Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hiya, Chuck

So much for becoming the Governor of Alabama....

Time flies ...

I watched the final episode of "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" last week, and all of the sudden I felt really old.

I remember - vividly - when Dave Letterman was the host of "Late Night". I remember Conan being introduced on "The Tonight Show" by Jay Leno as being the next host of "Late Night", and I remember watching Conan and thinking "this guy is pretty damn funny". And now Conan just finished up 16 years hosting that show.

16 years.

I guess if you're a glacier, 16 years isn't all that long. But I remember when *Letterman* started on that show - hell, I remember when Letterman had a daytime show (that bombed miserably). So to me, 16 years is a sizable chunk of time, but in retrospect it seems like not very long ago.

Conan is taking over for Leno, and other than being up against Letterman I hope Conan makes Leno looks like the unfunny dope he's always been. I had 5 or 6 "laugh out loud" moments watching Conan last week and if he brings that kind of creativity to 11:35, we're all in for a treat.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Up next ...

Over a year ago I predicted on our podcast that the economy was going to be one the biggest issues in the 2008 Presidential Election. I also said that the economy was going to get really bad, and sadly it has.

I'm not going to argue the merits or failings of the most recent stimulus package. I'm simply going to point out what I think are the two key indicators to keep your eyes on for the time being.

Unemployment and Inflation.

Unemployment is the bigger of the two. At last look, it was around 7.3%. If this number gets up around 9% or higher, this downturn can easily become a depression and things could get really bad. As long as it stays below 8%, I think America can ride out this "downturn". Unemployment is key because if people are working, people are spending money. Our economy is based on money changing hands - consumer to business, business to business, lender to consumer, etc. and as long as that process continues in sufficient quantities, things won't get too bad. No other economic indicator is more telling of the health of our economy that unemployment.

Inflation is a tougher nut. Since a lot of organizations are freezing wages, rapid inflation devalues the currency we earn. The higher the rate of inflation, the faster it becomes devalued, and devalued currency has a similar effect to high unemployment. That's why the government prime lending rates are almost non-existent, to keep inflation down and keep the currency moving.

Food for thought, no more, no less.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Maryland Basketball

I watched the Maryland / Clemson game tonight. I wish I hadn't, but it's probably a good thing that I did.

There was a series of three articles in the Washington Post last week about the decline of Maryland Basketball. A lot of fans called it a hatchet job, Gary-hating, etc.. After part one, I thought Gary Williams should be fired. After parts two and three, I pretty much felt that if you want to compete in big time College Basketball you have to get a little dirty and Gary won't do that. I thought Gary should be commended on sticking to his principles and not dealing with the shady side of the recruiting.

And then I watched the Maryland / Clemson game tonight.

The first half was competitive, even close. A hard fought half on both sides. And then in the second half, Clemson just basically said "F You" and did everything they wanted, ended up scoring 59 points (59?!?!?) in the second half to win by 29. And it just became so obvious to me.

Gary Williams is an excellent coach. He gave his team a chance to compete, a chance to steal a game. Maryland played hard, played smart. But my god, if this is the best basketball talent / athletes he can get, 30- and 40-point losses are going to become the norm, and quickly. The Maryland kids literally didn't belong on the same floor as the Clemson kids. Clemson was bigger, faster, more athletic, and better basketball players. There is not one player from Maryland who will play in the NBA, or even get a sniff. There is not one player who would start on MOST of the other 11 teams in the ACC. Grevious Vasquez, arguably Maryland's best player, is a mediocre (average) college player who plays with a lot of intensity. I felt so bad for the kids, and frankly you could see it on their faces - they just didn't belong out there.

Gary, thank you for the National Championship in 2002. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication, but I think the ability to recruit and evaluate talent is just as important in college sports as is X's and O's, and this is just not an area where Gary's style and system works anymore. Please Gary, retire gracefully and play golf 6 times a week, enjoy your grandkids and live a good life, but don't make them fire you, because that's coming and frankly, maybe it's needed.

Maryland plays Duke, North Carolina, Wake Forest, N.C. State and Virginia to finish the season. I will be shocked if Duke, UNC, and Wake don't win by a combined 80 points. Maryland has no chance at the NCAA tournament and frankly won't fare well in the NIT either. But not because they didn't try, or play hard. It's just not there for these guys, and that is the saddest part.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Shameless plug

My buddies and I do a podcast every now and then. It's fun.. usually. It's called "Some Guys in a Car" and you can get it through iTunes. We also have a website, www.someguysinacar.com.

I've probably taken part in about half to two-thirds of the shows, mostly later in our run. Our most recent posting, "While Steve's Away..." was completely edited and produced by me - the first time I've done anything like that in about 18 years. My buddy Steve has done an awesome job editing and producing and really deserves all the credit for building an actual show.

I recognize our little talent show isn't for everyone, and that's cool. But a lot of it is either very entertaining or very thought-provoking and worth checking out. Not for the kiddies, folks, by the way. But I think if you listen for a while, you'll like it.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


I just joined "Facebook". If you found this blog via that site, welcome. If you found it because you did a google search "most awesome dude. ever.", welcome.

Age has taught me to NOT say everything I think. So now, I try to stick to only the "well-formed" thoughts in terms of public consumption. Most of the time.

That's all I have to say about that.