Archive for the ‘WTF?’ Category

Comments Off on Fighting Illini – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Fighting Illini – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

University of Illinois Fighting IlliniThe Good

After a very shaky start to the Big Ten season, the Illinois men’s basketball team has put together a decent 5-2 run in the past seven games, marginally improving their outlook to make the NCAA tournament at the end of the season. Of course, how well they play in the final five Big Ten games will determine their fate.

I will continue to do my part, though… I’m not the only one who has noticed that the Illini play better when I don’t or can’t actively watch the games. As soon as I turn on the game, they commit a turnover or do something else stupid. It’s all my fault. ;-)

The Bad

For the past 22 years, any true fan who has ever attended a University of Illinois basketball or football game has thrilled to hear public announcer Jim Sheppard rally the fans with spirited calls like “It’s a Threeeee!!!” or “First Down ILLINI!!!” in his signature booming voice.

However, on December 7, 2006, the University’s Division of Intercollegiate Athletics informed Sheppard that they will “go in a different direction” after next year’s football season and Sheppard’s 22-year run will end.

WTF?!? I can’t believe the U of I would basically fire Sheppard without any better reason than “a different direction.” This Daily Illini article discusses the situation and I think echoes my opinion that Illinois is way off the ball here.

The Ugly

Coach Ron Zook and the Illinois football program should be celebrating a tremendously successful recruiting season, earning what experts are calling a top 15 recruiting class nationwide. Unfortunately, that very success is causing some losers, uh, I mean some coaches who lost recruiting battles, to bitch and moan privately, and not so privately. The New York Times published a literary masterpiece earlier this week titled “Illinois Has Rivals Fuming About Its Recruiting Coup”, which seems to have ignited this controversy with its less-than-balanced coverage of the story. For a more news-worthy study of the situation, I suggest reading this Chicago Sun-Times article instead.

Now don’t get me wrong… If there’s proof that Illinois did something illegal in recruiting these kids, punishment should be swift and appropriate, and then we’ll all move on to the next scandal. But I haven’t heard anything so far that even remotely resembles a shred of proof. If this turns out to just be sour grapes, it’ll give me even more reason to dislike a certain holier-than-thou midwestern university that has been named as the driving force behind these vague accusations. After all, having your very own national television deal isn’t enough of a competitive recruiting edge, is it? No Doubt about it. :|

Comments Off on BCS = Better Change Soon

BCS = Better Change Soon

BCSI am definitely not a Michigan fan. In fact, every time I hear that damn Michigan fight song (too often unfortunately when they play the Illini), I can’t help but think of the alternate, highly unflattering version one of my roommates taught me back in college. But that doesn’t change the fact that Michigan was one of the best teams in college football this season. In fact, I believe they were the second best team in the country and deserve a rematch with undefeated #1 arch-rival Ohio State. Instead, the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) will feature OSU and Florida in the Tostitos BCS Championship Game on January 8th.

Personally, I think Michigan got robbed, but that’s not exactly what this entry is about… What I am ranting about is the BCS itself. Why is Division I-A college football the only organized sport I know of that absolutely refuses to adopt a playoff structure to decide the season championship? The answer, of course, is money.

The existing Bowl games and their inevitable sponsors have lots of dough invested in keeping the games where they are. To get an idea of how out of hand the current bowl system has gotten, take a look at this list of scheduled bowl games. C’mon, the “San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl”? All due respect to the fine folks who work at the San Diego County Credit Union, but that has to be the most ridiculous excuse for a Bowl game that I’ve ever heard.

What I don’t understand is why the NCAA is so resistant to a college football playoff. Think “March Madness” at Christmastime. It would be huge. It would definitively answer the question of who is the best football team in the country every season. It would still be possible to have a number of Bowl games featuring teams that didn’t make it into the playoffs. And at this point, I think it’s just a matter of time before popular demand for a playoff system forces the NCAA to rethink the outdated and overcommercialized Bowl games. Can’t wait!

BTW, I’m rooting for both Ohio State and Michigan to win each of their games by embarrassing margins. :-)

Comments Off on You’ll Get Yours, Black Bart!

You’ll Get Yours, Black Bart!

You'll Get Yours, Black Bart!Ten points if you can identify the gentlemen in the photo (click to enlarge)…

Hint: The weapon on the left is an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle.

That’s right! The guy on the left is none other than Peter Billingsley, a.k.a. Ralphie from A Christmas Story. Actor/director Jon Favreau is on the right. Jon is directing the Iron Man movie, currently scheduled for a May 2008 release. Ralphie, uh, Peter is co-producing the movie with Jon. The hardware are props for the movie (I hope ;-)).

Comments Off on It’s just a game!

It’s just a game!

I read a very interesting article earlier tonight on the upcoming video game Spore, which was already featured in a previous blog posting. It gives more details about the mechanics of the game, which unfortunately isn’t due to be released for another year (or probably more)…

The game will let players create a custom-built microscopic germ that can evolve into a macroscopic critter that can walk on land, build its own cities, and eventually discover the secret of space travel. One of the most intriguing features of this open-ended game is how it will focus on “procedurally generated content” — that is, content that’s created on the fly by the game in response to a few key decisions that players make, such as how they make their creatures look, walk, eat, and fight.

Sounds very cool.

However, this particular entry was inspired not by the article itself, but by the six pages (at current count) of reader comments following the article. Even that’s not all that note-worthy given the hype and anticipation surrounding this game. What surprised me is that, because the game models an evolutionary process, a majority of this commentary is an argument of evolutionism vs. creationism, or more accurately an argument between a few anti-creation zealots vs. a few anti-evolution zealots.

Now, don’t get me wrong… I absolutely agree that everyone has a right to believe whatever they damn well want to. One of my favorite quotes, attributed to Voltaire (or is it?) is, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. I think this is the epitome of the American ideal.

However, when a limited number of extremists on either side of an issue, any issue, control the dialog about that issue, that dialog can get loud and rancorous enough to interfere with my right not to give a shit.

For the record, do I believe in evolution? Yep. Do I believe it’s the absolute answer to this particular question and that it precludes any and all other alternatives? Nope, I’m not that smart… I don’t have those kinds of answers.

Do I have opinions on other issues that divide our towns, our states, our countries, our planet? Yep. Am I going to rant and rave in the vain hope that you will end up believing the exact same thing that I do? Definitely not. I simply ask that you extend me the same courtesy.

OK, I think I’ve gotten it out of my system now. I’ll step off my soapbox and get you back to your regularly scheduled blog… ;-)

Comments Off on Marketing Brilliance

Marketing Brilliance

Ben and Jerry's Waffle Cone Room SprayBen and Jerry really know how to sell ice cream, and other products that make people want to buy ice cream…

Think about it, how long could you stand having your house smelling like this Waffle Cone Ice Cream Room Spray and NOT have a bowl (or two) of the real thing on hand? :-P

Comments Off on Toto… we’re not in Kansas anymore

Toto… we’re not in Kansas anymore

Apparently Mother Nature is so not a soccer fan…

I wonder what that one was… F4? F5? ;-)

Comments Off on Square Melons?!?

Square Melons?!?

Square WatermelonsNo, I’m not talking about cosmetic surgery gone wrong.

Leave it to the Japanese to solve a problem that no one even realized they had. This story from the BBC tells how 20 years ago, a Japanese farmer came up with the idea of making a cube-shaped watermelon which could easily be packed and stored. The farmer grows the melons in glass boxes, which then assume the shape of the box as they grow. Today the cuboid watermelons are hand-picked and shipped all over Japan.

However, unnaturally shaped melons don’t come cheap. Each melonoid (my word :-)) sells for around 85 bucks, equivalently speaking. For that kind on money, you should get a Geisha girl as part of the package to hand-feed it to you. :-P

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