Friday, March 30, 2007

Who would you most like to take your children to Disneyland?

I found this poll from Time (PDF file) from this post at MyDD and he had found something interesting about the questions they asked. The media narrative around Bush during his campaigns was that the public would like to have a beer with him more than they would with either Gore or Kerry. This always struck me as a little considering having a beer with Bush would probably turn into 18 beers and some weird hazing ritual but whatever. Supposedly he was the "common man from Texas" despite attending the best private schools in the northeast and we're all supposed to pick our president like we pick our drinking buddies.

Well, this poll asked a few more questions along those same lines looking to get into the minds of people about how they generally view candidates.
Q21. Which of the presidential candidates would...

A) Make the best high school principal?
Clinton: 20%
Giuliani: 16%
Obama: 14%
McCain: 9%
Gore: 8%
Edwards: 6%
Gingrich: 4%
Romney: 2%
Biden: 1%
Huckabee: 1%
Other / Unsure: 19%

B) Be the best contestant on dancing with the stars:
Clinton: 19%
Obama: 18%
Edwards: 9%
Giuliani: 9%
Gore: 6%
Romney: 2%
Gingrich: 2%
McCain: 1%
Biden: 1%
Other / Unsure: 31%

C) You trust the most to babysit your children or children you know:
Clinton: 21%
Edwards: 12%
McCain: 9%
Obama: 8%
Giulinai: 7%
Gore: 6%
Romney: 6%
Gingrich: 3%
Brownback: 1%
Other / Unsure: 28%

Here is what the author of the post had to say about the results:
This is the sort of poll that can tell us a lot more about our culture, and about the national view of presidential candidates, than virtually any trial heat or benchmark poll could muster. Notice, for example, that Obama is viewed as a good dancer, but not as someone people want to babysit their children. Tell me there isn't cultural stereotyping and latent racism in that. Note also how people want Edwards to babysit their children, but not be their school principal. Do people view him as nurturing, but not tough? Clinton also trounces the field in the babysitter category--again, tell me no cultural stereotyping is taking place. Also, Clinton leads all of these personable categories, which might go a long way toward explaining why she leads in primary trial heats. People tend to vote more on personal qualities, identity perceptions and party self-identification than they do on policy positions, after all. This stuff is very important, even if it is nebulous and difficult to pin down.

I wouldn't mind seeing more polling along these lines. I would also like to know what 3% of the population would like to leave their children with Gingrich. That is a truly horrifying proposition.

Seriously, just because his head is the size of a pumpkin doesn't mean he's a lovable cartoon character. And why DOES Obama get such low babysitting marks? More people would leave their kids with psycho McCain than lovable Obama? One thing we can all agree on is that Democrats would make better dancers. I imagine McCain's dance going something like this.

Some other notable things I found in this poll include the fact that Bush's 33% approval rating is only 1 point higher than Cheney's.

Edwards was the beneficiary of a 6% bump nationally over the last two weeks.

28% of people are opposed to any sort of troop withdrawal while 32% support withdrawal in the next 12 months, and 36% support a time table sometime within the next 18 months. Go ahead and keep hammering Bush on this, Democrats. Please.

6% of people would be less likely to vote for an African-American candidate and 13% would be less likely to vote for a woman. However 11% would be more likely to vote for a woman while only 8% would be more likely to vote for an African-American. Neither of these seem to be much of a handicap. At least not as much as the 54% that would be less likely to vote for a candidate that agrees with Bush on most issues. Sorry, Republicans.

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Quick hits

Just a few things that don't really even add up to a good post when put together. I had another amusing wrong number today.
Me: Hello?
Kid: Hello?
Me: Hello. Who's this?
Kid: ...Mom?
Me: Umm....no? I think you have the wrong number.

I have to wonder what the mom sounds like if she can be confused with my booming baritone. Stupid kids...

Here's one of Paul Shirley's journals on ESPN.com. This one deals with the BS call that went against him in the Michigan State game and what it's like to have your crying face plastered on every newspaper across the nation. He namedrops the Iowa State Daily (I used to read that!) and Friley Hall (I've been there!) and studying in the library (I used to do that!). For those that don't know Paul Shirley was a National Merit Scholar from Kansas and studied Engineering at ISU while he walked on to the basketball team and went on to earn a scholarship and start his senior year before playing for a few teams in the NBA. So, we have a lot in common (if you ignore all of the basketball stuff).

There is a link to a YouTube video with three minutes of Michigan State highlights and then it goes into Eustachy getting tossed, Shirley crying, Fizer high fiving teammates trying to keep them in it, and Bill Rafferty acting like an idiot. If you want to sit through the first three minutes you get to see that brutal alleyoop that is burned into my brain where Mo P burned Mike Nurse and a few shots of stupid Mateen Cleaves' mom. Anyway, I'm digressing.

Shirley is a great guy and wrote a really good piece on what the tournament means to the players who have worked so hard to get there. Oh, and do any of you remember the name of the Daily columnist that wrote the love letter to him on Valentine's Day? I remember the first letter I wrote to the Daily was ripping on one of her dumb columns and they in their end of the year issue she said "freshman who tell me I suck" in her things she wouldn't miss. I felt proud.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Run DMC died for this?

It's almost (no, it is) cruel to go a few days without posting and then break my silence with this, but, well, it's in my head and I can't get rid of it until I show it to seven other people so you're screwed.

By the way, I believe this video entirely justifies my hatred for "Whose Line is it Anyway" because they're the ones responsible for unleashing this crapfest.

This is at the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association dinner where our nation's media grovel at the feet of the president and laugh uproriously as he makes jokes about starting illegal wars under false pretenses. You may remember Stephen Colbert rocking it last year much to the confusion of everyone who wasn't in on the joke (which was 98% of the room). I guess it's safe to say they went the safer route this year by finding not-funny comedians who will do a rap about Karl Rove. Hilarious.

Speaking of hilarious...not Karl Rove. He butchered every joke he tried to make.

Friday, March 23, 2007

O.J. Mayo is my new favorite basketball player

Sure, Mayo may not have even finished high school yet but after reading this story in the New York Times I was feeling pretty good about him.
“O. J. wanted me to come here today,” the man told Floyd. “He wanted me to figure out who you are.”
“Why aren’t you at Arizona or Connecticut?” Floyd recalled asking.

The man explained that Mayo wanted to market himself before going to the N.B.A., and that Los Angeles would give him the best possible platform.

“Then why aren’t you at U.C.L.A.?” Floyd asked.

The man shook his head. U.C.L.A. had already won 11 national championships. It had already produced many N.B.A. stars. Mayo wanted to be a pioneer for a new era.

“Let me call him,” Floyd said.

The man shook his head again. “O. J. doesn’t give out his cell,” he said. “He’ll call you.”
...
Mayo’s mind was apparently made up. He was already looking ahead. “How many scholarships do we have for next year?” he asked.

Floyd stammered. “After this,” he said, “I guess we have three.”

Mayo went through the priority list in his mind. “Don’t worry about recruiting,” he said. “I’ll take care of it.”

Before Floyd hung up, he asked one more time for Mayo’s cellphone number. “No,” Mayo said. “I’ll call you.”

Then, I watched this video of O.J. Mayo's last high school game where he decides to go out in a blaze of self-congratulating glory.

Every time I watch it I crack up laughing. I mean, that's got to be one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen on a basketball court, right? This kid thinks he rules the world and, well, I guess he's pretty much right. I mean, he tells the coach he doesn't give out his cell phone number and will take care of the recruiting and the coach says, ok. He makes the end of the game turn into a complete spectacle and his coach gives him a hug. Heck, they filmed the whole thing for a documentary on him and he's never even played a college game. What a perfect illustration of why so many athletes have the sense of entitlement they do.

Oh, and the band in the video is Explosions in the Sky who I totally wanted to see but I just found out their Lawrence show at the end of the month is already sold out. Bullshit.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

I knew my 8th Grade Government class was BS

More from Tony Snow:
The executive branch is under no compulsion to testify to Congress, because Congress in fact doesn't have oversight ability.


Checks and balances? Err-or. Does not compute.

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I don't...uhh...I don't have my glasses on


Tom DeLay making an ass out of himself.

I was listening to NPR this morning and they had listeners responding to a story on him that I didn't hear and they played a few clips from the interview. I about drove off the road listening to him talk about his K Street project to get Republican legislators not to meet with lobbyists representing traditionally Democratic interests.
"Why would I meet with the enemy?"
"Because they're Americans with an interest!", the interviewer says obviously pissed off.
"They're not Americans with my interests."

This is exactly the type of attitude that the current Republicans have. They have to be some of the most partisan people in the history of politics. I don't always think partisanship is a bad thing but these guys go out of their way to stomp on anybody that doesn't toe their line. The other quote that made my jaw drop was the fact that he punished a Republican that had the audacity to push for more money for veteran's health care. Because, with all of the stories about the waiting lists and the crappy facilities they obviously don't need to spend any more money there...

Also, if you have a little time there's a video here of Al Gore testifying in front of the Senate yesterday and a priceless moment near the end when the former committee chairman and global warming denier gets shot down by the current chairwoman Barbara Boxer.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Dysfunctional NFL Family Circus

The guys at Kissing Suzy Kolber put together a post of NFL-themed Family Circus knockoffs. I love both of those things in very different ways. I think the Fred Smoot Cornacopia was my favorite.

There's just too much to write about

So many good things are happening that I want to write about but don't feel like putting any more time into sitting at my computer so here are some great links.

Sean Hannity claims he wants to debate Salt Lake City's mayor then weasels out of it and lies about all of the reasons. SL Tribune catches him.

White House and DOJ supposedly release all of the documents pertaining to the firing of the US Attorneys. Are found to be liars. There just happens to be an 18 day gap right before the firings went down where, apparently, no one emailed anything about it. Echoes of Nixon blaming his secretary for erasing the tapes.

Here's video of Tony Snow responding to questions about the gap by looking panicked and pretty much saying, "umm, I have no idea. Ask somebody else. I'm sure they have an answer for you."

Speaking of Tony Snow the Chicago Trib found a column he wrote ripping on Clinton for trying to hide behind the exact same executive privilege excuse his boss is using. Time to backpeddle, I guess.

Anyway, this continues to get worse for the Republicans. Don't they remember, "the coverup is worse than the crime?"

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Rundown of the scandals

It's tough to keep track of exactly how many scandals the Bush administration is embroiled in at this very moment but it appears that basketball and politics are the only things occupying my mind lately and I've had a lot of time to read and write this week so that's what you get. The interesting thing, to me, is how all of these tie together in a neat little package and how predictable all of this was. Although I could talk about the Libby conviction stuff what I'm really fascinated by is the stuff revolving around the Patriot Act.

Now, you'd think that we'd have learned that passing these types of laws that strip away our Constitutional liberties is like hooking up with a skank at a bar. Hey, it made sense at the time but you're really going to feel guilty about it in the morning. Someday I hope, and believe, that the Patriot Act will take its place in our children's history books with the Alien and Sedition Acts and Gitmo will be remembered like the Japanese internment camps during World War II. It won't be easy to explain how we allowed it to happen but I truly believe our country will come to our senses and get rid of them.

From the very beginning this thing has been as absolutely shady as it can get. Most legislative members were not even allowed time to read the act before they were forced to vote in the panic that defined the "resolute leadership" of that time. Civil liberties activists were denounced as anti-American and fools for worrying that these provisions would ever be used for anything other than catching terrorists. Obviously, that was bullshit. When has a government or law enforcement agency ever had a tool they said they were going to use for one type of crimes and not began using the same tool for everything? Never.

Well, shockingly, the FBI was seriously warned by a congressional committee about their extensive abuse of Patriot Act provisions allowing them to look into telephone, financial, or e-mail records with just a "National Security letter." This was abused time and time again in cases where there was no emergency and where no national security interest was found. But, hey, come on, if you didn't do anything wrong you have nothing to worry about, right? Of course not.

The other scandal also involves the Patriot Act. This time a little known clause that allows the administration to appoint their own U.S. Attorneys without Senate approval. Apparently the Senate didn't bother to find this part because they voted 94-2 to repeal that section today.

News has been trickling out painting a picture of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former White House consel and Supreme Court nominee (quite the incestuous group...I guess when so many people know so much it's good to keep them close to you), and the always evil and always involved Karl Rove conspired to fire U.S. attorneys they disagreed with and replace them with their own plants for the rest of the term. These attorneys would be free to prosecute or not prosecute whomever they (or rather the administration) felt like they should. This seemed to be the problem with the eight that were fired. One wasn't pushing a case against Democrats ahead to beat the election and received a somewhat threatening call from his Republican congressman. Another was prosecuting some Republicans. Things went so far that it was even suggested that they fire and replace every single one of them with Bush plants that would not need Senate approval.

In the face of overwhelming evidence that the White House is up to their eyeballs in this mess Bush offered to let Rove and Miers talk to Congress in private and not under oath. Congress says, umm, no. Bush, of course, is apparently sticking with Gonzales despite the fact that Republicans in Congress are doing everything they can to throw this guy under the bus and save their own skin. When Gonzales confuses his duties as being the lawyer of the United States government with being the personal lawyer of Bush it's not surprising that Bush would stick by him.

Gonzales needs to go. The fact that he's been such an enabler for all of the illegal searching and torturing this goverment has sanctioned should be reason enough but he's already been on really sketchy ground with a lot of his testimony before Congress on the wiretapping stuff and now basically misled them about his role on this that what else can you do? He's got to be gone and whether he is or isn't Congress needs to start slapping some subpeonas on some of these crooks.

Ah, interesting point. Imagine this (not so far-fetched) scenario: Congress subpeonas them. Bush says, fuck you. Congress says, you're in contempt of Congress. And who prosecutes that? The U.S. Attorneys. Hmm, interesting that he's so interested in getting rid of all but the ones loyal to the Rethugs, no? It's amazing that he's accusing Democrats of trying to score political points when they fired they US Attorneys for purely political reasons. Scumbags.

As long as Bush had a Republican Rubber Stamp Congress that was willing to go along with his executive branch power grabs things stayed pretty quiet. It will be interesting to see how a Democratic majority handles things.

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Faux News


Here is a hilarious clip from Faux News. My favorite part is they have all of those hacks on fretting about the "far-left hijack" and claiming that Obama and Clinton are two of the most liberal Democrats EVAR (umm, what? I can name at least 5 in the senate alone that are way more liberal than them). Then after all of those guys come in the guy representing an actual respected investment group says, "umm, yeah, we have way more important things to worry about than any of that stuff."

Some of you probably missed it because it wasn't really a huge story but the Nevada Democratic Party agreed to have a Democratic presidential debate hosted and moderated by Faux News. The last time this happened Faux put up a banner that said "Democrat Party", asked a ton of "have you stopped beating your wife" questions, and even cut away from the candidates answering the questions so their talking head spin-meisters could start ripping on them. Basically, it was exactly the propaganda fest everyone knew it would be. Why would they subject themselves to that treatment again and allow Faux such a great opportunity to spread their lies. Fortunately guys like Edwards and Obama have been treating Faux like the illegitimate propaganda arm that they are. Edwards was the first to say he wasn't going to that debate and Obama froze out the Faux reporter following his campaign after they ran their false story claiming that he went to Islamic fundie school.

Crap like this clip is exactly why there's no need to even pretend they are legit. They're nothing more than a right-wing television version of Pravda.

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Colorado Springs St. Patrick's Day Parade no place for peace

So, this is possibly a little ironic considering what I wrote about the Lawrence protest yesterday but this just seemed to ridiculous not to mention because there are a few seperate issues here.

The scene is the Colorado Springs St. Patrick's Day parade and a local business paid the entry fee for a group to march. Marching with him were going to be members of the Pikes Peak Peace and Justice Commission. Well, they were going to be until parade organizers got a load of their controversial green shirts with white peace symbols and signs saying "End the War Now." Nope, can't have that in the parade.

Well, things got ugly when some of the protestors refused to leave and the police dragged a 65 year old woman across the street leaving her injured and placed a retired priest in a headlock.

Here's the local newspaper story and, if you think the comments in the LJW can get ugly, these commenters are pretty brutal. It only takes four comments to compare them to Iraqi insurgents. This, I just don't understand. From all evidence these people weren't looking for a fight like some of the people I saw yesterday and just were planning on marching in the parade. What is so threatening about these people that the citizens of Colorado must be protected from this type of speech?

Now, I don't know if this parade is privately organized or put on by the city but if it is publicly funded I don't see how they can get away with restricting their speech. The people probably should have left when the police told them to but it seems that the police completely flipped out taking them down. When 14 officers are arresting 7 people there's no need to drag them across the street like they did. Again, what is so threatening about people promoting peace?

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Monday, March 19, 2007

This is what a police state looks like?

I just got back from the Lawrence anti-war rally and march and it kind of reminded me why these things can bug me sometimes. Well, I don't really want to be too critical because the people that organized the thing are actually out there doing something to try to stop the war and I completely respect that but I feel that some of the actions taken are counterproductive to accomplishing that goal.

Some of the main organizers are affliliated with Solidarity, a loosely organized group of anarchists and other various leftist leaners. My biggest beef with these war protests is that, so often, everybody tries to bring their pet cause and it ends up diluting the message and turning off others that may be against the war but don't want to get involved in the protest. So, today they start off with a speech from an activist from Haskell Indian Nations University who talked a little about the Iraq War and a lot about getting military recruiters off of Indian reservations.

The next man was in the National Guard and refused to serve in this war because of his personal convictions. Very interesting story but he gave a rambling speech that touched on a lot of things including Marxism and his grudge against Missouri Representative Emmanual Cleaver who spoke before him at a KC rally the day before. His belief is that politicians can do "nothing" to end the war and only protesting and civil disobedience will do anything. Personally, I don't buy into that at all. In my mind, the purpose of protesting is to be a visible symbol to the politicians that the people are against this war leading them to take the steps to end it. I mean, short of all of the soldiers putting down their weapons and booking a flight back to the US we're going to need to convince politicians to do something.

The next guy was a local peace activist who has spent a lot of time in Palestine and also spent time in Iraq with the Christian Peacemaker Team and is a really cool guy. He gave a good, short speech that got people fired up. Then, the final speaker get up there and she gives us a phone number to call in case we are arrested and says that "we don't have a permit to be in the street but we're going to take the street anyway." Umm, what?

Hey, I think there's definitely a time for that type of civil disobedience but me getting myself arrested in Lawrence, Kansas isn't going to affect anything. They said they were totally fine if people wanted to stay on the sidewalk so we decided to stick to that.

The police cars were following us and some of the people got in the street for a while but they gave up when they saw how many police were standing in front of the recruiting station where the protest was scheduled to end. The organizers were all about running around with walkie-talkies and having people on bikes scouting where the police were going to be. The police were all about filming and photographing everyone that was walking. This really pisses me off that they do this because I do have a right to peacefully assemble if I want to and why are you taking my picture and what are you going to do with it?

If they're just using these things in case there is some sort of problem I guess I can be ok with that but if they're using it to identify people that have done nothing wrong I think that's a bunch of crap. So, I started to get the feeling that there were protestors and police who were just looking for some sort of problem.

How does chanting "this is what a police state looks like" do anything to bring attention to ending the war? Yeah, there are a lot of police there but most of the time, especially in Lawrence, if they aren't provoked they won't cause problems. Some of the protestors were advocating charging the recruiting station or something like that and fortunately cooler heads prevailed. Most of the news coverage I've seen so far has been fairly positive. The KC NBC affiliate had mostly positive things to say (including a clip of my friend Jesse and I walking in a crowd in front of a 12 foot-tall skeleton thing) and the fairly right-wing Lawrence Journal-World also had a small piece on their site that noted how the demonstration was peaceful despite the disproportionately large number of police present.

My thoughts are sort of scattered and rambling here but I find myself conflicted because I really do think that these people have their hearts in the right places for the most part but they get a little too zoned in on confrontation and feel like they're not doing their part if they're not getting arrested or getting tear gassed. But, this isn't Chicago in 1968 and we can get an effective anti-war message out in this area by having a peaceful demonstation that focuses soley on ending the war.

Well, the demonstration for us ended by negotiating with a nice police officer so that we could cross the police line and eat at Panera. Yeah, probably not exactly what the anarchists had in mind.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Bracket Fact - Friday Edition

Yesterday could go down as one of the most boring days in NCAA history. That's my fact.

The only true upset was also the only true great game, VCU over Duke. Unfortunately, I chose a few upsets in bracket leading to this email from my sister.
Not sure if you noticed or not, but you have things a little screwed out East in your bracket. Just thought I would point that out.
Hehehe....

When she's actually noticed and is talking shit on my bracket you knows things are bad!

So, George Washington won't be playing Oral Roberts tomorrow but that doesn't mean I'm totally screwed, I just have a lot of ground to make up. I only lost 1 team going to the Sweet 16 and things are looking a little better today so far so we'll see how things go but there's no doubt that yesterday was a bloodbath.

Of course looking at my picks for the rest of the weekend I could be in a world of hurt. I felt that there were a couple of two seeds that had a decent shot at losing in the second round so, emboldened by my success in picking Wichita State over Tennessee last year, insanely picked both of them. Memphis isn't exactly tearing things up against the Mean Green today so I feel like I still have a shot in that one but taking UNLV over Wisconsin is starting to scare me. I'm watching UNLV and they have to have the worst handles of any team I've seen in a while. They're so shaky with the ball that I thought they had the clip of Ollie from Hoosiers dribbling off his leg on a loop but it was actually just their team that kept doing that. Lon Kruger's son keeps chucking up threes even though he's 0-8 at the minimum (and they said he was 2-11 in the conference championship). I knew coming into the game that the Rebs were sort of chuckers and that (along with four seniors) is what I liked about them but they're 8-29 from three right now. They keep trying to run away and then letting Tech back into it and both teams have looked crappy at times but maybe the Badgers will suck too.

EDIT: I'm officially boycotting Enterprise Rent-a-Car for using footage of the Hampton Pirates celebrating in their commercial.

Lon Kruger drew up a great play and got the ball inside for a possible three point play after the Rebs manned up and got 2 or 3 straight offensive rebounds. Then they played great D and forced a five second call. I'm feeling slightly better about them. 2 point lead and the ball with about 44 seconds left.

Oh, here's a bracket fact. One of UNLV's forwards had parents that were Morman polygamists in Vegas. You don't see that every day. He has half or full brothers and sisters from ages 2 to 40.

Looks UNLV will win after a few more nice defensive plays to seal it. I wish I had remembered that there are going to be about 14,000 Wisconsin fans in Chicago this weekend. Oh well, stranger things have happened.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thursday Bracket Fact - Ides of March edition

Exactly 2050 years ago today Julius Caesar went down in one of the greatest upsets of all-time. As Dictator for Life he seemed destined to be remembered as one of the most formidable one seeds of all-time but a scrappy group of senators led by Brutus were not to be denied. They were really throwing daggers on that day...

The first two days of the tournament are really like Christmas for sports fans. It's a ritual I've participated in since I was a child. In a basketball crazy state like Kansas there would always be one teacher with a TV on somewhere. Usually my old Junior High coach JefFro would have one on in his classroom so you always wanted to be in one of his classes because he would give you some busy work so everyone could watch KU or K-State (they actually made the tournament back then). In math class we listened to KU on the radio and in early days of the internet we sat at a computer refreshing the scoreboard at the old school CNNSI site every 10 seconds to see if the upset we picked would hold up or not.

I think I've been in bracket pools since I was in junior high and filling out a bracket for longer than that. We used to hang them on our fridge and mark the correct picks in green and the wrong picks in red. Hanging next to that was an empty bracket that we pulled from the center of Sports Illustrated that was filled out as the tournament progressed.

One of the best parts of the tournament for me is the shared experience. Everyone remembers moments like Bryce Drew hitting the game winner or Tyus Edney going coast to coast against Mizzou or Christian Laettner literally stomping on a dude and then figuratively stomping on all Kentucky fans hitting every shot he took including the turnaround to win it. The tournament has such a lore that I even feel like I remember moments that happened before I was born like Jim Valvano running around like an idiot because I see that clip about a hundred times every single year and I love it because that means it's March Madness.

The tournament is all about heroes and villians. Cheering against guys like Coach K or Billy Tubbs and cheering for an underdog like the early Gonzaga teams. It's about watching Princeton field a team of guys that would be lucky to walk-on at UCLA but run their backdoor offense to perfection and beat them in the most beautiful 43-41 game ever played.

Anyway, I need some of that sappy CBS music playing in the background as you read this but it really is one of the best sporting events in the world. So, even though my bracket will probably be filled with red by the end of the weekend it won't matter because that seems to be part of my March tradition as well. If you need me I'll be in front of my TV for the next four days...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Deutsches Fußball über alles

I came across an article on the announcement of a partnership between the German Bundesliga and the American MLS.
Major League Soccer is teaming up with Germany's Bundesliga to promote the game in the U.S. and exchange knowledge on stadium infrastructure, player development and other areas.

The cooperation may also include friendship games or tournaments in the U.S. to tout a sport that hasn't gained as much popularity with Americans as with others. But no players or funding will be exchanged under the deal announced Tuesday during the SportelAmerica convention in Miami Beach.

OK, that sounds kind of cool, I guess. But then they started listing the things on which the Germans would be advising the Americans. This list included salary caps, club ownership strategy, building modern soccer stadiums (in terms of safety and lighting). OK, I guess I can see some of that stuff but we're kind of familiar with salary caps and safe stadiums but maybe there's some special lighting I'm not aware of so that's fine.

The list also includes "officiating services, new media developments, marketing strategies and competition rules." Hmm, well, media and marketing ok but I think we have a pretty decent grasp on the rules. They have books for that sort of thing, don't they?

"Bundesliga, which has created it's own TV production company, will also teach the MLS about producing soccer matches with proper camera angles and other details." Now, come on! I think we can figure out the camera angles on our own, right? I mean, we do sort of have SOME experience with televised sports. Maybe you can get them never to allow Tommy Smyth on soccer broadcasts again. Ah, I'm just kidding. Who doesn't love a senile, drunk Irishman?

Anyway, no word yet on if zee Germans are going to share the secret of inflating the balls or cleated shoes. Maybe they can let us in on why exactly the teams come out holding the hands of young boys. THAT is the type of thing I want to know.

Anyway, thank you Germans for giving us the important information about your "soc-cer" game. Maybe somebody we'll give you the secret to not getting stuck on your roof like a turtle.

Wednesday Bracket Fact

While I've pretty much gotten my ass kicked in almost every tournament pool I've been in the last 10 years I think I could dominate a pool with kindergartners. Actually, probably not.

In an effort to give Wichitans the news they need an intrepid reporter for the Wichita Eagle went to a local elementary school to have the class fill out a bracket. The kids seem to love the Texas schools since all them won. Yes, including Texas A&M Corpus Christi and North Texas. They have KU winning it all, for what it's worth, but most of their picks were based on states they've lived in or visited and who has the best mascots. And their teacher bribed them with candy to vote for Georgetown.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Tuesday Bracket Fact

CQ Politics broke down the tournament based on the congressional representative for each school. Some schools have to share their representative (like Gonzaga and Washington State or Vanderbilt and Belmont) while others have their campuses represented by two representatives (like Kansas or Old Dominion).

The South bracket has the most Republicans with 9 (no surprise there, I guess) while the Midwest and West have 12 Democrats each. Two of the four top seeds are represented by Democrats (Kansas and North Carolina) and there are 14 opening round matchups pitting Democrats against Republican including three of the four 5 vs. 12 games.

I was kind of surprised at some of the large schools that are represented by Republicans since University towns have the reputation of being bastions of liberalism but I guess quite a few of them are outpopulated by rural areas. Florida, Virginia, Tennessee, Texas Tech, Texas, Purdue, Illinois, Michigan State, and Ohio State (wow, another reason to hate the Big 10) are all represented by Republicans.

More wacky German news

I've highlighted dumb or weird Germans on my site and found another good one.
A 91-year-old German sparked a rescue operation when he slipped mending his roof and got stuck fast in tar "like a beetle on its back", police said on Tuesday.

Passers-by were so shocked to see the elderly handyman working on the roof they first thought he was planning to commit suicide, according to police in the eastern city of Magdeburg.

"In fact he was just re-coating the roofing with bitumen. But then he slipped," said a spokesman for police.

Ha!
"When we got there, he was like a beetle on its back, with his arms and legs sprawled out and completely glued to the roof," he added. "Due to his age, he couldn't free himself from his unfortunate situation."

Ahhh....that part's sad. He's so feeble and German that he couldn't get unstuck. But, the story has a happy ending.
Local firemen carefully detached the man using ropes and ladders. He was unharmed, but had sticky clothes, police said.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Bracket Fact

The West is home to basketball's blue bloods. The teams in the West have a total of 30 national championships between them. Four of the top five are represented and KU is tied for 6th.
UCLA 11
Kentucky 7
Indiana 5
Duke 3
Kansas 2
Villanova 1
Holy Cross 1

Friday, March 09, 2007

What we need is more sharing in the cereal world

A friend of mine recently got a bunny from the shelter and I warned her to lock up her Trix because if there's anything I've learned from television it's that rabbits will do anything to try to get that cereal. That and people will consistantly be fooled into thinking a talking rabbit in glasses and a hat is actually a kid and deserves to eat the Trix.

Well, that got me thinking about how many cereal ad campaigns are based on not sharing. There's the kids that are always trying to get their hands on the leprechaun's Lucky Charms, Barney is always trying to steal Fred's Fruity Pebbles, people are always stealing each other's Eggo Waffles. Then there's the Cookie Crisp bandits who are so desperate for food that they have turned to a life of crime where they only want Cooke Crisp. Are they unaware that if they put some effort into getting a job or, heck, just stealing money, they can buy their own box? Personally I think it's an analogy to the crack epidemic of the 80's.

But, come on, people. There's plenty of cereal to go around! There's no need to hoard!

I'm convinced that cereal executives are all secretly Republicans teaching kids that they shouldn't share the breakfast food their parents bought with the less fortunate. It's kind of ironic that many of these advertisements were shown during the Smurfs which was clearly part of a plot to advance Communist ideals.

Republican Hypocrisy? Noooo...

Not so fast...
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich acknowledged he was having an extramarital affair even as he led the charge against
President Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair, he acknowledged in an interview with a conservative Christian group.

"The honest answer is yes," Gingrich, a potential 2008 Republican presidential candidate, said in an interview with Focus on the Family founder James Dobson to be aired Friday, according to a transcript provided to The Associated Press. "There are times that I have fallen short of my own standards. There's certainly times when I've fallen short of God's standards."

Gingrich argued in the interview, however, that he should not be viewed as a hypocrite for pursuing Clinton's infidelity.

No, I mean where's the hypocrisy in that? Clinton was a Democrat and Newt was a Republican and everyone knows it's OK if you are a Republican. My other favorite Newt story is the time he served his wife with divorce papers while she was in a hospital bed recovering from cancer surgery. Family values indeed.

Monday, March 05, 2007

My 'hood make the news

You know it's a slow news day in Lawrence when they interview my neighbors about why they threw their shoes on the power lines.
The white Adio tennis shoes, size 9 1/2, stood no chance of making it to a Dumpster.

One night, when Alex Busche decided the shoes were finally worn out, he tied their laces together, walked to the sidewalk outside his apartment at 14th and Tennessee and heaved them skyward.

On the first try, the shoelaces settled on top of the power line.

Score.

“My shoes were already pretty messed up,” says Busche, a Kansas University junior from Olathe. “I thought I’d just leave my mark.”

SAo, why do people throw their shoes onto the lines in the ghetto?
Kohler says four reasons typically given for shoefiti are fairly well-founded:

• A celebration for a rite of passage, such as a graduation.
• Hazing, such as throwing a freshman’s shoes over the line.
• A memorial, to commemorate someone who died near the site.
• A simple prank.

The other two theories are more controversial:
• Shoes signify a place to buy drugs is nearby.
• They’re a sign of gang-related activity, such as marking territory or commemorating a gang murder.

In my neighborhood it's obviously the last two.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

World War III narrowly avoided

Swiss Accidently Invade Liechtenstein
ZURICH, Switzerland (AP) -- What began as a routine training exercise almost ended in an embarrassing diplomatic incident after a company of Swiss soldiers got lost at night and marched into neighboring Liechtenstein.

According to Swiss daily Blick, the 170 infantry soldiers wandered just over a mile across an unmarked border into the tiny principality early Thursday before realizing their mistake and turning back.

A spokesman for the Swiss army confirmed the story but said that there were unlikely to be any serious repercussions for the mistaken invasion.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Ann Coulter:
"I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot' – so... Kind of at an impasse. Can't really talk about Edwards, so I think I'll just conclude here and take your questions."

Can our nation's media please stop taking her seriously now?

Oh, and she was introduced by presidential candidate Mitt Romney who joked that she was a "moderate."

Friday, March 02, 2007

America's Reputation for Beer is Shit

I was picking up some beer tonight and noticed that a Mickey's 40 is only $1.99. For some reason I thought it was $2.50 or $3 but it's the cheapest out of all the 40's. Cheaper than Colt 45 and even cheaper than OE 800. Well, that got me thinking about beers and malt liquors and I started looking up cheap beers on the internet. I'm very adament about ripping on PBR for trying to live off their blue ribbon win in some contest a hundred years ago and I used to laugh at Miller Light hanging up banners in their brewery wondering what the hell kind of contest they were in. Well, I found one that might be even worse.

I was looking at the results from the 2006 Great American Beer Festival and all of their categories. Some of them I really liked and most of them I'd never heard of and then I got to the "American-style lager" categories. Here are the results:
American-Style Light Lager
Gold: Old Milwaukee Light, Pabst Brewing Co., Woodridge, IL
Silver: Milwaukee’s Best Light, Miller Brewing Co., Milwaukee, WI
Bronze: Southpaw Light, Miller Brewing Co., Milwaukee, WI

American-Style Lager
Gold: Pabst Blue Ribbon, Pabst Brewing Co., Woodridge, IL
Silver: Miller High Life, Miller Brewing Co., Milwaukee, WI
Bronze: Blatz, Pabst Brewing Co., Woodridge, IL

American-Style Specialty Lager
Gold: Mickey’s Malt Liquor, Miller Brewing Co., Milwaukee, WI
Silver: Icehouse, Miller Brewing Co., Milwaukee, WI
Bronze: HG 800, Miller Brewing Co., Milwaukee, WI

I mean, it's like they set up an "American Style" category specifically for the worst beers to enter. I mean, freaking Beast won a silver ribbon. BEAST!

Here's what I love about the category. It's all Pabst Brewing Company and Miller Brewing Company. Are these the only companies with low enough pride that they're willing to enter their beers in the Best of the Shit Beers categories or are those truly the Best of the Shit Beers?

Now, I consider myself a bit of a malt liquor connoisseur due to my love of 40's that was shared with many of you that I spent time with in Ames and I have to say I think they did a decent job in the "American-Style Specialty Lager" category. Now, I'll quibble a little bit. Personally, I'm not a huge Icehouse guy and I prefer the regular OE 800 to the High Gravity version but there's no denying it and Mickey's belong in the top three. I think Colt's been living on it's reputation for too long and while I have great memories of Steel Reserve 211 (it's the beer that works as hard as you do) and Camo they do not taste good at all (relatively speaking...all malt liquors are delicious). I'd still probably take both of those over St. Ides. I've had King Cobra and Little Kings but I don't feel experienced enough to rank them. The only thing I know about Hurricane is it will destroy you. Even I stay away from that one.

Interestingly enough studies have shown that malt liquors are favored by the homeless and unemployed.

I'd like to end with some quotes and facts about 40's and malt liquor:
"I never let my right ear know what my left ear done heard
My favorite beer right now is 211 Steel Reserve"
E-40

""Throwing back a 40"--drinking it down in great gulps, as is the fashion--feels like the equivalent of someone standing behind you with a baseball bat, teeing off on the back of your head every time you take a swallow. You leave your brains on the pavement when you walk away. If you can walk away."
Some anti-40 article
I mean, it's kind of hard to argue with that one.

In the UK students play Edward Winehands instead of Edward Forty-hands

Look, Mom, I gave PJ a Dirty Sanchez!


Ah, I love you, Family Circus.

Hey, on a sidenote, who the hell wears black pants that are blue on the inside and rolls them up like that? Although I do have to say that the matching purple shirt and shoes combo is killer.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

My Top Televen Worst Sports Moments (vol. 2)

Well, I've had a night to recover from the first six so let's jump right back into it with the top five worst moments of my time as a sports fan.

5. Kansas State vs. Texas A&M, football, San Antonio, Texas '98
Another one from high school. My dad's a big K-State fan so we got season tickets with his cousin for a few years. It was a lot of fun and brought me around to cheering for KSU as well. Well, in '98 they had an amazing team that steamrolled everybody, including Nebraska, for the first time in about 30 years in what was easily the most exciting game I'd ever been to at that point in my life. Cue the Big 12 Championship Saturday and I'm in Topeka trying to qualify for a statewide Nerd Bowl event that gets shown on TV every year (we won our class and qualified in one of my biggest Nerd Bowl triumphs. We got stomped by a private school in the first round of the tournament in one of my biggest failures). Between our stuff I'm checking out the TV in the lounge and see that UCLA lost which meant that if K-State won they would be playing for the national title.

So, on the way home we're listening to the game on the radio and eventually stop at an Applebee's to eat and watch the end. They're cruising along with a fairly big led in the 4th when everything goes to shit starting with a Michael Bishop fumble. They end up losing the game in overtime and it's pretty much devastating. I'd followed the team in person for a few years and the excitement in the state was pretty amazing and to have something like that be so close and then gone so fast was rough. And my dumbass German friend said, "who cares, it's not like it's soccer." But, I got to reverse that line on him when Bayern Munich gave up two goals in stoppage time to lose in the Champions League final and he was throwing shit around.

4. Iowa State vs. Hampton, basketball, Boise, Idaho '01
These next four are really the worst of the worst. ISU had improbably won the Big 12 championship and earned a #2 seed for the second year in a row after losing Marcus Fizer to the NBA. It was a year of watching JT dominate teams and some huge three point shooting from Sully and 'Trail. Anyway, they struggled a little bit down the stretch getting blown out at Texas and losing to Baylor in the Big 12 tournament but no one was expecting to lose to a 15 seed. I was at home for spring break watching with my parents and they were showing a different game so I was forced to watch the score as ISU kept letting them hang around.

I kept telling myself it would be ok and when they finally switched to the game I watched in agony as that unstoppable dude hit the jumper followed by JT going coast to coast and...missing the layup? What? He's JT, he can't miss that! Then their stupid elfin coach gets picked up and gives the entire crowd a spread eagle shot and I'm just crushed. Eustachy joked(?) that he hit every bar between Boise and Ames and I felt pretty much the same. The worst part is that, while many of the Hampton jokes went away with Iowa-Northwestern State, the pain will resurface every March. Whenever CBS is showing great upsets I always think this time JT will hit the layup and I won't have to see their coach's crotch but it never changes.

3. Kansas City vs. Indianapolis, Kansas City, Missouri '95
This was my first time with the Chiefs truly choking. The story is pretty much the same. Awesome Chiefs team with homefield advantage going up against a wild card team. In this case the offense was terrible. They had four turnovers and stupid Lin Elliot missed three field goals including the potential tying one with under a minute left. I hate Lin Elliot.

2. Iowa State vs. Kansas, football, Lawrence, Kansas '05
This one was bad. The team started the conference season with three heartbreaking losses (two in overtime) where they had held leads late in the game but had turned their season around with a four game winning streak including winning at A&M and against a ranked Colorado team. The improbable winning streak put them in position to clinch a Big 12 North title with a win over a struggling team and erase all of the bad memories from the year before. Of course, you know what happens.

I'd gone to a bar around home the night before and ended up going to be around 3:00 in the morning only to wake up around six to get to Lawrence in time for the game. We bought tickets and moved into the big ISU section. The crowd was loud and into it for most of the game. ISU seemed to be in control for most of the day but late in the game it started to slip as KU benefited from a controversial review in the 4th quarter that tied the game. The crowd tried to cheer but the thought that we're always going to choke or be cursed or whatever was in everybody's mind. The game went to overtime where ISU missed a field goal (surprise) and KU won it. ISU's crowd stood there in stunned silence as KU's fans stormed the field and tore down the goalposts.

As I walked away from the stadium asshole KU fans kept yelling shit at us and I had to stare straight at the ground because I was in such a pissed off mood I was scared I was going to get into a fight with somebody. Unbelievable. I can still feel the rage I felt at that moment. What the hell did they understand about choking the Big 12 North two years in a row? Well, KU fans know a thing or two about choking but not in football. They just always suck there.

And, my all-time worst sports moment is....
1. Iowa State vs. Michigan State, basketball, Auburn Hills, Michigan, '00
The best Iowa State basketball team ever. Their only losses that year were a stunner at Drake (that probably kept them from a #1 seed and a final four?), to #1 Cincy, and on the road in two overtime games against OU and Colorado. By the time the conference season was on that team had gelled and was an unstoppable force.

They blew through the Big 12 tourney and cruised into the Sweet Sixteen against a hot UCLA team that had just blown out Maryland. ISU crushed them with smothering defense. After the game Eustachy said after he saw them run so many alley-oops against the Terps he challenged the team not to give up any dunks and they only gave up one. After the game the campus erupted into a spontaneous celebration that closed down Lincoln Way and led from Welch Ave to Jack Trice to Jischke's house.

So, two nights later it's #1 Michigan State vs. #2 Iowa State in Auburn Hills in front a lot of ISU fans but waaaay more Spartan fans. Hell, they even painted the court green. But, that ISU team was tougher than just about anybody (they were probably playing the only team that could come close). They had a lot of really tough parts that came together to give that team their personality. Tinsley grew up playing in Rucker and other playgrounds in NYC, the year before Michael Nurse was hit by a truck walking back to Larch Hall after a game and played a few days later, Fizer was built like a brick shithouse, Stevie Johnson was a 6'4" post player that beat guys way more athletic than him to rebounds, and Kantrail Horton played hard nosed defense and often shut down the other team's best guards. You always knew that the guards could hit the big three if it was needed and the post guys could get a rebound. Plus, they defended like no other. Swany reminded me, it's like the shirt says,
"Defense + Rebound + Score = Win
Larryball"

Looking back it seems inevitable that ISU was going to win the conference that year but their last four games were against Texas and Oklahoma State, who were both ranked higher than ISU when they beat them, and on the road against Tech and Baylor. They really finished strong.

Anyway, I could go on about that team for a long time which is a lot of what makes this one especially painful. I remember watching this game in Swany's room on the 6th floor of Larch just a few doors down from where Jamaal Tinsley lived and a few more doors down from where I played Goldeneye against Marcus Fizer. It seemed like the appropriate place. We were all nervous as hell about the game and started drinking pretty early (although it was Saturday so at that time there wasn't really a concept of "too early") so my memories on a few of the details might be a little fuzzy.

The game was hard fought and ISU had built up a little of a lead when MSU started coming back. Mo P made a big shot and it was going to be tight coming down the stretch when I witnessed one of the worst calls I've ever seen in my life. Ever. Ever ever ever. I will go the grave thinking this call was bullshit. Paul Shirley goes up in the air to shoot and the MSU player cuts under him. The basket goes in but the refs wave it off and call a double foul. Double foul? How can you call a double block and charge? It's got to be one or the other and I'm pretty sure I know which one it was. Well, that was Shirley's fifth foul and after some other mildly questionable calls the game has pretty much slipped out of reach. They call another BS one on Michael Nurse's fifth and Eustachy loses it.

He's cursing at the ref (who, incidently, had a lot of history with Eustachy going back to his days at Utah State and Idaho and was also involved in the game where they let KU make a three pointer between two ISU free throws in the only call that was worse than the block-charge) and gets tossed. In as classy a move as you can have when you just flipped out in front of everyone he shakes Tom Izzo's hand and walks off. After all of the technical free throws ISU ends up losing by 11 and their season ended. Michigan State rolls through the next two games leading ISU fans to wonder what might have been if they had closed that game out or been somewhere besides Auburn Hills, Michigan.

After the game I kind of lost it emotionally a little bit and ended up with two incidents involving the police (but zero arrests!) and a trip to the hall director's office for allegedly trying to destroy University property (I may or may not have been shaking a No Parking sign with Aaron). I doubt the charges would have held up in court though. :)

Everybody was on high alert after the excitement following the UCLA game so our designated driver got pulled over for swerving as she tried to fix the radio that the drunkie up front was messing with. The police asked for all of our ages and some lied and some told the truth and some lied and then got scared and told the truth (me!). Someone was hiding under a blanket in the back of the Jeep and told the cop they were hiding because they "were cold." I laughed. So, after all of that I decided I just needed to go to bed and I woke up hungover and pissed. To this day I still, obviously, get fired up about the way that season ended. I have no doubt that they were one of the two best teams in the country that year and deserved to play in the Final Four to decide which one was truly the best.

So, that's a lot of painful memories for me. Non-sports fans probably think I'm nuts for getting as emotionally involved as I do but most sports fans could probably make their own list. Unless they're Yankee fans or something like that and then their lists would be bullshit. My teams do a lot to disappoint me, no doubt about that, but I always have hope that someday I'll get to see the Chiefs win the Super Bowl or ISU will make it to a Final Four or a BCS game and when it happens it will all be that much sweeter for going through moments like this.

My Top Televen Worst Sports Moments (vol. 1)

I was walking home today and found myself thinking about March Madness and the ISU teams my first two years there which led to considering my worst sports moments of all-time since both of those teams were likely to be near the top. The list is affected by my present fandom (i.e. although a KU loss may have affected me a lot as a kid the ISU losses count for more because they continue to affect me since I'm now an ISU fan) but I'll try to keep . So, here's my list. In honor of the Overrated Ten conference it is actually 11 long because I remembered one after I had already ranked them.
Honorable mention:
-KU basketball in the 90's.
They were always good and nearly always blew it by inevitably throwing up a hundred threes and missing 98 of them. UTEP, Purdue, Arizona, Syracuse, Rhode Island, etc. The UTEP and Syracuse games stick out because UTEP was my first experience with my team really choking (certainly not the last...this will become a theme) and Syracuse because I decided not to go on a church ski trip and they ended up going to the game and I was really pissed I missed it.

-Kansas City Chiefs vs. Dallas Cowboys, Dallas, Texas '95
Almost all of my friends were Cowboys fans (although they all claimed they weren't bandwagon jumpers..weird, I know) and the Cowboys were always winning shit and the Chiefs were winning shit until they got to the playoffs. So I was constantly hearing about it from them in the way junior high kids are when they first discover talking major shit about sports. Of course, the Chiefs lost and they all started calling me to gloat but I took it like a man.

11. Kansas City vs. Indianapolis, Kansas City, Missouri '03
The "No punt game". The Chiefs started 9-0 leading everyone to believe that the glory days of the 90's were back and they were more right than they knew. Priest Holmes and the offense were unstoppable and the defense, well, couldn't stop anything. Indy scored on every possession except right before the half and another year with homefield advantage was lost.

10. Iowa State vs. UConn, football, Ames, Iowa '02
The actual game had little significance other than to be the perfect example of how low things could go. As a Cyclone fan every positive is immediately followed by a negative. ISU has to be the even-steven of the world. In this case ISU peaked at #8 in the nation after beating Nebraska and Tech on national TV in back to back games. On the strength of "The Run" against Tech Seneca Wallace was the frontrunner for the Heisman race. Two awesome games back to back were followed by two horrible games on the road against OU and Texas. The regular season ended with a home loss to UConn that I stood outside and watched until my feet were ice cubes and numb for about five of the six and a half hours I drove on my way home for Thanksgiving break wondering what might have been.

9. IHS Teutons vs. MHS Wildcats, Manhattan, Kansas '96 or '97
My high school boys' team made it to four straight state tournaments and this was either my freshman or sophomore year. I think it might have been my sophomore year but I can't be sure because they finished 2nd both years (overall they went 1st, 4th, 2nd, 2nd). Anyway, I was on the team and practiced with them (with them is a loose term because there's no way I was actually good enough to scrimmage against any of them but we ran line drills next to each other, etc.) and I was in the pep band (nerd!) so I had a front row seat when they played. They were matched up against our biggest rival in a state final that featured 4 teams from the same county if I remember correctly (and I probably don't). Anyway, we hated them and they hated us in a way that's only possible when two towns are about as exactly the same as they can possibly be (I mean, the biggest difference is their Mennonites came from a different part of Europe). But, of course, THEY were the ones that were arrogant and insufferable and all of that. Well, the game starts and two of their players were unconscious from three. I mean it seemed like they couldn't miss anything and it just went on and on and they ended up kicking our ass even though on paper it seemed like we had the better team. Ugh, ugly. And of course they were EXTREMELY obnoxious about it.

8. Kansas vs. North Carolina, basketball New Orleans, Louisiana '93
Probably my most embarrassing loss as my mom loved to tell the story for years after it happened. I was a huge KU fan and I think that's the year I saw my first game in Allen Fieldhouse. They made a run to the final four as I totally bought into stupid Roy Williams and his "spittin' down the Mississippi" tradition. After this game I went outside and cried like Dick Vermeil. Now let's never speak of it again.

7. Kansas City vs. Denver, Kansas City, Missouri '97
Another year with homefield advantage and another choke to a wild card team. This one hurt a lot because Marty switched to the horribly unpopular Elvis Grbac after backup Rich Gannon led them most of the season. Memories of this nightmare fed a lot of the controversy surrounding Damon Huard and Trent Green last year. I hate Elway and I hate Shanahan and they came in and smacked the Chiefs around.

6. Iowa State vs. Missouri, football, Ames, Iowa '04
He Yelked it.
OK, some of you might need a little more explanation than that. "Yelking it" became our term for a kicker blowing it, named after a former ISU kicker that was notorious for missing kicks. He lost his job that year to Bret Culbertson who became the goat on this day. Colorado improbably lost the day before meaning all ISU had to do was beat a Mizzou team on a five game losing streak and they would go the Big 12 Championship game. Instead Culbertson missed a 24 yarder with a minute left for the win and ISU overthrew an open receiver in the endzone and then failed to get in with 1st and goal at the 3 eventually throwing a pick to lose by 3. I was having Thanksgiving with my family and had to act like I wasn't wanting to kick a hole in the TV.

Well, I'm officially depressed. Too depressed to go on to the next five (plus the descriptions are only going to get longer) so those will have to wait until tomorrow.

Support the Troops or something

Hey, Republicans support the troops. See? They have little magnets on their car and everything.

They also support them by sending them to Iraq without going through desert training.
Rushed by President Bush's decision to reinforce Baghdad with thousands more U.S. troops, two Army combat brigades are skipping their usual session at the Army's premier training range in California and instead are making final preparations at their home bases.

Some in Congress and others outside the Army are beginning to question the switch, which is not widely known. They wonder whether it means the Army is cutting corners in preparing soldiers for combat, since they are forgoing training in a desert setting that was designed specially to prepare them for the challenges of Iraq.

No, but let Tony Snow explain why it's ok.
Q There was also a report this morning that two Army combat brigades are being sent to Iraq without desert training -- the Associated Press has a story out today -- and that it's because they're being rushed to Iraq to help get the surge in place.

MR. SNOW: Again, let me stress, what happens is, a lot of times you will also do training in theaters, as well as equipping in theater. The generals have made it very clear, and military commanders have made it clear, nobody is going to go into combat activity without proper equipment and training. Period. So if things --

Q But the story flatly says that two brigades are going in without desert training in California. So that doesn't sound like --

MR. SNOW: All right, I understand.

Q -- they're getting the training.

MR. SNOW: Well, but they can get desert training elsewhere, like in Iraq.

Oh, of course! Why didn't I think of that? Training by trial and error makes perfect sense.

"OK guys, today's training will be "How to detect IEDs". You'll start driving around until you figure out what's an IED and what isn't. Sorry we didn't have time to go over this before now but you know how it is with "surges" and everything."

Interesting basketball note

Mike Taylor set ISU's all-time turnover mark last night in a win against Nebraska. The old mark of 156 was held by Jamaal Tinsley. It should be noted that JT played 37 games in the season he set the record while Taylor did in only 29 games!

He's leading the nation with 5.4 per game (with a nearly half turnover more per game) and 21 more than the next guy. While these numbers are scary it's also scary to consider how bad ISU would be without him.

Also, the dude can dunk. His dunk against Nebraska made Sportscenter's Top Ten and can be seen by going to this site, finding the link for ISU-Nebraska highlights, and listening to Dave Armstrong (WOW!) talk for a while until about halfway through the video.

It's going to be exciting to see by how much he can pad his lead in turnovers. With probably 2 to 3 games left he could put up a number that won't be touched for a long, long time.