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Computers and Coaches

It was an eventful week. Things were set in motion that led to my achieving a greater understanding of certain Apple commercials. There also popped up on the Net some rather harsh words concerning the abilities of everybody’s favorite Great NFL Legend. And they [me, actually] call it the Dead Zone.

First off, there was the little matter of my computer. I did not seem to have an operable primary one. It seems when the Computer Barn Full of Hacks applies a limited warranty to their repair work, they know of what they speak.

After they had called themselves repairing what is now known as one of my old computers over a period of two weeks, said repair lasted, to the day, just as long as it took for the amount of time they warranted their work to expire. It certainly looked a lot like a planned obsolescence worthy of Detroit in the Sixties and Seventies, attitudes that have kept me driving Hondas, Toyotas and Isuzus for the past thirty years.

While the Computer Barn Full of Hacks were willing to take another look at their handiwork, for an additional fee, they were much more willing to sell me a new computer. It does seem an unusual method for drumming up repeat business.

It did not work, either. While I very quickly determined that it was indeed time to purchase a new computer, I just as quickly determined where I was not going to buy it.

A new computer was bought and eventually I figured out how to get it up and running and connected to the Internet. Hitting the ‘On’ button for the first time caused me to achieve first contact with the Vista operating system, the latest from those great guys at the Microsoft Corporation.

I have had experience over the years with a number of flavors of Windows. They include pretty much all of them, from Windows 3.1 to 98 to XP and probably a few others I can’t seem to recall off of the top of my head. After a period of time and a few profanity-laced tirades, I generally figure them out, usually just in time for Microsoft to introduce a new one. Their sense of timing is honed to an edge every bit as sharp as that of the Computer Barn Full of Hacks.

In possession of no advanced computer training whatsoever, I generally muddle my way through figuring them out via trial and error and large numbers of e-mails sent to my brother, the computer brains of the family. That has mostly worked again this time and about twenty hours over the last few days spent in front of what is really a terrific new 20” LCD monitor has convinced me that Vista seems to be a pretty decent operating system. With one notable exception.

I have yet to figure out how to disable those infernal security pop-ups. These seem to have been designed by someone at Microsoft obviously distraught at being born too late to participate in the demand side of the Spanish Inquisition and was looking for the next best thing. They range from annoying to infuriating.

Virtually every action asked of the computer generates a pop-up asking my permission to proceed. These range from attempting to access Administrative tools to running the myriad of security features [Vista’s security includes warning you about using their security] to turning off the screen saver to bitching about any tobacco usage to griping about my early-morning habit of reading newspapers on the Net before I have shaved. If anyone can inform me how that irksome feature might be disabled, they will receive my enduring gratitude and a permanent place atop my mailing list I keep losing every time a computer dies.

Within only a few hours of ripping open the box and plugging in the new computer I was up and running, quickly discovering that Vista had dumbed-down Spider Solitaire to the point of rendering it unplayable. Hours and hours spent wasting time playing the game have abruptly ended. As stated, there are some good things about Vista.

It was around the time I achieved my first stalemate against the computer at the chess game that came packaged [I have since beaten it] that I was pointed to the now-infamous Sports Illustrated column that listed the writer’s opinion of the worst college football coaches. It was with no small amount of glee that I noticed algroh headed the list. Imagine that.

The fame of the Great NFL Legend is spreading far and wide. algroh’s coaching prowess is no longer our little secret. The word on the abilities of a guy who culminated five years of rebuilding Hoo football with a rebuilding year has gotten out. Sports Illustrated is spreadingit. No doubt Longevity magazine will be right behind, pointing out that algroh has discovered the secret to eternal youth, at least on his football team.

It seems like only yesterday that a newly-hired algroh was standing in front of television cameras bragging about how much smarter he was than Frank Beamer. The Great NFL Legend promised the Hoo Archipelago that he would bring fame to Mr. Jefferson’s Grounds. This might not have been what they were expecting.

It is a fairly bold statement to characterize algroh as the absolute worst coach in the country. I’m not sure I would claim that he is the worst in the ACC, although the field has certainly narrowed since the firing of Chuckie. For my money, few coaches have ever accomplished so little with so much than Butch Davis and he has returned to Tech’s conference to entertain fans of Carolina’s opponents.

But, Butch has not yet coached a game for the Tar Heels. Until Butch throws his first headset in sheer panic and races down the sideline wearing a facial expression of stark terror or costs Carolina a game by overruling a staff member and ordering a bone-headed call, I will give him the benefit of the doubt. He may indeed have learned something from all of those losses in Cleveland.

Calling algroh the worst coach in a conference that contains Ted Roof would also seem to be a stretch. Ted is the guy that recently announced that he was going to deal with Duke’s latest 0-fer, current twenty-game losing streak and overall football ineptitude by enlisting the assistance of Duke’s business school. Roof wandering the halls of Fuqua calling out, “Anybody around here know anything about football?” is not what one would generally associate with a high level of coaching competence.

Nevertheless, if a publication of the stature of Sports Illustrated wants to declare algroh, the worst, who am I, a mere lightly-read Internet blowhard, to argue? I will defer to their judgment.

For his part, algroh himself proclaims that he is unconcerned about what is said and written about him. As the Great NFL Legend has pointed out many times, he has a plan. It likely does not include having himself designated the worst coach in the country.

algroh’s great master plan, aside from this year’s slogan of ‘Boise or Bust,’ remains a secret to most. It does seem to the untrained eye to greatly resemble the French Plan XVII of 1914, the one that sent hundreds of thousands of French soldiers charging into Alsace-Lorraine, straight into the teeth of entrenched German machine gun positions. If the Hoos come out in a few weeks with those blue jerseys complemented with pantalon rouge, that should answer that.

Like the French Marshal Joffre, algroh remains serene, matching Joffre’s “Pay no attention to those German troops marching through Belgium making a beeline for Paris” with his own “So what if Tech is nationally ranked and keeps beating us?” While it should be noted that Joffre was eventually fired, he didn’t have algroh’s huge contract. “J’ai un plan.”

While algroh claims that he cares nothing about all of the ridicule being heaped upon him, or that ‘Beat Tech or else’ warning issued by Hoo AD Craig ‘The Good News, Carl, is that you did not have to write a check for Tubby. The bad news is, well, you already know the bad news’ Littlepage, it is hard on his family.

That would be especially true of boygroh. He is at a very impressionable and inquisitive age. He is constantly asking questions, such as “Daddy, what’s a forward pass?” and “Daddy, what’s a bowl game?” A child constantly asking questions is a normal part of parenting. It is far tougher, however, to deal with boygroh coming home crying because the other children have been making fun of his Daddy, calling him the worst coach in the country. As algroh comforts boygroh, he is likely not reading him any bedtime stories from newspaper, magazine or Internet columns.

So I have a new computer and algroh has a new designation. And we have moved inside of seven weeks until a new football season. Hopefully this computer will hang together long enough for the Great NFL Legend to earn his new title.

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