Thursday, February 25, 2010

Throwing away an investment

JD and I were talking comics. Crisis on Infinite Earths, Dark Knight Returns, Year One, good stuff like that. I’m a big Batman guy. Hate Superman. OK look at you. You’re invulnerable, etc. Not really fitting into the whole anti-hero mold.

Remember when they “killed” Superman? Superman #75. I bought the commemorative issue that came in a black plastic bag, because I thought maybe it would be worth something one day. So I kept it in my comic box and never planned to open it.

Then Michael Jordan retired (the first time). I knew there was a black armband in the bag, so I ripped it open, and wore the armband for the retirement of the greatest basketball player ever. Dorky I know. Especially when 18 months later MJ came back and eventually Superman came back.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Soccernomics, Part 2

Other topics discussed in the book:

-Running a football club as a business. Don’t.

-The role of blacks in management.

-How penalty kicks can be predicted.

-Future of club football may shift to big cities and how London may be an epicenter of success.

-The NFL vs the EPL. There’s room for both.
Comment made by authors:
The Detroit Lions have won less than 30 percent of
their games since millennium, a feat matched in England by Bradford City. The difference is that Bradford was relegated after its only season in EPL, whereas the Lions look to set to sustain their peculiar brand of misery unto eternity.

-Fans like Nick Hornby in Fever Pitch are the minority.

-Football may not actually lead to suicide but may actually save lives.

-The World Cup and Olympics don’t make the host countries richer. Just happier.

-Norway is the world champion of sports, if you take performances at main events (World Cups Olympics) and divide it by population.

-What are the most important factors in a countries performance:

-The story of Guus Hiddink: soccer missionary. From Holland to Turkey to Spain to South Korea to Australia to Russia.

-The periphery of soccer (countries not included in Western Europe and South America) will take over.
Tips for the next soccer powers:

The book ends with the following statement: in the new world, distance no longer separates a country from the best soccer. Only poverty does.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pizza Dude

Where did “pizza dude” come from? Surely it did not come from Corey Feldman’s character in Suburbia. Although with the way his career went, maybe he would be glad of something of lasting influence, even something that small.

But I mean not all pizza drivers are pizza dudes. There are women, fathers, preppies; men and women, young and old. alternative and conservative. Not all pizza dudes are running around the streets in their rusted out Chevettes paying for their college education. It’s just a social strata that has bubbled up out of this consumer driven economy of service and convenience.

In my experience, the people you work with are generally cool. It’s the customers who are idiots. The store gets busy and people get frazzled; I get that. Servers are running around in a million different directions. The oven can only make food so fast. Management runs around trying to keep the chaos at bay. I know you think it’s cute when a delivery driver pulls up and you yell, “Pizza dude!”, but it’s not. It’s annoying. I understand when kids do it. They are kids. But when grown men and women do it, I get a little peeved.

So here’s a little customer etiquette lesson for you. Think of me as a Miss Manners with an attitude.


Busy or slow, the shrill ring of the phone rips through the restaurant and everyone flees. No one wants to answer the phone, but alas, someone has to and the madness starts.

--Thank you for calling Pizza Hut, (or whatever store you work at). Will this be delivery, dine-in or pick up?
--Yeah do you guys deliver?
--Now what did I just say? Will this be DELIVERY, dine-in or carry out?
--Whatever idiot. What would you like?
Then it gets interesting.
The customer screams into the other room. --HEY. WHAT DO WE WANT?
--Well how about you get a clue? I’ll take all my measly tips from this evening, put them in an envelope and deliver them right to your door with a big fuckin grin on my face so that you can buy a giant fucking clue. Hey moron boys. How about getting in the same room, discussing the pros and cons of Stuffed Crust Pizza, deciding what you would like, clipping the appropriate coupons, and then, and only then, calling me to phone in your order? Would that be so hard? Would it?

A conversation like that would never take place. It’s not that I’m worried about getting fired. One thing I’ve figured out is that there are plenty of minimum wage jobs to go around for everyone. That includes you, unemployment recieiving piece of crap. I mean how about you get off your . . . what? I’m sorry. Have to stay on task.

And another thing. Before you call, call your neighbors and see if they would like anything. For crying out loud, there is nothing more annoying that having ten or so deliveries throughout the evening and nine of them going to the same neighborhood or apartment complex. Get on the phone, better yet, walk on over and have a little pow-wow with your neighbor. “But I’ve never met my neighbor.” Exactly. What could be sadder than two people living less that twenty feet from each other and never meeting? So go on, go over there and bring this world a little closer.


So now that we’ve got the ordering part taken care of, it’s time to move on to the delivery portion of the program.

I’m driving around, trying to get your piping hot pizza to you as quickly as possible. Really. I’m a fast driver. Check my record. You’ll see all the speeding tickets. Don’t worry about me lollygagging around. I’m trying to get to your place as fast as I can.

So I’m doing my part. Not you have to do yours. For the love of God, can you place illuminate your house number? If you’ve got a dark colored house, don’t put dark numbers on it. Please turn on your porch light, get some reflective numbers for your mailbox, do something so I can see the number of the house I’m delivering to.

I’m working with this guy who takes a huge floodlight with so that he can see house numbers at night. To me that confirms the problem. So please, do whatever it is you have to do so that people, namely me, can see the house number from the road while driving at night.

And then I arrive at your door . . . and you’re surprised to see me. Don’t be playing the new Metallica album at ungodly decibels so that you can’t hear the doorbell ring. Don’t leave your wallet or checkbook in your car or some remote area of your house. Expect me. You wanted pizza and you’re going to get it. Be ready.

Customers, you have been instructed. I’m doing my job; now you do yours.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Soccernomics, Part 1

Great book. Highly recommend it.

The book opens up with a breakdown of the English National Team. Based on their criteria, England actually over-performs. Nevertheless they explain the fans expectations:

Why England Loses and Other Win:

Phase 1: Pretournament:
Certainty that England will win the World Cup

Phase 2: During the tournament
England meets a former wartime enemy

Phase 3: The English conclude that the game turned on one freakish piece of bad luck that could happen only to them

1950 US goal
1986 hand of god
2002 Ronaldinho’s free kick
2006 Rooney getting sent off

Phase 4: Moreover, Everyone Cheated

Phase 5: England is knocked out without getting anywhere near lifting the cup

Phase 6: The day after elimination, normal life resumes

Phase 7: A scapegoat is found

1998 Beckham
2006 C. Ronaldo

Phase 8: England enters the next World Cup thinking it will win it

They discuss in some detail the 12 Main Secrets of the Transfer Market

• A New Manager Wastes Money; don’t let him

• Use the wisdom of Crowds

• Stars of recent World Cups or European Championships are overvalued; ignore them

• Certain Nationalities are overvalued

• Older players are overvalues

• Center forwards are overvalued; goalkeepers are undervalued

• Gentlemen prefer Blondes; identify and abandon “sight based prejudices”

• The best time to buy a player is when he is in his early 20’s.

• Sell any player when another club offers more than he is worth.

• Replace your best players even before you sell them.

• Buy players with personal problems, and then help them deal with their problems.

• Help your players relocate.

The authors cite the Nottingham Forest team of Brian Clough and the current cycle of Lyon as great examples of how to build and maintain a team.