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Archive for May, 2010

pretty strange

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May 29th, 2010 at 9:06 pm

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Jonathan Chait: What a Joke!

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Bunk.  As in “debunk.”

One, and a second.

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May 28th, 2010 at 9:17 am

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This Thing That Is RR

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The house in Morgantown finally sold.  Rich Rod is at Michigan to stay.

As hard as I try to stay away, I just can’t.  That is the thing that is so endearing about Rich Rodriguez.  Lloyd Carr and Jim Tressel, as the bloggers write, meh.  Jim Harbaugh and Les Miles are too rah, rah and, in their old age, seem likely to revert to the arrogant Michigan ways.  Most other coaches, although I can’t claim to know much about a lot, seem to have lie-to-your-face, bags under their eyes workaholic, too clean to be true, or other qualities.  Mike Leach is another character, although one player’s father and a big head brought him temporarily down.  RR is a character, and if you give him enough time, he will grow on you.

He too, got too big for West Virginia:  Michigan needed someone, and wanted him, and he wanted change.  No one really stopped to think that it could be different and difficult.  We’re all fools.  The money is big, as is the market and the expectations, and we think the parts are interchangeable; do a huge search and pay the right bucks and everything will be status quo.  Thank God for exceptions.

The human story started with the downward slide—hard to really follow if you consider it just as a top manager running a perennially successful machine, but it was time for a change.  Good change, and maybe difficult change, was needed.  There had to be modernization.  But it was a couple of years in the making, the switch to RR, and the device wasn’t well-oiled, it wasn’t in top form…

The “old ball coach” is a moniker that is now floating around and a reference to it was used the other day by RR.  He is a very good coach with an outstanding record of success.  He relates well to today’s players, is plugged into coaching and recruiting circles, and is attuned to the modern college game.  Damn, people can be shortsighted.  Some, many, at Michigan give him a hard time because he isn’t a “Michigan man” and he says “ain’t never.”

How’s this for a lesson, if not a way of life:  Let’s learn from each other, get along, work at improving, and mature.  RR didn’t inherit an intact pro-style offense or an upper-tier defense.  His immaturity rubbed some existing players the wrong way and that made it worse.  Perhaps people figured that with the big contract he would have a magic wand and it would all improve instantly.  No, it doesn’t work that way and he had to rebuild block by block.  He has, and he is, doing that, and he has never complained and he has never blamed.  The recruiting, even under these circumstances, has been amazing.  The fan base is unquestionably engaged; while the national pundits call for RR’s head most, those who follow (e.g., on the blogs),  see the potential and recognize the situation (i.e., the reasons behind the decline and the signs of improvement).  Under Dave Brandon’s leadership and an immediate challenge almost beyond description, RR is maturing for all to see.  He has to and he will.  Will it show up as wins at the University of Michigan?  He will mature and improve.

And so, the subject of sanctions…  Ann Arbor is a tough place—the academics, the sports, the size, and even the weather; mostly though, it is the people and the expectations.  In this case, the people—coaches, former players, overseers, enforcers, etc.—and the expectations clashed, and it happened publicly and with penalties.  It is better that it happened the way it did than if it had been repressed, covered-up, stonewalled, paid-off, or whatever else could have happened.  One of the best things to come out of it all is the “transparency” employed by Mr. Brandon and others.  Another is that RR, Barwis, et. al., will not do it again.

As Rich Rodriguez said recently, “Everything’s going to be OK.”

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May 26th, 2010 at 9:09 am

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May 23rd, 2010 at 12:03 pm

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Brian Cook

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Here’s the post that made me think.

This one I liked.  It helps to explain the enthusiasm, but…  Poorly done, yes, continued improvement (isn’t that what it is all about?), not necessarily great next year, and I don’t like the “Go Blue” at the end.  Reading more, the overall blog is, well, less than attention-worthy.

*          *          *

Our brief exchange…

Brian,   Thanks!  My thoughts, if you are interested follow.  I wonder what would happen if I were to post this as a diary on your site?   Peter


No no no no, I don’t want to be a blogger.  Brian Cook at MGoBlog is really good at it.

I never really understand why blogs refuse to repeat information learned from pay sites.  I suspect the sites inform customers that if they do, and it is found, that their subscription will be canceled.  Aside from that, how is it different than re-posting other copyrighted information?  Regarding the pay sites, if you are paying them you should have certain privileges.  Why not write “I learned it from an source I cannot disclose.” 

But back to blogging.  It is fun, entertaining, and a way to share and spread information.  MGoBlog has a tremendously devoted fan base and large U-M-based market, as can be seen in the minute-by-minute comments and posts.  That, the forum, is a real asset but is also something that could quickly leave and make a home elsewhere.  Brian’s blogging holds it all together.  Personally, once in a while I find a post (e.g., the one on Morgan Trent et. al.) I like but the rest I just scroll through.  Football and basketball recruiting is something that is fun to watch:  the unpredictable if not irrational hype over sixteen and seventeen year-old kids and the even more curious attention they receive.  Brian’s “signature” (his word) is a play-by-play regurgitation of Michigan football games, which is something, like so much else there, that I have very little interest in.  Again, Brian’s role is to be the glue that holds it together and keeps traffic up.  It is a perilous role because so much of the content is not original, the market (if not the won-loss record) is fickle, the competition is omnipresent, and the overall concept is easily imitated.

MGoBlog is and will be fun to watch.  They-Brian, TomVH, and the gang-are riding a large crest.  Theirs is a big and growing-at-the-moment, market; but it is, per Brian, an immature product if not category.  I remember the online forum with “Angelique S. Chengelis” of the Detroit News when people wrote in with questions about Michigan football.  It was terrible.  In her writing she exhibits no particular flair or talent nor does she display an above-average knowledge of her subject matter.  Nonetheless, she is a trained and experienced journalist and the large newspaper needs a beat reporter to cover Michigan sports.  She has a role and a function.  What will it be with MGoBlog and how can one characterize the professional accomplishments of its proprietors?

Back once again, this time to Morgan Trent.  There was the SNAFU over comments allegedly made by Rich Rodriquez, relating to the NFL draft, which were less than complimentary.  Lloyd Carr joined the circus by apparently doing who knows what.  Brian wrote a great piece recognizing incomplete information and a call for employee loyalty; he didn’t say it, but he strongly implied the truth:  ‘Carr, you had your chance, for whatever the reasons you stepped aside, and now it is RR’s turn.’  Then the News publishes a brief quote from Carr saying the original book quote is a “distortion.”  In response, Brian fires off a complete, seemingly sobbing, retraction.  Why?  His original post suggested this is nothing really new and there are probably kernels of truth in it.  The bigger point still holds:  Get Out of the Way!  (To me, somewhere in it, Brian is saying something along the lines of ‘I don’t want to alienate anyone because these people are my bread and butter.’  I admit, I don’t know, but that is my inference).

Is that the lesson?  Is that really all a blogger can do?  A blogger can point to the bigger picture, bring in some history, write with nice flair, and suggest that there is probably some truth in it.  Me?  I use my blog as a filing cabinet; I do it to collect my thoughts for my real ambitions, such as my business and my hobby of writing.  So what if the blog is your business and your ambition?  Some of us question an ambition based on stealing (okay, using, repeating.) content from elsewhere.  Some of us question a business based on oddities like selling for $20 t-shirts that compliment your business or prohibiting users-customers-from posting new topics on a forum.

As I wrote, I am curious.  Just like recruiting, I am as interested in watching the process as I am in seeing the actual content.

—– Original Message —– From: Brian Cook To: Sent: Wednesday, May 12, 2010 11:51 PM Subject: Re: Just Curious
If you’re talking about the text, that’s like 1,000,000% fair use in all cases. A model so replicated across the internet that suing me is suing the universe. It might happen, but it’s kind of a risk I have to take. I never take more than a couple paragraphs from an entry and believe that the increase attention for the articles is compensation for the quote; I get enough emails these days asking me to mention something that that seems more than reasonable.

The images… problematic. I don’t have a way to pay anyone a reasonable amount without individually emailing photographers, which I don’t have time for. As the industry matures, I likely will, and I will do so.

On 5/11/2010 12:18 AM, wrote:

Hi Brian,   I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years now–like many others, I am energized by the RR era.  Your post on Morgan Trent made me think and I’m going to put something on my site.  It is excellent.  But, a limited blogging approach, $20 t-shirts, the business possibilities, the career “enhancement” potential (e.g., reporting), etc.  And I remember “On Writing Well.”  So, unlike, again, your strong piece on Trent, I haven’t put my thoughts together…   Anyway, one thing in particular has stuck in my brain since I first read that you make money at it and do it full time.  Aren’t you concerned with all the proprietary, copyrighted information on your site?  I mean, how can you get away with–is it ethical and is it right–to reprint or repost content from elsewhere?   Just wondering.  Thanks in advance for your attention.  I hope you will respect my desire not–at this time–to see this posted in a “mailbag” post.   Peter Pfeiffer Evergreen, CO   (my site is more like a filing cabinet; very low traffic; very weak, I admit)  

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May 10th, 2010 at 8:10 pm

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