Thursday, May 17, 2012

Why NFL players annoy me

So this is a topic that I know many of my friends won’t really care about but it’s been in the headlines a lot lately and I think it is at very least interesting.

Presently a lot of NFL contracts are in “negotiations” a couple of big names that have been in the press recently are Drew Brees and Wes Welker. The respective teams of these two players used what is called a franchise tag on them. This means they cannot play for another team in the coming year (unless they are traded) and this is in spite of the fact that their contracts recently expired. So they have to work out a new contract with their current team or not play in the NFL for the next year, maybe two. Drew Brees recently said that the contract negotiations weren’t just about money; I’m not sure what else they could be about, but whatever. I’m guessing he is talking about the difference between getting paid $10 million a year and $15 million a year, or maybe it’s because he wants a guaranteed salary until he’s 40. Either way the guy is an idiot; he might be one of the best quarterbacks ever to play but really what’s the difference between $10 and $15 million? I guess I just don’t understand. I know there are other quarterbacks who may be getting paid more but who the crap cares what they are getting paid? They have a different team, coach, family, home life, city, and probably a different Ferrari. I’m just a little jaded by the whole perception that life is somehow not fair for this guy because he doesn’t get the same salary Peyton Manning does. Peyton Manning has to live in Denver, and wear a Broncos uniform, so he has is problems too. All this really boils down to is the fact that I love going to sporting events but I think the egos of these players are going to drive fans away. Wes Welker is no better, he could complain all day that he has led the team/NFL in receiving yards or whatever but how many other receivers have Tom Brady throwing them the ball? It sure makes it a lot easier. I know it’s too bad they won’t give Welker a 3 year deal or whatever it is he wants. But seriously if I could make $9.5 million in one year I would probably take it and retire, though I obviously am lacking the same lifestyle expectations these guys seem to have.

These NFL players have a serious “keeping up with the Joneses” complex that I will never understand. I wonder if this problem is a result of the public sharing of NFL salaries? Do these players think they are undervalued merely because they are being offered less than their counterparts at other organizations? Or is it because they legitimately feel they bring a certain level of value to the organization that they are entitled to a significant share of the company proceeds? Or is it just simple greed? 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

My Hero

It’s a little hard for me to put in words what has been going through my mind today. But I feel like I need to at least try. This morning my Grandpa passed away. He was an amazing man and truly an inspiration in my life. I consider him to be the ultimate example of what I would like to accomplish while I am alive. I was very fortunate to have spent a significant amount of time with him, and I am so grateful for that time.

I’m sad for selfish reasons; I wanted him to see my children grow, to teach them some of the valuable lessons he taught me. I wanted to spend one more 4th of July watching fireworks at Bear Lake with him. I wanted him to see my children play baseball, dance, and soccer. I wanted him to teach me how to be a better dad, and person.

I’m happy because I know he is at peace, he is no longer in pain. I know his spirit lives on and his life will continue to provide valuable lessons for me. I am so grateful for the time I was able to spend with him. I am so grateful for the amazing posterity he has left, and the wonderful extended family I have. I am grateful for his strength, for his passion, for his testimony, and for his life.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Maybe it’s time, maybe not. But just thought I’d post some random thoughts on a current hot topic; namely SOPA & PIPA. I’ve never been an advocate of more laws, I’ve always thought we have a bigger problem enforcing our current laws rather than coming up with new laws. SOPA and PIPA are bills that intend to do away with internet piracy. While this does sound like an honorable ambition, adding new laws is not in my opinion the answer. It wasn’t long ago when eBay permitted the sale of firearms and illegal drugs via auction, no law was ever created that outlawed this behavior. The reason they no longer host those types of auctions is because the market responded negatively to that enablement. The leaders at eBay concluded they would be better off financially (in the long run) by not hosting those auctions. It wasn’t necessary to enact any new laws for eBay to make a change. The ethical values of the customer base dictated what was appropriate.

Ethical values are difficult to establish, however there are some common ethical values that should be held throughout a “free market economy.” One of those values is property rights (as indicated by Greg Mankiw) this includes intellectual property rights. So the question I see is whether the US is a free market? If we are then the citizens of the free market need to reject the idea of piracy, I would certainly concede this at least highly unlikely to be embraced by the masses. However this isn't the end all of our options as an ethical society, and there are ways corporations can encourage ethical behavior. A huge obstacle to teaching ethics requires some level of ethical behavior on the part of the teacher, in this case the movie and music production studios would be required to exhibit the same or greater level of ethical standard they wish to be embraced by their customers.

In my visit to China I observed very little respect for property rights (knock-offs are literally everywhere). In the US knock-offs exist but are not as successful as they are in China. Why are knock-offs unsuccessful in the US? I believe there are a couple of factors at play: 1) pride, US citizens tend to like having products of high monetary value, 2) quality, most knock-offs are of low quality and don’t stand up to the test of time, 3) ethical/moral integrity, I’m certain many people wouldn’t purchase knock-off goods on the basis of moral codes. Some drivers that perpetuate intellectual piracy include: 1) accessibility, a simple google search will net far more opportunity to pirate any copyrighted work rather than to legitimately purchase it, 2) cost, piracy is free (there is a further argument with regard to value of substance but I’ll just leave this as one point), 3) nefarious intentions, some people just like to “break the rules.”

My proposed solution for combating piracy is: increase the quality and accessibility of content, and reduce prices. Movie and music studios need to quit fighting against their customers, the exclusive content license deals are detrimental to the cause, they actually create a greater incentive to pirate movies when they engage in these back room deals. They also need to reduce expectations with regard to revenue per unit delivered, this must be done collectively. I know every studio thinks they produce better content than the next guy but the problem is they are all selling to the same customer base (for the most part). My general opinion is the customer base (people who enjoy movies and music) is not as discerning as the studios would like to believe. In other words, can you tell me the names of you top five favorite music/movie studios? But I bet you could name five of your favorite musicians or movies or whatever. So these studios need to work together to save their industry, people everywhere realize the reproduction of digital content is very simple and inexpensive, the prices charged by most distributors are obviously too high to deride piracy. I appreciate Apple and what they’ve done with iTunes, I think it’s a step in the right direction, though I don’t know what the biggest factors with regard to their pricing strategy are I would presume the studios are a big slice of the pie. It is likely some collaboration is going to have to occur between studios and distributors.

I do believe distributors serve a valuable position with regard to intellectual property; Hulu is a great example of a business model that has made this work well. They are a distributor for many TV networks, I hate it when I want to watch a show and I have to go to the network site because they won’t license it to Hulu to distribute. Apple has some of the same problems, which leads me to believe it’s more of a producer problem than a distributor problem. Lastly they need to improve the quality of product, my own personal opinion is if I could download a high quality (HD) easily and for about $1/per day. I would be more than willing to participate, as it is most sites want to charge $3-4 to rent an HD movie for a 24 hour period. This is again driving more traffic toward piracy, people know they can get a lower quality product by pirating however saving $3-4 for a lower quality product might be worth it where if they could pay a $1 for a higher quality product it likely wouldn’t be worth it. Again the cost of maintaining this property is very low, and reproduction costs are even lower. What is the justification for the high prices?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Here I am again, but keep your expectations very low

So it’s been a while, yeah like a year or so. Gina inspired me to post something. I don’t really know what to write, cause well I’ve been told all that I ever post about is political. I don’t know why I have so many political rants, but I’m trying to get over it. I do spend time each day catching up on what is going on in the world which tends to revolve a lot around politics. Perhaps this is too much time, maybe I need to shrink my Google Reader list, Candi has told me it would bug her to have so many “unread” things in her list (I usually start the day with a few hundred, but I usually just read headlines unless it looks interesting). So as a result this post is just going to be a virtual vomit of what’s going on, poor sentence structure and sporadic thought process is guaranteed to ensue.

I’m going to Moab tomorrow, I can’t wait. I’m taking Isaac & Kaitlyn, and Doug… It should be lovely, and if it’s not well then hopefully we dry out by Monday. I purchased a replacement Jeep, after selling my little Wrangler last year I’ve been itching to have a replacement, and about a month ago I went out and got an old Cherokee. It’s quite a bit bigger than the wrangler and can actually seat all three kids in the back seat. So when the time comes that Candi will let me take Roxy out on the trails we can all go together. I’ve spent the better part of my evenings over the last few weeks working on the Jeep, it needed some pretty significant love. Isaac has been super excited to help me “work on the Jeep”. It’s really fun to have him out there picking stuff up, holding things and just being curious. I also got to take a little time off work after Roxy was born and it was really cool to be able to take Isaac to school, we practiced riding his bike (no training wheels), and we rode the scooter one day. Lately he has been really interested in gardening, I blame Gina, we have seeds growing all over our house. It is really nice to be in a house where we can grow so many plants. I got to spend last weekend out in Redwood City (thank you Saundra & Dad for putting me up, or putting up with me). My dad put together a conference on water use & reuse, and I got to see my “baby” sister for her birthday, also Trevor and Mike were there. It was a great conference, and good to catch up with my Californian relatives.

Other items that have happened in the last year or so since my last post, my sister got married, and graduated from nursing school, my brother moved to Sacramento, my other sister and her husband moved to Salt Lake, I got a promotion at work and we moved to a new house. Good times, and that’s it for now.

Also this video is hilarious and frightening all at the same time, it's not too political so hopefully it's alright

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Part 1 of ???

So here is part 1 of my giant update, sorry it’s been a month+ and I’ve just been holding all this until now, and I can’t take it anymore.


Ignore/skip this entry if you don’t want to hear it, I won’t mind. I have some serious concerns with our current administration and their handling of the economy. Today Tim Geithner released his oversight plan for future financial institutions. I don’t think I like any part of this plan, here are my reasons. It creates more bureaucracy that will in no way improve the financial institutions, nor will it “protect” the American people. I think people somewhere along the line forgot that investments are risky, and there is potential to lose money. We are not entitled to make money in the stock market, we are not entitled to keep our retirement if we invest it in companies that we have no control over, we are not entitled to anything really. FDIC exists to guarantee our money (up to certain limits) against bank failure, it’s for banks that meet regulated reserve requirements. When we invest in the stock market there is no FDIC, and there never should be. The only way to guarantee a business will make money is if they are printing it, otherwise it is up to the business to meet the needs of their customers. If I invest in a company that is not meeting the needs of its customers I can expect the stock price, or the value of my ownership, will decrease. The biggest key here is people have invested their 401k with limited investment options in the stock market. Their are solutions, you can still invest in bonds (that market is much more stable), another option would be to opt out of investing in the 401k and move your money to some other FDIC secured institution. I realize that a lot of people depend on their 401k, but… as it turns out they are susceptible to loss. If a person can maintain a long term investment strategy then a 401k works great, generally the market goes up.
My other big issue with Geithner is a sound bite I heard on talk radio the other day where he said he wasn’t opposed to a world currency. This scares the crap out of me, I can’t imagine anything worse for the US. The fact is that whoever controls the currency (currently the Federal Reserve, not the US government) controls the economy. The other issue is that having separate currencies allows countries to make fiscal adjustments to offset things like unemployment and inflation.
I may just be wound up in conspiracy theories but I think this administration is leading faster toward a socialized system than any president has ever before. If people think George W went too far with government power (the patriot act, no child left behind, etc.) they haven’t seen anything yet. The Obama administration would like to have authority to seize business that they deemed “unsafe.” They want to punish employees of certain businesses with illegal taxes, see AIG. On that note, I think it was morally wrong for AIG to pay out those bonuses but that is really such a small drop in the bucket, it’s like people forgot that we just gave this company ~$170 Billion. It’s like if someone gave me $100 to pay my gas bill and I spent $.10 on a piece of candy, would they care? We shouldn’t have ever given them the Billions in the first place, that way this wouldn’t have ever been an issue.
I’m a little sick of our government “protecting” us from capitalism. The beauty of capitalism is that people suffer their own consequences, be it good or bad. The problem is they want the good parts of capitalism (innovation, growing GDP, highly skilled services, etc.) without the perils (chance of failure). You can’t do that, if there are no risks then there are no returns.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Capitalism and MSM

So Candi and I have had some discussion regarding the media and why the media would be interested in killing capitalism, since it seems capitalism is blamed for nearly every problem we have today. I came across an interesting video that I think helps show why mainstream media is interested in pushing social agendas, national policing, and a world government. It's like an hour long but it's totally worth it.

Monday, January 26, 2009