Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Sunday, March 30, 2008 8:58 pm

Good thing they struck loans from their financial-aid packages

Filed under: Victoria,Wildcats — Lex @ 8:58 pm
Tags: ,

Victoria now says she wants to go to Davidson.

Coulda. Shoulda.

Filed under: Wildcats — Lex @ 8:55 pm
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So close. This close. And it need never have come down to a last-second desperation shot.

If just two of those early first-half clunkers had gone in. If the team had shot 8 for 12 from the line, well within its capabilities, instead of 5 for 12.

The Wildcats can take heart from the fact that in all other aspects of the game they played well enough to win.

But taking heart just isn’t enough today.

Next year? Jason Richards is gone, and as I said earlier, a Davidson point guard will not lead the nation in assists again in my children’s lifetimes. That tells you all you need to know right there.

Still, we can take pride in the class with which the team represented the school. It was a couple of weeks to remember, and if 1969 is any guide, I will remember, long after today.

UPDATE: After CBS spends a week promoting Davidson as a Cinderella story, the CBS Web site says Kansas puts an end to Davidson’s “feel-good nonsense” with a “convincing” win. “Feel-good nonsense”? They beat the Big East and Big Ten champions. And a 2-point win that almost wasn’t is “convincing”?? [Expletive.]

(h/t DFL)

Saturday, March 29, 2008 12:43 pm

For everyone who entered the NCAA pool this year …

Filed under: Fun,Wildcats — Lex @ 12:43 pm
Tags: , ,

… comes this, via the Divageek:

Friday, March 28, 2008 9:26 pm

One dead badger, Southern-fried; or, How to impress LeBron James

Filed under: Fun,Wildcats — Lex @ 9:26 pm
Tags: ,

With all due apologies to my former colleague Steve “Turbo” Witmer, my bud Paul Lubbers and Athenae at First Draft, Wisconsin partisans all, I must say: How ’bout them ‘Cats?!?

The Davidson Wildcats are in the Elite Eight for the first time in thirty-nine years. That’s Thirty. Nine. Years.

And just how good do you have to be to make NBA All-Star LeBron James, who was sitting in the Davidson section, mouth the word “Wow!” on national television?

I got to watch the game on our friends Lee and Emily’s high-def projector, so the picture was about 7 feet diagonally — even my aging eyes could see Just. Fine.

I am a happy camper tonight. And I can only imagine what the campus must be like right now.

Sweet Caroline

I’ve always wondered how it was that Davidson fans came to embrace this Neil Diamond hit. The only connection I could make was that it came out in 1969, the last time the Wildcats advanced beyond the first round of the NCAAs. Fortunately, The Charlotte Observer is here to explain it.

It’s hard to explain how this feels. The last time I was this invested in such an underdog was 1977, when UNC-Charlotte made the Final Four, knocking off No. 1 Michigan in the process.

This is even better.

UPDATE: This from Mom, who lives there: “This town is crazy right now. Biggest thing to happen to us since the Harris Teeter opened in February.”

Thursday, March 27, 2008 7:40 pm

Must-see bloggage

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 7:40 pm
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If you read only one political blog this election year, it should be The Situation Blog. Why? Because Mr. Sun! writes it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 8:01 pm

Not-so-simple question, or, Who knew they taught epistemology in first grade?

Filed under: Hooper — Lex @ 8:01 pm
Tags: ,

“Daddy, what does ‘meaning’ mean?”

Tuesday, March 25, 2008 12:40 pm

Say a prayer

Filed under: Say a prayer — Lex @ 12:40 pm

Frequent Blog on the Run commenter Fred’s wife underwent major surgery this morning. My prayers are with them, and I hope yours will be, too.


Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 11:38 am

I’m experimenting with Animoto, a site on which you can upload your photos and music and the site will automatically turn them into a slideshow. This is my first try, a 30-second freebie. As you can tell, I have not mastered the site’s capabilities. Perhaps that will come later. Anyway, if nothing else it’s fun, so give it a try.

UPDATE: The code Animoto provides does not appear to play nicely with WordPress so the video won’t imbed on this site. However, you can see the video here. Also, apparently you can export straight from Animoto to YouTube if you have a YouTube account. So let’s see how that works ….

UPDATE: It works. You can see the video on YouTube here.

LAST UPDATE: Now you don’t have to go to YouTube to see it:

Sunday, March 23, 2008 6:10 pm

No, you do not want any of this

Filed under: Wildcats — Lex @ 6:10 pm
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If I had the time, I’d hunt down a photo of a dispirited Georgetown Hoyas team, walking around looking dazed, and post it with a big ol’ Lolcat label: DO. NOT. WANT.

Because after this, the Davidson Wildcats are officially a team no one wants a piece of. Just ask Georgetown’s 7-foot-2 center, Roy Hibbert: six points and five fouls against a team a head shorter than he.

Now? It’s badger-huntin’ season. Lock and load.

UPDATE: DrFrankLives takes my idea and runs with it.

UPDATE: Here’s a taste from CBS via YouTube (h/t: The Davidson Basketball Update blog):

Wednesday, March 19, 2008 8:47 pm

Voting machines tampered with in Ohio?

Filed under: Black-box voting — Lex @ 8:47 pm

Could be:

At the request of election officials, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation has seized voting machines for forensic analysis and has launched a criminal investigation into the Franklin County Board of Elections.

The investigation was launched after Jennifer Brunner, Ohio’s Secretary of State and chief election official, found that a candidate’s name was marked as withdrawn on the electronic voting machine that she used during the recent primaries, an irregularity that was also reported by voters in other precincts. The state attorney general is now working with a team of computer forensic consultants to determine if there was any tampering.

Preliminary analysis conducted by specialists from SysTest Labs indicates that the internal audit capability of the Franklin County voting machines had been manually disabled by county election board programmers last year, making it almost impossible to tell if any nefarious changes have been made to the systems. SysTest also discovered that the election board had failed to adhere to routine machine testing standards and had tested only one machine in each precinct rather than all of the machines.

Ohio has seen one electronic voting disaster after another ever since counties in the state began adopting the technology. Two Cuyahoga election officials were convicted of rigging a recount in May 2004 because they literally admitted to doing precounts and displayed the evidence while being recorded on videotape. A different Cuyahoga county recount, for a November 2007 local election, was equally marred when Brunner turned the state’s voter-verifiable paper audit trail law into a mockery by conducting the recount with paper ballots reprinted after the election from voting machine memory cards.

After all of these incidents, Brunner launched a $1.9 million security review which determined that the voting machines used in the state are all egregiously insecure and susceptible to manipulation and outright fraud in numerous ways. The review produced over 1,000 pages of documentation describing the profound flaws that impact the systems.

Voter-verified paper ballots are the way to go. And if counting paper ballots takes a little while longer, so be it. We have way too many problems with voting in a country of our size and level of technological development, and this may be one case in which technology isn’t going to be helpful in ensuring that everyone’s vote is counted and counted correctly.

(h/t: Ed)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008 8:57 pm

Catching up, and blowing away

Filed under: Buttercups,Victoria — Lex @ 8:57 pm
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It’s Buttercups soccer time again, and I’ve been remiss because the games have fallen opposite Hooper’s Cub Scouts or other scheduling issues. The first game was actually the second, the real first game having been postponed by rain. (We’re in a drought, but we’ve had a game postponed and two practices canceled by rain.)

I forget which was which, but the ‘Cups won one of the first two games 3-0 and tied the other one 3-3. Then, earlier tonight, they took on the Red Hot Chili Peppers, a team that in the past has given them fits, and blew them away, 8-0. Victoria spent most of an uneventful second half in goal before scoring the final goal on a sliding kick. She also had an assist earlier in the game.

The midseason break comes a week early because Easter is early this year, so the Buttercups head into the break 2-0-1.

Monday, March 17, 2008 7:52 am

Carolina girls: hot to trot, or, Why we need a new state song

Filed under: Fun,Victoria — Lex @ 7:52 am
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Victoria has been wrestling with an assignment to memorize the lyrics to North Carolina’s state song, “The Old North State.” For the record, I can hardly think of a bigger waste of a fourth-grader’s time. I vaguely recall being briefly exposed to this song in junior high, and it sucked. The language was archaic (“witlings”??), the syntax was tortured, it barely scanned in some places and the melody sounded like a drinking song (similar to our national anthem, whose melody really was taken from an old drinking song).

But in going over the lyrics repeatedly with Victoria, I had the chance to delve a bit into the subtext. And, y’all? It’s kind of disturbing.

“Who can yield to just rule a more loyal submission?” suggests blind loyalty. I don’t care how just a rule might be, you never, ever offer that. Sometimes the greatest loyalty lies in vigorous dissent.

The verse about the state’s sons says, in effect, yeah, they’re not real bright, but they’re good people — hardly a ringing endorsement.

And the verse about the state’s daughters, while granting their comely appearance, also says, well, they might not look all that promiscuous, but just get ’em started — ask anyone who ever has. As the father of a girl, I think this is the state-song equivalent of writing a girl’s name and number on the bathroom wall.

So I’m thinking it’s time we got us a new state song. I’m not wild about James Taylor’s, so I’m opening up the floor to nominations.

Friday, March 14, 2008 9:43 pm

Little boy lost

Filed under: Religion — Lex @ 9:43 pm
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Chris Hedges has written at least one strikingly good (if depressing) book, “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.”

Unfortunately, he apparently has concluded that expertise in one area automatically confers expertise in others. He has written a new book criticizing what he calls the New Atheists — people like author Sam Harris (“The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason”) for daring to point out problems with organized religion. He summarizes the book here … and P.Z. Myers levels a short but effective smackdown.

I hold no brief for atheists, but I do expect a little more intellectual rigor from someone of Hedges’ stature than to liken atheists to Pat Robertson. I mean, c’mon, that trope was weak and tired 30 years ago.

Thursday, March 13, 2008 6:25 pm

The job marketplace

Filed under: Panthers — Lex @ 6:25 pm

The New York Giants, clearly displaying a strong reluctance to repeat as Super Bowl champions, have signed QB David Carr. (An acquaintance says it is a one-year, $1.1-million deal, although I haven’t found confirmation of that at the moment and don’t know where he heard that.)

Given the way Carr played for the Panthers this past season, I’d start “Kristen” ahead of him.

Monday, March 10, 2008 12:15 pm

A team on the verge

Filed under: Wildcats — Lex @ 12:15 pm
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The Davidson Wildcats are ranked in the AP poll — No. 25 — for the first time in almost 40 years. They went 20-0 in the Southern Conference, only the second time in that ancient conference that any team had gone undefeated the first time anyone in the SoCon had gone 20-0. Shooting guard Stephen Curry is an SI All American (second team). Point guard Jason Richards leads the nation in assists but likely will wind up as nobody’s All American.

After dispatching UNCG, the SoCon team that perhaps best matched up with them, yesterday, Davidson meets local heroes and upstart underdogs the Elon Phoenix at 9 tonight for the SoCon tourney title and the automatic NCAA bid that goes with it. Because of the string of early-season losses, the ‘Cats probably must win this game to go to the dance — quality losses are, in the end, losses. But if they do go, they’ll be one team nobody, but nobody, will want to play.

Despite an oh-dark-thirty assignment tomorrow morning, I’ll be up tonight to watch and make sure the Wildcats take care of business.

UPDATE: And they’re in! Elon kept it close late, but Curry, after going cold, got hot late. And, yes, Richards knows how to dish the rock. The ESPN announcers were talking about a seeding as high as 7 or 8. Wow.

Sunday, March 9, 2008 1:08 pm

Uncle Snoop would be spinning his grave, if he had one yet

Filed under: Hooper — Lex @ 1:08 pm

At Saturday’s Duke-Maryland women’s game:

Hooper: Daddy, I see the blue team’s mascot!

Me: Yeah, buddy. Do you know what kind of mascot it is?

Hooper (uncertainly): An elf?

Saturday, March 1, 2008 12:32 pm

Random acts of screaming and senseless ululation

Filed under: Fun,Victoria — Lex @ 12:32 pm

So I took Victoria to her first Big Social Event last night, the school’s fourth-grade dance. She and her friend A., who used to go to the same school but no longer does, spent the first several minutes renewing old acquaintanceships. One boy, B., was so happy to see A. that he bumped into her and stepped on her foot, on purpose.

I’d thought perhaps there might be an opportunity for a little daddy-daughter time, but once we got into the cafeteria, V. gave me my marching, or sitting orders: Sit right there and don’t go anywhere. So that’s what I did, except for the part where she dragged me onto the floor to join her in the cha-cha slide, or whatever it’s called. (“Let’s stomp! Left foot! Let’s stomp! Right foot!”)

There was lots of screaming that appeared prompted by nothing in particular, although the fog machine was a big hit, as were the strobe lights.

The DJ was Victoria’s teacher, a former dance instructor. Between the heavy dose of Radio Disney staples and the heavy dose of ’70s disco staples, I recognized about 95% of the music. The irony of dancing to music recorded before some of these kids’ parents were born struck me. So did the irony of elementary-age kids’ dancing to “YMCA,” a song about gay cruising down at the gym. But hey, that song has long since been shorn of its original edge. They do it at baseball games, for crying out loud. Also, he slipped up and played the real version of “Suicidal” instead of the Disney version, which substitutes “in denial.”

The dancing was mostly hopping around, although there were some rudimentary efforts toward break dancing and a number of the kids were intent on showing off their mad floor-slidin’ skillz. Some parents did the Twist when Chubby Checker was played. Although Elvis had been promised, none was delivered.

On the drive home, A. filled me in on “Pimp My Ride.” She seemed more interested in, and sympathetic toward, the lousy original condition of the rides in question than what ultimately was done to them, although the veggie freak who got a veggie juicer installed in the back seat of her car did impress her somewhat. “One girl, her car had no door,” A. said, “and it had mice.”

The girls also talked about a friend whose erstwhile boyfriend was now “dating” someone else. “He wouldn’t even talk to her,” Victoria said. “Boys can be stupid that way,” I said. V. agreed and added, “That whole dating thing is just … eww.” I pumped my fist and silently mouthed, “YES!”

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