Saturday, March 19, 2016

Budweiser video beer cooler: Awesome or stupid?

I saw this Budweiser video cooler in the liquor store today.  The concept of it is awesome, but I think the reality of it may be stupid.  I was standing there for a long time looking at other stuff on the shelves before I even realized that it was a cooler full of beer--I just though it was a video billboard or something.  It's very difficult to see inside, which makes it nearly impossible to pick out what you want without opening the door.  That defeats the whole purpose of a glass-door cooler to begin with.

But, if part of the revolving ad listed exactly what was inside the cooler, then I might be on board.  On the other hand, I'd not sure I'd pay attention long enough to notice.

Watch the Vine below, or click on the picture to expand it and get a better view.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Awesome Old Song of the Week: "Higher Love" by Steve Winwood

I was out for a St. Patrick's Day beer yesterday when Steve Winwood's Higher Love came on in the bar.  My immediate though--I can't believe I haven't written a blog about Steve Winwood yet.  The guy made some great stuff:

Valerie, from 1982 (I don't blame you if you think of it as Call on Me).
1986's Back in the High Life Again.
Roll With It in 1988.
And of course, also from 1986, Higher Love:

Steve Winwood. "Higher Love" from 99 Tigers on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

"First Four" wins shouldn't count as NCAA Tournament wins

If you read my blog yesterday about how nobody wants to see No. 67 vs. No. 68, here's something else that's stupid about the NCAA tournament field including 68 teams: Schools that don't actually win real tournament games get to claim that they did.

Yesterday, Holy Cross beat Southern in a play-in game.  The headlines stated "Holy Cross get's first tournament win in 63 years!"  From the game recap: "The Crusaders had lost nine consecutive NCAA tournament games since defeating Navy and Wake Forest in 1953..."

There's a reason Holy Cross had lost nine straight: It's a small school from a no-name conference that was a massive underdog against top seeds every time it made the dance.  A few years down the road people will see the Crusaders got a tourney win in 2016 and think "Oh wow, who did they upset?"  The answer is nobody, because they beat another 16 seed in a stupid "First Four" matchup.

As a former Richmond Spider, I take personal offense to this.  Richmond, the greatest giant-killer in tournament history, has won eight games as a 12, 13, 14 or 15 seed against actual competition.  Holy Cross' "victory" as a No. 16 is extraordinarily cheap by comparison.

Last night SportsCenter ran the above graphic after 11th-seeded Michigan knocked off fellow No. 11 Tulsa in another not-really-the-tournament-yet contest.  The Wolverines shouldn't get to have that ninth W on their resume just because they were bad enough this year to squeak in as one of the final at-large teams and play an extra game against an equally not-good squad.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Why doesn't the NCAA tournament realize nobody wants to see No. 67 vs. No. 68?

Get pumped for HC/SO.
There are millions of reasons why it's stupid that the NCAA tournament includes 68 teams, made obvious by the fact that every bracket available only acknowledges the existence of 64 (I have the "Michigan/Tulsa" entrant getting all the way to the Elite Eight, by the way).

Holy Cross takes on Southern tonight in a game nobody other than fans of those two schools cares about.  Holy Cross went 10-19 this regular season, including 0-8 on the road in Patriot League play (good for ninth place in a 10-team league).  Yet somehow, the Crusaders won four straight road games in the conference tourney to capture the title and earn an automatic bid to the big dance.

Why would anybody be interested in watching that Holy Cross club take on a squad that finished in fourth place (11-7) in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (but also won its league tournament)?

The fun of having teams like these in the NCAA tournament is to see what happens when they go up against a giant like North Carolina or Kansas.  Holy Cross vs. Southern and Florida Gulf Coast vs. Fairleigh Dickinson (the game nobody cared about last night, won by the Eagles--which one is the Eagles?) are boring and a waste of time.  Not to mention the fact that the losing squads never really get the actual tourney experience.

NCAA announces it will stop trying to lie to us about the "first round" of the tournament
- The odds of picking a perfect NCAA tournament bracket are not as impossible as you may have heard
- Why does the NCAA insist on playing every tournament game on the same boring floor?
- The internet has kind of ruined tourney pools
- NCAA bracket advice: Nobody really knows anything

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Baseball with no balks is a great idea

Where's he going to throw?
Here's a quote from an SI piece by Matt Dollinger about some of the more interesting topics at last weekend's Sloan Sports Analytics Conference at MIT:

"Bill James, the godfather to sports analytics, was asked on the Moneyball reunion panel how he would fix baseball. His response? 'Get rid of balks.' His rationale: It's the equivalent of not having fast breaks in the NBA. Imagine if after every possession the defense was able to set up and gather itself on the other end. In baseball, you can't just throw the ball and try to catch a batter off guard--you've got to wait. At a minimum, getting rid of balks would speed the game up and likely lead to a more entertaining product."

I love this idea.  In addition to speeding up the game, it would also open it up to some wild plays.  Not just pitchers attempting to fool batters, but also crazy throws to first base, fake throws to first, fake pitches then throws to first, fake throws to first then pitches, etc.  It'd be a be a bit nuts, and a lot of fun to watch.

We'd probably need some sort of pitcher "shot clock" as well though so they don't just stand there pretending to throw all day.

Monday, March 14, 2016

What do you think of this single-can fridge? Also, why would anyone want to warm up a can of soda?

I really like the idea of this tiny, tiny refrigerator.  If I ever work in an office, I'm totally getting one to plug into my computer.  Then I'll buy 12-packs of Polar flavored soda cans to keep under my desk and just rotate them through my super-mini fridge one at a time.

Also, I wonder how long it takes for this device to get a drink cold?  Instead of lugging a cooler full of ice and beer to a party, could somebody bring a bunch of cans and this little thing instead?  Would it chill your next beverage in the time it takes to drink the first one?

You can buy it for only $19.99, so it's definitely worth finding out.  But here's the weird part--it's labeled as a cooler/warmer.  From the product description on

-Thermoelectric cooler/warmer
-Chill a can down to 46° F / warm a can up to 149° F
-In-line switch included at no charge to change between warm & chill with LED indicator
-Yellow when cold
-Red when warm
-Capacity: Fits 1 US standard 12 oz. can

Um, what?  When has anyone ever wanted to warm up a beverage that comes in a 12 oz. can?

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Daylight-savings inspired Awesome Old Song of the Week: "Closing Time" by Semisonic

In 2016, daylight savings time is silly and it's time for us to get rid of it like the Russians did.  I feel like there is a groundswell here and it's a growing sentiment that's gaining momentum every six months in the spring and fall when the clocks change.  Last night at 2 am it became 3 am.  In November it will "fall" backwards from 2 am to 1 am.

This song is for all the drunk people on that night who think they can convince the bartender they don't have to leave when the bar closes because it's not actually 2 am anymore.  Sorry, that's not how it works.

From 1998, here's Semisonic's Closing Time:

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