to get the ball to McCluster who took nothing passes and turned them into 45 yard explosions. He looked like Marshall Faulk, Barry Sanders and Thurman Thomas in the process.

I want McCluster on the Rams roster. Do it by any means necessary. This guy is a game-changer and an explosive play-maker.

Snead's worst knock is that he is a red-shirt junior, due to the fact that he transferred from Texas. He couldn't beat out Colt McCoy. Now Pete Prisco of CBS sports declares him to be the best QB in the draft. We need to remind everyone that since underclassmen have been allowed into the draft, 90% of all under-age QBs have gone bust. Even Marc Sanchez is struggling right now, and his final fate is undetermined. Jevan Snead might do well to stay in college, but this is unlikely. Bradford's fate will prod most good QBs to come out early, despite the bust percentages. I am keeping my eye on Snead, but I am non-committal right now.

Now we have Colt McCoy. What can I say about McCoy. I love the kid. He has great leadership ability. He is smarter than hell. He has good character. He is accurate as bloody hell. His completion percentage has frequently been around 80%. They say his arm is weak. I want to know why they say that. This is the kid most likely to transform into the next Joe Montana. He is a cerebral leader who does nothing but complete all his passes. I feel much better about drafting him than any of the others on this list. It should be noted that he will meet the Big Tuna's formula for a draftable QB. I am confident that Parcells would select him if he didn't already have 2 good young quarterbacks. The prospects on this list--except Tebow--will not qualify under the Tuna's formula.

Now we come to Tim Tebow. By now all of you know how I feel about Tim. I love Tebow to death. Like Tony Dungy, I would draft Tebow ahead of all the other QBs on this list. Like the owner of Jacksonville Jaguars, I was strongly inclined to spend a top 5 pick to get him. I have never seen a kid with better character. I have never seen a stronger will to win. I have never seen more drive to compete. I have never seen less quit. I have rarely seen this much leadership. I see rare athletic ability, and the southpaw advantage.

With that said, the Draftnics hate Tebow. They say his foot work is non-existent, his mechanics are woeful, he has never lined up under center, running the way he does will get him killed in the NFL. Worse, his experience in the wacky spreadbone attack has poorly prepared him for a career in the NFL. Many project him to Tight End or Linebacker. Although I hate all of these comments, I do see some reason in most of them. This has caused me to doubt my absolute favorite choice.

There are a number of conclusions we have to come to:
  1. Reports of a QB bonanza may be greatly exaggerated.
  2. Although there are a lot of them, every prospect has serious negatives.
  3. At this point, I would feel comfortable spending a top-5 pick on no one.
  4. If it were my call, I would move down the board, maybe out of the first round entirely, and go after Colt McCoy.
  5. If Tebow should happen to fall out of the first round, I would not hesitate to take him.

What American's really, really want in Football

We want an absolute and final conversion to 1080p. There it is in a nutshell. We don't want fucktard spin doctors on our CBS NFL morning show telling us how to spin our speech in ways that make us more popular. We don't want to know how to dress to be popular. We need political consultants for coaches and players.

Let me tell you what would make your football coverage better:
  1. Take every last swinging SD camera you have in stock. Place them in a Star Wars style trash compacter. Destroy the living fuck out of them. Never, ever consider shooting any angle at any event in 720x480 NTSC standard def ever again.
  2. Purchase a bunch of Redcams from Shoot all of your games from every angle at 1080p 60fps. When you slow to half speed, we will still get 'full speed' 30fps frame rates. When you slow down to 1/4 speed, we will get15 fps, as good or better than half-speed replays of the classic NTSC era.
  3. No replay on any analysis show should ever be presented in SD.
  4. All replays must be presented in glorious 1080p.
  5. No more mixed-resolution shows.
  6. No more mixed sources video.
  7. 1080p all the time.
  8. Red Cam all the time.
  9. No 720i
  10. No 720p
  11. No 1080i
  12. 1080p all the fucking time. That means 100% of the time. Always 1080p. Never anything else.
NFL morning shows suck in general, but CBS has the worst of the worst morning show. The NFL network and ESPN would both kill them, were it not for the presence of horrendous SD video materials in the mix.

Memo to the NFL network: The obnoxiously terrible SD sources you use as video evidence for your analyst's points looks like absolute shit. I am talking about 3-day old dog shit, run over by a truck, and then warmed up in a microwave. Fix this. Make it all 1080p all the time. If you need new equipment to make this happen, then buy it. If it is going to cost a lot of money, spend it. If it is not in the budget, fix the budget. Get it done. Just do it.

So what is so bad about the CBS coverage? These guys are completely off the mark, just about 100% of the time. Consider the following points:
  • When considering Chad Johnson, the entire focus of the CBS crew revolved around how to crush the man. Do we suspend him? Do fine him for $200,000 instead of $20,000? How do we grind his bones to make our bread? Chad Johnson must be stopped! Wrong! Memo to CBS: Chad is Mr. Personality. He is one of the few fun guys in the NFL. If you can't tell this is good natured humor, you are a fucked up collection indeed. Lighten up. Pull the 10 foot bamboo polls out of your arses. Your pretty stiff necked right now.
  • CBS ran a totally egregious Star Trek cross-marketing campaign during the NFL morning show. Now I am a huge fan of Star Trek and the NFL, but I hate Corporate-Corporate whoredom. Your corporate masters obviously stuck a butt plug up your arses and told you to market their biggest Blu-Ray of the season. You whored out, as any good sex slaves would do, for your financial masters. While I intend to be the first in line to buy Star Trek on Tuesday morning, your whoredom offends me. It is detestable.
  • The CBS crew used their whorish moments this morning as a segue into a evil segment where they considered how best to rob the weak teams of the NFL of their few good players in order to enrich the teams that are on the verge of a Super Bowl. Great! Let's rob from the have-nots. Fuck all you people who root for the underdogs. Fuck all you NFL fans who live in the poor markets.
  • Then a PC spin-doctor political consultant comes on the program to tell NFL players and coaches how best to present themselves. Remember that PC is about out-right intellectual dishonesty. It is about not dropping the card that can be used against you later. It is about being ambiguous so that you can become all things to all people, rather than who you really are. This spin doctor gave us a short course in how present yourself in a lying and dishonest way. Great television there bud. Now, if your smart-guy spin doctor had known anything at all about NFL fans, he would have known we would detest this segment and resent this absolute waste of time.
I could go on. This is just a short review of a few things the CBS crew did this morning. If we reviewed their performance over the past few weeks, we would find more rubbish like this. The only reason I tuned in is because CBS has made more progress in conversion to 1080p than any other NFL broadcast team. This is not to say that they are perfect. Rather, they are just ahead of everybody else. Were it not for the good video quality, I would never watch CBS's rubbish analysts.

So the ultimate take home point is as follows: the HD conversion is not complete. ESPN and the NFL network need to move to glorious 1080p 100% of the time. It is regrettable that they have not done this.

The real question of the morning is this: How do we stop CBS Paramount's cross marketing campaigns? Do we suspend them for a week or two? Do we take games away from them? Should the NFL fine them for $100m? How do we grind their bones to make our bread? CBS must be stopped.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The post-surgery rehab experience

So rehab is now underway. I went to my first rehab session on Thursday. The night before, I found the courage to get up on the ROM machine and do the lower body workout. Much to my shock and joy, I performed extremely well. The knee felt as good or better than it did before the surgery. My performance was strong. I didn't try to push it hard, but the results were good. I did 1 minute, 2 minutes and 1 minute. The resistance was my normal 220 pounds.

Words cannot express how relieved I was when the workout was over, and the knee didn't turn into a radio active H-bomb of pain. I was so stoked up that I got up on the Elliptical and did 5 minutes. I found myself pressing much harder with the right, even leading with my right leg. This is something I have never done before... at least not since the day I bought the machine some 15 months ago. This suggests that the knee is coming back, and it will be much better than it was before my last injury. That is exciting.

Not surprisingly, I went to my first rehab session with a little inflammation. This may have had something to do with the fact that I had taken no pain killers or anti-inflammatories all day. My first rehab session yielded good results. The PT was surprised that I showed 105 degrees of flexibility in my right knee. He was expecting 90. My left only shows 117. I am within 12 degrees of my other 'normal' knee. That left knee has seen plenty of damage also. It may be the next contestant for Arthroscopic surgery.

The exercises I did were a doodle. I doubt they helped. However, the PTs performed Ultra Sound and Electro-stim work on me. This was very good. I believe this was the primary factor that led to my good results. This morning I was walking almost completely normally. I was able to stand up a bit quicker than before, and move down a flight of stairs more rapidly that any time after the surgery. Standing up from a seated position seems to be the most persistent source of pain. I look forward to the days when that will end.

Speaking of pain, I have become something of an authority on painkillers since my surgery. I wanted to know and understand every agent they gave me, from liquid injectable Demerol &Toradol, to Ketorolac, to Hydrocodone + Acetaminophen.

What can I tell you about these things?
  1. Demerol works like hell. Kills pain dead
  2. Toradol works when injected, but only to reduce inflammation. I don't think it kills pain well at all.
  3. Ketorolac sucks shit. It did nothing but upset my stomach. I have most of the prescription left. I won't use it. It is good for nothing.
  4. Acetaminophen by itself is for the birds. It is better than Toradol insofar as it has fewer side effects, but it still sucks. I get very little relief from Acetaminophen.
  5. When combined with Hydrocode, Acetaminophen works fairly well. However, I did not find this combo to be particularly powerful. It took the pain down about 50%, but that still left me with 50% of the pain. I still suffered a lot of pain, despite this stuff. I gutted it out because I have balls. Call me Emmit jr.
If the Doc does my left knee, I am going to ask him to prescribe Combunox for me. I have spoken at length with several people who have had these surgeries, including one dude at rehab. To the last man, they all say Combunox rocks. It is the best painkiller money can buy.

So what is Combunox? It is the dreaded oxycodone + Ibuprofen. The difference between oxycodone and hydrocodone is obviously hydrogen vs oxygen. Oxygen works better. I don't know what you think, but I think Ibuprofen absolutely kills acetaminaphen in all phases of the game. For these reasons I suspect Combunox is the way to go next time.

Friday, November 13, 2009

So that was Tony Alamo, eh?

For several years between 2003 and 2007, the parking lots at Fry's electronics were literally littered with copies Tony Alamo news letter. The dirty bastard had his cult slaves pinning these things to our windshield wipers. It was a part of their daily duties to God.

Of course, as a former Evangelical Fundamentalist Pentecostal guy, I can tell you is that the first rule of the religion game is that you never respond to these sorts of approaches. These approaches are the exclusive purview of cults. Only cults use these tactics. Of course, every religious group will, at some point in its history, fulfill the several criteria we use to define cults. We ultimately fall back on how absolute, capricious, and arbitrary the power of the cult leader's command and commands are when we decide whether a group is a cult or not. If the leaders have the absolute right to issue an absolutely direct order--even to the point of transgression of the law--to a follower and make it stick with punishments, you are dealing with a cult.

Well folks, I have some other things to tell you about cults:
  1. Cults are run by bad men. I mean obvious miscreants and sociopaths, who have criminal records, have flagrantly used slimy immoral tactics in broad daylight. All of their followers absolutely deny all these 'alegations' but these transgressions are a matter of public record. Charles Manson, Tony Alamo, Jim Jones, L. Ron Hubbard all had this in common. Alamo ran around with L.A. hoods, did time for tax evasion, changed his name several times to evade connections to his past, etc.
  2. Cult leaders frequently lie like hell about their backgrounds, constructing a fanciful life-story which they turn to profit. Benny Hinn claimed to be a former Jew from Israel. I think he still does. It turns out that he and his family lived in Lebanon & Syria and never lived in Israel. He is of Persian stock. His family spoke standard Arabic. The family religion was Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Benny chose his false background because Israel is extremely popular in Evangelical Pentecostal circles, and he scored major political points for 'being a converted Jew'.
  3. Cult leaders enrich themselves greatly by running their own little private kingdom of religion. When you see TV evangelists with Patek Philippe wrist watches, Gucci shoes, and $10,000 custom tailored suits on, you know what you are dealing with. Most of these guys are ultra-nouveau riche. Benny Hinn and Ken Copland were certainly these kind of guys.
  4. Cult leaders have really bad sexual habits. They say Charles Manson demanded absolute freedom of sexual access to all the women in his cult. Jim Jones screwed everybody, man woman, child, stuck in the middle. He was an omni pan sexual. Tony married a woman who was already married to a small time L.A. hood. Tony Alamo decided he liked very young girls; At least 5 of them we know of.
  5. Cult leaders issue flagrantly false prophecies and get away with it. Manson claimed he was going to lead the Black uprising against the White man. It didn't work out like that. Jim Jones claimed he was going to build the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. It didn't work out like that. Benny Hinn claimed that Jesus was visibly, physically materialize on stage with him in Kenya during his 2000 campaign. It didn't happen. Tony Alamo kept the body of his dead wife on display for 16 years, claiming she would be resurrected soon. It didn't work out that way.
Well, Tony Alamo got what was coming to him. It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. It was absolutely astounding to hear his liar for hire... er lawyer... saying "There is no doubt he has done a lot of good. This is a great man; an extraordinarily great man." It just goes to show you that a Lawyer will say anything for money.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

In defense of Carrie Prejean

I am sick to death of negative spin surrounding Carrie Prejean. I think is time I got off the fence, got up on my hind legs, and issued a defense of this girl. She also happens to be Kyle Boller's girlfriend, which makes her family... in a certain sense.

At this moment in time, we are in vice grips of a Fascist Left-wing orthodoxy setup by the Gay political forces of this nation. You are not allowed to disagree with the Gay Agenda, for any reason. Fuck free speech, fuck freedom of though, and fuck free political association. That does not apply to the Gay agenda. Their political desires trump your actual and real constitutional rights. Any deviation from the Gay Political Orthodoxy is punishable by any means in which the Gays can work out a punishment. Make one noise in the wrong direction, and the Gay forces of this nation will try to ruin you.

Such is the fate of Carrie Prejean, a girl who stated forthrightly and politely that she did not support Gay Marriage because of her religious beliefs. She has been under non-stop withering assault since that time. She found some shelter with the Religious Right, but now the Gay Fascists of this nation have found a way to destroy that as well.

I call them Gay Fascists because they are clearly using vicious bully-boy tactics to intimidate and silence their opposition. The Gay Fascists can no longer claim any sort of 'moral authority' from victim status. They are now the victimizers.

Specifically, they found a pornographic solo video she did for a boyfriend when she was 17 years old. Now, riddle me this one Batman: Last time I checked, be in possession of a sex video containing a 17 year old girl constituted felony possession of child pornography. A number of pornographers went to jail for possession and distribution of Traci Lords videos made when she was 17. It did not matter that Traci Lords participated lustily in the procedures and was rewarded handsomely with cash.

Memo to Carrie Prejean: Charge your ex-boyfriend with possession and distribution of child pornography. Grill every last one of the Gay fascists who have distributed this video with Child Pornography charges. They started the war, now you can win it. They over played their hand. Now they are vulnerable. Their flanks are unguarded. Destroy them. Take the kill shot.

I want to rebuke all of you in the silent majority who are horrified by what has happens to this girl: It is time for you to stop sitting on the fence. Come out of the closet and defend this girl.

Push is pretty damn good

Push is a movie about about mutants or metahumans who have special mental abilities. There are several classes of these metahumans in this movie:

  1. Movers: Individuals with telekinetic power; the ability to move objects with your mind.
  2. Bleeders: Banshee like criters who can scream until your skin splits and you organs pop
  3. Stitches: Psychic healers who can restore your from near-death like states to full health... or reverse the process.
  4. Shaders: Individuals who can hide you from Sniffers and maybe even Watchers
  5. Sniffers: Individuals who can see visions of the past and present of an object by sniffing it. They are also good bloodhounds, able to locate people by sniffing personal articles belonging to them.
  6. Watchers: Individuals who have the ability to see and draw the future based on the events currently taking place. You might call them prophets with the gift of prophecy. The problem is that the future is only a set of probabilistic outcomes, and it is always changing based on things that happen in the present.
  7. Pushers: The most dangerous class of metahumans. These individuals have the power of suggestion. The most powerful members of this class can implant entire memories of events, peoples, relatives, orders, and professional activities in your mind. If the Pusher is good, you can't tell the difference between these implanted memories and the real thing. This gives Pushers an incredible ability to control and manipulate people.

It seems that the nations of our world began experimenting with these mutants back in WWII. Nazi Germany was the first. Many other nations continue to our present day. Each of these nations have set up organizations called "Divisions" which run their programs. The objective is to harness the power of these mutants and use them as operatives. The premise may be similar to that you find in the new comedy "The Men who Stare at Goats". Many of these metahumans do not like the notion of being drafted into black-ops, and they especially dislike the medical experiments designed to amplify their abilities. Ergo, there is an underground resistance among these people, combating the Divisions of the world.

Herein lies the tale of Push.

The whole movie takes place in Hong Kong, and Hong Kong is the major star of the movie. The spectacular digital film of Hong Kong (done with the marvelous Redcam) fascinated me throughout the entire movie. I watched this movie no less than 3 times just to see more of Hong Kong.

The movie features a nice ensemble of actors. It is difficult to say who the lead is. We have a quartet of extremely important actors in the form of Chris Evans (top hero), Djimon Hounsou (top bad guy), Dokata Fanning (important heroine), and Camilla Belle (chief instigator and love interest of Chris Evans). All of them do very well, although Camilla turns in the weakest of these several performances. [She is one of the leading contenders for hot-dish de jour though.] The other three flex some serious acting muscle, turning in rock-solid performances. There are also several very important character actors.

I should mention in passing that it is a little shocking to see the way they dress and pose Dokota Fanning. She postures a little like a piece of Lolita jailbate. 13-14 year old girls do dress this way, and they do sometimes act sexually precocious. This is around the time they go boy-crazy. Still, I find it shocking to see little Dokota Fanning already 14 years of age in this movie, and acting in this fashion.

Chris Evans deserves to be singled out for accolades. This guy is not a pretty-boy. He is a very good actor, and he is starting to accumulate some pretty nice action & scifi titles in his resume. It is regrettable that The Fantastic Four turned out as badly as it did, but this is not Chris Evans' fault. I personally believe he should become the next great action hero. He should become the American answer for Jason Statham (who I think is terrific, incidentally). Those two starred together in a very demented and very interesting 2005 movie called London. It would be good to see them work together again.

While on the one hand, you may say that this is a fairly garden variety and cliche little action scifi movie with quasi-super heroes, I found it stylish enough, X-Fileish enough to be a bit refreshing. I give it 4.5 stars. I will be buying the Blu-Ray soon. I liked it very much. Not perfect, but damn good.

Monday, November 9, 2009

So VanRam wants to know if Jason Campbell is an option in 2010

While I have enjoyed the writing VanRam for some time now, I'm going to have sound a bit caustic in this post.

Is Jason Campbell an option in 2010? No. Fuck no. Why would you even consider floating that trial balloon? Why even consider it? Why would you want to? I don't know what would trigger that thought.

Barring an unforeseen miracle Resurrection of Bulger, the Rams will undoubtedly make a quarterback their top pick in the 2010 draft. This means we only want and need a short-run stop-gap solution until the youngin is ready for war. Kyle Boller will fit this description just fine thank you very much. No need to go looking for a new used car.

Let's understand that despite a gob-smacking QB efficiency rating of 86.5, Jason Campbell really hasn't show much signs of life in Washington. We all know that Washington came close to dismissing Campbell this very off-season. We all know their offense stinks. It is almost as bad as ours. To say that their's is better than ours, therefore taking their QB constitutes an upgrade for us is a little like saying the Russian made cars were better than Hungarian made cars during the Communist epoch, ergo you should get a Russian car. I got a better idea: Why not buy a Honda instead? Fuck the Russian and Hungarian cars of the communist epoch.

Adding Campbell to our offense is not going constitute any sort of an upgrade. Let's forget about it. Draft Tim Tebow, slap Ferragamo's number on his back, let Boller start for period of time in which we school Tebow on (presumably) the West Coast Offense.

Trying to rain on Windows-7's victory parade

For those of you who do not know, Windows 7 is out. You should be able to get it with any newly manufactured system, and through most retail sources. The Wallstreet Journal and several other sources have begun reporting market data on the early sales of Windows 7.

In the U.S., sales through all channels is equal to 182% of that Windows Vista during the first few days on the market. Sales of boxed copies, by far the toughest SKU to sell , is 234% higher than Vista during the first few days.

These figures are shocking given the relative strength of the economy during the launch of these two systems. The economy was "strong" in 2007, with the Dow Jones finishing at 14,000 in October 2007. This is when Microsoft launched Vista. We are mired in a nasty recession now, the worst since the Great Depression, with unemployment over 10%, and under-employment between 16% and 18%. This is the moment Microsoft has launched Windows 7.

Given the long-term, stable, statistical fact that most people get a new OS with a new computer, nobody, but nobody would have predicted this level of success for Windows 7. People aren't supposed to be buying new computers under economic conditions such as these, nor are they supposed to break statistical trends by upping old computers to Windows 7. Any fair-minded analyst has to shake his head in disbelief. Against the odds, Microsoft just hit one out of the ballpark. This is tantamount to smacking a 2 run home run again Mario Rivera in the 9th.

I hate to bring in this spectre, but piracy is also much more prevalent today than in 2007. Vista DRM and licensing vexed pirates for a time. They seem to have figured out how to bust Windows 7 rather quickly. High piracy rates should negatively impact sales, or so we would think. You can't prove that theory if you look at the current sales figures of Windows 7.

After you kick these facts around for a few hours, the theorist is left to one conclusion: Microsoft must have fundamentally gotten it right this time. The customer has to see some value in this product, or they would not be extending themselves in this way, at such a time as this. This is a huge disappointment for the anti-Microsoft crowd in the Java, Apple, and Linux camps. They are sitting around with big, fat, black-eyes and a headache this morning.

So what are they doing about it? They are inventing large headlines which lie with strange statistics, and stranger claims. Consider the following:
  • TechWorld reports that Windows continues to loose market share world-wide. Their figures show that Microsoft 0.23% of the market during October. Apple picked up 0.15% during that same period. Wow... My heart is racing.
  • Sophos claims the Microsoft left Windows 7 open to hackers. They neutered UAC too much, says Chester Wisniewski. They were actually able to install 7 out of 10 Trojans... as long as there was no anti-virus software installed on the system. Jeeze... I shit myself when I read that.
  • Stranger still is Preston Gralla's weird claim that Windows 7's unexpected success is a bad thing for Microsoft. They are now doomed to turn into General Motors. Err.... WTF? Yeah, a smart guy named Jay R. Galbraith says its a bad thing. You see, Microsoft is going to stick with the desktop instead of going to smart phones now. You see if Microsoft wants to remain relevant, they have to fire all their managers and become Google.Apple with web services and a smart phone.
As I mentioned before, I do not suffer fools lightly or well. I want to know who enfranchises the crack-pots? How do you get a license to become a professional crack-pot? How do I manage to get crack-pot remarks on to the web page? How do you get people to actively quote nonsense as if it is meaningful? How do you get bullshit to pass for knowledge and information? How do you throw spaghetti against the wall and make it stick? How do you babble meaninglessly and make people think you are anything but a complete fool? How do you spin tales told by an idiot signifying nothing and make money while doing so?

One wag commented that nobody ever when broke over-estimating the stupidity of the American people. This is the popular paraphrase of the sage of Baltimore, H.L. Menchen. Maybe these crack-pot websites are indicator that his saying is true.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Quick answer for the most detestable feature of Windows 7

It turns out that and old friend from a former company (Clay Buckner of MOC Products) had the solution for this problem. The feature I despise so much is referred to by Microsoft as Aero-Snapping. If you perform the following steps, you can disable this despicable feature:
  1. Open the control panel
  2. Select the "Ease of Access Center"
  3. Click on "Change how your mouse works"
  4. Find the header "Make it easier to manage windows"
  5. Check the box labeled "Prevent windows from being automatically arranged when moved to the edge of the screen"
  6. Click the "Apply" button at the bottom of this window
  7. Close the control panel.
You are done.

I am very grateful that Microsoft was not so stupid as to ship this feature without an off switch. I still think this feature should be off by default. We should have to opt-in rather than opt-out. Still, my confidence in the Vole is at least partially restored.

The most detestable feature in Windows 7

For a long-time user of Microsoft Windows, not to mention a 15 year pro Windows software developer, Windows 7 is a tremendous step in the right direction. It is Windows Vista SP2. It is also Windows Vista perfected. It is also Windows Vista with the UAC dialed down a notch. It is also Windows Vista with better support for MPEG-4 and Blu-Ray. It is also Vista after the hardware and software industry have figured out that Microsoft is serious about imposing regulations on what software can and cannot do. All those sayings are essentially correct.

Like Vista, Windows 7 presupposes--that means it essentially requires--the existence of a fairly powerful DirectX 9.0C GPU. Unlike Vista, Windows 7 has begun to exploit the programmability of the GPU to perform many mundane tasks. We call this domain of programming GPGPU, General Purpose use of Graphics co-Processor Units.

So why the hell should you care about that? A good GPU is about 10 to 20 times more powerful than its companion CPU on average, that's why. This is also true on a dollar-for-dollar and watt for watt basis. Pick your CPU and GPU at the same price point, and the GPU is likely to be 20x stronger than the CPU. For example, the new Radeon 5770 can roast the the most recent Core i7-870 on all empirical benchmark tests.

All this means Windows 7 can get be a hell of a lot faster, if you don't fag-up by going with an Intel GPU.

Now after giving Microsoft its due, it is time for me to spill the beans about the worst and most detestable feature of Windows 7. When you move any window towards any border of the screen, said window has a tendency to expand. It may expand to fit vertical space, or may expand to fill the whole screen. It does this relentlessly. It will not stop. I have investigated the web for some sort of a key or registry setting I may throw to shut off this horrendous feature, but so far I have had no luck.

So why is this the most detestable software flaw in Windows 7? Because we have large screens these days, that's why. I personally have a 30 inch screen form Dell. The express purpose of a 30 inch screen to have more than one window open at a single time. I am good at positioning my windows, than you very much. I don't need any help to do such an infantile thing. Words cannot express how much anger the sudden explosion of a Window has caused me. I have wasted more time shrinking windows after they have taken over my screen... I can't tell you... I am absolutely livid about this "feature".

Implementing this brain-damaged feature is one large step in the direction of defeating the entire purpose of large high resolution screens. I want to make it clear that large 2048x1152 and 2560x1600 resolution screens are the future of our industry. Soon, we will see the birth of the 3840x2160 screens at much larger sizes; such as 55 inches. It is categorically preposterous for any software engineer to presume that all users will always want to fill all that space with just one Window, anytime you bump a screen edge.

Who would have thought of such a dumb idea? Who the fuck ordered this feature? Who gave this nonsense idea the green light? How did this get into the beta, much less the final edition? How could you not include a switch to turn this off? How could you not loudly publish disclaimers, stating that this feature is not for everybody, and explaining how this feature could be turned off?

Let me give you a concrete example of how you just fucked up one important workflow in an industry where Microsoft is struggling to make some headway. Let's suppose you do 3d visual effects for Hollywood movies. Let's suppose you do those Visuals with Modo 401 and XSI 2010. Let's suppose you composite 3d elements with 2d digital film using EyeOn Fusion.

This is a complex process. There are a lot of parameter settings for any rendering and any composite. How you set those parameters greatly impacts the realism of the final product. You many need to try it 6 to 20 different ways to find the most realistic combo of parameter settings. To determine which combo is best, you may need to set up 6 instances of VideoLan side-by-side on your 30 inch screen to see how they look. When those windows explode to cover the entire screen, the visual tester is going to be plenty pissed.

This reminds me of any other wretched issue. There is another nasty feature in Windows 7. When you have a screen crowded with windows. Passing one window over another causes all the other windows (that don't have the focus) to suddenly minimize. Oh boy is that fucking stupid! Who in the hell though of that? You need to implement a drug testing program in Redmond Washington right away. Too many designers are showing signs of brain damage.

Memo to Microsoft: We need off switches for both of these features! Get to work!