We Are…a cult of shortsighted assholes?

It was on that infamous day in November of 2011, when news broke of the nefarious actions of J Shitstain and the subsequent lack of response by those morally responsible to intervene, that I became a true misanthrope. It was a coming of age of sorts.

The absurd debates that ensued in the following months further reiterated my negative perception of humanity. Nobody seemed to grasp the big picture, supporters and detractors alike. It was all such an embarrassing mess.

Once the dust settled and the graves were dug, the only thing left to for us to do was to lick our wounds and appreciate the fact that football was even permitted to continue in Happy Valley. I, as both a graduate of Penn State and proponent of human decency, will forever stand by my opinion that a complete shutdown of the program for multiple years was an appropriate action to take.

But may no act of ours bring shame, right? To think that it was the lyrics of Sweet Caroline that so many got riled up over…

In the time since the fiasco, trustees and alumni alike have continued to incessantly protest the sanctions, such that every now and then it becomes a news story. Even once the penalties were reduced! Way to stick it to those assholes that made a statement against megalomania and idolatry in college athletics!

Today, again I saw some bullshit on my media sources that there is a push for further reductions or some crap. The fuck if I’m wasting my time reading that garbage.

Instead, let me share a little perspective.

Football doesn’t mean shit. And I love football. But nothing will ever take precedence over human decency.

These poor students that will never get to play in a bowl game? Fuck ’em. If they are good enough, they will make millions in the NFL and can abuse women without consequence just like Jerry did with his little boys for so long. Their futures are not affected.

You people preaching that the students and athletes shouldn’t be punished for Penn State’s executive transgressions sound like whiny-ass children who believe that life is inherently designed to be fair. I can think of about two million examples of people who are secondarily affected by some unfortunate and “unfair” punishment intended for the greater good. But feeble minds need an occasional exercise, so I will digress and leave it to your imagination.

And the one thing that I care the least about, just slightly less than Paterno’s win total, is the NCAA’s involvement in imposing these sanctions. Blaming Mark Emmert or expressing any vitriol toward him or the NCAA over this issue is absurd and as off target as a Sam Ficken 40 yard field goal attempt. This should have ended so much worse for Penn State athletics.

I could rant for days, but for fucks sake can we not just get over this slap on the wrist and stop embarrassing ourselves?

 

<3,

M

 

Reflections on the lack of perspective in the recent media cycle

My name is Mike Porter and I nominate you to shut the hell up and contribute to a cause without making a pompous display of it.

Seriously, get over yourselves. This dumping ice on your head bullshit is beyond juvenile and it further reiterates how self-absorbed so many of us have become. It really ticks me off that we now have to self-promote under the guise of raising awareness for a disease when the internet can tell us pretty much anything we could ever want to know. But we don’t want to use it to learn. We want more selfies.

Fuck selfies.

If you want to perform some act in the name of solidarity, please at least make it interesting. Run a marathon. Eat a cockroach. Impress me. Social media is so full of dogshit as it is, you are all just blending in. Perhaps next week we can eat a sour candy for depression, something that I can actually relate to and have dealt with for years. I mean, how could anyone not suffer from it? The world sucks.

Robin Williams’ recent suicide has done nothing but further complicate that particular issue, and for that I am super thankful (/s). Talking heads with journalism degrees have suddenly become experts on the nuances of brain physiology. Guess what. Using the term chemical imbalance does not make you appear intelligent. It makes you sound like you recently added two words to your vocabulary.

Further, celebrity* suicide is NOT an effing tragedy. The continued casual usage of that word has completely expunged it of any meaning whatsoever. Newtown was a tragedy. Rampant worldwide poverty is a tragedy. The murder of an unarmed man by a dickbag police officer is a god damned tragedy**. One old man leaving this world on his own terms is not a tragedy to anyone but those closest to him. In this mindless, recycled, celebrity culture that we call the first world, his legacy will disappear as quickly as journalistic integrity has turned to garbage.

A great man once said, “You either die a hero or live long enough to provide a cameo in Sharknado”. This, my friends, only further confirms that the death of Robin Williams was in fact not a tragedy.

Love,

M

Revisions:

*Celebrity suicide is not a tragedy.

**Evidence has come out that kid in Missouri may not have been as innocent as it first appeared.  Isn’t that often the case? One day I’ll learn to wait for the facts before jumping to conclusions.

Playoff hockey, rude fans, and the plight of the Canadian

I’ve always wanted to be a sports writer. It just seems like such a chill job to write about shit that doesn’t matter. And judging from a certain four-letter monopoly that rhymes with ESPN, you don’t really even have to know anything to succeed. All that is required is an extreme opinion and the fanatics will read, watch and listen, whether they love you or want you dead.

I could never do it though. The moment that I actually have to write something always seems to correlate perfectly with when I don’t want to write something.

But it’s time for playoff hockey and I just can’t contain my excitement. The first round begins Wednesday, and I want to prognosticate, whether you like it or not or couldn’t care less.

Atlantic division

(4) Detroit vs (1) Boston – This one may go seven games with as well as Detroit has been playing, but even if it does, the Bruins are just too good at home. The series clinching goal will come off of Brad Marchand’s nose.

(2) Tampa Bay vs (3) Montreal – Tampa in 6. Carey Price won gold with Team Canada, but he’s not good enough to carry a team that was 10th from the bottom in the league in scoring this year.

By the way, how messed up is it that a Canadian team has not won a Stanley Cup since 1993? That’s 20 seasons. Currently 7 of 30 NHL franchises (23%) are located in Canada (Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto). In 1993, when the Quebec Nordiques were still around, 8 of the then 24 NHL teams played north of the border (33%). If you were to put the names of each team in a hat for each season since 1993, and pick one team randomly from each hat, the likelihood of not picking a single Canadian team after choosing from all 20 hats is only 0.3% (0.75^20, assuming about 75% of teams in a given season are American). What could be the cause of this anomaly? In order to maintain a competitive balance, the current NHL CBA mandates a minimum team salary expenditure of somewhere around 70% of the salary cap. Between 1998-2008, when payrolls were less regulated, Canadian teams still spent similarly to their American counterparts. The revenue and spending have been there. Why do the gods hate Canada so much?

Metropolitan division

(4) Columbus vs (1) Pittsburgh – Marc-Andre Fleury is probably playing for his future in Pittsburgh. I don’t know what a sports psychologist does, but I sure hope it worked. MAF blames his recent playoff struggles on the fact that he worries about pleasing everyone, which does not allow him to shrug off poor performances. Weird. If he wants to please Pens fans, he could just shrug off the poor performances.

(2) New York Rangers vs (3) Philly dicks – To the insufferable Flyers fans that continue to chant “Crosby sucks“, and those who are frankly just too mean for my liking, I wish the worst in everything that happens to you, including watching your team not win the cup…again and forever. To the friendlier Flyer fans, my condolences for the first-round exit. Rangers in six, but only if Lundqvist has a stroke. Otherwise its a sweep and Philly leaves the ice like the Soviets did when the Flyers were a real hockey team.

Pacific division

(4) Dallas vs (1) Anaheim – I really want to pick Dallas for the big upset, but Anaheim is just so offensively skilled with Getzlaf and Perry and a ton of depth. Bruce Boudreau uses excessive profanity to keep his boys focused and Anaheim takes it in six.

(2) San Jose vs (3) LA Kings – San Jose in five. I have a hunch about them this year. I have a hunch about them every year.

Central division

(4) Minnesota vs (1) Colorado – I love the awesomely skilled Colorado Avalanche and this is exactly the type of team that disappoints in the playoffs. Wild in six.

(2) St Louis vs (3) Chicago – What happened to the Blues? They were so good until recently. What could have changed such a great squad so dramatically? Could it have been the ridiculous trade for Ryan Miller?? They deserve the beat down they’re about to get. Hawks in five.

So yeah, there it is. If I’m not too ashamed, I’ll come back for more when round 2 is set.

And lastly, but most importantly, never forget that even though there are a lot of beavers in Canada, this is NOT the time of the season to be eating wood.

M

 

A Game of Thrones and why it probably sucks to be a woman

If you are sensitive to a few Game of Thrones teasers, perhaps you ought to get back to playing candy crush.

That was a bit mean, sorry.  I’ve been moody since the malaria.  A lot of my favorite people seem to very much enjoy that game and for that reason I shouldn’t bash too hard.

I just find it stupid and excessively dependent on fortune, only for you to proceed to some unattainable destiny because new levels JUST KEEP GETTING CREATED out of thin god damn air.  When you lose, you are forced to wait 30 minutes before returning to play.  King Games is quite clever in manipulating you to crave it even more when that happens.  And if you can’t handle the delay, you simply buy back in at a nominal cost and contribute to the game’s $850,000 a day revenue.  That’s a lot of money, considering it’s merely a shameless knock-off of Bejeweled.

But a true guilty pleasure of mine returned on Sunday when Game of Thrones FINALLY began its fourth season.

The show and its written counterpart, A Song of Ice and Fire, have only been a part of my life for little over a year, but since being drawn in by the hot sibling incest and attempted child murder, I’ve fervently caught myself up in both the television series and the book.  Unlike candy crush, it’s one of the few pop culture fads that I enjoy.

As the wars and betrayals continue to unfold, there has been increasing chatter that the pace of GOT may soon overtake ASOIAF, as George Martin works to complete the final two installments of the book series.  Five novels have been published to date, with the third season of GOT ending somewhere near the middle of the third book.  The upcoming season should cover the entire second half of book 3, while books 4 & 5 likely will correspond with seasons 5 & 6.  Consider the pace that he’s released the first five novels (he started writing ASOIAF in 1991) and see that George might soon be feeling some pressure.

Perhaps each character’s fate is already determined and only the finer details must needs be edged out (book joke, not a typo).  Or, maybe Martin is struggling to put the pieces together, as things do get complicated with new characters down the road. Regardless, he has no more than two years to finish The Winds of Winter, and at most, another two to publish A Dream of Spring.

George has got some shit to do and he might be running out of time.

Not only in the matter of HBO overtaking the novel, but also in the sense that life is short, especially when you are 65 and not the most spry dude.  Not that I’m saying it’s time to add him to your celebrity death pool just yet.  I just really want to see those final two books come entirely from his wonderfully sick mind.

Pessimism aside, I am eager for more Lannister lasciviousness and Targaryen swagger.  This should be the best season.  We are at a climactic point in the plot (and I cannot wait to see Tyrion finally lose his shit).

But there was this one conversation at lunch the other day that I’ve been ruminating over.

It began when someone expressed a discomfort with the show because of the portrayed lack of respect for women.  Not a year ago I had the same discussion with another colleague who shared a similar opinion.  Each time I shrugged it off and moved on.

It was my notion that since the sexual violence toward female characters was not overtly glorified, the more graphic scenes were necessary to establish an understanding of the ethics of this fictional land and time (which I suppose resembles Iron Age Europe with a dash of sorcery).

As an example from the plot, one of the show’s heroines, Daenerys Targaryen, is forcibly wed to Khal Drogo, a scary dude of the nomadic (and barbaric) Dothraki people.  On the night of the wedding, the marriage is consummated with what is shown on HBO to be a pretty rapey affair (although Martin depicted this scene in A Game of Thrones as more consensual).  While this particular indiscretion falls on HBO, Martin is not entirely free from guilt when it comes to portraying women as accessories to men in his novel.

And while I think certain interpretations of feminism truly are insane, there is something to be said for empathy and understanding of the condition of modern womanhood.  In a world where it’s the men waging wars, assaulting, raping, murdering and dominating the prison population, life as a woman must be frightening at times.

And that’s something that I’m going to consider the next time I witness an objection to the portrayal of women in entertainment.

But in Game of Thrones, Daenerys eventually transforms into a badass dragon princess and emancipator of slaves.  While there are in fact weak female roles that may conjure up feelings of resentment in viewers, George Martin and Emilia Clarke should at least be proud of the courageous strength and pure awesomeness embodied by one Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons.

M

A Tuesday blues-day stream of consciousness

I’ve always sort-of hated Tuesdays.

Monday is alright. It’s a fresh start. And it always feels good to get through Wednesday and the Geico references. The other four days go without saying.

But it’s all just looking forward.  Every day towards the weekend and every season to the next. Childhood to adulthood, adulthood to retirement. Shouldn’t we instead seek contentedness with the present so that we can strive to make each day better than the last?

I suppose that’s all much more easily said than done.

Today I was inspired by a brief conversation with a colleague about our growing anticipation of spring.  Her perspective was unique.  She explained that she, in fact, can wait for the nice weather, because as it approaches, well, we are getting that much older.  I was taken back by the meaningfulness of a seemingly innocuous observation.

And on the seven minute drive home, I began to reflect.

And I realized that my intellectual superiority complex is at times insatiable and likely unsustainable. It’s a parasite that drains me of energy and morale when there isn’t enough of either to begin with.

People talk too much. People complain too much. People can’t drive.

Know what I mean?

You go to the grocery store and the lady in front of you on her cell phone refuses MOVE OUT OF THE WAY to allow you to get by. WHORE. Other people are crammed into this tiny aisle too, and we got SHIT TO DO.

You can’t be anywhere without being accosted by a beggar. I’m all for altruism toward the less fortunate, but upon these encounters I can’t help but reflect on the mistakes and sadness that must have lead them to such a fate. And then my mind wanders to the societal burden of poverty. And then I lament the fact that I just accidentally handed them a five.

And you sure as hell can’t drive anywhere without getting honked at over stupid shit like, say, MERGING. A polite beep? Fine. I’ll get over that by the end of the week. But the cacophony of passive-aggressive roadway fuck-yous that permeates the city is just further evidence of the inability of so many to control their emotions.

So what I’m trying to say is that I’m looking for a sign; a way to live my life irrespective of the annoyances that contaminate it.  All while maintaining my beliefs about humility, patience, respect and intellect.

And it all raises an important question. Am I no better than the twat in the grocery store, the bum on the street, or the jehu with anger issues?

Or do I just have a front row ticket to the freak show?

M

Snow Day, Part 2: Selling your body for science, five inches, and slutty first graders.

I’m just hanging out in a hotel in Bethesda waiting to see if the vaccine worked.

Wait, don’t go. Allow me to explain.

Malaria is terrible and it kills 500,000 – 1,000,000 people each year, mostly in the under-developed, warm-climate regions of the world.

There are measures to take to prevent and cure the disease, but parasites in the wild quickly develop resistance to these drugs which target the blood-stage of the infection, rendering both prophylactic and curative measures ineffective.

In addition to poverty, malaria education is significantly lacking in many of the endemic areas, and both of these factors greatly contribute to the inability of worldwide efforts to control it. A current focus of the global eradication initiative is the development of a vaccine that can completely prevent transmission of the disease by generating potent and long lasting immune responses against the parasite early-on in human infection. This is what I work on at my job when there isn’t any snow on the ground.

Currently, the most successful vaccine undergoing clinical trials is RTS,S, a protein subunit vaccine that protects about 50% of volunteers from malaria challenge. This challenge involves an inoculation of malaria parasites via bites from infected mosquitoes into vaccinated or unvaccinated (control) volunteers (if you can really call us that; we get paid nicely for our time). At about 8-9 days post-challenge, all subjects are checked into a local hotel to be monitored daily for the development of parasitemia in their blood. Once parasites are detected, volunteers are treated with chloroquine: a drug that is effective in eliminating the common laboratory strain of the malaria parasite from an infected individual’s red blood cells.

In the wild, resistance to chloroquine was discovered in the 1950’s and has since, along with the introduction of other antimalarial drugs, resulted in multiple drug-resistant strains of malaria. Notwithstanding, the laboratory strain of Plasmodium falciparum (the most dangerous strain of human malaria) remains susceptible to the neutralizing mechanism of most antimalarials and chloroquine is therefore perfectly capable of treating the volunteers in just a few doses, often before any malaria symptoms are experienced. Backup drugs are available if chloroquine is not well tolerated.

Me, I’m at day 12.5 post-challenge as of 7 pm Monday night, while the mean onset time of detectable parasitemia, as indicated in a recent study, is about 12.9 days post-challenge.  Hence, all will be revealed soon.  Not too long ago, I encountered a colleague in the hallway who had recently come down and is now being treated. Her assessment of the symptoms- not favorable. Fortunately she, along with the rest of us test subjects, is in good care owing to the fact that our clinical trials staff does such a great job of detecting infection early.

While my co-worker is in the control group and was guaranteed to get malaria at least to some extent, I received a vaccine expected to protect about half of those immunized, and I have been dutifully keeping up on my vitamins and exercise in hopes that it will help keep me protected. But in truth, it is all futile as my fate was determined within an hour after being bitten by those god damned mosquitoes. Now that the time has arrived, it’s a weird feeling knowing that I can become stricken with P. falciparum at any moment.

But it’s totally safe.

Surely safer than being anywhere near the roads when there is any snow in this damned inept and useless part of the country.

I’m speaking of the D.C. Metropolitan region.

A place that REGULARLY experiences snow, yet somehow never seems prepared.

This locale, where once again, the government was shut down due to winter weather. Not only that, but 4/5 of businesses nearby my hotel are closed for the day. It stopped snowing at noon. The fucking BANK was closed. We got five inches.

In the big picture, maybe it’s not a big deal. I mean it’s one day and nobody around here does much anyway. But to use inclement weather as an excuse to stay home just seems so lame, especially when, by now, this city should know how to handle it. Some claim that it’s all in fear of the other “stupid people on the roads”, but stupidity is ubiquitous and certainly not exclusive to one’s bubble of existence. But when a bank is closed because of five inches of snow: that is just unsatisfactory.

I had the misfortune of meeting a few people today in the hotel lobby, many of which were delighted about this so-called winter weather emergency. To tell the truth, it was embarrassing trying to explain the tradition. Some folks that I met from Michigan were quite amused with a certain rear-wheel drive Cutlass that wasn’t performing so well on the slopes of Bethesda. Another family was unhappy about not being able to find food whilst their three year-old daughter was angrily shouting “I DO NOT WANT TO GO POOPOO, I DO NOT WANT TO GO POOPOO.”  I too, was in no mood for a poopoo as I had yet to find somewhere to get lunch.

Later, from another corridor I overheard a brother and sister, probably around 8 and 6 respectively, playing an imagination game, when the little girl began repeating a phrase I never thought I’d hear a 6 year-old deliver: “I wanna be slutty, I wanna be SLUT-TAY!” she cried out in her best attempt to mimic Nicki Minaj or who-the-fuck-ever she got that from. Dear parents, children are like parrots. They will repeat in public what they hear at home. Come to think of it, I don’t know where the parents were while these kids were playing porno.  Perhaps doing the same?

I don’t think I knew the word slutty, or anything that wasn’t related to dinosaurs, when I was that age. But alas, the times change so quickly. What will our grandchildren think that we are overly curmudgeonly about? Children expressing their pornographic fantasies?

Adults whoring their immune systems to pay for their next meth fix?

Or the capital of one of the most powerful countries in the world shutting down over five god damn inches of snow.

M

A fleeting thought on free will

What I’m about to say could be considered emotionally R-rated, as the subject matter may be a bit depressing to those unfamiliar with deductive reasoning.

One who is a true scientist may be obligated to tell you that the only evidence that we have on the origin of life (e.g. the similarities in DNA across species, geological indications of an ever changing climate, the fundamental laws of physics and chemistry, etc) suggests nothing about the existence of a higher power or true meaning to life (or anything for that matter).

This is what someone would be compelled to agree with if they truly believed that assumptions can only be based off of repeated observations.

And furthermore, if this is the case, it must then be assumed that, through the eyes of the scientist, our individual actions and emotions are merely chemical reactions that serve no other purpose but to enhance our fitness as a species by helping us to reproduce early and often.

The prevailing theory is that life originated with a self-replicating molecule (such as RNA) spontaneously forming within the primordial stew of the early Earth, with cells and larger organisms eventually serving as compartments to “protect” this replicating material.  This is called abiogenesis.  Now, further statistical analyses on the complexities of nucleic acids suggest that life may have begun even before the solar system formed, up to 10 billion years ago.  Considering the vastness of the universe and the likelihood of other celestial bodies with capabilities of producing life-generating biochemical reactions similar to those presumed to have occurred early in Earth’s development, it may truly be arrogant of us to think that life even formed on our planet in the first place.

But then, to subscribe to all of these notions, the scientist must also then admit that true evil and benevolence exist only as a result of a lineage of chemical reactions that may extend as far back as those aforementioned 10 billion years ago.

So all of the bullshit that we hear about and deal with on a daily basis.  The crimes, corruption, greed and traffic jams.  It’s all due to a bunch of skin-sacks of meat and bones just trying to protect their replicating material in the only way that they know how to.

It all makes me wonder if perhaps a greater acknowledgement of these sentiments could make the world a better place.

M

ScientoloWHAT?

Amid the snooze-fest that was this year’s Super Bowl, did anyone catch notice of this?

What did I just watch?  

Did this cult that barely clings to life by capitalizing off of depressingly gullible celebrities really just buy a Super Bowl ad space?

And did they really just use the words “science” and “technology” to describe a notion that is purely conjecture?

Every day this world gets a little more difficult for me to handle.

At least I’m not a Broncos fan.

M

Using unpaired t tests of past regular season statistical rankings to predict nothing about the Super Bowl

I am especially excited about this year’s Super Bowl.

The season has been all about the Seahawks and Broncos and it’s nice to see players rewarded for regular season success.  But how do you even formulate an argument to pick the winner? Both teams finished the regular season with 13-3 records while performing similarly against playoff teams. Denver’s offense broke the single season record for points scored while Seattle’s defense is undeniably the best in the NFL.  Something has to give, right?

Here I’ve run some simple analyses on 7 regular season statistics that I hypothesize are best associated with team success to determine correlates of past success in the big game. I will use these data to predict the Super Bowl winner.

Methodology 

I went back and looked at the past 15 Super Bowls dating back to 1999.  This date was chosen as it was the year that the Minnesota Vikings broke the single season record for points scored, ushering in the era of some of the most prolific offenses in NFL history.  While Minnesota would lose in the NFC championship game that year, high-powered offenses including those of the St. Louis Rams, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers and this year’s Denver Broncos  would dominate the landscape of the league for the next 15 years.

For each participant in each Super Bowl between 1999 and 2013, I have assessed the team’s overall ranking in each of seven cherry-picked regular season statistical areas that I presumed had the best chance of correlating with Super Bowl success.  NFL rankings instead of raw numbers were used to normalize the data.  A parametric analysis was performed using an unpaired t-test to generate p-values for significance (p<0.05 is generally considered statistically significant).

GraphPad Prism software was utilized and did most of the work for me.  I am not a trained statistician by any stretch of the imagination, so if my inferences are stupid, kindly inform me where I went wrong. Here you can view each plot with it’s associated p-value.  Here is a sloppily produced PDF of the raw data that I used, obtained from NFL.com.

edit- I posted incorrect raw data of the composite rankings in the second PDF.  Here are the corrected values.

Elements assessed

1.  Quarterback rating

Justification:  The quarterback is the most important position in all of sports:  This is the only position player to touch the ball on every offensive play. The ability to make favorable decisions quickly can be the difference between a beastly and lousy offense.  Quarterback rating takes in multiple parameters including completion percentage, yards per attempt, touchdowns per attempt and interceptions per attempt, and uses them to gauge a quarterback’s success in all phases of his throwing game (running is not included).  While many people find the formula confusing – likely because they haven’t bothered to learn it – you will see that most established quarterbacks remain at the top of the list, year after year.

Results:  No statistical significance was found between the regular season passer ratings of Super Bowl winning quarterbacks and Super Bowl runners up (p=0.6205).  As a matter of fact, Super Bowl losing quarterbacks had a slightly higher mean passer rating compared with winners.

2.  Defensive yards allowed per game (YPG)

Justification:  If your opponent cannot move the ball, they are much less likely to score.

Results:  No statistical significance was found between regular season defensive YPG of SB winners and losers (p=0.8839).

3.  Defensive points allowed per game

Justification:  Teams can’t beat you if they can’t score.  This metric takes into consideration the “bend but not break” defense that may occasionally give up big plays but can shut offenses down in the red zone.

Results:  Again, no statistical significance was found (p=0.8373)

4.  Yards per carry

Justification:  Although the majority of a team’s yardage comes from passing the ball, the ability to run, especially with a lead, can be essential in securing a victory. A team’s yards per carry (YPC) best represents the success with which a team has running the ball.

Results:  Sadly, there is once again no statistical significance between winners and losers when it comes to regular season rushing efficiency (p=0.694).

5.  Turnover differential

Justification:  Teams that have a high proportion of takeaways to turnovers often win the field position battle and need to do less offensively to score.  Turnovers can derail even the most talented offenses.

Results:  No significance with a p-value of 0.6918.

6.  Sacks

Justification:  I once heard or read a statistic that teams only score on 7% of drives in which the quarterback has been sacked at least once.  If you pay attention, you will notice that sacks invoke huge momentum shifts and often drastically change field position.

Results:  A calculated p-value of 0.8618 indicates that a team’s regular season sack total has no correlation whatsoever with winning or losing in the Super Bowl.

7.  Field goal percentage

Justification:  In a league that strives for parity with a salary cap and revenue sharing, teams are so evenly matched that games frequently come down to the final play, which is often a field goal attempt.  Teams with successful kickers are more likely to win close games.

Results:  Despite falling short of the typically accepted cutoff for statistical significance of p<0.05, a calculated value of p=0.1384 for this parameter suggests that there is a much greater chance that regular season field goal percentage correlates with Super Bowl success compared with any of the other parameters tested.

Conclusion

Each Super Bowl is incredibly difficult to pick, although this one is especially challenging.  Vegas currently has Denver at -3, which is essentially an admission that it’s a toss.  Vegas always takes the better quarterback in these situations even if the data suggest that that may prove futile for the Super Bowl.

The Broncos and Seahawks were 1 and 2 respectively in the only category that came close to being statistically significant, field goal percentage.  Matt Prater and Steven Hauschka are both very good kickers.  Seattle’s composite score, obtained by averaging each of the 7 assessed statistics, was an impressive 4.6 while Denver was at 12.6, indicating Seattle’s advantage in overall team balance.  The comparison between composite scores of Super Bowl winners and losers yielded a p-value of p=0.5417.

Despite any real statistically significant findings, I will still offer a prediction.

Seattle (+3) swarms Peyton and his receivers on defense and takes this one, 24-21.

I have a dream

I have a dream that one day my children will live in a nation where they are not judged by the automobile that they own, but by the content of their character.

Unless they buy a shit car.  Then I will disown their sorry asses.

I’ve been on the road a lot lately with the recent holidays and long weekends, and my journeys have inspired me to generate a compilation of the cars that will make me forever yearn for a red turtle shell.

The Ford Fiesta

This is not only one of the stupidest looking cars on the roads, but it also may take the award for most absurd model name.  Which demographic is the Fiesta supposed to be directed at?  This car does not invoke images of fun and happy Mexicans as its moniker may suggest.  Instead, it makes you sad and lonely because nobody loves or wants to be friends with somebody who drives one of these shitsicles.

The Chrysler PT Cruiser Fake Wood Panel Siding edition

I don’t think Walter Jr. understood how much worse it could have been…

As if Breaking Bad didn’t do enough PR damage to the PT Cruiser, Chrysler has these shart stains terrorizing the roadways.  I just don’t know why you want your car to look wooden.  Cars aren’t supposed to be made of wood.  My guess is that a wooden car would not be very practical.  Or safe.  Or aesthetically pleasing.  Believe it or not, I actually once encountered one of these in mustard yellow.  Let that sink in.

The former police car turned hooptie

In honor of MLK day, I will refrain from making any socioeconomically or racially disparaging comments about the people you typically see driving these things.  It’s like some people just can’t stay out of them.  Well there went that.

The pickup truck

I do understand the occasional necessity to haul shit around.  But I just don’t understand these shiny ass, brand new F350s I see roaming about suburbia.  If you need something to tote your, say fake wooden siding for your PT Cruiser, I’d suggest a beater.  The whole glamour/rugged pick-up truck juxtaposition just seems so…paradoxical.  But don’t tell that to everyone who bought a Yodge because of Ron Burgundy.

The Miata

My recent debacle in the snow with my Z was a harsh reminder of the practical sacrifices one must make to drive a sports car.  But for a 150 hp 1.8 L engine?  I think not.  Additionally, it is a little known fact that nobody has ever survived a crash in one of these shit-mobiles.

Anything that has a spoiler that shouldn’t have a spoiler

A sedan with a spoiler is like an old lady in a bikini.

It is said that spoilers on front wheel drive cars are useless because they are used to create down force on the drive tires.  I don’t know enough about physics nor care enough at the moment to accept or refute that.  One thing that I do know is that J-Roc and the Trailer Park Boys could probably build you a sweet wooden spoiler for that PT Cruiser of yours.

The flame motif

Speaking of the PT loser, it makes a return to the list, showing off this kick-ass flame job, which is not necessarily limited to the cruiser, but why not pile on as much as possible?  Like this car goes so fast that it catches on fire.  I mean, that is a good thing right?  What kind of person drives something like this?  Oh wait I remember.  An idiot.

The douchebag car

Can you envision it just from title?  The spoiler and tinted windows.  Low to the ground like a roomba.  Accelerates unnecessarily fast between stop lights in congested areas.  The douchewagon almost always comes equipped with a dude in a flat-brimmed hat with lots of tatoos.  Something about drifting? Yawn…

The bumper sticker car

You’re better off keeping your one sentence solutions to wealth inequality and third world famine to yourself.  When I’m sitting behind you in traffic, I already hate you by default for dicking around on your cell phone and braking too often.  The last thing I need is to be further outraged by your contradicting, bullshit opinions.

The horn blower

These cars must be defective or something.  Every so often, when a red light changes to green, some car in line will honk for like 5 seconds. I think it has something to do with electromagnetic fields from the traffic signal or something.  And then sometimes while I’m trying to sleep, I’ll hear one repeating incessantly in the parking lot just outside my window.  I often find myself worried that the car may be in trouble, but nobody seems to care much about it.  Eventually the battery just dies I suppose.

I have a dream that one day we can unite to rid the world of these inane automobiles.

I have a dream that red turtle shells exist.

M