Just a thought: how much will the 60 luxury boxes go for at the New Yankees Stadium? Some estimates claim it’ll be about $1 million a year (Good Lord – $60 million for just the boxes is more than some teams’ payrolls).

 But why not higher? I mean, given the number of rich-ass law firms, consulting firms and financial firms in New York, is there an upper limit to how much they could charge? Why not $2 or $3 million a year?

So I’m coming out of the Gallery Place metro today around 8:15, minding my own business, when I get a distinct feeling there’s too many people around me. It’s not normally all that crowded during the three flights up from the Green line platform to the street (most people getting off at Gallery Place in the mornings seem to get off the Red line). So I look up and – holy shit! – I’m instantly weaving through throngs of middle-aged women. And I mean, fatties. In fact, at first I was slightly confused, because it’s not all that rare to see groups of large women walking around together with no men going to museums or something like that. Fat men go on golfing weekends, fat women go on bus tours. But this was too many for a simple bus tour. I mean it was like a pod of Orcas had descended on the Red line. There were no krill to be found, anywhere. So I knew this was some sort of special event, and that was confirmed when I exited to the street and saw them all going into the Verizon Center.

 What was it?

It was a Women of Faith conference. Now I’m not sure if it was just a coincidence all the faithful ladies at the conference were old fatties. Maybe what they have faith in is God loving all bodies equally, or maybe they have faith in Starbucks never running out of caramel macchiato frappucino mix or Venti-size glasses. All I know is that these ladies could have used a conference like “Women of Faith…in controlled portion sizes” or “Women of Faith…in regular exercise”.

Also, I checked the schedule, there’s an equally large “Men who don’t get fellatio or sex with the lights on” conference at the Convention Center. Hmmm.

 P.S. Reading over this post, it reads pretty mean. So let’s all ask the Women of Faith to pray for me.

Am I the only one who seems to realize that the Wizards have Antawn Jamison’s $16 million contract coming off the books next year, which makes him possibly the single most attractive trade asset in the league? You’re telling me Utah wouldn’t bite on a Jamison for Andrei Kirilenko trade to find themselves a max contract under the cap heading into the 2008 free agent class? Seriously? It would be sooooooo Bullets to sit on a 31 year old small forward with bad knees for the entire season and get nothing in return, even though we’ll lose him after the season and after re-upping Gilbert Arenas won’t have enough money to add a decent player to replace him.

Everyone loves Antawn Jamison, but would you rather have Jamison, Arenas and Caron Butler this year, or Arenas, Butler and Kirilenko for the next 4 years?

WTF Wikipedia?

June 29, 2007

The Wikipedia system is too smart for its own good. I’ve noticed the ookiness of Wikipedia before – I can’t remember what it was, possibly I was at a Washington Post chat online and when I went to the Wikipedia site of the person conducting the chat, it was already updated with information revealed during the chat…and this was while the chat was still going on. So I’ve come to the conclusion that Wikipedia sustains itself with information uploaded by stalkers, people so involved in certain subjects they must update to-the-minute information on those subjects to Wikipedia pages. Which seems to me to imply a sickness, or a mania of some sort.

You don’t believe me? Wikipedia is just harmless fun? Get this shit.

Benoit’s page on Wikipedia, a reference site that allows users to add and edit information, was updated at 12:01 a.m. Monday, about 14 hours before authorities say the bodies were found. The posting, according to ABCNews.com, contained the following information:

“Chris Benoit was replaced by Johnny Nitro for the ECW Championship match at Vengeance, as Benoit was not there due to personal issues, stemming from the death of his wife Nancy.”

Yeah, that’s right motherfuckers. Someone updated Chris Benoit’s Wikipedia page with his wife’s death half a day before the cops found her. And in someone’s mind, it was more important to update a Wikipedia page that to INFORM THE AUTHORITIES THEY HAD KNOWLEDGE OF A MURDER.

Keep downplaying the dangers of Wikipedia, guys. Maybe someday you’ll go to your own page and read:

John Smith (May 14, 1976-August 18, 2009) blah blah blah…

And then you’ll realize, “My God, it’s only August 7th. How does Wikipedia know when I die?”

NBA draft baby!

June 28, 2007

I’ll have NBA draft coverage of some sort on Dutch Courage – not sure if it’ll be a live draft blog like we used to do on the old site, or followup coverage. It is one of my favorite events, after all.

Early word from Portland has the Blazers taking Greg Oden,and I think it’s the wise move. As good as Kevin Durant is (and he’s phenomenal) you can’t pass up a fantastic defensive center like Oden. I mean, he’s game-changingly good on the defensive end. If he ever learns how to utilize his soft touch on the offensive end, he’ll be one of the top two centers (with Yao Ming) for the next decade. Let’s look at the Blazers with Oden:

Starting Five

Center: Greg Oden

Power Forward: Zach Randolph

Small Forward: Ime Udoka

Shooting Guard: Brandon Roy

Point Guard: Jarrett Jack

Bench

Darius Miles, Joel Prizbilla, LaMarcus Aldridge, Raef LaFrentz, Fred Jones, Martell Webster, Dan Dickau, Travis Outlaw, Sergio Rodriguez

It’s not a bad nucleus, but it does have a few holes. The biggest hole can be addressed by moving Zach Randolph. But let’s say you can get Washington to bite on Zach Randolph (fulfilling Washington’s need for inside scoring) for Antawn Jamison (giving the Blazers cap relief in 2008 and adding some veteran leadership). Then you have a starting five of Oden, Aldridge, Jamison, Roy, and Jack. Much better, right?

However much better the Jamison trade makes the Blazers next year, the real key is the summer of 2008, when Jamison’s contract would come off the Blazer’s books. That summer, heading into what could possibly be the best free agent draft class of all time, the Blazers would be approximately $16 million under the cap (assuming a cap of $58 million), leaving them a max contract they can use to get one of the NBA’s superstars, and probably have a very good chance at winning an NBA title or 3. For example, let’s look at the following possible lineup in 2008-09:

C: Greg Oden

PF: LaMarcus Aldridge

SF: Brandon Roy

SG: Travis Outlaw

PG: Gilbert Arenas

Bench: LaFrentz, Miles, Pryzbilla, Webster, Jack, Rodriguez

That’s not too fuckin’ bad. Plus, over the next two years after that, another max contract equivalent comes off their books as the ridiculous contracts of Raef Lafrentz and Darius Miles expire. Just in time for guys like Joe Johnson to come into free agency.

But it all comes down to moving Zach Randolph. Without Zach Randolph, the Blazers are a better-behaved team with infinitely more cap flexibility. With him, they’re basically maxed out for the foreseeable future. For Greg Oden’s sake, move Zach Randolph.

Well I don’t care assholes, I’m posting it anyway…cause that’s what I do.

There’s a story in the Post today about a Booz Allen Hamilton project, originally worth $2 million, to help the Department of Homeland Security set up it’s intelligence operation in 2003. And how much has the project, to date, actually been worth to BAH? Oh, $124 million, give or take. The tone of the Post article is kind of outrage, like HOW could this possibly have happened?

Let me fill you in on something – this shit happens all the fucking time in the government. It’s common practice (even in multiple bid contracts) to lowball your offer, include a minimum of guaranteed work at a low cost, hoping to get the contract from a contracting officer overly concerned with cost and not as concerned with the work promised, and then to spend the rest of the contract expanding the scope of your work. They’re called contract modifications, and they can be agreed to for legitimate reasons – perhaps a costly survey needs to be added in order to ensure a successful outcome – or for ridiculously illegitimate reasons, like spending 3 times as much as necessary on a BAH employee to perform DHS employee functions.

Listen to this shit:

[Booz Allen Hamilton's] support work included intelligence analysis, preparation of congressional reports, budget activities and other tasks crucial to the operation of the office, documents show.

Wow. Was there anything DHS was doing for itself?

We focus too much on no-bid contracts because we think it’s one of President Bush’s devilish ways to pass on profits to his cronies in the private sector. But that’s not really true. These contractual labor rates are, most of the time, set by GSA. So having Booz Allen Hamilton win is the same as having any other private consulting firm win, really. The big deal, to me, is that we’re making it too easy and too expensive for ourselves through these ever-expanding labor contracts. Instead of hiring the experts to do the job for us at half the price, we just hire contractors to do it for us at twice the price. I’m all for small government, but we shouldn’t delude ourselves into thinking we’re contracting the government just by contracting out more of our work. We’re just making the same work more expensive.

Let’s say we have 1 million federal employees and 1 million contractors. Each federal employee on average makes $80,000 a year, and each contractor employee costs the government $200,000 a year ($100 an hour X 40 hours per week X 50 weeks per year). That’s a current total of $280 billion in labor costs per year. However, let’s say some faux-conservative jackass wants to contract the government’s labor force and contract out more work. Well, let’s say you have 500,000 federal employees and 1.5 million contractors. That would mean a total labor cost of $340 billion per year.

So at places like DHS, under this contract, when they’re considering how much easier it would be to higher contractors to do their jobs for them, rather than hiring people and training them to do the job directly for the government, are they considering how much their own convenience is costing us?

When my wife is out of town (which is most weeks, Monday through Thursday) I usually drive to work because I have to go home in the middle of the day to take our puppy outside. I used to take public transportation every day, but over the past year I’ve gotten to know the DC parking situation intimately. And by intimately, I mean I’ve singlehandedly solved any DC police officer pension underfunding problems by paying scads of parking tickets.

So I’ve realized that there is a hierarchy of parking spots around my building and, I’m sure, in DC as a whole. Let me enlighten you.

DC Parking Spot Hierarchy (Ranked from least desirable to most desirable)

  1. One-hour parking spots – not only are they 25 cents per 15 minutes, which is the worst (and most frequent) value for street parking in the city, but if you work in an office, you’re almost certain to get a ticket parking there. First of all, you’re never going to be able to get down every hour to feed the meter, and second of all, since someone decided those spaces were important enough to rate a one hour designation, they’re certain to be heavily patrolled by the meter maids looking to give out the dreaded “sure there’s time on the meter, but the car’s been here longer than the alloted maximum time” ticket.
  2. Two-hour parking spots in patrolled locations - all parking spots with like designations are not created equal. Just around my building’s block, there are two streets where you’ll get tickets on a regular basis for being 10 minutes late to the meter, while on the other two streets you can be up to 30 minutes late or more without a significant chance of being ticketed. Even which side of a street you’re on sometimes matters.
  3. Two-hour parking spots in lightly-patrolled locations – see above.
  4. Metered spots with defective meters – There’s this one spot on a street next to my building that is rated a 20 minutes per quarter meter with a 2-hour limit. But it’s my favorite spot and I try to get it every day for several reasons. First, it’s a lightly patrolled area where I’ve never gotten a ticket for feeding the meter and going over 2 hours (feeding the meter is far easier than searching for a new spot every two hours). Second, it gives you 30 minutes rather than 20 minutes per quarter (bonus!). Third, and most importantly, whatever broke the meter also reset the maximum time. I’ve literally never found the upper limit to how much time you can put on the meter, and I’ve gone up to four hours. God forbid some “good samaritan” reports this meter, it’s the most convenient deal I’ve found in DC street pay parking.
  5. Zoned non-pay parking – there’s no meters at these spots, but if you don’t have DC plates with the correct zone representation there’s a two hour maximum. The only reason these aren’t the best spots in the city is that it’s completely spotty whether these are patrolled or not. I’ve seen tickets in some areas, and there are other areas where I’ve never gotten a ticket despite not moving my car all day. Kind of a crapshoot.
  6. The perfect spot – Did you ever think your day would be made by something as simple as a parking spot? Neither did I…until I started driving to work. The perfect spot can take several forms – maybe the meter was busted off by vandals, perhaps there’s space between two diagonal parking meters for an extra car to fit, maybe the city left too much room between the first parallel parking meter and the sign. In any case, the perfect spot always has the same aspect: you can leave your car there and walk away for the entire day. No feeding meters, no moving the car, it’s blissful.
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