Sunday, September 30, 2007

The River City Showdown

Alabama and Florida State came to town today for one of those games rare for two reasons - it was a neutral field, and it was two upper level programs playing each other out of conference. It was a great game, not least because we(Florida State) won. There were some annoying things that happened in and around the game, though.

I decided to get tickets on Wednesday, and the game has been sold out for a while. I went to StubHub.com, which you will have heard of if you listen to sports radio at all. They're a ticket reselling marketplace. Sellers place their tickets and buyers either bid in auction or just buy for a fixed price. Kind of an Ebay for tickets only. There were hundreds available so I bought 4 of them. What happens is you tell StubHub you want them, they tell the seller who then mails them and you get notified.

After I waited a day and a half, on Thursday night, I called to find out when my tickets would be mailed. After holding for a long time, I was told the seller no longer has those tickets. So this asshole put his tickets up for sale, and then sold them offline. StubHub apologized and gave me a $75 coupon towards my next purchase. I still didn't have ticktes though and the handful left on StubHub were too expensive.

So we went to Ebay and found 4 good seats for $100 each. The online ticket market was really tight, and we had to buy 4 even though we only needed 3. This leads to the next thing that pissed me off.

All week on TV, on the radio, we've been hearing what a big game this is. That even thought the teams were both down a bit historically, that it was a tough ticket and had been sold out for months. This seemed to be borne out by our online experience. So we figure we'll go to the game and sell the 4th ticket before we go in. As we arrive we realize there are hundreds, if not thousands of tickets for sale all around the stadium. It was such a buyer's market, that we could have come down ticketless and got 3 seats for probably $15 to $20 each. As it was, we sold our 4th for $20 right before we went in, and that was just pure luck. So the upshot is that unless it's a 1 vs 2 or something like that, I'm never buying resold tickets on the internet again to a game in Jax.

Finally, a little thing. We went down right before the end of the half to get Tori some Outback cheese fries. The Outback line was probably 10 registers wide and maybe 15 deep. I figured we had just enough time to get to the front and get back before the start of the 3rd. I was right, but when we got to the front, the guy said they were out of fries, they didn't order enough. Even with maybe 200 people in line, they couldn't manage to put up a handwritten sign? I know we weren't the only ones waiting for cheese fries. Well, fuck you Outback - I missed the our first TD because I had to go wait in the nacho line(much shorter, but slow) because Tori was dying for some food.

Even though we overspent for the tickets, we had a really good time. The weather was great, the crowd was pretty electric. Half Alabama and half Florida State, sold out and very loud. College games are just so much better than pro for atmosphere. The game itself had a lot of excitement, after a slow first half. The 21-14 final was all second half. It's a great Saturday of football, what with our winning, Colorado, whom we beat 2 weeks ago knocking of top 5 Oklahoma, and the Gators losing to Auburn. Now on to the NFL, where the Cowboys host the Rams to try to get to 4-0.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

0

That's how many games the Mets lead by in the NL East. But I guess that's what happens when you don't show up for the final three weeks of the season. Maybe they'll be able to outplay the Phillies for the last three games of the year and somehow crawl (not limp, they haven't been able to stand for a week) into the playoffs, but what the fuck good is that going to do when they're playing like this?

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Shut the Fuck Up

It's amazing, but of course not surprising, that people in such high positions can continue to make such basic, stupid mistakes. Peter Pace, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff once again showed his ignorance of how representative democracy is supposed to work -

"We need to be very precise then, about what I said wearing my stars and being very conscious of it," he added. "And that is, very simply, that we should respect those who want to serve the nation but not through the law of the land, condone activity that, in my upbringing, is counter to God's law."
It's just not that hard. Peter Pace, private citizen, is free to hold the belief that homosexuality is immoral under "God's law". That makes him a bigot, but he's free to think what he wants. But then to posit this idea that the government should be in the business of condoning or condemning behavior that is based on his religious principles is nuts. Once again, behavior that has no impact on the rights of others is out of bounds for the government. Yes, I know that half of our country doesn't agree, but it's disheartening that someone who is supposed to uphold our freedoms clearly doesn't even have a basic understanding of what he's defending.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tee Ball

A friend of mine is coaching tee ball this year and asked if Libby, my 8-year old daughter wanted to play. She did, so now I'm the assistant coach of a tee ball team. The ages run from 5 to 9, with 8 and 9 year olds only allowed if they haven't played ball before. It's fun and frustrating at the same time.

We've had several practices and the kids are getting better at hitting and throwing, but holy crap, they can't field worth a damn. Watching them try to run down a fast grounder is like watching the the keystone cops. It goes under the shortstop and whizzes right by the left and left center fielders and the second baseman who decided to run out and go after the ball instead of covering the bag. Then they throw back to the pitcher (actually a kid playing a position called the circle, as the coaches pitch in tee ball). Play stops when the ball gets into the circle. But most every time it flies right by the kid in the circle and ends up near the dugout.

I look at these kids, nearly all who have never played and I know they're mostly having fun, and they really only signed up to hit the ball anyway; fielding is the price they have to pay to get up to bat. But it's a funny sight. And of course, while the ball is flying around the field, four or five coaches are yelling instructions at the same time to kids who really aren't listening to them.

Our first game is Monday. Libby is pretty excited. As long as everyone has fun, it'll be worth it. But it would be nice to see someone get thrown out at first.

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The Good, the Bad and the Tattooed

This sounds like another front in the clash between the old(er) and the young. Gilbert and Melissa Carrillo were turned down for an upscale apartment complex in San Antonio due to Gilbert's tattoos.

We contacted one of the owners of the apartments: A southern California doctor named Edward Frankel.

Frankel e-mailed us a statement saying his apartment complexes do, in fact, "reject prospective tenants who have... tattoos exposed on the neck, head, hands and wrists, or large tattoos that cover over 40% of the lower or upper arm."

Frankel says, "We do not discriminate. The above applies to persons of any race, color, gender, etc."

Frankel, and his partners, have purchased numerous upscale apartment complexes in San Antonio and Dallas, where they've also banned pierced eyebrows and tongues. Tenants can't have more than one nose piercing, or more than five earrings.


I get what they're trying to do. They want to cater to a certain clientèle, and they think that excluding the tattooed and pierced will keep out the undesirables. They may be allowed to do this as a private business, but it's just stupid in practice. Lack of tattoos doesn't indicate that someone is respectable or conservative, just as being tattooed doesn't indicate and lack of class. Personally, I think that Gilbert's tattoos look pretty trashy, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't want to live next door to him. Michelline's uncle, an IT professional making in the 6 figures got some sort of tattoo bug several years ago and now he's got most of his non-exposed body covered.

The days when tattoos and weird piercings meant someone was likely a gang member or something are long gone. Based on random links from Google (hey, I don't have time to research this stuff in depth), as many as 40% of people under 40 have tattoos. The time is fast approaching when tattoos and even those disgusting-looking eyebrow and lip piercings are ok in the corporate workplace. The kinds of policies like those above are dinosaurs.

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QB thoughts

A quick look at the NFL standings shows 5 undefeated teams after 3 weeks. We have the Patriots, Colts and Steelers in the AFC, and the Cowboys and Packers in the NFC. I think this just reinforces once again the importance of the QB. On those 5 teams, you have the two best QBs in the game in Manning and Brady, a veteran hall-of-fame QB in Favre, a recent Super Bowl winner in Roethlisberger, and up-and-comer Romo. All 5 are playing very well so far. If you look at the top 10 QBs by rating, only Chad Pennington at #2 with a 121.4 rating has a losing record. I think their record has to do more with playing the Patriots week 1 and losing Chad to injury in week 2.

This just shows why even when the Cowboys were showing improvement under Bill Parcells, I was never really optimistic about their chances - the Cowboys haven't had a decent QB since Aikman. Until Romo came in last year, I knew that no matter how good our running game or defense got to be, a mediocre QB would ruin everything. Hell, I think Testaverde and Bledsoe single-handedly lost 5 or 6 winnable games, if not more.

I know you can pick out your Dilfers and Grossmans who led teams to the Super Bowl, but those are anomalies. I'm much happier as a fan of a team with a good QB and offense and a suspect defense, than I would be if we had a great defense and a mediocre QB.

By the way, if you haven't checked out the revamped NFL.com, you should. That stats are incredible. Instant sortable stats in all categories going back to the 30's.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Small Town Life

NAAWP Truck

As a follow up to my other post, I saw the same truck today (again, at Wal-Mart), so this time I took a picture.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fall TV Preview

These days, I'm looking forward to the new TV season nearly as much as I was the football season. As someone said earier this year, we're living in a golden age of TV right now. You can have the 50's, I'll take the current slate, and I don't even have HBO. Here's a rundown of what I plan to watch this TV season.

Heroes - What a great show. It's shows like this that make me nervous about dismissing any new stuff. I almost didn't Tivo this one last year. I have to say I wasn't wowed by the finale, but the quality of the scripts and characters would have to drop quite a ways before I would stop watching. The previews for the new season look great.

CSI:Crime Scene Investigation - The original. Still a great show. Good characters and plots. They still come up with new twists, e.g last season's miniature killer. Hard to believe the Europeans like CSI:Miami better. I watched quite a few of those, but I couldn't stand David Caruso and his head tilt and sunglasses anymore.

Numb3rs - Yes, I know the spelling is stupid. But this is a good show that has risen above it's gimmick. I started watching it because the premise sounded interesting - applying math to crime. They've done a really good job with that, but the show, like all good shows, has blossomed because it has good characters. The relationship between Charlie, Don and their Dad is believable and compelling. The supporting cast is good too, particularly Peter MacNichol as Larry. If you haven't watched this in the past, I would recommend watching it on DVD.

My Name is Earl - Jason Lee plays the white trash good-hearted Earl perfectly. He looks like a completely different person with his mustache. Jaime Pressley nearly steals the show as Joy.

The Office
- I haven't seen all the British episodes, but from what I have seen, I like this one better. I'm really looking forward to this season, but I'm a little concerned about where the Jim/Pam thing goes from here. Michael is funny, but I cringe a lot watching him. I watch more for the rest of the cast than for Steve Carrell.

Scrubs - One of my 3 or 4 favorite sitcoms of all time. I've seen every episode multiple times (they're great to watch while working out) and I love them every time. The gags are funny and clever, the characters are interesting, and I love the fact that there's no laugh track. It doesn't get the ratings it deserves.

Family Guy
- This is a really fucked up show, but I do really like it. It's definitely show that people love or hate. Look for some Family Guy threads on google and you'll see what I mean. I'm amazed that it's now in syndication in the evenings. I'm pretty lax and I won't let my kids watch it.

South Park
- I used to think this show was great. I've started to get a little tired of it, but they still have a few gems every season.

The Simpsons - The word has been for several years has been that The Simpsons has lost a step, if they haven't jumped the shark completely. I think there's some truth to that. It's not as consistent as it once was. Some of that is just nostalgia and familiarity though. And I think the movie showed that they still have a lot of life left in them.

Unfortunately, my two favorite shows, Battlestar Galactica and Lost, don't come back until January.

That's it for returning shows. I've set up my DVR for a crop of new shows which I'll just run down - Bionic Woman (this one looks like it could be really good), Back to You (I've always liked Kelsey Grammer), Journeyman, Reaper (I'm taking a look at this one because of Kevin Smith), Chuck, Pushing Daisies and The Sarah Silverman Show (I know this isn't new, but I wanted to watch it. She's funny and nice to look at).

Some of these will certainly either lose my interest(Prison Break)or be canceled(Studio 60), but hopefully a couple of them will be good enough to make the rotation. So what are you watching this year?

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Hey sea dogs an' land lubbers! `Tis talk like a shipmate day!


As a good pastafarian, I couldna let one o' our high holy days pass without comment. This may cost me me postin' priveleges, but if I become a martyr fer th' noodly one, so be 't.

So who has earned th' wrath o' his noodliness today? Why that be Joe Lieberman!!

But in comments Tuesday Lieberman signaled he would vote against habeas rights for enemy combatants.

“Look, we’ve got to remember that these are not normal criminal defendants being brought into a federal court in the United States,” Lieberman told reporters. “These are people seized in a war, the war against terrorism.”

Let me make this clear - ere who opposes habeas corpus fer ere on th' horkin' planet be scum. They's un-American an' vile, descpicable swabbies. Especially th' senators, who ortin' ta know better.



The views, opinions, conclusions and other information expressed in this post belong solely to the author and do not necessarily represent those of the host.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

KSK

I have mixed feelings about the guys over at Kissing Suzy Kolber. On the one hand they're homophobic and misogynistic, on the other hand they're funny as hell, case in point this post -

Dear NFL Defenders,

You see this?

That’s a crisp, clean $20 bill. And it can be yours. All yours. All you have to do is one very simple thing: take out the knees of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, shown here with knees that are far too functional for my taste.

...

This is not a joke. If you successfully take out Brady’s knees, I will really send you a $20 bill. American. Not counterfeit. Lest you think $20 isn’t a lot of money, consider what you can buy with $20:

-Many peanuts
-Bottle of Popov
-Blowjob (inner city)
-1/10th of a blowjob (suburbs)
-Top shelf KSK merchandise
-Two Cosi sandwiches
-Two months of Netflix
-Multiple discount rack DVD’s of fine films like “Jack the Bear”, “The Avengers”, and “A Fine Mess”
-100% syrup Squishie


There's plenty more where that came from. You've got to go, just to see the examples he's put up of other athletes' knees breaking.

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:-) vs :)

Apparently the original emoticon - :-) turns 25 today. Nothing special about the article, but I did find it a little odd that nowhere does it mention that the mainstream smiley these days doesn't have a hyphen.

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Bill Simmons is going insane

I just read this Bill Simmons column about Sunday's Pats/Chargers game. So how do you think he's feeling? Cheating aside, he's got to be pretty happy that is team looks like a juggernaut again, right? Well, not exactly -

No, NBC was too determined to blow out CameraGate. Before the game, Andrea Kramer reported Turner was taking precautions from a secrecy standpoint, refusing to allow any Patriots personnel into his locker room and even handing his players the first 15 plays Sunday morning instead of Saturday night. Her appropriate reaction should have been, "Wow, making your players paranoid isn't the best way to prepare for a big game, no wonder Norv has been such an underachieving loser for his entire coaching career." But Kramer was treating the topic so seriously and breathlessly, you would have thought she was standing in Iraq with missiles going off behind her.

Yeah, that's right, he spent a whole column whining about how the poor Patriots weren't getting their proper respect because his coach was caught cheating in one of the biggest NFL scandals in years. Not only that, he's clearly driving himself crazy even as he tries to dismiss it as no big deal -

Lemme ask you two questions:
Isn't there a chance that Belichick thought Eric Mangini and the Jets had gained an unfair advantage?
1. Is there a chance -- just a chance -- Belichick has gotten a little paranoid in his old age, and since an undermanned Jets team played them closely in all three Pats-Jets games last season, he spent the spring and summer wondering if Mangini had figured out a way to steal their signals, so he decided to tape their coaches in Week 1 to see if that was true? And then he got caught?

2. Is there a chance Roger Goodell is doing the "I'm leaving no stone unturned" routine because he's so determined to show everyone there's a new sheriff in town (shades of Reggie Hammond at Torchy's), and because it's becoming more and more obvious the previous administration was asleep at the wheel on anything and everything except the next TV deal?

Let me take those, Bill. That would be No, there's no chance.

I really like Simmons' writing. I can read all the way through his 10 million word columns because he's funny, well-versed in pop culture, and generally insightful. But he was a better NFL writer when the Patriots still sucked. I really don't mind a national sports guy being a homer - I hate the aloof objectivity of a lot of the pundits. But come on, you have to have a little perspective. Between his Pats blinders and his ridiculous A-Rod hate, he's hard to read sometimes.

So how about it Bill? Why not just take your 3 Super Bowl wins and be happy, and stop all the bitching?

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Friday, September 14, 2007

OJ Outrage

I have to say, I don't really understand the outrage about this. When OJ was getting a cut, that I understood. By describing the murders and then getting paid for it, he was certainly profitting off others' misery. Now that OJ isn't getting anything out of it, I'm ok with it.

I think the Goldmans' publishing this book does a couple of things. First, it takes money away from OJ and helps to settle the judgment he owes. But more importantly, this is his confession. Talk about hypotheticals all you want, but all of us without blinders know he did it. This book will just seal his fate down through the years. I don't see how a public confession of his horrendous acts in any way betrays the memories of Ron and Nicole.

Nicole's sister, Denise Brown, complains, "It’s the Goldmans who have changed their tune. It’s all about money. How much money is it going to take to make you guys happy? It’s not going to bring Nicole back.” She knows them better than I do. But I've never seen the Goldmans as opportunistic. They've been pretty squarely centered on justice, or even vengance. I can't say I blame them. It's one thing to move on with your life when the killer is in jail. When he's out playing golf it's quite another.

So go ahead and buy the book, if you want to. I'll probably just read it over in the bookstore. I don't think you need to beat yourself up - the book's publication is only hurting OJ, both financially and figuratively.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Sex toys are great

(Yes, another sex post. Get your pizza delivery man and pornstache jokes ready.)

I ran across this article on MSNBC. The thrust (hee, hee) of the article is men's feelings of inadequacy when confronted with dildos and vibrators -

Walking around the display halls, I realized that it is impossible for a man to feel good about himself when confronted with a few thousand wall-mounted penis replicas...

Combine the explosion of sex toy mania that has de-stigmatized novelties (putting electrical accoutrements in the hands of millions of women) and research showing that only 30 percent of ladies reach orgasm with intercourse alone, and it’s no wonder some men may find themselves battling vibrator envy.

Joy Davidson, a sex therapist, author and host of the DVD series “Couples Guide to Sexual Pleasure,” says that clients and the merely curious have asked her hundreds of times about the issue of men becoming, shall we say, a bit jealous of their wives’ or girlfriends’ mechanical helpers.


Ok, I hate to be insensitive, but if you're feeling jealous of your wife/girlfriend's vibrator, you're an idiot. If she's using the vibrator in lieu of sex, you've got bigger problems than vibrator-envy.

Look, women aren't like men. The more they use vibrators, the more you're going to get laid. It's not an either/or proposition. With women (in my experience) it's a snowball effect. Sex toys are only going to help you. And, as the article does mention further down, these toys aren't necessarily solitary devices. Women who are comfortable enough to use these things are probably more likely to be comfortable with other sexual activities.

So if you're a man (or woman) with vibrator-envy, stop being ridiculous, and stock up in rechargeable batteries.

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Small Town Life

Having recently moved from Jacksonville to Palatka, I'm still adjusting to small town life. I certainly don't expect everything to be the same here, but I have to say I was a little surprised when leaving Wal-Mart (yes, I shop at Wal-Mart, and yes, I realize that you think that makes me a horrible person) to see a truck (a hand-painted camouflage truck to be exact) with a NAAWP sticker on it. I've always realized there were people who think like that, and not just in small towns, but the flaunting of it like that caught me a little off guard.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

People are stupid

Ok, so this dumbass assistant principal makes a ridiculous rule that bans 911 calls from the school. This is an obviously a stupid policy that anyone with half a brain would realize isn't going to do any good, since once you've endangered the health and well being of your students, your crime statistics, or whatever bullshit you were trying to hide suddenly become a much lower priority. But my biggest problem is not with this idiot assistant principal, it's with the morons who were actually around when this girl had a stroke. In a situation like that, how could it possibly be your first priority to follow some obviously moronic policy? Even if you're a selfish prick afraid of losing your job, you'd have to be an idiot not to realize that you can't possibly be fired for violating a policy which is this stupid. I wish I could say that I find it hard to believe that people could be such stupid sheep that they would follow a policy like this even when a young girl's life is in jeopardy, but unfortunately, I can't.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Kids and sex

Michelline sent me this article, which is a pretty standard article about explaining puberty to kids. There was one paragraph, though, which stuck out to me –

When a man and a woman love each other and decide that they want to have a child, they will do something called “sexual intercourse” or “having sex.” This is when the man lies very close to the woman and puts his erect penis inside her vagina. It feels good for both the man and woman. They will also hug and kiss and cuddle. This is a very special way of expressing how much they love each other.

I have two problems with this. First, it’s not true. Studies (not to mention common knowledge) show that the number one reason people have sex, particularly young people, is that they are physically attracted to a person. Sex isn’t something people just decide to do when they love each other deeply and want to perpetuate the species. Telling kids, even 8 and 9 years olds differently doesn’t do them any favors.

People would probably say that even if that’s not the way sex usually happens, that’s the way it should happen, so that’s what they want to tell their kids. Which leads to my second objection – there’s nothing inherently moral in saving sex for marriage or inherently immoral in sex without love. Thanks to our Puritan forefathers, our culture’s ideas about sex are seriously fucked up.

Sex, and sexual attraction are a fact of life starting with pre-teens and ending with death. Kids should be taught about the risks and pitfalls, but also be encouraged to embrace their sexuality when the time is right, and the right time is different for every person. As parents, the best we can hope for is that we’ve raised kids who are emotionally healthy enough to make the best decisions they can, and that they feel comfortable, not afraid, of coming to us for support. Yes, the risk of pregnancy and STD’s are real. But we can’t shield our kids from every danger as they grow up. Driving is dangerous too. Some of our kids are going to die because we let them drive. But we don’t expect them to wait until they’re 25.

I’m not suggesting that you sit your 8 year olds down and give them the ins-and-outs of college hookups. But there’s no need to plant this unrealistic version of human sexuality in their heads at such an important time of life. We’ve got enough of these horribly misguided abstinence programs out there to deal with, leaving guilty, ashamed kids in their wakes. What I expect, especially from medical and psychological professionals, is age-appropriate discussions of the dangers and the benefits of sexuality, without the harmful puritanical baggage.

On balance sex is not only a biological imperative, it’s a great thing, one of the joys of being alive. We should raise healthy kids who grow into emotionally healthy adults and are happy and sexually fulfilled, not ashamed and uptight.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

PSA

Let's say your office has a coffee maker with 3 pots, 2 regular and one decaf. It's 11:00 and you pour yourself a cup of regular and you finish the pot. At this point what is the proper action? No, don't reach for that switch - turning the burner off and leaving makes you an asshole. If you want to be a responsible member of coffee-drinking society you make a new pot. Yes, even if you're late for a meeting. Maybe you should have thought of that before you decided to empty the pot, you leech.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Apple beats Microsoft

OK, I know it's not big news, but I'm kind of ticked. This story talks about the new iPod lineup, including the iPhone-based iPod Touch -

Apple now sells four different types of iPod: the Touch, Shuffle, Nano and the original model, which Jobs christened the Classic on Wednesday

....

As for the iPod Touch, Apple watchers had speculated for days that Apple would unveil an iPod similar to its new mobile phone. Though slimmer than the iPhone, the iPod Touch features a similar multitouch interface, built-in Wi-Fi and the Safari Internet browser.

Like the iPhone, the iPod Touch can play YouTube videos. It will retail for $299 or $399, depending on the memory installed.


I've always been in the middle of this Apple/Microsoft debate. I don't think Microsoft is evil or that all their products suck, and not every Apple product fell from heaven. But here's a case where Microsoft had a small window to grab some spotlight from Apple and now it's gone.

The two big areas where the Zune could have stepped out in front of the iPod a bit were with the wifi and the FM radio. The Zune is perfectly capable on the hardware side of connecting to the internet and time-shifting radio but the software doesn't exist. If the Zune had come out with the ability out of the box to sync through wifi, connect to the Marketplace to download songs over wifi, and timeshift radio, I really think the positive buzz would have outweighed the negative. As I mentioned in my review, it's a nice player with good audio and video quality, but its great potential for more is crippled.

I've heard that later this year the Zune 2.0 will come out and that a lot of the big feature upgrades Zune owners have been expecting will finally be available. But with the touchscreen, internet, wifi capability and widescreen, the iPod Touch has beat Microsoft again, and they're playing catch up.

The one area where the iPod Touch falls down is that it's not a hard drive based player. The largest, according to reports, is the 16GB model. That seems a little small for a widescreen video player. I understand why the phone may not have a hard drive, but I'm not sure why the player doesn't. I imagine it's beacause technically, he Touch is just and iPhone without the phone. Adding a hard drive would have meant too much reengineering, I guess.

But if Microsoft doesn't get on the ball soon, I'll be selling my Zune (if I can), and getting an iPod like everyone else.

Posted by 7 comments

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

How shallow are we?

Another study comes out and the mainstream news sites jump all over it. This one's about what men and women say they're looking for in a partner, and what they actually choose.

Participants ranged in age from 26 to their early 40s and took part in "speed dating," short meetings of three to seven minutes in which people chat, then move on to meet another dater. Afterward, participants check off the people they'd like to meet again, and dates can be arranged between pairs who select one another.

Speed dating let researchers look at a lot of mate choices in a short time, Todd said.

In the study, participants were asked before the session to fill out a questionnaire about what they were looking for in a mate, listing such categories as wealth and status, family commitment, physical appearance, healthiness and attractiveness.

After the session, the researchers compared what the participants said they were looking for with the people they actually chose to ask for another date.

Men's choices did not reflect their stated preferences, the researchers concluded. Instead, men appeared to base their decisions mostly on the women's physical attractiveness.

The men also appeared to be much less choosy. Men tended to select nearly every woman above a certain minimum attractiveness threshold, Todd said.

...

"Women made offers to men who had overall qualities that were on a par with the women's self-rated attractiveness. They didn't greatly overshoot their attractiveness," Todd said, "because part of the goal for women is to choose men who would stay with them"

But, he added, "they didn't go lower. They knew what they could get and aimed for that level."


This is only mildly interesting and not really very surprising, and I think it's of limited use. Reading through the coverage, it seems there's a tendency to make bold statements like "Looks are everything". Was there even a question that people are initially interested in people they find more physically attractive? It's nice to have confirming evidence, but it doesn't answer any questions outside of superficial initial attraction.

Speed dating isn't a microcosm of the process of building a relationship. It's more like a meat market. Sure, there's a little conversation, but you can't get any kind of sense of a person in 3 minutes, especially when they're on stage, so to speak.

What I've found in my own experience, and seen in others, is that the better I know a woman, the more my estimation of her attractiveness changes. And I don't mean that I see two discrete qualities - looks and personality - but that they kind of merge and I have a new mental picture of the person as a whole. I've known several women who I didn't find particularly good-looking at first, but as I got to know them, I found them more and more attractive (and vice versa). I know that the same process has happened with my wife, we've discussed it before. You can even see it at work in public - there's no doubt that aesthetically, a lot of people find Brittany Spears to be attractive, but now you hear a lot about how gross or skanky she is, that's due to her behavior more than anything.

And how do people meet their mates or longer-term partners? I think the circumstances in many cases allow people to get to know each other before they start dating. If you date someone at work, church, school etc... you get a chance to decide on more than your first 3 minute impression. In those cases looks are just one piece of the equation. It's clearly important that people who are together be attracted to each other, but attractiveness is more complex than an initial impression.

So I don't think people in general are quite as shallow over the long term as they appear to be from studies like this.

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