Random thoughts

* Pie beer is back at Tied House. It’s incredibly tasty stuff. I have almost gotten through a jug in two days.

* The Trader Joe’s chocolate caramels with sea salt are much more gulp-able than the Recchutti variety. Cheaper too. My poor taste will out eventually.

* Looks like Tony Anthony is leaving the Geoff Show to take a command position at Virgin Radio. Good for him and well done, although it will be like losing a co-worker. I’ve been listening to the show, live or in podcast form, since it started in its current incarnation – in fact, the Symposium and the Junkies are some of my best pals, or so it seems.

* I need to find something to buy to be my Christmas present from my mother and Cousin Pa. The fact of the matter is that there’s not really that much out there that I want – certainly nothing I need, by a long shot. I’m trying to fight the phone glee and not get another cell phone – I am sorely tempted to get the unlocked Motorola MOTOFONE F3, which for my money is the most innovative phone in the world right now and a slick $40 plus shipping – but am I really ever going to use it routinely unless my iPhone goes tits-up? No I am not. And I sure can’t use it abroad; one of the cheapening points of the F3 is that it eschews any but domestic bands in its home market. So what’s the point of getting it other than as a cutesy demo and a waste of time?

* It occurs to me that I really do miss T-Mobile. I made the switch about this time in 2003 and stuck with them for a year; the only reason I eventually dumped them was because they didn’t have the greatest coverage around my in-laws’ house and I really needed two-band coverage between my apartment and my workplace. Now, when I don’t have ANY coverage at work to speak of, it really doesn’t seem to matter much who my carrier is, and although i dearly love my iPhone, I would also dearly love to get rid of AT&T, which is not the real AT&T anymore – it’s at&t, which is SBC on steroids and just the sort of Baby Bell swine that made me hate Verizon so much back East.

* Being in the UK and seeing four competing mobile operators (plus the virtual ones like Virgin Mobile, which is my UK number) really makes me sick of how things are set up in this country. By not settling on a standard, we got a market split between two different technologies, with a dual-band carrier on each side and a single-band PCS operator as the “competition.” And with two different technical standards, hardware is tied to the provider. Just imagine what the US cellular market would be like if you could get your phone completely separate from the service provider – which you sort of can with T-Mobile, less so with at&t, but not at all with Verizon or Sprint.

* Life on Mars starts Series 2 on BBC America tonight. NO SPOILERS! Other than “It were dark! We all make mistakes!” “BAAAAAA!! BAAAAA!!”

* OK, that’s 500 words, I can knock off now, right?

I wish I had proof…

…that I was flogging Huckabee a year ago as the breakout candidate. I know I told people, but I wish I had something in writing. Better yet, I wish I had a betting slip from Paddy Power or William Hill or Ladbrokes with £20 on it and $BIGNUMBER:1 as the odds. As it is, I said back in September that I’d been saying to keep an eye on the Huck for nine months, back when he was polling around 6% in Iowa.

But I digress.

Mitt Romney is an idiot. Even setting aside the fact that the largest Protestant denomination in the country officially considers him a cult follower (that’s not just talk, that’s Southern Baptist doctrine, and I have the papers from the Watchman Foundation to prove it) – how on earth did he ever think he could be more attractive to the evangelical vote than an ACTUAL SOUTHERN BAPTIST PREACHER?

If Romney wanted to have a prayer (HA HA SEE WHAT I DID THERE), he should have taken a page out of the Gary Hart playbook and run as a technocratic non-ideological managerial-competence type, pointing to the SLC Olympics and his time in Massachusetts as proof that he could change the tone in Washington and be a capable administrator. Sure, maybe you have a rough time getting through the primary, but McCain’s habit of bucking the faithful was working just fine in 2000 until he hit the Rove dirty tricks machine in South Carolina. This year, by the time they get to SC, it might be too late if one guy has already taken Iowa and NH.

Instead, Romney went for the Bush offense: say what they want to hear and try to look inevitable. Since NH was considered an easy get because of his proximity, Iowa became the ballgame, and he dumped an absolutely scatalogically-obscene amount of money into the Hawkeye state. And now, with a month to go, Huckabee’s polling in the high 30s and Romney’s got half that. In other words, Momentum Mitt is sitting on 2-7 and Huckabee’s just flopped a straight.

Looking at the GOP field right now, I don’t see how any of them can possibly win the nomination. Of course, I feel the same way about the Ds at the moment. The 2008 Presidency season is going to make the 2007 college football season look like a Swiss watch.

I Want To Believe

If you’d told me Jason Campbell would go out hurt, Todd Collins would play out the rest of the way, and the Skins would roll up all of 31 yards on the ground, I would have stuck my head in a chipper-shredder. And yet, Washington wins 24-16. The point was made that you can’t really blame the team for anything on Sunday, as they were just too emotionally ravaged to be responsible for anything. Maybe. It’s great that they could win tonight, but it makes those five games where they led at the half and broke down in the 4th quarter all the more irritating.

Despite everything, when it comes to the Redskins, it’s like Brokeback Mountain. “Joe Gibbs, I wish I knew how to quit you.”

Meanwhile, I have to get cracking on my wish list for Christmas. There’s not really very much I want or need that can be had for money – and to be honest, 90% of the stuff I want that can be had for money is stuff I really don’t need and shouldn’t get. (Another mobile phone, anyone? Water bottle? Pair of shades? At least I don’t want any more Doc Martens…) What I’d REALLY like is a consignment of very hard drugs to knock out this lingering sinus thing. It’s been two weeks, almost.

Well, football is done. Maybe I should consider looking for dinner beyond the last five pizza rolls…

Apologies for all the football blogging…

…but as the crapocolypse comes to a close, I have to add one more thought: it’s time to put Joe Gibbs in a home. Seriously. Even Terri Schiavo would have known not to call that second timeout. I don’t know what the answer is going forward – we’ve tried the incumbent (Turner), the cagey vet (Schottenheimer), the college whiz (Spurrier) and the legend, and it’s all fallen apart. Maybe there’s some hot assistant out there who’s supposed to be an offensive genius (who’s running the Patriot’s O?) or maybe Gregg Williams is like Belichek – a highly compenent assistant who does a lot better in his second opportunity. But any way you slice it, the fact of the matter is that the Redskins have gotten as good as they will ever get under Gibbs 2.0. There’s still a long way to slide, and for the good of the organization, it’s time to pull the feeding tube.

Post-Mortem, again

Without too much fluff, my annual look at what the big bowls would look like if 1990 rules were still in effect.

ROSE BOWL: OHIO STATE vs USC. The traditional matchup actually provides a pretty good test for the putative #1 team.

ORANGE BOWL: OKLAHOMA vs WEST VIRGINIA. A great matchup that keeps the old Big-8 flavor in Miami.

SUGAR BOWL: LSU vs HAWAII. I had to make this match for agricultural reasons.

COTTON BOWL: KANSAS vs ARIZONA STATE. Not much to say about this one.

FIESTA BOWL: VIRGINIA TECH vs GEORGIA. This is a barnburner waiting to happen.

Random? Maybe. Solves anything? Probably not. Any more illogical and arbitrary than the BCS? Not in the slightest.

As always, look me in the eye and tell me college football is better off with the BCS than it was 15 years ago.


I was thoroughly displeased with Vandy losing to UT and Wake, and Bama falling to Auburn for the sixth straight year. But at least these were predictable losses to better teams, and while disheartening, they were hardly unexpected.

What happened tonight in Palo Alto should have been unexpected, but after the events of the last two months, it could hardly be anything of the sort. Indeed, the trend line pointed the way bright and clear: five losses in six games, a turnover margin of -11, an average of 5.3 points in the second half per game. Nobody should have expected anything but an ignominious collapse from the Golden Bears, let alone the 14 points Vegas was giving.

And yet.

Stanford’s defense was regarded as poor-to-feeble, ranked last in the league against the run. The obvious course of action was to pound the ball on the ground – but Justin Forsett’s second-half carries were measurable in single digits. With DeSean Jackson out, and Longshore still not up to competition standard, the obvious move was to eat up clock on the ground – but Cal threw, and threw ineffectively, against a Cardinal defense that blithely set up and blitzed the QB to oblivion, unconcerned with the chance that the blitz might leave them open to draw runs and short screens – because Cal didn’t call any.

If I were the athletic director of the University of California, my orders would be this: the coaching staff, to a man, will stand all night tonight in the lobby of the student center, right outside the bookstore, staring at the empty trophy case that, for the last five years, contained the Stanford Axe. And once the sun comes up, they can go home and start planning for next year. No bowl bid will be accepted; there’s no point wasting time on some horseshit nothing bowl for a 6-6 team. There are bigger improvements that need to be made.

The mark of a great coach is the ability to adapt and perform. Once upon a time, Cal made halftime adjustments as well as anybody in football. This year, the best thing the football team has done at the half is get off the field to make way for the band.

During the game I twittered that if Jeff Tedford had any honor, he would return his salary for this season and resign. I don’t expect it to happen, obviously. But through the first five games of the year, Cal was 5-0 and ranked #2 in the country. Today, they are a .500 ballclub which just completed the biggest collapse in recent college football history.

For a coach, the order of priority goes like this: win national title, play for national championship, win conference title, play in BCS bowl, play in New Year’s day bowl, play in bowl game, post winning record, and above all beat the arch-rival. Jeff Tedford in 2007 has failed on every point. An explanation ought to be forthcoming. For now, the British have the correct phrasing: as the head football coach at the University of California, as of December 1, Jeff Tedford is no longer fit for purpose.

11 down, 1 to go

This has been a shit-tastic year and no fooling. Not 1998 bad obviously, or 1986, but pretty damn close. I will be thrilled to see the back of it, though I’m not sanguine about 2008 being any better.

The trip went well, I suppose, although Paris was stressful. I think if we ever manage to get out that way again, the new priorities are Ireland and either Austria or southern Germany, and I don’t think it would take much to get my German back up to tourist-sufficient. The amazing thing this time is that we spent parts of six days in London, and while it made for a nice turnaround, I think we’ve hit a point where we either need to move to London or start spending quality time on other destinations. Not that we’ve exhausted its potential or anything, but there are high-priority spots elsewhere that are more important to see than our third tier of London sights.

It didn’t help that we got sick. I blame the walking tour of York in a slow drizzle and freezing temps, though I would certainly go back. In fact, York and Bath are both places I could go hang out for a while, just to relax and get my head together. Paris I’d like to see again, but only with an ironclad guarantee of Metro service and at least one pass through the phrasebook before leaving. I really think the next trip will be Dublin, Salzburg, the Black Forest, and whatever else of Ireland I can get in. But after totaling the spreadsheet on trip expenses, I think it will be a long time before we can get out of the country again, unless it’s driving to Canada or something.

I’m FREEZING, by the way. I guess it’s time to turn on the heater. I also need a haircut something awful, and something awful is pretty much what I can expect my hair to look like. Going down to the 2/2 was probably an error, but I don’t know if I could still get by with 4/2 or even 3/2 anymore. I suppose I should look a some of the pics and see which looked more viable, but for now I think it’d better be a hat.