Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Badverstising: V

Dear ABC:

I don't care how many ads you run during LOST, I'm not going to watch V. I don't care if they make it out to be an action show, or a sexy show, or how often that creepy alien girl with the short hair breaks the fourth wall. I won't watch.

V was on like 30 years ago. Its been done. It wasn't that great to begin with, but at least it was campy and entertaining. Why would I want a hip new version of an old campy show whose only value came from its campyness? And is this really what Juliet from LOST deserves for being killed off? That's weak.

I'm hoping that this boycott will make you stop these awful commercials. And I especially hope that this will discourage you from remaking LOST in 30 years with some new cast and cosmetic changes. Its hard enough to follow as it is.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Badvertising: Sharp Quattron

I just saw this for the first time.

I don't have any beef with this ad. Its simple, straightforward, informative even.

But my inner devil had to smirk at using Mr. Sulu to introduce the new yellow color spectrum.

I know, I'm an immature idiot. But it is funny.

NFL overtime, part 2

The NFL passed a new overtime rule today. I had previously talked about it being a possibility, and now that it is a reality and I've learned more about it I like the new rule even less.

This new rule only takes effect in postseason games. Basically, it says that the team which receives the kickoff cannot win the game on a first possession field goal. If they score a touchdown, game over. If they score only a FG, then they must kick off, and the other team has a chance to tie or beat them, with a FG or TD respectively. In the case of a tying FG, or if neither team score, the game reverts back to sudden death format. If the other team fails to score the game is over.

There are some wrinkles here which should be addressed. Any defensive score (safety or defensive TD) ends the game. So 2 points is enough to win, but not 3! Amazing!

If the original kickoff team tries and recovers an onside kick, then the team which was supposed to recover has "had their opportunity", according to the league. So theoretically a team could onside, recover, and then drive down and kick a field goal to win. Similarly, if the receiving team were to fumble and lose the kickoff, or commit a turnover while on offense, then the other team only has to score in order to win, touchdown or field goal.

I don't like this rule. I think its wrong to change the fundamental rules of the game just because its the postseason. True, there is already a difference in rule, in that a regular season game ends in a tie after 1 quarter while a postseason game goes till a winner is decided, but that difference is necessary given that someone has to win a playoff game. The timing may be different but the conditions for winning are the same: first point prevails.

Besides the regular/postseason difference, I don't like that this rule implies that certain points aren't really legitimate. Why should a field goal on one given possession not count the same as points score on other possessions? Field goals are still points. They are a legitimate part of the game. I know we like to hate on kickers. At best they are useful in certain situations, at worst they are midgets masquerading as football players who can screw up their one job and blow a game for the 52 other guys who are fighting their asses off.

But they are still part of the game. If you don't like Field goals, get rid of them. Narrow the uprights, widen the splits, make them worth fewer points, do what you will. But if they are part of the game then they should be treated as such. Teams win games via field goal all the time.

A lot of the complaining about the sudden death overtime starts with the reasoning that a field goal is no way to end a football game. The unspoken but very obvious motivation behind this line of thought is that sudden death overtime prevents the NFL's biggest stars, the QBs, from leading their teams to glorious victory. Even the teams who win usually do so by field goal, not a touchdown, and on many occasions the other team never gets a chance to score. Somehow, some people believe there is shame in this, as opposed to embracing the fact that football is a team sport and there are players who affect the outcome besides the quarterback.

I guess what I really dislike most about this rule is that it feels like such a such an obvious, slapdash attempt to appease the small but vocal group (mostly Peter King types) who want star QBs to get a guaranteed chance to play in overtime and think its an affront to the football gods that a kicker should take that away from them. Because it was so unfair how Garrett Hartley held a gun to Brett Favre's head and made him throw yet another back-breaking, game changing, season ending interception (3 years and counting!).

And that's the real story here. This change isn't about fairness and competitiveness and the evil of field goals. If it was then they could make it first to 6 points, or outlaw field goals in overtime, or just guarantee both teams one possession regardless of what happens on the first, or just play a full quarter. Its not really that hard. Instead we get this half-assed attempt by the NFL trying to promote offense and sell jerseys. And I know that's their business and they make a lot of money at it, but can't we at least pretend that the rules mean something?

Its especially disingenuous because despite all this whining about the tragedy of field goals deciding games in overtime, now we have an overtime setup in which games could very likely be decided by field goal. Just not the first field goal. Teams could trade opening field goals or the receiving team could go scoreless, in which case a field goal still wins it. Or there could be the aforementioned turnover or onside kick, either of which would put us right back to where we started. So what have we gained here? Besides the possibility of more injuries, a longer game, and perhaps a few more points for the over/under in Vegas?

Sudden Death - real sudden death- has worked for years. It was good enough for "The Greatest Game Ever Played", one of the legendary games in NFL lore which helped put the league on the map. If you want to get rid of it then do so, but don't play around with the rules like this. Do it right and be consistent. Like Brett Favre throwing an end of season pick.

Monday, March 22, 2010


I just saw a flyer advertising for a "Festival of Meditation".

Seems contradictory to me. Hope they have beer and kettle corn.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Random thought of the day

I had a thought today while thinking about actors and such:

Why was it called "The Cosby Show"?

I mean, I know why it was called that, but when you think about it that was an incredibly generic name. And it also breaks with part of the convention of naming shows after their leads, in that Bill Cosby's character didn't share his real life name in any sense.

On Seinfeld, Jerry Seinfeld literally played himself (can you "play" yourself?).

On shows like Rosanne, Bob Newhart and Mary Tyler Moore, the protagonist carries over at least his or her first name.

But on "The Cosby Show" his character was Cliff Huxtable. That's a far cry from "Bill Cosby". A far, far cry.

In researching this crappy little post I learned that this isn't the only time this has happened. Apparently on "The Dick Van Dyke" show, Van Dyke played a character called Rob Petrie.

Maybe that's the lesson: if you're gonna name the show after yourself you better be a hell of a TV legend if you wanna pull it off.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Badvertising: KGB

KGB is apparently a huge scam service, and a poorly named one at that. I love how such a blatant piece of rip-off based capitalism, which is trying to come off as a friendly, helpful company, decided to name themselves after one of the most notorious agents of oppression in human history. Because when I think warm and helpful, I think of the Soviet Secret Police.

But I'll admit it is kinda catchy.

KGB has run a lot of ads, and most are forgettable enough, but a few really get on my nerves. The first features moms and clowns. Lets watch:

So let me get this straight. I wish to hire an entertainer for a social function. And KGB suggests that the best way to do this is to ask some stranger in a call center one question, accept their response on blind faith, and then this person will just be magically hired and everything will be great. Oh, and I'll pay a dollar for this privilege.

Alternatively, I could look up an entertainer for free using Google. I could compare references or ratings and pricing and actually do 2 minutes of research to find which clown I think its best. Maybe they'll even be pictures of said performer. In short, I'll do everything that the KGB "operative" will do, but it will be free and probably faster because I don't have to wait for him or her to text me back with his choice.

By the way, I just love, love, love the "evil" clown in this. Its so hysterically overblown that I have to laugh every time.

There are a couple of these type of KGB "face-off" ads, and while they are all at least silly this one its the worst I think. And the best. Just look at that evil clown.

Now lets look at another KGB ad which is unique in its style compared to the others.

Listen to me carefully ladies: none of these questions require KGB. Most don't require more than google, and the ones that do require a doctor or lawyer.

I'd call this commercial borderline creative. They hit you with so much so fast that you can't really process it, and William Tell never fails to get my brain humming. The choice of "questions" is weird though. This is a lot of serious stuff. Medical issues, legal issues, environmental issues. KGB's biggest (and probably) value is in settling bar bets among people who don't have IPhones, which is why I suspect they are running so many ads during March Madness.

Its also interesting that this particular ad features all women, asking "serious" questions. All the KGB ads I've seen aimed at men show its value as the aforementioned instant trivia machine. I've been waiting (not eagerly, but waiting) for the male version of this ad, but I don't think its coming since it doesn't seem to fit into how advertisers target men.

Also, I was watching basketball when this commercial came on, and they had clearly changed the word "poop" to "pool" at the beginning of the song. Shame on you, KGB, upsetting the delicate sensibilities of people watching sports games filled with sexist beer commercials.

My conclusion from all this: KGB is a "service" for idiots who somehow are terrified of basic google searches but tech savvy enough to text random questions to "information" companies.

NFL overtime proposal

The NFL Competition Committee is planning to vote on a new overtime format. Currently NFL OT games are decided by sudden death, no matter how the points are scored.

The new rule is a little confusing, and I haven't been able to find a full description of it. It has been described as "first team to 6", but I'm not sure that's correct. If the first team with possession scores a TD, then its game over. If they score "only" a FG, then the other team gets a chance to match that or better it. If they tie it, then the game reverts to sudden death.

There's an instant problem here: the team which has to tie it then has to give the ball back to the first team (at least that's how I read it). So really in that situation nothing has changed from a Sudden Death format. Sure there's the element of strategy in going for the win if possible, but it doesn't seem like it would come up that often.

I also can't figure out what happens if neither team scores on their possessions, or if the first team doesn't score and the second team does. Based on what I read the answer is a reversion to Sudden Death.

Another thing I don't like is that this rule applies only to the playoffs and the Super Bowl. There's already the subtle difference in the Playoff OT rules in that there cannot be a tie, so the game keeps going until a score. But besides that, why should there be a difference in basic rules? A football game is a football game, and with the league so tight now games in the regular season are often critical in determining who gets to the playoffs and who is left out. If you're gonna change the rule, make it for all games, or don't change it at all.

I actually might be in favor of a "first to" style overtime rule, but with one tweak. It shouldn't be first to 6, it should be first to 5. That way a FG alone doesn't win it, a TD does, and the combination of a safety and FG also wins it. And I think that's more than fair. If a defense can earn a safety and get the ball back for their offense, who then scores a FG, that should be enough to earn a W.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Charlie Claus

Well thank you, Charlie Whitehurst. And a special thanks to Pete Carroll, who is always straddling that line between genius and insanity.

Because of this duo we have moved way up in this years second round, and also hold a 3rd rounder next year. In case no one else is counting, this means we now have 6 picks in the first 3 rounds in 2011, which can either be used to restock the team in the future or traded for better picks this year. It may not seem like such a big thing, given then we already spent a 3rd rounder on Whitehurst and now have to get a new 3rd string QB somehow, but that kinda thinking is for economists and nerds.

I dare say that this is, by far, the best off season move the Bolts have made this year, and it took a crazy man on another team to make it happen.

Best of luck to you, Clipboard Jesus. Congrats on getting paid and on getting a chance to compete for a starting job. I hope you can seize this opportunity and run with it.

Except, of course, when the Bolts play the Seahawks this fall.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Congrats to LT on his new contract with the Jets. He deserves this chance to finish his career on his terms and perhaps show that he can still do it. New York seems to be as good a fit as any team, with a league best Rushing attack led by a punch-you-in-the-mouth front 5. I hope this works for him and he can finish in a blaze of glory, and maybe use this opportunity in the biggest market to let more of the league realize what a great player and human being he is.

Minnesota also seemed like a good fit for him given that its a similar situation in terms of scheme and personnel. But damned if I wanted to have a reason to root for Brittfar or Chilly Willy. Having Coach Ryan as his coach will make it a little easier to see LT in a different color jersey.

I wish him great success, right up to the point where the Jets' paths may cross the Chargers'.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tiger's Talking Head (update!)

So, apparently it wasn't Tiger that made the decision to hire Ari Fleischer. According to a rumor which I totally believe based on nothing, Tiger's regular PR firm is called IMG. IMG also has a partnership with Mr. Fleischer and his attempts to establish his own PR firm, which apparently hasn't gone well. And so IMG made the decision to put Ari on this case.

So actually (if this wild rumor is to be believed), this isn't Fleischer helping Tiger, its Tiger helping Ari.

Which should just be more proof of just how much of a slime-ball that Ari is, if he needs someone as unpopular as rock-bottom-scraping Tiger Woods to improve his image.

Tiger's Talking Head

You've lost me Tiger. I was on your side (sort of). I could accept that your personal life and your professional life were separate things, and I was ready to welcome Tiger the Golfer back to the tour.

No more.

You've pushed me over the edge with your latest move.

I can't believe you hired that lying, condescending, devil's front man Ari Fleisher as your PR rep.

Really Tiger? Really?

Tiger, you apologized. A lot of people didn't believe you, but whatever. Who cares? Just come back and play and win and let the chips fall where they may. Some people will hate you, some will turn a blind eye, and the vast majority are grown up enough to realize that this is just golf and you're a golfer and whatever happened with you and Elin and whatever means exactly nothing with regards to your driving and chipping and putting and winning.

Ari Fleischer? Game over, Tiger.

Ari Fleisher was the front man for one of the most arrogant, back-asswards, hated organizations in recorded history: the BCS.

Yes, this was the guy that the BCS hired to try and Twitter away the growing and passionate and rational drive by college football fans (including myself) for an actual playoff to determine the national championship. And what's funny about that is that the BCS never seemed to give a toss about any criticisms before, since they basically own college football and no one can do anything about that. And when they finally started one of the worst PR campaigns in history, it was conceived and run by none other than Ari. Awful.

Oh, and Ari was also the front man for President Bush during his first 2+ years in office, including the run-up to the start of the Iraq war. He was a key part of the Valerie Plame affair. He's also a Yankee fan. And based on what I know about him he probably gets off on drowning puppies in acid. He's a first rate dick who gets paid lots of money for being a first rate dick in order to shield even bigger, firster rate dicks from things like honesty and scrutiny and logic. Screw him and anyone he works for.

And this is the guy you go to, Tiger? That's like running up a flag that says "I'm wrong, stupid, arrogant and there's no chance I will change my ways because I don't have to." Why would you hire him? How does this help your comeback?

All I know is, PR agents are supposed to improve their client's public images, right? So how does Ari Fleisher even have a job, when hiring him is such a huge red flag?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Atticus Smith

Jamal is gone. To Denver. Ouch.

I really hope AJ knows what he's doing.

We can justify this in all sorts of ways, not the least of which is the fact that they Bolts went 12-4 last year in games without Jamal. But still he's still one of the top NTs in the game, when healthy.

Its tough sometimes being an NFL fan. Its true that every year brings new hopes, and with all that can happen in the league almost every team has a shot at the playoffs in the beginning of the year, and a smaller but still significant group has a real shot at hoisting the Lombardi trophy at the end. The trade off for this having to accept the reality that this is a year to year league and loyalty and family are just words without much substance.

Warren Sapp, a guy who cuts through the crap, once spoke to NFL films about this reality. He said (paraphrasing here):

"People say football is a family. It's not. If a family is walking and someone, a little kid maybe, falls behind, we go back for him. Not in football. In football we keep walking. Football is a fellowship of men. If you can't hack it you get left behind."

Its amazing how much I, and many Charger fans I know, have come to accept this reality. The proof is in how relatively easy it was to accept the LT decision. We mourned, we remembered, we looked back whistfully, but we were already looking forward to who was going to take his place. Because we had to, because that's how this works.

Consider all the players players which the Chargers have left by the side of the road in recent years.

Donnie Edwards. Lorenzo Neal. Keenan McCardell. Ben Leber.

Marlon McCree. Matt Whilhelm. Eric Parker.

Igor. Shelton. Forney. Chris Chambers. Cromartie. Kassim. Hart.

Michael Turner.

Drew Brees.

Jamal Williams.


I'm sure there are others I've forgotten. And the list will grow even longer with each year that passes.

True, a lot of these players left of their own accord for free agency. Many had injury problems, or were on the downslope of their careers or had regressed in their play or had pissed off the wrong people.

AJ Smith is the man who must make all these decisions. Most, I would argue, have been the right decisions.

There's a line in "To Kill a Mockingbird" about the fact that some people were born to do our difficult jobs for us. I sometimes think of that line when the Chargers release an impact player that we love, usually because he's become too expensive to justify his decreasing levels of productions. For the Chargers, AJ Smith is that person, making the tough decisions which we all realize have to be done but don't want to make.

(Now, I want to be very clear that I'm not trying to equate Atticus Finch, one of the great noble heroes in the American Canon, to AJ Smith, who makes millions doing a job that many of us naively think would be a dream come true. That would be a hyper-Simmonesque move of idiotic equivocation.)

Sunday, March 7, 2010


"When did the floodgates open?"

"When the water got here."

Friday was the start of free agency and the new NFL year, and what a start! So long Kassim, Cro, Bennett and Manu. So long (for now) Jamal. Welcome back (for now) Sproles.

In my own humble opinion, tendering Sproles just makes sense. He's not the only answer at running back, but he was just too valuable to let him walk without at least using the tender and trying to get something in return. I hope they can agree on a long term deal, because otherwise I fear he'll be the next Charger to leave town this offseason via trade.

Speaking of leaving, please don't leave Jamal! I really hope he and the team can work something out for him to come back, because a healthy J-Wall, even in a limited rotation, is such a valuable thing. I honestly remember losing sleep last fall during the week that he was put on IR, and I think a lot more sleep with be lost by Bolts fans next year if he can't be brought back or replaced with a new star nose tackle. Its amazing what his release says about football. There are probably 5 people on the planet who can do what a healthy Jamal Williams can do on a football field. His value to a 3-4 team is unquestionable and usually irreplaceable. Running backs may be fungible, but quality nose tackles certainly are not.

Yet 6 million dollars, in an uncapped year no less, was too much for the Chargers to handle given his age and durability concerns. This is a guy who just a year ago was playing at a Pro-bowl level and has anchored the defense for a decade, and by all indications was recovering just fine from his injury. But still, it was just too much. Contrast that with baseball or basketball, where you have less valuable players with more common skill sets earning far, far more than that, and its all guaranteed. I love the NFL, but compared to other sports its players often get a raw deal.

Despite your raw deal, please come back Jamal! We love you! And if you should decide to make a clean break and sign elsewhere, no hard feelings and good luck. Unless Norv decides to run Sproles straight into you on 4th and 2, a collision which I'm pretty sure would be close to the meeting of matter and anti-matter.