May 2010 Archives

There have been 60 NBA Finals. The Boston Celtics have won 17, and the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers have won 15, which amounts to those teams winning more than half of all NBA Finals. This year, they play each other in the Finals again, making it 33 champions out of 61 being either the Lakers or the Celtics.

Additionally, 39 of the 61 Finals have included either the Lakers or the Celtics. Including this year, the Celtics and Lakers have played each other in the Finals a whopping 12 times (just under one-fifth of all Finals have been these two teams).

The Celtics have made 21 total Finals appearances, so have faced the Lakers more than half of the times they've been in the Finals. The Lakers have made 30 Finals appearances, facing the Celtics in two-fifths of those.

The Celtics won nine of those against the Lakers, which accounts for more than half of all their 17 championships. The Lakers' two victories over the Celtics came after the Celtics won their first eight encounters.

The longest streak without either team in the Finals was eight years from '92-'99. The longest streak with either the Lakers or Celtics in the Finals was 10 years, done twice (from '57-'66, in which the Celtics appears all 10 years, and the Lakers five of those; and '80-'89, in which the Lakers appeared eight times, the Celtics five).

The longest streak for one team appearing in the Finals was, as noted, Boston, in the 10 years from '57-'66. Boston won nine of those 10 years, including eight in a row (the longest winning streak from any one team) from '59-'66, and also won 10 in 12 years, from '57-'69.

The Lakers' longest appearance streak is "only" four, from '82-'85, winning twice; but they have also appeared three times in a row five additional times (including the current three-year streak). In two of those, they won all three years; in one, they lost all three.

The only other team to "threepeat" was the Bulls, winning three years in a row twice in eight years ('91-'98). No other team but the Celtics and Lakers have had four consecutive appearances. The only other team to have three consecutive appearances was the Knicks, losing all three from '51-'53.

The 2010 NBA Finals begin in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Barack Obama, inaugural address: "In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted, for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame."

Nancy Pelosi, this month: "If you want to be creative and be a musician or whatever, you can leave your work, focus on your talent, your skill, your passion, your aspirations because you will have health care."

Skip this if you haven't watched the finale and care.

But the final season of Lost is one of the most remarkable achievements in television history. They took one of the most popular shows of all time, in which every moment of the show had meaning and purpose toward the end ... until the final season, in which they literally wasted half the season in some afterlife that, when all was said and done, added precisely nothing to the story.

It's remarkable in its wastefulness, its gratuitousness, its decadence, and in its disrespect of its audience. I can't think of anything similar in television history, with the exception of the final moments of Newhart, except that was a comedy, and the ending was intended as a joke.

I suspect someone will, at some point, make a cut of the final season that completely obliterates this afterlife plotline, and with the exception of the Desmond episode, no one will miss it.

Rand Is Right

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When Rand Paul says it is unconstitutional for the federal government to prohibit private businesses from discriminating based on race, he's right, arguably (which I will get to in a moment).

But when he says it is not, in this day and age, necessary for government to prevent segregation of private businesses, he's undeniably right.

There is no conceivable reality where we'd see such significant racial, sexual, ethnic, religious, or "gender identity" discrimination in this country that would result in rampant segregation or loss of significant opportunities for minorities. It just isn't rational. Overwhelmingly, the people of this country are aghast at such discriminatory practices, which means businesses overwhelmignly won't do it, both because businesses are (usually) run by those same people, and because their customers are also those same people.

To say we need government for this purpose is, quite simply, denying this obvious and unassailable reality of life in America in 2010.

As to the constitutional question, we can disagree about the legitimacy of it. We cannot disagree, however, that Paul's view is well-founded in the text and history of the Constitution. My personal view -- having been born well after the Civil Rights Act was passed -- is that perhaps, at the time, the constitutional right to freedom of association, and the right of states to make their own laws on such matters, were worth bending due to the centuries of government-sponsored institutional discrimination that had left a whole race of people significantly disadvantaged throughout nearly all facets of society.

I can't make that judgment one way or another, but I can see the arguments on both sides. Living in 2010 and not in 1964, I lean toward liberty rather than government control, but I can't judge the 1964 mindset.

But again, we no longer live in such a time where -- government or not -- any group of people is significantly disadvantaged due to their race, religion, ethnicity, gender, or "gender identity." That simply doesn't exist anymore. That's not to say discrimination doesn't happen: of course it does. But no group is significantly disadvantaged because of what little discrimination remains in our society.

Some people might say "that's easy for you to say, a middle class protestant white male." Shrug. I am a conservative Christian in an industry largely controlled by atheists, agnostics, and liberals. I live on the West Coast, which many project to be majority Hispanic within my lifetime, and certainly within the lifetime of my first- and second-generation descendants. If this were about ME ME ME, I'd probably be putting all the protections for ME in place that I could.

I simply believe in liberty, and that any restrictions on liberty must be backed up by a damned good reason; and that furthermore, when we add or continue restrictions without a damned good reason, we set precedents that endanger other liberties. We see this in the Civil Rights Act itself: we gave up the right to discriminate based on certain categories, and this has justified taking away our right to discriminate based on other things, like -- in Washington -- "expressions" of "gender identity." The violations of our liberty in Social Security and Medicare and growing wheat have led to justifying Obama's health insurance mandate. And so on.

I won't insult anyone's intelligence by trying to prove that the views I am expressing are not racist. Only a moron -- like Cokie Roberts, on This Week today -- could possibly think these views are racist. George Will, however, is not a moron, but he's still wrong: on the same program he expressed the view that we reasonably gave up one right (the right to discriminate in some personal affairs) for another (the right to not be discriminated against).

Setting aside that this doesn't make much sense on the face of it (taking away my actual right to give someone else a "right" that isn't an actual right isn't a reasonable tradeoff), if we think this is reasonable, then it can be used to justify almost any government theft of our rights. Imagine if in 1964 we outlawed "hate speech," and then Rand Paul in 2010 said we should allow people to say hateful things. Surely we'd have just as many people today complaining about Paul, saying how racist it is for him to suggest such a thing, and how our right to say hateful things was replaced with a right to not have hateful things said about us.

Then again, to many liberals, hate speech laws are a good thing. This boggles my mind, but so do many things that many of them believe.

Again, I can't say whether we were right or wrong in 1964. But certainly it's wrong now, simply because it is a patently unnecessary restriction on liberty. That said, there's no point in trying to repeal this particular blue law. It's not going away any time soon -- though we can hope -- and for most people, it doesn't cause us any problems (except for the lucky few who are wrongly prosecuted for false claims of discrimination). That's why many blue laws stay on the books: most people don't care enough to try to get rid of them.

Ten-Year Anniversary Statue

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pudge posted a photo:

Ten-Year Anniversary Statue

I hit 10 years at Geeknet in January.

Bruins Horn

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iPhone/iPad + X10 + heyu + Squeezebox + Perl + BRUINS + Game 7 = WOOOOOOOOO (The horn you hear is actually the Boston Bruins' old horn ... at about 80 dB.)
From: pudgenet
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Time: 02:31 More in Sports

I'd like someone to try to explain how this makes financial sense. Fourteen electric cars, powering them for $32K apiece, when just plugging them into the existing electrical grid would cost, by my estimate, less than a thousand dollars a year at $0.06 per kWh. It would take more than 30 years to break even.

Realistically though, it would be a lot less, likely. At 20K miles per car, using 0.2kWh per mile, it would be $240 per year per car, taking more than 130 years to break even.

I hope there's something more to this story, like, maybe they are going to power the Comcast Arena with the solar panels, too. I fear not, however.

I wonder what Rick Larsen thinks about this?

Hitler and Obama

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Inspired by various people who make dumb comparisons that sound like they make sense, solely for the purpose of making some grander insinuation, is my new song, Hitler and Obama. Enjoy!

<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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