Tuesday, March 27, 2007

MotoGP Round Two: Jerez


A record qualifying session led up to a good race on Sunday. The top 10 qualifiers were all within four TENTHS of a second of each other. The race was a different story.

Valentino Rossi takes the race along with the lead in the championship standings. World champ Nicky Hayden had a good start, but finished 7th. It's way too early to count out the current world champ, but his team mate, Dani Pedrosa, had the pole position in Sunday's race, and is looking very strong this year.

John Hopkins was riding with a broken bone in his right hand, and after an incredible comeback, he crashed out of 4th place on lap 17 after passing Hayden. Bummer for Hopkins, who was really coming on strong, but apparently pushed it just a tad hard.

Hopkins goes from Spain to surgery on his hand. Best wishes to him.

Congrats to Rossi for his impressive showing in Spain in front of 140,000 people. Up next is Turkey! This track is tricky, and should make for an interesting race.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Wal-Mart: Racism?

In the fall of 1973, my good friend Buddy Cole sent me this link...

In a nutshell, here it is...it's short...

"Bringing the ever-friendly spirit of its in-store greeters online, Walmart.com offers DVD shoppers helpful recommendations for films they might be interested in purchasing.

Customers looking at the Web site's product pages for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Planet of the Apes, for instance, are steered toward "similar items" such as Martin Luther King: I Have a Dream/Assassination of MLK and Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson. Wal-Mart spokeswoman Mona Williams says the company is "heartsick" over the incident but has "absolutely no evidence" that the connections were made intentionally."

Wow. No evidence that it was unintentional? Next thing you know, their new line of Klan outfits will be about individualism, and not a symbol of hate.

For a huge corporation, how hard is it really to drill down and find out who actually made this blunder? Are they so top-heavy in their marketing department that teams of marketing specialists, project managers, and implementation people that they could not actually find out who did it? If they could spend the same amount of human capital on PR as they do on overall douche-baggery, I'd shop there.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

MotoGP Round One: Qatar

FINALLY. The off-season actually went pretty fast. I'm glad to say that the wait is over, and worth it.

Some changes in the off-season took place. The bikes are now down to 800 cc's. Seven time World Champ Valentino Rossi is still on the Yamaha, with different sponsors/bike color, and 21 year old Australian Casey Stoner is on a new bike this year: the Ducati.

Watching the race, it was Stoner in first, with Rossi fighting right behind him the whole way. A brief lead change late in the race could not stop the powerful Ducati in the straights, and Stoner took his first ever MotoGP 1st place finish, followed by Rossi, and Dani Pedrosa.

Reigning World Champ Nicky Hayden finishes 8th.

March 24th takes the racers to Spain, and Hayden is going to be looking for a stronger finish if he wants to be able to contend again this year. It's very difficult to catch up if you get down too far with these riders. MotoGP is the Formula One of Motorcycle racing, and there is no room for error.

Ducati is off to a great start in Stoner. Of course, with the power of the bike, along with the fact that the main straight in Qatar is over a kilometer in length, the Yamaha was just outmatched.

Hats off to Stoner for an impressive win.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Steve Pederson Learning From The Past?

In the winter edition of JNews (College of Journalism and Mass Communications) Alumni magazine, there is a Q & A with NU Athletic Director Steve Pederson.

Overall an interesting piece. One area stuck out...

When asked about the handling of Frank Solich's termination, Pederson says the following:

I think first of all, my parents said you have (to) do what you believe is the right thing. Not everybody is always going to agree with that, and what we chose to do was not to respond to every rumor, innuendo or suggestion.

I believe the truth is a powerful thing, and over the course of time the truth eventually comes out. Now during that time you might get beat up for a while, but we tried not to justify too many decisions or too many things because sometimes it's not in everybody's best interest to know everything. People kept saying, "You need to tell us more," and I said, "I can't tell you more. It is what it is, and we're going to keep moving forward."

I wish in retrospect that, in the process of making a coaching change, we would've spelled out more clearly what the process was going to be. I think we did that in basketball (in 2006), and it seemed to be much more effective. I know they reported that I talked for 25 minutes when we announced that we were looking for a new basketball coach, but I spelled out in detail how we were going to go about it, and I wish that we'd done that in football.

Very interesting. My only question now is for those that have defended the process since the change took place: do you know also wish it could have been handled better? Or do you still stand firm in the opinion that it was handled like it should have been?