Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Modern Family Review: "Yard Sale"


Again a perfect episode from Modern Family. The episode
revolved around the family's yard sale, the main story centered
around if Alex's boyfriend was gay, he obviously is, but that
doesn't stop Alex from believing different.

The other side stories were, Phil being scared of motorcycles
but wanting to prove he was a man, Mitch wanting to keep
the jeans and Gloria's puppet.

I really loved the Alex story, it's a hard write to write a
story line involving  a14 year old girl, you can either get
too cheesy like Disney programmes or too dramatic
like a movie of the week, it helps that the actress that
plays her, Ariel Winter is only 14 in real life.

The one liners were coming thick and fast, some of
the best Modern family has ever written, they were.

Even I think its nerdy and im fluent in elvish (Alex)

I'm ready to plurge and thats not how i lost weight (Cam)

I'm terrified of motorcycles but sometimes you have to
do things to show your still a man (Phil)

I'm not nervous Ive had bigger hogs than this between my legs. (Phil)

Can you talk to her (Claire)

Not when she is like this, oh you mean alex? (Cam)

You didnt need to bring in ya big gay guns to back it up, no offense. (Alex)

I kinda like it (Cam)

What's your return policy (person at yard sale)

You return I call the police (Jay)

Again 10/10 for the funniest show on tv.

Op-Ed in the WSJ

I have an op-ed in tomorrow's WSJ, just put online.  Here is an excerpt:
[W]ith respect to disasters we really do make our own luck. The relatively low number of casualties caused by Sandy is a testament to the success story that is the U.S. National Weather Service and parallel efforts of those who emphasize preparedness and emergency response in the public and private sectors. Everyone in the disaster-management community deserves thanks; the mitigation of the impacts from natural disasters has been a true national success story of the past century.

But continued success isn't guaranteed. The bungled response and tragic consequences associated with Hurricane Katrina tell us what can happen when we let our guard down.

And there are indications that we are setting the stage for making future disasters worse. For instance, a U.S. polar-satellite program crucial to weather forecasting has been described by the administrator of the federal agency that oversees it—the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—as a "dysfunctional program that had become a national embarrassment due to chronic management problems." The lack of effective presidential and congressional oversight of this program over more than a decade can be blamed on both Republicans and Democrats. The program's mishandling may mean a gap in satellite coverage and a possible degradation in forecasts.
The op-ed is not about climate change, though I do mention the topic in 2 paragraphs near the end. I am sure the "climate change people" (Thanks Candy!) will want to make it all about that subject.

More importantly is the success story that is the NWS and emergency management in the US, and the scary thought that
In the proper context, Sandy is less an example of how bad things can get than a reminder that they could be much worse.
There is therefore reason to believe we are living in an extended period of relatively good fortune with respect to disasters.

Comments and questions welcomed.

How Much Sea Level Rise Would be Avoided by Aggressive CO2 Reductions?

UPDATE 11/25: Here is another recent paper, by Schaeffer et al. in Nature Climate Change (PDF), with conclusions along the lines of the others summarized here: "mitigation measures, even an abrupt switch to zero emissions, have practically no effect on sea level over the coming 50 years and only a moderate effect on sea level by 2100."

UPDATE 11/2: At the Washington Post @bradplumer follows up this post with his own, providing a nice summary of the issue. He concludes: "aggressive steps to cut emissions could reduce the amount of sea-level rise by somewhere between 6 and 20 inches in 2100, compared with our current trajectory" -- which is just about exactly where I came out in the dicussions with him and several others (thanks JG), 10 inches +/- 10 inches.

UPDATE: Via Twitter @bradplumer points me to a newer paper that suggests perhaps 7 inches is the difference in seal  level rise to 2100 between the highest and lowest RCP scenarios. It is not apples to apples with the number presented below, but still a very small number. And another paper here, with perhaps 10 inches between RCP scenarios, a number lower than the projection uncertainties.

One of the more reasonable discussion points to emerge from efforts to link Hurricane Sandy to the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions focuses on the role that future sea level rise will have on making storm impacts worse. Logically, it would seem that if we can "halt the rise of the seas" then this would reduce future impacts from extreme events like Sandy.

The science of sea level rise, however, tells us that to 2100 (at least) our ability to halt he rise of the seas is extremely limited, even under an (unrealistically) aggressive scenario of emissions reduction. Several years ago, in a GRL paper titled "How much climate change can be avoided by mitigation?" Warren Washington and colleagues asked how much impact aggressive mitigation would have on the climate system. Specifically, they looked at a set of climate model runs assuming stabilization of carbon dioxide at 450 ppm.

Here is what they concluded for sea level rise:
[A]bout 8 cm of the sea level rise that would otherwise occur without mitigation would be averted. However, by the end of the century the sea level rise continues to increase and does not stabilize in both scenarios due to climate change commitment involving the thermal inertia of the oceans ...
Eight cm is about three inches. Three inches. Then sea level rise continues for centuries.

Though it seems logical to call for emissions reductions as a way to arrest sea level rise to reduce the impacts of hurricanes, recent research suggests that our ability to halt the rise of the seas is extremely limited. With respect to hurricanes, we have little option but to adapt, and improved adaptation makes good sense.

Efforts to use future hurricane damages to justify emissions reductions just don't make much sense. Fortunately, there are far better reasons to focus on emissions reductions than hurricanes.

Postscript: This post was inspired by Michael Levi's discussion here. Thanks!



It used to be "GU", a small packet of icing like sugar, was the only choice for a glucose energy boost during long training runs, rides and races. But as more recreational and professional athletes now participate in triathlons, half and full marathons, the industry and brands have evolved. There are now so many different options, all resembling and tasting like your kids favorite candy. You have Jelly Belly Sport Beans; Gu Chomps, Honey Stinger and Power Bar Energy Blast gum drops; Clif Shot Bloks and protein Roks. Besides the glucose, the "candies" are also packed with electrolytes and caffeine, so please keep away from the children! Happy Halloween and Marathon to all you NYC runners! 


It's Official: McCann is a "Top NBA Mind"

Finally, sports lawyers are getting their due. A few months ago I declared 2012 the "Summer of Sports Law."  With no end to the NHL lockout in sight, the O'Bannon v NCAA case growing steam and national attention, and the power of Roger Goodell being litigated on a daily basis, the demand for insight from sports lawyers is growing—although for some reason our pay isn’t.

Anyways, The Sporting Charts ( just posted a list of the Top 50 NBA Minds to Follow on Twitter here.  Not surprisingly, our own Michael McCann (@McCannSportsLaw) was listed.  Join me in congratulating Mike on continuing to help grow this important field—and if you don’t follow him on Twitter, consider this your wake-up-call.

[Of course since my account (shameless plug @WarrenKZola) was noticeably absent I’m sure there some sort of accounting error for which I'll definitely sue.]  Seriously...congrats Mike!

Random Card Of The Day: Marco Scutaro 2002 Upper Deck SP Authentic Prospect Signatures

2002 UD SP Prospects Marco Scutaro Autograph RC #P-MS 2012 NLCS MVP Giants 

I forgot to say congrats to the San Fran Giants on a great season run and a World Series Championship. I finally had to dig for this card. Can't believe it went from $5 to over $50 in one NLCS series. This is exactly why I don't ever sell or trade cards...little gems like this!

Two Updates on the Sports Gambling Front

The past several weeks have saw a number of developments on the sports gambling front.  First, the federal lawsuit filed by the NCAA and the four major North American team sports leagues (NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL) challenging New Jersey's move towards regulated sports betting continues to move forward.  The most recent news involves depositions being scheduled for the league commissioners and the NCAA president.  For more background on the legal and corruption aspects of sports gambling, here is a link to a paper Tassos Kaburakis and I co-authored that was recently accepted for publication in the Journal of Legal Aspect of Sport.  Also, for a comprehensive history of gambling-related federal legislation since 2000, we wrote a piece that was just published in Gambling Law Review and Economics.

Second, authorities in New York and Nevada (working in concert with the FBI, it appears) made a number of arrests earlier this week in connection with an 18 month illegal sports gambling investigation.  The DA's press release alludes to several offshore sports books.  A recent Las Vegas Review-Journal article provides more detail on the sting operation.  For a copy of the full 259 page indictment, click here.

Win Trent Richardson and Michael Floyd Player Of The Day Cards!


Yes..this is an NFL contest..but we wanted to do it with a twist. With the NBA season opening last night and the fact we wanted to celebrate Panini's exclusive deal with the NBA to make basketball cards we wanted you to pick the winners of this NBA game:

Denver @ Philadelphia

Everyone who picks the game right will be entered in a random draw.Feel free to share this contest with friends and family. The more entries..the more fun.

Entries due by Tip Off!

Winner will be announced Monday along with the other daily winners. Thanks for playing!!

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To: a 1946 Griffon & Howle Rando-Broom

Griffon & Howl Rando Broom
Well, dear readers, it's that time of the year again: the Somerville-Salem 30K. Every Halloween, 13 metaphysically gifted women (we do not use the "w" word anymore) from the Greater Boston area are invited to participate in this historic paceline-style flight from Prospect Hill Tower in Somerville, MA to the Olde Burying Point Cemetery in Salem to conduct the annual New England Air Transportation Alternatives (NEATA) meeting. Invitations are sent just days before the event, and no one knows how the selection process works. Imagine what an honor it was to be invited! With mere days to prepare, I rushed about seeking a suitable flying broom. My own broom, I am ashamed to admit, was woefully inadequate: cheap flimsy plastic thing with nylon bristles, and no accessories to speak of. While sufficient for a quick flight around the block once in a blue moon, it was not the right broom for the Somerville-Salem 30K. I asked around, but no one had anything suitable to lend. Custom broom-makers had year-long wait lists. Finally, I heard from a friend deep in the woods of Virginia (you might know him from the comments here as Spindizzy): He had something for me and would mail it straight away.

Griffon & Howl Touring Broom
When I received and opened the package, I could hardly believe my eyes: an original 1946 Griffon & Howle randonneuring broom. Spindizzy had just finished restoring it for a customer, to whose mother - a Ms. Yeumadeen Platchen - the broom had originally belonged. When the customer heard that I had been invited to the Somerville-Salem 30K she offered to loan it out for the flight. What luck! You see, Griffon & Howle were the constructeurs of flying brooms, back in the days when fine craftsmanship and attention to detail truly mattered. They used only the finest wooden tubing, the lightest metal fittings, the softest, most aerodynamic bristles. But more importantly, they fabricated all components and accessories in a manner that truly integrated with the broom itself. To hold a Griffon & Howle is to hold a masterpiece. To fly a Griffon & Howle is a privilege that few experience.

Griffon & Howl Touring Broom
The Griffon & Howle's bristles are organic handbound straw, sourced from the Balkans. Importantly, the rear rack is welded onto the base of the broom, rather than attached via p-clamps or braze-ons. Not only does this provide considerable weight savings, but it is more durable, stable, aerodynamic and elegant. This rack will not shake loose mid-flight. And it looks like it belongs on the broom; it is not an afterthought. 

Griffon & Howl Touring Broom
The main part of the handle is constructed out of standard diameter, thin wall wooden tubing, which has been scientifically proven to provide just the right amount of flex for a responsive in-flight feel. The hand-crafted aluminum potion bottle-holder was painstakingly designed to minimise vibrations. Naturally, the potion bottle itself had to be custom made out of military-grade resistanium, as the potion tends to burn through metal and plastic commercially-available bidons

Griffon & Howl Touring Broom
The cork stopper and shellacked twine complete the look.

Griffon & Howl Touring Broom
Unlike today's flashy custom builders, the constructeurs abstained from affixing heavy metal badges onto their brooms. Instead, they simply carved their initials and the broom's serial number into the tip of the handle directly underneath the bell.

Griffon & Howl Touring Broom
And while the brass bell may look ordinary enough to the untrained eye, each one was handmade to emit a ring of a signature frequency. The art of this technique has unfortunately been all but lost. 

Griffon & Howl Touring Broom
The grip area of the handle is wrapped in twine, woven out of the rarest, most durable silken fibres available. While it is popular today to wrap broom handles in cork tape, this really developed as a result of the rarity of the silken fibres, as well as poor fit. Ideally, the gripping area should be firm to the touch, yet not so firm as to cause callouses. Notice the pinky hook at the bottom of the gripping area, designed to keep the hands in place.

Griffon & Howl Touring Broom
The quick release feature makes the broom suitable for travel and transportation in ordinary-sized packages and suitcases - an invaluable feature in today's high security travel climate. Note that, unfortunately, the skewer is a modern replica replacement. The original fitting was damaged when an attempt to steal this broom was made at a rest stop during the 1954 Liege-Sofia-Liege brevet. 

Griffon & Howl Touring Broom
With a twist of the quick-release lever, the broom quickly disassembles. Mounted to the inside of the upper section is a Dragon's kydneystone, the purpose of which I am not at liberty to describe here - though some readers will know. The star-shaped cutout on the lower section is a Griffon & Howle identifier. 

Holding the broom in my hands, the first thing I noticed was how well-balanced it was. Despite the welded rear rack of considerable size, it was not bottom-heavy but balanced in the center. The technique of the old masters was impeccable. The broom was also remarkably light - more so than the modern plastic and nylon creations so many misguidedly use today.

Griffon & Howl Touring Broom
Having examined the broom extensively and marveled at its craftsmanship, it was time to commence my training for the 30k. With only three days left before the event, my plan was to complete a brief 5k flight around Somerville that evening, followed by a more challenging 10k around Boston the following day. After that I would rest before the Somerville-Salem 30K. As I prepared for my training flight, the first step was, naturally, to find a dark corner of the forest, assume the Chant Position, partake of the potion with which my bottle was filled, and utter the relevant Spell. I was amazed at how intuitive this part of the process was with the Griffon & Howle. The broom triangulated with the forest floor perfectly, allowing the Spirits to enter it just so. While my plastic broom required over an hour of chanting to be adequately prepped, the Griffon & Howle took a mere 2 minutes.  

Griffon & Howl Touring Broom
Next, I gently stepped over the broom whilst holding the gripping area and utilising the pinkie hook, and aimed my gaze at the skies, toward the Secret Constellation. Not having done Kundalini Yoga for Broom Flight in some time, my postures were rusty and I was worried that my skills had deteriorated. However, less than a minute into holding the posture I felt the broom begin to levitate. It was working already. 

Griffon & Howl Touring Broom
A well-balanced broom straightens itself out as it levitates, so that eventually it floats parallel to the forest floor. It is then up to the operator to control the angle. There is debate as to which angle is ideal to start with at take-off and maintain during flight, but in the era of Griffon & Howle brooms it was generally believed that a low-trail configuration provided the best handling.

Griffon & Howl Touring Broom
As I prepared to take off, one thing I noticed was that the broom had an unusually short handlebase by current standards. Most likely it was made for a more petite flyer than myself. The operator is meant to occupy the space between the rear rack and the potion bottle (in broom flying jargon, this space is referred to as the perch), and on the Griffon & Howle it was barely long enough to contain me. Were I commissioning a similar broom for myself, I would ask for an extra 2cm or so of perch length.

Griffon & Howl Rando Broom
As an aside on proper positioning: In the media today, we are inundated with fake and ridiculous imagery depicting women perching on brooms in ways that are not only inefficient, but downright unsafe for flight. The position shown here is the only correct one for paceline flying (the transportational position is considerably more upright, but requires a broom that balances differently). It is also important to understand that any images you might see that appear to depict metaphysically gifted women engaged in actual broom flight are fake: We are not legally permitted to capture this activity on film or digitally. To ensure that this rule is adhered to, a masking agent is incorporated into the Flying Spell that prevents photo and video equipment from recording the operator in flight. As the broom and operator take off, they remain visible to the human eye of bystanders, but cannot be captured by recording equipment of any kind. And so this is the last image I am able to leave you with prior to take-off. 

I can hardly describe my impressions of the 5k maiden voyage without getting emotional. Put simply, I had not known until now what I had been missing all these years of awkward, uninspired flights on cheap and ill-fitting brooms. The Griffon & Howle soared joyously though the skies. Responsive to my movements, it steered intuitively and soaked up air turbulence effortlessly. My heart skipped a beat, as I felt that this broom truly planed. 

Griffon & Howl Rando Broom
For the 10k training flight the next day (yes, I ventured out during Hurricane Sandy!), I added a pannier and wore a raincoat. The pannier was just the right width for the rear rack and there was no heel strike during take-off. The wonderful feel of the flight remained as I remembered it. The fit and the handling were so perfect that, put simply, the broom "disappeared" beneath me. And this, as Griffon & Howle were famous for opining, is the very definition of a well-made flying broom.

After a day of rest, I feel well prepared for the Somerville-Salem 30k this evening and am very much looking forward to the New England Air Transportation Alternatives (NEATA) meeting. I really can't thank Spindizzy and his customer enough for loaning me the Griffon & Howle and for allowing me to document it here for my readers. While I recognise that this is a bicycle blog and not a broom blog, I can't help but feel there might be some common ground here.

Griffon & Howl Rando Broom
For anyone interested, Spindizzy (aka Jon Gehman) does offer complete broom restoration services, as well as custom bicycle racks and other cool and weird accesssories. The full set of pictures of the original 1946 Griffon & Howle randonneuring broom can be viewed here. Happy Halloween everyone!

Heat win over Celtics opener, 120-107

LeBron James, Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, DWade

Wade scored 29 points, James with 26 points and 10 rebounds he missed much of the second half because of cramps in both legs. The reigning NBA champion Heat beat the Boston Celtics 120-107 on Tuesday night in the season opener for both teams.

For Boston Paul Pierce scored 23 points, Rondo finished with 20 points and 13 assists, and Leandro Barbosa scored 16.

Finally Rondo got his revenged on Wade when wade drove to the basket past Rondo, Rondo grabbed Wade around the neck. Oh sweet revenge for injuring Rondo.


Rajon Rondo Boston

FGM-FGA 9-14
Pts 20
Rebs 7
Assists 13

LeBron James Miami

FGM-FGA 10-16
Pts 26
Rebs 10
Assists 3

Dallas beat loaded Lakers in opener, 99-91

LA Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzky, Steve Nash

Dwight Howard and Steve Nash first regular-season game in Lakers jersey ended in a loss to Dallas Mavericks even without Dirk Nowitzki. Howard had 19 points and 10 rebounds he missed 11 of his 14 free throws and fouled out with 2:02 to play.



Darren Collison 8-12, 17 Pts
2 Rebs, 4 Assists

LA Lakers

Pau Gasol 8-19, 23 Pts
13 Rebs, 6 Assists

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Truth Will Set Cameron Slater Free

Cameron Slater has become the new editor
at the newspaper, "The Truth"

Cameron Slater is the owner of the right
wing blog, "Whale Oil" which is New Zealand's
biggest blog.

He is famous here in New Zealand for naming
famous people who get charged convicted
of various crimes, despite the courts granting name

The truth newspaper was most famous in the
80's for being  a tabloid paper with page three
girls and sleazy ads at the back.

At the moment I would say Cameron Slater's
blog will get more hits than  The Truth's newspaper

Although some people might think this is no big
deal, if Cameron Slater can turn this paper around
and maybe make it like New Zealand's own little
newspaper version of Fox News, it might work.

The media here leans so far to the left, that anyone
on the far left is held in high esteem and dare not be
criticized, this might change all this.

Although I'm centre left myself, I say hats off
to Cameron Slater, who despite being very
right wing, is very much outspoken about gay
rights and a gay person's right to marry.

Who knows what will happen with The Truth,
I think I will wait for the online version, before
I look at the print version.

The Truth's first run with Cameron Slater as
editor is on November 8th.

Here's hoping it will be a good one.

Time will tell.

Does Federal R&D Drive Economic Growth?

Writing in the NYT earlier this week, Neal Lane, former science advisor to President Bill Clinton had this to say:
If our country is to remain strong and prosperous and a land of rewarding jobs, we need to understand this basic investment principle in America’s future: no science, no growth.
Even discounting for hyperbole, does the formula "no science, no growth" make sense? I have a new column up at The Breakthrough Institute on this exact subject, and I argue that such arguments actually make little sense.

Here is how my column begins:
It is a claim that you hear often in discussions of the role of research and development in the economy: “Federal investments in R&D have fueled half of the nation’s economic growth since World War II.” This particular claim appeared in a recent Washington Post op-ed co-authored by a member of the US Congress and the chief executive of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. It would be remarkable if true. Unfortunately, it is not.
To read the rest head over here, and please feel free to come back and tell me what you think.

Handlebell fitness activities journal

Running: 2,5kms
LC 2x20kg: 2x 5reps
LC 2x28kg: 3, 20 (4rpm), 4x 5 reps (5rpm/1min rests)
Drop-/super sets LC 2x28kg: 3 ->LC 2x20kg: 10 = tired
Bench press 80kg: 4x 3reps
Bar hang: 1 min
Running yesterday was nice, it was dark and rainy, but with a lot of clothes it was cozy. It is a lot cooler at the gym now so grip is less of an issue when training there. I still feel like going to some lc competition soon again.

Sandy and the Top 20 Normalized US Hurricane Losses

UPDATE #4 13 Feb 2013: Yesterday the NHC issued its final report on Hurricane Sandy, and includes $50 billion as the total US damages from Sandy, which would place it 7th in the table below.

UPDATE #3 11/24: There is still a lot of uncertainty in Sandy damage estimates. PCS, which tabulates actual insured losses, has released a first estimate of $11 billion in insured losses. This is at the low end of the range, bu is very likely to rise. How far? We'll have to wait for that. Once better numbers are in, I'll do a new post with apples to apples numbers from Sandy to compare to our normalized tabulation.

UPDATE #2 11/1: Moody's has published an estimate of $30 billion in direct total damages due to Sandy. That would place Sandy at #10 all time in the normalization table below.

UPDATE 11/1: EQECAT has published updated estimates of Sandy's losses today, $10-20 billion insured and $30-50B total. Depending on the amount of flood damage include in the total (the NWS hurricane losses separate out flood) the new estimates, if they hold up near the high end of the range, would push Sandy into the top 10 all-time losses in the normalization table below.

Here is a table showing the top 20 hurricane losses 1900 to 2011, normalized to 2012 dollars. In other words, the figures show an estimate of what the losses would be were historical storms to occur in 2012. The numbers come from ICAT based on an extension of Pielke et al. 2008.

Great Miami Sep 18,1926 1 180,220,000,000
Galveston Sep 08,1900 2 105,570,000,000
Galveston Aug 17,1915 3 84,910,000,000
Katrina Aug 29,2005 4 84,620,000,000
Andrew Aug 24,1992 5 64,410,000,000
Storm 11 in 1944 Oct 19,1944 6 53,940,000,000
Donna Sep 10,1960 7 49,810,000,000
New England Sep 21,1938 8 46,840,000,000
Lake Okeechobee Sep 16,1928 9 44,890,000,000
Wilma Oct 24,2005 10 25,960,000,000
Hazel Oct 18,1954 11 24,260,000,000
Diane Aug 19,1955 12 24,110,000,000
Camille Aug 17,1969 13 23,040,000,000
Charley Aug 13,2004 14 20,380,000,000
Ike Sep 13,2008 15 20,370,000,000
Hugo Sep 21,1989 16 20,020,000,000
Carol Aug 31,1954 17 19,290,000,000
Agnes Jun 22,1972 18 19,010,000,000
Ivan Sep 16,2004 19 18,590,000,000
Storm 2 in 1949 Aug 26,1949 20 18,510,000,000

While it will be some time until we have apples to apples estimates from Sandy, the current estimates of $20 billion would place Sandy at #17 all time out of 242 loss-producng storms 1900 to present (in the top 10%). If the damage gets to $30 billion it would crack the top 10 and (top 5%). Right now it seems unlikely that Sandy will climb any higher on the table. (Note that inland flood damage is not included in the tabulations above.)

In historical context, Sandy sits alongside Carol, Diane and Hazel. One big difference however -- Carol, Diane and Hazel hit the US Atlantic coast within a single 13 month period in 1954-1955.  Imagine that. 


I am a big fan of the Peacoat. They're a classic...  always sporty and always chic. Paired with a sweater, scarf or vest for extra warmth, you can't beat these six little jackets to keep you toasty with style. 

Click to shop:

[SOC] Superstorm Sandy, Ev Bogue, Married Life, Atheist Flak, the Mission, Schemers for the Grace of God

I am watching the coverage of the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. It doesn't look good. As someone who went through Hurricane Hugo, I know the misery these people are facing. Storms suck.

The most popular thing on the C-blog right now is this post concerning Everett Bogue. I haven't kept up with Ev for the last year or so since I wrote that post, but he seems to have taken some people for a ride and is semi-homeless with his girlfriend Gwen Bell. I don't know all the details. Then, his mom posts on the blog. Ev seems to be having some kind of meltdown. My part in all of this? I seem to be the only one who keeps a post up about the guy with the comments section turning into a virtual forum for people to bash on the guy.

I don't believe in kicking a man when he is down, so I won't do that with Ev. He is clearly a man in a period of crisis. So, I will say a prayer for him. You should hold out hope for everyone no matter what.

I've been adding a little more detail to the subject line of these SOC posts. It should make them easier to search, and I am tempted to go back and include them on older posts. For those who don't know, these are posts where I write whatever pops into my head at that moment in a stream of consciousness essay. This is why I put the "SOC" tag on them. If I didn't, you would be lead to believe that I have no idea how to structure a real essay with a thesis.

I just saw my wife off to work. People ask me all the time how married life is treating me, and I have to say it is great. But I'm not the one that moved to a new town and a new job. My wife is a saint because she did all of that for me. I don't deserve someone as awesome as that woman, so I am very grateful to the Almighty for putting her in my life and to her. She puts up with a lot to be with me.

Yes, I am a Catholic or at least in the process of conversion. I am in RCIA paying my dues. The atheists on Facebook are not amused by my conversion. But it is OK. There was a time when I would have lashed out at those people, but I find this amazing love for them in my heart. Fulton Sheen used to end his programs with the benediction "God love you." Whenever someone bashes on me, I just say to myself "God love you."

I see that I have a mission in life now. My experience has prepared me in a unique way to reach Protestants, atheists, and lapsed Catholics. The fourth part of my mission in life is to present a Catholic view of politics based on the teachings of the Church. This urge is pressed in my heart over and over again. But I am also cautioned by a saying from my mother-in-law. "You just want to sprinkle them." The alternative is to turn on the firehose and blow them away. This is simply prudence, so my mission is to sprinkle in these areas. Whatever becomes of it will be left to God.

There are three heads on my fountain. The first head is my blog. People have already written to me to tell me that they have found encouragement and inspiration from the C-blog and my conversion. I am not really in my own at the moment because I am very much a student in this new way of living and thinking. Plus, I feel like a real dirtbag because of my past as an atheist. But I have no intention of expunging that past from my record. I lost my faith. But that faith was inferior and damning. I will have more on this when I discuss Catholicism and Calvinism, but I can tell you that heresy has consequences.

The second head is my life in the world. I rub shoulders with many non-Catholics, and I never go out with the intent of proselytizing. That would not be sprinkling. But I get hosed on a regular basis from Protestants, so I have many opportunities to share what I am learning and what I believe when they ask their questions. The part I struggle with the most is being an example because I am a terrible person.

The third head is my new life in the Church and with my wife. I spend hours on the balcony of my apartment talking with Molly about all of these things. And I have found a lot of great people at Our Lady of Perpetual Help especially our priest. This is where the third plank of my mission comes into play. There are a lot of lapsed Catholics. These are people usually raised in Catholicism, but they have grown cold in their faith. This is because they stopped going to Mass. My message to them is to go to Mass. Not really complicated.

I use an analogy or parable of sorts to describe it all. Imagine a thief who plots and schemes to acquire the grace of God. God rewards that schemer. We should learn from the example of that thief. We should love God's grace and mercy so much that we would do anything to receive it. Here is the example of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus's cloak:
And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped.  And Jesus said, “Who is the one who touched Me?” And while they were all denying it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You.” But Jesus said, “Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me.” When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed.  And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” Luke 8:40-48 NASB
That woman stole it from Jesus. And Jesus rewarded her. This is how we all should be. We should be like that woman. Some people try to barter for grace. Others simply beg for it and receive it. But those who scheme to get it are especially blessed because they know they don't deserve it, but they want it all the same and aim to get it.

I don't deserve God's grace. I don't deserve my wife, but I schemed to get her because I valued her where others did not. Similarly, I scheme to get God's grace. I am a scoundrel and a villain, but I know a good thing when I see it. So, I scheme to get the things I want. I want the love of God in my life. I don't care what I have to do to get it. I want it.

The love of God is gratuitous. It abounds and overflows. God loves you so hard that it would obliterate your soul to feel all of it at once. This is why salvation is a process. Purging breaks your heart, but it is the sweetest break you will ever know.

God love you.

Win this Justin Blackmon and Ryan Tannehill

JUSTIN BLACKMON 2012 Panini National Redemption NFL Player of the Day Card #3 RYAN TANNEHILL 2012 Panini National Redemption NFL Player of the Day Card #8 

To win this, just comment below with what your FAVORITE PANINI card and/or product is. We will random everyone! Don't forget some of you have extra entries!

Entries due in by midnight and winner will be announced on Monday

Thoughts with New York

An eerie eerie New York, here's hoping the day
dawns a lot brighter, thoughts with all those on the
east coast of the USA.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Can Stop, Will Stop: Paul Racer Brakes

When I received a Rawland Nordavinden demo bike for review some time ago, it was fitted with Silver Bigmouth sidepull brakes. The Nordavinden model is made without cantilever bosses, intended to be used with either sidepulls or centerpulls. With 650Bx42mm tires that leaves few options for brakes with sufficiently long reach. I have tried the bigmouth sidepulls before on a 650Bx42mm tire bike with upright handlebars and the stopping power was fine. But it proved decidedly less fine on a bike with drop bars and road levers. The braking wasn't terrible, but not as strong as I wanted. So when setting up a Nordavinden with my own components two months later, I decided to go with centerpulls. The choices were: Paul Racer or Dia Compe 750 brakes. The feedback I'd read about the Dia Compes was pretty good, so I bought those, since they are the considerably less expensive option. To my disappointment, the braking power was not much better than it had been with the sidepulls. I rode the Vermont Fall Classic with the Dia Compes, but had to watch my speed on steep descents, particularly once it started to rain. I was now feeling a little dispirited, because there was only one option left. Trying to not get my hopes up, I bit the bullet and bought the Paul Racers several weeks later. To my immense relief, they work. They are expensive. But they are US-made, and, more to the point, they stop my bike.

In fairness, I should note here that I know riders who use Silver Bigmouth sidepulls, Tektro Bigmouth sidepulls, and Dia Compe 750 centerpulls on fat tire roadbikes without issue. However, my grip strength is weak and I have damaged nerves in my hands. Braking power with the combination of road levers and long-reach brakes has been an ongoing problem, including on bikes built for cantis. It is useful to know that Paul brakes are an option that works. The Center Mount version of the Racers does not require special braze-ons and can be used on any bike that accepts sidepull brakes, provided there is enough steerer available for a cable hanger.

Paul Racer brakes can be purchased from the manufacturer directly, or ordered via your local bike shop. The company is based in Chico, California, where they have been making parts since 1989.

Video of Yale Law School Hot Topics in Sports Law Panel

I moderated the Yale Law School panel last week on hot topics in sports law - a video of the panel is available online. Jimmy Golen was one of the distinguished panelists, as were Craig Masback (Nike), Charles Mechem (LPGA), and Nell DeVane (ESPN). We covered a wide-range of topics, including the legality of age limits in sports, viewing college sports as minor leagues, Ed O'Bannon v. NCAA (and the paying of college athletes), whether the NCAA should have punished Penn State, Title IX, morals clauses (including with Lance Armstrong) etc.  Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz, in the audience, had several insightful comments about Penn State and the NCAA. Here's the video -- and thanks to Warren Zola for finding and sharing it:
In the Legal Zone: Hot Topics in Sports Law from Yale Law School on Vimeo.

Coming up on tonight's Monday Night Sports Show - 29th October 2012

We’re here on 98.7FM in Cardiff with award-winning sports chat and debate.

- And coming up on the show we review the weekend’s football including Cardiff’s superb 4-0 demolition of Burnley on Saturday which sees them return to the top of the championship.

- The Premier League rarely fails to disappoint and this weekend’s action saw two sendings off for Chelsea in their 3-2 defeat by Man Utd, a goal-rush at Reading and allegations of racial language against referee Mark Clattenburg.

- Simon Williams rounds up the week’s sport including Sebatian Vettel’s fourth consecutive F1 win, plus his regular ice hockey update.

- Yousef has all the latest from the UFC.

- And of course there’s our Fantasy League Top Ten Countdown!

As always you can...
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Product image for 2010 Playoff Contenders Football Hobby Box

Pick The Winners Of These Games:

Denver @ Cincy
Chicago @ Tenn
Miami @ Indy
Carolina @ Wash
Tampa Bay @ Oakland
Pitt @ NYG
Dallas @ ATL
Philly @ New Orleans





Look for random autos!

Super Bowl Champs set!

With 4-5 cards in lot including at least one rookie



PLEASE also MAKE SURE you click onto the link below to check out the Panini Player Of The Day website! A lot of fun stuff to be found there and WE and Panini will much appreciate it!!

To double check the rules..follow this link:

Winners will be announced on Tuesday November 6th

*Contests are open to U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY! (sorry) 

Top 10 Damaging Hurricanes Within 50 Miles of Sandy's Landfall

From the ICAT Damage Estimator, here is a table showing the damage from the top 10 historical storms which had a track that passed within the NHC forecast "cone" of Hurricane Sandy's current projected track.

New England Sep 21,1938 8  $  46,840,000,000
Diane Aug 19,1955 12  $  24,110,000,000
Carol Aug 31,1954 17  $  19,290,000,000
Agnes Jun 22,1972 18  $  19,010,000,000
Storm 7 in 1944 Sep 14,1944 31  $  10,600,000,000
Bob Aug 19,1991 66  $    3,620,000,000
Edna Sep 11,1954 67  $    3,230,000,000
Gloria Sep 27,1985 76  $    2,530,000,000
Donna Sep 14,1960 117  $        850,000,000

Some notes and caveats:

1. The estimates include hurricane damage as defined by NOAA. Most importantly that does not include inland flood damage that may occur when a storm moves inland (that damage is recorded under flood damage). Several of these storms would have much higher damage if inland flood damage were to be included.

2. So when comparing damage estimates that you may see for Sandy to those here, to compare apples to apples, a rough method will be to take estimated insured losses and multiply by two.

3. These data are based on Pielke et al. 2008, updated by ICAT.

4. As you can see in the map at the top of this post, none of the historical storm tracks make for good analogues for Sandy. All of the top 10 were category 3s at landfall except Bob (2), Agnes (1) and Diane (TS). And all were in Aug or Sept except Agnes (June).

5. Large, damaging storms are not unprecedented in the second half of October, with Storm 11 (1944, ~$54 billion), Wilma (2005, $26 billion) and Hazel (1954, $24 billion).

Symposium: The Impact of Concussion Lawsuits on the Future of Football

The Mississippi Sports Law Review at the University of Mississippi School of Law is hosting an incredibly timely symposium entitled "The Impact of Concussion Lawsuits on the Future of Football."  I am honored to be participating in this symposium which will be held Friday, November 9, 2012, at the Robert C. Khayat Law Center at 1:30 p.m., room 1078 (free and open to the public).

From the symposium website: "Once thought to be a badge of honor that doctors could quickly 'cure' with a sniff of smelling salt, concussions have now become the subject of litigation that could threaten the future of football and other contact sports. Recent medical studies consistently show serious long-term effects for athletes who have had multiple concussions, including serious brain trauma and reduction in life expectancy. Where re-entering the game after a concussion, or even the week after a concussion, used to be common practice, there is an increasing burden on team physicians and the athletes themselves to consider the implications of going back onto the field. In light of this research, the four major American sports leagues have implemented concussion policies and procedures, but many question if these policies alone are sufficient to protect the athletes from permanent injuries."

Win Ryan Tannehill and Michael Floyd Player Of The Day Cards!


Guess the winner of tonights Monday Night Football game between the 49ers and the Cardinals. All of you who pick it right answer will be thrown into the randomizer. Don't forget those of you who earned double entries! And we must also mention all winners for this weeks weekly contests will be announced on Monday. This is a Player or Players Of The Day contests so all entires must be in by the end of the day. This one must be in by kickoff!