Thursday, December 31, 2009

College Football Bowl Games

Happy New Years Eve good Folks:

I, as many of you, have spent the last few days watching all or part of a bunch of College Football Bowl games, which I usually enjoy this time of the year.

But a chance remark from my Daughter i.e. "Dang, how many Bowl games are there? started me thinking, and I found I did not know the answer to her question. So I did my homework, and found;

In College Games, there are currently Thirty Four Bowls. And as a minority of one, I think there are way too many games to keep us even interested, let alone eagerly anticipated. I decided to do a small review of Bowl Games, then and now.

Using an arbitrary cut off date of 1950, in which year there were exactly seven Major bowl games ( there were a number of others I never heard of, and I'll wager did any of you).

In 1950 there were, in order of their beginning:
The Rose Bowl, the Granddaddy of all Bowl Games, First played in 1902
The Orange Bowl Circa 1935
The Sugar Bowl same year
The Sun Bowl also 1935
the Cotton Bowl, which joined the Line-up in 1937
The Gator Bowl, 1946
And finally, the Citrus Bowl, debuting in 1947.

That line up seemed to me at the time to be perfectly adequate, enough to irritate a lot of wives, but yet cause few divorces, or threats thereof, while providing entertainment for Husbands Nationwide.

But, an interesting fact I ran across, while doing a bit of research for this post are the number of now defunct Bowl games I never heard of, And, I'll wager, nor did you, (save a few grizzled sports writers.

There were 56 of them, ranging alphabetically from the All-American Bowl, played in Birmingham, Alabama 1977-1990, to the Will Rogers Bowl, played in Oklahoma City in 1947.

Now, I may be displaying my ignorance, but I never even heard of most of these now defunct bowls, such as, the Cigar Bowl, played in Tampa, Fla 1947-1956, the Glass Bowl, Toledo, Ohio, 1946-1949, The Haka Bowl, Proposed for Auckland, New Zealand in 1996, but never played, the Oil Bowl, Houston, Texas, 1946 & 47, The Oyster Bowl, Norfolk, Virginia 1948-95, The Poi Bowl, Honolulu, HI, 1936-39, the Refrigerator Bowl, Evansville, In, 1948-56,The Salad Bowl, Phoenix, Az 1948-52, and the Tobacco Bowl, South Boston, Va ,and later Richmond, Va 1935-84. One cannot peruse the list of these now extinct Bowls without noticing that there was also a Mercy Bowl (No doubt named by fed-up wives) to the Mirage Bowl, in Tokyo, Japan, presumably played with imaginary players and teams.

Another sign of the Times that I don't particularly care for is the Insertion of the Sponsor's Name ahead of the name of the Bowl Game e.g.the "Tostitos Fiesta Bowl". Whats next? The American Standard Toilet Bowl?

Better end this now, There's a Bowl Game on I want to see.



Sunday, December 20, 2009

College Sports.

Good Morning Sports Fans:

I read an interesting article in this mornings Newspaper. It concerned remarks made by Bobby Knight, who many of you will no doubt remember as the fiery coach of, among others, Indiana University and Texas Tech.

Coach Knight was often criticised for losing his temper before, during and after Games in which he felt an injustice had been done. Its strange that we, as observers of the National Scene, remember Coach Knight for these outbursts of temper, but all too often forget Coach Knight's records. His 902 wins puts him in Elite company, but more importantly, I think, the Graduation Rate of his players put him in an entire seperate category. He not only insisted that his players graduate from the College, but must also attend classes, behave themselves, and become Gentlemen. I realize that in today's world those are old fashioned values, but to me they are the Hallmarks of a Good Person, which I believe Coach Knight to be, regardless of his temperment.

Now Coach Knight is in the news again, this time for having the audacity to criticise new University of Kentucky Head Coach, John(never mind your arrest record, can you dunk a ball?) Calipari. It seems that Coach Calipari has had not one but two Colleges Basketball Programs put on probation by the NCAA, those of Massachusetts and Memphis, each of whom had their Wins wiped out by the NCAA for an entire season.

I think the facts speak for themselves when comparing these two coaches, Knight has won more games that any other Coach (902) while Calipari has won something over 400 games. Knight has won Three NCAA Div I Championships, Calipari None.... and the list goes on. I didn't start out to write a post extolling the virtues of this or that College Coach, intending instead for this to be an introducion or lead in to the main thrust of this babble.

.....Which Is.

New Coach John Calipari will be paid approximately THIRTY TWO MILLION DOLLARS for coaching the University of Kentucky over the next eight years, that is presuming, of course, that he doesn't win the National Championship. If he does, doubtless the University will reward him with a new contract, for who knows how many Millions of Dollars. How many of you would like to have a job paying Four Million Dollars a year for teaching a bunch of kids how to play a game? A bunch of kids, who in all probability will, for the most part, not be educated in anything other than this game when they leave College (Most of which not by Graduation).

Folks, have we lost out Cotton-Pickin Minds? While all this money is being spent on these "youths" to play a game, there are thousands of young men and women who would be a credit to any institution of "Higher Learning", who will NOT be able to attend College, due to a lack of funds. This is a damned disgrace.For the cost of the Sports Program, at most Colleges, we could Educate one Hell of a lot of deserving students. Students who might go on to help this country become better and stronger and smarter, to the benefit of us all.

I suppose I should say that while I loved to play Basketball when I was High School age, I, nonetheless had to earn my College Degrees via the G.I. Bill, not just because I wasn't a good enough Basketball Player to Merit a Scholarship (I wasn't), but because it never even dawned on me to consider such, having been taught fairly early on two valuable lessons. One.. You get what you work for. and Two, Employers like to hire reasonably intelligent people, and the ability to Dunk a Basketball is rarely considered a prerequisite for employment.

Does anyone think that this Country will one day wake up and realize we had better get busy and Educate our Kids in order to compete with Smarter Countries of the World who already are doing so ? I'm afraid I'm pretty pessimistic on that subject.

Think About it.

TOP (The Old Pessimist)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Computers and other torture devices.

Guten Abend:

I decided to ramble on a bit about Computers, after waiting for what seemed like four or five hours for my old Computer to wake up.

This old comp.has, in common with many others of the same ilk, steadily gotten slower and slower, til I have to shave at least twice before I can get my Email page to load.

I've tried every tried and true method that I can find to try and speed up my old Dell on wheels, and sometimes I am pleasantly surprised in my efforts being rewarded with at least fifteen minutes of pretty good operation before it (the @#@#!%^*)thing starts to doze off again. I thought for a long time that the trouble was mine, in that I have never implied by thought or word that I was in anyway a computer whiz, or even a neophyte, but I don't really think that this is the whole problem.

When I first bought this thing, I had dial up service, which is about as fast as Pony Express, but it did the job at the time, as the Comp. was still relatively new, purchased just after the great Flood,and may have ben delivered by some guy named Noah.

I thought (my first mistake) that I was getting a pretty good machine , until someone who had actually seen a computer told me that they didn't think that a computer powered by a squirrel running on a wheel to generate power was the absolute newest thing, so I returned it, squirrel and all and called Fructus Rocking chair and computer company to purchase a new computer, second generation. Since it was a newer and better device I willingly paid the twelve thousand dollars or so to live in lovely land . When I received the newest computer, my same advisor told me that he didn't think I would like a Kerosene Powered computer. So I tried again, and this time didn't even unpack the thing when I noticed it was powered by a water wheel and I don't happen to live next to a creek, and so returned it and this time let my advisor speak with the salesman ( a man named Achmed ) and ordered me a new twenty-ninth generation computer, gor an teed to work just fine, but it didn't, as I don't have a windmill. So...I guess sooner rather than later I'll have to break down and buy a new computer, cause I'm getting awful tired of splitting wood to fire the Boiler on my current steam powered word progeggler, plus the inconvenience of typing on a machine whose keys are marked with Aramaic characters.

Oh Well. I guess we learn by doing, or as in my case, by being done to.

Sleep Well folks. Michael Dell and Bill Gates are surely.

stirring their wizard's kettles, so I am pauseitive we will soon all be able to own a computer so smart it won't even need us Humans to operate it.



Driving Manners and manners in General.

Good Morning Gentle People;

Well here it is, another Christmas. Sometimes it seems as though Christmas rolls around with ever increasing frequency, causing a lot of us to be out about and frequently in traffic.

I've just noticed lately, and given some thought to driving manners. I guess I am guilty in not reflecting sooner on the fact that I have noticed that not too many people honk at other cars anymore, unless its a friend, and the driver wants to say a "Hooter Hello" (Not in anyway associated with the restaurant Chain of the same name) But just to be friendly. I have noticed with people seem to be becoming more mannerly towards other drivers when out and about on the highways and byways.

This may be because We live in a small more or less rural area, where most people know one another and don't see the point of aggravating them with a toot of the Horn when the other person is a little slow in getting started when the Traffic Light changes, or maybe its because they are like me and drive a vehicle whose horn button is well hidden on the steering wheel. On my two old vehicles the horn area is designated by a little avatar of a Bugle or some such, and if one wishes to honk ones's horn, it requires a search for the insignia and thus taking one's eyes off the road, which is never a good idea. I can well remember the Days when one could honk one's horn simply by pressing the center of the steering wheel , and then later on the fancy new cars, the gleaming chrome horn ring.

Oh well, just idle thought, but I hope its indicitive of the general population's becoming more polite. Who knows?

Prior to living in the small town we currently reside in, we lived in, Among other places, New Orleans, La. Now to be fair I say emphatically we loved living in New Orleans and have frequently wished we could go back (as I suspect all old folks do) and revisit our young married lives. But one thing about New Orleans was the lack of Traffic Manners of a lot of its drivers. When one was stopped at a Traffic Light, just as soon as the light appeared to perhaps be making up its electrical mind to change colors, one would almost always hear the Driver behing them "setting down" on the horn, followed in succession by other drivers, equally in a hurry to turn off at the next street. I tried almost always to ignore these Honkers and just go about my driving in a safe manner, but not all people did. There were frequent occasions when altercations would ensue at traffic signals, when one or more drivers would alight from their cars and mix it up, due to nothing more than irritation to having to wait a whole five or ten seconds to continue their journey.

I had an occasion once, as an upper funtionary of a concern, to transfer a person from a small town in Mississippi to New Orleans, as a Field Technician.

Within the first few days of this person's work out of the New Orleans Office, he would frequently come into the office red in the face, and quivering with indignation because of the "Idiots behind him Honking for no reason". He said, once, that he felt like getting out of his vehicle and going to teach the guy behind him some manners. I told him he would be well advised to stay in his vehicle.

Nevertheless, he came back into the Office one afternoon sporting a beaut of a Black Eye, Complete with gross swelling.

I asked him where and how he obtained the shiner, and he replied.

"Well, I was sitting at a light on Canal Street, waiting for it to change, when the Guy behind me started honking his horn, over and over, and the light hadn't even changed yet, so I looked in my mirror and saw it was some guy in a little VW Bug, and decided to get out, go back to the Bug and teach the guy some manners`. When I got to the Guys Window, all I got to say was 'listen" when an arm roughly the size of my waist emerged from the window and a fist the size of a Country Ham smacked me in the face and knocked me down", he continued, " I got up and went back to my vehicle and drove on, and pulled over so the guy in the Bug could pass me, so as not to slow him down".

He said, "You were right, Boss".

Would that we could all learn manners from just one such incident, or better yet, by the Tried and True old Standby, COMMON SENSE .

Have a Happy and Safe Christmas and New Years, and if you don't want to stay sober, stay Home!



Sunday, December 13, 2009

Mark Twain-Part two.

Hi Folks>

Just another snippet from Twain and then I'll let the Gentleman rest.

Twain was commenting on the habit of some people to vote the party line, regardless:

"I have often wondered at the condition of things which set aside morality in politics and make possible the election of men whose unfitness is apparent. A mother will teach her boy at her knee to tell the truth, to be kind, to avoid all that is immoral. She will painstakingly guide his thoughts and actions so that he may grow up possessed of all the manly virtues, and the father of that boy, will, when it comes time for his son to cast his first vote, take him aside and advise him to vote for a bad man who is on the Democratic ticket because he has always adhered to Democratic principles. Could anything be more absurd" Interview, New York Herald, 1905

I believe what Twain is advocating here is for a person to use his or her common sense, and examine the qualifications and moral, ethics, etc, thoroughly and try his or her best to vote for the best Candidate.

I think we have all seen the fallacy of voting the "party line". This misuse can occur in two ways. Number one is the current office-holder is such a boob and has made such a mess of the Nation's Business, that it is thought that a candidate from the Opposite Party is bound to be better, and Number two, is just as Twain explains;
i.e. A boy or girl grows up hearing his or her parents extolling the virtues of one Party over another, and will thence unfailingly, for the rest of their lives, vote for the Party that Pappy voted for, without thought and without examination of the Candidates. I beg of you, don't do this. Take some time to give some thought to the matter, for it is important, and may very well save or take your life.

Its just common Sense.



Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bits of Wisdom from Mark Twain.

Good Evening Gentle Folk.

I realize that I said some time ago that I would not discuss either Politics or Religion........but, on the matter of Politics, its just too tempting to ignore, sort of like watching a Man who is hopelessly drunk, and embarrassing himself, you know you shouldn't laugh at the inebriated idiot, but you just can't help yourself.

It is just so with Politics. There are so many Politicians who make fools of themselves almost daily, one can either laugh, weep, or comment on them.

I have been lately perusing some of the works of Mark Twain, who, in my view, is one of, if not the, greatest Humorist America has ever fielded.

Some comments of Twain you might enjoy;

Fifty years ago, when I was a boy of fifteen...I had a friend...a slave- who daily preached sermons from the top of his master's woodpile, with me for his sole of his texts was this:
"You tell me whar a man gets his corn pone, en I'll tell you what his `pinion is."
... The black philosopher's idea was that a man is not independent, and cannot afford views which might interfere with his bread and butter. If he would prosper, he must train with the majority; in matters of large moment, like politics and religion, he must think and feel with the bulk of his neighbors, or suffer damage in his social standing and in his business prosperities. He must restrict himself to corn-pone opinions-at least on the surface. He must get his opinions from other people; he must reason out none for himself; he must have no first-hand views.

Sound like anyone you know?.

more from Twain:

All Congressmen and Parliaments have a kindly feeling for idiots, and a compassion for them, on account of personal experience and heredity.
--Mark Twain in Eruption, entry for Nov 24, 1906
Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself--
Unpublished paper on Postal Rates, Mark Twain. A Biography Chap. CXXXVIII
...Those burglars that broke into my house recently...are in jail, and if they keep on they will go to Congress. When a person starts downhill you can never tell where he's going to stop.
In an Address to Redding, Conn, Library Association, at the Opening of the Mark Twain Library, 1908

Perhaps later, more from Friend Twain, but in the meantime, remember, some things never change.



Wednesday, December 9, 2009

More Political Shenanigans.

Hello Good People;

Well Tis The Season.

Congress, as we all know, has been working long and hard for lo these many months on a National Health Care Plan.

As far as I can tell, NO ONE, including Congress, knows exactly what the Bill will include (mandate) when and if it is passed, but I think I can say , with some degree of certainty, is that it will be a mess.

I base this prediction on standing History. Almost every single thing Congress gets itself into turns into a Train Wreck.

Want an example?... Hows this: A House Select Committee just gave their support to a bill that will allow the Government to Mandate how the NCAA Football Championships will be determined from now on. Now to be fair and specific, the bill HAS NOT passed the full House, nor has it made its way to the Senate.... but at the very least, the idea that Congress, in any of its disguises as a so called Public Servant(s) is even wasting its time, time that the American Taxpayer meets the Payroll for, on such an unimportant issue is ridiculous. They (Congress) have better things to do with their time, such as fattening their Pocketbooks and Juggling their Mistresses.

I say A Pox on the Houses of all Congressmen and Senators. If congress wants to really do something to help the American People, declare a moratorium for both Houses of Congress for just one year, and let us citizens muddle through on our own, I think we'll do just fine, thank You .I think an unpaid Moratorium would be the fittest.

I can state as an example One Act of Congress that is Mismanaged.

It is called the Energy Employee's Occupational Illness Compensation Act, or EEOICPA.

This was enacted to help compensate people, such as myself, who worked in the Nuclear Industry,and were sickened by Exposure to Radionucleides, such as Uranium, and its sister and daughter Elements.

The bill covered, among other things, Cancer,,BUT only a small list of certain Cancers determined by the Parchment Pushers of D.C. If one, such as I, had the wrong type of Cancer, too bad Charlie, the Bill doesn't apply to you.

And one other little Example of the unmitigated Stupidity of our Bloated Bureaucracy is the fact that if, The Department of Labor, which is currently administering this Act, says that one who worked for an 'Atomic Weapons Employer" is not covered by the Act. How's that for a contradiction in terms? The Bill was enacted to help those of us who, by virtue of our work with Noxious and Poisonous substances, had our health ruined and our Savings decimated, due to high Medical Bills (is there any other kind?), by compensating us to a limited degree for our lost savings, and monitor our Illnesse's. BUT the Geniuses in Congress and at the Labor Department, apparently thought that Atomic Weapons were made of sugar and spice and everything nice, and the development and production of those Weapons was somehow unrelated to anything else in the Nuclear Family. Makes a lot of sense doesn't it? But, thats the Government for you. A good slogan for Congress, indeed for the whole Government might be "We giveth with one hand and we Taketh away with the other hand, and then we put it in our hip pockets, SUCKERS!" If I sound bitter, it is because I am. I am also sentient enough to recognize a giant screw up when I see one.

In all of its permutations, the EEOICPA has so many ways to screw someone and to deny a claim, that you would need a Chinese Typewriter and its 3600 or so characters to spell out all the ways our benevolent Government has figured out to shaft people like myself who worked for almost 20 years in one of these Pestilential Plants, has exhausted all their life's savings on Medical Bills whose root was in their place and type of Employment, and judging from the letters I have received from the Labor Department (Boy if there was ever a wrongly labeled Department) takes a measure of delight in snottily informing one of their futility in even THINKING that they are qualified for help, under this Act.

So, Gentle People, forgive me if I rale against our Government, but it tears at my soul to think that this Nation has deviated so far from what our Founding Fathers envisioned, and fought and died for, as well as the Generation upon Generation of their descendents who have likewise fought and Died, to see this.......... this, parody that we call our Government.

Just for the heck of it, come next election, vote AGAINST EVERY SINGLE PERSON NOW IN OFFICE! Maybe if we, as citizens, fork out all the redolent piles of Equine Droppings in our Stables of Government, we might teach their replacements to be a little more assidious in their House (and Senate) keeping. This plan might not work but it sure as Hell would be better than what we are suffering through currently.



Thursday, December 3, 2009

Random Thoughts.

Good Afternoon:

Just a few thoughts on the passing scene.

Tiger Woods: Personally I don't give two hoots about Tiger (TomCat) Woods. Number one he ought to get down on his knees and thank both his creator and his Dad for making him what he is today (well not today-but currently).

The man is a Billionaire.....yep that's Billion with a Capital B . At his age and for what he has had to do to become so filthy rich is, well, obscene. I think its a poor comment on our National set of values when a guy can make this much money just playing a Game, and I don't care how seriously he takes it, it is still just that, a GAME ! He has more than one Mansion, a 57 million dollar Yacht, a knockout swedish model for a wife, children who don't look like him, free luxury cars for his families use, is on a first name basis with the President of the United States (Whoopee) as well as a litany of other Luminaries, and he still has to go Tomcatting around with a variety of women. Tiger needs to put his Ten Iron away and clean up his act, and stay out of the flipping news. please!.

Has anyone other than myself noticed that Novels are being printed on Thinner and Thinner paper all the time? It used to be when you were reading a book, and wished to turn a page, it was simple. Now when you turn a page, you have to be very careful as you will turn two or three pages, due to their being printed on a material not much thicker than that found on a roll in the average bathroom . I know its a cost cutting measure, but enough is enough.

Also I have stopped buying paperback books. In my lifetime I have seen the price of paperbacks go from 25 cents to 7 or 8 Dollars...FOR PAPERBACK! A book that will last for a few months, or a little longer if you don't read it, but if you do read it more than once you will find that the pages start to become detached for what passes for the spine of the book, making it precarious to read as pages drift to the floor.

I guess this is just a further symptom of the "High Profit by any means syndrome"

I've noticed that more and more items are being packaged in smaller containers at the same old price than ever before. Of course, next time around instead of reducing the size of the package , the manufacturer will raise the price a few cents, thus giving the consumer less for more money.

I can remember, just, when companies used to offer premiums to get people to buy their product, promote it on radio and T.V., offer a good product made in the U.S. by American Workers, and still make a good enough profit to pay their workers a good wage, offer them a pension plan and a medical plan, and STILL make money.

Of course that was before companies thought that if they hired a Chief Executive Officer , and paid him an obscene salary, it would help their product sales. I think that the Examples we have seen over the past months, with big Companies, REALLY big companies have gone toes up, Bankrupt, Kaput, flooey, should be noted by more than a few of today's "Executives. I can recall that when a company went Bankrupt it was because it was either a bad product or demand just waned due to a lack of competitiveness or a lack of demand for the product (Buggywhips, for Instance).

But I guess those days are gone forever. It seems like Honesty, Integrity,Truthfulness and the like are no more a part of the American Lexicon.

As an example, remember when a guy named Nardelli ran Home Depot? He nearly ran it into the ground with his crackpot business practices, and was fired WITH a Multi-Million dollar "Golden Parachute", only to be hired by Chrysler Corporation, presently on Probation until and unless they pay back the Truck-Load of Money that came from the "Borrowed from the Taxpayers Kitty". (Fat Chance). And part of the problem, or perhaps most of it, is because Chrysler, like many other American Companies are giving us Less for More. Whatever happened to our taking pride in the job we were given to do, and if we got fired, it was usually our fault, and we had no one to blame but outselves.

I cannot but help be a little proud of Ford Motor company for not taking the Government Dole, and relied instead on producing a good product.

Now if we would just all gather up all the wild hairs that made us go out and spend a years pay on an automobile,which depreciated at least 20% the moment it rolls off the showroom floor , and instead just all stopped buying New Cars,the Automakers would get the message.

One other thing and then I will shut up.. I think that anyone who uses a Cell Phone while Driving ought to lose their Driving AND Cell phone privileges for quite some time.

Also, I've seen more than enough of the flap about the "Party Crashers" at the White House. This simply tells me two things. One, that there are a plethora of people who will do almost anything, no matter how outrageous, to have their "Fifteen Minutes of Fame" (which really should be called "Fifteen Minutes of Shame") Also it seems to me, the average gonif, that some people in the "Social Secretary's Office dropped the Ball, and departed from their Policy Handbook, or normal logistics. Perhaps it's because the Person or Persons who are driving the ship of state do not know how to Navigate , plus having a crew of people chosen for reasons other than skill and experience. But...........what do I know? I think I've said repeatedly that I don't know a darned thing, other than I have no answers, only questions. I think this should tell one why I decided to name this Blog "Dot Common Sense". A sense that most working men and women know cannot be acquired by any means other than experience. It's a pity that Schools don't have a course in this acquired skill.

Cheers.(or jeers)