Should NFL Division Winners with Losing Records Be Allowed in the Playoffs? A Poll and Proposal.

The Seattle Seahawks have just defeated the St Louis Rams to win the comical NFC West this year, with a losing record of 7-9. Yet, by existing NFL rules, they will get to host a playoff game next week. Should this rule be changed?

My personal feeling is yes, it should. However, I have an appreciation for “business” to involve teams from all parts of the country to maintain a true “national” interest in the game, so I propose a compromise.

Division winners should get in as they currently do. However, Division winners without a winning record (so .500 won’t cut it) should not be allowed to host a playoff game.

You still keep the national interest this way because the team is still in. Their fans will just have to travel or watch it on TV.

I think that’s just sick that Seattle got in with a 7-9 record and gets to host a playoff game. I want to see a competitive playoff game, not a butt kicking. Furthermore, it’s an absolute insult to all the good teams in the NFC with better records than the Seahawks.

You know, I thought football was a man’s game. Alas, if it were, the Seahawks should man up and let someone else in the NFC get in, or offer to travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints. But maybe it’ll be appropriate that their fans will get to see the Saints kick their butts as a lasting momento to end the season.

But to be a man, I’ll congratulate the Seahawks on making the playoffs and stepping up when they needed to and win a do or die game. I will thoroughly enjoy their annihilation next week.

What do you think of this rule about automatic playoff hosting for division winners?

Let’s Get Balloon Dad! BYOP (Bring Your Own Pitchfork)

"Let's Get Balloon Dad!!!"

"Let's Get Balloon Dad!!!"

Richard Heene wants fame? Let’s give it to him, full force, infamy style! He chose to attain his fame via infamy, not being talented, smart, patient, determined, charismatic and/or hard-working enough to do it any other way. So let’s give him everything he deserves rather than jail time, though make him pay for all the taxpayer money lost.

The Balloon Boy debacle is now considered a hoax, as I suspected Friday, along with many others, I’m sure. Charges are possible next week (Oct 25) against Richard Heene, who shamelessly concocted the lost boy in the weather balloon incident involving his 6 year old son Falcon, for this publicity stunt. It’s not Richard’s first failure to get fame, but let’s make it this manic obsessive’s last… as well as deter others disillusioned about getting fame via infamy at the public’s expense. If they want to do it at their own expense, they can go for it, for all I care.

For Richard Heene, though, let’s give him so much fame he will puke like Falcon did in the camera lights of the interviews last Friday. Let’s make Richard so sick of fame he’ll become a recluse for the remainder of his life! We don’t need criminal charges to put this guy in jail on taxpayer’s money for the next six years, which he could face pending the charges laid. Let him lay tiles for life, earning his living the way he is right now. The debt from this stunt should keep him busy for years to come. It should only cost over hundred thousand dollars of taxpayers’ money, after all the prosecution fees and law enforcement officer work times. But it will be an effective deterrent to keep him from ever doing this again, or others ass-piring.

So let’s bring on the paparazzi! This guy’s no flash in the pan. He’ll be in the news for a while. Who’s ever heard of a fast prosecution? And he’ll be whining and flip-flopping his personality between a macho storm chaser and besieged wimp as things drag on, unable to keep his mouth shut despite the advice of his lawyer. People will still want to hear what he has to say about it all for a while. So who’s tweeting for a flash mob of paparazzi to stalk Richard on his lawn or wherever he might be spotted? Or drive beside him wherever he drives, snapping pictures as they go? Make it impossible for him to go to Wal-mart or get groceries at the local store, though let him have some peace when he visits his kids they might take away from him cause the kids don’t deserve it.

Isn’t the National Enquirer or Perez Hilton going to have a contest for the craziest Richard Heene story or something? The guy’s pretty well known by now, and he’s done something stupid. Worse, what he did was stupid and expensive, with money and resources that didn’t belong to him. Hey, at least what Kanye West did to Taylor Swift at the VMA 2009 didn’t cost anything out of the taxpayers’ pockets. Let’s get some fair treatment for the infamous and give Richard his proper due, eh? Make him beg for jail to get away from it all! It’ll be good for the economy with all those magazines sold and stories told to tabloids and sites like Gawker (by 25 year old Robert Thomas). Who cares if it’s someone else possibly preying on him for a little cash and some short fame? It’s part of being famous!

On another front, Richard was answering questions by email before last Saturday when he was overwhelmed and said said he’d take questions on paper in a box to answer Saturday night. What ever happened to that? Anyway,  spam his email like crazy knowing it’s out there and he’s famous!

Heene also seems to have abandoned his MySpace page from 2005, possibly from having garnered only 7 friends, one of whom being “Tom”, everybody’s default first friend on MySpace. Ah, yes. Now we know why the fame was so elusive and the strength of the desire to obtain it. Go write what you think of him on his Comments page, or write a blog post like I am, or create yet another Facebook group or page dissing him. Make it all part of his Internet “legacy”.

Oh, while on Internet “legacies”, my condolences for any other “Richard Heene” out there. It’s so unfair to have your name hijacked like that. But look on the bright side. At least you can now misbehave a little bit more online and no one will likely notice. That’s because the Richard Heene Internet legacy is one populated by the Balloon Dad Richard Heene, and it’s a legacy that’s getting uglier by the second. That includes stuff from long before this balloon stunt, which only confirms the running public opinion, like this blog post by Stuff Frank Finds Funny on September 13 2008. I quote:

(Richard Heene) is an amazingly creative human (now turned mad scientist) who insists on repeatedly proving that there is a very fine line between genius and insanity.

You’ve proved at least, that, Richard! Too bad you did it by elimination in showing the insanity side. But that’s what you get for doing science without knowing your science.

So I say in a less conventional way than criminal prosecution, Let’s get Balloon Dad!

Bring your own pitchfork. I’ve got mine the way Stephen Colbert’s got his in the picture above. Do you?

p.s. I did not intend to offend anyone with this tirade, just Richard Heene, so my sincere apologies if you were offended.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 6.5

(about the level sufficient for Richard Heene to comprehend, although I haven’t known any sixth or seventh grader who’s done anything so dumb)

How do I know Richard Heene is dumb?

How can you be smart and name your son Falcon only to put him in a balloon to fly?

Falcons fly on their own!

Or didn’t Richard know that?

Oh, right. He’s an amateur scientist wannabe.

I forgot. I’m sorry. My mistake and I admit it. Hint, hint, Richard.

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How to Record Videos Off YouTube with Replay Media Catcher and Some Reposting Strategies

Have you ever seen a video on YouTube you wanted to use that had embedding disabled so you can share on Facebook or other social media platforms? What about wanting to have just a part of a video for your use? How’s about a version to use on your blog that won’t be taken down in the early stages of the battle by certain people to have certain videos removed? If you answered “yes” to any of the questions, or are curious about them, this post is for you.

Attempts by some to disembed videos happens all the time with the public posting stuff that are probably copyright violations, but so what? If the video is hot, there’s a whole bunch of people out there posting or reposting to thwart the efforts of those trying to remove the video, and to get views for their accounts. Those who try to prevent video posting or embedding usually fail in the end cause they can’t keep up with the reposters, but they don’t seem to learn. Your ethics here are only good for yourself.

Some examples of videos I’ve used that have been at the centre of such removal battles include these three within two months of this posting:

The first or subsequent versions I had were disembedded or removed. However, a quick 2 minute or less search yielded another one to replace the codes with and that was that. I actually just replaced the Taylor Swift interview on The View video in that post. They’re still trying! It’s just the way the world is these days and these people trying to take down the videos should just “get with it”.

In another situation, often, the best part or the part you want to share with someone is not the entire video. Or maybe someone’s corrupted the video with their add-on advertising and so on. Or maybe you only want the portion of Susan Boyle singing during her Britain’s Got Talent 2009 debut, rather than the entire segment. It’s annoying to have to use the whole video in those instances. They’re all good reasons to get your own version of a video.

Getting a video you like for your own use so you don’t have to let it load every time, or for when you don’t have Internet access, is another good reason, too. Convenience!

If you’ve encountered any of these situations, you can get around them a variety of ways using video capture software. It’s like how you can take a screen shot of what you view, then paste into a photo editing program to capture pictures or video stills you aren’t able to download or get otherwise. Only here, you’re doing it with entire videos, using a method similar to how you record music off the radio.

A good list of video capture software can be found at All Streaming Media. However, I want to share my experience with one called Replay Media Catcher by Applian Technologies. The demo is free at the previous link. They don’t even request an email! It’s very easy to use and works completely for YouTube, which is really where pretty much all the good videos worth sharing is anyway. Videos on other site only have 75% capture, but which may include the good part you want anyway. It seems to be the best of the bunch listed at All Streaming Media, with an Editor’s Choice approval. I don’t doubt it!
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To download the software:

  • Download the 13 MB software (version 3.11 is that size) at Replay Media Catcher (download right on page of link).
  • Double click on the downloaded file to install.
  • Click a few things like Agreeing with their terms of use that you probably wouldn’t read and you’re done.
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To open the software

  • Find it in your Start menu in Windows XP, or however your operating system starts programs, and open it like you open any other program.
  • You get a little screen asking for a code, for which you click the “Continue in Demo Mode” button.
  • Then comes a screen asking if you want to start recording now. Click NO.
  • You should then get the operating screen that looks something like the one below. The rest is below, but is really just opening your video, letting it load, clicking record in Replay Media Catcher, playing the video, clicking stop here when done and then closing out the video. It’s just like recording music off the radio in a lot of ways. Don’t let all the little steps below deter you.

Replay Media Centre

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To record a video:

  • Open your browser and go to the video you want to record. The video should start playing if it’s in YouTube.
  • Click on Pause and move the time slider all the way to the left at the start if you want the full video. If not, move it to the play time when you want to start recording. Then let the video load fully. This full preloading is not the exact instructions given by the Replay Media Catcher page, but I find it works best to let the entire video load before recording so uploading disruptions don’t ruin your recording.
  • In your menu bar at bottom (or wherever you have it), click back on the Replay Media Catcher button to get back to the software and screen seen above.
  • Click the Start Recording button.
  • Click back to your browser via the button for that software in your menu bar.
  • Click play on the video.
  • Click the button for Replay Media Catcher in your menu bar to bring that screen back up on top.
  • Move it out of the way of your video.
  • Put your mouse over the Stop Recording button, where the Start Recording button is in the graphic above, ready to click on it when you want to stop recording.
  • Switch back to your browser and close out the page with the video, or close out the browser. This is important if you want to do extract your video in Replay Media Catcher. Otherwise, it seems to maintain a link to the page and you can extract your video.

That gets you the video on your hard drive, but it is in some temporary storage space you can’t access. It is a permanent storage space, though, meaning you can exit out of Replay Media Catcher and shut down your computer and come back to find it again. However, until you get it out of that space, you can’t use the video.

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To extract your video
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  • Click on Tools at the top and choose Video History from the drop down menu.

Video History

  • Click on the video you want in the list. WARNING: This software records any video you watch on the Internet, whether the software is opened or not. The record button only seems to allow for some more control, so be careful what you watch knowing this!!! The only good thing about this is it separates the videos you watch so it’s not all one big video, but it only records what you watch so if you don’t watch the whole thing, not the whole thing is recorded. I was testing my Roger Federer video on my blog and had watched just part of the video at the end of this post shared on Facebook to test for this post. The software recorded them both even though it was closed!
  • Click on the Diskette button second from the top at right and it saves your file to your My Recording folder (in Windows XP), within the My Documents folder. It should tell you otherwise where it saves the file. Now it’s ready for use and is as good as the source! See sample of recorded video.
  • Click the Trash Can button third down from top to rid of the video in the temporary storage so you can free up disk space. Trash anything else you don’t want.

With your file, in Adobe Flash Video format or FLV extension, you can upload it to YouTube as is. That’s another lesson but I’m sure you can figure it out as YouTube does a pretty good job to make it easy. You just need to create an account on YouTube and follow their instructions there. The FLV extension doesn’t seem to be the most natural for YouTube. It took something like 10 minutes to process my upload. Maybe that’s normal. I’ve never uploaded a video on YouTube till now.

Getting the sound off the video as an MP3
With Replay Media Catcher, you can also extract just the sound track for those videos for which you can’t buy the soundtrack, whether that’s the Liverpool FC fans singing You’ll Never Walk Alone, or Susan Boyle singing her Britain’s Got Talent debut in that electric atmosphere of people in shock and egging her on.

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Smart Reposting
Finally, a few points about smart reposting to give some longevity to your repost in the war between posters and those trying to take down your video. Well, they’d be trying to disembed it to prevent easy social media sharing (what you probably want to do most in reposting), because taking it down is another war altogether that they have with YouTube.

  • Repost on some other site if you can. YouTube is still the king of video sources, by far, for sure. That is the reason it sometimes is the only focus of those trying to take down the video. However, other video sites like Vodpod have a decent audience, and your video still shows up on searches outside that community. Using the Kanye West VMA 2009 incident video on VodPod, I’ve never had to replace it.
  • Repost using as few appropriate key words as you can, like maybe VMA incident without using the words Kanye West Taylor Swift. This won’t get you all the search results, but it’ll likely keep the video up longer from those searching to take it down. Meanwhile, you can use it for your blog or share it with all your friends, and they can further share it, without worrying about it being taken down. Basically, it’s for you and your friends to hustle rather than search engines and such, but this is a different motive than trying to get views. If you are just using it somewhere you can set it up with text, like on a blog, then really, who cares what it’s called? Call it Software Test, like I did, or something even obscure nobody will ever search while looking for the topic of your video.

Hope all this helps! Go be a rebel!

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 7.3

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Kanye — adj. as classless as possible, humanly or otherwise; n. such an act.

November 2009 follow-up:
See Taylor’s classy “revenge” with her Saturday Night Live Monologue. 🙂

“Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’ll let you finish, but Beyoncé has one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time!”

“Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’ll let you finish, but Beyoncé has one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time!”

I’d like to introduce a new word to the dictionaries of modern English and every other language known. But first, a little background for context.

At the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) last Sunday (Sep 13 2009), 19 year old Taylor Swift had just won a Moon Man award in the Best Female Video category for “You Belong With Me”, beating out Beyoncé Knowles‘ “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)”. Just a few sentences into her acceptance speech, though, rapper with a serious problem Kanye West came on stage to ruin her moment of a lifetime by interrupting her with a rant on how Beyoncé’s video should have won. Just watch about 90 seconds of the video below and ignore the rest to see. (Here’s a “nice try” to Viacom International, who has tried hard to eradicate every clean version of the video online, without all the fan rants. Ignorant old skool thinkers!)
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Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Kanye’s  was about as classless an act as I have ever seen or heard about, and definitely the most classless of public acts I’ve ever seen or heard about. It was so bad I don’t have words to describe it! So to do that, I’d like to propose a new word for the English language… or any other language for that matter cause I don’t think any language has a word for it yet.
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Kanye

adj. as classless as possible, humanly or otherwise;
n. as classless an act as possible, humanly or otherwise.

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Kind of like that was SO Kanye, or don’t pull a Kanye, man!

YouTube reactions to Kanye’s outburst just a couple of days later have been so fierce I had a lot of trouble just finding a video of the incident! Go ahead, try it! Just about everything about it that’s searchable about the incident on YouTube gives a video that is a reaction with people swearing up and down in tirades even worse than Kanye’s backstage meltdown following the incident (serious warning of offensive language!) However, Viacom wasn’t able to find everything so I have the videos here. Nice try!

On Twitter, Amy Grindhouse has amassed a nice collection of reactions among the famous. I must say I liked Pink‘s the most.

“Kanye west is the biggest piece of shit on earth. Quote me.”
Pink

As you wish, Pink one!

Even President Barack Obama weighed in, calling Kanye “a jackass”! Mind you, it was off the record (hear it onTMZ). Was. To be fair, though, the Prez was in a conversation where Ted Moran, the reporter, asked if Obama’s daughters were as upset as he was over the Kanye West/Taylor Swift incident. Some people might think that inappropriate of him, but I thought it was great. Maybe having the Prez call you a jackass will help change Kanye… though I know it’s going to take a lot more than that!

Kanye has since apologized, but he missed the point. He apologized on his blog and on Jay Leno (waste of time even to provide a link), rather than to Taylor. It was only after Taylor appeared on The View the day after to talk about it, telling the nation Kanye had not reached out in any way, that it ever occurred to him he maybe should apologize to the person he hurt. No class just like everything before it.
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Luckily for MTV, the night ended with some major class. During Beyoncé acceptance speech, she invited Taylor to come up to have her moment. Viacom, again, has tried hard to remove the video. Something about 4 reruns of the show already planned for lots of money had to do with it, I think. But not good enough, I’m afraid, Viacom!
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Vodpod videos no longer available.

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As for that sweetheart Taylor, she also reacted with class. No retribution or anything. Just told it like it was.

“I was standing on stage and I was really excited, because I’d just won the award, and then I was really excited because Kanye West was on stage, and then I wasn’t excited anymore after that.”
— Taylor Swift

Now there’s a genuine, good ole country girl!

No wonder people love her so much!

Oh, she also had to perform 5 minutes after the incident and she handled it like the pro she is!

See more of my Kanye West mockery.

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Serendipitous Discovery of Leah West’s Music

Leah West, from her ReverbNation profile

Leah West

I am not active on MySpace, checking into my MySpace profile just once in a few months, probably. It’s not my main point of contact, but rather a venue to share the one song I have written and recorded thus far… which will change this summer. I usually check in just to see if anything happened I should know about, that’s about it.

Tonight, I saw a Friend Request from one Leah West (MySpace), a musician (and model, actress, painter, photographer, etc.) formerly of New Jersey and now of Kelowna, BC. I had never heard of her but am long past that sort of thing to be surprised by it. I know it’s about social networking, not necessarily people who know each other. On the same principle, if people send a Friend Request of me, I won’t turn them down unless they seem really scary… more in a social sense than physical sense. I just accept, be flattered at face value they sent me a Friend Request, a little more if they typed something like Leah did, and have a listen to their music. I often enjoy it, but that might be that. However, every once in a while, I find something that’s delightful and tonight, it was Leah West’s music!

First thing to notice was her beautiful voice. The music moves and is moving. There is breadth to it, from simple and fun songs to deep and personal songs loaded with intelligent, thoughtful, meaningful lyrics. All of them are tied together by a genuine sense of honesty that it all came from within Leah, that this is the person she is. Someone who has decided to give us the privilege to look into her soul, just the way it is, through the sounds of her music.

There are six great songs on Leah West’s MySpace profile, but her ReverbNation profile has 54 songs. I’m half way through the list now and have not found a bad track yet. So many good songs I’m starting to believe there isn’t a bad one! They are all of the pop / alternative / indie styles she classifies herself as, though, so if you have a quota on that for how much you can listen to at one time, 54 might be a bit much. Mind you, 54 of anything, even the Beatles, can be a bit much for most. Still, I believe there is a lot more to this young lady than p/a/i. With a voice and, more importantly, a spirit like hers, I think she can do and succeed in a lot of other genres. She just has to determine which of them are within her, when the time is right for her. But absolutely, I very much highly recommend you have a listen to her music at the link above.

Both profiles contain a lot of other interesting information about Leah, including artists she’s worked with, appearances and so on, but Leah’s website has even more, including her photos from modeling, acting, her blog and so on! Rocking! She’s also on YouTube as the video above shows, though it only had 280 views at time of this posting. Contrast that to the well over 1 million views her MySpace profile has had since June 24 2008 (i.e. just 10 months from this posting!).

Anyway, social networking is quite a lot like the lottery. A lot of times, there isn’t much to be gained, if not something lost like time. You have to have that mentality to play it and survive. However, every once in a while, you feel like you won something. Discovering Leah West’s music tonight has definitely been worth my while. As for her, I see she’s got close to 12,000 “friends” on MySpace, but she won over one geniune fan tonight in me!

Clay Shirky (photo from TED.com)

Clay Shirky (photo from TED.com)

Btw, did you know the mean number of Friends a user on MySpace has is 55? That’s just if you averaged out the number of friends every user had, though this should probably be 54 since everybody has Tom, the default friend on MySpace. Compare that to Facebook users who have an average of 125.

However, and this is a BIG however, the median number of MySpace friends a user has is just 2! That is, if you ordered each user in a list from most friends at one end and least friends at the other, and you walked halfway down that line, the person there would have 2 MySpace friends! (Source: Clay Shirky in Here Comes Everybody)

Wow! Talk about saying something about the nature and interactions of its users given people like Leah has almost 12,000!

What social networking if half the users literally have 2 or fewer friends, with 1 by default to start???

This fact is true despite MySpace still being ranked #9 on Alexa.com’s web traffic rankings at time of posting! Lots of traffic but not of the true interactive kind, obviously. At least not anywhere near where it could be. ReverbNation sits at 7,347 at time of posting, if you’re curious.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 6.3

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