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!


Rape Culture Warriors

June 10, 2014   9:57 pm

Who would have thought that a beauty pageant would bring rape to the forefront of American conversation? Yet, this year’s Miss USA pageant has done just that, in two different aspects. As you may have already surmised, this post will deal with rape by name, but in the abstract. You have been warned.

Nia Sanchez, Miss Nevada, with the "MISS USA" sash placed over her shoulder First up is the winner, Nia Sanchez. She entered the competition as Miss Nevada, and it is her interview answer that’s getting the attention. She was asked about the spike in rapes on college campuses, and she replied:

“I believe that some colleges may potentially be afraid of having a bad reputation, and that would be a reason it could be swept under the rug, because they don’t want that to come out into the public. But I think more awareness is very important so women can learn how to protect themselves. Myself, as a fourth-degree black-belt, I learned from a young age you need to be confident and be able to defend yourself, and I think that is something we should start to implement for a lot of women.”

Now, you may be reading that thinking, “OK, where’s the controversy?” The backlash has been mostly from leftist feminists, with a common response being “Instead of telling women to defend themselves and victim-blaming, why don’t we tell men not to rape?”

Now, I’m going to set this off in a larger font, in bold, all-capital letters, so that if any of these lunkheads venture over here, it’ll stand out, and maybe they’ll get the point.

ADVOCATING SMART SELF-DEFENSE IS NOT VICTIM BLAMING!

See, you can tell men all you want not to rape, and the vast majority of them will get it. In actuality, the vast majority aren’t rapists to begin with, contrary the leftist feminist talking points. A large number of victims does not equate to a large number of perpetrators. So, by all means, educate. The men who grew up raping in video games or watching rape fantasy pornography may have their minds reoriented, and not become perpetrators.

That leaves us with the men who will not alter their behavior, and continue to think it’s OK for them to do that. Why in the world would you get onto someone for advocating that women learn how to defend themselves? I’ve been around a while, and this tip-toeing around the defense issue has done nothing but make the numbers of victims skyrocket. Punch, kick, shoot - whatever it takes, learn the skills to give yourself the greatest chance to not become a victim.

Let me take a quick minute to address the “victim blaming” charge. There are people who do this; however, there are people who would categorize what I’ve written above, particularly that last sentence, as victim blaming. Those people are just as useless as actual victim blamers. Yes, a woman should be able to do whatever she wants and maintain a reasonable expectation that no one will take from her what she has not offered. But, we don’t live in a “should” world, we live in an “is” world. An “after-action analysis” type of look at these events can yield information that could make this less likely. We have no trouble telling women to walk to their cars in pairs, and to park under a light, to avoid getting mugged. But, if we make that same situation as a smart way to reduce your risk for rape, now we’re victim blaming? Now, if you take that analysis and start saying, “Well, you knew you couldn’t hold your liquor, and you had 7 drinks” to imply that the woman had a hand in it, you’re venturing into victim blaming territory.

To take this thought one step further – let’s say that we can eliminate all rape in the next 15 years through education. Are they really arguing that it’s smart for women to leave themselves more vulnerable for the next 15 years? If so, I would put these leftist feminists into the “rape culture enablers” camp. A good self-defense class takes a couple of weeks to complete. If the men won’t get educated, let’s make sure they get hurt.

On a much more positive note, we have Valerie Gatto, Miss Pennsylvania. After the competition, she revealed that she was conceived during a rape. (See, Todd Akin? You moron…) That part isn’t good, but what is good is what happened after that. Her mother was going to give her up for adoption, but decided to keep her, and worked to raise her in a loving home. Now, she is using her platform to support those who have gone through similar situations. Who knows, maybe she can be the poster child for the people the “rape exception” abortion people want to keep from being able to draw breath.


Into the Orchard

June 8, 2014   9:22 pm

This site is now being served by Orchard, an open-source Content Management System (CMS). It runs under the .NET framework (version 4.5 as of this writing), and the main reason I switched is its ability to run multiple sites with one installation. (Yes, I know WordPress says they do it too, but I never could seem to get that working correctly.) None of the public URLs have changed, so all the links should still work. And, while the posts still have tags, the theme isn’t showing them yet; that should be an easy tweak.

Speaking of the theme, it is called Raptor.Ericka. I’ve already done a little customization; mainly, shading in the sides beside the content to help guide the eyes down the page. I wasn’t sure how much I liked the main page not showing full posts when I started, and that was one of the things I was going to change. Now, though, I think it’s grown on me. I still have a sidebar on the front page, but the actual articles now do not. A lot of the stuff from the sidebar is still in the footer, though, and it’s on every page. Another cool feature of this theme is the fact that it’s mobile-responsive. Try resizing your browser, or looking at it on a phone or a tablet, and you’ll see the difference.

If you find anything weird, just let me know. Otherwise, enjoy your irregularly-scheduled programming.


Memorial Day 2014

May 25, 2014   9:45 pm

This picture gets me every time I see it.

A boy is standing in a suit, with a sad but determined face, as an officer hands him a folded flag

Memorial Day is one day a year when we should put ourselves in this boy’s shoes for a moment. Look at his face – really look, with an open heart and perceiving eyes. He doesn’t need a red number on a calendar to remember his loss. He sums up the range of Memorial Day emotions perfectly; defiant and strong, yet mourning. This is what this day is about. Our nation was bought at great effort, and great price, by the blood of our fellow countrymen, and continues to require those who have given their lives in her defense.

So – happy Memorial Day*. May God bless America.

(* I know there are those who take issue with the phrase “Happy Memorial Day”. If we can call Good Friday good because of sacrifice made on our behalf, I think we can also let our gratitude for these sacrifices lead us to be happy. I certainly don’t think that those we honor today would want us moping around; take time for reflection and gratitude, then enjoy the freedom they earned for you.)


Self-Serving

April 12, 2014   7:45 pm

A friend posted this picture earlier today, and combined with another headline I read, really got me thinking. A good portion of this started out as a comment under that picture, but then I thought “Why should Facebook get these thoughts for free?”

A series of pictures, with the overall caption 'Childhood Is Not a Disease': 1980, Daydreaming; 2014, ADHD / 1980, Hormones; 2014, Bipolar / 1980, Loner; 2014, Depression One of the arguments against large corporations is that they are unjust; and, as much as those of us who recognize them as the energy driving the gears of our economy, they have proved by their actions that they need checks and balances to prevent that very thing. The key, of course, is to strike the right balance where growth is not hindered, but abuse is prevented.

Now, consider the pharmaceutical industry. The desire to produce medicines to help people live fuller lives is a good thing, but this picture (and the society it accurately represents) proves that they are no more immune to self-serving actions as the oft-termed “evil” coporations that produce food, consumable goods, technology, etc.

How about higher education? I don’t think anyone reading this ever heard, going through high school, “You know, when you finish here, you should go ahead and get a job, and be productive.” No, we all heard “Graduation is just the beginning; you need a 4-year degree before you’re really ready! Because it’s so important, we’ll outright give you some money, and lend you the rest; don’t worry, this will be easy to pay off once you’re out there making six figures!” Yet, who is benefiting from our current under-30 sea of student loan debt? Colleges and banks, that’s who. Meanwhile, students are finding no job market for their degrees. Were they sold a useless product?

The point is that, in each of these cases, the original thought was a good one. This product will make people’s lives better. This pill will take away pain. This knowledge will give you a leg up in the world. Then, bit by bit, that germ of an idea grows, until you end up with something large and successful, which leads to an increasingly self-serving outlook. It’s the old “when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” thing in real life.

The key to this is character in those who gain this notoriety. However, we cannot control others. In our fallen state, the one thing we can control is our reaction. Do we really need that product? Have these degrees really lead to higher incomes? Do these drugs’ claims make sense? “Buyer beware” is always good advice. If more people took it, maybe the market for the speculative advertising that has launched these areas into such heights would dry up, and they would have to start being more honest about what they can really provide.

One final note – government is no more immune to this than education, medicine, or corporations.


In the Beginning

February 4, 2014   10:34 pm

Earlier this evening, Bill Nye the Science Guy and Ken Ham had a debate over creation as a valid model for the origin of man. The recorded debate can be viewed online; the remainder of this assumes that you have seen it. I felt that, all in all, the debate went well. Nothing is perfect, though, and Monday-morning quarterbacking – well, that’s probably what a good portion of the Internet is for, so here we go.

(Full disclosure – I have rather strong beliefs on this topic, which will probably come out in these thoughts. I’m doing my best to be impartial, but that’s kind of how bias works; you don’t know you’re doing it.)

  • I was glad that the debate occurred at all. For a long time, mainstream science has marginalized or even ridiculed anyone who dares to disagree with Darwin. While, toward the end of the debate, I feel that both men missed opportunities to answer each other’s questions or assertions, the debate itself was a great first step towards understanding. Personally, I learned something from both men. I hope the model is repeated, maybe on stage again, but in the day-to-day lives of all those who love learning about our world and universe.
  • The question of the debate (I guess it can’t be called a resolution, as it wasn’t a declarative statement) was “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?” Were I scoring the debate the way we were scored back in high school, they’d both get a few dings for topicality, but they’d probably also get a pass on them, as most of their discussion was at least tangentially related. Also, the Ken Ham presentations of the gospel and Bill Nye’s appeals to voters and taxpayers seemed to balance out.
  • Building off my first thought – Bill Nye almost kept the snark turned off. Somehow, “creation” became “Ken Ham’s model” that was from “the Bible as it was translated into American English”; both these were repeated often, and are where the snark came through just a bit. Both of these are also distortions; the model being debated is the Biblical model, not the “Ken Ham Theory of the Origins of Species”, and I’m pretty sure that creationism (as opposed to evolution) was developed based on a Bible that had been translated to Shakespearean English. I completely get that Bill may not understand the whole “history as history, poetry as poetry, prophecy as prophecy” thing; a good number of Christians don’t understand that! Those two changes, though, struck me as unnecessary spin.
  • Ken Ham made a moderately convincing argument. Yes, the Bible is the source for the model whose viability was being debated, but for those who do not recognize it as absolute truth, I feel that a stronger scientific argument should have been made. He failed to address two key arguments made by Bill Nye, the main one being the predictive capabilities of creation science. There are arguments to be made here, the easiest of which is that creation as the origin of life does not contradict natural laws, so creation has no effect on the predictive nature of currently-observable science. Every time Bill asked for predictive science, Ken responded with confirmational science. It’s kinda cool, if you’ve ever studied it, but it doesn’t answer the question.
  • The age thing gets its own thought. One of Bill’s main arguments is that what we observe today couldn’t have come to be in 4,000 years, and Ken never really answered that either. This, too, has a pretty easy explanation (that requires no more faith than creation already requires); if God created Adam as an adult, does it not make sense that He would also create the earth with age? Created 6,000 years ago is not the same thing as 6,000 years old. And, several times Ken said that the dating process was flawed, but he never provided a specific example of one that he felt was better, and why that is. What reason do we have to believe that the atoms behaved differently then than they do now?
  • Presentation-wise, and particularly during the Q&A, I believe Bill had the edge. His responses were more directed at the actual questions. Ken gets dinged here for completely avoiding one question. He spent the first 1:30 of his two minutes dissecting the assumption behind the question, then stopped talking; what’s the answer? This was also where they started talking past each other, when I felt that they could have addressed the others’ assertions more directly.
  • Bill Nye’s explanation of science was pretty awesome, IMO. I loved his description of the search for knowledge, trying to fill in the gaps, eager to find something that contradicts what we thought. I hope the climate “scientists” were watching. (Disclosure – even I can tell that the preceding sentence contains a little bias.)

I understand the format, so I understand why some of the detail I was looking for wasn’t there. But, as I mentioned above, while Ken’s line “You know, there’s a Book…” was funny, mainstream science is not going to be convinced with “because God said so.”

(More disclosure – this is the part where I stop trying to be objective.)

A belief in Creation as the origin of the universe is not incompatible with science. Ken started to make this point, but didn’t really see it through, and if Bill had made the point, it would have contradicted his dire characterizations of what would happen if we teach people about it. There is a lot in our world that scientists of all beliefs have in common; theologically, we call this common grace. “The sun shines on the just and on the unjust.” I’ve said before that I do not have enough faith to believe in evolution as an answer for the origin of the universe. There are things for which we simply cannot find physical proof in this world; what mainstream science often cites as proof is extrapolation, which assumes facts not always in evidence. (I’m not against extrapolation as a technique; I’m against the belief that gives a 100% answer.) My praise for Bill’s description of science applies here as well. Yes, as Christians, we believe we know what’s coming at the end; but, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have the same curiosity about His creation that the rest of the world has.

To be sure, this is one of the big worldview issues, from which many other issues proceed. Take abortion as an example. If we are created by God as creatures in His image, and He makes laws for His people that state that anyone who causes a miscarriage through striking a woman should be killed (Exodus 21:22-24), we probably shouldn’t kill babies in the womb. If we evolved by chance from a big bang, though, abortion is just “survival of the fittest” (particularly as Bill described it, in a way I’d never heard it described before) – the baby didn’t fit.

As I said at the top, I’m glad the debate was held; I hope this is the first of many dialogues with people of faith around many issues. I’m convinced that neither “side” has an accurate idea of the arguments on the other “side,” and changing that is an important first step in turning back the polarization and coarsening we’ve been witnessing for decades.