The Insane American Voter

Whether it was Mark Twain, a Chinese proverb, Albert Einstein, or someone else entirely, this is an often repeated phrase to define insanity:

Doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting a different result.

Over the last several American presidential elections I’ve had the opportunity to observe the sycophants from both of the major parties. I’ve tended toward Libertarian candidates for quite sometime, so the observations are more from a distance than within the mix. The rhetoric and complaining from the most recent has lead me to a conclusion I had not expected: the average American voter is insane.

The complaints heard now differ little from the past and both parties have their core group offering them up. One group complains of injustice. Another complains about abortion. Still another complains about unfairness or intolerance or inequality.

Go back to the last election. The same people are complaining about the same things. A candidate stands up and claims they will see it resolved. They get elected. Four years go by. The problems are still there.

Not satisfied? Go back 4 more years. What are the complaints? Same. Remember Obama’s slogan of Change 8 years ago? Clinton used the same slogan. Go back all the way to FDR. Same again.

Many of these groups have been complaining for decades. Evangelical Christians will vote for a Pro-Life candidate and four years later Abortion is still legal. Again and again they vote, same results. Their problem? Trying to fix a heart issue by Government edict. Evangelize and cleanse the minds of people and it will not matter if it is legal or not.

Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial. – 1 Corinthians 6:12 (NIV)

Blacks have complained about many things for years, often rightly so. Various laws over the years fixed them and in the 60’s their leadership offered up their votes to Lyndon Johnson. Privately he showed that he cared little for their situation and declared they would have their votes forever. He was right.

The major injustices were resolved with help from Republicans. He even declared a war on poverty. The results? After trillions of dollars spent, the problems of poverty are still here, the black family is nearly destroyed, and illiteracy and illegitimate rates are up. Decade after decade voting for the same party to solve the same issues. Again. Same. Same. Same.

The issue at hand doesn’t seem to matter. Tired of insider corruption? Vote this way and it will get fixed. No, not really. Unethical acts? Immoral standards? Again and again, the two parties con voters into continuous votes.

Enough.

Stop flipping the same coin and expecting different results. There is only one party, two faces. Each divide in their own way. Stop being divided. Stop giving in. Stop doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.

Stand up and move a different way.

Hoppy Brown Belgian Stout

Back in July I made my second beer using the Grainfather system. Not one to back away from going overboard a little, I decided to do a take on a stout and add a bit of Belgian flare. The idea was simple. Make a good stout, pull back on the grain bitterness a bit, and the use a golden Belgian ale yeast. The hops too needed to complement the yeast.

Choosing the grains was the easy part: pale, crystal, chocolate, and roasted barley. Yeah, but what kind of pale? American? English? Belgian? Being the Belgian influence needed to be recognized, the pilsner malt would be good. SRM of 2, so nice and pale. The amount? 12 pounds.

Deciding on the SRM level of the crystal was next. Using BeerSmith helped. A compromise here to keep the beer from getting too dark and too toasted: 40L at 12 ounces. Just a touch.

A regular chocolate malt was chosen at 350 SRM and the roasted barley at 300. For now, the debittered malt was skipped. After, this is a stout base, not a dark Abbey ale.

The total malt bill looks like so:

  • 12 lbs – Pilsner 2 row Belgian malt (2 SRM)
  • 12 oz – Crystal Malt 40L
  • 12 oz – Chocolate malt (350 SRM)
  • 4 oz – Roasted Barley (300 SRM)

Now for the hops

As we are already playing around with the yeast and target taste profile on the malts, why not the hops too. Usually a stout as very little, if any, hop flavor, but yeah, why not? For bittering, Northern Brewer is a good one. Here the alphas were at 8.5% and boiled for 60 min. Ahtanum has hints of grapefruit and other citrus flavors and dark fruits are wanted, so in go 2 ounces at whirlpool time. Alphas here were 6%, but with no boil time, they will impart no bitterness. Only hop pellets were used.

  • 1 oz – Northern Brewer (8.5%)
  • 2 oz – Ahtanum (6%)

The yeast was to be Belgian Golden Ale WLP570 from White Labs. The store was out of it though, so Wyeast 1388 was substituted. This is not an exact one for one swap, but it should be close enough for the first go.

Stepping the mash

Aiming for a better mouth feel this time, a I decided on a step mash. Strike water as 120 F and the mash started at 113 after dough in. The Grainfather is a recirculating system, so no water is added to increase the mash temperatures.

  • 113 F @ 20 min
  • 127 F @ 20 min
  • 140 F @ 40 min (mash switch setting)
  • 158 F @ 20 min (mash switch setting)
  • Mash out at 168 F for 10 min

Sparge water temperature was 170 F and enough to collect 6 gallons for boiling. The expectation is to lose 1 gallon during boiling.

The results were quite good. Give it a try with your system.

Happy brewing!

YouTube is not removing my videos

Over the last couple of weeks, the YouTube demonitization bot has hit some of the biggest names on the site: Phil DeFranco, Boogie2988, Dave Cullen (Computing Forever), etc. During this same time, a few subscribers noticed an odd occurrence on LapeTV, videos were removed. Concerned, they sent notes asking why.

Some speculated it was YouTube removing content of free speech believers. Some wondered if it was due to how bad they were. Not watched for too long? Remove? What bot was now running amuck on YouTube?

Alas, the truth is far simpler. Thanks for noticing though.

Both the YouTube channel and the blog were started for the same reason. I was involved with a business opportunity called Carbon Copy Pro. It also went by the name of Pro U. Many videos and blog posts were made in an attempt to get search engines to find it.

Yes, the article on SEO included.

Though many people found the blog and the links to the landing pages for the business (I used embedded codes for every lead source), I was never able to fully close any sales. I will honestly admit that I had 100% unsubscribe rate from the Aweber list, despite buying so of the best copy for the e-mails. A few hundred started down the path, none completed the sale.

I eventually quit Pro U and tried another opportunity, but it too failed to generate cash flow. Yes, it did hurt in the wallet a bit. In some ways, I’m still paying. Those business opportunities vanished as well over time. That is the reason why the people who create and run them are serial entrepreneurs. It is not anything insidious like they are scammers and running from the law, most of it is the ever changing market and consumer expectations. Any, I am digressing.

Many of these older videos make references to websites that no longer exist, or which have had their purposes change. This site is the latter. At one time it was a landing page for Pro U and then Remarkamobile, but now it is my personal blog (when I write). Plus, these videos see very few views anymore. It was time to prune.

There you have, dear reader. It was not YouTube removing my videos, it was me. There is no conspiracy to keep Brainmuffin down or to end LapeTV. It was simply a matter of removing old, useless content that no one watched to make room for the future.

Please, view all of the ones that remain.

Thanks for the like.

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Breaking Frustration

The shortened and delayed ski season we experienced this year did much to create havoc for my fitness. A few months before the season started, I switched from a strength based 5×5 varient (Mad Cow) to one more oriented to endurance. The plan was quite simple. Build strength and mass during the off season, then get the muscles ready to spend 8 hours on skis during a weekend shift. It seemed like a good idea, but it didn’t work.

Going into the switch, I had the momentum in my favor. My body fat percentage was hovering around 15% and showed signs of dropping lower. My abs were starting to make an appearance and my waist looked to stay under 34 inches. My one rep max on dead lift of 250 became my 3 rep. My squat wanted to stay above body weight and even 225s were recorded. Only my bench suffered a bit due to my left shoulder weakness. Goals were reached. Looked good.

Pushing heavy weights around is very different from pushing snow for hours. Sure, strength does help, but so does balance and finesse. Mark Rippetoe speaks on how it is easier to build endurance from strength than it is the other way around. Looking at the calendar and the goals I had reached, I decided it was time to switch. Workouts became more 4x oriented. I knew some strength would drop, the amount was one I did not realize.

Normally by mid-December, the ski season is well underway. This year, December closed and being open was not near. The first week in January saw a hand-full of runs open, but nothing upon which we could train. Not until the latter half of January did the hill get opened and ski training could really start. By this time, it had been over 8 weeks since my last heavy sessions. During a busy ski season, this isn’t a problem as long hours in boots and on the hill have made up for it. Not this year. This year, my fitness started to drop far too much. Pants became tighter and the wrong kind of weight showed up.

After the season was over, I tried returning to the Mad Cow 5×5 program, but my heart was not in it. Looking for a change, I decided on some German Volume Training. The first two weeks were good, but as time went on, my ability to meet the required schedule for the training sessions to be of their greatest value waned. GVT without the volume is missing the key component. Though the workouts were good, my charts remained flat and my body fat percentage was still going the wrong way.

Time for a change.

Today I decided to return to the Mad Cow 5×5 with a reset to workout A. The gym was crowded, so I started on the leg press to get warmed up and stretched. Once the rack became available, I started in on the squats. I made my way up to 170 x 5 on the final set and things felt tough, but good. During the rest period between squats and bench press, I decided to make another change: make this an actual leg workout.

Ok, why the double change?

One nice thing about the German Volume training routines is they are not too long. I really want to be out of the gym within 45 minutes most days and want good effectiveness. There is far too much to be done to spend two hours per session. So an idea came across my mind. Five heavy sets of squats. Five heavy sets of leg presses. Then five sets of 12 rep walking lunges. Surely that will work.

Time will tell what the results will be. Here is the routine:

  • Warm up and stretch
  • Squats
    • Warm up: 3 x 5, increasing slightly each set, 30 seconds rest
    • Medium heavy: 1 x 5, 85 seconds rest
    • Work: 5×5, heavy on each set, same weight, 85 seconds rest
  • Presses
    • 1 x 5, heavier than light, consider it a warm up, 75 seconds rest
    • 1 x 5, medium heavy, 75 seconds rest
    • 5 x 5, heavy on each set, same weight, 75 seconds rest
  • Walking Lunge
    • 5 x 12, as much as you can do, same weight every set, 65 seconds rest

Borrowing from the 5×5 and 4x ideals, do not neglect the negative, especially on the leg presses. Go for as much as 6 seconds on each rep. Do not increase the weight until all the sets can be performed with the same weight. Get your ego out of the way. Form counts.

Now to find companion routines for Wednesday and Friday. Time to break out of the rut. Time to break the frustration.

Extra twist: do the weight on the walking lunge unequal. Keeping your torso straight with unbalanced weight will also work your core.

 

Removing Can’t

In the English language, there are few words or phrases that are more destructive, more disruptive, more discouraging, nor more damaging than can’t. Matters not if it is used in its formal form of cannot, separated for emphases as can not, nor pronounced as if it spelled cain’t, the damage, the discouragement, the destruction is the same.

Parents will use the term believing they are teaching their children not to do something harmful. When physical or emotional harm is the known outcome, it is still encouraging to use another word. A child should not have to put their hands to a put stove to know it is hot and will burn them, but the common usage of can’t is too tempting to bleed over into other uses whose damage will not be seen for years.

Each person is born with a unique set of talents and gifts. Often parents are not sure what to do with their child when they are different. Unknowingly, a parent may tell a child they cannot do something out of fear or jealousy. Suppose they have a child who is adapt at piano when they never were. The parent might tell the child “You can’t spend the time to learn well enough.” The parent is making a judgement about their child and placing the seeds of doubt within them. Instead, the parent should empower the child to make a better decision whether to pursue and for how long: “I believe you can play well. Let’s set some learning goals and a practice schedule to get there.” Sure, these first goals may be as simple as learning the C scale in both directions with proper finger placement, but it shows the child how the path will look.

Parents are not the only ones who disarm with can’t. Often a person themselves will sabotage their own success by looking at a new endeavor and saying “I could never do that,” or worse “I can’t do that.” How do you know till you fully try? Don’t assume you cannot and then give a half-hearted effort to create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, believe that perhaps you can do it. Create a plan, even it is just a mental one, and give 110% to the attempt. Decide and take massive action.

Inside each and every person ever born or will be born has an unique blend of talents and gifts that the World needs to better itself. How those gifts are used is the choice of that person and no one else. Whether or not those gifts and talents are used is also a choice of that same person, no matter what negative “can’t” words have been used by others toward them. Every great leap forward, every great progressive step, every breakthrough, every incredible discovery was created by someone who refused to accept the limits imposed of them by others. Create your can. Drop the can’t.

Creating Positive Energy

Eien / Universe / Believe in Love
Eien / Universe / Believe in Love (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week started out with the best of plans and intentions. The idea to read each chapter of “Working with the Law” by Raymond Holliwell over a week seemed like a very good one for truly studying the depth of each. The week began well, then Life starting to run in between the work, travel jumbled in the middle, and then illness finished out the Lack. Time to reset.

Recently I have discovered something about the song Time from the movie Inception. It has a melody that channels the mind and brings Peace. While writing today’s post, a 17 minute version is playing in the background. This is not a post to write “oh well” or “I’m a failure for not working the plan,” instead it is to show the pull of Positive energy.

Monday on the drive home from work, a small part of a sermon by Alistair Begg started a whole discussion with myself concerning his comments and the Law. Bob Proctor made the comment that God is the Creator and the Law creates and we create. Though only two days ago, I no longer remember the conclusions and particular points of the discussion (yes, recorded is needed), but the Lesson is well heard. Create with Positive Energy.

When things go wrong in Life, and they will, it is very easy to be angry or disappointed or hateful. All of these will start to create a Result and it will be negative. Though a Righteous Anger may be warranted by a circumstance, it must come from a Positive Energy flow, otherwise it will produce a tidal wave of negative.

As we Create for ourselves and others, Love must be the central ingredient. For it is Love that creates with the greatest Positive force the Universe can produce. It is Love that bears all things and it is Love that carries all things. Love carries concern and well-being. Love harnesses all other Positive aspects and energies. From Love flows all Good.

It was Love the created the Universe with a Word. It was Love the lead mankind through to the time with the Word become flesh and Love dwelt among us. It was Love that created Redemption for all.

Let Love reign throughout your experience. Let Love create within you first. Only then can Love go forth and create for others. For the Law will create through us whatever we prosper and Love is the greatest. Without Love, what will be created will bring ill and be against the underlying principle of the Law. It will become temporary and pass away. Love will build for a Lifetime.

The Law of the Hebrews was not one of endless rules. It established the required boundaries among behaviors for Yahweh’s creation and Himself. When consumed with a Power to rule, the Law became a weapon of destruction and slavery for the People. Christ spoke against this Law, declaring its practioners to be vipers and harlots. Yahweh’s House of Prayer became a dean of thieves and the people the servants of the money changers. That law produced a temporary result while Christ’s return to the Law produced eternal.

The Law is not a mere metaphysical explanation of reality. It is the Law of Yahweh manifest in today’s philosophy. Its greatest expression is Love and through Love the best Future is possible. Love starts within then pours out. Christ stated that All of the Law, not a part or portion, but ALL of the Law can be summed as “Love the Lord your God with all your Heart, Mind, and Soul, and Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Without a Love for self. Without a full acceptance that we are Created by God. Without Love pushing out the negative, Love cannot pour out as Positive Creation to anyone else. To know God is to know Love, for God is Love. The Law will produce what is set before it. Let it produce Love.

“The inner thought coming from the heart represents the real motives and desires. These are the cause of action.” -Raymond Holliwell

Working With The Law: A Study

For about a year now I’ve been meaning to read and study Raymond Holliwell’s “Working with the Law”. Finally, finally. It has been ordered and is now in my possession. I also have the companion CDs with discussion about the book and its chapters featuring Bob Proctor and Mary Morrissey. Since acquiring them, I’ve listened to them twice.

I first came across The Secret on YoutTube and watched it several times. Bob is also featured in the movie and I started to find his other videos. Along the way, there was mention of Holliwell’s book and that slowly began my journey. A journey of understanding and wisdom.

Once the book arrived, I started to read each night. Listening to the appropriate CD on the way to work the next day. This worked for a few days, until I did read and then the CD was ahead. Driving to work without something going usually leads me to talk to myself (forget the radio). Sometimes this is necessary as I work various issues and ideas out, but sometimes it is not. A new plan is needed.

My order from Amazon also included Bob Proctor’s “The Art of Living,” so a new idea came to mind. What about reading both books at the same time? No, not each book every night, but some alternating scheme. Various ideas ran through my mind until one settled in: one Law chapter per week, Bob’s book on odd days, and the same CD each day. Interesting.

Sunday I’ll start the new idea, rereading chapter one as a whole. Mondays will have the chapter reviewed, a few pages in deep study, taking notes, highlighting, etc. Tuesday and Thursday evenings will be for reading “The Art of Living” and studying it as well. Wednesday and Friday evenings will be for the other two-thirds of the week’s chapter. Saturday is when the whole chapter will be read once again to summarize and continue.

The daily CDs on the drive to work? When my mind isn’t in full gear, the time will be used to listen to the proper CD for the chapter. Some of these are longer than one-way of my commute, so the ride home may also have more listening. If my mind needs to work things out, no sound, just talking.

I can’t wait to try this new approach to learning and studying “Working with the Law” and the changes it will bring to my Mind, Heart, and Life. So much has happened over the last year, this one will be no different.

Exercise. Workout. Train.

There are three types of mindsets that can be found in the gym. The ones who exercise. The ones who workout. The ones who train. These are not individuals, they are motivation, goals, and style. They are a mindset that drives, controls, contributes to the individual. Some will see these are the same, but they are very different.

Gotta Exercise

Those entering the gym with a mindset to exercise are there against their will. Perhaps a doctor has told them to lose weight or get in shape for health. These individuals walk on the treadmill and talk or read. There is no focus on what they are doing.

Results?

Even when they exercise for years, there is little to no change. They may lose a few pounds, have slight improvements in their blood pressure, or a better endurance system, but overall nothing really happens and they may get fatter. Drugs will become a permanent part of their lives to control the health issues they have. Filled with processed wheat products and sugar, their diets also reflect their lack of commitment. Eventually they stop going to the gym, but keep paying because “one day” they will return.

Wanna Workout

When a bit more commitment and focus is applied to the Exercise Mindset it grows into Workout mode. These individuals come in two varieties: the Fearful and the Crazy.

It is an interesting consequence of the modern world that the Fearful Workout Mindset is dominated by women. Though it has been demonstrated for decades that it takes incredible genetics and drugs to get bulky, these women believe the myth and fear the free weights. They will do their cardio for a long time and then do some like work with weights. Depending on where they start, they will see some results then hit a plateau and stay there. Why? Because they are afraid of lifting heavy like they should. “Don’t want to be bulky.”

And the Crazy?

These are the men and women who flock into CrossFit and WOD/WOW. They will do cardio to warm up, stretch, and then start slinging weights around like they are toys. Injuries start the arrive when they really push through barriers. Their routines are either always in flux or are long and filled with everything. If 10 sets of curls are good, doing 20 sets must be better. Right broh?

The Workout crowd also have interesting diets. No carb. Low carb. No carbs after 6. All carbs for breakfast. Paleo. Veg. Whatever is popular this week. Read articles in four different magazines and combine them. The over analysis can become addictive. What are the goals? Hard to tell. Each week brings a new idea, challenge, goal, level, etc.

Must Train

The last mindset is the most intense and consuming. Every action is calculated to a particular goal. There is no waste or time for fooling around. Some will measure every meal; others will just listen to their needs. Routines come in a variety of flavors: low rep/long rest/heavy weight, high rep/short rest, 4x, pyramiding, 5×5, German Volume Training, speed reps, partial reps. It matters not what they use, they all get results.

The Training mindset keeps records of every routine, daily measurements of weight and body fat, and self reflection (sometimes quite literally in the mirror). Everything is reviewed to see if it is pushing toward the goal. Doesn’t matter if the goal is one rep max improvement, new personal record, bodybuilding, power lifting, reduced run distance time, jump higher or further, or fitting into a particular clothing size. The goals are as various as the individuals with the Mindset, but the drive is the same. It is not something they have to do. It is something they must do. Nothing else matters but reaching the goal.

One might conclude that the Training mindset would burn an individual out due to the intensity. A few do. A very few. The mindset to Train, to be Better, to reach Goals, to go Further, becomes a lifelong companion. Once a goal is reached, another is set. Some goals have urgency, while others are more long term. The Train mindset is all consuming, but it empowers the Individual to keep Succeeding, to keep Reaching, to keep Going. It is the best Mindset to have. It is the only Mindset to have.

Want to be Better? Want to have More? Want to do More? Want to Reach? Let the Training Mindset in.

J. J. Abrams Destroyed My Life

Français : Logo de star wars crée à partir du ...
Français : Logo de star wars crée à partir du logo de la trilogie (gris) et de la prélogie (doré). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the summer of 1977 I turned 9 years old. A bit before that event, another one hit the country and started a frenzy. That is the year Star Wars hits the theaters and lines to see the movie were phenomenal. Though my mother did not let me see the movie then, I could not get enough of it and the toys. Some action figures I got as gifts while others, including the Land Speeder, I bought with saved allowance money.

I was hooked. I saw 8mm shorts without sound. I listened to the multi-record set that the library had many times. I even ran to the car after church to listen to a portion of the NPR Star Wars radio drama.

Three years later, The Empire Strike Back hit theaters and my mother had started to have a change of heart about seeing the movies. Empire was the first one I saw and next week we saw the re-released Star Wars movie at the Fort Belvoir (South Post) theater. I had finally realized a dream.

Being 12 at the time, it would take years before I would see Empire as the best of the three movies. I thought it too dark and didn’t understand it was the third act of a play. By the time of Jedi, I was 15 and the eyes of the 9 year old were nearing forgotten. I liked how the story ended, but the Ewoks were a bit ridiculous, even if they were cannibals.

There was all manner of buzz of a prequel movie and possible sequels. Apart from the books for the first three movies, I also read Splinter of the Mind’s Eye and the trilogies for Han Solo and Landon Calrissian. They were all a bit different than Star Wars and even felt like more general sci-fi. I was a bit of a Tolkien fan as well, so the weak pop novels were not something I kept pursuing. The EU expanded well beyond those books, but not for me.

In the mid-90’s my love for Star Wars came back around. George Lucas had the originals remastered in THX and available on video cassette. They were also released again in theaters, though with a few changes. I only went to see Empire as it was my favorite, though I knew all the changes because of websites. Other than changing Luke’s dialog to R2D2 when the swap monster spat him out, I liked what Lucas had done.

The buzz started about a prequel trilogy and the closer 1999 came, the more I wanted to see them. I waited a few weeks after the release before venturing to the movie theater. By this time I was married and living in Marion, Ohio. The local mall theater was good, but it didn’t have the advanced sound system I knew the movie deserved. Having a surround BOSE system at home, I also knew where to sit when my wife and I arrived at a theater in Delaware that had Dolby Digital.

I was soon dismayed as the teenagers running the place had no clue. All it was was loud, no surround effects and no audio immersion. The poor movie with Jar Jar Binks and a whiny Anakin Skywalker didn’t help. I also thought the movie had too many callbacks to the original trilogy. I didn’t mind so setup, but having Anakin build C3PO was too much. The suspension of disbelief was too great to have this twerp become Dark Vader.

Wait for the other movies, they said. The Phantom Menace is great, you are just too critical they said. But the whininess never stopped. Anakin never developed in to the villain of Vader. Ironically though, Darth Maul was one of the best characters of Star Wars, good or bad, and they killed him in the first movie.

Eventually, more and more people started to agree with me: the Prequels were horrible. Not only were they poor movies, Lucas changed his story so much that he had to redo the conversation in Empire between Vader and the Emperor. Yeah sure, George, we believed you planned that all along. Sure thing.

Years passed and Lucas produced more and more versions of his movies. I soon lost track and interest in what he was changing and why. All I wanted was the originals on Blu Ray, but apparently that is too much to ask. I went on to other things like the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Battlestar Galactica. Then Lucas sold his children to Disney and talk of another trilogy started.

Due to the fanboi whining about the prequels and CGI, Disney and J. J. Abrams made a big deal about using real sets and film for the new movie. The hype machine started before filming and they totally misrepresented the techniques Lucas and company had used. They completely ignored the real problem: the horrible script and acting.

After two years of complete hyperbole, The Force Awakens finally came out. The trailers promised a great movie. J. J. Abrams promised a great movie. The third official trailer even made my get very emotional and shed a few tears. Then it was on the screen and the truth became known. It was not only a J. J. Abrams hack reboot, it shredded George Lucas up one side and down the other. It was a complete hatchet job on the originals with heavy handed feminism themes thrown in the good measure.

The Internet became alight immediately. The fanbois followed in locked goose step with the paid reviewers. They said how great the movie was. They are blind. They are asleep. Max Landis finally called it stating Rey was a complete Mary Sue. He was attacked. It was merciless. But he was 100% correct.

All things being fair, the movie is about a C. The script isn’t quite as bad as the prequels and the acting is ok. Harrison Ford gives winks and nods to the audience as if he knows how bad the script is. The CGI, yes this movie is full of it, are good and the physical sets are adequate. The effects and score however are horrible. Where is John Williams musical genius? Gone. That’s where. After all, he’s a man and Mary Sue doesn’t need men.

The fans started to speak out. A little at first, but now as a torrent. As people see it more and more, they are starting to see all of the serious flaws. Over the past week I’ve had several people who had previously be energetically apologetic to the movie saw they were wrong. Sure, it will make Disney a ton a money, but the party is starting to wind down. The one movie a year is in serious jeopardy of not having people burn out. The main villain is now known as Darth Emo and J. J. has become Jar Jar. Time will tell just how damaging the backlash is.

Thank you Jar Jar Abrams. You have shown all of us that you cannot direct and your best motive is to destroy the works of others. You destroyed both Star Trek and Star Wars. Go back inside your mystery box. We don’t need you anymore.

 

How To Fix College Football

Sean Glennon (en) under center as the Virginia...
Sean Glennon (en) under center as the Virginia Tech Hokies take on the Boston College Eagles in the 2007 ACC championship game (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These days, American College football is big business. Conferences receive millions in TV contracts and bonuses when teams go to bowl games. Over the years, the length of the regular season has grown from 11 to 13 games. Add in a conference championship, a major bowl, and the plus 1 game, a team can easily play 16 games on their way to a National title.

Playing 16 games at the collegiate level is just plan crazy. After all, the players are supposed to be students first and athletes second. Many schools and conferences seem to have forgotten that aspect of college. It should be about education, not a money train.

More than 10 years ago in the middle years of the BCS, I was working on a project at LexisNexis. Many of my fellow developers didn’t go to football schools as I had and didn’t really know college football. I explained the BCS concepts and we started to discuss ways to make it better. Several ideas came to the forefront:

  • Any conference champion should have the opportunity to win
  • Settle it on the field. No poll monkey business.
  • Regular season should be no more than 11 games.

Any Conference? What?

Though it is true the major conferences tend to be tougher than the rest, that is no reason a lower conference champion shouldn’t have a chance. Both Utah and Boise State have shown the ability to be BCS busters. With the switch to a one game playoff, now it makes more sense to allow other conferences to have a chance.

Given the number of conferences, though, it can easily be argued allowing all of them to participate may make the playoffs too long. Top 8 conference winners then. Don’t win your conference, don’t get in.

Field: yes. Sports writers: no.

The college football championship originally arose when sports writers wanted to crown one. There was no mechanism to have conferences play one another and it took many years for one to come about.

Formed in 1992, the Bowl Coalition didn’t have the Big Ten or the Pac -10 conferences as they were contractually obligated to the Rose Bowl. The ACC, Big 8, and SEC each had one champion and the Coalition lasted through the 1994 season.

The next attempt at a 1 verses 2 game was the Bowl Alliance. Starting in 1995, it didn’t include the Big Ten, saw the Southwest Conference disband, and the formation of the Big 12 conference. The final season was in 1997 and saw a split champion as Nebraska won the title game and undefeated Michigan won the Rose Bowl.

The more successful program for a championship game was the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) and it lasted through the 2013 season. Over those years, it saw the SEC come to dominate and the controversy over which team was the true #2 never ceased. Grumblings and groanings for a true playoff started and the initial compromise is the Plus 1 game.

Writers will not be deciding the champion again.

Too many games

The regular season has grown to be far too long. Starting earlier every few years and no longer ending on New Year’s Day, the long time traditional final bowl game day, teams play 13 games just to get to the conference championship game or a bowl. When Tennessee won the first BCS title, they played 13 games for the whole season, including an SEC championship game. Now that’s nothing.

The seasons are too long. Schools petitioned the NCAA to first expand to 12 and then 13 games in the regular season to ensure more teams were bowl eligible with 6 wins. What was once reserved for the better teams, now a team with a losing record can make a bowl game. Seems rather counter to the intention of bowls. Return to the old ways and send losing teams home.