Friday, September 30, 2011

Hypocrisy is Alive and Well on the Right OR Yeah Right...You're a Victim... /Sarcasm

Jim Daly is the president of Focus on the Family, the group that was responsible for the Tim Tebow Super Bowl ad and a group that has ties to several Southern Poverty Law Center designated hate organizations.  Recently he wrote a nice little article complaining about how the religious right has been demonized by "hate."

Daly uses the exact words: "speaking with reckless disregard for the truth and inciting panic is, at best, irresponsibly dangerous, and, at worst, beyond the covering of the First Amendment" to describe what Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered groups and supportors are doing to the religious right.

Really...really?!  Calling a duck a duck is speaking with reckless disregard for the truth...

Not falsifying your medical credentials to give yourself an aura of expertise in discussing gay marriage and homosexuality as James Forrester, one of the chief proponents of North Carolina's ban on same sex marriage did?

Not claiming gays (and muslims) are driven by "dark energy" and an "Anti-christ spirit," as the American Family Institute's Bryan Fischer has.

Not relating homosexuality to perversion, alcoholism, and drug addiction as the editors of The Tulsa Beacon did in a commentary on a newly appointed homosexual Election Board member.

Not blaming the homosexual community for the fact that you've been charged with six felonies for running an investment scheme as this Montana Pastor did.

Not saying that gays "know the behavior they are engaging in is disordered" as the Liberty Council's Matt Barber did.

Not complaining that the U.S Census Bureau is tracking same-sex couples, like...hey it's Matt Barber again! did.  (To be fair, this may be stupidity as much as it's an outright disregard for the truth.)

Not claiming that gays have "shortened lifespans and a high incidence of disease" as Peter LaBarbera from Americans for Truth did in citing two faulty studies that have since been pulled from the Americans for Truth website.  Even the AFT knows they're a bunch of liars.

Not citing a study (that did not reference homosexual households at all) as "proof" that children are better raised in a heterosexual environment, AND continuing to cite the study after it's authors have protested and lodged formal complaints.  The blame can go to pretty much every conservative organization for this one.

Not trying to smear the American Psychological Association for condemning Reorientatiopn/Reparative Therapy citing several distortions and outright lies.

Not referencing a condition that was abandoned as false by the medical community in the 1980s in recent attacks on homosexuality, and backing it up with sources that are anywhere from ten to forty years old as Peter LaBarbera and Conservipedia do.

Or referencing the American College of Pediatricians for ANYTHING.  The ACP was formed as a direct retaliation to scientific studies that found no significant harm to children in same-sex households.  Among the ACP's lies and distortions are:
  • Using outdated research.
  • Using outdated research after the researchers have complained that their work is being misinterpreted.
  • Using studies that have been struck down for using flawed methodology.  (For example one study was cited as "proving" that children do worse in same-sex households.  The only problem with that was that the study did not have anything to do with children at all.  You know, a minor issue.)
  • Citing a study claiming it linked lesbians to alcoholism...even though the study was intended to observe how lesbians (who are already alcoholics) recover from alcoholism and was not an exploration of the prevalence of alcoholism within the lesbian community.
But remember, it's LGBT groups who are calling the above folks "haters" that are speaking with a reckless disregard for the truth.  Sit down, I'm not even fucking done yet.  It might also be a reckless disregard for the truth if you:

Repeat everything above with the Christian Medical and Dental Association.  This one's on a tee though.  Any medical group that feels the need to include "Christian" in their name is probably full of shit.  I'm not saying that being a Christian practitioner of medicine is bad, I'm saying that if you use that as an identifier...something's wrong.  It's about the medicine, not the religion.

Accuse Obama Appointee for a position in the U.S. Dept. of Education Kevin Jennings of allowing and encouraging the statutory rape of a child without anything whatsoever to back up your accusations.  Among other things Jennings was accused of "handing out fisting kits to children."  No, that is not a typo.

Cite anything with Paul Cameron's name one it, whose methods have been so thoroughly trashed by the scientific community that he's about as credible as a scientist as that homeless guy on the corner is as doomsday prognosticator.  For those that don't know, Cameron published an article in 1985 that (among other things) claimed that students were more likely to be molested by a homosexual teacher.  Which doesn't make sense when you realize that Cameron "did not obtain any data concerning the sexual orientation of the teachers."  Uhh...  Cameron has not only been kicked out of the American Psychological Association, but also condemned by the American Sociological Association, the Canadian Psychological Association, and the Center for Disease Control, yet his studies are frequently cited by anti-LGBT groups.  Cameron now acts as the head of the Family Research Institute, a SPLC designated hate group.

Then go and defend Paul Cameron by claiming that the above organizations that have condemned him have done so through character attacks and without pointing out any specific flaws in his studies.  As you can read above, this is not true, but I will post this letter from the APA anyways.  What makes this especially delicious is that one of the sites defending Cameron, Conservapedia has stringent standards, "Everything you post must be true and verifiable."  Uh...

Respond to those calling you out for using outdated and debunked sources by either redressing those sources and updating the dates, or publishing new articles that reference those outdated sources.  Good job Family Research Council, another hate group.

Use phony experts.  Glenn T. Stanton from Focus on the Family apparently "debates and lectures extensively on the issues of gender, sexuality, marriage, and parenting at universities and churches across the country."  From STANTON'S OWN MOUTH (keyboard) "I don't know anyone who has referred to me as an expert on homosexuality."  Referred, implied...splitting hairs.

Misuse data...part II.  The right frequently cites the work of Dr. Robert Spitzer in defense of Reorientation Therapy in claiming that homosexuality is a choice and can be reversed.  They continue to cite that work even though in 2006 "Spitzer said he now believes that some of those he interviewed for his study may have been lying to him or themselves."

Perpetuate any of these myths about homosexuals.

Oppose legislation that would prohibit bullying and protect LGBT students.  Sorry readers, this one isn't a lie, it's just disgusting.

Use ONE EXAMPLE of a pro-LGBT book being used in a classroom to perpetuate the lie that homosexuals are infiltrating schools and indoctrinating children everywhere.  From Kris Mineau, head of the Massachusetts Family Institute's own mouth: "I don’t have documentation of everything going on," Mineau said. "It’s very difficult to quantify."

Falsely link homosexuality and pedophilia.  (FRC has since removed this from their website.)

Make up polls to deceive the public about DADT repeal opposition.

Claim that gays have never been persecuted.  From the mouth of NOM-friendly Louis J. Marinelli III: "(Gays and lesbians) are not being repressed, discriminated against. There is no and never has ever been a homosexual man hunt for them. Jews, Christians, and Blacks were hunted down and murdered. Homosexuals have nothing in common with the three."  I have a feeling Matthew Shepard's family would vehemently disagree.

Or accuse homosexuals of being behind the Nazi party in Germany during World War II.

Trot out a person with no qualifications whatsoever to defend Proposition 8.  You know, or say "we don't need to have evidence at this point" when asked to produce evidence that the legalization of  same sex marriage will cause harm.

Or have that witness say "the principle of equal human digity must apply to gay and lesbian persons......[w]e would be more American on the day we permitted same sex marriage than we were the day before."  This is a man that anti-LGBT groups trotted out to DEFEND THEIR SIDE!  That witness, not-an-expert David Blankenhorn also said "I believe that adopting same-sex marriage would be likely to improve the well-being of gay and lesbian households and their children."  AND "My view is that at least some people voted for Proposition 8 on the basis of anti-gay stereotypes and prejudice."  This one's not a lie either, it's just fucking hilarious.

And finally...

Claim homosexuals do not exist.  Discredited researcher Linda Harvey: "There's no proof that there's ever anything like a gay, lesbian, or bisexual, or transgendered child, teen, or human."

Just remember, we're showing reckless disregard for the truth in calling those listed above haters and bigots.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Crappy Study Shows Change is Possible for Homosexuals

In case you missed it, "researchers" Dr. Stanton Jones and Dr. Mark Yarhouse recently completed a study that examined individuals in Reorientation Therapy and concluded that it is possible for homosexuals to change their orientation.  Granted, only the synopsis of the study has been released, but the problems, oh the problems with this study...

I don't think I even need to point out the flaw in assuming those enrolled in Reorientation Therapy are in any way an acceptable representation of the homosexual population.

Jones and Yarhouse wanted to track only first year enrollees in the Reorientation Program to eliminate incidences in which participants were misrepresenting or misremembering their initial homosexual attraction.  Unfortunately, they couldn't find enough, so they also accepted second and third year enrollees.  Rather than keep these populations separate, they combined them.  The problem with adding second and third year enrollees is that it does not track the process from gay to straight and allows for the misremembering of those later participants.

A quarter of the participants in the study dropped out during the study...and were only tangentially mentioned.  The assumption is that a dropout equals a failure, but Jones and Yarhouse said that there were enough people that dropped out because they were "cured" to make this statistically insignificant.  Do you believe that?  I don't.

Jones and Yarhouse relied on interviews and psychological assessments of homosexual attraction, not an observation of physiological responses.  In other words what little scientific basis there was for their study, was flawed.

They called bullshit on their own study: We cannot be absolutely certain of perfect representativeness, since no scientific evidence exists for describing the parameters of such representativeness.

And then called unbullshit: Still, we are confident that our participant pool is a good snapshot of those seeking help from Exodus (the name of the Reorientation P.

They did not detail how they selected study participants, which is a HUGE red flag.

Some of their data has been called into question for being flat out wrong, such as the median age of study participants.

They called bullshit on their own study again: It would appear, then, that while change away from homosexual orientation is related to change toward heterosexual orientation, the two are not identical processes. The subjects appear to more easily decrease homosexual attraction than they increase heterosexual attraction.

Jones and Yarhouse wanted to account for participants that had some degree of heterosexuality heading into the study (being bisexual) because this would not dictate a change.  To do so, they classified a subset of the participants as "Truly Gay."  How did they do this?  No one knows!

Perhaps the full study will right some of these misconceptions, but based on the synopsis, that seems unlikely.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Adults I Hated as a Kid

The Kidder:
This was probably my least favorite person as a kid.  I think a lot of children are fairly shy, especially around grownups they've just met, and I was probably shyer than most.  So when someone approached me and was all "I hate you and I'm going to kill you, you little bastard...oh just kidding! I'm actually friendly, how ya doin'?"  Fuck you, fuck you and your fake anger.  I should have punched you in the balls.  "Hey I like you...FALCON PUNCH!  See, it works the other way too, asshole."  No one likes the kidder.

The Overly Physical Guy:
Oh...oh god damnit.  No you're not...oh god damnit, yes you are going to lift me up.  What the hell is wrong with you?  I'm three feet tall for a reason, I like being close to the ground.  Now you're going to pat me on the head, toussle my hair.  Who the hell are you anyways?  GET YOUR FUCKING HAND OFF MY SHOULDER!  STOP TOUCHING ME, STOP TOUCHING ME!  I never liked physical contact much, so these people always creeped me the hell out.

Sport, Champ, Kiddo Guy:
I have a name, and unlike you, a triple digit IQ.  Therefore your attempts to endear yourself to me with a false sense of familiarity have not gone unnoticed.  You have noticed that I am smaller and younger than you.  Excellent, I have noticed that you are fatter and balder than me.  Shall we commence with the nicknames?

Cop Mustache Guy
Seriously, what the hell?  The only conceivable explanation is a vampire, because there is no way you can look at your reflection and not feel shame.

You're Just a Kid Guy (Actually, Usually Woman):
A disproportionate amount of women go absolutely retarded around kids.  Patronizing, condescending, ugh.  The worst is when they spell things out like you're one of their rat dogs.  Bitch, I came out of the womb reading at a college level.  I can understand what you're saying.

You're Just a Kid Guy Part II:
You're personality is valueless!  It's just a phase!  Look at all the stupid shit you're into!  To be fair, some of this is true.  People change and likes and hobbies go in and out of style.  I used to be a bigtime gamer, and now I'm lucky if I feel like playing anything more than once or twice a week.  But not everything does.  There are things about you that you'd swear had been present since birth, but to a lot of adults your "kid" interests are all just things that will change, that you'll tire of, or that you'll "grow out of."  Fuck em.

Pontificating on Scrabble

Note: This will probably come off as bragging, but I don't really care.

I play Scrabble...a lot.  Probably enough so that I can be called something more than a casual player, but I don't engage in tournament or club play.

Scrabble uses what's called an Elo rating system similar to the one used for chess.  Generally the rating system calculates the relative strengths of each player based on their record, the quality of their opponents, and the skill of those opponents.  It's pretty fair because wins aren't the end all be all to the ratings, you have to play well.  Losing to a good player may still cause your rating to increase while barely beating a bad player might cause it to go down.

From what I can tell Scrabble starts each new player at a rating of 1200, which seems to be the average for tournament and club players (though a bit higher than the average for all players) and moves your score up or down as you continue to play more games.

On the Scrabble app for droid, I have a current record of 44-5 and a rating of 1573.  Generally a rating of 1600 and up is considered expert level (which is what I typically play at).  Most people on there seem to be in the 1100-1300 range for ratings which has led to my somewhat bloated record.  (At least two of my losses are forfeits before I realized I could force idle players to forfeit.)  Right now my high play is 100 (Quitted) and my high game score of a complete game is 454.

The thing I like about Scrabble is that each game is vastly different, and that there are a multitude of things that go into playing well.  You need to have a good vocabulary for sure, but you also need to be able to spot good plays on premium tiles.  Great words do you no good if you're not doubling and tripling your points.  You also need to have a good memory, knowing a lot of two and three letter words will be crucial to your success.  Plus your mind has to be active on every turn.  It's not like Monopoly where you can buy a bunch of premium properties and sit around rolling dice mindlessly.  A crappy play could kill you, either setting up your opponent, leaving you with god awful letters in your rack, or just not advancing your score enough.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Recounting of My Interview

Some of you know that last Friday I had an interview with a company that seemed a lot more excited about the prospect of hiring me than any other.  Of course that in turn made me a lot more excited about meeting with them than I had been with other companies AND (here's the good part) a lot more excited because the type of work I would be doing greatly appeals to me.

The interview process always makes me laugh.  Here you've got a few hours to try and gauge whether or not someone can be an asset to your company, something you can probably really only learn by working with them for a few months.  Of course by then you're out their salary and the resources taken to train them.  I think more and more (especially in a technical background) companies are checking for a select few things.  1). You are not an asshat, lying, or misrepresenting yourself.  2). You have either some technical background and familiarity with their business.  3). You have the capacity to grow and learn in the areas you might not necessarily be as strong.

The position for which I was interviewed may be the one that has least matched my schooling and experience so far.  It is a different type of engineering than I majored in or worked in, but it may also be the position for which I am the best fit.  I tried to make both sides of that abundantly clear; yes there is a lot to the job that is new to me...BUT...I have experience with this, this, and this so I can definitely hit the ground running if you hire me.  (At the end of the day it isn't about getting a job, it's about getting a job that is a good fit for both parties.  A lot of interview tips suggest bending the truth and selling out to get a job...I do not do this.)

I sat down with human resources to get some company background, which was good because it got me warmed up for the technical parts of the interview.  It'd been a while since I'd interviewed at all so it was a good low pressure primer.  Then I was introduced to the technical directors/hiring managers to talk job specifics.  The questions were pretty typical, what have you done before, where are your strengths, how do you feel about the work we do here, etc.  My goal was to take a few of the things I'd done previously and show how they prepared me for work at this company, which I think I accomplished pretty well.  Being able to banter well enough about a business I'd never worked in to be able to take a look at the technical documents on a few of their previous projects I think made me look really attractive as a potential hire.

After that I sat down with four of the cube folks, i.e. the actual engineers, people who I would be sharing responsibilities and working with.  Again my goal was to take my relevant experience and use it to show that even though I'd be coming into a new field, I'd be coming in with some decent background knowledge, and again I think is succeeded.

Here is where a few things started to jump out at me.  First, this company is easily the friendliest and most laid back that I've seen.  (I guess if you're as busy as they have been, you start to go crazy if you don't have that sort of attitude.)  They also seemed to be very comfortable with my lack of experience, reiterating that most of the things I didn't know could really only be learned on the job anyways.  Two of the four took me on a tour of the facilities, with which I was very impressed.  It's also new to have the manufacturing process on site so you can literally walk a hundred feet and see what you've specified being made.  It's nice when a company recognizes that they have to sell themselves to prospective employees, even in a bad economy.  Most don't.

What I liked:
  • I'd be doing a lot of writing.
  • There are a lot of others with similar experience.  Being the only new guy sucks.
  • They're committed to growing my skills.
  • There is no shortage of work.
  • The company has extremely high rating across the board in safety, finances, diversity, dedication, and keeping their employees happy.

What I didn't like:
  • I haven't gotten any good information on company benefits yet.
  • They're in the midst of some restructuring (splitting into three divisions because they're TOO diverse and TOO financially strong to keep everything under one banner).  While this isn't necessarily a bad thing (and will be a good thing in the long run) it does create some headaches.
  • The typical shift is 8-5.  This is semantics, but I'd prefer to work a 7-4.
  • It's not in Buffalo.

Almost certain I'll be accepting an offer if it comes.

More to Story Involving Supposed Religious Intolerance...Shocker

Last week it emerged that a student was supposedly suspended just for saying that homosexuality runs counter to his Christian upbringings.  My initial reaction to the story was, and I quote "he probably called someone a fucking faggot."

Okay, so maybe I wasn't exactly correct, but news has emerged (shocker) that there is more to the story.  The student in question had been on watch for repeatedly (for over a year) harassing the suspending teacher (which included classroom vandalism) over the belief that the teacher was gay.  Other students in the classroom have since come forward to support this side of the story.

He reports (and has reported to his school) repeated acts of anti-gay harassment by several students that occurred this and last year, including by a group of four specific boys in this class, of whom Ary (the student) is one. Among other incidents, Mr. Franks (the teacher) maintains a “word wall” for his German IV class on which he posts articles and images from several journals, including the German magazine, Stern. One of these articles concerned gay rights in Germany, and included a photo of two men kissing. The group of four boys concerned was sitting near this image immediately before Mr. Franks found it had been ripped from the wall. The student and his lawyer are now asserting that including this photo among the others constituted his teacher’s “imposing acceptance of homosexuality” in his classroom. These students subsequently took every opportunity to denounce homosexuality in class, frequently without context; that is, with the topic having otherwise been broached.

On the particular day in which this incident occurred, Mr. Franks was opening class when the topic of Christianity in Germany was broached by one student, who asked what churches were there, another whether they read the Bible in English, etc. Franks asserts that the topic of homosexuality was not broached in any way, and that Ary‘s assertions to the contrary are entirely false. At this point, Ary declared, with a class audience, “Gays can’t be Christians; homosexuality is wrong,” looking directly at Mr. Franks. Franks says he understands and affirms students’ right to free speech, and that he is perfectly prepared to lead a respectful discussion on topics such as gay rights that allows for the assertion of opinions with which he disagrees. He has led such discussion in the past in his sociology classes. But in this case, hr feels the context makes it clear that this remark was made ad hominem, aimed specifically at him to devalue him and any information he might share on the topic of religion, on the basis of his perceived sexual orientation.

I for one and shocked and appalled that the religious right has broken one of their own laws by telling a very incomplete story that was essentially a lie of omission.  Or...you know...not at all surprised and a little disappointed that they didn't do a better job.

It's just another volley in the continued efforts of the right to spread misinformation about homosexuals and their supposed "agenda" (why they don't call it a manifesto, a much scarier word, is beyond me).  In this case the right is promoting the lie that the homosexual community is hell bent on stamping out religion in all forms, something that couldn't be further from the truth.  Even a survey that religious groups are attempting to use to paint homosexuals as heathens has found that 60% of homosexuals consider their faith to be very important to them.

George Barna, who heads The Barna Group, said the survey results show that homosexual adults are not the “godless, hedonistic, Christian bashers” that some portray them to be.

It's pathetic that some Americans have such a deep bigotry that they feel the need to go against values they supposedly hold above all else to spread such lies.  What's even worse though are all the Christians that don't know any better but to believe them.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The NYFRF Lies Again, Shocker

Are you ready for some GREAT news? America is #prolife!


Usually I don't get into the abortion debate because I'm male and it (so far) has not really applied to me.  In general I believe that women should have the right to do with their body as they choose, but I strongly disagree with late term abortions and instances where it's used as emergency birth control by stupid teenagers.  Anyways, the source where the NYFRF gets its data is this CNN poll.

The part I want to highlight are the first two questions the poll asked.

1). Do you think abortion should be legal under any circumstances, legal under only certain circumstances, or illegal in all circumstances?
25% - All abortions legal
53% - Some abortions legal
21% - No Abortions legal

2). Do you think abortion should be legal under any circumstances, legal under only certain circumstances, legal in a few circumstances or illegal in all circumstances?
25% - All abortions legal
12% - Most abortions legal
41% - Few abortions legal
21% - No abortions legal

That the NYFRF is counting that 41% as pro-life is absolutely absurd and the kind of preposterous lie that it, and organizations like it propagate.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Buffalo Bills 2-0; A Look Back and A Look Ahead

In week one the Bills picked up a blowout 41-7 win against a Kansas City Chiefs team that looked like it had never played together before.  To prove this wasn't a fluke, the Lions destroyed the Chiefs 48-3 the following (this) week.  The Bills had some fortunate things happen in this game, (it probably should have been a two touchdown win, not a five touchdown one) but they were clearly a better team. 

In week two the Bills couldn't tackle, couldn't cover, and couldn't call plays for shit on either side of the ball...and still picked up a 38-35 win against a travel-weary Raiders team that (so far as we can tell) is somewhere around 'okay.'  This game looked like two 8-8 teams going head to head that might see a 2-3 win swing in either direction depending on how their luck falls.

So what do we have?  Good teams beat bad teams handily, and they win games against mediocre to good teams when it's crunch-time.  The Bills have done both, but it's hard to get too excited.  For one thing, the run defense is still a huge question mark.  Even though their yardage was low, the Chiefs averaged nearly five yards a carry.  And the Raiders were gashing the Bills on the ground before they realized they could gash the Bills through the air at a quicker pace.  What else?

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick is the quarterback Bills fans have been waiting for.  He's got 100% of the intangibles to win games and 75% of the skills.  That's a pretty decent combo.
  • Fred Jackson is unbelievable.  It's clear he sees the field better than any other player on the team.  They guy ALWAYS hits the right lane, ALWAYS makes the right cut.
  • We're seeing flashes of what we thought we had in C.J. Spiller.  He might never be a Chris Johnson (it's still too early to tell), but he's showing signs that he can be a big asset.
  • Lee who?  12 catches for 162 yards and 2 TDs in two games for Stevie Johnson.  That's a ballpark 96 catch, 1200 yard, 16 TD pace.  Rumors of his imminent demise in increased coverage have been greatly exaggerated.
  • With David Nelson, Donald Jones, and Scott Chandler all snagging their fair share of balls, it's pretty evident that the Bills WR corps are at the very least pleasantly effective.  They haven't been that as a unit since...?
  • The defense still sucks...but it causes turnovers and on occasion looks pretty good.  Didn't have that last season.
Let's look ahead:

Week 3 - New England
There are very few things that can happen that will keep the Patriots from putting up big numbers.  They are, the D-line having the game of their life and getting tons of pressure, a shit ton of horrible weather, and Tom Brady getting hit by a bus.  I see this game ending in the 40-20 ranger in New England's favor.

Week 4 - @ Cincinnati
This feels like a perfect time to play the Bengals, who ditched a few ineffective big money wide receivers of their own.  There will be plenty of film on Andy Dalton by week four and his effectiveness should start to decrease a bit.  Control Cedric Benson; I don't think Dalton can win a game on his own.  Bills 24-10.

Week 5 - Philadelphia
Hard to judge only seeing Philadelphia play one game against a St. Louis team that probably isn't very good.  Michael Vick looked ordinary stats-wise, but continues to have big play ability.  That's how Philly's seems to operate: crap, crap, crap, 80 yard TD, crap, 40 yard TD, etc.  Big question is will Philly's pieces have gelled into a team by then?  I say yes: 30-13 Eagles.

Week 6 - @ New York
Another difficult game to gauge with New York losing to a Redskins team that is probably about as good as the Bills are.  They'll probably beat St. Louis, but it'll probably be ugly.  This is one I can either see Eli Manning having one of his random ridiculous games, or the Bills just shutting him down and grinding out a win.  20-10 Bills, or a blowout Giants win.

Week 7 - Bye
Bills head to the break with four wins and two losses (or at least two wins and four losses) and no doubt a few gimpy players.  It's kind of a tough place to have a bye as the rest of their season is brutal.


Week 8 - Washington
Should be a very close game, most likely decided by a field goal.  I don't trust Rex Grossman one bit, so you better believe I'm taking the Bills in this one.  27-24.

Week 9 - New York
Regardless of the skill of either team, the Bills always seem to split with the Jets.  Taking the win at home and the loss in three weeks on the road.  24-17 Bills.  At this point the Bills are an overachieving 6-2.  Wow.

Week 10 - @ Dallas
We'll see how Tony Romo is doing.  If he's in, this game is a lot closer, if not, I think the Bills win in a laugher, avenging that atrocious Monday night game a few years back.  30-14 Bills.

Week 11 - @ Miami
Taking a split with the Dolphins as well.  24-21 Miami.

Week 12 - @ New York
Doesn't seem like the team has much of a shot in this game.  The Jets by a comfortable 24-13 score.

Week 13 - Tennessee
Jake Locker, 400 yards passing, 4 INTs, sacked 4 times.  34-14 Bills.

Week 14 - @ San Diego
Norv Turner will probably make this game closer than it should be.  21-10 Chargers.

Week 15 - Miami
Don't think the Dolphins are good anywhere, and very rarely are they good in Buffalo.  21-3 Bills.  Staring down the last two games with a 9-5 record and probably in the drivers seat of a wildcard spot.

Week 16 - Denver
I think Denver is terrible.  Coathangers in full force against Tim Tebow.  Bills - 50, Hate Monger Tebo - -32.  Fuck Tim Tebow.

Week 17 - @ New England
Will New England be resting their starters?  Probably not.  That's not really part of Belichick's MO.  Plus the Patriots aren't good enough to run away with the AFC.  New England is just flat out better than Buffalo and they'll show it again.  31-10 New England.

So based on what we've seen so far, 10-6 doesn't seem too far-fetched.  We'll know a lot more when the Bills go up against a decent team in New England next week.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Will Gay Marriage Weaken Religion?

Anyone with half a brain recognizes that same sex marriage poses no threat to the sanctity of traditional marriage whatsoever, and that those assertions by religious groups are at best poorly disguised lies.  I have to wonder though if Gay Marriage won't weaken religion, at least indirectly. 

This story is recent, but not unique; an Illinois Foster Care Group has lost a contract with the state because they only place children with married couples, excluding same-sex couples (as Illinois has only legalized civil unions).  What this means is that they will lose a huge chunk of state funding along with the ability to place children that have been taken into custody by the state.  (They will still be able to place children that are not in state custody.)  This kind of thing has been happening to a lot of agencies that have ties to both religion and adoptive services.  The end result is unaffiliated agencies placing children in a more diverse set of homes (which sounds great for the kids, but you can believe religious groups don't care about them).

If fewer children are placed in the custody of cherry-picked religious homes, it stands to reason that fewer children will be indoctrinated (hey the right doesn't have a monopoly on that word) by said religious parents.  That sort of thing should only accelerate the acceptance of more secular practices (LGBT rights being one of them) while further marginalizing religion.  (Especially since LGBT couples, even if they retain ties to their faith, might not be so willing to bring their children up in a religion that has denigrated them for years.)

At least that's my pondering of the night, and that's all it is right now.  With only a few states legalizing same sex marriage so far and some models predicting that the legalization in all fifty states is as much as ten years away, we've still got a long way to go.  But it makes me wonder...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sex Ed and Parental Rights

One of the biggest talking points of those opposed to comprehensive sexual education in schools is the assertion that such things are up to the parents.  After all, they're the ones responsible for raising their kid to become a productive member of society, they should supply the majority of input that their children receive.

That's all well and good in a world where everyone is either A). Knowledgeable enough to speak intelligently on the subject, or B). Dedicated enough to acquire the knowledge they need to speak intelligently on the subject; AND ALSO C). Willing to broach the subject.  This is not the case, or to put it more bluntly; have you SEEN the teen pregnancy rates in the United States?  SPOILER ALERT: We're number one.  This is not a good thing.  At least we're number two here.

It's pretty clear that American parents are (largely) completely incompetent when it comes to promoting sexual well being among their children.  This is a topic that many of them have proven that they cannot be trusted to handle and thus schools have at least partially taken over.

And really, sex is no different than math or English or history, or a number of other things very few parents are qualified to teach.  (This is kind of why we have schools in the first place.)  And while there are cultural differences in opinions on sex, there are cultural (and professional) differences in opinion on what math and English is necessary to be a productive member of society and what is absolute horseshit.  (Teach my kids how to write their name in cursive and then fuck off.)

What I'd like to do is shove a microphone in the faces of these parents that are so opposed to their kids learning about sex in schools and then ask them what they've taught their children about sex.  Anyone that tells me "nothing" gets a tattoo that says 'ignorance-perpetuating moron' on their head.  Because if you're complaining that it's your job to teach your kids about sex, and then not exercising the right to perform that task, you're a fucking idiot.

Apologies to the Christians that aren't Morons...But a Lot of You Are Morons

Really this isn't about any one thing in particular, rather about how Christians tend to cherry pick the bible based on their own biases and prejudices.  For lack of a better way of putting it, the Bible is a big old book with a lot of stuff in it that is stupid, outdated, makes no sense, or some wonderful combination of the three.  And Christians are okay with only following bits and pieces selected by a complex process of ???????

It gets even better when they extend this logic onto things on which the Bible has nothing to say.  One of those is the issue of pornography.  Hardcore religious groups hate porn something fierce, and they'll speak out against it constantly, usually when children are involved.  (PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!)  The most recent of this abomination is the NYFRF posting an article about the ACLU.

It seems the ACLU has taken umbrage with the fact that many school filters aimed at blocking pornography, also block legitimate Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered websites.  You can make the David Silverman face at their complaints about that all you want, but I actually started thinking in a different direction.

Rape, sex, sodomy, the selling of children, slavery, prostitution...all of these things are in the bible, why the hell aren't we blocking religious websites too?  What the hell are you talking about, it's the bible, nothing is explicit...because it's the bible!  At least that's what I imagine the religious response to those comments to be.  If you need, you can click on the David Silverman face again.  Granted we all have a certain slant we put on things due to our personal thoughts and feelings, but a lot of Christians seem to be very adept at making theirs especially retarded.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Buffalo Media: Why the Gailey Incident Was Stupid

I seem to be on a bit of a roll today, so I'll add my own opinion to something that had people atwitter last week that DGWU already touched on.

For those that missed it, Bills head coach Chan Gailey said something to the effect of "I expect to win every game, if you don't you're a pussy" in a southern accent that somehow manages to be both endearing and hilarious at the same time.  (As opposed to Buddy Nix, who is 100% hilarious.)

The response to this from people that respond poorly to things for a living was basically "lol Chan expects to go undefeated, what a moron."  They then proceeded to further criticize Gailey's comments mostly because they have word count guidelines and sometimes meaningless blather is needed to fill them.




The stupidity of this response can be summarized pretty simply: the media spent three years criticizing Dick Jauron for being "a chode of epic limpness" (pretty sure Jeremy White wrote that at least once) and now wants to turn around and criticize Gailey for actually having a pulse and setting goals that involve winning?  Are you fucking kidding me?  If there ever was clear cut evidence that local sports media is 99% assholes who like to complain about things, this is it.

Especially since I'm sure that at least once, at least one of them has written about how Buffalo has a losing culture and how someone needs to change that.  ISN'T THAT HOW YOU DO IT?!  By saying things like "I don't just hope to win, I expect to win," and "I expect to win every game."  With shit like this, it's no wonder Ted Black and Terry Pegula came in and treated legit media like they're fruit and toothbrushes in a kid's Halloween bag for the delicious chocolate of bloggers.

"I don't just hope to write good things, I expect to write them."  You know what, I can see why the media took issue with Gailey's comments.  They go against their very core beliefs.

I'm Glad Jagr Shit on the Pens

I'll be up front about a few things here; I don't know much about Jaromir Jagr, and I don't remember his previous time with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  The only information I can glean comes from Pittsburgh media articles a decade old (and we know how trustworthy the media is when it comes to European players, right Buffalo?). All I know is that the Flyers offered him what amounts to be chump change (considering what he's made in his career) more that Pittsburgh did and he took it.

But I can tell you one thing, it's great to see Pens fans whining about how one of their iconic players went to play for their most hated rival.  I want to spread those bitch-tears on the floor and roll around in them like a Labrador in a black and yellow dead animal.

It's not bad enough that Pittsburgh sports fans have a massive inferiority complex in general perpetuated by stupid sports casters and talk show hosts.  Oh, their fans "travel so well."  Bullshit.  They're just as big of bandwagoning fucks as Cowboys and Yankees fans, but no one calls them on it.  It's even worse in the NHL where they get publicity out the ass for having one of the most marketable boring but talented players in the game.  It just feeds and feeds their overgrown fan ego making it more intolerable by the second and I am glad Jaromir Jagr let some of the air out of it.

Guess what Pens fans, you're not god's gift to hockey (Terry Pegula is), you're not special, and everyone is sick of your shit.  There are some players that might not want to play for Dan Bylsma (who looks like a serial rapist...WHY THE FUCK DOES NO ONE NOTICE THIS!),  or with Marc Savard Paul Kariya Eric Lindros Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Matt Cooke, or in front of your fans (who make Leafs fans look like a 1920s prohibitionist league).  Welcome back to earth.

Tim Thomas Should Fucking Retire and Buy an Arena Football Team

In case you didn't pick up on it, the title is a reference to John Elway who put together one of the best statistical seasons of his career at the age of 38, annihilated the Atlanta Falcons in one of the most boring Super Bowls ever, won the Super Bowl MVP and then decided, "you know what, I'm going out on top."

Meanwhile Tim Thomas put together a record breaking regular season, then followed it up with a record breaking playoffs, a Stanley Cup victory, and a Conn Smythe trophy to boot.  Just retire.  Everything else is going to be a disappointment.  The only reason Thomas could possibly have for playing is a "fuck you guys for doubting me," victory lap, which is completely understandable, and also going to result in a much worse season.

It gets even more puzzling when you consider the replacements.  John Elway left a gaping hole in the Broncos.  Thomas would be leaving the Bruins in the hands of Tukka Rask, a somewhat insane, but extremely capable young goalie.  And I'm not saying this because I hate the Bruins (fuck em all) or because I hate Tim Thomas (seeing Thomas's vindication was the only reason I could stand Boston's victory).  I actually like the guy, which is one reason I don't want to see him fuck his way to a mediocre season because he won't care as much and won't get as lucky as he did in 2010-2011.  I also want to see him leave the game on his terms, rather than get gradually squeezed out by shithead Tukka Rask (which is almost certainly going to happen).  There are so few things you have control over in an NHL career, and Thomas is in a unique position to have the most recent memories of him remain eminently positive.  That, I think, is worth something.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tips for the InterviewER

We tend to think of interviews as a one way street, especially in this economy where more people need jobs than companies need positions filled, but this isn't always the case.  A lot of companies need to make themselves look attractive to potential employees as much as those people need to get hired.  Just like there are things a person can say that might not seem overtly negative, but imply negative things that might disqualify them from being hired, interviewers are at risk of doing the same thing and making their company look unattractive.  (Note these are generally for white collar jobs where you need more than a clean criminal record and a working brain.)

"Are you willing to work weekends?"
To me this is crippling for a company that typically employs 9 to 5.  I think that most office folks are perfectly willing to work weekends, so long as it's not the norm.  But when an interviewer has to make it a point to ask, it feels like you're going to get Lumburghed at every conceivable opportunity.


"What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses" and any other "typical" interview question.
One, it makes the interviewer look like a completely uncreative moron.  If you're interviewing for a technical position (like engineering), 99% of the interview should be spent discussing technical aspects.    But it hides the real reason questions like this are asked, to attempt to decipher your personality in an utterly bizarre atmosphere.  I know that personality is important for most jobs, but it's much easier to pick things up having a conversation than it is asking stupid questions.  And if you are asking me a lot of psychobabble shit, I'm going to get the impression that your office is a gossipy shithole.


"Where do you see yourself in five/ten years?"
Not working here!  Companies are worried about loyalty, I get it.  After all it sucks to waste resources hiring and training someone only to see them jump ship when something better comes along.  But I've found that companies that are worried about loyalty aren't loyal themselves.  They'll either drag their feet on promoting you (not promote you), or they'll kick your ass to the curb the second they start having trouble.  Plus studies have shown that it's better to hire ambitious workers that might jump ship if they find something better than it is to hire loyal yes-men that are okay with being stuck.  This question makes me feel like a company wants me to be dependent on them, like they're a drug.


"What do you know about our company?"
This one pisses me off for a lot of reasons.  First of all, a lot of my job-seeking experience has been in attending career fairs where I talk to twenty different reps.  You're always told to know something about a company whose rep you're going to speak with, but when you've got twenty of them, it's not going to happen.

Then there's the other side of things.  Most company websites have the most PR-ed up bullshit articles that it's impossible to actually tell when they do.  Because "finding innovative solutions for clientele" means absolutely nothing.  I've found a great counter to this question is to fit one of my own in early on in the interview: "tell me about the last project you worked on."

"Are you currently employed?"
It's okay when it's used as a lead in to talk about relevant work experience.  It's not okay when you simply want to know when someone is employed or not because it's a black mark to a lot of companies to be unemployed.  (Which is fucking stupid.)

"I'm not a (technical profession), I'm from HR."Leave now, you are in no way qualified to decide whether or not I fit a technical position.


Ironically, one of the things that doesn't really turn me off is when the person sitting opposite me is a bad interviewer.  A lot of the time mid-level engineers are just thrown into the interviewing processes by their boss (especially if the regular interviewer isn't available) and that's kind of a weird situation to find yourself in.  Plus usually when this happens, all those annoying typical interview questions are thrown out because the interviewer is more comfortable talking about the technical aspects of the job, or what they've worked on.  And that's the most important thing anyways: does the candidate have some familiarity with the actual work the company does?

Poster Shops

I should probably just stop going in them.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Working on Taro Says

For those of you that don't know, Taro Says is an idea for a book I had several months ago (long before Mary Wall came calling with her documentary). I wanted to get in touch with Sabres fans of all walks of life and compile their stories on whatever they want to talk about into a book. I've found that if there's one thing that fans love, it's reminiscing with other fans.

I'll be blunt: I want your stories about you and the Sabres, and I want as many as possible.  I see this going one of three ways.
  1. You write something yourself and send it to me.  Other than correcting for grammar/readability I will leave things virtually unchanged.
  2. You have a conversation with me/tell me stories via instant messenger, in which case I'll be doing a huge copy-past job while filling words in to make the transition from internet conversation to something suitable for a book.
  3. You speak to me in person, in which case I'll transcribe your words as best I can, again keeping as much of your voice as possible while still making it readable.
Obviously some are easier than others, but I don't have much of a preference.  I just want as much input from other fans as possible.


I'll post the general outline I have below. Things are subject to change based on what people want to send and what they want to talk about. Some categories may generate very little interest/stories so they may get scaled back or cut entirely. I don't want to place any limitations on anyone, so write as much as you want about whatever you want, on as many topics as you want. (I think people like talking about themselves, so hopefully you won't need much encouragement.)

My idea for formatting is to head each story within each chapter with "Person says..." and then whatever they've written or whatever I've written based on a conversation with them. So if there's a particular way you want to be referred to let me know, otherwise I'll just use first name only. I think that since a lot of the contributors will be bloggers, I'll have an appendix listing them and their sites (provided they're Sabres related), so if you want to be included there, just give me the info.

I really want this to be a collection of individual voices and stories, so outside of grammar mistakes and misspellings, and fitting things into the appropriate chapters, I don't plan on changing anything.

This is my goal with regards to publishing (I'm not 100% sure I can do things this way, but pretty sure):
I want to make the book free on Smashwords which offers formats for most eReaders in addition to plain text and PDF formats for reading on a computer.  If people do want to pay, I'll put a paid electronic version on Kindle's Amazon.com site and a paid hard copy version on lulu.com.


You can get at me on:
Twitter - @CriminallyVu1ga
AIM - CriminallyVu1gar
E-mail - Baseball74656@yahoo.com

The Outline:

Part I: Great Moments in Sabres History as Seen by the Fans

Chapter 1: Before There Were Sabres
Growing up with Hockey
Rooting for the Buffalo Bisons

Chapter 2: Getting a Team
Where Were You When You Heard the News?
Did Things Change in Buffalo?

Chapter 3: Humble Beginnings
Getting Gilbert Perreault
The French Connection
A Swift Rise to the Top and the 74-75 Cup Finals

Chapter 4: Settling In
Through the 70s and 80s
The Departure of The French Connection
Lindy Ruff as a Player
The Playoff Wins Drought

Chapter 5: The Glorious 90s
Celebrating May Day
Alexander Mogilny, Pat Lafontaine and Dominik Hasek
Farewell to The Buffalo Memorial Auditorium
Lindy Ruff as a Coach
The 97-98 Conference Finals
The 98-99 Cup Finals and No Goal

Chapter 6: Tense Times
The Ownership Issues
The Lockout Year
Prevailing Through

Chapter 7: 2005-2006, Rick Jeanneret's Favorite Season
Low Expectations and Remarkable Results
Campbell's Hit, Briere's Game Winner, and Whooping the Flyers
Pominville's Shorthanded Clincher and the Senators Shocker
Defensemen Dropping Like Flies, Briere Sends it to Seven, but the Fans See Disappointment

Chapter 8: 2006-2007, Being the Class of the NHL
High Expectations and the President's Trophy
Steamrolling the Isles
Difficulties with the Rangers and Chris Drury and Max Afinogenov Play Heroes
The Senators get Retribution

Chapter 9: Looking for Better Days
Losing Briere and Drury
Missing the Playoffs
New Ownership and a Look into the Future


Part II: Great Moments in the Lives of Sabres Fans

Chapter 10: And So it Begins
Your First Sabres Game
Starting Young and Being Raised a Sabres Fan
Starting Old and Finally Seeing the Light
Early Memories
Shepherding Young Fans into the Fold

Chapter 11: Through the Years
Togetherness and Sabres with the Family
Growing with the Team
Favorite Players Through the Years
Friends You Made at Sabres Games

Chapter 12: Add a Lot of Blue, a Little Gold, and Cook With Passion
The Best Stories from Inside Buffalo Memorial Auditorium
The Best Stories from Inside HSBC Arena
The Best Stories from the Plaza
The Best Stories from the Bar
The Best Stories from Home

Chapter 13: Thanks for the Memories
Bidding Farewell to the Aud
The Greatest Game You Ever Saw
Remembering Ted Darling
Remembering Rick Jeanneret

Chapter 14: The Hopeful Future
Where Will You Be When the Sabres Win the Stanley Cup?



Motivation in Sports

Justin Bourne wrote an article about finding motivation during the offseason when there's no hockey to be played (and thus no competition to be had).  I find myself identifying with Bourne's columns a lot, not because I have any great talent, but because my hockey "career" is only three years old.  His articles about finding your way and growing comfortable among skilled players resonate with me because I'm right there, albeit at a much lower level.

 Fuck you, it went in, didn't it?  This sums up my hockey career pretty well; ass-ugly appearance, good results.

What's interesting about this particular column is that I think a lot of us end up with the reaction "you make $$$, what more motivation do you need?"  For rec. athletes, there are no dollar signs, and for someone new to the game with (much) room for improvement, the motivation has to come from somewhere else.

I understand that it's a rec. league and that the objective is to have fun, so you won't find me hitting the weight room six days a week or skating for hours on end, but I do have high expectations for myself.  I guess that's where my motivation comes from, knowing what I'm capable of and working on the necessary skills to get to that point.  Of course it also helps to play pick-up games with guys that played college hockey and watch them do something and think, "that was awesome, I want to learn how to do that."

There are two paths I think, "eh, it's a rec. league, who cares," and "I know I can play better than this."  I've never been one for complacency so I've always chosen the latter, something that has led teammates to refer to me as both Crash (because if you don't lose an edge every once in a while, you're not trying hard enough), and the James Brown (The hardest working man in show business) of Hockey.  I think the worst feeling in the world is to step into the locker room after a game, any game, and not feel at least a little tired and sore.  I hate driving home thinking that I could have done more, or I could have skated harder, regardless of the Rec. League status.  That's where my motivation comes from night in and night out.  If I can satisfy that requirement, I find that my other goals, being a good teammate, winning, and putting up points come pretty easy.

Thursday, September 1, 2011