Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Roll Tide!

Let's stick with our sports theme . . .

Reasons Nick Saban left the Miami Dolphins to coach Alabama’s Crimson Tide:

1. He prefers college coaching to pro coaching.

2. Thirty-two million dollars.

3. The chance to affect young people’s lives.

4. Thirty-two million dollars.

5. His heart wasn’t in coaching the Dolphins.

6. Thirty-two million dollars.

7. He and his family really like Alabama.

8. Thirty-two million dollars.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Basketball Jones

I just caught the end of the OU vs. Texas basketball game on ESPN U. That was a spirited game. I admit I was pulling for OU since I now live on the Oklahoma border and also because the Arkansas-Texas rivalry is ingrained in my Southwest Conference Athletic DNA. Texas earned their win however and I salute them. It was a good game; and now I am watching the final seconds of LSU vs. Florida. I cannot believe that LSU is going to win this one - they don't even have "Big Baby" on the floor!

This weekend and next weekend hold out the promise of excellent college basketball. All of this is a prelude to March Madness. I am not a sports fanatic, but I love the end of the basketball season for two reasons: nostalgia and hope.

Of all the sports I am most nostalgic about basketball. I remember watching the Razorbacks on TV with my family as a child. We anticipated the nights and weekends when the Hogs would be on TV. It was always one of our major family events. As a teen, I can recall going to Barnhill Arena with my father, grandfather, and friends and getting caught up in the enthusiasm of those days. I don't think they've been able to reproduce the excitement of those days in the new arena - not even during the winning season of 1994.

I am somewhat maddened that Razorback athletics have been mired in rumor and shame over the last few years. Ever since the controversy between Nolan Richardson and Frank Broyles there has been a certain taint to what ought to be good honest diversion. The "Nutt-Malzahn-Mustain" triangle has further tainted what should be a positive turn in UA athletics. Such is the problem with nostalgia, it is too often vulnerable to controversy and scandal. I understand that people have grievances, but it is a shame when the scandal overshadows the sport.

I also love the March Madness season because of hope. Unlike the disappointing and confusing Bowl System in football, the NCAA tourney creates an opportunity for real competition and stunning upsets. It is always possible for #65 in the standings, the ultimate underdog, to come in and win the entire tournament. Someone will say, "Oh, that'll never happen." Please don't make me delineate the difference between possible and probable. Is it probable that any 16th seed will win the whole series? No, but it is always a possibility no matter how slim a chance they have. This tournament is so potentially thrilling because it creates that sort of hope. It is the athletic equivalent of the Year of Jubilee when slaves were set free and debts were cancelled. Jubilee created the possibility of reversal which gave even the humblest of the humble a taste of triumph. Now, if Arkansas can get just a 16th seed and beat the odds my madness will become gladness.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Italian Bicycle Companies or Chico Marx Movie Roles?

See if you can guess which of these are Italian bicycle companies and which are Chico Marx movie roles?

1. Corbaccio
2. Ravelli
3. Bianchi
4. Panello
5. Colnago
6. Pirelli
7. Cinelli
8. Binelli
9. Fiorello
10. Bellesi
11. Baravelli
12. Pinarello

Itallian Bicycle Companies: 3, 5, 7, 10, 12
Chico Marx Movie Roles: 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Breaking Up With Pluto

In honor of the dark side of Valentine's Day, that is break-ups, I submit the following take on the most cosmic break-up of the previous year.

Ways that the International Astronomical Union might have broken the news to Pluto that it was no longer a planet.

1. It’s not you, you’re a fine planet and we are sure you’ll meet another lucky Union someday.

2. Let’s be honest, you are not the planet we met all those years ago. Maybe we’re a bit shallow but we just love a nice hydrostatically balanced figure in a planet.

3. We’ve given you adequate time and opportunity to improve your elliptical orbit and you just don’t seem to be making any progress.

4. Well, it came down to you and Xena and we just felt that Xena was more of what today’s kids are looking for in a planet.

5. We’re sorry but we just do not understand this whole trans-Neptunian thing you are into.

6. We think you are a negative influence on Charon, Nix, and Hydra. They shouldn’t have to think that everything revolves around Pluto. [Hint: Charon, Nix, and Hydra are Pluto's moons. Get it?]

7. You have a great future ahead of you, but with the economy the way it is we just simply cannot afford a ninth planet.

8. We've heard rumors about you and Venus and the Union has strict guidelines about interplanetary fraternization.

9. You seem to be more frigid lately.