Life goes on and somehow gets more complicated (difficult?): after 8 years in Italy we have decided to make the move back to America for a myriad of reasons. One of the main ones being the economic future (our's as well as Italy's), as well as the girls high school and college education. But there are really a million little things that have added up and made the decision inevitable.
Mix that in with the every 5 or 6 year server migration (which I have just begun), a couple of permanent part time consulting gigs, running our own sites (and those of many clients), etc. etc. and you can get why I have not been posting anything around here recently - which probably will be the status quo until we are settled somewhere in the U.S. this fall...
I will probably continue to make the random post and update here on this blog, and I may also be consolidating some old things into finta.com (textonly.com comes to mind) as I migrate to the new server.
That is all -
So this is turning into the NFL blog but what the hell. Just wanted to get my observations about yesterday's Championship Games down before I forget them:
Something is wrong in Atlanta. They are getting closer, but they are still too soft and appear intimidated/confused at times. You just can't play like that at home (more on this at the end of this post).
The Patriots biggest weakness was exposed - wide receiver. I really don't care about your "record setting offense". It doesn't make a difference in the post season. You have to have a good offense. You have to have an adaptable offense. And you have to be able to score - and outscore - your opponents, any way it takes. The rules in the last twenty years have all gone the way of the offense. But defense still wins championships - I don't care what anyone says.
The Patriots looked unbeatable to all the pundits - why? Because they score - a lot. But that stat can be very misleading. The Pats are way better than most teams. And on most Sundays, if they have you beat, they have you beat big time and they pile it on. So they scored a lot this year. But as we have seen before they can be stopped by a good defense that executes well. And when they run into one, they actually can look sort of terrible (like yesterday, or against the Jets a couple of years ago).
But look at what Baltimore did. Totally switched gears on offense with the all shotgun attack, and dominated the second half of the game, while physically punishing the Pats with their D. Where was the change of gears in the Pats attack when they needed it?
Which brings me back to the receivers and the rules of the game. Give Brady Holt and Boldin, and give Flacco Branch and Lloyd - and who do you think wins that game? And Welker? Don't even get me started. How many drops did he have yesterday? And he can't outrun anyone. Slot receiver is almost a gimme position now with the current rules - any athletic, coordinated receiver (like the injured Edelman) can play that position and do well in a system like the Patriots run and with a QB like a Brady. Even having Gronkowski would not have helped them yesterday. He needs skill everywhere, like Atlanta has, like Baltimore has, like even the 49ers have. I guarantee you Brady goes apeshit for wide receivers this off season and gets them. The Patriots are really good, but they were not the best team in the AFC this year. As usual the team that got hot at the right time is - and that is the Ravens. It really should not be too surprising - they had the Pats beat last year don't forget in the same game. It was only their injuries/age on D and their own stumbling O that made them seem like an afterthought a couple of months ago. The deserve to be where they are... which leads me back to Atlanta and the top of this post.
The game is obviously so much a process. You get close, you knock at the door, and eventually (if you are good enough, and a little lucky!) you get to the big show. The Jets of a few years ago were so close - two Championship games in a row - and now are on the way down until proven otherwise. The Ravens were so close last year and for years before, and this year are through, just like the 49ers (who in a way remind me of the Jets - Ryan having the same sort of success that Harbaugh has had really in the first couple of years with a bunch of players from another regime). Green Bay is close. Atlanta finally won a playoff game - did anyone think they would actually win two??? And who doesn't think the Redskins and Seahawks will go further next year?
Anyway I am hoping for a great Super Bowl. I hate to think the game comes down to the kickers but I could see that happening - so obviously the Ravens have to have the edge if there is one.
"9 yards, 9 yards what?"
Adrian Petersen to Pam Oliver after the Vikings win (walk off field goal to make the playoffs) - gotta love it. With 9 more yards AP would have had the most prolific rushing season in NFL history. Wish he was on my team.
There is a lot of stupid stuff said and written in the NY sports world, and the JETS are an easy target. The Tim Tebow acquisition was an easy one for the many pundits, fans, and other idiots to make fun of, write about, scream about, joke about, etc. But I never read one coherent word about the whole thing. No one - NO ONE - understood (or as of this Sanchez benching moment still understands) - why the JETS, why Ryan, got Tebow. So let me make it easy:
Getting Tebow had nothing to do with getting Tebow. It had everything to do with not letting Belichick get Tebow.
Belichick is Ryan's Moby Dick. Ryan is not trying to win a Super Bowl as much as he thinks he is - he is really just trying to beat Belichick. The new safeties this year? Purely to (try to) beat up on New England's tight ends. Rebuilding a team, to (theoretically) beat one opponent is not how you win a Super Bowl. Unfortunately this has clouded his judgement and just about all the decisions that he and GM Mike Tannenbaum have made in the last several years, and taken them from contender back to pretender status. Where Belichick is constantly retooling and trying to come up with the best team, Ryan is really only thinking about beating Belichick. When Josh McDaniels, Tebow's NFL godfather was plucked back up by NE after being run out of Denver, you can be sure the genius twins (Ryan & Tannenbaum) thought - OMG! - they are going to sign Tebow and destroy us! So what did the JETS do? The signed Tebow, to keep him away from New England. It is that simple.
I love Ryan as a DC - but he won't be a "HC of the NYJ" for much longer if he doesn't concentrate on his team and stop chasing whales.
UPDATE: On June 11, 2013, this new broke: Tim Tebow to sign with New England Patriots, play QB. A sleepless night for Rex I would bet...
Brief video sent in by a friend - this is from November 1st:
I saw a fly by from yesterday (Nov. 2nd) and it appears they have tried to bulldoze sand and close this breach already.
Here is an unofficial map I have been working on. If you can help with any info please let me know.
This (unofficial!) map marks houses that appear to be destroyed or damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The triangle with the exclamation point means the structure appears severely damaged or washed away completely. The houses with question marks mean that damage is visible. This information is based on pictures and video that has been posted online. All homes are assumed to have at least some flood damage.
Update (Nov. 3): I am also now using the Google crisis map located here for comparison information (the initial was mostly from ground level photos and video), as well as the Bing.com Bird's Eye view (if you are not familiar with that check it out - may be a better product than Google maps, at least for detail). Street numbers are coming from Zillow.com (I may eventually add a property damage assessment based on their real estate values also).
News from Mantoloking today was that there are over 100 homes completely destroyed in the borough.
Update (Nov. 5): Looking at photos taken from a helicopter on Sunday the 4th, it is pretty evident that many homes that seem to have intact rooflines and that I mention on the map as having little damage may actually be in much worse shape. There are details in these photos that I just have not seen before from the fly by videos and satellite images. The new photos are here.
Update (Nov. 15): Well, I don't think I will be updating the map again. There are more resources available now, and I think all the Red or compromised houses have been marked. If you house is not marked, it is most likely in the Green category (but again - please don't make any decisions or assumptions about your property based on this map - it could be wrong!).
Here are some more resources to stay up to date:
Sandy in Mantoloking - aerial photos from the Western Carolina University Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines. Just about every home in town can be seen in these photos.
Borough of Mantoloking website: They are posting updates every day. I am a little surprised to read that this decision has apparently already been made:
The Army Corps is directing State contractors to "return Mantoloking to pre-Sandy condition."
I was actually sort of hoping that there would at least be a dialogue about what is a responsible and environmentally sound way to go forward - that there would perhaps be some new studies and alternate plans proposed - but it seems that the directive is to return to the status quo.
And they have the final list of assessed homes.
From the beginning, early days of the web, I was all behind the idea that the Internet would eventually kill books (printed books). What I don't think I grasped then but what seems to be coming into focus now is that it may kill writing. I don't know Weeks or his work, but the quote is spot on. There is a culture of free or "cheap" that is prevalent on line that goes all the way back to the early days of when all "websites" were free. No one seems to want to pay for anything on the net, unless the amount is so small they can't really feel it. We have tens of millions of (frankly what I find to be generally useless) "reviews" on the web by millions of amateur writers on sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp, but none of these people are getting paid. But to think you would need to compensate an actual author for a work of fiction... or an author who writes a real travel guides, that just seems crazy.
Saw this on tumblr and thought it would be something Alice would like:
How Roddy Frame never got a bigger audience in the U.S. will always be beyond me:
I started a personal tumblr blog, "In A Lonely Place", named after one of New Order's first songs (post Joy Division).
The song title is actually an old movie title, which is something New Order did frequently (I say "did" and not "does" because this new version of New Order without Peter Hook is a travesty to me).
"In A Lonely Place" will be mostly photos, film stills, paintings (my own and finds), etc. - stuff that I like or that inspires me in my own work.