Time Marches On

When I was a kid, the season from Thanksgiving to Christmas was usually cold, rainy, foggy, and kind of dreary to look at. Everything was brown and gray, all the leaves were out of the trees and covering the ground, water dripping off the branches…in a way, it’s incredibly beautiful, but it isn’t hard to visualize how it could quickly turn depressing as hell. And did. And as a kid, you’d turn on the TV in December and see things like the Rose Bowl or the parade or something from Disneyland, and everything was clear and bright and sunny and green and lush. And there were palm trees. It was like another world. Something amazing and exotic and so, so much cooler than what was there in front of me.

Yesterday, I drove in a slow rain to the airport, past barren trees and muddy yards. I got on an airplane and flew back here. And this morning, I got up late, went down to the car about 10 AM, and went for a drive. Sonny and Sam on the satellite radio. Sunroof open, windows down, cool breeze and bright morning sun shining down. Green on the hills, palms swaying in the breeze down around Sunnyvale…

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve had the strangest feeling that something’s not quite right when I look in the mirror. Something has changed, and I can’t quite put my finger on what. But if I had to guess, I’d say it’s got something to do with the idea of what it means to finally, genuinely be a Californian.

In any event, I made it. I survived the week, I returned in one piece, I’ve had sleep and coffee. It’s 1 PM, Sunday November 29, 2008. Ladies and gentlemen…welcome to Christmas. =)

So I’m going on the road…

…yes, back to the ancestral land next week for Thanksgiving. The good news is that thanks to iPhone Software Update 2.2, I can now update my podcast collection on the road, which means I can go literally weeks without needing to connect the phone to anything but a power outlet. The bad news is that I cannot churn out 800-word posts on an iPhone. (OK, may not be bad news. Election season is over – your boy has nothing to offer the blogosphere but cheap zingers and football rage.)

So there may not be much here for a while. However, if you want to keep track of the fun, you can check out the ancillary feed from Tumblr, which will have, you guessed it, cheap zings and random pix from the land of sinkin’ spells and casserole. Just bookmark http://scalawag.tumblr.com and wait for the preposterous fun to roll in. I knew I had a reason for keeping that account open.

With every passing day I give thanks that the only people on my side of the family who even know the definition of blog are my double second cousin and his telepathic waitress wife. I think I might have some ‘splainin to do otherwise. I mean, anybody who knows me can tell who this is, but I’ve gone to reasonable lengths to try to scrub it up a little (and there may be more in future).

Harry Reid: not fit for purpose.

Once again, the trouble remains where it has for the last two years: there are not enough words in the English language to describe what a feckless, incompetent pushover is the Senator from Nevada. Joe Lieberman campaigned against Barack Obama, questioned his patriotism, questioned his willingness to defend the country – and now will be left to chair the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Oversight.
Lieberman can now sandbag the administration at will. He will get the routine praise accorded anyone in Washington who routinely shits on the head of their own party, and any attempt to dislodge him for questionable actions will be painted as an attempt to stonewall or cover up misdoings in the administration. Holy Joe shouldn’t even be in the caucus – and now he gets punished for eight months of sabotage with…nothing.
Harry Reid just kneecapped Obama two months before he even takes office. If Congressional Democrats had any sack at all, they would pick a new Senate Majority Leader when they convene in January. Ironically, though, the only Dem in Congress with any sort of testicular fortitude is Nancy Pelosi.
Obama could learn a thing or two from Reagan: trust, but verify.

Odd thought of the night

I would love to see one year where the SNL cast includes Justin Timberlake, Alec Baldwin, Christopher Walken, and the Killers as the house band.

Could you do an entire cast just with people who have killed as guest hosts?

Somebody better start that ref’s car for him

I have never in my life seen three calls in such quick succession that were so flagrantly intended to bail out one team. First the Redskins down the punt at the 1 only to hear that Rock Cartwright was in the end zone when he touched the ball. HD replay shows green grass between Cartwright and the end zone when the ball is touched dead…but even after a replay challenge, the call on the field stands.

Then the Dallas ball carrier is stopped at the 1. Replay clearly shows his elbow hit before the ball broke the plane of the goal line…but the call on the field stands.

Then Clinton Portis makes the catch and rolls out of bounds…but is called down before going out of bounds, causing the clock to continue to run, despite replays showing that he apparently crossed out of bounds before being touched. In college, he would have been down, certainly, but this ain’t college ball. Which is obvious, as most college ball still attempts to maintain the appearance of integrity.

At least the refs in the Pac-10 are just utterly worthless all around. The NFL and its semi-pro officiating corps have an agenda, though, and the care, feeding and protection of “America’s Team” is at the top of the list.

I thought that election day would mean an end to the eternal tongue-bath of all things Texan, but apparently it’s going to take a nuclear bomb to rid us of this troublesome state. Then again, given the survivability of cockroaches, I’m sure the Cowboys will get by just fine, so maybe not.

Another Endorsement Deal

So the problem I had with my Clarks muckers – the duck-boot-looking things that I got for the trip to Europe last fall. The problem I had was that at some point, they started with that squishy sound as described earlier. So while at Valley Fair today, I stopped in and asked if they had any idea what I should do…and the fellow on duty said to bring them in and they might be able to do something for me.

Because I will do literally anything to avoid going grocery shopping, I actually drove all the way home, got them, and brought them back to the mall, where we discovered the problem: a hairline crack on the left side of the heel on each shoe. Not only did that cause the air-squishing, water had shipped in through the crack and been absorbed by the sole material; they were legitimately slightly heavier than a new pair of the same shoes.

And I know this because after consulting with the other employee in the shop, the guy marked up the old pair as “damaged” and gave me a new pair free of charge, apologizing that he could only give me an even exchange since I didn’t have the original receipt. Which, you know, is just freakin’ fine by me.

So yeah. If you need some good comfy shoes, go by Clark’s in VF and buy from our man Gilbert. (They also have a sale on – buy one, get a second pair 25% off, which means I finally have some black upscale-casual shoes other than Docs for the first time in five years and for only $53, which is pretty damn good I think.) So yeah. Clark’s FTW.

It can rain now. =)

Breathing again, barely

OK, in the cold light of…midnight, let’s have a look at the reality of the situation, and acknowledge one truth: this is a down year for the SEC. Under normal circumstances, this Vandy team never breaks 5 wins all year, let alone beats SC and Auburn and knocks off Kentucky on the road (only the third win in 13 tries against the Mild Cats, who we actually pwn much more in basketball these days…my God did I just say that!?). And yet, the Mississippi State and Duke games were winnable…under optimal conditions, we could be sitting on 8 wins with 2 to play and that would probably put us…but no sense worrying about that. So let’s look at the SEC:

1st tier: ALABAMA and FLORIDA. National championship contenders; the BCS Semi-Final is basically the first week of December in Atlanta.

2nd tier: GEORGIA and LSU. Each lost to both teams above; both are legit top-25 teams and nothing to hang your head over, but they are clearly the next level down.

3rd tier: honestly, at this point, it’s a bunch of skells. South Carolina, Kentucky, Ole Miss…and Vanderbilt, which has beaten all three of them.

4th tier: Mississippi State, Arkansas, and (warm glow of joy) AUBURN, which has to beat Bama on the road to be bowl-eligible, and TENNESSEE, the worst team in the conference, who has already fired their coach, lost to Wyoming at homecoming, and is guaranteed a losing season and their worst record in decades.

Now, if you look at the bowl tie-ins, it goes like this (Cassius Clay rules in effect for names of bowls)

1st: BCS

2nd: Citrus

3rd/4th/5th: Cotton/Outback/Peach

6th/7th: Liberty/Music City

8th: Independence

9th: that nubbins bowl in Birmingham named after a pizza website

The way it works is that the Citrus bowl gets the second-best team in the SEC by record. They can also pick a team within one win of that record. This is basically to allow some flexibility if the SEC title game loser is legitimately worse than the second-best team in the other division.

Then the Cotton Bowl gets first pick of the SEC West’s remaining teams, the Outback gets first pick from the East, and the Peach gets a pick left over from either side.

Then the two Tennessee bowls rank the remaining bowl-eligible teams in order of preference, and if their first choices are different, they get them. If they want the same team, that team basically picks whether they’d rather play in Nashville before New Years’ Day or Memphis after.

Then the sludge bowls pick. Honestly, the odds that the SEC will have nine teams eligible for bowls…well, it’s actually still mathematically possible, as Vandy made 8…but never mind that.

Now even if the Dores don’t win another game the rest of the way, they are legitimately at least the fifth or sixth team in the conference, based on the tiebreaks they have with the other 3-conf-win SEC teams head-to-head.

But if the Dores win out to hit 8-4, they would definitely be 5th in the conference overall, at the top of Tier 3. And right now, it looks like both Bama and Florida will wind up in the BCS bowls irrespective of the SEC title game result, assuming they beat their principal rivals Thanksgiving weekend. (I’m taking as read that Florida will do unspeakable things to Citadel next week.)

Long story short (too late, I know): if the SEC gets two teams in the BCS, and Vandy wins out, the Commodores could break their 26-year postseason drought playing on January 1, 2009.

Read that last sentence again.

I feel faint.