Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Because No One Asked For It: NFL Pro Bowl Picks

The NFL announced the Pro Bowl squads tonight, so I thought I'd share the picks from my last online ballot submitted (which I recorded to send into the ESPN Football Today podcast when they requested listener e-mails on the subject). Keep in mind, this was submitted about 2 weeks ago.

AFC QBs: Peyton Manning, Matt Schaub & Philip Rivers
NFC QBs: Aaron Rodgers (A-Rodg), Brett Favre & Drew Brees

AFC RBs: Cedric Benson, Chris Johnson & Ray Rice (though I think Rice would give CJ a run for his money if used properly (i.e. not McGahee-vultured))
Also, I know I'm a NY Jets fan , but Thomas Jones largely benefits from his blocking and is not nearly the all-around back that Rice & Johnson are.

NFC RBs: DeAngelo Williams, Adrian Peterson & Frank Gore (tough to find a back that really makes a case for being a dominant, consensus #1)

AFC WRs: Andre Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Reggie Wayne & Vincent Jackson (if I weren't a Jets fan, Wes Walker would have gotten it instead of Wayne, btw)
NFC WRs: DeSean Jackson, Larry Fitzgerald, Sidney Rice & Marques Colston (much like the NFC RBs, this is a middling field; Fitz & Colston are better WRs in all around skill, but DeSean has clearly outshone them this season)

AFC TEs: Heath Miller & Antonio Gates (btw: Chris Baker is on the ballot for the Pats; so criminal that it makes me want to just go over league rosters to make sure I'm not missing clearly more deserving players at other positions. Oh...and to be fair: Dustin Keller quits/alligator-arms more often than Randy Moss)
NFC TEs: Vernon Davis & Brent Celek

AFC Cs: Kevin Mawae & Nick Mangold
NFC Cs: John Sullivan & Jonathan Goodwin (more for their teams record (Vikings & Saints, respectively) than observed production)

AFC Ts: Joe Thomas, Michael Roos & Ryan Clady
NFC Ts: Joe Staley, Jermon Bushrod & Bryant McKinnie

AFC Gs: Alan Faneca, Vincent Manuwai, Eugene Amano
NFC Gs: Chris Snee, Steve Hutchison & Rich Incognito (Incognito just because I want to see a personal foul in the Pro Bowl)

AFC FBs: Le'Ron McClain (out of respect for his having begrudgingly accepted the role when he could start at RB on so many teams)
NFC FBs: Leonard Weaver

AFC SSs: Dawan Landry
NFC SSs: Adrian Wilson

AFC CBs: DARRELLE FREAKING REVIS, Nnamdi & Johnathan Joseph
AFC CBs: Charles Woodson, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie & Jabari Greer

AFC DEs: Robert Mathis, Richard Seymour & Mario Williams
NFC DEs: Jared Allen, Justin Tuck & Julius Peppers

AFC DTs: None. No one jumps out and Kris Jenkins was removed from the ballot due to injury.
NFC DTs: Sedrick Ellis, Pat Williams & Kevin Williams

AFC FSs: Jairus Byrd (breaking my unwritten rule of avoiding opposition players, but can't vote Rhodes based on how good I know he is instead of how he has played)
NFC FSs: Antrel Rolle

AFC ILBs: Bart Scott & David Harris
NFC ILBs: Jonathan Vilma & Patrick Willis

AFC OLBs: Elvis Dumervil, Terrell Suggs & LaMarr Woodley
NFC OLBs: DeMarcus Ware, Clay Matthews & Brian Orakpo

AFC KRs: Joshua Cribbs
NFC KRs: Percy Harvin

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Wow...CBR Mods Are Scary

I waded into the thread CBR had in its forums for their article about the Blackest Night #6 leak after I posted my blog that questioned whether the author of the article inadvertently revealed that he regularly reads scanned comic books downloaded via torrent.

The whole thread was nuked when, at last check, there was only a discussion about the following:

  • how it was questionable that they banned the member who originally posted some of the leaked images from BN #6
  • accusations that DC purposely leaked or put BN #6 in position to be linked to reap the coverage it would get
  • general discussion of the potential sales benefits of illegal downloads (not my position)
  • the future of street-dating for comic books
  • my question regarding whether the writer reads illegal downloads regularly.

To clarify: they nuked all user-contributed posts to the thread and then closed it. As of right now, there is still proof that a thread existed, albeit one that was closed days after creation without a single post.

Nothing posted today seems to be cached. But pages one, two (including where a member indicates the "lower quality" comment was off the mark), three, four and five are largely cached. Won't last for long, but it is proof that they destroyed a whole thread on a controversial topic generated by their own article.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Jim Caldwell Is No Herm Edwards

Well, there goes that undefeated season. Funny thing is: there were a few comments before the game that seem to be contrary to the decisions the coach actually made during it.

Rachel Nichols had some interesting quotes from the coach and the QB. The links go to the original twitter posts that I grabbed them from.

From Jim Caldwell:

And yes, best outcome for Colts is to pile up a big lead early so he can just sit. Coach Caldwell says decision to be made "in flow of game"

In the flow of the game? I don't think pulling him in the middle of a competitive game with the outcome still completely in question is really a decision made in the flow of the game.

From Peyton Manning:

Clarifying Peyton's comments: I asked if he'd play thru 4th Q if outcome in doubt, his exact words:“I would certainly imagine so"

And, if it was in the flow of the game, I don't think he adequately prepared Peyton for it.

Manning also made it clear that if he gets tap on shoulder to sit, he will. He was too tactful to mention other QBs who might not.

But if you watched this game, Peyton looked either ready to cry or to punch his coach in the mouth. So I think it is pretty clear that the coach didn't prepare his best player for the scenarios he'd be removed from the game under. It seems obvious that there was more of a selected time for pulling players than a "in the flow of the game". Manning and others were pulled at about the most inconvenient time possible, so the only way "flow" mattered is if Caldwell had hoped to pull them even sooner if they were blowing out the Jets.

There was certainly no effort made to "play to win the game".

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Why Geoff Isn't Publicly Fuming About BN6 Leak

You see, he can't control it. While he might be a bit mad about it, lashing out over it would make him seem just a bit too much like Superboy-Prime.

Which brings me to something that really bugs me. I'm not a fan of the overly angry fanboy, but the statement he makes about getting mad over something you can't control, even something you love, rings false in this example.

In the end, the angry fanboy is the consumer and a passionate one at that. The consumer will have control over DC Comics product long after Geoff's candle burns out. The amount of pull Johns has gotten at DC Comics owes more to number of fans buying the product than the quality of the work.

I'm a big fan of a lot of his work, but STARS & STRIPE went the way of the do-do, I'd imagine, more due to the lack of fans purchasing it than the skill he demonstrated on the book. There are, also, many times where issues or arcs of his books sold very well even when the finished product didn't read like he put forth his best effort.

It is all well and good if he wants to tell himself that the segment of the customer base that is most disgruntled with his work just has some control issues they need to get a handle on. But when he crafts an entire issue of a comic book around it and has the consumer pay $3.99 to read it, there would seem to be a bit of pride and arrogance on display.

In this day and age where more of the readers are migrating to downloading illegal bittorrents of the books that they feel addicted to reading but aren't so happy with that they feel guilty for stealing it, you might not want to poke some of them with a stick.

With how small the group still buying comics seems to be getting, I wonder whether a H.E.A.T.-level motivated group of readers unhappy with the direction Geoff Johns is taking the DCU would be able to put a big enough dent in the sales numbers of his books by encouraging folks to download and not buy his work? I doubt we'll ever find out, but I am definitely curious.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Blackest Night #6 Leaked

Update: From the comments in the thread on CBR about the article, it would appear less likely that the mention of the scan being "lower quality" was pulled from popular opinion of other readers of the illegally available comic book. Given that CBR banned a member who posted a few images from the book, it seems more and more likely that the comment may have been made to discourage others from seeking it out.

Original Post:

OK, we all knew that Blackest Night #6 would not successfully be embargoed when there are no proper checks and balances in place to keep it from getting out. There are no carrots and no sticks; any retailer who sells a few copies early to their best customers will likely be found out. Probably the only DM retailers that wind up following it are just the online variety (and even then, I don't think there are any that are STRICTLY online, so just the online segments of full service retailers).

But one of the things I found odd is the following in an article on CBR about the leak, specifically discussing the scanned book offered via torrents:

The scan itself was of lower quality than is typical of the pirated books, indicating that it was scanned, compiled and distributed in a bigger rush than usual.

The above quote was not placed in any context as being based on comments culled from the sites offering the torrent, but put forth as a statement of fact or judgment by the author of the column, Kiel Phegley.

If that statement is completely genuine, it suggests that a regular contributor to one of the top two sites covering comic books downloads and reads torrents on such a regular basis as to be able to compare and contrast scan qualities enough to make that assertion.

If that statement just isn't in its proper context (it WAS, in fact, made based on the opinions of others, not the author), then it runs the risk of people drawing the incorrect conclusion that Phegley is a connoisseur of scanned comics.

The third less likely option is that the statement is being made regardless of the real quality of the scan, only being there to serve as a slight attempt to dissuade readers from seeking it out.

I'd be curious to know which, if any, is true.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Tiger Woods CGI Reenactment

I'm all for celebrities having the privacy they desire. But seeing how whatever went on between Tiger and his wife destroyed public property and could have put other lives in danger if it didn't happen in the wee hours of the night, any claims by Woods of making this purely a family issue just ring hollow. The FHP backing off is an example of unfairly applying the law, whether it is because of the fame of the suspect/victim or the gender of those involved.

That's part of why I had no problem clicking on this YouTube video and having a bit of a laugh, despite not being able to understand a non-English word.

Great: Now I Might Have To Abandon Amazon

Amazon is being sued over labor practices. Thing is: this is something basically every company I've ever worked for has done/gotten away with. Well, at least every non-union job I've had (which is all but one).

So many employers more or less require you to be in before your shift starts. If you clock in right on time, you're effectively judged as being late. While law prevents employers in most states for penalizing you for being just on time or less than five minutes late, it is well known that you are expected to be at your station (desk, fry-o-lator, what have you) and working several minutes before the start of your shift.

Similarly, there is an expectation that you'll stay a few minutes past your shift to wrap things up. There's normally a culture that discourages employees from trying to claim their rightful quarter of an hour, even if the time ahead of shift and after shift add up to a full 15 minutes, let alone just fall into the amount that should be rounded up to the nearest quarter hour.

There's always been this imperfect balance between the worker and the employer. To a certain extent, failure to pay for all those extra minutes here and there seems reasonable, as settling little disputes over this amount of time would cause lost man hours and tons of frustration. But, at the same time, these employers are legally obligated to pay for the time and exert a silent coercion against their workers, with most employees having the feeling that haggling over a few hours of pay a year isn't worth killing their chances at advancement or a merit raise.

In all seriousness, my patronage of Amazon won't be effected. If they lose this case, they won't be the only company in America having to change how they handle this sort of payroll issue. You'll, also, have no end of fiscal conservative railing against the decision as the death knell of American business, especially the small variety.