Archive for the ‘Commentary’ Category

Current RPI: 189 (+39 from last game’s RPI of 228)

Changes: The Niners defeated the Miss St. Bulldogs of the SEC by 6 after blowing a 20+ point lead in Starkville, MS to improve to 3-6 on the season. The 49ers started a 2 game win streak (Southern Ill., Miss St.) after tying the program’s worst ever losing streak by dropping 6 straight (Old Dominion, App St., Clemson, Arizona St., Providence, Cal State Fullerton)

My Thoughts: Lamont Mack finally woke up and played his first strong game of the season dropping 19 and hitting 8-15 from 2pt. range. This road win builds momentum for two relatively easy home games before heading up to Maryland. After dropping many close games (2 by 1 pt, and 2 in OT) it was great to finally win one definitively (up by 16 at the half). I can definitely see Lutz turning this team around by giving them a more structured offense and Mack getting out of his slump has helped significantly.  This team definitely goes 5-6 over the next two games and I don’t think we lose again until we play at Temple on January 24th giving us a record of 11-7 before hitting the meat of the A10 season vs. Xavier.

I think Lutz has turned this season around over the last two games and we go 20-10. We’ll finish 3rd in the A10 with a 12-4 A10 record behind Xavier and Temple. Our four conference losses will come to Xavier, Temple, Fordham and Richmond.

Disclaimer: Optimism noted above can disappear quickly by losing to Long Island or Youngstown St. in our next two games

Data based on Sagarin Ratings via RPIForecast.com,

Probability of NCAA Tourney at-large bid (40 or lower RPI) = .03%

Most probable end of season record = 14-16

I’ll be posting an RPI update for the Charlotte 49ers after every game (once data is available). You can subscribe to these updates without reading menial stories from my life by subscribing to this RSS feed. I will be launching a 49ers sports only blog in the next few months to cover this kind of information so you won’t have to read all this other stuff for too long.

Up and away!

Up and away!

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Why Twitter is here to stay

What an amazing article from Tim O’Reilly on why Twitter is starting to find its place in the world and why it is so special. I’ve been using Twitter since August 22nd, 2007 when my first tweet echoed across the globe.

My first tweet in all its resounding epicness: I am working on homework

At that point Twitter was nothing more than answering the question so innocently posed on its user interface. “What are you doing?” And people did that. They so monotonously produced tweets which explained only what they were doing. But sometime over the last 6 months Twitter has become so much more. People are sharing ideas through the service and using it to display what they are focusing/thinking about.

Why has my blog been updated continuously less and less since that fateful first tweet in August 2007? Initially I used this site to share quick ideas which I found interesting or to let people know what I was thinking. Those two things are now primarily encompassed by Twitter. My personal blog will never be completely replaced but has now become just a supplement to Twitter, the primary tool for sharing my thoughts.

What I like about Twitter is that it updates my facebook status where people leave comments on it. This has provided a new link between my friends and my thoughts.

While I am not a Twitter evangelist, I have tried to get friends and family to adapt the service because of the reasons that this writeup from Mr. Tim O’Reilly summarizes so nicely (which I can never explain to people).

My two favorite reasons for using Twitter from the list,

  1. Twitter works like people do. If I’m interested in someone, I don’t have to ask their permission to follow them. I don’t have to ask if they will be my friend: that is something that evolves naturally over time. If you’re a public figure like I am, the metaphor of mutual “friending” is truly broken. I get tens of thousands of friend requests from people I don’t know. Accepting would make it impossible for me to use a social tool to keep in touch with my real friends. Friend groups don’t really help.Twitter’s brilliant social architecture means that anyone can follow me, and I can follow anyone else (unless they want to keep their updates private.) Gradually, through repeated contact, we become friends. @ replies that can only be seen by people followed by both parties to a conversation create a natural kind of social grouping, as well as social group extensibility, as I gradually get more and more visibility into new people that my friends already know. Meanwhile, truly private direct messages are also supported.I don’t know who first used the term “ambient intimacy” but it’s a great description of what begins to happen on Twitter. I know not just what people are thinking about or reading, but enough about what they are doing that our relationship deepens, just like real-world friendships. People who follow me on Twitter learn that I’m making jam or pies, or gardening or riding my bike or feeding the horses, things that I’d never (or rarely, since I’m doing it here) share on my blog. I know a lot more about many of my professional contacts that makes them more into friends. And in the case of my family, who keep their updates private and visible only to a limited group of real friends, we can keep in touch in small ways that mean a lot. I get special moments of my wife or daughters’ day that we might not have shared otherwise. It’s truly lovely.
  2. Twitter cooperates well with others. Rather than loading itself down with features, it lets others extend its reach. There are dozens of powerful third-party interface programs; there are hundreds of add-on sites and tools. Twitter even lets competitors (like FriendFeed or Facebook) slurp its content into their services. But instead of strengthening them, it seems to strengthen Twitter. It’s the new version of embrace and extend: inject and take over. (Scoble recently noticed that 60%+ of his friends’ updates on Facebook actually came from twitter. And as John Battelle noted in a recent tweet, “I noticed now that my FBook status is updated with Twitter, I get responses in Fbook, but would like to see them here.” It might seem like a strength for Facebook to allow Twitter to update its status feed, but not the other way around, but I think Facebook will one day realize that Twitter has taken them over….)

So if you are a friend or family member reading this, give twitter a try. I’d love to build that ambient intimacy of your daily happenings. I’ve met some really cool people through twitter because I feel strangely connected to their minds. I hope to build an even stronger connection with you all through the service 🙂

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I never thought I would see the day when the Charlotte 49ers were on the front page of ESPN.com’s College Football tab.

All the 49er football haters out there: I encourage you to speak your opinons about how we will never be as good as UNCCH and how we will lose tons of money as much as possible. Thus it will only be sweeter when we perform opposite your expectations.

Besides, how can you not believe in this?

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Obama at UNC Charlotte on the eve of An Historic Election

Obama at UNC Charlotte on the eve of 'An Historic Election'

I think what finally sold me on Obama was not his platform or his persona but his recent rally at UNC Charlotte. I spoke to a mom who took a half day off work to bring her son to the rally. Obama was his hero. His mom said that he might have only had a negative role model like an athelete or rapper for a hero until Barack came a long. The little guy really was so excited to see his hero speak.

And then it hit me.

Regardless of what our new president does (other than acheiving a mutually agreed upon for of absolute failure), his presidency is already an amazing success. Taking a generation of young african american males and showing them that they can truly be spectacular individuals would do more for our country than any policy ever could. Multiply that effect around the world to less fortunate societies and this could actually be a world changing moment.

But is it?

I pondered this “change” as I drove to work under the gray cloudy sky this morning. I tuned in to the local conservative radio station, WBT 1110 for you Charlotteans, and heard Keith Larson refer to the Democratic party’s domination of Mecklenburg county as ‘proof that our residents will vote for people even if they are scumbags and dirtballs’. And GOP boosters wonder why they lost?

Can this actually be a moment of blissful optimisim for America and the world? I don’t know what that feels like. All I’ve known since I’ve been a moderately competent adult has been hatred from the world, disgrace in our national values and a political vocabulary dominated with meaningless social issues like “family values” in the Karl Rove sense. I’ve yet to believe in “America” or its ideals, especially since I’ve realized the continuous exportation of our negative externalities into rural America (like mountaintop removal coal mining) and into the world. (As much of 50% of China’s greenhouse gas emissions are from US economic factors)

I’ve always felt that a third party view was the most favorable to my values, that the two major parties were props for an overwhelming corporatocracy. Yet, some of the policies that the Democratic party hopes to enact are against the will of industry. Especially the most powerful industries, oil, coal and military. Are we seeing a break from industry masquerading as government? I highly doubt so, but I can be hopeful.

I’ve decided I do know this: the Democrats have political control of this nation and that they had better take advantage of it. If the Democrats fail over the next two years I will truly lose hope for the US. The Republicans had a shot and were found wanting. Policies of absolute fear and social conservatism has driven the GOP to near irrelevance. (Perhaps adopting a mainstream libertarian view would resurrect the elephant side of the political spectrum)

I hope that we take this opportunity to embrace reason over fear. Conversation instead of punditry. Acceptance instead of ‘small town values’. Let’s embrace all of America, instead of just the rural areas. Let’s rebuild our infrastructure.

But are things beyond repair? We’ll find out over the next few months as our next president lays out a plan for rebuilding America from nearly 30 years of waiting for “success” to trickle down. I’m cautiously optimistic right now. But seeing the photos of people around the world crying for joy at this moment has me feeling at least slightly better about our chances for the future.

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Got a mailer from the Republican Party the other day. It was covered in flags and the myths that we Americans like to perpetuate. Like “Al-Qaeda continues to attack innocent victims in all corners of the world”, “Only one party is committed to keeping America safe.” “Defeating evil. Securing Freedom”

While I believe our government and both presidential candidates are likely just part of the overwhelming corporatocracy, I still can’t believe that one party would try to distance themselves so far from the facts… or that it even works.

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A new Bev Purdue ad targets Mayor Pat on the issue of urban preferences. It claims that McCrory would take money away from the rural parts of the state and give it to Charlotte.

True or not, this ad exemplifies the kind of divisive philosophy that has torn up our state for so long. It shouldn’t be about city vs. country. What’s good for Charlotte is good for NC and vice versa.

My favorite tidbit from the NC governor’s election came from Mike Munger on WFAE’s Charlotte Talks as he talked about how we subsidize sprawl in the state by allowing state representatives to take pork money back to their districts. We have to build density in the state to reduce the costs that sprawled infrastructure is having on society, but also we need to take care of our rural areas.

Let’s stop with the rivalries NC. It isn’t Charlotte v Raleigh or Charlotte v Asheville. We need everyone to survive the changing economy.

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Just because there are a few hundred free parking spots sitting across from campus, that doesn’t mean UNC Charlotte students should use them to get to class.

Or at least so says the management of the Mallard Pointe Shopping Center (tenants include Kohls and Bloom on Tryon across from the CRI campus). Long the home for those that wished to go to class at Duke Centinneal Hall and Grigg Hall but didn’t want to pay nearly $300 for a campus parking pass. 

Starting tomorrow, signs will be posted and security will be towing those seen walking from their cars across to the campus. 

The reason I care about this is because I have two classes this semester one on Mondays and Wednesday, one on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Just enough classes that I need to be on campus everyday for a few hours, but not enough to justify the purchase of a $300 parking pass. For the first few weeks of school I played frogger across HWY 29 to take advantage of the free parking until I discovered… other parking options. Good luck to those now forced to explore other parking spots. 

Here is the original announcement as sent to me via email, 


The owners of Mallard Pointe are going to be posting permanent signs tomorrow in their parking lot that will state no parking by University students and will be towed. The y have security that will be observing people and if they see someone parking and then crossing the street to CRI will call the towing company.

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