Posts Tagged 'Sports'

SEC101

It’s that time, Sports Fans! It’s almost football season. As a Public Service, I am posting my SEC101 that I wrote in order to bring my Smurf City beau up to speed on REAL football. Thought I’d share it with you. I make no apologies for any bias in my writing. It is, after all, about the greatest football Conference in human history, warts and all.

SEC101 (in Alphabetical order):

The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama (AKA Aladamnbama or Bama) The Crimson Tide (but somehow they got represented by an elephant in graphics). Fans known as “Bammers” by the rest of the Conference. Proof that, like maggots, it’s possible to live off a dead Bear for 30 years. Colors are crimson and white. Houndstooth patterns, made popular by Bear Bryant’s signature hat, are also common. Rival is Auburn University. Home is Bryant-Denny Stadium (101,821).

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas. (AKA “Arky”). Officially the Razorbacks, but also known as the Hogs, sometimes spelled Hawgs. Defected from the Southwestern Conference in 1991. Still waiting for its first SEC Conference Championship Game (SECCCG) win. Colors are Red and White. Rival is LSU. Most home games are played in Fayetteville’s Razorback Stadium (78,000), but games against LSU and Mississippi State are played at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock (54,000).

Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama (AKA “The Barn”) The Tigers or the Plainsmen (but represented by a golden eagle, who provides their rallying cry of “War Eagle”). Proof that you CAN be schizophrenic and still kick ass in football. Colors are blue and orange. Rival is Bama. Home is Jordan (pronounced JER-dan)-Hare Stadium (87,451).

The University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. The Gators. Highest concentration of jorts in the Western Hemisphere. Colors are blue and orange. The “chomp” is simply a two-handed version of non-Conference rival Florida State University’s tomahawk chop. Loved by its fans, hated by everyone else. Home is officially Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (88,548), but is much better known as “The Swamp.”

The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia. The Bulldogs, but spelled “Bulldawgs” or “Dawgs” by the faithful. The oldest state university in the US, founded in 1785. Coach Mark Richt (affectionately abbreviated to CMR) is considered not only a outstanding coach, but an all-around good guy. Colors are red and black. When greeted with a loud “How ’bout them Dawgs?” the correct response is an equally loud “Them Dawgs is hell, ain’t they?” New mascot UGA IX makes his debut this season. Home is Sanford Stadium (92,746)

The University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky. The Wildcats, or Cats. Deafeningly silent during football season, but more than makes up for it with cries of “Fear the Cat” once basketball season starts. Infamously fired Bear Bryant after basketball coach Adolf Rupp complained about the inordinate amount of attention being shown the football team–just because they were actually winning games. Colors are blue and white. Home is Commonwealth Stadium (67,606).

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Tigers. Abbreviation is LSU, but is known by other teams as “LSWho” or “Loser State.” Perfect season in 2012 shattered by Bama in the National Championship game despite beating Bama during regular season conference play. Rallying cry is “Who Dat,” for reasons unknown. Tiger Stadium (92,542) deemed most unfriendly locale for visiting teams in the country, especially if it’s a night game. Signs reading “Geaux Tigers” are legion. Colors are purple and gold. Despite the mutual season spoilage with Bama, rivals are actually Arky and Florida.

University of Mississippi, Oxford Mississippi. The Rebels. More commonly known as “Ole Miss.” Area known as “The Grove” on campus is not only considered the best tailgating in the Conference by its fans, but by many visiting teams’ fans as well. Most unjustly maligned team in the SEC. Not because of football–they aspire to mediocrity in that department–but because of their adherence to storied tradition by the diverse local and college community in the face of busybodies who’ve never set foot in Oxford. Most noted casualty was “Colonel Reb,” beloved mascot, in 2003. A campaign to choose a new mascot in 2009 went viral on the Internet and became the subject of a 5-minute feature on ESPN when a student organized an effort to make Star Wars’ Rebel leader Admiral Akbar the new mascot. The bid died when Steven Spielberg refused to allow licensing to the University, and a unanimously-hated black bear was forced on the fans by UM admins, who have since been driven from the University. Speed limit on campus is 17 mph, in honor of favorite son Archie Manning’s number. Colors are red and blue. Rival is Mississippi State. Sometimes called “Ole Piss” when disparaging is considered to be worth the effort. Home is Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (60,580).

Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi. You can’t get there from here (or from anywhere else). The OTHER Bulldogs. Known as “Moo U” by fans of rival Ole Miss, but no one else really bothers. Colors are maroon and white. Home is Davis Wade Stadium (55,082).

University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri. The Tigers (again?) AKA “Mizzou,” but “Mizz-ery” is also used by non-fans. Joins the Conference in 2012 for reasons the rest of the Conference is still trying to figure out. Even more head-scratching was their placement in the East Division. Colors are black and gold. Rivalry to be determined. Home is Faurot Field (71,004)

University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina. The Gamecocks, or Cocks. Women’s teams known as the “Lady Cocks.” Considered to be chicken by the rest of the Conference. The Original “USC,” having claimed that monogram in 1801, when California was still a Spanish backwater. The last meeting between the two USC’s resulted in an epic student-created sign in the stadium: “No Trojans can hold our Cocks.” Joined the SEC in 1991 as an independent school. Despite having being led by the likes of Lou Holtz and Steve Spurrier, has yet to win a SECCCG. Main rival is non-Conference Clemson University, but consider Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida to be rivalries as well. Colors are garnet and black. Home is Williams-Bryce Stadium (80,250).

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee. Home town known as ObKnoxville by non-fans. The Volunteers, or “Vols” for short. Band only knows one song, “Rocky Top,” and will play it at the drop of a hat. They will even play it if the hat DOESN’T drop. Also known for outlandish orange-and-white checkerboards in their end zones, and still can’t get past the shadow of former coach Phillip Fulmer’s beer gut, although current coach Derek Dooley’s devotion to orange pants is also the stuff of nightmares. A movement to convince alum Peyton Manning to leave the NFL and take a coaching position gains momentum with every Vol loss. Fans still cry “Go Big Orange” (abbreviated to “GBO”), however. Biggest rival is Florida, but games against cross-state conference team Vanderbilt are becoming less and less lopsided. Colors are orange and white, in case they haven’t already made that abundantly clear. Home is Neyland Stadium (102,455)

Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas. The Aggies, or Ags. Mascot is Reville, a collie (I’ve met her). She is the highest-ranking member of the Corps of Cadets, and is assigned to a Cadet Corporal (being chosen is one of the highest honors available), who is her constant companion, including attending his classes. If “Miss Rev” barks during class, the class is immediately dismissed. If she jumps on a bed, the student who has that bed sleeps on the floor until she chooses to get off. Joining the Conference in 2012. Steeped in tradition and should be a good fit, despite the stretch in geography. Expected to renew the dormant SWC rivalry with Arkansas and to intensify the long-standing rivalry with LSU, although not expected to be a Conference power unless the alumni (known as “Former Students”) release their death-grip on the Athletic Department. Not likely to happen, since they didn’t for Bear Bryant when he coached there. They have “yell leaders,” not cheerleaders, and they are all men. It is considered heresy by fans to sit during a game, as all consider themselves to be the team’s “12th Man,” ready to suit up and take the field if needed. Colors are maroon and white. Home is Kyle Field (82,589), which is considered sacred ground. A member of the Corps of Cadets once rushed (with saber drawn) a Southern Methodist cheerleader who had unknowingly stepped onto the turf.

Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee. AKA “Vandy.” The only private college in the Conference. Called the “Commodores,” or “Dores” in honor of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, who founded the school. Known as the “Commodes” by those who think trash talk is worth the effort. Although a member of the SEC since its founding in 1932, has never won a Conference Championship in football. Main foe is cross-state rival Tennessee. Colors are gold and black. Home is Dudley Field (39,790).

Since the 1991 Conference expansion, there have been two divisions. East Division teams are Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt. West Division teams are Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss, Miss. St, and TAMU. The winner of each division (determined by regular season W-L record) plays in the SECCCG, played in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta since 1994 (the first 2 games were played at Birmingham’s Legion Field). Winners of the SECCCG have been Florida (7 wins in 10 appearances), Bama (3 wins in 7 appearances), LSU (4 wins in 5 appearances), Tennessee (2 wins in 5 appearances), Auburn and Georgia (each with 2 wins in 4 appearances). Arkansas has appeared 3 times, and Mississippi State and S. Carolina have each appeared once, but have never won.

The 2008 Hooties are Out!

From the pages of the Austin (TX) American-Statesman, Dec. 26, 2008.  Ya gotta love it!


Mark Duncan
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Astute lip readers could see LeBron James uttering an expletive to his mother.


Tony Gutierrez
ASSOCIATED PRESS

After Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones’ numerous run-ins with the law, the Cowboys hired a security detail to keep the troubled cornerback out of trouble. That worked well – until Jones got in a fight with one of his own bodyguards.


Seth Wenig
ASSOCIATED PRESS

A YouTube video surfaced showing Josh Howard dissing the national anthem while it was being played.


David Karp
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Plaxico Burress was arrested after shooting himself in the leg in a New York nightclub.


COURTESY AUSTIN POLICE DEPARTMENT

Cedric Benson’s June 7, 2008 mug shot.


COURTESY AUSTIN POLICE DEPARTMENT

Cedric Benson’s May 3, 2008 mug shot.

2008 HOOTIE AWARDS

Our annual awards for sports stupidity

AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Friday, December 26, 2008

We usually scour the world to compile our annual Hootie Awards for stupidity and absurdity in sports.

This year, we didn’t even need to leave the state.

In Dallas, the Cowboys’ troublesome Pacman Jones got in a fight with his own bodyguard, the Stars suspended Sean Avery for using some, um, sloppy language when discussing his ex-girlfriend, and Josh Howard caused embarrassment for the Mavericks with his stance on the national anthem (and with his penchant for pot – and his drag-racing arrest – and his birthday party for himself while his team was losing in the playoffs).

In Houston, a hunter was shot by his own dog, and Astros fans were probably wanting to shoot baseball’s commissioner after his hurricane relocation plan sent their playoff hopes right down the drain.

Here in Austin, the Longhorns were redfaced over a player’s Facebook page and a coach’s stepson running onto the field. Cedric Benson spent the summer clearing his name — and looking for a new team – after being subjected to a pair of Paul Revere arrests: oneth by land, twoeth by sea.

Yes, stupidity continued to abound in 2008.

College football brought us the recruit who wasn’t really a recruit, the coach who fired his own son and a handful of banner-bearing airplanes buzzing the stadiums of the Big 12.

And then there was Chad Johnson, who gave himself a new name that was really a number; LeBron James, who cussed out his mother; and Plaxico Burress, who accidentally shot himself.

Those are just a few our esteemed nominees this year. For the full accounting of the year in sports infamy, read on.


THIS TIME, WE SHALL RENAME HIM HIT-MAN JONES

After Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones’ numerous run-ins with the law, the Cowboys hired a security detail to keep the troubled cornerback out of trouble. That worked well – until Jones got in a fight with one of his own bodyguards.

THEIR RELATIONSHIP WAS ON THIN ICE

The NHL suspended Sean Avery , above, of the Dallas Stars not for some violence on the ice, but for making an off-color remark. Before a game in Alberta, he called the media together and made a dig at Calgary’s Dion Phaneuf, who is dating Avery’s ex-girlfriend, actress Elisha Cuthbert, inset. “I just want to comment on how it’s become like a common thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my sloppy seconds,” he said. Video

SPECIAL DELIVERY FOR MACK BROWN’S STEPSON

Two parachutists jumped from their airplane with the game ball for the University of North Carolina’s season-opening football game. Problem was, they landed in Duke University’s football stadium by mistake.

TAKE ME OUT AT THE BALLGAME …

When pitcher Julio Castillo of the Single-A Peoria Chiefs hit the first two batters of the game, one of them in the head, and then threw at the third, the benches emptied in a brawl between the Chiefs and the Dayton Dragons. Castillo, it seemed, had one more pitch left in him. Amid the melee, he threw a ball toward the Dragons’ dugout – but missed and struck a fan in the stands. The fan had to be treated at a hospital, and Castillo was hit with a felony charge of assault by Dayton police. Video

YOU SHOULD SEE WHAT HE DOES DURING THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Dallas Mavericks forward Josh Howard had a busy year. He created a stir in the spring by talking openly about his ongoing use of marijuana. Then he angered his coach when he threw a birthday party for himself in the midst of a playoff series that his team was losing. Next, he was arrested in July when police said he was drag racing at 94 mph in a 55 zone. Finally, a YouTube video surfaced showing him dissing the national anthem while it was being played. “‘The Star Spangled Banner’ is going on right now,” he said on the video. “I don’t even celebrate that (expletive). I’m black.” Video

HEY, THEY’RE JUST TRYING TO BE THE NEXT JOSH HOWARD

Rookies Darrell Arthur, Mario Chalmers and Michael Beasley were fined by the NBA after flunking out of a league-sponsored symposium designed to help new players handle-off-the-court issues. They were caught violating the symposium’s rules by having women in their room, which also reeked of the smell of marijuana.

THEY PULLED OFF THE OL’ QUARTERBACK SNEAK

During a playoff game between the Giants and Cowboys, TV cameras caught a glimpse of Jessica Simpson, the singer and girlfriend of Dallas quarterback Tony Romo. But it wasn’t the real Jessica. Instead, it was a Romo-jersey-wearing lookalike hired by the New York Post newspaper to possibly distract Romo. Given the final score – Giants 21, Cowboys 17 – it apparently worked.

WATCH ME PULL A SCHOLARSHIP OUT OF THIS HAT

When offensive lineman Kevin Hart decided to announce his decision to accept a football scholarship from Cal, it was such a big event that his school in Fernley, Nev., held an assembly to hear the news. Two TV stations showed up and watched Hart pick up a Cal cap over one from Oregon. The only problem was that neither Cal or Oregon had actually offered a scholarship or even recruited Hart.

Hart filed a police report suggesting he was duped by someone impersonating the school’s coaches; then, a few days later, he admitted to making up the entire story. Video

THERE GOES THAT NICE FATHER’S DAY GIFT

After a poor year by the Virginia Cavaliers’ offense, head football coach Al Groh, above, decided to fire his offensive coordinator – who also happened to be his son, Mike.

WHERE’S AL GROH WHEN YOU REALLY NEED HIM?

The Texas Longhorns appeared to have made a momentum-changing fumble recovery during the Holiday Bowl.

But before the loose ball could be picked up by a player, several members of the Longhorns’ sideline staff excitedly wandered onto the field, and one of them – coach Mack Brown’s stepson – was flagged for illegally touching the ball. The ball reverted back to Arizona State, which scored a touchdown on the next play. Video

HE WASN’T SAYING, ‘HI, MOM’

After Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics intentionally fouled her son on a fast break, LeBron James’ mother – in the parlance of the times – got up in Pierce’s face. Astute lip readers could see James uttering an expletive to his mother. “I told her to sit down, in some language that I shouldn’t have used,” James said. “Thank God today wasn’t Mother’s Day.” Right. It was the day after Mother’s Day. Video

HEY, HOUSTON, THIS BUD’S FOR YOU

The Houston Astros had won six in a row and 14 of their last 15 – and the only things that could stop them were Hurricane Ike, the Chicago Cubs and commissioner Bud Selig. With the hurricane bearing down on Houston, Selig, below, stepped in and moved the Astros’ next two home games against the Cubs to a supposedly neutral field in Milwaukee. Thousands of Cubs fans made the short drive from Chicago, while the sleep-deprived Astros made the flight from Houston after trying to arrange for their families and houses to ride out the storm.

The Cubs swept the two games, including a no-hitter by Carlos Zambrano, above, to start a five-game losing streak that sunk Houston’s season like, well, a hurricane.

BY JUST WINGING IT WITH THE PLANE TRUTH, THEY HOPED TO AIR THEIR GRIEVANCES AND PROPEL THEIR TEAMS TO GREAT HEIGHTS

Passes weren’t the only things flying around Big 12 stadiums this year. With the Big 12 South football race headed toward a controversial three-way tie, University of Texas fans hired a plane to circle Stillwater, Okla., where the rival Oklahoma Sooners were playing that day, with a banner celebrating Texas’ 45-35 victory over Oklahoma earlier in the season. One week later, a banner-pulling plane advising Texas coach Mack Brown to “quit whining” was spotted circling Austin for two hours, above.

Days later, another plane buzzed the Big 12 championship game in Kansas City, reminding the Oklahoma and Missouri teams that the Longhorns had defeated them both.

HE’LL JUST HIRE A PLANE NEXT TIME

Two Austin radio stations ran with the news breaking out of Oklahoma: Two Sooner football players had been arrested on drug charges. But the story wasn’t true. It had been made up by a Nebraska football fan and posted on the Internet to look like a news story from the Daily Oklahoman newspaper.

The publisher of the newspaper wasn’t amused and filed a copyright lawsuit against the man who posted the story – a man who happened to be an employee of the University of Texas and operator of a Web site called http://www.darthhusker.com.

THERE’S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL (BUT THERE SURE IS A LOT OF CURSING)

Seattle Mariners manager John McLaren, below, was (expletive) tired of (expletive) losing games. So he told us how he (expletive) felt about it. Here’s his own (expletive) words. “We’re playing our (expletive) off every day and got nothing to show for it. I’m tired of (expletive) losing. I’m tired of getting my (expletive) beat, and so are those guys. We’ve got to change this (expletive) (expletive) around. Get after it, and only we can do it. The fans are (expletive) off, and I’m (expletive) off, and the players are (expletive) off. And that’s the way it is. There’s no (expletive) easy way out of this. Can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve got to (expletive) buckle it up and get after it. I’m tired of (expletive) losing (expletive) every night, and we bust our (expletive). It’s got to be a total (expletive) effort to turn this thing around, and that’s it.”

(Expletive) right. Video

SHE THOUGHT SHE WAS AT A MARINERS PRESS CONFERENCE

Broadcaster Dana Jacobson was suspended for a week from her ESPN show after getting a little tipsy at a celebrity roast and, with the Notre Dame coach in attendance, declaring, “(Expletive) Notre Dame. (Expletive) Touchdown Jesus. (Expletive) Jesus!” Among those not amused was the Christian Defense Coalition, which picketed outside ESPN’s offices.

NO WONDER HE LOBBIED FOR A PLAYOFF

When presidential candidate Barack Obama, above, came to Austin to debate Hillary Clinton, he decided to make a stop at the true power center of Texas politics. The Texas Capitol? The Governor’s Mansion? Nope, Mack Brown’s office.

THERE’S A JOKE HERE ABOUT POOL CUES AND BILLIARD BALLS BUT WE’RE JUST NOT GONNA GO THERE

A German national champion was suspended after testing positive for a masking agent for the banned blood-booster EPO. Did we mention his sport? He’s a billiards player.

SPELLING ‘WISCONSIN’ TOOK TOO MANY GUYS, ANYWAY

The sportsmanship committee of Wisconsin’s high school athletics governing body recommended banning fans with bare or painted chests from indoor games. In the end, the governing body, um, backed off.

THAT’S WHAT WE CALL TRUTH IN ADVERTISING

Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens applied for a trademark for the phrase, “I love me some me.”

MAYBE HE SHOULD BLAME IT ON HIS DOG

New York Giants receiver Plaxico Burress was charged with illegally possessing a weapon after that weapon accidentally discharged and shot Burress in the leg at a nightclub.

MAYBE THE DOG SHOULD BLAME IT ON PLAXICO

A Houston-area man was killed in an accidental shooting while hunting. His shotgun had fired from the back of his pickup – after his dog stepped on the trigger. Investigators found the dog’s paw prints on the gun.

WAIT TILL I GET YOUR HANES ON ME

When the Detroit Lions informed running back Tatum Bell that he was being cut in favor of the newly acquired Rudi Johnson, Bell, left, got back at his successor. He was caught on videotape taking Johnson’s luggage from the locker room. Johnson soon recovered the two Gucci bags but not the contents. “I got the bags back – empty,” he said. “So he’s got a bunch of my underclothes. What he’s going to do with that, I don’t know. He’s got some socks and boxers.”

THE REAL A-ROD WOULD’VE SWATTED THAT BIRD RIGHT OUT OF THE AIR (UNLESS IT WAS DURING THE PLAYOFFS, WHEN HE WOULD’VE SWUNG AND MISSED)

A red-tailed hawk living in Fenway Park swooped down and sunk its talons into a 13-year-old girl who was touring the home of the Boston Red Sox. Of all the middle school students on the tour, the only one attacked was Alexa Rodriguez – known as A-Rod to her friends. Video

IT WAS EITHER THAT OR SIC A HAWK ON HIM

A Massachusetts man was charged with beating a vacationing New Yorker in Cape Cod with an aluminum baseball bat because he thought he was a Yankees fan.

CAN HE GET KICKED OFF THE TEAM? YES, HE CAN

The Texas Longhorns dismissed their backup center from the team after he posted a racially charged comment and veiled threat about Obama on his Facebook page on election night.

THEY’LL BE FRIENDS WHEN PIGS FLY

Several high school swimmers in Iowa were suspended after they impaled 15 car antennas with fetal pigs and smeared crawfish on hoods and windshields in their rival school’s parking lot. It was justified, of course.

After all, the rival swimmers had lobbed snowballs at them.

HE THOUGHT IT WAS DEERLY DEPARTED

A Missouri hunter was pretty pleased after bagging a nine-point buck. The buck, however, wasn’t pleased, nor was he dead. The deer rose up, knocked the hunter down and attacked with its antlers in what the veteran hunter called “15 seconds of hell.” The story has a happy ending, though (unless you’re the deer). The deer ran a short distance before falling down, at which point the bloodied hunter finished it off with two more shots.

THEY HUNG THEMSELVES

Golf Channel anchor Kelly Tilghman was engaged in a little on-air banter about what Tiger Woods’ competitors could do to defeat the world’s top golfer when she offered this suggestion: “Lynch him in a back alley.” Golfweek magazine added fuel to the controversy when its coverage of the story featured a drawing of a noose on its cover. Video

THOSE WHO CANNOT LEARN FROM HISTORY …

Philadelphia Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson began celebrating his 61-yard touchdown reception a little early, tossing the ball aside as he crossed the goal line. Officials ruled the play a fumble, saying he dropped the ball at the 1.

Unfortunately for Jackson, above, it was his second such premature celebration. In a high school all-star game four years earlier, he broke free for a long run and tried to cap it by making a showy flying flip while approaching the goal line – only to land at the 1. Video

HOW ‘BOUT OCHO LOCO INSTEAD?

Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Johnson, No. 85 in your program, legally changed his last name to “Ocho Cinco” so that he could wear his nickname on the back of his jersey.

HE WAS TRYING TO CEMENT HIS PLACE IN HISTORY

A fan of the Boston Red Sox who also happened to be a construction worker building the new Yankee Stadium buried a Boston jersey in concrete being poured for the stadium in an effort to curse the rival team. Yankees officials unearthed the jersey, cleaned it up and sold it on eBay for $175,500 – and donated the proceeds to the Red Sox’s official team charity. Video

GUESS THAT’S WHAT YOU CALL A DEAD GIVEAWAY

The Grand Prairie AirHogs minor-league baseball team came up with a well-grounded promotion: One fan won an all-expense paid funeral as part of its “All Hogs Go to Heaven” night at the ballpark. The winner was a 60-year-old wearing a neck brace who’d undergone about 20 surgeries. “God still has me around for a reason,” she said. “To win a funeral.”

SEX, LIES AND VIDEOTAPE (WITHOUT THE SEX)

The day before the New England Patriots played in the Super Bowl (and lost), the Boston Herald reported that the team had secretly videotaped the St. Louis Rams’ practice before their Super Bowl matchup six years earlier. Three months later, the newspaper said its story was in error and issued an apology under the headline, “Sorry, Pats.”

HE THOUGHT HE COULD, BUT THEY THOUGHT HE COULDN’T

Fired Syracuse football coach Greg Robinson used his final news conference to preach the value of optimism by giving a plot summary of the children’s book, “The Little Engine That Could.” Video

NOW, WAS THAT BIRDIE OR AN EAGLE?

PGA Tour golfer Tripp Isenhour was annoyed with a red-shouldered hawk that wouldn’t stop making noise while he tried to tape a “Shoot Like a Pro” video segment. So, Isenhour started hitting balls at the bird, which was safely 300 yards away. When the bird moved to within 75 yards of the golfer, he said, “I’ll get him now” – and he did. After about 10 shots, Isenhour nailed the bird, which is a protected migratory species, and found himself facing an animal cruelty charge.

NEXT TIME, HE’LL JUST SHOW UP IN THE BUFF

The University of Colorado apologized for an “insensitive, unfortunate and thoughtless” display from the university’s costumed buffalo, Chip, at a Denver Nuggets game. The buffalo showed up in a gang-themed outfit featuring baggy pants, a do-rag, fake gold teeth and a teardrop tattoo below one eye. “It was, basically, every stereotypical thing you could think of,” a remorseful university spokesman said.

IT WAS A CASE OF HE CED, HE CED

Chicago Bears running back Cedric Benson became an ex-Chicago Bear when he was arrested twice on alcohol-related charges in a month – oneth by sea, on his boat at Lake Travis, and twoeth by land, in his car in downtown Austin. He still didn’t get his job back when the charges were dropped by grand juries for lack of evidence.

The Poetic Side of the BCS

The Muse hit me last night–hard.  She kept pestering me until I took advantage of the fact that my mentor teacher (who is also in charge of the Christmas program) was leading the class in rehearsal, so I grabbed a thesaurus to aid in finding synonyms that could rhyme easily, and scribbled down this tribute to NCAA football since 1998.

Ode to an Anachronism

Oh, what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to conceive
A way to determine a champion national
Totally devoid of analysis rational.

Lose early in season, a team’ll survive.
Lose even mid-season, they may still thrive,
But wait ’til the end-season riv’lry to lose,
By January 2nd, they’re yesterday’s news.

And God forbid there should ever be
Two teams in a conference winning each vict’ry
And meeting each other in a conference final
So that the loser drops below other teams idle.

But the most egregious aberration by far,
Is to have three teams at end of season reg’lar
Vying for the lone conference division spot
Leaving two teams surpassed by those who do not.

Tell me, what is the legitimacy here
To perpetuate this unfairness year after year
With teams of near-perfection penalized
For belonging to a conference championship-sized?

Or, even worse, using this B–no “C”–S,
To decide who in the conference is best,
And relying heavily on opinions hollow
Of coaches with no time for such things to follow.

Since teams in divisions once called “II” and “III”
Can work out a playoff so effortlessly,
And Division I basketball teams sixty-four
Can also succeed–can’t we have just one more?

Alas!  We’ll ne’er see an FBS playoff hence,
For the idea, unfortunately, just makes too much sense!


Still, the title may have done a disservice–an anachronism is something whose time has passed.   What is the name for something whose time never was???

There ain’t enough perfume to pretty this hog.

One of my good friends in the UK sent me this clip:

http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/worldnews.html?in_article_id=528694&in_page_id=1811

This is just the latest in an intermittent litany of articles that expose the government in the People’s Republic of China (the PRC, or Communist Red China) for its cruelties. Many are now calling for a boycott of the Summer Olympics this August. I must admit that, horrified by this latest chapter of PRC truth as I am, I have become somewhat dulled by its constancy–at least I should say, I am not surprised; I’ve seen this too many times before in my adult life. I served in the military in the 1980’s in the Pacific–one of my jobs was to keep up with what was going on in Asia. I’ve never gotten out of the habit of keeping up with ongoings throughout the Pacific Rim.

Still, I don’t know if I can commit to boycotting this year’s Olympics, because for the first time in my life, it’s personal. Two of my daughter’s former teammates are likely to earn spots on this year’s US Olympic team. I’ve known these kids since they were 14 and 16, and yes, they ARE all that. Their step-dad is my daughter’s former coach, and he and the girls’ mother are great folk (the only reason that I don’t mention their dad is because I have never met him). These girls have spent most of their lives preparing for this (typical practice time is 2 1/2 hrs. per day, 5-6 days a week during the school year and 6-8 hours a day, 5 days a week in summer, and they love every minute of it, else they wouldn’t be there). It’s not these girls’ fault that the IOC got their collective heads turned by a pretty, perfumed package that contains the rotting offal of its policies well hidden inside. Quite frankly, I couldn’t tell these girls not to go, and should they go, I owe it to them to indulge in the pleasure of watching their aquatic poetry in motion one more time, especially if it gets us a medal that otherwise would have gone to the PRC.

Please notice that I am being very careful to direct my outrage at the government of the People’s Republic of China, not at the Chinese people. If you read the article carefully, you will very clearly see that these people are scared–as well they should be. The Chinese people have my sympathies and my frustration at the knowledge that they are trapped in an autocratic system with alarmingly little regard for human life, and practically none for other life. The people who work there making baubles for our comfort “earn” slave wages. Collective bargaining? HAH! The PRC’s idea of collective bargaining is to gang up on the one person who dares to point out that this emperor has no clothes, beat him up, jail him, and persecute his family. If they execute the poor soul, the family gets billed for the bullet–quite a contrast from the some $35,000+ per year we taxpayers spend to keep ONE prisoner on death row!

I know from first-hand accounts of attempts by the PRC to violently overthrow governments that are in their way that stretch back nearly 60 years–almost to the foundations of the PRC as a nation. My former boss was an officer on board a US Navy ship during the shellings of Quemoy and Matsu. During Tienanmen, a Grad Assistant in my mom’s office was sleepless the whole time, seeking news of the family he had been forced to leave behind in Beijing. Thank God that all turned out well for him, unlike the families of the up to 3000 people (casualty figures vary widely) who were crushed under the weight of the Red Army tanks. The Chinese Student Association at my alma mater printed and sold “Goddess of Freedom” t-shirts. I still have one.

Those kids who died at Tienanmen were a drop in the bucket compared to the 20 million Chinese citizens who died at the hands of Mao Zedong in the 1950’s and 1960’s using a combination of famine, political purges, and megalomania that he had the chutzpah to call a “Great Leap Forward.” That pales in comparison to the untold millions of Chinese babies who to this day are being forcibly aborted just because their mothers already have one child (if they live in the city) or two children (if they live in the country). The PRC even employs legions of spies whose job it is to seek out women who attempt to hide an “illegal” pregnancy. Some disguise themselves as midwives, then take the newborns and kill them right after delivery and tell the mother that the child is dead. The horror stories are legion. You do not have to go to political activists’ websites to find them–they run in such “factional” publications as Readers’ Digest.

Those of you who, like I, came of age during the Cold War remember that the primary objective of Communism is world domination. It failed in the Soviet Union because the Soviets were, like us, of a European cultural background. Although we differ in individual issues and methodologies, we are motivated by similar drives and desires–including the need to “keep up with the Joneses” and for a quick return on our investments.

The Chinese, if you will pardon the banal metaphor, are Klingons to our Federation. It was a Chinese general, Sun Tsu, who wrote the definitive book on warfare over 2500 years ago. His The Art of War is still required reading at all the US Service Academies and War Colleges today. General Sun’s instructions and wisdom did not just cover conventional war, but unconventional methods like disinformation and spying as well.

One thing that may prove our downfall is the fact that the Chinese culture is one of infinite patience. They are willing to wait millenia if they have to for conditions to be right for victory. Trust me, the PRC is biding its time, giving us enough rope to hang ourselves. As it is, we are almost totally dependent on the PRC for toys to entertain our children. Some 95% of all toys sold in the US are made in the PRC. Contrary to what many believe, the skyrocketing of oil prices did NOT begin with Gulf War II, but with the PRC’s cornering of the petroleum market. The economy in the PRC has been booming all decade (thanks largely to us), and they are taking advantage of this singular opportunity to buy up all the oil they can and stockpile it.

If you think that the debacles this past fall with tainted pet food and toy paint were mere incompetence, let me sell you some beachfront in Tennessee. To borrow a geek term, they were beta-testing a covert assault on our way of life. I’ve studied these guys too well; they were trying to see how easy it is to “sneak in through the back door” and catch us with our pants down.

Again, let me stress most wholeheartedly that I have no issue with individual people from either China: the PRC or Taiwan. I have known plenty of people from both nations and have found each and every one I have ever met to be the epitome of generosity, friendliness, and kindness. I would love to see the cities today that my grandmother described in her letters dated from her visit in 1920. Until the communists there have gone the way of the Soviets, though, that will be impossible for me. I have to admit that I am greatly relieved to know that I will not be in a position to decide whether or not to allow my child to go to the Olympics this year. I sympathize with those who do.

What do we do in the meantime?

  • Ask our Presidential candidates how they will deal with the PRC and with American companies who outsource their manufacturing there.  Support the one who won’t kowtow and offer MFN (“Most Favored Nation”) status as if it were candy to shut up a bawling brat.
  • Stop buying products made in the PRC.  The more we do it, the easier it will get as suppliers realize that we don’t want goods from the PRC.
  • Incorporate into tax-reduction deals with American manufacturers the stipulation that if they close down their plant to move manufacturing out of the country that the company will owe not only every penny of tax savings they pocketed in the past, but hefty penalties as well.

Back in Georgia, we used to say that trying to put a pretty spin on something ugly was “like putting perfume on a hog.”  Believe me, there ain’t enough Chanel on the planet to disguise the ugliness that is Communist China.  Or, to translate the above once more into Georgia-speak:  “Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly cuts clean to the bone.”


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