Monday, November 29, 2010

A Warehouse Story

It comes from (again) The Truth About Cars. I still find this site endlessly interesting... thoughtful and sincere. Ronnie Schreiber just posted up an article titled "Was GM Design Head Bill Mitchell A Sexist Bigot?" The answer to that question is "yes". I didn't need the article to tell me that. I've read and watched enough on GM history to know about Mr. Mitchell. What's interesting about the article is the readers, through the spectrum of today's world around them, trying to figure out if this was just the way it was back then or if the guy really had a alcohol / womanizing / temper / racism problem.

He was cut from the same cloth as car guys that came before him. These guys were highly intelligent, rough, type A or red personalities. Mitchell seems to be a cross between Henry Ford and the Dodge Brothers who was caught in the middle of a changing world. In some ways Clint Eastwood's character in Gran Torino seems to be modeled after him. Most episodes of Mad Men steal from his exploits. Heck, even part Ian Fleming's Bond could be attributed to him if Fleming himself were not more Mitchell then, well, Mitchell.

My comment of the article comes from "Mikey". I can't get enough stories like this. It's the kind of thing that should be explored more. While it's interesting to read about ivory tower men like Mitchell I'd much rather read about the every day stuff from folks working where the tire hits the road. Howard Zinn, take note.
A hard drinking, profane, sometimes bigot. Sounds like a Foreman I had in the early Seventies. Foremen were instructed to fire any hourly employee that was late or absent during thier ninety day probation period.

At the time I was in the pit, on gas tank install. A two man operation, it was, and my 18 year old partner was a black guy. The older guys called us the salt and pepper team.

Well… my partner came it 15 minutes late one day. I could hear all the guys up top hollering, ”here comes the boss, thats the end of the salt and pepper team”

So there is now three of us standing in the pit. Were running at 45 jobs per hour building full size Chevs, and both Canadian and American Pontiacs. The pit is four feet wide five foot deep,and you got maybe 20 ft to get the tank installed. The foreman is a good 6’2″ with massive shoulders. So he says to my partner “you know I’m supposed to be down here to fire your b—a$$ out the door, My buddy nods,and we go back to grab the next job. The dude had to be down there 10 minutes. “WTF is he doing” my buddy says. My guess? he was looking at scenery. The next job down, the assembler had to feed three gas hoses through a bracket welded to the body. Then push the hoses onto the steel gas line and the secure the clamps. The girl doing the job was maybe 5’2″ and had to reach to her limit to get her job done.

Finally the boss turns to us and says “I’d look forward to going to work if I could look at that all day long, and I woudn’t be f—ck late."

It isn't so much the point of his story, it is the way he describes the job he was doing nearly 40 years ago. It gets to me.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Week

What a great week is was this year. I had not been home for Thanksgiving in a few years due to this retail thing I do. This year was different though. I did go home. Left Columbus on a rainy Wednesday night and and drove back Friday morning. Every mile driven was worth it. A big event for my bother in a couple ways. What a great time.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

VI. Only Interesting to Me

1. Writers that write for "real" sports websites referencing their own tweets.
"During the game, I tweeted that Boise's D-line (Billy Winn, Ryan Winterswyk, Chase Baker and Shea McClellin) is the best in the country." Thanks Stewart Mandel over at Sports Illustrated. Why stop now Stew, go for the gold... make a tweet about your reference to your own tweet on ON

2. More Ohio State football.
Terrelle Pryor is frustratingly inconsistent and even though he has all the tattoos he will probably never see a snap in the NFL as a quarterback.

3. Manchester United has yet to loose a game in the Premier League. Stoke wins again!

4. The TSA.
Gettin' aggressive out there guys. I had a moment flying out to NH. That "don't touch my junk, man" moment. I'm an easy target I guess. I didn't understand because I went through the metal detector pants falling down with no shoes on and my government issued drivers license, cell phone and dignity far away from me in a tote. In Columbus you don't get a lot of non-white travelers so as I sat putting my shoes back on I looked back for another 30 something white guy traveling on his own back at the gate... he was pulled too. As the circus applicant TSA worker was feeling his groin, we made eye contact. We had a moment.

Anyway, I know this sort of thing isn't going away. It's sad.

5. The White Album and Tron
On iTunes. My favorite album. Listening now. Another great album? Any Daft Punk album. They are doing the soundtrack for the new Tron movie. If you haven't seen the original Tron in a while... watch it.

6. Avatar in the FernGully
It's been said a million times now, but Avatar is a better version of the FernGully. Even in the special features section of my Blu-ray they reference the FernGully. I had no expectations for Avatar. I have expectations of James Cameron and he didn't disappoint. I have a James Cameron story. When I was working at Staples as an esteemed copy center clerk I met a guy who sold Mr. Cameron 10 Humvee's. "For what?" I asked... thinking it was for some movie. "To play paintball" was the response I got. Story over.

Another thing on my mind during the movie was the perceived slight people wrote about concerning the Marines in the movie. While the name "Marines" is called out often I felt there was nothing to make me say it took shots at them. In fact it was quite the opposite in a lot of ways. For those paying attention... Marines are here to be the tip of the spear. They are trained to kill other people. Turn them loose and they will do just that. I'm sorry if you bump into me and I say that and burst your bubble. They are trained to do that so I can sit here and write. Be glad these guys are on our team. Also, for those paying attention, Mr. Cameron's brother is a Marine who served multiple times in Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm going to say that a lot of the best lines in the movie come from him.

"I became a Marine for the hardship. Told myself that I can pass any test a man can pass. All I ever wanted was a single thing worth fighting for."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Best Pitch Man and Mr. Roboto

So who is the best pitchman ever? Well, Jalopnik is asking. Every decade has there own. Before I was looking at Jalopnik I was watching the new Gran Turismo 5 commercial with Kevin Butler at that helm. Mr. Butler is a freak of modern pitchmen in that everyone seems to like him. Heck, I like him. I say freak because never, I mean never... do you see comments on a corporate pitchman so positive.

Kevin Butler. Congratulations. You have reached the level of the one: Mr. Joe Isuzu.

Mr. Roboto also sold a lot of VWs. Yeah, I just downloaded Mr. Roboto from iTunes.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ads: The American Way

They are. But not on jerseys. My new found like for soccer has me comparing my experiences to other sports I enjoy watching. I've found that there is little to compare to a morning Premier League game on ESPN 2. No commercial breaks and fluid games, not to mention... My man Ian Darke!

Contrast this to American football. Change of possession? Ad time out. After a TD? Ads. Then the field goal? Ads. After each kick off? Ads. Three time outs a half? Ad. Ad. Ads.

I remember my English Nana complaining once of all the ads when I was a kid. Now I know where that thought game from.

Man, don't even get me started on College Basketball, my first love. I can't even watch the end of a tight game anymore. MLB baseball? forget it. Ads after the top and bottom of innings. DROP THE ADS IN THE MIDDLE OF INNINGS. Yeah, all caps there.

So what am I getting at? Nothing really. I had a point to make about no ads on jerseys and to a larger extent or view the way we, Americans, view sport. It is our sacred cow. Hero worship. We forge them in school. So much so that sports are hitched to school at all levels. Not separate, but part of. Want to be a professional football player? You have to be three years removed from high school. i.e. play college because there are no developmental leagues. With soccer in Europe, kids are plucked out of school at around birth and put on a developmental pro team. What seems to happen is you get a Rooney. What some call a mule. He ain't too smart.

Just when I thought the trend away for that sort of thing was shifting with all the kids coming out of college to play ball, the NBA instituted a rule that you had to be one year removed from HS. And this rule may even be extended here soon probably because one of the last players to be plucked out of high school was LeBron James. A man-child who, after 7 years out of school, still wears a backpack around for some reason.

We like our teams clean of advertisements here. And we want to think of our players as intelligent. I happen to love that.

Just chill on the commercial breaks a bit.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

V. Only Interesting to me

1. "The Drive" The new one.
Not the one that knocked the Browns out of 1987 the playoffs. The one I just saw were the Jets had the ball for 11 minutes straight and didn't score. Believeland.

2. Shoot the Hinges
Sometimes I hear the phase "average age of gamers" and how it seems to go up each year. It's because most gamers started playing the NES and Sega Master system at age 10. Now they are are having kids. Time to scrap that phase. That said. Folks playing games are wiser as well. With that we are starting to see major holes these ultra hyped games that get written / designed by 2 year school C- 20 somethings and reviewed by the same who have never been to college. Click on that link to watch a 15 minute video of a guy playing Call of Duty: Black Ops... and never firing a shot. That is a short film. Not a game getting some of the best reviews of the year.

Anyway, shoot the hinges comes from THIS.

2a. Mass Effect 2
Sitting on my coffee table, ready to go.

yes. no. yes. no. Probably no? Not sure anyone is looking for a guy who works all the time, plays video games often and only hangs out with friends on Monday night to watch football. Oh, and takes good care of my cat.

3a. Also, I know everything about unicorns.

4. Whatever point I make here... will be used as justification for why I have to look at eHarmony.

5. Most productive player on the Brewmasters
Just finished a 34 grueling match season against all of Budesliga 2nd division. Some may say that is crazy. I say, HBU earned their stripes. Most productive? Stevens with .67 goals and assists per game (18 games). Highest average match rating? Matt Wood. 7.6 (28 games).

6. Stoke City
Up the ladder they go!! Back up to 10th.

7. It doesn't matter where the truth comes from.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Team Bondi(?) for Rockstar

A trailer recently came out for a game called L.A. Noire and I am intrigued. It looks like they are trying to pull off a City Confidential type game and while I love that movie, I'm hoping for more of a Chinatown. So who is Team Bondi? A group who worked on The Getaway.

I had my reservations about Red Dead Revolver and I am having the same about this game. But Red Dead was outstanding.

This is a bit early to be mentioning this game, but it comes out in the spring of next year. Maybe that's the Ohioan in me just wishing spring were here already.

Anywho, looks interesting. I've got Mass Effect lined up to play this weekend to set a benchmark. More on that soon.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Crew goes down, MLS Attendance

I've been interested for a while now on how the MLS is doing. It's a new(er) league in the US and always sort of thought that it was a niche thing. Not that I thought they weren't doing well, per say. Just way behind the other sports. Well it turns out they are actually doing well on a game to game basis. I say game to game because the play significantly less games then the other leagues in the US.

Philadelphia Union and Toronto FC actually fill their stadiums each game. The Seattle Sounders FC fill what is afforded to them at Quest Field which has a soccer capacity of 36,000 but actual cap of around 64,000 if they opened it up.

The Crew average about 14,000 fans a game, or 62% capacity. This is below the average and median by about 2,000 in the MLS, but in a Buckeye football dominated area? Not too shabby.

How does that stand up to the rest of the soccer world? I'm asking myself the same question. After all, we are just lowly Americans who could care less about the other Football right?

1. Bundesliga (GER): 42,790
2. English Premier League (ENG): 34,088
3. La Liga (ESP): 28,971
4. Serie A (ITA): 23,899
5. Ligue 1 (FRA): 20,119
6. Eredivisie (NED): 19,319
7. MLS (USA): 18,452
8. Championship (ENG): 18,113
9. Scottish Premier League (SCO): 15,128
10. Bundesliga 2 (GER): 15,056

I know that population has a ton to do with this. I'm actually surprised the Scottish league is in the top 10. I think that means that 110% of the Scottish population is showing up for games. Either way, nice work MLS!

Now, for the Crew going down....

The name of the MLS playoff game is: Aggregate. It's unique to "major" leagues in this world. Teams making the playoffs get a Home/Away match up. Team with the most goals in those two games win. It seems experimental, fun, strange and wonky.

The crew lost to the Rapids in the first game 1-0, but then won the second game 2-1. Aggregate? 2-2. Soooo, the second game went to PK's. Columbus lost.

I'm actually thinking they should just turn this sucker into a 3 game series.


While I'm at this attendance thing, topic and thinking on that cheerleader picture above... MLS plays a different time of year then most other leagues. Soccer in the rest of the world is a fall/winter sport and I like that idea. Could it work in the US? Heck yeah! February games in Salt Lake, Calorado, Kansas City, Chicago, and Columbus! How about Toronto and New England? Okay, maybe not.

However, with the league playing when it does I would like to see a Cup set up between the MLS and European leagues during their seasons and not "warm up" games featuring European teams playing the MLS teams during the MLS season.

Drop a couple of your meaningless cups and invite the Yanks out to your backyard - England and Germany - after our season is over. We'll go. In fact, I'll set up a tournament on FIFA 11 and see how it goes.

ahhh, 'tis a dream. 'tis a dream.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Spent a couple days in Indianapolis. Not much to say about that other then now I'm tired on the weekend.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Chevy Running full on

"Chevy Runs Deep" ad campaign is in gearing up now. I expect it to be in full on mode by the Super Bowl. What I'm seeing is dogs in trucks and newborn babies edited together with a rendition of "You Are My Sunshine". Who doesn't like that? Nobody. Who thinks that sells cars? Nobody. What that is, is Americana - and last time I checked... that was free. I don't need $25k to buy it. In fact, if you really feel the need to get a Chevy -- pick yourself up an old Camaro for a 10th of that price, as yours truly did.

These ads just skip over the worst years of GM. What I'd like to see is honesty. Even if it is just a minute ad. I mean, it's all we get.

The perfect American car ad was summed up by some dude commenting on the ads:

"All car commercials should have cars burning rubber racing and pretty girls. Well they should if you want me to watch them. Other wise I get and go get a beer."

Well said my friend.

You also made me resort to THIS.