Friday, June 19, 2009

Bye-Bye Tiger?


Wow. Talk about luck of the draw. A bunch of guys played their first round at the US Open in mostly miserable conditions between yesterday and this morning--wet, soggy and unpredictable fairways and rough, and greens that were not rolling out as much as normal. Par would have been a great score.

Then the remaining guys tee it off this morning and play much of their first round in relatively ideal conditions---fairways and rough drier, greens still soft and absolutely receptive (heck, people are spinning he back back out of the rough! Normally at a US OPen you can barely spin the ball of the fairways on cement-like greens) and rolling beautifully. Moreover, the tough holes were set up shorter to keep them being impossible in yesterday's weather---in today's weather they are playing as birdie holes. The guys are throwing darts out there apparently---in the elite golfer set the scores are lower by 3-4 shots today.

Worse still for Tiger and others who played first, the 'later' groups of guys get to play a bulk of their second round today too, under ideal scoring conditions. Tomorrow, the weather is supposed to be bad again (and the 'early' guys will have to play round 2 and bulk of round 3 then) so it may be that the early group gets screwed twice. Even if the weather holds up fine tomorrow, it will still be tough because the greens will have dried out much more by tomorrow and they can't just shoot at the pins like the guys are this afternoon today. Scoring will be difficult no matter how you cut it.

Luck of the draw is not unheard of in golf tournaments but this time the circumstances seem to have skewed the fairness more acutely.

All that having been said, Tiger probably has only himself to blame if he's too far behind after today---he was at level par after 14 holes (he played the second half of his round in the more benign conditions of this morning), but dropped 4 strokes over the last 4 holes. Very uncharacteristic of him and it may have lost him a chance at the tournament. If he finished around par he would have been maybe 4-5 shots behind the leaders. Doable, for him --- he could have pulled close by the final round. Now he may be 7-10 shots behind a number of people before he even starts his second round and that is too much to make up. USOpens are not set up for scoring, as we will see---this scoring burst of today is an anomalous result of a perfect storm, if you will, of events. To make up ten shots, you normally need a lot of people to falter pretty badly. But that can happen at US Opens too, I guess.

As of now, it ain't looking good for Ol' Eldrick. The toughest test in golf just got much tougher.
But no one grinds like he does and if anyone can still think of winning from this position, he can. Let's see if he can claw his way back into this tournament over the next couple of days.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Kobe Beef


Since the sports establishment can't stop praising Kobe Bryant as a hungry, strong-willed great champion (or whatever the fuck the adulation-du-jour may be) I thought I should remind people that it is highly likely that Kobe is a goddamn rapist who got away with his crime because he could assemble a multi-million dollar 'defense' (a.k.a. character assault and intimidation) team. It helped, I suppose, that the NBA was struggling in those years and it was in the financial interest of a whole lot of people to sweep this under the rug as fast as possible, cos, you know, it's all about 'protecting your assets' and 'managing your brand' and shit like that.

The intimidation and character-assasination that Kobe's team indulged in was despicable. But then again, Kobe is despicable, so what else would you expect? Besides, the victim's lifestyle or habits, whatever they may have been, does not give anyone a license to sexually assault her. The Kobe line of defense was basically the same old "She was asking for it" mentality that only rapists can favor.

For those who may not be familiar, or for those who may have forgotten, go read the Wiki summary of the case and Kobe's admission of guilt in exchange for his freedom.

Congrats LAkers and NBA and all the rest of you fawning sports 'journalist' parasites---looks like your star 'product' is the worst kind of stinking despicable criminal who bought his way out of punishment!

The NBA: Where Awesome Image-laundering Happens!


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Silence is the enemy


A bunch of bloggers are trying to advance the cause of Doctors Without Borders to help the victims of sexual violence in Liberia.

Go to these links --- Isis, CPP --- and others in those messages.

Please read, listen, spread the message, and help.

These atrocities, in Liberia as well as around the world, have got to be stopped. CPP's post also has a bunch of other links that you can use to help.

PS: Many times your employer will match certain charitable donations. Often you won't know that if you don't ask. In smaller companies, partnerships etc, employers will sometimes match donations in special instances, on a case by case basis. Ask, and try to double your efforts if possible in this relatively simple manner.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009



Now the NIH puts out some token fucking bullshit funding opps for small businesses from the ARRA funds. And it just screws things up.

First there's this peach of an opportunity where $5 million is set aside for 20-25 Phase Is worth 200K for one yr each. AWESOME! You are just too freaking kind!

And then there's this monstrosity: $35 million set aside for at least 10 awards (woo-freacking-hoo!)--award limit 1 million/yr for 3 yrs---basically for 'bridging' the gap from science to market that any company can apply for! There's the token bullshit about 'preference will be given to Cos with fewer than 500 employees' etc etc blah blah. but freaking COME ON! Yeah, a 3-5 person company that kicks ass is really gonna stand a chance against a 250 person, venture funded enterprise that can assign 25 people to the task of writing the 3 million dollar grant based on their stuff. Lemme see, 40% of the score goes to Team and Facilities the company of BSD from MRU gets spotted a healthy 40% on the score. Besides, a cursory glance at the bullet points shows quite a bit of advanced applied stuff --- not much of immediate-basic translational work is represented.
There's nothing wrong with bigger Cos getting money, BTW, except that the ones of that size that show promise have healthy funding streams to begin with. Way to go all repub and see that the rich get richer (not surprising---I bet big biotech pharma dollars lobbied this shit up).

So the biotech "small biz" community gets a whopping $40 million, 0.4% of the ARRA NIH money (oooohh, you are too generous, sire), much of which goes to approx a dozen awards---that good small biotechs cannot compete for in reality .

In return, my guess is that all reasonably competitive RC1s and RC2s from biotech start-ups will get trashed in review---"hey, the business guys get their own set-aside, let them compete there...." I figure it was a lot of lobbying from the business community that got this set-aside---but not to help small business biotechs really, cos there's a few one-year-Phase Is (big fucking deal) and a handful of big ticket awards that even good start-ups cannot realistically compete for. With friends like these, who needs enemies?

DAMMIT, I AM SO FREAKING MAD. We had a pretty competitive proposal in with the general stream, and I was happy to take my chances. In my deluded state, I guess, I was even feeling a bit positive about it. The last thing we needed was a stupid meaningless set-aside that could nevertheless influence reviewers to bag it sayin "Fuck em. They can get some of the small business pie".....

Now, I am almost kicking myself for putting in all that time. Dammit. At least if they'd announced this before I turned in the proposal I'd have had a chance to argue the proposal in this light. Dammit. Dammit. Freaking dammit.