Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday Folies: NFL Picks League (Week 4)

Wow.  That was some week.  Pretty much everybody that picks games professionally got creamed, including our very own Sharona (from Inside the Pylon andSports by Sharona).  Chris, Ben, and I all broke even, but considering that I started the week down four, I’m still in no better shape than I was when last week ended.  
What I’ve learned is that this competition is all about your Lock of the Week.  If you get your Lock right, then the worst you can do is break even.  If you screw your Lock up, then no matter what else happens, you’re not going to help yourself.
Let’s review.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Army Football Preview: Scouting Report

Army is on a bye this week.  While the team resets for the next part of the season, let’s turn our attention to some of this week’s critical match-ups.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum

After some debate, Sally and I decided to take the girls to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum as a last family outing before the end of the summer.  The Memorial is, of course, located on the former World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan just a few blocks north of Battery Park.  We went to Battery Park immediately before touring the memorial; the walk north went maybe ten blocks and took no more than fifteen minutes.  I hadn’t been down to that part of the City in ages and was amazed by all of the bike lanes and open space that now exists in Lower Manhattan.  It’s become a truly beautiful part of the New York.
The new World Trade Center building as seen from Battery Park.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Review: Marvel Masterworks Ms. Marvel (Vol. 1)

Volume 1 of the late-70’s era Ms. Marvel is an odd choice for a Marvel Masterworks hardcover collection.  On the one hand, it’s obvious because Marvel is putting out a Captain Marvel movie sometime in 2018, starring Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, the current Captain Marvel.  Danvers got her superhero start as Ms. Marvel, a kind of accidental protégé of the original Captain Marvel, Captain Mar-Vell of the Kree imperial military.  Publishing some kind of collection of Danvers’s old adventures therefore seems a logical step in the Marvel/Disney hype process, but unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple.  Reality is that most of Ms. Marvel’s old-school adventures represent some of the worst, most sexist execution of an otherwise good idea in modern comics’ history.  Considering where comics were as recently as five or ten years ago, that is really saying something.
Marvel Masterworks: Ms. Marvel (Vol 1)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Quick Thoughts: Army Crashes Back to Earth

Ugh.  I don't want to kill this Army team too badly because last night's game was still a better performance than they put in at any point last season, but it was nevertheless extremely disheartening to watch.  At 3-0, Army came in on top of the world, only to revert to form, allowing the problems from yesteryear to rematerialize in a heartbreaking loss to a team they were expected to beat in fine style.  After three wins, I think a lot of fans had forgotten that this is still a very young team.  They have talent, but they are also prone to the kinds of mistakes and streaky performances that are the hallmark of youth in sport.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Saturday Odds & Ends: How to Watch Army at Buffalo

Happy Saturday, everybody!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Follies: NFL Picks (Week 3)

Oh man, what a shit week.  I went 0-3, which puts me down four units thanks to our mercilessly punitive scoring system.
Let’s review.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Army Football Preview: at Buffalo

In my preseason preview, I broke Army Football’s season down into thirds.  At the time, I thought Army would go either 2-3 or 3-2, with an eye towards finishing this first five-game stretch above .500.  This, I thought, would set the team up for a potential seven-win season and a bowl berth, a legitimate goal given last year’s performance, the team’s maturation, and the current schedule.  It had been clear for some time that Army was an improved program.  We had no way of knowing just how much the team had improved, however, until they started playing games.

Fast-forward to mid-September, and Army hasn’t just improved, it’s turned expectations upside down.  With three games in the books, the Black Knights of the Hudson already have more wins than they had all last season.  The over/under on wins has gone from six to something like nine—or even ten!  The team is playing with a level of confidence and precision that we haven’t seen in decades.  It’s truly been a joy to behold.

Monday, September 19, 2016

D&D 5e Homebrew: The Bard College of Ballet

My daughter Emma gave me this idea a few weeks ago when she told me that she has become a Level 1 Ballerina.  I asked her what happens when she levels-up, and she replied, “I learn more tricks and stunts and stuff.”

Okay.  I can work with that.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Friday, September 16, 2016

Friday Follies: NFL Picks League (Week 2)

Week 1 was not overly kind to most of us, nor was our—rather vindictive—scoring system.  One of us made some money, though.
I should note here that our scoring system mirrors real betting.  When you win, you win.  If you push, i.e. match the spread exactly, you neither win nor lose.  That’s zero points.  When you lose, however… then you lose.
Let’s review:

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Army Football Preview: at UT-El Paso

Army Football beat Rice in its home opener, 31-14.  This week the Black Knights travel to Texas to take on the Miners of UT-El Paso.  Despite getting off to their fastest start since 1996, the Army team faces perhaps its toughest test so far this season on Saturday, playing in conditions that add a significant degree of difficulty to a game that was already going to be tough.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Swim Workout: Impromptu Racing

Our family has gotten busy of late.  My girls are in 6th and 8th grade, respectively, and if they don't have quite the same level of commitment to their sports that I had at their age, they nevertheless have a lot going on.  Both girls take multiple sessions of modern dance/tap, ballet, and gymnastics weekly, and on top of this, they're both in the local church youth group.  I've also been teaching Hannah to run and lift weights for the past few months.  My wife Sally works most nights teaching various fitness classes, so especially of late, it seems like our house is as more a way-station at times than it is a working family home.

Nobody was home again last night, so I went to the pool to grab a workout.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Remembering Brandon Jackson

I was iffy on telling this story this morning because there's no way to disaggregate my favorite memory of watching Army CB Brandon Jackson from what was going on in my life that day.  In the end, I decided that there's never a wrong time to celebrate a young man's life after he's taken too soon, so here goes...

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Friday, September 9, 2016

Friday Football Picks: NFL Week 1

I had an idea for an NFL picks league for the blog.  Alas, I had it yesterday afternoon, which didn’t leave me enough time to create an actual league.  Instead, this is more “picks with a couple of friends.”  Hopefully it’s worth your time.
I'm a Giants fan.
The idea was this:

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Random Access

A stroll through the morning's Twitter feed.

First off, you have to choose a career out of a very narrow field:

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Army Football Preview: Rice

The Black Knights of the Hudson thrilled their fanbase with a strong win against a stout opponent last week.  Army’s win over Temple was the program’s best result since 2010.  Now the team looks to start 2-0 for the first time since 1996.

Army fans, it’s been a long time since you’ve had reason to feel this good about your program.  Enjoy it!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Yesterday's Workout (or "How to Swim Stupid")

I got in the water late yesterday morning for a belated long swim.  I'd intended to do some open water swimming while we were camping over the weekend, but that didn't happen, leaving me to try to cram it all in on Labor Day.  

Results were mixed.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Still Celebrating

We're still celebrating the start of college football season and Army's opening win.  If you haven't seen it, here are the highlights.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Quick Thoughts: Army vs. Temple

First off, that was a terrific win!  It was a brilliant effort against a worthy opponent in a stadium that had previously been a House of Horrors. 

We said before the game that if Army could limit Temple's running game and force QB P.J. Walker to try to win with his arm, that there might be some opportunity there.  Temple actually ran well, especially between the 20s, but Army's defense stiffened near the goal line, forcing fields goals--and one turnover--and that was the difference in the game. With Army scoring touchdowns while Temple kicked field goals and punts, the Owls eventually had to shift to a hurry-up offense, and that's when we the the Black Knights' defense really come up big. LBs Andrew King and Kenneth Brinson both had picks late, icing a fifteen point road win against what had previously been an emerging college football powerhouse.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Friday Mad Science: How to Meet Women

Friday Mad Science is back!
The Internet blew up earlier this week with talk of “pickup artists” and “How to talk to a woman wearing headphones.”  Folks have spent the week running down men for wanting to meet women, and in the long run, I do not think that this is in anyone’s best interests.  The problem is not that men and women do not need to meet and even get together, it’s that there is a right and a wrong way to do everything, and right now, dudes are reading a shitload of bad information.  Blame technology, the PC police, the Baby Boomers, or whomever you’d like.  Whatever the reason, what we have now is an entire class of people who have no clue whatsoever how to speak to the opposite sex.  
It’s become a serious problem, apparently.