Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Flex Thanksgiving

Why should I be subject to watching the Lions and Seahawks on Thanksgiving?

If it were up to me, I'd switch the scheduling as they do for NBC Sunday Night games.

I'd start the day with the Giants at Redskins and end it with Steelers at Patriots. Now there's two games worth being thankful for.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Monday Construda Miracle!

Down 13 with only Colston active, my chances were slim. At halftime, Colston didn't have any catches. And then a 70-yard touchdown on a broken play and I get my 13 points.

West Standings
Dave 6-5-1
Niraj 6-6
Kirat 5-6-1

With two games to play, only one of these teams is making the playoffs.

Week 13
Kirat vs Showtime
Dave vs Niraj

Week 14
Burnsy vs Kirat
Dave vs Showtime

Scenarios for Kirat
The only way for him to make the playoffs is to win both games and have Dave not win both.

Scenarios for Niraj
If he wins both, he's in.
He has to win in week 13 to stay alive. If he loses to Kirat in week 14, he needs Kirat to lose in week 13 and Dave to lose in week 14.

Scenarios for Dave
If he wins both, he's in.
He has to win at least one to stay alive. If he wins in 13 but loses in 14, he needs Kirat to not win both. If he wins in 14 but loses in 13, he needs Niraj to not win both.

Takeaway Points
I can clinch the division next week if I beat Niraj and Kirat loses.
Both games are must win for Kirat.
Week 13 is a must win for Niraj.
One of the games is a must win for Dave.
If I win in 13, I advance with either loss from Kirat or another win by me.
If I lose in 13, I need to win in 14 and have Kirat lose in 13 and have Niraj lose in 14.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Construda Draft Analysis

With only 3 weeks left in the regular fantasy season, I look back at my draft.

Round 1: Addai
6th RB taken / currently 26th in RB scoring

Round 2: Big Ben
6th QB taken / 27th in QB scoring (based on average to not give advantage for already playing in week 12)

Round 3: Colston
7th WR taken / 80th in WR scoring (was injured, now just underperforming)

Round 4: Welker
12th WR taken / 28th in WR scoring (no longer on team)

Round 5: Thomas Jones
22nd RB taken / 7th in RB scoring (after I got Slaton I tried to trade him, ended up dropping him before he really took off, so this might be the worst one yet)

Round 6: Selvin Young
23rd RB taken / 68th in RB scoring

Round 7-10: Cotchery, Scheffler, Packers, Gage: all no longer on my team

Round 11: Forte
33rd RB taken / 8th in RB scoring
Forte was my only good draft pick. It's amazing I'm 5-5. The team I drafted was terrible. The funny thing is I still think I have a shot at winning this thing.

Hindsight is 20/20 Drafting Results

If I had a time machine, this would be the perfect drafted team, based on what was available in our draft at my 7th pick.

In parenthesis is their current scoring ranking at their position.

Round 1: Portis RB (1st)
Round 2: Fitzgerald WR (2nd)
Round 3: Michael Turner RB (4th)
Round 4: Calvin Johnson WR (4th)
Round 5: Boldin WR (1st)
Round 6: Bucs D (1st)
Round 7: Roddy White WR (3rd)
Round 8: Cutler QB (3rd)
Round 9: Owen Daniels TE (4th)
Round 10 DeAngelo Williams RB (11th)
Round 11: Forte RB (8th)
Round 12: Vincent Jackson WR (13th)
Round 13: Akers K (1st)
Round 14: Warner QB (1st)

This is just to show that if I had all the foresight in the world, it would have be possible for me to draft the numbers 1 and 3 QB, three top ten backs, the top four receivers and the best kicker and defense.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

best restaurant meals

Although this is a little late, I'm adding a fourth meal to my list.

I went to Hugo's Frog Bar and had a bowl of New England Clam Chowder, Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes, and a decadent, enormous portion of Chocolate Mousse Cake.

Why am I just reminded of it now? I just made reservations for Friday night: Gibson's. Hugo's was the followup restaurant to Gibson's so now I have high hopes. Will it get added to the list?

The List
Le Village Buffet - Paris Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas -- January 2005

Fogo de Chao, Chicago -- April 2006
Capital Grille, Chicago -- November 2006
Hugo's Frog Bar, Chicago -- August 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Earth Has Stopped Spinning

In today's Fantasy Football Focus podcast, at 22:20, Matthew Berry called a certain player "a key cog of the hottest offense in the league, right now, from a fantasy perspective."

The player and team in question? Mark Bradley of the Kansas City Football Chiefs.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Premature Look at the Fymbo Formula™: A College Football Playoff That Works

Here's what it would look like using the establish formula:

New Year's Day: Round 1

#1 Alabama vs #8 West Virginia

#2 Texas Tech vs #7 North Carolina

#3 Penn State vs #6 Utah

#4 Texas vs #5 USC

The problem with how this looks now, is that the Big East and ACC don't have any teams in the top 18. Are they even deserving of a automatic berth?

Instead of giving each conference an automatic berth, I could restructure to go based on rankings, restricting each conference to maximum two teams, and including at least one non-BCS team if they are in the top 16.

That would give us:

New Year's Day: Round 1

#1 Alabama vs #8 Boise State

#2 Texas Tech vs #7 Utah

#3 Penn State vs #6 USC

#4 Texas vs #5 Florida

It's just odd that right now they are 4 Big 12 teams in the top 10 in the BCS. But that will get sorted out. Also odd that are two non-BCS teams in the top 10.

Still, this is an improvement over the inclusion of those putrid ACC/Big East schools.

Also, a prediction: Neither Alabama nor Texas Tech will play in the National Championship.

I'm Afraid I Don't Quite Understand The Stock Market

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Results

Okay, it's time to shake off the gravitas of that last post and crack a little smile.

It appears the final results are going to be 365-173 with NC going to Obama, MO to McCain, and Obama picking up 1 of the 5 Electoral votes from NE.

So that's 10 votes shy of the 375 number designated as a landslide by Olbermann dubbed a neo-landslide, which I think is ridiculous. You don't have to pump up Obama's results, Keith. 365 will stand for itself.

Anyways, this summer I received this map of Battleground States in a video emailed to me from David Plouffe, Obama's campaign manager:

This map shows the 17 swing states that will decide the election. Using this as the starting point, this means that 200 Electoral were Safe Dem, and 142 were Safe Rep. That's a pretty big advantage to start from in the battleground states.

In fact, for Obama to get to 270 from there, he only needed PA (21) CO (9) FL (27) and VA (13).Or if you assume that IA, WI, MI and NH were also safe, that puts him at 238, needing only 32.

Or putting it another way, Obama ended up with 365. The five swing states that were noted by CNN (IN, OH, PA, VA and FL) add up to 92. Barack Obama would still be the 44th President even if he had lost all five key states.

But back to the Obama Battleground Map. Those 17 states were worth 196. 164 went blue. 32 red. And the ones that went red were a stretch to put on the battleground in the first place, except for Missouri: GA, MT and ND. Bush outperformed Kerry by 58%, 60%, and 64% respectively.

If you're scoring at home the math is off by one. That's because Obama is projected to get 1 of NE's 5 votes, which wasn't considered a battleground by O's campaign.

So technically, here's the breakdown:

Safe D: 200
Battle: 164
Safe R: 1
Total: 365

Safe R: 142
Battle: 32
Safe R: -1
Total: 173

As for the states that I specifically wanted to be blue, I got Ohio, Florida, Indiana and Viriginia. A narrow miss in Missouri and not even close in West Virginia. Not too bad.

And my prediction of 318-220 wasn't terrible. I missed three states and the 1 vote from Nebraska. I gave Indiana , Ohio, and North Carolina to McCain. The actual results were 50-49, 51-47, and 50-49, for Obama. Notably, I didn't project any states for Obama that went to McCain.

As for the pundits, the winner was:

Alan Abramowitz, Emory University political scientist
Electoral College: Obama 361 McCain 177

The loser was:

Fred Barnes, Weekly Standard editor
Electoral College: Obama 252 McCain 286

As for, my trusted source for all my electoral projections...

Their model picked the states and came up with 353 for Obama, off by the 11 votes of Indiana and the 1 in Nebraska. When their model averaged the possibilities, it arrived at 348.6 and cited that there was a 59% chance that NC would go to Obama. We had heard the Obama ground game would be the difference in many states, and it seems that could be the explanation why Indiana went blue, contrary to the polling model.

Still, I think they nailed it.

Their popular vote prediction:
52.3 percent for Obama
percent for McCain

Current totals according to Wikipedia:
52.5 percent for Obama
percent for McCain

Obama became the first Democrat to get 50% of the vote since Jimmy Carter in '76, trumping Bill Clinton a.k.a. the first black president.

And Obama got the most votes ever, though that record will likely be broken as our population keeps increasing.

And voter turnout was 64% of eligible citizens. A previous estimate was that only 70% of elgibile citizens are registered to vote. This was the highest turnout rate since 1908.

This concludes Hoagie Central's 2008 election coverage. Winning was the easy part. Governing will be tough. And that's the one that counts.

History in the Making

"This is an historic election, and I recognize the special significance it has for African-Americans and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight." - from John McCain's concession speech.

McCain was half right. This election carries special significance for African-Americans and all Americans.

For me, a white American born in the 1980's, it's sometime difficult to imagine how recent slavery existed. On the face of it, slavery seems archaic. A tragic mistake that was corrected along the way. And when we hear about genocide happening today elsewhere in the world, it almost seems preposterous. This is 2008.

And yet, the history of the United States is a short one. 232 years is a drop in the bucket on the timeline of human history.

9,000 years ago humans invented metalworking, maps, and dental drills.
7,000 years ago Egypt enjoyed beer and bread, Mesopotamians invented the wheel and axle, and Scandinavians created ice skates.
3,000 years ago Romans were performing cataract surgeries and Indians were getting cosmetic surgery.

And eleven score and twelve years ago, the United States of America declared it's independence, leading with the bold statement that all men are created equal. Of course, eleven years later at the Constitution Convention in Philadelphia, it was agreed that a slave was to be counted as 3/5 of a man. In 1790, 18 percent of the people in America were slaves.

Slavery existed long enough to divide the United. It was abolished in 1865. It took eleven months to get three-fourths of the country to ratify the 13th Amendment. As for Kentucky and Mississippi, they eventually ratified it as well. In 1976 and 1995, respectively.

143 years ago slavery was no longer legal in America. Not that long ago, considering a 114-year old American cast her vote on Tuesday. Her parents were slaves.

And while the 15th Amendment declared that a citizen's race could not disqualify them from voting, the story of racial discrimination didn't end there. Jim Crow laws continued segregation in public facilities, poll taxes and other ways to deny voting rights, and an overall era of racism and unequal rights. It wasn't until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that the spirit of the 15th Amendment was fully realized.

Barack Obama was born in 1961.

When he was born, not only could his mother not envision that one day a black man could become president, she couldn't yet promise him that he would be able to vote for president.

My parents were born in the 1940's. I am literally one generation away from an era before equal civil rights. To think that my grandfather who lived through the Great Depression, and admitted that he made his first black friend through my mother within the last ten years, cast his vote for an African-American on Tuesday is simply remarkable.

Wednesday morning, November 5th, I walked to work like I do everyday. And I stopped a picked up a copy of the free Red Eye paper from the Chicago Tribune. And a block later I saw a mom and three young boys getting their copies of the Red Eye. They were three black boys probably between the ages of 4 and 8. And I realized that this is their first election memory.

One day they will fully appreciate that history was made. But it's amazing that boys and girls of all races will have this as their first election memory. They will never be shackled with the idea that the highest office in the country is reserved only for white people. When their parents tell them that they can be whatever they want to be when they grow up, it will not be ridiculous for them to think they could reach the highest position in whatever field they want.

And then later that day, my mom said something interesting to me. She said that she wished that the media would stop talking about how he is the first black president. I thought to myself how ridiculous it would be to not adequately cover this historic moment. But she continued to say that she hoped the media would talk about how after 8 years of Bush, we finally have a president who is beyond intelligent. That she didn't care at all about Obama's race, and that she was thrilled to have this man in the White House for who he is.

And I think that it should not be overlooked that the reason Obama was able to capture so many voters had little to do with the color of his skin and everything to do with what he said, the plans he presented, and how he acted in the face of a crisis. (You could make the argument that anyone who voted for or against him based on race, was likely to vote Democratic or Republican respectively, anyways. And that the number of independents that voted based on race, was likely split as well.)

Furthermore, I think that it's all the more reason to celebrate the historic nature of this outcome, because of his character. If, hypothetically John Edwards had become president and selected a token black man who wasn't ready for a VP, and then something happened to Edwards, that would still have produced this nation's first black president. While a milestone, it wouldn't be anything to get excited about.

After September 11, 2001, I experienced a strong sense of unity. Not that I wasn't proud, but it was mostly a feeling of togetherness an united strength.

On November 4th, 2008, I felt humbled, privileged and proud to be an American.

I'll end with words that were spoken twenty years before I was born, by a man standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial:

Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning...I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal...I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What It Was Like To Be There

I didn't film this, but it's not that far from where I was standing. This is the one moment that stands out from last night. Not even seeing the President-Elect speaking in person trumps this.

CNN had just projected Virgina moments before putting Obama at 220. Everyone knew that California would put him over the top, and we started counting down.

You can see the screen better in this next clip. All night we had been getting the graphics and sound from the CNN Projection animation. And then just when we expected to get another one it didn't say "CNN Projection." It said "Breaking News" and that's when we knew.

At that moment, it became real.

The World Reacts

There's a lot that I'd like to say. Including that winning was the easy part, and that actually improving things is the real challenge that lies ahead. And that even in a blowout, this is still a country divided. And I'll take some time to reflect on the historic nature of this election, and once all the results are in, an analysis of the votes.

But for now, I just want to take one day and soak it in.

New York City



Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Final Thought on the Election (pre-results)

It's an exciting day in America. It's an exciting day to be in Chicago. And I am grateful that I was born before November 4th, 1990, so that I have the privilege of voting for the 44th President of the United States.

* * *

On March 6th, I posted: I'm convinced that Obama will be the Dem. nominee and I'm reasonably sure that he will win the election as well. But I'm still nervous about that one.

On April 22nd, I posted: I'm convinced Obama will win the Dem nomination, and 70% confident he will win the general election.

On May 9th, I posted: Obama will be the 44th President of the United States.

* * *

And here's my link of an art project that I did on a Saturday in March.

And to think, that day, is today.

Point / Counterpoint

Just in case Hoagie Central has been too partisan lately, I thought I would give the conservatives a voice. Here are some comments from when news broke yesterday about Obama's grandmother passing away:

And here are some comments from the story that Dixville Notch, NH went to Obama 15-6.

Hoagie Central: Nothing if not fair and balanced!

Real Americans Vote on Election Day

There I was, in the voting booth a little after 8 a.m. CST. The ballot in my hands, with a million thoughts running through my brain. The debates, the policy positions, the judgment and character of the candidates, and of course, the attack ads.

As I stared at the two sides of the arrow I had to connect, I had a struggle with my conscience. Who is the real Barack Obama? Was I really voting for a Socialist? How could I vote for someone who knew Bill Ayers? Isn't he too risky? And was he even born in the United States?

I did the only thing I could do. With a heavy heart, I filled in the ballot for John McCain and Sarah Palin. They might keep us in Iraq for another for years, but I couldn't live with myself knowing that I put a secret Muslim terrorist in the White house.

* * *

Of course, the act of filling in McCain's arrow sent my body into anaphylactic shock and I passed out. When I woke up 15 minutes later, with a piece of donut in my mouth, I came to my senses and crossed out McCain's arrow and filled in Obama's.

* * *

In case anyone who doesn't know me ends up reading this...(cough, cough) satire.

Here's what really happened: I went to bed a little after 1. And then I woke up with a nosebleed. I've been having recurring nosebleeds off and on for a long time. And it's usually no big deal. I've gotten quite adept at holding my nose and running to the bathroom.

Anyways, so out of habit, I got in the shower, washed up and by the time I was finished the nosebleed had stopped. As I reached for my towel, memory pieces started assembling in my head. Brittany was still in bed. By the time my alarm goes off she should be at work. Did my alarm go off?

And then I opened the bathroom door and looked into my living room. Pitch black. That's not good. I thought to myself, I hope it's closer to 7 than it is to 5:30. I walked to the kitchen and looked at the microwave: 3:45 a.m. I'm an idiot. I went back to bed.

Luckily, my hair didn't get messed up so I didn't need to shower again in the morning, and I actually felt fully rested and ready to go. So it didn't turn out terrible but I'm still pretty stupid for showering before 4 a.m. on election day. And yes, this part really is true. As for voting, it was quick, and a little exciting. I was proud to wear my Obama shirt, even if I had to covertly hide it under my coat. And now I've got 2 receipts for the times I voted for Obama. February 5th and November 4th.

But the real excitement is yet to come.

Monday, November 03, 2008

An Email on the Eve of the Election

Earlier today, I received an email. I thought that this person deserved a response.

In the second paragraph you asked me to fight for this country's future.

I will.

In the second to last paragraph you asked that I never forget that much has been sacrificed to protect our right to vote. You continued, we must never forget those Americans who, with their courage, with their sacrifice, and with their lives, have protected our freedom.

In this, I fully agree with you.

Your final plea was that I exercise your right to vote as an American tomorrow.

Sir, you grabbed my attention with the subject line. And I've decided to take you up on your offer. I will proudly fulfill my American responsibility and, in doing so, will make history tomorrow.

Pres Picks

Here's my picks:
Obama 318, McCain 220
Dems 58, Rep 40

Here's a rundown of other's picks.