paul nicholson

Archive for the ‘History/Politics’ Category

Obsolete Business

In Cool Tech, History/Politics on February 3, 2011 at 11:49 am

Was just reading this article about the impending decline of the internal combustion engine. Nothing that hasn’t been said before, but it’s a good read. The comparison to cigarette smoking 50 years ago vs now seems appropriate. But in that article was the following blip:

The corner 24 hour store will stop having eight pumps offering gasoline and go down to four, then to two, then just one. It’ll be situated ’round the back and you’ll have to go inside and ask the cashier to turn on for you. Eventually that’ll be gone too; finding go juice will start to become a challenge.

Gas line on Porter Road

That got me thinking…
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Read the rest of this entry »

Papers and Money

In Entertainment, History/Politics on January 23, 2010 at 11:33 am

PR Maven Margie Newman just made an interesting blog post about the much-discussed announcement that the New York Times will begin charging for content. That led me to leave a very long comment, which I realized I should really just flesh out into a post of my own:

The interesting thing to me about information portals like this is that many people (myself included) assume that the business model should be one of two things: either pay for content or ad driven. Not both. I’d be fine with paying for something that is worth it if it means never having to see an ad on the site again (see: Pandora), and likewise don’t mind visiting a site with ads if it means I get good content for free. The interesting thing of course is that traditional dead-tree editions of the paper had both: pay for the paper, still has ads.

(continued after the break) Read the rest of this entry »

Expectations

In History/Politics on April 28, 2009 at 2:44 pm

I'm riding the bus today while the car is in the shop, so I have a few moments to get around to blogging again. So I'm using the chance to do something I don't really like to do: talk about politics.

I'm not going to bother telling you who I ended up voting for last fall. I really was one of those magical "undecided voters" right up until election day. My reasons were my own. I was going to be equally satisfied and frustrated with either candidate, though for different reasons of course. There's no point in talking about what I liked or didn't like about each one, because the point in this discussion is my specific disappointment in Obama.

Now, I had no expecations that Obama (or McCain or any other candidate really) would actually do things in office that I wanted. By the same token, I don't pretend that the actions anyone else would be taking to solve the economic crisis or Iraq or anything would be *that* dramatically different than what our current president is doing or any former president did. Politicians for either side aren't that different anymore. They use the same rediculous, reactionary arguments against each other over and over, just changing the mascot they have on their buttons. Most real policy is made in congress and in government agencies with only tenuous ties to the executive branch.

No, I'm not disappointed in the governing of the new president, because my expectations were so low to begin with for both parties. My disappointment with Obama is in the one thing I thought was his upside: his rhetoric and persona.

Obama was an amazing speaker (relative to modern politicians anyway) during the campaign. He was able to speak eloquently and in vague generalities that inspired many, yet offended few. That's how he got elected, and in a country that needs a serious morale boost, it was a welcome site. His tone was positive and he had a perfect balance of regal posture and populist cheerleading. I thought if he could do anything, he could at least restore some confidence and pride to the population, and improve the image of our government both at home and abroad.

But he hasn't. In fact, I'd say he's hard pressed to be called a major improvement over GW Bush (who, regardless of your political views, was widely acknowledged as a poor PR rep for the US. Just wasn't his forte).

In a matter of months in office, Obama (and Michelle) have angered the British people with laughably poor observance of decorum and proper gift giving. Barak has proven himself to be a relatively awkward speaker when off his teleprompters (which he takes everywhere, no matter how cumbersome) and a downright average speaker when unguided by his speech writers. He has failed to take a buck-stops-here approach that one would expect from his populist persona in cases like the horrible blunder his staff made in scheduling an unannounced (and thus panic inducing) commercial and military aircraft flyover of Manhattan for a photo opp.

None of these are horrible in themselves. Even added up, they aren't *that* bad, especially compared to others in history. But to me, Obama was elected to do one thing that was (and is) deserately needed: give upe and inspire. He has totally failed to do either. Even most passionate Obama supporters I know are giving him mixed reviews at best – on both policy and rhetoric.

Mr Obama, we expected more.

Hockey Nationalism

In History/Politics, Hockey, Sports on June 24, 2008 at 4:27 am

I wanted to take a minute to post as an entry here, some comments that i made on two other sites recently.

The discussion was started by this post at Two For Elbowing that i first saw linked to from this Puck Daddy entry. The quote that started the discussion was this:

“What, exactly, does this say about the relative power balance of Canada and the U.S. when the Leafs have to hire Americans to fix the franchise?”

So I give you the ensuing discussion:

I think more to the point, what do statements like that say about racism (or more specifically nationalism) in hockey. I’ve never heard any other pro sport outside of nationalist soccer/futbol squads be so hung up on where their coaches and players come from, and the problems with racism going on in soccer leagues around the world is a massive problem right now. I’d hate to see hockey be next.

Who care if a Canadian is coaching a US team or a US coach or GM is working for a Canadian franchise. The only other time i’ve heard nationalities discussed in other sports is during the Olympics/world championships when they have their flags on their uniforms.

If they are wearing a Leafs sweater or a Sharks sweater – it shouldn’t matter. They are just pros doing their jobs. Argue about them on their merits, not where they come from.

That comment brought this response: “Paul- tell that to the people of Quebec.” – to which i responded:

I definitely hear the most consistent nationalist/racist comments from Quebecers, but it is much, much wider than that. As a resident of Nashville and fan of the Predators, I/we have seen no small measure of this.

It is ironic really.

When i moved here, i thought that southerners in Nashville more were racist than average. I found the opposite though – not that there aren’t people with issues, but on the whole the city is very accepting of Eastern Europeans, Canadians, Scandinavians, etc on the Predators and African American players on the Titans, and Hispanic players on the Nashville Sounds baseball team. Without question they are judged on their playing ability 99% of the time and comments are practically never made as to where they are from. We just don’t care as long as they can play.

Meanwhile i hear things like this, where a lifelong hockey man in Ron Wilson and others are criticized for having the audacity to think they ‘deserve’ to coach on Canadian soil. You can think he is the right coach for Toronto or not, that he can handle the media pressure or not, that he will help the team or not… but that he should be allowed to coach based on his nationality?

That same post goes on to say “The mind boggles. I’m amazed the Canadian-centric media types haven’t been screaming at the government to outlaw this already.” meaning the hiring of coaches and GM’s from the US.

I know they are dipping into sarcasm there, but seriously…I’m not sure what the situation is in Canada, but this level of discrimination is outlawed in the US. In fact the NFL requires that minority options are considered before hiring coaches.

It boggles the mind indeed. When will hockey implement something similar?

Which then received this response

Paul, I agree with you on judging an individual purely on their performances and their ability to get the job done, and not where they are from. However, with some rare exceptions, I think most Canadians are not prejudice against players/coaches/gms from other countries, but rather, proud of the ones from their country.

I don’t think comparing Canada’s love of hockey and their pride in their country’s rich and honored history in that sport, to something as ugly as racism, is a fair statement.

Comparing it to African American players on the Titans or Hispanic players on the Sounds, and saying it doesn’t measure up is like comparing apples to oranges. One has zero to do with the other. There are African American players on Canadian hockey teams; there are American players; there are players from countries all over the world who are not only on Canadian teams, but are worshiped by many Canadian fans.

I believe, a fairer comparison, using your Nashville as an example, would be to say that many people from Nashville are proud of their city’s rich and honored history in country music. And some outspoken voices may say that the best country singers are from Nashville, and a country singer from Calgary, Canada or Tokyo, Japan should not be the headliner at the CMA Music Festival. But a few outspoken does not mean I should assume all everyone from Nashville agrees with these statements. Or that everyone from Nashville only likes Nashville country singers. Or even the bigger leap that you suggest above, that in fact they dislike every country singer outside of Nashville.

Again, with some rare exceptions, most Canadian hockey fans love the sport first, and are simply very proud of their country’s rich history in that sport. And while some over zealous, proud fans, may come across pro Canadian at times, this 1) does not speak for all Canadian hockey fans; and 2) is a far cry from racism, IMHO. Hometown pride and racism are worlds apart! –buffettworld

Which then led me to respond:

Well put. And i do understand that.

I just hear more comments like this from hockey than any other sport. I understand a certain amount of pride…heck…i’m originally from Texas. I know pride (and its excess…)

But comments like the one quoted on this blog and many others i hear around seem to me to cross the line. They aren’t just pride (“Isn’t it great that the world is playing ‘our’ game” or “we have the best hockey players in the world”) but more bigoted (“all top hockey teams, players, and coaches should really be Canadian”)

There certainly are voices out there saying that the CMA’s should always be held in Nashville (much ruckus was made when they tried it in New York a few years ago), but i’ve only heard a very small, quickly ignored minority complain about country music being popular in western Canada or Australia. Most love the fact that the additional eyes and attention mean more fans and a bigger/better product.

To carry that analogy through, no one would suggest moving the hockey hall of fame to Tampa. But by the same token that i don’t hear anyone suggest that they should ban people from outside the south eastern US from country music.

I guess that is the biggest difference to me: who i’m hearing it from. I hear these criticisms and bigoted comments about the nationality of players from main-stream Canadian press, not just a few random bloggers and comment trolls.

Best example i can think of:
Lidstrom being the first European captain to win a cup. It was a big deal, and was covered by the press. Very similar to Tony Dungee being the first African American coach to win the Super Bowl a few years back. The difference was that no major sports outlet or even serious radio talk show host would have stood up and said “a black coach has never won the Super Bowl so our team shouldn’t hire a black coach”. Meanwhile i’ve heard from major hockey writers and talking heads repeatedly (up until last week) that teams shouldn’t make Europeans their captains, citing “lack of heart” and other ludicrous reasons to explain how they shouldn’t captain teams.

Is it horrible? No.
Is it everyone? Not by any means.

But is it more pervasive in hockey than other North American sports and something that should be addressed and talked about? Yes.

What do you think?

(image courtesy of Lone Primate)

Behind the Predators closed doors?

In History/Politics, Hockey, Nashville, Sports on June 11, 2008 at 2:39 pm

[If you haven't stayed up on the lawsuits that Preds minority owner Boots Del Biaggio is going through, read here, here, and maybe some other places...]

We may be about to receive a major peek at the negotiating that went on when the Predators and the Metro Sports Council negotiated the new lease terms as well as the details and deals worked out among the ownership group.

Metro/Davidson County (specifically the Sports Authority and Jon Cooper) have been served with a subpoena for documents related to William “Boots” Del Biaggio’s new bankruptcy and lawsuit trouble.

The interesting part is that the subpoena actually calls for:

All communications, including documents transmitted, to or from William J Del Biaggio, II, any of his agents, employees, persons working on his behalf or for his benefit, or any group, partnership, or organization that includes Mr. Del Biaggio or in which he has an interest, concerning any negotiations or transactions involving the purchase or sale of the Nashville Predators or any interest therein.

Yikes. They have about a week to get all of this together.

The way that sounds to me, all documents the Sports Authority has discussing anything with the Predators will likely be involved, given that it must include any “organization or partnership” that Del Biaggio was a part of. I seriously wonder if the Preds ownership group itself will be getting a subpoena next. Might depend on what they get from the Sports Authority i guess.

I don’t think the ownership group or the city purposely did anything illegal or even shady, but i think we may be about to get a fairly unprecedented look at the negotiating process and exactly how the financial situation between all parties was setup.

I’m thinking we should stay tuned for more…

UPDATE:
The AP is reporting that Metro will “hold off” on taking “action” action against the Predators organization. Apparently Larry Thrailkill, a Brentwood based attorney (who was once President of the San Francisco 49ers) advised the Metro Sports Authority that Del Biaggio was in default of his agreement with the city. Exactly how he’s in default, and how that impacts the Predators isn’t stated in the article, though it did state the the Sports Authority has promised to let the Preds “fix the situation”, whatever that means.

This is a little surprising to me since we’ve heard multiple times from ownership and the Sports Authority that this shouldn’t affect operations since they have already cashed Del Biaggio’s check and his bankruptcy wouldn’t affect the Preds. Only thing i can think is if the contract had a clause regarding criminal activity (he is being sued and investigated for fraud at the federal level).

The article also states that Preds lead owner David Freeman told the Authority that they were as surprised as everyone else at Del Biaggio’s duplicity. (See Freeman’s full address to the Sports Authority here)

Almost as interesting, the article also notes that the Predators themselves were apparently served with a similar subpoena to the one the Sports Authority received.

Stay tuned indeed…


In related news, since i haven’t actually posted on the subject myself, i’ll chime in something that i commented in a few places: I think this is great for the team. The one concern myself and several other fans had was that Del Biaggio was just here waiting in the wings. Playing his role as a “good guy” and giving the Preds a chance, but was ready and waiting to buy out the team and move them to Kansas City, where he had a standing agreement with AEG to operate a hockey team in the Sprint Center. Or he could also have just been buying brownie points with the league to get his own expansion team later (something Jim Balsilie would be wise to learn if he wants in the owner’s club).

But now of course, we don’t have to worry about either of those possibilities (as Rob pointed out a few days ago). He isn’t taking the team to Kansas City, and Jerry Bruckheimer wants an expansion team in Las Vegas and hasn’t made any moves toward wanting to buy out any other teams. Which pretty much makes Balsillie the only shark circling in the water for the Preds, and we all know that Gary Bettman would have to resign as commish for that to happen.

Question: Boots Del Biaggio is clearly an idiot. How on earth did this guy expect to buy a hockey franchise out-right and move it to Kansas City if he’s this broke? It’s not like he would make money on the team here or there anyway. Someone this broke lying to get loans to buy something that isn’t going to make him money…?! Dude. At least lie your way into something that will make you money next time.

Predators Lease Changes Pass Council

In History/Politics, Hockey, Nashville, Sports on April 15, 2008 at 7:56 pm

Unless i’m wrong, this is finally “it”.

The Preds lease changes finally passed Metro Council
.

The ownership has changed hands, lease changes negotiated & passed all governing bodies, and attendance marks met.

Now we can focus 100% on hockey!

(For the record, I’m not thrilled about the lease changes. I don’t think they are really to the great benefit of the fans or the city, and only slightly to the team…but they are what the owners say they needed…and it keeps the team here. So that’s that.)

Predators/Hockey News (with attendance update)

In History/Politics, Hockey, Pictures, Sports on March 3, 2008 at 8:19 pm

I was widely quoted as being a pessimist about the attendance for the Predators when i made this post back a few weeks ago (something about titling it “Bad News for the Predators’ Future“). Since I posted that, i figure i owe everyone an update:

Through 28 games, the Predators had averaged 12,756 in paid attendance. In the last 5 games, the Preds averaged 14,190 in paid attendance (including a few sellouts that were at about 15,200 in paid attendance). That’s a significant increase, and something to be proud of. That brings our average through 33 games to 12,973 per game. Still not where it needs to be, but an improvement.

So, now we must average 13,750 in paid attendance to reach the 13,125 needed to qualify for the revenue sharing we need. Looks like a very do-able number, especially since we’ve averaged well better than that lately (and the current race for the playoffs, free food night, and a few games against Detroit won’t hurt).

Unfortunately, it looks like my other predictions from my earlier post were pretty accurate. Even if the Preds sold out every game from here on out (assuming that translates to 15,200 in paid attendance out of the 17,113 capacity, as has usually been the case) that would only pull the average up to 13,408. Far, far short of the 14,000 needed to keep the current lease intact.

So, it’s a good thing Freeman and the new ownership crew finally got the new lease over to the Sports Authority after all. That agreement keeps the team here for at least another 3-5 years (depending on attendance) and I am beginning to trust this new ownership group to do what it takes to win over fans and businesses in the community…

UPDATE: A blogger on the Tennessean’s website (only works in I.E.) is also reporting that the new ownership has rescinded the “cure clause” for attendance this year. Meaning that, technically, even if the new lease isn’t put into effect and the 14,000 in paid attendance isn’t reached, the team still can’t move. The same blogger says that the Sports Authority will be reviewing (and voting on?) the new lease terms tomorrow morning. Still awaiting any official confirmation…

UPDATE 2: Just talked to my ticket rep and it looks like the March 20th Detroit game and the March 22nd Chicago game will be sellouts, and several other games are going fast. Looking good!


Which reminds me, it turns out that local good-guy Gordon David Freeman is the largest shareholder after all. He owns 32.63% of the team, while the “outsiders” from California, Boots Del Biaggio and Warren Woo own only a combined 31.58%. That is a significant change from what we were led to believe earlier.

The fact that the outsiders (with eyes for a franchise in Kansas City) don’t actually own most of the team, with locals just holding a token share, really means a lot to me. Conspiracy theories about them just playing nice and having a plan all-along to move the team (and Freeman just being a guy they talked into being a local front/mouthpiece) aren’t going to go away… but this sure looks better, especially when you take into account that the remaining 35.79% is owned by other Nashville locals (making the total local share nearly 70%). I’m kinda surprised the team hasn’t made a bigger deal out of it.


The first two sentences from an article in the Tennessean today regarding Martin Gelinas:
Predators forward Martin Gelinas will undergo surgery on Wednesday to repair his torn ACL, putting an end to his season.

Gelinas had suffered the injury Feb. 21 against Vancouver, but was hoping that — after the swelling had gone down — there would still be a chance he’d be able to play without the ACL this season.

Really? I’d love to have seen him try to play with a ligament completely removed from his leg. He’s a tough player, but i don’t think anyone would be able to pull that off.

On a more serious note, it is too bad that we’ve lost Jelly Gelli Gelinas for the season, and i honestly wonder if his career is done. He was playing very well for us this year, but he’s getting up in years, and recovering from ACL damage this bad won’t be easy, even for a fitness and conditioning nut like him. If he were under contract, i’d say he’ll be back. But i don’t know many teams that will take a 38 year old 3rd-liner recovering from a bum ACL. Great player, but that may be it for him.


I didn’t get a chance to watch the Washington Capitals clean the ice with the Boston Bruins tonight, but…wow. Of course, everyone’s going to be talking about Ovechkin’s 5-point hat-trick-with-2-helpers night, but just take a second to check out the box score. More than just the 10-2 slaughter stands out to me…

Boston players Zedeno Chara (who i have on my fantasy roster), Marco Sturm, and Phil Kessel all played 16 or more minutes (nearly 20 for Chara) but ended up even in plus/minus. Kessel actually ended up plus-1 for the night!? I know 4 goals were on the power play (so they don’t count toward plus/minus), but 6 goals were at even strength! How do you end up on the bad side of a 10-2 drubbing and still end up plus-1 for the game? Wow.

Conversely, with 6 goals scored at even strength and only one even strength goal allowed against their team, Sergei Federov, Brooks Laich, and Alexander Semin somehow ended up minus-1 for the game. Ouch.

Ovechkin got his 5 points, but the Caps really spread the love tonight. Every single player in the Capitals roster registered at least a point (either a goal or an assist) except poor Jurcina and new arrival Sergei Federov.

Besides the horrible minus-1 and no points for Sergei in the game, he didn’t draw a complete goose-egg on the otherwise packed box score…he had a single shot on goal. Woooow. I’m sure he was one of the 3 stars for this game…

Chara not only pulled off an even plus/minus for my fantasy team in this game, he also pulled in an assist, a shot on goal, and 9 PIMs. And someone just offered me a trade with him for Jonathan Cheechoo. Ha! Yeah right!

ya think?

In History/Politics on February 27, 2008 at 10:01 am

Headline on CNN.com says “Fed chief’s new fear: Inflation“.

Ya think? Really? I wonder why inflation would be a concern? Would it maybe be because you lowered interest rates 1.25% in 8 days?

What blows me away too is how many people think this means their mortgage rates are dropping automatically, and proportionally. Guess what – they ain’t. Not for a good long while at least. Mortgage rates are usually based on the bond market, which is completely separate from the fed rate (the fed rate is just the rate that the government and banks charge each other for overnight loans, etc). Now since the bond market usually goes up when the stock market goes down…yes, home mortgage rates will probably dip a bit. But there isn’t a direct tie between them.

What blows me away about Bernanke though… He wants to lower interest rates AGAIN to try to stimulate the economy, but he’s a little concerned about inflation if he does. Does this guy think he’s working in a high school economics class project? It takes time for fed rate adjustments to turn into more cash in the economy. Even when you drop the floor out of the rate. And yes, dropping the interest rate that much in that short a time will give likely give us the wonderful combination of rapid onset inflation before we even see the economy actually get to recover.

I miss Alan Greenspan. :-(

not-so-secret ballot

In East Nashville, Funny, History/Politics, Me, Nashville on February 5, 2008 at 11:45 am

I vote at Stratford High School in East Nashville. A politically active area, and one with a polling place that is very efficient. I have rarely had to wait more than 3-4 minutes to vote, but the area usually has a pretty good turnout.

However, the last three times i’ve voted, i have also had the pleasure of watching those before me cast their votes. It gives you that tight community feeling you understand…

You see, they setup the voting booths in the front lobby of the school, in front of the mirror-backed trophy cases. That’s right – they setup the secret ballot voting booths right in front of a WALL OF MIRRORS! They have a blue tape line marking where you can’t walk any closer to give people privacy while they vote. Problem is that i can actually see what they are doing better by standing back than if i was standing closer!

I’ve diagrammed (pardon the quick/sloppy artwork) the setup below:

I could see clearly what the guy was doing in the far left booth (as face the booths waiting in line). The fact that the booths were at an angle just made it that much easier to see.

When i mentioned it to the officials, they went over to the one person who i couldn’t see (in the far right booth) and interrupted him in the middle of voting and asked him to stand a little closer – like he was doing something wrong!

All it would take is draping some butcher paper, posters, or sheets over the trophy cases. I’ve mentioned it every time i voted in the last three elections and nothing has been done.

I finally just looked up the contact info for the election commission – they don’t have EMAIL!?! So, i just spend 15 minutes on hold on their general call in number (the pre-recorded message at the beginning wanted to make sure i knew they would be closed on Jan 21st for the MLK holiday). Finally i spoke with a general worker who was very polite and transferred me to Ms. Joan A Nixon’s voice mail. I was assured that she would return my call. Her email is listed on the commission’s website, so if i don’t hear back from her soon i’ll probably drop her an email.

I will update this space if they do ever contact me back or anything comes of this.

is the format war over?

In Cool Tech, Entertainment, History/Politics, Movies on February 3, 2008 at 9:44 pm

Personally, i think it is fairly safe to call it. At ‘worst’ we might end up with a truce and both formats will survive in some capacity, but i don’t think it’ll even come to that. Sony finally beat the Betamax (and mini-disc, ATRAC, memory sticks, Super Audio, and UMD among many others…) curse and won a format war.

Blu-Ray is here to stay.

Blu-Ray had a huge boost in market share after Christmas, and still routinely controls 60%-plus of the high-def movie market week after week. Since the inception of both formats, Blu-Ray controls 64% of the market, and has controlled all 10 spots on the Nielsen VideoScan list of top titles every week since Christmas. It is also worth noting that many HD-DVD movies come bundled with the standard DVD as well, so the HD-DVD numbers may be given a boost by customers buying those copies for the standard DVD’s, not the high-def format.

I even did a little research for ya. Here are a few interesting fact nuggets that lead me to believe in HD-DVD demise:

Getting a handle on which studios are lined up fully in which camp would be tough, especially given the distribution rights for different territories, etc. However, I think one of the more important aspects of a format war is the ever-important Killer App.

Killer Apps for a movie format would of course, be movies. So, let’s make a short list of movies or series with a major cult following that might compel someone to purchase a player for either format (in no particular order):

HD-DVD:

Bourne Trilogy
Serentiy
Dune
The Mummy
Shrek
Star Trek (movies and TV shows)
Battlestar Gallactica (TV show)
Heros (TV show)
Braveheart

Blu-Ray:

Pixar Movies (Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Cars, etc)
Stargate (movie and TV shows)
Pirates of the Caribbean
X-Men
Lost (TV show)
James Bond (many not yet released)
Disney Animated Features (many not yet released)
Lord of the Rings (not yet released)

Both:

Monty Python
The Matrix Trilogy
Harry Potter
Bladerunner
Terminator
Superman Returns

Still undecided:

Star Wars
Indiana Jones
Firefly

So…spot anything you can’t live without?

One of the other early deciding factors has been who is buying these players. It would be all well and good if all ABC sitcoms from the 1990′s were released on one format or another, but if those people don’t drive early adopter sales, then it won’t matter.

Which brings us to another point: HD-DVD has been pushing massive price cuts for players and media. However, mass-consumer demand is still for normal DVDs. The only customers buying high-def format movies are early adopters and videophiles. Not the types that generally react well to red-tag sales and feature stripped players for low prices.

As of Jan 28th, there were 381 HD-DVD titles compared to 459 Blu-Ray titles available. Blu-Ray also adds more each week on average, and they tend to be more popular and “a-list” titles. Here’s the “new release” list for the month of January as an example:

Blu-Ray:

  • Shoot ‘Em Up (New Line)
  • War (Lionsgate)
  • Resident Evil (Sony)
  • Resident Evil Trilogy (Sony)
  • Resident Evil: Extinction (Sony)
  • 3:10 to Yuma (2007) (Lionsgate)
  • Con Air (Buena Vista)
  • Dragon Wars (Sony)
  • Killing Machine/Shogun’s Ninja (BCI)
  • Man on Fire (Fox)
  • Night of the Werewolf/Vengeance of the Zombies (BCI)
  • The Rock (Buena Vista)
  • Sister Street Fighter/Sister Street Fighter 2 (BCI)
  • Sunshine (Fox)
  • Breaker Morant (Image)
  • Good Luck Chuck (Lionsgate)
  • Mr. Woodcock (New Line)
  • Suburban Girl (Image)
  • Went To Coney Island On A Mission From God…(Starz)
  • The Game Plan (Walt Disney)
  • Saw IV (Lionsgate)
  • Daddy Day Camp (Sony)
  • Damages: The Complete First Season (Sony)
  • The Invasion (Warner)
  • Justin Timberlake: Live at Madison Square Garden (Sony BMG)
  • Monty Python’s Life of Brian (Sony)

HD-DVD:

  • Mobsters (Universal)
  • The Pianist (Universal)
  • White Noise (Universal)
  • White Noise 2: The Light (Universal)
  • Zodiac: Director’s Cut (Paramount)
  • The Ten (City Lights)
  • Channels (Vanguard Cinema)
  • Method Man: Live from the Sunset Strip (Music Distribution)
  • Strauss: Die Fledermaus (Opus Arte)

Both:

  • Dispatch: Zimbabwe – Live at Madison Square Garden (WMG)
  • King of California (First Look)

So. I’ve got my PS3 and am firmly in the Blu-Ray camp now. Pixar was my killer app, but Stargate, the 5th Element, Pirates of the Caribbean and Harry Potter sure didn’t hurt. Cars alone is worth the investment for me. If you haven’t seen it in HD yet, let me know and i’ll arrange a time for you to come over and watch it. It will blow. your. mind. Just make sure you put in a fresh set of contacts or clean your glasses well before you come over.

Ron Paul country

In Family, History/Politics on January 26, 2008 at 7:23 pm

I just found out that Ron Paul was from Texas last week. Not sure how i missed that, given that i grew up in Texas.

Then today i found out he’s from the Houston area (as i flew into Hobby today). Then found out when i saw this sign that we are in his district for my grandmother’s funeral. And now I’m told my grandfather knew him.

I just knew him as the ‘indie’ kinda libertarian republican candidate. I gotta check him out now.

new air pollution law… maybe

In History/Politics, Nashville on December 10, 2007 at 12:13 pm

According to the Nashville Post, we have a change to air pollution laws about to hit at the start of the new year that is explained thusly:

Places certain restrictions on open burning of wood waste within 200 feet of an unoccupied building by person other than the occupant of the building.

You wanna run that by me again? I can’t burn wood near an unoccupied building unless i am the person who occupies the building? I know we pay our legislators too much… but… wow.

Of course, it could be a typo on the part of the Nashville Post. The PDF they link to which is supposed to be the actual law summary, talks about the state taking over federal programs when the feds budget comes up short. So i think it’s just screwed up. Sounded funny to me though.

ok…here it goes

In History/Politics, Hockey, Nashville, Sports on December 6, 2007 at 8:55 am

This is something i’ve thought about for a long time, but never posted, mostly out of fear of a ‘sensitive’ issue. Very few people do talk about it. But Kukla’s Korner just linked to someone else talking about it, so i figured i’d chime in:

I have often wondered about the lack of minority players playing at least a partial role in hockey not being as quickly adopted in the southern (particularly south-east) US. When i go to games in Nashville, the vast majority of fans in the stands are all white. Like 98.5%. Meanwhile Titans games and other sports in town draw just about equally from the black and white communities. In cities where there is a large minority population (in some cases they are the vast majority, in fact) it makes an “all-white” sport a tough draw, economics aside. I wish it didn’t, but i think it does. I’ve often wondered if the Preds would start drawing better if they traded for Ray Emery, Anson Carter, or maybe even Mike Grier (i’d love to have Jarome Iginla, but i don’t think that’s going to happen).

Outside of just the local team draw, i think the lack of diversity impacts the overall appeal nationwide. Many sports right now are heavily promoted/influenced/marketed with “black culture”.

A friend of mine (who is black) told me he just got season tickets for the Preds. He was amazed. He’d never seen hockey live before and has absolutely fallen in love. He said he grew up watching nothing but football and basketball. He’d just never been exposed to it. I don’t think that much is unique to him being black, just growing up in Nashville. But what i think is more unique is that, for those little kids who are 9 or 10 growing up…they look for role models. People they can relate to but want to emulate. Right now, as much as he may enjoy watching a game, there aren’t a whole lot players for a 9-year old black kid growing up in Nashville or Atlanta to relate to.

I’m not saying hockey is doing it on purpose. I’m not saying that hockey can’t succeed as it is now. But i really think that hockey would have a huge boost, especially in the southern US, if they could increase the minority presence. Many teams (the Preds included) are starting to run hockey programs for kids that can’t afford it. The more accessible they can make it, the better. How might things look different if someone like Lebron James had decided he wanted to be the next Wayne Gretzky, not the next Michael Jordan.

Ok. There. I said it.
Let the flame wars begin…

Vote Preds

In History/Politics, Hockey, Nashville, Sports on October 16, 2007 at 10:19 am

What he said. And he said.

Go vote on WMSV’s poll asking if the Preds should stay or not.

Not that this poll matters a hill of beans, but it’s easy to do. Why not. Go vote.

Peace vs. Environment

In History/Politics on October 15, 2007 at 1:05 pm

I have no problem with Al Gore’s hypocrisy on environmental issues and being recognized for his work on the global warming issue. He might be the single worst polluter on the planet for all i care, and he could still be doing enough to warrant an award. I really just don’t care. But Al Gore- and the UN commission – shouldn’t have gotten the Nobel Peace Prize.

Peace?!

The award is for people who do major stuff toward Peace on Earth and Good-will toward Men. People who make other people stop fighting. “Humanitarian efforts, peace movements, advocacy of human rights, mediation of international conflicts, and arms control.” Nelson Madella, Jimmy Carter…people like that. Al Gore and the UN did nothing that advanced the cause of Peace in the world.

If anything they all made people fight more, pointing fingers and stirring up arguments for those who think global warming is a hoax and those that think the world will end in a giant hurricane in 10 years. Not Peace.

I could even, maybe, see Gore and the UN group getting the Nobel Prize for Economics. Maybe even Physics. And i can definitely see a need for a specific prize for Environmental work. It is probably well needed, but someone would have to front the cash for the new award (like they did in 1968 for the Economics award).

But Peace?

Smoking Ban NOT Going Into Effect

In East Nashville, History/Politics, Nashville on October 1, 2007 at 8:06 am

So while i was at Laura Creekmore’s birthday party at Beyond the Edge last night, i went over to talk Predators hockey with the manager, Joseph (I also thanked him for providing the great appetizers and other goodness for the party). While we were talking, i brought up the smoking ban and said i looked forward to being able to come to the new smoke-free version of Beyond the Edge.

He said they weren’t going smoke free.
I asked if that meant they were going 21-and-up. He said no.

I was confused.

He said that he’s seen stuff in the paper, but no one from the city, state, or any other group has sent them any notifications or dropped by to notify them of the change in the law. He said he and the other managers from East Nashville bars (i assume he means 3 Crow Bar, Red Door East, 5-Spot and Lipstick Lounge) are going to keep allowing people to smoke and will not ask anyone to leave until they have been notified by officials of the change.

Now, i’m all for smoke-free. I love the idea of being able to go to Beyond the Edge and watch a game and not have to keep the clothes i wear in the garage until i wash them. But this combined with the cities recent renaming of streets downtown without actually telling everyone has me wondering who’s failing miserably at their jobs. Small businesses should be notified about any changes in codes or laws that apply to them once they have received their permits, etc.

Hopefully Mayor Dean’s administration will be a little more prompt about reporting such things.

on owners, franchises, and moving

In History/Politics, Sports on August 13, 2007 at 9:00 am

Interesting article on ESPN.com this morning.

Basically the people that bought the Seattle Supersonics recently are talking about moving the team to Oklahoma City. The two things that make this particularly interesting to me are two statements the owners make:

  1. “But we didn’t buy the team to keep it in Seattle; we hoped to come [to Oklahoma City]…We know it’s a little more difficult financially here in Oklahoma City, but we think it’s great for the community and if we could break even, we’d be thrilled.”
  2. “[The city of Seattle have] got 60 days to make some decisions they haven’t been willing to make in the past year, and if they make them in a way that satisfies Clay, then the team will stay there.”

Statement #1
I find this one really interesting. It is based on the premise that they want to move the team to OKC knowing that it will not be profitable, knowing that it will ‘fail’ by many standards, but it is worth it for the city. This sounds a lot like the talk we’ve been hearing from the local Nashville group that wants to buy the Predators. The leader of the group has even come out and said he is not and was not a hockey fan, but wanted to buy the team because he knew how important they were to Nashville. I find it interesting how this concept is being used. Especially compared to the more normal franchise ownership talk – which brings us to #2.

Statement #2
Statement #2 contradicts statement #1, and gets to the real issue going on here. This is pretty clearly a traditional case of ownership threatening to move the team if they don’t get a sweet new arena built for them. Statement #1, in this case, is just a smoke screen to give them an excuse of where they could move. To pressure the city to build a new arena, they have to have a plausible threat of moving. On its face, no one really takes the threat of moving to OKC seriously. It would be financial suicide. So they have come up with some reason for moving to OKC. “The good of the city” sounds good. Now…why wouldn’t they keep the team in Seattle for the good of that city?

That is one thing i have appreciated through all this ownership hype. The Predators already have about the best arena deal a team can have. The arena is still relatively new, is just getting an upgraded scoreboard, etc. So the debate has actually, for once, been for the merits of the city, fans, and team at true face value. It isn’t about getting a new arena built, it is about profitability, fan support, and the value of a franchise to a city.

And i like the way things are turning out so far :-)

senator whitehouse

In Funny, History/Politics on August 2, 2007 at 9:46 am

I was listening to NPR this morning and caught the name of a senator that i’d never heard before. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.

What was really funny about this is that the story was about Sen Whitehouse pushing through legislation to restrict the communication between the White House and the Justice Department.

But rather quickly the piece kept flirting with turning into an Abbott and Costello sketch. “Senator Whitehouse was frustrated at the White Houses’ lack of cooperation” and so forth.

Now we just need:

Chief Justice Peter Congress
President Richard Senate
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
Representative David Justice

These jokes would write themselves.

chris mason for vice-mayor

In History/Politics, Hockey, Nashville, Sports on July 31, 2007 at 4:31 pm

Someone just commented on this flickr photo of mine, that they just voted for Chris Mason for vice-mayor of the city as a write-in.

I don’t think Chris is even eligible, being Canadian and all, but it sounds like a good idea to me. I get to show my general distaste for the current political landscape and the offerings i have to choose from, but still cast my vote – all while supporting the Predators!

This wouldn’t be the first time, mind you. Me and a few friends of voted for a co-worker as a write-in during the last election. I don’t even remember what office it was for.

real deep thoughts

In Family, History/Politics, Me on June 28, 2007 at 8:12 pm

I recently decided to change my blog title. It used to be “sthguoht peed”, and someone suggested “Deep Thoughts” as an alternative. Aside from not liking the implied SNL reference, i didn’t think my blog had really lived up to the standard.

This latest post from my sister does.
Go read it.

Really great post Amy. You’re dead on. Even with all this stuff back and forth with different people about hockey in Nashville – such a shallow topic – it amazes me how quickly people can get thrown into mad bouts of insults. Conversations that should be civil and general get really personal and vicious.

I am reminded of a thought in Rob Bell’s book Velvet Elvis (which i just started reading). I certainly don’t agree with everything i’ve read so far, and i haven’t even gotten half-way through. But early in the book he discusses people with intensely fixed, immovable, inflexible beliefs that they fell can not be challenged without risking the loss of their whole belief system.

He describes a letter he had received from such a man at a seminary asking for support and trying to recruit badly needed “defenders of the faith”. He said he realized that so many Christians (and people in general i think – pick your topic) get so caught up in talking about how right their fixed ideas are, which of course after a while leads to talking about how wrong everyone else is, which then leads to defending their own belief system and a vicious cycle is started. He provides the alternative that, rather than attack and defend, why not focus on your living life the way you feel it should be lived, and occasionally ask people to join you? I think the idea is that 1) no one idea should be that important to your existance and 2) if you have a good thing, you shouldn’t have to attack/defended others to get them to see that. Twelve steps groups have a similar theory. They never actively promote themselves because they believe in attracting other people who want what they have, and when someone is ready to accept it, they will come on their own.

How rare is that kind of thinking though? There are whole industries – and political systems – based around the idea of one set of people being right and everyone else being wrong and the arguments that ensue.

This is one of the things i really like about the ‘old’ Everlast song “What It’s Like” (video, lyrics warning: mature language)(i know nothing of the artist other than this one hit wonder) It’s a very impactful song about people on the other side of hot issues. Homelessness, abortion, drugs…they are all very personal issues that we have a tendency to turn into blanket, altruistic ISSUES.

But particularly these types of situations are really never that simple. But it is so easy to look at someone from a distance and assume they are an issue. Ask a homeless person how he became homeless. The answer will not be simple. But it is so easy to look at a panhandler and assume he is a lazy bum that chooses to drink liquor instead of do something better (i know – i’ve done it). But it is never that simple. Same with any abortion. I have never heard of anyone that liked abortion, never talked to a woman that went through it that said “that was great, you should all try it”. But so many times there are people who believe abortion should be illegal who have no compassion for people in those situations. The are unable or unwilling to look at the person and realize that they are not just an ISSUE. Now ability to show the person compassion and save the argument another day.

The amazing to watch people cross the line, too. People so fixated on an ISSUES that when someone they know as a friend crosses the line, they are shunned. Rarely are they embraced as imperfect, wounded humans. They are now one of “them”.

Like Amy said. People are not ideas. We should react to the people and the circumstances, not the ideas and ideals that we may prize or hate.

If my idea is that great, people will follow. But i’m ok even if they don’t. It doesn’t lessen my belief or happiness. Not if i don’t let it.

predators hit the road

In History/Politics, Hockey, Nashville, Sports on June 18, 2007 at 10:14 am

A bit of an update from a post back in Feb.

The Tennessee legislature finally got around to approving a license plate for the Nashville Predators.

Great timing guys.

They have to pre-sell 1,000 plates before they’ll actually start making them. No idea yet if they have a sample design, but i made the graphic to the right back in Feb, and it’ll probably be something like that.

My understanding is to contact your local county clerk if you want to order one. I’ll try to call this afternoon and see what it takes and how much they’ll cost (proceeds go to the Predators Foundation).

Now the question is, do i get one of these for the Rabbit, or one of the antique car plates i now qualify for…

predators benefit concert

In History/Politics, Hockey, Nashville, Sports on June 13, 2007 at 2:25 pm

SaveThePredators.com has organized a concert to support keeping the team in town. The show will be on July 10th at the Rutledge and feature Small Time Rock Stars (who frequently perform as the house band at Predators games), Kink Ador, and others.

The part that i think is really great is how they are working this. The concert is a benefit for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee – that also supports the Preds.

Here’s how it works: proceeds from the $10 ticket price will go to buy Predators tickets, which will then be donated to the Boys and Girls Clubs. So while i don’t think you could exactly use this as a direct tax write-off, it’s a genius way of supporting the Predators and the community all at the same time.

See you there!

save the rally for later

In History/Politics, Hockey, Nashville, Sports on June 8, 2007 at 9:07 pm

Copied from a few posts i’ve seen around today (and heard rumor of earlier this week):

According to SaveThePredators.com there will be NO “Save The Predators” fan rally for June 16th. That’s is the weekend for the Bonaroo festival. If you see any on-line fliers, etc. just disregard them.

There IS a huge rally in the works for mid-July that 104.5 The Zone and the Chamber of Commerce (among others) are putting together.

Stay tuned.

Goodbye Brittney

In Blog Stuff, History/Politics, Nashville on June 6, 2007 at 10:52 am

I barely knew you. I had just become part of the NiT community, and now i wonder if it will continue.

(For those that don’t know, WKRN’s professional blogger and head of Nashville is Talking, Brittney Gilbert, just resigned)

Brittney:
I wish you all the best in whatever you do. You did a good job of being yourself and not hiding your opinions, while not attempting to silence or belittle those who disagreed (well, with few exceptions). Of course there is no small amount of irony that this, your greatest strength, is what brought you down.

Now i’m wondering if NiT will continue. With the recent changes in management at WKRN (that were badly needed – i love NiT, but WKRN…isn’t…very good.) i wonder if they will see the value in hiring a blogger (hey – how much would this gig pay anyway… hum…).

On a totally selfish note, if NiT doesn’t continue, where am i going to get my links from? My visits are going to tank for a while i’m sure.

I wonder if the folks over at MetroBlogging will kinda take over as the hang out of choice for Nashville bloggers. There are a few people that frequent both (Chris Wage, Kate O, etc). I certainly hope so. My employer blocks NiT (i pull and RSS feed through Google to read, but can’t comment) but doesn’t block MetroBlogging.

chamber survey

In History/Politics, Hockey, Nashville, Sports on June 1, 2007 at 10:39 pm

Quick survey for the Nashville Chamber of Commerce. Took me about 1 minute and 15 seconds to take the whole thing.
www.nashvillechamber.com/predators
Go take it.

And check this out: www.savethepredators.com

be there!

In Blog Stuff, Friends, History/Politics, Hockey, Me, Sports on May 30, 2007 at 4:33 pm

According to SaveThePredators.com there will be NO “Save The Predators” fan rally for June 16th. That’s is the weekend for the Bonaroo festival. If you see any on-line fliers, etc. just disregard them.

There IS a huge rally in the works for mid-July that 104.5 The Zone and the Chamber of Commerce (among others) are putting together.

Stay tuned.

Also – go sign the petition

Having said that…i don’t think the Preds are in that much trouble. Don’t want to seem too desperate. But hey, even if the team hadn’t been sold and sold out every game last year – i’m always up for a party supporting the team!

Oh, and a great post from Paul McCann (who should really be on NiT’s roll – hint hint Brittney). Best quote:

[Hockey] is the only sport that I can think of who’s fans believe that it doesn’t “belong” in certain places. Could you imagine a die-hard football fan in Chicago saying that football doesn’t belong in Seattle… Maybe a big hoops fan in Philly saying that the NBA shouldn’t be in Phoenix… Perhaps a crazed baseball fan in St. Louis saying that baseball doesn’t belong in Toronto? It truly boggles the mind to think that hockey fans wouldn’t want more hockey fans in more places.

Amen brother.

recap and props

In History/Politics, Hockey, Sports on May 30, 2007 at 10:12 am

First, let me hand out some props.
I have certainly done my fair share of ragging on our local media for their poor coverage of the Predators. I have even developed something of a reputation for it.

Today i woke up to see the front cover of the Tennessean with Jim Balsillie’s face on it, and an in-depth-ish article on the new owner. The paper has also done an excellent job lately in covering the pluses and minuses of the team’s sale, while giving both the optimistic and ‘realist’ views of the team’s chances of staying in town. As much as i’ve hated on John Glennon and team, i need to call out that since they were scooped on the sale of the team, they have really stepped up with good coverage. The City paper also had a great, reasonably balanced story on the economic impact the Predators have on Nashville (even though the picture of a crowd at Rippy’s on the front cover was clearly taken before a Kentucky basketball game, not a Preds game).


Now, i finally get around to posting my thoughts and opinions on where the Predators might be headed (literally and figuratively)…

I am excited. I think this is a good thing. The next few weeks will certainly tell us a lot more, but as it stands now, i’m thinking positive. A week ago i would have laid only 10-15% odds that the Predators would be in Nashville beyond next season. Now i’d put those odds at closer to 45%. So, notice, i am not a blind optimist, but things aren’t looking all that bad.

The Sale
Craig Leipold is rich. But not that rich. He was a good owner, but not that great.
He bought the team for $80 million, had losses in all but one of the team’s 10 years that totaled up to $70 million in losses. Sold for $220. Profit: $70 million. He’s a business man and doesn’t have infinitely deep pockets. The sale made sense. Who was willing to pay him the most? Jim Balsillie. I don’t fault Leipold for the sale and don’t feel cheated or lied to. He did what he had to do. We knew he had been looking to sell at least portions of the team for some time.

Under New Management
I am glad to have Jim Balsillie. I think he’s going to be the Mark Cuban of hockey. I expect to see him at every game. Heck, i wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the ice or on the bench during free skate. He is a passionate fan. There is nothing better in an owner. Well, that and being stinking rich – which he is.

What i hope for most out of Jim Balsillie is better marketing. We have fabulous individual fan support for a great product. Better than most in the league, or most leagues for that matter. What we lack is the ‘bigger picture’ business and community support. Unlike most, i don’t blame the community for this. I blame the team and more specifically, the marketing department. They never did a good job reaching out to the business community. After several years of discussion regarding lack of business support, i saw “100 ways to use Predators tickets for your business” and a few adds on TV and radio that started running well after the All-Star game last year. A little late guys. The marketing, especially to businesses, needs to improve. Can you think of someone better to market to businesses than a billionaire (read: money to invest) who happens to be the head of the Blackberry empire?

The Move?
Will the Predators be moving? Well, not for the 07-08 season at least. That much is sure. And now, as mentioned above, the media has begun covering the team more. The impact the team has on the city has been seen. Business owners are stepping up.

NHL Commisioner Gary Bettman just said in a press conference that he spoke with Balsillie (apparently one of few people that have since the sale was announced) and that Balsillie told him he had no specific intentions around moving the team. He just wants to own a team. I accept that as truth, but not a no-move promise. He could still want to move the team. But according to what Bettman says he was told (read: hearsay) he doesn’t have plans in place.

Here’s why i believe him: Where would he move?

Hamilton? Too close to Toronto and Buffalo, their owners would veto it.
Winnipeg? They just lost a team to Phoenix and at just 633k residents, it is not big enough to allow a move back there.
Kansas City? Las Vegas? Maybe, but why would Balsillie move from one ‘non-traditional hockey market’ city in the US to another?
Portland? This makes the most sense for a move. They are 3rd to Montreal and L.A. in biggest population per team. They only have one NBA team and 2.5 million people. But there hasn’t been a big demand for moving a team there. And again, from Balsillie’s point of view, why start over with a new city (if you can’t move the team to your back yard)?

Remember one more important point: Bettman doesn’t want the Predators to move. That would be:

  1. Admitting that he was wrong in moving hockey to Nashville and similar cities
  2. That would be one less city to expand to (and he loves those expansion fees)
  3. Specifically it limits the chance for western expansion and re-alignment

There is still serious talk of the league expanding with two teams in the Western Conference and realigning Detroit to the east where they belong. The Predators moving to Winnipeg, KC, Vegas, or Portland makes that less likely to happen.

Even if the Predators don’t meet the 14,000 ticket level, i think the team will be sticking around, for at least a few more years.

The Fans
I also have to say that i was horribly disappointed in Section 303 leader Mark Hollingsworth. In this article, he was quoted as saying

“There are a lot of hard-core fans, including me, who might not even come to the games next year…I put way too much time and effort into this to watch a lame-duck situation…I speak for every serious fan that we want concrete assurances… that (Balsillie) is contractually committed to stay here somehow”

No sir, you do not. Next year looks to be a fabulous year on the ice. Nothing will change that. We will be cup contenders again next year. Moving or not, i plan on being there to watch a great set of hockey games. Note: Mark did a little backpedal here and tried to be slightly more upbeat. I think most fans are still quite supportive.

Other fan issues: I feel like the Predators are just now reaching a critical mass when it comes to fans. Early on, it was a novelty. We had very high attendance numbers while everyone checked out this hockey thing (and it was stinking cheap back then). Now the city has a real growing fan base. People that follow the team, talk about it around the water cooler, etc. I am personal proof of that. I had gone to maybe 15-20 games in the first 7 years and watched many on TV. In the last 2 seasons i’ve been to no less than 50 and watch every one i can. The fan base is just coming of age. Kids that were 9-10-11 when the team came to town are now 20-somethings with cash to spend and weekends to fill. We are just now seeing fans that grew up with the team be old enough to pay for their own tickets.

Will the fans (besides the aforementioned busiensses) step up? I think so. If Balsillie acts like he is going to support the team at all – which i think he will – then i think an extra 200 seats per game is easily done. All discussions of the team moving will halt.

The Team
The Tennessean ran an article a few days ago raising the concern about the Predators re-signing players with all the uncertainty about the team. While i agree that uncertainty is never a plus in contract negotiations, it really isn’t all that bad in this case. Scenario 1) The Predators stay put. The players like Nashville, we have a great team, they know what they get. 2) The Predators move to somewhere in Canada. The players now get to play in this great ‘hockey country’ we hear so much about, and for many of them, it is closer to home. Either way, they now work for a boss that is crazy passionate about hockey, which is just a plus over the previous ownership. The only downside is if Balsillie hasn’t given Poile (the Predators GM) a budget for next year.

But if Balsillie is half the businessman and hockey fan we have heard, he has already given Poile an idea of where he needs to be. Even if he plans on moving the team, he will want a good team to move. It could be Quebec all over again (they moved and won the Cup in their first year in Denver), or even the inverse: the team wins the Cup, then moves.


So i think this is my longest blog post yet. I’ve had to work on it off and on for a while now, but i think i covered it all:
New owner: good
Team moving: possible but not certain, maybe even unlikely
Fans: mostly supportive
Team: solid as ever

I’m out.

stop learning, you’re in my way

In East Nashville, History/Politics, Me, Nashville on May 17, 2007 at 10:20 am

Warning: this is about a steamed as i’ve been about any issue in a while.

Yet another story you’ll see on the front page of the City Paper and i can’t find anywhere from the Tennessean:

The Nashville Public Library … this week approved a toughened version of the library system’s loitering policy, explicitly prohibiting people from “congregating” inside library buildings if perceived as unsafe or intimidating and preventing truants from loitering in public libraries during school hours.

The new policy, in addition, explicitly references gangs, prohibiting “the display or possession of gang symbols or paraphernalia, gang recruitment, gang initiation, gang fighting and gang intimidation.”

Now, unless i’m wrong, “unsafe or intimidating” behavior, as well as truancy was already against the rules in pretty much any public building. Perhaps more so in libraries.

But these new rules seem, well, stupid.

Heaven forbid that teenagers would feel comfortable around a library, or want to hang out there. We’d never want them to feel like the library was a place to spend time after school. Once school is out, we full expect them to wander out on to the streets, and hang around the bars in 5-points down the road, not hang around a place of learning where there is good lighting, visibility and security cameras guarding the area. Learning time is clearly over once the school bell rings. Oh – and if a student is involved in gang activity, we want them to stay away from the library and on the streets. We don’t want them to rub off on the librarians or other good citizens that are in the library and taint them. Imagine if the librarians started being recruited by gangs.

Just stupid.

What really blows my mind is that this policy change came about as a result of a few kids hanging around the East Branch library after school. They come across from East Literature High and hang out (it is directly across the street). This is an extremely visible, populated area. I’ve been around there when school gets out some days. I live near there. Lots of people around.

Commander Bob Nash of the East Nashville police precinct said in the article:

“When East [Literature] lets out, some of the students were going over to the library waiting to be picked up or just to congregate … and sometimes they would kind of block the doorway — I don’t think intentionally, but some people found that uncomfortable. They’d have to walk through a whole group of kids, so we’ve been trying to help them”

and his response regarding the speculation of gang activity:

“there has been some speculation of some a gang presence outside the library but nothing confirmed”

The article goes on to say that:

“According to NPL, teenage roughhousing at the public libraries has not become a huge problem”

And…

“At the downtown library, high schoolers have begun gathering more frequently this year in the youth section. They have caused no severe problems although have sometimes been warned to quiet themselves.”

Oh no! We better just shut down the whole library system right now!

So because some stuck-up person doesn’t feel comfortable walking through a group of kids hanging out at the library – we’re going to tell the kids to go elsewhere? What?!

Maybe i’m wrong, but every good teacher or librarian i’ve ever known (i come from a family of teachers) was willing to deal with cleaning up a little graffiti and asking kids to be quiet occasionally if it meant getting kids in the building and having a chance to get them excited about learning or reading. I know a lot of the kids aren’t there to read and study – but wouldn’t we rather have them in the library on the off chance that someone could have a good influence on them. It is certainly better than the alternatives like the mall, clubs, bars, or just out on the street.

In response to this post (Update: this is the woman that home-schools her kids, but got herself appointed to the school board, and was then voted out by the public in East Nashville as quickly as possible):
Should we always ask for good behavior from students? Of course.
We already did that. If kids are creating problems, there are already rules and policies in place to ask them to leave. With these policies, we are telling kids they can’t come in to the library if they are still wearing clothes that could be associated with gangs. Why?

This article clearly states that they have just had a handful of isolated complaints from a few patrons. Not the staff. Not the police.

It is the job of parents and teachers and librarians and the everyone in the community to help these kids. It is not the kids job to stay out of our way and teach themselves.

This is a horrible policy and should be rescinded immediately.
They should be begging these kids to hang out at the library.

new east park center

In East Nashville, History/Politics, Nashville, Pictures on May 5, 2007 at 3:57 pm


Christy and i made it to the grand opening of the new East Park Community Center.
Politicians spoke, ribbons were cut, and pictures were taken:


It was cool. Really is going to be a nice place, and very inexpensive to take advantage of.

That is all.
I am boring today.

Update: Here’s the story Channel 2 did on the opening.

thompson call-out

In Blog Stuff, History/Politics on April 30, 2007 at 7:20 pm

Wow.

Would-be Presidential candidate Fred Thompson just called-out most of our “allies” in his latest blog post. He was particularly hard on Russia.

Take time to read it.
He brings up a lot of good points.

Most of all though, i am surprised that he is saying what he is, given his possible likely political ambitions. If he wins the election, he will have to sit across the table from these world leaders soon. This is either great, of very stupid. I’m not sure which.

Here’s a quick summary–

Our ‘allies’ in general: “We’re also hopeful that, eventually, our ostrich-headed allies will realize there’s a World War going on out there and they need to pick a side…most of our European Union friends continue to dismantle their defenses”

Mexico: “[has] an economic policy based on exporting their own citizens, while complaining about US immigration policies that are far less exclusionary than their own”

France: “Jail perfectly nice people for politically incorrect comments, but scold us for holding terrorists at Guantanamo” and “our natural tendency is to tell [them] that we’d rather not hear from them until the day when they need us to bail them out again.”

Russia: “Criticize these guys and you might accidentally drink a cup of tea laced with a few million dollars worth of deadly, and extremely rare, radioactive poison. Oppose the Russian leadership, and you could trip and fall off a tall building or stumble into the path of a bullet”

east nashville war protesters

In East Nashville, History/Politics, Nashville on April 30, 2007 at 5:11 pm

Well guess what i found on my way home from work today: war protesters.

Standing on the corner where i am usually accosted by kids being taught to beg as a “fund raiser”, there were instead, a group of women (who apparently were just arriving) standing on the corner with signs. (It’s the corner of Eastland and 14th).


I hope for thier sakes they were taking shifts, because if they were just setting up when i drove by at 6:24, they missed most of the rush-hour crowd.

psc controversy

In East Nashville, History/Politics on April 30, 2007 at 7:08 am

If you haven’t seen all the recent news about the PSC Metals recycling center downtown, check it out.

Basically there is all sorts of discussion about how the city wants to buy the land and turn it into a big park or baseball stadium or something. Meanwhile the company doesn’t want to move, and just signed a 50-some-odd year lease for the property.

Here’s my take: I like it. Keep it.

PSC says they don’t want to move and aren’t going to move. I don’t blame them. They have access to river barges, 3 interstates, and railroads, and are centrally located in Nashville. You aren’t going to find a better place for them. I also have to assume that they are brining in huge tax revenues to the city given the value of the land they are parked on.

But the best part is that what they are doing is AWESOME. As i’ve read in several articles: To those driving by it looks like the same pile of trash there day after day, but in reality they have better than 100% turnover a day through there at times. They recycle not ‘a ton’ but several tons of trash a day. Isn’t that a good thing? Do we want that to leave?

So here’s my proposal. Keep it, but make it pretty. Not literally pretty, but more socially acceptable. If possible, throw some sort of dome over it. If that isn’t possible (i can imagine it would get more than a little stuffy in there), then at the very least, put some sort of tasteful, but large enough to be visible sign up over the facility. Something cool and eye catching like a giant counter showing the number of tons of waste being recycled. Basically they need some good PR. I think most of Nashville (and certainly the tree-hugging East Nashvillians i know so well living nearby) would love to have a big, huge, symbol of Green Nashville in the middle of town.

It’s a good business. Just needs to be spun right.

wdjd

In History/Politics, Me on April 24, 2007 at 6:54 am

Tennessee is about to lift it’s moratorium on the death penalty (how much irony is in that phrase). This got me thinking again over the weekend about the death penalty in general.

Now, this is actually not an issue that i was raised with a strong opinion about. I was raised with an evangelical church background- Abortion: no, Drugs: no, Gay Marriage: no, etc, etc…but the death penalty wasn’t discussed much.

I think this is largely because most of the politicians that the “right wing” church back, support the death penalty. The leaders of the political evangelical movement (Pat Robertson, Richard Land, James Dobson, etc) have tied themselves to political parties and partisans instead of to issues. I don’t blame them too much honestly. We aren’t interested in middle-ground in the US. It is a two party system. People like me that are fiscally conservative, socially liberal, morally conservative, and a fairly strict constructionist – have no place in US politics. In order to have some of their issues address (abortion, etc) and to gain political power, they had to align with someone. They found they aligned more with “R” than with “D”, so they did.

However, that forces them into a position on the death penalty that is, to me, totally untenable in light of their professed religious beliefs, so they keep quiet about it. (Though some try to defend it)

As i said, this is one of the few issues i didn’t have a pre-conceived opinion about. So i was able to go all CS Lewis on it and Reason my way to the answer…

To me, the death penalty is one of the few times you Christians shouldn’t have to ask “what would Jesus do?” – they can ask “what did Jesus do?”. This is one of the few issues that is clearly addressed with a specific situation in the Bible. When Jesus came upon a group about to stone a woman to death, he flatly declined to participate, and show the woman compassion.

Jesus wasn’t about condemnation. He was the exact opposite. He was about hope and 2nd chances (and 3rd, and 4th…)

Who else still has the death penalty? Is this the crowd we want to be a part of?
(click for larger version, here for original)

I don’t see any reason to have the death penalty in this day and age. The only possible reason I could see defending it (though it would be amazingly cruel and immoral) would be if it saved money. If we didn’t have to pay as much to keep people around in prison. But it actually costs more, so even that horrible, inhuman position is indefensible.

It just doesn’t make sense.

preds plate

In History/Politics, Hockey, Sports on February 15, 2007 at 11:12 am

Anyone interested in a Predators license plate? Of course i would be!

Read here and here.

Everyone let your state rep know. They would just be $35, and proceeds would go toward the Predators Foundation.

(The image i put in here is something i just came up with based on the Titans’ plate. It will not necessarily be the design)

money issues

In History/Politics on February 15, 2007 at 7:57 am

Many people are probably talking about the new George Washington $1 coin that the U.S. Mint released today. I think people are missing the real news: in 2010 we’re getting a Millard Fillmore coin!

I really wonder what the Mint is thinking. With the collectible 50-state quarters, so many people hoarded them that there aren’t very many in circulation. I’m not sure if that’s the point or not. I know the mint has been trying to get $1 coins to catch on for years (coins have to be replaced less often than paper so it would save the Mint major $$) and it just seems that, while these will be noticed, they will be hoarded and collected and will never reach circulation in serious numbers.

I honestly think that the only way they are going to get the $1 coin to catch on is if the Mint prints them in the quantities they do dollar bills today and stop printing as many bills. Just force everyone to switch. Oh – and soda machines have to take them too.


While i’m on the money topic…
Do stores get to report my “cash back” at the register as revenue? Instead of just a toothbrush for $2, they are just “selling” me a toothbrush and $40 in cash for $42 on my debit card. If so, doesn’t that ridiculously inflate revenue and earnings?

Anyone know how that gets reported?

how long?

In History/Politics on January 30, 2007 at 7:30 am

An elderly driver just killed an 8-year old boy and injured two others when she crashed into a school cafeteria.

How long will it be until we finally start requiring regular drivers testing?

After other cases like this some have suggested banning elderly drivers. While i agree in principle that would be good, where do you draw the line? 85? 80? 75? You are still going to have dangerous drivers on the road and take safe drivers off no matter where you draw the age line.

So why not more frequent tests? You are required to pass a test when you get your license at 16 (though terrifying enough – not all states required driver’s ed first). Why not another test at 18?, Then 20? Then 25? …and every 5 years there after? I know i could use the refresher.

Eventually everyone looses the mental or physical ability to handle the dangerous equipment all Americans are raised to know as a birth-right. Make the roads safer. Force drivers of all ages to think about their driving habits at least every few years.

rory was robbed

In History/Politics, Hockey, Sports on January 12, 2007 at 8:00 am

Extra extra, read all about it .

got $50mil laying around?

In Entertainment, History/Politics, Hockey, Nashville, Sports on January 12, 2007 at 7:40 am

I was having a good day, and then this just ruined my morning.

There are two ways to look at this:

  1. The newspaper is making a big deal out of this and Leipold is just crying out for fans to come to games and looking for help to lessen the financial burden of a franchise that is still loosing money.
  2. Leipold’s promise that he is not interested in moving the franchise is just typical sports-franchise owner misdirection and he has seen in the discussions about the Penguins moving that there is money to be made in other markets.

I have also been surprised by the fact that we still don’t have a new corporate-name sponsor for the Home of the Predators. It is still officially called the Gaylord Entertainment Center, but the Gaylord company stopped paying for naming rights a long time ago. It is just part of their original contract that is has to still be called the GEC until another name-rights holder is found.

Our attendance averages are up this year so far from last year about 300 per game, and we still haven’t gone through the playoff buildup, and post-Titans part of the season that always increase attendance. I don’t think the franchise is really in danger of moving. But i hope this does light a fire under local media and the Predators marketing office to get attendance numbers up.

I don’t think Leipold is really looking to move. As this article points out, he has one of the cushiest arena deals in all of sports. I think he just wants to shake things up and share the losses when the team runs negative.

The good news out of the second article: We get our new scoreboard over the summer!

(note: Paul McCann’s got a good write-up here)

random philosphy

In History/Politics, Me on January 12, 2007 at 7:37 am

Spiritual beliefs should be found by the individual.

If you believe what another person suggests, you haven’t found religion or God, you’ve found a leader to follow.

holding out for a hero

In History/Politics on January 4, 2007 at 12:10 pm

Check this out:
NY subway ‘hero’ saves teenager

Is this guys split second decision, heroic action, and subsequent response all just too good to be true?

The skeptic in me wants to say this stuff only happens in movies. I am just to cynical. After all – the guy that sent St Jude’s the McDonald’s Monopoly winning piece turned out to have stolen it.

But this sounds legit.
I would assume there are witnesses.

Cool.

shameful, wrong, and other bad things

In History/Politics on December 13, 2006 at 7:15 pm

I realize i probably scare away visitors from this site because i am often just complaining and whining, or talking about how bad something is and how i would do it differently. I probably come across as pretty arrogant or annoying myself. However, this takes it up another notch.

I can’t tell you how wrong and just stupid i think this is.

Quotes from the article from the Tennessean:

“When I look at my grandfather, I see a man that didn’t compromise,” Will Graham said today. “He sets an example for all of us.”

…until now.

“He wanted people to come to Christ,” Graham’s friend Cliff Barrows said. “That was the driving, motivating force in his life. He was an evangelist.”

…um, he’s not dead, yet. (Though his family is in a fight on where to put him in the ground) Hise legacy and integrity is history though.

Up until now, i considered Billy Graham a rarity: a balanced figurehead of Christianity. He recognized the benefit of the large-scale, pop-culture draw that a famous personality can provide. But he was always fairly modest and never grabbed as much fame as he could have. He is just the representative when the president needs someone to pray at inaugurations, but (until now apparently) he never claimed to be anything special. He isn’t perfect, but that is it – he is just this guy who people like to point to as an example, and he humbly permitted it. But a massive statue parked in front of the company that, to me, symbolizes making money in the name of Christ? (And yes, my dad and wife both work there.)

Yeah, i’m gonna start offending people so i’ll stop now.

I’m just trying to figure out if i should protest in a more formal capacity, or just skip straight to vandalism in the form of spray-painting “WWJD?” on it.


(Someone just posted a comment and i wanted to respond here because i think it clarifies my point a little)

I agree the statue isn’t a great work of art, but its good enough. I agree that Billy Graham is a good guy and did some great things and deserves to be honored as such. But it is the very thing(s) he stood for that make a statue seem wrong.

I think the Nathan Forrest statue is hideous and wrong too. He shouldn’t be honored with a statue. There are others that a statue better fits, even in downtown Nashville. People who were pop entertainers or civic leaders…that is their whole gig. Being bigger than life and drawing attention to themselves. A statue is a continuation of that and so it works. Sometimes i agree with honoring the person, sometimes i don’t. But a statue for those people isn’t a surprise.

I wouldn’t even be this surprised/upset if there was (and I’m sure there is) a statue of Jerry Falwell around somewhere. I wouldn’t like it, but it fits. He is much more about drawing attention to himself.

I have to say too, if this was just a piece of art (like the one at Music Circle) symbolically showing anonymous people bowing at the cross or something like that – even if it was dedicated to Billy Graham – i might think it was tacky, but ok. I just don’t think that a huge statue of the man himself fits with Billy Graham and his message or his ministry that he had presented his whole life.

That is what upset me. I don’t think this statue is what Billy Graham was/is or stood for. To me, he always managed to appear as a small-town non-denominational pastor who had his head screwed on straight and just so happened to preach to 100,000 people at a time on occasion. I fully imagined in my mind that every other day of the week he was back preaching at a church of 600 in the Carolina’s somewhere. I don’t think he ever appeared on CNN or anything like that (though his i know son has). He stood for one thing, and that was pointing people to God. He never allowed his name to be used for self-promotion or boasting beyond what was useful in bringing people to Christ. Forgive me, but i don’t believe that a statue in front of Lifeway is going to spontaneously bring anyone to their knees, or even suddenly encourage them to darken the door of a church. Maybe i’m wrong.

Billy Graham is/was the kind of guy that deserves to be honored, but shouldn’t be. He should be one of those “saints” that does great things, and who’s legacy is the people walking around that were changed or the writings/teachings he left behind. He is/was always clear that he never did anything, it was always God.

But, i also understand that there are a lot of people out there that may feel differently. That were personally changed through things he did, etc. who want to show appreciation. And i agree whole-heartedly that he is a man who by any objective standard, deserves to be honored. I’m just not sure that this is the way to do that.

stupid, just stupid

In History/Politics on November 17, 2006 at 9:59 pm

It never ceases to amaze me how media can quote idiots without blinking or challenging their statements, just because it makes for a good point, or better, an inflammatory remark that gets articles read and posted about on blogs (like this). To that end, I am not going to link to the article in question.

Sufficed to say, it was on CNN.com and quoted a Clarksville, TN man as saying:

“Never in the history of the country has the flag been more hated or more loved”

Huh?! First off, ever heard of a little ditty called the Civil War? I would expect a southerner especially to remember that if nothing else. I’ve also seen a lot of protests, but nothing on the scale of things in the 60′s and 70′s over Vietnam, etc. We had tens of thousands of people fleeing to Canada for goodness sake. There are parallels with today’s happenings, but we are (thankfully) still a long way off from the level of animosity, distrust, and rebellion that we had back then. But this article isn’t about how stupid people are and how poor our knowledge of history is.

The real point of this article is how frustrating it is to see these kinds of comments in the “news”. Mark Cuban recently ranted on this kinda stuff in his blog, too. Specifically, he’s frustrated over the reactions and suppositions made in a recent Business Week article that (mis?)quoted him.

I recently loaned a good book to a friend titled “The Dish: How Gossip Became News and the News Became Just Another Show”. Among other things, it talks about how this is not a new phenomenon. It has been a slow creep since the 50′s (probably earlier). In particular, i found it interesting that Mike Wallace got his start as a decent news guy, but then went to the dark side and made his name by being the 1950′s equivalent of Geraldo (or worse). He did things for effect and to make people upset – because they would watch – not to report the news or improve society. Fascinating book. It also talks about how Michael Jackson’s people allowed tabloid photographers in to take pictures of Michael in an oxygen tent so long as they promised the pictures would be slightly obscured (so as to make it appear they were without permission) and the tabloids agreed to use the word “bizarre” in the headline – those were the terms. I highly recommend skimming it if you want to become totally disillusioned with our modern media in general.

I know that no media is going to be perfect in this regard. To illustrate this point, i would recommend watching Good Night and Good Luck (a movie paid for by Mark Cuban by the way). Although it can feel like a pretty one-sided movie that starts to preach politics, it knows it is. And that’s the point. It shows that a bunch of guys trying to be the even-handed ‘fair’ reporters can’t do it. Everyone has a slant. Everyone has a bias. So even when good people try to do the right thing, you’re going to end up with slant. That’s why people need to watch/read/listen to all media with a discerning ear.

I just wish more media made it easier on us. Some shows or stations have a political leaning one way or the other (NPR leaning to the left for example) but at least attempt to be reasonable. Where as CNN, FOX News, and most “talk” radio hosts on both sides are more about upsetting people and being loud than about being intelligent.

I just wonder if any news outlets actually employ fact-checkers anymore. I know their marketing departments and lawyers are doing great.

the biggest (quiet) breakup in history

In Entertainment, History/Politics, Music on November 16, 2006 at 12:06 pm

If i am reading this article right, Clear Channel is effectively about to be broken up by a buyout offer. Thomas H Lee Partners (who already own Univision) are buying Clear Channel for $19 billion. As part of the deal, the new parent company is going to sell off 448 of the 1,000+ radio stations that Clear Channel owns, along with all 42 TV stations, and the Clear Channel Outdoor Advertising group (billboards). What i didn’t realize was that Clear Channel had already spun-off its live event company (and SFX entertainment with it) now called Live Nation.

This is big. These guys also owned a controlling stake in Ticketmaster at one point, along with a few venues and concert promoters in major markets. What this lead to was Clear Channel radio stations promoting artists, who then played at Clear Channel owned venues, advertised on Clear Channel billboards, promoted by SFX entertainment, and sold tickets through Ticketmaster. This is the most complete example of vertical integration i know of. Certainly in the entertainment industry. And apparently it has been and is being quietly broken up – voluntarily – thanks to market forces.

Amazing.


Update:
This article on Forbes.com says that Google is one of the possible buyers for the radio stations. Now that would be really interesting.

on fiduciary responsibility in politics

In History/Politics on November 14, 2006 at 5:55 pm

The NPR show Marketplace did an interesting (but brief) story last Thurs about the recent elections in the US and their impact on the stock market. I found it very interesting.

Of course there was the general up or down swing based on how “the market” felt about the way the elections went. But what was really interesting to me was the impact of the change in power on certain companies and industries stock prices. Companies that are traditionally associated with being on the ‘good side’ of the Republican Party (health care, military, oil, etc) all took a dive, while those associated with Democratic party agendas (alternative fuel, biotech, etc) rose on the election news.

Now, it’s pretty easy to just say “that makes sense” and move on. If the Democrats follow through on campaign promises, they will probably push for lower prescription drug prices and cutting our involvement in Iraq. So it makes sense that companies that thrive on those factors would expect to take a cut in profits, and thus their stock prices take a hit.

However, think this through one step further.

It is common news to hear of a company laying off workers, making drastic changes in corporate policy, or buying out other companies, just because “The Street” wants them to. It is often not so much about what is best for the company in the long-term (or even short-term), as much as it is what those in charge think Wall Street investors want them to do. So they often do it just for the kick in stock price.

This is part of the system. CEOs and board members first and primary responsibility is not to employees, customers, or the betterment of mankind. Their primary responsibilities and duties are to the shareholders of the company. The owners. It’s called their fiduciary responsibility.

If i am the head of a major corporation, i am (hopefully) not an idiot. I read the news, i know what Wall Street thinks about my company and my industry. And i am doing everything in my power to keep the stock price of my company as high as it can possibly be. In our cold blooded American “free” enterprise system, no matter what the CEOs personal beliefs or convictions, no matter who their friends or enemies are, they should be doing everything they can to impact every possible thing that could impact the price of their stock.

So, if the elections impact stock prices, why wouldn’t we expect corporations to try to influence elections?

Why do people react with such disdain when a company involved in stem-cell research makes a large donation to Democrats? Why all the shock and disappointment when the pharmaceutical industry is a huge sponsor of the Republicans?

If you try to figure out how this got started, it comes down to a chicken-or-the-egg problem. Do we associate health care companies with Republicans because the health care companies decided they would try to buy off the Republicans? Or is it because their agenda matches that of the Republicans? Or was it some arbitrary association that is now reinforced by the system?

I am not so naive as to believe that the companies are trapped against their will and didn’t sign up for this whole show. Their current level of involvement in the political system was and is their choice. I just think it’s odd that many people act as surprised as they do when faced with political “corruption” in the form of corporations paying to help see a politician elected.

cleanup the town

In East Nashville, History/Politics on November 2, 2006 at 6:57 am

On my way in to work every morning i pass under an interstate overpass on Woodland St coming out of east Nashville. It is one of the more popular spots in Nashville for homeless people to camp out. At the top of the embankment under the overpass, there are usually 3-5 people hanging out, and they obviously live there. They have blankets, bags, cartons, etc. All their stuff. I frequently see them walking around the area, but have never once been hit up for money. Even though this is one of the more trafficked intersections in the downtown area, and there is a long stop light there, i have never been panhandled.

Last night was our first night to hit the freezing point. Its 8:00am right now, sun has been up for about 2 hours, and the temp is currently reported as 37, with a chill factor of 32.

So – to the point of all this.

There were metro crews (who looked liked they were staffed by ex-homeless or people working off community service) “cleaning” the whole place out. All the stuff from the area at the top of the embankment had been pushed down to the sidewalk on the bottom and was being loaded in to garbage trucks. The people that usually live around there were no where to be seen. I don’t know if they had been carted off, or if they just left the area.

I hope they were taken to a shelter for the winter or something like that, but i have a feeling they weren’t. Even if they were, they probably wont be able to stay the whole winter there. And even if they could spend the whole winter there – all their possessions in the world were just thrown away like they were yard clippings.

That just isn’t cool.

population of the world through time

In History/Politics on November 1, 2006 at 7:25 am

This fits in the same category as the History of the Middle East post.
Cool flash maps showing interesting historical data.

These are inspiring me to take the time (lots of time) to put together a map that combines all of these and really shows stuff through history. Put when wars and different events occurred through history. Would be a huge project, but the results would be awesome.
Watch this space :-)

(use ‘next’ and ‘back’ to cycle through the slides)

For the record, this originally comes from a website for the PBS show NOVA.

imperial history of the middle east and europe

In History/Politics, Videos on October 21, 2006 at 9:06 am

This is a very interesting flash animation, which is supposed to show the history of the middle east over the last 5,000 years or so.

In reality what it shows is the major imperial power that ever controlled Canaan/Palestine/Israel/Judea and roughly when they came to power, etc. Its not terribly accurate (shows the Roman Empire taking Jerusalem in about 200 A.D., instead of 63 B.C.). It also doesn’t give a very good impression of how long various groups controlled regions. The flow of time through the video is not constant. Egypt and the Kingdom of Judah (incorrectly labeled in the video as ‘Kingdom of Israel’) both lasted much longer than Byzantine control did. It also looks like the Ottoman‘s took control in about 1700. In reality, they invaded in 1516, and didn’t leave until (1917).

But hey, it gives you the idea and it looks very cool.

For the record, i know this land has been fought over for thousands of years, but the specific problems we have today i still blame on the British. When they setup the “British Mandate of Palestine” it just made everyone upset and no one happy.