Saturday, May 03, 2003

TOMORROW IS A NEW DAY

Sorry for the light blogging today. We went from Madison to Fond du Lac to Oshkosh and back home, all in the search for the right shade of paint for our bedroom. We're locking ourselves in the house after church tomorrow, so maybe I'll have more to say . . .
WELL, I'LL BE DIPPED

Bama went ahead and fired Mike Price. Dumb move, in my opinion. Who's going to want that job now?
A NEW WATCH LIST

OK, I've obliterated most of my old carspotting list, so it's time to enumerate my new prey.

First of all, a reader has requested that I seek out a Ford Festiva. Interesting challenge. I see parked Festivas (Festivae?) all the time, but it's been a while since I saw one that was running. So, game on!

Likewise, I still haven't seen a Lincoln Mark VII, which is odd, since I used to see the car Car & Driver called "a Mustang for rich guys" every day.

But can I come up with three more? Oh, sure I can! Like maybe:

--a Buick Skyhawk,
--an AMC Matador coupe, or
--a BMW 633CSi. (Who says I only care about cruddy cars?)

Knowing my luck, all five of these will be parked next to each other at the grocery store today.

Friday, May 02, 2003

APPARENTLY, IT'S A VIRTUE TO KNOW WHEN TO HOLD 'EM AND WHEN TO FOLD 'EM

Interesting: The Book of Virtues author and all-around fingerwagger Bill Bennett likes to gamble according to MSNBC. And we're not talking office-pool type stuff, either.

To his credit, Bennett doesn't deny anything except the assertion that he's lost money overall due to gambling. And he says that, to him, it's no big deal in the grand scheme of things: “I view it as drinking,” Bennett says. “If you can’t handle it, don’t do it.”

He's right. Everybody has something they do that isn't right for most people, but helps them deal with the stresses of daily life. I guess it's no big deal to me, either, but then, my vice is decrepit automobiles.
SOMETIMES YOU SHOULD ASK A DROWNING MAN IF HE WANTS TO BE SAVED

Donald Sensing, of the excellent One Hand Clapping blog, relates a strange story about a death penalty case in Tennessee. Seems that anit-death penalty advocates are pursuing an appeal for a condemned inmate--even though he actually wants to die. His family and his "spiritual advisor" pressured him into pursuing an appeal anyway.

There's no question the condemned man is guilty. And Sensing notes, correctly, that winning this case may actually wind up doing more harm than good to the anti-death penalty cause:

[S]eeking to save the life of every condemned person, without regard to the other issues involved explained by Mr. Chavez, only hardens the resolve of the public and politicians to keep capital punishment. Thus, the opponents' method simply ensure more condemned men and women will die.

So they're fighting to save the life of a man who wants to die, and, in the process, making it clear that a person's own wishes must always be subjugated to The Cause. As if people will suddenly oppose the death penalty because the life of a guy who executed seven people in a walk-in cooler was spared. It's just like the left and their embrace of the utterly reprehensible dictator Fidel Castro. Or, actually, it's just like John Lennon said about 35 years ago: "But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow." Gotta choose your poster children for the appeal, not just their availability, people. By choosing to joust with rotten windmills like these, they turn more stomachs than hearts.

I think that the death penalty is unfairly applied in many cases.

But dang it, sometimes it isn't.
PILING ON?

More from the Larry Eustachy watch: he'd been disciplined by the university for giving players small amounts of money as performance incentives. How small? $10. His punishment? He lost his guaranteed raise for one year--$80,000. But the NCAA is still on his case, ordering him suspended for one game during next season, should he still be coaching anywhere, which I'm guessing he won't be.

Still, $10. Even in Ames, that wouldn't get you into a movie with a jumbo-sized tub of popcorn. Oh gosh, somebody better save our amateur student athletes! Why, they might be able to see Bruce Willis movies with their dates on "Student ID Night."

The NCAA is worse than useless.

Meanwhile, if you want to read an interview Eustachy did with ESPN's Jay Bilas, here it is. It's not really anything you haven't heard before, but it's more in-depth than any statements he's made previously. And if you're just here looking for the pictures, the Des Moines Register hasn't moved them.
AMAZING CARSPOTTING UPDATE

I don't believe it! I saw a Fiat Strada, goofy round door-handles and all. It wasn't mobile, but I'm just amazed I even saw it! Also spotted today: a Ford Granada, a Mercury Lynx (actually, two of them, both station wagons), and one I'd already declared too obscure, a Dodge freakin' Magnum. They only built those for two years, and nobody but my cousins bought one. But there's at least one still on the roads, somewhere in the vicinity of Columbus, WI.
ANOTHER FRIDAY FIVE

I didn't do Friday Five last week because it was about TV, and I don't watch TV. But they're back on music, so here we go:

1. Name one song you hate to admit you like.

Oh, I'm gonna take it in the shorts for this one, I just know it: "I Want It That Way" by the Backstreet Boys. I want to hate them with every ounce of my being. In fact, I do loathe everything they stand for. But that song, man, it's perfect, as good a piece of pop music as you'll ever hear. That, and my wife says I'm a dead ringer for their manager, Lou Perlman. (I'd link to a pic, but apparently he's a vampire and cannot be photographed.)

2. Name two songs that always make you cry.

"Creep" by Radiohead, because I used to feel like that all the time, and "Smoke" by Crash Vegas. Since you've never heard that song, let me provide the lyrics for you:

Tell me how to cut the cord
when all I wanna do is hold you up
and float away
Maybe we should get outta here
and talk about the things we share
or maybe we should take a break

Well it must be smoke or something in my eye
'cause I never felt this way before
'til we said goodbye
'til we said goodbye

This night like so many other nights
when all we do is fight 'bout the way we talk.
Hours on the telephone
they're only gonna wear us down
when I wanna take you home

Well it must be smoke or something in my eye
'cause I never felt this way before
'til we said goodbye
'til we said goodbye

You say that I'm your eyes
and I whisper that I've gone blind
you wear a smile like a veil
(the/your clothes?) smell of last night's smoke
and you just drink to stay afloat
and I swim by and pull the plug

Well it must be smoke or something in my eye
'cause I never felt this way before
'til we said goodbye
'til we said goodbye


Now, picture those words with a crying pedal steel, laconic drumming, and a woman's voice that sounds like triple-distilled heartbreak, and you'll know why I had to include it.

3. Name three songs that turn you on.

Sigh. I'm a pastor; I cannot admit to such things. There's more than three, but I just can't tell you. Well, one of them is "Summertime" by the Sundays.

4. Name four songs that always make you feel good.

"This Old Heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You)" by the Isley Brothers. "David's Drum" by Run Westy Run. "Enid" by Barenaked Ladies. And "In My Life" by the Beatles.

5. Name five songs you couldn't ever do without.

Sheesh, just five? I mean, I'll take any of the above, but if you want five different songs, I'll say "Triste" by Antonio Carlos Jobim, "When I'm Thinking About You" by the Sundays, "Heaven or Las Vegas" by Cocteau Twins, "Follow Your Bliss" by the B-52's, and, in a total obscuro 60s selection, "Mr. Dieingly Sad" by the Critters.

And if all that doesn't tell you more about me than you wanted to know, just remember, I want it that way.



WHILE I WAS OUT . . .

. . . absolutely nothing new materialized on the Eustachy and Price stories. But it's a beautiful day in south-central Wisconsin, clear and about 65 with a light breeze. I'll blog later tonight, when it's not so dang pleasant out.
THE MORNING SCANDAL SHEET

"I don't see what the big deal is. He's like everybody else. He just wanted to admire a beautiful woman."--"Destiny" Stahl, currently the most famous stripper in Florida

The stripper at the center of the Mike Price scandal currently afflicting the University of Alabama has finally made some statements regarding her involvement in the case. She admits giving him up to three private dances at the Florida gentleman's club, but denies that she or any other club employee left with him.

OK, well, it's beyond dispute that somebody ordered the entire room service menu to be billed to Price's room, so, if not Stahl or another club employee, who was it?

MEANWHILE, IN AMES . . .

L'affaire Eustachy has taken a strange twist: Steve Barnes, an ISU assistant coach who is a childhood friend of Larry Eustachy's, has been suspended for rallying a team member and his family to the embattled coach's defense:

"[ISU director of University Relations John] McCarroll said the penalty was ordered after school officials confirmed Barnes told a team member and his family in a telephone call Wednesday night that they should support efforts to help Eustachy keep his job."

All well and good, but what about this quote?

"We clearly see this as an attempt at intimidation," McCarroll said.

The same could be said from the other direction, in my opinion, and it suggests the university is somewhat less than neutral in its investigation. No way does ISU come out of this smelling like a rose, no matter what happens next.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

A QUICK PUBLIC SERVICE

I'm a great fan of Gregg Easterbrook's Tuesday Morning Quarterback column, which was once on Slate, but can now be found on ESPN's wonderfully entertaining Page 2. In a number of columns, he makes reference to "the official drink of TMQ": the blueberry-almond martini. He even gave a shout-out to the drink in this week's NFL draft review column.

It's always sounded pretty intriguing to me, so I decided to find a recipe for the drink. As luck would have it, I found TMQ's own recipe in this column, and here it is:

Blueberry-Almond Martini: TMQ often jibes about this beverage. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients:
1½ ounces bargain vodka (Mr. Boston preferred; save your Absolut and Skyy)
½ ounce vanilla-almond-cinnamon-caramel schnapps
½ ounce blue curaçao
fresh blueberries, peeled and lightly braised
dash ginko biloba

Combine ingredients with crushed ice in cocktail pitcher and shake; ideally, have Jennifer Lopez shake it. (Note: Whenever Jennifer Lopez present, ask her to shake it.) Strain into martini glass. Drink as much as you can stand. Pour remainder down drain, switch to beer.


I'm really not so sure he's serious. Real martinis don't have ginkgo biloba in them, and I'm sure a Brookings scholar would know 'ginkgo' is spelled with two 'g's. Likewise, I think the blueberries should be bruised, not braised, which means 'cooked for a long time at low heat in a small quantity of liquid.' Not that I'm nitpicking. At any rate, I don't drink any hard liquor except for an occasional shot of bourbon, so until Seagrams makes a blueberry-almond wine cooler, this one will remain a mystery to me. But if some brave soul wants to give this one a try and report back to me, they'll have my undying appreciation.

Oh, and my fondness for TMQ has nothing to do with what you'll find at the bottom of this TMQ column. Nosiree Bob. You can't buy my loyalty with a Kenny Mayne bobblehead doll, which is what I got for my trouble.
ABOUT DANG TIME

Ernie Chambers, the maverick member of Nebraska's unicameral legislature, has finally succeeded in a 23-year quest: the legislature passed a bill authorizing the payment of student-athletes on the University of Nebraska's football team. Similar laws have to pass in four other states with teams in the Big XII Conference for Nebraska's law to take effect, and that's unlikely, but Chambers is unconcerned:

"I just wanted to get this bill passed to show the NCAA that the state legislatures are watching them, and that they need to change their rules. The most important part about this bill is the legislative findings."

Chambers refers to the first two sections of the bill in which the reasons for the creation of the bill are explained. Among them is a statement that says that "Rules of the [NCAA] prohibiting compensation are unduly restrictive and unreasonable, promote unfairness, encourage dishonesty in recruiting and retaining players, and would not be tolerated if applied to all students."


For its part, the NCAA notes that there is a substantial gap between the amount of a full tuition, room and board scholarship, and the actual cost of attending a university. They have their own fund to help students cover that gap. Student-athletes can receive grants from this fund, up to a certain amount.

That amount? $500 per year, or about $41.67 a month over 12 months, which is as long as most student-athletes are in their college communities. Farcical. $41.67 won't cover three pizzas a month, so I guess student-athletes had better not miss the meals at the dining hall. I sincerely hope four other states manage to pass similar laws, so one of the biggest myths in the modern world can be exploded--the myth that college athletes are not employees of the universities they attend. Amateurs, they ain't.
ARRGGHHHHH!!

I don't know what happened to that last post. Lawrence Phillips got cut for disciplinary reasons for the fourth time in his pro career, this time by CFL's Montreal Alouettes. Where's Tom Osbourne when he needs him?
A TROUBLED BLAST FROM THE PAST

While we're on sports figures who can do no right, the eternally troubled (and troublesome) Lawrence Phillips has been posted by Scriblerus at

NO, NOT "CHURCH CHAT"

Bryan from Arguing with Signposts has a very cool new blog with his thoughts on religion and spirituality: Godtalk. Go check it out, it's worth a read. He has this to say about the early church and its interaction with the world around it, with which I totally agree:

"I believe the first-century church was sharpened and made strong by its interaction with the pagan world around it. When the church begins to turn inward, that is when the problems arise. That is when spiritual death occurs."

Apart from the fact that the early church basically took over all the early pagan festivals ("Easter" = "Ishtar", the ancient Saturnalia festival took place on December 25th, and so on), there's no question that the need to explain itself to a hostile culture, and the need to define its beliefs against those of the pagans, helped the early church form itself into a lasting institution. (For instance, read 1 Corinthians 8 and try to imagine what it must have been like to struggle with the issue of eating meat sacrificed to idols.) This is the major quibble I have with those who would try to establish Christianity as just another counter-cultural, "alternative" lifestyle: It inevitably leads to the living water of the Gospel becoming brackish and stale. No thanks. Keep your "Christian" radio; I'll listen to what everybody else listens to--and I'll be able to deal with the world the way it really is, not just the way I wish it was.
LARRY EUSTACHY PHOTOS

. . . are still here, but do me a favor and at least read some of the rest of this page, OK?
SPOKE TOO SOON

Just when I thought there would be nothing new in the Mike Price story, there is. Turns out he had a young woman in his room on the morning of April 17, and, well, here's what transpired:

According to one of the staff members, the woman ordered "one of everything" on the room service menu. The staff members said the woman asked that the charges be billed to the room.

A fourth employee -- a bus boy -- told a reporter that he was one of six bus boys who delivered the food and drinks that the woman requested.

Staff members said the woman wanted the food to be boxed up so that she could leave with it.

Concerns about the unusual order prompted the hotel to contact Price, whose name was listed as being responsible for incidental charges to the room. The employees said Price returned to the hotel later in the day and paid the bill after the woman left without being allowed to take home the order.


The article explains that, while there's a meeting of the University's board of trustees over the weekend to discuss Price's situation, it's generally thought that he will not be fired over this. Though it's hard to imagine. I thought Alabama was the Bible Belt, but apparently there's one standard for football coaches and another for mere mortals. Mike DuBose not withstanding, of course.

Along the same lines, Larry Eustachy appeared on ESPN Radio's Dan Patrick Show today to discuss his situation. I don't have total recall of the interview, but he sounded sufficiently remorseful enough to me. One of the consequences of my job is that I deal with alcoholics, and I know that anybody with an addiction can turn themselves into an Oscar-worthy actor. Eustachy, though, didn't even pretend like he was trying to save his job. He simply wanted to tell his side of the story, which was, "I am an alcoholic, I have been for years, and I'm just now realizing it."

Personally, I don't think ISU ought to fire Larry Eustachy. ISU has a long, tenuous relationship with alcohol--the booze-fueled VEISHEA celebration used to include drunken rioting as its centerpiece--and I think it would send the wrong message to suddenly "find religion" regarding alcohol abuse after tolerating it among students for so long. Likewise, they cut Dan McCarney some slack early in his career for something which seems much worse, although less provable than what Eustachy has done.

Nevertheless, I think it's foolish for the university to say now that they simply can't abide the negative press this story is getting. Nobody is making fun of Iowa State; the only person getting smacked is Larry Eustachy himself. I still think he'd be wise to resign and maybe start over at smaller or lower-level school (after he gets his act together), but I think it's unfair of the university to refuse to give him a chance to pull himself together.

That's what I think should happen. But what will happen? They'll fire him, because you can't go this far and then not finish what you start. It would be a major repudiation of AD Bruce Van De Velde if the university failed to act on his recommendation that Eustachy be fired. And since the first rule of college administrators is that they protect their own come hell or high water, expect Eustachy to be gone within seven days.

Oh, and who's their next coach? This guy, who will eat Steve Alford's lunch in the recruiting department. You heard it here first!
DUE PROCESS

As you might expect, the Des Moines Register has the best update on where the Larry Eustachy situation stands this morning. Of special interest to Iowans will be the fact that one of Eustachy's lawyers is Doug Gross, better known as last year's failed GOP gubernatorial candidate.

I once e-mailed the Gross campaign, asking them where they stood on an issue--any issue--since his entire campaign seemed to be based on the platform "I'm not Tom Vilsack." There are 2.8 million Iowans who aren't Tom Vilsack, I told them; what makes Doug Gross the best qualified to be governor?

I never heard back. So I voted for Vilsack.
SPEAKING DIRECTLY TO ME?

James Lileks is talking about all-day coffee, cheap pizza, and his secret love for Judge Judy today. Dang, all he needs is to throw in a couple bad-car references, and he'd become The Bemusement Park.

I'd advise him against it.

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

TODAY'S HORRIBLE, FORGOTTEN AUTOMOBILE

10 years before Coke proved that the worst thing to do with beloved product is to try and update it when nobody's really complaining about it, Chrysler did the same thing by updating the lovable, reliable Dodge Dart into . . .

buh-buh-BAAHHHHHHHHH . . .

. . . the ASPEN.

We had one of these, a station wagon (name a wretched car, and it's a good bet a Hasty has owned it), and, while it never left us stranded, it was not without its quirks. It blew corncob dust every time you turned up the ventilation system, but that probably wasn't the car's fault.
SO . . . NOW WHAT?

As I understand it, Larry Eustachy is somewhere in-between fired and not fired. Officially right now he's "suspended with pay," and the university has begun termination proceedings. The ISU athletic director cannot unilaterally decide to fire him, from what I understand--the terms of his departure have to be determined by a university personnel official.

Here's a timeline of the major events of today:

10:30 am--ISU AD Bruce Van De Velde informs Eustachy's attorney that he is recommending Eustachy be fired--that is to say, he is formally beginning termination proceedings, in accordance with the terms of Eustachy's contract.

1:30 pm--Eustachy and his wife hold a joint press conference at which Eustachy announces he is an alcoholic, has been seeking treatment, and has no intention of resigning from his job.

4:37 pm --Van De Velde holds a press conference to announce that he is recommending Eustachy be terminated, and setting out the procedure which will be followed.

Did you catch something subtle in there? Eustachy already knew at the time of his press conference that he was being fired. Now, if you haven't already, go read this partial transcript of his comments. Here's a particularly telling line: “I can only tell you that I won’t resign. It’s not my way. I won’t. I don’t control those things. I believe in second chances. But time will tell.”

I don't exactly know how to take this. It's more than possible that Eustachy is totally sincere in his comments. But part of me sees his statements as cynical, essentially daring the university to fire him after he's admitted to his alcohol problem. And maybe he has a point. I think ISU can probably survive the bad publicity that this whole sordid mess has brought on. And I know from reading Cyclone message boards that Bruce Van De Velde is hardly popular among the Cyclone faithful. So keep your eyes on this story. There's a war starting in Ames, and somebody is going to lose a job.
THE ISU PRESS CONFERENCE

ISU AD Bruce Van De Velde:

"Investigating for a while now . . . lots of details in the media, and there's still stuff coming in, but no comment on specific allegations . . . "profound embarrassment" to the university . . . we have a right to expect better from a prominent member of the ISU community . . . recommended his termination at 10:30 AM this morning . . . has 5 days to request a hearing . . . admin official will determine if just cause exists to terminate . . . Eustachy currently suspended with pay . . . must go through contractual process . . . no additional comment at this time. . . taking this action in best interest of ISU."
ISU PRESS CONFERENCE STREAM

If you have Windows Media Player, you should be able to hear the ISU press conference via KCRG-AM in Cedar Rapids. Use this link.
ANOTHER TAKE ON EUSTACHY

Consider the source (Mizzou student newspaper), but read this. A much creepier take on what happened at the party. Though it's entirely possible they've got an axe to grind, and this could just be an example of the SECification of the Big XII.

Oh, and the more I think about it, the more I think there wouldn't be an ISU news conference unless there was something to announce. I'm starting to think Cy might pull the trigger. I'll blog the outcome of the press conference once I know what it is . . .

Update!

There are semi-credible reports that offices are being cleaned out. Doesn't look good for Eustachy.

Another update!

More reports of cars being loaded on the east side of Hilton Coliseum. Also, you can read a partial transcript of Eustachy's press conference here.
THE FIRST STEP IS ADMITTING YOU HAVE A PROBLEM

. . . and Larry Eustachy has taken that first step.

"The 47-year-old coach said he realized he was an alcoholic nearly a month ago.

'For the rest of my life I will seek counseling for this illness,'' he said. 'I have no excuses for my behavior. ... We'll see what happens in the future, but I am looking forward to the future as a sober person.'"


That took guts. I'm officially off Larry Eustachy's back now.

Update!

According to this story, ISU athletic director Bruce Van De Velde has called a 4:30 pm news conference to discuss Eustachy's status. I am not expecting big news, but you never know.
AND IN OTHER COACHING NEWS . . .

There is nothing new on the Mike Price front, and I'm guessing there never will be. ESPN isn't even touching the story. That tells me that there's just no substantiation to the nastier rumors swirling around out there. Even the folks at TiderInsider (always one of the Net's better sources of unintentional low comedy) have basically given up their hand-wringing. Color this story finis.

Update!

ESPN now reporting that the University of Alabama has announced there is no disciplinary action forthcoming against Price.
THE EUSTACHY SPOTLIGHT BRIGHTENS

Also in the Register today, they're talking about the national attention ISU is getting over the whole mess. But the university is holding fast: "[ISU president Gregory] Geoffroy said the university would make decisions related to Eustachy based on Iowa State's interests, not national pressure.

'I think people are basing their opinions on their own values, what they believe to be right and wrong," he said. "Ultimately, the decision will be made in terms of what's in the best long-term interest of Iowa State University.'"


Translation: "It's not like this guy is an English professor whom we can replace by hanging out at Starbucks until we hear some guy discussing his thesis. Good coaches are hard to find; therefore, we really don't care what the neighbors think."
ONE OF THE FINEST MIDWESTERN TRADITIONS

Today the Des Moines Register is singing the praises of the potluck. A meatloaf recipe is included with the article.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

ONE GAME CLOSER

Heh. The Senators beat the Flyers 3-2 to take a 2-1 lead in the Easter Conference semis. Even Philly coach Ken Hitchcock's addition of an "enforcer" couldn't help the Broad Street Bullies, especially since most enforcers are lousy shots. There's one more game in Philly, then it's back and forth. Bring on the Lightning!
MORE FROM THE 1970s AUTOMOTIVE CHAMBER OF HORRORS

Yep, there's still a club out there for every automobile ever manufactured. Even the Ford Granada and Mercury Monarch.

Actually, I always thought these cars were kind of nice-looking, in a Baroque sort of way. I nearly bought a '77 Granada back in 1990 with my high-school graduation money (all $500 of it). If it had run a little better, I'd have thrown down my cash. Maybe someday . . . good gracious, what am I saying?

Someday I'll tell you what I'd fill my 20-car garage with. That should give you all a good laugh.
BUT THEN AGAIN . . .

No, I'm not off the Larry Eustachy topic yet. In fact, I think I've some up with a very good reason why he should not be fired. What could that be? Well, if you're the president of a community college in Iowa, and you and your entire family get busted for felony marijuana trafficking, you don't get fired. Instead, you get to resign and even get paid another $29,000.

If being the kingpin of the Ankeny cartel isn't a firable offense in Iowa, neither should Eustachy's misdeeds be.

Oh, and since I know many of you are coming here looking for photos of Larry Eustachy at the party, here they are. Who says I don't give my readers good service, huh?
AND GOD SAID, "DUUUDE."

Head on over to The World According to Pete and read his post-modern Bible. A brief excerpt:

"THE TOWER OF BABEL (Genesis 11)

In the beginning was the oral tradition. Then the written word appeared. For many centuries, monks made out like bandits, copying text from book to book one letter at a time.

In 1452, Gutenberg conceived of the idea for movable type. In his workshop, he brought together the technologies of paper, oil-based ink and the wine-press to print books.

Somewhere in there, blueprints came about. People were soon building vast cities with many skyscrapers.

In 1937, Chester Carlson invented a copying process based on electrostatic energy. Xerography became commercially available in 1950 by the Xerox Corporation.

Shortly before and after that breakthrough, both radio and television came into use. Not to mention the telephone.

For a while, things seemed to be going along quite nicely.

Then, in the 1980s, "Cable Television" came into its own, followed shortly thereafter by the personal computer. By the end of the 20th century, Internet access became affordable and very popular. So, too, Satellite TV.

Soon, the world was "media saturated". Many small, niche markets appeared. True communication began to be fractured and unruly.

The signal-to-noise ratio dropped dramatically.

And the Lord said, "Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech."


Go read the whole thing. Personally, I can't wait for the pomo version of Hebrews. In fact, I may not wait for it. Good bloggers link; great ones steal . . .
WELCOME BACK

Here's a nice, touching story: The Grand Forks Herald reports on the return of base personnel who had been deployed to Iraq. Thank God so many of them made it home safely.
SUBSTANCE.FAN.IMMINENT-SPLAT

OK, are we trying to start Armageddon? Blogcritics is carrying this story about the US government's choice of a contractor to provide an Arabic-language TV news station to Iraq:

"It is being produced in a studio -- Grace Digital Media -- controlled by fundamentalist Christians who are rabidly pro-Israel.

"That's Grace as in 'by the Grace of God.'

"Grace Digital Media is controlled by a fundamentalist Christian millionaire, Cheryl Reagan, who last year wrested control of Federal News Service, a transcription news service, from its former owner, Cortes Randell."


I can't imagine this is any sort of positive development. I mean, it's great that there's a news source for the Iraqi people now, but still, you'd think that, with all the Arab world's concerns that this has been less a liberation than an anti-Arab crusade, they would have thought twice about inviting ravening pro-Israelites to provide that news.

You'd think they would have at least thought once about it, anyway.
THE OTHER 'COACHES GONE WILD' STORY

There's nothing new on the Mike Price front today, and I'm predicting there won't be. Seems to be a simple case of a stolen University-issued credit card. Supposedly the card was stolen from him at a "gentleman's club." I don't think the Crimson Nation is going to get too riled up over this.
MORE EUSTACHY REACTION

Larry Eustachy's troubles are Topic A on sports-talk radio today. ESPN Radio's Dan Patrick Show has been all but devoted to the embattled and embarassed ISU coach, giving considerable time to an interview with CycloneReport.com's Paul Clark in which Clark repeatedly stated that Eustachy's misdeeds were not, in his mind, "a hanging offense." He predicted that ISU alums and donors would be willing to look past this incident if Eustachy made a concerted effort to clean up his act. I'm not so certain, but I'm a Hawkeye fan, so take that with a grain of salt.

Meanwhile, former Cyclone Steve "Special K" Krafcisin, now the head coach at North Iowa Area Community College, tells the Mason City Globe Gazette that he wouldn't be surprised if Eustachy got the gate: "'Holy Carumba, Krafcisin said of Monday's story. 'This is going to be interesting.'"

You do have to wonder if it's even worth him staying on. What credibility does he have left with his players now? Reports indicate he told fans at rival schools, "My team sucks." And who's going to obey his curfews now? It's tough to imagine walking away from $1 million a year, but if I was in his shoes, I think I might want a change of scenery. Like to the NBA, where even your team's fans don't know your name, and where getting drunk and hitting on coeds would make him "just one of the guys."

Of course, Cyclone coaches don't have the greatest track record in the NBA. Just stand on a street corner in Chicago and mouth the name "Tim Floyd" to see what I mean.
THE REGISTER TURNS UP THE HEAT

In an unsigned editorial today, the Des Moines Register says that ISU basketball coach Larry Eustachy must go. I don't recall them ever making such a statement before. ISU officials have hinted that Eustachy's job is safe, so we'll see if this matter goes away. There's nothing new on the Mike Price front right now, either.

Monday, April 28, 2003

COACHES GONE WILD, PART II

The rumor mill is swirling tonight around Alabama's new head football coach, Mike Price. Details are sketchy at this point and nobody's sying anything for the record, but on the Crimson Tide Internet message boards, there's a scandal brewing involving Price paying for things he should have gotten at home, IYKWIM, AITYD. Anyway, they're fearing the worst, and supposedly tomorrow could be a momentous day. Like the Tide haven't had enough of those in the last few years.
ALAN JACKSON: CLOSET SOCIALIST?

My first suspicion that Mr. Jackson might lean a little furhter to the left than the typical Nashville star came when his song "That'd Be Alright" started getting a lot of radio play. If you're not familiar with that song, the chorus contains this line:

"If everybody everywhere
Had a lighter load to bear
And a little bigger piece of the pie
We'd be livin' us a pretty good life
And that'd be alright."


That immediately set off warning bells--that sure sounds like proposing the radical redistribution of wealth to me.

Well, over the weekend, I heard his older song, "Little Bitty," and I think my suspicions were confirmed:

Have a little love on a little honeymoon
You got a little and you got a little spoon
A little bitty house and a little bitty yard
Little bitty dog and a little bitty car


Is he trying to convince people to be satisfied with a lower standard of living? Later in the song he celebrates "little bitty checks" and "little bitty jobs", so maybe there's something to this. Just what do you think about central economic planning, Mr. Jackson? The world wants to know. Or maybe I've just been working too hard lately . . .
LEGISLATION NOBODY LOVED, BUT EVERYBODY VOTED FOR

You've got to wonder how Joe Biden got his "RAVE Act" passed when even the Green Party is against it.
IT WAS INEVITABLE, PART III

So what's missing from your 500-channel cable lineup? If you guessed 'an all-reality show network', you win! Your prize? You never, ever have to watch it.
TROUBLE IN THE CYCLONE NATION!!!

ISU men's basketball coach Larry Eustachy--the only guy ever to have his #2 seed lose to a #15 seed in the NCAA tournament--is in the deep weeds after photos surfaced of him at a college party drinking beer and kissing women who definitely weren't his wife. And apparently this wasn't the first time it happened.

I don't know what the current line is on the number of days until Eustachy's departure, but whatever it is, take the under.
ANOTHER NEW FEATURE

Hey, I've got a blogroll now! Check it out, left-hand side, in the dark-red part.
NOT QUITE 40 ACRES AND A MULE, BUT STILL . . .

The Grand Forks Herald is reporting on a bill before Congress which would serve as a sort of new Homestead Act. The bill would grant student loan forgiveness (up to 50% of the loans, or $10,000, whichever is smaller) to persons who live for at least five years in a county which has seen an overall population decrease of 10% or more over the previous 20 years.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I'm in favor of encouraging rural repopulation. On the other hand, I kind of like the fact that the rural Midwest, and the dirt-cheap real estate to be found here, is still largely unknown to the rest of the country. If everybody knew that, in parts of Iowa, Minnesota, and the Dakotas, you can buy a nice, older 3-bedroom house for less than $30,000 (in some places, way less), I can't help but think that things would change too much.

So, please, move to the Midwest, because we need you. But stay out of northwestern Iowa for another 15 years, until Paula and I have bought a place for ourselves!
HE'S GOT ME PEGGED

Just to prove that Bryan from Arguing with Signposts is right when he accuses me of having 'some sort of fixation with bad football teams and worse cars', let me just say that I really wish I owned this.
HISTORY WILL TEACH US NOTHING?

Kevin at CalPundit is talking about history, and why it's such an unpopular subject in school these days. He has a novel proposal to make history more interesting: Why not teach it backwards? Start with recent events and work back to understand the historical circumstances which brought those events about. He writes:

"It's hard for kids to get interested in century old debates without knowing all the context around them, but they might very well be interested in current day events. So why not start now and explain the events that got us here? War on terrorism? Sure, let's teach it, and that leads us backward to a discussion of how the current state of affairs is the successor to the bipolar world that came apart in 1989. And that leads back to the Cold War, and that leads back to World War II, etc.

"In other words, invert cause and effect. Try to get them wondering about the causes of things they already know about, and then use this curiosity to lead them inexorably backward through history."


Sounds like a pretty good idea to me. I mean, the most important event to happen in my lifetime was the Watergate scandal, and I never learned a single thing about it in school. In fact, my world history education never got any further than the start of World War II. That almost seems criminal to me. I think having a grasp of Watergate is necessary to understand the way politics are in this country these days--and the media, too. It's the single most influential event of post-WWII America, and kids should learn about it in school. But they don't. However, my confirmation kids tell me that the Missouri Compromise and the Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act are still on the menu. No wonder they hate history; nobody gets excited about irrelevant events which happened a century and a half ago.
THINGS THAT MAKE YOU SPIT YOUR COFFEE, #126

Just heard on ESPN Radio: Mike Golic saying that he thought the Bengals had the best draft of any NFL team this weekend. Not that I disagree--they basically got 4 first-round picks--but that's just a sentence I never seriously expected to hear anyone say!
"FRANKENFOOD," OR MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING?

This morning the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has an article about the increasing prevalence of genetically-modified foods. The article has a strongly pro-biotechnology spin--experts from universities and major biotech firms are quoted on the pro side, but the con side is represented by a marketing manager for a chain of natural-food stores, and even she sounds relatively unconvinced:

"I think a lot of our customers want a better connection with their food," said Lisa Malmarowski, marketing manager for Outpost Natural Foods, which operates stores in Milwaukee and Wauwatosa.

"We are not anti-tech, we are not a lot of Luddites here. We just want to know more about where our food comes from."


I've no quarrel with biotechnology. It's certainly done a lot to maintain the viability of the family farm by dramatically increasing productivity. The article notes that 30% of the corn and 80% of the soybeans planted in Wisconsin this year will be genetically modified. And have you ever eaten a giant, multi-lobed strawberry? Those are genetically modified; specifically, they have twice the number of chromosomes as a regular strawberry. If these foods were going to kill you, you'd already be dead. But I think this article is excessively spun to reflect a pro-biotech point of view. The manager from the natural food store has a point--consumers have a right to know just what exactly is in that box or can they're taking off the shelves.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

ANCHORS AWEIGH

From the Manitowoc Times Herald Reporter (no, really that's just one newspaper) comes the good news that the Wisconsin Maritime Museum has repoened. Sounds fascinating. You can actually go inside a Navy submarine.

I tend to forget that I now live in a Great Lakes state and, indeed, that Lake Michigan is only about 40 miles from here. That's what 31 years in flat, dry states will do to you, I guess. One of these days I'll actually have to go look at the water.
A BURNING QUESTION I CAN'T SHAKE

Do deaf Pentecostals "sign in fingers"? I asked an Assemblies of God pastor this question once, and he didn't answer me because he was laughing so hard. I was sort of serious.
SIGH

Just when I thought I'd go 24 whole hours without seeing a car on my list, what pulls up next to us as we were leaving Sam's Club? A Nissan Stanza. Fine. I am going to be defiant now. It has been a very long time since I've seen a Fiat Strada on the road. I defy anyone to drive one past me in the next 24 hours.