Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Completing Ideas that were formerly Incomplete Thoughts

Holiday Hoopla
We are now in the midst of the holiday season. I love the holiday season because it is a time where people put aside their differences to eat food and reminice about the good times they had as a family. Some holiday's promote unity and BBQs like the 4th of July. Others promote eating as much as you can without looking down upon yourself. Then there's Christmas, a commercially motivated holiday in which gifts are exchanged in the celebration of the birth of Jesus. But it's so commercial and fake in a sense. But I will not complain, because generally, everyone ends up happy after Christmas. Whether they got the toys the wanted, the clothes they wanted, or the time with the family and a great homecooked meal that had been missed for months. However, not all holidays are created equally. There's Valentine's Day, which in my world, doesn't even count as a holiday. First of all, there is no off day from school. Sure, I could cut school, but that would be too easy. Just roam your school grounds watching Hallmarks pockets get phat while its a 50/50 chance that true love indeed will happen. Another reason Valentine's Day is not a holiday is because not everyone is happy. There is no homecooked meal, just 49 cent cheeseburgers at McDonalds. Not everyone gets a gift, and thats not fair at all. And unlike Christmas, when you give someone a gift and don't get one back, the chances of love at Christmas are much higher and the chance of rejection at Valentine's Day is much higher as well. Other holidays that don't count include El Cinco De Mayo (no off day), St. Patrick's Day (no off day) and Sweetest Day (on a weekend, no offtime, commercial holiday knock off of Valentine's day.) Sweetest day is a day in the middle of nowhere which is supposed to bring couples together. In fact, the only thing it does is drain pocketbooks in hopes that it can be as big as Valentine's Day. The hispanics need a holiday during the school year that gets them an off day. The African-Americans have MLK day. The Spaniard and Italians share Colombus Day. The Polish people have Casmir Pulaski. We all have the 4th of July off as Americans. We have off days in September (Labor Day), October (Colombus Day), November (Veterans day and Thanksgiving), December (Christmas/New Years), January (MLK), February is short enough, March (Casmir Pulaski), April there is usually spring break, but there's nothing in May until the end and that is Memorial day. So we need someone between March and the end of May. A famous hispanic that did a good thing. Any ideas? Despite missing half of the holiday season due to being in school, I am looking forward to the holiday season. Sure, I have to go back to work, and that is going to be a pain in the ass. But lets look at the positives: I get my room back. I get to see my loving family again. I get to see all of my friends. I get to sleep in my own room. No unexpected late night visitors. No school. Oh yeah and home cooked meals. Mmm mmm better!
College's Crucial Conflicts
It is going to be tough going home for the holidays, despite the fact that I am sooo looking forward to it. You spend four months away from all authority figures and your only responsibilities are to go to class and get your school work done. Then you go home. Then you have to go back to work, you haven't been seen or heard from in months. Is anyone left that you left behind? Most likely not, its McDonalds, its changes workers quicker than Paris Hilton changes boyfriends. Then you have to live under house rules. Which now, as I look back on it, wasn't that bad. It kept me in line, respectful of authority, and it was a constant structure in my life. No matter how independent you are or believe you are, a little bit of structure is a good thing. Speeking of authority figures, I've learned one thing in my media in society class. The way things are framed in today's society, authority figures such as parents, teachers, police officers, etc. are now seen as laughable losers that hold you down from ever succeeding in life. People complain about not being taught right, they should have been showing respect to their teachers. People complain about police service and ridicule the police, but when they need them and they come, they are a gift from above. Parents are framed as a group of evil people that need to be constantly attacked and argued against. It is a shame, that is why society's on a decline. Back in the day, you were taught to be respectful of authority, even though you never were asked to agree or like it...just respect it....No matter how big your father is, he could be 6 feet 7 inches and 350 pounds and a linebacker for a professional football team. He might get tired from beating you, but a 5 foot tall with heels grandmother with a chancleta doesn't stop, doesn't get tired and hurts just as bad or worse than a giant monster beating the crap out of you. Oh, I wish I lived in those days, I would be a grand figure. But in today's society, my respectful ways make me look like a complete loser. Oh well, I don't care.
The Sports Report
Tell me why we still have the BCS. There are 5 undefeated teams in NCAA football, but only two get to play for the national championship. That's not very fair to those other three teams who all could very well claim a share of the national championship if they win their respective bowl games. NCAA division I-AA has a playoff system, why doesn't I-A. Are they too good? Are the presidents of these universities afraid of losing money. You damn right they are. And the only losers are these kids who go to class (most of them at least) and play football at its most purest form. Not because they are paid handsomely (free education doesn't count, and hopefully bribes and such is on the decline), but because they want to play and win. It is an extra curricular activity. So here are two suggestions for the NCAA football. Suggstion one: if there are more than one team that is undefeated, you install a playoff system in which these teams play each other to find out who the true national champion is. That could work for between 3 to 8 teams. If there is an uneven amount of teams, top seeds in the playoffs get bye weeks. Suggestion two: a playoff system plain and simple. You take the champion from the major conferences (Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, Big East, SEC, Pac 10), the champion from the WAC, Confrence USA and the MAC and one at large bid team and you put them in a 10-team playoff system to find the true champion. Therefore you are getting the best of each confrence, not punishing the mid-major conferences for lack of other talented teams and you can still use major bowl sites to play these games in. And those other teams that didn't make it, you can keep the other not as big bowl games as entertainment and it keeps those other teams happy too.... Why is Notre Dame on the decline? It is simple, because they are not as prestigious or as good as they used to be. Notre Dame hasn't been consitently good since the late 80s and early-mid 90s. Other programs are now considered top notch, prestigious places to go and play. Florida schools, Texas schools and California schools are now the places to be when it comes to being noticed. Even mid-major schools are getting top prospects because they are getting overlooked by major programs and are playing hard to prove their worth. See David Carr (Fresno State), Chad Pennington, Randy Moss and Byron Leftwich (Marshall) and Ben Roethlisberger (Miami University at Ohio) oh yeah and Steve McNair (I-AA Alcorn State), oh yeah and Marshall Faulk (San Diego State). There are so many more, its not even funny.... The ACC is the best confrence in college baskeball with Duke, North Carolina, NC State, Virginia, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech all ranked in the top 25. But the best team in college basketball may reside 2 hours north of the 4-2 SIU Salukis. It is the current #1 team in the country the U of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. Sure, U of I football would get pantsed by SIUs former #1 team led by a triple threat at RB and a team that nearly beat MAC powerhouse Northern Illinois. But their basketball team is damn near unstoppable. They have the best guards in college basketball, a good enough front-line and a deep bench. And who is their coach??? Former SIU coach, the man that took them to the sweet 16--BRUCE WEBER! And with our third coach in 3 years (Weber to U of I, Matt Painter to Purdue and now Chris Lowery), we are not looking good. The defense is there, strong and pressuring, but there isn't enough scoring. No outside threat, no dominant big man. SIU is a team that plays harder and harder to make up for the lack of all-american talent. Even though the U of I has the best team, the team that could best give them a run for their money resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Roy Williams all-american, all-athlete team could challenge Illinois high paced style with its own run, gun and fun fast break, high scoring offense. Rashad McCants is aruably the best player in college basketball. And if you make them play half court games, they have arguably the best big man in college basketball in Sean May. I'd love to see that game in the NCAA Tournament. NCAA hoops has a tournament, hell, it has two...but not NCAA football.... Is LeBron James the next Magic? or Michael? Maybe, I won't deny him the right to go out there and play every day and prove himself. But no, he isn't even the best player in the NBA. Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, an in shape Shaq, Amare Stoudamire, Paul Pierce and Jason Kidd are all top flight NBA all-stars along with LeBron...but he isn't passing KG or Tim The Human Double Double Duncan and a healthy Jason Kidd is the human assist machine. People say that he will one day rival Michael Jordan as the greatest player of all-time. That will not be proven so until years after Bron Bron is retired. When Jordan was a Bull, he won 6 NBA titles, since he left the Bulls have not had one winning season and have gone through more rebuilding plans than the old communist Russia. So, is Mike the best of all time, you bet your bottom dollar.... Let the bidding begin as baseball's free agency period is officially underway. What does your team need? A lead-off man with speed? A power hitting corner infielder? A slick fielding middle in fielder? An all-world, prime-time outfielder? Bats off the bench? A left haned bat to balance out the line up? An ace, a fifth starter, a middle reliever, a set-up man, a left-handed specialist, a closer, a whole new pitching staff? A whole new team? There are plenty of players out there even though the closers market is now unofficially closed with the signings of Armando Benitez (Giants) and Troy Percival (Tigers.) There's a lead-off, slick fielding middle infielder that will get a lot of money out there, and his name is Edgar Renteria of the Cardinals. Don't be suprised if he ends up back in St. Louis or in Boston with Orlando Cabrera going out west to Anaheim and Jose Valentin going to Boston to be a utility guy with middle-infielders Mark Bellhorn and Pokey Reese. Jeff Kent can play 3rd base, 2nd base and 1st base, and he's pretty good. Troy Glaus, Adrian Beltre, Vinny Castilla, Carlos Delgado and Richie Sexson are power hitting corner infielders that are game changers. Carlos Beltran is the man, the jewel of the class, the all-world, all-star, prime-time outfielder who is as close to a one man show as you can get in baseball. JD Drew, Magglio Ordonez, Richard Hidalgo, Steve FinleyJermaine Dye and Moises Alou are all not chopped liver. Looking for pitching are we? Looking in the right year even though Jon Lieber and Jaret Wright and Brad Radke are off the market. Looking for an ace? Pedro Martinez is out there waiting for a long-term deal and Carlapalooza for Carl Pavano is a rolling circus. Looking for another starter while not wanting to spend a lot? Matt Clement, Odalis Perez, Russ Ortiz, Eric Milton, David Wells, Derek Lowe, Kevin Millwood and Jose Lima are just some names that are out there. Looking for a lefty-reliever, Steve Kline is the best available. Looking for a set-up man, good luck? A closer? Oh boy, get in line because quality closers are moving off the shelves quicker than the new Air Jordans or the next Furby or Tickle-Me Elmo. Looking for trade bait are we? The Cubs are your team looking to trade a future hall of fame right fielder who is now looked down upon in Sammy Sosa, a hard throwing hillbillie right hander with a weak mind in Kyle Farnsworth, a set-up man who turned closer to be the goat in LaTroy Hawkins and a bunch of young talented arms in the minor league system. The Yankees and the Red Sox are always making deals to one-up each other. Arizona is looking to trade its top-gun Randy Johnson. The other Sox, the other Chicago team is looking to clear salary (again) by putting Frank Thomas, Paul Konerko and Carlos Lee (all again) on the trading block. D.C.'s new baseball team is looking to make a new name for itself. The Braves are most likely gonna stick someone up at gun-point by taking a star and giving up one of those so-called "high ranking prospects." And you can never count out the underdog Twins, the bargain buying Giants, high-rolling Angels, the King of the Deal Billy Beane and the Oakland A's, the sneaky St. Louis Cardinals or the failures of the east coast Philly and the team the Yankees treat as their personal bitch...the NEW YORK METS. On your mark, get set, GO!.... In the NFC conference, if you have enough healthy players on the team, you are in the playoff hunt. For God's sake, even the Chicago Bears who are on their 4th string quarterback are still in it thanks to him and their aggressive defense. Philly is the best the NFC has to offer, followed by the one man shows in Green Bay (Favre and Friends) and Atlanta (The Michael Vick Experience) and the forgettable how the west didn't want to be won (St. Louis and Seattle). My predictions are as follows. Division winners: Philly, Team Vick, Team Favre and Sleepy Seattle. Wild Cards: Football's Cubs the Culpepper-to-Moss Connection and The Former Greatest Show on Turf the St. Louis Rams. The AFC is nuts. There are teams there that wish they were in the NFC. There are two one loss teams in Pittsburgh and New England. Neither of those teams know how to lose. San Diego is the toast of the west coast and the suprise of the football world. And the Indy Colts are the new greatest show on turf, grass, snow, mud, cold, etc. As long at they have the Triplets (Manning-James-Harrison) and the best supporting cast on the offensive side of the ball, they will be hard to stop in the playoffs. A team that can score at will and stop the other team occasionally can not be beat. Peyton Manning throws for 250 yards and 2 touchdowns at halftime. Bears fans hope they can get that out of the fourth string quarterback for entire game. To summarize the playoff picture in the AFC is much easier than in the NFC. Division winners: Pittsburgh, New England, Indy and the Bolts. Wild Cards: Jacksonville and Denver. My prediction, as it has not changed since the beginning of the year is as follows: Indianapolis Colts over the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl.

9 more days until its 1 semester down 3 and a half years to go.

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