All Sports Are Merely Entertainment

My attitudes are changing towards the sports world.

I was reminded of that watching the Arizona-Wisconsin regional final Saturday night. The Wildcats had a chance to win the game in the overtime period, but the officials decided that would be a good time to call an offensive foul that’s rarely, if ever, called in potential game-winning situation. It would certainly not have been called that way in the NBA, where usually the players are allowed to decide outcomes of specific games.

Later that night, there was I guess what you could call a small riot in Tucson, Arizona, as angry Wildcat fans voiced their displeasure. I’m not saying that this is the right thing to do by any means…I merely am saying that’s what happened.

Recently, I read a book on Kindle called “The Fix Is In” by Brian Tuohy, and I recommend it to all sports fans. It was written a few years ago, and it brilliantly explains how sports can be manipulated, if not fixed. It also explains one very important point: while it is illegal for teams or athletes to attempt to rig games, there’s nothing to prevent the sports leagues themselves from doing the same thing.

When Mark Cuban says, for instance, that the NFL may implode within ten years, I wouldn’t doubt it. Yes, he is an NBA owner who often gets in trouble by making allegations the league chooses to fine him for. With CBS augmenting its NFL football package to add Thursday night games on top of its Sunday afternoon contests, the day is getting closer (I feel) for the NFL to be embroiled in a major scandal in its near future.

The fans can make it academic by stop going to the games, but in doing so, you ask for fans to shun what they love. Not very realistic that something like that will happen. We’ll just have to prepare for the repercussions once they come, or if they ever do.

Flashback Friday: “Taxi” by Harry Chapin

Harry Chapin might be best known for “Cat’s In The Cradle,” but “Taxi” is in my IPod playlist. It tells a hell of a story that most of us can relate to.

As always, have a great weekend.


I was just shy of six years old when I visited the Florida Keys on a summer vacation in 1977 with my parents and a couple of friends of theirs, staying in Marathon, Florida to be precise.

I don’t think I-75 had been built all the way to the east coast of Florida by ’77 (which makes sense, because the Pinellas portion of I-275 wasn’t built all the way until the mid-1980’s) so my parents drove down to the Keys via Orlando and the Florida Turnpike all night one Saturday evening. Most of the time, I slept in this van which belonged to a friend of my dad’s, and I remember being awakened somewhere on the road to have breakfast early on a Sunday morning.

As we got closer and closer to our destination, I noticed that we crossed this town called Homestead that, of course, was south of Miami and was impacted heavily by Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Somehow, I got Homestead and “home instead” mixed up. Hey, give me a break, I was five years old and was a proud graduate of kindergarten.

I asked, “You mean, we’re back home?”

Keep Your Eye On The Ball

While we are all still watching in the events of the missing Malaysian airliner in the Indian Ocean…keep your eye on the Russia.

I’m looking at the news (on Sunday night as I type this), and I’m seeing that the Russians now want OTHER pieces of the Ukraine for their own.

What the heck happened to “All we want is Crimea?”

Just saying.

Have a good Monday, everybody.

The Art Of Hen Pecking

Striking a pose with my IPhone, from December 9, 2013.
Striking a pose with my IPhone, from December 9, 2013.

My mother wanted to get an IPhone yesterday morning, so she brought along an expert to make sure she didn’t get taken advantage of: me.

By the time we got to the Verizon store here in Pinellas Park, there were more people working there (three) then they had customers (two). They show her an IPhone 5c, let her pick out a plan, give her a screen protector and a nice case.

And this is where the fun begins. Instead of ringing her up and letting her go, the visit to Verizon becomes something resembling the Spanish Inquisition.

They show her a Samsung tablet. Not an IPad, but a Samsung tablet. She wasn’t interested.

They ask her about her home phone. They tell her they have a better plan. She wasn’t interested.

They ask about her cable. They tell her they have a better cable system via FIOS. She wasn’t interested.

You can see where this is going, right?

Not to be deterred, they tell her about a home security system. She wasn’t interested.

My mother is now shooting me exasperated looks, as if to say, “I just came in here to buy a new phone.”

I shoot her a look back as if to say, “I’m noticing this.”

Before they give her the IPhone and the accessories that come with it, they remind me that they have a special for those with other phone carriers if they switch over to Verizon. Namely, me.

And yes, I wasn’t interested, especially seeing how they treated my mom as if she had won the Powerball lottery.

Random Tips For Transcriptionists


As I was doing some transcription work yesterday, I was thinking of the following question: what would be good tips for anyone who wanted to get in the field.

The most important thing: get a foot pedal! Obviously, using your feet to listen frees up your hands to type.

The second most important thing: Express Scribe, or other software that can edit audio files to make them more hearable. Express Scribe is very friendly with most foot pedals, just plug it in, set it up, and go.

Quality headphones are also very important. I currently have Sennheiser over-your-head phones that I found on Amazon for $25. The earbuds and earphones that come with most smartphones, while reliable for your phone, don’t work all that well with transcription work, where the quality can sometimes not be up to snuff.  Improvise and overcome!

Don’t try to do a large file in one sitting. Be sure to take breaks every hour or so. I usually take a ten minute break every hour, but if the breaks interfere with deadlines, take a 15 minute break every two hours, or less. But at least take five minutes an hour to get coffee, soft drinks, do house chores, whatever you feel your need to. Even short breaks can refresh the mind.

The way I transcribe is to listen to about five words or a couple of seconds at a time, type the words out, and repeat the process until I’m finished.

Once you’re done, play the audio file again, and read along with what you’ve typed. When you find errors, stop, correct, and move on.

Don’t let words you can’t hear and can’t understand take up a lot of time. With Rev, I mark these events as [inaudible] or [crosstalk], or I give a phonetic spelling. Try and catch these words on the second pass, and don’t let them take up any more than a minute or so.  It’s more important to get a “rough draft” on paper than anything else, psychologically.

Lastly, if you work somewhere where you’re being graded, don’t let rough starts get you down. When I started doing this a few months ago, I knew a lot less than I know now. Unless you have prior experience, you’re going to make mistakes merely because you may not realize the errors you make.

Success on your journey if you decide this path for yourself.