The NCAA came down hard on the Penn State football program in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky conviction and the Freeh Report. The punishments include loss of scholarships, a four-year postseason ban, five years of probation, the vacating of 14 seasons worth of wins, and a $60 million fine. It was harsh, but could have gone further. The university avoided the dreaded death penalty, the dismantling of the program itself, for one or multiple seasons. There will be football in Happy Valley this year. It just won’t be very competitive. Continue reading “Reprieve”

New York Times? We Need to Talk.

I come from a family of journalists. My mother is an editor, has been at the Akron Beacon Journal in one capacity or another for 40 years, and has taught journalism at Kent State University. Before he died, my father also worked at the Beacon, also taught journalism at Kent, and spent the last 20 years of his life editing on the foreign/national desk at the Philadelphia Inquirer. My great-grandmother was a longtime reporter for both the Beacon and The Independent in Massillon, Ohio. Needless to say, I respect and appreciate the newspaper business. This respect leads me to support the business even in its decline. Continue reading “New York Times? We Need to Talk.”

In the City: Parking Adventures

A parking space is a commodity in this city. So much so that monthly rates for spaces in garages in Manhattan can cost a person more than renting an apartment in most of the country. For example, after some quick poking around in the tubes, I found rates on the Upper East Side that ranged from $430 a month to $1200. That’s $1200 a month...for a parking space. In my neighborhood, as in all of the neighborhoods of the outer boroughs I checked, the rates are far cheaper. Another couple minutes of looking and I found a garage for rent a couple blocks from my apartment for $200 a month. Take that, Manhattan. Continue reading “In the City: Parking Adventures”

In the City: Manhattan’s Bitch and Haven’t Head, Will Travel

If a person wants to know the value the city’s masters place on Manhattan and it’s rich residents below the have/have not border of 110th Street, all one has to do is compare the condition of Manhattan subway stations there, to ones in upper Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and the stations of the Staten Island Railway. Continue reading “In the City: Manhattan’s Bitch and Haven’t Head, Will Travel”

Life’s Little Mysteries

The L train wasn’t running today between Lorimer and Myrtle-Wyckoff. This means shuttle buses, always a nightmare of overcrowding, jarring rides, and lengthy trips between even the shortest of stops. It means frustration and bristling tempers, curses at the MTA, and general misery all around. This happens a lot on the L. From Lorimer to Myrtle-Wyckoff, or Broadway Junction to Canarsie, the line finds itself shut down for maintenance, and the lack of express tracks means nothing moves. No way, no how, and it’s on up to the streets for the straphangers. Continue reading “Life’s Little Mysteries”

“Well, Looks Like Yer Gonna Need a Complete Overhaul.”

Site version #004 launched today. Movable Type on the backend, along with much input from tcc and stg54 on the new skin. My neighbors must think I’m the most unpleasant sonofabitch on the face of the planet. I’ve been working from home now for almost three years, and often the silence of my apartment is bookended by occasional profane explosions directed at a perfectly fine piece of code that just refuses to work. Such is my life as a web developer. Code is among the most elegant and evil of humankind’s inventions, a series of devices designed to enlighten and to obfuscate. Any rookie programmer, no matter the language, has the same experience when they first begin, the horrifying realization that code operates on its own logic, just different enough from what a lifetime of experience with ethnic and national languages has taught us, that the very way a person thinks has to accommodate itself to the demands of the code. In the end, even after becoming comfortable with a new way of thinking, problems usually turn out to be simple syntax error. For those of you unfamiliar with programming, imagine you were stone drunk and had to write a ten page paper due in the morning, and every time you made a typo, your word processing program would call you an idiot and refuse to work. But you’ve got tunnel vision, you can’t see what the error is. Then, in order to get something, anything, done, you search on the web for someone who has written a paper on the same subject as you, and blatantly plagiarize them. And that’s okay! Don’t worry, though. You’ll get better, or you won’t be able to find any work. Welcome to the world of website development. Continue reading ““Well, Looks Like Yer Gonna Need a Complete Overhaul.””

How To Fix College Football

Last week, held a mock college football draft, where writers selected the 40 teams from the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) that they would like to see constitute a pared down top division, and subsequently divided them into four regional conferences. It was an interesting idea, one brought forth by the NCAA’s inability to put together an effective method of crowning a national champion. A lot of people have spent a lot of valuable time fretting over the jumbled state of the FBS, as if it were some form of national emergency, a tragedy of the first order that oftentimes there is no clear king of college football at the end of January. It is an interesting problem, though. Continue reading “How To Fix College Football”

One Giant Leap and Then…Nothing

Roughly 102 hours, 45 minutes, and 40 seconds after Apollo 11 lifted off from the launch pad at Cape Canaveral on July 16th, 1969, the lunar module touched down on the surface of the moon. Of course, today marks the fortieth anniversary of the landing. Over the next three years, six more missions were launched to the moon, and five were successful. The Apollo program is arguably the greatest achievement in engineering and courage in human history. Never before, and never since, have human footprints marked the surface of another heavenly body. The significance of these events cannot be overstated. Continue reading “One Giant Leap and Then...Nothing”