Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Erie's Role in Micracle on Ice Flag Story

So, I think this is what happened: Swedish goalie Pelle Lindbergh and USA goalie Jim Craig met and became friends at the 1980 Olympics. According to the show Sport Detectives, which I watched last night on the Smithsonian Channel, the two apparently played a lot of video games in the Olympic Village in Lake Placid. After the Olympics ended, Craig, an Olympic hero, went to the Flames for the end of the 1979-80 season before playing for the Bruins in 1980-81 season. He wasn't very effective at either stop, and for the 1981-82 season, Craig found himself playing for the Bruins top minor league affiliate—the Erie Blades, in their only year competing in the AHL (a step higher than where the team had traditionally competed and had much success).

In the meantime, Lindbergh, who would go on to have mercurial success with the Philadelphia Flyers, before being tragically killed in a car crash, was toiling for the AHL's Main Mariners on his way up the latter. The story goes, at least according to Sports Detectives, that during the 1981-82 season, Lindbergh and Craig got together at the Ramada Inn bar in Erie, where Craig give Lindbergh what he thought was the iconic flag that had been draped around him after the gold medal clinching game vs. Finland:


The Sports Detective episode was about the search for that flag, and the flag the Craig gave to Lindbergh did not end up being that flag, although Craig thought it was at the time. Apparently the real flag is now up for sale.

Anyhow, it kinda floored me to hear Erie mentioned in the context of all this, first by a former Philadelphia trainer, who was at the Ramada with Lindbergh and Craig and witnessed their discussion; he also remained friends with Lindbergh and his fiance, who inherited the flag after his death. Craig, of course, did have to make some comment about the meeting in Erie like, "We were like, 'How did we end up here after the Olympics?" But, oh well.

At least I think I got the story straight. I was kinda dozing off and distracted until I heard Erie mentioned.

Monday, January 16, 2017

NFL: Truly a quarterback league

I spent the good part of the late afternoon and evening watching NFL football yesterday. Maggie wasn't too excited about it, but my youngest son, Andrew, who is 10, wasn't feeling too great and he was really looking forward to watching the games, so, being the great father that I am, I sacrificed my time and sat and watched football for seven hours.

My biggest observation - when they say the NFL is a quarterback league, the are not kidding. After Sunday's action, the four quarterbacks left include three Super Bowl Champions with seven titles among them, as well as the guy who is favored to the win the NFL MVP this year.

This does not bode well for the Bills and their pending decision on whether or not to keep Tyrod Taylor. Taylor certainly is not in the class of Brady, Roethlisberger, Rodgers, or Matty Ice, and likely never will be. He's just not a great, classic dropback quarterback like those four - although Rodgers takes it to a different level with his scrambling ability. I don't know that Taylor can even be as good as poor Alex Smith, who is now seemingly to Andy Reid in a just-not-good-enough-to-win-in-the-playoffs chain that can't be broken. Also, in contrast to Taylor, it's important to note that Rodgers does a great job keeping his eyes downfield while scrambling and then resetting his feet to throw. Taylor is a great runner, but based on what we've seen in the playoffs so far this year, that doesn't seem to be an ingredient for winning an NFL championship.

The questions comes down to, who-the-fuck-do-you replace Taylor with? I guess you can continue drafting quarterbacks and hope you get it right. After all, didn't we miss on Roethlisberger by one pick? And Brady was a sixth round pick, while Rodgers came off the board near the end of round one. Russell Wilson, another guy who's won a championship, was a third-round pick and neither Derek Carr or Dak Prescott, two emerging star quarterbacks, was a first-round pick. So, there is apparently talent out there to be had.

Of course, your scouting department has to find it, and then your coaches have to develop it, and the Bills, although they have done a  nice job developing Tryod, haven't proven capable of putting those two things together since the great Jim Kelly pick of more than 30 years ago.

I guess for now, it seems the Bills are fucked. But things change in the Not for Long League, and at some point, we have to hit gold, don't we? Chad Kelly anyone?

Friday, January 13, 2017

Samsung Support, Part II

Okay, I go through all the machinations mentioned in my last post, and finally, five days after I post, a very nice woman from Samsung Executive level support contacts me and facilitates my refund. But, I still have to wait 10-15 business days before I will get an e-mail form I have to complete to enable Samsung  to process the refund directly into my account, as well as another return shipping label. So, finally, yesterday, I get a call from Samsung that tells me those items are on the way. I receive them and fill out the form to get my refund. Then I start shopping online for a new Chromebook.

This time, I decide to read some reviews first, and, of course, many of then are pretty bad, because, well, Chromebooks are inexpensive for a reason. However, I come across one where the reviewer was having the same problem I was - with the device crashing - only it was from a different vendor's device. The reviewer went on to explain how they fixed the problem by going on to Chrome as a guest, then logging in and updating the Chrome OS from there. They said the machine was running beautifully after that. I figured, WTF, why not give it a try? Doesn't it work just like they described.

So, basically, I've had a Chromebook sitting in my house for the past month that I could have been using had Samsung's support dept. been able to tell me how to fix it.

Then I did something really stupid. I proceeded to cancel my refund (not that straightforward, as you'd expect. It took talking to four different people, two calls, and two e-mails) and keep the Samsung Chromebook. Why did I do this?

1. As I mentioned, the reviews of other Chromebooks weren't that inspiring.
2. I already spent $20 on a protective case for this particular model that I wasn't going to be able to recover.
3. I already had the device in my house.

So, here goes....will keep you posted when next issue arises. Hopefully never.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Samsung Executive-Level Support - WTF?

This is silly. It's almost like double-secret probation.

So, here's the issue:
1. I bought this Samsung Chromebook from Best Buy.
2. It was a replacement for this a previous generation Samsung model, which worked great. The kids eventually fucked that one up, but we had it for like two years and everybody loved it.
3. When I went into Best Buy, they had the newer Samsung model, with better/updated specs, for the same price as the previous-gen model, which they were still selling. I said to the sales associate, "Why wouldn't I buy the newer model?" He shook his head and said he didn't know.
4. The store was out of stock of the model I wanted, so I had it shipped to my house. Received the computer in a few days, started running it, and immediately started receiving complaints that it was slower than other model.
5. Then about three weeks later, the cursor stopped working.
6. Spent about an hour on the phone with Samsung support, and tried everything including reloading OS. Nothing worked. They e-mailed me a shipping ticket. I put the computer back in its box, which thankfully I had saved, and sent it in for them to fix.
7. It was returned relatively promptly, I think within a week. Worked fine for a couple weeks and then cursor disappeared again. Called Samsung support, and they were very obliging. Skipped whole software reload thing and just sent me ticket to send computer back in.
8. It was returned in another week, except now every time I launched Chrome or another application, the computer  crashed and reset itself. Maddening.
9. I called Samsung and they sent me another return-for-support ticket. These tickets cover shipping. I just have to box up the computer and run it down to UPS store, whose clerks I am now becoming familiar with. I send my wife in this time, and UPS guy tries to sell her expensive extra packaging. I had to go in myself.
10. There is a bit of a hassle as Samsung sends me an e-mail saying they didn't receive unit. On top of that, UPS store screwed up its record keeping. This gets sorted out, and I get my unit back.
11. Problem not fixed. Everything still crashing.
12. Now things get fucked up. I'm pissed. I call and support offers to send me another ticket, if that's okay. I say, that's not okay. So they offer to escalate my case to "executive-level" support. Executive-level support will be calling me directly.
13. I don't hear from "executive-level" support for like five days, so I call back regular support. I'm told I need to be ready for call from executive support, and I shouldn't miss it. There is no number I can contact them at directly.
14. A bit later, a woman from executive level support calls me and tells me that they are considering my request for a refund or a new unit, but that they need my receipt. She gives me an e-fax number to send it to.
15. At same time, I get an e-mail requesting my receipt and one of the options for sending it is that e-fax number. I e-fax the receipt. This is Tuesday, Dec. 13. I am told that they will be back in touch.
16. By Friday, Dec. 16, I have not heard anything. I call regular support. They tell me if I don't hear from executive support in three hours to call them back.
17. I don't hear from executive support and call back and am transferred to someone in executive support. (It sounds like a regular support person except that he is breathing heavily into the phone as he talks, which sound less "executive" if anything, but what do I know?) He says the receipt has not been transferred yet from the dept. that was supposed to receive it. He then said he has escalated the case, and that someone from executive support will be calling me back later today or Monday. If not, I am supposed to call back the general support number and give them the new service ticket number-which he issues me.

On a positive note, all the people I've talked to at Samsung have been nice and accommodating. Based on my phone number, they also are automatically provided with a record of my support history. This is nice touch compared to previous customer support experiences. As for actually getting a computer that works....stay tuned!

Monday, October 03, 2016

Baseball playoff predictions, Part 1

Wild Card games:

Baltimore over Toronto
San Fran over the Mets

We'll see.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Is Sam Bradford today's Jim Plunkett?







Is anyone else on board with the Sam Bradford is the next Jim Plunkett narrative?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Does Rex Get It?

This kills me, from an ESPN report on what the big story is for all 32 NFL teams: "Ryan has already dropped hints that he wants the ball in wide receiver Sammy Watkins' hands more often." I'm not sure what good it does for him to advertise this. Also, it seems like a bit of a clueless strategy. Have you ever heard Bill Belichick, for instance, talk about basing his gameplan around the talents of a single player? I'm sure he does that, but part of professional football also has to do with planning to exploit you opponents weaknesses. Basically, I don't think you can win in today's NFL with a star-focused mentality. I think it requires more of a systematic approach - and Ryan and the Bills just fired the guy who developed their whole offensive system.

We'll see how this all works out, I did read somewhere that new OC Anthony Lynn is "highly regarded" but I thought the deposed Greg Roman was too - if not a bit unconventional. Lynn certainly has his work cut out for him, especially now that Rex seems to be taking an interest in the offense, because obviously the defense, which he is so well known for, is running so smoothly.