Thanks, or rather No Thanks, NBC

I just discovered that NBC has cancelled “the Firm” and “Harry’s Law”.

The only two NBC shows I watched.

Both gone.

The dumbing down of America continues.


Eyes vs Teeth?

Yesterday I returned from probably my 15th eye doctor visit in the past two years. After having everything from serious retinal detachment in one eye, cataract work in the same eye, and laser work in the other eye, I had somewhat of an awakening.

We only have two eyes. They cannot be replaced with functioning eyes. Unlike teeth. Even I have two teeth that are not my own. They work fine.

So how come my employer for years was willing to share the expense of dental insurance, but would not touch vision? Was it more important that we chew and smile better than to see better?

I cannot complain. Most of my eye work was covered by my medical insurance. But that’s not the issue. Why cover replaceable teeth and not irreplaceable eyes?



Yesterday Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants pitched the 22nd perfect game in major league baseball.  Philip Humber (White Sox) had one back in April, so there have been 2 this year.  As a matter of fact, there have been 5 perfect games since July 2009. What a bunch. This is the same sport that had no perfect games at all from April 30, 1922 to October 8, 1956, over 34 years.

Some people will, without a doubt, do complete analyses and somehow tie it in to weight rooms, pitch counts, night games, who knows what.  On an individual basis, these and other factors might sway the odds of any specific pitcher having a perfect game on any given night, but any attempt to analyze that completely brings in so many variables as to be essentially undoable.

I prefer to view it as just another clumping of outcomes due to the true nature of random outcomes.  Kind of like flipping a coin and getting heads 32 times in a row. If you flip 100 times, the odds are extremely high that you will not get a run of 32 heads. Flip the coin 1,000,000 times, and the odds have changed drastically. (See here)

The issue is similar to a hole-in-one in golf. Anybody can get one. I even had one (5th hole, Fairways of Halfmoon, 9/20/2010, 8 iron). Getting a hole in one is a random event. However, skilled golfers who cluster their tee shots on the green have a better chance than the typical Saturday hacker. Extremely skilled golfers who can consistently shoot near the pin have an even better chance. The skills we have effect the probability of getting a hole-in-one. But actually getting one, that’s luck.

Back to perfect games. The fact that there has been a bit of clumping lately might be indicative of a bit of increase in pitching skill relative to hitting, but it would take months if not years of research and analysis to enable one to come to that conclusion.

I find it amazing that there will be people who agree with what I have said here so far, yet claim to be experts regarding “climate change.”

Keep Those Conversations Going

So the US Open for golf starts at Olympic Club tomorrow.  The last time it was played there was in 1998. Just as any return to any course, the USGA tweaked it a bit.

One big change is that the first hole, at 530 yards, will play as a par four, while the 17th hole,  will play as a par five. Definitely seems strange.

In the long run, par on a hole is irrelevant.  The players play 72 holes, count the strokes, and let the chips fall where they may.  But TV and the spectator cannot operate that way. There has to be a means of comparing performances of players at different holes in a round.  Hence the focus on under par, over par, etc.

THE US Open is supposed to be a challenge, and it wouldn’t look good if too many golfers did too well at any given time. By setting par of #1 at 4, it virtually guarantees that most golfers will start their  rounds “over par”. By raising #17 to be a par 5, USGA has upped the number of birdies on the hole, increasing the probability of golfers making an apparent jump up the board as they finish their rounds.

Keep in mind: it really means nothing insofar as the end result is concerned.  But, it means the world insofar as conversations about golf are concerned.   No golfer talks about golf without talking about birdies, pars, bogies, two-putts, three-putts, chip-ins, etc.  How boring it would be if we could only talk about our final score.

Worst to Best

Winding Brook CC

Where I play most of my golf

Golf is a strange game. Quite enjoyable, massively frustrating, and constantly surprising.

Yesterday at the 13th hole at our local course, my drive was a bit weak and shortsided myself with shot about 20 yards ove a trap to a close pin. My great skill at such finesse shots enabled me to swing under the ball, lifting it into the air, and landing about 3 yards from where I was. Not good. I have almost the same shot next. This time the club hit the ball properly, the ball popped up, landing just on the green, and taking a bounce or two before coming to rest an inch from the cup.

What a long strange day it was.