Wednesday, January 18, 2012


As I write this, the English language version of Wikipedia, the worldwide on-line encyclopedia, is unavailable. And it will be for the next 24 hours, give or take a few minutes. Along with several other popular websites. Note: Google, as usual, caved from their promise to join this boycott. What a surprise.

This is in protest to the Congress's so-called Stop On-line Piracy Act, or the Senate version, the Protect IP Act.

Under these new laws, any website that even posts a tiny segment of copyrighted material could be immediately and permanently shut down, with no legal recourse.

That means this blog could disappear. Which would, I know, bring great grief to you, the three people who read it. Because I have probably posted videos here that show clips of copyrighted material. I don't know what precisely, and I'm not going to go back through my last nine years of posts to find and remove them.

But someone could, if either of these bills passes. And I could lose my internet privileges. And go to jail.

We expect this sort of thing to happen in China. Or Iran. Or some other totalitarian regime.

We don't expect it to happen here.

In the meantime, since you can't access Wikipedia on-line, I suggest to you my very few but loyal readers to go to your library and find a book by Sinclair Lewis called It Can't Happen Here.

And be afraid. Be very afraid.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tebow: Go Blow

Just in case you missed it, the Denver Broncos got pretty thoroughly crushed last night.

Maybe, just maybe, now the country will stop talking about Tim Tebow. At least for a few minutes.

Tebow may be a great QB in the future. He may become the next reincarnation of Joe Montana, Fran Tarkenton, and Johnny Unitas all rolled into one. Probably not. But in the meantime, right now he is what he is: A stunningly mediocre second-year quarterback who got incredibly lucky in about 5 different games.

Religious leaders pointed to divine intervention in some of his games this year, based on his repeatedly professed strong Christian faith. I tend to see it for what it was: a combination of luck, weak opponents, and some incredibly poor coaching decisions made by those same opponents.

Last night, the Broncos faced one of the best teams in the NFL. With, as much as I hate to say it, one of the League's better QB's. And as much as I hate Tom Brady, he's a QB with 3 Superbowl rings and a better than average chance of adding a 4th to his collection this year. A QB who has passed for nearly 40000 total yards and 300 TD's over the course of his career. And one who was apparently rather miffed at all the attention being paid to this wunderkind from Denver. And demonstrated his anger convincingly.

As for Tebow? Well, he spent more time on his back last night than a $20 hooker at the New York pier during fleet week. He was sacked 5 times, while passing for a mere 136 yards and NO touchdowns.

And yet, still, everyone talked about how "poised" and "professional" Tebow was in the post-game interviews. And about how what an asset he'll be for the team next year.

Memo to the news media: Of the six TD passes in last night's Broncos-Patriots game, not ONE of them came off the hand of Tim Tebow. There were TWO quarterbacks in last night's game. One of them clearly deserved to be there. One of them did not. No matter how much he expounds about how strong his faith in God is.

To paraphrase a line from a favorite movie of mine, El Dorado:

"Faith can move mountains. But it can't beat a better team."

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

It Happened Ten Years Ago


We had all packed for a long car trip. My Aunt (by marriage) Jeanine had just died after a protracted battle with Cancer.

My dad, my mom, and me, were getting ready to get in the car to go to her funeral. My mom was not feeling well, as a result of extensive chemotherapy sessions from her own struggles against her own Cancer. But she wanted to be at the funeral of her sister-in-law to support her family members. It was in her nature.

We got ready to go. My mom felt nauseous. She ran to the bathroom to vomit.

Dad and I knew at that point that we wouldn't make it out of the driveway. My mom was too sick.

We unpacked the car. We got my mom into the house, and tried to make her rest. But she got sicker.

We were forced to take her to the Hospital. She was weak, and could not keep any food down.

Upon our arrival, she was taken immediately to intensive care. As a result of her chemo-weakened immune system, she had developed pneumonia. And, after nearly 20 years she spent fighting a sure losing battle with a particularly insidious form of Cancer, she was unable to recover from it. She died less than 24 hours later.

That was ten years ago today.

It is often said that Cancer patients do not die of Cancer--they die with it. This was what happened. She did not die because she had this horrible disease. She died because all the treatments that she endured over the nearly 2 decades she spent in a relentless battle to defeat a disease that her doctors told her would kill her in 5 years finally did--18 years later.

There is no cure for Cancer. Seriously. Cancer can be treated. Cancer can be destroyed. Cancer can be sent into remission. Cancer can be removed, surgically or otherwise. Cancer cannot be cured. And I'm not entirely sure that some of the available Cancer treatments today don't do more harm than good.

All I know is that this disease took my mother away from me ten years ago today. Along with probably thousands of others. And it will continue to do so, until someone decides that it's more important to find a real cure instead of raising money to find one.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Just Remove the Middle Letter...

The BCS is over. Alabama wins the BCS National Championship.

Big. Deal.

This was not the story of some Cinderella underdog team coming from behind to claim a victory over a powerhouse team. No. This was the story of a team that had only one loss the entire 2011 College Football season. To the team they just played last night. A loss that resulted from a single missed field goal in overtime.

And I sincerely believe that not one single person outside the state of Alabama really gives a flying f$%&.

The whole BCS system has gotten even more ridiculous than it already was. In the 14 years since the BCS was instituted, by my count it has worked right exactly one time. At the end of the 2002 season, 2 undefeated teams existed in college football: Ohio State and Miami. These two teams met in the Fiesta Bowl, and OSU won in a dramatic Overtime. Everyone, while not exactly happy about the result, was satisfied that a clear champion had been established. And as far as I can tell, not one time since then has that ever happened.

There is so much wrong with the BCS that I hardly know where to begin. Let’s start with the fact that only certain college football conferences are even allowed to compete for spots in the coveted BCS bowls (and the huge payoffs that come with them). There are, of course, the so-called “at large” spots that the less powerful conferences can sometimes claim, but often only by virtue of going undefeated, a difficult task to accomplish in any football season. And don’t even get me started on the so-called “Notre Dame rule”.

Then there’s the whole notion of computers picking who the better teams are based on things like strength of schedule and points scored, to name a few. Not only does this encourage teams to pad their schedules with weak teams in order to boost their records, it also encourages coaches to run up the score of games, instead of giving starting players a break and letting the second and third-stringers get some much needed playing time.

And, of course, the coaches poll. Not only does this tend to be very subjective, it can end up having a profound impact on the final game. A few years ago, after Ohio State had beaten Michigan when both teams were undefeated, Michigan’s chances of getting a rematch in the BCS championship game came down to a vote by the coaches, one of whom was the coach of Florida, the other contender for the game against OSU. Guess which team wound up playing OSU? (OSU’s coach, Jim Tressel, graciously declined to vote).

So usually what happens is that no one is happy, outside of the fan base of the team that is eventually declared “the Champion”. Every year, calls are made for the system to be changed, and every year those calls fall on the deaf ears of the BCS.

Now, I understand, BCS officials are meeting to discuss changing the format. The most likely scenario is that the final pool of teams will go from 2 to 4, with a 2-round playoff. This, while slightly fairer, is not nearly enough.

The fairest solution would be to invite the champions from every FBS conference to compete in the lesser bowls. As each conference was eliminated, the winners would advance to the next bowl, until the top 8 teams could play the 4 major bowl games on New Year’s day, followed by the aforementioned 4 team 2 round playoff, winner take all. Not only would this encourage more interest in the minor bowls (which would equal more money—always a plus to bowl promoters), it would help the less powerful conferences with their recruiting, since every conference would potentially have a chance at producing the national champion. The playing field, while not completely level, would be far less tilted toward the BCS conferences. This would also leave plenty of bowl games available for non-champion teams.

Oh, and screw Notre Dame. Tell them they either join a conference or they don’t get to play in the big dance. They’d change their tune pretty quick, I think.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The Year 2011 in Review

2011: In Review

I know, I’m a couple days late. I’d offer some excuse, but it would just be complete and total bullshit. So without further ado, let’s get started.

Favorite Sports moment of the year:
Ohio State 31
Arkansas 26

The record books can claim the game never happened if they want. I saw that game with my own eyes. Vacated, my ass!

Runner up:
St. Louis defeats Texas 4 games to 3 in the World Series.

Screw Texas.

Worst Sports moment of the year:
Pretty much the entire 2011 Buckeyes season. They set a lot of records this year that you never want to set.

Runner up:
Michigan 40, OSU34.
I guess it had to happen eventually. They can have their next win 7 years from now.

Favorite Movie of the Year:
Captain America: The First Avenger.
Cap kicks ass! ‘Nuff said.

Runner up:
The Adventures of Tintin.
This late entry beat out a few others, including The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which I literally saw the day before. I loved the Tintin graphic novels as a boy, and it was a special treat to see them come to life on the big screen. More importantly, it was done well, with Steven Spielberg at the helm.

By the way...
Most disturbing movie of the year:
The aforementioned The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
This movie is not for the faint of heart. I may have a review up in a day or two.

Worst Movie of the Year (that I saw):
The Green Lantern
Three words: Box. Office. Bomb.

Speaking of which...
Movie I’m Glad I never saw:
The Green Hornet
Seth Rogen? Seriously? What, was Jack Black too busy to play the part?!

Movie I most look forward to in 2012:
Tie: The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises.
Both look AWESOME!

Favorite new TV show of the year:
“Person of Interest”
I’ve always thought Jim Caviezel was one of the more underrated actors in Hollywood. They couldn’t have picked a better actor for his role if they’d tried.

Worst new TV show of the year:
“Charlie’s Angels”
This show died a quick and well-deserved death. One of my co-workers said she was sad to see it go because her 8-year old girl loved it. Need I say more?

Favorite political moment of the year:
Occupy Wall Street.

Least favorite political moment of the year:
Debt Ceiling Standoff.

Thing I am least looking forward to in 2012:
Two words: Presidential. Election.
Seriously. This is shaping up to be the worst election cycle ever. And that’s saying something. Note to the Repuglicans: Mitt Romney?! Really? That’s the best you could come up with?