Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Stay Positive: Scooby-Doo

One of the many great things about having kids is that you get to revisit old cartoons you used to watch when you were a kid.

And my kids are passionate about one of my favorite cartoons from childhood--Scooby-Doo. My son especially loves that Great Dane. You can still see the old episodes on Cartoon Network with their crude animation and wonderfully dated music. Those were good times, people.

And I always had a thing for Daphne.

'Rover here!

Monday, September 28, 2009

The "Wildcat" Formation

People act like this "wildcat" formation is some new thing. It isn't.

Alabama used David "The Deuce" Palmer in that way during his playing days for the Crimson Tide. And, heck, I remember the Tide using Freddie Milons to take direct snaps from center too.

And I would venture a guess that other football coaches have used skilled players besides the QB to take direct snaps even before Milons' playing days.

Click HERE for various highlights of the Deuce.

And click HERE for Milons' famous run in the '99 SEC Championship Game vs. Florida.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Hangover: Arkansas

Because of a thunderstorm that took out our home's power, I didn't get to watch all of the game; I only got to watch most of the first quarter, a good portion of the third, and all of the fourth. That was annoying, but the positive effect is that I didn't have the displeasure of watching the Razorbacks score.

Regardless, the Tide played a solid game defensively by harassing the much lauded Mallet and the trio of solid sophomore receivers.

The O played well too, especially in the passing game since Arkansas sold out to stop the run by regularly putting eight in the box. As a result, McElroy had a record-setting game for his career so far--almost 300 yards passing and three touchdowns.

I was disappointed with the run game though. While the DLine played solidly, the OLine didn't look as strong in the running game. That is probably a basic result of how the Hogs implemented their defensive scheme, but the run blocking is still a concern in my eyes.

The worst part of this game was Hightower, the talented sophomore LB, getting hurt. It's a knee injury, and he'll be out the rest of the year.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Music Friday: "Silver Rocket

Click HERE to watch a video of a song from one of the best albums from the 80s, Daydream Nation by Sonic Youth.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Stay Positive: Psychological Research on Moral Grounding

I like it when people in one camp don't buy their side's propaganda.

I recently read an article in Utne titled "Liberals Aren't Un-American. Conservatives Aren't Ignorant." The writer of the article focuses on the work Jonathan Haidt, a Psychology Professor at the U of Virginia, and his work in trying to make people see political viewpoints from moral and diverse perspectives.

What he's hitting on is what I've learned from studying classical rhetoric and teaching argument-based writing over the years. People can have the same data, the same info, the same examples, and they will argue about a problem or proposed solution because they have very different beliefs and assumptions, what the Greek rhetoricians called pathos.

As the author states that Haidt's quest is to "help people overcome morally motivated misunderstandings." Although the professor is a self-proclaimed liberal atheist, he has this to say about our strange and limited liberal-conservative dichotomy: "I do believe if liberals ran the whole world, it would fall apart. But if conservatives ran the whole world, it would be so restrictive and uncreative that it would be rather unpleasant, too."

You should note, however, that recent psychological research has found that the old saw about young people being liberal and then turning conservative later in life is pretty much bs. As Winograd and Hais, authors of Millenial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube, and the Future of American Politics, assert, "most people rarely change the fundamental patterns of perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes they learn when they are growing up."

Haidt has a couple of websites too: and The second site offers a battery of quizzes that are pretty interesting. I took a few, and my answers tended toward my liberal-leaning brethren, but I'm more like conservatives in my valuing of authority and loyalty.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Hangover: North Texas

The guy you see above is the second string QB for Alabama, Star Jackson. He played a lot yesterday.

Besides a fumble caused by the LT getting beat on the first snap of the game and a couple of defensive breakdowns, the Tide dominated (53-7), so much so that Jackson ran the two-minute offense at the end of the first half. McElroy played in the first series of the second half, but after then fans got to see a lot of Star Jackson at QB and Terry Grant at RB.

Up next are the Razorbacks, who bring a potent passing offense to T-Town. The Tide D needs to be ready.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Music Friday: "Dylan's Hard Rain"

Click HERE to listen to a slowed-down acoustic version of Ryan Bingham singing "Dylan's Hard Rain."

Have a good weekend, folks.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Stay Positive: Alison Krauss

I'm sure I've said or written this before, but if there is a God and if there are angels, their voices sound like Alison Krauss.

That's all I've got.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday Hangover: Florida International

A 40 to 14 win looks like a game that Alabama dominated, which they did. However, I'm sure Coach Saban would say that the team has a lot to work on.

In the first half, the defense gave up some big plays in the passing game and gave up a long kickoff return for a touchdown ... again. That happened last Saturday too. I will say that FIU has two WRs that are really good--T. Y. Hilton, a guy who might play on Sundays in two years, and a taller receiver who seemed to have glue on his hands.

But for the second week in a row, the Tide turned it on in the second half with a dominating defense. There were no points scored on them in the second half even though FIU sometimes had a short field to work with since the kickoff team pooched some kicks to negate Hilton.

Tide fans got to see the highly touted freshman RB, Trent Richardson, tote the rock during the game, and he was impressive: 119 yards on 15 carries and two TDs. With Ingram playing but not at 100% because he was still recovering from the flu and Upchurch out with an injury that is not clear, both Richardson and Terry Grant got opportunities to showcase their skills.

And because Julio Jones bruised his knee, senior Mike McCoy stepped up with a 100 yard receiving game. The junior QB McElroy had a solid game, and pass protection for the most part was quite good. The backs picked up blitzes well, and I can only remember McElroy throwing one shaky pass.

The Tide faces North Texas next Saturday. I suspect the theme for the D this week will be making sure you're mentally focused.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Stay Positive: Pickling

Ok, so I'm late again dear readers. But with all the stuff I had going on yesterday, this weekly post just kind of slipped my mind, which makes me ponder whether I need to drop Wednesday from the title like I did with this post.

Nonetheless, with a garden kicking out produce all summer, a man turns to pickling. And I think I'm getting better at it. This summer I bought a bunch of pickling cucumbers at the Charleston Farmer's Market, but mostly I've been pickling okra. Lots of it. And the other day I was so tired of eating my cherry tomatoes that I pickled a pint of them too. We'll see how that experiment turns out.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Illini Post Mortem

Well, I was surprised by the beat-down Mizzou put on Illinois on Saturday, but it sounds as though Gabbert is replacing Daniel quite nicely. He's certainly taller. I don't know if he'll be better. But I'll leave such an evaluation to those who watch Mizzou on a regular basis.

Nonetheless, click HERE if you'd enjoy reading a sports column that tries to understand the nonsense coming out of Champaign-Urbana.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunday Hangover: Virginia Tech

498 to 155--that contrast of numbers shows how the Tide dominated the Hokies last night. But that statistical dominance didn't translate to final point total dominance until the fourth quarter rolled around.

With the Alabama offense given a short field and unable to convert on third downs early on, they settled for field goal tries in the first half while Beamer ball happened when the VT kick returner ran for a 98-yard score.

The Tide D was stout and swarming with the exception of about three plays. When VT was in third and long situations, white shirts swarmed Tyrod Taylor and made him look like an inexperienced QB.

During the first three quarters, the Alabama offense featured its own inexperienced QB, Greg McElroy, who withstood the onslaught of a very good Hokie D. After finally getting past locking on no. 8, he found other receivers--Hanks, Maze, and Peek-- to catch the pill. In fact, I think Peek, if he stays healthy, could be a primary receiver for this team like they used the two senior TEs last season.

The big difference was that the offensive line, which had three new starters, began to gel at the end of the game, so the running attack figured prominently with Ingram and Upchurch bringing some pain for Hokie fans.

So it's two straight seasons starting out with a win in Atlanta against an ACC foe. And it's time to move one to face Florida International on Saturday.

Click HERE if you're interested in a Hokie's view of the game.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Music Friday: "Rock of Ages"

Click HERE for a video that brings up memories of junior high school for me.

Van Halen was my favorite band back then, but Def Leppard's Pyromania album rocked.

"What do you want?
I want rock and roll."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Stay Positive Wednesday: Opening Week

It's finally here, people. Tomorrow college football begins with South Carolina taking on the NC State Wolfpack, and, heck, EIU takes on IL State in the Prairie State Rivalry game. I'm sure there might be some other games on Thursday, but those are the ones of particular note for me.

Most of the games during Week 1 of college football pit the big programs against the lesser ones, with the small or "developing" programs reaping some financial rewards from the arrangement. But there should be some good ones this week:
Georgia at Oklahoma State,
Miami at Florida State (Monday),
Minnesota at Syracuse,
Illinois vs. Mizzou,
Oklahoma at BYU,
Oregeon at Boise State,
and of course Alabama vs. Virginia Tech.

I'm picking the Hokies to win, but I'd like to be proven wrong.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


If you want to read about a sickening "father," click HERE. This guy deserves more time than he'll likely receive.