Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

All day, I've been singing Alan Sherman's riff on tonight's big song, courtesy of my new hero Mark Steyn. You know how it goes:

I know a man, his name is Lang
He has a neon sign
And Mr Lang is very old
So they call it Old Lang’s Sign.

From Astro-Girl and me, best wishes for a great 2008!


1. Resolutions (Must Blog More, if only for one's mental well-being)
3. Did I say FIGHT ON! ?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

New England 38, New York 35

Quick thoughts:

1. Omigod, what a game. It remains to be seen if the NFL Network gains or loses.

2. Four Pats games this season that could have gone either way--but, college football fans will mark, a BCS Champ (save this year) has to pull out a few of those games.

3. Tom Brady belongs in the pantheon of Reggie Jackson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, David Ortiz, Mo Rivera, Joe Montana . . . have I left out anyone? Who play their best when all seems lost.

4. Bryant Gumbel is an idiot.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Nine days?

This is what happens when 1) the Santa Semester kicks in, 2) the countdown to the Marathon informs my every waking moment.

My own journal misses me.

Til the weekend, dear.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wow--could I have been wrong!

On the biggest pronouncement of my life--or one of them--I may have been wrong, dead wrong.

The next three seasons will tell.

But, this season, of the big three from the 2006 draft--Reggie Bush, Vince Young, and Mario Williams--the top player, by a long shot, is . . .

. . . er, Mario Williams.

Three sacks tonight, bringing him to 12 1/2 on the season. After the third tonight, he launched himself into a hula dance (for playing in the Pro Bowl, in Hawaii, eh?).

Not what I expected, and I could choose from a half-dozen other scribblings to demonstrate my stupidity.

Mario as Sam Bowie? Not this year.

Astros acquire Miguel Tejada

Cost them their two primary picthing prospects.

But this feels right: a middle-of-the-lineup of proven stars Tejada, Lance Berkman, and Carlos Lee, with kid comet Hunter Pence ready to show what he can really do.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Oprah endorses Obama . . .

. . . with a speech full of the usual liberal inanities, but delivered powerfully and to a rapturous audience.

Hillary needs a good segment of the Oprah crowd to reach the nomination, never mind the Oval Office.

So--prediction--Clinton's butchery of Oprah will be done with knives, this time, instead of hammers.

Boxer's Day: Senate Committee on Not-Energy Votes 11-8 to reduce greenhouse gases by 70% by 2050


Not eighty percent? Or ninety?

Is Barbara Boxer telling us the greatest country on earth cannot reduce its greenhouse gases by a hundred percent?

The fine points of the bill (which is more than an inch thick, though printed on both sides of the paper--who says it's not easy being green?) are meaningless here.

This bill is one of a piece with all those education bills passed in the ninety-nineties: you remember, the ones that promised that American eighth graders would be first in the world in math and science by 2005 or so--a logistical impossibility, given the sprawling, heterogeneous nature of our country compared to, say, Japan or Iceland?

These Jean-Luc Picard "Make it so" bills seemed inspired by one of the great lines in movie history, one spoken by Tim Matheson's Otter in Animal House:

"What this situation absolutely requires is a really stupid and futile gesture be done on somebody's part."

In this instance, Sen. Boxer stands in for John Belushi's Bluto, rejoining, "And we're just the guys to do it."

I mean, what does it mean being a Senator in times like these, voting for a bill that would destroy the greatest economy (hence producer of wealth, hence best apt to deal with whatever the environment dishes out) in the world; a bill that, if passed, would never be taken seriously, a bill that specifies targets that are a joke?

I'm gearing up for my annual viewing of The Homecoming, the TV-movie that essentially served as the pilot for the TV show "The Waltons." Take as good look at "The Waltons," if you ever catch it in re-runs. No air conditioning in the home. No heating, save for a wood stove and a wood fire. One car (also no heat, no air, factory or otherwise) serving as transportation for 11 people.

And a single phone, the one down at Ike's.

That is a life, writ large over an entire continent, that would be required under a 70-percent reduction is fossil fuels or greenhouse gases or whatever, in 2050 or thereafter.

Seventy percent. Getting back to my original point--why stop there? Why not mandate that by, 2050, all cars will fly through the air, powered only by sunbeams, cotton candy and the smiles of pretty girls?

And why do this at all?

In an unguarded moment, Senator Boxer gives the game away, conceding that this bill is to be distinguished from an actual energy bill.

Of course is it.

You see, this is something much bigger than us all. A moral imperative.

Ladies and gentlemen: the Religious Left.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Cannot let Pearl Harbor Day Pass . . .

. . . without mentioning a familial tie to December 7th.

December 7th, you see, is also the birthday of my mother's mother (or "Nanny," as we called her). Her husband ("Pop-pop" to us) often marked the event by observing, "One day, two disasters."

She was born December 7, 1907, in County Cork, Ireland, and turned thirty-four on Pearl Harbor Day, a Sunday. The attack would have come directly after lunch, New Jersey time, as she tended the kitchen in her family's walk-up, while her two infant (just turned three months-old) twins (one of whom would grow up to be my mother, the other my Aunt Peggy) probably napped close by.

Pearl Harbor, of course, is at the front rank of "Where were you when you heard" moments of the twentieth century, along with the death of FDR, the shooting of JFK, and 9/11 (along with the Challenger explosion--put that at the front of the second rank). So it was with great curiousity, as a teenager, that I asked Nanny: what was it like, having Pearl Harbor interrupt her birthday? What happened? How did she hear?

Her answer: "I forget."

Oh well. Today is the hundredth birthday of Nanny Fox, who, years ago, found herself in heaven before the Devil knew she was dead. Happy birthday, Nanny, and Up the Irish.

Monday, December 03, 2007

You're kidding me

One remembers with a kind of glee the endless fun we had with the Clinton Justice Department (Janet Reno (aka The Butcher of Waco), Web Hubbell, Vince Foster, the Marc Rich pardon, et al), and beyond that conservatives remember the game we used to play, called What if Ed Meese Had Done the Same?

What if Ed Meese had ordered the napalming of a religious cult that was under seige, thus presenting no clear and present danger to itself or anyone--an attack that resulted in children's spines being curled backward, the result of cyanide poisoning?

What if Ed Meese's deputy had been found with a bullet in his head in Fort Marcy Park, his arms by his side, coffin-style, at a time when various Congressional Committees were clearing their throats about one hearing or another?

What if Ed Meese's justice department has recommended the pardon of a fugitive whose wife had just donated five million dollars to the George H.W. Bush Library?

Okay, you get the drift.

I'm now caught with the game of, What if W had done this?

Meaning, What if W's oppo press releases extended to his Obama's third-grade--no, make that kindegarten--essays?

Obama says, I've had no lifelong ambition.

Hillary says, Look at his kindergarten essay, which clearly disproves . . .

No, really. That's what she says. No, really, that's what she says.

Well, such is what Hillary has done (first item).

We've gone from Life Imitates the Onion to Life Outpaces the Onion.

Headline: Hillary's Oppo Unearths Obama Kindergarten Essay Disproving Obama Claim!

Stop the presses: Streisand for Hillary!

Martin Peretz reports on a bit of predictable, yet mundane news.

He also reports: Streisand has also given to Obama and Edwards.

And wonders: will Streisand put her money where her mouth is?

Surely he has it backwards.

Will Streisand put her mouth where her money is?

Patriots' Game

Was the game over when the Ravens' defensive coordinator negated the Ravens' historical stop on fourth-and-one by one of those chic, too-cute-by-half pre-snap timeouts?


Too many times--times we condition ourselves to forget--we think: Ah, it's over.

Carlton Fisk's home run, Jake Plummer's fourth-and-eleven gallop, Alfonso Soriano going deep against Schilling . . .

. . . So, okay, this is what I was thinking: in sports, the first rule is, beware of false omens.

So: a stop on fourth and short negated by a cutesy time-out, as Ray Lewis flops on the turf in disbelief.

Another fourth-and-short. Another stop.

Tweet. False start. Can't be declined.

Fourth and six. Brady, flushed out, scampers for the first.

Illegal contact.

Three plays later, fourth-and-five. Brady throws to the end zone, incomplete . . .

Tweet. Holding.

One play later, touchdown pass to Gaffney . . . who was once cut by the Texans.

Yeah, had 'em all the time. Knew it the instant Baltimore called time out.

More here.

Ohio St. v. LSU

Which, all told, was about as good as we could have hoped for.

One could make the argument (and the argument has been made) that USC is playing as well as anyone right now, but in college football that's irrelevant. There was no shame in losing to Oregon on the road--back when Oregon was number two, half the Trojan starters were in the hospital, and Dennis Dixon was sprinting toward New York and the Heisman Trophy--but losing to Stanford was just inexcusable, a breakdown in playing, coaching and good judgment all at once. (Someone explain to me again why Booty was out there to throw four second-half interceptions with a broken thumb, with a perfectly competent back-up in Mark Sanchez standing on the sidelines? Oh, right: Drew Bledsoe had once won a Patriots' game with a broken finger while Pete Carroll was head coach. Nice to know Carroll can, from time to time, draw on his fantastic success in the NFL.)

Anyway, and this goes back to 2003 and continues to this day: it is hard to feel bad when your team is headed to the Rose Bowl.

Of greater concern is the screw job put on Arizona State, who lost two games (to Oregon-with-Dixon and the everybody's-back-and-healthy Trojans), and for whom the Kansas Jayhawks would be thin gruel.

In the hours before Fox's selection show (which show was lousy, by the way: where was the interview with Pete Carroll with the requisite spray of roses in the background?), the only real question had come down to the Fiesta, ASU v. Kansas. I posted this comment on The Irish Trojan:

I was home in the Valley over Thanksgiving, and all I heard was that the Fiesta Bowl committee presently has some sort of animus toward Arizona State, and that the powers of Phoenix and Glendale (remember, the game was moved across the Valley last year, from Tempe's Sun Devil Stadium to Glendale's University of Phoenix Stadium) were quietly (should last night's events take place) urging the committee to choose an out-of-town team, in order to boost hotel and restaurant dollars.

If the first part of the above is true, it's nuts, as the whole reason the Fiesta Bowl was created back in the day was to give Arizona State some national attention. (The Devils played in five of the first seven Fiesta Bowls, winning four.) No ASU, no Fiesta Bowl.

If the second part is true, it's a shame, for one would think that civic pride would prevail.

I don't know how true any of this is true. But I'll be keeping it in mind this evening.

And then came the announcement.

Well, Kansas has one loss. And the entire non-Manhattan state of Kansas will point their Winnebagoes and tractors Phoenix- and Glendale-ward on Christmas week, and fill the greater coffers of Phoenix and Glendale buyin' sparkly things and all them talkin' picture boxes.

Was Arizona State the victim of a travelism? Maybe.

Was the animus toward ASU part of the equation? Maybe.

What is undeniable is that, when it comes to the Pac-10, the BCS always seems one slot short.

Courtesy the Irish Trojan, a more conspiratorial take here.

Pettitte to return; and Santana . . . ?

Andy Pettitte will return, presumably for the same $16 million he turned down a few weeks ago.

This gives the Yanks a rotation of Wang, Pettitte, Moose, Hughes, amd Joba, with Ian Kennedy in reserve . . . pending the Santana deal. On which subject . . .

Look for the Santana matter to be resolved (at least as far as the Yankees are concerned) today.

The Twins, who have played the Yankees off the Red Sox for a week now, may end up holding the bag. The Yankees will part with Hughes, Melky and a minor leaguer, but only reluctantly. If the Twins think they can get Kennedy added to that package, they're fooling themselves.

It may be that, all along, the Twins have been using the Yankees to pry loose Jacob Ellsbury (whom they prefer to Melky) from the Red Sox, plus either Jon Lester or Clay Buckholz (either of whom they view as more or less equivalent to Hughes).

Know this: George Steinbrenner has been coveting Santana for going on four years now, but son Hank and Brian Cashman--fresh from their A-Rod triumph, fresh from retaining every single one of their front-line free agents (Jorgie, Mo, Pettitte)--would happily stand pat and see what Joba, Hughes and Kenndy have.

Neither Steinbrenner nor Cashman wants Hughes to go off and become a 20-game winner (which, in limited work last year, he showed early signs of becoming). And Joe Girardi does not relish moving Johnny Damon back to centerfield, where Melky (who has all of Damon's speed plus a cannon arm, which Damon, uh, does not) blossomed last year.

For Santana, though, you take the chance. This is Barkley to the Suns, KG to the Celtics, Unit to the Astros. You roll the dice.

But--but--you don't get jerked around doing it.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

A Fine Mess

Well, ASU hangs on.

And everyting else . . . mercy.

Nationally, numbers one and two lose.

Ohio State goes from five to (presumably) one by not playing.

Two conference champions (LSU and Oklahoma) will finish, in the BCS, behind two teams in their conference that didn't even qualify for the championship game (Georgia and Kansas, respectively).

An attempt to sort it out here.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Championship Saturday, cont.

LSU beats Tennessee, 21-14, thus shutting off any miniscule hope USC had for the BSC Championship.

Oregon State just scored a 41-yard field goal in OT, to send the game into a second OT and keep me from Arizona State-Arizona.

Mizzou/Oklahoma, West Virginia/Pitt, just underway.

And USC is going to the Rose Bowl, if you haven't heard.


Good Lord. Oklahoma beats Mizzou.

And West Virginia loses.

USC ends up one LSU loss away from the BSC championship.

But the Rose Bowl has its invite.

Championship Saturday . . .

. . . Which is quickly replacing NFL Conference Championship Sunday as my favorite sports day of the year.

First quarter, USC 7, UCLA 0.

Third and sixteen . . . and Joe McKnight drops the ball.

And a missed field goal.

Well, this is a big red-letter day so far.

Now UCLA punts . . .

USC recovers . . .

Okay, this is what happens when you try to keep up. Booty intercepted . . .

And USC gets the ball back almost immediately.

End of the first quarter.

I know USC is a slow-starting team, but this is ridiculous. Why this game isn't 21-0 already I have no idea.

In other news, Navy defeated Army 38-3, a game significant for two of the coolest moments in sports: the playing of the National Anthem while the Middies and Cadets stand at attention, and then the playing of the schools' alma maters after the game, while the two teams stand as one. Fabulous stuff.

Va Tech over Bocton College . . . to secure the Orange Bowl, probably no chance for anything more even if all the dominoes fall.

Tennessee 7, LSU 6. One of three games that could push USC back to glory.


Booty fumble. SC recovers. Mercy.

3rd and 12. Timeout.

Still ahead: Missouri v. Oklahoma, West Virginia v. Pitt, and the Territorial Cup: Arizona State v. Arizona. Robbie-Boy checks in with this analysis:

ASU has got to run the ball. If they can get push from the O-Line and pop Keegan and Nance for some nice gains, ASU wins going away.

The Sun Devils are ranked FIRST in the nation for Time of Possesion. They have got to keep that hybrid poor-mans version of the spread run by ConcussionTama off the field. That's how you beat a gimmick offense.

Update: Filed under "Boy, that was dumb, but I'm glad it happened . . ." having stopped USC on third down for about the 27th time so far this game, a UCLA defender performs some weird roughing/late hit/facemask maneuver on Booty, a personal foul so blatant not even a Pac-10 official could miss it. Automatic first. Chauncey Washington, in for the score. 14-0, USC.

UCLA gets the ball back . . . after a kickoff goes out of bounds, which play goes unremarked by either announcer, nor why the ball is spotted at the 35. No matter; UCLA doesn't come close to not going 3-and-out.

Update: After a late second-quarter TD by UCLA, USC's lead is now 17-7, third quarter.

Dennis Erickson should send Steve Sarkisian a boquet of roses; the pattern for USC is: run for 15 yards, runs for twelve yards, pass pass pass punt. USC's O-line is blowing UCLA off the ball; McKnight and Washington are constantly a half-step from breaking one . . . and Sarkisian keeps going to a Booty, who is clearly off-target today.


(Note: The laptop ran out of batteries and erased the rest of the third quarter.

Which is just as well.)

Update: Unbelievable. A second God-that-was-dumb, etc. moment. USC has the ball on the two, third-and-goal, runs up the gut, is stopped. Fourth and goal--except, USC is flagged for holding.

Let us linger on this moment, because if UCLA had fired Karl Dorrell yesterday and hired the drunkest brother of Sigma Chi to coach the Bruins today, they'd be in better shape as of this moment. Frat Boy would have declined the penalty, given SC the ball fourth-and-goal at the two, and put the onus on Carroll: go for it (the Trojans were stuffed the last time, and does anyone think Carroll would do anything but run a tailback behind Baker?); (Has Carroll, for all his stones, ever done anything else on fourth and short?); or else kick a field goal and leave UCLA with a chance to win with two touchdowns.

No: Dorrell accepts the penalty, which actually gives Booty more space. Sarkisian calls for an iso play--All-American tight Davis vs. a linebacker; Booty dumps the ball off, Davis leans forward and scores. 24-7. Game over.

As a Trojan of good standing, I can't believe my good fortune. GAME OVER.

Update: Rose Bowl, baby. Freaking Rose Bowl.

Some kind of season.

Hughes plus Melky for Santana?

This may be enough.

And, significantly, I can't see the Twins doing better.

I say do it.

Thought(s) for today


Beat the Bruins.