Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Child Labor is Kind of Cute

I know there is a big social stigma surrounding child labor, but you  have to admit, sometimes it is is kind of cute.

Twin # Poker Face was just getting into trouble anyway, so I decided to put all of his energy to good use and have him work a couple of deals for me.

It's not like I gave him anything really important to do, all I do all day is say "approved" or "denied" and I scaled it down a bit for him so all he had to say was "yes" or "no" to the crazy sales guy trying to give away the farm on the other end of the line, he has those words pretty much mastered anyway.

What surprised me though was his intensity and drive to overachieve.  I told him to make the call on one deal, and he came back with "I hate it,"  which is his new thing lately when he doesn't like something.  On another deal he replied, "" which is his other slightly less new thing to say.

I know that there are kids in the world that have it much worse.  These 2 kids for instance look like they have it pretty rough.  I've hauled brick and carried a hod, and although after a while you become numb to it, it still wears on you.

I thought that I had a good tan from working masonry, these guys are dark, definitely a plus when you decide to slough off the afternoon and go play in some random sand volleyball tournament and troll for college chicks down at a Kent State University sorority house.

However when I was forced into hard labor, I was sixteen, and by then I think it isn't so much child labor issues as much as it is your parents just want you out of the house so you stop whining about not having anything to do all summer.

One thing  I will give these kids though is they have considerable fashion sense.  I dig the 1650's bloomers on the kid on the left, add that to his fashionable 80's skater bangs and you have the complete package.

The other kid though mugged Mister Rogers on his way to work, so I am going to have to give him fewer points for originality, but definitely a plus for dressing it up a bit on his way to middle management.

Now I don't know about you, but these kids look a little bit suspect to be protesting child labor.

I mean, what, were they forced to run stock tickets for billionaire bankers?

Maybe forced to sharpen pencils at the country club for Daddy Warbucks?

If you could find a middle class kid that dresses this nice today, we would give them a medal and send them to prep school.  I guess when you get tired of walking to Wall Street uphill both ways in the snow, the last vestige of human rights is to declare your opposition to having to labor.

Still, I say teach them young, because with all of the slackers out there, it is going to get easier and easier to produce a genius, if only one starts early.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Football [Day B4] Wednesday - Alabama UP-Horns DOWN

Great weekend for Football.  Alabama - Arkansas, need I say more.  What a great game, there I said more.  That game met all of the hype surrounding it and did not disappoint.

Who did disappoint?  Texas, that was ugly, I actually felt bad for all of the Longhorns that I know.  Who thought the Horns were going to fall apart this early in the season, PREDICTION, they are not going to come back from this.  They will lose 4 more this year, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas State and Texas A&M.

Mack, just call it a re-building season and pray for your job.  You are starting to look like a John Cooper of the South, and we all know how badly that ended. 

As a gesture of goodwill, I will to the Longhorns, I will offer up this guy (Left) to come help you, it's not as if you can pass this up after your dismal performance on Saturday.  He is known as Twin #Trouble, so you know he's a scrapper.He went 18 for 20 this morning in practice, so Gilbert can just move aside.

I'm seeing some very odd movement in the AP college football rankings.  Oregon State is un-ranked in week 1, #25 in week 2, and #24 after beating a no-win Louisville in Week 3 coming into their game against Boise State.  Then, they lose to Boise State, and they are nowhere to be seen.

Why does losing to the #3 team in the country hurt you in the rankings?  Their margin of loss was not that great, and let's face it, Oregon State looked pretty good, and Boise looked really good.  So who is the big winner here?  Nevada.  What?

I actually like this, Nevada beat Cal who beat Colorado who beat Colorado State and Hawaii, so I think they deserve a pretty good ranking, my poll certainly thinks so as they rise to #7 this week.

The Nevada game is seen by sports writers as the next big challenge for Boise State, and they are going to do everything in their power to keep them in the top 25, despite the fact that there are a lot of games to lose between now and Nov. 26th.

Ohio State continues its slide in this weeks Brig Poll even as they blow out win-less Eastern Michigan.  Finally, and I mean FINALLY, a team that Ohio State beat, puts up a win.  here's to Miami for beating Pitt and giving Ohio State their first Strength of Schedule points!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Football [Day After] Wednesday - Buckeye Mugged

I had plenty of time to update the football poll on Sunday, and maybe even a few minutes to recount the grid iron battles on Monday, but I didn't.  Then everything hit the fan, and now it is the Day after Wednesday.

Last week football was very uninspiring.  There were some good games, but nothing ground breaking, in fact, the best thing that happened last week was when the Ohio University Bobcat sucker punched Brutus Buckeye.

Now, I'm a Buckeye (if you didn't already know) and I guess I am supposed to be horrified by this, but I thought it was hilarious.  The best part was that the bobcat got tossed on his first attempt. 

Now many of you that went to other schools don't have to worry, nobody cares enough about your football program to spend an entire year planning, training, and then trying out to be a school mascot, just for the sole purpose of sucker punching your mascot.  This is a special honor reserved for the most revered college football program in all of college football.

Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, they haven't played a single team yet that has won a FBS Div1 football game, so they get no love from this weeks Brig Poll, although the Poll is starting to take shape.  In about 2 weeks, there should be enough differences in the points to give a good ranking.

Florida looked pretty good playing Tennessee, while Alabama played a meager Duke, Arizona had an impressive win over Iowa, but that may just be a fluke as Iowa did not look like a top 10 team.

With no further ado, here is the Week 3 Brig Poll.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Labor Day Weekend [Tax] Hike

Labor day is one of those odd holidays that seems to come out of nowhere and smacks you in the face.  I'm not even sure what the point of the day is, other than national retail chains use the fact that "you" get the day off, to have sales on all of their "wares", forcing their own employees to have to work overtime so you can celebrate the fact that "you" are not working by forcing someone else to work.

Although I'm not sure that this was the point of the holiday, at least I didn't have to work.

I just checked Wikipedia (the source of all knowledge) and it states: 

"The form for the celebration of Labor Day was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday: A street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations," followed by a festival for the workers and their families. This became the pattern for Labor Day celebrations."

So I think what that means is that we all head to Detroit, line up along 8 mile with flags and praise the unions for their ingenuity in scamming short sided management into bankrolling "jobs banks" where people get paid specifically to not labor, unrealistic pensions that could never have a hope of being paid, and gold plated healthcare plans that the government exempts from their new healthcare tax because only "other" gold plated healthcare plans are evil and need to be taxed, not these ones.

We didn't do any of that though, we stayed home.

The in laws came into town, which you probably saw in my post last week, but I think I missed the highlights from the weekend, so in an effort to accentuate the positive, I thought I would re-cap our Labor Day Hike, which should have been postponed, because hiking is a form of work/labor.

So, the hike started out just like any other journey of a thousand miles, with a single step, fortunately it was downhill, so it was a pretty easy step.

We stayed pretty close to the stream, mostly because the hike is pretty boring, and there were some minnow sized fish in the water that excited the boys.

Also, it was fun to see the wagon wheel ruts left over in the creek bed from the cattle drives that went through the area for a hundred years, before they built a road over it, paved a trail and told everyone not to walk on anything because we might upset the delicate ecological balance of the natural space.

This bridge is the same one that Twin #Poker Face (formerly Twin #Trouble) got scared of a couple of months ago after some play-scape bridge trauma.  As you can see here Twin #1 (now known as twin # Van Gogh, because of the recent ear incident.) has no problem with bridges, and Twin #Poker Face had already run across it.

Additionally we found some really nice rocks to jump off of.  One could argue that this is not that impressive, but we have to work in baby steps. 

That way by the time we get up to 40' cliffs, this will be old hat.

You do have to love this face on Twin # Van Gogh though.  The little guys just kept climbing up and jumping off. 

I was happy to get this action shot, as Twin # Van Gogh is hard to photograph in action.

The hike ended with a well deserved trip to Round Rock Donuts, but I am sad to say, we did not get to watch Papa eat the Texas donut.  Next time though, I will ensure that happens, and I will get pictures.  And that is a threat!

Happy Labor Day!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Football Wednesday - Week 2 - Conflicted Fashion

This was an exciting week for college football.  There were a couple of key match-ups, some juicy BCS drama, and my own inner conflict about supporting local college football teams.

First, The Ohio State University put to rest all of the Miami (FL) hype around payback and blah blah blah surrounding this supposed rematch of the January 3, 2003 National Championship Game. 

The picture to the left was "lifted" from a blog written by one of the guys over at Men of the Scarlet and Gray , like him, I'm pretty sure that was pass interference.  Ohio State won then, and won again.  PERIOD.

Next, BCS drama.  Virginia Tech lost, boo-hoo.  Somehow though, the AP still has Boise State ranked #3.  Odd, considering their individual voter over-reliance on non-standard make-shift arbitrary "Strength of Schedule" hallucinations. 

Its almost as if they are voting to create a controversy so people will continue to read their "analysis." 

That said, the reporting so far this week on most sports sites has been uninteresting.

Finally, my internal conflict.  I took Little Guy to the Texas-Wyoming game on Saturday.  We had a total complete unadulterated BLAST!

Drank some overpriced Diet Coke, ate some overpriced hot-dogs and nachos, had awesome seats in the shade, got there 1 1/2 hrs early just to hang out and check out the stadium, total package, it was awesome.

The problem was what to wear?  I AM A BUCKEYE.  I just am.  My order of rooting is:

1.  Buckeyes
2.  Michigan (I want them undefeated when coming into "The Game" every year before we beat them.)
3.  Big Ten
4.  Texas (It's local, my younger brothers went there, and although Bevo is no Brutus, that bull is a monster, and he has awesome seats at the game.)

So what does a Buckeye wear to a Longhorn game?  Wife thought I should be decked out in burnt orange.

I disagree, it doesn't go with my skin tone, my highlights clash, and then there's shoes, you can't forget the...  WHAT THE CRAP?  I'M NOT A LONGHORN!!!  END OF STORY. 

I think you should support your team regardless where you happen to be watching any random college football game.

People who love college football love to talk about college football, "who is your team?", "how do you think the game is going to go this afternoon for your guys," "why are the Buckeyes perennial favorites for the National Championship?"  "How can Ohio State always be that good?",  "How can I get into tOSU so I can be a Buckeyes?" "Why is tOSU uniform the classiest in all of college football?"  you know, random college football questions.

Wife and I compromised and I wore a black T-Shirt with the Longhorn's logo on the chest, and then I wore a Buckeye hat.  This conflicted me a bit though, because although I can make a reasonable argument to support the local Longhorns with my head, my heart will always be at tOSU.

What is the right call here?  What would you wear?

This weeks Brig Poll rankings:

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Football Wednesday

So this is my annual rant about college football, the NCAA and the BCS, in addition to my weekly ranking.  This year however, I am including for your reading and debating pleasure, my College Football Manifesto.

First, the rant.

The NCAA should be charged will criminal conspiracy to commit fraud.  They have conspired to perpetuate a fraud on all college football lovers.

I really don't blame the BCS, they are in it to make a quick buck, and they have never even hinted that they had any other purpose, they were established of the media, by the media, and for the media.  The Media is the Boss, the Big Ten commissioner is the Under-boss, the NCAA are the Soldiers and the BCS is the Bag-Man handing out the cash to the Six Families.  It is a racket, and we are all being shaken down.

My real beef is with the NCAA.  They allowed a handful of the several Division 1 conference ADs to get together and exclude all other Division 1 conferences from their championship club.  Now I have no problem with arguing that Boise State isn't worthy of a National Championship Game because of their cream-puff schedule, I get that, in fact I agree with it.  But saying they can't get a shot because it might exclude a "good school" from a "favored conference" is just bull.

Additionally, the way the rankings work today, a school is assigned a rank before ever setting foot on the field.  This is the worst possible fraud, arguably the NCAA is not at fault here, that would be the BCS and their use of certain polls when assigning BCS Bowl games and the NC game.  See this gem from their homepage (left)

The problem here is that all of the "good school" bias is set in stone, and a few favored teams are pre-coronated to a bowl game with the explicit caveat that they not lose "too many games" or the "wrong games."  Don't believe me? When you click the link above, and then click on the story, it takes you to picks for the National Championship Game.  Not that I am going to argue with the results.

The worst part of this fraud is that they have used the illusion of strength of schedule to cloud their bias from the masses, when that strength of schedule was determined by pre-season polls, so one can say that the SEC is an awesome conference merely because the voters pre-packed the top 25 with even the crappiest SEC schools and then magically they all get really high strength of schedule because they all play each other and get lots of SOS points for doing so.

So here it is:

Brig's College Football Manifesto:

1.  All Division 1 Football Programs are created equally, they will determine their own fate on the field by their body of work, their fate will not be determined by the biases of the pre-season polls and the puppet master ratings seeking media that put them there.

2.  Your rank is determined by the games you have played, not the games you are going to play.

3.  All games between Division 1 programs are created equal, and all will be assigned the same value.  No value will be awarded to a Division 1 program either winning against or being beaten by a Division II school (although that is really really bad, and they should be ashamed.)

4.  A team will accumulate Strength of Schedule points by beating lots of teams that have beaten lots of teams.  No strength of schedule points will be awarded before games are played, no arbitrary value will be added to your SOS because "that school in the bottom 3rd of their conference is from Conference X, so they must be stronger than some other school."

5.  A win is a win is a win.

6.  The margin of your loss is irrelevant, regardless whether you coulda', shoulda', or woulda', YOU DIDN'T, be a man and own it.  It is not the refs fault (SEC excluded, it probably is their fault), it is your team's fault for letting it get that close to begin with.

7. Extra, but secret points will be awarded to teams with "Student"-Athletes who have successfully taken gifts and cash from sports agents without getting caught.  The number of points awarded will go up with the outlandishness of the gift and the uniqueness of the coaches surprise when they reveal that they can't tell a $3,000 Zegna from a J.C. Penny $99 Special, these are called "Bush Points."  (Full Disclosure - I took cash from a consulting firm before I graduated from The Ohio State University, they were bribing me into accepting a deal to work for them post grad for literally hundreds and hundreds of dollars a year.)

8.  Points will be deducted for any team playing or agreeing to play on any natural or artificial turf of any color outside a pre-determined spectrum of shades and hues of green.  There must be a minimal level of dignity maintained in order to play Division 1 College Football.

The Rankings:  

My ranking is right, the AP is wrong.  I have a 38 way tie for 1st place.  Coincidentally, the AP and I agree about the team that should be at the top.  Of course, my list is alphabetized, but that is no less silly than ranking Alabama #1 for beating San Jose State who is not "expected" to win more than a handful of games this season.

Additionally, and I just looked this up, every single Division 1 team that played a Division 2 team is on the AP Top 25 list.  Does that sound odd to anyone else?  The AP is also ranking a team (Virginia Tech) that has a worse record than 37 other Division 1 teams.  This includes ranking them above 12 other teams with a better record.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Brig's Blog Wounded, But Lives!

So this weekend could not have gone better.  I got up early Saturday morning and took little guy golfing in perfect weather.

By the time we got done, Little Guy noted that he did not even break a sweat.

My reply to him (that I really wanted to say but didn't say because my new CPS case worker might consider that "mean") was that maybe he wasn't working hard enough to hit par on every hole and that sweat is the Gatorade like proof-juice of winners.

So after finishing up our round of 8, we reluctantly headed back home to face off with my Mother-In-Law (MIL).  I was thinking about just hitting the road and heading south and then booking it to Mexico, but then I remembered that President Obama is more afraid of the Mexicans than he is the Iraqis, seeing that he left a couple hundred thousand troops in Iraq and sent like 5 guys who flunked out of Basic Training to the Mexican border.

Don't get me wrong, I am with Obama on this one.  Iraqi's aren't brandishing gold plated Uzis and driving platinum Hummers.  The Banditos to the south mean business.  Wow, if I ever form a band, I am going to name them "The Banditos to the South" or to really spice it up, "Los Banditos al Sur."  That is just cool.

Well, MIL narrowly beat us home and before I could fortify my castle against a worthy adversary (basically I was going to lock my bedroom door and then jam gum or something in that little hole so she couldn't unlock it with a toothpick.)  I'm not a 5 star general, this is all I had to work with on short notice.

Needless to say, when I got home, the gantlet had been thrown down.  This (left) was on my porch.  This was a pretty low blow.

I think that MIL is planning to Knick-knack me to death.  That may sound like a joke, but it is serious.  One of my biggest pet peeves is knick-knacks covering every horizontal surface of my house.  It has gotten better over the years, mostly because of my constant whining and rule limiting new holiday knick-knacks to one item per year per holiday, which I am thinking about revising to one item per year every other holiday.

Then all of a sudden, MIL leaves a comment on my last blog post, bragging about her latest assault on my kingdom.

She left this thing on my fireplace mantle.

Now, I don't even know what that is supposed to be, but it is disturbing.  It's like a cross dressing black cat straight up back-alley mugged the Cat in the Hat and then celebrated by eating a witch and exposed its conjoined pumpkin twin.

All I know is that it stares me down every time I walk into the living room.  Sometimes I even duck behind the sofa and crawl through the kitchen so it doesn't see me.

I think my castle is haunted.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Brig's Blog Final Post

So I wanted to let you all know that it has been a good ride, and I appreciate all of you for reading this blog for the last 5 years.

However, it has come to my attention that my mother-in-law is coming into town this weekend, and I might just NOT "live to post another day."

Don't get me wrong, I have the BEST MOTHER-IN-LAW IN THE WORLD, it's true, just ask me. But, as many of you know, as much as I love her and as much as she really-really-really likes me, SHE LOVES HER GRANDSONS - Little Guy, Twin #1 and Twin # Trouble.

This is where it takes an ugly turn.  Because I know if it is me or them, it is DEFINITELY them, which is probably a good thing, they are super cute, and unlike me, there is the hope that they will be a positive credit to society, so I see her point.

So I expect her to show up at my house tomorrow with a crowbar, chainsaw and a wood chipper, set them on my front porch and give me an ultimatum, either dismantle the bed that has given two of her grandsons stitches, or she will do it herself.

I don't know what to do.  The bed is a monument to my MANLINESS, which almost completely offsets the "otherness" that I get from my sewing machine and really good eye for women's shoes.

I'm thinking that Maybe I can pull out the DEWALT Router that Father-in-Law got for me 4 years ago, that I have never used (mostly because I don't know how to use it) and round off the sharp[ish] corners.

Maybe just drop the bed to the floor, which really doesn't help with the end rails.

Anyway, If I don't figure this out today, this may just be the very last blog on Brig's Blog (would you notice though, really?).  So please leave me a comment with suggestions for what to do, I AM DESPERATE.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Little Guy Takes Wheel, Crashes the Audi. How to Explain to Wife?

You know things are going to go wrong when you let the 4 year old take the wheel, especially when you let them take the wheel of an Audi S4, and then you step on it.  Needless to say, Wife is not happy.

Literally, I let the Little Guy take over driving the S4, and just as he pounced on the gas, it flew off the track and I stepped on it.  Call it just plain bad luck, call it not paying attention, but I call it just a crappy day.

Oh, not this one pictured left, I just googled "Audi S4 Crash" and this is what came up in the images file.  The one that Little Guy was driving when it flew off the track and landed just under my foot is the green one pictured below.

It's not that we are inherently bad drivers, it is just that we love the thrill of speed.  Going fast in the corners is paramount to the total driving experience.  The problem is that you have to have a car to handle the corners.

This is where we went wrong.  The Audi S4 seemed like a pretty good choice, but it just doesn't have the handling on sharp turns, especially after one of the twins broke off the spoiler. 

Ever since the spoiler incident, we haven't been able to keep the rear end down at high speeds in sharp turns.

Fortunately the Mercedes C320 AMG is still fully intact.  That thing screams around the corners and rarely goes off track, which is why I normally just build a big oval, put it on the outside track and let the twins drive it, the races last just a little bit longer that way.

I felt even worse about this because this set is exclusive at Target, well they were anyway, until they put them all on clearance and discontinued the line, just a couple of weeks before this incident. 

Now we can't get replacement cars cheap, we have to get them online.  UGH!  Wife knew this day would come, but she is still not happy about having to replace the cars, they are not super cheap, and it is only time until the next one breaks.

The good thing is they make some really nice open wheel Formula 1 cars that look really cool, and thanks to the toy clearance noted above, we got all kinds of new track to play with (the oval pictured above just works best with the twins, but Little Guy and I have made some really nice tracks with crazy turns and cross-overs that make for nice crashes, the winner is the one who stays on the track after the crash.)