Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sinkhole Vertical Leaps

Welcome "vertical leap" and "vertical jump" google searchers. If you are looking for a one-stop shopping list of some of the best vertical leapers and the answer to the question "how high can so-and-so jump," you've come to the right place. Before you leave, don't forget to check out the rest of the blog. It is a bit fantasy baseball focused, but perhaps you'll find something else fun to read. A recent post on the 2009 Slam Dunk contestants might be of interest.

Dwight Howard, who made the only memorable 2007 slam dunk contest dunk when he placed a sticker at the very top of the backboard before dunking, now has a video circulating on YouTube in which he kisses the rim before dunking.

After witnessing Dwight pucker up and kiss rim in mid-flight, I decided to catalogue as many vertical leaps as possible here in this post. I have listed the vertical leaps of a handful of athletes, but please remember that these are only ballpark figures. In the same way that many 5’11” basketball players are listed in programs as being 6’2”, accurate vertical numbers can be hard to obtain.

Note: A true vertical is measured from a standing jump. I assume that these figures were taken when these players were in their prime. I highly doubt that Kemp could jump out of a shoebox lid these days.

UPDATE: 2/9/09: Take these numbers with a grain of salt. As someone mentioned in the comment section, sometimes people like to use the running vert because it is higher, but a true vert is a standing vert. All the numbers below are supposed to be standing verts, but again, many of these numbers are more marketing than reality. Oh, and Lionel Marshall supposedly has a 50 inch vert, as this youtube clip shows. Sounds like a running vert to me, but the guy can clearly fly.

Oh, and if you're using these numbers to win a bet, I'm not sure this clinches it for you. I mean, seriously. This is a random blog quoting random sources from around the net, right? Heh, heh. Busted.

• 6’11” Dwight Howard: 38-40 inch vert, 12’6” jumping reach, 9'3 1/2 standing reach
• 6’8” 2007 NBA All Star Slam Dunk Champion Gerald Green: 46 to 48-inch vert
• 7’0” Andrew Bogut: 28-inch vert, can touch 9’2” while standing flatfooted
• Andre Iguodala 34-inch vert
• 6’7” Marvin Williams: 29-inch vert, has a wingspan of 7’3”
• 6’2” shooting guard Troy Bell: 41-inch vert
• Andre Iguodala: 34-inch vert
• J.J. Redick: 33-inch vert
• Vince Carter: 43-inch vert, 8'11" standing reach, 12'6" jumping reach
• Karl Malone: 28-inch vert, 9'2" standing reach, 11'6" jumping reach
• Shaq: 32-inch vert, 9'8" standing reach, 12'4" jumping reach
• Kobe Bryant: 38-inch vert, 8'10" standing reach, 12'0" jumping reach
• Steve Francis: 43-inch vert, 8'5" standing reach, 12'3" jumping reach
• Antonio McDyess: 42-inch vert
• Allen Iverson: 41-inch vert
• Shawn Kemp: 40-inch vert (Seattle)
• Rex Chapman: 39-inch vert
• Desmond Mason: 38-inch vert
• Lamar Odom: 32-inch vert
• Michael Jordan: 48-inch vert (Chicago), 8'10" standing reach, 12'5" jumping reach
• Dominique Wilkins: 42-inch vert, 9'0" standing reach, 12'6" jumping reach
• Larry Bird: 28-inch vert, 9'1" standing reach, 11'5" jumping reach
• Dr. J: 41-inch vert, 8'11" standing reach, 12'4" jumping reach
• Spudd Webb: 46-inch vert, 7'4" standing reach, 11'2" jumping reach
• Daryl Dawkins: 34-inch vert, 9'4" standing reach, 12'2" jumping reach
• Dee Brown: 44-inch vert
• Harold Miner: 44-inch vert
• Larry Nance: 40-inch vert
• Ralph Sampson: 36-inch vert
• Magic Johnson: 30-inch vert

Other High Vertical Leaps (Non-NBA)
• 5’10” Kadour Ziani (slamnation): 60-inch vert
• Michael Wilson (Globetrotters): 51-inch vert
• Reggie Thompson (Jumpsoles): 56-inch vert
• Ronnie Fields (CBA): 48-inch vert
• Melvin Levett: 45-inch vert
• A Zombie: 0-inch vert
• Me: at least a 13-inch vert (I can reach 7'5" and I just touched my 8'6" ceiling)

• Randy Moss: 51-inch vert
• Jevon Kearse 265 lbs: 40-inch vert

• Brandon Dean: 39-inch vert

UPDATE 3/11/09: Anon is the comments section gave a good tip. Check out this "Golden Child" of TFB dunking here. He's got a strange dunking style, almost like he's too high and has to dunk the ball down from too far up...he looks like he's dunking on a nerf hoop over door frame, you know? What is TFB? It is all explained here.

(sources: here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

Other Reading(s):

  • NBA players that don't (can't) in-game dunk (according to youtube).

  • The complete list of female in-game dunks (according to youtube).
  • Wednesday, February 21, 2007

    Is There a Word For “Zombie-Like”?

    I recently received as a gift from some geeks I know a copy of World War Z: An Oral History Of The Zombie War by Max Brooks.

    World War Z is an impressive and endless series of interviews with human survivors of a global war with movie zombies. Admittedly, the narrative voices are all the same, the human emotions are counterfeit, and the sentences don’t sound like speech. It’s a humorless exercise in military technicalities, geopolitical trivia, and meaningless predictions: the X-86 will kill zombies while the FT-91 will be useless; the American government will retreat to Hawaii while Cuba becomes a superpower and Israel walls itself in; Iron Maiden will make a comeback. It’s a horror story crossed with a game of Risk. While sometimes gripping, the book moves at the pace of the undead. It progresses mechanically, like war games and mock drafts, with the added lure of gore.

    My girlfriend read the first thirty pages. “It’s about AIDS,” she said. I think it’s also about something scarier—what if people just turned on each other? Mindless killing, cannibalism, humanity self-destructing. Someone literate in Latin could find a word for this. The book is, cover to cover, obsessed with death, but so is Hamlet. So is Cormac McCarthy, whose latest book wants to package with World War Z (as well as REAL Ultimate Power: The Official Ninja Book) to save you money, in case you need a gift for your grandfather.

    I scoured the internet for reviews of World War Z. This thing gets fewer thumbs down than The Godfather. Paramount optioned the film rights before the novel arrived in bookstores. Random House has set up an elaborate website, which is tongue-in-cheek without being stylish or funny.

    The geeks were eager for me to read it and pleased and avuncular with me when I finished it. They love World War Z, with its people behaving like machines and its massacre of the ignorant. The geeks value being right over being interesting. They value trivia over aesthetics. Peyton Manning, this is why some people don’t get you and your audible-polka.

    Others who might enjoy World War Z:
    • Bill Parcells
    • Dick Cheney
    • Ralph Nader
    • Michelle Wie and her dad
    • Spelling-bee champions
    • The mildly autistic
    • Tim Duncan
    • Pete Sampras
    • Anne Bancroft
    • Slayer
    • Distance runners
    • My barber, Rich
    • Laura Linney
    • The lady who stamped my passport at Customs
    • Kurt Vonnegut
    • Rob Deer

    Monday, February 19, 2007

    Sinkhole Pioneers: Mohonk Mountain House in upstate NY

    I spent the weekend as my girlfriend’s guest at the charter school world’s equivalent of a Star Trek convention. The convention was held at a castle-like hotel/lodge deep in the heart of the most secluded section of upstate New York. The lodge had been, at one point in its history, a ten-room building, but subsequent additions had increased its size to six floors and about 1,000 rooms. The lodge’s tack-on growth gave it a disjointed feel: hallways were illogical and sometimes dead-ended suddenly, sound carried through walls and between floors, the carpeted hallways had small undulations in them that initially caused me to stumble about, and the lodge’s many carpeted stairwells were difficult to find.

    Although my plastic-sheathed nametag listed me as a “significant other,” it only took a few minutes for me to realize that this somewhat overstated my importance in the eyes of the convention planners. After eating an early breakfast with my girlfriend and hundreds of charter school gurus in a large formal dining room (jackets required), my girlfriend was whisked away for ten hours of presentations, role-plays, and panel discussions. On my fancy convention agenda sheet, from the hours 8:30am to 6:30pm, a single word was printed: freetime. I took advantage of my "freetime" and explored the far reaches of the near-empty (everyone else was in the conference room) rambling lodge and became familiar with the idiosyncrasies of its layout and its staff.

    While I am not usually especially sneaky (my ankles crack when I walk), having all the time in the world allowed me to stake out areas and let my prey come to me. As I sat in the library pretending to read, I overhead two of the staff members make a pact to ignore “Mabel.” While clinging to the side of the pool and catching my breath during a pause in my swim workout, I heard one lifeguard tell another that she couldn’t wait to get "blitzed” later that night. And while dozing on a couch on the landing of a secluded stairwell, I heard one bellhop say to another, “I can get along with anyone who isn’t easily intimidated.”

    The rest of my day was spent shooting racks of straight pool in the billiard room, snowshoeing through the surrounding wilderness, and setting all the time trial records on the N64 Mario Kart that I found hooked up in the game room.

    By dinner, I was actually was looking forward to rejoining my fellow humans, but after the day-long grind the conference-goers were zombie-like and mostly incapable of holding normal conversations. So I kept myself entertained by taking two unofficial polls:
    Question #1: Can you name the title of any show that has ever aired on the Spanish-language television channel Telemundo?
    Question #2: Can you name any American distance runner, past or present?

    Of the 37 people I polled, 3 were able to name a Telemundo show (all three referenced “Betty La Fea,” the show that spawned “Ugly Betty”). Zero of the people polled where able to name an American distance runner.

    I found this fascinating, especially since the greatest run in the history of American distance running may have occurred just last month when Ryan Hall, running without the benefit of a pace-setter, beat the American half-marathon record by one minute and twelve seconds. Hall’s first mile was in 4:38. His time, 59:43, was the 9th fastest all-time. (Incidentally, if you look closely at the picture of Hall finishing, you can see where he wrote his split times in ink on the back of his hand. Who needs a GPS watch when you have a BIC pen?)

    At a time when even the casual sports fan knows so-called fringe-sport athletes, such as Lance Armstrong, Michelle Wie, Travis Pastrana, and Tony Hawk, American distance runners are virtually unknown. In an effort to educate, here are five other long-distance running performances that might also be considered the best in American history:
    1. Craig Virgin, the little known contemporary of Steve Prefontaine, won the World Cross-Country Championships in 1980 and 1981.
    2. Billy Mills won the gold medal in the 1964 Olympic 10k. His winning time of 28:24.4 was almost 50 seconds faster than he had ever run before and set a new Olympic record for the event.
    3. Bob Kennedy was the first non-African to break 13:00 in the 5k (12.58.21).
    4. Two years after becoming a U.S. citizen, Khalid Khannouchi won the 2002 London Marathon in a World Record 2:05:38, becoming the first person to break 2 hours and 6 minutes in the marathon.
    5. Seven years after becoming a U.S. citizen, Mebrahtom "Meb" Keflezighi won the silver medal in the marathon (2:11:29) in the 2004 Olympics. Meb also holds the American 10k record (27:13.98).

    After dinner, my girlfriend and her convention-mates, with nametags askew and matching robin’s-egg-blue folders in hand, funneled back into the main conference room for their 7:30pm - 11:30pm night session. I stayed behind in the now-deserted dining room and methodically ate all eight of the mostly-untouched lemon sherbet desserts that remained at my table.

    Some additional post-dinner exploration turned up a small basement room with a comfortable couch and a 42inch flatscreen TV, and I settled down to watch Phil Mickelson lose to Charles Howell III at the Nissan Open. I was disturbed only once, when a staff member entered and asked if “everything was okay.” I recognized him as the Mabel shunner, and I said, “No, everything is not okay. My life has gone to shit since you stopped talking to Mabel.” He left the room looking exactly like the scared twenty-year-old he was.

    I felt bad for spooking him, but after having been alone for most of the day, I was beginning to believe that isolation was something worth protecting, and like my Sentinelese brethren, I felt it necessary to shoot arrows, verbal or otherwise, at intruders. After the staff member left, I went back to attempting to maintain an interest in a Tigerless, early-season professional golf tournament, but found my mind wandering to other things, such as how Florida's impending submersion will affect 1. the game of golf and 2. the dwelling place of my parents.

    Friday, February 16, 2007

    Sinkhole Pioneers: Chiang Mai

    I missed an opportunity to watch Super Bowl XLI at 6 AM in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We arrived in town later that morning. Had the game been more exciting, my watching it at 6 AM in a faraway place would have survived as an anecdote of the sort that I use to prove my pioneer worldliness. For instance, I once bought valium at a poorly regulated pharmacy in Timbuktu. I found out about 9/11 on the morning of the 13th, perhaps one of the last few Americans to know. I am the first white person a nine-year-old Fulani goatherd ever saw.

    Chiang Mai is no remote outpost, of course. My girlfriend and I stayed at a pleasant B&B and paid to travel north toward Chiang Dao to see a hill tribe out in the bush. We were accompanied in our van by our Thai guide; our Thai driver; an older Dutchman; a pederast from Oakland, CA; and a mumbling Englishman, Rowan Atkinson with gray tumbleweed eyebrows. As a young sailor the Dutchman had taken shore leave in Bangkok so exquisite that this time he’d only changed planes there on his way to Chiang Mai. He didn’t want to spoil the memory. He bullied Rowan out of a stop at the cobra farm; he and the pederast wanted to press on to the hills.

    The hill tribe, the Karen, is advertised on the posters of Chiang Mai tour agencies as “Long Neck Big Ear People.” Some of the women wear gold rings around their necks, adding a ring each year. This does not stretch their neck, exactly; rather, it lowers their shoulders. Other women wear large earrings that stretch their lobes. The village was composed of a dozen wooden huts set into the side of a single hill and a string of small shady enclosures that served as souvenir shops. The long-neck and big-ear women wove on looms and were photographed by us. Their scarves and opium pipes (known as “San-Tana Dunn Dong”), as well as souvenirs found everywhere in Thailand, were on display, and when a visitor touched an item a small girl with rings around her neck recited the price. The Karen are refugees from Burma put here by the Thai Department of Tourism, and they were repaid in trinkets, which they then sold to us. There were also chickens and a puppy with a frightening growth on its back. A low day for my pioneer heart.

    On the drive back, the Dutchman and the pederast remarked on how nice the people were, which was true. The Thais ate peanuts and chatted about television shows. Rowan fell asleep in the back, dreaming of the venom-milking portion of the cobra show. I donned my imitation Ray-Bans and thought about the Sentinelese, 1000 km SSW of us on North Sentinel Island, hunter-gatherers who live naked, without the knowledge of making fire, shooting arrows at approaching vessels.

    Monday, February 12, 2007

    Fantasy Baseball Consultant

    UPDATE on 2/9/09: This is probably not exactly what you were looking for when you google-searched for "freelance fantasy baseball consultant," but I urge you to check out the site anyway. If you are looking for some more recent fantasy baseball strategy, click here and here.

    In 1980, on an unseasonably and unreasonably cold mid-March day in New York City, the sort of day where spittle freezes on the sidewalk, Daniel Okrent invented fantasy baseball. He and eleven of his friends met at a restaurant, La Rotisserie Francaise, and after ordering, they each picked sixteen different major league baseball players—nine hitters and seven pitchers—that they thought would be high performers in eight statistical categories. They each chipped in $10 and agreed that at the end of the baseball season, depending on how well their selected MLB players did in the eight statistical categories, one member of their group of twelve would be declared the winner of the $120 pot (Daniel also threw in a subscription to The Economist).

    Twenty-seven years later, roughly 15 million people in the United States, or approximately five percent of the U.S. population, are playing fantasy sports. I think the game can be dangerously addictive and so I don't play it myself, but I do work as a consultant for a friend who has a Yahoo fantasy baseball team. Last year, relying heavily on my sage advice, he came in fifth place in his twelve-team league. Who knows what place he would have finished without me? Eighth? Tenth?

    He plays in a twelve-team, ten category (hr, runs, rbi, obp, steals, era, whip, wins, k’s, and saves), head-to-head format. If the previous sentence is gibberish to you, you can find a more plain-speak explanation of the league rules by clicking here.

    Most people who play fantasy baseball draft primarily based on last years’ stats, which ultimately has about a .35 correlation with reality. Even the best baseball projections (say, Bill James') only end up being correlated with reality at a .45 to .61 clip. Most people who play the game try and draft a competitive-in-all-categories team. I’m suggesting something different: draft a going-for-broke-by-targeting-only-six-categories approach.

    In a typical stat-accumulating (roto) league, you can’t be truly terrible in any one category and hope to win. When drafting a head-to-head team, however, one can use one of two main strategies: 1. do what everyone else does and draft a team that is medium-strong in all ten categories or 2. draft a team that is excellent in five or more categories but is lacking in all the rest. With option #2, you can choose to focus on starting pitching (and excel in era, whip, wins, and k’s), closers (and excel in whip, era, and saves), home run hitters (and excel in homers, rbi, and runs), base stealers (and excel in steals and maybe runs), or some combination thereof. Being good in a small majority of the categories is acceptable for a winning team in the head-to-head format. You only need your record to be good enough to get you into the play-offs where winning 5-5 on a tiebreaker is just as good as winning 9-1.

    For those of you who have followed this post this far, I have two unconventional draft strategies for you to consider. The first strategy calls for the drafting of strong starting pitchers and hitters who are adept at hitting home runs. This would make the team a lock to win seven categories each week, but it would also require the team to tank three of them completely. I call the strategy Santana Dunn Dong. It would look something like this:
    1. Santana
    2. Vlad (30hr)
    3. Manny (35hr) (or Carpenter)
    4. Tejada (30hr)
    5. Haren / Peavy
    6. Dunn (40hr)
    7. Lackey / C. Young / Smoltz
    8. Brett Myers
    9. Chipper (25hr)
    10. Prince (30hr)
    11. Weeks (25hr)
    12. Schilling
    13. Jhonny Peralta (20hr)
    14. Burrell (30hr)
    15. Ross (20hr)
    16 - 21
    22. Zumaya
    23. Broxton

    Use your 16 - 21 round picks to select your typical bounceback players, such as Wood, Buehrle, Vazquez, Ensberg, Cliff Lee, or Penny. Or maybe you want to speculate on a Wainwright, Prior, Garza, Hill, Quentin, Lilly, Ianetta, Bard, Kendrick, Kouzmanoff, or Alex Gordon. Please note: I am aware that you might 1. disagree with my player selection or 2. think that the players I've selected wouldn't be available at the spots I've taken them. The players in the above team should be understood as placeholders of sorts, merely to give you a better idea of what this draft strategy might look like if it were to be carried out in the present fantasy baseball market. During your draft, you can always target other pitchers or home run hitters that you feel are more likely to be available in your league or more likely to perform at a high level during the 2007 season.

    The mission of the Santana Dunn Dong strategy is to win homers, runs, and rbi as well as wins, k's, era, and whip. This strategy is particularly effective if your first draft pick is in the 9-12 range and you select Johan Santana (and he performs like last year). The hitters from the above draft project to hit 265 home runs, or about 10.5 per week, and you would have five strong starting pitchers complemented by two low-whip, high-strikeout (cheap) setup men. Because you do not need to use early picks to reach for saves, you can usually get some really good hitters and starting pitchers. I especially like this draft strategy because it allows you to hedge your bets more than other strategies: you can troll the waiver wire for breakout base stealers and newly anointed closers as the season progresses and improve your team in the areas of saves and steals. 2006 Jared Weaver aside, it is much harder to troll the waiver wire for low-whip starting pitchers. In addition, since era is the league’s tie-breaking category, I prefer strategies that result in era being a strength.

    My second unconventional draft strategy is what I call Santana and the K-Train. Its mission is to win all pitching stats and maybe steals and homers. It calls for using your first six picks on strikeout pitchers, including drafting the three best low-whip, high strikeout closers a few rounds above their current average draft position (ADP). The remaining picks are spent on cheap homers and cheap steals:
    1. Santana (240k)
    2. Nathan (95k) <--normally a 4th-round pick
    3. K-Rod (100k) (or Carpenter 184k)
    4. BJ Ryan (90k)
    5. Zambrano (190k) (or Peavy 215k)
    6. Lackey (190k)
    7. Sexson (30hr) (or Smoltz 211k)
    8. Dunn (40hr)
    9. Patterson (18hr, 31sb)
    10. Rios (20hr, 20sb)
    11. Roberts/Weeks (10-20hr, 20-30sb)
    12. Hall (30hr 13sb)
    13. Giambi (30hr)
    14. Crisp (15hr, 15sb)
    15. Freel (37sb)
    16. Burrell (30hr)
    17. Kendrick (18sb)
    18. Tavares (35sb)
    19. Martin (10hr, 10sb)
    20. Penny (160k)
    21. Vazquez (190k)
    22. D. Cabrera (8.5k/9inning)
    23. Oliver Perez (239k in 2004)

    Even though both my strategies recommend drafting Santana with your first pick, I'm not a Santana fan in regular baseball. Ever since Vince Coleman stole 110 bases in 1985, I've had a soft spot for speed, and Crawford and Reyes (mostly Reyes) are the guys I really like. I even have a love for the one-dimensional Juan Pierre. But Santana is (or has been) significantly better than any other pitcher, and that makes him hard to pass up in the first round.

    As Rotoworld's Aaron Gleeman puts it: "Another strategy that seems obvious right now is that starting pitchers are ridiculously undervalued. I don't typically go heavy on pitching and I realize plenty of veteran fantasy players have draft plans that are tailor-made to avoid high-priced hurlers, but they're falling so far in ADP that you almost have to reconsider. If you can pick up Carpenter in the third round, Peavy in the fifth round, and Smoltz in the sixth round … well, you should do it."

    Anyway. I don't play fantasy baseball. I'm only an occasional consultant for a friend of mine. When it comes to baseball, all I really want to do is move to Brooklyn, go to El Nuevo Portal restaurant, sit at my favorite corner table, eat my Mofongo, and watch every one of the Amazin' Jose Reyes' games on the wood-paneled 1990s-style TV that is bolted to the restaurant wall.

    Wednesday, February 7, 2007

    Frequency of Sinkhole Activity Increasing

    ...according to this NY Times article:

    "Local and state officials across the country say thousands of miles of century-old underground water and sewer lines are springing leaks, eroding and — in extreme cases — causing the ground above them to collapse. Though there is no master tally of sinkholes, there is consensus among civil engineers and water experts that things are getting worse."

    Another thing that's been increasing is my ability to dream up brilliant entrepreneurial ideas. Here is my latest: a small, reusable synthetic substance that smells like freshly-baked cookies when you heat it in the oven. It will come in three flavors: chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and pumpkin spice.

    I’m currently selling my house and I leave a freshly-baked batch of cookies on the stove before each prospective housing-buyer walk-through. I want the house to smell nice, or at least less like my thrice-used workout clothes.

    Unfortunately, the house has been on the market for over a year now. I used to give my cookies away, but by now everyone I know is so sick of them that I’ve been mailing them to cousins in Ireland that I’ve never met.

    It occurred to me that it’d be nice to have some sort of item to place in the oven that would give off the cookie smell without having to go through the trouble of actually having to bake cookies. In my head, when imagine this futuristic cookie-smelling gizmo, I picture a play-dough-like substance that is the size of a chicken nugget.

    Upon hearing this idea, a friend of mine laughed and asked why I didn’t just buy that pre-made cookie dough at my local grocery store and then cook one small sliver of dough each time someone came to look at the house. My friend argued that for a tiny amount of money, I'd quickly get the cookie smell without the surplus of cookies.

    Entrepreneurial-wise, my friend's idea stinks, but I've been doing it until I can patent my idea and find a scientist to make my reusable cookie-smelling nugget-sized life-changer.

    Oh, and I've already got a name for my invention: Cook-Ease.

    Monday, February 5, 2007

    I did not watch you, Peyton Manning, but I am a big fan

    I really wanted Indianapolis to win this year, because I genuinely like Peyton Manning and love the Colts' style of football and, aside from the Titans, the Colts are my favorite team. But I did not watch the game. I do not watch Super Bowls. This started in 1987, when my favorite team was The Denver Broncos. They had just pulled off "The Drive" which I had seen at my cousins' house (while wearing my No. 7 Broncos outfit, complete with shoulder pads and helmet), so I was feeling pretty good about our chances. And they got beat. Bad. Okay, next year, Broncos again, still wearing the uniform, and they get hammered even worse than the previous year. Good lord, it was awful. I ended up hiding in the closet of my grandparents' bedroom, crying my eyes out. My grandfather thought it was because we had made a five dollar bet on the outcome of the game and he kept coming into the closet to tell me that I did not have to pay the five dollars. And that was it; no more Super Bowls. On that particular Sunday, I usually watched whatever marathon TBS was airing, a lot of The Andy Griffith Show and Leave it to Beaver, and I didn't much miss the big game. It didn't help that, for the next nine years, the team I was rooting for did not win the Super Bowl (though my parents called me into the room so I could watch Scott Norwood kick a potential game-winning field goal for the Bills and I would be happy, and then, wide right, and I ran screaming out the room, feeling like my parents had abused me for fun). And, yes, Denver then won twice in a row, but I had outgrown the uniform and didn't feel like watching the possibility of them losing again. The two games I have watched since then, Tennessee/St. Louis and St. Louis/New England, were incredible games and they were fun to watch, regardless of the outcome. But those were the exceptions to the rule. This Sunday, my wife and I made our Super Bowl feast, grilled hot dogs and cheese dip and fried zucchini, and we ended up watching a rerun of Law and Order: CI (not even the good episodes with Goren, but a Logan episode with Chris Noth). When I learned that the Colts had pretty much clinched the win, we watched the last four minutes of the game and learned that Tony Dungy never swears and that was nice to hear. So congratulations, Colts, though I feel bad for Rex Grossman.

    Thursday, February 1, 2007

    Half of an amazing entrepreneurial idea

    In 1992, less than 1 percent of people worldwide had cell phones and only one third of all countries had cellular networks. Just 10 years later, 18 percent of people (1.14 billion) had a cell phone.

    In 2002, less then 1 percent of people worldwide walked around with video cameras. Just five years later, 18 percent of people walk around with video cameras in their cell phones.

    Accompanying this surge in cell phone video cameras (as well as the rise of YouTube) has been an increase in “Gotcha!” videos, people caught mid-infamous previously-private moment. Just today, in fact, the NY Times reports that someone took a cell phone video of a nurse in Russia as she used plaster to gag a baby. The hospital’s retort to the claim? It was understaffed. Other notable Gotchas! include Saddam, Mel Gibson, and Michael Richards.

    My entrepreneurial idea is to be the first person to capitalize on this shift. To do this, I will…