Saturday, August 4, 2012

The runner with no feet

A guy named Oscar Pistorius qualified for the 400 meter track and field semifinals at the Olympics by finishing second in his heat today.  He'll race again on Sunday.  He has no feet.  I'm not questioning his heart, effort, desire, or the obstacles he's had to overcome throughout his life.  But from a logical point of view, it seems fairly certain that the prosthetics he uses while running give him an advantage over the rest of the field.  

He's currently among the 16 fastest 400 meter runners on the planet.  If the artificial limbs created any sort of disadvantage, even by the tiniest of margins, I don't think it would be possible for anyone with them to rank among the world's best; the level of competition at the very top is just too great.  And what is the probability that the high tech carbon composite prosthetics (called "Cheetah Flex-Foot") produce identical results to that of a normal human foot and ankle?  Again that seems virtually impossible.  So if the artificial running legs aren't any worse than natural, and they aren't exactly the same, there is only one option left.

I guess there is no way to know with 100% certainty that the prosthetics make Oscar better; but the odds against it are infinitesimally small.  It's the same way I feel about the one legged wrestler who won the NCAA championship last year.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Apparently Brandon Walsh and Andrea Zuckerman work for Old Navy now

I saw this ad last night while I was watching the Sox game:

It's been almost 22 years since the original Beverly Hills, 90210 first came out (wikipedia tells me the series premier was October 4, 1990).  My first thought was that there's no way kids today would even know who those two are.  Then I realized Old Navy is marketing to parents.  Whoa, that's a little scary to me.  But it is pretty funny that Brandon is the star credited by name, and Andrea is just sort of hanging around making a cameo appearance; some things never change.  On the plus side for her though, I think she looks a little better than she did a year ago.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Olympics at Fenway

View from my seats on Tuesday night.
On Tuesday night I went to the Red Sox game.  It's was raining so I was able to get good seats from a scalper for significantly less than face value; and they were even under the roof and protected from the weather.  When the game was eventually stopped in the 6th inning, most people left right away.  But those who stuck around were treated to better than normal rain delay entertainment; NBC's coverage of the Olympics broadcast on the giant screen in center field.  It was pretty cool.

The Sox begin a four game series with Minnesota tonight; they only have a few games left this year against bad teams, and this is one they need to take advantage of.  Read my series preview at


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Penn St. football players shouldn't be going anywhere

Normally if you're a D1 football player and you decide to transfer to a new school, you have to sit out for a year.  But in the wake of this giant mess in Happy Valley (I wonder if people will stop using that name?), the NCAA has ruled that PSU players can leave without being penalized.  In the last several days a few players have decided to switch schools.  Given the fact that Penn St. has been banned from postseason play for the next for four years, it's understandable.  But I think it's an unwise move.

What happened at PSU and it's aftermath will eventually be known as the greatest scandal in the history of American sports.   And one thing I know for sure is that the media loves scandals.  Everything that happens at Penn State in the near future is going to be big news.  The first practice of the season, the first game, how well they play, how other teams react to travelling there, etc.  For PSU players looking to make a name for themselves and potentially reach the NFL, I can't imagine they could possibly receive anymore exposure than by staying right where they are.


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The annoying thing about watching "On Demand"

I love the "On Demand" feature that comes with cable television.  There is no way I would ever get HBO or Showtime without it.  And it makes me not worry about forgetting to set the DVR for Breaking Bad or Justified.  "On Demand" has already played a huge roll in the death of video rental stores, and it may ultimately contribute to the downfall of movie theaters as well.  But there is one thing about it that is so incredibly irritating:

You sit down to watch a few hours of Game of Thrones, Homeland, Girls, or The Newsroom.  You go through all the options and select the episode you left off on, then sit back and enjoy it.  It ends, and you want another.  But rather then being able to click on the next one, you find yourself back at this screen and forced to start all over.

I know they do this to ensure you watch a little more of their commercials in the upper right corner while you have to make all the same selections again, and man is that annoying.

Also, go read my very simple Red Sox trade deadline analysis at

Monday, July 30, 2012

Awesome Old Song of the Week: "Feel Me Flow" by Naughty By Nature

The early '90's rap group is probably best known for Hip Hop Hooray, which was easily their catchiest song.  They became famous in 1991 with O.P.P.  Probably my favorite of their hits is Ghetto Bastard (Everything's Gonna Be Alright), although it's a little too un-family friendly for my posting standards.  But the one Naughty By Nature song that kind of sneaks under the radar is Feel Me Flow.  It came out in 1995, a couple years after their peak popularity.  It's pretty unusual for a rap song of this genre to sort of have happy tones and just kind of make you feel good.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

People are not pleased with my "Dream Team" analysis

1992 Larry Bird
My post from two days ago has not been well received in the world of facebook and twitter.  It's definitely generated some of the most responses/backlash of anything I've ever written.  I love it; it means people are reading.   It also inspired the second best rant comment ever left on this site (to read it click where it says "1 comment" below the post), behind the guy who was mad at me for thinking soccer is never going to make it in the U.S. (on a slight tangent, the single best comment I have ever gotten is the girl from the Gamefly comercials telling me she actually does play video games).

In response to everyone, I would like to say 2 things: One, I don't want this year's team to be better, I just think it's a fact of the times.  If the fake game actually could take place I would root like crazy for the '92 guys.  And two, let me make a more extreme example.  Check out some of this Bob Cousy video, particularly what he says at the :40 second mark.

"What I was doing 30 years ago now every 12 year old is doing in every schoolyard in the country."
I don't think many people would argue with me that today's team would beat the the top players in the NBA from the 1950's.  Now obviously the gap in time to 1992 is much smaller, but the principle is still the same.  I believe it's still long enough to make a difference, and the world's best now have got to be a little better than the world's best 20 years ago, even if it is just a tiny fraction of a percentage.


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