Automatic Football Winner Guesser Improvement

About a month ago, I announced that I had setup a webpage to track football prediction methods.

Now, I am announcing that I have added a new method – More Points Wins. So far this year, it’s more accurate than the Isaacson-Tarbell Postulate.

If you haven’t already followed the links in the above paragraphs, you can click here for details about how More Points Wins works or click here to track its (and the other methods’) results.

But the prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the LORD only if his prediction comes true.

Jeremiah 28:9

Station Generations

It seems the radio stations and I have differing ideas about the categories into which they put themselves.

Here are the standard categories:

  • Pop
  • Adult Contemporary / Soft Rock
  • Alternative
  • Classic Rock
  • Oldies
  • Classical

I always put them in approximate decades :

  • Pop is current
  • Alternative (alternative to what? real music?) is the 90s
  • Soft Rock is the 80s
  • Classic Rock is the 70s
  • Oldies is the 60s and 50s
  • Classical is everything else. Except Metal. That doesn’t fit in anywhere except the Hard Rock station. And it transcends decades.

The radio stations have slowly been moving songs between formats. They do it a song here and there and hope that no one will notice.

But I’m onto them. They can’t sneak it past me.

I’ve noticed that the songs that were once considered Classic Rock are now played by the Oldies station. Songs that were Alternative are now Soft Rock. Songs that were Soft Rock are now Classic Rock. And no one plays Oldies anymore. I mean, when was the last time you heard How Much is that Doggy in the Window?

I’m thinking the radio stations’ formats are defined by relative decades, not absolute decades. So the Oldies station plays songs that are 40-some years old, the Classic Rock station plays songs that are 30-some years old, Soft Rock songs are 20-some years old, Alternative are 10-some years old, and Pop (if they still call it that…what is it? “today’s hits”?) is 0-9 years old.

I don’t want to switch formats. I don’t want to become an Oldies person.

They should keep things stable. Then when an audience no longer exists, the station should switch formats to a new style.

That’s the way generational naming works. Baby Boomers aren’t just people in their 50s and 60s. And Generation X isn’t just people in their 30s. No, they are defined by being born in a particular range of years.

And that’s how songs should be.


On an unrelated note: I could tell I am officially old because I referred to the 21-year-old guy who won the poker championship in Las Vegas last week as “that kid”. I think, technically, 21 means he is a man, not a kid. But you know those youngsters these days…

Take away from Me the noise of your songs;I will not even listen to the sound of your harps.

Amos 5:23

God Builds Babies

I was driving with Beta and we had a fun conversation. This is somewhat paraphrased, more so toward the beginning before I knew that it would become more interesting, but it conveys the idea.

Beta : Who lives in [a certain location]?
Some Guy : Your uncle and aunt. And your cousins. And they’re going to have another baby, but right now it’s in her belly.

In the mommy’s belly?
Yes.

Not the daddy’s?
No, only mommies have babies in their bellies. That’s what makes them mommies.

(laughing) No, babies don’t make mommies.
(catching on that he understood “babies make them mommies” to mean “babies make mommies”) Oh, umm, that’s right. Mommies make the babies.

(more laughing) Did you forget that God builds the babies?
Yes, that’s right. God builds the babies and then … puts them in the mommies’ bellies.

And that was the natural end of that conversation. I’m glad he knows where babies originate. Since that’s settled in his mind, we won’t have to discuss it later, right?

Right.

Who among all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this,
In whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind?

Job 12:9-10

Do What You Watch

Continuing the thought from yesterday’s post :

I am always amazed that people still believe that what they watch on TV does not affect their behavior. Or rather, I am amazed that they think it can’t affect anyone’s behavior. There are people who think that what people watch is just entertainment and therefore cannot affect how they live.

The saying is that Art imitates life, not life imitates art (with apologies to any blog by that name). And there is the famous quote that if violence on TV causes violence on the streets, then why doesn’t comedy on TV cause comedy on the streets?

To which I respond : comedy on TV does cause comedy on the streets.

Back when Seinfeld was in its heyday, most people would watch it and then whatever phrase was the most popular phrase of the show became the most popular phrase in the country for the next week. There was a lot more comedy on the streets, copying whatever it was that was on TV.

Don’t say that comedy on TV doesn’t cause comedy on the streets.

And there are multiple examples of people being injured or worse by trying something they saw in a movie. How many of those does it take before someone will admit that maybe what you put into your soul via your eyes can affect how you live or what you do?

If what we see and hear on a regular basis does not affect us, then why do advertisers pay so much for commercials or product placements? If there is a study that shows people are immune to such influences, then a consultant could save companies a lot of money by eliminating their TV/film advertising budgets.

This fact of life is more easily seen by parents. My kids recently watched Kung Fu Panda. For the rest of the day after the movie, did they behave as they behaved before the movie? Not even close. They were jumping, kicking, and swinging things in their efforts (conscious or sub-conscious) to emulate what they had seen on screen. In this case, that lasted all of one day and they were back to normal the next day.

But what if their eyes are fed a steady diet of violence? How will they behave? What would happen to the average level of violence in their thoughts? in their actions?

What if their eyes and ears are fed whatever is on TV? How will they treat their parents after several years of watching sitcoms? How will they treat women when they are older?

Certainly, there are many people who can watch things and not be affected. And there are plenty of people who will do bad things without having been influenced to do so by a TV show or movie.

After all, sin is not new.

But why promote it?

The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.

Luke 6:45

Watch What You Watch

I want to watch football and I want my children to be able to watch football with me. I have come to realize that although football is safe for young eyes to watch, the commercials are not.

I‘ll let the kids watch the first bit of Saturday night football or Sunday night football before they go to bed. As soon as the station switches from the game to commercials, I grab the remote and have it ready to switch channels in case something bad comes on. They already don’t like going to bed. I don’t want some movie preview to scare them right before bedtime.

Movie previews are the worst when it comes to scary stuff. When it comes to anything else inappropriate, the TV station’s shows are the worst offenders. They have previews for whatever dramas or sitcoms they want to promote for the coming week, and the previews are meant to catch your attention. That means they don’t always show things that are what I want to see or what I want my kids to see.

I figured that went with the territory of the prime-time games.

I figured that the afternoon game would be safe to leave on commercial while I stepped away for a minute.

Alas, it was not. I forgot that it was Halloween. Somehow that made it okay to show disturbing images to young children during daylight hours… I came back to find my 4-year-old watching a TV screen that was showing people at a local (to whatever game it was) Halloween party. The costumes were very elaborate and professional looking, but also very grotesque and scary.

Now, whenever I leave the room during a football game or any other show, I turn the TV to the nothing-but-local-weather-not-even-commercials channel, one of the secondary digital channels here. I just can’t trust the TV stations’ judgment when it comes to content. Or maybe it’s really the advertising company that I can’t trust, but the end effect is the same – not watching commercials.

I got to thinking – why not rate the commercials? And then require a warning at the beginning of each commercial so that the viewer would have a chance to avoid it? They do that with normal TV programs already. The catch is that commercials are so short that the offensive material often starts very quickly, so the warning would need to last long enough. I thought that the worse the content was, the longer the warning would need to be.

  • G would not need any warning
  • PG would need a 1-second warning
  • PG-13 would need a 2-second warning
  • R would need a 3-second warning

While that’s a start, it’s insufficient. What if I’m changing channels and stumble into the middle of a commercial? The warning at the beginning wouldn’t help me then. Scratch that plan…

What about limiting a commercial’s rating to the program’s rating? A commercial’s rating should not be able to any worse (where G is good and R is bad) than the rating of the program during which it airs. What’s the point of rating a show as appropriate for children when at least 8 of the 30 minutes (that’s at least 26%) of the show is unchecked advertisements?

That would require a change to the broadcasting system, because not only are commercials not currently rated but sports and news shows are also not rated. My suggestion would be to make sports default to PG and news default to PG-13. If a network knows ahead of time that a sports show requires something other than PG (wresting, Superbowl halftime show, etc.), then it could set the actual rating of the show to the right level.

Once the rating of commercials is in place, then you could either trust the show will be safe (i.e. the rating will be what you expect throughout that whole block of time) or you could setup the V-Chip and know that offending or graphic or frightening commercials would not make it onto your TV screen. The V-Chip doesn’t work if something is not rated, so today’s V-Chip program ignores news and sports and commercials. Those gaps need to be closed somehow.

This blog post might not do much, or even affect the FCC or even my local TV station, but at least I feel better now. I just want my kids’ eyes and minds safe until they can discern what is good.

And I still want them safe after that too.

Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You can not look on wickedness with favor Why do You look with favor On those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up Those more righteous than they?

Habakkuk 1:13

Family Conversations, Part 5

Ink Eraser

The local Thai place has the option of shrimp, scallops, or squid. We asked Alpha if he wanted squid the next time we got Thai food. He didn’t say yes or no. He asked “Do they take the ink out first?

Maybe It Could Clean Teeth

Here is my side of the conversation with Beta. You can supply the imagination to fill in his part, both his speech and his actions.
Yes, Beta?
No, toothpaste shouldn’t be down here. It should stay in the bathroom.
What!? NO! Don’t put that in your mouth! That’s A+D ointment, not toothpaste!

Not Impressed

Alpha wanted to ask something of a parent. I was walking up the stairs but he assumed I was the other parent.
Mom?” he asked.
Yes Alpha,” I replied in as good a falsetto as I could muster.
Daddy, that didn’t sound anything like momma.

to make a distinction between the unclean and the clean, and between the edible creature and the creature which is not to be eaten.

Leviticus 11:47

Archives and Categories Widgets

Hey all you WordPress users: are you jealous of people on Blogger who get fancy archives and categories that display the links in a collapsible/expandable list? Do you want the little arrows next to your links too?

Your wait is over – Collapsing Archives and Categories are here.

Okay, maybe it’s not that dramatic. And it’s not new. I noticed that my WordPress blog had very bulky and boring Archives and Categories sections, so I searched for widgets that would make them better.

I found Collapsing Archives and Collapsing Categories, by Rob Felty. They did basically what I wanted, but they didn’t look quite right to me. So I separated the date from the post title and I think they look much better now.

Before Collapsing Archives before modification
After Collapsing Archives after modification

Anyway, he did all the hard work – I simply modified them slightly so that they would look more like I wanted them to look. If you want to see them in action, just look on the right side of this blog until you see “Categories” or “Archives”. Those sections are the widgets.

You can visit the Collapsing Categories page or Collapsing Archive page to read more about them, including steps how to modify the widgets to make the dates distinct from the titles.

Then King Darius issued a decree, and search was made in the archives, where the treasures were stored in Babylon.

Ezra 6:1