Wednesday, April 26, 2006


There is no doubt that your average citizen is tired of paying nearly $3 a gallon for gas, myself included. I think about how much more money I would have if I were paying $1.50 to $2.00 a gallon less to fill the tank of my horrificly fuel-inefficient Chevy Blazer. I also tell myself that if gas prices drop shortly after Bush leaves office, I really won't be able to argue that he's "in bed" with Big Oil...then I try and think up a tired Clinton joke to follow that thought.

I don't think he is, first of all. Even if he was, the oil companies in this country don't control the price of a barrel of oil, they control the price of the end product. Overall consumption, rather, is the primary reason for the rise in oil company profits. The rise in large engine vehicles, like my Blazer (which I'm hoping to get rid of when I pay it off), and the explosion of the Chinese economy have led to this "problem".

If this was all just gouging, ask yourself this - why wouldn't one of the few smaller companies take the initiative to drop the bottom out of their prices, and generate a higher volume of business? The answer is, they can't.

This brings me to the purpose for this post. I've been reading alot lately how the Federal Government should levy a Windfall Tax on "Big Oil", due to its record profits. Some are even arguing that this would somehow lower the price of gas. Personally, I would like to know how causing a company to make less money per unit sold would cause them to lower prices, and not raise them to cover the difference. Lowering prices would only cause the company to make lower profits, likely causing them to shed corporate weight in the form of employees. That, of course, would not be very good for the economy. Combine that with doubting that this would lower prices, and I don't see any way this could possibly help the consumer.

This argument is oddly isolated to the oil industry, because we've enjoyed years of relative easy access to fuel that has now increased in price in almost absurd fashion. Consider this - when perusing the list of America's Most Profitable Companies, you see names like Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Microsoft alongside those evil oil companies.

Are we to punish them for their excesses, too? Companies like Microsoft, IBM, Cisco, and Intel sell products crucial to most businesses day-to day operations. Those businesses then have to find a way to recoup to cost of those products in their end product or service...and also turn a profit to remain solvent. You could argue that IT companies turning record profits does more to effect our cost of living than gas. Those companies, however, don't have to post an adjustable product price in front of their building everyday.

We need to remember that the market will correct itself, as it always does...without the Federal Government's heavy hand. Auto makers are ramping up efforts to market and sell alternative fuel cars, and we are starting to think twice about buying the next Ford Expedition. It may suck right now, but in the long run, our economy, and environment, will be the better for it.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Ramble On

You knew it was going to happen eventually. I have nothing specific to blog about.

Now I see why people blog on specific subjects like sports, music, or politics. It's so much easier to have someone give you material to write about. I always kind of wanted to make this more about me, and not about just one aspect of me...thus, the title "A Trivial Pursuit". You know, you have to know more than just sports to win at that game. Although, it certainly helps me.

I could write just about music, but I don't necessarily attend enough concerts, listen to enough new CD's, or have enough knowledge of the industry to make it sound more than the rantings of some denizen.

I could write just about politics, but it's just such a pain in the ass. You have to have 50 citations, stories, and theories to make anything stick with the opposition. To me, politics isn't about that. It's more about what sounds right to you, and works in practice...which we all know is fiscal conservatism, and social moderation. Wait, we don't? Well, I'll make sure to do my footnotes on that stuff later. Maybe that's why I don't like blogging on politics. It reminds me too much of writing a research paper - usually the day before it's due. I just remembered internal documentation,. Yeech.

Of course, I can come off as a serviceable sports writer. But as you all know, I haven't played competitive sports since the 8th Grade, and I wasn't any good even then. The only sport I was ever decent at was soccer, and I quit playing that when I was 9. Maybe I wasn't even good at that, I just thought I was.

I read other sports blogs, too, and they make me feel like I couldn't possibly be as thorough (or as single-mindedly obsessed) as these guys. I'll just leave it to the pros at Deadspin. That's the kind of blog I would want if I were in the sports blog world.

And I wouldn't even dare blog about dating...I've decided I can't figure women out at all. I think women have a much more varying list of what they think is hot than men do. Not just "I like blondes", or "I think Asian women are beautiful", but they seem to have affinities for general male characteristics. I've actually learned that there is a group of women out there (and I guess it isn't a small one, after all) who think bald/ing men are sexy. I have to be thankful for that. The one that really weirded me out though, was when these 2 girls from my church told me they thought Masters champion Phil Mickelson was hot. If you couldn't pick him out of a crowd, here he is:

Note the moobs and the beer belly...which is actually the one feature one of the girls (who's in pretty good shape) said she found very sexy. A beer gut? What the hell am I going to gym for? I am sure it doesn't hurt that he's the 2nd best golfer in the world right now behind Tiger.

I think the thing that bothers me the most about these revelations is the fact that I associate both baldness and beer guts with old men. I can't help but think there is some sort of Electra Complex thing going on here. It would be like guys being all over crows feet and stretchmarks. Again, though, the baldness thing...good for Eric, and Ed Harris.

Who knows? I might be a better blogger if I actually had a computer at my apartment. I spend so much time in front of one at work though, I feel it would just be masochistic to do so right now. So, I must write my blogs in stealthy fashion, hoping not to get busted by my superiors. They already think I'm trying online dating because I have a MySpace page, so I'd rather not give them more ammunition.

One thing writing this blog has done for me is help enhance my love for the website's Wikipedia, and YouTube. I just discovered how to embed videos from the latter on here, so I'll leave you with one of my favorites.

I don't care if you don't like soccer - Thierry Henry is amazing.

Stay tuned for something substantive!

Friday, April 07, 2006

John Rocker, Metrosexual

Out having a few beers with my co-workers last Friday, I had one of the more random Atlanta celebrity sighting's in recent memory. John Rocker. The only one that tops him is seeing Kordell Stewart in the Disco Kroger parking lot.

Kordell Stewart hanging out in Atlanta, by the way, is not going to do alot to assuage the persistent rumors that he's gay. Right, the hip hop scene. Sure, Kordell.

Back to Rocker. I won't lie, back in the day, I loved this guy. He was the loud mouth redneck that many Atlanta fans have been longing for. Seriously, we've never really had that guy who was unequivocally loved by his own fans, and hated by every one else. Not only that - as a closer, all the dude did was strike people out. The only game-ender as good as a walk-off homerun is a flamethrowing closer doing his thing. Add the twitchy insanity of Rocker, and it made Braves games of 1999-2001 a blast.

I even cut the guy a break after the infamous Sports Illustrated article, which caused him to be permanently labelled an intolerant racist. I always felt that he said things alot of people think, and if a New York player had said it, it would have been okay. Again, though, the national sports media felt it necessary to show their indignance for this backward Southern boy because he went after their Mecca, New York City.

It always seems to be neglected that his best friends on the Braves were Bruce Chen, a Panamanian Asian, and Andruw Jones, a Curacaoan of African decent.

Of course, this article seemed to spell the downfall for Rocker. After the subsequent suspension by Major League Baseball, he never seemed to have the same edge as before. In the mental game of being a closer, he had finally psyched himself out.

This article also seemed to make it a requirement to include this sentence in any story about John Rocker:

"Rocker, who gained infamy for his insensitve comments towards gays, foreigners, and African-Americans in a 1999 Sports Illustrated article..."

After many failed attempts to revive his lagging career, he's now retired from baseball. Even worse, he's become this guy:

What the Hell? Where's the camouflage hat with a fish-hook in it? Where are the Carhartt pants? I couldn't believe it. The guy looked like he had just come from a beauty salon, and his cashmire sweater was showing enough man-cleavage to make even Fabio cringe! What a douchebag. His outfit was beginning to make me wonder if I should be more concerned about him than about Kordell.

I have to feel for the guy, though, and for many of the Good Ol' Boys who find themselves in Atlanta. Deep down inside, he probably wants to stay true to his Macon roots...but he also wants to hook up with the high-maintenance Buckhead hotties who think the woman from Sex And The City are just like their group of friends! His cash probably helps - but unfortunately, you've also got to Metro it up a bit if you want to go for the kill shot.

While we are on the subject of these types of girls, I have one thing I have to say. A real martini is olives, vermouth, and either gin or vodka! Just because it comes in a martini glass doesn't make it a martini! They can serve Manhattan's in those, too, but you don't here anyone calling it a Manhattan-tini! Man, I hate what that stupid show has done to the women of America.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

It's about time

Some of you may be thinking that about my blog, but I am writing this about Dominique Wilkins.

If you remember, in one of my earlier blogs, I came out as a Hawks fan. I was a Hawks fan before I was a Braves fan, which seems strange to people nowadays. 'Nique was one of the biggest reasons for that. After Hank Aaron, he was the first real sports superstar to arrive in Atlanta (sorry, Dale Murphy). If you want to see what made him so exciting, watch the video I dug up:

Of course, this video seems to illustrate the biggest stereotype about #21, that all he could do was dunk. Kind of hard to believe he averaged 24 points a game in his career, isn't it? Those 7' NBA centers must have been clueless on how to defend dunks in the 1980's.

Anyway, some of my friends know one of the quickest ways to get me riled up is to start ripping Dominique. I personally feel he is one of the most unnecessarily put upon players in recent NBA history. Roundly criticized for being selfish, never winning an NBA title, or the aforementioned proclivity for the dunk, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame on his 2nd try last week. I am very happy he's there, but it's still 1 year too late. He deserved the honor of being a first ballot Hall of Famer.

The biggest problem for Wilkins is that he's too often compared to players like Jordan, Bird, and Magic. "He didn't make his teammates better like those guys," people will say, citing the lack of championship banners in Philips Arena. They seem to forget that each of those 3 players had at least one future Hall of Fame teammate, playing in his prime, during their championship runs - usually two. 'Nique was only briefly graced with an aging Moses Malone, and a cast of role players to try and bring home a title.

Considering that the Hawks often went toe-to-toe with the Celtics, Pistons, and Bulls in the 80's and 90's, I think it's fair to say that Wilkins did make his mediocre teammates better. You take him away, and the Hawks would have been as bad as they are now. He was considered one of the best players of his era, which was unquestionably the NBA's Golden Era.

He had his best chance to reach the NBA Finals in 1994. Unfortunately, as I've referenced before, he was denied that chance by one of the worst trades in NBA history.

I hope with this induction, he'll get a little more credit for what he accomplished. I doubt it though, because it wouldn't fit into the national media's decided bias against the Atlanta's professional teams. If you watch sports as much as I do, you can see it. Any chance to take a shot at our fans, our franchises, or our overzealousness for college football, is gobbled up like the free pressroom buffet at the Georgia Dome. Seriously, sportswriters all seem to be morbidly obese for some reason. It has to be the buffets.

I'm sure most of my female readers (which seems to be most of my readers for some reason) have already navigated away, so I'll leave you with this - A statistical comparison between 'Nique, and 2 players I consider of similar quality, Clyde Drexler and Isiah Thomas:

Games: 1,074
PTS: 26,668
PPG: 24.8
RPG: 6.7
APG: 2.5
FG% .461
FT% .811
STL: 1,378

Games: 979
PTS: 18,822
PPG: 19.2
APG: 9.3
RPG: 3.6
STL: 1,861
FG%: .452
FT%: .759

Games: 1086
Pts: 22195
PPG: 20.4
APG: 5.6
STL: 2207
FG%: .472
FT%: .788

Not a huge difference, aside from the other two players being blessed with better supporting casts that allowed them both to win 2 NBA titles. Yet, you never hear either of these players criticized or dismissed as widely as Dominique. Why is that? I'll let you figure that out for yourself.

Incidentally, both Drexler and Thomas made the NBA's 50 Greatest Players team, and Dominique did not. He was even passed over in favor of 2nd Fiddles like Kevin McHale, James Worthy, and Scottie Pippen, as well as NBA disappointment, Bill Walton. It's one of the most disgusting exclusions in the history of arbitrary, self-congratulatory sports lists. Yeah, I get mad about those things...but you probably get pissed off about The OC.

For now, I just have to congratulate "The Human Highlight Film" for this achievement. It is well deserved.

Now, if we could only get Murph into Cooperstown, I wouldn't be so bitter anymore.