Saturday, September 27, 2008
I can't explain it either. I don't think I've ever rooted for a team nicknamed the Rebels, let alone Stars and Bars-themed Ole Miss Rebs.
Maybe I'm just delighted to see the underdog inexplicably pull it out. Maybe I'm interested in seeing all those annoying Gators fans walk around in a daze for the rest of the week. Maybe I'm happy to see another overrated SEC team bite the dust.
Or, in the words of my old friend Matt C., maybe I'm the real "Houston Nutt."
UPDATE: Tim Tebow, uh, we won't be needing you to come to the Downtown Athletic Club this December. Thanks for your interest, though. Continue Reading »
McCain should be ashamed at what he's doing to this poor woman and her political future. Which is to say, destroying it.
Capitol Hill sources are telling me that senior McCain people are more than concerned about Palin.
The campaign has held a mock debate and a mock press conference; both are being described as “disastrous.” One senior McCain aide was quoted as saying, “What are we going to do?” The McCain people want to move this first debate to some later, undetermined date, possibly never. People on the inside are saying the Alaska Governor is “clueless.”
But this is what happens when you choose someone to rep your set after only meeting them once before. I would say, "let that be a lesson," but no one with common sense would have even resorted to such a desperate move. Continue Reading »
Ole Miss is making him look extremely ordinary. In fact, the Gators as a whole seem pretty mediocre this afternoon. Continue Reading »
6. I'm becoming a huge fan of Jeff Toobin. And Paul Begala, to a lesser extent. Donna Brazile was sort of missing in action tonight.
7. I'm wondering if it's finally time for me to reconsider my nearly lifelong grudge against Ole Miss. Most of my childhood memories of the Rebels are Saturday afternoon games in Oxford, with thousands of miniature Confederate flags waving throughout the stands. You might imagine how that might resonate with a black kid in the South.
I remember a guy from my neighborhood, star of the state championship basketball team at our local high school, going off to play for Ole Miss. I couldn't imagine a black kid willingly deciding to play there, especially one with no apparent roots in the state. But Ansu Sesay thrived in Oxford, becoming the SEC Player of the year as a senior and making it into the NBA for a brief stint.
So, I guess it couldn't have been all that bad. Ansu was no one's lawn jockey. Still, the school - and the state's - allegiance to Confederate mythology remains disconcerting. I'm still working my way through my feelings about this.
Friday, September 26, 2008
... you've got to beat The Man, says the Nature Boy.
So, in that context, Alex Castellanos just confused the hell out of me on CNN's post-debate roundtable.
Though John McCain is behind in nearly three-fourths of the polls and coming off a disaster of a week of campaigning, Castellanos is trying to sell people on the idea that by tying in tonight's debate, McCain actually comes out ahead of Obama.
It's here that I resort to one of the general rules of boxing: in a title bout against the champ (Obama, by virtue of his poll leads), the challenger (McCain, by virtue of his inanity) has to win by knockout to remove all doubt.
By the way, I really think CNN and all the other cable networks are doing potential voters like us a serious disservice by inviting on operatives from the respective campaigns. They have nothing to offer that they can't send out in a press release later.
Sometimes, I hate the media.
UPDATE: That said, it's interesting how the Dems could have their veep nominee available to comment about the debate. I assume someone is holed up somewhere, writing out Palin's response.
(Hat tip to UBM for the photo) Continue Reading »
But about live-blogging the debate, I don't think I'd be so good at that. I mean, minutes ago, I struggled to put down a coherent thought on somebody else's blog. I'm just not good at processing my ideas so quickly - and I'm saving you all from some embarrassing analysis.
However, if you need some guidance (or something to be distracted with during the actual debate), here's a few bloggers who are putting it down in real time:
The Daily Dish
Think Progress (including Matt Y)
Couple of things I must note, though:
1. I wish Barack would stop agreeing with McCain or, at the least, saying "John is right ..." and so on and so forth. McCain is not extending him the same courtesy.
2. McCain is being something more than condescending to Obama. If now downright offensive. Remember which one of these guys finished in the bottom of their graduating class and which one was president of the Harvard Law Review.
3. There's no way I can tell you who I thought won. I'm obvious biased here. What really matters is what the Idiocracy thought.
4. Michelle looked all sorts of foxy tonight. For real, though. Continue Reading »
There's not an international flight in America that would spurn the Atlantic route for the itinerary Sarah Palin suggested to Katie Couric. But I guess that's ok - geography isn't her strong suit.
Also, really, someone needs to remind McCain's running mate - and McCain, too, for that matter - that the Cold War ended 20 years ago or so. Honestly. I was alive when it happened. Continue Reading »
I should have known Oregon State always causes USC problems in Corvallis. I should have remembered that the Trojans are good for one unbelievable conference letdown a year. And I should have remembered the Ketchum Brothers, who like the Rodgers brothers of Oregon State, are from the Richmond-Rosenberg area outside of Houston.
Like most things in my life, it always goes back to my days in little league football. Beware with me for a second, ok? I'm trying to take you somewhere.
To explain: My team, the Southwest Steers, had won 16 straight games, including a league title, dating back to the previous year. I had never lost a game as starting quarterback and we were pretty much the overwhelming favorite to roll to another championship. Saturday mornings were a mere formality for us.
Except this one Saturday in 1989 in Rosenburg. We took on the Rosenberg Roughnecks, a team we had beaten by about four touchdowns the year before. I was so unusually confident that I remember laughing at the scrawny-looking Roughnecks before the game started - the first and only time I ever did such a thing in my playing career.
Then the game started. The Ketchum boys kicked our ass. They were scampering all over the field, completely frustrating our defense like a couple of miniature Barry Sanderses. By the time we figured them out, the Roughnecks had taken a 14-0 lead (the only points we allowed in 10 games that year). But it was too late; we lost by two points.
I'd like to say that I never took another opponent for granted in my life but that would be a lie. However, it was a painful reminder that no victory is won on reputation alone. This is something USC seems to forget everytime the spotlight is off and the stakes don't seem so high. The Trojans have little problem with the Ohio States of the world; it's the Oregon States that always seem to bedevil them.
Anyway, I never saw or heard from the Ketchum Brothers again - they lost in the playoffs before we could properly avenge our defeat in the championship game (the Sugar Land Cowboys had to take that whuppin instead). But watching the Rodgers brothers tonight, I couldn't help but have a flashback to that Saturday morning almost 20 years ago.
You just can't underestimate the heart of them brothas from Rosenberg.
UPDATE: If you want to know what a legendary pee-wee baller looks like, check out Cody Paul. Continue Reading »
Thursday, September 25, 2008
You only thought the Cowboys of the mid-90s were a roving band of miscreants who could run really fast and hit really hard. Pearlman provides absolute proof, according to this post on KSK.
Here's a few samples:
James Washington on Jim Everett: “Yeah, I would smash Jim Everett when I wasn’t supposed to, but I thought the bitch was a punk.”
(Michael) Irvin, to teammates in the locker room: “How can I allow only one woman to have a body this good? This is the body you will aspire to have. This is the body you will aspire to achieve. You will not achieve it, but this is what you will strive to achieve.” Notice he made no similar boasts about his brain.
Anonymous player: “Mike got more Cowboys laid than touchdown catches.”
Those are pretty much the only examples that can make it onto this(mostly) family-friendly site. Thus, get to Barnes and Noble or hit up Amazon.com. I need to be able to discuss this book with someone at some point. Continue Reading »
All for Obama.
"He's honest and he's kind and quite frankly, he's probably our last hope of ending this country's reputation as the assholes of the universe."
True. TNC has always been right about this one: Silverman puts all sorts of holes in the theory that Obama can't be made fun of. That's a copout for really, really weak comedians.
(Hat tip to postbourgie)
Continue Reading »
But I am disappointed that some newspapers were so easily fooled. My assumption has always been that editors in the editorial department always verified the contact info of each letter writer. Goodness, that's something we did at my college newspaper. Continue Reading »
Seems that the early reviews - from liberal bloggers, admittedly - from her interview with Katie Couric weren't much better than those from her sit-down with Charlie Gibson. Without being too unkind, I'll just say Palin looks a lot like what you'd imagine the two-year governor of Alaska might look like under the national spotlight.
Sarah Palin has been described as a quick study. But she has been surrounded by briefers for nearly three weeks, and she's still completely unable to string together an intelligent thought on the mortgage crisis.
... It would be nice if the running mate of one of the oldest candidates for President ever had some ideas about these issues. Since she's been prepping constantly, it's pretty alarming that she doesn't.
... I served with quick studies. I knew quick studies. Quick studies were a friend of mine. Sarah Palin: you're no quick study.
Wow. I honestly can't imagine a presidential campaign having a worse day than the one McCain had Wednesday. Continue Reading »
The act was reportedly a form of protest against a scholarship program for Portland students, most of whom are minorities. Thing is, the school has only 21 black students out of a student body of more than 3,200.
Given those numbers, the program couldn't have been working all that well. Maybe they should bring in George Allen to help with their minority outreach efforts.
UPDATE: Apparently, George Fox U doesn't do diversity on a number of fronts. Continue Reading »
But this link from Matt Y caught my attention. It's a response to the question of why $700 billion is the bailout figure being floated around:
“It’s not based on any particular data point,” a Treasury spokeswoman told Forbes.com Tuesday. “We just wanted to choose a really large number.”
WTF? Maybe I'm the idiot here - and that's entirely possible - but does that not seem to be specious logic? I didn't realize pulling numbers out of the ozone was acceptable in this sort of circumstance.
UPDATE: Saw President Bush's address to the nation tonight about said federal bailout package. Uh, let's just say that effort totally explains his approval rating over the past couple years. Continue Reading »
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
This is obviously a good thing.
Let me explain: my co-worker asked me if I had a rooting interest in this Sunday's showdown between Cleveland and Cincinnati. I said no, reminding him that I grew up rooting for the Houston Oilers and hating both teams, who were AFC Central rivals at the time.
It would be tough for people to appreciate how good the Bengals were during the Sam Wyche era of the late 1980s. Led by Boomer Esiason and James Brooks, Cincinnati was truly a force to be reckoned with: they nearly knocked off the Joe Montana-Jerry Rice 49ers in the 1989 Super Bowl.
That brings us to James Brooks (pictured above with the ball). My friend mentioned that Brooks later revealed in retirement that he had made it through Warner Robins High School in Georgia and four years at Auburn University without learning how to read.
Consider my mind blown. Brooks was one of the most dynamic, versatile running backs of his era. He was a lot like Brian Westbrook, I suppose, a running and receiving threat on all three downs. Brooks played so smart that I assumed that bled over into other areas of his life:
I suppose. But it just amazes me - even as I write this - that anyone could make it through that many years of school without being able to read much more than Xs and Os. I assumed Dexter Manley was merely the aberration of the era but, according to this old NY Times story, as many as a fourth of high school football and basketball players were functionally illiterate in the late '80s.
Richard Finley, one of Brooks' football coaches at Warner Robins High, says "James Brooks was a very serious competitor. Although he had reading problems, he was highly intelligent ... he had good native intelligence."
When asked what he meant by native intelligence, Finley laughs and says, "He had good common sense. He couldn't read too well, but he knew how to behave."
Surely those shameful days are over, especially with the implementation of more rigorous NCAA eligibility standards. I simply can't fathom an army of unlearned, academically unprepared athletes cruising through high school and college classes these days. Let alone navigating a complex playbook from someone like Jon Gruden or Al Saunders.
Or am I being naive?
I think it'll be interesting to see where McCain goes from here. Obama and the commission on presidential debates have indicated the show will go on Friday night. What's the next move?
This is like a man who gets caught cheating on his wife and then, with his back against the wall and with confrontation looming, goes out and intentionally wrecks the car, contriving to break a few ribs and get rushed to the hospital, all to delay the inevitable conflict and in the cynical knowledge that, in front of the doctors and until the wounds are bound, the wife will be forced to offer sympathy.
Obama came out and looked presidential. Presidents need to be able to handle two problems at once, he said. Now is exactly the time when the American people need to hear from us. We both have big planes. They can get us from Washington to Mississippi pretty quickly if need be. His press conference offered, in fact, a good look at how he would be as president. He seeks non-confrontation. But he slips his points in steadily and coolly. Pretty smooth performance.
In that light, I can sort of relate to McCain's predicament: when I was 10-years-old, I was the quarterback for a little league football team. Somehow, I had fought off serious nerves to pilot the team wins in our first five games. But then we were set to face the Richmond Hornets, a team that was also undefeated and had a rep as a gang of preteen assassins.
The morning of the game, I faked sick. I came up with all sorts of phony ailments: fever, cough, stomachache, groin pull, etc. I tried it all. And it almost worked, I think. But my father gently coaxed me to ride in the car with him to the game - once I arrived at the field, I was pretty much shamed into playing. Good thing: I ran for over 100 yards and we won in a nailbiter.
So, there's always that silver lining for McCain. Or he could check out WebMD and look up the symptoms for laryngitis.
Because, somehow, I imagine Obama will hit a lot harder than the Hornets. Continue Reading »
But seriously, I can appreciate the efforts of the show's producers to fill out the lineup with C-level celebrities. I've been so preoccupied with the additions of Kim K, the Quarterback Killa, Brooke Burke and Mo Green that I nearly forgot Toni Braxton was on the show this season. I mean, gosh, that would have been unthinkable about 10 years ago.
And I haven't even brought up the two-time champ.
So, critics can call the show cheesy or quibble over the definition of star, but there's no denying the show is ratings Viagra. Even I'm watching now. There's no need to fight it. Continue Reading »
Maybe McCain was giving us a clue that he wanted to take a dive yesterday. It's essentially the campaign equivalent of faking an injury. Continue Reading »
You would think that after the debacle in 2000, things would have improved for the better down here in the Sunshine State. Not so much:
"Managerially, software-wise, procedure-wise, training-wise, there is no confidence that these people will be ready in less than 50 days for the election we are all going to have," said Sid Dinerstein, the Palm Beach County Republican chairman.I really, really hope that disenfranchisement and voter suppression tactics like these described by RFK Jr. and Deron Snyder don't play a huge role in determining the winner on Nov. 4. Thus far, I'm dubious. Especially with the election shaping up to be a virtual nail biter.
Let's not let this issue die, ok? Let's keep up the chatter and demand better of our government. Continue Reading »
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
These were all results derived from a study of more than 600,000 questionnaires and published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science.
Overall, the study confirmed a lot of the stereotypes: northeastern and western states like tend to be more open; mostly racially homogeneous states like North Dakota, Minnesota and Utah were more agreeable (presumably because there was little to disagree about); and Alaska, home of the nation's most popular governor, ranks near the bottom of most of these lists.
For more info, check out this interactive map.
As a note, my beloved home state of Texas ranked from 16 to 28 in the five categories (extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness). Not surprising, for such a sensible, moderate bunch. Continue Reading »
We regulate any stealing of his propertyTrue. Eyes open and mouth shut, Henry Paulson. Continue Reading »
And we damn good too
But you can't be any geek off the street
Gotta be handy with the steel if you know what I mean, earn your keep!
It's not only black men stuck in the dark ages. Consider Neanderthals like Merrill Hoge or Gregg Doyel. But there's not much sympathy - or, to be honest, complex thought - to be found in many NFL locker rooms or board rooms. I remember that Barrett Robbins and Shawn Andrews seemed to receive little to no support during their respective struggles with mental illness.
(Young) had a difficult but important decision to make: admit that he was grappling with deep depression, which strikes nearly 17 million American adults each year, or strike a pose and insist that nothing is bothering him. The bravado won out. According to Young, he was never depressed.
Black boys don't cry.
Historically, "we associated mental illness with insanity and horrible shame," said John F. Murray, a clinical and sport performance psychologist in Palm Beach, Fla. Unfortunately, far too many black men remain stuck in the dark ages, still attaching a cultural stigma to depression.
In the NFL, production is paramount and failure is shameful. If you can't swallow hard and play well, then there's really no use for you. Simple as that.
In that context, I sincerely hope that Young gets the treatment he needs. He could set a much different, more important sort of example by dealing with his troubles than he ever could scoring touchdowns for the Titans.
* As a note, this essay is the handiwork of a good friend. I'm very, very proud today. Continue Reading »
Surely Harrison is not familiar with the term "irony":
Harrison would do well to hush. Or has he already forgotten about his own "dirty" past? Continue Reading »
I'm sure he's kidding. He has to be kidding. This is like Chris Henry saying that Warrick Dunn has character issues. It's like Scott Linehan saying Bill Belichick doesn't prepare his team very well. This isn't the pot calling the kettle black, this is the pot calling a snowflake black.
But, looking back on those days now, they were probably some of the best and most fulfilling times of my adult life.
Megan McArdle at The Atlantic.com has some pretty helpful tips for some of the unfortunate souls on Wall Street who will soon find themselves collecting unemployment benefits. I'd say the advice is applicable to almost anyone of a certain level of education and job experience.
To her list, I might add a few things unrelated to a job search:
- Get reconnected with family and friends: you'll never have so much time to spend with your loved ones again. You'll never regret doing this.
- Spend some time volunteering or working with kids: I helped coach a little league football team with some dear high school friends during that time and had a blast. It remains one of the most fun things I've ever done.
- Read ... books: I probably knocked out about 20-25 over a couple months. Many days, I'd head to a beach, sit in a chair and stick my head in a book. Most were for fun, some were to lift my spirits and others were to get me back on the right track.
- Hit the gym or the track: it gives you something else to focus your energy on and can be surprisingly relaxing. I've never been in better shape, even counting my college football days.
- Pray: Realize, you can only control what you can control. Leave no stone unturned, of course. But the rest is left up to Him. Or Her.
Monday, September 22, 2008
I would think that, once and for all, this exposes the farce of Palin's nomination as a bait for all those disaffected Hillary holdouts and PUMAs. But who really knows about these things?
Some people might be inclined to call it fiscal conservatism. I might substitute "compassionless" for "fiscal." Continue Reading »
"... the former president called Republican presidential candidate John McCain "a great man" and praised GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin as an 'instinctively effective candidate.'"
To borrow a phrase from Honest Sarah, Obama should tell Clinton "thanks but no thanks" to joining him on the stump in the coming weeks. It's becoming clear that either Clinton is: a. trying to undermine Obama; b. totally clueless as to how the 24-7 news cycle works; c. unable to get past his bitterness at Hillary's loss.
In either case, Clinton is turning into a liability for the Democrats - you can ask his wife. Continue Reading »
Sunday, September 21, 2008
There has to be some common link here so I'm going to pose one today: Being a former star at Texas means having a much harder transition into life as a pro football player. This isn't a shot in the dark, either. I've had more than one NFL executive tell me that players who spend their college days in Austin get quite accustomed to being treated like gods. And once those same players leave college and enter the NFL, they quickly discover that success is much harder to find when the world isn't colored in shades of burnt orange.
There's some truth to this theory, I think. A bit of truth.
I once played briefly in college with a guy who transferred to TCU from UT. A very personable guy, he would go on and on about the perks of being a star football player in Austin. Things that hardly any of us were experiencing in Fort Worth - save maybe LaDainian Tomlinson. I have no doubt that he missed being a Longhorn very much - and rightfully so. He was describing about a virtual heaven for a 19- or 20-year-old male college student.
For a second, look at the picture above, taken right after Young and the Longhorns defeated USC to win the national title. Can you imagine what that might possibly feel like? Wouldn't almost everything else in Young's career seem anticlimatic? (as an aside, Terry Bradshaw has talked a lot about the depression he dealt with during his playing days in the 1970s).
But what is it like? Here's what former UT star and current Detroit Lion Cory Redding had to say:
"It's a football paradise. The school is great. The campus is great. The women are great. The city of Austin is great. And if you keep your nose clean and you play ball in Texas, it's like having a key to the city. If you get the job done on the field, you can have whatever you want."
From what I've heard and seen myself, this all rings true: I spent probably a third of my college weekends in Austin myself.
But, in the end, I think this is a tantalizing bit of revisionist history: plenty of college stars in storied programs have the same experience - you think guys like Tim Tebow and Darren McFadden feel like they missed out on anything? - and it seems like Chadiha and others conveniently forgot all the grief Mack Brown and the Longhorns endured in the years before the 2005 Rose Bowl.
Remember the moniker "Coach February"? Chris Simms' nightmarish 2001 Big 12 title game performance and the subsequent fallout? Almost everything having to do with Bob Stoops and Oklahoma's virtual stranglehold on the Red River rivalry?
I chalk up the pro struggles of Vince, Cedric and Ricky to the ordinary trials of sensitive guys who - like lots of former college stars - simply are taken aback at the businesslike atmosphere in the NFL. Some people flourish in rah-rah pageantry of college; others are better suited for the no-nonsense environs of the League. In many ways, the challenge of players making that adjustment contributes a lot to the crapshoot aspect of the draft.
To be sure, Chadiha isn't completely off-base here. But, in the end, I place the onus on the players; not the program. Continue Reading »
I'm a bit embarrassed to say it was my first visit Miami. But, please believe, it will not be my last. As I was heading north on Interstate 75 this morning - very early this morning, I was already making plans to return.
There's plenty to like about Miami: the balmy weather; the intermingling of cultures; the collective swagger of the locals; Ocean Drive; Little Havana, etc. The list could go on and on, no?
Most notably, Miami lived up to its rep as the nation's "most attractive" city - at least in these eyes. And it's not even close. I can't go on about this for too long because, well, I'm only single in the technical sense, I'm trying to be respectful here and I've already been blessed to date way out of my league.
However, if I could go back about 8 years in time and talk to the 22-year-old version of Blackink, I would tell that young man to get thee to south Florida. By any means necessary.
No offense to the beautiful ladies of Fort Worth, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Houston and Shreveport but, uh, now I can understand how someone like Luther Campbell came into his own down there. Just wow. Wow.
UPDATE: Since I'm confident in my own looks and, uh, sexuality, I must mention that Miami's rep for good looks goes both ways. I'm throwing this in here for the sake of the First Lady. Which by no means makes it less true. Continue Reading »