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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

March Madness in February, Part III 

Continuing the grand tradition, here are my predictions for the 65-team NCAA field:

Vermont (23-6); East Tennessee State (21-8); Pittsburgh (25-5); Georgetown (22-6); Louisville (21-8); Notre Dame (22-6); Syracuse (21-8); Marquette (22-8); West Virginia (20-8); Winthrop (26-4); Kansas (26-4); Texas A & M (24-4); Texas (21-7); Texas Tech (18-11); Virginia Commonwealth (24-6); Old Dominion (24-7); Drexel (22-7); Butler (26-5); Penn (19-8); Akron (22-6); Delaware St. (15-12); Brigham Young (22-7); UNLV (23-6); Air Force (23-7); Austin Peay (20-10); Bucknell (20-8); Appalachian State (24-6); Mississippi Valley (15-14); Gonzaga (21-10); North Carolina (24-5); Virginia Tech (20-8); Virginia (19-8); Boston College (19-9); Duke (22-7); Maryland (22-7); Massachussetts (21-7); Xavier (21-7); Weber State (18-11); Ohio State (26-3); Wisconsin (26-4); Illinois (21-9); Indiana (18-9); Michigan State 21-9); Long Beach State (20-7); Memphis (25-3); Marist (23-7); Oral Roberts (20-10); Southern Illinois (25-5); Creighton (19-10); Central Connecticut State (19-11); UCLA (25-3); Washington State (23-5); USC (21-8); Oregon (22-7); Arizona (18-9); Florida (25-5); Vanderbilt (19-9); Tennessee (21-9); Kentucky (19-9); Sam Houston State (20-9); Western Kentucky (21-10); Nevada (26-2); Wright State (21-9); Davidson (26-4); Bradley (20-11)

Last Team In - Davidson
Last Team Out - Villanova

A little wishful thinking here, hoping the NCAA will recognize how much better the tournament is with the unpredictability provided by quality mid-major schools, and give bids to 2nd and 3rd place teams in those conferences as opposed to the ninth place finisher in the Big East or whoever finishes seventh in the Big 10. Personally, I'd rather see teams like Wright State and Drexel given a shot ahead of Villanova, Purdue, or Alabama, which have all had fairly pedestrian records in power conferences. I even tried to be responsible, giving the Missouri Valley only 3 bids (Missouri State and Bradley both rate a shot, but I think three is the limit for the Valley, and the Braves are hotter right now.)

If you must take BCS conference also-rans, the NCAA should at least make them participate in the play-in game. Why not have, say Oklahoma State vs. Stanford in the play-in game, winner gets a 12 seed and a date with, say Maryland, as opposed to having Sam Houston State and Mississippi Valley play a game nobody's going to watch two days before the winner gets killed by UCLA.

There's about seven or eight teams that are legitimate shots to win it all, and another five or six dark horses that wouldn't surprise me a ton. Let's say Wisconsin over North Carolina in the finals.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

You might have a gambling problem when... 

You put up your daughter to pay your poker debt.

And, for some reason, I feel it should be made clear to everyone reading that you can't actually do this. It is both illegal and immoral.

Also the exchange rate isn't very good.

Ah...college life... 

I never really heard too much about Greek stuff during my college days, so somebody tell me, have sororities always been bouncing girls for not being hot enough?

A note to the creator of "The Black Donnellys" 

A guy just stopped by, said he was representing the estate of Mario Puzo. Said something about making you an offer or something.

He said he'd get back with you.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Curses! He's onto us! 

Hugo Chavez announces the U.S. is now trying to sabotage Venezuela's economy.

Since he's already let the cat out of the bag, I thought I'd just mention how we're going to do that, for the edification of future generations. Our plan to wreck Venezuela is simple - we will put their economy in the hands of a delusional megalomaniac who will impose historically discredited economic policy, stifle attempts to change course by controlling the media, and drive away his country's best and brightest, just to make sure there's no one around who can fix things.

And, like all insidious American plans, this one's working like a charm.

Sources courtesy of Publius Pundit.

Kill me now... 

Talentless load Jimmy Fallon may get his own NBC show.

As usual, the funniest quote in a story about Jimmy Fallon was not uttered by Jimmy Fallon:
A close associate of Mr. Fallon’s said yesterday: “Anything can still happen here. This deal is about bringing Jimmy back to NBC. But he could have a hit movie and not want to jump back into television.”
He could have a hit movie?

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!

Seriously, have you seen Fever Pitch? Taxi? He's not good.

Tip - Steve Silver.

Dude, you were just about to catch fire... 

The Presidential candidate with the name that makes you giggle, Tom Vilsack, is dropping out of the race.

His rivals released a collective statement: "Who?"

His departure is expected to have a large effect on the race - for instance, there will now be more room on the stage for those big group debates.

Also, one less campaign bus = more parking for everyone!

And...that's about it.

Tip - Corner

Spread the word... 

Note to foreign criminals - trying to mug an American tourist is a bad freaking idea.

Tell your friends.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thank your legislator, kids... 

Due to funding issues, previously discussed here, the trial of Atlanta Courthouse shooter Brian Nichols has been postponed.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

It's good to want to help others... 

In days of yore, valiant knights served the cause of honor and virtue, and when they heard the cry of a damsel in distress, they bravely entered the fray, swords held high, willing to give their all in defense of a fair lady's modesty.

That was in days of yore. In days of now, if you do that, you risk barging in on your porn-watching neighbor and getting arrested.

The moral of the story - in these times, you have to be careful when you go running around with your sword in your hands.

Things that really matter... 

Who's going to be on Dancing With the Stars this season. The list includes Laila Ali, Apolo Anton Ohno, Billy Ray "Gone In 2 Weeks" Cyrus, and Heather Mills.

Also, with maybe two exceptions, (Chris Sligh, the bald guy who ditched his kid to audition, maybe one more), it was not an auspicious beginning for American Idol.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Craziest. People. Ever. 

I'm going to nominate three people who ran across the Sahara desert.

Not a portion of the Sahara desert. The whole. Freaking. Sahara. Desert.
"It will take time to sink in ... but this is an absolutely once in a life time thing. They say ignorance is bliss, and now that I know how hard this is, I would never consider crossing the Sahara on foot again," said American runner Charlie Engle, 44, hours after he and the others completed the run at Egypt's Red Sea.
Mr. Engle had to actually run across the Sahara to learn how hard it was. He couldn't just, say, look at a globe or something.

Yet another instance where the achievement is topped only by the insanity required to attempt it in the first place.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Jimmy Carter's debate tour continues... 

Eleven faculty members at Emory University have protested a planned appearance by Jimmy Carter discussing his book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” as they were hoping to stage a debate and Carter, with the acquiesence of the University, has refused. The person the Emory professors had chosed to debate Carter was Dennis Ross, who represented Presidents Bush (Sr.) and Clinton at Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Ross had agreed to appear, and as someone who was actually present during key moments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, would have provided a formidable counterpoint to Carter, more so, perhaps, than attorney Alan Dershowitz, who gave a rebuttal address after being denied a chance to debate Carter at Brandeis University.

And like Brandeis, Emory University, which deserves credit for bringing aboard Salman Rushdie to lecture, and will host his archives, has agreed to allow Carter to speak alone and respond to pre-submitted questions.

Which, you have to admit, is exactly the kind of process you envision when you imagine a work stimulating debate, as Carter intended his book to do.

Proudly caving in... 

The University of Illinois will retire Chief Illiniwek at the end of this year's basketball season. Wednesday's game against Michigan will mark the end of the Chief's 80 year history representing the university.
"This is an extremely emotional day for people on both sides of the issue, but the decision announced today ends a two-decade-long struggle surrounding Chief Illiniwek on this campus," said athletic director Ron Guenther.
Year after year after year opponents tried to get the Chief removed, and year after year after year they failed. Apparently now that the administration has reached the "correct" decision, debate is now concluded and should never resume.

Except it really isn't over, as the students who portray Chief Illiniwek have sued the school and the NCAA to try and preserve the Chief. At first glance, I'd say the students are swimming upstream - the university probably has the right to keep or discard the Chief as it sees fit, and they've made their decision. Had they wanted to fight, the University of North Dakota has shown that a school might prevail against the NCAA. But I think the students may find out the hard way that if the school chooses not to wage the fight, they can't wage it in their stead.

Prosecutors on film... 

Aaron Eckhart cast as Harvey Dent in the Batman Begins sequel.

And I, for one, hope this time we will see a responsible portrayal of prosecutors from Hollywood, and that they don't resort to the stereotype of the prosecutor as obsessive coin-flipping master criminal.

Cause that almost never actually happens.

Or, you could send flowers... 

AZ woman accused of tying up partner and cutting him to drink his blood.
Tempe police spokesman, Sgt. Mike Horn, said "She made very few statements, alludes to the fact that it was a very consensual encounter", adding that, "He admitted they were drinking and doing drugs."
Boy, that last statement comes as surprise.

And I don't even want to guess how many marriage proposals she gets between now and the day this case is resolved.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Justice costs... 

Two interesting stories have been building for some time. The first is Atlanta's own trial of the century, that of Brian Nichols for the murders of Judge Rowland Barnes, court reporter Julie Brandau, Deputy Hoyt Teasley, and Customs Agent David Wilhelm. I'd written previously about the possibility of a deal - Nichols pleading guilty and accepting a life sentence without parole, avoiding both a trial, and a likely death sentence.

Recently, Nichols' defense has quit being circumspect about their willingness to deal, and have more or less declared openly that Nichols would plead guilty if death were off the table. DA Paul Howard has openly rejected the idea, insisting that Nichols' fate be settled by a jury. Which is his call to make, and as I understand things, has the support of the families of the victims.

Meanwhile, Georgia's capital defenders are running out of money. Another capital trial is in danger of screeching to a halt because the defendant's lawyer is claiming the funding gap is going to result in ineffective assistance of counsel. Meanwhile, in Atlanta, Nichols' lawyers claimed the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council was going to stop paying them unless the legislature acted, which according to the GPDSC, isn't going to happen yet, but the fact that this discussion is happening doesn't speak well of the legislature.

A justice system, like everything else the government provides, costs money. Paying to defend murderers may not be the cool fun sort of thing you run for the state legislature to do, but here's the thing: you can't punish criminals unless they have access to effective lawyers. You want to execute murderers? Give them a defense that will stand up to appellate scrutiny.

So in conclusion, a word to the Georgia Legislature - pass a bill funding the capital defenders or pass a bill outlawing the death penalty. Doing neither risks having a judge somewhere shut down the whole process.

Ohio elects Democrat, turns into state full of inhospitable jerks... 

Note to my relatives in Ohio - of course I don't mean you.

I mean Governor Ted Strickland, who thinks if any Iraqi refugees were to settle in Ohio, that might make George Bush look less evil or something, so go give somebody else your tired and poor.

Incidentally, the Iraqi refugees in question would come here pursuant to a law passed allowing them entry - in other words, legally. Now I'll admit I hadn't been paying attention, but when Gov. Strickland was Rep. Strickland, his stance on immigration was somewhat more conciliatory.

Someone tell him Iraqis will do jobs Ohioans don't want.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ode to a person who is wrong about many things... 

Via Steve Silver comes this article from some poor college girl who was shocked, appalled, and heartbroken to learn her boyfriend didn't agree with her on the Israel/Palestinian question.

As I've suggested before, I married someone who wouldn't vote for me, nor I her. Well, that's not exactly true. She might vote for me (and vice versa), but she would almost certainly not vote for some schmuck who held similar positions.

I don't see how people who don't agree politically can date...says the collegian. Apparently the politically aware young people meet today at stop the war rallies, affirmative action bake sales, or in the lobby after staging a walkout of a Daniel Pipes speech. Meeting anywhere else is dangerous, because you might meet someone who has looked at the world and reached different conclusions, which makes them completely undesirable, because when you're 20, the answers to all the world's problems are pretty freaking obvious.

A confession - I have no idea how, when, or under what circumstances I met my wife. It was somewhere in Walker Hall at Illinois State University, probably in the fall of 1992 at some point. I do remember how we got to know each other, however. The lobby of our dorm was a popular gathering place, where people gathered to play cards and argue about world affairs. Oddly enough, despite all the great global truths being blindingly obvious to any 19 year old who aced Poli Sci 105, there were many disagreements among the throng. One in particular was this one girl who was pretty sure that I, for one, was right on pretty much nothing that wasn't related to euchre.

That, I thought, is really smoking hot.

Not that she disagreed with me, of course. There's certainly something to be said for the raw sex appeal of a pretty girl telling you "you're absolutely right," in a breathy tone of voice, there's also an allure in being challenged. And, if you like 'em brainy, anyone who has figured out that most controversial issues are controversial because there are strong arguments to be made on more than one side, and reasonable people can draw different conclusions, is likely to be more intelligent than anyone who thinks only the stupid and greedy vote Republican. (Sometimes Karl Rove is holding a family member hostage, for instance.)

So basically, I met a girl who challenged and supported me, all at the same time. And apparently I managed to do the same, because after I responded to her arguments, she still put me on the right side of the line between "witty and clever" and "pompous dickhead."

So here we are, 15 years later. We have never backed the same candidate for President, and since I think her current choice is John Edwards, I can pretty much assure the world that streak will continue. We will not agree on many issues, both foreign and domestic. We will agree about other things, however, like making each other laugh, listening to stories of triumphs and tragedies at work, watching March Madness while surrounded by dogs, and a few things that are frankly none of your damn business. We will also agree to respect each other's right to make up their own mind, and understand that sometimes decent people get things wrong. And we will come to the conclusion that we are far more together than we could ever be apart.

Happy Valentine's Day, baby. Apparently all these years, we've been doing something amazing.

But seriously, Edwards is a tool.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Quick, while your money's still worth something... 

Zimbabwe's inflation rate, already the highest in the world, climbed another 300 points in January.

So, what should Zimbabweans spend their money on before it becomes worthless? (Well, more worthless.)

If you said Robert Mugabe's birthday party - give yourself a cigar.

Diplomacy marches on... 

Thugs in charge of the Sudan holding up U.N. delegation because one of the delegates has been unduly critical of the Sudanese government.

The bad news is the current plan to stop the carnage in the Sudan is contingent of the goodwill of the Sudanese government, which is, you know, kinda sorta responsible for said carnage. The good news is everyone's sovreignty is being respected.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

But I was sure she'd live to be 100...and marry a 20 year old... 

Anna Nicole Smith found dead in her hotel room.

Wishful Thinking Celebrity Rumors... 

Still the champ in this category is the rumor that Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz are an item.

A solid contender to the throne, however - Britney Spears holding lesbian orgies.

I guess he proved everyone wrong... 

If you thought Daniel Baldwin couldn't get arrested, I guess he showed you.

Although, technically, there's just a warrant out. He hasn't managed to get arrested just yet.

Line of the day... 

Comes from Teethwriter - referring to televangelist Ted Haggard getting caught doing meth with a male prostitute and getting treated for being gay...
It just shows you the mentality of the Rev. Haggard's followers that they would rather get treated for his homosexuality rather than his...CRYSTAL METH ADDICTION. That's like if my fiance caught me licking whipped cream off of another woman, and sent me to Weight Watchers.
I don't care where you're from, that's funny right there.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Quitters never win 

Barack Obama to quit smoking.

Then, in an statement later blamed on nicotine withdrawl, he pledged that if elected President, he would bomb Iran into a smoldering crater, then bomb the crater.

Tip - TalkLeft.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Back to the drawing board... 

Apparently Warner Brothers is still having trouble figuring out a way to make money off a Wonder Woman movie. Joss Whedon is now out, as WB apparently had no use for the script he was writing. Whedon himself isn't complaining, being very understanding of WB's concerns, given the expected cost of the movie.
Let me stress first that everybody at the studio and Silver Pictures were cool and professional. We just saw different movies, and at the price range this kind of movie hangs in, that's never gonna work. Non-sympatico. It happens all the time. I don't think any of us expected it to this time, but it did. Everybody knows how long I was taking, what a struggle that script was, and though I felt good about what I was coming up with, it was never gonna be a simple slam-dunk. I like to think it rolled around the rim a little bit, but others may have differing views.
One of the problems Whedon had mentioned in the past is the lack of any real framework around which to craft a Wonder Woman story. Unlike Superman or Batman, she really doesn't have a famous origin story that people remember. She lacks the classic villains of Batman or Spiderman (nobody cares about the Cheetah), and she was never the subject of any great comic book story like, say "The Coming of Galactus," which you'll be able to see turned into crap this summer during the Fantastic 4 sequel. So while Wonder Woman is an icon, there really isn't any great source material to build on, unless you want to go back to her creator's idea, which was to use her to spread the gospel of S & M and thereby save the world. (You think I'm kidding?)

So, still no Wonder Woman movie. Meanwhile, Ghost Rider opens everywhere next week.

Tell me that's justice.

SEC Championship game... 

Seriously, that's how it's viewed down here. Colts, Schmolts - what happened was Tennesee beat Florida.

And, somehow, this doesn't seem too far off from Rex Grossman's actual thought processes during the second half.

As for the rest of it, they shelled out a lot of money for Prince, who did a great job and spent somewhat more than half the time playing Prince songs. (Note to Prince - if I want to hear "Proud Mary", I'll just freaking hire Tina Turner, OK?) The commercials - by and large - stunk, with the exception of Budweiser's stuff. ("I threw paper!" "Yeah, I threw a rock!" - I don't care where you're from, that's funny right there.)

Friday, February 02, 2007

Yeah, that's pretty much how it happened with me, too... 

In a small island off the coast of Guinea-Bissau, all responsibility for courtship falls upon the woman:
In this archipelago of 50 islands off the western rim of Africa, it's women, not men, who choose. They make their proposals public by offering their grooms-to-be a dish of distinctively prepared fish, marinated in red palm oil. Once they have asked, men are powerless to say no.
According to residents of the island, this system works better, because if it were up to men, they would make stupid decisions:
"The choice of a woman is much more stable," explains Okrane. "Rarely were there divorces before. Now, with men choosing, divorce has become common."
There's something to be said for that. My wife was definitely the one who made the first move. (If you ask her about it, she'll say she made the first move, and the second, and the third, and the...you know what? Don't ask her about it, and if she starts to tell the story, stop her.) Nonetheless, her idea of who I should date worked out substantially better than the dumbass ideas I had been having.

On the other hand, if I remember correctly, it was Britney who made the first move on K-Fed.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

If you don't warn them, the IQ of the human race will go up... 

Apparently it's become necessary to warn people that you shouldn't drink hand sanitizer.

You know what else you shouldn't do? Hit yourself in the head with a hammer.

It causes headaches.

We wish. 

Guy running the Sudan accuses U.S. of trying to overthrow him.

Gib's Guide to Running For Office... 

First, of all, if you're running for office, and you're about to say something, you should ask yourself: Am I Joe Biden?

Because if you are, and your mouth is open, you're probably about to say something stupid, and should just shut the heck up.

Second, and this is very important - the people who work on your campaign are vital to your cause. It is they who will do much of the legwork raising money and securing endorsements. It is they who help you craft your policies and positions, and it is they who will help write your speeches so you don't go making a Joe Biden out of yourself. They will position themselves between you and assholes so you don't have to talk to them. They will do all this for a lot less money than people with their skills could be making on the open market. They are doing this because they believe in you.

So if you could find it in yourself to not bang their wives, that'd be great.

No, not even when they're hot. (Yes, you can see what she looks like here.)

Sit back and enjoy the ride, folks. This one's going to be fun.

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