Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween y'all

c/o Aaaaand that happened...

TEC's College Football Top 10, Week 9

In lieu of this season's version of The Game of the Century, it's worth noting that former #1 Oklahoma's 41-point win over a solid Kansas State team demonstrated why the Sooners were kept in the Top 10 after their fluke loss to Texas Tech nine days ago – any momentum of which the Red Raiders tossed the very next game following a doleful 41-7 defeat to perennial doormat Iowa State. OU's shot at the national title is gone, but their status as an elite squad remains undeniable.

Michigan State drops from the ranks of the contenders thanks to a 21-point loss to Nebraska, who now reclaims their own place among in the upper tier. Clemson also fall from the Top 10 via their 14-point loss in Atlanta to unranked Georgia Tech. While Arkansas managed a win in its second straight nail-biter, their struggle to put away inferior opponents results in the Razorbacks losing a position in the rankings. Similarly, Virginia Tech is a tenuous entry into the Top 10, as their four-point win over lowly Duke makes the Hokies' game against Georgia Tech (after their upcoming by week) a chance to prove they're for real.

As for LSU/Alabama this weekend, what else can be said about the Tigers and Tide that hasn't already been said about the Super Bowl? It's gonna be huge.

1. Louisiana State (Bye), 8-0, 630 pts.
2. Alabama (Bye), 8-0, 620 pts.
3. Stanford (def. USC, 56-48 in 3 OT), 8-0, 600 pts.
4. Oklahoma State (def. Baylor, 59-24), 8-0, 575 pts.
5. Boise State (Bye), 7-0, 545 pts.
6. Oregon (def. Washington State, 43-28), 7-1, 510 pts.
7. Oklahoma (def. Kansas State, 58-17), 7-1, 455 pts.
8. Nebraska (def. Michigan State, 24-3), 7-1, 395 pts.
9. Arkansas (def. Vanderbilt, 31-28), 7-1, 350 pts.
10. Virginia Tech (def. Duke, 14-10), 8-1, 320 pts.

c/o NikkiBama

Sunday's Quote: The Founders and God

Official portrait of our fourth President
Note: I missed my self-imposed deadline by just a bit. I'll be timelier in the future.

Those who painstakingly laid the foundation of what would become the greatest of all nations spoke frankly about religious tolerance. Yet the intended context of their mutual perspective, which was centered almost entirely upon the tenets of Christianity, is often overlooked, if not dismissed, by a newer breed that swears the Forefathers who authored the Constitution and all its associated doctrines had no intention of instituting God as the cornerstone of our grand republic.

Aside from the fervently irreligious, Believers are also faced with another contemporary nemesis that openly intends to employ their peculiar, if not troubling canons – proven to be the antithesis of the American core – as a means of conquering the unbelieving infidels. And just as shocking, these sanctimonious hordes now have advocates working on their behalf deep within the corridors of power.

One of our nation's finest contributed something to this conversation that remains as pertinent as when he initially spoke it 226 years ago:


"Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governour of the Universe: And if a member of Civil Society, who enters into any subordinate Association, must always do it with a reservation of his duty to the General Authority; much more must every man who becomes a member of any particular Civil Society, do it with a saving of his allegiance to the Universal Sovereign. . . .

"Torrents of blood have been spilt in the old world, by vain attempts of the secular arm, to extinguish Religious discord, by proscribing all difference in Religious opinion. Time has at length revealed the true remedy. Every relaxation of narrow and rigorous policy, wherever it has been tried, has been found to assuage the disease. The American Theatre has exhibited proofs that equal and compleat [sic] liberty, if it does not wholly eradicate it, sufficiently destroys its malignant influence on the health and prosperity of the State.

"If with the salutary effects of this system under our own eyes, we begin to contract the bounds of Religious freedom, we know no name that will too severely reproach our folly. At least let warning be taken at the first fruits of the threatened innovation. The very appearance of the Bill has transformed "that Christian forbearance, love and charity," [Virginia Declaration of Rights, art. 16] which of late mutually prevailed, into animosities and jealousies, which may not soon be appeased."
– James Madison, in a speech to the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia; June 20, 1785

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Editorial Sketch(es) of the Week: Perfectly stated

I couldn't single out one (for the first time), so here are four for your viewing pleasure:

© Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News

© Brian Fairrington, Arizona Republic

© Dick Locher, Chicago Tribune

© Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle

Thursday, October 27, 2011

They're back

Beavis and Butt-head return to MTV tonight after a 15-year hiatus. Admittedly it's been a struggle to fully process this information. Rock on boys.

c/o Grizzly Bomb

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Just Thinking Out Loud: End of an era?

Call it a hunch, but I think the phenomenon that spawns this kind of character is now beyond its pinnacle. Somehow I believe we will be seeing less of this borderline insult to the Black community from now on.

Monday, October 24, 2011

TEC's College Football Top 10, Week 8

The last four words in the Week 7 report were "Don't doubt the Sooners." Five days later, they lost at home to then-unranked Texas Tech. While an argument can be made against their place in the upper tier, Oklahoma hangs on despite their surprising defeat to the Red Raiders. Yet the Sooners' mettle will be tested in each of the next two weeks, as Kansas State and Texas A&M – both nationally ranked – could push OU, not just further down the national rankings, but out of contention for the Big XII title as well.

Similarly, Wisconsin fall out of the top 10 thanks to a Michigan State "Hail Mary" that produced the most sensational ending all season. Hence the Spartans now hold a place among the national contenders while the Badgers find themselves on the outside looking in for the first time this year.

While Oregon jumped a couple of spots with their progressively improved play, all pales in comparison to the colossal showdown coming on November 5 between the undisputed two best teams in the land. Both the Tigers and the Tide stand to benefit from having this week off, as both squads know the next 12 days will determine the path of both SEC and national superiority.

In the arena of college football, Christmas is about to come a bit early this year.

1. Louisiana State (def. Auburn, 45-10), 8-0, 630 pts.
2. Alabama (def. Tennessee, 37-6), 8-0, 620 pts.
3. Stanford (def. Washington, 65-21), 7-0, 600 pts.
t-4. Boise State (def. Air Force, 37-26), 7-0, 560 pts.
t-4. Oklahoma State (def. Missouri, 45-24), 7-0, 560 pts.
6. Oregon (def. Colorado, 45-2), 6-1, 515 pts.
7. Clemson (def. North Carolina, 59-38), 8-0, 450 pts.
8. Arkansas (def. Ole Miss, 29-24), 6-1, 385 pts.
9. Michigan State (def. Wisconsin, 37-31), 6-1, 350 pts.
10. Oklahoma (lost to Texas Tech, 41-38), 6-1, 330 pts.

c/o MCC
It was of some consolation to hear recently about the new Ole Miss mascot being routinely jeered during home games. Indeed, for a number of years now, the Oxford faithful have made their feelings about the new university representative clear in almost total unison. While school officials are likely to stay the course no matter the opposition, one can expect loyalists who support the Rebels through thick and thin to do the same.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday's Quote: A foreigner at Ole Miss

It's been a year, almost to the day, since I've been back to Ole Miss. Last time, I watched helplessly as Cam Newton and the future (bastardized) national champion Auburn Tigers had their way with the Rebels. So considering that my visits to Oxford are fewer and further in between than preferred, it is nice to stumble upon a story on occasion that fully depicts the attributes of a special place that doesn't always get its just due. And perhaps most importantly, this review in particular is by an outsider who hails from the other side of the Atlantic:


"I had been dimly aware that the American South is famous for its hospitality, but was unprepared for a level of friendliness that would have been faintly nauseating if it weren't so seductive. Wherever I went, people smiled at me with their gleaming, perfect teeth. . . . The vibe on campus was such that one could easily strike up a conversation with a stranger. At home this atmosphere had just about lasted through freshers' week; here, it lasted throughout the year. . . .

"A laid-back attitude and general reluctance to sweat the small stuff became uppermost in my daily mentality, and I can say with complete confidence that this was a boon in my academic, athletic and social college life. This is not to say that my fellow students were slobs or lazy. Manners are important in Mississippi, and at big social occasions (namely football games) I have never seen so many students in one place all trying to look smart. . . .

"I spent my time at Ole Miss in a constant slight state of disbelief that the 'American College Experience' was living up to the myth – and then some. This brings me to probably the question most asked about my spell there, put bluntly: 'Is it really racist down there?' Hollywood's interpretation of the South is not exactly glowing. While also not incorrect, it does not take the form one would expect.

"There appeared to be little or no antagonism along racial lines, only a sense of 'mutual segregation'. White guys hung out with white guys and vice versa, with little or no interracial dating. Certain uncomfortable words were thrown around drunkenly in company, which I admit I found surprising. But these encounters were fewer and farther between, however, than I had been led to believe and, all in all, I left with nothing but good things to say.

"I arrived back in an unchanged Edinburgh with a load of work to do, a Southern accent than can best many a New Yorker, a year that I will remember for ever [sic] and dozens of friends I'll stay in touch with. It's good to be home, but I can’t wait to get back."
– from "My year at the University of Mississippi" by Benjamin Cumming, published in The Telegraph; October 20, 2011


In addition, here's a video tribute (w/ Kings of Leon providing the soundtrack) by a German fellow who also spent a year at Ole Miss. Have a look:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

On This Day in History

c/o MacArthur Memorial, via AltDaily
1803 – The U.S. Senate ratified the Louisiana Purchase, acquiring 828,000 square miles originally claimed by France for less than three cents per acre (equivalent to 42 cents per acre today).

Ultimately 15 States would be carved from the area. Also of note, Napoleon Bonaparte said of the exchange, "This accession of territory affirms forever the power of the United States, and I have given England a maritime rival who sooner or later will humble her pride."

1818 – The Convention of 1818 was signed between the United States and the United Kingdom. Most importantly, Article II of the agreement established the 49th parallel as the border between the U.S. and Canada. It hasn't moved an inch after 193 years, and unlike our neighbors to the south, Canadians have no problem respecting our mutual border whatsoever.

1944 – General Douglas MacArthur (pictured) fulfilled his "I shall return" promise when the Battle of Leyte commenced in the Philippines. The Allies reclaimed the islands from the Japanese by New Year's Eve, and World War II would be decided nine months later. The good guys won.

1946 – Lewis Grizzard, a distinguished writer and humorist known for his commentary and Southern demeanor, was born in Fort Benning, Georgia. He was inflicted with a congenital heart defect from birth and died from complications of his fourth heart-valve surgery in 1994. "I Haven't Understood Anything Since 1962 and Other Nekkid Truths" is one of my all-time favorites.

1950 – Tom Petty, one of our finest singer-songwriters, was born in Gainesville, Florida. His music, both solo and collaborative, has sold a combined 60 million units worldwide since he debuted (with the Heartbreakers) in 1976.

1967 – A brief motion picture of an unidentified subject purported to be "Bigfoot" was filmed by two men in the Six Rivers National Forest in the northwestern-most corner of California. Known as the Patterson-Gimlin film, its veracity still remains open to debate.

1973 – Designed by acclaimed Danish architect Jørn Utzon, the Sydney Opera House opened to the public for the first time at Bennelong Point in New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007, the SOH remains one of the most distinctive buildings and one of the most famous performing arts centers in the world.

1977 – Just three days after the release of their fifth album, Street Survivors, a plane carrying Lynyrd Skynyrd crashed in Gillsburg, Mississippi, killing lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and backup singer Cassie Gaines, along with three other non-members of the band.

Skynyrd reformed 10 years later for a reunion tour with lead singer Ronnie Van Zant's younger brother as the new frontman, a position Johnny holds to this day. Although lead/rhythm guitarist Gary Rossington is the only founding member who remains with Skynyrd, thousands still show up to see the Kings of Southern Rock every time they play. To date, the band has sold nearly 30 million units in the U.S. alone.

Information initially obtained from Wikipedia; confirmed and revised (when necessary) through various sources.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Real Music: "Do You Remember," then and now

I came across "Do You Remember" by singer/rapper Jay Sean while cruising YouTube recently. And like most tunes of that particular genre, it's crap. Complete crap. Here's the real version of Do You Remember, some 20 years earlier (including a 45-second intro), by a real singer named Phil Collins:

Us vs. Them

As I've said before, friends on Facebook post some of the best stuff. When words alone aren't enough. . .

Monday, October 17, 2011

TEC's College Football Top 10, Week 7

Like a lot of people, I'm somewhat apathetic to the BCS because the process seems to work as intended only every other season. However much is arguable at this point, your humble purveyor has no issue with keeping Oklahoma in the top spot with the best of the Southeastern Conference trailing just inches behind. The Alabama/LSU showdown on November 5 will resolve most questions. Until then, most other teams can expect to remain on the outside looking in.

Michigan fall out of the top 10, as the Wolverines lost to Michigan State for the fourth consecutive season. They are replaced by Oregon, who after their opening week loss to LSU, have won five straight by an average margin of 33 points per game. The Ducks are possibly better than their ranking. But similar to Boise State, their strength of schedule will likely hinder them from here on out.

1. Oklahoma (def. Kansas, 47-17), 6-0, 630 pts.
t-2. Alabama (def. Ole Miss, 52-7), 7-0, 620 pts.
t-2. Louisiana State (def. Tennessee, 38-7), 7-0, 620 pts.
4. Stanford (def. Washington State, 44-14), 6-0, 560 pts.
5. Wisconsin (def. Indiana, 59-7), 6-0, 555 pts.
6. Boise State (def. Colorado, 63-13), 6-0, 505 pts.
7. Oklahoma State (def. Texas, 38-26), 6-0, 445 pts.
8. Clemson (def. Maryland, 56-45), 7-0, 390 pts.
9. Arkansas (Bye), 6-0, 345 pts.
10. Oregon (def. Arizona State, 41-27), 5-1, 330 pts.

© Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones (right) congratulates wide receiver Ryan Broyles after scoring a touchdown against the Kansas Jayhawks at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, KS. Don't doubt the Sooners.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday's Quote: Individualism

c/o Virginia Commonwealth University
Just as I noted last week the difference between the liberalism of yesteryear and the version it has become today, there is also a considerable dissimilarity between anarchists of the current "Occupy" movement and the forebears who favored peculiarity over the means of aggression that is more common now.

Whatever your opinion about the Left's version of the Tea Party, a 19th century anarchist (of a certain sort) who typified the very spirit of dissent offered something that resonates with everyone:


"I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."
– Henry David Thoreau, author, poet, essayist, philosopher, naturalist, tax resister and development critic. His book Walden, a reflection upon living in natural surroundings, and his essay, Civil Disobedience, an argument for resistance to unjust government, possibly set the modern standard that now inspires the uprising we are seeing all over the world.

Iconic Shot: A different kind of garden

"Summer Heather Garden"
© Christopher Burkett, Studio 391

Friday, October 14, 2011

Just Thinking Out Loud: Mr. Jobs

c/o Apple
The world lost one of the grandest of all innovative visionaries on October 5. Designated at the time of his death as either the primary or co-inventor on a remarkable 342 patents, Steve Jobs is ultimately responsible for establishing the tech company that changed the game for the benefit of an ever-growing contingency that covets something different from the tedious norm.

So profound was his impact that Apple nearly went under when Jobs lost a power struggle with the board of directors. His return, some 10 years later in 1996, soon re-established both Jobs and the enterprise he founded as the industry benchmark by which all others are now judged.

Steve Jobs is mourned for all the right reasons. The same will never be said of his titanic counterparts. Indeed he is the perhaps the last CEO who will ever be missed. Farewell Mr. Jobs. You founded the only cult that's worth joining, and I look forward to becoming one of your devotees – when I can finally afford it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

TEC's College Football Top 10, Week 6 (a day late)

Preseason rankings are debatable, if not borderline controversial. But not only have Oklahoma done nothing to lose the top spot they've had from the beginning, the Sooners proved their worth beyond any question during their annual neutral site "shootout" over the weekend with a 38-point win over then-undefeated Texas. Accordingly the Crimson & Cream tighten their grip on #1, the Longhorns fall out of the top 10 after just one week, and Arkansas takes their place in the rankings after recent consecutive wins over nationally ranked opponents.

In addition, LSU's 30-point victory over Florida was slightly more impressive than Alabama's 34-point shutout win over a better-than-expected Vanderbilt squad that could make another bowl run. Thus 'bama and Louisiana State swap positions but remain in easy striking distance of Oklahoma. Yet something will have to give when these two titans of the Southeastern Conference meet on November 5. Dude, it's gonna be awesome.

1. Oklahoma (def. Texas, 55-17), 5-0, 635 pts.
2. Louisiana State (def. Florida, 41-11), 6-0, 620 pts.
3. Alabama (def. Vanderbilt, 34-0), 6-0, 615 pts.
4. Stanford (def. Colorado, 48-7), 5-0, 570 pts.
5. Wisconsin (Bye), 5-0, 545 pts.
6. Boise State (def. Fresno State, 57-7), 5-0, 500 pts.
7. Oklahoma State (def. Kansas, 70-28), 5-0, 445 pts.
8. Clemson (def. Boston College, 36-14), 6-0, 410 pts.
9. Michigan (def. Northwestern, 42-24), 6-0, 345 pts.
10. Arkansas (def. Auburn, 38-14), 5-1, 315 pts.
A nice panoramic of Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, TN. Go Vols!
(Original source unknown, click to enlarge)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sunday's Quote: What was once "liberal"

c/o Martin Ward
Those of the left-leaning persuasion are generally not aligned with the Christian tradition. A handful of exceptions notwithstanding, it seems most of those who claim the label of modern liberalism are anything but Christian. But it hasn't always been that way.

Having suspected that the liberal of yesteryear is today's Conservative, it's nice to have one of the greatest of all thinkers – identified by some as a "classical liberal" – confirm the obvious:


"TRUTHS turn into dogmas the instant that they are disputed. Thus every man who utters a doubt defines a religion. And the scepticism of our time does not really destroy the beliefs, rather it creates them; gives them their limits and their plain and defiant shape. We who are Liberals once held Liberalism lightly as a truism. Now it has been disputed, and we hold it fiercely as a faith. We who believe in patriotism once thought patriotism to be reasonable, and thought little more about it. Now we know it to be unreasonable, and know it to be right.

"We who are Christians never knew the great philosophic common sense which inheres in that mystery until the anti-Christian writers pointed it out to us. The great march of mental destruction will go on. Everything will be denied. Everything will become a creed. It is a reasonable position to deny the stones in the street; it will be a religious dogma to assert them.

"It is a rational thesis that we are all in a dream; it will be a mystical sanity to say that we are all awake. Fires will be kindled to testify that two and two make four. Swords will be drawn to prove that leaves are green in summer. We shall be left defending, not only the incredible virtues and sanities of human life, but something more incredible still, this huge impossible universe which stares us in the face. We shall fight for visible prodigies as if they were invisible. We shall look on the impossible grass and the skies with a strange courage. We shall be of those who have seen and yet have believed."
– from Chesterton's Heretics

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Iconic Shot: Magic & Bird

Original source is indeterminable
The NBA lockout is now in its 100th day with no end in sight. As players and owners haggle over the details of a 50/50 split in the diminishing revenue of a corporate franchise that continues to lose nine-figure sums each year, longtime fans often reminisce back to the good ol' days when two guys from opposite ends of the spectrum essentially saved the league.

Different in background, position and style, it was their similarities – and resulting mass appeal – that endure the most. Larry Bird and Earvin "Magic" Johnson first met when Michigan State and Indiana State met in the 1979 NCAA national title game. Magic's Spartans were victorious, but both would make their mark on the next level in a way that only Michael Jordan would ever equal.

Magic's career numbers through his 13 seasons are impressive: 17,707 points (19.5 PPG), 10,141 assists (11.2 APG), 6,559 rebounds (7.2 RPG) and 1,724 steals (1.9 SPG). A 12-time All-Star and two-time All-Star Game MVP, Johnson also led his Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA championships en route to being named the league's Most Valuable Player three times.

Larry Legend's stats over his 13 years are equally notable: 21,791 points (24.3 PPG), 8,974 rebounds (10.0 RPG), 5,695 assists (6.3 APG) and 1,556 steals (1.7 SPG). Also a 12-time All-Star, Bird also led his Boston Celtics to three NBA titles en route to being named the league's Most Valuable Player three times.

These men typified the game in every way. Unfortunately for the NBA, their impact may never be duplicated.

Editorial Sketch of the Week: I, like so many others, know the feeling

© Jeff Stahler, The Columbus Dispatch

Friday, October 7, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Real Music: Country boy

Ol' Bocephus got himself in a bit of trouble recently for breaking Godwin's law. Hank, Jr. outta know better than to use a reference that's reserved exclusively for the Left in order to pander, demonize and politicize.
Oh well. Here's the man himself to throw a well-intentioned middle finger in the face of anyone who doesn't like what he's all about:

Monday, October 3, 2011

TEC's College Football Top 10, Week 5

While the top five teams in the land are clear, it's the new entries into the remaining half of the top 10 that fascinate the most. Clemson, by virtue of their third consecutive win over a nationally ranked opponent (for the first time in the program's 115-year history), arrive in the upper tier. Joining the upstart Tigers are Michigan and Texas, each of whom replace Nebraska, South Carolina and Texas A&M.

It seems the Wolverines and Longhorns are back in form after a lengthy hiatus. Texas will be tested first, as the top-ranked Sooners await them in the Red River Shootout this weekend.

1. Oklahoma (def. Ball State, 62-6), 4-0, 630 pts.
2. Alabama (def. Florida, 38-10), 5-0, 625 pts.
3. Louisiana State (def. Kentucky, 35-7), 5-0, 620 pts.
t-4. Stanford (def. UCLA, 45-19), 4-0, 565 pts.
t-4. Wisconsin (def. Nebraska, 48-17), 5-0, 565 pts.
6. Boise State (def. Nevada, 30-10), 4-0, 490 pts.
7. Oklahoma State (Bye), 4-0, 435 pts.
8. Clemson (def. Virginia Tech, 23-3), 5-0, 410 pts.
9. Michigan (def. Minnesota, 58-0), 5-0, 345 pts.
10. Texas (def. Iowa State, 37-14), 4-0, 315 pts.

c/o Saturday Down South
An unidentified Georgia fan snapped a pic of Mississippi State defensive back Nickoe Whitley watering the legendary hedges at Sanford Stadium. Evidently he thought nobody would notice. That is vintage Mississippi State.

Hey, nice tat

The absurdity doesn't require explanation. The pic stands on its own merit.

c/o The Berry

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunday's Quote: As hope and pomposity fade. . .

c/o WaPo Writers Group
No matter who gets the Republican nomination to face Obama next year – and irrespective of whatever momentum the Right may (or may not) have – the ineptitude on both sides of the congressional aisle becomes only more evident with each passing day, which will undoubtedly set the tone for an election season that will be as parochial as it is repelling already. Yet regardless of whatever criticisms one may harbor for each of the GOP candidates, the following assessment cannot be said for anyone but the man who currently occupies The White House:


"Barack Obama is no Harry Truman. It's not that complicated. Obama is over his head. He is a great orator. He came out of nowhere. He dazzled America. He [has] never run anything. He never actually enacted anything even in the legislature. He hadn't run a state. He hadn't run a city. He hadn't run a business. He is running the biggest enterprise in the world and he has not succeeded. And that is why all of these independents, all of those who believed in a soaring rhetoric, including probably a couple who swooned in the aisles as he spoke in 2008, are now waking up and realizing he is a mortal who is in over his head."
– Syndicated columnist Charles "Martel" Krauthammer, debating fellow columnist (and noted Obama apologist) Colbert King during the September 9, 2011 episode of Inside Washington