Before We Attack Mark Sanchez…

To give some context: the New York Jets lost last night on Monday Night Football 14-10 to the Tennessee Titans and eliminated themselves from playoff contention.

(DISCLAIMER: I am just a fan on the outside looking in; I have no special knowledge.  Where I’m speculating, I’ll try to make it clear)

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Photo by TexKap/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Mark Sanchez was horrible last night.  Four interceptions do not give your team much of a chance to win the game.

But what happened?  When he was drafted, Sanchez was touted as the golden child; the “Sanchize.”  Now, he’s so horrible, he can’t even string together a drive without a 3 and out or an interception.

It would be good to remember some history here, to understand how this happened.

For the first two seasons Sanchez was in the NFL, the Jets made it to the playoffs both seasons.  This was because of a couple of things: The Jets defense was one of the best in the NFL at the time (now they’re merely “OK”), so even if Sanchez made a mistake, the defense could get him the ball back pretty quickly. Also, he had a pretty solid backfield, and a decent receiving corps.

Not only was this all dismantled (some of which was due to mismanagement–see Eric Barton and Chris Baker), but there was something that happened to Sanchez himself.

For the first three seasons, the Jets’ offensive coordinator was Brian Schottenheimer.  It is my belief that Schottenheimer was content to let Sanchez be Sanchez; to let him play the way that had gotten him so much success in USC.  However, halfway through Sanchez’s second season, Schottenheimer was pressured into making Sanchez a more “traditional” NFL quarterback.  It was at this point, I believe, Sanchez started to fall apart.

Then, last season, Sanchez had one of the worst seasons ever.  He had a total of 18 INTs last season, fifth worst in the NFL.  His QB Rating was 78.2, 17th worst of the 44 QBs that had more than 100 attempts last year.  Again, I believe this is because the coaches and management were trying to make Sanchez into something that he’s not: someone who takes unnecessary risks; in the first 1.5 seasons, he would have just run with the ball, now he’s trying to throw it into questionable situations.

After such a lackluster season, he was concerned about his job, and rightly so.  Then, two things happened: they replaced Schottenheimer with Tony Sparano, a guy who was fired from his previous job as head coach of the Dolphins because he didn’t seem to have a basic grasp of tactics; and they traded for Tim Tebow for a six-pack of beer and a pack of smokes.

Now, think of this from Sanchez’s perspective: he has just had a very bad season.  He knows that the very instant he throws his first interception, or makes any other questionable play, the fans will call for “Tebow Time.”  He knows he’s operating on borrowed time, and he has to perform.  Essentially, the only way he can keep his job would be if he were to suddenly become Joe Montana.  It won’t happen, but I believe that’s what he’s thinking.

During this past season, Sanchez has been spotty at best, but the coaching hasn’t helped; the minute he starts to get into a rhythm, it seems he gets pulled out and Tebow gets put in.  It happened last night: he strung a couple of decent plays together (I think it was one for 12 yds, followed almost immediately with one for 22 yds), and Sparano pulled him out, and put Tebow in.  I don’t know how he responded to it, but I know I would have been frustrated.

So, before we attack Mark Sanchez (I know there’s nothing Jets fans love to do more than dump on our QBs), we have to ask ourselves this question: What has gotten him here?  How did this happen?

The answer to me is obvious: Sanchez has been poorly mismanaged from the beginning, and Schottenheimer was probably the only good thing that happened to Sanchez since coming to the NFL, and they traded down to get Sparano (who wasn’t a good head coach and is not a good offensive coordinator in my lay opinion).  So if any change has to occur, it must happen with the coaching staff.  Sparano definitely needs to be fired, and probably Rex Ryan, too.  This should happen before the Jets get rid of Sanchez.

DC Universe Online

Batman

Batman in DCUO

I’ve been playing DC Universe Online (hereafter to be called “DCUO”) a lot lately.  It is a Massive Multiplayer online game based on the DC Comics franchise.  It allows you to play a superhero (or supervillain) and interact with all of the DC characters we’ve all come to know and love: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, the Flash, the Joker, Lex Luthor, Bizarro, Gorilla Grodd, Circe, and so on.  It goes by three different models: Free-to-play (free, but you don’t get all of the character options), Premium (where you get some but not all of the character options on a pay basis), and Legendary (where you pay monthly, and get access to all character options and DLC).

It’s a fun game, and it’s nice to play in the settings that I read about in comics (Metropolis, Gotham City).

However, I can’t help but feel that the game has missed an opportunity to make the game even more fun.  For example:

First of all, all players should be encouraged (if not outright forced) to play both a hero and a villain character, at the very least.

Secondly, all players are PvP (there is an option to turn off PvP, but that’s no fun).

Third, and this is most important: The villains need to be cut loose after a certain level.  There just aren’t enough opportunities for the villains to cause mayhem.  Where are the banks that villains can rob to finance their schemes?  Where are the museums holding artifacts of arcane power for a villain to try to steal?  The armored cars for a simpler villain to knock off?  What about hirelings/henchmen?

Let’s describe what I’m thinking about:

The Villainous Victoria (a mystic blaster) decides that she needs some cash to make improvements to her Sanctum Sanctorum.  She

the villainous Victoria

The Villainous Victoria

and a handful of thugs break into the Gotham Bank on River and Third in Gotham City.  As soon as she does, a timer starts.  She has a base time of 2:00 to finish whatever she is doing (this time can be increased due to her powers and skills, and decreased based on how well the bank is protected).  After the timer is up, all of the heroes within a few blocks of the bank (within a reasonable character level range) are made aware of the robbery, and get an opportunity to stop it.

If Villainous Victoria gets captured, she should have to log off (or sit in prison), until she either busts herself out, or is busted out by her henchmen, or 8 hours, whichever happens first.

If Villainous Victoria gets away during the robbery, she can use the money she gets to buy the demonic portal she needs for her plans to succeed, make improvements on her base (the demon summoning room is needing a fresh coat of paint–that virgin blood gets everywhere), hire more henchmen, and so on.

Any other ideas?

On the First Amendment of the US Constitution

First, let me get a legal disclaimer out of the way:  I am not a lawyer.  I am a layperson who has an opinion and who can read English.  Do not use this post as any kind of legal advice.  Seek out a lawyer for that.

Let me first begin by giving the full text of the First Amendment to the US Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It is specifically the “Religion” clause that I’m going to tackle.  Note what this says about the “establishment of religion.”  This requires a bit of historical context.

The original colonies that made up what would eventually become the United States of America were originally people who had been persecuted in England due to their religious beliefs: Quakers would settle in Pennsylvania, Catholics settled in Maryland, Puritans would settle in Massachusetts, and so on.

The United States was not and is not one faith under God.  It was many faiths: Catholic and Protestant alike.

England, at the time all of this was happening, specifically had an “official” religion for much of its more recent history.  This was usually the Church of England (at least since the reign of Henry VIII), but at various times has also been Catholic (pre-Henry, but also during the time of Mary I, Elizabeth I’s half-sister and at various other times), and whatever the hell Oliver Cromwell was.  But there was hardly a time in England’s history that it didn’t have an “official” religion.

For the US, this Amendment made it specifically clear that our Founding Fathers weren’t brooking any of that nonsense.  They specifically forbade Congress from establishing any religion as an “official” religion of the US, mostly because they knew that no one would agree what that religion should be.  The solution: it should be none of them.

Okay, to put it another way.  Let’s say you had walked into a courthouse and had seen this on the wall (assuming you are Christian, that is):

In the name of Allah, Most gracious, Most merciful
Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds
Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
Master of the Day of Judgement
Thee do we worship, and Thine aide we seek
Show us the straight way
The way of those on whom Thou has bestowed thy Grace, those whose portion
Is not wrath, and who do not go astray.

–Qu’ran

(source)

What would your reaction be?  For a Muslim, this would be a mindful prayer, and would have a specific meaning to him.  To you (a Christian), this might be an effrontery.

So, before you get up in arms about how you’re being persecuted for being a Christian because the Supreme Court ruled that you cannot post the Ten Commandments in front of your town hall, understand that this is to protect your own rights as a Christian/Muslim/Jew/Pagan/Heathen/Atheist.

A Man Playing Female Characters

One of my Christmas presents this year was a gift card, which I promptly used to reinstate my Eve Online account.  I decided to start from scratch and create three new characters, hoping to find one that sticks.

The first new character I created was Erinn Ferguson, a Gallente field tech

.Erinn Ferguson

I didn’t realize that you could modify the wireframe subtly when I created her, and so she looks kinda young to me (maybe 18 or 19).

Next, I created Tom O’Malley (a Gallente shipping magnate):

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This one, I made as close to me as I could, given the limits of the client and apparently my video card (or lack thereof).

Then there is my newest character which I just made this week.  This is Mila Shardani, a True Amarr. I haven’t decided what I’m doing with her yet.

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This one I gave all of the sexy.  Since she is Amarr, I gave her a little modesty, or else I would also have made her wearing as little clothing as I felt I could get away with.

There are some who would criticize me for this, as if I’m misleading people into thinking that I’m a woman.

First of all, I half-jokingly tell people that since the perspective as you play these characters is in the third person, I would rather stare at a woman’s ass all day than a man’s ass.

Secondly, I am reminded of a joke I read somewhere, “The internet: Where the men are boys, the women are men, and the children are FBI agents.”  In other words: caveat emptor.

Thirdly, I don’t play the female characters any differently than I do the male characters.  Essentially, they are males with boobs.

What do you think?