Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Football Monday - Holy Crap Edition!

What else can be said but "Holy Crap, that was the Best College Football Weekend Ever!!!"  This is true, mostly because I said it, but I'm pretty sure everyone else believes it too, even Boise State fans have to agree with this one, despite their loss (to be explained herein).

This weekend had it all, close overtime last minute upsets, usual suspect winners, heartache, bliss, tears of joy, tears of sorrow, and healthy helping of fraud.

What?  What was that?  You think the Boise State kicker is so bad that he could miss 2 field-goals from 24 and 26 yards?  Serious?

You think that Alabama is so horrible, and Auburn so great that Alabama could blow a 24pt lead?  You don't think it might have been to keep the money flowing to the SEC?

These games were fixed.  The kicker from Boise State was paid via wire transaction to a numbered account in the Caymans to miss the Field Goals putting them in OT, and eventually losing the game to Nevada (information unconfirmed, probably didn't happen exaclty as described), and Alabama got a good long talking to before the game in which the BCS convinced the NCAA to overlook any alumni spending irregularities for the next year at Alabama if they threw the game (also unconfirmed).

If you think these things are merely coincidences, tough breaks or just the effects of big time NCAA Div 1 FBS pressure please pull your head out of the Smurf Turf and come back to reality.

The BCS chiefs were getting pretty nervous and sweating Benjamins when Alabama, just for fun, threw up 24 points on a shocked Auburn (who for plausible deniability reasons was not told of the plot), before Alabama started what appeared to be a really bad artistic interpretation of a ballet performance very loosely based on what can only be described as a football game.

It was obvious that that the SEC couldn't use the Refs to fix the games this year, as they used that trick last year to fix all of the tough games for Alabama and Florida to ensure that one of them got the National Championship Game. 

The SEC AD even gasped in fake horror when he learned that their officiating crews got suspended over that, as he noted "the calls weren't that obvious, we practiced them over and over to make them seem real."

But alas, as one of my old MBA buddies pointed out to me in a fierce BCS debate over Facebook today, "We have the royal class who get a free ride based on their birthright - independent of how they perform."  Now I am not going to say that Auburn does not deserve their shot, but I'm hard pressed to believe that Alabama just forgot how to play ball after putting up 24 points on Auburn.

I would re-word this as "We have the under-class who got screwed based on their lack of a birthright - independent of how they perform."  Hats off to TCU for negotiating a bid to the Big East, finally something to give that conference some legitimacy, and TCU gets their birthright.

So on to this week's Brig Poll, the definitive NCAA FBS College Football Ranking that nobody cares about, but makes me feel better.  

I think the BCS really messed this one up, though we do agree on Auburn and something must have gone really goofy, because I have all 5 schools in the Big 12 South except Texas ranked in the Top 2ish.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Little Guy Steals Tailor - Makes Suit Look Good.

Little guy stole my tailor this week and suited up for the first time, and played that suit like a fiddle.

I'm not bragging or anything (I am bragging), but I taught Little Guy everything he knows about dressing the part, and from the looks of this picture, he must have been spying on me as I work my GQ stare in the mirror every morning before heading out for another day in the trenches.

I was surprised to get a frantic call from Wife telling me that she saw a suit and had to call me immediately.  She was right on, this suit is pretty fly. 

Good eye wife!  Some of my suiting prowess must have rubbed off on her along the way too.

I was pretty eager to get the suit fitted properly, so when we got home, we threw the twins in bed and I stood the little guy on the dinette table and got tow work re-doing the cuffs so that he can look presentable.

One of the big problems with little boys dress clothes is that they make the cuffs too small, normally less than 1".

Fortunately I had enough length to work with as we had to get the little 4 year old a size 7 suit.  That is not a typo, it is a size 7.  This kid has an awesome set of shoulders, perfectly proportioned for swinging a 4 iron.

These cuffs are the real deal, 1 1/4". 

I may be tooting my own horn, which I am allowed to do because this is my blog, and I make the rules around here (subject to Wife's personal deliberation and ratification), but these are some nice cuffs.

So the next morning, I even shined up his Sunday kicks to show off the new cuffs. 

Although I did have him throw on Twin #1s clip-on tie because he was pretty impatient as it was, rather than spend a few minutes with his preferred tie-on tie.

Kid looks like a Million Bucks in his new suit and was nice enough to pose in the driveway so I could get a few pictures.

So here he is, Little Guy straight out of a Brooks Brothers Catalog.


He is available for catalog work at the rate of $125/hr if you need a model.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Football Sunday - Why am I Sad About the Cleveland Browns?

I know that most of you think that I could give a rats behind about the NFL, and generally that is true, but this year I think I ate something that didn't agree with my brain and all of a sudden I find myself actually rooting for the Cleveland Browns.

I will admit to having lived in Cleveland (of course I got my attorney's consent before I made that admission). 

I can't imagine living there again, but I want to give a shout out to all of my good Cleveland/Ohio homies with which I share more than a lifetime of great memories. 

And in the spirit of solidarity with my Ohioites, I even wore my American Masonry mock-turtle neck sweatshirt this weekend, and when that comes out, you know it is a special occasion (or that it is cold).

Maybe it is Colt McCoy (who somehow doesn't look like a complete tool in the absolutely horrible Browns uniform, which by the way, I can't think of how you would change it to be not hideous, but maybe that is the point.) putting up a couple of great games. 

Maybe that it is that the Browns for some reason inspire that come from behind, root for the underdog sentiment, but whatever it is, they are captivating this year despite their loss earlier today in overtime to the Jets after which I almost shed a tear.

So Go Browns!

Further south, the Buckeyes threw a beating to the little kittens of Penn State, and denied the always classy Joe Paterno his 401st win.  I don't care who you are, or what school you route for, there is nothing more beautiful than an end-zone in the Shoe. 

And say what you want about Tressel-Ball, it may not be flashy, but it works, most of the time, it sure did this weekend.

But now we need to have a quick chat about the BCS, what are they thinking?  I have been pouring through the data and I can't for the life of me figure out how Oregon is ranked #1.  The Brig Poll finally got them up to #15, but that is about all of the love they are going to get, they might make it up into the top 10 by the end of the season, but #1?

I know all about their offense, and I know they are undefeated, but come on, they have not played anybody but Stanford, and Stanford has basically played the same schedule as Oregon, but that is even worse than Oregon, because Stanford doesn't even play themselves this year.

And they get no love for the 2pt win over Cal, that win was a gift against a now 5 loss Cal, which basically sums up the Pac10 this year.

Don't get me started on TCU and Boise State, I know that TCU looks really impressive, but they get to claim Oregon State and a now debunked Utah as their claim to fame.  Unfortunately we will probably have to watch another TCU-Boise State match-up this bowl season, the bonus of which all of the BCS AQ conferences will have to cry and whine about all of that cash that they thought was guaranteed to two of their conferences, is going to get paid out to the WAC and the MWC.

Can we get a playoff already? 

In a couple of weeks I am going to try to roll out "Brig's Plan to Make All College Football Fans Happy (and the money men too)", if I can get it to work. I am really close.

Then it puts to rest all of the Smurf Turf jokes and forces Boise State to finally play on a real road to victory without talking out of both sides of its mouth (yep I said it, you can't on one hand say no-one will dare play you, and on the other hand demand $1mm and a home and home against a team that can fill an 80,000 seat stadium...)  After all, this is a business.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What Does Brig Really Do?

I saw a story on the news last night that talked about the inappropriate things people say about their jobs on Facebook and blogs.  Those people are stupid, but they did get me thinking, do my readers really know what I do?

After reading this very misleading post, my goal is that you are even more clueless than when you started.  However, I decided to attach a picture of my workspace to give you a little insight into my world.

First of all, I absolutely love my job, not a joke.  Wife is pretty happy about that, because I have had some pretty interesting jobs in the past that started out fun, but turned into more mundane task oriented jobs after about 2 years.

I work for a Fortune 50 company, I do stuff, about a billion dollars worth of stuff each year, I know, pretty impressive.

Before working here, I did the stuff that you read about Google doing on Drudge Report a couple of weeks ago. 

I used to work for the Fortune 1 Company, that was pretty cool too.

I get a lot of email, and I get to respond to almost all of it.  I also get to talk on the phone all day, often with people who don't want to hear what I have to say.

I also write a lot in my notebooks, usually in ALL CAPS, unless I am in a hurry, then it is illegible.

Just today I participated in a fire drill, during which I ate my apple.

When Little Guy asks me what I do all day, I tell him, "I say Yes and No, all day long."  I'm not really a "maybbe" kind of guy.

That pretty much sums it up.

I also keep up with business trends, and I draw on my whiteboard, a lot.  Just this year I have diagrammed everything from macro cost trend analysis, to NCAA FBS conference re-alignments and BCS championship game picking strategy.

I use Game Theory all day every day, and it is fun, even if most BYU MBAs can't find the humor in ratting out their friend with whom they just robbed a bank without whining "but you gave me your BYU word of honor." (Google:  "Prisoner's Dilemma", it is a fun Family Home Evening game for the whole family)

I also eats lots of Chinese food, and pretend to eat lots of apples.

I hope that clears things up.

Football Thursday - Week 10 - Oregon Ranked

No rousing commentary this week, just the Brig Poll.  At least I finally have Oregon ranked, they finally played enough quality games to qualify as #24 this week.  Giddiup.

Friday, November 05, 2010

The Beast Turns 200,000 and Keeps on Rollin'

Another milestone passed, the LandCruiser turned 200,000 miles.

I know that sounds like a lot, but the fact is that the Cruiser has a lot of miles left in it despite the slanderous lies propagated by the spin-masters over at Witness to Insanity.

From their account, the LandCruiser is a ticking time-bomb violently sucking money from the kind people of the Balboa household and dumping it into the gas tank with reckless abandon.  These are half truths!  Well they are like 29/32nds truths.

Let's be honest, 12mpg is not that bad.  lots of vehicles get that kind of mileage, and I am not being asked to sell any of those.

For instance, a Bugatti Veyron gets 8 mpg, wow, that is really low. The Lamborghini Murcielago gets 9, and the Hummer H2 gets 10.   
Even worse, I could be driving an M1 Abrams Tank that gets 3 Gallons per Mile, and that is not a TYPO.   A typical everyday non-nuclear Ford Class aircraft carrier gets 263 Gallons per Mile, so I think that I am doing pretty well in comparison to a lot of transportation methods that I have to choose from out there.  

So I could do much worse than 12mpg.

When talking about safety, sure, minivans are pretty safe, I guess.  Anti-rollover stabilization is a pretty cool feature, and airbags are nice.

You know what else is a pretty cool safety feature? A squadron of F-18 Super Hornets and 3 Navy Seal teams.  

But a 5 year loan on an aircraft carrier would cost me about $235,000,000 a month,  and that is at the extremely low 3.4% interest rate that I got from my Credit Union this morning.  

I think we all agree that safety is important, but sometimes we have to compromise.

Despite my irrational love for the LandCruiser, it has a lot of upsides.  It can uncomfortably carry a family of 5 with 2 dogs on moderately long drives.  It can drive over a mountain.  It is paid for.  And last but not least, IT IS PAID FOR (did I already mention that?).

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Politicians Smoking Pot... Voters Still High!

So let me get this straight, the Republicans throw the Democrats a historic beating, giving the power of the house to the Republicans, and Harry Reid has the gall to say that what the voters really want is for the Republicans to stop saying "no" to all of the ridiculous policies that he and the President can come up with before the power transfer is made official in January??

Harry Reid is a moron.  He comes in second in the moron category only to his delusional friend in the White House. 

Let's not pretend that the Republicans are going to do anything useful with their new found power, they are as big a wind bags as the Democrats.  If you think that the Republicans are all of a sudden going to forget about the Lobbyists that line "THEIR" pockets and employ their wives and children, you are smoking something of which the politicians themselves will be jealous.

You may forget, but they had the House for some 14 years, and never once saw a spending bill or pork project that they couldn't pass.  If you think this is going to change, you are delusional.  Sure, the house will send some $10m, maybe $100m spending cuts to the senate to get rejected soundly, but it will be nothing short of a drop in the hat to the federal debt and ongoing Trillion $ deficits we are running RIGHT NOW.

Remember, you did not elect Chris Christie (Gov NJ) to congress.  He may be the only politician that can be trusted keep his word as much as is reasonably possible, you elected spineless weasels who will cave in to the cash machine for which they were just given a shiny new card to use.

Let's be honest, Bill Maher, for as big a wind bag liberal apologist as he is was almost right, he said, "Americans are stupid"  that is not quite right.  He thinks Americans are too stupid to understand why government should run healthcare, I don't think they are, I think they know exactly why, Americans know when they are paying for something they are not getting.

If you want to see what kinds of stupid things Americans do, and Americans do a lot of stupid things, look no further than 2008.  They vote for "Hope" rather than leadership (not that any of the general election or primary challengers would have been any better in the leadership category), they believe that Republicans will slow government spending and reduce the size of government despite all of the evidence.

So when your Republican version of hope fails, remember that the only way to send them a message is to vote them out, and vote them out and vote them out until you get the government you want.  You cannot continue to hate Congress and love your Congressman, it doesn't work that way.

My short list of things that the Republican House WILL NOT DO:

1.  Shut down Fannie Mae/ Freddy Mac that is currently underwriting 95% of all new mortgages because no other commercial bank will touch these newly written, soon to be defaulted, mortgages.

2.  Pass legislation ensuring that corporations (banks) will be liable for the contracts they sign and forcing them to take on 100% of the risk they sign up for (right now they just make the assumption that excess risk will be paid for by taxpayers via bailouts, so they have no reason to not do a bad deal).

3.  Restructure Social Security so that it will become solvent.  This would basically cut future payments to reasonable levels in line with the amount of money that will be available to pay them.  They would also have to take young people off of SS who don't pay into it, but have some kind of disability that congress feels is worthy of making payments under this program, when they should set up a separate program for that.  They won't have the guts to touch this because old people vote, and politicians are spineless.

4.  Restructure/Eliminate Medicare.  Basically tell people that they have to think ahead more than 1 week into the future and plan for the fact that they will get sick when they are old.

5.  Eliminate Sallie Mae.  Congress won't tell students if they want to go to college, they should take on the risk that the investment they are making will pay off for them.  Likewise grants should be merit based, not needs based, and should be paid out after graduation, not before.  Subsidizing this risk has only inflated the cost of higher education, and made it so that stupid people can go to college without the pressure that they have to do well.  I expect a big fight about this point in my comments section, and I welcome it.

6.  Cut defense funding.  This is key because there are billions and billions of wasted dollars here.  Do we really need an arms plant in every state just because politicians need to show that they are bringing home the dollars?  We should really consolidate military operations to a small handful of domestic locations where it can be more efficient.

Additionally, we should send a bill to every nation that has eliminated their own military power and actively uses the protection of the US military, else we should relocate bases and tell countries to defend themselves (of course we would jump in and help, because after all, despite Obama's belief that America is a hateful destructive force in the world, we really are a compassionate people who run to the aid of our neighbors in their time of need).  Other nations should fund their own strategic deterrence measures.

7.  De-fund the Department of Education.  There is no need for this department, states can take care of this just fine and nobody has anything good to say about this department anyway.

8.  De-fund Amtrak.  Amtrak should charge enough to cover their costs, and if nobody is willing to pay those prices, well, they should just shut down.  If you live in Connecticut and can't afford to commute to NYC everyday, get a job in Connecticut, move to NYC, or telecommute.

9.  De-fund the Post Office.  I don't need paper sent from anybody to my house.  Give everyone a government supplied email address and a map to the local library.  If you want to entrust the government to get a bill from your electric company to you, they can do it digitally.  Otherwise, you can make your way to the Post office to pick up your mail.  Otherwise force the post office to charge enough per letter to cover their costs, then when people who use the post office see the real cost of doing business like they live in the 18th century, they will stop using it, like many already have.

10.  Eliminate federal public sector unions.  The government should not be negotiating with a union that uses member dues to pay for political campaigns.  This is the worst kind of graft, governments making promises they can only keep by bankrupting the country so they can get a 2 year extension on their political career.

So in short, the guys that got voted out:  Morons
The Guys that kept their jobs:  Morons
The Guys that got voted in for the first time:  Soon to be Morons
All of the voters that think anything is going to change:  Morons
Brig:  Moron

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Football Wednesday - Week 9

The BCS is heating up and the fights are going to start getting more intense as 3 non-BCS AQ schools are in the top 5.  However, the BCS will get a reprieve as TCU plays Utah this weekend, one of these schools will get the boot, and the BCS football monopoly will again be in balance.

Boise State however has no real challengers left, unless you think Nevada (who lost to Hawaii last week) is going to put up a big fight.

I think there might be something wrong with my poll however, as Oregon is nowhere to be found (I have them at #28).  They just haven't beaten anybody of note, except Stanford, who has also not beaten anybody of note.

Not surprisingly a lot of this weeks' Brig Poll is similar to the other Polls, which is a good thing as at this time of year the bias starts to fade as the perennial favorites start losing games, and worse, losing favor with the voters.  No worry though, a 5 loss USC will back on top of the AP Top 25 pre-season poll next year.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Pumpkin Carving with the Balboa Knife

That time came and left again, you guessed it, that time of year when I get to bring out the Balboa knife and carve some Pumpkins.   I am going to write really big so as not to bore you with the details.  You're welcome!

This year we went to THE STORE and picked out the cream of the crop, not too big, but all with nice faces, perfect for carving.


We sat around the computer picking out designs, while Wife and I were gutting the pumpkins, the boys loved holding up the guts!


Then it was off to the races drawing everybody's pics on the pumpkins, this is Wife's choice, a nice little Frankenstein, I had to redraw it a couple of times to get it big enough to fill the space, but not to worry, I made it fit.


Here is the finished Jack-o-Lantern.  It turned out much better than I thought it would.  I think this was the best pumpkin of the year.  It was a ton of fun to carve, even with Wife leaning over my shoulder telling me to make it bigger, make it bigger...


Here is my pick for the year.  It is a simple design, but by the time  I got to mine, my hand was starting to hurt, so I figured minimalist should be the design of choice this season.

Here is is all lit up.  Not too bad, on Day1.  This guy did not hold up to the elements though as you can see in the pictures below, this guy aged something fierce.    I had to prop most of them up with toothpicks, just to get the shots below.


This is where it got weird, I thought these would last at least a couple of days, no such luck, they barely made it one day.  

From Left to right you have Momma Pumpkin, Twin # Other One Pumpkin, Little Guy Pumpkin, Twin #1 Pumpkin, and last but not least, Brig's Pumpkin.

Here is a photo from Halloween night, merely two days from carve day.  Big Scary in the middle became Big Happy, and my pumpkin shriveled up like an old man.    

Last year they made it four days, next year with all of this global warming, I'm guessing maybe 9 hours.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, November 01, 2010

"Or Treat"... No Thanks, Chocolate One?


If you do not have access to Witness To Insanity, click here.

Trick Or Treat!

My 3 Jedi Knights headed out to score some sweet candy. I couldn't resist their cuteness and handed out some candy before they left to get them started.

I really wanted to let Twin #1 and Twin # Other One to be something cute this year. Maybe a Buzz and a Woody. (Or even a quick Google search would have revealed more twin boy ideas.) But I was trumped by the light sabers.

Little Guy has had an on again, off again relationship with Star Wars for the last couple of years. This year he decided that he wanted to be Obi-Wan Kenobi (from the 1st one).

He asked me tons of Anakin / Darth Vader questions before he decided on which Jedi he wanted to be. I think he was trying to decide between the two Jedi Knights and didn't like how Anakin became Darth Vader.

And Brig teased him once about how he was going to need a beard for his costume and ever since then he has been quick to let anyone know who asks that he is Obi-Wan from the 1st episode.

I realize that we didn't add the trademark long pony tail, but I don't think Mason has noticed that yet. Because I didn't want to have to find doll hair.

And once there is one Jedi Knight walking around with a light saber, then you have two more -- especially when you have two little brothers who try to do everything their big brother does.

And so I enlisted my favorite tailor and we got some brown fabric, some shirts to wear under the cloaks, and fabric paint for the belts and we were set.

The boys just wore pants they already owned. Thank goodness for that Bernina sewing machine.

So my three Jedi Knights are adorable.

I even talked Brig (or Superman) into making me a sweet pumpkin applique for an orange t-shirt.

Did you check out Brig's post about his Halloween detail?

And luckily my boys came back with treats to share. Yum.

Brig's Additions:
The Little guys did such a good job collecting their loot.  When we got home Wife noticed that Little Guy and Twin # Other One had more candy than Twin #1.

I had to explain that Twin #1 was a model trick-or-treater, he would say "Trick-Or-Treat" politely, and then say "Thank You" as he was leaving.

Little Guy was pretty good, but sometimes missed the "Thank You".

That brings us to Twin# Other One.  For those of you that know him, you understand why we call him Poker-Face, because it is ironic, very very ironic.  This kid could not hide his facial expressions if he went out as a ghost, and used 2 sheets.

He would walk up and say "Or Treat" omitting the "Trick" because why give the people an option, he is all about efficiency.  And then when they would hand him something, he would look it over, and then either put it in his bag, OR HAND IT BACK AND SAY "NO THANKS!, CHOCOLATE ONE?"

If heaven forbid, they put it in his bag for him, he would open the bag, give it a good long look while trying to isolate the latest addition, and then either turn around running and saying "Thank You", or he would stare down the candy giver and say "More Please" or "Another One."  

It was hilarious.

And for those of you that want a glimpse of the real Man of Steel, look no further.  Ok, Man of Steel after going on a 5 year bender and eating the Pillsbury Dough Boy.

Best Halloween EVER