If you are not reading Nicholas Carr then something is wrong with you :)
"Once we have surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit by taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don't really have any rights left."
So we got a half of a lamb from the farm across the street, which included the front and rear shank. What to do? I had already prepared some navy beans, so I browned the lamb shanks in a big pan, with a little olive, garlic, and savory herbs (thyme, sage, rosemary), and then once they were browned covered them with my beans and two cans of Italian tomatoes. I think I cooked it all down for at least 2 hours, maybe more. Plenty of salt and pepper... and that's about it. Maybe you could cal it "Agnello e fagioli all'uccelletto"?
I have until the end of this month to migrate a dedicated server that I have been on for about 12 years or so to the "cloud". This post is just a test really to see if finta.com is working...
To all my Florentine friends - I know I did not see you all or say goodbye to everyone - but we are leaving on Sunday for a new life somewhere in the states. If anyone needs to get in touch with me firstname.lastname@example.org is the best way.
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...
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.
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.
This is the output from my Everyday app on my iPhone. I started somewhere in March and got nearly a photo a day after that. Look close and you may see yourself in there.
Happy New Year -
Jamie Dimon recently:
"Acting like everyone who's been successful is bad and that everyone who is rich is bad -- I just don't get it,"
This is not what "everyone", let alone anyone is saying. What they are saying is that rich people are not paying taxes at the same rate as most other people, for many reasons. Defending yourself or your industry in this way makes you look like a petulant ass.
I didn't know who Dimon was until 2008, and when I first saw him on TV when the crisis started he seemed like one guy who sort of got it. But he isn't. They (the bankers) can not see themselves from the outside, and why would they want to? It is hard to look at yourself honestly - but when your a complete disaster it is even worse.
What does your work day consist of? What needs to get done in the course of a day, especially a Monday? Mine is pretty full, and probably the last thing I should be doing is waxing meta on it, but sometimes you just need to clear your head to get to work (me anyway).
Monday morning - check my email. File some stuff, delete some spam posts from some blogs I maintain. The weekend was sort of quiet - but then I did turn comments off on a couple of sites that were just getting spammed over and over.
Financial - check the business bank account - by noon or so usually the accounts are updated. What did we receive, from clients, affiliates - what checks cleared, who do I have to pay today? Who owes us? Who do I need to remove from my sites, etc?
Check the forum - anything wrong? Approve new users. Need to make a post for someone who needs help. Need to publish the advertorial for a couple of new advertisers...
Stats - Google Analytics, over 20+ sites to glance over (not counting clients) - things seem pretty normal. Probably come back to this later in more depth.
AdSense - how much money did we make over the weekend? Is it up or down? Anything glaring stick out?
Affiliate sales - check a few of the more major and/or interesting ones - need to add more to many sites.
My to do list - continually expanding. There is a ton of development to do on my own websites and blogs. Then I have several clients sites to consider on a near daily basis (spam, form submissions, SEO, etc.). Plus actual new production work - there is a website to be converted into a new CMS, etc. And another who wants an estimate for the same kind of work. And another - now that I think about it! Must add that to the to do list.
Overseeing a project at the moment that I have a freelancer on for one of my own sites - need to check on that and her too.
Clients - not only website work, but consulting and marketing. I'm in charge of an affiliate program for a sport shoe retailer. Need to check their stats, ad spending, new affiliate applications, etc. Need to come up with a proposal for a similar client in Tennessee.
Caribmart.com - my map shop for Caribbean maps. Need to check inventory and look over the weekend sales.
And that is just a taste. That is Monday, and then most mornings of the week. I usually end up only getting any real "new" work done on holidays and weekends. Most of the time is just spent making sure clients and customers are happy and that something isn't falling apart, broken, spammed, out of stock, etc. Plus I need to make sure the server is running!
There has to be a better way...
I have a lot of friends, family, acquaintances, etc. and whenever our conversation turns political/financial I end up hearing mostly the usual (and WRONG) talking points about the deficit, spending, taxes, etc. It seems nearly everyone has been conditioned to believe some things that are just not true - like Social Security is bankrupt (it isn't and won't be for a long time), that taxes are too high (they are historically low, especially for the wealthy), but most of all that it is the deficit, deficit, deficit that is ruining us and we have to cut spending.
Well I read a lot, and one thing I have learned since the crisis is that there are many people who talk/write/pontificate on all of these matters, and that unfortunately most of them are wrong, and yes - friends, family and acquaintances you should stop listening to them!
Maybe in the future I will list all the people and media channels that are mostly wrong (that is a long list and will take a lot of time) - but now I just want to mention a few that have been right: Joe Stieglitz, Paul Krugman, and Dean Baker.
Here is a recent paragraph from Baker, dismantling yet another commenter who says we are (or will be) Greece:
"In short, the comparison with Greece is utterly baseless. People are making this comparison to advance their agenda for cutting Social Security and Medicare. It absolutely should not be taken seriously."
"It absolutely should not be taken seriously" - we all need to know this, and be able to tell people why.
And I don't want to hear about politics, left, right, center, etc. The three economists I mentioned have been right on the facts for years. They are right, as in factually correct. This isn't opinion. The people who have (and continue to be!) wrong may scream louder and get on TV more, but that only makes them even more dangerous for the rest of us. It doesn't make them right. You (friends, family, acquaintances) need to get right too. We're running out of time on this mess, and there just isn't any excuse not to know the facts.