Sunday, November 19, 2017

That's a lotta legos.

"Spur Trinity Night!"

Three improbable NBA stories:
  • TY text - That photo is from a (rare) TY text message. He went to the Spur game with some Trinity-heads. The game was a good one as San Antonio made a big comeback to beat OKC 104-101. (yahoo boxscore)
  • 90 points in a half - James Harden and the Houston Rockets scored 90 points in a half. That's rare, too. It hasn't happened since 1990. (see below)
  • 40 points in a quarter - Your Chicago Bulls won a game last night, beating Charlotte 123-120. In Houston-esque fashion, the Bull scored 40 points in the 4th quarter. (wha?!?) Hey, don't knock it... I saw a game earlier this week where the Bull scored just 7 points in a quarter. (yeesh)

The Denver Nuggets scored 90 points in the first half of a game against San Antonio on Nov. 7, 1990. Three days later, they gave up 107 in the first half against Phoenix, the most ever.
Houston Rockets score 90 points in 1st half in rout of Phoenix Suns
Basketball Reference. Cool. All the "reference" sites are amazing. Here's the boxscore for that 1990 game where Phoenix scored 107 points in the first half. The balanced Sun attack had five players with 20 points or more: Tom Chambers 20, Dan Majerle 21, KJ 23, Kenny Battle 23, and Ced Ceballos 32. (smile)

  CS 598    

This U of I class is awesome. The students get to program an autonomous vehicle. How the heck is Prof Bill supposed to compete with that?!? (ha)

Prof Bill may not be able to compete, but I empathize with the "old guy" teaching this class.

Illini QOTD
For an old guy with a background in computer vision from the early 80s, back then nothing worked, so attaching them to motor cars was quite honestly a silly thing to do.
- David A. Forsyth, CS 598 prof
Maybe I don't want to compete. The prof was the test pedestrian for his students' projects. Yikes.

Illini QOTD2
Joe Buckner (director of engineering at AutonomouStuff) had both hands out the window, but his foot one millimeter from the brake. While we were able to control the risk, it had its moments. In the last 20 frames, I was getting twitchy hoping that Joe was awake. In the end, it stopped closer to me than I realized was safely possible for a vehicle running student code.
- David A. Forsyth, CS 598 prof

  Rogue One  

Movie: Star Wars Rogue One
Review: 2 bill-stars (out of 5)... mediocre

I'll never forget the first scene in Star Wars in 1977. The scrolling story intro was immediately follow by the space ship flying in over the top of the screen, getting larger and larger, until it covered almost the whole dang theater. That was literally my first special effects experience, and my head figuratively exploded. 40 years later, they use the same effect in Rogue One. The new Star Wars series of movies mimic a lot of the components of first three films: special effects, plot devices, characters, etc. This approach is very $$$ successful and satisfies a strong desire for nostalgia that is out there, but it's bad for creativity. Almost by definition, these movies are a mere shadow of the original Star Wars trilogy.

The Rogue One story is actually a pretty good idea. This movie fits in right before the original: Star Wars, A New Hope. You can see it in this cool Star Wars timeline. Rogue One explains how Luke Skywalker got the Death Star plans and knew how to blow it up and all. How this happens involves a new set of characters for the most part, which is good.

So, it's a nice plot, but the execution is really weak as is typical of these films. The dialog and the acting is silly and often awkward. The lead actors are meh, just ok. There's a lot of rehash of plot devices and special effects, as I said. The accents are odd and poor, which is a Star Wars hallmark for some reason. There's a smarmy robot forcibly wedged in there for forced laughs (ugh). The movie is 30 minutes too long. And, you get the idea.

In Rogue One, they even dug up some dead actors from previous Star Wars movies. Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher appear as 100% CGI actors. It's kind of weird, and the CGI to do this is amazing. But it's still not perfect and you notice it.

So, Rogue One is just okay. Not really worth seeing. And maybe worse... when it comes out on TV, I doubt I'll stop surfing to watch because I've seen it all before.

That's a lotta legos.
- Kim39, as the Death Star came into focus during Rogue One (he he)


Tax cuts/reform equals growth and that equals victory. Hey now!

The point is, the magic missing from our economy in recent years has been growth.
Average 2% GDP growth over the past decade is substandard.
Restoring our historic path of 3% growth is within reach.
The Coming Tax-Cut Boom
Bad headline there. It should be... The Coming Tax-Cut BOOM!
It's the economy, stupid.
thanks... yow, bill

PS - Bonus round: Here's the opening scene of Star Wars from 1977. (dreamy sigh)

Thursday, November 16, 2017


"Cupcake selfie"

Woof. Gol dang, it's ugly out there. It's fugly! The maelstrom of righteous leftie anger threatens to consume all in its path. Except the williamt blog. (ha) 

Will: [working out] What are you doing here? You're married. You should be at home getting fat. 
Grace: I know, right. But ever since Leo's been home, he's just had a lot of extra energy. He wants to do it like twice a week. Together. So I've gotta tone up. 
Will: What kind of shape do you have to be in to just lay there? 
Grace: Good shape.
- Will and Grace,

   Notch rm -f   

In my last post, I poo-poo'd the Apple iPhone X notch. Now you can buy an app to take get rid of it called Notch Remover.
iPhone X ‘notch remover’ now available in App Store
Well, that didn't take long. (smile) Capitalism!

   High blood pressure $$$   

What if you could make billions and billions of dollars just by waving a magic wand? Well, a bunch of doctors just did it. They lowered the "official" definition of high blood pressure.
Instead of saying that a reading of 140/90 mmHg—i.e. the pressure in your vessels as the heart is pumping over the pressure between beats—high blood pressure will now be defined as 130/80. (Normal blood pressure is considered under 120/80.)
If you didn’t have high blood pressure yesterday, you might today
What is the impact of this? Well, it means million of new customers for doctors and pharma companies.
Previously, roughly 32% of Americans (73 million) were considered to have high blood pressure. Now that jumps to 46%, or 103 million people. The change doubles the number of women with high blood pressure and triples the number of men.
I just passed my 55 physical with flying colors, thank you very much. Speaking of blood pressure, the girl taking my blood wasn't exactly, how should I say, committed to excellence. It's safe to say that the accuracy of her blood pressure reading was, um, not so great. Here are your blood pressure pills, sir. Yeah, no thanks.

   Millennial headache   

Here's some good fun at the stock channel, aka CNBC.

RCL up ↑
Royal Caribbean Cruises reported boffo earnings this quarter. The CEO credited part of the surge to increasing the appeal of cruising to millennials. He said their ships now emphasize social media as part of the experience... millennials want other people to see them having a good time, the CEO said. (scrunch)

SNAP down ↓
Snap stock declined this afternoon after the company reported disappointing results. The adolescent, I mean, millennial in charge of SNAP said: "One thing that we have heard over the years is that Snapchat is difficult to understand or hard to use, and our team has been working on responding to this feedback."

Now, that Snap app that's "hard to use" has a market cap of $18 BILLION. Whenever Snap has problems, CNBC plays stock footage of millennials using weird Snap filters that turn them into puppies or rainbows or whatever. Then, the camera switches back to the panel of frowning, non-millennial (aka old) experts at CNBC who are as perplexed by the whole $18B SNAP thing as I am.

Millennials give me a headache sometimes. (ha!)

   MEET JOJO!   

I'll wrap with my favorite... The Jew-el has a new mascot. (scratch)


Jew-el says that JOJO is "bright red, really fuzzy and extra helpful". Well, he also has one eye, no pants and wears a white coat, so he probably works in the pharmacy.
JOJO has lots of healthy advice for kids. (he he)
JOJO wants to help kids stay active so they can enjoy those delicious chocolate chip cookies every now and then.

Alas, not everyone is on the JOJO bandwagon... yet!
Mascot purist says 'Jojo' doesn't make sense — and needs pants 

Our Favorite Internet Reactions To JoJo, The New Jewel-Osco Monster

Bah, they're probably just jealous because one thing is certain... JOJO is a big hit with the ladies.

You know what I want. I desperately want to be at the JOJO marketing meeting. That's a PowerPoint presentation I need to see. (ha)

Most importantly - I lurve The Jew-el. Apple. My doctor. Royal Caribbean Cruises. Snap.
Capitalism! Only in America.

smile... yow, bill

PS - I flipped from the stock channel to see a press conference by the lawyer of that Alabama Senator guy Roy Moore. Something was different. Moore's lawyer was beaming, smiling, and fidgety with nervous energy. This guy looked like he had swallowed a canary. He knew something.

The lawyer called out the single piece of physical evidence against his client, a signed high school yearbook from 40 years ago. He said it wasn't Roy Moore's signature. He said the "DA" after Moore's signature is bogus because Roy Moore wasn't the DA then. He said Moore's signature sometimes did appear with DA after it because his assistants initials were D. A. Oops. Then he dropped the BIG hammer. Let's test the ink. "Is it 40 years old or is it a week old?"

The nerd in me got excited. Hey, finally a hard answer in one of these decades-old harassment cases... almost as good as Monica's blue dress! Whoever's lying about the yearbook is lying about everything else. EZ PZ. 

It took me about 10 minutes to grow up. We will never see that yearbook again. (cha!)

Monday, November 13, 2017

Veggies. In tot form!

"Tiger profile"

That's a pretty good one from the Brookfield Zoo.

The notch

Oops - Apple design faux pas? Say it ain't so. The iPhone X screen has a weird notch at the top.
Why I think Apple botched the iPhone X’s notch

This notch was marketing-driven, I reckon. Apple wanted to have this "all-screen" designation, and this was given priority over the design and aesthetics of the phone.
Speculation - The iPhone X wouldn't have a notch in it if Steve Jobs were still alive, eh.

Nice zinger by this dude. Let's give Apple TV a notch, too. (smirk)

But still, all hail Apple  - The iMac I'm typing on right now (write now, ha) is too old for the latest OS upgrade, High Sierra. (dop) This machine will be 10 years old next year. Best computer I ever bought. I don't think this toaster has crashed 5 times in 10 years. No viruses. Still runs like a top. Excellent engineering!

Gamache follow-up

A little book follow-up here... these are two things peripherally mentioned in the first Chief Inspector Gamache book, Still Life (3 bill-stars, williamt review): 1) Georges Simenon and 2) Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D Major. Georges Simenon was a prolific author and defiler of women (ha) and the Tchaikovsky is incredible.

Every morning, he sat down and completed his self-assigned daily quota of eighty typewritten pages. Then he would vomit, from the tension, and spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing. Thus, by the age of twenty-seven, he had established the pattern of his life: lots of books, lots of women.
- Georges Simenon, new yorker story

This is an unbelievable performance by violinist Itzhak Perlman. He's the soloist for Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D major. I gotta buy that one. (done, smile)

Phillie Death Trinity

Three ex-Phillie ballplayers have died this year: Jim Bunning, Darren Daulton, and Roy Halladay.

1. Jim Bunning
He died on May 26, 2017 at 85 years old.

Bunning QOTD 
I have also thought that being able to throw a curveball never was a bad skill for a politician to have.
- Jim Bunning, nytimes post

2. Darren Daulton
He died on August 6, 2017 at age 55 (too young, ha!). He had battled cancer for a long time.
Daulton was a good, ballplayer:

His twitter page lives on: I guess that's what we've decided to do with social media. If someone dies, you just leave the pages up there. I guess that makes sense. I can't think of any better way to handle it.

Daulton's wife (widow, sorry) was one of the original Hooters girls. Huzzah to that!
First Hooters girl Lynne Austin looks back at her success

3. Roy Halladay
Roy Halladay just died this week in a plane crash. He was just 40.

Baseball Reference says that Halladay is a borderline HOF'er. That sounds about right.

What do you do when your passion, your favorite hobby is pretty dangerous? I guess you go for it. Halladay's twitter page is little odd at this point. It's awash tweets about the plane in which Halladay died. (dop)

Courage is not being fearless but rather acting in spite of the existence of fear!
- Roy Halladay,
Dangerous hobbies... I see (old) people having fun on their motorcycles in the sunshine and think to myself "that's pretty cool". Hmm.

This is a nice workaday myphoto. It's the home run Liberty Bell at the Phillies ballpark.


This is a good article. Even though I don't know the difference between a trend and a meta-trend. (ha)
Meta-Trends for 2018 Fantasy Season

MLB reality - The baseball. Here's the stat: pitchers average HR per 9 innings. It's increased nearly 50% in just 4 seasons.
  • 2014: 0.86 home run/9 innings
  • 2015: 1.02
  • 2016: 1.17
  • 2017: 1.27
This HUGE increase, happening so quickly, can't be explained away by big, strong players using an upper cut swing. The ball is juiced. The author doesn't think MLB will change this and, we should "expect the live-ball era to continue." Probably.

LP3 fantasy - The author advises: I’m not investing in power-only hitters.
I don't know, man. That's all I gots. (smile) We'll see.

Speaking of the Naperville Fantasy Ballclub®, me and Phillie hitting coach Matt Stairs... we were both wrong about M Franco last year.

[hitting coach] Matt Stairs was confident in Maikel Franco. Matt Stairs is gone.
2017 Phillies player review: Maikel Franco
Well, I don't want to fire myself, so let's do some M Franco math:
  • M Franco will still be 25 when the season starts next April, yahoo player
  • His stats last year: 66 run, 24 dinger, 67 rbi, 235 total base
  • He'll be dirt cheap at 3B next season, probably available after round 14
The main thing though has nothing to do with stats. M Franco looks like a ballplayer.  I see it. The Phillies see it. It's why he kept batting 5th any time he had a pulse last year.

Bottom line: For low low $$$, M Franco will be Naperville next year. Lord help me.
ha... yow, bill

PS - Join the revolution... Veggie Tots! In the future, all food will be served in tot form. Tots!