Sunday, February 27, 2011

(whisper) The Tall Tale Legend of Jimmer

Did you whisper the title? Okay, now close your eyes... shhhhhhh, that person you see walking off in the distance... who is that? Is the light following him? ohhhhhh, shhhhhh.... softly now. yes, it is Jimmer Fredette. Quiet. shhhhhhh.

NOW WAKE UP! oh, wait you only had your eyes closed. Didn't even do that did you, you had to read my words for the Jimmer seance.

Who is Jimmer? Please. The best college basketball player in the nation right now. Or so the jimmermaniacs would have you believe. And who are those folks? Mormons. LDS. and it is getting weird.

It's not just BYU students, though. Jimmer has already been called a folk hero by Deadspin, which to some is on the opposite side of the spectrum. So, it's not just LDS.

Why has it gotten weird? A lady named Michelle Peralta wrote a letter in the Daily Herald that spoke out against The Jimmer titled "Idol worship". The letter garnished quite a number of responses. When the comments section got stale Jimmermaniacs went over to her Facebook page and "Jimmered" it with over 1,000 responses in 30 minutes to a post she made there. There is now a website dedicated to this event called: And poor Michelle's fb page? A meeting place for Jimmer fans.

I find it fascinating to read through those comments. There is a struggle there that is hard to describe.

Jimmer is from upstate NY which happens to be right around the same place Joseph Smith stomped around. Father is LDS, Mother is Catholic. Jimmer's sister was Miss Teen NY about ten years ago and his brother, TJ, is a DJ(?). How did Jimmer get so good? Read the stories one legend has it that older brother TJ took Jimmer to prisons to play ball against inmates.

Another couple things that are making this whole thing weird: First up. A few BYU former players (including Shawn Bradley) made a song tribute to him. 2nd up. Time magazine called him a Twitter Legend(?) not sure why he is a legend even after reading the article. Kevin Durant called him "the best shooter in the world!!". Note: if you read the article note the way it is written. It's like Jimmer is in the clouds somewhere only coming down a couple times a week to bury jumpers from "the parking lot, with guys in his face".

Anyway, it's getting uncomfortable -and weird- Jimmer.

I'll end with a comment from a Jimmermaniac about The Jimmer (please notice before reading the women with hands clasped in the photo at the top of my post before reading):

“This girl shouldn't be surprised. As a matter of fact, I'm surprised she's failed to make the connection: We Mormons do like inspirational young men from upstate New York. Have for years. About 180 years, to be precise”

ohhhh boy. get ready for Jimmer-Time this March.

I gotta admit, he shoots from anywhere. Reminds me of Pete... but nobody is the Pistol.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Stoke Diaries

My little soccer site EPL Talk does a weekly thing where they list out the weekend games the following way:

****: Must-see. Cancel all other activities. Do not even DVR as even in America you might hear the score!
***: Strong match; worth watching live; DVR a must if you can’t see live
**: Flip through quickly to see the goals, red cards, injuries, and perhaps watch the last 5 minutes + injury time if close
*: Only if you’re a die-hard

Below is what I got for the Potters this weekend...
* Stoke v West Brom, 3 pm, FS+ & [Oliver]
If you must…

He probably saw the possession stats from their last game against Arsenal; 29% - 71%. yikes.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"...the best RPGs"

Stumbled upon an article over at Kotaku the other day that started with "Sports games are really the best RPGs." The article itself wasn't about that topic but was an interesting one about a guy who took a no name team in the Finnish hockey league to the NHL and won the Stanley Cup.

EA is doing some great things with their soccer and hockey franchises. The inclusion of the rest of the world helps immensely. I'm currently trying to take a nPower League 2 team from the near bottom of English football to the top. It's great fun and very similar to grinding things out while playing an RPG. Not the new 'action RPG' type game like Mass Effect though. More like a Bard's Tale or Ultima IV. There is a similar rush there that you feel when something you've been working towards - happens.

EA's hands are tied with Madden. It needs more. More teams, more options, more variety.

MLB The Show is on board with the more teams the better as well. Although, I don't see it toppling my FIFA 11 career mode anytime soon.

Anyway, good stuff. And great improvements on home console career mode/dynasty mode things are happening the more they start syncing up with our home computers and z internets.

To quote the article:

"For those that think it's silly, clearly they have yet to play a dynasty in a video game."

Sunday, February 20, 2011

CMH and RDU. Oh, In my heart

What a great weekend I had! Above is just one insignificant reason. Bring your worst; midwest winter, I have conquered you. Brewmasters fulfilled their purpose and reason! Too long has it been. What a great time.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Word was spreading about the new Toyota's Ohira car factory even before it was finished. A couple days ago it had its grand opening and folks are starting to write about what they have seen. Pretty fascinating.

Here is the link.

"Since the turn of the millennium, Toyota has been slowly backing away from heavy automation. The labor saved by robots was wasted by fixing and most of all by reprogramming robots. Ohira is the current culmination of this trend.

For the first time in 30 years, I see people welding by hand. Someone is even putting a rotary sander to a primed body before it enters the paint station. If Ferdi Piech would see that in Wolfsburg, he would stop the line and fire the factory manager. Why less automation? More flexibility, lower investments."

Sunday, February 13, 2011

X. Only Interesting to Me

1. Guus Hiddink, soccer guru on the move again.

He is always on the move. He is soccer nation building now in Turkey. In 2002 he was in S. Korea. Turkey played S. Korea in a friendly the other day. Sort of like he was playing himself. 0-0.

1a. Watching Lazio play Brescia... messy.

Hey! It's a solo man in the both. Same poor guy that pretends to be at the games calling all the nPower League 2 highlights. Haha! This guy is everywhere!

2a. He just pimped himself on the air, he is also a musician. Max Patrick.

2. Bonduel, WI news reads about as easily as one of my posts.

"Workshops seek to improve economic literacy"
Feb. 4, 2011 8:38 p.m. Comments University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Professor Emeritus Mark Schug is trying to attack a problem that has been plaguing the country for years - one that he says may have placed Americans right in the middle of the economic crisis: financial illiteracy.

3. Spring getting here in Ohio.

I know we've got a few weeks left, but in the 40s yesterday! That's 40 degrees warmer then the previous day.
4. Follow up on Super Bowl Crowd Theory

Medians were close in both point total (52 vs. 56) and point difference (hit, 6 points). The "crowd" also picked the winner. Interesting. Nice work "crowd", Vegas loves ya.

5. Stoke; Cleanest team in league!

Yes, really! they are. They commit less fouls then anyone. 278 on the year. Roughest team in the EPL? Wigan 370 fouls.

5a. Foul difference.

The diff between fouls given to fouls taken. Bolton has given 77 more then taken. It's funny because they are the least fouled team. The most picked on team? The leagues punching bag? Hotspur. They have taken 65 more fouls suffered then given.

Stoke again, has suffered the 2nd least amount of fouls. Maybe other teams are scared. Man U suffers the least amount.

5b. Frequency of fouls in a game? One every four minutes.

Only here do you get that stat!

6. Most productive offensive players in the league based on goals and assists per game played?

Weighted; 5 pts for a goal, 3 pts for assist

1: Berbatov (4.4)
2: Tevez*
3. Van Persie*
4: Van der Vaart
5: Nani
6: Carroll
7: Rooney
8: Walcott
9: Drogba
0: Cahill (2.7)

* players averaging over 1 goal or assist per game played.

7. I've got more, but I'll leave that for another post!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Arrive in Style

Chrysler floored me with their Super Bowl commercial, but another one of their's pops up in my mind as very good. It was run during the Globes. I really like how the ad copy writers mention "it wasn't that long ago", because it is truth that gets so easily forgotten in just one generation.

The new line of Fiat Chrysler's don't have the same "cache" as the ones lovingly photographed in this commercial. But enjoy the commercial for framing up these beautiful cars the way it does. Automotive beauty.

It shows cars during a time where it was design over function. You hear me? DESIGN OVER FUNCTION. What a simple concept that was just forgotten.

Of course it cribs the music from my most favorite car commercial of all time... It isn't about function or design. It's about story telling and ad making in less then a minute. The one that is better then 90% of all movies out there. I'd be remiss not to mention it. It inspired me to make video things.

What remains so powerful about it is my perception of it. I don't know the actors. They aren't on TMZ or on magazine covers. It hints at the movie The Graduate, but I don't feel it steals from it. Viewing it I feel free to convey whatever I like.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Brent Woodpeckers

What a wealth of data the Barclay's fantasy soccer league provides. Deep diving into how well we are doing against the "Average" of all players that have participated on the official site.

I'm taking the things I've learnt at work to try and determine how well each of us are doing individually and as a collective group. 1st off; to smooth out the data a little I'm looking at four week averages instead of week to week. There is enough data now to look at it that way. So if you look at the graph you'll notice it starts at week 4.

I know that any good graph should explain its self. I hope that works. There are a few statistically significant events.

1. Smitty's above average production between week 10 and 16.

2. My below average production during the same spell.

3. Matt's sky rocketing point production in the last 4 weeks.



Today at lunch, whilst taking a break (of course). I decided to use the powerful statistical software called Minitab to look at the goal production of Liverpool this season.

Why? They have been noticeably better since New England Sports Ventures group took over the club. What I wanted to see was if it was statistically better. The team is getting better.

In the image look at the chart on the right. It it a Moving Range by month. Which means point 1 on the chart is August. Point 7 is February. It shows goal difference in their games during each month. So basically, "up" is good. Above zero means they are winning. Pretty amazing that each month they have been improving. The red lines above and below are upper and lower confidence levels. Meaning: the closer those are the more predictable the result. The 'telescoping' together as the season goes on means the goal difference result is more predictable.
The chart on the left is just for fun. It's a pareto that shows the frequency in goal difference. +1 is most often at 23.1%. 2nd most likely occurrence is -1, which isn't strange in the Premier League.

Bottom line. The Brent Woodpeckers are improving just as Liverpool is this season. The numbers are telling me so. Were these numbers I was looking at in regards to production of a department at work I'd say that both are doing very well improving significantly.

Brent Woodpeckers Liverpool!

Monday, February 7, 2011

I felt a "Thump"

You know that moment in a monster movie where they show a cup of water rippling, or a building shaking? That moment where the director is letting you know that there is something huge out there moving around? I felt that last night during the Super Bowl and it had nothing to do with the game.

Instead of some monster in a fantasy, it was the very real heart of Detroit that let out a massive, yet suttle "thump" for the first time in nearly three decades. One that use to be as normal and predictable as a precise wrist watch ticking. That powerful thump was because of the Chrysler commercial. But for me, it wasn't about any particular car company. That didn't seem to be the message it was trying to convey. It was of Detroit.

I know that I write more then I should on how I feel about GM and Detroit here. But the commercial struck a chord with me. It was just a thump, yes. But one that use to be so familiar that those older and wiser then knew not to take for granted.

I've heard about the glory of Detroit. I work with and have met a few that were there in the 50s and 60s. Those that knew the healthy heart of our country that was Detroit. I've read more on the early years of the town then I care to mention even. I know about the excess and the wrongs done but her leaders. I may know Detroit as some one who as lived it and maybe I know it's history more then most of those folks. But I don't DARE pretend I know how to feel it.

It is one of innovation, of back room brawls with the Dodge brothers, about where the name Cadillac comes from, or the idea behind the Fisher Body and the meaning behind it, the failures Ford experienced, the River Rouge, the disappearance of just about every tree in Michigan and reappearance... so maybe that's why I felt that thump more then others.

I'll never forget one of the things my father said about Detroit when I was a boy:

"So goes Detroit, so goes the country."

I even researched over 80 years of earnings and commented on them here, on Helltown. I even went so far as to write an "I believe" letter about General Motors. Why? I don't exactly know other then I am aware enough that I've found myself in manufacturing in part because of Detroit.

I could go on about Fiat owned Chrysler and the fact that even at best American cars are only 70% "American Made". But that isn't the point of what I'm rambling on about... or the point of the ad.

Fact is; I felt the low rumble "thump" from underneath the frozen winter ground. You may have missed it and buildings may have just shook subtly and windows rattle faintly, perhaps like a distant passing train... indeed; maybe many missed it, and it was just one thump that may not come again, but I felt it.

I am thankful for it and it was wonderful.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Computer Machine

The Super Bowl is on in about an hour, so I gotta type fast. I'm here to tell you that I am experimenting with what's called "crowd theory". It's complicated, but basically it means that the average prediction of the masses will be accurate. It could be guessing the weight of a goat to predicting the score of the biggest event in the United states. Average always wins. More predictions, more accurate the average.

To save you from drama... the "crowd" predicts Green Bay to win. What's that score going to be?

24.7 to 21.7 Green Bay Packers win. Place your bets now.

I pulled 67 predictions from all over the web to get that. From ESPN "experts" to yahoo kids.

Notable predictions:

Mine: 35 - 10. Packers in blowout, because it is on turf indoors

Las Vegas: 24 - 21. Packers, crowd theory in full effect

Madden 11: 20 - 24, Steelers. 21 - 20. Packers, Over 2k simulations.

RjTheMetalhead: 17 - 12. Random dude.

Lastly; the most common football score in all NFL history is 20 to 17. Insert your favorite team as the victor.

I see one major theme here... close game. Be careful "crowd" because this could be wishful thinking. I think it will be a blowout because we, as a country, are due for one.

So, bottom line... Packers win in a tight one. Enjoy the game!

PS. More stats:

Median Diff: 6 pts.

Avg Total Score: 46

Median Avg Score: 52

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Dear Dan Snyder

An article written by Dave McKenna for the back in November is getting a lot of press because "Mr. Snyder" is threatening to sue. The article is rich. Must reading for any Redskins fan.

I've scoured the comments section for something reasonable to post, and found what I was looking for. Good reading for any lawyer out there.

"Having lived in DC for many years - off and on - but not been a Redskins fan, I have another gripe against Snyder. Used to be - you could get all sorts of things done in DC when the Redskins game was on - go to the hardware store, visit Nordstrom, pick up groceries. Traffic was lighter and queues shorter since everyone was watching the game. The only thing you could not do was get into a bar with the game on - it was packed. Since Snyder has teken over the traffic is backed, the lines at Home Depot have grown, and opportunities to drink beer and eat burgers have increased to the detriment of my waistline - and it is all Snyder's fault.

As a lawyer, I am very amused at the threatened lawsuit by Snyder. There has been a lot of rumbling - burt no lawsuit yet. Snyder may be having a problem - getting a lawyer to sign the complaint. The problem Snyder has is that this article - and I read it - appears to have been very carefully "vetted" by a lawyer for City Paper before it was published - and by the looks of it had at least two items of backup verifying every entry. If some of the posters here wonder why their little bits of dirt on Snyder did not make it into the story - it's probably because the lawyers cut it for lack of enough backup to make them feel comfortable. So the first problem Snyder has in chasing this story is that he has to show something false in it - and his lawyers know that they will have a serious problem signing a complaint for libel, defamation or slander if they cannot show after reasonable investigation that something in the article was not true. As an aside, I wonder who had the unenviable task of explaining that to Snyder and saying 'umm well, Mr. Snyder, most/all of it is true."

Worse still Snyder is also stuck with the public figure exception, and given that he has made himself a very public figure, he would have a high burden to surmount to bring a suit. In New York Times v Sullivan, 376 US 254 (1964), the supremes created the carve-out form ordinary libel, defamation and slander that where people that have put themselves in the public spotlight, they have to show that the defendant engaged in actual malice before you can be found liable. The burden of proof is also on the public figure, i.e., Snyder, to prove that the author knew the statement was false, or you acted in reckless disregard of the statement’s falsity or truth.

The New York Times standard is very hard to overcome - perhaps unfairly hard in many cases. But even so, this article seems to run into the standard straight on - and if the City Paper lawyers vetted the article properly (and it reads like they did), they made sure that McKenna had some reasonable basis to show them for every painful statement in it. And while McKenna may have regarded the vetting lawyer as a "pain in the ass" at the time, he should buy that guy/gal a beer this weekend for doing a thorough job.

I just wonder - who is the poor legal-schmuck who is going to have the explain this to Snyder....."