Saturday, September 29, 2007

Game Review: Texas vs Kansas State

And the run to a five-loss season

A Texas team that looked bad in six of their last seven games finally found an opponent this year that could take advantage. Texas blew an opportunity to jump ahead in the Big 12 standings and the national polls, and now is looking like a team with some big problems. Colt McCoy looked horrible. He threw four interceptions, and could easily have had more. When forced to move around, he was flailing, throwing the ball wildly. Attempts to scramble and run resulted in very little gain. He got hit big just before halftime and got up woozy - he should have been sit down at that point.

The coaching was abysmal. Besides not taking McCoy out, the play calling continues to be horrible on both offense and defense. Third-and-long; short pass for two yards. Fourth-and-long; missed short pass for three yards. KState got a long run off to inside the Texas 10 at one point because Texas was still getting its defense on the field - KState was not running a hurry-up. This Texas team cannot run the ball and cannot throw the ball down the field. This is fault of Mack Brown and Greg Davis - period.

The special teams were horrific. Two returns for touchdowns. Plenty of other long returns. This unit is in big trouble.

The defense was bad, but not as bad as the offense and special teams. They consistently overran and missed tackles, and while they got a little pressure on the KState QB late, they never sacked him. I'm cutting them a little slack because all of the turnovers and big returns placed them in bad situations, but they were not very good.

Bottom line is - this team is going to lose big to Oklahoma (who will be pissed at their own loss today; UT doesn't seem to be capable of getting pissed off enough to improve), they will lose to Nebraska, they will lose at least one of Tech and A&M. The best they can hope for is 8-4. This team is simply an OK team - nothing special this year.

Listening to: Chick Corea & Béla Fleck - Spectacle
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ah, Wonderful

Another car related hassle. The PT Cruiser got me and Bailey to dog training last night, but decided not to get us back. No advanced warning - just a complete power loss. A jump attempt got things going as long as the charger was attached, but once it was removed, the car died. So this morning, I had an early morning trip back to Austin Canine Central to get my car towed to the dealer. Fortunately, I still had the AT&T Roadside Assistance, which actually has turned out to work pretty well so far. I may actually keep it.

So we are looking at four possible outcomes:

  1. A dead battery. Unlikely, since it was recently replaced.
  2. A corroded battery cable. There is some corrosion, but I don't know if it would cause these symptoms.
  3. A bad alternator. The first diagnosis of the guy who gave me the attempted jump.
  4. Something else mysterious in the electrical system.
Hopefully, it is number 1 or 2, which look like the cheapest and easiest to fix.

This car continues its string of bad luck. This is one of the first problems I've had that were the car's fault - I can't blame it for being rear-ended twice, or my ripping the front-end off, or the flat tire. But I never had this many bad-luck events with the old Altima (until it got totaled by the garbage truck).

And by the way - just out of curiosity, I checked on what a taxi ride from my house to my car (about 7 miles) would cost by taxi. The answer is about $20, but the odd thing is: it appears that taxi rates in Austin are calculated to the nearest 1/7th of a mile.

One-seventh? What in the world else do we measure in sevenths - besides days in a week? The fact that they chose such a goofy increment makes me suspect that it somehow screws the rider - they think more in eighths or something, so they think they're getting a better deal. Like having gas be $2.899 per gallon instead of $2.90. Oh, well, I'm not cynical or anything.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

And I Want An iPony

So after a couple of months of modding and a couple of weeks of veiled warnings from Apple, Apple has announced that iPhone unlock mods might cause incompatibility with future firmware updates, and that those incompatibilities might result in non-working iPhones.

And people are somehow getting upset about this.

Wha? Why in the world would people think Apple would support a hacked iPhone? One of the reasons Apple maintains (relatively) high quality in their software is because they rule their hardware with an iron fist. Now that they are in the more "wild west" territory of cell phones (with the hacking community a lot wilder than anything the Macintosh has had to deal with), suddenly people are expecting them to change. I'm not sure why - Apple has a long tradition of trusting its own counsel, for right or wrong.

Look - you people signed a contract. When you decided to unlock your phone, you effectively transfered the support responsibilities from Apple and AT&T to yourselves. Go talk to the mod team you got the unlock from and deal with them now.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Where's The Shine?

It's a little bit off for the new iPod classic.
  • This is my first iPod with the shiny-metal back - and yep, despite my best efforts, it's already got some scratches. Protective case, STAT!
  • I can tell there's a hard disk in the thing, because I can hear it spin when I'm using it without listening to it. You can feel it a little bit, too. I haven't been out jogging yet, but I'll be able to tell then, I suspect.
  • A couple of sync oddities: whenever it is synching, I see a letter "P" in the title bar on the screen. What's up with that? Also, the iPod seems to go right to eject mode once it has finished with the sync, but iTunes still lists the iPod as attached.
  • CoverFlow is still pretty much useless. I suspect I'll take it off of the menu.
  • I've already had a crash. It occurred while playing the iQuiz game - maybe an issue while loading a cover?
  • Even with the update, the menus are still slower than the old mini. Don't know if they are slower than more recent iPods.
But the pros:
  • It seems to work fine with my existing car adapter, speakers and home dock (audio only). The only accessories I'll have to depart with are the remote and iTrip, both of which use the old iPod mini jack. But I don't use either of those regularly anyway.
  • I'm glad I went with the classic video screen, rather than the nano. The screen is certainly big enough for TV shows - don't know if widescreen movies will look as good.
  • Musically, no change. Still sounds fine, although I'll need to do a little playlist rearranging now that I'm carrying around 40GB of music rather than 6GB.
All in all, this is more of an evolutionary step than revolutionary - maybe I was expecting more. Once a video out solution is available, we'll see how this works as a video-to-TV solution.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Happy Birthday To Me (Again)!

Finally picked up my birthday present for myself:

This replaces my trusty silver 6GB iPod mini. I wasn't sure how much I would use it when I got it, but as it turns out I probably use it more than any other piece of technology I own besides the computer I use at the office - I listen to it in my car, at my office, while exercising, and just at home. I've gotten into podcasting, and in fact use it to timeshift TV and radio programs that I may have missed (and usually commercial-free).

I knew I wasn't going to get the new iPod touch, although my first encounter with it an the Apple Store had a very high drool factor. I was most impressed by the web browser aspect of it, but I just couldn't see dropping the extra money for just a small increase in storage and capability, and it didn't seem like the kind of thing I'd want to take jogging for some reason. It's beautiful to be sure, but just not what I'm looking for.

The nano was tempting, but I had decided to start using these things for some video use. I don't know how much will be piped to my TV versus using the built-in screen, but the nano screen was just too small for video use in my opinion. And the small increase in storage (6GB to 8GB) wasn't very tempting either.

So it was the 80GB classic all the way for me. After playing around in the store, I decided to go with the black one over the silver one just because the black border seemed better suited for acting as a boundary around the video screen.

I had decided to wait for the initial shakedown period - which revealed a few glitches in the new iPod:
  1. slow menu response
  2. slow Cover Flow response
  3. incompatible with existing video out solutions
  4. incompatible with existing iPod games
However, items 1 and 2 appear to have been solved with a firmware update, and items 3 and 4 don't apply to me since my previous iPod didn't support video or games (outside of the preloaded ones).

My music library is currently about 30GB, and as I mentioned I don't currently have any videos since my old mini didn't support them. But I'll be getting into them now, essentially using the iPod as my AppleTV. I'm not sure why anyone would buy an actual AppleTV given that they can get most of the same behavior with an iPod classic for about the same money.

Now comes time to drop the old mini plus the accessories I have that don't work with the classic off to CraigsList. I'm hoping to get a little over $100 for it, which seems to be the going rate on eBay - so my $249 iPod dropped in value by 60% in just over two years. Given the amount of use I've gotten from it, I'd say that was money well-spent. Hopefully the same will be true for the new one.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I'm In "Control"

NBC, shortly after booting themselves off of iTunes, lies to my face:

“With the creation of this new service, we are acknowledging that now, more than ever, viewers want to be in control of how, when and where they consume their favorite entertainment,” said Vivi Zigler, the executive vice president of NBC Digital Entertainment. “Not only does this feature give them more control, but it also gives them a higher quality video experience.”

Ah, so that explains why they switched to a new distribution scheme that supports fewer users than iTunes, the one they were on before. The new service does not support my machine of choice, the Macintosh, nor does it support iTunes or the iPod.

It also explains why the downloaded shows have embedded commercials that cannot be skipped, and why the downloaded shows expire after seven days.

Because they want me, the user, to be in control of "how, when and where".

It's probably just as well that the only NBC show I watch with any regularity is Law & Order, and even that has been slipping down my interest list.

Via Slashdot.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Kick Him Again! Kick Him Again!

Dan Rather just doesn't know when to stay down. Does he really want to go through all this again? Not as stupid as having to dive back into the O.J. cess pool, or Donovan F. McNabb deciding to replay the whole Rush Limbaugh debacle (and swipe me and "my ilk" as racists on the side), but it's gotta be up there on the list. Dan, you've got a new job with a new sugar daddy - just count your blessings and shut up, OK?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fantasy Football: Week 2 Recap

"And then depression set in..." - Bill Murray, Stripes

My money league team dropped to 0-2 after another pathetic performance from my WR corps (or corpse, to be more accurate). Lee Evans, my third-round WR1, had another invisible day and is currently the 93rd highest-scoring wide receiver in our league. Patrick Crayton, replacing a still injured Terry Glenn, dislocated his pinky and turned in a measly two points. The lone bright spot has been Andre Johnson, who caught another 2 touchdowns.

And then got injured - he's doubtful for next week.

My running back group - McGahee, Travis Henry and Foster - did OK but nothing spectacular. The Miami defense was shredded by Dallas and turned in a lousy performance. And speaking of Dallas, Marion Barber was starting for my opponent, so his late touchdown run was another big dagger, as was Devin Hester's long punt return for a touchdown (this league counts individual return stats). It all added up to a 29-point loss, and a quick trip to the league's cellar. I'm not quite the worst team in the league, but I'm only ranking 8th out of 12 in scoring, and that's not going to get me anywhere near the playoffs. These WRs better start earning their pay.

Elsewhere, my Yahoo team continued to dominate. We have 215 points through two games; the next highest total is 177. Here's where all of my WRs have been hiding out - Chad Johnson, Plaxico Burress and Braylon Edwards have all been studs, more than making up for the fact that I only have one real running back (Alexander). They're an easy 2-0.

My NFL team pulled out a narrow 115-97 victory to go to 1-1 (10 of the 12 teams are 1-1). Jake Delhomme was the stud here with 3 TD passes. My ESPN team fell to 1-1 with a narrow 113-101 loss. I couldn't overcome big games by Randy Moss and Steve Smith. (Funny, WR success or failure seems to be the big theme so far. That's not good for my money league.)

So I've got a 2-0 team, two 1-1 teams and an 0-2 team. I guess that's balance of some type. Too bad the team I care about is the 0-2 one.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Game Review: Texas vs Central Florida

Ah, another week, another pushover team. Right?


Oh, right. Texas has to have another fourth-quarter comeback against a huge underdog, letting them stick around until a last-minute onside kick. Sound familiar?

Now, Texas didn't look as bad as they did against Arkansas State, and UCF is a better team than Arkansas State. So, the amount of panic here isn't as great as after Week One.

But still, Texas made a bad team look good. Their defense continues to disappoint. While the front-line at least got a little pressure early (some sacks and batted balls), the secondary and linebackers are just non-existant at times. And even the front-line disappeared as the game went on, allowing a 65-yard drive all on the ground in the third quarter to give UCF the lead.

Offensively, Texas still had to rely on the short passes, five to ten yards. For a while, we were able to get some results with that, but eventually, the lack of running game and long passing game shut Texas down in the second half. Bottom line, this is a team that isn't going to scare anyone this year, and the likes of OU and Nebraska are going to destroy us. This is still at very best a nine-win team, and more likely to be a seven- or eight-win team.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Conundrum

From dealmac:

Walgreens printable coupon: Free printer cartridge refill

Today only, get a free printer cartridge refill at your local Walgreens via this printable coupon. With no purchase being necessary, that's the best deal we've seen on a single ink cartridge. You can choose to bring either a black or color cartridge to receive the refill. (Note that you're not getting a new cartridge; rather, a used one is getting refilled.) This coupon does not apply to Canon or Epson refills.

So...if you need a printer refill, how can you print out the coupon? Hmm....

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Morning Constitutional XI

(An ongoing series of observations - where the stupidity around me makes me feel a little bit smarter to start my day.)

Seen at a Costco station this morning - check out the middle picture, showing "how not to pump gas."

Who the heck puts the nozzle into their car upside down? Is this such a problem that Costco needed to print up a bunch of signs instructing customers how to use the pump?

Fantasy Football: Week 1 Recap

The agony of close defeat.

My money league team let me down big time last night. My opponents rode the Ravens D/ST (punt return for a TD and a block) and T.J. Houshmanwhatever (9 catches and a TD) to a come-from-behind victory, 135.18 to 134.70.

That's five rush yards. That's one catch. That's one freaking blocked extra point.


The main letdown for my squad was Lee Evans, with 2 catches for 5 yards. Considering I've already replaced an injured Terry Glenn with Patrick Crayton, I really can't afford to have issues with my main receiver. The Bills need to find their offense in a hurry.

Elsewhere, my Yahoo team dominated, scoring thirty more points than the next closest team in winning 112-59. Kitna, Plaxico and the Vikings all came up big, and I could have scored even more points had I started Eli Manning instead of Kitna.

My ESPN team held on to win 112-91. My Randy Moss concerns were held off for one week in a big way, and Kitna came through also (as mentioned earlier). Enough to overcome a good Tom Brady performance from my opponent.

My NFL autopick team came up a little short, losing 104-91. It was a subpar performance from a stud that let me down here - Steven Jackson's 61 total yards with 2 fumbles. Oh, and going up against Tony Romo didn't help either. 91 points is still the 4th highest, so not time to panic yet.

So, a mediocre 2-2 start, plus 0-1 in my money league. Not off to a great start record wise, but assuming the Bills and Ravens can get their offenses running, I'm not ready to panic yet.

My Suicide League pick of Pittsburgh over Cleveland won, and it's 30 players moving on, 5 players eliminated. My Suicide League Points pick, Seattle over Tampa, was popular, placing me in a large group in 4th place with +14 points.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Game Review: Texas vs. TCU

Getting better, but still not quite all the way there.

Either TCU proved to be a bit overrated, or the UT defense finally showed up. This was a pretty dominating performance, holding TCU to only 43 yards rushing, getting four turnovers and a defensive touchdown. Offensively, things took a while to get going, as UT scored no points themselves in the first half, and had two turnovers that directly contributed to all of TCU's 10 first-half points. McCoy looked pretty bad in the first half, making some bad decisions, missing Limus Sweed twice, and having an interception returned for a TD.

By the second half, Texas found a play that worked, and ran it over and over - that center slant where the receiver slants outside, catches the ball, then spins back into the center. It was like the out pass that Arkansas State used so well against Texas last week - just keep running it until the other guys stop it. TCU never did.

UT also showed a little running ability - whenever they ran up the middle. I hope Greg Davis learned something from that. Jamal Charles had 134 yards rushing (although 39 of those were on a late trash-time TD run as the clock was running out), and continued to look good up the middle. UT still isn't blowing the other guys off the line, but they are getting some results.

So, we're calling off the emergency warnings. The next two games are against UCF (which should be a victory - UT favored by 19.5) and Rice (which just got blown out by Baylor, for God's sake). Hopefully, that will get us in good shape for the Big 12 opponents.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Movie Review: Return of the Dragon

This was an odd film. It's a Bruce Lee flick, and apparently the first one written by and directed by Lee.

Which is why it's odd why the film is as poor as it is - this film seems to conspire to make Bruce seem less impressive than he was.

The opening part of the film has Lee traveling to Rome to help out a damsel in distress. Here, we learn the primary conflict - Bruce takes on the Italian Mafia over...a Chinese restaurant? It's not even a particularly nice restaurant - it's just some building the Mafia wants for some unknown reason.

But the first segment decides to show the lighter side of Bruce, trying out some of the comedy bits that Jackie Chan would perfect a few years down the road. Unfortunately, none of the jokes work - they mostly involve Bruce trying to be more relaxed around the natives, which result in his standing around with a stupid grin on his face. Maybe some of the jokes involved language differences - my copy had everything dubbed into English - but the first 20-30 minutes or so is painful to watch.

Bruce then makes his own character even less appealing (remember, he wrote this). The damsel-in-distress shows him around the sights of Rome, and Bruce spends his time insulting the city. He puts down the historic ruins, talks about how he would rebuild it like Hong Kong. He even insults her cooking! The guy is basically a jerk.

The Mafia finally starts throwing its muscle around, and so the action starts up. And here the movie blows it again. Bruce is the only person (save one notable exception later on) to show any basic skills. His allies are fodder to be mowed down before he gets into the mix, and his opponents are easily and comically defeated immediately. Yeah, Bruce looks good with his nunchucks, but it's basically one hit per opponent. He's just too dominant compared to everyone else, and since he doesn't toy around at all, there's really not much to any of the fight scenes.

After a long while, we finally get to the Big Boss fight, only to's Chuck "Roundhouse Kick To The Head" Norris in his first big role! The first between the two is suitably impressive, the best part of the movie by far - but even here, Chuck ends up looking tougher than Bruce. Early on, Bruce resorts to grabbing Chuck by his chest hair (eeewww) in order to escape. And later, Bruce manages to break Chuck's leg and wrist - and Chuck struggles to his feet, staggers over and continues the attack! Chuck comes across as the bad-ass here, not Bruce.

I just don't understand how a movie Bruce wrote ends up making him look so bad in so many different ways. Definitely a lesser entry in Bruce's filmography. Two stars, and that's just for Chuck.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Happy Birthday To Me!

My laptop got me a special gift at work died. So tomorrow, it's like getting a whole new laptop!!!!

Bailey got me a good gift, too...she's still alive and happy, if not completely healthy. Now if she'd just get me an early Christmas gift...some fUtility legs in October.

My gift to myself? It will be one of these - just the 80GB model.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Morning Constitutional X

Slashdot links to a study about myths - how they start, how they persist. The link to the study gives an example of such a myth:

lottameez recommends an article in the Washington Post about recent research into the persistence of myths. In short: once a myth has been put out there (e.g., "Saddam Hussein plotted the 9/11 attacks"), denying it can paradoxically reinforce its staying power. Ignoring it doesn't work either — a claim that is unchallenged gains the ring of truth. Over time, "negation tags" fall out of memory: "Saddam didn't plan 9/11" becomes "Saddam planned 9/11."

So, of course, when using that specific example, some commenters called out the political slant of that example (the article comes from the Washington Post, what do you expect?), and some commenters responded to that complaint.

With unintended irony.

"What I want to know is, who in the Administration EVER said that Saddam plotted 9/11? I never heard that said. I have heard people who oppose the Bush Administration say that the Bush Administration said it, but I have never heard a quote from the Bush Administration saying (or implying) it."

That's the point! They didn't have to say it. They only had to keep mentioning 9/11 and Saddam in the same sentence, or in close proximity, to make the association become real for many people. Shit like, "But come back to 9/11 again, and one of the real concerns about Saddam Hussein, as well, is his biological weapons capability; the fact that he may, at some point, try to use smallpox, anthrax, plague, some other kind of biological agent against other nations, possibly including even the United States." (Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, 9/8/2002), did the job just fine.

Or this one, same interview: "I'm not here today to make a specific allegation that Iraq was somehow responsible for 9/11. I can't say that. On the other hand, since we did that interview, new information has come to light. And we spent time looking at that relationship between Iraq, on the one hand, and the al-Qaeda organization on the other. And there has been reporting that suggests that there have been a number of contacts over the years. We've seen in connection with the hijackers, of course, Mohamed Atta, who was the lead hijacker, did apparently travel to Prague on a number of occasions. And on at least one occasion, we have reporting that places him in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence official a few months before the attack on the World Trade Center. The debates about, you know, was he there or wasn't he there, again, it's the intelligence business."

Pretty cute, huh? "I'm not here to make a SPECIFIC allegation", just a general one.

So, yes. The Bush administration did set out to imply that Hussein was involved with 9/11, but more importantly, to create the illusion that we could seek justice/revenge for 9/11 by attacking Iraq.

[Emphasis mine.] So, in an article about how people will sometimes willfully negate what was said in order to perpetuate a myth that fits their mindset, this commenter inadvertently uses that exact technique to perpetuate his own myth - that Bush explicitly linked Sadaam Hussein to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. While attempting to show how that wasn't a myth.


And Then There Were Four

My fourth and final fantasy football team was an autodraft team, since there wasn't time left for me to sign up for another live draft before the start of the season. I don't usually do autodrafts, but maybe I should - I didn't end up with too bad a team. I think too many of the other players just use the default settings and end up taking QBs, TEs and defenses too soon. Those who stick to a basic plan like RB-RB-WR-WR end up with much stronger teams.

I ended up with a top-10 QB, two top-10 RBs, two top-10 WRs and a decent TE (all according to projections, of course). Not bad in a 12-team league. I might poke around for a WR upgrade of Chris Chambers, but I don't think that will turn out too bad. I haven't checked the other teams yet, but this seems to be a strong line-up, and at least I get a chance to follow Jackson (I hadn't had the number 2 pick yet this year).

QB - Matt Hasselbeck, Jake Delhomme
RB - Steven Jackson, Edgerrin James, Tatum Bell
WR - Reggie Wayne, Chris Chambers, Javon Walker, Isaac Bruce
TE - Kellen Winslow, David Martin
D - Raiders, Packers
K - Olindo Mare

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Movie Review: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon

This is a 1990 Sammo Hung action-comedy, with co-star Karl Maka. The two play Kong Kong policemen who are trying to take down a drug-lord named Prince. This movie was kind of a low-rent remake of Running Scared (the Gregory Hines/Billy Crystal movie, not the more recent 2006 movie). Sammo and Maka play typical 80's cop buddies, using wild methods and pissing off their superiors to get to the bad guys. Maka is the wild, fast-talking cop, while Sammo plays the somewhat more cautious, quieter partner.

The first part of the movie has the cops and Prince sniping at each other without doing any real damage - Prince has the cops busted for public lewdness, and the cops in turn wreck Prince's Mercedes. Their boss sends them away to let things cool down, and they get the idea to quit their jobs and open a karaoke bar in Singapore. But on their return, they find themselves having to save their girlfriends and wrap up the case before they can go. All of this is pretty much taken straight from Running Scared.

But, this being a Hong Kong film, there are a couple of differences. First, the comedy is much broader. It's hard to imagine why anyone puts up with Maka's Tiger character for very long; his fast-talking and spur-of-the-moment plans would seem to make him pretty annoying in real life. It's not the worst comedy I've seen in Chinese films, but it's right up there.

Second, there is martial arts action, mostly courtesy of Sammo Hung, who is amazing as usual here (although he seems to have picked up the Bruce Lee "whining" technique here, which I don't think I've seen him do in other movies). There's a great scene where he takes on a dozen attackers using two pipes as nunchucks, and he's got some pretty good kick routines as well. Maka is passable, but I don't think martial arts is his first vocation. There's also a fairly vicious pair of killers, one female and one crossdresser, late in the film in a scene that's a little harder in style than the rest of the film.

The final plan to take down Prince is fairly goofy, although I'm not sure it's any worse than the ending of Running Scared (Gregory Hines rappelling down the center of an atrium firing an automatic weapon while Jimmy Smits yells "My coke!" over and over). They trick one of Prince's accomplices with a fake fight into drawing Prince to a meeting, which starts the final fight scene when the trick is discovered. Maka proves fairly annoying here; I'd rather just have more Sammo. But still, not a bad sequence at all. Take away the somewhat dead middle section in Singapore, and tone down Maka a bit, and this could be a really good film. As it is, three stars.

Well call me Buzzard Bait!

It can't possibly be true. Someone is developing a movie based on ... Joust?

What next ... Tempest?

Hell, they haven't made a Space Invaders movie yet, have they?

TCU > Arkansas State

TCU getting 9.5 points against Texas Saturday night? I'd take that.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Congratulations, KLBJ!

I just finished watching 9/11 Conspiracy Theories: Fact or Fiction on The History Channel. As reviewed elsewhere, it is a suitably-complete deconstruction of the garbage spewed by these nutjobs.

But I mainly wanted to note the special appearance of Austin's own KLBJ-AM, which looked to be the media outlet most frequently displayed during the show. Unfortunately, it was displayed behind the blithering idiocy of one Alex Jones (no link for him; he's all too easy to find on the Internet). Formerly restricted to the relative obscurity of cable access, Jones has managed to harness the Internet to gain enough visibility for KLBJ to decide to give him two or three hours of airtime on weekend afternoons, and so all of the interview segments with Jones had the KLBJ logo proudly and prominently displayed on the rear wall.

I know the KLBJ program management can't be too much in alignment with Jones' whack-job ideas; they program Rush Limbaugh and Neal Boortz, and their own local shows are generally center-right or libertarian in nature. I can only assume that Jones is paying for the time, since he uses it to hawk his own disgusting wares. So congrats, KLBJ - you've sold out your credibility on a weekly basis to anyone unfortunate to listen to this nutbag, and you've now sold out your credibility on national television for a few bucks. Hope it was worth it.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

A Good Idea

Here's an idea - free-of-charge - for Time Warner, DirecTV, Dish Network. How about letting us rearrange channels in non-numeric order?

DirecTV lumps most of its national sports channels (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, NFLN) together in the low 200's, but its regional sports channels (Fox Sports Southwest) are all up in a separate block in the 600's. So I don't usually think to browse FSSW when I'm checking out sports.

So how about letting me change the sort order of my channels to put 643 (FSSW) after 212 (NFLN)? You already let me exclude channels from my browse, and I can't imaging there's any technical reason for disallowing this. Just make it unneccessarily hard, so that some 70-year-old won't accidentally scramble up their channels.

You're welcome.

Listening to: Dave Brubeck Quartet - Three To Get Ready
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Game Review: Texas vs Arkansas State


A few hardy souls were talking about UT being in the national championship race. The more sane ones were content to stick with being favored in the Big 12 championship race.

After Saturday night, all bets are off.

The Horns pulled out a pathetic 21-13 win over what should have been a pushover, Arkansas State. But had this been any other team on their schedule, Texas would have lost easily. They even had to hold on against the Indians - they were a blown call away from giving Arkansas State a last-minute chance to tie up a game they were favored to win by 39.

The offense has become tired and predictable - not that offensive coordinator Greg Davis was ever anything else. Let's make one thing clear - the only reason the Horns won in 2005 is because of Vince Young, not because of anything Greg Davis brought to the table. Now we have a team that either can't or won't run in the middle, and that can't or won't pass down the field. I don't know how many times they ran that stupid counter play to Jamal Charles - they're still running the same plays they used with Vince Young, and McCoy ain't Vince. He isn't going to run the ball like Vince, and so Charles got pounded every time. Suffice it to say, third and goal from the one against Arkansas State should be a touchdown 99 times out of 100 - tonight it was a turnover on downs. And they never even tried to go up the middle.

McCoy had a pretty poor game. He looked great in the first quarter, and lost after that. He had two interceptions on the night, but should have had at least two more. He threw to the wrong side of Sweed on multiple times. He didn't or couldn't find his tight ends. He will need to turn things around in a hurry.

Defensively, there are many, many problems, but as the Joker almost once said, "I have given a name to my pain, and it is Brandon Foster." He was toasted on a number of occasions, and it was he who blew the onside kick recovery at the end that would have given Arkansas State a shot. Our secondary has problems, but this guy is going to lose us games this year, and that is a fact.

Our defensive line got a little pressure early, but Arkansas State adjusted quickly by basically abandoning the run and switching to quick slant passes. After that, the D-line never got close. Oh - except for the times they were called for roughing the quarterback, or sacking him by the facemask.

Basically, it's a damn good thing Arkansas State isn't very good. (They missed two short field-goals, had an interception in the endzone, and had six - six - false start penalties, so it could have been even closer if they had any real game.) Before this game, I thought Texas had a good shot of finishing anywhere between 12-0 and 10-2. Now, I don't see how they could beat OU or Nebraska, will have problems next week with TCU, and could lose two more to the group of usual suspects (Missou, Tech, K-State, A&M). This team could now be anywhere from 10-2 to 7-5, and if it heads towards the latter, things are going to be very ugly around Austin this fall.

Listening to: Anthrax - Belly of the Beast
via FoxyTunes