Archive for the ‘The Odd’ category

World Cup 2010

June 8, 2010

Steve Jobs ran into some problems trying to present the new iPhone 4.  It seems when he tried to connect to the WiFi network in the presentation hall, his iPhone wouldn’t connect.  He then asked the blogging reporters to disconnect from the network so he could get on it.  That only met with laughter.  Jobs’ next course of action was to connect the AT&T’s 3G network, except he couldn’t get signal for that either.  –  I’m glad to know I’m not the only person who’s had problems with AT&T’s wireless network lately! – Jobs finally gave up and showed screen shots he had saved for the presentation.  Don’t feel bad Steve.  The WiFi reception on my iTouch sucks, too.  Maybe if they made an Android MP3 player, that would solve my problem.

In other news of un-success, New Zealand’s All Whites football (soccer) team was eager to hit their practice field immediately after stepping off the plane in South Africa.  The smog on the field was so bad that the team had difficulty even seeing the corner flags.  Two of the players only lasted minutes before having to use inhalers to relieve their asthma.  The locals could not understand why the practice session was brought to an early conclusion.

The World Cup is now just days away.  Nike has had out its epic World Cup commercial for weeks.  It features Wayne Rooney, Christiano Ronaldo, and Didier Drogba, who broke his arm last week but had surgery and is still probable to make an appearance by the end of the tournament  should the Ivory Coast manage to win without him for a few games – I thought hockey players were touch! – as well as cameos by Kobe Bryant, Homer Simpson and Roger Federer.  Drogba’s injury is only the latest in a rash of recent injuries among the elite of the sport.  The most notable of the players missing the World Cup is LA Galaxy and AC Milan midfielder David Beckham, who required surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon.  Other major contributers missing from the field will include German captain Michael Ballack and goalkeeper Rene Adler,  Michael Essein of Ghana and England’s Rio Ferdinand.  Brazil’s Julio Cesar could see limited action in goal during the tournament.  While some of these injuries, like Drogba’s, are a risk of playing the game, most are wear-and-tear injuries, coming after many of these players have gone over two years without an off-season, due to club play and World Cup qualifiers.

Players aren’t the only ones getting injured.  FIFA gave away thousands of free tickets to a friendly between North Korea and Nigeria on Sunday.  There was a stampede to get into the match, and at least 20 people were injured after being trampled.  FIFA took no responsibility for the security at the match, but it ensures matches will be safe once the tournament starts.

That’s what I am really excited about.  The US plays England on Saturday afternoon.  Hopefully, I’ll be home to watch it, because I might not be able to keep updated if I can’t find a WiFi network on my iTouch.

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no dog in that fight*

February 24, 2010

I came across two news stories yesterday that I was interested in.  One of them is local, one is most definitely not.  Neither directly affects my life, but I still feel that I want to weigh-in on them.

Crabbe Elementary School

One of the local school districts is considering closing one of its elementary schools.  The idea of closing an elementary school and consolidating it with another is not uncommon.  I am in no way against consolidating schools.  While it may not save the district money in the way of teachers’ salaries, it can potentially save a lot of money in the areas of administrative and staff salaries.  This would allow more money to be spent on the education of children.  It also allows for more pooling of resources and supplies to meet the needs of teachers and students and enhance student learning, and we all know that students need a good learning.  The closed school would also provide a location for the district central office, district preschool and district central school to move that would not be a trailer or the money pit in which they are currently residing.

Now that I’ve listed all the reasons that closing a school is good, I’d like to address why they are making an awful suggestion to go about doing it.  The problem is their choice of schools.  The original plan had been to close Hatcher Elementary, which is the smallest school in the district but is one of the outlying schools of the district.  There were protests, as one might expect about that proposition.  The district’s local planning committee very recently changed directions and decided Crabbe Elementary would be a better choice of schools to close.  Crabbe’s student body has been dropping recently.  When it comes to school size, it is in the middle in the district.  Crabbe’s best feature is perhaps the school’s location.  It is the only school downtown, which makes it the only school where a high percentage of students can actually walk safely to school.  It is located in the city park and next to the main branch of the county library.  Crabbe is also a mile and a half from the nearest other elementary school in the district.

Since the sudden change in plans, there has been the expected protest.  In fact, the protest was so great that the committee has postponed making a final decision, which was expected to be made this past Monday.  While it is easy to just say that the district should not close the school, I would offer an alternative proposition.  If a school needs to be closed to make room for the district administration and preschool, a better choice would be Poage Elementary School.  Poage is the second smallest school in the district.  It is near the center of the district and located just half a mile from the closest other elementary school.  The students in the school’s area could easily be distributed to three other district elementary schools without greatly increasing the distance from their homes.  The biggest downside to this plan would be that the district offices would no longer be downtown.  I’m not saying that’s the only solution or even the best solution, but I did want to throw it out there.

University of Mississippi

The other matter is the suggestion to change the mascot at Ole Miss.  The university dropped Colonel Reb as its mascot in 2003 in the somewhat justifiable name of being unoffensive**.  Colonel Reb was an elderly southern gentleman.  Although he is no longer on the sidelines and courts, he can still be seen in the stands and on various university products.  The reason I say the the removal of the mascot was somewhat justified is because I acknowledge that the idea of an antebellum southern gentleman is widely viewed as a plantation owner, who would by necessity own slaves.  Personally, I consider a southern antebellum gentleman to be someone who stands for honor, respect for others, hospitality and all the other positive views of such a figure that were held in the 1930s when Colonel Reb first appeared.  I believe this is also how the university intended him to be viewed.  Having such a figure on campus can be nowhere near as offensive as the school flying the state flag, which contains the most widely-known Confederate battle flag,** on campus.  Yesterday the school allowed the student body to vote on creating a new mascot, possibly a Colonial rebel or a cardinal in honor of a student organization, or to have no mascot at all.  The students went against most predictions and voted to find a new mascot instead of being the only SEC school without one.  I was hoping they’d vote for no new mascot as a protest, but if they are wanting to get a new mascot, I think a higher rank is in order.

*In choosing this title, I in no way condone Michael Vick’s past behavior.
**I am also a supporter of this Confederate battle flag when it is not being used for terroristic purposes, but that is another issue for another entry.

Place Your Bets

February 6, 2010

There are a ton of interesting things you can bet on during the Super Bowl.  Just ask the people in Vegas that make up the books.  There’s always the standards of “Who will win/beat the point spread?” “Who will score first?” “Will there be overtime?” and “Who will win the coin toss?”  Here are some of the more unusual Super Bowl XLIV prop bets:

The current over/under on how long it will take Carrie Underwood to sing the national anthem is about 1 minute 40 seconds.  Personally, I’m hoping for the over on that one for two reasons.  First if the anthem runs long and I’m running late to the Super Bowl party, it will give me a little bit of extra time to get there.  On the other hand if I’m on time to the party, I can think of worse things than having to look at Carrie Underwood a little bit longer.

What color Gatorade will be dumped on the winning coach?  In case you’re wondering, yellow is currently the favorite to win that one.

The current over/under on how many times CBS will show Archie Manning is 4.  Personally, I think that’s low, since Archie has close ties with both teams.  I’d put it more around 5 or 6 times, but the folks at bodog.com have already made adjustments to that one since the line opened.  I’m sure they know what they’re doing.  Not to be outdone, the over/under on shots of Kim Kardashian, Reggie Bush’s girlfriend is 10.

Currently the over/under on Brett Favre mentions during the game is at 7.  You’re right.  He’s not playing this weekend – unless he plays catch with his kids.  I think that’s a bit high unless they start discussing where he would have thrown a pick instead of the completion the two quarterbacks in the game will be throwing.  Favre is a great competitor and a great athlete, but he doesn’t have the accuracy or mental side of throwing the ball like the two quarterbacks in the game.  Instead the announcers should stick to the players and teams in the Super Bowl – or their father/past players.

Who dat?  Who dat?  Who dat think they gonna beat dem Saints?  The phrase “Who dat?” is expected to pop up 15 times during the game between close-ups of fan signs and the announcers.  I have a feeling they’ll do a montage of “Who dat?” signs during the game, raising the number to at least 25.

Will Pete Townsend have more than 5.5 windmill power strokes on his guitar during the halftime show?  While we’re on the halftime show, there’s a 67% chance that a member of The Who will not smash a guitar.  I’m rooting for that other 33%.

Hurricane Katrina is expected to be mentioned 2.5 times by the announcers.  Yeah.  I’ve got nothing to say about this one.

There are even cross-sport bets!  Which will be higher: the total points scored in the first half or the number of the winning car in the Daytona 500.  Unfortunately, I have to go for the car number.  I don’t even think the Colts and the Saints can put up 48 points in the first half.

Will the Colts score more first quarter points than Alexander Ovechkin will have shots in his game on Sunday?  For those of you who don’t know, Ovechkin leads the NHL in shots this season.  Here’s hoping Sid the Kid and the rest of the Pens can shut him down.

Can Drew Brees throw more touchdown passes than there will be goals scored in the Arsenal-Chelsea game?  Although the Premier League match will likely be high scoring, I think Brees will end up tossing up more TDs.  Lets face it, a high scoring soccer match is still only three or four goals.

The Super Bowl-PGA match-up is whether Manning will have more touchdown passes than Phil Mickelson will have birdies on Sunday.  Mickelson is currently under scrutiny for using wedges that predate how far back a PGA rule on clubs is retroactive.  Usually, the PGA match-up would involve Tiger Woods, but he won’t be playing this weekend while he’s in sex rehab.  There’s was a suggestion among line-makers to see if he would score more in rehab than Manning will this weekend though.  Personally, I only hope for the best for Tiger.  Yes, he’s done some bad things – at least 12 times if the stories are to be believed – but I hope he turns himself around and makes a new start of things.  I like a good Tiger joke as much as the next person, but those will still be around even if he becomes a fine, upstanding public figure and role model again.

One last bet that I can’t leave out is the Kardashian Line.  Will Reggie Bush have more rushing yards than Khloe Kardashian’s husband, Lamar Odom, scores points, rebounds and assists in his game on the same day.