Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Sunday, December 31, 2006 5:52 pm

Things you don’t want to hear your kids saying, cont.

Hooper: “Ice, ice, baby … I’m ice, ice, baby … “

Things you don’t want to hear your kids saying

Victoria: “Daddy, we’re playing reporter! See how curly my hair is?”

Thursday, December 28, 2006 7:51 pm

Question of the day

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 7:51 pm

“Why drive when you can fly 500 mph?”Why, indeed?

Besides, we were all supposed to have one of these by now. It said so right there on “The Jetsons,” didn’t it?

(Hat tip: Nancy

Tuesday, December 26, 2006 6:31 pm

Plague of Egypt Vegas

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 6:31 pm

Via, of all people, Josh Marshall, Celine Dion (in a duet with Anastacia, whoever she/it is), singing AC/DC’s “You Shook Me (All Night Long).” Horrifying, but do check out the comments.

Saturday, December 23, 2006 12:16 am

Investigative blogging

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 12:16 am

Brad & Phil at Parallel Divergence blow the lid off this “Santa” business

Friday, December 22, 2006 11:26 pm

Didn’t we see this in a James Bond movie?

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 11:26 pm

Italian village gets “sun mirror.”

Credit where due

Filed under: Salute! — Lex @ 11:11 pm

Because of a Clinton-era initiative, a vast quantity of federal documents — hundreds of millions of pages — that have been classified will be declassified automatically at midnight on New Year’s Eve.

A lot of historians expected the administration to block the move, given its penchant for secrecy. I did, too. But, for whatever reason, the administration is doing the right thing, and on an issue as important as this, it’s only fair to take note.

“As I let go of my feelings of guilt, I am in touch with my inner sociopath.”

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 11:10 pm

From Susie Madrak at Suburban Guerilla, Attainable Affirmations. Enjoy.

Oh, please, oh, please …

Filed under: Woohoo! — Lex @ 8:39 am

Medical researchers in Canada may have found a near-cure for juvenile diabetes involving the use of capsaicin — yeah, the stuff that makes hot peppers hot.

They’ve injected it into diabetic mice, whose pancreases immediately began producing insulin and, in some cases, continued to do so for months without other treatment.

Hot damn. Now that’s a Christmas present.

(If you’re not a regular reader, I should explain that I have a more than purely casual interest in this issue.)

(Hat tip to Phred for sending me looking for this item; I’d heard nothing about it.)

Labor fluidity

Filed under: There but for the grace of God ... — Lex @ 8:35 am

Before your next trip to the water fountain, or the sink, or to that little spout in your refrigerator door, just read this.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006 11:33 pm

They say Einstein wasn’t such a hot speller, either.

Filed under: Hooper — Lex @ 11:33 pm

Hooper: Daddy! Want to see me spell “spaghetti”?

Me: Sure, buddy!

Hooper (pronouncing each letter aloud as he writes painfully slowly): “B. S. T.”

Me (after waiting a minute to see if there will be any more letters): All done?

Hooper (proudly): Yep! B.S.T. Buh-skett-tee. I spelled it! Are you proud of me?

Me: Yes! You rock!

Hooper: Yay! I rock!

Monday, December 18, 2006 10:29 pm

Minor mystery

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 10:29 pm

Today I received a complimentary copy of the Yale alumni magazine in the mail at home. I don’t know who arranged for it to be sent to me, and it’s a little odd because:

  • I have never been, nor even applied, to Yale.
  • If memory serves, I only know two people who have ever been there (Sherb and the DivaGeek, neither of whom strikes me as a likely candidate).
  • Although the cover story is about liberal evangelicals (and the Yale divinity school), I haven’t covered religion in almost a decade, and when I did I lived at a different address.

But it looks interesting, so, whoever sent it: thanks.

UPDATE: Mystery solved. The sender is a member of my church.

Hooper flexes his vocabulary …

Filed under: Hooper — Lex @ 9:08 pm

… and breaks a rhetorical window:

Hooper: Daddy, what are those?

Me: Christmas ornaments.

Hooper: They are so redundant.

Sunday, December 17, 2006 5:07 pm

I’m in ur computer … stealin’ ur megabytez

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 5:07 pm

Best. Cat page. Evah.

No, really.

Saturday, December 16, 2006 6:00 am

You want a war on Christmas?!?

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 6:00 am

You can’t handle find a war on Christmas ….

Thursday, December 14, 2006 7:34 am

Don’t I know it

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 7:34 am

Ginmar on finally obtaining a long-awaited copy of a book: “I haven’t started [the book] yet, due to the fact that it’s awfully hard to read a book while you’re fondling it and cooing.”

Hee.

Monday, December 11, 2006 11:00 pm

A season in ruins

Filed under: Panthers — Lex @ 11:00 pm

I didn’t post after the Panthers’ losses to Washington and Philadelphia because what I saw, particularly in the Washington game, so sickened me that I just couldn’t find anything positive to say and I felt it unfair to write an entirely negative post.

But after going down to Charlotte and seeing the team’s dismal performance against the Giants, I said, “Screw it.”

First things first: The season is over. Although the Panthers are not yet mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, they were the only 6-6 team going into this past weekend to lose. Philly, Atlanta and the Giants were all ahead of them, and now, having lost to all three, the Panthers would lose a tiebreaker to any one of them. They have another game against division rivals Atlanta and New Orleans, but the Saints are so far ahead at this point it’s over.

But more important than the elaborate permutations and combinations of the NFL’s tiebreaker system for determining playoff spots is this: It’s December, and the Panthers are playing lousy, lousy football.

The people who know the game best know it, too. On the drive back, we were listening to the WBT-AM post-game show. Of the three announcers, only Ethan Horton, a standout at UNC and with the Raiders, had played pro ball. The other two announcers were trying to put the best face on things. Horton was having none of it: This team, he insisted, is done. And I couldn’t agree more.

We’ll start with the injuries. Tony thinks Delhomme’s sprained thumb was just a fig leaf for a benching. I think Tony is delusional. No one who suffered through the 1-15 season in 2001 could seriously think you could bench Delhomme for Weinke and expect anything good to happen. If he’s not playing, it’s because he really can’t grip the ball, end of story.

In front of Delhomme is that patchwork offensive line. Only one guy, Mike Wahle, is playing where he started the season, and Wahle is playing hurt. Losing left tackle Travelle Wharton was huge, not only because he’s formidable in his own right but also because it meant filling in for him with the best right-side lineman we had.

That, in turn, created serious problems for the running game. Which, given that DeShaun “Stutter-Step” Foster is the featured back, already had serious problems. I wondered whether the team was making the right decision in giving Foster the big bucks and the starting job. That little mistake not only is going to cost them millions of dollars, it’s also going to cost them this season.

On the other side of the ball, losing middle linebacker Dan Morgan — and his career might be over —  was huge, too. Few middle linebackers in the league combine a nose for the run with sideline-to-sideline speed the way he does. (Ironically, one of the reasons the Panthers made him a first-round pick was his durability: He never missed a game in his University of Miami career. Go figure.)

Losing corners Ken Lucas and Chris Gamble to injury hurt, although Lucas, at least, should be back Sunday against Pittsburgh. In their stead, rookie Richard Marshall has struggled a bit; he did much better earlier in the season as nickel back. At safety, much as it pains me to say it, I think Mike Minter has lost a step, and that makes him more vulnerable in his current position at free safety than it did when he was strong safety. But either way, it’s a problem.

But not as much of a problem as the fact that we are just flat unable to stop the run.

It starts with the tackles. Kris Jenkins’ career is done. After two knee operations, it appears unlikely that he will ever return to his former Pro Bowl form. His left-side counterpart, the expensive free-agent acquisition Maake Kemoeatu, has been an expensive bust. As far as the ends go, Julius Peppers gets held and/or double-teamed a lot, granted, but for the first time on Sunday I saw him taking some plays off. And where in *hell* has Mike Rucker been? In 2002 when Peppers was suspended, Rucker stepped it up. This year, he has stepped out.

As for the linebackers, Chris Draft tries hard, but he’s simply no Dan Morgan. And Na’il Diggs is no Will Witherspoon (a salary-cap victim after 2005).

But even with these injuries, the team might still be in contention if its head were still in the game. But it isn’t.

Let’s start with the wideouts. Folks, it doesn’t matter if you have the best group of wideouts in the National Football League if they can’t hang onto the damn ball, and our guys cannot: Every one of them had at least one drop Sunday. Keyshawn has been dropping the ball all season long, and so has Steve Smith.

Then there’s Foster again. He needs to forget the stutter-step. If you’re Emmit Smith, you can “let the play develop,” but mere mortals like Foster need to cut out or cut back, and if there’s nothing there they at least need to move the pile a little. He also dropped at least one pass on Sunday.

Honestly? I think the team has given up. The only people I saw really playing with a sense of urgency were linebacker Thomas Davis and wideout Steve Smith. Smith was at least trying to make things happen after the catch; it looked to me like everyone else was content to be tackled on the spot. Davis was on fire. I saw him on one play get blocked behind the runner and yet, somehow, catch up to the runner and take him down from behind. That’s the kind of football that keeps you playing into January.

But he’s about the only person on the roster playing it, which is why this team won’t be playing in January.

And if the problems ended there, that’d be one thing. But it could be worse next year.

John Fox’s philosophy is simple: You win by running the football and stopping the run. Andy Little over at PanthersHuddle.com runs down just what the team has done over the past couple of years in this regard — and how little, particularly on offense, the team has to show for it.

There are a lot of expensive busts on the roster. And the Panthers, as it now stands, have only $3.5 million under the cap for 2007. Only two teams have less, and almost 20 teams have $20M or more to spend. $3.5M buys you about one and a half good wideouts.

But maybe this negative will be a positive. Maybe it will force the team to take a hard look at the return it has gotten, or not gotten, on some of its investments and cut some people who really need to be gone.

Whether it does or not, I’d be surprised if 2007 turns out much better than this year. It may be 2008 before the team contends again.

At long last, the beating bleeding stopped

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 10:12 pm

Davidson beat UNC Charlotte Saturday night, 79-51.

You read that right.

Twenty. Eight. Points.

When I was an undergrad, Charlotte was only a few years removed from a Final Four appearance. I think we beat them once in four years. As it happens, the last time Davidson beat Charlotte was 2002.

The winner of the annual game gets custody of what DrFrankLives calls, without fear of contradiction, “the ugliest trophy in college sports,” the Hornets Nest Trophy (lovingly referred to, I had forgotten, as The Brain on a Stick).

The Charlotte Observer Sunday morning said that with six minutes left in the game, Davidson fans started chanting, “Stop the beating!” Turns out they were actually chanting, “Stop the bleeding!” Same difference.

UNCG actually is picked to win the Southern Conference this year, but with the 18-year-old son of longtime Charlotte Hornets shooting whiz Dell Curry on the team, the Wildcats might give the Spartans a run for their money.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006 11:12 pm

“Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!” for the new millennium

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 11:12 pm

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGnYw-OuCnI&eurl=]

It’s weird, I know. But it works. It really does work.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006 9:29 am

I love a parade

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 9:29 am

What a great day it was for one, too — cold enough to feel like the holidays but not cold enough to make sitting outside for two hours a chore.

Victoria and Hooper had been looking forward to this for quite some time, so when the time came, they were ready. They bundled up, perched their chairs alongside Market Street and were good to go:V & H Parade 2006

Medium: Original photograph
Platform: Konica/Minolta DiMage Z-10
Settings: ISO 64, f3.2 @ 1/60 second w/fill flash
Date: 12:18 p.m. Dec. 2.

The first parade balloon was a cartoon character from my childhood that my kids had never seen before: Gumby, the ClayMation pioneer, if you will. (Those of us of a certain age had to refrain from doing bad Eddie Murphy imitations: “I’m Gumby, dammit!”)

Gumby parade balloon
Medium: Original photograph
Platform: Konica/Minolta DiMage Z-10
Settings: ISO 64, f3.5 @ 1/500 second
Date: 12:29 p.m. Dec. 2.

And, of course, it’s not a parade without a News & Record balloon: Scoop the dog, wrangled by a number of my co-workers who were swarmed by children when they began giving out foam reindeer antlers.Scoop the dog represents the N&R in the holiday parade

Medium: Original photograph
Platform: Konica/Minolta DiMage Z-10
Settings: ISO 64, f3.3 @ 1/500 second
Date: 1:39 p.m. Dec. 2.

Among the wranglers were Susan and Herb and their daughters, Abby and Camille:Herb in parade, 2006

Susan in parade, 2006

So a good time was had by all.

More days should be like this.

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