Well, this is sure a weird year in football... and the lowly Fighting Elvii are taking the brunt of the downs and being flayed by the freaky ups. Now 0-2, the Elvii have dropped consecutive games to Larry Craig's Wide Stance and the Dark Side by a combined 31 points. Worse yet, after executing a blockbuster trade with LCWS before Week 2, sending LaDanian Tomlinson to the Men's Room Prowler's for Willie Parker, Laveranues Coles, Calvin Johnson and an anonymous encounter to be named later, the Elvii couldn't even avail themselves of the sweet schadenfreude entailed by Tomlinson's sorry Week 2 performance at NWE: yeoman, but unspectacular performances, by Roethlisberger, McGahee, Driver, and Akers combined to give the MSP Toe-Tappers a 12-point win over Grendel's Mother for the Evil Division's sole 2-0 record.
As an indication of just how whacked the first two weeks of the NFL season have been for the FFO of the GCFFFL, a chart of FER (Fantasy Efficiency Rating) of the top twenty backs in the GCFFL:
|3||Barber III, Marion||8||34||4.25|
Lo that I didn't play James in Week 2, but who knew the Arizona Cardinals would play so tough against Seattle? Or that Chris Brown would tank in Week 2 (well... that I should have known).
In other news, Jon Kitna claims that ∃!x[All-Powerful(x) & Eternal(x) & Partisan w/r/t Sports(x)], AKA "God", helped him get back into the game against Minnesota. It looked to me like it was a combined 10 turnovers (including a stat-line for MN QB Tarvaris Jackson that included 0 passing TDs and 4 INTs) and the complete inability to make a field goal that made that game suck so badly. Turns out ∃!x was against me and my team. I hate it when that happens.
Reader Animadversion (Warning May Contain Wonk-like Substance) Alert! In his TMQ column this week, Gregg Easterbrook runs a deeps rant against the Big Three automakers for their continued recalcitrance, vis. higher fuel efficiency standards. It's a deep play for a big gain--but it gets called back for Illegal Stat Downfield. In his piece, Easterbrook links to an IIHS study, and uses the data therein to make the following claim: "And although being in a heavy SUV might make the driver feel safer, the reality is the opposite." Uh, not according to this IIHS study, which has a better break-down of the numbers than the one linked to by Easterbrook. In fact, you are MUCH safer in an SUV than any other type of vehicle than a Lincoln Continental.
OTOH, as this chart from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change shows, the U.S. is embarrassingly far behind other industrialized nations in fuel efficiency. Far from needing some "cold fusion"-like breakthrough in technology to achieve respectable fuel efficiency, the rest of the world is already there.
Now, I've driven some of those tiny Euro-cars. If you're winding your way around a Greek island, they're fantastic: peppy, nice room in the hatchback, and can even seat four adults and a kid or two on a lap while climbing switchbacks coming back from the beach. But if a Lincoln Navigator blew by me in one of those things on I-94, it would probably throw me right into the ditch. Which is why, even though there's already a SmartCar dealership in the Twin Cities, I won't be rushing out to buy one.
So, OK, we're not going to get Euro mileage in the U.S.--but if Lexus sells hybrid sports cars and SUVs, the argument isn't about the kind of car we want (or need) to buy, but what kind of powertrains we're willing to put in them. In fact, I recently came across this fascinating story from the racing world, at the After Gutenberg blog:
A converted Toyota Supra GT won a 24-hour endurance race in Japan. Some automotive writers have gone so far as to state that a new era had dawned when the specially modified Toyota Supra HV-R hybrid race car won the Tokashi. The ultracapacitor-equipped Toyota Supra HV-R coupe became the first hybrid to win the 24-hour endurance car race held at Japan’s Tokachi International Speedway. The hybrid Supra finished 616 laps of the 5.1-kilometer (roughly three-mile) course—19 more laps than the second-place, non-hybrid, Nissan Fairlady Z.
That's a hell of a lot sexier than a Prius! So, I guess we'll leave it to the Big Three to bitch and whine, while the rest of the world kicks our ass.