Archive for January, 2010

Dear Minnesota Fans: Welcome to the club. Here’s how to deal.

To all of my Minnesotan Friends, lend me your ears.

Let me give you a primer on how the next few months feel based on…oh, around 15 years or so experience in following Brett Favre. This is based on way too much experience.

I’d compare it to an ex-girlfriend, but I don’t think it compares. I mean, this is a man-crush. A bromance. In some ways, it’s more heart-breaking.

1. Enter into all the stages of grief. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Don’t shortchange yourself the opportunity to think the world sucks…it’s way too infrequent for some folks.

Denial: “I can’t believe they lost. They totally beat themselves – I mean they were totally the better team.”

Anger: “Stupid Favre. Stupid Turnovers. Stupid refs.” (See any friends from east of the border if you need help with this one – they’d be glad to help.)

Bargaining: “Brett – just come back one more year, OK? I’ll do anything for you to come back…just one more year. Please? I mean, it is no problem if you miss training camp. How much do you want again?”

Depression: “Oh well. We’re just going to suck anyway – haven’t been to a Superbowl since the Carter administration. I mean, if we have a first ballot hall of famer and the most gifted running back in football and we can’t score more than 30 points on a team that lost to the Buccaneers…what’s the use? I’m just going to eat a lot of fried food and go hibernate and wake up sometime in May when the sun comes out again.”

Acceptance: “Favre is the most amazing and most frustrating person to play the quarterback position. Peterson is the most amazing and most frustrating person to play the running back position. I’m going to have really amazing highlight film plays to remember and incredibly angry moments when they make stupid plays.”

2. Avoid the retirement conversation. After a month or so when the superbowl media effect has died down comes retirement talk. You just need to avoid it. I mean, look at this piece I wrote almost two years ago after retirement #1. Does this not look at all like the sign of a depressed puppy dog fan? Don’t follow the swarming ESPN coverage that will surround the retirement talk. It’s like with male soap opera combined with crack. It’s that deadly. It’s more addictive than 24 only the man-crush ensues on real life Brett Favre instead of fictional Jack Bauer. Avoid it.

What makes Favre one of the best quarterbacks ever to play the position is his capacity to wait until the absolute last moment to make a decision and score. It just wrecks havoc on true fans.

3. There is life after Favre. For the Packers, his name is Aaron Rodgers. For the Jets, it was an AFC Championship experience with a rookie quarterback and head coach. Not too bad, really. Packers were a lot of fun to watch this year. Rodgers is a very good quarterback. And he doesn’t leave you heart broken at the end of the year.

Of course, we don’t jump up and down with joy in the same way, either…

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Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics: When Pretend Problem Sets End up on the News

“Business is a legalized form of gambling.”

This is the first line I heard from the mouth of my professor in my first course at Kellogg.

Welcome to Business School.

For my first class entitled, Decision Making in Uncertainty, we crammed all of introduction to probability into one three hour period. We talked about the Monty Hall Problem, and showed how humans tend to not think through numerical probabilities and trust their natural bias (even in the case of a random problem) when the numbers show otherwise.  Quite interesting to see how our biases can really affect our decisions.

We reviewed some of the statements made by the United States government with regards to the chances of a Class 5 Hurricane hitting New Orleans in 2005, and how the statistics that were used didn’t exactly tell the entire story. Statistical probabilities can indeed tell us somethings that, even myself as a man of faith, need to hear.

So then, our next sample problem, is when we begin calculating the chances that a earthquake would hit the gulf coast.  No kidding. We talk about what the chances are it would happen in the lifetime of a 70-year-old.  I get the right answer in the problem set.

Just 3 days later…the news updates start scrolling and have yet to stop.

Damn statistics.

Here’s another damn statistic: American’s give less than 2% to charities.

Buck the trend and give to the Haiti Relief effort.


January 2010
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