Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The sunsets in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea are pretty

In December of 2006, I made the following statement:

“I also publicly predict that the Bobcats will end the 2006-2007 season with a better record than the Knicks.”

With one game remaining in the regular season, the Bobcats have a one-game lead over the Knicks. And guess who the Bobcats play for their final game of the season? The Knicks.

I once met Bill James, that baseball stat guy that every baseball blog writes about. I have a friend whose mother is lead engineer on the Hubble telescope, and through her work she is able to get tickets in one of those baseball luxury boxes. I sometimes join them for a game when they have an extra seat. One night, Bill James was in our box. I introduced myself while we were standing over the ballpark frank bin at the buffet line in the back of the luxury box. After exchanging pleasantries, I said, “I’m currently creating a model that predicts the winners of NASCAR races. It has been successful so far (a .56 correlation rate), but I wondered if you could help me take it to the next level.”

He glanced at me, selected a hotdog from the bin, looked back at me and then said, “what is your math background?” I told him. He said, “You are math deficient. After you improve your math skills, I’d be happy to go over it with you.”

And that’s Bill, as far as I can tell: blunt to the bone, maybe to the point of being arrogant, but ultimately willing to be generous with his time.

Switching gears, I have been eating larger quantities of fruit and vegetables. The effect on my bowel movements has been marked. They now feel more like they are being squeezed from a tube. Previously, each episode was like giving birth to a small collection of miniature hairless bear cubs. My latest movements are more like the healthy droppings of a nervous greyhound before he’s pushed into a dog track’s starting gate.

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