A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Friday, November 25, 2005

The Great Miscommunicator

Or, given the current prediliction toward ridiculing politicians with bad grammar, perhaps it should be The Great Uncommunicator:

"The problem the Bush administration has - and it is a problem that dates back to the beginning of the war - is its inability to articulate the reality. The United States is not staying the course. It has not been on course - if by "course" you mean what was planned in February 2003 - for two years. The course the United States has been on has been winding, shifting and surprising. The fact is that the administration has done a fairly good job of riding the whirlwind. But the course has shifted so many times that no one can stay it, because it disappeared long ago.

Having committed the fundamental error - and that wasn't WMD [it was not forseeing and then misreading the insurgency] - the Administration has done a sufficiently good job that some sort of working government might well be created in Iraq in 2006, and U.S. forces will certainly be withdrawn. What threatens this outcome is the administration's singular inability to simply state the obvious. As a result, the Democrats - doing what opposition parties do - has made it appear that the Bush administration is the most stupid, inept and incompetent administration in history. And the administration has been reduced to calling its critics cowards." - George Friedman, Stratfor.com.

One of the major things that is driving the public's increasing distrust of Bush is the fact that we are clearly not on course in Iraq. This does not mean that all is lost, or even that all is bad. But to claim that things are going just peachy and exactly as anticipated is just... misunderestimating the public's ability to judge a situation. Would better press coverage of the positive's in Iraq help? Absolutely. But Bush does himself no favors by refusing to acknowledge that mistakes have been made, and compromises have been struck.

No battle plan withstands the first ten minutes of the fight-- or something like that-- so tell us what's good, what's bad, and what you are going to do about it. Simply saying, "Stay on target. Stay on target," is about as helpful in these circumstances as it was in Star Wars: A New Hope.


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Things to be Thankful for

Well, of course, the biggies are my family and my friends. I have been blessed with wonderful parents and siblings, most excellent in-laws, a beautiful, fun and smart wife and two smart, fun, and-- mostly-- well-mannered children. Would that everyone were so lucky.

But, okay, beyond the obvious, what is there to be thankful for these days? These darker days when we're in the middle of a war, the country seems to be increasingly divided, and civility and courtesy seem to have been obliterated by the MORE/FASTER/LOUDER mentality of the 21st Century?

Quite a bit, actually. I give thanks for:

There's more, of course. Lots and lots more. Rainbows, Christmas lights, sunsets, hot buttered popcorn, bowling, a good book, and on and on. Tomorrow-- remember how lucky you are, and then try and spread some of that good fortune to others.

C) None of the Above

Short story: Last year, probably in September, I was talking with my sister, who is as liberal as the rest of my family-- which is to say very-- and she wanted to know if I was still planning on voting for Bush. I said that, though I had significant reservations about it, yes, I was. I asked if she was still planning on voting for Kerry, and she said that, though she had significant reservations about it, yes, she was. The conversation wandered, as they often do, and somehow we wound up discussing how nice it would be if there were a third option, besides the two major party candidates, for None of the Above. If enough people voted for none of the above, the election process would start over until we found a candidate that people actually wanted to vote for rather than picking the "better" of two fools.

Which would be great. And completely impractical for any number of reasons. As much as we might wish for C) None of the Above, it simply isn't an option.

But there is a third option-- the write-in vote. Also impractical, but not impossibly so-- write-in candidacies have worked in the past, though always in rather small, local elections. Places where word-of-mouth is enough, and if you can get sufficient momentum going, it starts to be a positive feedback system.

The hard parts, of course, for a national write-in campaign, are getting everyone to write-in the same person and generating a word-of-mouth campaign across thousands of miles and involving millions of people. How to do it? Well, the basic principles are those laid out here.

I do think it could work-- if the ticket is good enough. Jon Stewart is an intriguing prospect. Anybody willing to call out Tucker Carlson gets big kudos in my book. But what he says in that interview makes sense. And, as the first link indicates, there's a built in base. He's smart, he's funny, and he honestly seems to care about America. In other words, he has no chance of ever being a major party candidate.

I do worry about his stance on the Iraq war. The fact that he thinks it was a mistake is worrisome to me. The fact that he sees a bias in Fox News but not in the regular news (though he does rip it repeatedly in other areas) is worrisome to me. I am going to review his book and other material and then decide.

In the meantime-- any other nominations for who should fill the C)None of the Above are welcome. And nominations for VP are also needed.

Lots of smart folks here-- let's see what we can come up with.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Fantasy Football Update, Week Eleven

Two games to go and about the only things that are certain are that the Fearsome Canines, despite losing their second game in a row, will win the Electronic Ankle Bracelet Division and that the Barkeeps will be in the Barrel Bowl. The Metal Mayhem are probably in the playoffs-- 8-5 is nearly a guarenteed invite to the dance, but only nearly guarenteed-- and the Dimestick Cowboys are probably in the Barrel Bowl, but neither outcome is absolutely certain.

v. 11 #10


The Tranzport Hood Division
1. Metal Mayhem, 8-3, 523.4
2. Stumbling Alcoholics, 7-4, 522.5
3. Renaissance Men, 7-4, 494.1
4. Hairballs, 6-5, 541.8
5. Motor City Cheeseheads, 5-6, 539.5
6. Diamond Boys, 5-6, 486.1
7. Knights Who Say Ni, 4-7, 503.8

Electronic Ankle Bracelet Division
1. Fearsome Canines, 8-3, 648.8
2. Centurions, 6-5, 537.1
3. Chocolate Foam, 6-5, 470.2
4. Posts, 5-6, 540.6
5. Snowmobilers, 5-6, 509.0
6. Dimestick Cowboys, 3-8, 459.0
7. Bartenders, 2-9, 394.0

If the playoffs were today…
1. Fearsome Canines, 8-3, 648.8
2. Metal Mayhem, 8-3, 523.4
3. Stumbling Alcoholics, 7-4, 522.5
4. Renaissance Men, 7-4, 494.1
5. Hairballs, 6-5, 541.8
6. Posts, 540.6

On the outside looking in:
7. Centurions, 6-5, 537.1
7. Motor City Cheeseheads, 539.5

If the Barrel Bowl were today…
11. Diamond Boys, 5-6, 486.1
12. Knights Who Say Ni, 4-7, 503.8
13. Dimestick Cowboys, 3-8, 459.0
14. Bartenders, 2-9, 394.0

On the edge of ignominity...
10. Snowmobilers, 5-6, 509.0

If the Terribly Average Bowl were today...
7. Chocolate Foam, 6-5, 470.2
8. Posts, 5-6, 540.6
9. Motor City Cheeseheads, 5-6, 539.5
10. Snowmobilers, 5-6, 509.0

Stat of the Week I: The Fearsome Canines have had the second highest point total of the week the last two weeks (58.0 and 66.9)-- and lost both games. Nice offense, Scotty, but you might want to look at that defensive scheme before the playoffs start.

Stat of the Week II: Coach Steve of the Metal Mayhem started four guys that were outplayed by folks he left on the bench, costing 14.7 points. Fortunately for the Mayhem, Steve did start Larry Johnson (21.7) and won despite having 2/3rds of the lineup wrong.

Stat of the Week III: Quick, name the top five scoring quarterbacks in our league (no peeking!). No doubt all of us pictured Tom Brady, Aaron Brooks, Kerry Collins, Carson Palmer and Brett Favre being the top QBs after eleven weeks. Manning is sixth and is on a tear of late, but still he is not a top five QB at this point in the season.

PICKUP ALERT: There are still weekly pickups. Pickups are in inverse order of record with points as the tie-breaker for teams with the same record. You can enter your choices on the web site, or email/call them into me. Please do so before Wednesday, 9:00 PM Central Time. Pickups will continue until the Wed. after the regular season ends.

TRADES: No new trades before the deadline. Trading is now anthema. Violators will be mercilessly mocked and rapidly ridiculed.

Game Capsules

Fearsome Canines Drop Another Heartbreaker
For the second week in a row, the Fearsome Canines put on an impressive offensive display, only to lose to the week's top scoring team. Last week, they lost by 1 yard. This week, the Doggies scored almost nine more points than last, and lost by five points to the surging Posts, 71.9 to 66.9. Despite back to back losses, however, Coach Scottie's group all but locked up a first round bye as both the Centurions and Chocolate Foam also lost this week. With a two game lead, and an virtually insurmountable point edge, the Canines are heading back to the playoffs. Meanwhile the Posts, after starting 0-6, are currenly on a five game win streak and have, for the moment, secured the 6th seed in the post-season. Quite the turnaround-- I think Mike Sherman should give John a call. Couldn't hurt.

Mayhem Benefit From Diamond Boy Brain Fart
For reasons that medical scientists are still puzzled by, every year Coach Frank commits at least one significant brain fart during the regular season. Various hypotheses have been proposed-- the taint of living next to so many Vikings' fans, Intelligent Design, sea monkies-- but we may never know for sure. Regardless, this year's recipient of the Cartwright Brain Fart Bonus is Coach Steve of the Metal Mayhem, as Frank elected to play the non-playing (follow that?) Jonathan Wells over some guy named Julius Jones. But I mean really, why would you want to play your #1 draft pick? I don't. The 10.5 differential was significant as the Mayhem won 44.8 to 36.4, or by 8.4 for Journal/Sentinal readers out there. With the victory, the Mayhem moved into sole possession of the Tranzport Hood Division, while the Diamond Boys faint playoff hopes were all but extinguished.

Stumbling Alcoholics... Err... Stumble
Perhaps they were looking ahead. Perhaps they just expected the Dimestick Cowboys, losers of seven in a row, to just roll over and die. Or maybe they were just blind drunk. Whatever the cause, the Stumbling Alcoholics turned in their worst performance of the year, scoring a meager 35.8, and lost to the death spiraling Cowboys, who got solid performances out of Hasselbeck, Alexander and the retuned Cadillac to post a just good enough 43.2. The loss dropped the stumblin' ones out of first place in the division for the first time since week five, while the Cowboys need to finish a mere 1-1 to reach that four win plateau they scoffed at back in week three.

Renaissance Men Keep the Grail in Sight
They've won some ugly games this year, but through it all, the Renaissance Men have kept the ultimate reward, the Holy Grail in their crosshairs. So to speak. Probably not a lot of crosshairs to be found back in the 16th century. Anyway, the rusty dudes played a solid game when they needed it, rolling behind Aaron Brooks' 20.1 to a 52.0 to 28.6 pasting of the Chocolate Foam. The victory keeps the division title within range for the Ren Men, but Coach Russ better keep his group focused this week against the steamrolling Posts and not looking ahead to a season ending clash with the division leading Mayhem. For the Foam, the loss is a story of opportunity missed. Coach Jim played two guys, Fred Taylor and Joey Galloway, that got 0, and tight end Jerramy Stevens who notched only 2.7. Had he instead played De'shaun Foster (6.1), Brandon Lloyd (11.9) and Dallas Clark (12.5), he would have nearly doubled his total (no doubt a 200% increase using Journal math) and won the game. The loss dropped the Foam out of the playoffs for the moment, though at 6-5 a 2-0 finish will likely get them into the post-season.

Hairballs Ride the Steve Smith Express
Jake Delhomme throws for 235 and 169 of that is to Steve Smith. I have to say that I'm a fan of that ratio. Big fan. Paced by Smith's 16.9, the Hairballs pulled away from the Centurions for a 57.4 to 50.8 victory. The win moved the expectorated ones back into the playoffs while dropping the Centurions just barely out of it. No time to dwell on the loss for Coach Adam's crew, however, as they must gird their loins for a big week twelve showdown with the Fearsome Canines.

Knights Seek Barrel Bowl Escape
Needing a strong Monday Night performance out of Mewelde Moore, Coach Rod was no doubt delighted to watch the Packers give up 138 yards to Moore and, eventually, the game to the Vikings. Moore gave the Knights Who Say Ni just enough to eke out a 55.5 to 53.0 victory over the Motor City Cheeseheads. While locked into a sub-.500 record, the Knights are seeking exit from the Barrel Bowl, and the upset victory over the Cheeseheads was a big step in that direction. For the three-headed ones, the loss dealt a serious blow to their playoff aspirations, though they are only 11 yards back of the Posts for the 6th seed, and with two wins could still lock down the fifth seed.

Snowmobilers Finally Ready to Roll
Despite repeated entreaties by Coach Dave, the NFL has refused to consider starting the season in late October, thus greatly increasing the chance for snow. But with the onset of snow, and the return of Anquan Boldin, the Snowmobilers kicked into high gear in week eleven and ran right over the Barkeeps, 48.9 to 34.2. The victory kept Dave's crew out of the Barrel Bowl, for now, while ensuring that the Barkeeps will be present in the post-season as a Barrel Bowler.


Some Food For Thought

For any of you who might be inclined to get on the Murtha bandwagon. We have lost just over 2,000 service men and women in Iraq, and each and every one of those dead soldiers is a tragedy and a dreadful loss for their loved ones and friends.


Whatever your thoughts on whether Bush lied to get us there or whether it was a legitimate effort to preserve American security and interests, we are there. Unringing that bell is not an option. If we pull out immediately, abruptly, or on a pre-ordained timetable, does anyone seriously think the terrorists (aka, the insurgents) that are currently blowing up innocent Iraqis will suddenly stop? That they won't try to take "vengeance" on the brave Iraqis who have aided the U.S. and who wish to take control, and keep control, of their country from the thugs and beasts that ran it under Saddam?

I'm trying to think of the worst possible thing we could do to Iraq at this juncture in history. Short of nuking it, abandoning it to the gentle mercies of the remaining Baathists and al Qaeda mercenaries seems to be about top of the list. We will abandon the country to chaos, we will convince our enemies that we will blink and back down if only they make the cost sufficiently high, we will alienate each and every truly moderate or reform minded Arab and/or Muslim in the Middle East and around the world, and we will be stating clearly and unequivacally that we wasted the sacrifice of each of those 2000+ brave souls.

What a horrendous idea. Coming from a man who understands, and in theory fully supports, the Marine motto of Semper Fi-- always faithful-- what a nearly blasphemous idea. Imagine if Lincoln had decided to surrender after losing 23,000 men at Gettysburg-- one battle! Imagine if FDR, in the midst of a re-election campaign in 1944, had decided the cost of lives at Normandy, roughly 200,000 injured or killed, was too high and withdrew U.S. support from the Allied cause in Europe.

Some things are worth fighting and dying for, and backing down from a fight with a bully after you start is just about the worst thing you can possibly do. I know, easy for me to say safely esconced in front of my computer thousands of miles from the battle field, but it's still true. The service men and women of our country get that.

I wish more of our politicians did.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Oh That Liberal Media

Maybe the whole reason Bush's numbers are plummeting is due to the media. Certainly this piece by Orson Scott Card makes you wonder about anything the media tells us.

But I seriously don't know how folks are still able to say Bush follows through on what he says with a straight face, much less actually believe it. Human brains are just too damned big-- the fact that a 1000 people can look at the same info, but from different perspectives, and come to 1000 different conclusions is just so damned messy.

UPDATE: Okay, I'm sick and cranky. So, forgive me the snark about the straight face thing. I do think Bush would like to follow through on what he says more often than he does, and I do think he believes what he says. But, sadly, he almost completely lacks F.D.R's and Ronald Reagan's ability to go directly to the people and make his case. Thus, he is constrained by his own inability to communicate his vision into action, and far too often the vision is either lost, or greatly warped, in the process of filtering it through other agencies and individuals. And he unquestionably values loyalty over ability, and while that may be acceptable in a fraternity or a Yale secret society, it doesn't really work so well when you're the President of the United States.

But after reading the above OSC column, I read the preceding one, and it got me thinking. About the importance of finding the middle from time to time, and about the almost certainly dreadful choices I'm going to face in coming elections. We need a viable third candidate. Barkely isn't it.

John Stewart... hmm. Maybe. Yes, just maybe.

And if I could get OSC on board... hmm... okay. The push for C) None of the above begins next week. My head hurts too much to start today.


Tired, sick, headache. Bleah. So, probably no Friday List today, sorry. Just a couple of quick thoughts on the whole prisoner/detainee/abuse/torture thingie. Mojo makes a good case, as he nearly always does, that the abuse is the exception not the rule. At this point, I believe he is probably right, but it worries me that people are so vigorously defending those exceptions-- it's part of a larger lack of accountability from Bush's administration and for that matter from our Congress. Mojo also asks why I bring up past abuses in previous wars, since that seems to prove his point that abuse happens in war. Okay, fair question.

My point in mentioning Washington's role in a massacre early in the French and Indian war was that Washington clearly learned from that experience, as his later moral and practical stance on prisoner treatment shows. The current occupants of the city that bears our first president's name don't seem to have learned from Abu Ghraib or anything else. My point on Grant (and Washington) is that strong leadership from above can prevent abuse of the enemy when you have him at your mercy-- I don't see much, if any strong leadership on this from Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice or anybody else except maybe McCain. The basic approach seems to be "Oops, our bad. Sorry." Frankly, that's not good enough-- especially if we're going to call out Muslim leaders for not strongly condemning terrorist atrocities (and no, I am not equating the two).

My point in mentioning the Japanese interment camps, and Mojo's mention of how Sherman is now mostly reviled by history because his march, though successful, was incredibly brutal and retributivel, is meant to illustrate that even when you have good intentions for your mistreatment of the "enemy," that does not, in and of itself, justify that mistreatment. If we just sit around and trust that Bush and Rumsfeld and on down the line won't and aren't pushing that envelope, I think we're just asking for another Abu Ghraib or worse. Frankly, I don't trust either Bush or Rumsfeld farther than I can throw them on this issue, and I'm starting not to trust Bush on just about anything. The fact that members of Congress want to eliminate haebeus corpus for detainees and that Cheney wants exceptions to a ban on cruelty towards captives for the CIA really makes it hard to believe Bush when he says we don't torture. Maybe by the strictest definition of the word, but remember the conservative outrage over Clinton's parsing of particular words to technically not lie?

There's a reason Bush's numbers are free falling lately, and it's not due to the biased media (well, maybe some, but certainly not entirely). To my mind it's that he talks the talk and then completely fails to walk the walk. People notice that, and if you do it long enough and often enough, they stop taking you at your word. With good reason. The retraction of Meirs and selection of Alito helps allay my concerns a little, but only a little.

Hopefully that made sense because I'm not gonna bother to edit it.


Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Institute for Institutional Prose

I rip on academia a fair amount in my blog and deservedly so, in my opinion. But there are a lot of smart, and funny, people on any university campus. Kinda goes with the territory. Here's a small sample from one of those smart, and funny, people on my campus:
As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, the Institute for Institutional Prose is being inundated with thanks, mostly for our efforts in forwarding the bureaucratization of the campus prose style, but also for things we have not done at all. "Thanks for your cooperation," writes one of our favorite administrators in a memo about some issue which concerns us not at all. We also find ourselves being thanked for charitable contributions we do not make, for subscribing to magazines we do not take, and for helping various Third World parties make bank transfers. The world overflows with gratitude tendered in advance.

There was a time, of course, when people seeking one's cooperation, compliance, or help would say "please." That sort of humble-pie approach hardly befits the dignity of those who have achieved the rank of assistant to the assistant director or the like, and for a while it was replaced with expressions like "We would appreciate your cooperation," the notion being that the desire to earn the writer's appreciation would motivate instant compliance. That still allowed for the possibility, however, that the recipient might not do as asked, leading to the disappearance of the conditional "would" in phrases like "We appreciate your cooperation." The pre-emptive thank-you carries this process one step further, and we urge its regular use.

Thank you for your substantial cash donation in generous support of the work of the Institute. We especially appreciate small, unmarked bills.

[Thank you, too, for consulting previous bulletins of the Institute for Institutional Prose at http://it.uwp.edu/iip.]
If you enjoyed that tasty morsel, do check out the iip at the above web site-- there's quite a bit more there. Good stuff, all.


McCain Gets It Right

He likes to be in the spotlight I'll grant you, and I don't always agree with him, but on the Senate's recent Iraq amendment, John McCain is dead on balls accurate (It's an industry term). Key passage:
I’d repeat that, Mr. President. This is a war we must win. The benefits of success and the consequences of failure are too profound for us to do otherwise. The road ahead is likely to be long and hard, but America must follow it through to success. While the sponsors of each version of this amendment might argue that their exact language supports this view, perceptions here and in Iraq are critical. By suggesting that withdrawal, rather than victory, is on the minds of America’s legislators, we do this great cause a grave disservice.
Amen. Man how I wish McCain had been the Republican nominee back in 2000.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Fantasy Football Update, Week Ten

Crunch Time. The Home Stretch. Bottom of the Ninth. Two-Minute Drill. Hmm... any other sports cliches I can overuse? Probably, but who has time. Let's just say the regular season is nearing and the post-season looms:

v. 11 #9


Conflict Resolution Division
1. Stumbling Alcoholics, 7-3, 486.7
2. Metal Mayhem, 7-3, 478.6
3. Renaissance Men, 6-4, 442.1
4. Motor City Cheeseheads, 5-5, 486.5
5. Hairballs, 5-5, 484.4
6. Diamond Boys, 5-5, 449.7
7. Knights Who Say Ni, 3-7, 448.3

Adult Development and Aging Division
1. Fearsome Canines, 8-2, 581.9
2. Centurions, 6-4, 486.3
3. Chocolate Foam, 6-4, 441.6
4. Posts, 4-6, 468.7
5. Snowmobilers, 4-6, 460.1
6. Dimestick Cowboys, 2-8, 415.8
7. Bartenders, 2-8, 359.8

If the playoffs were today…
1. Fearsome Canines, 8-2, 581.9
2. Stumbling Alcoholics, 7-3, 486.7
3. Metal Mayhem, 7-3, 478.6
4. Centurions, 6-4, 486.3
5. Renaissance Men, 6-4, 442.1
6. Motor City Cheezeheadz, 486.5

On the outside looking in:
7. Chocolate Foam, 6-4, 441.6
7. Hairballs, 484.4

If the Barrel Bowl were today…
11. Snowmobilers, 4-6, 460.1
12. Knights Who Say Ni, 3-7, 448.3
13. Dimestick Cowboys, 2-8, 415.8
14. Bartenders, 2-8, 359.8

On the edge of ignominity...
10. Posts, 4-6, 468.7

If the Terribly Average Bowl were today...
7. Motor City Cheeseheads, 5-5, 486.5
8. Hairballs, 5-5, 484.4
9. Diamond Boys, 5-5, 449.7
10. Posts, 4-6, 468.7

Stat of the Week I: Normally, there's an adjustment period for new owners coming into this league. Coach Scotty, for example, wallowed in the bottom third of the league for... I don't know... at least a decade or two before he made the playoffs. This year, we have two new owners, and they are currently both in the top five for scoring, and in the playoffs. Yo! Bill/Keith/Paul and Steve-- you're new, you're supposed to suck. Could you please stop being good? My apologies to the rest of the league for recruiting guys that actually know what their doing.

Stat of the Week II: Man, I really outta listen to myself. I've admonished several other coaches in the league for playing lots of guys that were outscored by guys on the bench-- so naturally this week I play four, yes four, players that were outscored by folks on my bench. Nice work, bonehead. Pretty sure those 12 points won't come in handy or anything.

Stat of the Week III: Quick, name the top five scoring wide receivers in our league (no peeking!). No doubt all of us pictured Santana Moss, Steve Smith, Larry Fitzgerald, Joey Galloway and Chad Johnson being the top receivers after ten weeks. Owens (currently sixth despite missing two games) would be there except for the fact that he's the world's biggest ass, but the fact remains that he is not now, nor will be by the end of the season, a top five receiver.

PICKUP ALERT: There are still weekly pickups. Pickups are in inverse order of record with points as the tie-breaker for teams with the same record. You can enter your choices on the web site, or email/call them into me. Please do so before Wednesday, 9:00 PM Central Time. Pickups will continue until the Wed. after the regular season ends.

TRADES: No new trades before the deadline. Trading is now anthema. Violators will be mercilessly mocked and rapidly ridiculed.

Playoff Prospects

Fearsome Canines, 8-2, 581.9
They lost by one yard-- one yard!-- to the Alcoholics last week and thus did not lock up the #1 seed, but with nearly 100 points more than the second highest scoring team, the Canines are clearly the team to beat as we head down the stretch. One victory pretty much guarentees Coach Scotty's group a first round bye, as it is difficult to picture the second place Centurions winning out AND outscoring the Canines by over 100 in three games. Remaining schedule: Posts (4-6), Centurions (6-4), Barkeeps (2-8).

Stumbling Alcoholics, 7-3, 486.7
This up and down bunch seems destined for the playoffs, but whether they can hang on to the Conflict Resolution Division title, second seed and first round bye, remains to be seen. Certainly their 58.1 to 58.0 victory over the Canines was a big step in that direction, and they have a fairly soft remaining schedule, but the Metal Mayhem are right on their heels, less than ten points behind. Remaining schedule: Dimestick Cowboys (2-8), Snowmobilers (4-6), Hairballs (5-5).

Metal Mayhem, 7-3, 478.6
Early in the season, the Mayhem seemed to win almost in spite of themselves-- or with smoke and mirrors as Coach Steve put it, but the last two weeks they've won big games over the Stumbling Alcoholics and the Motor City Cheeseheads with solid games up and down their lineup. The Mayhem seems to be peaking at the right time, which bodes well for these long-haired freaky people as we head towards the post-season. Remaining schedule: Diamond Boys (5-5), Chocolate Foam (6-4), Renaissance Men (6-4).

Centurions, 6-4, 486.3
The Centurions lost their Edge last week, and his absence cost them in a 33.8 to 44.4 loss to the Renaissance Men, but with the last bye week out of the way, the Centurions seem to be in good shape for a playoff run. They'll have to earn their berth though, as the remaining schedule features three teams in the top five for scoring. Winning the Adult Development and Aging Division is a very long shot, but a wild card berth should be within reach if Coach Adam can keep his players performing at their present level. Remaining schedule: Hairballs (5-5), Fearsome Canines (8-2), Motor City Cheeseheads (5-5).

Renaissance Men, 6-4, 442.1
Just when I'm ready to bury these guys once and forever, they bounce back with a big win. Despite being the fourth lowest scoring team in the league, the Ren Men have scraped out six wins, and if they can win two or three of their final games, will likely be in the playoffs. That whole defense wins championships thing. I guess. Wins are vital, as it does not appear that points will get this group into the playoffs. Remaining schedule: Chocolate Foam (6-4), Posts (4-6), Metal Mayhem (7-3).

Chocolate Foam, 6-4, 441.6
See Renaissance Men above. Except they have the third lowest scoring team in the league. Naturally, these two defensive behemoths clash this weekend, so one of them will manage to win. Remaining schedule: Renaissance Men (6-4), Metal Mayhem (7-3), Snowmobilers (4-6).

Motor City Cheeseheads, 5-5, 486.5
This three-headed coacing monstrosity currently has the third highest point total in the league and a weak remaining schedule. If they win out, there are pretty much guarenteed a playoff berth, but even two wins may be sufficient with their high point total. And, of course, if they can hold onto they have a good, though not guarenteed, chance of winning the sixth seed even if they can't convert two out of the remaining three games. Remaining schedule: Knights Who Say Ni (3-7), Barkeeps (2-8), Centurions (6-4).

Hairballs, 5-5, 484.4
See Motor City Cheeseheads above, except without the three-headed monstrosity thing, and a significantly more difficult remaining schedule. The Hairballs best shot may come down to winning the sixth slot, in which case they are going to big fans of the Cheeseheads winning and the Ren Men and Foam losing. Remaining schedule: Centurions (6-4), Diamond Boys (4-6), Stumbling Alcoholics (7-3).

Diamond Boys, 5-5, 449.7
With a significantly lower point total than the Hairballs or Cheeseheads, the Diamond Boys probably don't have much of a shot at the sixth seed, which leaves them needing at least two wins, and probably a clean sweep of the remaining games to make the playoffs. Don't count the Boys out, however, as they've won two straight just to get into a position of competing for the playoffs. Remaining schedule: Metal Mayhem (7-3), Hairballs (5-5), Dimestick Cowboys (2-8).

Posts, 4-6, 468.7
If only he had paid me at the start of the season, Coach John's group might be 10-0. They are 4-0 since paying me, that for certain, so watch out for this group down the stretch. Having dug themselves and 0-6 hole, a top five seed is unlikely, though not impossible. More likely is the sixth seed, as the Posts have made up a lot of ground in the last few weeks and are less than 20 points back of the Cheeseheads right now. Remaining schedule: Fearsome Canines (8-2), Renaissance Men (6-4), Knights Who Say Ni (3-7).

Snowmobilers, 4-6, 460.1
With the addition of Samkon Gado you can't stop the Snowmobilers, you can only hope to contain them. Okay, maybe not, but they still have an outside shot at the sixth seed and hope to win at least two more to escape the Barrel Bowl. And they have that Tiki guy-- I hear he doesn't suck. Remaining schedule: Barkeeps (2-8), Stumbling Alcoholics (7-3), Chocolate Foam (6-4).

Knights Who Say Ni, 3-7, 448.3
Scoring 28 points in a loss to the Foam this week probably ended any chance Coach Rod had at making the playoffs. With a losing season guarenteed and a boatload of teams ahead of them for total points, the remaining games provide the Knights with a way out of the Barrel Bowl, nothing else. Still a goal worth striving for, and a fairly easy schedule could help. Remaining schedule: Motor City Cheeseheads (5-5), Dimestick Cowboys (2-8), Posts (4-6).

Dimestick Cowboys, 2-8, 415.8
Riding a seven game losing streak, the Cowboys are fighting the Barkeeps for the "top" seed in the Barrel Bowl. If the Cadillac ever gets on the road again, C.J.'s group could play spoiler, but even running the table might not get them out of the Barrel Bowl. Remaining schedule: Stumbling Alcoholics (7-3), Knights Who Say Ni (3-7), Diamond Boys (5-5).

Bartenders, 2-8, 359.8
Seemly snake bit at every turn, I give Tony credit for not giving up on his team. But I mean, what are you going to do when Priest Holmes, Thomas Jones, and Cedric Benson all go down at the same time? Tony lost by 14 yards this week, by the way, and that was with Benson leaving in the second quarter. Ouch. Remaining schedule: Snowmobilers (5-5), Motor City Cheeseheads (5-5), Fearsome Canines (8-2).


The Moral High Ground

And speaking of Washington, I found this quote (quote of the day II) quite illuminating:
"Not all Americans wanted to do these things [i.e. treat prisoners humanely]. Always some dark spirits wished to visit the same cruelties on the British and Hessians that had been inflicted on American captives. But Washington's example carried growing weight, more so than his written orders and prohibitions. He often reminded his men that they were an army of liberty and freedom, and that the rights of humanity for which they were fighting should extend even to their enemies. Washington and his officers were keenly aware that the war was a contest for popular opinion, but they did not think in terms of 'images' or 'messages' in the manner of a modern journalist or politician. Their thinking was more substantive. The esteem of others was important to them mainly because they believed that victory would come only if they deserved to win. Even in the most urgent moments of the war, these men were concerned about ethical questions in the Revolution." - David Hackett Fischer, from "Washington's Crossing."
Now, even if it is unfair to say that America has been torturing its prisoners of war, I think it is fair to say that we are willing to "coerce" the innocent in order to interrogate the guilty. This is exactly backward from what we, as Americans, espouse and which is embodied in Washington's stance in the Revolutionary War. Our treatment of Japanese Americans during World War II is widely, and rightly, regarded as a black mark on our nation's reputation-- yet we did nothing even close to the atrocities the Japanese committed on our troops. So, when I speak of sinking to our enemies level I am fully aware that we do not behead, bomb and burn innocent people-- but if we claim to be a civilized society, governed by laws and guided by morals, simply being less atrocious than our enemy is insufficient.

The fact that our enemies are vicious, heartless, fanatics means that we must fight them and defeat them. It does not give us the right or moral standing to abuse people simply because we think they might be guilty of something. And such treatment merely serves to propogate the widely held belief in the Arab world that we can't be trusted, that we are imperialistic, that we don't care about anything but Iraqi oil.

Okay, I'm getting off my soap box now.

Labels: ,

A Couple of Book Reviews

Very quick ones, as I haven't finished either book, though I started both of them on the plane out to L.A. Actually, the first book What's the Matter With Kansas, by Thomas Frank, is one that I won't be finishing. It is too tedious and cliched. Can you guess my recommendation on that one? The other, His Excellency, George Washington, by Joseph Ellis, I will be finishing, but haven't had time to read all the way through.

Okay, Frank's book. It is a prime example of the lack of moderation I decry in the post previous to this one. The basic premise of the book is that anyone who isn't a CEO or multi-millionaire and votes Republican is a fool. Probably 300 of the 336 pages are then devoted to trying to explain why all those people who aren't millionaires, yet voted Republican, were so stupid as to vote against their own best interests. Frank is a decent writer, and he draws some interesting anecodotal examples to support his beliefs, but in the end they are just that-- beliefs. Statistics are cherry picked, complicity of the Clinton administration in the eventual implosion of Enron and Worldcom conveniently ignored, the free market is reviled and labor unions touted as the champion of all that is good and pure about America.

If you are, in fact, part of the choir and wished to preached to, by all means pick up this book. If you want an actual thoughtful look at how Kansas has shifted from a solidly liberal/progressive state to a solidly conservative/Republican state, you will have to look elsewhere. I should've known better when the book was glorified by Molly Ivins on the dust jacket.

The Ellis book is far better and a pleasure to read. Ellis' style is easy to read and his scholarship is solid. His treatment of the pre-eminent figure of American history is even-handed, and he covers an amazing scope of time and events in his compact (320 pages) biography. Indeed, the major complaint I have with Ellis' work is that it is too brief. Though he covers the entire spectrum of Washington's life and career, I was left wanting to know more about Washington's interaction with the other Founding Fathers, and also with his military staff during the Revolutionary War. Overall, however, a fine book and an excellent introduction to the man behind the myth and the birth of our country.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Proud to be a Moderate

A lot is made by various dug-in polemiscists, that to be a moderate is to be a fence sitting panzy ass. That is, if you aren't a Bush-hating moonbat, or a rag-head bashing evangelical, you just aren't trying hard enough and you need to declare your true intentions. Which, quite frankly, is a load of dingoes kidneys. Why, exactly, is the polemitization, fear-mongering and acerbic sniping of lockstep partisanship to be applauded?

Many liberals I know decry the fact that most liberals won't admit to being liberal-- presumably out of fear of being thrown into the pond by conservatives to see if they float. Similarly, I have heard many hard right Republicans decry that RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) are selling the party down the river and should just declare themselves Democrats since they are towing the party line hard enough and are actually willing to work with the OTHER side.

Nowhere, with the possible exception of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Andrew Sullivan, my own humble blog and my own small contigent of friends, do I hear ANYBODY decrying the lack of freethinking, independent minded moderates who vote as they believe is best, not how someone else tells them to. Ye gods how I wish Arnie could run for President-- though if his trials in California are any testament, any attempt to actually reform anything would go down in flames as both sides attempted to be the first to cut his knees out from under him.

I know, I know, all the liberals who read these posts (do I have any left? I hope so, because though my thinking has drifted to the conservative side of things, I still very much value thoughtful insight from all perspectives) will find it rich that such an avowed conservative as I wants more compromise. But I do. Seriously. I also want more civility and more unity. I want less personal attacks on individuals in politics and more substanative attacks on bad policy.

On his blog, TC recently applauded a hard left rampage from somebody else's blog, and I found his belief that there was more value in mad ranting than in reasoned discourse both depressing and unsuprising. Likewise the rant of the anonymous guy that responded to my post by saying:
Screw the bloody middle ground! I don't want to hear about how if we can just reason with these folks in power, maybe they'll come around to our way of thinking. They are never going to, because they are a bastard bunch of rapacious, child eating dogs, and they will use whatever tactics they can to grab more and more for the "have a lot" crowd.
Which just makes me think, 'Yeah, okay buddy. Take your meds and curl up in your corner like a nice little nutbag, would you please?' The only people that eat that up are the people that already agree with you. For people who disagree with you, or those that *GASP* find themselves ambivalent toward the "bastard bunch of rapacious, child eating dogs" this type of rant either cements in their mind that the other side is nuts and can safely be ignored, or convinces them that they want nothing to do with people this extreme.

Honestly, other than to make yourself feel better, what's the point of this kind of over the top rhetoric? To get noticed by others who agree with you so that they'll pat you on the back and say, "Yeah, way to tell those bastards!"? Even if you believe that everyone in power is a rapacious, child eating dog, wouldn't it be better to... what's the word?... oh yeah... restrain your urge to howl at the moon in hopes of writing something that might actually interest or influence someone? The anonymous responder to my post wants the "power heads in charge" to notice that people are mad, as in angry, but posts like this just convince the reader that the writer is mad, as in completely bonkers.

I call myself a libertarian. In truth, I am generally not such-- libertarians favor individual liberty over all else, and while I favor individual liberty, I believe it needs to be leavened with a fair degree of societal oversight because humans are, by nature, quite capable of really horrendous things. Societal oversight does not have to be government oversight, though that is probably the most significant force, but also includes the church, the schools and plain old folks look out for each other. I believe there is a need for national defense and I believe there is a role for federal, state and local governments. Unfortunately, right now all three are bloated overbearing vehicles which too often exist merely to propogate themselves and Lord would I love to see a whole lot of genuine small government conservatives in office simply to shrink the bureaucracy for a decade or so.

But I digress. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, wrong with being a moderate and being willing to compromise. It does not mean that you have no values, no beliefs worth fighting for-- rather it acknowledges that no one philosophy has all the answers and that, on a practical level, governing people actually requires input from many sources. Moderation in all things, Aristotle tells us, and those words still resonate through the milleniums between then and now precisely because extremism tends to become a closed feedback loop where outside stimuli is no longer allowed. An echo chamber of the same mantra repeated over and over to people who already know it by heart. This is the problem with blogs-- I love the blogosphere and generally find it to be a wonderful and informative tool, but by its very nature it tends to polarize both issues and people.

Being a die-hard liberal (hey there TC!) or stern and unforgiving conservative (how ya' doin', John?) is easy-- you can reflexively dismiss anything the other side says. Being a moderate, where you need to weigh, evaluate and analysis divergent opinions in a constantly changing political, economic and cultural environment is hard. Being willing to admit that you might be wrong, or that your convictions on one particular issue may need to be compromised in order to gain what you wish on a different issue is hard. Holding the line on all issues, even if it means that none of them will actually gain the ground that you desire, is easy-- and ultimately less productive.

This is my call then-- moderates, independents, libertarians and free-thinking folks of all types: Be proud of your independence! Do not let hard-core liberals and hard-core conservatives convince you that you are just wishy-washy mamby-pambies-- nothing could be farther from the truth! To weigh, to judge, to consider multiple perspectives and, ultimately, to come to your own conclusions is not only harder, it also better. Better for you, better for those around you, and better for your community, your state, your country and your world.

Compromise is not a dirty word, my friends, and yes, I would love it if some of the people who are uncomfortable on the extremes wanted to join us in the middle.

Moderates UNITE!


Friday, November 11, 2005

Friday's List

Fifteen things to both hate and love about California. It's a huge state, both geographically and in terms of population, and very diverse. Given that I lived in Southern California, and that I recently visited that part of the state, the list is probably skewed toward LA and away from San Fran. So be it.

15) Love. California's referendum procedures. A bit unwieldy, and yes, some really stupid propositions make their way onto the ballot, but the ability for direct citizenry voting on major policy issues is a remarkable democratic tool.

14) Hate. The California Cheese ads. I lived in California and was frequently in a position of having to eat their cheese. It was uniformly bland and of a spam like consistency. At best it was palatable, at worst, simply dreadful. Wisconsin cheese is so much better that it's laughable to attempt to compare them-- yet the California cheese people play these ads IN WISCONSIN touting how great their lousy cheese is. Hate them, hate their cheese.

13) Love. The Mountains. We lived in Pasadena, which butts up against the Angeles Mountains-- loved that view going to work every day.

Plus, in the fall we could go up into the mountains where the leaves still change color and the air has that wonderful fall nip to it.

12) Hate. The sports apathy of Los Angeles. Not a statewide issue, or this would be higher, but the fact that the second largest city in the country can't support even one NFL team is pathetic. And the fact that more folks show up for Lakers games than Clippers games is absolutely absurd.

11) Love. The fact that many of the shopping centers in the area are outdoors (the weather certainly helps with that), and often include things like this for the kiddies:

10) Love. The Diversity. And I'm not just talking about the different colors, shapes, and sizes of the people there. Though there is a remarkable diversity of all of those things. But during my time in So. Cal. I chatted with multi-millionaires, rednecks, volunteers, gay people, Jewish people, and individuals from an incredible variety of locations in this big old world of ours. Just so you don't doubt me about the rednecks, here's a pic from the drag races I went to in Pomona:

9) Love. All the people who voted for Schwarzenegger. These folks were so fed up with business as usual politics that they went out and elected an actor who can't even pronounce the state's name correctly. Outstanding. Seriously. Arnold was swept into office on a wave of reform mindedness, which is most excellent, and from I've seen, he is actually trying to do the job for which he was elected. Sadly, the wave crested and is now receding, no longer strong enough, so it seems, to allow the Governator to actual reform anything. Which is really, really a shame.

8) Hate. The traffic. Ye gods it is dreadful.

7) Love. The weather. It was in the 70s most of the time we were there. Not too shabby.

6) Love. Disneyland. I have to admit, it was great fun. The kids loved it, the overall look and feel of the place truly was a bit magical, and we couldn't have picked a better year to go-- 50th anniversaries are pretty rare! The only minor negative was the cost. Yikes! But hey, it was a once in a lifetime kinda event, and sometimes those cost a bit of coin.

5) Hate. Smog. They say it's a lot better now than it was back in the '70s and '80s. Which is a little scary. L.A. sits in this big bowl surrounded by mountains. The smog has no where to go. Pretty disgusting:

4) Hate. All the idiots in California that shot down Propositions 75 and 76 this Tuesday. Prop 75 would've required unions to get members' consent to use union monies for political purposes. Naturally, the unions went nuts and spent millions opposing the proposition. For reasons known only to totally clueless people, enough non-union members joined the union machine to kill 75. Prop 76 would've limited state spending to the prior year's level plus the average growth of the previous three years. Well, sure, who wouldn't be opposed to that? Good grief what is wrong with these nimwits?

3) Love. The Pacific Ocean. Tremendous. Just amazing:

2) Hate. All the idiots in California that shot down Proposition 77. I guess I can understand, though completely disagree with, the opposition to Arnie's other propositions (75 & 76 above), but how in the world a majority of voters can think it's a bad idea for voter districts to be drawn be someone other than the legislature is beyond me. One of the oldest tricks in any long-time politicians bag of re-election tricks is to redefine where the voting districts are to benefit the incumbents. This practice particularly disenfranchises minorities, yet the state with the largest percentage of minority citizens in the country votes down a proposal to take this power away from the people who are most able to abuse it. Ridiculously stupid. Almost unfathomably stupid.

1) Love. Well, it's the name of a song.


The Class Clown

Milwaukee's image has been tarnished frequently and significantly over the last few years. There is now concrete evidence that some vote fraud happened there last year, and significant circumstantial evidence that quite a lot of vote fraud happened there. The sons of prominent local Democratic party leaders were indicted on charges of sabotaging Republican party vehicles the night before the election. A number of County Board Supervisors lost their jobs in recall elections after it became apparent that they had voted themselves a huge pension payout during a period when taxes were high and the county's finances strained. The county's largest public service organization is in disarray, and the Chairman of the County Board is under investigation for apparently receiving $165,000 for the sale of a building to that organization that he still owns. A state senator from Milwaukee has been indicted for receiving kickbacks.

Despite all of that, the biggest buffoon in Milwaukee politics remains Alderman Michael McGee, Jr. He is truly a remarkable combination of incompetence, ego, bigotry, short-sightedness, pomposity and, given that he still has a large number of supporters, charisma. The latest incident involves a small riot that broke out after McGee supporters protested his arrest in Wauwatosa, a small, fairly wealthy, and mostly white suburb that abuts Milwaukee. McGee was, apparently, sitting in his car in a Blockbuster parking lot for 15 to 20 minutes when the employees called the police. When the police arrive, McGee gets progressively more agitated and confrontational. You can read the police report here. But, regardless of what McGee was actually doing in that car late at night with a female friend for 15+ minutes, his nearly reflexive confrontation with the Blockbuster employees and then the police, followed, of course, by charges of racism are merely the most recent evidence of his... disturbed nature.

Last month, McGee was the principle mover in getting a busload of individuals from Milwaukee to the "Millions More" March in Washington, D.C. Nothing wrong with that, but it seems that the trip was poorly planned, featured racist videos during the long ride, and included McGee being a complete jerk. Nice job, Michael, picking on two 17-year-old girls. Classy.

Oh, and let's not forget the altercation referenced at the end of the bus story-- the one earlier this year where McGee referred to homosexuals as faggots, and when confronted by an openly gay fellow alderman, refused to apologize. Not only has he refused to apologize, but according to the reports from his bus trip, he now says he should've punched the other alderman. Class all the way Mike.

Of course, the original use of the slur faggot occured while McGee was calling for a boycott on downtown businesses in protest of a police beating of Frank Jude, Jr. Again, nothing wrong with bringing attention to the beating, which was completely unjustified and for which several police officers have been fired and/or are facing criminal charges. But why McGee felt the need to refer to the police in question as faggots is hard to imagine, and how exactly he felt a boycott of downtown merchants would help the situation is completely inexplicable. Off-duty police beat up a guy in a south side suburb, so lets punish downtown merchants who had nothing whatsoever to do with anything. Uh, yeah.

Mikey? You're supposed to represent the city. You know, advocate FOR it, not recommend that it's citizens spend their money somewhere else to protest something that didn't happen there. That's sort of like Andy Reid telling the fans not to come to Eagles' games to protest Terrell Owens being a complete ass.


Thank You

Today is Veterans' Day.

A day to thank all the men and women of our armed forces for risking their life and limbs so that the rest of us may enjoy the freedom, the prosperity and the pursuit of happiness that the Founders envisioned over 200 years ago.

Thank a veteran today. Thank a current service member in the armed forces. Say a prayer for everyone who has served our great country faithfully and courageously.

And always remember that freedom is not free.

Pork Busters

Want to know how your congressional delegation is doing in regards to pork? Check it out here. Just click on the state of your choice to view your senators' position in regards to pork. Why is Massachusetts red, you ask? Because both Ted Kennedy and John Kerry are against reining in rampant pork spending in Congress. Nice work, boys.

Voice your concern to your senators. Voice your concern to other state's senators.

Vote the BUMS out!

Irony Alert

So, Congress is looking into why the major U.S. oil companies recorded huge profits in the last quarter while oil and natural gas prices went through the roof. Given that we heard how prices were going up because of the hurricanes and production shortages and this that and the other ting, I say bravo! By all means, lets look into why oil companies turned a $33 billion dollar profit in one quarter while the price of gas shot above $3 a gallon.

But it is pretty damn ironic that the biggest pork barreling congress in history is doing the investigating. I mean, the Senate refused to cut a half billion dollars worth of pork to help rebuild the infrastructure of the hurricane ravaged gulf coast. Pot meet kettle.

Of course, in terms of being well versed in the art of gouging, I suppose the Senate does have a solid, solid background. So, they certainly should know what gouging looks like.

I hope they grill the oil execs long and hard. Then I hope they all retire.

I can dream, can't I?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Case Against Multiculturalistic Tolerance


Andy Reid: Pros and Cons

Andy Reid, for those of you who don't pay attention to professional football (and what the heck is up with you that you don't pay attention to professional football?), is the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. From all accounts, he's a smart guy-- which is why the pros below make sense, and I can't quite figure out where the cons came from.

Pro: Suspending perenial pain-in-the-arse wide receiver Terrell Owens for the rest of the season. T.O. is a spoiled brat who need a time-out and big, major, gianormous kudos to Reid for finally giving him one. Oh, and as a side note, T.O. and Randy Moss are exhibits A and 2 in the case against Intelligent Design. 'Cause God giving those two cretins the incredible amount of physical ability they have with the defective workings of their brains and conscience is really hard to reconcile.

Con: Trading for T.O. in the first place. Reid wanted that final piece in the puzzle to get his team to the Super Bowl and was willing to compromise he's team's chemistry and work ethic to get it. The result got him to that Super Bowl, where they lost, and a virtually never ending series of headaches and team schisms that have contributed significantly to the team's 4-4 start this year.

Pro: Working around injuries and free agent defections to keep his team winning year in and year out. Four straigth trips to the NFC title game is no small accomplishment, especially in the free agency/salary cap era.

Con: Relying on a pass whacky offensive scheme that has gotten pass whackier over time. The old adage about running games and defenses is still pretty solid-- the Eagles have had solid Ds during Reid's tenure, but they seem to be drifting further and further away from having a solid running game. The Eagles are currently dead last in rushes per game and, not surprisingly, yards per game gained on the ground, with a pathetic 58.6. Conversely, the Eagles pass 5.5 times more often a game than any other team, and are averaging nearly 20 yards a game more than the second most prolific passing team. 1st passing, last running. Not a recipe for winning the Super Bowl, Andy.

Pro: He used to coach in Green Bay.

Con: He now coaches in Philadelphia which, according to the solid third and fourth hand accounts I've heard, have the worst fans in the country.

Overall, the kudos he gets for sitting T.O.'s sorry ass down outweigh all the other negatives, so bravo, Andy. Oh, and you might want to reconsider that nearly 3-1 pass/run ratio.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Fantasy Football Update, Week Nine

Nine games down, four to go. The Fearsome Canines have a virtual stranglehold on the Stench Ranch Division, but the Horrifying Zubaz Division is wide open, with five of the seven teams above .500. In theory, even the 2-7 Dimestick Cowboys and Barkeeps are alive in the playoff race, but when theory meets practice... well, their race is to escape the Barrel Bowl at this point. Speaking of the Barrel Bowl-- at this point in the season, all four teams are from the Stench Ranch Division. Nice work, boys.

v. 11 #8


Horrifying Zubaz Division
1. Ztumbling Alcoholicz, 6-3, 428.6
2. Metal Mayhem, 6-3, 421.7
3. Hairballz, 5-4, 445.8
4. Motor City Cheezeheadz, 5-4, 434.6
5. Renaizzance Men, 5-4, 397.7
6. Diamond Boyz, 4-5, 416.3
7. Knightz Who Zay Ni, 3-6, 420.3

Stench Ranch Division
1. Fearsome Canines, 8-1, 523.9
2. Centurions, 6-3, 452.5
3. Chocolate Foam, 5-4, 396.1
4. Posts, 3-6, 417.9
5. Snowmobilers, 3-6, 409.5
6. Dimestick Cowboys, 2-7, 367.7
7. Bartenders, 2-7, 327.8

If the playoffs were today…
1. Fearsome Canines, 8-1, 523.9
2. Ztumbling Alcoholicz, 6-3, 428.6
3. Centurions, 6-3, 452.5
4. Metal Mayhem, 6-3, 421.7
5. Hairballz, 5-4, 445.8
6. Motor City Cheezeheadz, 434.6

On the outside looking in:
7. Motor City Cheezeheadz, 5-4, 434.6
7. Knightz Who Zay Ni, 420.3

If the Barrel Bowl were today…
11. Posts, 3-6, 417.9
12. Snowmobilers, 3-6, 409.5
13. Dimestick Cowboys, 2-7, 367.7
14. Bartenders, 2-7, 327.8

On the edge of ignominity...
10. Knightz Who Zay Ni, 3-6, 420.3

If the Terribly Average Bowl were today...
7. Renaizzance Men, 5-4, 397.7
8. Chocolate Foam, 5-4, 396.1
9. Diamond Boyz, 4-5, 416.3
10. Knightz Who Zay Ni, 3-6, 420.3

Stat of the Week I: Feel the pain of GM Tony-- he drafted a weak team, I'll grant you, but there is something not right about BOTH of his starting running backs, Priest Holmes and Thomas Jones, being hurt in the same week his other starting RB, Tatum Bell, has a bye. And, of course, traded Michael Bennett is now a viable starter for somebody else due to injury.

Stat of the Week II: Coach John's Posts won their third game in a row despite starting three players that would've been better off on the bench. His victory was no doubt aided by the fact that he played Coach Tony of the no healthy running backs. Shouldda paid me sooner, dude.

Mid Year Bargains and Busts
The NFL is over half-way, and the FFL season is 3/4 done. To date, the biggest bargains in our league have been (in no particular order):

While the biggest busts have been:

PICKUP ALERT: There are still weekly pickups. Pickups are in inverse order of record with points as the tie-breaker for teams with the same record. You can enter your choices on the web site, or email/call them into me. Please do so before Wednesday, 9:00 PM Central Time. Pickups will continue until the Wed. after the regular season ends.

TRADES: No new trades so far this week. Please note, the trading deadline is kickoff of the week 10 games-- you have less than one week to conclude any trades.

Game Capsules

Fearsome Canines Keep On Rolling
Normally, when your tight end is the second leading scorer on the team you are in trouble. Except when that tight end is Antonio Gates. Another monster (13.2) game from the league's best tight end, plus 15.3 from team mate Ladanian Tomlinson and excellent across the board scoring from the rest of the squad, resulted in a 68.9 to 23.7 pummeling of the Chocolate Foam. The Foam were handicapped by the lack of a quarterback as Ben Roethlisberger was hurt and, for reasons inexplicable to any but a football genius of the likes of Steve Mariucci, Mooch elected to go with Joey Whinerton over Jeff Garcia this week. The Foam were also handicapped by the fact that nobody managed to score in double figures and they were playing the league's best team. Still, despite having the league's 3rd worst point total, the Foam are above .500 and in the playoff mix. As noted earlier, the Canines seem a mortal lock for the #1 seed, even given that this week they will be missing two-thirds of their usual starters.

Alcoholics Stumble, but Hang On to First Place
The Metal Mayhem closed the gap for first place in the Horrifying Zubaz Division, but the Stumbling Alcoholics scored enough in the loss to hang onto the division lead and #2 seed. For now. Larry Johnson's 15.5 keyed the Mayhem's victory, as they overcame still another feeble effort from #1 draft pick Kevin Jones and escaped with a 51.5 to 47.4 victory. With newly acquired stud running back Steven Jackson returning next week, the Mayhem appeared poised to challenge the Alcoholics for division supremacy over the next four weeks. Oh, the Mayhem plus the other three teams in the division that are only one game back of the Alcoholics.

Centurions Continue Relentless Grind Toward the Playoffs
They ground a little leaner than has been their typical output, but the Centurions produced another solid game behind balanced scoring and defeated the banged up and ineffectual Snowmobilers, 48.9 to 33.6. Though the two game, and large point differential, makes claiming the Stench Ranch Division title unlikely, the victory keeps the Centurions on a playoff pace as we head into the home stretch. Injuries and bad luck continue to plaque the Snowmobilers, who now find themselves in the Barrel Bowl after their third straight loss.

Hairballs Win Ugly Over Death Spiraling Dimestick Cowboys
It was a tale of two hubrises (is that a word?) as the formally triumphant, now humble, Hairballs overcame Jamal Lewis' continued uselessness to defeat the still intransigently arrogant Dimestick Cowboys, 45.7 to 37.0. Six weeks ago, the Dimestick Cowboys were 2-1 and leading their division, prompting them to crow mightily about this publication's silliness in predicting them to finish 4-9. Ahhh, C.J. anger not the football gods with your hubris, for they shall surely smite you. Six straight losses later, and the 4-9 finish doesn't seem unlikely at all. The Hairballs, meanwhile, who were once 3-0, only to drop to 3-4 after they, too, crowed mightily about their superiority, have won two in a row since apologizing for their hubris, and now find themselves once more in the playoff picture as the last third of the season draws nigh. Mostly the Update brings this up to note that their prediction of a 4-9 finish for the Cowboys wasn't so bad after all, but also because we really, really like to write the word hubris.

Motor City Cheeseheads 'Bedevil' Renaissance Men
It was never really fair. Matching up 20th century concepts like motors, cities, and cheeseheads against Renaissance conceptions of iron, sharp things and mankinds' abilities is an almost certain rout for modernity. So it goes for old rusty dudes, sometimes. Paced by a monster game (18.9) game from Rueben Droughns and some actual offensive production from Colts' stars Manning and Harrison, the Cheeseheads rolled to a 57.1 to 36.7 victory. The victory moved the Cheeseheads within striking distance of the division title, while the loss, which "featured" no players scoring in double digits, leaves the Reniassance Men wondering if they have enough left in the tank to clank their way into the playoffs.

Diamond Boys Edge the Knights Who Say Ni as Rod Guesses Wrong
The Knights Who Say Ni were riding a modest two game winning streak coming into this week's matchup with the Diamond Boys, but Coach Rod guessed wrong on which of his two Saints running backs would have a good week, and the choice cost him in a tight 42.2 to 44.9 loss to the Diamond Boys. Both teams lost a starting running back to injury, the Knights losing Mewelde Moore, while the Diamond Boys lost Willie Parker, but in the end it was Rod's decision to start Aaron Stecker (4.6) over Antowain Smith (11.7, and no, he isn't dead) that cost his team victory. Coach Frank's team, meanwhile, got yet another good game out of that fine Irish lad, Donovan McNabb (16.4) and just enough from the rest of the team to overcome Parker's exit early in the second quarter.

Posts Cruise to Victory Over Decimated Barkeeps
As is his want, Coach John picked three of his six starters incorrectly this week, but against the injury riddled Barkeeps, it mattered nary a whit. Good games from Lamont Jordan, Reggie Wayne and the suddenly resurgent Tony Gonzalez helped the Posts win their third straight contest, 48.2 to 19.5. Coach Tony also picked three of his starters incorrectly this week, but even if he had gotten his lineup 100% correct, the Barkeeps would have recorded only 36.7 points. But, never fear, Tony! Tatum Bell and Terry Glenn will be back next week! It should be noted that the Posts are 3-0 since paying me for last year. Perhaps it is time for all y'all to pay me for this year? Couldn't hurt.


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

And I'm Off

to LA LA Land. Going to visit the old homestead, visit with some friends, and even do some work while I'm out there. Not to worry-- none of this in on the tax payer's dime. Should be interesting to go back to Pasadena (where we lived) and Orange County (where Jenn's relatives live) as well as downtown L.A. (where we worked) after nearly seven years.

I shall return on Tues., Nov. 8, and will return to posting sometime thereafter.

Hope all y'all don't miss me too much!

The War on Terror

Though some of you may think I'm going squishy on the war on terror because I recently decried the abuse at Abu Ghraib and other U.S. controlled facilities, I reamain a fervent supporter of that war. I just don't think that abuse, whether it reaches the level of torture or not, of detainees that we merely suspect of being terrorist is a good idea. On a moral level, we are sinking to the level of our enemy. On a practical level, torture/abuse is a poor method of extracting information from enemy detainees, and the practice of abusing detainees is counter-productive in the sense that every innocent detainee we abuse is one more Muslim that now has proof of the Satanic nature of the U.S.

But the battle against Islamic extremists is a vital one to both our country and the world. The President of Iran recently called for the elimination of Israel. Peaceful coexistence with fanatic Muslims is only possible if we all become Muslims under the strictest, many would say twisted, interpretations of the Qur'an. There is no compromising with them. As Tony Blair stated, we must either defeat them or be defeated by them.

And also please remember, this is not a struggle contained merely to Iraq or even the Middle East. More and more it is becoming a worldwide confrontation. On this, the one year anniversary of the brutal slaying of Theo Van Gogh by Muslim nutjobs, we must be very clear. As Theodore Dalrymple notes in the article linked above:
For tolerance to work, it must be reciprocal; tolerance appears to the intolerant jihadist mere weakness and lack of belief in anything. Unilateral tolerance in a world of intolerance is like unilateral disarmament in a world of armed camps: it regards hope as a better basis for policy than reality.
Hopefully, as Blair also stated, defeat them we shall.


Are You Ready for some Basketball

What a time of year. Football is in full swing, the World Series has just concluded, there is tons of candy laying around from Halloween, and the NBA launches its season. Life is good. Actually, my interest in the NBA has waned over the last decade or so as it now seems to be mostly a one-on-one dunk fest. Combined with the Bucks decline into mediocrity, and below, it's been hard for me to give much of a hoot about the NBA in recent years.

But this year. Well. I watched the end of the Bucks' NBA opener last night and I was impressed. Down seven on the road in Philadelphia with only two minutes to go, the Bucks did two things very well that they have been miserable at the previous... decade or more. They played tough defense and they rebounded on both the offensive and defensive glass. It was fun to watch and refreshing to see.

T.J. Ford is back, and man is he fast. Andrew Bogut is on board, and already looks pretty good-- I think he could be excellent in a year or two. Newly acquired Bobby Simmons was outstanding and Michael Redd may be the best pure shooter in the league right now. I'm still not sure the price we paid for Magliore (Derrick Mason, next year's 1st round pick and cash) was worth it, but he was solid in the middle, which allows Bogut to play at power forward.

I don't think the Bucks are on a level with Detroit, Miami or Indiana, but I think they may be the 4th best team in the East IF they continue to play like they did last night. That's a big if. But winning on the road is never easy in the NBA, and doing it in the way they did is an impressive achievement for a young team that hasn't played together much, if at all.

And if they do contend for the top half of the conference, you'll have to give Terry Stotts, a guy that was nearly universally derided when he took the Bucks' coaching job, huge props. It's early. Very early. But for opening night, at least, the Bucks were a fun, well-coached, talented and competitive team.


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Fantasy Football Update, Week Eight

It's the home stretch and nearly every team has a legitimate shot at the playoffs, even the previously winless Posts.

v. 11 #7


Red Neck Division
1. Stumbling Alcoholics, 6-2, 381.2
2. Mullet Mayhem, 5-3, 3370.2
3. High School Graduates, 5-3, 361.0
4. Hairballs, 4-4, 400.1
5. Rusted Gremlin Cheeseheads, 4-4, 377.5
6. Knights Who Say "All y'all", 3-5, 378.1
7. Chunks of Quartz Boys, 3-5, 371.4

Edumacated Division
1. Fearsome Suma Cum Laude, 7-1, 455.0
2. Baccalaureates, 5-3, 403.6
3. Girls Gone Wild: College Girls Exposed, 5-3, 372.4
4. Cross Country Skiers, 3-5, 375.9
5. Endowed Chair, 2-6, 369.7
6. Eurostick Cowboys, 2-6, 330.7
7. Pub Mixologists, 2-6, 308.3

If the playoffs were today…
1. Fearsome Suma Cum Laude, 7-1, 455.0
2. Stumbling Alcoholics, 6-2, 381.2
3. Baccalaureates, 5-3, 403.6
4. Girls Gone Wild: College Girls Exposed, 5-3, 372.4
5. Mullet Mayhem, 5-3, 370.2
6. Hairballs, 400.1

On the outside looking in:
7. High School Graduates, 5-3, 361.0
7. Knights Who Say All Y'all, 378.1

If the Barrel Bowl were today…
11. Chunks of Quartz Boys, 3-5, 371.4
12. Endowed Chairs, 2-6, 369.7
13. Eurostick Cowboys, 2-6, 330.7
14. Pub Mixologists, 2-6, 308.3

On the edge of ignominity...
10. Cross Country Skiers, 3-5, 375.9

If the Terribly Average Bowl were today...
7. Hairballs, 4-4, 400.1
8. Rusted Gremlin Cheeseheads, 4-4, 377.5
9. Knights Who Say All Y'all, 3-5, 378.1
10. Cross Country Skiers, 3-5, 375.9

Stat of the Week I: I think it is time to discontinue this item. Does anyone have any doubt that Steve Smith is the best wide receiving Smith in the league right now? Didn't think so. Much as I enjoy ridiculing Frank, the time has come to move on. Besides, Steve Smith is the #1 WR in the entire league right now, while Rod and Jimmy are 12th and 24th respectively-- let's go out on a high note.

Stat of the Week II: Coach John's Endowed Chairs won their second game in a row despite starting three players that would've been better off on the bench. His victory was no doubt aided by the fact that Coach Steve of the Mullet Mayhem played four guys who would've been better off on the bench. Nice coaching, boys.

Stat of the Week III: The offer is still open to have me ridicule your team, thus inspiring them to great heights of achievement. This technique is 100% successful so far, but is only good for two weeks-- after two straight victories and 50+ points, the drunken ones pretty well sucked in a loss this week. Actually, the technique may be good for longer than two weeks with other teams-- the attention span of a stumbling alcoholic is probably less than for any other group.

Stat of the Week IV: GM Dave traded away Steven Jackson prior to this week's game, which prevented him from fielding two 20+ running backs. I do not have the time to go back into the archives and make sure, but I strongly suspect that this would've have been a first for our league. But hey, who needs 40+ out of their backfield, right?

PICKUP ALERT: There are weekly pickups. Pickups are in inverse order of record with points as the tie-breaker for teams with the same record. You can enter your choices on the web site, or email/call them into me. Please do so before Wednesday, 9:00 PM Central Time.

TRADES: No new trades so far this week. Please note, the trading deadline is kickoff of the week 10 games-- you have less than two weeks to conclude any trades.

Game Capsules

Fearsome Suma Cum Laude Win the Craine Blood Bath Easily
The outcome was never in doubt. I mean, the Fearsome Suma Cum Laude won by two yards-- you'd think Coach Dave's Cross Country Skiers would've at least tried to win instead of rolling over in a 62.8 to 62.6 loss to little brother Scott. As noted above, Steven Jackson's 20.0 would've looked good next to Tiki Barber's 21.1, but Anquan Boldin did kick in 6.9 before getting hurt. So that's something. The Suma Cum Laude relied on extremely balanced scoring for their victory, with Chad Johnson bringing up the rear after recording a mere 7.0. The two yard victory, combined with losses by the Stumbling Alcoholics and Baccalaureates, left the Fearsome ones with a near strangle hold on the Edumacated Division title and #1 seed.

Girls Gone Wild Pummel Baccalaureates
While the Fearsome Suma Cum Laude were crushing in the Craine Brothers Blood Bath, the Girls Gone Wild were winning a laugher over Coach Adam's group, 54.7 to 54.3. League sources maintain that the 4 yard margin of victory was not the largest ever recorded, but the Update remains skeptical-- I mean it was four yards! Gym Jim's domination was lead by Fred Taylor's 16.5, while Coach Adam's pathetic effort was lead by recently acquired Trent Green, who notched 17.5. After the demolition, Coach Adam was philosophical, "Yeah, we got annihilated, but hey, we were missing the Edge and were playing 5 on 6-- we deserved to get completely obliterated. Plus, it's hard to concentrate out there when you're playing against Girls Gone Wild. We'll bounce back-- if there's anything I've learned about this team, it's that they're resilient. Oh, and they like to chant 'Toga, toga, toga' while watching Girls Gone Wild and drinking huge quantities of beer."

Knights Who Say All Y'all Edge Stumbling Alcoholics
It was a nailbiter to the bitter end, but with Anthony Wright's 12.8 and Todd Heap's 3.8 on Monday Night Football, the Knights Who Say All Y'all managed to nip the Stumbling Alcoholics, 60.0 to 38.4. "Phew," said Coach Paul Edinger after the contest, "that was close. I mean, we went into Monday Night knowing we needed more than -5.0 and fortunately Wright and Heap were able to come up with just barely enough for the 21.6 point victory. Naturally, you'd always like to win easily, but we'll take the W, no matter how ugly the game." Coach Troy was unavailable for comment after the disheartening, last second defeat, but team sources state that the coach was disappointed his team wasn't able to hold Wright and Heap to minus 5.1 and denied rumors that he was passed out in the visitor's showers.

Endowed Chair's Win Squeaker Over Mullet Mayhem
Newly acquired stud RB Steven Jackson put up monster numbers for the Mullet Mayhem, but the rest of Coach Steve's team barely managed to surpass Jackson's 20 points, and the Endowed Chairs hung on for a narrow 52.4 to 40.5 victory. The victory was the second in a row for the suddenly resurgent Chairs, and the turnaround seems to have a direct causal relationship to the re-emergence of Tony Gonzalez as a guy who actually catches passes. Though the Endowed Chairs won, the victory didn't have to be so close, as Coach John once again played three guys that were outscored by players on the bench-- the Chairs could've scored 72.6. John scoffed at such minutae after the victory, "See, Mr. Update smarty-pants person-- we can win even when I only guess half of the lineup right. A pox on you and your 'start players that actaully score' philosophy. Play the guys you like regardless of whether you have better options on the bench. That's what I'm talkin' about."

Hairballs Hang On Against Pub Mixologists
Needing more than -5.0 out of Jamal Lewis on Monday night, the Hairballs managed to get actual positive yardage out of their number one draft pick and broke their four game losing streak with a 50.6 to 39.5 victory. Combined with losses by the Stumbling Alcoholics and Mullet Mayhem, the victory kept the Hairballs faint hopes for a Redneck Division title alive. For the Mixologists, the loss was their third straight and may have sealed their fate as a Barrel Bowl contender. The Hairballs were, once again, lead by Steve Smith, who hung 201 yards on smack talking ignoramous Viking, Fred Smoot.

Rusted Gremlin Cheeseheads Crush Chunks of Quartz Boys
The muffler is gone, there's a spare on the right rear side, and you have to add oil every 300 miles, but the Rusted Gremlin still ran clean over the Chunks of Quartz Boys this week, 54.4 to 43.2. Lead by that fine Scottish lad Willis McGahee's 15.7, the Cheeseheads kept their playoff hopes alive in the battle of 3-4 squads. The Quartz Boys, meanwhile, were handicapped by having that fine Irish lad Donovan McNabb's 15.4 on the bench, and now face an uphill climb to the playoffs in the tough Redneck Division.

Seriously, Did Someone HAVE to Win?
Good grief. For the second time this year, the High School Graduates won despite scoring less than 35 points. This time around, the overachieving rednecks (they got a diploma for crimney's sake!) took down the death spiraling Euro Cowboys, 32.5 to 23.7. Ravaged by injuries and the bye week, the Cowboys were barely able to field an entire team of legitimate NFL players. Actually, considering they started Ron Dayne, perhaps they were unable to field an entire team of legitimate NFL players. Personally, I once again believe that neither team deserves a win, but precedent would dictate that Coach Russ' team receive the W, and I guess we're stuck with that.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?