Sunday, January 17, 2010

Happy New Year (belatedly)!

Sorry, I've been inconsistent in my return to blogging. Happy 2010, everyone. I hope that all had a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Hannukah, yadda, yadda, yadda................No Top Tens or Bottom Tens in sports this week, though I will have some sports comments to offer.

1) Everyone I know is riveted by the ongoing disaster in Haiti, which was struck by a magnitude 7.3 earthquake five days ago. Estimates of the number of dead range from 45,00-50,000 on the conservative side to as many as 500,000. My heart goes out to the unfortunate citizens of that country, who never seem to catch a break, either from their fellow human beings or from mother nature. I would ask that to the extent that you can, please donate to the relief effort, be it in the form of money, time or goods. Those people can use whatever help we can provide. Just be careful about how you donate the money. There are a lot of bogus sites and groups trying to scoop up your well-intentioned donations, and even some of the legitimate ones are having "issues" (Wyclef Jean has been accused of personally profiting from the aid organization he set up, an accusation he has denied. As well, if you're a supporter of Israel, don't donate to the International Red Cross, which hates and discriminates against Israel. Donate your money instead to the American Red Cross, which is a separate entity). As an aside, I note that the countries who responded most quickly are the "usual suspects": Canada, the United States, Israel (which it's sending aid and disaster recovery teams). China's chipping in with ONE plane of relief supplies (gee, thanks!), and as far as I know, the Saudis have given exactly nothing. I guess that unless it involves building madrassas, they're not interested.

2) In the U.S., very close attention is being paid to the special election in Massachusetts, which will fill the Senate seat left open when Ted Kennedy passed away last year. I have a few thoughts on this. First, the Democrats never expected that they'd have to pour serious money or time into defending this seat. After all, Massachusetts hasn't elected a Republican senator since 1972, and Martha Coakley, the state Attorney General, was a household name. As well, the Republican challenger, Scott Brown, was a virtual unknown before the election. However, he has run a strong grassroots campaign, unlike Coakley, who didn't think that she really even had to run. After all, initial polls had her 30+ percentage points ahead in the polls. Recent polls, however, have seen Brown surge, and in some of them he is holding a four point lead. It's a sign of the worry that Democrats are experiencing that President Obama is campaigning for Coakley this weekend. Unlike her, he still polls very strongly in the state. The stakes in this election are huge. If the Republicans win, they will have a 41st senator, and a potential to filibuster against legislation they don't want to see passed. Still, there is one thing about this election that really has me irritated, and that is the assertion by some Democrats that "This is the Ted Kennedy seat". Umm.......I thought that that this was the people's seat. When did the Kennedy family assume ownership of it? That sense of entitlement and ownership is so, well, Kennedy-esque........

3) California's about to get some rain. No, make that a LOT of rain. The state, which has been in drought for what seems like decades, is about to get some rain. No, make that a lot of rain. Estimates for the rainfall over the next week range anywhere from 1-3 inches in some spots to as much as 10-15 inches in the northern part of the state. Parts of the Sierra Nevada are expecting as much as 1o feet of snow. Most experts expect that the precipitation will put a significant dent in the drought. I have friends and family in the Golden State, so I can only hope that they're right.............

4) I'm a bit late to the party, but I'm finally reading the Harry Potter books. I must say that I absolutely love them. I'm about 1/3 of the way into the sixth book. The last long series of books which I enjoyed this much was the Narnia Chronicles which, to this day, remain my favourite books of all time. Other series which I truly enjoyed: The "Assassin" trilogy by Robert Ferrigno; the "Worldwar" series, by Harry Turtledove (I really love alternative history--the "what ifs" of history have always fascinated me).

5) A truly sad development today in the sports world: Gaines Adams, a Chicago Bears defensive end and the fourth overall pick in the 2007 NFL entry draft, died today at the very young age of 26. The preliminary autopsy results are that he died from cardiac arrest caused by an enlarged heart.

6) Cindy Sheehan continues to try to keep herself in the news. Her latest effort was through a protest at the home of former Vice-President Dick Cheyney as well as the CIA headquarters. What were they protesting? The use of unmanned Predator drones in the fight against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan, because they consider it to be "immoral". Funny, I never see them protesting against homicide bombings, Qassam launchings, Somalian piracy, etc., etc. And, hasn't anyone told her that Cheyney hasn't been the Vice-President in almost exactly a year, and that the CURRENT President, Mr. Obama, has maintained the policy of using Predator drones? I guess not............

7) The NFL playoffs are well underway, and I've found a new team against which I can cheer (other than the Dallas Cowboys, against whom I will always cheer). That is the Indianapolis Colts, who tanked their last two games of the year in order to "save" their starters for the playoffs. If it's possible, let's leave aside the fact that the Colts were 14-0 at the time, and were seemingly in line to achieve NFL history by become the first team to go 19-0 (assuming that they won the Super Bowl, unlike the 2007 New England Patriots, who went 16-0 and then lost the Super Bowl). No, what really irks me about what they did (and the New Orleans Saints too, for that matter), is that they continued to charge fans full price for these games which they obviously considered to be nothing more than glorified exhibitions. If you're going to play your starters half the game, they really should have charged them half the price..........

8) So Mark McGwire finally came clean and admitted that he used steroids, including during his record-breaking 1998 season. Big shock there, I know. However, Big Mac wasn't as honest as he could have been, as he still refused to admit that the steroids helped him hit home runs. Either he's really, really stupid, or he thinks that we are...............

9) Alabama won the B(C)S title game with a methodical 37-21 win over a Texas team that lost starting QB Colt McCoy to an injury early in the second quarter. Texas had its chance to win, or at least put some serious doubt into Alabama's mind, when it had two early possessions which saw it drive deep into Crimson Tide territory, only to end up with field goals instead of touchdowns. A 14-0 or even a 10-0 Longhorns lead might have put some doubt into the minds of the Alabama players. Instead, they had to think that they'd dodged a bullet. At halftime, the score was 21-6 for the Crimson Tide, and though the Longhorns battled back to make it a 24-21 game, I never got the feeling that Alabama was in serious trouble. And, for those who don't like Alabama (or the SEC in general), you're in trouble, because this team is poised to repeat.

10) In the NHL, my Montreal Canadiens continue to flounder around, winning some games, losing others, and (at this point) clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot. Let's face facts: Even if Montreal does make it to the NHL's post-season dance, it's not going very far. A four-game sweep at the hands of Pittsburgh or New Jersey is inevitable. So, what would the end result of General Manager Bob Gainey's radical remaking of the team be? The exact same playoff seeding and playoff result as last year. And, that's assuming that the Canadiens even make the playoffs. If they don't, or if the team gets crushed in the first round, it's likely that Gainey will be looking for employment next season.

11) In the NBA, we could be looking at history, and not in a good way. The New Jersey Nets are an almost unfathomable 3-36, after a league record 0-19 start. Now, I still suspect that the Nets will find a way to win at least seven games the rest of the season, in order to avoid breaking the 1973 Philadelphia 76ers' futility record of 9-73, but they'll certainly give it a run.

4 comments:

serket said...

Almost a two month break this time!

1) I'm glad that Scott Brown won and it will be interesting watching the fall out from that election. I think they consider it a Kennedy seat since it was first occupied by JFK in 1953. I thought Scott was brilliant to challenge that assertion and say it is the people's seat. It is ironic that he might be able to use that Senate seat to stop the healthcare bill!

2) I wonder if that rain will turn into snow for Utah and other mountain states.

3) I loved the Harry Potter books. I'm glad you are able to enjoy them now. The sixth book makes you wonder about Snape and Dumbledore. I also like Narnia and they are a good analogy for Christianity.

GM Roper said...

It's about time you got back to work. Happy New Year to you also my friend.

GM Roper said...

Lets see, its been almost a month since you made an entry.... get BACK TO WORK, the world needs you!

Mad Zionist said...

Go Sabres!