Good Deal... Two Months Ago

Every sportscaster from Boston to Beijing is telling me I should be estactic over the Celtics move to acquire Kevin Garnett. And, as a fan who hasn't sniffed relevancy in a few years, I am. But someone explain this to me. Here's what Garnett cost before this year's draft:

  • First-round draft pick (#5 overall)
  • Al Jefferson

As I wrote back then, a very reasonable deal. Here's what Garnett's going to cost us if the deal is completed as reported:

  • Al Jefferson
  • Gerald Green
  • Ryan Gomes
  • Theo Ratliff
  • Sebastian Telfair
  • Two future first round picks

Um... I understand the two first round picks since a team with the nucleus of Pierce, Allen, and Garnett should finish pretty high in the standings--those picks aren't going to be lottery picks. I understand why Minnesota would want Ratliff, since his large, expiring contract is perfect for a team openly rebuilding. Jefferson is the best young talented player on the C's roster. Fair.

But it begins to get a bit insane (read: Herschel Walker, Ricky Williams) when you add Green and Gomes--both of whom, if memory serves, are first round picks. And both showed solid progress that season--Green averaged over 10 points, coming on late in the season; Gomes averaged 12 points and 6 boards. Its Gomes for me that really pushes this over the edge--I mean, don't you have to start five players (not, as the Celtics seem to assume, 3)?

KG is great, and assuming three 30+ year olds can stay healthy for 82+, the Celtics become an instant favorite in the East, who hasn't seen an inside presence as dominant as KG since the first time Shaq played in Florida (yes, I'll go on record, Shaq in Miami is among the most overrated athletes ever). But the Celtics are trading away a young, and with exception of Telfair, solid starting five for one player who hasn't committed to a long-term deal. I am a Bostonian. I understand the win now mentality. But don't we have to at least think of the future?

Respected Boston columnist Bill Simmons (who's consistently entertaing, BTW), disagrees with me as to the "talent level" of some of these "young stars." Go Boston. Go relevancy. Go not sucking for another year. Kevin Garnett just might walk through that door.


Sliding Header

As I mentioned in my last post, I've created a "sliding header" technique: a CSS method for handling screen resize. Since buying a mac and regularly using Safari, I've been a bit more sensitive to the need to create pages that handle different screen sizes. My newest solution involves sliding a background image under the regular header text. My new course website shows the technique in action (try viewing the page at full screen and then at half screen--though I haven't tested it in Firefox or Explorer yet).

Here's how the trick works. First, the HTML code:

<div id="container">
<div id="header">
<h1> English 106 </h1>
<p>Fall 2007 <br />
Instructor: Marc C. Santos</p>
<h2>Composition 2.0: Rhetoric Goes Digital</h2>

Essentially, we have two divisions to work with, a header division, which contains some relevant information that we want to display on every page, and a container division, which contains not only our header, but also several other divisions: navigation, content, footer, etc. Whenever I code a site, I have one "catch-all" division called container which houses all of the page's content.

Next, the image file

the sun shining through some clouds: a metaphor for an english class (?)

Notice that the image file, which is 200 pixels high, includes the border (7pixels). This means that, if you want to duplicate my CSS code below and insert your own image, then your original picture must be 186 pixels high. I downloaded this image from Flickr and then cropped it to the size I needed.

O.k., now the CSS for div#container (its only two lines):

div#container {
border:1px solid #12385D;

While the "min-width" command won't work in IE 6.0 and earlier, all modern browsers (including IE 7, if memory serves correctly) won't allow the page to shrink below 520 pixels, the requisite size we need for our sliding image.

The CSS for div#header:

div#header {
padding-left: 12px;
border:2px solid #FFFF00;

The "overflow" property will keep everything contained just in case someone needs to increase the page's text size (CTRL + +), the postition-right technique pushes the image to the right side of the header division. Everything else above is pretty straightforward. Presto, easy way to code a clean page that can resize to fit a user's browsing style. In case you're looking to borrow the code, here's the source.


Victory-is-Mine: New Website

I've finished the draft for my fyc course this fall. I'm particularly pleased with the sliding image header technique I "invented" for this site--tutorial coming soon. I still have some touch ups (applying a min-width to the content area, thinking about subheading font size, and touching up the definition and unorderlists in the syllabus), but most of the design decisions are finalized.


Standards Compliant URLs

I haven't put up a technology-oriented post in awhile, but, then again, I haven't been doing much web design this summer. This week I've started working on my course website for the fall, and thought I might share a cool, free web2.0 tool that really helps with standards compliance: tinyURL.

Next semester I am requiring my students to read one book on the social / economic / cultural / political / legal impact of technology. I created a list of possible books (and am looking for more--please leave suggestions in the comments) for my syllabus, creating a link to the amazon page for each suggestion. Since students will end up writing a review of the book for amazon, this seems like a good place to have them start. The problem: Amazon uses hideously long URLs full of the kind of code that drives the w3c (x)HTML standards validator crazy. As in 150 errors crazy. Solution: tinyURL. TinyURL creates a redirect that it stores on its servers--users will never know that they've clicked on this redirect. Amazon looses the page rank benefits of the link, but, hey, that's what they get for not providing standards- compliant URLs in the first place.


Google's Candidate?

TechCrunch recently published an article on congressman Ron Paul, a presidential candidate who is running a digital campaign. Paul is gathering support through all the Web2.0 usual suspects: a typepad blog, digg, eventful, flickr, meetup, MySpace, and YouTube. The article highlights the fact that Paul is gaining internet popularity despite the fact that he has been ignored by (and in turn is ignoring) the mainstream media. While he probably doesn't have a chance to win, the fact that he's getting attention in online polls show the growing power of the digital community. I'm waiting for a candidate to lay down a digital platform [for net neutrality, against DRM, for creative commons, etc.]

In his interview, Paul has a slight libertarian bend--I like him because he's for voluntary contracts (meaning the government should not have a hand in regulation), and includes gay marriage as a kind of contract. I get a bit queezy when he's against federal regulation of consumer activism. And his comment that anti-gun laws are in part responsible for 9/11 is insane (around 15 minutes in): if people could carry guns, then they could shoot terrorism. Gun laws prevent poor inner city blacks from properly defending themselves. He's also against the department of education, stressing that education should be a private enterprise open to the market economy. While I might be against NCLB, I'm more against the idea that education should have anything to do with profit margins. He's also got an isolationist bent--essentially American troops shouldn't be anywhere but in America. That seems a bit too idealistic for me in this age, to be a leader in a global economy probably requires a global presence. Umm... I won't be voting for you.

So, there's probably a reason why this guy hasn't shown up on the mainstream radar. He's a wee bit crazy at times. But it is interesting to see a candidate gathering attention [21st century gold] through strictly digital means.



This sounded a lot cooler than it played, but if you have 15 minutes and a bit of nostalgia, check out Simsponize Me. The program is a bit picky about what photos it will accept (I ended up cropping another photo of me) and I have a funny feeling that everyone ends us looking quite similar. But, as viral Web2.0 marketing goes, this is a pretty good idea by Burger King and the Simpsons crew (although after BK included the King as an unlockable coach in the last version of Fight Night, I am skeptical toward any of their marketing ploys...).

Anywho, here's the finished product:

Santos in Simpson form


8 Random Facts

I have been tagged for 8 random facts by Wishydig. There's rules:

  1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
  2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  3. People who are tagged need to write in their own blog about their eight things and include these rules in the post.
  4. At the end of your post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
  5. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

Now that those are out of the way:

  1. The first song I learned to play on guitar was "Patience" by GnR.
  2. The only movie I've ever seen in a theater more than once is Die Hard.
  3. On my 15th birthday my dad took me to my first job, working in the kitchen of an Portugeuse/Italian restaurant. I worked there for four years.
  4. In college I could beat Doom II on hard mode without dying and without using any cheat codes.
  5. I have won my fantasy football league for two straight years.
  6. I was extremely skinny in high school and college. So skinny that my dad used to call me skeletor. He hung a sign up at our graduation rehersal. It was embarrasing.
  7. I detest the telephone. In any given month I probably talk on the phone a collected six times. Almost all of these conversations are with my mother. One might be with my wife (asking me to pick something up from the store, etc). I have not talked to my best friend(s) since Christmas. They know me. They understand.
  8. I have to force myself to drink alcohol. Don't know when this happened. Certainly wasn't a problem in my 20's, now I can go weeks without drinking. I have been trying to have a glass of wine or a beer every night after dinner. I'd rather have a bowl of ice cream.

Most of the people I would tag have already been tagged, but I'll hit up:



I saw the new Transformers movie. The special effects are outstanding--without question the best CGI I have ever seen. When I walked out to the parking lot, I thought my car was going to become a 50' robot. Became immensly disappointed half way home.

Actually, the autobots and decepticons look so good, that I think the movie will look much better in HD. Non computer generated things didn't have a high enough resolution on the big screen-they looked a bit too blurry.

The acting and the dialogue isn't bad, but gets repetitive and predictable. It seems at a few times that they thought I wanted to see a budding teen romance rather than 50' tall robots. Mistake. Give me the robots, please.

Overall, the movie was definately worth the price of admission. A few good goosebump moments. All set for a sequel.


Victory is (sorta) Ours!

SoundExchange (representing the music industry) has agreed to re-think its fee structure for internet radio, 16 days before the killer rate increase. DiMA has a mixed review to the announcement. While many people are questioning the move, it at least suggests that SoundExchange is willing to come to the table and is a bit fearful to take the matter before Congress.


All-Star Fever

The official All-Star rosters come out tonight, but I wanted to go on record with my picks. So here's how I spent the Red Sox game today. To crank up the difficulty, I'm limiting myself to a 27 (the real all-star roster is over 30) man roster, and I'll represent every team. First, some concluding thoughts.

Baseball's claim to be cleaning-up the game might be true, but I'd check the baseballs. This might be a new dead-ball era--right now only two players are on pace to hit 40 homeruns (A-Rod, Fielder, both might reach 50; Dunn, Griffey, Morneau, and Howard might reach 40 if they get hot) By comparison, 11 hitters crossed the 40 mark in 2006, 9 in 2005, 9 in 2004, 10 in 2003--and three guys finished with 39. 16 guys made it in 1996 (right after the strike) and 13 in 1998, the year of the great chase. So, call me conspiracy theorist, but I think they are tinkering with the ball...again. The last time there were two or fewer 40 HR players? The strike season: 1994 (they only played 113-115 games). Before that its 1992 (2 players). No one reached 40 in 1991.

In the American league, I didn't initially award an all-star to one team: the Royals. National League: Pirates, Washington, Cubs, and Arizona didn't get an all-star. Washington is the worst--no one deserves it. No one is even close. I went with Scheinde because it was easier to cut a catcher than Ryan Howard or Hanley Ramirez (WSH's "best" player is D. Young a 1B-man). But, based on my experience, I'm expecting bigger debates in the National league than the American. The National league is top-heavy, there's 5-6 stacked teams and then a bunch of JV programs. The American League has more depth.

American League


  • Victor Martinez, CLE (a close race between he and Posada, but Martinez has more total bases, much better K-BB ratio, more RBI, and is considerably better in the field. And he's not a Yankee.)

First Base

  • David Ortiz, BOS (sure, he only plays 1B seven times a season, but who would you rather have hitting late in a game?)

Second Base

  • Brian Roberts, BAL (close race with Polanco, Roberts has 25 steals, more TBs, and a .412 OBP)

Third Base

  • A-Rod, NYY (Sure, I can't stand him. But I respect a +1.1 OPS)


  • Orlando Cabrera, LAA (This is not Yankee-hating, I had Jeter until I looked at the numbers: Cabrera has a better avg, the same amount of runs, 10 more RBI, two more steals and a much better SB% and he's committed eight fewer errors. He deserves it.)


  • Magglio Ordonex, DET (Any question? .370-13-68)
  • Vlad the Impaler, LAA (Yup, he swings at pitches around his ankles. And leads AL outfielders in RBIs)
  • Ichiro, SEA (A really close call with Rios and Hunter. But Ichiro leads the AL in batting and has 23 steals)


  • Posada, C, NYY
  • Youkilis/Morneau, 1B (see bench below)
  • Lowell, 3B, BOS
  • Jeter, SS, NYY
  • Guillen, SS, DET
  • Hunter, OF, MIN
  • Rios, OF, TOR
  • Crawford, OF, TB

Starting Pitcher

  • Dan Haren, OAK (Haren is having a Pedro circa 1999 type year: sub 2.00 ERA, sub 1.00 WHIP, sub .20 OBA)


  • Santana, MIN
  • Beckett, BOS
  • Sabathia, CLE
  • Verlander, DET (Gaudin on OAK was next in line, if he had more run support he might have had it)
  • Meche, KC (Well, I need a Royal--and his numbers are comparible to the other top-starters, his sub .500 record is a product of that awesome Royal line-up
  • Putz, SEA (doesn't get a lot of press, but he's lights out with a ridiculous .61 WHIP)
  • Papelbon, BOS (Nastiest splitter in the game, .87 WHIP)
  • Gagne, TEX (Hasn't pitched in too many games, but my vote for Comeback Player of the Year)
  • Jenks, CP, CWS
  • Okajima, BOS (Should win ROY, but I don't think a non-closer ever has. His ERA, .92, is lower than Jenks and Rodriguez's WHIP)

Toughest Cuts

  • Morneau /Youkilis, 1B, MIN/BOS (Another solid year, but Morneau's RBI numbers don't push him past Guillen. I might be "homer-ing" him behind Youkilis, but Youk has a .46 point AVG lead and an over .50 point OBP lead. Morneau does have more than twice as many HRs and 22 more RBI--this could go either way. I expect Morneau will make the team and Youk will win the final fan vote)
  • Polanco, 2B, DET (A few hits and AVG points above Youkilis, but trails significantly in HR, RBI, OBS, and SLUG)
  • F. Rodriguez, CP, LAA ((Great, but not as great as the other guys, plus I needed a White Sock, so Jenks gets the edge)

National League


  • R. Martin, LAD (Front runner in every category)

First Base

  • Prince Fielder, MIL (Arguing this destroys any credibility you might ever have discussing baseball with me)

Second Base

  • Chase Uttley, PHI (Monster RBI and OPS numbers)

Third Base

  • M. Cabrera, FLA (close race, but Cabrera is the best across the board)


  • J. Rollins, PHI (Like Cabrera, Rollins is near the top of every category at a position with a number of superstars)


  • Matt Holiday, COL (Almost 200 TB by the break, start'em)
  • Barry Bonds, SF (Talk about whether he belongs is ridiculous. His OBP is still above .500. He leads baseball in OPS. He's hitting over .300. He's taken human growth hormone. Deal with it.)
  • Ken Griffey, CIN (Wait, is it 2007 or 1997? Wouldn't know by Griffey's numbers)


  • Schneider, C, WSH (Definately doesn't deserve it, but I need a National and there's no super injustice at C--otherwise I'm cutting Ryan Howard for Delmon Young, Hanley Ramirez for Rafael Belliard, or Trevor Hoffman for any pitcher on the Nats).
  • Howard, IB, PHI
  • Pujols, IB, STL
  • H. Ramirez, SS, FLA
  • J. Reyes, SS, NYM (Best lead-off hitter in the NL)
  • Hardy, SS, MIL
  • Jones, 3B, ATL (+.600 SLUG and +1.000 OPS almost push him past Cabrera)
  • Lee, OF, HOU

Starting Pitcher

  • Jake Peavy, SD (a few WHIP points and a lot of strikeouts ahead of Penny)


  • Brad Penny, LAD
  • C. Young, SD
  • J. Maine, NYM
  • B. Webb, ARI (I intially had Sheets beating him out due to his high BB-K ratio and Sheets' sub-.300 OBA)
  • T. Gorzelanny, PIT (Need a Pirate, otherwise its Webb)
  • Saito, LAD
  • Wagner, NYM
  • Isringhausen, STL
  • Hoffman, SD
  • Cordero, MIL

Toughest Cuts

  • McCann, C, ATL
  • Lee, 1B, CHI (Great AVG and OBP, but power numbers don't compete at this position)
  • Hudson, 2B, ARI
  • Phillips, 2B, CIN
  • Wright, 3B, NYM
  • A.Ramirez, 3B, CHI
  • Renteria, SS, ATL (Has the best OPS for his position in the NL, but doesn't have the speed to compete with the other superstars at this position; a victim of the fact that the entire NL bench could be 1B and SS)
  • Dunn, OF, CIN (lost his spot to Soriano, needed a Cub)
  • B. Sheets, SP, MIL (Would have made it, but I needed a Diamondback, so Webb beat him out)
  • R. Oswalt, SP, HOU (ERA and WHIP is higher than the other top pitchers)
  • C. Hamels, SP, PHI (Outstanding K-BB ratio, but his ERA and WHIP is up there compared to the top choices, allowed 19 HR)
  • T. Hudson, SP, ATL (Like Oswalt and Hamels, I can make a good argument-but not a great one)
  • Jalverde, CP, ARI (Great numbers, but closers shouldn't give up four homeruns... unless they're Saito or Wagner, in which case that's the only way the other team has scored)


American League:

  • Cabrera at short. Michael Young has better career numbers, but I think Cabrera is having a better season

That's my only big AL snub. I can see why Polanco made it, why Ivan Rodriquez made it, and why Manny made it. I do think Okijima was deserving, and they've put set-up men in the game before.

National League:

  • Hanley Ramirez
  • Jimmy Rollins
  • Ryan Howard

There's more, but come on. Orlando Hudson over Rollins? Insane. Derrick Lee over Howard? Boo.