Archive for April, 2010

Moneyball

14 April, 2010

Hey SportsFans, if you like a few of the following things:

  • sports
  • economics
  • statistics
  • baseball (I actually, don’t like baseball)
  • business (I don’t really care for this one either)
  • finding talented people

…then “Moneyball” by Michael Lewis is a book for you. It’s the story of how the Oakland A’s were able to win so many games, despite having one of the lowest payrolls in baseball.

Humans are not good at judging talent. Just look at any sports draft, and a year later managers are wondering why they made such a foolish pick. And sports are an easy arena to judge someone in, first, there are limited amount of skills involved, second, most of the draftees have lots of video about how they perform in the game. Do we get that much information when we hire a new CEO of a fortune 500 company? Do we have video of them in their previous job? And they have much more complicated skill set.

The Oakland As, went for players that were cheap, went for hidden talents.

The results from 2002 season, American League West…(I love this) wins -vs- payroll, (page 270).

  1. Oakland – 103 wins – $41 million
  2. Anaheim – 99 wins – $62 million
  3. Seattle – 93 wins – $86 million
  4. Texas – 72 wins – $106 million

Followed by the quote that made me grumpy…”(Major League Baseball) Commission Bud Selig continued to insist that the Oakland As-who had turned a slight profit- were doomed. ‘We’re asking them to compete in a stadium they can’t compete in,’ he said, in February 2003. ‘They’re not viable without a new stadium.‘” (pg 270). I know….the major league owners all agree that you need a new stadium to fill the stands, to make a profit…but…someone, please, show me this. Because I’m sure the fans go see a winning team, not a state-of-the-art facility.

A quote to  sum it all up, “What begins as a failure of imagination ends as a market inefficiency: when you rule out an entire class of people from doing a job simply by their appearance, you are less likely to find the best person for the job.” (pg 115)

And I advise you to get the version with the blistering post-script. Wow.

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today at Grandma’s

10 April, 2010

I took the childrens to see my mom today.

Even though MsSqueaky didn’t nap on the way down, and MrGrunty only had a short nap in the car, the childrens were very well behaved. MsS and MrG had fun building lego towers with grandma. MrCuddles had fun exploring.

walking Mr Cuddles

8 April, 2010

The following stories are about a week or two old…

If I am sitting down, Mr Cuddles will crawl over to me, grab the index finger on one of my hands, then grab the other index finger, and then lift my hands up. His sign that he wants me to go for a walk with him.

On March 30th, when I came home, Mr Cuddles let out a yell when I came through the door, and excitedly walked over to me, dropping the truck he was holding along his way. When he got to me, I picked him up, and he squealed and excitedly wrapped his arms around my neck, hugging me tight, then pulling back to look at my face, laughing, and lunging forward to hug me again.

It used to be that Mr Cuddles could walk OK as long as he wasn’t walking towards a parent. But when he went to us, he would be laughing so much that he would stumble. (Now, he’s a walker.)

Mr Cuddles likes the crawling game, if I am in another room and call out “ah-AH-ah, ah”, he will respond in kind, and come crawling (or walking to me.) He enjoys when he’s heading towards papa, and then I crawl over him. Mr Grunty & Ms Squeaky sometimes join us.

Last week, I was changing diapers, and MrC went to the bathroom. I called to him, “Mr Cuddles, please come back to the living room.”  And he did!

One Monday morning, a few weeks ago, when I dropped the childrens off at daycare, the big kids were running around in circles. Mr Cuddles, was very excited, and started toddling after them. He didn’t make it very far, because he was laughing with joy that he could chase the big kids.

Palm Sunday

8 April, 2010

Palm Sunday, we went to Church, and, well…we were on time for us, but they had already started.

Recently, we’ve been taking MrCuddles to the nursery and taking Ms Squeaky & Mr Grunty into the worship with us for a bit, until all the children go forward for “children’s minute” which is usually a short story for the kids, relating to the sermon the adults will hear later. Either me, or MyBetterHalf go up there with them, because, they are shy.

Well, for Palm Sunday, all the children were given palm leaves, and at the start of worship, the children walked down the main aisle, to the front of the congregation. MsS and MrG were happy to hold the palms, but a little distracted by the procession they were part of. Yes, I escorted them, trying my best as a 6 foot tall adult to hide behind pre-schoolers.

The True Cost of Public Education – by Cato

5 April, 2010

Once again, I believe my friends at the Cato Institute are misleading their audience.

They have a video, and article, and paper about the real price tag of a public school. In the video, at 15 seconds, “In many cases it seems the school district does not want you to see the real price tag.”

No argument from me. I believe we tax payers have a right to know how much and on what the government spends our tax dollars. I believe the information should be easily available, as an overview, and in more detail. I believe, thanks to the tubes of the internet, that this is the case.

Cato goes after school districts that have a stated per-pupil spending, don’t figure in all capital expenditures. Then, at 2 minutes 16 seconds, Cato puts up tuition prices from some private schools, implying that the tuition is the true cost.

It’s not.

Stone Ridge School for the Sacred Heart, states, “Fundraising is a vital part of the Stone Ridge learning environment, as tuition alone does not cover the full cost to educate students.

Georgetown Prep admits, “Tuition covers only two-thirds of the cost of educating a student at Prep” and “This support includes not only financial contributions, but volunteer work as well.”

If Cato were being honest, as they wish that public school districts were, Cato would point out that the tuition is not the true cost of educating a child at a private school.

Also, private schools can do things public schools can’t. Exclude poor students. There is admissions testing at Stone Ridge, and Georgetown Prep says for admission usually a student has a B+ average, and scores in the 90th percentile on the SSAT. Would Cato prefer public schools to be exclusive?

Stone Ridge and Georgetown also focus on the spiritual growth of their students. Would Cato want a public school to do that?

March Maddness at Cato

5 April, 2010

The Cato Institute is very consistent. I like that. They believe that less government is better.  I don’t always agree with them, but I appreciate where they are coming from, and that they don’t let politics get in the way of their ideology.

Neal McCluskey asks, “Is Public College Football Killing Private Schools’ Basketball?” And has a rambling essay that talks about the glory days of …1985.

However, if we check the data, the best year for the NCAA championship was 1979, Michigan State (with Magic Johnson) -vs- Indian State (with Larry Bird). Why is this the “best” year? Because it had the highest amount of TV viewers. The 1985 game does not break the top 5.

McCluskey claims that small private schools can not compete against large public schools. I would like to remind him that the two best basketball colleges in my home state, Gonzaga & UW, one is private and small, one is public and big, and both have successful programs.

I assume in a case when a government sponsored program does something better than a private sponsored program, that Cato will simply cry, “it’s not fair.”

Please don’t let your ideology get in the way of your sports enjoyment.

oatmeal this morning

3 April, 2010

We’ve come to a point of compromise with MsSqueaky & MrGrunty, they sit on their potty for 8 minutes, listening for the time, without the TV. Then, they can watch a show. They cheer when they hear the time go off.

I made oatmeal while they were watching their show, and MrCuddles was gnawing on blocks.

I put the oatmeal in the shape of an “o”, (around the edges of the bowl).

I started with Mr Cuddles, and as soon as he saw the oatmeal, he opened his mouth very very wide. I was a little surprised he didn’t unlock his jaw, as a snake does when swallowing something bigger than its torso. When the spoon of oatmeal got close, he lunged forward, and snapped down on the spoon, pulling back with a mouthful of oatmeal and a victorious grin.

Well, I did the shape of the oatmeal wrong for MrGrunty. He wanted a circle, not an “O”  (oatmeal all in the center of the bowl). He started throwing a fit, “no, no, no”.   Mr Cuddles was excited, because this was a word he knows, and he started repeating his brother.  Mr Grunty thought he was being mocked, and told his brother “No”.  This went on for a bit, MrG was very upset, MrC thought it was very fun.

MsSqueaky just chowed down on her oatmeal.