Mania This and Mania That

Golf Digest’s Jaime Diaz has in interesting proposition: that pre-1997 Tigermania paved the way for the Barack Obamamania we’re experiencing leading up to the 2008 Presidential Election. He writes:

Obamamania really isn’t all that different from Tigermania pre-1997 Masters. Woods was still mostly promise, although there was a certainty and presence and sense of destiny to the young man, the kind Obama increasingly has demonstrated in his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. Both manias reflect an America willing to trust its gut more than its head. But tellingly, with Woods there was no second-guessing, and the same seems to be true with Obama.

Without getting too political here on Yugflog.com, if Obama is elected President, he will have a lot to live up to. Tiger has far exceeded the pre-1997 hype with his incredible on-course success. On top of that his image and influence reach far beyond the course and affect many reaches of life. By default, Obama will have the reach if he were to take office. The tough part would be backing it up with results.

When Reality Bites

David Brooks writes in an article titled, When Reality Bites, that the Democrats are basically screwed on two major issues.

1. Their proposal for immediate withdrawal from Iraq.
2. Their conflicting proposals of fiscal discipline and new programs.

Removing the troops from Iraq would be a huge mistake. Thomas Barnett’s idea of a large peacekeeping force has always made sense to me.

The only way the Democrat’s domestic spending proposals seems possible is if they take the money that would have been spent on military in Iraq and use it here in the U.S.

Still, good luck bringing home the troops without messing up the world.

(via NYT)

Tonight at 1am

I walked the streets alone with my camera and tripod. The freshly fallen snow – at least ten inches – was piled high on anything wider than a finger. The landscape was, like the moment, pure and simple. There were no sounds and the only smell was that of burnign logs in a fireplace.

Looking Ahead to the Presidents Cup

It’s safe to say that the 2009 Presidents Cup will be different from any we’ve experienced to date.

The first big change is the venue. Harding Park, a municipal course owned by the city of San Francisco, will host in 2009. The Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Virgina has hosted on the four occasions the Presidents Cup has been played in the United States since its inception in 1994.

Second, each team will have new captains. Freddy Couples will lead the U.S. against Greg Norman’s International team. They’re shaping up to be very different personalities than the former captains, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. While Freddy and Greg are capable and deserving of the roles, they don’t possess the same golfing gravitas that Jack and Gary do.

When asked who he was considering as an assistant captain, Freddy’s response was:

I’ve mentioned Michael Jordan as an assistant, assistant, assistant. Lately I’ve mentioned Robin Williams and the reason I say that is as Greg mentioned earlier, we’re not on any teams when you’re in the locker room. And you have people come in when you’re in the team room, I think, first of all, I love Michael Jordan, I’ve been around him. He does some things in Santa Barbara. A lot of our players know him. He’s at these events. So that’s why I bring his name up because as a team player, there’s no one any better. And I think that’s what’s the fun part.

Now the challenging part is when you’re sitting around and you’ve got nothing but time, I would like a guy like Robin Williams there to keep us loose, and that’s why I say that. Whether they are there or not, I don’t know, but I do have a great friend in mine mind to play as my teammate and hopefully pick some good guys and get some good pairings. (Link)

Possibly topping that off was Greg Norman hinting that he might select his fiancée as his assistant.

We’ve got the Ryder Cup this year, a couple FedEx Cups, eight majors, seven WGC events and about 60 PGA Tour events before the Presidents Cup is set to be played. But it’s shaping up to be an interesting tournament already.

The Quiet Justice

“Two years and 142 cases have passed since Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas last spoke up at oral arguments.”

He says:

One thing I’ve demonstrated often in 16 years is you can do this job without asking a single question.

If part of my grade in law school is based on oral participation, shouldn’t a Supreme Court justice be required to speak up every so often?

I Picked the Winner

I was scared watching the first round of the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship. Tiger Woods looked like he was going to confuse his number one world ranking with the timing of his exit – an upsetting first-round loss to the lowest ranked player in the tournament. But, when you’re a maker of golf history, as Tiger Woods tends to be, you don’t confuse such things. Instead you tease those with lesser ability. You lure the television audience into thinking they’re seeing a historical upset, then just before it’s too late you turn it on. You light it up. You blind them with your ability.

That’s just what Tiger Woods did in his first round match against the formidable J.B. Holmes. Then he beat Aaron Oberholser 3 and 2, took two extra holes to squeak past another Aaron (Baddeley), defeated K.J. Choi 3 and 2, and disposed of the defending champion Henrik Stenson 2-up. All of the matches were close. All of the opponents gave it their best — and came up short. Two had already won on tour this year, an accomplishment possible only when Tiger Woods is not in the field.

The final match was over as soon as it started. When I woke up Sunday morning, Tiger was already two up and they’d only played four holes. The lead would only grow throughout the day until the point where Stewart Cink, eight down with seven holes to play, gave Tiger Woods a conciliatory fist-bump when Tiger’s birdie putt to tie Cink’s lipped out. Tiger closed out the match 8 and 7 on the next hole. It was the largest margin of victory in the history of the event. Only fitting that the record was set by Tiger.

With 63 PGA Tour victories, Woods has now surpassed Arnold Palmer to take fourth place alone. He’s chasing Sam Snead with 82, Jack Nicklaus with 73, and Ben Hogan with 64.

Me the Fan of Golf

The World Golf Championship Accenture Match Play is this week. Match play, for those of you who don’t know, is essentially heads up golf. Instead of trying to shoot the lowest score, golfers go head-to-head. The winner of the match moves on. Think March Madness college basketball format.

I filled out a bracket and selected Tiger Woods to win the entire tournament. He did so in 2004 and 2005, but has come up short in the last few years. You can follow my selections and comments on the tournament at my Yugflog golf blog.

Yugflog, by the way, is “Golf Guy” spelled backwards. Now you know.

Photography Notes on Film and iPhone

Superior Film Guy

Owning a film camera makes me use the words “exposures” and “shooting” more than I did before. No longer do I “take pictures.” Instead, I “shoot pictures” and “have three of twelve exposures left.” Part of this is because a picture isn’t a picture until you take it. Until then, it’s a potential exposure (an unexposure?).

It’s funny that reverting to old technology would give me a sense of photography superiority.

iPhone for First Impressions

I’ve started to frame shots with my iPhone before shooting them with my Diana+. By taking a picture with my iPhone, I get a sense of whether the picture is worth wasting a film exposure on. Or, more often, I am able to focus in on the most interesting part of the iPhone picture and then take just that with the film.

How to Speak

“How To Speak” is a video lecture by Patrick Winston about how to successfully convey information during a lecture. The information seems a bit dated. He speaks about the use of overhead projectors. From my experience, PowerPoint slides projected on a screen have largely replaced transparent projector slides. (Last time I saw a transparency was in undergrad where they were frequently used. That was 4+ years ago.)

The lecture is available in 13 parts, each of which is a few minutes long. I just watched the entire series, and here’s what I took away from the lecture as a student.

Start your lecture with a promise. (Don’t start with a joke.)

I think of the promise as a header or title that generally describes what I’m about to learn about. I find this very helpful upon review of my lecture notes.

Have a visible outline

My Federal Courts professor arrives five minutes before the start of class to write his outline for that day’s class on the board. I’m able to copy the outline and then fill it in with more detailed information during class. Having this structure is extremely helpful in making sense of otherwise tricky material.

Rarely have I had a professor who uses no visual aids (outline on board, PowerPoint, etc.) These lectures are a much less valuable learning tool for me as a student. I am busy and have better ways to spend my time than to try to grab keywords from speech.

Worse yet than no visual guide is when a professor has a guide, but refuses to hand it out and moves through it so quickly that even noting the gist of each slide is impossible. My Article II Sales course was taught in this manner. Fellow students were clearly frustrated, throwing their hands up in the air and generally giving up on any note-taking whatsoever.

The Big Four

1. Cycle material – repeat points 3 times
2. Verbal punctuation – keep audience aware of what you’re talking about
3. Near miss – teach the concept and what is not the concept
4. Ask rhetorical questions

My best professors do all of these. Whether it’s natural or they’ve been taught this, these techniques are very helpful to me as a student. The reason for repetition is that people zone out. I can attest to this. The near miss is especially helpful in understanding what a concept actually is.

Other general notes

Setting: The best setting for a speaking is around 10am in a well-lit full room. As a student, this is a fairly good time to hold a lecture. I prefer to get my lectures out of the way early in the day. Others like to sleep in. It’s a toss up.

Whiteboard: Using a blackboard or whiteboard sets a better pace than PowerPoint slides. That later of which causes information overload and can move things along too quickly. As a student, I can attest to this. However, most of my professors that use PowerPoint also provide copes of the slides.

Style: The video made a good point about adapting others’ speaking strengths to your own style, so that you’re not copying anyone, but instead improving yourself.

Stories: Stories are invaluable for me. I love hearing professors talk about their case work, clients, and mishaps. Hearing stories does two things for me: (1) brings the material to life and (2) gives me a break from taking notes.

How to stop: Finish with a joke. Deliver on your promise, and show the audience how you did so. Call for Q&A.; Salute the audience, don’t thank them.

Random:

* Non-verbal communication from the audience is very influential
* Value of instructor is to speak opinion about the facts, not just regurgitate the facts
* Be mindful of what people already know – then figure out how to add to that.

Criminal Law TV Shows

I’ve been watching old episodes of The Practice and Murder One on Hulu non-stop. I haven’t even turned on my TV, except to watch golf coverage over the weekend.

I’m taking Criminal Procedure at school this semester. It’s the only exposure to criminal law I’ve had to date. Criminal procedure, not to be confused with criminal law, is the “legal process for adjudicating claims that someone has violated criminal law.” (Cite) I never thought I would be interested in criminal law, however the cases in my Procedure class are some of the most interesting I’ve read. There is no shortage of drugs, death or other allegedly illicit illegal activity. When compared to 50-page antitrust cases where the highlight is the court finding that company A orchestrated a horizontal merger among companies B and C, criminal law is a thrilling read.

Anyway, the shows are interesting, and it’s always fun to relate what I’m learning to a television show.

(Last semester it was applying my newly acquired common sense Professional Responsibility knowledge to pick out moments when the lawyers crossed the line of ethics on Boston Legal.)

Tiger vs. Federer

Who is more dominant, Tiger Woods or Roger Federer? Tiger is 30 years old. He’s been playing on the PGA Tour for ten years and has twenty years to go. Roger is 26 years old. He’s been playing on the ATP Tour for eight years and could have five to ten years left.

When we look at majors in golf, Jack Nicklaus holds the record with 18. Tiger has won 13 in ten years. Pete Sampras holds the most major titles in tennis with 13. Roger has won 12 majors in eight years as a pro.

In half as much time since his first major win, Federer has accumulated just one less major championship title than Woods. Federer has also won three majors in one year three times. Tiger has done that just once.

For four years running, Federer has won two or more majors. Tiger has only won two majors two years in a row in 2005 and 2006.

It looks like Federer is more dominant, but it is unlikely he will finish his career with more majors than Tiger. After all, the Champions Series, which is the tennis version of the Senior PGA Tour, has a minimum age of 30. The minimum age for the SPGA is 50.

History and Hiatus

I’m at that point with Savechris.com where I want to delete everything and start over. I’ve been blogging for a few years now, as you’ll read below. I’ve never been able to stay on point or be happy with any one for very long. Deleting and starting over is easy with a tumble-log because most of the content is unoriginal.

With that said, here is a brief history of my blogs. I won’t be blogging for awhile.

Misconceptions

I’ve had several blogs over the years, none of which has stuck around that long. I started on Google’s Blogger with a blog titled, “Misconceptions.” It was a personal blog that was not focused on any particular topic. The only thing it did was accentuate how weird I can be from time to time. Some of the posts from that blog were adapted for a blog I wrote for Ruckus Network. I wrote under the alias Cyclops, a cartoon character developed by the production team. That didn’t last very long, either.

Yugflog.com

After ceasing blogging on “Misconceptions,” I purchased Yugflog.com, which I still own. Yugflog is “golf guy” spelled backwards. I started blogging about my personal endeavors on Yugflog, and did so off an on for nearly a year before turning it into the all golf blog that it is now. The thing is, I’m not crazy about blogging about only golf and thus my posting is sporadic at best.

SaveChris.com

I purchased Savechris.com during the summer of 2006 before I started law school. I wasn’t completely sold on going to law school at the time, so I bought Savechris.com thinking I would enact a “get rich quick scheme.” Thus, the “Save Chris” in Savechris.com was not initially meant to be “Stuff that Chris Saves,” but rather, “Save Chris from Law School.”

Flyers

“Whenever I walk, people try to hand me fliers. And when someone tries to hand me out a flier, it’s kinda like they’re saying, “Here – you throw this away.””

~ Mitch Hedberg

(I completely agree. I usually just ignore those people.)

One of My Favorites

I used to write a lot more than I do now. I wrote mostly about my perception of my memories. The words that described the experiences I was trying to capture seemed more literal than the memory itself. If something didn’t happen exactly as I described it, what I’m trying to provide is the feeling of being there. Isn’t that better?

With that said, here is something I wrote on February 16, 2006 in Rosslyn, VA after a coffee run early in the morning. I had just left my job and felt very free.

I walk the street each morning to get coffee. Rush hour. People look busy – frantic and frozen. Most travel efficiently, cutting corners and jumping signals when they can. Heads down. Hands tucked. Earphones firmly sunk.

They are shutoff to the world around them as if today was nothing more than the indistinguishable middle of an infinite staccato experience. The probability of something extra-ordinary happening is no greater than their chance of winning the lottery, which is clearly stated in the window of the deli down the street as 1 in 172 million.

Bad odds to bet your smile on.

A bell tolls from the horizon. It’s a sound you would pay to hear played in a grand hall by famous musicians. Deep and pure, it resonates as if it were coming from within – but feels more like I am along the inside edge of its hallow drum. The vibrations grab me. Touch the small of my back and run their fingers along my spine until I shudder.

I look around, wondering if anyone else hears it. Nothing. Not a soul so much as flinches.

The hammer strikes the wall again – rings a deep smooth percussion. I shake more. Still, heads down. Eyes glazed. The passing time so meaningless it might as well stop ticking. The bell shakes again.

I’m still this time. I step back a moment. Cautious. Wanting to locate the drum. Others walk through it. No notice. No care. It’s more efficient that way.