Saturday 1 December 2007
Thursday 29 November 2007
Sunday 25 November 2007
Wednesday 21 November 2007
In the Star Trek episode "Operation: Annihilate!", Mr. Spock is infected with a mind-controlling parasite. As an experiment to remove the parasite, Spock is exposed to the full spectrum of light at high intensity. However, when Spock is blinded by the experiment and lab reports show that the parasite is vulnerable to spectra of light invisible to humans, Kirk blames McCoy for blinding Spock. Note the following:
- Captain Kirk rejects the "logical" proposal by Mr. Spock that the infected inhabitants of Denev be destroyed to prevent the spread of the parasite. Apparently concerned about his legacy, Captain Kirk refuses to be the man who killed a million people to save a billion.
- The "expose the space aliens to light" plan was based on Captain Kirk's own suggestion that the parasite may be vulnerable to light. None of the science or medical officers on board the Enterprise's "best in the galaxy" labs have come up with or endorsed this apparently desperate plan of action.
- The experiment was rushed on the orders of an emotional Captain Kirk so that he may save his nephew, who has also been infected. Kirk's earlier plan of interrogating his sister-in-law for information about the parasite and its weaknesses resulted in her death.
- Captain Kirk orders Mr. Spock to participate despite Dr. McCoy's objections. Though Spock is willing to participate (as the logical participant), McCoy is concerned that Spock should have eye protection, a concern that Kirk immediately and unreasonably overrides.
The moral to this story: If you're going to be a dick, be a Captain.
On a side note, immediately after ridding the planet Denev of the parasitic invaders, Captain Kirk orders the Enterprise out of orbit. This is despite the fact that he has just left his only nephew, Peter, an orphan on the planet's surface. Nice show of compassion, Captain Dick.
Monday 19 November 2007
I just returned from Philadelphia, where my brother and I watched the Philadelphia Eagles defeat the Miami Dolphins. Despite the scattered rain, bitter cold, and Dolphins' tenth loss of the season (0 for 10: we're still prefect!), I had a great time.
Philadelphia fans have a reputation as real assholes. And I can now tell you first hand that everything that you hear about them is all true. Though most of the fans were good natured before and during the game (a father pointed me out to his toddler as "the enemy," the security guard frisking me upon entering harassed me for wearing Dolphins' gear to the game, and the attendant who announced the discontinuation of alcohol service at halftime urged the crowd to yell at me instead of her), by the fourth quarter, with the Eagles' firmly in control of the game, the fans had worked up enough courage to devolve into a surly bunch of jerks. One fellow continued to taunt me until the final second ticked off the clock for supporting a "bunch of losers," and another that I encountered in line for the bathroom told me that "the Dolphins' fucking suck" and he hoped that I personally would die a slow and painful death.
My brother repeatedly pointed out that insulting me for being a Dolphins' fan during this winless season was the equivalent of abusing a helpless puppy. Well, now I know how Philadelphians treat puppies: they must be Michael Vick fans.
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Wednesday 14 November 2007
As you may have heard, Georgia is in the midst of a drought. Yesterday, our Governor, Sonny Perdue, led a public prayer for rain on the grounds of the state capital. Amusingly enough, the prayer was protested.
Sure, I might have problems with state sponsored prayer. But I've really got better things to do than to protest against people praying for rain. I mean, where's the up side in that protest? If you're right, and faith shouldn't be invoked to solve the drought, how do you propose that we force the atmosphere to deliver us precipitation? If you're wrong, and appeasing a higher power is what is required to make it rain, you've doomed us all. In either case, by raining on this parade, you're not helping to make it any more wet around here.
Now that it's raining a day later, clearly proving that prayer works (sorry all you people who lost loved ones to disease, God doesn't love you as much as he loves Sonny Perdue), those same protesters are no doubt worried that solutions to other local problems will be sought with prayer instead of legislation. Maybe God can prevent a recurrence of the perfect storm that led to Genarlow Wilson becoming national news at Georgia's expense. Or maybe God can decide what to do about the pesky problems with Atlanta traffic jams. Or potential construction costs and controversial plans for the Hartsfield-Jackson airport expansion. Or what to do about putting too much salt on a police officer's complementary hamburger. (Or even police officers who arrest people for putting too much salt on their complementary hamburgers.)
Hell, why don't we just go ahead and put God to the ultimate test: see if he can make the Atlanta Falcons football team have two consecutive winning seasons for the first time in franchise history. (That's asking for just 18 wins over two seasons.) Or what if we pray that the Atlanta Thrashers hockey team wins a game in the playoffs? (They were the best team in the regular season last year. How hard can it be to win one post season game?) Or, if we're looking for a real challenge, how about giving the Atlanta Hawks basketball team a .500 or better season. (Not only hasn't this happened this century, the Hawks' playoff record makes the Thrashers appear to be over-achievers.)
I'm not asking for miracles here. I'm just looking for Atlanta professional sports to not suck. That doesn't seem nearly as hard as making it rain, does it?
Saturday 10 November 2007
Now back to football: UGA 45, Auburn 20. (Satisfying. Oh, so satisfying. It was the most points anyone had scored on Auburn since we hung 56 on them over a decade ago. And this is the first time that UGA has scored 40 or more points in a game in 3 consecutive games since the 1940s.)
This was the last UGA game of the season that I will be attending. I'll be missing next week's game so that I can travel to the Dolphins vs. Eagles contest in Philadelphia. Fitting, I suppose, that the fans all wore black to the game this week to mark my passing.
Thursday 8 November 2007
A friend of mine has been complaining that too many of my recent blog postings have had to do with football. So, to honor the wishes of my dear friend, this posting has nothing to do with football.
Saturday 3 November 2007
Dogs win for homecoming! Bulldogs 44, Troy 34. I think this game had just about everything that you could've asked for in a football game. An F-14 flyover, an enthusiastic crowd, and an alumni band and cheerleader squad. Not to mention that for the better part of 4 quarters, it was anybody's game.
But it shouldn't pass without controversy. Down 10 points and losing yards to penalties and a suddenly swarming Bulldog defense, Troy's coach, Larry Blakeney, seemed to give up late in the fourth quarter when his team chose not to attempt to convert a 3rd and 29 from their own 16 yard line, instead opting for a short yardage run up the middle to set up the punt. Invigorated by Troy's decision to give up the game, the Bulldogs returned the punt to Troy's 2 yard line, from which they easily scored their final touchdown to drive the victory margin up to 17 points.
Troy's next possession was a quick 4 and out. No attempt to punt, but it certainly appeared that since the coach had given up on the team, the team didn't care to play anymore. And why should they? What was the point if the coach had already thrown in the towel on the game? Taking advantage of the situation, the Bulldogs ate another about half the remaining time off the clock and gave the ball back to Troy with more than 2 minutes remaining. That's when things got weird.
For their final drive, Troy put in their second string. And drove the ball down the field. When they reached the UGA 35 yard line, they took a timeout with 34 seconds remaining. Two plays later, having reached the UGA 4 yard line, they took their second timeout with 18 seconds remaining. Failing to score, they took their final timeout with a mere 11 seconds remaining. That's right: eleven seconds in the game. Down 17 points. With the second team in the game. Troy called their third timeout. Sure, on the next play they scored. But with so little time remaining, the game was over.
The question becomes why Troy's coach called those last two timeouts on consecutive plays with less than 18 seconds in the game. The likely answer was to ensure that he scored another touchdown to keep the margin of victory at 10 points. He called those timeouts not to win the game, which with a mere 11 seconds remaining is essentially impossible, but to ensure the scoring of the touchdown. (Note that after the score, with 5 seconds on the clock, he chose not to onside kick, but rather to kick a regular kickoff 40 yards deep to kill the remaining clock.) In the Coach's own words to ESPN following the game:
"The crowd that stayed booed us for trying to execute, which was funny," Blakeney said. "I think we certainly had the potential to win, and I doubt we'll get any quick invites back here."
Sir, we didn't boo you for trying to execute, we booed you for wasting our time.
"The potential to win"? Down 17 points with only 18 seconds left, victory is all but impossible. Certainly, I am completely unaware of any time when such a large margin was overcome so late in a football game. In an earlier game today, Clemson scored 16 points in 39 seconds (two touchdowns separated by a safety), a rare and amazing scoring pace that is one fewer point than what Troy needed in more than twice the time. Clemson running back Cullin Harper said of Clemson's performance, "that's the fastest I've ever seen 16 points scored." By comparison, Clemson's all-time fastest back-to-back touchdowns were scored just 14 seconds apart. But two touchdowns is still fewer points than Troy needed at that point in the game. Seventeen points is at least three scores.
Since the coach had all but given up the game two possessions earlier, and he had replaced his starting players with second-stringers, there are only three possibilities. One is that he intended to give his second-string players some experience. This possibility is a necessary evil of football and would not require a lie to cover it up. Another possibility is that he wished to ensure that the record books didn't include such a lopsided score. Unpleasant and selfish, but understandable. But the worst of all is the possibility that the coach was gambling on his team. Or at least encouraging it.
After the game I checked and found that at most Las Vegas casinos, the spread on the game was between 14 or 15 points in the Bulldog's favor. By struggling to score that last touchdown, Coach Blakeney was ensuring that his team would beat the spread. This no doubt won money for gamblers backing Troy and the spread. However, beating the spread serves no purpose on the field of play and should never be the concern of a coach or a team of players. It's an embarrassing day when the head coach of a highly touted (reigning Sun-Belt Conference champion) Division-IA football team is more concerned about beating a gambling spread than winning his game. Embarrassing and disgraceful.
There is at least one thing that I agree with Coach Blakeney about. I also certainly doubt that UGA will extend any more invites to have Troy back, either.
Friday 2 November 2007
While doing some work in front of the television, I watched Match Game 75 on the Game Show Network. A little old lady played for two rounds wherein she gave some of the worst answers ever. Originally, I had planned to just list them here. Instead, I've embedded them in the following game simulation. The contestant got zero correct in the episode. See if you can't do better. (My apologies to Joyce Bulifant. I gave her the answers that the idiot contestant gave to make the game more playable. In this episode, for a change, Joyce gave reasonable answers.)