Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The oil trees?

Target girl: "Would you like that all in the same bag?"
Me: "Yes, I use as few plastic bags as possible."
Her: "Yeah, we should do all we can to save trees."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

New NFL OT rule fixes clearly broken playoff system

ORLANDO, Fla. — Following a memorable season in which the New Orleans Saints won their first-ever Super Bowl, NFL owners overwhelmingly voted to alter the rules of postseason overtime on Tuesday.

Under the new rules, a team can win in sudden death with a touchdown or a safety, but a field goal will result in a subsequent possession for the opposing team. If both teams score field goals, or fail to score on their first possession, then classic sudden-death rules kick in.

The changes come in the wake of this year’s NFC Championship Game, in which New Orleans defeated the Minnesota Vikings 31-28. After winning the coin toss, the Saints drove 78 yards downfield in 12 plays to set up a game-winning field goal by kicker Garrett Hartley. Minnesota, led by 11-time Pro Bowl quarterback Brett Favre, never touched the ball.

After the game, many fans and NFL officials alike affirmed their opposition to the sudden-death set-up, arguing that the Saints should never be able to win the coin toss and just triumph like that.

However, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell denied any direct connection to that game.

“These changes are in no way related to the most recent NFC Championship Game,” Goodell stressed. “This proposal has been in the works for years. We have long been wary of the idea that a team like the Saints could simply boot a ball through the uprights and go to the Super Bowl. The game of football should not be decided by a foot.”


Goodell cited increasing sentiment against the coin toss, which many critics say virtually determines the winner in a heavy percentage of games.

“What we’re trying to avoid is a coin flip deciding the winner,” he said. “Which happens almost 60 percent of the time. I don’t like such severely skewed odds.

“Oh, but it’s OK if they win instantly with a touchdown or even a safety,” Goodell added. “Just not with the field goal like Hartley did. So, really, the coin toss still matters. Just not like it did during the Saints game. That’s gone for good.”

Pictured above: A bygone era.

Advocates of the change say that the new rules will add an extra strategic element to the game, so that teams have to find more creative ways to win than the Saints did.

“We’re in the business of giving the fans what they want,” Goodell said. “This change will ensure that we have an exciting and high-rated Super Bowl featuring the two best teams.”

Super Bowl XLIV, which pitted the No. 1 Saints against the No. 1 Indianapolis Colts and was broadcast by CBS, was the highest-rated television show in U.S. history, beating out the 1983 finale of M*A*S*H. NFL Films dubbed it a match “pitting the biggest name in football against the game’s greatest story.” *

“The NFC Championship Game brought up the question of what would happen if the Super Bowl came down to to a tie,” Goodell said. “I mean, would you really want it decided by the fate of a single kick? That’s not the kind of game people will remember for years to come.”

Scott Norwood was not available for comment.

Owners voted nearly unanimously for the change, with only four voting against the proposal. The Vikings were among the four, though sources say that they wanted to vote for it, but couldn’t control their hands.

Despite considerable opposition from within, Saints owner Tom Benson voted in favor after a long period of hedging, calling Commissioner Goodell “a beacon of light who represents all that is right with the world. I have nothing bad to say about him. Why, what have you heard?”

Several coaches, most notably Saints head coach Sean Payton and Vikings coach Brad Childress, expressed disbelief over the changes, saying coaches should have had input on the vote. Goodell dismissed the criticism, saying that he had previously talked at the coaches about the proposal.

“This may not come as a news flash, but the owners have the vote. ...We had a full discussion with the coaches on Tuesday morning. The ownership thought that was good for the game and good for the fans,” Goodell said.*

Fans were split on the change.

“I love it,” said one Vikings fan. “Yes, we have a great team full of superstars who had a sterling season. And, yes, multiple turnovers and the 12-man huddle penalty hurt us in the championship game, but we were still the better team that night. If only Brett Favre had had one more chance to save the day. Now that would have been a game to remember.”

"Raise your hand if you want this to not count!"

Others scoffed at the decision.

“In its zeal to revise the decades-old sudden-death rule, the NFL created as lame and awkward a situation as they possibly could,” said me, a fan of the Saints, sudden death and reason. “With such a convoluted rule change that applies only to a specific part of a specific game, the league has undermined its claim that it’s trying to create a more exciting finish. At the very least, it could have reverted to a version of college rules. I don’t like college rules, but a lot of fans do. This, on the other hand, looks like the league felt the Saints’ claim to the NFC title was not legitimate, that that game was an error in need of fixing. It assumes that a field goal cannot be exciting. But I don't really know what overtime they were watching if they thought this drive was a drag. There was a long kickoff return, two penalties, three booth reviews, a near-interception, an almost-sack, a fourth-and-inches conversion and a long field goal that was anything but a given. Er, yawn?

This could have used a little more suspense.

“Worst of all, the change implies that some points are more equal than others. And that fans were frustrated by the lack of utter complexity under the old rules. What an insult to players, defenses, special teams and fans alike.

“Let’s just call this what it is: a sour-grapes reaction to the fact that Brett Favre did not get a chance with the ball in overtime. It’s no secret that the Goodell and the rules committee favor hot-property quarterbacks with tuck rules, stringent roughing-the-passer penalties and other revisions designed to micromanage the outcome for what they perceive to be a more exciting ‘competition.’ This is only a continuation of that trend.”

Goodell declined to discuss any future rule changes. “A lot depends on how our top stories pan out in 2010. What is Brett Favre’s fate? Will Tom Brady bring the Patriots dynasty back from the brink? Will Ben Roethlisberger overcome his personal woes to return the Steelers to the big game? Will Donovan McNabb ever take another snap for the Eagles? So much drama awaits. Tune in this fall and see what develops.

“But one thing is clear — the Saints’ miracle playoff run is something we’re not likely to see again for a long time.”

*—Actual quotes (sources: NFL Films, Reuters)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Doctoral thesis on health care

So now we’re on the road to health care reform. At the very least, we’re on the map.

Passing this legislation was nothing short of miraculous. The polarized political climate nearly killed it, and even many on the left seemed to want it to die in its current form. Ultimately, deem-and-pass may have saved it and certainly made it less prone to further watering-down.

I do have my quibbles with the bill, mainly that it’s without single-payer universal care or a public option. These are the best two ideas for reforming health care, both in cost and societal obligation, but they are also the most politically loaded. True to what critics say, the health insurance mandate forces everyone to buy into private insurance companies. And even though it’s almost completely forgotten that the poorest Americans and small businesses can get waivers for the cost, it’s still a sore point for most. It’s just too bad that single-payer is such a poisonous concept that a mandate had to be considered in the first place. Even so, the point of the mandate is to create the largest risk pool possible, which in theory drives costs down for everyone. So it isn’t a total wash. Nor do I think it is a total giveaway to the insurance companies and Big Pharma, because while they’re getting more business, it isn’t necessarily more profitable business. There’s a reason they fought this tooth-and-nail, despite conventional wisdom that the Obama administration appeased them.

The real effect of this bill is that its policies will pave the way toward a more widespread acceptance of the need for a public option and/or universal health care. Many critics of the legislation, the ones who object because they’ve been conditioned to split hairs over spending (at least post-2009), will find it to benefit them in the future. And when it comes through in the clutch for them, it will seem less like a Marxist nightmare than an essential part of being a secure citizen. Remember, these same conservatives were dead set against Medicare and Social Security back when those programs were pipe dreams. But just try putting your government hands on their Medicare, and you’ll see just how rugged and individualistic Americans truly are.

What I don’t appreciate is the opposition against the bill, which is growing exponentially juvenile by the minute. Yesterday, I spent much of my free time scouring the comments sections of various online newspapers and message boards, as well as having numerous conversations with friends and acquaintances in person and online. Comments ranged from lucid to ridiculous. Diplomatically speaking.

Whenever I hear anyone use the terms “Obamacare,” “BO,” “communist,” “Marxist,” “fascist” or any of the other common epithets so loosely applied these days, I immediately know what to expect and how fast to dismiss it. And yet, educated adults bandy these words about as if they’re universally accepted currency and not the terms of specific philosophies and/or disrespect that they are.

More intelligent and thoughtful critics speak of long lines, extended waits and an apathetic bureaucracy, as if that isn’t exactly the reality for most as it stands now. At least those are thoughtful points and not like these common criticisms:

“How’s that hopey-changey thing working out for you?/This is what you get for voting for Obama/This is going to lead to an electoral bloodbath in November.” I could say that I enjoy watching Republicans, libertarians and teabaggers self-destruct in their own foam over this bill’s passage. But, really, I don’t. For me, this isn’t about the Democrats scoring a political victory and/or rubbing it in the faces of the snarling GOP. I believe in health care reform. I want it. And while this bill is far from perfect, it’s a tremendous leap in the right direction (right as in correct, not right as in wrong). It’s going to help everyone, not just those in favor of it; that’s why I care about its success. On the other hand, I’ve heard plenty of comments, both from politicians and from friends, suggesting that they want it to fail so that the Democrats run scared. That’s pathetic. I can’t ever recall opposing a Bush policy for the purpose of seeing him squirm; it’s because I don’t like elective war or regressive tax cuts that would (and did) destabilize the economy.

Also, I don’t care if this leads to fewer Democratic seats in November. You aren’t going to scare me with that for three reasons: 1) that’s a historic midterm trend; 2) health care reform is worth the risk; and 3) I’m not all that sure that said bloodbath is a given at this point.

Again, it’s about doing the right thing. And that is the change I voted for.

“Free America died today.” This is a good one. It’s a fascinating mind-set that overlooks all of the very real rollbacks in personal freedom over the past decade, such as the Patriot Act, and decides that helping insure millions of Americans with no other lifeline is the ultimate affront to the Constitution. Never mind that pretty much anyone can point out which specific amendments the Patriot Act violates, while no one has yet given a cogent argument as to what part of the document health care reform dishonors. It seems to me that health care reform promotes the general welfare, which is in the Preamble. But I know how many feel about welfare.

Today’s conservatives have a twisted definition of “freedom” anyway. Whereas they were just fine with trading basic civil liberties for security (or at least the illusion of it) in the Bush years, suddenly freedom is sacred. And what freedoms of ours are under fire? Why, the right to go bankrupt over a hospital visit! The right to not have any health insurance if you don’t want it (those who can’t afford it, by definition, don’t want it because if they did, they’d try harder to get richer). The right to have the free, private market to be your one-stop shop for every service you ever need. Sick? Let’s cross some state lines! How dare anyone tread on those priceless rights!

“Obama and the Democrats want nothing less than total takeover, so that the people of America are fully dependent on the government for all their needs.” As far as complete government takeovers go, requiring health insurance through private insurance companies and having no public option is a pretty lame start.

Anyway, why would this be a laudable goal, even if it was what Democrats wanted? What’s the gain? And if you say power, well, I’d love to hear how that’s anything but Republican projection. After all, color-coded terrorist alert systems, being told to “watch what you say” and repeatedly making the case that we need more government surveillance absolutely everywhere is a form of government control in itself. A very real and tangible one proposed by a president revered by many of the health care critics.

Conservative pundits often chastise Democrats for what they see as pandering for votes with their social programs. The idea that such programs actually help people rarely seems to enter the discussion. Nor does the idiocy of complaining that people vote for those who pledge to help them. Duh.

“This will just give health care to lazy people and other euphemisms I use to describe poor minorities because I can’t say the words I really want to use.” Well, I’m employed and have good health insurance that I intend to keep, but I also support reform. Why? Because it’s not all about me. For all the talk about how America coddles the poor, there’s a frustrating lack of proof for that. Would any rich/middle-class person in America trade places with a poor “lucky ducky” for some government subsidy? Thought not.

Am I wrong to bring up the racism angle? Given that I uniformly run into talk about “incompetent bureaucrats,” “lazy people,” “welfare cheats” and pretty much any descriptor of Obama, I think it’s a valid concern. When people consider the effects the legislation would have on their suffering friends, neighbors and relatives, they might be amiable to change. Make it about an abstract thug, however, and it becomes all about the bootstraps. It’s an old rhetorical trick, and not a particularly imaginative one.

“Liberals own it now.” That’s right, we do. Republicans have absolutely no claim for any success this legislation will provide, and never will. Because every one of them — along with several moderate Democrats — put political gamesmanship above all else. They whipped their constituents into a frenzy over “death panels” and “government takeovers,” which even they knew was irresponsible, but the Party of No decided long ago that Obama’s failure trumps all other goals.

Still, give it a few years, and everyone will wonder how we ever got by without health care reform. The best thought I can have about it is that, in a generation’s time, no one will even give it a second thought.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Common census

I filled out my census form today. It's the third time I've done so, having previously spoken to a census taker in 2000 and filling out my family's form in 1990.

Yes, I filled out the census when I was 10. I asked my parents if I could, they said yes and they gave me the information. Among other things, it asked for detailed information on every resident in the house, annual income and even who in the household filled out the form. Even then, I wondered if the fact that a 10-year-old boy had filled out the form meant they were going to count it. I believe Louisiana lost a seat after the 1990 census, so I'm guessing maybe they didn't. Sorry.

Ten years later, I was home alone when a census taker came calling. She said we hadn't filled out our form, so she proceeded to ask me very noninvasive questions about how many people lived at our house, our ages, etc. More interesting is that 2000 was the year of the Really Invasive Census, in which select citizens got a detailed questionnaire on everything from their employment to how often a week they had sex. My grandparents received one of these forms, and my understanding was that they had agreed to do it. But they both died in 1999, so I kept it and only wish I'd brought it with me to Missouri so I could scan it for you. Maybe one of these days...

Despite much criticism, 2000 was the first time, I think ever, that more people answered the census than in the previous decade. I don't see how that's the case, but that's what they said at the time, and that's all good.

After filling out my form this year, which had assurances that this information is not accessible to anyone but the Census Bureau, I was almost disappointed at how little there was to say. I'm Ian. I'm white. I rent. Here's my phone number. Take that, Michele Bachmann!

Just like the tea parties protested government spending and higher taxes after being silent in the Bush years and after Obama lowered payroll and income taxes, this anti-census sentiment when it's asking less than ever seems moot. Just another poorly timed protest from a group of Obama critics who lost their compass years ago.

It's just too bad so many of them are deciding not to count.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Apparently I, and this entire blog, hates New Orleans

So I was already having a crummy day when I got this comment on an old post:

Hey, um. Fuck you dude. I'd like to see if you knew what it was like here. how rich the culture is. How amazing the food is. Come say ANY of this written here on this webpage to a real New Orleanian and you'll get you ass kicked. Most likely killed.

Which, of course, puzzled me, because New Orleans is my favorite city ever. A few sore-loser Saints posts aside, I had to wonder what I've written to so arouse the ire of this guy. The comment was on this post, which I consider one of the best I've ever written, and is most definitely not anti-New Orleans. He didn't just miss the point. He missed it about as perfectly as one can miss anything, ever.

I mean, seriously. It doesn't get much more disconnected than this. It's like those lies my brother used to tell when we were kids, the ones so fantastically bad that I almost had to wonder if they were true. Did I really break that lamp that everyone just watched my brother break? Do I, in fact, hate New Orleans?

Well, apparently I do. And I'll refrain from visiting the Big Easy, lest I say all these horrible things I've been saying all these years and get killed for them. Such a violent, inhospitable place! Oops, there I go again!

It's things like this that make me never want to write again, ever.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Even a clock that isn't broken is wrong twice a year

In early 2007, I bought "The world's first auto-setting clock radio," which automatically sets the date and time when you plug it in. It's calibrated to some satellite. About a month later, Congress changed the weeks on which the time changes, so the clock has always done that on the wrong week. Much hilarity inevitably ensues.

Friday, March 12, 2010

SOFA recap, March 7

3/7: By NFL standards, it would have made for a long list of offensive legends (and a long unemployment line for defenders).

By college football standards, it was the kind of game that both sides’ fans would have torn down the goalpost over, for opposite reasons.

By high school standards, officials might have invoked a mercy rule.

But by recent SOFA standards, it was actually pretty close.

Crazy Invincible Alliance (Chad, Tyree, Joe, Dustin, Jerome, Caleb) got the best of Fair But Inferior (Ian, Brandon, Joel, Greg, Kenny, Toy, later Kendrick), beating them 95-71 on a gorgeous, open-the-windows Sunday afternoon.

FBI would seem to have the advantage, having one more player than its rival. But Bethany aggravated a muscle in her leg very early in the game, leaving the teams with the same number of players. And that, friends, was really unfair. The week before, Bethany’s deep catches and pounding runs were an asset to her squad. Oh, how she was missed, sitting on the sidelines. So close, yet so far away.

CIA’s combination of speed, size, experience and outright loose-cannon-ness served them well from the outset. Caleb stormed out of the gate, as he and his Peyton Manning jersey scrambled their way to several critical scores.

One of those scores came after Brandon connected with Ian for a diving touchdown in the dry, dusty end zone, a catch that removed several square feet of skin from Ian’s right shin. However, the catch was ruled null after Caleb claimed he ripped the quarterback’s flag, something nobody apparently saw but was upheld nevertheless. CIA held on, then ran the field in the subsequent possession, culminating in a Caleb touchdown.

With Chad at quarterback, CIA employed a variety of pitch and play-action schemes that the FBI defense struggled to contain. But isn’t that the story of every defense in SOFA? I mean, giving up 71 points doesn’t exactly speak well of the winners either! Yeah.

FBI did benefit from employing a trio new to SOFA, but not to each other: Brandon, Joel and Greg. Despite several jitter-related incompletions (hey, it happened to Drew Brees too), Brandon found his friends early and often for key gains and scores. Toy and Kenny turned in their typically masterful performances, and Ian added an interception and a few plays at quarterback that were less of a disaster than they could have been.

But ultimately, CIA triumphed on the strength of Tyree. I mean, its team. Joe and Dustin always know how to find daylight, and Jerome jukes with the best of them (and by them, I mean people better than us).

What a game! And if a goalpost is missing from Kickapoo High School’s practice field next Sunday night, you’ll know yet another great SOFA match has taken place. And that some punk kids stole the goalpost after we left. Different punk kids.

Game balls:

Shoeless Whoa: First-timer Kendrick joined in the game in the second half after driving by. He was wearing flip-flops, so he played barefoot (Ian’s extra shoes were too small, as they so often are). Ian asked Kendrick if playing barefoot wouldn’t hurt, but Kendrick said he’d be all right. And was he ever! Speedy tackles, offensive catches and at least one interception led FBI to speculate what could have been, if only he had been size 9...and arrived earlier...

Streetfaced: Tyree didn’t do much of note in this game. Well, for him, anyway. He had a solid outing on offense, with numerous “WTF” touchdowns. He had several interceptions, including one intended for an Ian touchdown, and a pick-six, which he says extends his streak, though a past recap probably refutes that (or that could just be me bitter over giving him like 39 of those). One thing’s clear: when Tyree isn’t out to play, he doesn’t notch more than one or two pick-sixes, max.

See you Sunday!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I'm as sick as Glenn Beck is normally

So I went to the clinic to get some health care reform. Afterwards, it was time to get the drugs. My options were essentially to stick it to Wal-Mart (by going to another pharmacy), or stick it to the pharmaceutical industry (with Wal-Mart's $4 generics). Wal-Mart won. Relish it, Wally World. Even a broken clock...

I'm currently on two pills and a bottle of prescription cough syrup that tastes a little too authentically grape. All three medications carry enough warning labels to resemble that terror color chart. Here are some of my favorites (so to speak):

"Take this medicine with a full glass of water."

Well, yeah. The pill's about as wide as my trachea, so that's a no-brainer. Or is this one of those optimist/pessimist riddles?

"Do not take antacids, vitamins, iron, or dairy products within 2 hours of taking this medicine."

Wait, wait...dairy products? Well, that might be so bad, except that everything I seem to eat has some milk buried in it. Those Girl Scout cookies will have to eat themselves, I guess. I don't even drink milk! Go figure.

This contraindication does have the benefit of making me sufficiently nauseated just thinking about what could happen if I let this pill and the dairy duke it out in my stomach to actually eat anything. So there's that.

"May cause drowsiness."

Drowsiness is pretty much the point of cough syrup, isn't it? Even if it is the kind that I specifically requested not to knock me out on its own terms.

"Alcohol may intensify this effect."

Alcohol intensifies a lot of effects.

"Use care when operating a car or dangerous machinery."

It's driver's ed on a bottle! I like, too, the distinction between "a car" and "dangerous machinery." Never the twain shall meet. And it goes without saying that you can continue to operate your harmless machinery with reckless abandon.

"MAY CAUSE DIZZINESS"

Or that may be from all the snot pressing against the inside of my head. Benefit of the doubt on this one.

"You should avoid prolonged or excessive exposure to direct and/or artificial sunlight while taking this medicine."

I don't even want to know. Let me remain ignorant on this one. Not that excessive exposure to direct sunlight is a problem in Missouri at this time of year, but STILL...

"This medicine may lower your ability to fight off infections."

Into repeat business, are ya?

"Avoid contact with people who have contagious diseases."

Which is how you avoid sickness in the first place.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Let's just all give up now

I read in an online forum this morning that gun-control laws don't work because "criminals don't follow the law!"

Then why have any laws at all?

It's a serious question, because the right's philosophy concerns the need to protect freedoms and warning of the perils of too much regulation. Apparently, laws aren't worth it if there's a possibility criminals might break them. And apparently, the solution to that is to have no laws for the criminal to break. At least as far as guns go. Abortion, marijuana, gay marriage? No Law Left Behind!

To say nothing of the paradox of having no criminals if there are no laws. Who would be the boogeyman then? Well, probably immigrants. But still...

Saturday, March 06, 2010

SOFA recaps for the past month

Every Sunday, I and a rotating cast of friends play flag football. We've been doing it for more than a year now, and the tradition is to write recaps. I fell far behind on this, but today we catch up. Here’s how our last four games turned out:

1/31: Age (Jack, Jerome, Joe) took on Beauty (Ian, Toy, Kenny). Age wins handily, 86-38. I think 86 was their combined age, too, minus about 30. True, the J-Cubed Age group has also largely played consistently since SOFA’s inception and thus had intense chemistry, whereas we were young and handsome, but really the game came down to a remarkable amount of interceptions by Age. Everybody deserves to grow old gracefully.

2/7: In one of the most bizarre games in SOFA history, Juggernaut (Jack, Trevor, Dave, Kenny, Chad) topped Juggernot (Ian, Caleb, Toy, Jerome), 43-42. What makes it bizarre is that Juggernot, not yet named that at the time, was winning 42-11 at the half. Then came The Trade: Jerome for Trevor. It made sense at the time. Sigh. This is no slight on Trevor, of course; he had a strong game. But DAMN. Well, Jerome certainly wins Player of the Game, Free Agent category.

2/14: I remember making a crude Valentine’s Day joke and that we lost yet again. But it was fun.

2/28: Just as nice weather came back in a big way, so did SOFA after a bye week. It was the week the turnout kept on giving as The Magnificent Seven (Tyree, Travis, Dave, Dustin, Trevor, Jameson, Caleb) topped the Unlucky Seven (Jerome, Ian, Bethany, Jack, Joe, David, Kenny), 78-48.

It started close, as it always does, but only because it doesn’t get closer than 0-0. I believe U-7 actually had the lead at one point, which makes the final score even sadder. It wasn’t from lack of trying, though; M-7 had numerous interceptions and defensive holds (the good-for-them kind, not the flag kind). In particular, Tyree served well at quarterback, throwing pinpoint passes and, on defense, notching a pick-six on Ian’s only throw of the game (figures).

Ultimately, U-7 played well on offense, but was unable to close the deal on most possessions. Also, the defense bent and broke. So, really, M-7, you had little to do with it. Well, having Dustin and Dave scramble and dive like madmen helps. So does having trucks like Tyree and Travis who made the field look like a superhighway. And Caleb is just plain crazy. Trevor scored a TD, too. So maybe you guys did have something to do with it after all.

But U-7 was solid in its own right. I mean, it’s hard to go wrong with that veteran lineup, so we were defying some pretty tough odds in that respect. Everyone played hard as always: Jerome scored some TDs, Ian had two (one of which deflected into his hands in the end zone) and Bethany had one. Actually, I think everybody scored at least once (though the points barely point out to that being possible). Still, Joe ran hard, Jack shined at quarterback and Kenny did his thing on defense.

Did I mention there were a whole lot of people on the field?

Game notes and balls:

Player of the game: Bethany returned to action for the first time since the weather got crummy, so long time no see! She made her mark right away, making dives and hard hits, catching long passes and exploding for a touchdown. She said repeatedly how out-of-shape she was, but we all do that every week. Even the people who do really well. Especially them. Strange how that works.

Channeling Vancouver: Dave made several flag tackles on Jerome that, by all logic, should not have worked and should have allowed Jerome to take it to the house at least twice. Dave’s maneuver involved leaping two or three feet in the air, executing a full 360-degree spin and grabbing Jerome’s flag as Jerome sped by. It was such a deft move that that it didn’t even make a ripping noise. Such grace and timing is rarely seen outside of the ice rink. So if the F in SOFA ever stands for “figure skating,” Dave’s got it covered. Also, he’d make a great pickpocket. Watch your wallets.

Daaaaaaa Bears: Yet another former MSU football alumnus made his SOFA debut this week. Travis is a former offensive lineman who we somehow let team up with Tyree. At this rate, a shutout is a very real possibility in the coming weeks.

Daaaaaaa Chiefs: And yet, when Jameson and David, two Kickapoo High players, came later and asked to play, we split them up. Psssht.

Non-trend of the week: For the second time in four games, a team had 42 points at halftime. But despite Ian’s trash talk (er, friendly reminders), that team didn’t lose embarrassingly this time.

Pete watch: We saw his car drive past twice during the game. Or at least the other guy we sometimes see who drives the same car. Either way, the result was the same.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

No sudden death for sudden death

So the NFL is talking about changing the rules of overtime.

Bad timing, bad idea.

Yes, I'm aware that the league has reportedly been bandying about this idea for years. But it still seems like the NFL rules committee meets in Minneapolis, if you catch my drift.

I was curious to see how the league would disrespect the Saints even after a decisive Super Bowl victory. At this point, it would have to be pretty creative. Well played.

One of the main proposals is to allow a team to win in sudden death only with a touchdown; if a team kicks a field goal, the other team gets a possession. At first read this seems like a fair solution, addressing the balance between pro wear-and-tear and the need for a fair, yet exciting, decision. But actually it's a stupid solution, because it undermines the most basic tenet of sports: whoever has the best score in the end wins. Either end it in sudden death or time it; to say that a team has to score six points to seal it, as opposed to three, is ridiculous. Points are points. This is simply a shot at micromanaging scoring strategy for drama, which is wrong even if this wasn't an inept attempt at it.

It also assumes that the coin flip literally decides the game, as if defenses aren't allowed to take the field. This also smacks of Brett Favre favoritism. I'm sick of hearing and reading about unfair it is that he didn't get to touch the ball in the NFC Championship. True, I'd probably be complaining too if the Vikings had monopolized the ball in overtime, but that would make me a whiny fan, not a movement.

The other primary idea is more along the lines of college football: give each team a drive until somebody chokes. I dislike this idea for two reasons: 1) Heart attacks run in my family, and 2) Well, I'm about to let you in on a deep, dark secret...

I don't particularly care about college football.

I know that puts me right up there with Barack Obama on the un-American scale, but I have to admit it - college football is simply too large and regional for me to follow. That isn't to say I didn't go to a lot of college games as a student; I did, and enjoyed them. But to me, the real appeal of college football lies in being part of a school or otherwise being in your favorite team's community. My particular college team, the UL Ragin' Cajuns, wasn't very good and didn't even have a conference for much of the time I went there, so they were never BCS-bound (I did love them, though, knew many of them and even worked at their facilities on a regular basis). And even though I grew up 20 miles from Devery Henderson, played high school ball with Trev Faulk and had a first cousin play under Nick Saban, I'm never particularly excited about LSU (to say nothing of the top teams whose states I've never been near, much less identify with). I'll watch the games with friends and family, sure, but they're not something I'd pursue on my own.

And because of that, I'm not particularly thrilled with seemingly endless college overtime. I certainly couldn't apply it to the pros, where my feelings are exactly the opposite intensity.

With the exception of my high school football years, when I found it too polished (and the Saints couldn't do diddly-poo), NFL football has always been my favorite. The relatively small number of teams. A definitive playoff system. Also, I like the rules better. Two feet in for a completion or score. Longer quarters. Elite play (at least for some teams). But, most of all, sudden death overtime.

Anyone who thinks that the current setup isn't dramatic enough apparently hasn't watched enough Garrett Hartley. Not that anyone can, really. Because no matter what the NFL decides, that memory will always stay with me and the rest of the Who Dat Nation.

Please don't let it be the last, NFL.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Hoax Hoax Hoax

Some people seem to think global warming is a hoax.

Not that it's not happening, or that it is happening and can't hurt us, or that humankind can't adversely affect it one way or another. But that it is a straight-up scam perpetrated by government-bankrolled scientists to keep their jobs and make us all dependent on the socialists or whatever. Not to mention, hey, AL GORE!!

Can somebody please explain that to me?

It seems to me that, even in eco-conscious 2010, all the big bucks are still in fossil fuels. What little lip-service you see towards green energy is almost inevitably some TV spot about how Chevron loves the eagles and whatnot. So if the scientists really wanted to get rich, hitching up with Exxon-Mobil, et al. would seem to me the way to go. As it is, many have gone that way.

If green technology was anywhere near the racket that petroleum is, the Middle East would be all over it. Any idea how much sun and wind is in Saudi Arabia?

As for Al Gore, well, it's a pretty pathetic argument that he's in it for the money. He comes from a Tennessee political and economic dynasty; has he ever needed the dough? Not likely. Furthermore, Gore isn't making huge profits; he has said under oath that proceeds from his endeavors are reinvested directly into more research and development. Last I checked, that's the same kind of business model conservatives revere when it's anyone other than Al Gore or the other liberal-leaning rich guys using it for anything other than sheer profit and/or prison. What happened to entrepreneurship being the lifeblood of America? Or is that only applicable when it's Wal-Mart?

Only critics of climate change could be so compartmentalized in their beliefs that they would denounce their precious free market - the very one they claim is under fire from environmentalists - to make their point.

Climate change is just another issue, like the tea parties, where I wish the people involved would just say what they really want to say and be done with it: "I don't believe in global warming because doing so means I'd have to make some minor changes in my daily life. And that would take effort and probably cost money, too. As an American, I won't stand for that. Greed is good."

Except greed for a greener planet, apparently.