Friday, September 02, 2011

Predictions Sure to Go Wrong

My friend Tim pinged me the other day and asked if I was going to make my annual football predictions. Sure, why not? Here you go, Timmay.

Looking at the Washington Redskins, I am definitely NOT drinking the Kool-Aid. I don't see much here. I see a team that tried a lot harder than most of their preseason opposition, and got a lot of people excited. But the NFL is about talent. You have got to have it if you want to be successful - being smart simply isn't enough. I see a team that will either go 5-11 or 6-10. Why the two? Well, looking at the schedule I see a 5-win season. But the last game of the season is at Philadelphia, who should be looking at a playoff birth and a first round bye, so I expect them to rest starters and play it like a preseason game. If the Redskins win that game, it's 6. Otherwise, 5. I want to like John Beck at quarterback, but I don't think he has the athletic tools needed to make a difference. The worst part here is, at 5-11 or 6-10, they'll pick low enough in the draft to miss out on one of the big time QB prospects coming out next year that could really help them. I think the culture is finally starting to shift a bit, which is a good thing, but real progress is a long way off.

Super Bowl? Hmmmmmm.... Patriots over Eagles. I think Tom Brady is loaded for bear this year, and Philadelphia is good. I almost stuck in Pittsburgh over New England, but I've just got a hunch about Brady and a revamped defense for the Patriots. The Jets could be interesting. There's not much to challenge the Eagles in the NFC, *maybe* the Saints (running game and defensive question marks) and even less of a maybe to the Falcons (who need to get better on defense). And yes, this means Albert Haynesworth will win a Super Bowl title, further making the Redskins look like idiots.

The Maryland Terrapins. Honestly, who the hell knows? There's more questions marks here than in the Riddler's hideout. That being said, they do have a legit quarterback, which counts for a lot. They've lost a lot of players, due to suspensions, transfers, recruits changing commitments, etc. Changing head coaches will do that. I like Randy Edsall, right now, but I'm only giving him one year (this season and this years recruiting class). I want to see his 2012 team and then I'll decide on this guy. As for 2011, well, I'm going go with 7-5, BUT, I reserve to the right make a change after seeing them play Miami in Week 1 (a game I think they'll win). The range here can go from 3-9 to 9-3, there's just so many unknown quantities.

National Champion.... Oklahoma. Dark horse: Alabama. Oregon simply doesn't have the big nasties on either side of the ball. No one else jumps out at you and demands your attention. I think I did pretty well last year on the Redskins, but the Terps surprised me. In any case, we'll know a lot more by mid-February.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Rob's Rules of Political Campaigning

I'm going to try something a bit different here.

Usually, my blog posts - as infrequent as they are - are about something I've been chewing on for some time, something that I've flushed out pretty well in terms of how I feel about it. Sometimes, they are simply reactionary; I see something that gets my attention, and I essentially comment on it. Rarely is there ever an arc, or theme to several posts, and I think I'm going to try that for a bit, and see what happens. If they suck, so what? You're not paying for this and I promise you it takes me more time to write it than for you to read it.

The 2012 election for President of the United States is starting to simmer. One candidate is all but certain: Barack Obama, who has announced he's running and is the incumbent. It would take extraordinary circumstances for him to not be the Democratic candidate. The other side of the ballot is less than certain - which is a huge understatement.

So as I search out for a candidate to get my vote in November 2012, I figured hey, why not put some criteria together? Sure, why the hell not, sounds good to me.

Number 1: Don't make your message all about bashing your opponent. Look, I'm pretty damn smart, and I really don't need someone jumping up and down telling me what someone else is doing wrong. I can pretty much figure that out for myself. If your candidacy is based on the other guy being wrong, well, who is to say you're right? Talk about yourself, first and foremost. If I want to hear about the other guy, I I'll listen to what he has to say. Would you go into a job interview and say "You should hire me because Joe over there is a terrible person"? No. Impress me.

Number 2: Show me the math. Don't walk around spouting how (random legislative policy) is going to create jobs or cut the deficit. Show me the math - prove your work. If someone looked at your deck and said "yeah, just cut a 2x6 that is 14 feet and 6 3/4 inches long" without actually measuring, would you believe him? Of course not. I understand Economics is not an exact science, but, if your economic theory is a talking point or part of a larger platform that you didn't actually set, I'm sending your homework back for a re-do.

Number 3: Speaking of platforms, if you're simply a boilerplate guy who is parroting the platform of the party you are running under, move on. I find it inconceivable that someone would agree with EVERY little thing and have no thoughts of their own on a topic. Any topic. Don't be the Politibot 3000 and rubber stamp everything you see. Your job is going to be hard. It's going to require a lot of intelligent, creative thinking and problem solving skills that would perplex most people. Show me you can do that and I'll vote for you. Maybe.

Number 4: Charisma is nice, but honestly I don't care. I'm focused on message, not delivery. I was on my way to a music gig at a place where then Senator Obama was campaigning, and really, all he was doing was stirring up the crowd. Content Counts first and foremost. Don't jump up and down saying we need more jobs, explain to me how you're going to create more jobs. And show me the math.

That's enough for now I think, but I'll continue with this as time goes by.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Welcome Back to the Chief Anger Officer

Hello. It's me, you friendly neighborhood Spiderman. I know I haven't been around much lately. See, I've grown tired of of much of the debate in this country. Simply put, it isn't debate anymore. It's religion. It's zealotry. It's people advocating and espousing their "sides" ideals and philosophies and attempting to shout down the other side for their own benefit.

I don't have time for that.

I choose not to take part in that.

You don't have to agree with the "other side" but I think you have to be able to acknowledge that in the vast majority of issue-based debates that 99% of what is being said is opinion, and that your opinion - or mine - is no more "right" than anyone elses opinion. You can respect the person, and their opinion, even if you don't agree with either. No really, you can.

Yes, you can.

Look, I don't care what you really think about abortion, taxes, government, American Idol, Cap'n Crunch, etc. You are, IN MY OPINION, entitled and empowered to think and believe whatever you want about whatever you want. You might think the New York Yankees are the best thing since sliced bread. You might think the Boston Red Sox are the best thing since sliced bread. And you can tell me that until the cows come home if you'd like. But if I didn't ASK you about the Red Sox, or Cap'n Crunch, or budget policies, I reserve the right to tell you to go tell it somewhere else because there's a chance I could not care less. I also reserve the right to listen, and agree or disagree, at my choosing. My choosing. Not yours. Mine. MINE. I don't care what religion you are or to which political party you belong - I don't believe that is the sole definition of who you are, or what you are.

So you might be asking at this point "What do I care about?" and I will tell you that is a reasonable question.

I care about being a good person. Don't define that for me - I will define that for myself (as you should for yourself). I have that right. If you don't like the way I define that for me, get lost. I don't care to know you, and I won't miss you. Conversely, if I don't like the way you define that for yourself, I will probably remove myself from your life.

I think a "good person" treats others with courtesy and respect. They see someone who looks lost and asks if they need directions. They see a child crying and ask if they need help. If asked to help, they usually say yes and do so without expecting anything in return. They mostly follow and observe the laws (I've been known to speed on occasion, hence mostly) and contribute to the betterment of society by waking up, going to work, paying their taxes, etc. They say "please", "thank you", and "you're welcome" and ACTUALLY mean it. Of course they struggle with life sometimes, we all do. We make mistakes, we make bad decisions, and we regret them. I know I have. And I know I try not to repeat them, whenever possible.

In other words, don't be an Ass.

I get that everyone is different, and no one is perfect. There's plenty of room to be colorful, to be "you", within that very general definition of a good person. I think I have a lot of good people in my life, and I think that makes me rather lucky. I also think sometimes good people have their "larger perspective" obscured by the immediateness of what they can often be most passionate at that time, but in the end they are good people and I will try to stick with them. Usually I can, but sometimes I can't.

It's been a while since I've ranted. Feels good to vomit my thoughts into keystrokes.

All I am saying is that we should all strive to be "good people" and treat the people you like in your life as if you like them, even if they are a Yankees fan, or they believe that abortion should be legal, or think that Frosted Flakes pummels Cap'n Crunch. I'm not trying to marginalize you or what you believe - I think it should be part of what defines a person. I'm just saying there's more to life than these insipid little issues.

But that's just my opinion.