Monday, March 30, 2009

Holy Carp...what do we do now?

I'll admit, when I wrote this a while back, I had no idea that Villanova would actually meet North Carolina in the final four. I had hopes of the elite 8 and thought if we could get there, if our opponent would be Pitt, we stood a chance, only because we beat them in the regular season, even if it was in Philadelphia in front of a huge home crowd.

So here we are, going to Detroit for the NCAA championships, in the final four and playing the team everyone (including Barak...who hasn't failed me yet, so I still have that going for me) expects to take the whole thing. It sure feels like the last time Villanova made it there, when nobody expected us to do anything and we took it all, but that was 1985. It's still called one of the greatest upsets in sports. I don't know if that kind of magic's in the air in Detroit this year. My unrealistic expectations are already met. I hate sounding like the 'just happy to be here' guy, but I am. Oh, I want to see my little David kick Goliath's butt, and I'll be ecstatic if it happens....but I won't be all that shocked if it doesn't. That's just me bracing for disappointment though. The team? They'd better be damn sure they're going to win.


Friday, March 27, 2009


I'll be honest. I didn't stay up and watch the whole game, but I saw some of it. It's the reality of Thursday night on a work night. I was also nervous because a lot of people were picking Villanova to win this game, but the reasons they were giving for it were disconcerting. It was all about being tired of Duke and their smugness. It was about how much they want to see Duke fall, but none of it was why they thought Villanova could win. They were just wishing Duke would lose.



I love March Madness.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

I'm getting nervous

All the talking heads I listen to are picking my Wildcats to 'upset' Duke (if you can call a 3 seed beating a 2 seed an upset) in tonight's NCAA matchup, and that worries me. As a group, these talking heads are usually wrong, more often proving they don't deserve the title of 'expert' they attribute to themselves.

On the good side, Barak picked Duke, and his bracket is a flaming disaster. I understand after the first round, ESPN put his in the bottom 4% of all the brackets they had online from across America (yeah, nice going Mr. President) I got that going for me, which is nice.


Monday, March 23, 2009

why spend more time on overtime in the NFL

People don't like the fact that the NFL isn't discussing the way overtime works. Basically, if you play 60 minutes of football and come up tied, we flip a coin over who gets the ball first and whoever scores first wins. Something like 66% of the time, the team that wins that coin toss gets the ball and over. Essentially, you've placed the fate of the two teams in a coin.

I'm what? If your team has 60 minutes to affect the outcome of the game and prove itself better than its opponent and fails to do that, they deserve the coin flip. You have a whole game to prove your skill, use your strategy, and do whatever necessary to win the game. If the other team is good enough to make that impossible, but not good enough to beat you, neither of you has proven yourself worthy of a victory. You've battled yourself to mediocrity. If you truly deserved the win, it would have been decided long before the clock dies down to 00:00, but you didn't, or you wouldn't be in this situation. You deserve the coin flip, and just be happy that even if you lose that, you're given the opportunity to stop the other team from scoring and get the ball back to your offense. Next time, win the game in regulation time or take what luck gives you, and don't whine about it.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

the President gets it wrong again

With apologies to the Painter Lady, I have to strongly disagree with the President once again. Not only does the man not know what caused the current economic crisis, blaming it on the "failed policies of the last eight years," he doesn't know his ass from a Cheerio when it comes to college hoops either.

The man picked The North Carolina Tarheels to win it all in this year's big dance. I mean, seriously....HOW? Does Barak Obama not know that the mighty Villanova Wildcats stand in their way if/when they manage to survive to the final four? Does he not realize that even though they may be favored in such a matchup should it occur, their chance of yanking out a victory from a dark smelly place is next to zilch? That doesn't even take into account that Ty Lawson, even if he does eventually play, probably won't be close to 100% for the entire tournament. I know he isn't the only good player Carolina has. They have Hansbrough and a host of others (I mean, they are Carolina, for God's sake), but still, it will be a liability...enough of one to make them susceptible to the likes of Florida State.

OK, I admit...I have insanely unrealistic expectations....but ain't that what this time of year is all about? I'm sure the folks at American University are thinking the same kinds of thoughts.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

the dance begins

And the play in game started the madnes last night, as Morehead State beat Alabama State for the right to play Lousiville and more than likely be immediately squelched.

It was an entertaining game to watch, if for no other reason than the cheerleaders. I mean, it was Morehead State and Alabama State, so it wasn't exactly the Laker Girls, but they were cute all the same.

I can't put my finger on it, but there was just something about a bunch of 20 year old girls jumping up and down screaming, "MOREHEAD! MOREHEAD! MOREHEAD!" Oh wait...I think I figured it out.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

grow a set of your own

Ya know, sometimes the people of this world make me shake my head.

The youngster's out of elementary school, but the school he attended has a golf tournament fund raiser every year. Even though the youngster isn't a student there anymore, I still volunteer to help out, as well as play in the thing. It's for a good cause, and all.

So every year I run the putting contest. No big deal. The course staff maps out some long difficult putt on the practice green. Everyone gets two tries, and the guy who gets closest wins. If more than one guy puts the ball in the hole, the few that do have a putt-off at the end to determine a winner.

I've learned, after doing this for a lot of years, that some guys show up unprepared. They usually show up with their own putter, but some have no balls. Being the consummate pro that I am, I pull two or three out of my bag to use as loaners, and take them with me to the practice green before the thing starts. This year was no exception. I took three with me, and they proved useful.

This is the first year, though, that when the dust settled and a winner was crowned, I looked down and there was only one ball left, and it was the cheap ball I found somewhere (ie. didn't buy).

OK, they aren't that expensive, but it's the principle of the thing. You use my balls for the contest because you forgot your own. You know they aren't yours. Other people might need them (and when it's all said and done, I might). Yet, you pocket a charity function for a small Catholic school.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

just stuff

Well, on the Jaguar front, the good news is they picked up an offensive tackle in free agency. Tra Thomas may be older and not quite the pro bowler he was, but he's better than anyone on last year's roster at that position. I just hope he's better than Hugh Douglas, the last free agent past his prime we got from Philadelphia. That guy was a huge waste of money. On the bad side, Matt Jones, who got in trouble last year for cocaine possession, got in trouble again in a random drug test (not a new charge, but breaking a condition of his plea deal on the cocaine rap) that picked up alcohol. He had a beer or two while playing golf with some buddies. In itself,that's not a crime, but when you agreed not to as a condition of an earlier offense, that's where the rub is. He's in jail for 10 days. I realize he was one of the better receivers we had last year, but that's not setting the bar very high. Can he go now?

I see our new president OK'd the government spending money for embryonic stem cell research. Yeah, let's take one more step to legitimize we can harvest stem cells. I'll say it again. Embryos aren't the only source of stem cells. They're just the only source that involves dead babies. Coincidence? Oh sure it is. None of that matters though, because we're all seeing the first family through the distorted media drool they're covered in. I'm surprised Brian Williams isn't suffering from dehydration.

Speaking of abortion, I see the Pope gave Nancy Pelosi (who claims to be Catholic) a personal audience/reaming because of her views/voting record on the subject. I can't imagine having the head of a belief system which you profess to call your own, picking you out and saying, "Yo, we need to talk." That had to feel pretty good. Seriously, when you say it's OK to kill babies because of some mythical "right to choose", how can you possibly then say child abduction (or anything else, for that matter) should be illegal. Oh, if you swipe kids from their parents, that should be wrong, but if you kill them outright, that's OK. The logic escapes me.

My friends on the right side of the political world want to blame the current economic crisis on the Clinton administration, because they pressured banks into giving mortgages to people who otherwise couldn't qualify, and that got us into this foreclosure mess. It may be a factor, but I'll say this again too. No government got us into this mess. It wasn't the "failed economic policies of the last eight years" or the failed economic policies of the eight years prior to those eight years. Irresponsible borrowers got us into this mess. You know what you can afford to pay each month for a mortgage. If you agree to terms that have you possibly paying more than that, even if it's two years down the road, what the hell are you thinking? You gambled with your house. Then financial institutions around the globe gambled with your house. Everybody lost. No government put your name on that dotted line. That's on you. Just because someone will give you more credit than you can handle doesn't take away your personal responsibility to understand what you're getting into, and pay back what you take.

Played golf for the first time in ages this weekend. A friend retired from the Navy and his ceremony was on Saturday, with friends traveling in from all over the country. He organized golf Saturday morning for as many of the guests as wanted to play (me among them). I managed to keep the score in double digits, which made me pretty happy, considering the layoff. Some of the guys want to make it a weekly affair, and want me to participate. I just don't have that kind of time...too many other things to do. Now that I'm spending more time on a bike, I see that as far better exercise. It's not as social though, and I miss that part of golf.

Oh the "things that make me go Hmmmmm" front...I gave the guy who retired from the Navy a bike jersey as a gift, because he rides with me and will do the MS Ride this fall...and he doesn't have a lot of bike clothing yet. When he was opening presents and opened that one, one of his out of town friends started giving him grief. "Oh God, Fred. You aren't one of those people who wear those skin tight shorts are you. What do you do? Stand around comparing your package with all the other guys?" The guy went on and on about how you can pretty much see everything you have through those shorts. First, no you can't, or not easily anyway if they're black. There's padding down there for your bottom on long rides and to keep everything where you want it. Yeah, I guess if you get up close and start inspecting, you can make some observations, but...who does that? I can honestly say I haven't made a single package inspection and don't have any planned in the near or distant future. We don't wear those shorts to stand around. We wear them to bike ride. Second, this same guy, earlier in the evening, was bragging about doing naked cannonballs into a pool on a cruise ship. You wanna talk about hanging your junk out there for everyone to see?

Until next time....

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Monday, March 09, 2009

pulling up the railroad tracks

It's a big day in the lumberyard. After a little over two years of putting up with a metal mouth and rubber bands and all sorts of fun when eating or brushing his teeth, the youngster is getting his braces taken off, and he's SO psyched.

The wife has him at the orthodontist even as I type. I hope it's all going well.


Thursday, March 05, 2009

our collection of bikes

Way back in 1985, when the wife and I were dating (and yes, I realize that means I'm dating myself), I used to bike ride. I didn't do it as much as I do now, but it was the same idea. I just don't think I went near as far back then. Anyway, for Christmas that year, I bought the wife a bike. I had this hope that she would go with me on long bike rides, and we could stay in shape together.

That never happened. Oh, she'd ride the bike, but not very far and not very fast. For her, it was a tool to go around the neighborhood on a slow tour, taking in how so and so painted their shutters, or that those people must be moving because their house is up for sale. It was never a means for exercise.

We still have that bike, and it gets even less use now. It's been sitting in a corner of the garage, gathering dust. The youngster and I have our bikes. The youngster actually has two. He has his inexpensive mountain bike that he rides around the neighborhood to friends' houses which usually is left on a driveway for hours on end with other bikes while they play football or whatever. It's probably about 6 years old now, and has seen lots of use and abuse. It's scratched and scuffed and well worn. Then he also has his road bike, which I won't allow him to leave in driveways or use the way he does his 'beater'. It was far too expensive to skid across neighborhood driveways and possibly disappear.

There's one guy in the neighborhood who rides with me often. He has a son, roughly the youngster's age. They're good friends. The kid wants to get a road bike and ride with us. His dad thinks his son just wants an expensive bike, and will tire of it quickly, and he'll be out several hundred bucks for nothing. he asked if his son can ride the youngster's bike a few times, to see if he really wants to get involved in bicycling. The youngster and I agreed that this would be OK.

It hasn't happened yet, but it probably will soon. The youngster asked if he could ride with us when it happens. The other kid would ride his bike, and the youngster would ride the wife's old 1985 special. He would want that over his trash bike, because it has skinny road tires and would be faster over a long ride. I said, fine.

Then he looked at the wife's bike, specifically the tires...the same tires that were on it when I bought it...almost 25 years ago. The rubber has cracks in it....lots of them. He said (and he's right) they look like an old dried up creek bed in the desert, with the cracks in the mud hardened into rock. Those things look pretty rough. I'm pretty sure they'll get him through a few trial rides for his friend, but I certainly wouldn't want to go too far on those things. I think their days are numbered.