Want a headache? Invest in an Ipod…thanks Apple

11 Mar

Today I wanted to load some podcasts onto my Ipod, so I plugged it into the USB cable, then pulled up iTunes to sync it.  Apple told me the syncing was complete, yet the podcasts were nowhere to be found on the Ipod.  I could see and play them on iTunes, but that was it.  I want to be able to listen to them during my run, and those 5 miles are going to be a lot more difficult with a desktop PC tower strapped to my back the entire way.

In order to discover the podcasts weren’t on the Ipod, I had to first “eject” the Ipod from iTunes (a tedious step, which involves finding the counterintuitive, tiny triangle that means “eject” on the iTunes screen – evidently it makes too much sense for Apple to spell out “eject” anywhere near that button).  So, when I plugged it back in, for whatever reason iTunes did not recognize my Ipod this time around.  I tried restarting iTunes a couple times, but no luck.  It also seemed my Ipod was frozen.  No big deal.  I’ll just turn it off.

Wait.  Where’s the On/Off button?  It also makes too much sense to have one of those, so Apple didn’t include one.  Yes, that’s right.  An electronic device in the 21st century without an On/Off switch…nice job Apple. 

If you can't figure out your I-wheel paperweight, Apple has customer support ready to talk to you..for $29 a pop.

After searching around on the Internet, it became apparent I needed to know what “generation” my Ipod was.  I looked on the front, the back, the USB cable, & my iTunes program…nothing said “4th Gen.” or anything like that.  So, finally I figured out it was an Ipod Nano, 4th Generation based on pictures of the different generations on Wikipedia (thank God for Wikipedia, a company that knows what it’s doing).

I then did some searching on how to shut this 4th-gen Ipod off – you have to hold the Menu button and the center button down together for 6-10 seconds…how intuitive.  If you locked me in a room for 3 days straight doing nothing but trying to figure out how to turn this thing off, I probably wouldn’t have thought of that.

I could understand all this if I was new to electronics and computers in general, but that is not the case.  I’ve been building websites, pages and blogs for almost 15 years, and worked in & around tech and communication firms for years, so I know my way around computers.  I was an early adopter of CDs, mini-disc players, and various sound editing & mp3 programs so I probably know more than the average person about this kind of thing, yet everything with the Ipod is counterintuitive with me.  I’m sure there are thousands of teeny boppers rocking out to Justin Bieber who figured out how to use their Ipods, so why can’t I?  

Who is designing this thing?  Why doesn’t it do what it’s supposed to?  Why are there no directions?  Why is everything a symbol rather than English?  Why didn’t these problems come up with test consumer groups?  Where’s BASF when you need them?  So many questions…

Here’s one more: Why does Apple’s customer support disown you after 90 days?  Even for the 1st 90 days you own your Ipod, you’re only allowed to call once with a problem – after that you have to pay $29 for Apple’s tech guys to diagnose your problem.  Yes, that’s right, not free, not $2.90, it’s $29 to ask a question.  I know b/c I called & had to discontinue the call – we were nearing the point where Apple might actually give me diagnostic advice, which would trigger a fee. 

Apple’s website says “Most Apple software and hardware products include unlimited complimentary support incidents within the first 90 days of product ownership.”  However, this does not include the Ipod.  This wouldn’t have helped me anyway, but maybe this advice can help someone out there who recently bought an Ipod.

 Don’t even get me started on using the iTunes program, trying to find functional car adapters for the thing, or getting it to warn you you’re close to maxing out your storage space on the Ipod’s hdd (hard drive) so you can easily delete songs to clear up space. 

Oh, and I didn’t just get this thing yesterday.  I received it as a very thoughtful gift over 2 years ago to use when I work out, and unfortunately have struggled to ever get it to perform well despite trying really hard to figure it out.  Oh well.  Maybe I’ll just invest in a CD player or a vintage Walkman – maybe Best Buy still sells them?

In closing, here’s a hilarious rant by someone else driven crazy by their Ipod back in 2008, enjoy.

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For Love and Honor? Wins and greed appear to trump honesty and integrity for Tressel and Ohio State football

10 Mar

Here’s a great opinion piece by Detroit News’ Bob Wojnowski on how OSU’s 2-game suspension is a slap on the wrist:

We know Tressel won't be on the field against Akron & Toledo, but the Buckeyes should be able to roll out of bed & beat those MAC teams with a bartender from Columbus' Park Street Cantina playing HC.

Ohio State’s punishment for Jim Tressel is a joke

It’s comical and fake and borderline insulting. Jim Tressel did about the worst job imaginable trying to explain his program’s ugliest misdeed, quasi-apologizing for whatever it was he did, or didn’t do, or should have done.

Ohio State football is reeling, and Tressel will need all the Teflon he can pack inside his sweater vest. The NCAA needs to keep looking and keep hammering, and keep asking why it was misled and duped about the involvement of five players in a memorabilia-for-tattoos setup.

The Buckeyes’ 2010 season must be thrown under immediate scrutiny for the use of ineligible players, with all the victories possibly wiped out. Tressel has earned multiple layers of Teflon in 10 years with Ohio State. Winning does that, and beating Michigan does that.

But if you think Ohio State is untouchable, you probably thought Michigan was untouchable. Whatever you think of the seriousness of the NCAA violations under Rich Rodriguez, Michigan owned up to it.

The difference here is the coach’s standing. Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee practically giggled when he said Tressel wouldn’t be fired, and even joked he hoped the coach wouldn’t dismiss the president.

I half-expected during his rambling comments Tuesday night for Tressel to do one of those fake coughs and mutter under his breath, “Nine, cough-cough, and one.” That’s his record against Michigan, which is why he can lie and get away with it. Well, he didn’t totally get away with it, suspended two games and fined $250,000. Those two games are against Akron and Toledo, which is ridiculous.

At the very least, Tressel should be suspended for the same five games as five of the players — Terrelle Pryor, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Mike Adams, Solomon Thomas — involved in Tattoo-gate. This is Buckeyes buffoonery at its finest, and after years of watching the Ohio State beat up on Michigan, it’s fascinating to watch the behemoth’s lips quiver.

Coach does nothing

Rivalries are great, and hey, maybe the Wolverines are partly culpable for Tressel’s arrogance because their failures added to his stature. But there also are signs the Buckeyes are willing to pay a higher cost to stay on top, as they again dance around eligibility issues with players.

Tressel is a tremendous coach, 106-22 in Columbus, including a national title with the troubled Maurice Clarett. But what he tried to pull here is deplorable, misleading the NCAA and lying to his bosses, then pretending it was all about protecting a couple of players in the midst of a confidential federal drug investigation.

Tressel probably would have kept deceiving if the school didn’t discover e-mails from the attorney who first alerted him players were exchanging memorabilia for cash and tattoos.

The tattoo parlor owner, Eddie Rife, apparently was a target of the federal investigation, and upon learning this in April, Tressel did what any deeply concerned, father-figure coach would do:He did nothing. He reported it to nobody because he said he didn’t know who to report it to.

He kept practicing the players, then used them all season, until the story finally came out in December. Even then, Ohio State made darn sure the players were eligible to beat Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl, with the backing of Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany. You think Delany feels duped today?

In the e-mails released by school officials, the confidentiality request wasn’t made by the lawyer until the second one, two weeks after the first. And Tressel’s response decidedly was tepid. That makes it even more laughable when he talks about keeping quiet because he was “scared.”

Scared of drug guys? Or scared of going into the Buckeyes 2010 season without Pryor and other stars?

“Thanks for your help … keep me posted as to what I need to do if anything,” Tressel wrote back to the unnamed lawyer.

History of violations

Even if Tressel legitimately was confused and truly thought he was protecting his players, and even though it violated his contract by not reporting an NCAA violation to his superiors, how does he justify lying in December? Tressel said he knew nothing about it until then, although the e-mails confirmed he knew in April.

An uncovered cover-up always makes it worse. I know Tressel has an image of a conservative, honorable man, but ask yourself this: Does an accomplished head coach, at the age of 58, suddenly develop an affinity for deception?

Considering the Buckeyes reportedly have 375 self-admitted (mostly minor) violations the past 10 years, and previous stars Clarett and Troy Smith were suspended for various offenses, it’s hard to believe this is Tressel’s first ride on the Double-Speak Deception Carousel. In fact, he has NCAA violations going to his days as the coach at Youngstown State.

Tressel said he was sincerely saddened by the whole affair, but you wonder if he’s sincerely sorry. Saddened he got caught, I’m sure, and sorry the strength of the Teflon Tress Vest is finally being tested.

Miami Heat Lose 5th Straight Game: Time to Panic (or Rejoice)?

9 Mar

The Miami Heat have recently embraced Charlie Sheen's definition of winning; in other words, they've been losing...a lot.

 

In the aftermath of the Miami Heat’s fifth straight loss, this time to a Portland Trail Blazers team that displayed more composure and better execution from start to finish of last night’s contest, the panic level of many Heat fans appears to have risen to extreme levels.  After all, LeBron James and Dwayne Wade combined to score 69 points between them last night while each played more than 40 minutes in the game.  Collectively as a team, the Heat shot better than 50% from the field.  And they faced a team that they had beaten on the road earlier this season (albeit in an OT game, one of the few this season in which James attempted and actually made clutch shots in the 4th quarter and OT).  And they still lost.  But this panic reeks of short-term thinking and undermines what the Heat have accomplished up to this point in the season.  Remember, Miami rattled off 21 wins in 22 games from December through January, and while many of those wins came against mediocre to sub .500 teams, the streak did include victories against the Lakers and Trail Blazers, with the only loss coming in a tight game against the Mavericks.  This 5 game losing streak is not some sort of anomaly that never occurs to elite NBA teams; with the exception of San Antonio, all of the league’s elite teams have suffered similar rough patches this season:

Celtics:  2 stretches of close to .500 ball, with records of 6-5 and 8-6 from December – February.

Mavs:    1-7 stretch in January that included losses to the Pacers and Pistons

Bulls:    Started the season 9-8, and had a 5-4 stretch that saw them lose to the Bobcats twice

Lakers: 2 separate 3 game losing streaks, as well as a 4 game losing streak to close out November

Even after this current 5 game losing streak, which has the potential to stretch to as much as 8 or 9 with upcoming home games against the Lakers, Grizzlies, Spurs, and Thunder, the Heat still rank quite well in many statistical categories that are proven to be effective predictors of playoff success:

Category Value NBA Rank
Pts Scored 101.5 9th
Pts Against 95.0 6th
Pts Diff. 6.5 4th
Reb Diff. 1.8 6th
FG % 47.6 T-2nd
FG% Against 43.1 2nd

 

The statistics don’t lie.  Of course, anybody could choose to cherry pick stats and select some that paint a bleak picture of the Heat’s future, whether it’s their near NBA worst assist percentage, mediocre free-throw shooting percentage, or NBA worst shooting percentage when attempting game tying or winning shots late in the fourth quarter.  But take a look again at those above stats: the Heat are still an elite offensive and defensive team; despite lacking an adequate center and having a power forward who oftentimes plays softer than Charmin toilet paper sprinkled with angels’ tears and wrapped in a cloud, they more than hold their own in the paint when it comes to rebounding and blocking shots (9th).

You can blame a whole host of things on this recent five game slide: LeBron and D-Wade choking late in games; Chris Bosh appearing scared to even be on the floor in the fourth quarter; Mike Miller shooting more inaccurately than Stevie Wonder on a pheasant hunt; Joel Anthony delivering passes directly to fans in the floor seats (check out the highlights); and coach Erik Spoelstra seeming confused on what plays to run in crunch time.  However, there’s still time for the Heat to correct these problems, and they’ll have the luxury of doing so with a very easy schedule after the OKC Thunder leave town.  The Heat could easily close the season 14-4 or 13-5, giving them 56-57 wins that would be plenty good enough to lock up the #3 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.  LeBron, D-Wade, Mike Miller, and yes, even Chris Bosh, have good track records when it comes to delivering in the clutch.  Their woeful end of game shooting will not continue.  Their defense, which is already at an elite level, should continue to be strong.   And don’t forget the pending return of Udonis Haslem, who has been a key contributor to the Heat on both ends of the floor that brings a level of physical and mental toughness they’ll desperately need in the playoffs.  Sure, the King’s quest for a ring isn’t looking too rosy at the moment, but there’s still plenty of time for his team to get on the right track and make a serious run at an NBA title.  Whether you enjoy rooting for the Heat or against them, one thing is certain: the final chapter of their 2010-2011 season is far from being written.

Sights from The Arnold Classic in Columbus, OH this past weekend featuring Ray Lewis & Jay Cutler

7 Mar

The 2011 Arnold Classic was filled with its usual bevy of fitness babes & bodybuilders, plus a few A-listers & top-flight athletes.  This year’s headliners included “The Governator” Arnold himself, Ray Lewis, Tony Gonzalez, Carmen Electra, Franco Harris & Kurt Angle. 

While it consistently rained just about all of Friday & Saturday outdoors, indoors the climate was wildly different from 1 day to the next.  Friday afternoon had the lightest amount of foot traffic I’ve ever seen at The Arnolds – it was a relative piece of cake to get where I needed & make my way around almost all of the main aisles in under a few hours. 

Saturday was a horse of a different color – purely wall to wall visitors, at times making it almost impossible to get where you needed to go in a timely fashion.  In fact, it was the most crowded I had EVER seen the EXPO (& that’s saying something).  Despite the packed environment on Saturday, Day 2 of The Arnolds was worth experiencing as well due to surprise photo ops in the EXPO hall with Franco & Kurt, who had otherwise only been available at the adjacent Hyatt hotel on Friday afternoon. 

Take a look below to get a slice of the action!

The Arnold Classic is about the only place not titled "The Rhinestone Cowboy" where a guy looking like this can have girls looking like that who are all too happy to wrap their arms around him for a photo.

 

The main competetion stage at the EXPO featured bodybuilding's elite coming out to their theme music (the "Gladiator" movie score was popular) along with 2 silver screens showing their highlights. That will get your adrenaline pumping!

 

Ravens star linebacker Ray Lewis had crowds waiting over 75 minutes for a photo op with him. Thanks to his supplement sponsor, Twinlab, fans came away with a free picture in protective plastic plus some free samples/gear. Even if you hate the Ravens, it was tough not to respect Lewis, the off-field gentleman.

 

Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler had fans lining up for hours at his Muscletech command center, & appeared totally engaged & thrilled to meet every one of them! This is a Jay Cutler whose toughness cannot be questioned.

 

This is a fitness expo, not a car show...still, I didn't see any guys complaining about the presence at this booth.

 

BSN had quite the outpost for the 2011 Arnolds, but didn't seem to be giving away quite as many free samples. If you wanted their super-durable bag to haul your supplement loot in this year, you had to buy something from their kiosk to get it.

Here's some man candy for the ladies just to keep things fair - this guy looked familiar, perhaps he's in the Bowflex ads or hawks TotalGyms with Chuck Norris.

 

Bodybuilding legend Dexter Jackson had his usual table set up near BSN's headquarters.Here's some man candy for the ladies to keep things fair - I think this guy does the Bowflex ads or hawks TotalGyms with Chuck Norris - he definitely looked familiar from TV but I couldn't place him.

Arnold Classic weekend 2011: Celebrities scheduled to appear at The Arnold Sports Festival include Ray Lewis, Tony Gonzalez & Franco Harris

3 Mar

The Arnold Classic website posted its official list of celebrities you may get to meet & greet this weekend, & perhaps get a photo op or autograph as well if the opportunity allows.  NFL headliners this year are future Hall of Famers BAL LB Ray Lewis, ATL TE Tony Gonzalez, & retired Hall of Fame PIT RB Franco Harris. 

The Governator will be making pit stops throughout the weekend; hopefully Schwarzenegger will hit the EXPO at the Columbus Convention Center while he’s in the 614.  Should be a great event!

A list of celebrities scheduled to attend the 2011 Arnold Sports Festival.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
@ Ask Arnold Training Seminar at Veterans Memorial
Sunday, March 6, 9-10 a.m.
(Ask Arnold Training Seminar runs from 9-Noon)
Sunday, March 6, 10:30 a.m.
@ Arnold 5K Pump & Run start (at Goodale Street outside Convention Center)

Kurt Angle
@ Kurt Angle Ultimate Teen Championships at Hyatt Regency
Friday, March 4, 4-5 p.m.
Meet & Greet with Franco Harris and other sports celebrities

Randy Couture, MMA Superstar
@ MMA Workshop at Martial Arts Festival at Greater Columbus Convention Center
Friday, March 4, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Friday, March 4, 2:30-3:20 p.m.

Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons and NFL All-Pro
@ All Pro Science Booth at Fitness EXPO
TBA 

Franco Harris
@ Kurt Angle Ultimate Teen Championships at Hyatt Regency
Friday, March 4, 4-5 p.m.
Meet & Greet with Kurt Angle and other sports celebrities 

Ray Lewis
@ Twinlab Booth at Arnold Fitness EXPO
Friday, March 4, 2-3:30 p.m

Gray Maynard, UFC
@ MMA Workshop at Martial Arts Festival at Greater Columbus Convention Center
Friday, March 4, 2:30-3:20 p.m.

Here's a shot of Arnold congratulating Muscletech's bodybuilding icon & reigning Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler

Court McGee, UFC TUF Season 11 Winner
@ Sports Research Corp. / Sweet Sweat Booth
March 4-6, 2011

Tosca Reno
@ Arnold Fitness EXPO
March 4-6, 2011

BODYBUILDING.COM BOOTH LINEUP
@Arnold Fitness EXPO
March 4-6, 2011

Special Appearances

Brandon Curry, IFBB Pro Bodybuilder
Friday, March 4, 3-4 p.m.
Sunday, March 6, 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Rampage Jackson, UFC Fighter
Saturday, March 5, Noon-1 p.m.

Robert Hatch, NPC Bodybuilding Champion
Friday, March 4, 10 a.m.-Noon
Saturday, March 5, 2-4 p.m.

Brandy Leaver, IFBB Pro Bikini
Sunday, March 6, 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Alicia Maria, IFBB Pro Figure
Friday, March 4, 3-4 p.m.

Jennifer Nicole Lee, Fitness Industry Star
Saturday, March 5, 3-4 p.m.

Alison Rosen, IFBB Pro Figure
Alicia Harris, IFBB Pro Figure
Shelsea Montes, IFBB Pro Bikini
Skip LaCour, Bodybuilder
Dorian Yates, 6-time Mr. Olympia
Frank Mir, UFC Champion
Markus Ruhl, IFBB Pro Bodybuilder
Lee Labrada, IFBB Pro Bodybuilder

Bodybuilding.com Booth Team Members

Michael O’Hearn, 4-time Mr. Univere
Ashley Johns
Aubrie Richenson, NPC Figure
Big Poppa Schnake, MMA Personality
Brandon Johnson, Exercise Specialist
Brian “All American” Stann, UFC Fighter
Jacquelyn Kay, Fitness Model
Jen Rankin, 2011 BodySpace Spokesmodel
Kathleen Tesori, NPC Figure
Kelechi Opara
Kizzito Ejam, Tae Kwon Do
Lauren Abraham, Action Sports Representative
Michelle Hanson, NPC Bikni
Nicole Moneer Guerrero, IFBB Pro Bikini
Nick Scott, Wheelchair Bodybuilder
Pam Wilson, NPC Bikini
Rachael Labender
Sean Hardge, Bodybuilding.com Military Contest
Steve Cook, 2011 BodySpace Spokesmodel

BSN BOOTH LINEUP
@ Arnold Fitness EXPO
March 4-6, 2011

Jennifer Nicole Lee, Fitness Celebrity 
TBA

GNC BOOTH LINEUP
@Arnold Fitness EXPO
March 4-6, 2011

Cheryl Brown, IFBB Pro
Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Tina Durkin, IFBB Pro
Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Adela Garcia, IFBB Pro
Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Sonia Gonzalez, IFBB Pro
Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m

Julie Palmer, IFBB Pro
Friday, 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Camala Rodriguez, IFBB Pro
Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Allison Frahn, WNBF Pro
Friday, 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Desha Rodriguez, IFBB Pro
Friday, 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Heidi Fletcher Sullivan, IFBB Pro
Friday, 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Christine Wan, IFBB Pro
Friday, 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 

Brad Gillingham, Strongman
Karl Gillingham, Stongman
Wade Gillingham, Strongman
Friday, 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

GASPARI NUTRITION BOOTH
@ Arnold Fitness EXPO
March 4-6, 2011

Rich Gaspari, IFBB Hall of Famer and 1989 Arnold Classic champion
Brian Stann, UFC
Flex Lewis, IFBB Pro
Mark Alvisi, IFBB Pro
Hidetada Yamagishi, IFBB Pro
Ryan Hughes, NPC Bodybuilder
Marzia Prince, IFBB Pro Bikini
Stacey Oster-Thompson, IFBB Pro Bikini
Krissy Chin, IFBB Pro Figure
Cathy LeFrancois, IFBB Pro
Ava Cowan, IFBB Pro Figure
Trish Warren, IFBB Pro Fitness
Felicia Romero, IFBB Pro Figure
Courtney West, IFBB Pro Figure

College Football: Breaking the Rules Off the Field

2 Mar

While professional football is stealing most of the football headlines right now thanks to the NFL Combine and the pending lockout set to commence later this week, college football is generating headlines of its own that are worthy of our attention.  The practice of oversigning high school football recruits has come to the forefront of late, and now a special report was released today by Sports Illustrated with the help of CBS.  The article is a fascinating read and deserving of your time if you’re a fan of collegiate sports.  And if your favorite college football program is in the Preseason Top 25 rankings, where do they sit in SI’s rankings of the teams with the most players charged of a crime?  As a fan, would you be okay with your team sacrificing character off the field for results on the field?

The Big Ten may not be able to compete with the SEC on the football field, but it blows away the SEC in terms of having more players possessing criminal mugshots.

 

Four Javan Rhinos Captured on Camera in Indonesia

2 Mar

Here’s a feel good story from the AP not involving Charlie Sheen, who seems to be channeling his inner psychotic Mel Gibson of late.  A couple of days ago, four Javan rhinos, one of the worlds’ most rare and critically endangered species, were spotted by camera traps in a national park in Indonesia, raising hopes that this elusive animal can successfully breed and survive in the wild.  The Javan rhino is just one of a group of animals critically endangered that are facing severe survival challenges due to various human and environmental factors.  To learn more about the Javan rhino, as well as other animals, reptiles, insects, and even plants facing extinction, visit the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) website.  

By The Associated Press (CP) – 2 days ago

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Four of the world’s most rare rhinoceroses were captured by camera traps installed in an Indonesian national park, an environmental group said Monday. The footage from movement-triggered hidden cameras showed two mother Javan rhinos and two calves in Ujung Kulon National Park in November and December last year, said a release from the WWF-Indonesia. Javan rhinos are one of the world’s most endangered species with an estimated population of no more than 50 in Ujung Kulon. A few others live in Vietnam’s Cat Tien National Park. “This is good news to ensure that the population is viable,” said Adhi Hariyadi, WWF project leader in the park. The first “video trap” footage recorded in November showed a mother and calf, identified later as a male, walking steadily toward the camera. Several more videos of the family were obtained later. In December, another 30-second video showed a larger calf with its mother. It was later identified as a female about a year old. The national park’s chief, Agus Priambudi, said the footage provided substantial information about population dynamics of Javan rhinos as well as feedback about survey and monitoring system of the survival of endangered species. After identifying 14 rhino births within the last 10 years using camera and video traps, the Javan rhino study will now focus on the animal’s habits, distribution, genetic diversity, diet and nutrition, as well as pathology and cause of stress, WWF-Indonesia said. “This female calf documentation is a breath of fresh air for us — and Javan rhino conservation in general — since majority of calves we identified previously was male,” said Hariyadi. Rhino numbers in Indonesia over the past 50 years have been decimated by rampant poaching for horns used in traditional Chinese medicines and destruction of forests by farmers, illegal loggers and palm oil plantation companies. Last year, three Javan rhinos were found dead within the 297,881-acre (120,551-hectare) park, and one of them was suspected to be the victim of poachers.

Dancing with the Washed Up Stars: A Look at This Season’s Contestants

1 Mar

Last night, ABC announced the contestants for the 12th season of “Dancing With the Stars.”  The list of “stars” more closely resembles a list of “burning out stars in danger of morphing into black holes”, but the beauty of the show is its ability to entertain viewers by creating a need for us to develop rooting interests in one or several of these “stars.”  This year promises to be no exception to the rule.  So The Floor Seats has conducted some scientific research to determine which contestants stand the best chance of winning Season 12.  Some facts to keep in mind as you get amped up for the season premiere on March 21st:

  • An athlete has either won or placed second in 8 of the 11 seasons of DWTS.
  • Musicians have also fared quite well, with a combined 3 first place finishes and 3 times finishing as runner-up.
  • Actors/actresses (a relatively loose term if you include models that have an acting credit to their name) have had mixed success so far on DWTS, with 3 first place finishes but also 2 last place finishes.
  • An athlete has never finished last.
  • Two musicians have finished last.
  • Reality stars have had the worst success so far on DWTS, with 7 last place finishes in 11 seasons.

11. Petra Nemcova (80:1)  – She’ll be easy to root for, considering she’s attractive, has performed quite a bit of philanthropic work in her young career, and has survived her share of tragedy (she and her fiancée were in Thailand during the 2004 tsunami:  she suffered serious injuries; her fiancée lost his life).  But she has 11 seasons of DWTS history working against her.

10. Mike Catherwood (75:1) – When your own Wikipedia page doesn’t even have a single photo of yourself, it’s probably a sign that you aren’t really a star.  Apparently Mr. Catherwood is a radio personality who has experience as a personal trainer.  His athleticism gives him a puncher’s chance to win.

That kind of dancing won't earn you 10's from the judges Kendra.

9. Kendra Wilkinson (60:1) – If the show was entitled “Pole Dancing with the Stars”, her odds of victory would improve exponentially, but in its current format, she faces an uphill battle.  She probably won’t garner many votes from viewers possessing strong traditional values, and as our research indicates, reality stars almost never fare well on the show.

8. Kirstie Alley (55:1) – There will be plenty of DWTS viewers that will remember Kirstie as a camera darling from her roles as Rebecca Howe in “Cheers” and Mollie Jensen in “Look Who’s Talking”, but then those same viewers will remember her in her other roles that required her to be in front of a camera, like Mollie Ubriacco from “Look Who’s Talking Too” and “Look Who’s Talking Now”, and as Kirstie Alley in “Fat Actress.”  That’s too much bad and fat acting to make up for her quality acting. 

7. Ralph Macchio (40:1) – It was tempting to include Ralph in the athlete category due to his legendary role in “The Karate Kid” franchise, but executing a killer crane kick to power 80’s ballads isn’t enough to make us forget the fact that his last relevant role in TV/film was in “My Cousin Vinny” in 1992.

6. Wendy Williams (40:1) – Wendy promises to be a polarizing figure on this show.  Viewers will either quickly warm to her larger than life personality, or cast her aside for the same reasons.  Her Wikipedia page states that musicians such as Jay-Z, Mariah Carey, 50 Cent, and Lil Wayne have all negatively criticized her in their music lyrics.  The Wiki page also states that a movie chronicling her life, entitled “Queen of Media”, wrapped in August 2009 and was set to be released some time in 2010.  A quick check of imdb.com provides no further details about the film.  A wild card contestant in every sense of the term.

5. Chris Jericho (25:1) – Yes, wrestlers are athletes, which automatically makes Chris somebody to take seriously in this competition.  He has prior dancing experience from prancing around the wrestling ring for WWE, and has even taken a stab at television game shows as host of ABC’s “Downfall”.  His decades of experience in front of the camera will allow him to charm a lot of viewers (or at least make him think he can charm them).  As long as avoids getting into altercations with the judges (such as the one in this link), he’ll be okay.

4. Hines Ward (15:1) – Despite his reputation as a dirty football player, the fact remains that he plays WR for one of America’s most popular and successful football franchises, and possesses the athletic ability to execute any dance move required of him.  One thing to keep an eye on: considering NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s penchant for using large fines to Steelers players, will Goodell attempt to fine Ward for any “inappropriate conduct” or “excessive celebration” during the show?

3. Sugar Ray Leonard (12:1) – An all-time great in the boxing ring, Leonard now jumps into the dancing ring to try his hand at DWTS.  Despite being 54, he looks like he’s about 40, and more than capable of handling the physical rigors of the show.  2 fun yet unrelated facts: he’s Khloe Kardashian’s godfather; and he’s a very popular motivational speaker within Fortune 500 circles.

2. Chelsea Kane (10:1) – A relative unknown to most viewers, she has acting and singing experience, and comes from the Disney Channel’s family of young, energetic, and talented performers.  Last season, a fellow alum of the Disney Channel, Kyle Massey, finished second.  Is Chelsea poised to follow in Kyle’s footsteps?  Will people even know who she is if she does finish as runner-up?

1. Romeo (5:1) – Romeo is a jack of all trades that has everything it takes to win the competition.  Just look at his impeccable bloodlines: son of Master P and Sonya C, and nephew of C-Murder and Silkk the Shocker.  Nothing says ballroom dancing phenom like having those rap legends at your annual Thanksgiving Day dinner.  Although it’s probably best if you hide the turbo powered turkey carving knife from anybody with Murder or Shocker in their names.  Oh, and Romeo also was a good enough high school hoops player to earn a full ride to USC.  A combination of athlete-musician-actor?  You’re looking at your season 12 winner.

Romeo, oh Romeo, we dost think thou shall win the competition.

Misery Loves These Cities’ Company: Does Forbes Magazine’s List of the Most Miserable Sports Cities Fall Short?

1 Mar

Forbes Magazine published its list of the 10 most miserable cities for sports in all of America, using criteria such as postseason heartbreak in addition to overall championship futility to determine which city truly is most miserable (view the article here).  Below is Forbes’ top 5 most miserable cities, with The Floor Seats take on this list, followed by our own top 5 List.  After you compare the two lists, tell us which one you think is more accurate and why.  And if you can make a case for a city that isn’t on either list, let us know that as well.  After all, misery does love company.

Forbes Top 5:

 

1.   Seattle:  Any list comprised of downtrodden sports cities must certainly include Seattle.  Having the Sonics franchise relocated to another market due to incompetent ownership, a baseball team that has been largely irrelevant the past half decade after some successful seasons during the Ken Griffey Jr era, and a football team that only made the playoffs this past season due to a historically bad division after losing Super Bowl XL to the Steelers because of some questionable officiating would make even the most optimistic sports fan depressed.  And that just covers the past 10 years.  But is it really more depressing than some other cities across America?

 

2.   Atlanta:  OK, the Hawks have ranged from irrelevant to pointless to laughingstock to NBA playoffs doormat for a long time, and the Thrashers have been trying to thrash their way out of the NHL’s cellar since their inception, but this is also a city that has enjoyed a consistently successful baseball franchise (even though its captured only one World Series despite making the postseason the past 74 years in a row) and a football team that made the Super Bowl in 1999 and appears to be poised for continued success with an exciting young core of talent.  That doesn’t even count the fact that Atlanta hosted the Olympics in 1996, which helped modernize and transform the downtown area and brought in millions of dollars in revenue to the city. 

Take solace, Phoenix fans: at least the Coyotes are still in existence.

3.  Phoenix:   Yes, all four of Phoenix’s franchises have had their awful stretches of ineptitude, but this is also a city that has experienced two championship appearances in the past 10 years (the D’backs won the World Series in 2001, and the Cardinals lost Super Bowl XLIII in 2009), a fun and entertaining Suns team until this year (Steve Nash deserves a better end to his career than this rebuilding team), and a Coyotes team that has managed to avoid relocation/contraction.  Combine that with an idyllic year-round climate, and it doesn’t sound all that bad to be a Phoenix sports fan.

4.   Buffalo:  Very deserving of top 5 status; more below.

5.   San Diego:  It’s a city that is in danger of possibly losing the Chargers franchise and that has already lost the Clippers franchise (a blessing in disguise?).  The baseball team has been to 2 World Series (losing by a combined 8 games to 1) and just recently traded away its star first baseman for prospects, but they contended for the postseason last year and have a beautiful stadium in which to lose baseball games in.  Come on, we’re talking about San Diego here, a city that has remained classy irregardless of the sports futility it has experienced over the years.  It’s sparkling blue waters, beautiful beaches and temperate climate (we conveniently left out its high cost of living and proximity to violence stricken Mexico) permanently guarantee its exclusion from any Top 5 Misery List.

 

Floor Seats Top 5:

Yes, this Browns fan has plenty to be sad and embarrassed about, not including the fact he's wearing a dog bone on his head.

 

1.   Cleveland:  Cleveland and Buffalo will always be at the top of any miserable list, but a few factors give Cleveland the (dis)honor of the most miserable sports city in America.  We all know about how Cleveland lost its only certifiable star athlete via a tasteless and public breakup on national television.  But before LeBron came to the city by the lake, who was the biggest star in town?  Sorry to say that Omar Vizquel, Terrell Brandon, and Chris Gardocki don’t count.  Let’s go back further.  Bernie Kosar?  Yeah, he was a local hero, but he only made 1 Pro Bowl and never made it to the Super Bowl.  Brad Daugherty?  He was a solid player, but never catapulted the Cavs to league champions.  As for the Indians….dare we say Charlie Sheen’s “Wild Thing” Rick Vaughn character from Major League?  You have to go all the way back to Jim Brown to find a truly revolutionary and famous sports athlete hailing from Cleveland.  And anytime your sports franchise is defined by two words (“The Fumble”, “The Drive”) that immediately trigger sympathy and jeering by fellow sports fans, you know you’ve experienced more than your fair share of heartbreak and failure.  Finally, if you had to bet your life savings, mortgage, and two major bodily organs on one of Cleveland’s three franchises winning a championship in the next 5 years, who would you pick?  The Indians, a team that is breaking in a lot of minor league talent that has to contend with the Twins, Tigers, and White Sox every year?  The Browns, who have less team speed than a senior citizen bocce ball team that has to face Pittsburgh and Baltimore twice a year?  Or how about the Cavs, who are eagerly trying to rebuild by buying as many first round draft picks for the upcoming 2011 draft as possible, considered by many experts to be the worst draft class in many years?  How does a core of Eyenga-Varejao-Erden-2 years of soon to be obese Baron Davis-Hickson sound to you?

2.   Buffalo:   Which is worse:  losing 4 straight Super Bowls, or never having been to one at all?  At least the Bills gave their fans reasons for optimism during the early 1990’s, and almost delivered on that promise not once, not twice, but four times.  Heartbreaking, yes.  Devastating, sure.  But as the famous quote goes:  it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.  Buffalo Bills fans have loved.  They’ve been to the altar.  They’ve said their vows.  Unfortunately, those vows weren’t returned.  But at least they got to play dress up and be the center of attention four straight years.  Now it appears they may never get to stand at another altar based on the last 10 years of failure they’re currently going through.  This upcoming NFL Draft will be vital for the franchise.  Do you select a high risk/high reward prospect in Cam Newton, assuming he’s even there at #3, or do you play it safe and try to build your team through the trenches (as long as you don’t select a defensive lineman from Penn State or an offensive lineman from Texas, you should be ok Bills fans).  And we think that Buffalo has a hockey team, but aren’t quite sure.  Are the Sabres relevant?  It poses another question:  is it better to toil in relative obscurity or infamy?  We’ll let Sabres fans decide that.  Actually, Brett Hull’s triple overtime Stanley Cup winning goal back in 1999 has made that decision for us.

3.   Seattle:   See above.

 

4.   Minneapolis:   The Timberwolves appear content to accumulate point guards and small forwards to ensure a permanent spot in the NBA draft lottery, the North Stars/Wild franchise is as relevant as the acting career of Jake Busey, and the Vikings haven’t been to a Super Bowl since 1977 thanks in part to an epic postseason collapse during their 15-1 season and an epic brain fart by Brett Favre last season.  At least the Twin Cities have the Twins, who have a couple of World Series titles over the past twenty some odd years and a beautiful stadium in which to lose postseason games in.

5.   Kansas City:    Royals fans remember what it’s like to cheer for a winning team, don’t they?  We hope so, since it doesn’t look like this year’s version of the Royals will offer fans much to cheer for.  But GM Dayton Moore appears to have the franchise heading in the right direction with an elite farm system and $18 stadium BBQ ribs that will provide enough revenue to allow the Royals to vastly overpay free agents for years to come.  The Chiefs also appear to have a bright future, assuming they ultimately figure out that handing the ball off to RB Jamaal Charles is something worth repeating 20 times per game.

Knicks punk Heat in Miami, showing why they will be a dangerous 1st round playoff opponent

28 Feb

Last night the new-look Knicks gave everybody a taste of what’s to come in the future, stealing a game on the road against the hated Miami Heat.  At least for one night, Billups’ experience & the scoring punch of Melo & Amare showed that NY’s “big 3” may be better than Miami’s trio of LeBron, Wade & Bosh. 

What’s so impressive is that Mr. Big Shot (Billups) nailed a deep 3, made a critical steal, & sank clutch free throws in the final few minutes; you can tell he has the respect of everybody on that Knicks roster.  He & Melo have only been on the team for a few games, but have already proved they can play well with Amare, Fields & co. 

Spike Lee took his talents to South Beach Sunday night, & so did the Knicks. NBAE/Getty Images

Despite being outsmarted & outhustled in the final quarter, the Heat had the ball down just 1 pt. late but couldn’t cash in.  With just a few seconds left, LeBron did his typical dribble-drive to the rack, expecting to either get contact (& a foul) or an easy look at the basket.  Ut-oh!  Melo, who Kevin McHale labeled earlier in the week as having a reputation of playing poor team defense, beat LBJ to his spot on the low block.  LeBron had to put up a high-angled shot, which Amare brilliantly swatted away to seal the game. 

It’s worth mentioning that on that play Amare came from the opposite side of the paint, knew LBJ’s tendencies (LeBron loves to shoot game winners) & the clock situation (not enough time for LBJ to make a safe pass, then have the recipient dribble/setup & shoot) to make the game-saving block.  And they say this Knicks team won’t play any defense?  That is a textbook example of great team defense when the game is on the line against one of the best finishers in the NBA!

Hats off to the Knicks – a signature win after that awful loss to the Cavs – they are officially that 5-6-7 seed we find about every couple years who nobody wants to play!

Click here to view ESPN’s 2 cents & the box score.