Archive for February, 2013

Contract Restructuring

Tom Brady made headlines again. This week it was for restructuring his contract. Why it was notable was that he agreed to take less money. It was a refreshing change from the I-deserve-more attitude that’s prevalent today. Mr. Brady’s action garnered a bunch of positive comments, because he is putting the team’s needs before his own. By taking less money, he allows the team to spend more on other players and make the whole team better.

It certainly sounds about right. Brady has all the money he needs. His competitive desire is not for more money but for another Super Bowl victory.

All that news broke and was being reported before it was confirmed. That got me thinking “What if it’s not true? What if it’s a PR stunt or something?” And that made me think of this, the point of today’s post:

What if a team could indirectly coerce a star athlete into taking less money by leaking reports of his unselfish contract restructuring?

This could work for any team whose league has a salary cap. An athlete on the team is taking a disproportionate amount of the salary cap, but there are no negotiations to change that. An unnamed source from the team leaks a news report about how the athlete is agreeing to take less money for the good of the team. Headlines the next day tout the unselfish attitude of the athlete, radio call-in shows are buzzing about how nice the athlete is, blog posts abound with comments of how we need more people like him.

Later that day the athlete, his PR firm, and his agent meet. Their first reaction would have been to issue a statement saying the report is false and the athlete will be abiding by the terms of his current contract. But they realize that all the goodwill he has gathered that day will be lost and the public will turn against him and thus his spokesmanship earnings will be at risk. So they decide to issue a statement that says the contract is still is negotiation and the terms are not final. The athlete ends up taking one for the team, but not because he wanted to.

That would be underhanded of the team, and it would probably work only once. And if it did work, then what’s to stop the athlete from getting back at the team the next year? Maybe by leaking a false report that the first 500 people who show up at the manager’s house on such-and-such a date will be entered into a drawing for a free luxury box for the season, or call the team offices today for free jerseys, or – sticking with the monetary theme – the team will be lowering ticket prices 10% this season.

Everyone lies to their neighbor; they flatter with their lips but harbor deception in their hearts..

Psalm 12:2

Family Conversations, Part 17

The Scene: Gamma is sitting on my bed.
Some Guy: Gamma, when’s the last time you went potty?
Gamma: Right now!
Some Guy, panicking: What?! Get off my bed!

What he meant was that he had gone potty shortly before I asked him. In the bathroom, like he should have.
He also refers to anything before today as “last night”. It could have been a year ago – all the past is “last night”.

The Scene: A child who will not be named is misbehaving at the dinner table.
Some Guy: Hey! Stop it! You know better than to do that.
Child: I also know worse…
Some Guy: Well, don’t do that either.

I’m already praying about his teenage years.

The Scene: My wife and I are discussing Delta’s upcoming doctor appointment.
Some Wife: Do we need to schedule any other kids for that day?
Some Guy: I don’t know if anyone needs shots…
Gamma: Nobody does!

He wasn’t supposed to be part of the conversation, but I appreciated his effort.

To give prudence to the naive,
To the youth knowledge and discretion,

Proverbs 1:4

Don’t Listen to Them

comic of horses voting down a proposal by saying 'neigh'

Council Meeting
Tonight at 8:00

All in favor, say “Aye”
All opposed, say “Neigh”

The proposal does not pass.
Meeting adjourned.

Ever since the horses got on the council, nothing ever passes
They’re just a bunch of neigh-sayers.

All the elders and all the people said to him, “Do not listen or consent.”

1 Kings 20:8

Fitting Fundamentals

It’s a lesson that cost me $8.50, but now I know the difference between GHT and NPT.

I’ll pass the lesson along to you for free.

If you have 3/4″ pipe fittings, know which thread size they are before you buy a connector.

In my case, I had 3/4″ GHT on one side and 3/4″ NPT on the other. I didn’t know there were different thread pitches; I figured I just needed the diameter and I would be good. I got the right diameter, and they fit well enough that I didn’t know they were wrong, but the way water was squirting out I realized something wasn’t right.

GHT is Garden Hose Thread. It is always 3/4″ diameter. Its main use is for garden hoses, but it is also used for washing machines and other things that are not permanent fixtures of the plumbing system.

NPT is National Pipe Thread. It is of various diameters. It is used for permanent fixtures of the plumbing system.

In my case, I was connecting a washing machine spigot to a recirculating pump. The pump used NPT and the washing machine thread size was GHT. To complicate matters, the other side of the pump went to 1/2″ PEX.

Here is how GHT (left) matches with NPT (right):

photo of GHT and NPT threads on a pipe fitting connector, comparison of thread pitch

As you can see, it takes NPT about 5.5 threads where GHT takes 5 threads. It’s annoyingly close because the fittings will screw together for a few turns, enough so that you don’t know something is wrong until you turn on the water.

To make matters even more complicated, they don’t use just the acronyms GHT and NPT. No, they have to use Mips and MHT and FHT and Fips. The Ms and Fs are for male and female. Anything with an ‘H’ is for Hose, and anything with a ‘P’ is for Pipe thread. Match Hs to Hs and Ps to Ps.

There were two tenons for each board, fitted to one another; thus he did for all the boards of the tabernacle.

Exodus 36:22


Here is a special edition of SBS, just for Valentine’s Day. Sometimes you’re not on the same page as your significant other. Sometimes it’s hard to know what the other is thinking. Or even saying.

comic of a guy mis-hearing a girl's 'I love you' as 'I love yew' and responding with his favorite band - 'I love U2'.

The scene: a couple is holding hands, gazing at a pine tree.
Girl (out loud): I love you.
Boy (to himself): She loves yew? But that’s not even a yew – it’s a spruce.
Boy (to himself): Maybe she just wants to talk about things we like. I know! I’ll tell her my favorite band.
Boy (out loud): I love U2.

Surely you have spoken in my hearing,
And I have heard the sound of your words

Job 33:8

13 Things Your Runner Won’t Tell You

Reader’s Digest has a popular feature where they find some sources from a particular industry and gets tips and insider secrets from them. I think the point is so that you’ll know better how to deal with the system if you need their services. Examples are “13 Things Your Dentist Won’t Tell You” or “13 Things Your Flight Attendant Won’t Tell You” or “13 Things Your Pharmacist Won’t Tell You”.

They seem to have covered all the major industries, so I am going to cover one I doubt they will get: the friendly neighborhood runner. Yes, “runner” as in “person who runs”. Distance runner, as I don’t know how many of these will apply to sprinters.

  1. There is no runner’s high.
  2. I don’t know what endorphins are.
  3. I run only because I have no athletic skills or talent for any other sport.
  4. Actually, that’s not true. I run so that I can eat more chocolate.
  5. Don’t get too close to me while I’m running – I might blow my nose or spit on you.
  6. Don’t follow me if I take a sudden detour into the woods – I’m making my own port-a-potty.
  7. No, I didn’t quite get the time I wanted in that race. But I’ll always have a good reason why.
  8. I’m not really stretching – I’m just tired and don’t want you to know.
  9. I’m not runing on the sidewalk because it ends soon and I don’t want to run through the puddle/tall grass/other hazard that’s there.
  10. I can’t see you through your windshield. I wave at most cars, just in case you are waving at me.
  11. Even though I might not see you, just wave if you want to be friendly. I’ve had people slow their cars and ask questions or try to chat. Not only is that awkward, but it messes up my breathing rhythm and my pace.
  12. I would rather you moved over than slowed down while driving by me. Both would be nice, but it’s easier for me to tell when you’ve moved over than slowed. I like to know that you have seen me.
  13. I don’t care how friendly your dog is – I don’t want it following me or running along with me.

And no, these aren’t all mine – some of them are based on my observations of other runners.

What do you know that we do not know?
What do you understand that we do not?

Job 15:9

More Elf on the Shelf

By now, all the Christmas decorations should be long gone. Everything’s packed away in attics or basements. Nativity scenes are in storage, and the Elf on the Shelf cannot cause any more mischief.

Which means there is room to expand the market.

The Elf on the Shelf started as an innocent game of hide-and-seek. It seems to have morphed into a game of blame-the-incident-on-the-elf, where parents create minor (or major) catastrophes, place the Elf in a position so that it is obvious he caused the damage, and let the children find him and blame him for his actions. It can be a way to reinforce rules and behavioral expectations to one’s children.

Now with that background information out of the way, let me proceed to my main point:

The Elf on the Shelf people should start marketing him to occasions other than Christmas. My first suggestion to them: politicians.

Just think, politics goes on year-round.
There will always be politicians.
The number of politicians never shrinks, meaning the market for Political Elf on the Shelf will always be strong.
And, politicians are always getting in trouble, meaning demand for the Political Elf on the Shelf will always be strong.

Here is how it would work:

  • Step 1: Politician does something bad/wrong/illegal.
  • Step 2: Politician holds a press conference.
  • Step 3: Politician blames the Elf on the Shelf.

Step 3 isn’t new, what’s new is that now the politicians know whom to blame. They don’t have to spend time thinking about a plausible culprit.

Here is how it would look:

image of Bill Clinton blaming the Elf on the Shelf

image of Rod Blagojevich blaming the Elf on the Shelf

image of Kwame Kilpatrick blaming the Elf on the Shelf

If that proves successful, the Elf on the Shelf could branch into helping celebrities and athletes on Twitter.

  • Step 1: Celebrity/athlete says something offensive/ignorant/bad on Twitter/Facebook/social-media-outlet-of-the-day
  • Step 2: Public uproar causes PR firm to run damage control
  • Step 3: Instead of holding a press conference, the celebrity’s friends will post a photo of the Elf on the Shelf typing on the celebrity’s phone or using the celebrity’s laptop, strongly implying that the offending tweet/post came not from the celebrity but from the trouble-making Elf.

Who else could use an Elf on the Shelf?

I myself will be surety for him; you may hold me responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame before you forever.

Genesis 43:9