Sunday, January 21, 2007

Weekend Off-Topic

Thoughts subject to even less than the usual amount of filtering....

  • So... The Patriots blew a 15 point second half lead, gace up 32 second half points, and their quarterback threw an interception in the final minute when he had an opportunity to win the game. So.. can we call them chokers?

    I kid, of course, but if the teams were reversed, you know that's what we'd be hearing about the Colts.

  • I heard more than one talking head criticize the Saints for poor "ball security" in the first hald leading to their early deficit.

    But, for example, when the ball was stripped from Michael Lewis, he had both arms wrapped around the ball. I'm not sure how he could have been more secure with the ball short of hitting the dirt at the first sign of contact.

    UPDATE: Peter King echoes this nugget -- I just don't think you can build your offense and special teams around not fumbling. And I think fumbles have more to do with the defense and luck than "taking care of the football."

  • Quick prediction -- Colts will be at least a touchdown favorite, and I'd take them.

  • These are the days when I'm glad we can't afford cable. As much as I like Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy, I'm not sure how many "First African American head coaches in the Super Bowl -- plus, they're great friends!" stories I could take.

    Really -- is there a less risky stand one could take than about how wonderful it is to see two African American head coaches in the Super Bowl, and how this should prove once and for all how capable African American coaches are?

    Prediction -- somebody in the next two weeks will say something stupid about this, and will be the media's whipping boy. Think Fuzzy Zoeller and Tiger Woods, or Vijay Singh and Annika Sorentam.

  • Re: Hillary's candidacy:

    With a president as ineffective as Bush has been, it's tempting to conclude that the bad situation is all his fault, but I think it goes deeper than that. I think we have to take a hard look at the system that has produced someone like Bush as president.

    I think part of this is the "Hey -- look at how awful they are!" type of politics. If I can point to something someone on the other side is doing that's worse than what I stand accused of doing, then I don't have to answer my critics.

    IMO, this play was introduced by the Clintonites, then perfected by the Bushies. And as far as I'm concerned Ms. Clinton is the standard bearer for this, with her going on the Today Show talking about a Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

    She either lied or was suckered, neither of which are admirable qualities in a president.

    I'm aware that Bush's untruths were of more consequence than his spouse's extramarital sex life. But I don't want a lesser liar; I want a non-liar. That may sound naive, but it's where I am.

    I can understand the desire for Democrats to win dirty, after the Bushies had already done it twice. But I'd rather see an Obama presidency built on hope (however amorphously defined) than a Clinton presidency built on how awful Rush Limbaugh is.

    Clinton may present Democrats with the shortest path to victory, but I'm not certain it's the kind of victory they want.

  • If I seem to be down a few brain cells, it's probably because attended the Sesame Street Live show last night.

    Actually, it was a pretty good show. My advice to parents -- either budget in the $8 for the Elmo mylar baloon, or start working on your reasons why you won't spend $8 for the same type of thing you could get at the dollar store.


Dawn Coyote said...

More on my travels in the Middle East: A lot of people said that 9/11 was a response to US foreign policy. "The people don't deserve it, but their government does." Just days after the US invaded Afghanistan, I repeated this to a German archaeologist whom I met in Palmyra: "They say, 'it's not the people...'" "It is the people," he said. "The Germans knew what Hitler was. His intentions were clear years in advance of the Third Reich. People knew. They were complicit, just as the US citizenry is complicit in the actions of its government."

Immediately after 9/11, people expressed their regret that Clinton had left office. They despised Bush, even before the invasion of Afghanistan. I'm betting they'd like the Clinton/Obama ticket. Maybe they'd even forget about the unfortunate second election of Bush.

A Clinton/Obama win would go a long way toward restoring the US's honor in the court of international public opinion.

sydbristow said...

I mildly disagree with dawn.

Mainly from trips to Saudi and Turkey, pre and post 9/11 by a couple of years. I get/got the feeling that it wasn't the people. In a bad sense, maybe, in that the expectation of Americans was that they were ignorant (i.e. of the affairs of their government), and abnormally self-centered (i.e. consumed with their self-importance, but in a fun and innocent kind of way). Is it the same thing? Close, but I don't think so.

I come back to the great little movie Control Room. Throughout that movie the main Arab intellectual-type guy was bemoaning American incompetence, heavy-handedness and idiocy in the days following the fall of Baghdad. He spoke with such quiet passion and understanding and strength of conviction. It was like he was cheering for 'good America'. And at the end of the movie he said, Sure, he'd take a journalist job in America, in a New York minute, sort of thing. (Sellout!, I wanted to yell at the screen)

the Reverend Bacon said...

Oh, we can call them chokers all right. (It was the stupid, stupid penalties that killed them, btw -- it should never have come down to that final pick.) And I gotta give Manning credit, he was playing out of his brain in the second half -- just a crazy great performance. Sigh.

Still, what a game.

The earlier game -- blech. I barely paid attention to the second half.

Schadenfreude said...


One German archeologist is hardly a representative sample of...anything.

It doesn't matter who is president (although Obama might make them sit up and take notice - I'd give him about a 3-month honeymoon before he gets burned in effigy).

At least the Colts-Pats game was exciting to watch, for an American game.

Suggestions to improve the game:

1. No fair catches
2. 20 second play clock
3. 3 downs

symbnt said...

WikiFray’s visits surpassed wagtheslate’s over the weekend.

From a post I didn’t finish writing entitled “Mission Impossible” where I started assigning tasks to each of you that you would not accept.

ghost: Settle on a single MBTU.
Gregor: Email me.

ghost and Gregor:
a) Treat ScienceBlogs like you did Slate when you first started posting; b) “Post a Comment” URL:; c) Join; d) Post responses on WikiFray as opposed to comments on ScienceBlogs ([or both] just be sure to include a link to the ScienceBlog entry you are responding to.

Schad: Join.
Dawn Coyote
daveto: Become WikiFray’s Cuba correspondent.
Elbo Ruum

Mission Grab-bag:

1. Best/Worst/Something of 2007. Truth of the matter is, the best yearend lists are those that were compiled all year long (as opposed to the usual method of trying to cobble one together at the same time you’re breaking your new year’s resolutions). So, think about what would make for a good list and start compiling.

2. The Jinx is dead, the Jinx is dead. Or something like that. Here is how it works. The fray editor gets word that the fray is going to get some attention. He so wants to be liked again, he lets it slip. As a consequence, people start looking at the TOC. A week goes by, nothing. A month, nothing. Eventually, people start resenting the fray editor because, ironically, he just wanted to be liked again. Your mission is to be the first to post that the jinx is dead.

3. Read WikiFray, and when you see a post that might appeal to someone you know, email it to them.

symbnt said...

Also, I note that Slate has added a bookmarking option. See the “[+] RECOMMENDED” at bottom of any article, next to print, discuss, email.

sydbristow said...

bacon: they (NE) are just a bad team. Brady's like that one competent guy in the office with a bunch of nitwits, has-beens, goofballs and stoners (and again, yes, I include the coach: e.g. the fumble recovery touchdown for Indy wasn't a touchdown, the guy was in the end zone but the ball wasn't). those receivers are pathetic, they look like rejects from the arena football league (with one too many crashes into the end boards), the defense is a giant sieve, bruschi looks like he's like playing in some hospital intramural league, and corey dillon, well, to be positive, he reminds me of earl campbell -- if earl campbell were playing now. at some point the truth of your situation has to rear it's head and how depressing is that?

ender: howdee.

gregor: you steal my Maria thing?

JohnMcG said...

This is the type of shit I'm beyond tired of.

With all the problems we're facing today, does anyone give a damn what Chuck Schumer calls his imaginary constituent family?

"Well, I'd like to vote for the Democrats, but I saw that Chuck Schumer referred to an imaginary family using 2 different Irish surnames, and I think we need someone more decisive than that."


the Reverend Bacon said...

syd: watching with me last night, my wife kept herself entertained by pointing out which players she felt convinced were on drugs during the game. (Generally going by the eyes.) I didn't keep track, but I'd guess about 70% of the players she picked out as "hopped up" were NE. So, you know -- "Okay, okay."

sydbristow said...

john: your original post, the Hillary bit, put me in mind of an article, Untruth and Consequences, from this month's Atlantic which I've now (foolishly or not) added to my blog. No comment, really, it just seems like a lot of common sense, and didn't check the audio links yet to see if they work.

bacon: just tell her it's typical of those Ontario people, they're born smart and then just keep on getting smarter. [ducks]

Schadenfreude said...

With all the problems we're facing today, does anyone give a damn what Chuck Schumer calls his imaginary constituent family?

Well...yeah - at least they should.

I mean...if you just give up and assume that they're all lying all of the time, then I guess it's OK (but then how do you decide who to vote for?).

Personally, I don't like people who assume that I'm so stupid I won't notice.

Schadenfreude said...

PS. [snicker].

Dawn Coyote said...

Agony Lab submissions and update. Comments/suggestions are welcome.

Dawn Coyote said...

syd: do we disagree? "It is the people" came from another tourist - a fairly sophisticated one. I guess I meant to say that Middle Easterners I talked to mostly see the administration as culpable, but not the people, even if that's not exactly accurate. If you're saying that MEers see Americans more or less as innocent hedonists - that's consistent with what I found.

Schad: you can always consider my little comments to be more anecdotal than evidentiary, because what the fuck do I know?

sydbristow said...

dawn: probably not. or I'm being dorkish. I guess I'm wanting to say that (that German guy was saying): the Germans knew, their sin is they did nothing; the Americans don't know, their sin is wilful ignorance. in the end, it's the same thing (I guess). even if I'm right (which I'm likely not).

Geoff said...

Dawn & Syd... I'm not sure if it's relevant to your discussion. But I think the American people know more than they let on. Can there be a democratic conspiracy?