Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Financial Advice

Excellent financial advice from Ben Stein in his New York Times column today. While he targets it to college freshman, I think it's great advice for everyone. Wish I'd heeded much of it 17 years ago.

Plus it's just cool to get good advice from Ferris Bueller's economics teacher..."Bueller...Bueller...something, something d-o-o economics, voodoo economics...the Smoot-Haley Tariff...."

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Elliott One of the Best

Linfield College QB Brett Elliott has been named one of the top 22 college QBs in the nation. Not too bad for a little Division III program. Check out Elliott for Heisman for details.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Jackass Spammers

I've added the "word verification" step to my Comments section because of the recent proliferation of jackass spammers using the section to sell crap. Sorry for the inconvenience to those dedicated few readers I have.

And how stupid is using the Comments section of a blog for spam anyway?

Monday, August 22, 2005

Back To School

As we get ready to send our kids back to school (we just bought school supplies last week...), here's a "back to school" story I haven't seen the media pick up yet:

"Children in a village of Tamim province received school supplies, clothing and toys from the Nahrain Foundation, a nongovernmental organization that focuses on providing proper nutrition, decent clothing and medical supplies to Iraqi women and children. The foundation received its supplies as part of a joint effort between American donations and a coalition forces-run program known as "Operation Provide School Supplies," which accepts donations from private citizens and corporations in the United States.

More than 600 children will return to renovated or rebuilt schools in Maysan province when school starts this fall. This week, renovation on the Al-Eethnar Mud School was completed, and the Al Eethar Mud School was replaced at a cost of $87,000, benefiting 500 students who attend classes there."

My daughter's class collected school supplies last year to send over to Iraq, makes me wonder if maybe some of them have gone to this effort.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Red October

Watching The Hunt For Red October on Spike. Man, what a great movie. I've always thought Alec Baldwin made the best Jack Ryan. Harrison Ford was too old, and Ben Affleck, well, he's Ben Affleck. Baldwin played Ryan with that perfect mix of brains and innocence. He played him as I viewed Ryan when I read the books. A smart, savvy man who was thrust into situations beyond his control. Yet he used his brains to save the day. Ford played Ryan as an action hero. He wasn't an action hero. And I am pretending the Affleck movie didn't happen.

But October is great not just because of Alec Baldwin's portrayal of Jack Ryan. You've got Sean Connery as Ramius, Scott Glenn as Mancuso, James Earl Jones as Greer, and a ton of bit parts played magnificently by some great actors. Tim Curry! Stellen Skarsgaard (the smart math prof from Good Will Hunting), Sam Neil (pre-Jurassic Park breakout), and Fred Thompson (pre-US Senator..."Soviets don't take a dump without a plan, son.").

And who can forget Jeffrey Jones as the one-legged former sub captain Skip Tyler! Who is Jeffrey Jones?!? Principal Ed Rooney from Ferris Bueller's Day Off! ("You know Ed, with your bad back you shouldn't be throwing anyone.")

Simply an outstanding movie.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Mascots pt. II

Interesting tidbit in Dwight Jaynes's column in today's Portland Tribune. According to Jaynes: "In 2003, a Sports Illustrated poll found that 83 percent of those (Native Americans) not living on reservations had no problem with such team mascots. And of those who lived on reservations, 67 percent didn’t have a problem with them."

How patronizing is it for the "majority" culture (us whities) to tell a vast majority of Native Americans that they are wrong on this issue?

Can't Miss Blog

Now that she is a few weeks into it, I want to promote the blog that my wife is doing weekly. In addition to her fulltime job as a mom, and part-time gig as a ballet teacher, she is a Creative Memories consultant, helping people with the scrapbooking needs. One day I suggested to her that having a blog and promoting it to her clients might be a good way for her to keep in touch with them. So she gave it a go and now loves coming up with a weekly idea to write about.

So go check out Croppin' With Katie. Even if you don't currently scrapbook, I bet you'll find her thoughts on preserving family memories/history interesting.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Virtues of Virtue

Next time you think that society is going to hell in a handbasket, read David Brooks's column from today's New York Times. Turns out things are actually looking up.

Which brings me to a pet peeve about the media: they focus on the negative. Brooks even acknowledges that late in his piece. But I had an example of it a couple weeks ago. Had a reporter in my office and I was giving her an overview of the industry I work for (and advocate for). Near the end, we were discussing a series of articles that really lambasted my industry, so I pointed out how that was a distortion because of the 1,000's of products created only a couple were "defective", and it's a pretty complex product. By focusing on the exception to the rule, the reporter painted a broad stroke that implied that the entire industry has this problem. I said I was hoping the reporter would do a follow-up on those businesses who are creating our product successfully and without defect. She said something to the effect of "Yeah, but that's not news. That's normal, so it isn't news."

Since part of my job is developing positive relationships with reporters, I bit my tongue and let that slide. But it was tough. I wanted to debate her view. Another part time job I have is as an adjunct professor for a couple area colleges, where I teach courses in media and politics. And one of the main discussions we frequently have in class is what qualifies as news. To have a reporter tell me that her opinion is that news is only things that are out of the ordinary/abnormal was very frustrating. Because essentially she was saying that is was OK that the aforementioned reporter to characterize an entire industry based on a small fraction of companies that have had defects.

I am not suggesting that the media can avoid all "bad" news. But when it isn't providing an accurate picture, when it is distorting the reality by only focusing on the bad or by implying that the negative is the norm, it isn't serving the general public.

And don't even get me started on the myth that is "objectivity." I'll save that for another rant.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Quick Hits

1. NCAA has banned schools with "racially insenstive" mascots from both playing in post season tournaments AND hosting them. Obviously this hits the NCAA Men's basketball tourny hardest. While I agree that some mascots are clearly inappropriate (Redmen, for example), some schools, like Florida State, have actually WORKED with local tribes to honor their heritage. FSU consulted with local Seminoles to create an accurate tribal outfit for their mascot, for example. But the thing that really bugs me is that the NCAA has only targeted Native American names. Apparently, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish is OK, even though the mascot shows a short, angry, leprechaun-like characiture of an Irish man. How is that any less "insensitive" than the Seminoles?

2. Apparently this guy's story has been around a while, but yesterday was the first time I've seen it. 400lb guy decided to get his life, and body, in shape by walking across the US. The story got out and now he's hearing about people across the country who are inspired by him. Besides that, he's got a great website name:

3. Finally, I was laying a brick patio today in the back yard (yes, I am tired as hell, thanks for asking), and my 6.5 year old was "helping", actually she was a little helpful. And as we were loading bricks in the wheelbarrow she was talking about how I could lift more bricks. "You're a boy, and boys and girls are different. No, they really are. Like, boys like video games, girls like dolls. Boys like legos, girls like Barbie." Just entering 1st grade and she's already got the world dialed in.

Friday, August 05, 2005

More Accolades...

For the boys at Linfield College. Street and Smith's, and Lindy's, have both named the Wildcats the preseason #1 in their Division III football rankings. That makes three major lists, the third being the preseason poll. That site is the best for info on DIII football, they do a tremendous job.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Lance on Charlie Rose

Lance Armstrong was on Charlie Rose on Monday night and I finally had time (and quiet) to watch the interview. It is excellent, very honest and revealing. If you didn't get to see it you should try to catch the repeat if they run it. Put it on your Tivo wish list and wait for it to run again. Simply excellent.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

38 Days...

And counting until Linfield College kicks off its defense of the NCAA Div. III Football National Championship. At the same time, they begin their quest for a 50th consecutive winning season. Yeah, you read that right: Linfield has not had a losing season in football for nearly a half century. Longest streak in college football.

The Wildcats return a TON of talent, lead by returning All Americans on offense that make up the Devestating Combo of Brett Elliott (QB) to Casey Allen (WR). Check out the season preview on the Linfield site.

BTW, for those that don't know, prior to transfering to Linfield and leading the 'Cats to a national title last year, Elliott was the starting QB at Div. I Univ. of Utah. In a game against Texas A&M, he broke his left wrist diving for a 2 point conversion, so Utah sent in his back-up, a guy named Alex Smith. Smith held on to the starting job, led Utah to a tremendous season the next year, was a finalist for the Heisman, and a couple weeks ago became the richest rookie in the NFL. But at one point, Smith was carrying a clipboard and signaling plays in to Elliott.

Elliott decided he would rather continue to play instead of being stuck as a back-up. And he decided he wanted the chance to actually compete for a national title, via a playoff system which is NOT available at the DI level. So he picked the winningest college football team in the nation, which just happened to be 45 minutes from his hometown.

They remain good friends. And my money says that Elliott, despite now playing at a DIII school, joins Smith in the NFL. He's the real deal.