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Inspirational Reads

Not Again...

March 26, 2008

Remember that dumb bitch from Carmel, IN, who didn't like the scantily clad models at Victoria's Secret? Well, her petition to end such things has died in the hands of the Carmel city leaders, and pretty resoundedly as well at a 5-2 clip. Apparently that's not good enough for her.

Oh no, she's going to keep fighting.

I guess it wasn't enough to make sure that sex shops and adult bookstores weren't in Carmel (note to Ms. DeHeer: don't ever take the interstates in South Carolina). Instead of taking one small victory and being satisfied, we've got to attack Victoria's Secret, tabloid covers in supermarkets and models in and on magazines. I'm sure that the models hanging on the walls at Target (and let me tell you...those are some high-grade photos...if you don't have a Target, petitition your city government to get one) will also be on her hitlist. Does Carmel have a Hooters? Not if these vile people have any say in it. I'm sure the Carmel High School cheerleaders will be sporting floor-length skirts with cotton hose and perhaps wrapping their chests so that they look completely and totally androgenous. Children watch these games! We wouldn't want an impure thought crossing their minds and distracting them from the coaching calling the ref an ugly fucking jew or anything.

The sad thing is, these people won't take no for an answer. And their reasoning is so far off base that it's bordering on flat-out religious nutjobbery. Here's one of my favorite quotations from the story:

“I’m concerned about our children. Why are they having sex at 12?” Victoria’s Secret protester Lori Baxter said in an interview before the council vote March 17. “Could it be that we’ve promoted sex so long, we’ve become desensitized?”

I'll answer that for you.

Question 1: They're having sex at 12 because you're screaming at them that it's immoral to have sex at 12. Or ever. Oh, yeah, and they're having sex at 12 because it feels good. I'm going to guess, though, that not a lot of kids are having sex at 12. 14, yeah, probably. 12? Not so much. Stupid bitch.

Question 2: If you're desensitized toward sex, you're doing something wrong. Horribly. I'm going to guess that your husband doesn't talk to his buddies (if he's allowed to have them) about how you're a demon in the sack, eh Lori? Stupid bitch.

And here's my second favorite thing:

"DeHeer said she saw nothing wrong with trying to make the city flawless. She describes the Carmel where she grew up as a “perfect bubble,” and she thinks it should stay that way."

A perfect bubble?[1] Wow. Woman, get back on the Peter Pan Express and head off to Never Never Land some more. Times change. People change. What was quickly becomes passe, out-dated and ultimately archaic. You cannot just hide from something; you have to adapt to it in order to survive. That's what evolution teaches us, that we have to change and adapt or die.

But then, you probably think that evolution is a bad word, don't you? Get off your fucking high horse and realize that there's a world around you, that you have to live in it and that you can't isolate yourself in the name of "protecting your children". I'm sure little Rod and Todd won't grow up to be some kind of freaks. I'm sure that with all your coddling and cooing and tickling them under the chin, they won't get beat up at school. Hiding your kids from the outside world is assinine, at best. Here's a novel fucking concept: talk to your kids. Answer their questions. Address the issues rather than bury your head in the sand and hope that nothing untoward colors your children's perception of reality.

In other words, be a fucking parent.

[1] In case you can't tell, those girls are wearing bubble wrap. I tried to find a better picture of the Bubble Wrap Girls, but there's only so much "safe search" can do for you. And Bob and Tom don't have the BWG's pictures up anymore.

That's a Wrap, People

March 22, 2008

Well, thank God that's over.

Here's a quick quiz for you: can you think of any team that has ever had a more disappointing 25-8 record? I sure as hell can't. However, this year, this Indiana squad sure has provided that. 25 is a helluva lot of wins, especially for a team in a "power" conference, and yet last night as I watched the slow demise of the team I once had such hope for, I felt relief. Relief that it was over. Relief that things wouldn't get any worse. Relief that, hell, I don't know anymore. Just relief.

That wasn't a first-round tournament game last night. That was George telling Lenny to look down the river and think about the rabbits while he put a bullet in the back of Lenny's skull to keep him from hurting himself or anyone else.

That was Travis taking Old Yeller out back and shooting him.

That was Luke Skywalker taking Vader's helmet off so he could look at him one more time. Hopefully, that will also be Luke burning Vader's body and bringing about an end of his reign of terror.

And, it's not like I didn't see this coming. I picked Arkansas in all of my pools, except one, and that was the one where I was doing it through an Indiana blog, so I felt obligated to pick the Hoosiers. Remember my little lessons about the tournament picking from last year? Yeah. I did learn something.

I think the thing that frustrates me most is the fact that the team has not advanced one bit since November. Yes, they played well and were, at one point, 17-1. That means they went 8-7 over their final 15. In a down Big Ten (one of those losses was to UConn...who bowed out gracefully to San Diego yesterday). With two superstar players on their team, one of them the Big Ten player of the year, the other the Big Ten Freshman of the year.

Eric Gordon is shooting at a torrid 7-50 pace from three over the final few games. You know, I could hit 7 out of 50. I could probably even hit them coming off a screen. I should bolt for the NBA, too. This is the frustration talking, but I'm disgusted in how Gordon has not improved at all this year. His coaches have just "let the leash off". Well, that's great. Good job, fellas. I think Billy Packer (*shudder*) made a good point last night that Gordon should sit down and watch Stephen Curry's game against gonzaga from earlier in the day. That's how a shooter and scorer should move. Be smart, Eric: come back for at least one more year and learn how to play something other than AAU style ball. Be smart, Indiana: get a coach that can properly utilize talent.

I guess the silver lining here is that the Dan Dakich era is over. Sorry, Danny, you did good against Michael Jordan. Strolling the sidelines at your alma mater, however, not so good. I think your fate was sealed with the 30 point loss to Michigan State.

However you slice it, the season is over and it was a tremendous disappointment. I still have 31 games left to watch, but it's going to take a lot to get this sour taste out of my mouth.

Where's the gin?

Let's Recap, Shall We?

March 18, 2008

Whenever I make the big bracket predicting post, I always do a follow-up to see how well I did picking the field. Overall, I don't think I did too badly. I'm probably down a little bit from last year, but that's Georgia's fault (and Maryland's, to an extent). Let's just say that, if the tournament turns out to be as wild as the year has been in college basketball, this will be a thoroughly enjoyable three weeks. It'll probably just be chalk, though, just to piss me off.

Alright, let's start at the top with the Number 1 seeds.
My picks: UCLA, Memphis, Texas, Duke
Tourney picks: UCLA, Memphis, Kansas, North Carolina

Not bad, 50%, which is good since I was picking from about six teams. Ty Lawson's ankle healed up nicely enough to get UNC the win at Cameron and carried them through the ACC tournament, securing that number 1 bid. The winner of the Big XII (Kansas) got the 1 seed and runner up went to the 2 seed out west (Texas), so I was pretty close to that call. I'll take it.

Now, on to the conferences.

American East: UMBC Well done, Retrievers! Here's a big rub behind the ears and a thump on the ribcage for you. Enjoy the thrashing Georgetown puts on you.

Atlantic Coast: Duke. I was right, though, in saying that Clemson would win the 2/3 matchup but falter in the championship game. I just took the north side of the 15-501 rivalry to be in that number 1 position. Maryland's meltdown was epic, and just so happened to be exemplified by their meltdown to those same Clemson Tigers. Maryland, you take top honors over NC State for going into the shitter after taking big leads.
My Picks: UNC, Duke, Clemson, Miami(FL), Maryland

Atlantic Sun: Belmont That's three in a row! Well done guys! You secured the flame whip and the golden knife and hunted Dracula down in his grave! Good luck with Duke (seriously, slay them).

Atlantic 14: UMass I didn't realize that arch-nemesis Travis Ford had moved on to UMass. I remember him hitting three pointers from 65 yards out in games against Indiana to stick daggers in their heart. ScruMass! I'm never picking them again. Congrats to the Temple Owls who gooned their way to the title.
My Picks: Xavier
Also In: St. Joseph's, Temple

Big East: What a tourney! Aside from ND bowing out in the first round, this was thoroughly enjoyable. It's also nice to know that not every kid from West Virginia looks like Pittsnogle. Since I couldn't enjoy any Big Ten action, thanks to the Evil Big Ten Empire, I watched a lot of Big East action. Bravo, fellows, bravo. Georgetown did lose for the very first time when seeded Number 1 in the BEast tourney, in the championship game. I should get something for that, and also for dealing with the pain of watching Patrick Ewing, Jr. do something other than fumble the ball out of bounds.
My Picks: Georgetown, UConn, West Effing Virginia, Marquette, l'Universite de Notre Dame du Lac, Pitt, Louisville
Also In: Villanova (my sexy pick for the 12/5 upset on the first day)

Big Sky: Northern Arizona That's three of the last four that the Lumberjacks have been to the final game, and yet they've lost all three. In a fit of rage, Paul Bunyan still whipped out his "axe" and laid waste to several acres of Douglas Fir. The spotted owl population is decimated. A lone Indian shed a tear. Congrats to the Portland St. Vikings for making into the tournament for the first time ever, though.

Big South: UNC-Asheville 7'7" wunderkid Kenny George couldn't carry the rest of the team on his shoulders (I watched the game; conference champ Winthrop (again) did a great job on defense to keep the ball from him). Although the man dunks flat footed and makes a basketball look like a grapefruit in his massive clutches, the Winthrop Eagles continue to dominate the league. Thank God Notre Dame didn't draw them this year.

Big 10+1: Indiana Someone needs to print up cards that read: Blake Hoffarber, crusher of dreams. But, when one dream dies, another is born. Thanks to Hoffarber's last second heroics, he gave the tournament committee enough ammunition to thoroughly screw Indiana and set them as an 8 seed, where they will be playing in...Raleigh, NC! Holy effing hell! That's right, I'm going down to the RBC Center Friday night, and I'm going to try and weasel my way into getting some cheap tickets from some UNC fans hyped up about beating the shit out of Mount St. Mary's. Or Coppin St. Or whomever. Anyway, Wisconsin ended up winning after the rest of the good teams, we'll say, took a couple extra days of rest. Yeah, that works.
My Picks: Indiana, Wisconsin, Purdue, Michigan State

Big XII: Texas Like I said, we'll see how Rick Barnes manages to screw this up. Anyway, Kansas won a helluva game that I got to see around running bags of puke out to the trashcan (now you can see why I haven't blogged much lately). I am taking onus with the tourney for putting a bubble team like Oklahoma in as a 6 seed while Indiana and Butler both, ranked most of the season, get an 8 and 7 seed. Really, fellaz? Do you like anally violating teams from the state that badly (Purdue at a 6 is also a slap in the face).
My Picks: Texas, Kansas, Kansas St., Baylor, Texas A&M
Also In: Oklahoma

Big West: Northridge Well, surprise, surprise. Fullerton made it in. The poor Irvine Anteaters will get there someday. Also, the high-powered Fullerton offense versus the grind-and-go Wisconsin defense could be intriguing. A repeat of A&M-Corpus Christi? We'll see...

Colonial: VCU Wow, the power of the hot cheerleaders didn't work in VCU's favor. Damn. George Mason is the only one in, too. Sad for the Colonial. Let's hope the league picks up next year. And, George need to carry that little guy torch anymore. Just put it down. Kay? Thanks. Now back away. And fear the Gody.

Conference USA: Memphis The EPA was called in to clean up the oil slick emanating from Memphis and Calipari after this. I shouldn't even take credit for picking this crap league.

Horizon: Wright State I'm back on the soapbox as I take this disrespect for the Indiana teams one more step. Butler? A 7 seed? Are you fucking kidding me? It's the same team from last year, which got a 5 seed, went to the sweet 16, gave eventual national champs Florida all they could handle, and they're arguably a better team this year. A fucking 7? And unranked bubble team Oklahoma is a 6? ARE YOU FUCKING STUPID OR WHAT? Thanks. I feel better.

Ivy League: Cornell Talk about mental giants, the Cornell Brown Bears play the Stanford Trees (and not just Robin and Brook) in the first round. Suddenly my 14-whatever on the SAT seems paltry. Very paltry.

Metro Atlantic: Siena My Catholic love pays off. Thank you, St. Catherine.

Mid-American: Ohio The Bobcats got bounced early and now they're off to greener pastures. Rest assured, boys, that you've got a lovely little campus (I've been through it a couple of wife hit a deer not far from it once). Kent State, though, wins the conference.

Mid-Eastern: Delaware St. One of these years, I'm going to remember that this tournament is played in Raleigh and I'll go to it. I'll stick out like a sore thumb, probably, but hell, I love basketball. And, out of nowhere, Coppin St. pulled the upset and landed in the tournament in the play-in game and carrying a sub-.500 record. That's damn near prescient in my book. I just picked the wrong team with State in the name.

Missouri Valley: Southern Illinois Wow, the Colonial and the Missouri Valley down. This is a world I don't want to live in. But I am, and there's still plenty of hot women in it, so I'll just keep plodding along. And, thanks to Georgia's inspired play (hey, I was rooting for them, too), Illinois St. is off to NIT-land.

Mountain West: New Mexico Play a tougher non-conference schedule, Steve. Worked for Arizona, apparently. Or just tell the selection committee you hate your home state. They'll reward you for it handsomely. Seriously. Purdue beat Wisconsin twice, and they only get a 6 seed? Screw you guys. You're a bunch of assbags with shriveled, dried up hearts that pump and oily black substance that looks like crude oil. Oh yeah, UNLV won, but BYU made it as an at large.

Northeast: Robert Morris The Colonials got tripped up and sent off to NITland. Hopefully they can beat Syracuse. More hopefully, Mount St. Mary's, the tourney champs, can beat UNC.

Ohio Valley: Austin Peay The Governors do my proud, finally! Way to go, boys. Congrats. If it's any consolation, Rick Barnes is still coaching Texas, so you guys got a shot!

Pac-10: UCLA The only thing I think I've ever agreed with Doug Gottlieb about is how awful the referees are in the Pac-10. Poor Arizona St. got screwed. But, Herb, my man, you should have left that awful non-conference scheduling bullshit in Raleigh, where they wear it like a cloak of honor. Schedule up, my bald, nondescript friend, and you, too, may be dancing.
My Picks: UCLA, Stanford, Washington St., USC, Arizona
Also In: Oregon

Patriot: American I love America, but apparently the tournament selection committee hates American (and Indiana). First time in the tourney ever? Have a steaming helping of Tennessee, boys.

Southeastern: Vanderbilt I think you'll all cut me some slack for not seeing Georgia rising up and taking four games in a row--three of them in a span of 30 hours or so. Sure, they didn't play anybody all that tough, they were practically on their home court, but still, they manned up in the face of adversity and fought through it. I know another team that wears a lot of the color red that could take a lesson from the Bulldogs here (including something about how to beat teams clearly better than you).
My Picks: Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Mississippi St., Kentucky Florida
Also In: Georgia, Arkansas

Southern: Davidson Alright, let's make it 23 in a row with a big win over gonzaga down in Raleigh. Go Wildcats! Can anyone forward Bob McKillup's phone number to Indiana for me?

Southland: Stephen F. Austin Texas Arlington pulled an upset win of sorts. I have no idea who they are, but I think Hank Hill roots for them, so they must be okay with me.

Southwestern: Alabama St. Mississippi Valley St. made it in. Next year, I vow to watch SWAC basketball anytime ESPNU carries it.

Summit: Oral Roberts IPFW came dangerously close in the semifinals to knocking off the giant praying hands. I'm calling it next year: The Year of the Mastodon! Oral Roberts wins, and plenty of guys named Robert were well pleased around campus in the ensuing celebration. There's something on your chin...

Sunbelt: South Alabama Can you smell what the Sunbelt is cooking? I couldn't pick between USA and WKU, but my love of America made me pick the Jaguars. Oh ho ho! The tourney selection committee hates American (and Indiana) but loves USA! Let's start the chants now! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-what? They're playing Butler? Fuck. I've suddenly become European and now I'm rooting against USA.

West Coast: St. Mary's San Diego shocks the world and pulls the double dog dare upset, sending three teams from the WCC to the dance. Wow. By the way, I should get credit for calling it that that crusty old curmudgeon Billy Packer would bellyache about the ACC only getting four teams in. If I were the tourney selection committee chairman, first I'd seed the Indiana schools fairly, and second, I'd tell Billy Packer to kiss the meatiest part of my ass and that the ACC schools need to play someone away from home from time to time.
My Picks: St. Mary's, gonzaga
Also In: San Diego

Western Athletic: Nevada Boise State worked the blue turf magic and won the championship. Well done, gentlemen. Now, work it some more and take down Louisville, because any tourney that sees a Rick Pitino-led team bow out in the first round is a success, no matter how much the selection committee screws my beloved Hoosierland teams.

Alright, of the conference champs, I successfully predicted 10 out of 31 champions. Yeesh. Shitty. That's 32.26% Horrible. Predicting the field, though, I had 48 teams out of 65 for a much-improved 73.85%. By the Lunardi rules (picking the smaller conferences as "conference champ"), I would ring in at 56 for 65 for an 86.15% Not bad. That extra +31 helps to start out the counting. Essentially, that means I nailed 25 of the 34 at large berths, which doesn't sound so good until you start to factor in that many of the teams that won their conference tournaments (like Wisconsin and UCLA) made the field anyway. I'm not going to bother correcting for that, but I will just say that I goofed on putting Ohio, Maryland, Arizona St. and Illinois St. in and not putting in Villanova, Oregon and Arkansas. So, there. I guess I'm a Bracketologist now. With that, simply bend over and you might feel a slight discomfort. That would be the screwing given to the Indiana-based schools.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!!!

March 17, 2008

Ah, it's here: the feast of St. Patrick. And by feast, I of course mean eating a lot of boiled root vegetables, corned beef, and cabbage in every creative culinary use there is. The other good thing about today is that it's the day after the tournament selection (more on this later in the day), and so people will be filling out their brackets while drowning in green lagers (oh tasty), puking up Guinness (oh tasty) and staring at blonde bimbos who have had too much to drink and aren't wearing enough (oh tasty!). If they're not filling out brackets while drunk, those other people will be filling out brackets while hung over. Christ Jesus, I might actually stand a chance of doing well this year.

That basketball-enhanced digression aside, let's get on to celebrating the man for whom this day is dedicated: St. Joseph of Arimethea. Okay, okay...while this good Samaritan cross-bearer does have the inauspicious position of sharing his saintly day with the more famous and far more verdant St. Patrick, I thought perhaps I should at least give him a little dap. There you go, Joe. Thanks for, you know, sharing the burden with our Lord and Savior while he was struggling through the streets of Jerusalem after being striped, crowned with thorns, and mocked. That showed a lot of character. But screw that, let's talk about getting drunk!

Yes, it is St. Patrick's Day, the Patron Saint of Ireland, an honor he shares with St. Brigid of Kildare and St. Columba. He is also the Patron Saint of Montserrat, Nigeria, and Engineers (thus making him the Patron Saint of Purdue). Fast fact for you: Patrick has never been canonized by a Pope. Instead, he was recommended for sainthood by the local diocese after his death (ca. 493) for being "a fairly religious person". At the time, this was standard practice. Now, of course, all canonizations have to go through Rome in order to be done.

A little history on our favorite thinly-veiled reason to get piss drunk and make asses of ourselves Irish Saint. Patrick started out life in Ireland as a slave, captured during a raid, and taken off to be a herder, among other things. After about six years, he escaped, returning to his home in Britain, where he entered the church. He then returned to Ireland for missionary work, where he used a local plant, the Shamrock, to describe the three facets of the Holy Trinity to the Godless heathens that inhabited the island. While there, he took up a stick and started whacking anything crawling on the ground that had no legs and, despite exhortations by the sweet bass voice of Barry White, he drove the snakes from the Island. Other facts about Patrick: his favorite color was green; his favorite movie was Rudy; his favorite X-Man was Banshee; his favorite food was Lucky Charms; he made kissing the Blarney Stone fashionable; he used a shillelagh as his whacking stick; wherever he went on his mission journeys, the rivers turned green; he loved a good parade; he had no nose, a pointy head, a predilection toward green bahama shorts with purple flowers, lived under a rock, had only one tooth and avidly hunted jellyfish.

Another fact for you: he was most likely two people. That's true! A lot of things credited toward St. Patrick might actually have been performed by St. Palladius, who was another holy man working in Ireland around the same time as Patrick. Whereas Patrick focused on the areas of Ulster and Connacht (the purple and blue counties on the map to the right, respectively), Palladius is mostly associated with Leinster (the yellow counties). Both men are attributed with bringing the Word of the Lord to Ireland, and so it seems historians might have confused the two. This is apparently because while the savages of the Emerald Isle were good at painting their bodies, raiding the British coasts, and drinking green ale, they weren't too good at writing things down about which holy man went where on their lovely little island. Tsk tsk.

So let's all raise a pint to St. Patrick, because today, everyone has a little Irish in them--despite the fact that most people in this great nation of ours couldn't find Ireland on a map. Truth be told, I do have Irish in me, and not because I went to Notre Dame (where the St. Patrick's day parties were surprisingly muted). My Irish ancestry comes through my mother's side, from the Ormsby family. Funny thing about the Ormsby family is that they started out in Scotland, and were landed gentry if not minor nobles. Famously (and this is documented in film), they were granted extra favors and land in order to no longer support the Scottish rebellion (yes, THAT film), thus siding with the English. When the commoners heard of this, the Ormsbys had to flee their lands after a peasant uprising. From there, they set up shop in Ireland, hung out for a few years, then moved on to America and elsewhere. This was one branch, and might not be my branch, but I'll take them, just so that I can point to the screen and say, "Yep, there goes your ancestors, kids" while watching Braveheart (something we might have to do later in life when they can, you know, handle gratuitous beheadings).

And that's something to drink to.

Happy Saint Alberta's Day!

March 11, 2008

Today (March 11) is St. Alberta's day. Here is the blurb written about her at St. Patrick's Church Saint O' The Day site:

Died c. 286. Saint Alberta is said to have been one of the first martyrs under Diocletian, who suffered with Saint Faith. When some spectators objected to her execution, Procurator Dacian of Agen had them beheaded, too (Benedictines, Delaney).

As you know, that's only part of the story. One little known fact is that she was very fond of hair decorations and often would change them before attending her daily prayers and vigils. She was a bit of a collector of these clips, so much so that weather systems that move through the middle part of Canada were named in her honor. Also, after she was martyred, her remains were kept in a can. No one has yet to let her out, despite several calls to do so.

I can only assume that Diocletian had her beheaded as "Procurator Dacian of Agen had them (Alberta's supporters) beheaded, too". The "too" implies, to me, that Alberta was also decapitated. That Diocletian, he sure knew how to treat a lady. As far as persecution of Christians, Diocletian was second only to Nero, who was decidedly insane and evil. I guess this stems from him not being much of a war leader, since his troops were routinely defeated time and again. In fact, the Roman Empire nearly fell while he was at the helm. After he abdicated (one of the few Roman rulers to leave voluntarily; most others left with a knife in their guts), Constantine rose to power in Rome. No, not the guy who was on American Idol a couple of years ago, or that crappy movie starring Keanu Reeves. No, this was the Constantine that formally installed Christianity as the state religion in Rome, thus ending the persecution of people like Alberta and her friend Faith.

So, today we celebrate Saint Alberta, forever known as the patron saint of hair clips and landlocked winter-time low pressure cells.

Deuces Wild!

March 10, 2008

I'm screwed up. Why, you ask? Well, it's 10:55 pm right now, but my happy little body is telling me that it's 9:55. It's all because of this damned "daylight savings time". I blame the difficulty to adjust on spending 26 years in Indiana (though for four of them, I lived in Rensselaer, which did follow daylight savings). If nothing else, I'm not only slow to pick up on concepts, but I'm slow to adjust to these sudden shifts in time that come twice a year.

And here's another thing. We're on daylight time now, or (for North Carolina), Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). We are on EDT from the first full weekend in March to the last full weekend in October, which is 8 months. That means we're on Eastern "Standard" Time (EST), for four months a year. How is this standard?

Another problem, I want to curse Benjamin Franklin for inventing this accursed way of conserving our candles. Despite what I was taught as a lad, this is not true. Franklin didn't invent it. Instead, he suggested that Frenchmen are lazy, offering "Early to bed, early to rise, blah blah blah" and then suggested firing cannons early in the day to roust the Frenchies from leurs lits earlier in le matin to get leurs culs paresseux up and working (lot of /l/s in this langue bete). This was met with much resistance (clearly, if Franklin fired cannon, then the Parisians would have risen from bed with arms fully raised over their heads)--and while the French thought the funny little bumpkin from Philadelphia was adorable with his bald head, sentient gout and pudgy paunch, they continued the practice of sleeping late. Then one day they woke up and everyone was speaking German.

No, the true culprit is one William Willet, an English builder. Willet was apparently a morning person, and took it upon himself, once he realized that people like sleeping, to ruin this habit because so many Londoners were missing the best part of the day (in his humble and self-righteous opinion). Here's the other problem with this asshat: he loved golf. In fact, he loved golf so much, that he was often upset when an afternoon session ran long and he had to cut back on the golfing because of darkness. Apparently, Willet had never heard of getting piss drunk at the clubhouse. Apparently, Willet also never heard of going to a burlesque house. Apparently, Willet was just an all around prick.

Have I not convinced you of the errors and evils of daylight savings time yet? Well, how about this last fact: the first people to use DST? The Germans, in 1916, during a little thing we like to call World War I. They also forced that shit on all their occupied territories and they shoved it down their allies' throats. Apparently, England and France decided to get up early (and you thought I was joking about everyone speaking German) to avoid waking up to the heady aromas of chlorine and mustard gas. Ah, trench warfare, your elegance is so misunderstood and understated.

And while you're springing forward, think on this: gasoline consumption in Indiana jumped by three percent (from 1% to 4% during the "saved" hours) after it adopted DST a couple of years ago. Wait. I thought all this nonsense bullshit was to help us alleviate our need of foreign oil. Seems as though someone forgot to carry the 1 while doing those complex calculations.

The only good thing I can see is that traffic fatalities are reduced when there is more light for the evening commute. This is a good thing. However(!), now I have to deal--once more!--with that accursed huge, red orb that sits exactly on top of the road as it rises slowly over the eastern horizon while I'm driving my daughter to school in the mornings. Its blazing light is enough to sear the very orbs from my sockets, bleaching the world in a bath of yellow and white light, sucking all other colors away as it crests above the eastern edge of the world. I can't see a thing beyond about three inches past my windshield. Yes, that's safe.

This might be my hot button issue for the election year: whoever says they'll abolish this fascist, vile, contemptible, golf-laden practice gets my vote. Unless it's Hillary.

P.S. This is my 222nd post. Hence the deucey goodness in the title.

A Visit from the Tooth Fairy

March 9, 2008

Okay, enough morning over Favre hanging them up. Let's move on to other things.

My daughter, Cookie, finally lost her first tooth over the weekend. She had wiggled it to the point where it pretty much stuck straight out of her mouth. It looked bad. It looked like we belong in the South. I found this highly unacceptable (to prove I don't belong here, other than to collect a paycheck, I've been using multisyllabic words in excess lately) and so I decided it was time to yank it.

So, I sat down and wiggled it for her. I wiggled, and things were not going anywhere, so I sat there and twisted it until the infamous "pop" happened. She bolted back in pain and pulled in a sharp breath, then shoved a paper towel in her mouth to soak up the blood. She held the paper towel up so that she could show me that it was "a lot of blood". The tooth remained intact, however--well, as intact as a tooth that's been very wiggly and freshly twisted to the popping point could be. She would not let me touch the tooth again, other than to wiggle it. Once wiggled, she quickly put the paper towel back in her mouth to soak up the excessive blood. Frustrated (another multisyllabic word) I finally asked if she could grab the tooth. Once she nodded, I told her to yank it. Out the tooth came! Hooray! Celebration time! I guess.

This was the front incisor on the left side. The reason I bring this up is because it's time for another flashback!

The only tooth I really remember loosing was this same tooth. I was in the gym having lunchtime recess (it was snowing outside, so we were sent to the gym). We were being goofy, and my friend Asa went to pantomime (check it out!) zipping my mouth shut, but he missed slightly, and his fingers smacked my tooth, nearly knocking it out of the socket. Yes, there was blood; yes, there was a little bit of pain. I turned to go to the nurse right away. I think Asa was freaked and felt bad. If you ever read this, dude, sorry to freak you. Anyway, when I got a look at it, it was literally hanging by a string. Some other kid (I think I was in Boy Scouts with him later on...ah, life in small town America) was sick in the nurse's office, but he got me to man up and just yank the fucking thing out of my head (this was after twenty minutes of poking at the tooth hanging by that last little string of connective tissue). I felt so proud. That night, I was rewarded with a pair of shiny quarters. Hooray!

Nowadays, the Tooth Fairy is doing pretty well for herself (probably comes with the territory after marrying Jorgen von Strangle), and so she rewarded Cookie with a somewhat crisp, fairly wrinkly dollar. It was going to be a gold dollar, but suddenly those things have gone missing. Oh well. The problem was, at the last second, Cookie decided to pull the old "classic misdirection" and she wanted to keep the tooth. Gasp! Fortunately, the Tooth Fairy wrote a note saying that she left the tooth in the safe keeping of Mommy and Daddy. Problem solved. And she got the pay off.

I just wish I had seen the Tooth Fairy bring the tooth into my room. She's hot!

EDIT: Tad Williams has a new blog. Read it. There's a certain amount of foreshadowing in it, I fear.

The Day the Music Died

March 4, 2008

So...last year, I was a little premature in my mourning of the post-Favre era in Green Bay. I'll admit it. I was wrong. In fact, Favre came back just the way I would have wanted him to: breaking Marino's records and taking the Packers back to respectability once more. Okay, fine, he lost to the Bears twice and set the all-time interceptions record along the way to shoving Marino aside.

I waited until later in the day to say anything about it (I'm sure my friends have checked in more than once, just to see if I said anything), mostly because I wanted to be sure this was the real thing. Honestly, I don't think the re-signing of Randy Moss to the Patriots had anything to do with his decision. Maybe a small amount. Who knows, other than Brett and maybe DeAnna. Still, it's not like his legacy will be tarnished. I know people all over the place are taking a moment to sit back and say "About fucking time, you bastard" and "Now you and Madden can make out all year long". Yeah, great. Those people can kiss the meatiest part of my ass.

I understand the anti-Favre sentiment, though. He's the kind of guy who, if he doesn't play for your team (or worse, he plays for your rival!), then you can't stomach him. If he was the Bears quarterback, I'd despise him. But, he wasn't. He was the Packers' quarterback, and for 16 years, he gave us (Packers fans) a helluva ride. I'll be thankful for that, for all the highs, for all the gunslinging gridiron adventures, for all the touchdowns, shovel passes, ill-conceived scrambles, sacks and interceptions. I'll be thankful for it all because, dammit, whenever you saw Brett running out of that tunnel, you thought deep in the back of your mind that you had a chance to win the game. And that's what a favorite player should make you do whenever he steps on the field.

So thanks, Brett. Thanks for a lot of fun. You'll be missed, even by those people who heaved a heavy sigh of relief when you finally hung 'em up. You came in a Hawk, but you'll always be a Packer. Sit back on a creekside some where and eat some crawfish and drink some beer. You've earned it.

Here's a link dump for some of the things I've read today:

Crown Of Thistles: Good-bye, Brett
Homebrew and Chemistry: Finally!
Scribe at Blackridge: #4
Foul Balls: Favre Retired...for Serious This Time
Deadspin: Making Peace With Favre's Final Days
Deadspin: Brett Favre Retires. Seriously, This Time.
Rumors and Rants: Goodbye, Archnemisis
Fanhouse: Favre's Retirement Similar to Patrick Roy's?
Cobra Brigade: Brett Favre Retired
850 the Buzz: Favre's Packer Days are Over, but What about His Career? Favre Calls End to Career after 17 Seasons

I stuck mainly with blogs on this one, because they're funnier to read. I tossed in the link for "journalistic integrity" (Fuck you, Kornheiser). If you have a blog and feel like you'd like a link on my site, drop me a line (and trust me, if you don't want a link out of this steaming sewer of crap I call a blog, I totally understand). I might update a few tomorrow.

By the way, in case you're keeping score at home: Favre has retired, Bob Knight has retired, and Kelvin Sampson has resigned. All in the course of a month. Last I heard, Lou Pinella is firmly ensconced in Chicago. Charlie Weis? Put down the cheeseburger!

EDIT: I just learned this earlier, but long time adversary/nemesis/friend Warren Sapp also retired yesterday. Huh.

Hello, Darkness, My Old Friend

March 3, 2008

I dropped the ball last week with the whole characters thing. I got it to you on Tuesday, but still. I'm not going to post one tonight. Also, I haven't gotten the map finished yet (not even started...there, I admitted it). I've been a little busy trying to get the house on the market.

Anyway, there's a couple of things I wanted to talk about tonight. First, since this post is so old, it didn't pop up in March, but rather in February. As it is, that's below the bigass March Madness post, and so I don't know if people would know to go and look for it. Anyway, here is the initial episode of Throwdown!

Secondly, I spent the better part of an hour today discussing things with the director of medicinal chemistry. We didn't talk much about chemistry, but we did talk a few things about history. He's an Englishman, and he was telling me about how he had just read a book about the English revolutions (the civil war, the passing of power from the king to the parliament) and he was talking about how few people realize that the Dutch actually invaded England and pretty much took over.

The thing was, this was an invited invasion by the English aristocracy, who were afraid of James II's claims that he was righteously set upon the throne of England by God. Worse, he was Catholic. William of Orange happened to be Protestant. Hesitantly, he invaded but ended up winning when the King's soldiers essentially abandoned their allegiance to the crown and sided with William (later known as William III, or "King Billy" by the Scottish).

As I haven't read the whole story of King Billy, I won't go into too many details. I will, however, mention that this story struck a chord with me. In my book (it should be around book III, King of Storms), I was having an issue getting two separate groups together. However, an invited invasion would make sense, especially given the political make-up of the two groups. There's also a familial link (similar to the King Billy story), which would make the plot device work rather well.

Anyway, I have a bit more renewed vigor for the story now. I'm still smoothing everything out, but I've jotted down the plot line of the planned invasion for later use. I apologize again for not having a character sheet ready to go. I'll work on that for tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy the Throwdown.

In Like a Lion...It's March!!!

March 1, 2008

Sometime last night, I suppose around midnight, February slipped quietly into the past and March became a reality. Many people look forward to March because for one night they can drink all they want without any remorse and also because the seasons begin to change and spring officially arrives (since February demanded to be coddled this year, the equinox is on March 20th, as opposed to its usual March 21st). For many people, there is also the end of the Lent and the coming of Easter to look forward to. Still others plant their gardens, seed their lawns, plant flowers and take care of other pressing matters on the exterior of their homes.

For me, it's tournament season. I took Joe Lunardi and his claims of "I can predict the tournament field" to task last year. What he really should say is "I can predict the tournament field...because I update my brackets until the very last second before the official ones come out, thereby taking all the surprise and challenge out of the selection process!!! Fawn over me! I'm prescient!"

So, I went through last year and picked the field just before Championship Week. You can find that here and the follow up about how I did here. It was such a lark, I'm going to do it again.

Without further ado, let's take a look at those top four seeds.

Memphis: I'll take the low-hanging fruit first. They're probably not going to lose anymore this season until the NCAA tournament (no Elite Eight for you!), and coming into the tournament with one loss is going to pretty much make the selection committee seed them as a number one, probably in Houston. Remember when a vastly-over ranked Stanford team was undefeated at the end of the season a few years ago, and even though everyone knew they were soft, they still got a number one seed? Yeah, same for Memphis.

UCLA: I think UCLA is in the driver's seat for the PAC-10 championship and therefore a number one seed out west. They're a pretty decent team with some decent talent and an eye for defensive intensity. Okay, okay, so they're a fantastic team with great players and solid defensive sets as well as some scoring pop.

Texas: They're playing real good basketball right now and Bill Self is doing his typical late-season swoon, Michael Beasley is a beast, but I don't see how anyone challenges Texas for the Big XII championship. I think Texas will get a number one seed, somewhere. Then it'll be fun to see how Rick Barnes manages to screw this one up.

Duke: This pains me, but I don't see how anyone wins the ACC tournament who don't wear blue, and then when I mentally worked the brackets out in my mind, I had Clemson and UNC playing each other in the 2/3 game (I figure that, without Lawson being 100%, Duke wins at Cameron, securing a number one seed), and I live by the mantra of "it's tough to beat a team three times in one season" and Clemson has already taken the Tarheels to OT twice, both at Little John and at the Dean Dome. If Duke wins the ACC, they get a number one seed. It's that simple.

Now on to the conferences:

American East: I'm taking Maryland Baltimore County as they've owned the conference this year, are head and shoulders above the rest, and because their mascot is the Golden Chesapeake Bay Retriever. That's a big, dumb hard-headed, lovable dog. This means that they'll be stuck in the play-in game since they have a hyphenated game, ensuring they'll be good and tired so that whichever 1 seed gets them won't be embarrassed by the upset.

Atlantic Coast: I already said Duke wins the tournament. North Carolina makes it in almost automatically. Clemson finally gets that NIT monkey off its back, and Maryland is going to ride the 2002 National Championship into the tournament as well as the upset of UNC in Chapel Hill. I'd love to see Wake make it in and Va Tech, too, but I think there's just way too much work to be done for these teams in a league that has been mired in mediocrity all year. If they get one or two wins in the tournament, look for Miami(FL) to be in, as well.

Atlantic Sun: I've ridden Belmont in the past, and I'll take them again. They host the tournament on their own court, and I think Belmont is slowly becoming the new Winthrop. No word as to whether they'll change their name to the "Vampire Slayers".

Atlantic 10: Remember back a few months ago when the Atlantic 10 was everyone's favorite small conference? Remember back when they had 4 teams in the top 25, which was more than the ACC? Remember that painful, yellow discharge you contracted after spring break your junior year? That's what the A-10 is dealing with right now, and only Xavier can act as their penicillin now. But, I'm picking an upset here. Massachusetts to win the tourney, Xavier as an at large.

Big East: Last year I picked Notre Dame. They were a Tory Jackson 3-pointer from the win over Georgetown. This year I'm picking...Georgetown over Notre Dame, but my beloved Irish get an at large. Louisville will have a good run in the tournament. UConn is slowing down a little bit, Marquette is hanging around, and Pitt just manages to make it in. I hate it, but West Virginia slips in, as well. Syracuse beats Wake for the NIT championship.

Big Sky: In an upset, Northern Arizona beats Portland State at the buzzer to win the league. Paul Bunyan rejoices, but sadly misses out on UNA's opening round game against Memphis after he gets drunk, shows his "giant axe" to the wrong "babe" and ends up in jail.

Big South: "It's not my fault being the biggest and the strongest. I don't even exercise," said Andre the Giant as Fezzik. You know what I'm talking about, it's okay to admit it. Well, the inconceivable happens, and UNC-Asheville wrests the Big South crown away from Winthrop on the very tall, very broad shoulders of 7'7" Kenny George. No mention of using iocane powder on Winthrop leading scorer Michael Jenkins. Fast fact for you: Andre's cremated remains were spread over some of the land he owned in North Carolina. And you thought this blog wouldn't teach you anything.

Big Ten: Let's go homerism, and let's go Hoosiers. Like I said with UNC/Clemson, it's tough to beat a team three times in one season, so I pick Indiana to "upset" Wisconsin in the championship game. It will be ugly, but the Hoosiers will prevail (hello, kiss of death). The best game of the tournament will be the day before when Indiana beats in-state rival Purdue. Did I mention the games are played in Indianapolis? Yeah, the town will be rocking on the night of the semi-final game. Michigan State also makes it in. Sorry, Ohio State. UMass doomed you to the NIT after upsetting Xavier. Minnesota? Your turn next year.

Big XII: I've already stated that Texas will win the tournament, but Kansas makes the field as a high seed, as well as Michael Beasley. A&M might make a good run, and get in, but I don't think anyone else has the body of work that A&M has, and even theirs is a little suspect. Feel good story of the tournament? The Baylor Bears and Scott Drew. Indiana starts banging on his door the moment they lose.

Big West: No surprises here, Northridge wins the tournament easily. Ole!

Colonial: Oh what used to be. I think that Virginia Commonwealth still reigns supreme over the league, but I think they can be beat. The most likely candidate is Old Dominion, but I think Anthony Grant will have his players ready to play. Sadly, you could count on two to three teams making it from the Colonial. ODU and George Mason have been the cream of this crop for a while. This year, I think it's only a two-bid league, unless the unthinkable happens to VCU and GMU. But let's not think about that. Plus, VCU has the best looking cheerleaders in the conference.

Conference USA: Memphis. Move along folks, move along, nothing to see here--Whoa! A horrible plane wreck! Gather 'round, people. Don't be shy. Gather 'round.

Horizon: In what could be an audition for the Indiana job, Wright State meets Butler in the championship game. Wright State upsets Butler to get the auto bid, the Bulldogs get an at large bid.

Ivy: The Cornell Big Red (mmmm...cinnamony) are undefeated in league play, breaking the recent stranglehold from the P-schools, Penn and Princeton. My ancestor's school, Brown, is second, but the Ivy is a one-bid league. Wait till next year.

Metro-Atlantic: I watched Rider play last night, and I was not impressed with the lack of defensive intensity that they trotted out (the cheerleaders, much better). I'm picking Siena in the upset. My love for the Catholic schools continues to show.

Mid-American: I think it works out that Ohio can meet up with Kent State in the finals. I pick Ohio over Kent, but Kent gets an at-large. There is much gnashing of teeth in Columbus.

Mid-Eastern: From out of nowhere, Delaware St. stings the competition and wins the league. Given the right circumstances, they could be one of those popular sub-.500 teams in the field, which might cause Billy Packer's heart to seize (we hope). Enjoy playing the UMBC Golden Retrievers Tuesday night.

Missouri Valley: Again, another multi-team conference that has fallen on hard times. But, they'll get at least two in this year, as Southern Illinois pulls the upset over both Illinois St. and Drake. Keno's boys still make it in as an at large. I'm also going out on a limb here and saying Illinois St. manages to sneak in as one of the last teams.

Mountain West: Oh, let's throw poor Steve Alford a bone. His teams always seem to do so well in the conference championship games only to shit the bed come NCAA tournament time. New Mexico in an upset, but with BYU helping to make Billy Packer look like more of an ass...if that's possible..

Northeast: My heart lies with Robert Morris. Why, you ask? Because they beat Boston College at Chestnut Hills this year. Yes, they are my new favorite obscure little school from the northeast, replacing Sacred Heart.

Ohio Valley: One of these years, Austin Peay will win the conference and make it into the tourney. Is this the year of the Governors? Yeah.

Pacific-10: What a mess this league is. Why a mess? Because it's chock full of good teams, top to...well...almost bottom. Winner? UCLA Runner-up? Washington State. Stanford is a lock to make it in. USC also makes it in. And in an upset special (upset because it upsets the fans in Raleigh), the tournament selection committee takes Arizona St. and puts them in a first-round game in the RBC Center. Screw you, NC State fans! Arizona also makes it on name as much as body of work.

Patriot: This league has a lot more parity than in years past. Given my love for America, it's tough to pick. I want to take Navy. I want to take American. Who will it be? American. Remember the "tough to beat a team three times". Plus, Navy's already had enough to celebrate this past year. *mutters something about fourth-and-long*

Southeastern: Despite the fact that he looks like Burglekutt from Willow, Kevin Stallings will lead Vanderbilt to the SEC crown over Tennessee. I'm still not sold on Tennessee, but I will agree that they're good. Who else from the SEC will make it in? Mississippi State and, wait, who can that be? Is it? Is it? Kentucky? On name alone? Nah, I think their body of work in the SEC alone is enough, but doesn't hurt being Kentucky. And because the tournament selection committee doesn't want to see both teams from the championship game last year shut out, we have to deal with Florida once more.

Southern: This is a one-bid league, and there's only one team in the league. Convenient, no? Davidson brings home the championship.

Southland: Another single bid league, and let's go with Stephen F. Austin.

Southwestern Athletic: Let's go with Alabama St.. I haven't watched the the SWAC much this year, and my kids are bugging me for lunch.

Summit: Some day I'm going to pick IPFW, but today is not that day. I'll go with Oral Roberts once more. The giant praying hands win out. Still, no fat chicks allowed.

Sunbelt: Man. South Alabama or Western Kentucky? Western Kentucky or South Alabama? Dammit, I love America, so I'll take USA. They're both good schools. Too bad it's a one-bid league.

West Coast: Again, the Catholicism shows through as I pick St. Mary's to win, but gonzaga will also make it as an at large, pretty much no matter what. And then Indiana starts banging on Mark Few's door.

Western Athletic: Nick Fazekas is finally gone, but I still think Nevada has built a reputation and a decent program. However, after getting to the conference finals, Boise State works the blue turf magic and slides in. Billy Packer goes apoplectic about the injustice of not one more ACC team making it into the field.

There you go. We'll see how this works out. I'm going with a lot of smaller schools over bigger schools that have shitty resumes and no signature win. Of course, this might make my field change drastically, but oh well. I'm sticking with it. We'll check back in after Selection Sunday.