Monday, December 20, 2010

More toadying by the sports media…

Before I go on to yesterday’s Giants debacle, a word on the Redskins’ and Shanahan’s latest game…..Sally Jenkins appears to be laboring under the misconception that yesterday’s performance by Rex Grossman validated Shanahan’s decision to bench McNabb. A good sports reporter/columnist/analyst should have known that one game does not mean jack squat. A couple of weeks ago, when Favre got injured on the Vikings’ very first offensive play, Tavaris Jackson came in and led the team to 38 points and an emphatic win over the Bills. 38 points was more than the Vikings had scores in their previous three games. This didn’t mean Jackson is better than Favre (even at this age) --- rather, if you follow the NFL, you’d know that QBs often have good outings against defenses who haven’t game-planned for them (or defenses who don’t have enough data… on the QB’s tendencies, esp within an offensive scheme). Let’s see how Grossman does in the NFC East after a D has had a week to prepare for him and esp after the Ds have had a few game films on him in Shanahan’s scheme. This is Grossman’s eighth year in the NFL and he has thrown for 37 TDs and 38 interceptions; even in his best year (the Bears superbowl season of ’06) he threw for 23 TDs and 20 INTs….he’s never even bettered a QB rating of 80 for any season… Grossman may turn out to be a decent QB yet, I suppose, but this one game against a mediocre Cowboys defense that was unprepared for him does not constitute evidence or validation of anything.

To me, the only things that were validated to me were that
(i) There is a powerful new bully in Washington and Sally Jenkins wasn’t gonna pass up an opportunity to kiss his ass and
(ii) This year’s Redskins amply demonstrate that Andy Reid is, as I always believed, a far superior football coach and thinker than Shanahan.

And now to another coaching bully, Tom Coughlin. I thought that there were so many layers to the Giants debacle yesterday but apparently it is entirely the punter’s fault. Who knew?

Stupidly, I thought
(i) That not anticipating an onside kick with the other team down 14 with like 7 mins to go was a colossal coaching blunder. The only downside to putting your hands team on the field at that time is that you start with modest field position. Besides, Andy Reid is looking at a team that has already put up 31 points on him and he figures he may need not two but three scores to be in the game, so he is almost definitely going to kick it onside....but what do I know? Peter King goes to great lengths in his MMQB column today, to make the case that it wasn’t Coughlin and his staff’s fault but rather the fault of the guys on the return team…. Poorly prepared players…hmmm… I’d think that’s poor coaching……. but what do I know?
(ii) I thought that not being able to generate a much needed first down in two consecutive series on offense within the last five minutes may have equally contributed to the Giants’ loss but then again the offense is led by the great hall-of-famer Eli Manning, so they can certainly not be at any fault, can they?
(iii) I thought that not having your team prepared to defend the punt (regardless of what the punter was asked to do) --- indeed, having a team ill-prepared to respond to crisis --- may be poor coaching….but what do I know?

After all, Coughlin courageously claimed to take full responsibility for the last play before he proceeded to throw his punter under the bus on national TV, so he must be a stand-up guy and a great coach. He did yell at the punter on national TV and ignored all the other players who were supposed to defend the play, so he must be a stand-up guy and a great coach. The players (offense and defense) didn't know how to do their jobs when it really counted, but he must be a stand-up guy and a great coach.

It is the credo of mediocre coaching bullies, and it is given credibility by toadying sports ‘journalists’ all the time….”Why take responsibility when you can make a convenient scapegoat?”

Sunday, December 19, 2010

On Shanahan's genius

Hopefully it is becoming more apparent to people that Mike Shanahan’s ‘genius’ is largely the creation of the incompetent and cheerleading sports media. Shanahan is, and always has been, a mediocre coach and a supreme asshole. He had a 3 to 4 year dream run in Denver that was almost completely attributable to the fact that he had John Elway and Terrell Davis. They won more than 75% of their games and won 2 Superbowl titles in that span. But if you look at the record you’ll see that Dan Reeves had a 4-5 year run (’84-’84, ’89) in Denver in which they also won over 70% of their games. Without a hall-of-fame caliber running back, I should add. I don’t see anyone calling Reeves a genius. Oh yeah, they lost 3 superbowls during Reeves’ tenure --- to legitimately great teams --- Parcells’ Giants, Gibbs’ Redskins and a 49er team that could arguably have been the best ever in the NFL. Shanahan’s Superbowl successes came against a Packer squad that just wasn’t mentally prepared to be repeat champs, and a clearly overachieving Falcon team that had no business being in the Superbowl in the first place. Ironically, that Falcon squad owed much of its overachieving success to its coach, Dan Reeves, who got them to the freaking Superbowl with those legends Jamaal Anderson at RB and Crystal Chandelier…errr… Chris Chandler at QB.

Anyway, more importantly, in the decade after Elway retired (and Davis was soon done in by injury) Shanahan managed to win about 57% of his games and recorded one playoff win. Ten years. 57%. One playoff win. Oh, did I mention that he had pretty much carte blanche over personnel decisions as well? Must be genius.

Funny too, how Washington’s struggles this year are now supposedly due McNabb’s inadequacies, huh? Quick… a Redskin WR or their starting RB. I’m not trying to say that McNabb is great ---he is clearly in decline--- but funny how the offensive geniuses of the Shanahans [Mike and (his nepotistic hire) offensive coordinator son Kyle] can’t fix things. I guess geniuses cannot win without hall-of-fame talent at all important skill positions.

You know what great coaches do? They repeatedly find ways to win important games with underdog rosters. Does that describe Shanahan? I don’t think so.

Finally, I also hold Shanahan primarily responsible for the whole Haynesworth fiasco. See, I have some sympathy for Haynesworth --- he is a problematic dumbass, but to his credit he has never presented himself as anything but a problematic dumbass. When Shanahan took over, he decided he would impose his despotic style and whip every one into submission from day one. Haynesworth, who had already been paid over $40 mill in guaranteed money, didn’t quite appreciate being pissed on. So he basically told him to fuck off. To be perfectly honest, in Haynesworth’s place, I would most likely have done the same thing. Great players often come with great egos. If I were signed to a $100 mil contract with over $40 mil in guaranteed money, I’d expect the incoming coach to treat me as an important part of the franchise too. Even a disciplinarian like Parcells used to have separate rules for players like LT --- Great coaches find a way to deal with, and bring the best out of, troublesome talent while despotic egomaniacs want everyone to kiss their ass in their prescribed manner.

Apropos of nothing, no self-respecting defensive lineman should show any respect or loyalty to Shanahan anyway. Shanahan made a career of perfecting the art of chop blocking without getting flagged. Shanahan’s O-lines always played dirty. It is one thing to push the envelope in game strategy but entirely another when the innovations are aimed at ending, or threatening to end, the careers of D-linemen. Dirty blocking is one of the primary reasons Shanahan could get a thousand yards out of any old RB. His early success as a coach and his premature elevation to genius status protected him from much of the calls and criticism that was due to him for the way his O-lines played.

All this is not to say that Shanahan won’t manage to have some winning seasons in Washington (the NFL is composed of two kinds of franchises: bad ones that never really win anything and good ones that go through cycles of prosperity and poverty; Washington belongs to the latter and they are wayyyyy overdue). But it won’t mean much if he does. As Norv Turner demonstrates week in and week out, year after year, teams in the NFL can find ways to win despite their head coaches. And at the first signs of Washington’s success, Mike will get his genius label back, Kyle will land a multi-million dollar head coaching job……and po-too-weet, and so it goes….

Friday, October 8, 2010

Just wondering...

At the first whiff of the Tiger Woods scandal, every news outlet including all the major ones jumped on it. It was a feeding frenzy to behold. Of course, all the 'respectable' outlets delved into all the steamy details under the pretext of "Well, it is relevant because it is a major distraction and could affect his golf...."

Interestingly, for a while now Deadspin has had a developing story on Brett Favre in which they claim that the old gunslinger was trying his best to sling his gun at a pretty little thang who worked for the Jets. Deadspin even has some pretty interesting audio and visual data to back up their claim. Favre will be visiting the Jets for a big Monday night game. Yet, there is nothing......nothing from the mainstream/major news outlets about this story.

Of course, if no one brings it up it cannot be a distraction, so the point of relevance becomes moot, right? Of course the great American legend could be just as much of a sleazeball as your average next-door perv, but it is really none of anyone's business. Funny how that works.....

There is another thing....if they could get ratings out of this, all these outlets would still follow it pretty hard. I guess what they are all declaring is that a salacious story about a young superstar American icon will play really well with the American audience while a sordid story about an aging superstar American icon will just not play very well in most American households. The fact that the former is a colored man while the letter is a gray-haired white man has nothing to do at all with all of this, I'm sure. Nothing to see here, folks....move right along....

Monday, August 9, 2010

Free fallin'

A little tribute to Tiger’s Woods’ game of late…

Anyway, the bottom line is that the man cannot make a 4 foot putt anymore. I noticed this at the Masters, and by the time the USOpen concluded I knew that his major problem was putting. All the other golf stuff will fall in line if he can make putts at will again. If you can make key putts, you never mentally check out or exhaust yourself; on the other hand, if you cannot make putts to save a hole from bad shots or to capitalize on good ones, you don’t much see the point in playing golf….or in keeping score, at any rate That’s where Tiger is right now. It is really as simple as that, and it always has been.

BTW, for those who constantly bitch and whine about the amount of coverage Tiger always gets on TV, this year should be proof of why. Let me add that I am frequently frustrated by the telecasts---I would like to see much of the rounds of at least the last 6 groups, instead of a few shots from one group followed by fluff pieces and commercials --- but it is fashionable for (prejudiced) people to whine about TV showing every Tiger shot all the time and this is what I’d like to address. This Tiger-centricity came about for 2 main reasons: (1) It’s what delivers viewers and so networks will stick with it. Viewership (and ultimately the mighty advertizing dollar) justifies all kinds of popular garbage on TV so why should it not justify attention on the most compelling player in golf? (2) Nobody delivered like Tiger. Nobody. And now that Tiger can’t break 70 if his life depended on it, nobody has stepped up to deliver. For the past 6 months, Tiger has basically offered up the World #1 ranking to anyone who may want to take it. There have been multiple instances where Mickelson could have won or finished really high and taken the mantle. This past weekend Westwood or Mickelson could have wrested the #1 ranking from Tiger just by finishing decently---combined with the fact that Tiger almost finished DFL (dead effing last). But they even screwed that up. Westwood had two bad rounds and then withdrew due to injury—the official news is that it was his calf but I’m guessing there was a bit of injury to the confidence there too. And Phil --- the man Tiger haters love to love --- the Great White Hope in the Tiger era --- the man who has all the tools to make a sustained run at the #1 spot --- Phil the thrill --- folded like a lawn chair yet again. Coming into Sunday, he was placed well at 10th place or so, four shots behind the leaders, needing to climb up only to fourth place to finally get the #1 ranking in the sport. Tiger, having a disastrous week, had already finished his round with an abysmal 7-over par 77 well before Phil teed off. And Phil, with everything to gain --- the tournament itself, the #1 ranking, some great momentum going into next week’s PGA Championship --- lit up Sunday with a sterling 8-over par 78. Mind you, this was a day when the final leaderboard showed 11 of the top 14 finishers shooting rounds under 70, including two 64s, two 65s, a 66, and three 67s.

Sooooo, yeah. All the Tiger haters need to see, understand and accept what Tiger’s collapse has revealed. There is currently no #1 player in golf. Indeed, there hadn’t been for a while before Tiger showed up. And now that he is in stunning and incredible free fall, there is again no #1 player. There is no one who, with his skill and will on the course, can make this sport quite as watchable as Tiger did.

Sure, as Tiger continues to spiral down and as others continue in their spotty mediocrity there will soon be someone other than Tiger who is ranked #1. But undertand this: golf will, as it does now, have a #1 ranked player, but it will still be without a #1 player. Until Tiger returns…if he ever does. Or until some kid like McIlroy steps up and takes charge.

Monday, April 12, 2010



Rick Reilly opines that Mickelson's Masters win is a victory for women......

You know, at the place (Augusta National) where they consider women unworthy of membership.

I'm sure Rick thinks he totally, right on, nailed it too. Nice toadying, dumbass.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Landmark (and great) decision on patents involving DNA

A landmark ruling that, I think, clarifies some of the confusion surrounding patents involving DNA. Some of the stuff in the article itself serves to illustrate confusion in peoples' understanding of what is/was/should have been patentable. The confusion boils down to a lack of understanding of the difference between 'invention' and 'discovery'.

From the NYTimes:

"A federal judge on Monday struck down patents on two genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer. The decision, if upheld, could throw into doubt the patents covering thousands of human genes and reshape the law of intellectual property."

I think this was a great ruling because the BRCA ('breast cancer gene') patents basically (I understand it) were for DNA that occurred naturally in living beings. Myriad Genetics claimed (like other companies have before) that isolating the gene transformed it chemically so it was now patentable. Shrewd lawyers and ill informed judges went along with that idea. But it was flawed from the beginning because Myriad patented the mutant version of the gene (which naturally occurred) and then got sole rights to test for those mutations (that naturally occurred in patients). There was no engineering human engineering involved that made that sequence unique and patentable. The exclusivity for the breast cancer test didn't arise from any technical innovation in the testing procedure --- just from the naturally occurring DNA sequence. Basically, they patented a discovery, not an invention. A lot of the 'gene' patents are fundamentally flawed for this reason: they are patents for discoveries, not inventions.

The NYTimes article goes on to say:

Such patents, it said, have been granted for decades; the Supreme Court upheld patents on living organisms in 1980.

The first part of this statement is somewhat true; but again, those patents were awarded incorrectly, due to some smart lawyering that muddied the facts about what was natural versus what was portrayed to be 'engineered'.

The second part of it was, at best, a bad example. The patent on living organisms that it refers to is one in which a microbe was engineered, using DNA that was also engineered, to be able to break down crude oil. There is no naturally occurring piece of DNA identical to that which was made and used for the engineering. Consequently, there is also no naturally occurring microbe that can break down crude oil in quite exactly the same way as that microbe --- and it is highly significant that the microbe's ability to break down crude oil is completely dependent on the engineering, and unnatural piece of DNA, that it possessed. The difference in this case, that made the DNA and the microbe patent-worthy, was that they were inventions not discoveries.

Anyway, coming back to the breast cancer gene patents---from related NYTimes article:

Although patents are not granted on things found in nature, the DNA being patented had long been considered a chemical that was isolated from, and different from, what was found in nature. But Judge Sweet ruled that the distinguishing feature of DNA is its information content, its conveyance of the genetic code. And in that regard, he wrote, the isolated DNA “is not markedly different from native DNA as it exists in nature.”

Way to go judge. Freaking nailed it!

This ruling is very significant because Myriad patented a discovery and charged patients a freaking ton of money for a simple test. They charge over $3000 for a test that shouldn't cost more than a twentieth of that. This ruling could open up a ton of competition for the simple test now, and hopefully bring down the cost of the test dramatically.

This should also set the standard for future patenting in biology. It is really not that difficult to determine invention vs discovery --- and award patents for the former and not for the latter.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A thought about Tiger's return

Now that Tiger has announced he'll return at Augusta for the Masters, there is the usual cacophony from all sorts of media outlets about how this move is obvious/smart/arrogant/cowardly/calculating etc etc etc because Augusta is a 'safe' place --- they hold near-absolute control over the media credentials and the crowds...excuse me...patrons.

I expect that every one of the people who have been (and still are) accusing Tiger of arrogant and controlling will absolutely beat down the doors of Augusta National and the PGA Tour if they aren't allowed as many credentials as they want, or if they aren't allowed to ask any damn question they want at the pressers. Further, since Augusta doesn't require any of its participants to appear at pressers, if Tiger chooses to avoid any pressers (which he won't, but still) I trust that the entire media empire will arise and unleash their fury and vitriol on Augusta National and the PGA Tour for not making it mandatory that he ANSWER THEIR QUESTIONS DAMMIT!!!!!!

I would even think that, just like the Golf Writers of America boycotted Tiger's public statement a few weeks ago because he wouldn't answer any questions, at least some 'backboned' 'principled' sections of the the media will completely boycott the Masters if Augusta not accede to their requests re Tiger and pressers.

Oh wait....I is perfectly OK for a bunch of rich old white dudes to be totally controlling about every aspect of their existence and message, discriminate as they wish as re their membership, and conduct their tournament by their own rules even if those rules are different from the requirements for every other golf tournament in the world....their invitational tournament will still be sanctioned by international golf bodies and they will all be referred to in hushed and reverent tones by the very same media assholes all the time....even if the Masters took a giant dump on their community once by telling CBS who it can and cannot assign for Masters coverage....ask Gary McCord about his fellow journalists' integrity....!

On the contrary, however, if a supremely gifted athlete ascends, by virtue of his talent, hard work and sheer force of will, to the pinnacle of the sport and popularize it like no one before....and generate unprecedented revenue for every one associated with the sport....if he should want to control his life and his message to his will and desire, then he is to be absolutely and endless vilified in every form of media possible....because the media are about integrity and morality, right?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A glimpse into the corridors of financial power

A good read from Vanity Fair....Larry Fink's $12 trillion shadow.

Excerpt that I found particularly interesting:

He now says he lost money at First Boston because no one really understood the risks involved. The computer systems were inadequate, and so were the programs that measured the impact of key variables such as changes in interest rates. “We built this giant machine, and it was making a lot of money—until it didn’t,” Fink says. “We didn’t know why we were making so much money. We didn’t have the risk tools to understand that risk. It’s what I tell everybody today: you should analyze your portfolio just as much when you are making money, because you could be taking on too much risk.”

Seared by his fall from grace at First Boston, Fink vowed never again to be in a position where he did not fully understand the risks he was taking in the market. What Fink had also come to see during his years at First Boston was how little his clients—pension funds, corporations, state and local governments—understood about the risks they were taking. Indeed, he says they were almost completely dependent on Wall Street firms to measure their risk—which was something, he knew from experience, that Wall Street did poorly. And so he decided to build a company that would not only invest money for clients but offer them sophisticated risk management too.

Worth taking the time to read the whole thing.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Media insanity re Tiger, Part duh.

I had asked, in a couple of my previous posts, why journalists were so upset that Tiger Woods would not entertain questions during his public statement yesterday. Of course, I thought the statement to be unnecessary but a sad inevitability as well. But anyway, my point was that there wasn’t much golf-related to ask Tiger and the rest of the stuff with his personal life was nobody’s business but his family’s….so what did these people want to ask Tiger that could be relevant and not tabloid? writer Jason Sobel has boldly ventured forth, and actually listed 10 questions that he’d have liked to ask Tiger. Now, luckily for Jason and the rest of the world, it just so happens that I have the answers to most of his questions, and I’m willing to provide them completely free of charge. So quit thanking me profusely and read the damn answers already…..

(Sobel’s questions in bold type, and my answers, bold as they may be, in regular type…..)

Q: Where was Elin?

A: None of your damned business.

Q: What happened on Nov. 27, 2009?

Well, whatever is deemed to be public record is available from the respective police dept. Beyond that, the details of the events are none of your damned business.

Q: Why the prolonged silence?

Didn’t much feel like talking, and was pretty busy with rehab. In case you don’t know, rehab people run a pretty tight ship.

Q: How come questions weren't allowed?

Because I said so. Feel free not to attend my future press conferences or golf events if you are too miffed by this.

Q: What is his addiction?

A: Ever heard of doctor-patient confidentiality? Well, doctors have to adhere to it but patients have a right to it. So I guess my answer is, “None of your damned business”.

Q: Will there be changes in Team Tiger?

Are you willing to reveal to me the intricate goings on regarding any and all sensitive impending policy decisions and management changes etc at ESPN? No? I guess, what I’m saying is that my answer is, “None of your damned business”.

Q: Why hold the speech at PGA Tour headquarters? Why leak driving range photos?

Why not? And wouldn’t you allow that driving range photos are better than driving photos under the circs? Would you not put your best foot forward?

Q: When will he return to competitive golf?

OK, finally a legitimate question.

But it was answered. Tiger said he is not sure when he’ll return. Sorry that he couldn’t schedule his rehab around your desire for a firm timeline to make money off his talent.

Q: Has he been suspended by the PGA Tour?

Another legit, and actually great, question. But one that could have easily been posed to the Commish, Tim Finchem, who has been chatting up a veritable storm to you guys of late…I mean, on TV, in print, you name it…

Q: What would Earl say?

A: Sigghhhh….at the risk of sounding repetitive, but in the interest of preserving the integrity of what principles of newsworthiness may remain….”NONE OF YOUR DAMNED BUSINESS”.

Thank you, Thank you….

Friday, February 19, 2010

My take on Tiger's statement

What I just left as a comment on Comrade PhysioProf's all too cynical thread....

Nobody but Tiger can know the true motivation behind his actions and the timing thereof. Those who choose to take the cynical viewpoint are just as justified, a priori, as those who choose to give him the benefit of the doubt.

If one has to go by the available evidence, however, it appears that Tiger is trying seriously to get help and is trying desperately to save his relationship with his family. If he were to apologize just to keeping his shilling revenue alive and well, he could have gone a very different path. He could have already done the things the so-called experts have called on him to do, including crying on Oprah and all that crap. He could have come out with such a statement much earlier, when the media and golf powerbrokers were clamoring for it. I am sure he could have saved the Accenture sponsorship if he he danced to their tune—you really think they didnt try to get him to do some such apology-dance-talkshow-circuit-shit so that they wouldn’t have to completely re-invent their entire ad campaign, including removing his likeness from every airport and thousands of billboards, overnight?

Anyway, his statement today, in content, tone and timing, is highly indicative of a man following something akin to a 12-step program. I think this is why Tiger’s agent indicated that the timing of this was not entirely upto them. It appears that Tiger is at a stage of his therapy where he needed to apologize, openly, categorically and unconditionally, to everyone he may have hurt. This is what he did, and he has gone back to resume his rehab.

In my opinion, if he weren’t following a therapy strategy laid out by a medical professional, he could have eschewed this kind of statement and highly publicly humbling scenario—he could have apologized to his family and friends in private and apologized to his fans and followers on his website via a video statement or whatever. And then started playing golf. Let me reiterate what I’ve said before—he could have done no public apologies, and his endorsements would have been back in force when he started winning again. Corporate America has shown repeatedly that it has no ethic—when he started commanding eyeballs to TVs again, they’d gladly whore themselves to him again.

All the events of the past 2 months or so, culminating with today’s announcement, indicate that Tiger appears to be following a therapeutic regimen, and his priority appears to be to save his marriage and personal relationships.

Stop Breaking the News - In which I take on Selena Roberts

OK, this is getting to be even more entertaining than I'd bargained for. First there was all the caterwauling about Tiger stealing the thunder from a golf tournament.

Now it gets better. Selena Roberts of claims that Tiger Woods, by scheduling his announcement for today, is ,"stealing the spotlight from feel-good (Olympic) games". Selena's article is so remarkably stupid, on so many counts, that I feel compelled to respond to it.

Firstly, I didn't realize (and I think neither did Tiger) that he needed to cross-check his calendar with every other significant event in the world and schedule his announcement accordingly. I guess he should have had the sensitivity to schedule his announcement sometime after the NCAA tournament, after hockey season, after the NBA season, before NFL training camp, and at 2 am on a Tuesday morning so as to cause minimal disruption to whatever pathetic golf event was being held that week. Thank you, golf scribes, bitter PGA pros and Selena Roberts for pointing out how freaking inconsiderate and egotistical Tiger really is.

Secondly, it seems to have chapped Selena's ass too that Tiger will not entertain questions at his announcement today. What questions would you like to ask, Selena, that are relevant to Tiger's golf, that will not embarass him and his family any further? Or would you like to get a Ken Starr-esque play-by-play of who he banged and how he did it, so as to enrich the lives and the essential knowledge-base of the world at large? And because that would be the right thing for Elin and the kids, y'know? Right?

Thirdly, I didn't realize that the 'feel-good' for an Olympic games constituted some Americans winning gold medals. Because, you know, I might have been thrown off by the fact that the Olympic movement has become the examplar for corruption, politics and the fine art of putting whipped cream on a turd. I, for one, have been disgusted by these Olympics. The lead story should be the arrogance of the Olympic committee in not listening to serious concerns and complaints about their dangerous tracks, an arrogance that has already led to the loss of a young and promising life. Oh, I was not an American life, so it doesn't impinge on the feel-good-ness of these Olympics for you, huh? The second lead should have been about how tens of millions of dollars were spent in importing snow for these games, so that, you know, you'd have your feel-good fortnight, at a time when such money could have been used to far better effect in any of many efforts starting with, say, the relief effort in Haiti. The third lead should be the absolutely disgraceful commercialization of the event as well as its TV coverage (by your fellow 'journalist' community, no less) that has resulted in the complete betrayal of the very athletes whose cause you claim to speak for. If you want someone to give these winter athletes a break, maybe you should get your bosses to show some of these events live, or at least at a decent hour so people could watch them, and preferably without sandwiching each minute of actual sport within five minutes of advertizing filth. Then we'll talk. But anyway. You keep right-on feeling good there, now, y'hear?

Fourthly, Selena, you have the gall to use the Olympics (and comments by Jacques Rogge) to pass judgment on Tiger's Woods' sex life? I mean, SERIOUSLY? Here's a tip from an amateur investigative journalist---go ahead and do a Google search for the terms "Olympics and condoms". Are you aware that, like for the Beijing Games, the Vancouver Games are also arranging to hand out approx 100,000 condoms to the participants this year? Don't believe me? Look here, and here, and here, for instance. That translates to about 14 condoms for each player, trainer, official and coach in the Olympic Games. Given the reality of what clearly transpires at the Olympics, handing out condoms is clearly the smart public health move. But then Rogge thinks that Tiger failed becuase he "likes their athletes to be good role models for youngsters"? Are you fucking kidding me? Look, I don't care if the entire Olympic village bursts out into a Caligula-worthy fuck-fest and orgy every night....that is the prerogative of the athletes there...but I do think that such rampant sexual behavior eliminates anyone associated with the Olympics from having any authority to comment on the sexual mores of somebody else.

So, Selena, when you decided to pile onto the assault on Tiger using your Olympics angle, did you do so in the full knowledge of exactly how 'feel-good' the Olympic games really were, or did you just employ your trademark oversight and sloppiness in the haste to make a name for yourself at Tiger Woods' expense. You know, like you did with the Duke lacrosse case. Or with the Alex Rodrigues book.....

And you call yourself a journalist. Shame on you.....

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Can you feel the Tiger hatred?

Tiger Woods will be giving his first public comments tomorrow after his stunning fall from grace, and the haters are out in force. The schadenfraude is so thick you can almost see it.

There have been myriad comments by various ‘journalists’ over the past three months about what Tiger should have done and how he should have done it. There is apparently a lot of hand-wringing and caterwauling about the nature of his appearance tomorrow (no questions will be allowed---no fair---waaaaah) as well as its timing (he’s taking the spotlight away from a marquee tournament just to get even with Accenture---waaahhhhh---no fair!). Let me get this out of the way for writers and touring PGA pros who have a problem with Tiger’s timing---Shut The Fuck Up. Listen to yourselves. If Tiger can upstage a world Golf Championships event by holding a public announcement, what does that say about the state of your game or the practitioners and consumers thereof? You want people to pay attention? Play better. Sack up and show the world a game that will capture its imagination and entrance it. That’s what Tiger did---he didn’t get his popularity by sprinkling pixie dust on the world or by spewing forth from the loins of privilege. He earned it with his game. The biggest talk that ever came out of his camp was done by his clubs. You want a better spotlight? Earn it.

As for the nature of the presser---so what? Journalists are all atwitter about not being able to ask questions at a presser? When did this happen? As I recall, everyone was pretty happy when administrations did this while leading our country into a trumped up war and unimaginable debt…..none of these scribes seemed to speak up then. A lot of tournament golf is sponsored by the banking and investment industry that sold our economy down the river….I don’t remember any golf scribes asking any of these institutions about their ethics or morals or anything else for that matter….. golf scribes and powerbrokers have been more than happy to be whores to corporate interests for as long as I can remember…..where is this newfound journalistic ethic coming from when it comes to Tiger’s private life? Besides, what questions do you expect Tiger to answer? Other than to his family, he owes no one anything. If you don’t like it, don’t go listen to him. Simple.

Why should Tiger be any more public now than he has ever been? Pretty much every one that I have read or heard seems to agree that Tiger has betrayed his wife and children and that he needs to apologize profusely to them. Then why do these same people want him to answer a multitude of questions about his lurid escapades? How is that even remotely respectful to his family? What purpose is served by playing out Tiger’s infidelities in even greater public and prurient detail? You feel badly for his wife and kids? Then leave them the hell alone----don’t pretend that Tiger has some obligation to the world to publicly humiliate his family any more than he already has.

I am quite disappointed that Tiger is even holding some sort of an apology presser tomorrow. I knew it was inevitable---but I am disappointed nonetheless. I really hoped that he’d sort out his home life and then, when ready, just start playing again. At the first tournament back, I thought, he could field general questions about this issue but just fend off anything personal and keep it focused on the impact on the game. Just keep the message simple---‘Yeah I screwed up badly, but none of the details are your concern. I am sorting it out with the people who matter in that regard’.

Anyway, let one thing be clear---much of this backlash against Tiger is not new. It is not a response to his ‘betrayal’---Tiger’s behavior just gave these sentiments an excuse to get aired. There has been a ton of Tiger resentment for as long as he has been on tour. You see, Tiger committed the ultimate sin, one that about many cannot ever forgive him for even if they can’t admit it---he not just entered but dominated a world of white male privilege. And a part of this nation always hated him for it. They hated the fact that he was so good. They hated the fact that he proved them wrong at every turn. When he came out on tour, the white male privilege establishment sneered (“It’s a different game out here, as the kid will find out…haw haw haw….”). They hated him for his frankness when he was winning and he claimed not to have his ‘A’ game---they called him arrogant---till he showed them at the 97 Masters and the 2000 US Open what his ‘A’ game was….They hated the fact that he fought just as hard to make the cut when playing badly as he did to win when playing well. They hated the fact that he won more times in a year than most of them had won in their careers. They hated the fact that if Tiger played his best, nobody else stood a reasonable chance of winning. But most of all, they hated the fact that while Tiger had all the physical gifts to excel at golf, his dominance sprung from his mental superiority. The white male privilege establishment would grudgingly concede that people of color could be good athletes, but they’d never concede that they could be mentally superior to the point of dominance. They subscribed to the old ‘blacks cannot play quarterback’ mentality and Tiger destroyed that world like no one before.

But something else also happened…..Tiger so captured the public imagination with his golfing feats that the money in golf exploded. And the golf world had to genuflect to Tiger. Suddenly, a touring pro made more money for a 10th place finish than he had for winning the tournament a few years back. If you could hold on to your tour card for a couple of years, you could retire comfortably on your earnings….even if you didn’t win a single tournament. Golf was suddenly cool…..the USOpen in primetime could beat the Yankees-Sox in ratings when Tiger played. Everyone, from the pros to the scribes, cashed fatter checks for achieving less, and at some level they were all happier for it. But on another level, I bet it tore them up. I bet it tore them up that most of them knew they were playing for second place if Tiger entered the tourney. I bet it tore them up that every time they bought newer, fancier cars or houses they realized that they were finishing lower and lower on the money list nevertheless. I mean, Tiger could have lined up all these old-world pros, scribes and powerbrokers of golf and chopped off their nuts with pruning shears on live TV and he wouldn’t have emasculated them any more thoroughly than he did with his golf clubs on the very fairways, greens, clubhouses and corporate tents that were, for the most part, forbidden to people of color.

So anyway, Tiger finally gave the white male privilege establishment an excuse to vent a dozen years’ worth of accumulated frustration and resentment, and they’re doing that now. And they’re looking suitably and predictably impotent and stupid while doing it too.


Haaaaaahahahahaha......The Golf Writers Assn of America will be boycotting Tiger's statement---sorta---they will not participate as pool reporters. Good. That should silence Tiger's message!! The Golf channel or every network will not carry it live, correct? Millions would not tune in if Tiger simply did the whole thing by streaming it on his website, correct? Let the pompous douchebags boycott it---maybe they'll finally realize the insignificance of their toadying positions in this information age.

They are upset that Tiger controls his message----I got some news for them---every powerful person does. It's not like Peyton Manning or Brad Pitt or Bill Gates accedes to every request from every self-important media asshole. Every single human being who is in a position to dictate terms does so. Why should Tiger be different? Well, he is different because even most celebrities receive maybe a thousand requests a day and have to say 'no' about 999 times.....Tiger receives a million requests a day and has to say 'no' a thousand-fold more. Media douchebags need to realize that just because attention whores like Brett Favre and John Daly choose to live out their life in public along the plotlines of a bad country-western song, it doesn't mean that every celebrity should do the same.

So, GWAA, fuck off! And come crawling back when Tiger starts playing golf again, because maybe you'll realize that your job is to report on stuff and provide decent analysis if you can, not moralize on it. In case you didn't realize it, idiots, if it weren't for some PGA rules and requirements, Tiger Woods probably wouldn't give you guys ANY interviews or statements during the normal course of events. He does not need you----people watch him for what he does and there are a million ways now to provide people that access. You need him---his image, his words, his deeds--- to sell copy, to justify your circulation, so you can whore yourselves out to your advertisers. Capisce?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

And I’d like Science doping analogies for $1000, Alex.

Once again, shamelessly leeching off DrugMonkey’s brainwaves….

Science doping confessions I’m afraid we’ll be hearing:

Yeah, I fudged stuff. I withheld some data that was relevant, that kinda disproved my hypothesis to begin with. So it a got a coupla papers published, but there was nothing false in any of them. I mean not a thing was technically untrue. OK, so I more than fudged stuff --- maybe a coupla times I kinda made up stuff. What? Fabricated data? Noooo, that sounds so harsh, dude. Just, you know, kinda extended the results beyond the limits---to, in my mind, the logical conclusion that people were too dumb to see yet. But hey, I never did it in a paper, OK? Or even a conference. Just in some grant apps, y’know. Just to tide me over---it looked like some grants may not be renewed so I just got a little help to get back on the field, man. I mean, there were people counting on me---students, postdocs, techs, admins…..the pressure was tremendous….the responsibility I felt was enormous. Besides, these grant apps were reduced to like 12 pages, so it all basically came down to my resume. It wasn’t like there was even room to provide prelim results to give the reviewers a proper eval of the data even if we had them. It was my word against some rookie’s, and I KNEW in my heart we were correct so does that really count as cheating? And you know the fans loved me. So all I had to do was provide enough stuff for them to continue to like me. I mean, the system was set up for me to be a star, man…..who was I to go screw that up? I mean, I'm not that arrogant….just a guy who’s doing his bit for the greater good, y’know? That’s all, man. I just did it to stay in the game, to get the grants. I never faked it in the papers, man, never. Because I’m pretty sure the stuff I made up was true anyway. I mean, I didn’t really need the fabrication --- just saved some time and got me back in the game y’know. Just couldn’t afford to have funding gaps there, guys. Too many people depending on me. Way too much pressure.

So in summary, I’m really sorry for my transgressions but I hope that you will agree it wasn’t really pertinent to my overall body of work. This has nothing to do with my upcoming candidacy for the NAS or the Lasker or even the Nobel prize. I just feel bad having kept my family in the dark about this minor misdemeanor I had in the grant app process (which was, ultimately, for the greater good, in my opinion, because of my opinion of the importance of my contribution---just so you don’t lose sight of all that) and I thought it was time I came clean. I think it is important for aspiring scientists to know that fraud doesn’t pay. I’ll be happy to reply to all comments from Stockholm.

Update: I can’t understand why my confession has generated such a kerfuffle and fuss. I mean, people are bandying about my name with ‘fabrication’ and stuff and it was never like that. We just enhanced our results a bit for the grant apps, made sort of a ‘proposal enhancement data’ (PED) set if you will---think of it as supplements, man. But the PED don’t run gels or generate spectra or clamp any freaking patches (haha they certainly don’t do any real work---c’mon that’s funny in layers, admit it!) or write any grants or navigate (or help you deal with the Pure Edge crap back in the day) for you, you know? You still need the hand-eye coordination and God-given talent to do that. And why pick on me? People have been using all kinds of ‘supplements’ for ages. I mean, I know for a fact that many a grant proposal or paper has been written under the influence of mfing Jameson, or a hot cup of sake, or maybe even a toke of the hippy lettuce. What of those performance enhancers? I mean, is it OK if your grants and papers were sativa-ed as long as the source was Oryza or Cannabis? I was just part of the era of strangulation of funding (I mean, it’s a doc eat doc world out there and I was wearing R21 underwear) and I did what I needed to, to keep myself and my team in the game.