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Monday
Sep242007

The Salaries of Professional Football Players

Do professional athletes make too much money, or do they deserve every penny?  Why?

While I cannot address all professional athletes, it does make sense to me why a professional football player would be worth the potentially millions of dollars they can earn in one year, and it all comes from a logical mathematical point of view.

If you go by Super Bowl numbers, the NFL has potentially over 1 Billion fans. In 2006 the NFL was estimated to have gross earnings of $6 Billion, with $3.7 Billion of those dollars earned from the network affiliates at ESPN, CBS, FOX, NBC, and the NFL Network.

On the expense side, each of the 32 teams had a regular season roster of 53 players. Each team was also allowed a practice squad of 8 players. I also calculated (using the Seattle Seahawks as an example) that the average professional football team has a coaching staff of around 20 people, and management/employee staff of around 127 people which brings us to a total of 208 people per franchise. 208 people per franchise multiplied by the 32 franchises in the league brings us to an estimated employee pool of 6,656 people (not including the unknown number of people who work with and for the commissioner of the league and the players union).

If you divide the $6 Billion in earnings by the estimated employee pool of 6,656 you arrive at an average earning of $901,442 per person. Some might argue that the players are being paid too much when some of that money could be spread around to all of the other employees who makeup up the NFL brand, but I would argue that because the players have to perform under such incredible pressure and because their earnings are not guaranteed should they become injured or unable to perform at the same high level consistently and because their earnings are often dependent on wins more than losses, they deserve $901,442 or more per year for their contributions to making this world a brighter and more fun place to be in.


Put another way, imagine the Super Bowl where the number of viewers reaches easily over 1 Billion. You have  2 teams, 106 players, 40 coaches, and 254 employees, all brought together to entertain those 1 Billion people. How much is that entertainment worth to each individual who has experienced the peaks and valleys of an NFL football game? $1 dollar  per viewer? More? Less?

I think we’ve all met the guy who is willing to spend hundreds on his cable or satellite bill in order to see his favorite team each year. To that guy, the Super Bowl is clearly worth more than $100 of his annual earnings. If every person who was watching paid only $1 per person and the amount was divided evenly among all the participants, each of the 400 participants would roughly receive  $2.5 million just from playing that one game, the Super Bowl. Is it their fault that so many people enjoy the sport? Put in that perspective is it really unfair to pay a top performing player say $10 million dollars for the entire regular season?  I think not.

Would we object if a person sold a piece of their art to the public for a nickel and over 1 billion people bought a copy? Would their contribution to the human experience during that moment not be worth the $50 million dollars they just earned?

What about the worth of the stories about the players exploits that can be handed down from father to son, mother to daughter?  Look back in hindsight at the importance of players such as Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan to their leagues. What is their worth, when now, years after their playing careers have ended, they are still providing entertainment to the masses?  What sporting fan doesn’t have a memory or hasn’t heard a great story from another fan who witnessed one of their sporting exploits?

To be fair to the professional athlete, I think we must also consider the unseen expenses that each athlete will incur during the average playing year. They will not keep all of those millions to themselves. If they are paid $10 million dollars in a season they will likely owe around 50% of those earnings to the U.S. government. From the remaining $5 million they will owe another $1 million to their agent. From the remaining $4 million they will pay for any personal trainers and chefs to stay in peak performance shape. They will also need to pay a portion for the services of various accountants, lawyers, and stockbrokers to manage the record keeping such earnings will require. They will spend another sizable sum in travel expenses related to keeping their public persona at a level commiserate with their pay.

And this is all just when we consider the top stars in the league. The average player in the league only earns the league minimum which is dependent upon the number of years of experience the player has in the league from $285,000 per year for a player with no experience in the league to $820,000 for a player with more than a decade of experience.

Also factor in that the average NFL player’s career is only 4 years and you are talking about a huge income risk each player takes every time they step onto the football field.

In a country like America where we value the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, would it not be un-American to deny a just income for the efforts produced by each player?

Thursday
Sep202007

World's Best Beer

What is the best beer on planet Earth? 
Submitted by Remmy Van Hornie.

If you didn’t know. I can’t stand beer. ANY beer. Give me a frosty mug of root beer any day.
Wednesday
Sep192007

Banned from the Karaoke List

What song do you wish would never show up on a karaoke list?

Oh hell, there are plenty of songs I dread coming up on the karaoke list because they are frequently butchered.


1) “Stairway to Heaven” - Led Zepplin  
 The original is annoying enough without having to hear men trying to reach their inner falsetto.

2) Any country tune. I mean it. ANY Country tune.
Very few people sound appropriately hillbilly enough to pull this shit off.

3) Any female Pop star teen, panty flashers or not. This includes Britney, Mandy, and just about anyone else that we can recognize by one name. That goes for Prince as well.

Monday
Sep172007

Another Loss in the Fantasy World


I just learned from George R. R. Martin’s not-a-blog that James Oliver Rigney, Jr., better known to fans of literature as Robert Jordan, passed away during the afternoon of September 16th, 2007 from complications resulting from primary amyloidosis with cardiomyopathy (cardiac amyloidosis).

He wrote the incredibly influential Wheel of Time fantasy saga as well as the well known Conan novel, Conan The Destroyer.

He was once quoted as saying, “I’ll keep on writing until they nail down my coffin.” True to his word, he did, working on right up to the end on his 12th and final installment of his Wheel of Time saga. Unfortunately he was not able to finish it before his startling early departure from this mortal coil. He was only 58.

Monday
Sep032007

Rick Rubin remixes Columbia Records

This article in The New York Times Magazine shows that the major record companies still don’t get it. By hiring Rick Rubin, Columbia Records is becoming wiser about the process of choosing acts with which to put their resources behind, but they haven’t learned that fans don’t want a subscription method, that most fans want to own the tracks that make up the soundtrack of their life, and that most bands often don’t need a huge marketing arm, they merely require a company who is competent enough to physically manufacture and distribute the art they produce, whether that may be in physical or digital formats.

It also indicates that they still haven’t figured out the biggest obstacle to the success of the major record label in the digital environment of today: DRM

Digital Rights Management (DRM), which is the use of encryption schemes to prevent the copy and distribution of music is the number one crippling old world model out there and since Columbia Records is owned by SONY that is not likely to change anytime soon. With or without Rick Rubin.

SONY is the company who not only loves DRM on their music and video projects, but has also found a way to make sure that all the rest of their consumer electronics products are just wonky enough as to be incompatible with any of the other non-SONY manufactured products in your possession.

Mark my words, companies like CDBaby, who do understand what it means to be a major record company these days, will begin to replace these stodgy old companies over the next two decades.

I only wonder how long Rick Rubin fights this uphill battle with SONY before he realizes that he is one man trying bail out water from a sinking Titanic.

What fans clearly want is the ability to buy high fidelity sound files (that means higher than the typical 128kb compression schemes) and have the ability, without punishment, to place their files on their mp3 player, their hard drive, in their CD collection, on USB keys, etc., without being charged for every single transaction.  Let me buy it once, let me own it, at a reasonable price, and I guarantee you, most honest people will pay for their music while sharing it with people who will in turn also be willing to purchase their own copy.

Wednesday
Aug292007

I'm a Completist

Monday
Aug272007

Guild Evolution

Longtime readers of this blog are aware that in my spare time I’ve been playing a character in the World of Warcraft casual guild Alea Iacta Est which is formed on the Horde side of the Earthen Ring server. Normally I don’t post guild things in my blog, but I frankly thought it would be healthy to discuss some of this outside the microcosm of a guild forum.

Alea Iacta Est, is not the first guild I’ve joined since I began gameplay in October of 2005. The guild has been a wonderful place to be. It has been full of amazing experiences and people from all walks of life. Since its inception in February of 20067, we’ve already experienced the death of a comrade who passed away in real life (Bruce Galloway), a member who was drafted as a goalie by the Colorado Avalanche in the NHL, counted among our members notable personalities such as Leo Laporte, and we’ve seen members travel from all over the world to meet one another. We’ve staged some pretty incredible fun and silly events like the Running of the Bulls this past June, and celebrated the pairing of more than one couple in game and in real life.

But as anyone who plays these games and has been in a guild knows, guilds evolve and go through changes. It is inevitable. People will learn and grow and roles ultimately change. It happened to The Pod People, who were an amalgamation of Taverncast and World of Warcast fans. As the largest guild on the server (and potentially in the whole World of Warcraft), we’ve haven’t been challenged by any seriously dramatic changes or guild drama to date. That is of course, until last night and this morning.

Last night a bunch of notable guildmates left the game for vague and slightly ambiguous reasons. Today I’ve spent my day, in between getting errands and work done, casually monitoring the fallout on our guild forums. It will be interesting to see if our fellowship as guildmates endures in the wake of this guild evolution. I should point out that my wife and I have not considered leaving the guild. I see no reason to leave.

The guild still meets for me the criteria that was set out in their charter and mission, which I’ve cited below:

The Alea Iacta Est (AIE) is a casual RP/PVE Horde Guild that was started by the creators/fans/friends of The Instance, Extralife Radio, and Buzz out Loud on the Earthen Ring(RP)-US Realm of World of Warcraft. That said, I want to enlighten you about a few things that you accept responsibility for as a member of AIE.

  • AIE is a very casual Guild. We are not a Raiding guild or PvP guild… yet. We are just a collection of friends & fans of the shows.

  • You are expected to respect your fellow members and all players outside of the guild.

  • We enjoy having fun and try to keep things light and we expect you to do so as well. Role-Playing is very much encouraged but is NOT NECESSARY to have a good time.

  • The leaders in AIE are listed as Caesar and Imperators.

  • Every voice in AIE whether it’s a Caesar/Imperator or a lowly Pleb is equal, and we enjoy open conversation as long as you do not belittle your fellow members. If you have any ideas/suggestions/comments/etc, please submit them to us at any time.

  • You represent the AIE as a whole with that Guild Tag over your head, act accordingly. Keep away from the Dwarven porn if at all possible.

Lastly, as stated you are expected to act according to the rules of the game. We will not tolerate cheats, hacks, kill stealing, or any other actions outside of the fair play promoted in World of Warcraft.


It is unfortunate that we’ve lost those guildmates, but it has become clear to me that their play style had evolved and they were no longer in sync with the desires and needs that populate the rest of the guild. Of course some of this fallout was to be expected with the close of Summer fast approaching. Students will be returning to high school, college, post graduate work, and of course employees will be wrapping up their summer vacations. Many will be putting their nose to the grindstone to meet annual corporate goals as the beginning of the 3rd fiscal quarter approaches.


Will we as a guild survive until our first anniversary in February of 2008, or will we fall victim to internal squabbling, as was predicted by many on the server forums? I guess we can only wait and see. I pledge that we will not falter. Not if I have anything to do with it.
Sunday
Aug262007

When Dragonflies Part They Become a Sweety

Fans of the well known act The Dragonflies may have wondered where their favorite band went. It would not be an unusual question to ask. In 2002 and 2003, The Dragonflies were captivating the attention of the Northwest music world with their self-titled album that featured a hit single, “Critical Nature”, that appeared on the Sugar & Spice film soundtrack and another song “Brenda Mars”,  that became a staple in Kenwood stereo commercials. If you were a skater or freestyler you caught their track “I’m an Alien” during the X Games. Their prospects began to look up, unfortunately the band splintered apart creatively just as the seeds they had sown were ready for reaping.

Now its fours years later and in the wreckage of The Dragonflies we find that members Scott Byrd (guitarits), Jeff Buehner (bass), and Steve May (drums) have moved on to form a new group Sweety, fronted by Jeff Carrell, who is most notable for having worked with Geoff Tate of former Queensryche glory.

As a former fan of The Dragonflies myself, my first impressions of Sweety’s self-titled EP debut is rather disappointing. The songs are recorded well enough, with Sean

Norton, who produced The Dragonflies, filling in as producer on this album as well, but the songs lack direction or hooks in either the vocals or the guitars. The resulting sound is like an unoriginal blending of Radiohead and The Cult, with a fair amount of early nineties grunge mixed in.

If you think I am being unduly unfair, take a listen for yourself. Above is the hit single “Critical Nature” by The Dragonflies and below it is the opening track “Sinking” on Sweety’s debut EP.
Remember, the band mates are for the most part the same people. The only exception are the vocalists and the addition of one extra guitarist on Sweety.

 


Friday
Aug242007

iPhone review

Well, now that I have an iPhone I’ve been receiving a ton of questions about what I think of the phone. After playing with it for four days, I feel pretty confident I can answer most of the inquiries that have been posed to me.

For those who don’t want the novel length explanations, I’m really digging it. The EDGE network  issue isn’t one for me because my service area doesn’t have 3G access anyway. Plus the wireless more than makes up for it. I’m in a Google town, so there are wireless access points all over the place to cater to their employees.

I’ve received questions concerning Safari and why there have been so many sites optimized for the iPhone in particular. The question goes, “Does this mean that the Safari browser included doesn’t follow current Web Standards?” The iPhone optimized sites are sites where they are taking advantage of your ability to touch the screen, so they are generally optimized for the 320 x 356 screen. This often means larger buttons and links, because you can actually click them, as opposed to tabbing over to one on a non-touch screen phone. They also tend to include all of the bells and whistles of todays modern internet, like pretty AJAX goodness, and because some the sites don’t meet normal web standards themselves the iPhone became one more incentive for them to get off their asses and bring their site up to current standards.

In my experience I have not experienced any website incompatibility issues. There is the Flash issue, but I understand why they are going with H.264 Quicktime over the currently more prevalent Flash. It is a superior compression technology that takes up less space with less loss of quality, which of course will mean a better media experience and faster download for us EDGEsters.  Also, now that Adobe has announced that they will include H.264 compatibility with their Flash it should render the whole situation moot in a short while.

The keyboard has worked nicely for me. I can even see myself doing some two thumb typing in the near future. I don’t GPS because I am quite capable of knowing where I am on a map, so Google Maps works fine.

The iPod rocks. I am a tad annoyed with having to get the headphone adapter. I expect that eventually third parties will start making plenty of quality headphones with adapters for iPhone included as part their package. I’ve never been a big fan of earbuds going back to the Walkman day. I must confess though, that phone operation button on the earbuds, is pretty darn cool.

The SMS is great. I love how they included the iChat comic word bubble and colors that they chose for monitoring conversations. I like that you can quickly scroll up the screen through an ongoing conversation. My Gmail works nicely with the phone. I look forward to using their Calendar app in the future with Google Calendar. I also suspect they ran out of time for Notes. It works fine, but I can see where they might want to polish it with added features.  I also like that email deletions on my iPhone are not destructive to the same messages in my Gmail server account. So if there is a problem, I can always go back to my Gmail server archive.

It has also been a great conversation piece. I received a text message while at the bank and I got quite a few inquiries and more than a couple “may I see it for a second” types of communication once they saw that it was an iPhone.

I can also freely agree that it will not be THE phone for everyone. Then again, no phone on the market is. It really comes down to how the phone vibes with your lifestyle.  I find that it suits mine perfectly. I love that with your two year commitment, they’ve pledged that you will be receiving constant improvements in features and bug fixes, which is not something they always do so frequently at the other mobile OS companies like Microsoft and Palm.

Thursday
Aug232007

Driving & Talking

Should driving while talking on a cell phone be outlawed? 
Submitted by Soup.  

No, it should not be outlawed. It should continued to be discouraged though. Believe or not, there are transportation professionals who are able to navigate safely while communicating information on their mobile device.