Monthly Archives: December 2011

Yes Virginia, there’s likely not a Santa Claus

As a result of an overwhelming lack of requests, and with research help from that of renown scientific journal SPY magazine (JANUARY, 1990), I am pleased to present my annual scientific inquiry into Santa Claus. Parents, you may want to cover your children’s ears.

Is there a Santa Claus?

Point #1 – No known species of reindeer can fly. BUT there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not completely rule out flying reindeer which only Santa has ever seen.

Point #2 – There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. But since Santa doesn’t (appear) to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, and Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the original total. – 378 million according to the Population Reference Bureau. At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that’s 91.8 million homes. One presumes there is at least one good child in each.

World Time Zones

Point #3 – Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming that he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 822.6 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house. Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false but for the purposes of our calculations we will accept), we are now talking about .78 miles per household, a total trip of 75 1/2 million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding and etc. This means that Santa’s sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second – a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour.

Point #4– The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego set (2 pounds), the sleig

Lego = 2 lbs.

h is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that “flying reindeer” (see point #1) could pull TEN TIMES the normal amount, we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine reindeer. We need 214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload – not even counting the weight of the sleigh – to 353,430 tons. Again, for purposes of comparison, this is 4 times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth.

Point #5 – 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance. This will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as spacecrafts re-entering the earth’s atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy. PER SECOND. EACH. In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 THOUSANDTHS of a second. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A 250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.

IN CONCLUSION – If Santa ever did deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he’s likely out of the business now.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled Christmas season.

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What to do with Tim Tebow

The man is a menace or a beast, depending on which sideline you happen to be on.

Denver quarterback Tim Tebow continues to defy the odds and somehow will the Broncos to win after win. Their latest victim: The Chicago Bears.

Down 10-7 with under 2 minutes to play, the Bears – who only needed to run the clock out – gave the ball back to Denver with with time on the clock. And it’s beginning to become obvious that giving the ball back to Tebow with any time left is a very, very bad decision.

Tebow got his troops within field goal range and kicker Matt Prater tied the game to send it into overtime. And in the extra stanza, as though destined by some higher power, the Broncos gained possession and Prater nailed a 51-yard kick to win the day.

But this isn’t a game story.

Tim Tebow

This is about how Tebow and Denver are rewriting what it means to be a quarter back in the National Football League.

It’s about how one man can make a difference.

By any standard for QBs set in the NFL, Tebow just doesn’t measure up. He doesn’t hit a very high percentage of his passes over the course of a game, yet he is an above average runner. And for whatever reason, he seems to flourish in the hurry-up offense.

But sports pundits on every channel, especially the ones who are former players, have held steadfastly to the “fact” that you can’t play that kind of offense for an entire game.

Or can you?

I’d like to take a hypothetical look at just what playing the hurry-up for an entire game might look like. So indulge me for a few minutes as I pontificate…

The format is actually pretty simple and there is already a model in existence today – hockey.

To properly use Tebow for a full game in the hurry-up, you’d have to redesign your team to have two if not three sets of offensive linemen that could be run in and out of the game like a line change in hockey. This would also be the same for the receivers, backs and tight ends. The only consistent would Tebow.

Offensive lineman in this format would have to be a different beast than they are now. They would have be leaner, in far better condition than those that exist now. And their skill level would have to be far higher, as they would not be able to rely on their sheer bulk  to keep defenders at bay. They would have to be masters in the mechanics of blocking.

On a give play, maybe two or three lineman would enter the game, sprinting onto the field while their counterparts sprint off. Maybe a receiver and a back would enter the game in the same fashion, heading straight to their positions rather than into a huddle. Tebow  makes sure the players leaving have cleared the field, reads the defense as he comes to the line and does what he does best.

Opposing teams would be left to try and match the pace, even though they know at least a full week in advance it’s coming. Unless they bought into a similar system as heavily as the Broncos would have, they would be left with a roster ill-equipped to deal with the constant pressure on their defense. And each of Denver’s 16 opponents would have to try and manufacture a special set of schemes and procedures for one week. A tough task in any sport and at any level.

Could it work? Absolutely.

Would a team like Denver make a commitment to do it? Likely not.

The problem is that, at least as of now, Tebow is a one-of-a-kind player. That makes finding at least one back up almost impossible, much less two. And with the frenetic pace that this offense would be operating at, it is very likely that sooner or later, Tebow would get hurt.

In the end, like him or hate him, Tim Tebow is compelling sports television. He keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire game and delivers some weird, whacky ending every time. Or at least he has so far.

My biggest gripe with what I see coming from the various ‘experts that many of the sports channels possess, is that they cannot even begin to conceive of a way to use Tebow effectively in the NFL. It supports my belief in why these guys are talking heads instead of coaches in the NFL. They simply don’t have the capacity to see anything but what they already know.

Is Tim Tebow the QB of the future? That remains to be seen.

But like it or not, he is a force to be dealt with now.

What a fine Messersmith you’ve gotten us into now

I’ve heard the South Beach diet could have some great effects, but I never thought it would be anything like this.

It has been some 36 years since professional athletes gained the right to move wherever they want to. And now it seems the NBA desperately wants to go back and rewrite history. But short of firing David Stern and hiring Marty McFly and his time-traveling Delorean, things aren’t going to change.

When Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosch decided collectively to play where and who they wanted to play for a little over a year ago, they changed the face of professional sports. They put in the head of athletes everywhere that they, not the owners, will dictate their own fate. That they can create or dismantle whatever teams they like and the owner that gets them is privileged to have them.

So far it’s just been the NBA, but you can bet Major Baseball and the NFL won’t be far behind.

It was 1975 when Andy Messersmith challenged MLB’s Reserve Clause, which essentially made ball players indentured servants of the clubs and their owners. Messersmith had a stellar year that season and eventually won the right to choose where he’d play. The birth of free agency.

36 years later, here we are. Salaries that are exorbitant, players running from team to team with no apparent sense of loyalty. But with the Heatles (I love that nickname) choosing to take pay cuts so they could pool their talents and win a title, we are seeing something new. We are seeing players play for the chance to win, not just the almighty buck. And personally, I find it very refreshing.

When Stern vetoed the three-team trade yesterday that would have most notably sent Chris Paul to the Lakers to allow them to contend with Miami, it was as if he was trying to turn back the clock and not only tell players where they could and couldn’t go, but to tell the teams how each of them would conduct business as well.

And it wasn’t as if any of the three teams involved broke the rules of the collective bargaining agreement. They all did what they were supposed to. In fact, I have yet to hear one sports pundit argue that the trade was bad for any of the teams involved. If anything they felt the Lakers were getting the short end of the stick.

The problem is, Stern and the rest of owners are the “ownership” of the New Orleans Hornets, having taken over after the previous deed holders nearly destroyed the franchise. Looks like Stern and the NBA wanted to finish the job off themselves.

In the end, it is a good time to take a mental snapshot of what is going on and file it away. Much like 1975, we are seeing a fundamental change in the way professional sports will be organized for maybe the next 50 years. And maybe, just maybe, it’s a change that he members of our government might want to take a good look at. Because if they ‘players’ in this great country ever get serious about taking back our ‘game’ and actually playing to win again, they won’t have a whole lot to say about it.

Andy Messersmith

What a difference a decade makes

I can remember being 33 years old.

I was still in good shape, was playing rec league softball and basketball and could hold my own with the best of them. Sure, I wasn’t a spring chicken anymore and the younger guys would get the better of me. But they were only able to do so because of a slight physical margin. I was able to make up for it with knowledge and cunning.

But even 10 years later, things had changed drastically. I slowed down a lot, didn’t have the same passion to play and just had more on my mind than how I was going to score the next bucket or get an extra base. And now that it is almost 15 years later, I can barely get out of bed in the morning without a 10-minute warm up.

And it is in that light that I look at the offers Albert Pujols is getting getting and asking what wing nut is in charge of the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins? Nine or 10-year deals? At $20 million per year? Yeah, makes great sense if you’re Pujols, but what a disaster for either of these teams should they get him.

OK, so you all know by now I am no Albert Pujols. Heck, I’m not even the last guy on the bench in any professional sport – except for maybe bowling. I might be able to hang with one of those guys. But Pujols isn’t going to be remotely the same guy in 10 years that he is now. And the man is now isn’t the same guy he was just four years ago. Just look at the statistics over the past few years. Both his batting average and slugging percentage have gone down each of the last four years. So have most of his other stats, including his ground out to air out ratio. For the first time in his career it went over 1.0, meaning he is hitting the ball lower than ever before.

Pujols suffered the first really significant injury of his career this year, so that should account for some set backs. But as he grows older he will only get more of these types of injuries and they will get progressively worse and elongated. It’s nothing he’s doing, it’s just the science of aging.

For all he has meant to the city and the franchise, St. Louis doesn’t need that kind of financial burden hanging around their neck. It is one of the great baseball cities of all time and they will support any team that plays there. But if they were to pull back from the Pujols deal, they would have a lot of money to spend elsewhere. They may be able to extend their current World Series title into two or three or several over a short period of time. They have good pitching and a great supporting cast. Add a few more good players in there and they could be the dynasty the Phillies want to be.

As for Florida, this seems like a cash grab. They have yet to show any real support for the Marlins as a city and a region. And why should fans support them? As soon as they won their last title they sold off the pieces from it like some kind of going out of business sale. Combine that with their lack of long-term management skills and the deal makes no sense for them either – in terms of baseball.

But as a get rich quick scheme, Miami has a perfect setup if they get Pujols. Provided, that is, that he is willing to forgo the ‘No Trade’ clause in his contract. But with the numbers they are dangling out there, Pujols just might bite at it.

If he does, he’ll be happy for a few years, if even that. See, the Marlins have Hanley Ramirez at shortstop. Or at least they did until they picked up Jose Reyes last week. This is already causing some hard feeling by Ramirez, who is expected to play third base but has already said he doesn’t want to do it. Ramirez is an immature player who has shown he can be a clubhouse killer in the past, so Pujols may want to reconsider what he’s getting into should he follow Lebron & Company and take his talents to South Beach as well.

Overall, this is just boys being boys. They take what they can get, don’t look to the future and play on as though the rest of the world doesn’t exist. It’s a sad, but predictable state of affairs.

As for the rest of us, at least we can say that we dress better than we did 10 years ago. Although my wife is likely to argue against me on that point.

And so it begins…

Here we are.

After all these years, I’ve decided I still have a few things to say.

For those that don’t know me well, let me introduce myself. My name is Tim Allen, and no, I know very little about improving my home.

I’m a former journalist who spent most of my time at local sports venues in Ridgecrest, Calif and Anderson, Indiana covering everything from prep sports to bar room darts. I got started in the business at the ripe old age of 18, working small assignments around the Indian Wells Valley for Alan Hunt. He gave me my “big break” in the business and sent me on a 25-year-plus journey of writing.

Alan, I owe you … in both a good and bad way.

While I loved covering my hometown for more than 5-1/2 years, it is also something of a curse to have opinions and a desire to publish them. And while I will likely spend a lot of time in this blog on sports, you can bet that from time to time I will channel my late father and go off on some rants related to items from the general news. I’m not a Democrat or a Republican, although I do register as one or the other simply for the privilege of voting.

And I might even toss in a few topics on faith now and again.

Yep, I plan to step on that many toes.

Regardless of the topic, I will aim to always hold true to shooting straight from the hip and call them as I see them. You may not agree with me, but I would hope you’d never leave this blog not knowing what I think.

And I think it might be appropriate to toss in a few credentials from my professional career…

  • In 2008 I was honored with the Beacon Award from the RMJ Foundation at the California-Nevada Credit Union Annual Convention for the creation of the Substitute Teaching Program. The program allowed credit union professionals to take nationally accredited curriculum into school as a substitute teacher, providing schools with free assistance and educating secondary students on financial literacy and identity theft.
  • In 2000 I was named the Top Sports Columnist by the Hoosier State Press Association (Circulation 40,000 & Under) for my commentary “The General Gets His Day In Court”. The piece was a satirical trial of then Indiana University Men’s Head Basketball Coach Bobby Knight, putting him on trial in the court of public opinion.
  • That same year, the Society of Professional Journalists Indianapolis Pro Chapter, honored me with a second place award for column writing. All columnists – sports, political, consumer, everything – was tossed into one category. If not for a heated political debate on a gigantic fish kill in the White River that year, I might have gotten first.
  • I won numerous writing and design awards with the CNHI Media chain and was a Top 5 finisher in the California Newspaper Publishers Association writing and design categories for several years running. Never won the big one, dog gone it!
  • I was a 2002 recipient of the Wall Street Journal Award at California Baptist University.

I don’t claim to always be right, but then again that isn’t my goal. I just think that exposing and discussing the world and everything in it is a valuable undertaking.

So stick around and let’s see what kind of trouble we can get into. If having some of my father’s genetics are any indication, we have a whole mess of shenanigans ahead of us.

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