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

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Also Spooky

Though in a completely different realm. This past Saturday Milwaukee's two I-A men's college basketball teams, Marquette and UW-Milwaukee, both played at home. Their home arenas are across the street from each other-- Marquette at the Bradley Center and UWM at the U.S. Cellular Arena (the Bradley Center is on the far left, the U.S. Cellular Arena just to the right with the white roof, behind the red brick building). Both games tipped off a few minutes after 7 pm Central time and the two games ended within a minute of each other.

All coincidental enough. But here's the really spooky thing. Both Milwaukee teams won. Both scored 79 points. And both of their opponents scored 71.

Zoinks. What are the odds of both games ending 79-71? Across the street from each other at nearly the exact same time?

And since I am mentioning my alma mater UWM Panthers-- what a season they are having! Shortly before the start of the season Coach Rob Jeter kicked his leading scorer from the year before off the team for violating team rules and being a disruptive force on the team. They won three of their first four games against total cupcakes, but once they hit better opposition they lost six in a row to fall to 3-7.

At which point Jeter kicked Torre Johnson off the team for violating team rules and being a disruptive force on the team. At the time Johnson was the team's leading scorer this year-- averaging over 17 points a game. Which left me with the belief that, since this season was already in the tank, Jeter was cleaning house of all the bad apples with the vision of better chemistry and respect for the rules in seasons to come.

Funny thing though, since kicking Johnson off the team the Panthers have gone on a tear, winning nine of their last ten and moving into third place in their conference. Quite amazing. A testament to Jeter's coaching and the importance of team chemistry.

Congrats Rob Jeter.

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Monday, January 28, 2008


I am not sure what this little You-Tube gem means, nor how or why someone thought to make it, but it is both awesome and spooky:

And in other political news, Obama is now edging ahead of Clinton in Colorado. Plus, Ted Kennedy has endorsed Obama.

Maybe the Hillary camp should have Bill go back out and wave his finger at the cameras some more.

Oops. Wrong video. ;->

Bush Gets One Right

I will get some oxygen ready for BP if he happens by in the near future, but I think even he would agree that this Executive Order is a good thing for the country. Earmarks are a scourge to our economy and our country as a whole, greatly facilitating Congress' ability to kowtow to the lobbyists without ever having to acknowledge their complicity to the actual voters.

Granted, Bush should've done this years ago-- back when his party was running things in Congress and blowhard hogmeisters like Ted Stevens were ramming through ever piece of pork they could dream up-- but better late than never. And yet another argument for divided government.


Get Back

That was the song that was number 1 on the Billboard charts on my birthday. Not too shabby-- hard to top The Beatles. On the day of my wedding, however, I am stuck with the Macarena. Blech. I do not recognize the two songs that were #1 when my children were born: "Too Close" by Next and "Doesn't Really Matter" by Janet. Apparently single-name artists were big when my kids were born.

Curious what was number 1 when you were born? Go here. Kinda fun.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

One, One Awesome Web Site!

Ah, hah hah!

If you like counting with Sesame Street's Count, then this site is for you. Just click on the picture of the Count off the front page and, voila!, 58! Fifty-eight wonderful clips of the Count... counting!

Ah, hah hah!

Monday, January 14, 2008

My Socks RAWK!

Seriously, I believe they may have mystical powers. Why, you ask? What, you won't take my word for it? Huh, skeptics.

Ok, ok. Here's why, and every word is true:

Between 3:30 and 6:30 this past Saturday afternoon, Wisconsin shut down. Well, not entirely-- the bars were probably pretty rocking. But a huge portion of the state was undoubtedly glued to the TV as the Packers vs. Seahawks playoff game kicked off. At 13-3 during the regular season, the Packers were a heavy favorite. I am planted on my couch, wearing my Packer jersey and Packer hat.

First series, Packers' ball. Pass, completion to running back Ryan Grant, fumble... Seahawks' ball at the 1 yard line. Next play, Shaun Alexander scores a touchdown. 7-0 Seattle. urk.

Second series, Packers' ball. Grant runs for 8 yards. Nice. Next play, Grant runs for 6 yards. Nice... oh wait. Grant fumbled again. Seahawks' ball at midfield. urk. Several plays later Matt Hasselbeck throws a touchdown. 14-0 Seattle. double urk. 72,000+ fans at Lambeau Field are stunned.

At this point I take stock. Don Hutson jersey. Check. NFC North Champions hat. Check. Special game day tie-dyed socks. Ch... URK! I'm just wearing regular sweat socks, not the green/gold/barf colored socks my children made for me at the start of the season. I had worn them for all 13 of the Packers' wins, but had forgotten to wear them (truth!) for two of the three losses. Clearly, they are magical socks, imbued with mystical powers.


Run upstairs, rabidly dig through a pile of clean clothes that have yet to be put away. Yes! There's the brownish, puicish color of the socks where the green, yellow and red (why red? I dunno, my 7-year-old son thought it would be cool) dyes all smudged together. Run downstairs, rip off my other socks and jam on the tie-dyes.

Next Packers drive: Six plays, crisp, efficient, TOUCHDOWN! 14-7, Seahawks. My socks are good.

Next Seahawks drive: Three and out. Punt. Pack takes over, and Ryan Grant cracks off several big runs. Nine plays later Ryan Grant is powering into the end zone from one yard out. TOUCHDOWN! 14-14 and now Lambeau Field is LOUD! I knew my socks were good, but wow, what a turn around.

Next Seahawks possession. On 2nd and 19, Hassellbeck hits his tight end, Marcus Pollard, in the flat. As Pollard starts to turn to run upfield, safety Atari (man I loved the Atari 2600 as a kid) Bigby drills him and the ball pops loose. Packers ball on the Seahawks' 18 yard line! Three plays later Brett Favre is lofting a gorgeous little fade pass into the end zone where it is snagged by Greg Jennings. 21-14 Packers and I have to restrain my urge to kiss my own socks.

And so it would go. After the disastrous first 4 minutes in which Green Bay turned the ball over twice and dug themselves a big 14-0 hole, they played nearly flawless football. And not to put too fine a point on it, but it all started with ME CHANGING MY SOCKS!!!!

My socks rawk.

It's good to be a Packers fan today. Very, very good. And what a great story Ryan Grant is-- a complete unknown (he was the 3rd string back for the NY Giants when he was traded to the Packers before the start of the season) he exploded onto the scene halfway through the year when the Packers' other two running backs got hurt. Since that time he is second in the NFL in rushing yards behind only 1st ballot hall-of-famer Ladanian Tomlinson. He set the Packers' all-time playoff yardage record on Saturday, rolling to 201 yards. He's a smart kid-- two degrees from Notre Dame-- and did not let the two early fumbles get him down. Instead, he set out to make amends.

And boyhowdy, did he ever.

What a magical season this has been for the Packers and their fans. Picked by most experts to finish 9-7 or worse (I figured they were 9-7 or maybe 10-6 if they got lucky) and behind the Bears and Vikings (and in some cases, dead last) in the NFC North they have instead gone 13-3 and won the division. The youngest team in the league (and that's with 38-year-old Favre at the QB position), they have gelled as a team in all phases of the game. Unselfishly and coherently.

Case in point-- Greg Jennings, a mere second year player, has become Favre's go to receiver at the goal line, replacing longtime favorite receiver and pro-bowler, Donald Driver. On some teams (think Dallas and Terrell Owens) the supplanted receiver would have pouted and whined about the decrease in his stats (which correlates to $ come contract time). Driver simply smiled and continued to catch first down passes to get the Packers to the red zone, happy for his teammate and satisfied with helping the team win.

Hopefully, the Packers keep rolling for two more games, but even if they were to lose next Sunday (and if there's a hotter NFC team than GB, it's their opponent this week, the New York Giants) this has been a tremendously fun season. Favre has looked as good as he ever has, the defense has progressed from good, to great, to dominant and Grant has added the running dimension to the team that was the one missing ingredient early in the season. Oh, and special teams. I would be remiss not to mention how great the special teams units have been this year.
During the perennial playoff visits and Super Bowl appearances in the 1990s, the return and kicking games of the Packers was always very good to excellent. Since that time it has ranged from adequate to awful. Until this year. This year I don't hold my breathe when we kick the ball back to the other team-- our punt and coverage units have been outstanding. Mason Crosby has been money as a field goal kicker, and his kick offs to the 5 yard line or deeper have been a refreshing change of pace, helping to pin the opposition deep. Well done, boys.

And finally, a big tip of the hat to Mr. Mike McCarthy. What a job he has done as the coach of the Packers. Reined in Favre and got him back to playing QB like he did during the MVP years of the '90s. Got the youngest team in the league playing together and playing well against all expectations. Has his team prepared and ready to go, week in and week out.

Well done! Now, on to the NFC Championship game!

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I Agree With Josh Marshall

Doesn't happen very often, but Josh's outrage on his Talking Points Memo blog about the exclusion of Ron Paul from the New Hampshire debate is spot on and I agree with him completely. Fox News long ago lost any credibility in terms of "fair and balanced" but there simply is no justification for excluding Paul but including Fred Thompson... other than that Thompson says stuff that Fox News agrees with and Ron Paul completely opposes much of the Fox News/Bush Administration's policy and spin.

Speaking of Fred Thompson, I saw most of Die Hard 2 the other night and he was fairly believable as the well-meaning but fairly incompetent head of the airport under siege by terrorists. I can definitely see him in the role of well-meaning but fairly incompetent President of the United States. Except I'm a little tired of that show-- seven years of reruns is enough, I think. Given Thompson's polling numbers, I guess most of America is tired of that show, too.

Speaking of the Die Hard movies, I have yet to see the latest, but I do think Bruce Willis is probably under-rated as an actor. Die Hard 2 wasn't a particularly good movie-- a pale imitation of the very good first Die Hard film-- but Willis was still great as John McClain (which is eerily close to John McCain, no?). Ditto, the 5th Element.

But I digress. Excluding the candidate running 5th-- at 7% support-- but including the candidate running 6th-- at 2% support-- is completely indefensible. Hopefully the other networks and/or news media will call Fox News on it. I also love Real Clear Politics breathless inclusion of this line: "and - don't look now - Fred Thompson appears to have doubled his support in the Granite State." Yeah, from 1% to 2%. Going from virtually no support to almost no support really isn't all that impressive. Oddly-- or perhaps not given the disdain shown towards Ron Paul by so many in the media, old and new-- Ron Paul's jump of 2% (twice that of Thompson's bump) from 5% to 7% support is not mentioned at all.

Sadly, however, it now seems that Ron Paul is starting to triangulate/pander or that he is more of the nutjob that so many want to portray him as. The campaign ad is disturbing and discouraging on many levels. All that money that the Paul campaign raised from folks looking for something new, refreshing and not business-as-usual and that was the best they could come up with? Sigh. But regardless, with 7% support and a decent sized campaign war chest, Ron Paul should, without a doubt, be in the New Hampshire Republican debate.

Well, at least McCain is bouncing back into contention and the shine of the Rudy candidacy seems to be wearing off. Huckabee still has traction, which is mind-boggling, but I could be satisfied with McCain vs. Obama this fall. That would be the best match-up the country has had in over a decade. I think either of those two gentlemen would make a good president.


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