Posts categorized “Series”

2014 Year in Review - The Good, the Bad, and the Ridiculous (and the Funny)

January 3, 2015   6:54 pm

I missed this in 2013, and this is not a 3-post series as usual. Instead of writing a lot about each topic, I’ll give a short reason I categorized it where I did. Please make no assumptions or conclusions about what I don’t say; the fact that people are so apt to do that should probably make the “Bad” list, but not this year. Since this is a single post, we’ll lead with…

The Good

  • No Terrorism at World Stage Events - 2014 saw the Winter Olympics in Russia and the World Cup in Brazil. Neither were marred by terrorism.
  • 16 Out of 20 Ain’t Bad - Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood did not want to provide coverage for 4 of the 20 forms of “birth control” mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as they work post-conception (an “abortofacient”). The Supreme Court agreed, in a rare victory for religious freedom.
  • Plummeting Oil Prices - In spite of the current administration’s best efforts, our economy overcame them. The “Drill, Baby, Drill” crowd was vindicated, as an explosion in US oil production caused prices to drop substantially. Fracking has enabled this boom while preserving the environment, and the drop in prices has hit hostile-to-us oil-based economies hard. It’s a big win-win that progressives still can’t throughly grasp.
  • Republicans Win Control of Congress - This is a qualified “good” entry, assuming that they’ll govern as they ran. Hey, there’s a first time for everything, right?
  • Tennessee Football Rises - Playing an SEC schedule and non-gimme out-of-conference games with the youngest team in FBS is a recipe for a 3-9 season; the Vols made it 6-6 (and, since this is written after their bowl, 7-6) and have great momentum for 2015.

The Bad

  • The Deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner - Neither the Brown nor Garner families had loved ones with them this Christmas that they had last Christmas. There may be speculation as to the incidents surrounding their deaths (and neither are going to trial, so we’ll likely never fully know), but even the public knowing every little detail of what happened will not bring these young men back to their families.
  • Colorado Going to Pot - The first year’s experiment with legalized marijuana has not gone well. Assurances that children will not be able to easily get it have evaporated, and nearly all the tax money it’s generated has gone to enforcement. Their governor caught some heat for saying that the citizens acted foolishly, but the facts certainly indicate he was correct in his assessment.
  • Ebola - 2014 was the year Ebola came to America. While there were some ridiculous things with how it was handled, the bad was limited, with some who contracted the disease surviving, and a new set of medical protocols helping to protect those who care for people.
  • ISIS - Nearly 10 years after being freed, Iraq fell back into enslavement thanks to a group coming in to make a hostile takeover, combined with an army that was not willing to fight for what it had won. Islamic law marches on, while Christians die, in a place where thousands of Americans gave their lives to win freedom.
  • Russian Aggression Versus Ukraine - Russia invaded and took over part of another sovereign nation. They do not appear to be done yet.

The Ridiculous

  • The Handling of the Death of Michael Brown / The Reaction to the Brown Grand Jury Verdict / The Reaction to the Garner Grand Jury Verdict - Ferguson and Missouri police handled the initial aftermath of Brown’s shooting about as poorly as you could. The riots once the grand jury failed to indict Darren Wilson were unnecessary and unhelpful (and unwanted by Michael Brown’s family), and the “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” gesture would have been impactful had it been based in verified fact (which it was not). This was also the case where “unarmed teen” is supposed to imply harmless, peaceful, law-abiding child, but video showed a certain store owner who would dispute that characterization. Once the Garner verdict came out, there were die-ins all across the country, proving nothing, but inconveniencing people who had nothing to do with anything surrounding the case. Two dead New York policemen and one in Florida, at last reports, still hadn’t brought Michael Brown or Eric Garner back to their families. (If I have a chance, there will be much more on this in my MLK post.)

    p.s. ALL lives matter.

  • Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Missing E-mails - Under oath, and subpoena from Congress, IRS chief Lois Lerner claimed to have lost her e-mail. This was after other e-mails came out that pretty much confirmed their deliberate targeting of conservative groups leading up to the 2012 election. While those e-mails were “found” toward the end of the year, this Watergate-esque dodge was pathetic. IT does not work that way, and if it does, those people need to be fired.

  • Computer Security - This was a bad year for computer security. “HeartBleed,” “Shell Shock,” and “Poodle” were names given to long-existing exploits that were discovered in the software that runs much of the Internet. Target fessed up about how large their breach was, and Home Depot let a lot of customer information get away as well. Finally, targeted attacks released iCloud data from celebrities, while an (internal? North Korean? We don’t know yet…) attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment released salaries, movies, even e-mails among leaders and actors. (Maybe we should sic the Guardians of Peace on the IRS!) Hopefully some good will come of this; if nothing else, it will make people think about security before they trust a “cloud” service with their information.

  • Kaci Hickox - Kaci is a nurse who was exposed to Ebola. She defied quarantine, though, and created a lot of concern. While she ultimately was not found to have the disease, her foolish, selfish actions stirred up a lot of concern in her community. As a medical professional, she should have known better. But, of course, if she had, then her name wouldn’t be on some random guy’s blog in a year-in-review post, would it?

The Funny

Continuing his tradition which he didn’t miss last year, Dave Barry has his take on the year’s events.

Here’s to 2015 - let’s hope it’s a good one!

2014 College Football - Weeks 12-14

December 9, 2014   9:51 pm

Thanksgiving and vacation conspired to keep me away from here. How did my teams finish their seasons?

11/15 Results
Tennessee Volunteers 50, Kentucky Wildcats 16 (W)
New Mexico Lobos 21, Utah State Aggies 28 (L)
#9 Auburn Tigers 7, #15 Georgia Bulldogs 34 (L)
#1 Mississippi State Bulldogs 20, #5 Team That Shall Not Be Named 25 (L)

11/22 Results
Tennessee Volunteers 21, #20 Missouri Tigers 29 (L)
Colorado State Rams 58, New Mexico Lobos 20 (W)
#14 Auburn Tigers 31, Samford Bulldogs 7 (W)
Western Carolina Catamounts 14, #1 Team That Shall Not Be Named 48 (L)

11/29 Results
Tennessee Volunteers 24, Vanderbilt Commodores 17 (W)
Colorado State Rams 24, Air Force Falcons 27 (L)
#15 Auburn Tigers 44, #1 Team That Shall Not Be Named 55 (L)
New Mexico Lobos 36, Wyoming Cowboys 30 (W)

These 3 Weeks: 5-7
Final: 30-26 (.536)

Above 500, but nowhere close to where I’d hoped. However, all three of my primary teams are going bowling, which is way better than last year, so I don’t know that I can complain. Tennessee will be taking on Iowa in the Taxslayer Bowl on January 2nd, Colorado State meets former Mountain West foe Utah in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl on December 20th, and #19 Auburn gets #18 Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day. (As if I needed another reason to crave cheese fries!)

See you next year!

2014 College Football - Weeks 10 and 11

November 9, 2014   2:37 pm

Quite a swing over the past two weeks. Week 10 saw the first 4-0 week this season; week 11 saw us nearly give it all back. I’m also glad that I picked a replacement game rotation, because I missed some off weeks when I was putting the schedule together back in September.

11/1 Results
Tennessee Volunteers 45, South Carolina Gamecocks 42 (W)
Colorado State Rams 38, San José State Spartans 31 (W)
#3 Auburn Tigers 35, #4 Ole Miss Rebels 31 (W)
New Mexico Lobos 31, UNLV Rebels 28 (W)

11/8 Results
New Mexico Lobos 49, Boise State Broncos 60 (L) (Tennessee off)
Colorado State Rams 49, Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors 22 (W)
#3 Auburn Tigers 38, Texas A&M Aggies 41 (L)
#16 LSU Tigers 13, #5 Team That Shall Not Be Named 20 (L)

These 2 Weeks: 5-3
Cumulative: 25-19 (.568)

Colorado State is #23 in today’s AP rankings - nice job, Rams! Enjoy your week off. Next week, Tennessee looks to pull within a game of bowl eligibility against Kentucky; Auburn visits a smarting and likely fired-up Georgia; and - uh, how should I put this - HAIL STATE!

2014 College Football - Weeks 8 and 9

October 28, 2014   9:11 pm

A busy two weeks for me, a crummy two weeks for my #1 team, a great two weeks for my #2 team, and a weird on week for my #3 team. Throw in some questionable officiating, and you’re pretty much up to speed.

10/18 Results
Tennessee Volunteers 3, #3 Ole Miss Rebels 34 (L)
Colorado State Rams 16, Utah State Aggies 13 (W)
New Mexico Lobos 31, Air Force Academy Falcons 35 (L)
#21 Texas A&M Aggies 0, #7 Really Mad 1-Loss, 1-Barely-Win Team 59 (L)

10/25 Results
Tennessee Volunteers 20, #4 Returning Turncoats 34 (L)
Colorado State Rams 45, Wyoming Cowboys 31 (W)
#5 Auburn Tigers 42, South Carolina Gamecocks 35 (W)
Troy Trojans 13, South Alabama Jaguars 27 (L)

These 2 Weeks: 3-5
Cumulative: 20-16 (.556)

With the first playoff rankings released this week, one of the games next week is #3 Auburn vs. #4 Ole Miss; that should be a good one. Tennessee visits Columbia to see if they can give Steve Spurrier an L, while Colorado State has the opportunity for some separation in the Mountain West if they can beat San José State on the road.

2014 College Football - Week 7

October 13, 2014   9:28 pm

This past weekend was certainly an interesting one. I didn’t get to watch very much, though, so let’s jump straight to the scores.

10/11 Results
Tennessee Volunteers 45, Chattanooga Mocs 10 (W)
Colorado State Rams 31, Nevada Wolf Pack 24 (W)
#2 Auburn Tigers 23, #3 Mississippi State Bulldogs 38 (L)
Arkansas Razorbacks 13, #7 Team That Shall Not Be Named 14 (L)

This Week: 2-2
Cumulative: 17-11 (.607)

This upcoming weekend, Tennessee tries to become the first team this year to beat an SEC team from Mississippi as they visit #3 Ole Miss; Colorado State hosts Utah State for homecoming game; we go for our first alternate over our second as New Mexico goes to play Air Force; and we’ll look for Texas A&M to end their 2-game skid.

2014 College Football - Weeks 5 and 6

October 4, 2014   10:42 pm

I realized that, when I went to write up today’s games, that I hadn’t ever written up last week’s games. Hours later, I’m still steamed over the officiating in the Tennessee / Florida game. If you can block in the back, flagrantly hold, tackle a receiver so you can intercept the ball - you just might win. However, tempering my steam are the results of the other games on my slate. This was two tough weeks in a row for Tennessee.

9/27 Results
Tennessee Volunteers 32, #12 Georgia Bulldogs 35 (L)
Colorado State Rams 24, Boston College Eagles 21 (W)
#5 Auburn Tigers 45, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 17 (W)
New Mexico Lobos 24, Fresno State Bulldogs 35 (L)

10/4 Results
Tennessee Volunteers 9, Florida Gators 10 (L)
Colorado State Rams 42, Tulsa Golden Hurricane 17 (W)
#5 Auburn Tigers 41, #15 LSU Tigers 17 (W)
#11 Ole Miss Rebels 23, #3 Team That Shall Not Be Named 17 (W)

These 2 Weeks: 5-3
Cumulative: 15-9 (.625)

Next weekend, Tennessee hosts Chattanooga, Colorado State visits Nevada, Auburn gets a crack at Mississippi State, and Arkansas hosts the former #3 team. The recap for next week will not be posted on Saturday, because Colorado State’s game is past my bedtime. :) See you next week!

2014 College Football - Weeks 3 and 4

September 21, 2014   2:51 pm

Thanks to two driving Saturdays, I didn’t catch much college football. I did catch some of Thursday’s Auburn / Kansas State game, and it was a good one. However, I’ll dispense with the commentary and just see how I did over the past two weeks.

9/13 Results (AKA “Yay for the Mountain West!”)
Tennessee Volunteers 10, #4 Oklahoma Sooners 34 (L)
Colorado State Rams 49, UC Davis Aggies 21 (W)
Air Force Falcons 48, Georgia State Panthers 38 (W)
Southern Miss Golden Eagles 12, #3 Team That Shall Not Be Named 52 (L)

9/20 Results
New Mexico Lobos 38, New Mexico State Aggies 35 (W)
#14 South Carolina Gamecocks 48, Vanderbilt Commodores 34 (W)
#5 Auburn Tigers 20, #20 Kansas State Wildcats 14 (W)
Florida Gators 21, #3 Team That Shall Not Be Named 42 (L)

These 2 Weeks: 5-3
Cumulative: 10-6 (.625)

Special thanks to my 3 replacement games for all being winners. This next week, Tennessee visits a Georgia team that they hope used up all their points this past week, Colorado State visits a strong Boston College team, Auburn hosts Louisiana Tech, and New Mexico hosts a Fresno State team with a similar record. See you next week!

2014 College Football - Week 2

September 7, 2014   3:41 pm

This weekend pretty much came down the way I expected. The Volunteers defeated the Red Wolves, though there was more effort there than the final score would lead one to believe. The Rams showed some fire in the 4th quarter, but were outlasted by the Broncos, while the Tigers mauled the Spartans, and Mother Nature invoked her version of the Owl sacrifice mercy rule.

9/6 Results
Tennessee Volunteers 34, Arkansas State Red Wolves 19 (W)
Colorado State Rams 24, Boise State Broncos 37 (L)
#5 Auburn Tigers 59, San José State Spartans 13 (W)
Florida Atlantic Owls 0, #2 Team That Shall Not Be Named 41 (L)

This Week: 2-2
Cumulative: 5-3 (.625)

Next week, Tennessee gets to visit #4 Oklahoma - this must be the fire-hardening step in the “brick by brick” process. Colorado State hosts UC Davis, Auburn is off (so we’ll pay attention to Air Force playing at Georgia Southern instead), and the Southern Miss Golden Eagles try to replicate the recent success other teams with eagles as mascots have had against the #2 team in the country.

2014 College Football - Week 1

August 31, 2014   11:59 pm

The first weekend of college football is in the books. With the holiday weekend, our games were spread across three days. On Friday night, the Rams spotted the Buffs a 10-point lead, then turned on the jets. On Saturday, the Tigers feasted on fresh Razorback, while the Tide was a bit to strong for the hearty Mountaineers to overcome. On Sunday, Tennessee jumped out to an early lead, in part due to Utah State errors, and then wore them down in the second half. All in all, a great first week!

8/30 Results
Tennessee Volunteers 38, Utah State Aggies 7 (W)
Colorado State Rams 31, Colorado Buffaloes 17 (W)
#6 Auburn Tigers 45, Arkansas 31 (W)
West Virginia Mountaineers 23, #2 Team That Shall Not Be Named 33 (L)

This Week: 3-1
Cumulative: 3-1 (.750)

Looking forward to next week, Tennesse hosts Arkansas State, Colorado State opens Mountain West play against Boise State, Auburn gets in on the Mountain West action by hosting San José State, and rumor has it there will be a Owl sacrifice west of Birmingham. See you then!

2014 College Football - Week 0

August 22, 2014   10:47 pm

It’s back! 4 teams each week, looking for a winning record; last year, I went 23-33, for a .411 average. New this year, I will set a default line-up for fill-in teams for off weeks or conflicts. First alternate is the University of New Mexico Lobos, and second alternate is the Air Force Academy Falcons. When both of those are unavailable, I continue my willy-nilly picking of replacement teams. This year, the teams are:

  • The University of Tennessee Volunteers - Coming off a nice first-year effort, #Team118 is looking to add their bricks to the “brick by brick” rebuilding that Butch Jones began leading last year. The schedule is pretty tough this year; three opponents are in the preseason top-10, and six are in the top 25. Wins will certainly have to be earned. (September 20th: UNM over New Mexico State Aggies)
  • The Colorado State University Rams - Jim McElwain enters his third season as head coach on a high note, with a late-game victory in the New Mexico Bowl to end last year. However, CSU graduated a cadre of seniors who had played together for several years, and the second team is now the first team. While none of their opponents on the schedule are ranked in the top 25, their path to a bowl invitation will be an uphill journey. (September 20th: South Carolina Gamecocks over Vanderbilt Commodores)
  • The Auburn University Tigers - I’m switching the third team this year, bringing in the favorite team from the “in-law” side of my family. Gus Malzahn sets out to show that last year was not a fluke, and with the personnel he has returning, he has a good chance of showing just that. Ranked 6 in the preseason polls, they have six top 25 teams in their schedule, plus the #2 team in the Iron Bowl. Auburn could win its way to a rematch with Florida State, but they will have to do just that - win. (September 13th: AFA over Georgia State Panthers)
  • As per tradition, any team that can give Lame Kitten an (L). That team is a switch this year as well.
    • August 30 - West Virginia Mountaineers
    • September 6th - Florida Atlantic Owls
    • September 13th - Southern Miss Golden Eagles
    • September 20th - Florida Gators
    • September 27th - Off (UNM over Fresno State Bulldogs, played September 26th)
    • October 4th - Ole Miss Rebels
    • October 11th - Arkansas Razorbacks
    • October 18th - Texas A&M Aggies
    • October 25th - Team #1 (Troy Trojans over South Alabama Jaguars, played October 24th)
    • November 8th - LSU Tigers
    • November 15th - Mississippi State Bulldogs
    • November 22nd - Western Carolina Catamounts
    • November 29th - Team #3 (UNM over Wyoming Cowboys)

Let the games begin… next week!