Sunday, September 30, 2007

Importance of a kick return game

First off, the Lions played a pretty good game against the Bears. Though their offense was stagnant for the majority of the game, they turned it on when they needed too. Thankfully the Bear’s offense was still pathetic, even with Brian Griese at quarterback.

But, what almost killed the Lions was the Bear’s return game. Devin Hester was absolutely amazing. If he makes one or two people miss (and he did that often), he’s got a great chance of taking it all the way. He single-handedly kept the Bears in today’s game.

Hester’s return game made me miss Eddie Drummond. The Lions simply do not have a good return specialist, and it is hurting them. But, in a larger sense, just how important is field position?

According to the NFL Stats blog, field position means more than some would think. Through their calculations, a 4-yard starting field position difference can mean up to a three percent difference in points score per game.

Because of the limited stats available for starting field position, let’s compare Hester’s average return yards to our average return yards. Though this isn’t the best comparison, it is a very telling one. Hester averaged 31.3 return yards on kickoffs and 19.0 yards on punts. The best Lion returner, Brandon Middleton, averaged 23.3 yards on kickoffs, and Troy Walters averaged 8.5 yards on punts. That’s a margin of 8 yards on kickoffs and 10.5 yards on punts, which equates to a roughly 13 percent difference in points score per game.

Obviously, other factors affect how many points a team scores. But for demonstrative purposes, that is a very scary realization that the Lions need to have an effective return game.

When will Americans learn?

According to a Rasmussen poll, 44% of Americans now support free health care for everyone. Of course this "free" health care would be provided for by our government (thus more taxes). It is surprising that so many people are willing to entrust yet another institution to the great bureaucracy in Washington, D.C. They have already showed their ineptness in running so many other programs, and yet a near majority of the population would be willing to allow the Feds to run our health care.

I am part of the shrinking majority in America who believes that the government does not have the constitutional duty, nor right, to butt in on our health care system. The liberals that support socialized health care have this inferiority complex as they seem to think they know best when it comes to living our lives. They seem to view the population of this country as children who need to be taken care of, instead of capable individuals who know how to take care of themselves. Americans do not need bureaucrats on Capital Hill deciding a one size fits all program that is inefficient, and in fact dangerous to the American public.

The enlightened country of France is a great example of a country with socialized (or universal) health care. The French have admitted that major reforms need to be made in light of the poorly governed government health care system becoming too costly. They cite reasons such as waste and inefficient managing for their need to have drastic change.

While my patriotism tells me that our government could do it better than the French, I still believe that our citizens can take care of themselves even better. We need to tell the already satiated federal government to stay out of health care and quit trying to find reasons to take more of our hard earned money. The more they make choices for us, the less free we are. We might make poor decisions, but that is what liberty is about; learning from our mistakes or repeating them.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Say hello to the iBrick

To begin with, I’m already not that big of a fan of Apple. I never have been, and never will be. I love the iPod, but their computers and other devices are worthless to me.

When Apple began running ads for the iPhone, I was intrigued. Its feature list is amazing to say the least. And really, it’s pretty; most stuff put out by Apple is. I thought they might have a winner on their hands.

But then out came the prices. 4GB of storage was going to run a costly $499; 8 GB would set you back $599. In other words, they were way too much money for me. However, I knew some people would be willing to pay these prices.

What really made me not like the iPhone was that it could only be used on AT&T’s network. Not only does this suck if, for instance, AT&T gets terrible reception at your place of residence, it is really a monopoly. If you get the iPhone you are forced to use AT&T.

Or so I thought.

Enter the world of iPhone unlocking. Since the phone was released, people wanted to figure out how to run it on other carriers’ services. Thanks to George Hotz, the iPhone was successfully unlocked on August 24. Though his method involved physically modifying the internals of the phone, many software only solutions (such as iPhoneSimFree) have been released since.

Thursday, Apple released an update to the iPhone that rendered the “hacked” units useless. In addition, units that had unsupported software and some perfectly normal phones were effectively turned into an expensive “iBrick”. Apple will not fix units that were hacked.

Although Apple has reasons to do such a thing (for example, fulfilling their agreement with AT&T), I’m of the opinion that they should fix the modified phones affected by the new software. It is absolutely wrong to tie users to just one carrier. If they paid $399+ for their phones, shouldn’t they have a right to use them however they choose? Unlocked phones from other companies work across carriers, why can’t the iPhone?

Apple has taken this approach far too many times throughout its product lines. Let the hardware be interchangeable! It can only help consumers by driving down cost and help you by increasing your market share.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Open-minded Fallacy

Imagine you are trying to have an intelligent conversation with someone. Maybe you have never had an intelligent conversation, in this case skip to the next article. For those of you still reading let me present a situation to you. You and "Bill" have been discussing an issue important to both of you. You believe one way and Bill believes another. The discussion or argument, depending on who you ask, was getting heated. Bill explains his side, then you explain your view. Instead of offering an intelligent counter, he pulls the trump card; with the assurance of a veteran debater he calls you close-minded. It is interesting that this simple retort can turn an audience against an otherwise sound argument and it's presenter.

How come this term often used in political debates of the highest level seems to be a win all strategy? An opponent may use that term when he is in a desperate situation and all of the sudden the crowd is on his side glaring at the opponent as if he is some bigot. Before we look at what being close-minded is and what it implies, we must first look at open-mindedness. To be open minded is to be willing to consider new arguments or ideas. It can then be inferred that calling someone a name because of their viewpoints is not very open-minded; in fact it seems quite the opposite.

Open-mindedness is not what you believe, but rather how you deal with people who have beliefs different then your own. It has been a common misconception that if you believe a certain way then you are close-minded. By now the reader may be thinking about the political ideologies; conservative and liberal. Liberals are stereotypically the open-minded party, and conservatives are generally thought of as being closed-minded (the catchy phrase closed-minded conservative). I do not disagree that there are close-minded conservatives and open-minded liberals. But, the stereotype is wrong for there are many open-minded conservatives as well as many close-minded liberals. Also, the term wouldn't properly fit even if the majority of conservatives were in fact close-minded.

Close-mindedness is not adhering to a set of beliefs, but rather the refusal to listen or respect other people’s opinions. So, back to your argument with Bill, who was in fact close-minded? Needless to say, let’s think twice before we resort to name calling.

Vick Tests Positive for Marijuana

Honestly Mike, are you trying to set the record for the furthest fall in history?

After already pleading guilty to federal dog fighting charges, reports surfaced Wednesday that Michael Vick tested positive for marijuana in a test he took on September 13. Due to the positive test, prosecutors have tightened Vick’s freedom until his December 10 sentencing hearing.

The bad news for Vick is that Judge Henry Hudson could take his positive test into consideration when deciding Vick’s fate. Ouch.

I understand that this isn’t the first time that Vick has had an incident with marijuana, but I cannot believe that he would try to get away with something like that in light of all the scrutiny he is currently under. Not that I’ve ever been in his position, but if I was about to go to jail and the length of the sentence depended on a judge’s ruling, I would try to be the best person I could be until the sentencing hearing. Don’t give him another reason to put you away for a long time.

Amazing how things can go south in a hurry.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Military Service in question

As many may know, ran a full page ad seeking to discredit General Petraeus' reputation as a military official. This shows such a blatant disrespect to not only this honorable officer, but the men under his command. As I have said before, the members of our military sacrifice more than any of us can ever know for the sake of this great country.

The ad is one of many from both sides, seeking to attack current or former members of our military. It follows ads questioning Senator John Kerry's service in Vietnam, as well former Senator Max Cleland(D) of Massechusetts. Max Cleland lost the lower half of his body in Vietnam, which is more than nearly all Americans can say they have done for the U.S. And yet his opponent sought to discredit him by running ads with him next to Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden, implying he was weak on foreign policy.

And while I may not have voted for John Kerry in the 2004 election, I am most grateful for his military service and respect him for it. I am sick of the personal attacks from the left and right; modern American politics is replete with examples of them. Politicians need to show more respect for opponents. Instead of winning elections by being the lesser evil, they need to try win by having the better plan.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Story questioning athlete’s attitude spurs thoughts about journalism morals

One of the toughest parts of being a respectable journalist, whether it is online or at an actual news outlet, is knowing where to draw the line. Sometimes these lines are drawn by our superiors, but a lot of them need to be drawn by our own morals.

While I was in high school there was a group of athletes on a highly ranked sports team that were caught talking about partying and drinking that they had participated in during the weekend. Although there was no proof of this other than what their coach overheard, they could have been punished for their actions immediately. However, the players were not immediately punished and a silent uproar began to spread around school.

At this point I was the Sports Editor for our high school newspaper. When the story got around, some members of our staff smelled blood and wanted to go in for the kill; conjuring up a story about athletes receiving special treatment. Obviously, as a high school publication we were regulated by our teacher and administrators, and the story never got off the ground. Instead, we published a story about athletic code infringements.

I bring this up in response to a story published by columnist Jenni Carlson about Oklahoma State quarterback Bobby Reid, which has drawn national coverage because of Carlson’s negative comments about Reid’s character and off-field attitudes. In the story, Carlson questions Reid’s dedication and maturity, among other things. Carlson even goes as far to admit that some of what she is writing is based completely on rumor.

“Word is that Reid has considered transferring a couple different times, the first as early as 2005. Reid, then a redshirt freshman, was facing competition from returner Donovan Woods, and apparently, Reid considered leaving OSU just because he had to compete for the spot.”

Anytime a journalist uses “word is” and “apparently” to introduce so-called facts you know something is wrong. If you read the column, there is very little actual reporting and mostly speculation. How Carlson can attack Reid’s character without cold, hard facts is beyond me.

Carlson’s actions violate my morals as a journalist, much like how I opposed running the story on our sports team without facts as to why the team members were not immediately published. It is one thing to speculate on the next head coach at Michigan or where A-Rod will be headed next year, but to question a player’s attitude with rumors is just plain wrong.

Thankfully, I’m not the only one who feels this way. Many comments opposed to Carlson’s story have been posted all over the internet, and OSU head coach Mike Gundy lambasted Carlson in his press conference last Saturday. Whether or not Gundy’s actions were acceptable is still up in the air, but I’m glad to see a head coach step up in defense of his quarterback.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ahmadinejad is invited to Columbia University

It is interesting that an American college will host a man such as Iranian President Ahmadinejad, and yet they will cancel a speech to be given about protecting our borders from illegal immigrants. According to, President of Minutemen Project Jim Gilchrist was originally scheduled to be hosting a discussion on the border security debate, but it has since been canceled. Furthermore, the military ROTC program is not allowed as part of the curriculum at Columbia University.

These decisions made by Columbia University cause me to question their loyalties to America. I am all for free speech and the rights of colleges, however it seems to me that they are forgetting what country gives them those rights. I have nothing against a university allowing anyone to speak, but I can't help but feel a certain anti-American message being sent by Columbia. Their reasoning for canceling Gilchrist's speech is that it would have caused too much outcry amongst students. That should be a reason to bring him, as it seems to be a hot topic.

I end this short blurb on their policy against the ROTC program. I do not understand why any institution in America, especially a place of learning, would carry such anti-military attitude. It is our military that allows Columbia to have the freedoms they have, and they should be proud to help in any way they can.

Build Your Own “Custom” PC

If you’re in the market for a new PC these days, you have a choice of many different manufacturers, all offering different options. These PCs can range from a few hundred to a few thousands of dollars. However, if you are somewhat tech savvy I recommend building your own PC. Although it is not necessarily cheaper, it allows you to customize every single part of the system to your liking. And, if it’s you first time, you can learn a lot as well.

Since there is already a lot of guides out there on how to do this, I won’t bother writing another. Basically, be sure everything is compatible and it should go together easily. However, here are a couple sources for information: - This site has a step-by-step guide on building a PC, as well as a very active forum where members will gladly help you with your build. - Newegg has all the parts you will need for your PC. From my experiences, Newegg is usually the cheapest supplier also.

These are sites that helped me build my PC, but if you do a Google search for “Build Your Own PC” you will find many more sources that will help you out.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, my custom built PC cost me a little more than $300 and will surf the internet and run XP and Office with the best of them.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Lions burned by scoring explosion

With a rather impressive 2-0 start, I thought maybe, just maybe, the Lions might be turning things around. And in some respects they are.

Putting up a total of 432 yards is impressive, and definitely a good endorsement for Mike Martz’s offense.

Too bad the Lions just couldn’t play defense.

They gave up a total of 536 yards and seven offensive touchdowns. And a lot of those yards and touchdowns came on big plays. Kevin Curtis had 221 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Curtis only had four touchdowns all of last year!

Brian Westbrook was like Superman until he left in the third quarter. They just couldn’t stop him. For someone who was questionable throughout the week to run all over the defense is alarming. Could we please get some Kryptonite?

The secondary got burned all day, with Keith Smith, Stanley Wilson, and Gerald Alexander getting picked on heavily. Curtis was wide open for most of the game.

Jon Kitna had no time to pass. When he did have time, he was effective, however he still made mistakes that a veteran quarterback shouldn’t make. For instance, a poor decision to throw the ball into the end zone at the end of the first half resulted in a drive-killing interception.

Although losing 56-21 is somewhat of an embarrassment, at least I can say that the Lions never gave up. I was also impressed by a couple of players.

Calvin Johnson’s acrobatic catch in the second quarter was absolutely amazing. He is definitely a great player, and should get even better once he learns more of the offense. It’s too bad that on his great catch he also had to get hurt.

Though they lacked a running game again, Kevin Jones looked like his old-self. Considering he was not expected to be back this early or at all this season, that was a big bonus for the Lions.

Hopefully by next week they will have the defense sorted out when they take on the Chicago Bears at home.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Ecko: Please don’t do it…

Barry Bonds’ record setting 756th home run ball sold for more than $750,000. So it only makes sense that the ball would be the centerpiece to someone’s baseball collection right?


Fashion designer Marc Ecko, who bought the ball, has decided to leave its fate up to an online poll on his website ( On the site voters can choose to send it to Cooperstown unblemished, brand it and then send it to Cooperstown, or blast the ball into outer space. The voting results will be revealed next week.

“I bought this baseball to democratize the debate over what to do with it,” Ecko wrote on the site.

Regardless of whether or not it’s the democratic thing to do Marc, please, PLEASE, don’t do it. Bonds has never been proven guilty of anything, yet. You could very well be sending a legit piece of history into space based only on speculation.

By now you’ve probably realized I’m in the group that appreciates the record, or at least the group that doesn’t necessarily feel Bonds was helped immensely by steroids. I really can’t deny that he ever took them, but still, if you look at his numbers, there are no real jumps in any statistic, other than that he was very productive in his late 30s. Until I am proven otherwise, I believe Bonds is an outstanding player, and may be the most well rounded player ever.

Maybe I’m wrong. But maybe Ecko is too.

Ram G-Force Golf Set Review

As a golfer who plays at most 5 rounds a month during the summer, I was looking for a new set of clubs that was relatively affordable, but was still well made. In the end I settled on a set of Ram G-Force clubs, which can be had for less than $200 (if you can still find them).

What’s Included:

-430cc Graphite Shafted Driver (With Headcover)
-3 and 5 Graphite Shafted Fairway Woods (With Headcovers)
-Hybrid Steel Shafted 3-Iron (With Headcover)
-4-PW Steel Shafted Cavity-back Irons
-Heel-toe Weighted Putter
-“Deluxe” Stand Bag

The set was quite a step-up from my last, which consisted of mismatched clubs and was well over 20 years old.

Immediately upon using the clubs I fell in love with the irons. My old irons were not cavity-backs and these new irons felt lighter and seemed to give me more distance and control than the old ones. In fact, the first time I took these out I was a couple strokes below my average without even hitting the range, and I believe the irons had the most to do with that. Since I’ve purchased this set, I’ve hit some Callaway X-16s and I preferred the feel of the Ram irons over the Callaway’s.

The driver is massive, especially compared to my old real wood driver. The graphite shaft gives it plenty of whip and the driver itself has a good sound to it. I now can drive 225 yards consistently (that is if I can avoid my slice!). The fairway woods are very similar to the driver and are very easy to hit.

Considering the price of the set the putter is of very high quality, and the bag has plenty of room to hold everything you need. The bag also comes with a rain cover that snaps on.

My favorite part of the set is the hybrid 3-iron. Usually I don’t dare to play anything longer than a 5-iron because it is nearly impossible to hit 4 or 3 irons. However, the hybrid is very forgiving and is very easy to hit. It’s a great second shot club on par 5s or coming out of short rough.

Overall, I am very pleased with the Ram G-Force set. For a very low price it offers top notch quality and performs very well for the average golfer like me. If you’re in the market for an affordable set of clubs I would definitely recommend these.

Giants to Bonds: You're Out!

The San Francisco Giants have announced that they will not bring back all-time home run king Barry Bonds for the 2008 season, ending his 15-year stay with the Giants.

Bonds, 43, has said on his website that he plans to continue playing somewhere else, in order to reach his goal of obtaining a World Series ring.

Considering his age, Bonds has been productive this season, hitting .279 with 28 home runs and 66 RBIs. Unfortunately, he can no longer play left field effectively, which means that he would probably have to go somewhere in the American League where he can DH.

Whichever team ends up with him, they are going to be getting a steal. Bonds is an outstanding hitter, regardless of whether or not he took steroids. I wish him the best of luck as he approaches the 3,000 hit mark next season.