Saturday, December 8, 2007

Win your next bar bet.

Charles Woodson in 1997. That's the last time somebody besides a running back, quarterback or wide receiver won the Heisman Trophy, the award that is supposed to go to the outstanding player in college football. He beat out some quarterback from Tennessee named Manning. Whatever happened to him? The 9 runner up's were all QBs, RBs and a WR. Guys named Moss, Williams, Enis and Leaf. Before 1997, it hadn't happened. So, once in 70 some years.
That's your bar bet question: In 72 years of Heisman Trophy awards, who is the only non-RB, QB or receiver (they were called Ends in 1936) to win the Award? Charles Woodson from Michigan, Cornerback, 1997. I don't remember, but it must have been quite the upset.
Tonight, the grand tradition continued as Tim Tebow, the sophomore quarterback from Florida took the trophy home. And the fraud continues.
I'm not saying that Tebow doesn't deserve the award - maybe he does. However, I find it odd that the award for "Most Outstanding College Player" (their words, not mine) would be given to an offensive "skill position" player 71 times. It seems kind of narrow-minded to me. Of course, I wouldn't call Miss America the most beautiful single woman in this country either, so maybe it goes with the territory?

While I'm waiting...

As I while away the minutes (turning into hours) in the Red Sox "Virtual Waiting Room", waiting to purchase tickets to a game, I popped up the news to see what's happening in the world, and I saw this little tidbit of info:
OMAHA, Nebraska - With extra security on hand and holiday shoppers waiting at the doors, the Westroads Mall reopened Saturday morning, three days after a gunman killed eight people and himself at the mall's Von Maur store.
Extra security. I suppose they were there to make people feel safer about going shopping, but what is it for, really? Are they anticipating a rash of depressed loners stalking the mall and waiting for their opportunity to pounce? Are they concerned about the classic "copycat" crime spree? Are they merely overreacting because it's the Xmas shopping season, and they have already lost valuable shopping days? Your answer depends on how cynical you are.
Extra security implies that there was insufficient security there to begin with or that any security officer could have stopped a nutty bastard with a gun concealed in his coat. He got in the elevator and opened fire long before any mall cop could have done anything or even recognized an issue. Providing more of these people is a knee-jerk reaction designed to make people feel safer, when in fact, they were never less safe than three days ago when they knew nothing of his fiendish plot.
I couldn't tell you when the last time a copycat crime took place, unless you count the hoards of troubled loners who run into public blasting their weapons. Those are all copycat crimes, but they take place months or years apart. Protect us against them.
The value of the Xmas shopping season is immeasurable to the tiny stores that populate the mall. I'm guessing that there were a few Merchants Meetings over the past couple of days and that they decided that "In the best interests of the community" the mall should re-open with heightened security so that shoppers will not be deprived of the ability to over-spend on gifts that people either don't want or don't need. Tis the season for feeling secure. Rest assured shoppers, Xmas in Omaha will not be cancelled.
Meanwhile, I'm still in the virtual waiting room, but safe in my home while lone nut jobs roam the streets. Xmas here, however has been cancelled.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Please remember to drink responsibly.

Alcoholic beverage technology has taken another giant leap forward. 100 proof Absolut. That's 50% alcohol, for those of you scoring at home.
I suppose there's a market for it, or else the evil geniuses at Absolut wouldn't bother printing up a bottle, but ya gotta wonder...
Most states already have the .08 BAC (Blood Alcohol Level) in place and it appears to be headed lower, so it's likely that soon you'll be legally intoxicated at .06, which to me means you'd be better off drinking at home or not at all.
And another thing: If they can sell this stuff (and other high percentage alcoholic beverages) why can't they sell marijuana legally? I don't have the time or energy to get into that argument.

Speaking of which, energy has been lacking for this endeavor lately, as you regular readers no doubt have noticed. I hardly noticed myself that it had been since Wednesday that I posted something. Time flies.
I'm not in the newspaper business or the news business in general, so maybe my opinion doesn't matter - or maybe because I'm not it matters more - either way, I don't appreciate the fact that this Barry Bonds story keeps showing up in the Sports section. It isn't a sports story.
Sports is about games and people talking about games. This story is far removed from the game. Unfortunately, it's just beginning and we'll be treated to it for (as Eeyore said) "days, weeks, months ... who knows?"
He'll contend his innocence right up to the point where they throw his ass in jail ...
... wait
He's a celebrity. I forgot. He'll be found guilty and serve some cockamamey sentence that makes him a special case, like those nitwit girls who go to jail for DUI for two hours or Mike Tyson, who practically had the jail cleared out so he could serve his ridiculous sentence.
We're supposed to be a nation of laws, not men; which means that regardless of our station in life we are to be treated the same in the eyes of the law, but we know that doesn't happen.
If you can hit a baseball or otherwise turn yourself into a celebrity your road is paved and your papers are stamped long before you make your first mistake.
Which makes me wonder if any of them feel any real remorse, as you or I would. When one of us screws up it means we either lose our job or take enough of a financial hit that we spend most of the rest of our lives making it up. For these people, the financial hit is generally small and short-lived and their job doesn't suffer, since they frequently are in greater demand than they were before they were arrested. Go figure.
Bonds made countless millions playing baseball and he'll spend a few of them in his legal defense, but there will remain the lucrative post-conviction career of writing books and signing autographs for money that awaits him.
His shame will be short-lived.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Breast wishes for a Mary Christmas to all you boobs out there.

File this one under "The right thing for the wrong reason":

LOS ANGELES, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Porn star Mary Carey, who shot to fame by running for California governor against Arnold Schwarzenegger, unveiled plans on Tuesday to auction off her autographed, recently removed breast implants for charity. Carey said the size 36-D implants were taken out two weeks ago and replaced with larger 36-DDDs and while under anesthesia she realized they could be used to raise money for breast cancer research.

"The doctors asked me what I wanted to do with them and I said, 'You know what, I'm going to keep them and try to sell them. Because my grandmother had breast cancer," Carey told Reuters in an interview. The autographed implants have been placed on eBay and Carey, whose real name is Mary Cook, said she planned to donate some 90 percent of the proceeds to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Atta girl, Mary. Many great ideas were born while under anesthesia, and something tells me you do your best thinking when you're gassed up. I just hope she cleans them up first. I'm sure the Susan G. Komen people couldn't be happier. Hey, cash is cash, right?
All this time I've been wasting selling old football cards and camera equipment, I've been missing the big picture. If you're interested (and who isn't?) you can check 'em out here. As of 9pm Tuesday, the bid was $2,025 (plus $12 shipping). Hurry, because bidding ends on December 13, so I'm sure Mary can get them to you in time for your Christmas celebration.
Makes a nice stocking stuffer - kinda.

A little personal insight

I found out something odd about myself while watching No Country for Old Men last night.
The key scene in the film is when Josh Brolin’s character finds a case full of money that is leftover from a drug deal gone haywire. He takes the entire case with him and spends most of the rest of the movie running from its owner.
What I found out was that if I was in a similar situation, I wouldn’t take the case, but I would grab a half dozen or so packs of $100 bills and stuff them in my pants, then run like Hell. My thinking is, it’s found money (literally) and the owner won’t be pissed enough about a hundred thousand dollars when he still managed to retrieve the other 98% of it. Plus, I don’t have to spend the rest of my life looking over my shoulder. It’s a win-win.
Maybe I’m not greedy enough or I lack the desire to have too much – whatever it is – I don’t expect to garner much empathy on this one. After all, who would turn down millions in exchange for a couple hundred thousand? I would, if the risk over the millions complicated my life to the point that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it by … say … dying. Being killed would ruin the whole experience, I think.
Oh … and I'd take a couple of bricks of whatever was in the bed of that pickup truck. I can be risk-free and stoned.

As far as the film goes, I highly recommend it. It’s a pure Coen brothers enterprise. Full of sparse scenery (think Fargo set in Texas and filmed in New Mexico), lots of snappy western-style dialogue which (if you read the book) I hear is lifted practically word for word. Tommy Lee Jones is great (as usual) but Woody Harrelson I could live without. It is violent and graphic in parts. If you need fully resolved endings, you will be sorely disappointed, however. This one leaves you with more questions than answers, but isn’t life like that, too?

“You can't stop what's comin'. It ain't all waitin' on you. That's vanity.”
- Ellis Bell “No Country for Old Men”

Monday, December 3, 2007

For the thick-headed among us.

"Okay. Explain to me like I'm a two year old, because there's an element to this I can't get through my thick head."
It will soon be college bowl season. Over the past weekend, an organization called the BCS selected some teams to go to some bowl games. Back in the day, they had names like The Cotton Bowl, The Sugar Bowl, The Orange Bowl and The Bluebonnet Bowl (whatever happened to that?). They corresponded with some annual celebration or a parade of some sort. That was back before college football was the big business enterprise it is today. [Ironically, you can't pay the players] The games were played on New Year's Day, and there were maybe 8 of them. If I had the energy I could do the research, but you get the point.
Today, there are more than thirty of them, which is strange because there are 119 Division 1 college football teams, so it stands to reason that (a) you have to be pretty bad not to get a bowl game and (b) the games don't mean as much as they used to. "B" is true of just about everything, but we'll confine the discussion to college football for now.
The bowl games have picked up big time sponsorship. They are now known as The FedEx Orange Bowl, Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, Allstate Sugar Bowl and the championship game is called the Allstate BCS Championship Game. I'm not sure if it's a bowl game or what it is, but apparently it's the only one that matters, since college football doesn't have a playoff system. By the way, we're supposed to believe that the Rose Bowl people are above all this commercialism, since they call it The Rose Bowl (parenthetically) presented by Citi. It's OK, you can whore yourself out, too.
Don't forget The San Diego Co. Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, The R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, The Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl, The Pacific Life Holiday Bowl and The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. Run out and pick up a Bell Helicopter and say, "The BCS sent me!" All those games take place before New Year's Day, so pace yourself.
I wonder what's in it for the likes of Tostitos, FedEx, the San Diego Credit Union and Pacific Life and moreso, what's in it for the fans of the teams (anybody remember them?) who are essentially playing for second through tenth place. Every bowl game but the championship game is meaningless and amounts to nothing more than a sponsored post-season game, since the Lords of college football have determined that either LSU or Ohio State will be the NCAA champion. If there was such a thing as a post-season exhibition game, most of these would qualify. Oh, and the championship game is on January 7th, for what? That's right, TV. Your New Year's Day is free.
Cincinnati and Southern Mississippi are playing on December 20th in the PapaJohns dot com Bowl. Set your TIVO and order a pizza.
It seems kind of dopey to me for sponsors to dole out huge sums of money and fans to dole out ticket and vacation money to go to games that are essentially worthless in the grand scheme. If Wisconsin beats Tennessee in the Outback Bowl (oddly enough on New Year's Day) who cares? They're playing for 24th place, and God forbid some kid gets injured or winds up getting carted off the field so that the Outback Steakhouse can sponsor a meaningless game. For my money, Outback Steakhouse would garner more goodwill by running a $5 coupon in the Sunday newspaper instead of wasting money on this nonsense. Outside of Wisconsin and Tennessee, I can't see who really cares what happens ...
... oh, well ESPN cares, and that's all that matters, right?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

What a difference 57 years makes.

This is an actual page from the Overbrook High School yearbook in 1950. Thanks to my friend Bill for scanning it and sending it to me. He graduated from Overbrook a few (dozen) years before me. This is from a high school in New Jersey, not one in the deep south or ... Texas. Click on the image and it will come up in full screen mode.
I think it points out a few differences between kids in 1950 and kids today. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Or more than a thousand.