Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Off the face of the earth...

Light posting for the next week or so. Work and home concerns have trumped anything meaningful for the last couple of weeks. In the meantime, may I direct you to some nice reading:

  • Franklin Kool-Aid is tackling the growth, road, and battlefield issues for here in Franklin, as well as the upcoming election cycle. Good stuff posted (and commented) daily.
  • Bill Hobbs has some TennCare talk. Guess Bredesen is not as good a manager as advertised...
  • Jim Hill has a look at the new prototype Disney Store and Narnia talk, which interests me greatly. Disney appears to be getting their ducks in a row, with some good films and talk of negotiations with Pixar.
  • Football! Football! Football!!! FanBlogs has a round-up of college football blogs. Very nicely done.
  • Ready for Election '08? Didn't think so. Patrick Ruffini is hosting a straw poll if you're interested, though.
  • There's plenty of good politics at Michelle's, GOPBloggers, WizBang, PowerLine, and LGF (to name a few).
Maybe by the time you're done at those sites, I'll be posting again!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Ball State game DVD update

I've spent a fair amount of my free time (sacrificing regular posting here) working on cutting old 1989 and 1990 BSU games to MPEG for the purpose of cutting them to DVD. Since I had a person or two drop an e-mail asking about the progress, I figured I'd drop a little note here.

I have watched and MPEG'd the entire 1989 series (sans the Purdue and Kent St. conference championship games), and all of the 1990 games. I also discovered the final 7 minutes or so of the home Miami game from 1989 on the end of one of the tapes (the Illinois game had been taped over this game). Suprisingly, the game films were of pretty decent quality. A minor cutaway here, and a minor tape flaw there, but otherwise OK. My hopes are up that these may archive OK. I'm still having single-channel problems with the audio, but I may have to just live with that.

It's been a fun ride re-watching these games for the first time in many years and remembering just how good that team was. They were frustrating at the same time, though. How many times can you hear an announcer say "Ball State has not scored in the last 6 minutes" and see a 10 point lead turn into a deficit? That team sure had it's dead spots on offense! Along with realizing how important Kidd and McCurdy were, it was interesting to remember just how important some of the others were (Parrish, Miller, Stalling, etc.). I've been getting much to little sleep from watching these games!

I figure I'll work on formatting them to disc in the next few weeks and see how they turn out. Don't know if I'll post here again (I'm sure it's boring for some), but e-mail me if you are interested in the progress...

Friday, August 12, 2005

Day by Day

Day by Day is a great comic that I have been reading for some time. Most of the current crop of comics are lame-o, but this one is really funny and covers a wide range of political and social topics. I recently discovered that I can add the current comic to my blog, so be sure to scroll down to the bottom daily to catch the latest...

I hate it when I'm right...

More info on the mascot saga:

Back on 8/5, I commented:

Anybody with some cow, pig, or chicken nicknames? Maybe PETA can decide that, say, Gamecocks are abused in cock-fighting, can they petition to be included in this "hostile or abusive" group. How about the Bisons? We eat those suckers, don't we? Razorbacks?
Ask an ye shall receive:

PETA weighs in: The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a letter to Brand on Wednesday asking the NCAA to stop South Carolina and Jacksonville (Ala.) State from using the nickname Gamecocks.

The letter, a copy of which was given to USA TODAY by PETA, says Gamecocks "are named after the birds used in cockfighting, a hideous 'blood sport' that, like spousal abuse, bank robbery and driving while intoxicated, is illegal in both South Carolina and Alabama."

I'm glad to see some of the schools are standing up for their team names. Utah, Central Michigan, and Florida State are all mulling appeals to the ruling. Utah athletics director Chris Hill:

We're still a little surprised at how this all came out and how the NCAA described what we do (in using the Ute as a symbol). We know we have the support of the Ute Nation, and we anticipate that we will appeal.
Which falls back to my main point. Shouldn't the offended parties be bringing this up if it is offensive? If the Utes, Seminoles, or whoever aren't offended, why should the NCAA and the lefties be? I can certainly see offensive in the cartoonish characterizations of "Chief Nok-a-homa" or "Chief Wahoo." I can see valid concerns with the names "Redskins" or "Savages." But, if done correctly and with tact, these team names can be used to honor the Native American tribes they name, as evidenced by the tribes who support them.

Update (8/12 11:16CT): Happy to hear USC come out against the PETA proposal. University spokesman Russ McKinney:
The University has rejected PETA's call to change the mascot repeatedly. We just don't think there's any interest among the Carolina family at all in making any change. There are no plans to change it.
Just can't imagine going to a game without the chicken call. I lived in Columbia for a good number of years and love the atmosphere of the Gamecock football games and continue to be a big fan of the program. I miss that game-time feeling every time I go to a college football game here or in Muncie. The crowing chicken (along with 'Also Sprach Zarathustra') are a big part of that great atmosphere. And what about poor Cocky, the 2003 Mascot of the Year? Doesn't he represent the chicken population well enough? When the offended chickens stand up to ask for the 'Cocks to change their name, then I'll maybe reconsider... ;)

In seriousness, though... Talking about offending human beings in the Indian mascots is one thing, and I can see that there can be opinions different than mine on that front. Here we're talking about an animal. Does everyone need to take vegetable or mineral names now? Guess we could offend some botanist or mineralologist that way. Maybe we should eliminate mascots all together... Yeah, just go by the college name... Oh, guess that won't work either... I'm sure some of those schools or towns are named after offended parties as well... A quandry, indeed...

Update (8/12 11:57CT): More mascot talk. It appears that the NCAA is conceding that they may have gone too far on the Native American mascot debate. Apparently, the person who they conferred with about the Seminole tribe's view of the Florida State mascot wasn't speaking for the tribe as he implied. David Narcomey is a member of the General Council of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma and had sent letters on the tribes behalf condemning the mascot. But...

In fact, Narcomey pushed for a tribal resolution condemning the use of American Indian mascots and imagery, specifically at FSU. It was defeated last month by an 18-2 vote

Heh... The NCAA says they were working from incomplete information and plan to reconsider their view on the FSU mascot. No word on Utah, Central Michigan, Illinois, or the 14 other schools affected by this ruling.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Rapunzel Updated

Jim Hill has some nice info and pictures related to "Rapunzel Unbraided" over at JimHillMedia.com. With my track record for hating the direction that Disney Animation is headed, I didn't expect to be too excited to read this article when I saw the title. But, the tagline "a film of astonishing beauty" intrigued me, and after reading the article, I'm suprised to say that I came away from it excited for the prospect of this picture. I have long lamented the fact that Disney has left 1) traditional animation and 2) fairy tales. When originally reading that this would be a Shrek-like modern take on the story done in CGI, it certainly didn't play well for me. Well... I'll be happy to be wrong about this, as I certainly want to see the product succeed. Pop over to check out the article and see the photos. The animation looks very nicely done and very "Disney." It doesn't really state the direction of the storyline, so I'm still holding out for that, but I like what I see thus far.

I'm willing to give them a go at this, although I wish they'd do traditional as well as computer animation. I'll see "Chicken Little." I will probably see "Valiant," although I know this one wasn't done in-house and is getting luke-warm press. If these three movies and others in production (Wilbur Robinson, American Dog) do well, I'll be man enough to admit that they made the right decision. But it still seems like their following the DreamWorks/Pixar pack instead of being the trend-setters that they used to be...

Monday, August 08, 2005

Weekend of Basketball Bliss

I finally was able to get my grubby mitts on videos of the Ball State NCAA basketball runs from my days at the University in the early '90's. I spent the weekend cutting them to mpeg for the purposes of making a more permanent DVD archive and, better still, reliving some great memories. Butts lighting up CMU during the '90 conference championship. Chandler's huge easy-lift rim-rattler in front of a doubting Billy Packer against UNLV. Paris' great dunk over Lurch from Louisville. Greg Miller and Shawn Parrish providing all the right spark at all the right times. The tenacious defense. Holding Louisville to season low scoring and shooting percentage at the half. The crush of defeat and feeling of "almost" at the end of the UNLV game. Wow... Watched part of the Purdue game from '88 as well. Loved hearing how poor the officiating was every time BSU pulled out in front (Purdue announcers...). I have the following games in my hands now:

  • 1988-9: Purdue
  • 1988-9: KSU (conf championship)
  • 1988-9: Pitt (NCAA)
  • 1988-9: Illinois (NCAA)
  • 1989-90: CMU (conf championship)
  • 1989-90: Oregon State (NCAA)
  • 1989-90: Louisville (NCAA)
  • 1989-90: UNLV (NCAA)
  • 1994-5: EMU (conf championship)
  • some Muncie Central championships (1954, 1963, 1978, 1979, 1988 [semis and finals on all but '54 and '63])
Pure basketball goodness for me...

Good news, bad news... The person who cut the tapes for me back in the day who shall remain nameless (I was at most of these games and relied on other people to tape them... stupid me) had this awful habit related to his taping of games/shows/etc:

  1. Use the lowest quality tape. The more used the better.
  2. Dub to another low quality tape to edit commercials out. Be sure to not quite hit the marks in and out of breaks causing content to be missing. Also, be sure to cut out halftime commentary, replays, etc.
As a result, the quality of these game tapes are mixed. The CMU game looks suprisingly good for a 15 year old tape (it was not commercial-edited and thus appears to be 1st generation). The UNLV and most of the Louisville games were 2nd generation, but don't look that bad (minus some bad edits). The Purdue game, though... whoo-hoo... Looks like about a 5th generation cut. Same for most of the high school ones. Well, at least I have a copy though. I haven't looked at the others yet, so I'm hoping they look more like the CMU game and less like the Purdue one.

I am cutting these at SVCD quality in my first go (assuming that VCD is VHS quality). I seem to be only getting sound from one speaker (may be the tapes or the equipment... not sure yet), but otherwise they look pretty good so far. If any Card fans have better copies, please e-mail and I'll cut a copy from yours and send you one for your archive...

Favorite Gitmo Story Yet...

Top requested book at Gitmo? Harry Potter... Think they're fans of Voldemort?

More on the Mascots

To extend upon this PC silliness, here's a good case-in-point from the not so distant past... Marquette used to be the Warriors. The same scenario played out there as could potentially be playing out at Utah, Illinois, Central Michigan, Florida State and others in the near future, and the nickname was changed to the Golden Eagles (a name most everyone there hated). Then later to the Gold, which was abandoned after one week of protest. During the course of this, 80% of the people surveyed just wanted it to be the Warriors again. Two Marquette trustees even offered to give the school $1-million each if it returned the nickname to Warriors. They are even willing to drop the potentially offensive Native American mascot, since the word Warrior could be used for non-Indian connotations. Seems reasonable... but the university decreed that no votes for the Warriors name will be counted in the selection of the new mascot. Now, since the popular selection is out of the mix, they are again the Golden Eagles by a 54% vote. A majority vote received even thought the respondents surveyed said the following:

Additionally, ten years after its introduction, the survey indicates that the Golden Eagles nickname, logo and mascot have not generated a strong sense of pride or sense of identity with the Marquette community. In fact, the words most often used to describe the Golden Eagles nickname are boring (57%), weak (55%) and common (52%).

Inspiring, no? As Adam points out in the comments, there are some truly offensive mascot names (Savages is a good case-in-point), but to blanket all of the Native American themed team names as "hostile or abusive" is a bit extreme. In saying all of this, I don't think we'll ever see team names as established as the Seminoles or the Illini change, just like the professional names haven't changed (Braves, Indians, Redskins, Chiefs, etc.). Too much money and customer loyalty are tied to them. And really... what's offensive about Illini? Ute? Chippewa? Seminole? Aren't they honoring the tribes they name? I may very well be wrong on this one... I'm not Native American and I may be missing the point. But I just don't get it...

Friday, August 05, 2005

PC Police in the NCAA offices

NCAA limits Indian mascots

Starting in February, a team in the postseason with an "offensive" Native American logo or nickname will not be able to have a mascot present or wear uniforms with said logo and/or nickname during the tournament. Also, if said team hosts a postseason event, they will have to cover "offensive logos." In '08, cheerleader and bands will be included in the ban. No word yet on when they ban the fans from wearing t-shirts with the nicknames.

So, if Florida State or Illinois hosts a post-season game, do they have to run around campus and cover every Seminole or Illini reference? Or is this just on the field of play? I can just picture the folks in these towns sweeping the campus for every road sign, statue and poster before gametime...

Guidelines were not immediately available on which logos and nicknames would be considered "hostile or abusive."

Hmm... that's kinda open-ended. Think that can be extended outside of the Native American context? Anybody with some cow, pig, or chicken nicknames? Maybe PETA can decide that, say, Gamecocks are abused in cock-fighting, can they petition to be included in this "hostile or abusive" group. How about the Bisons? We eat those suckers, don't we? Razorbacks?

Look... I'm not for outwardly offending anybody. But this is just silly. Many years ago, Miami University in Ohio were named the Redskins. I remember reading back when this was a controversy that the Chief of the Miami tribe had a treaty with the university about the use of the nickname, and that he, in fact, saw the name of the school and the use of the nickname as an honor and approved. Of course, fast forward to today and the Miami RedHawks. Guess how that happened?!?

Update (8/5/05 12:27CT): I see that there is a chain of comments on this on the MAC fan site. Apparently my memory was correct about the Miami situation. I'll have to look and see if I can find some posts on a Florida State or Illinois site...

Thursday, August 04, 2005

I guess it's on...

Back from a hiatus with one for the locals...

Congress OKs money for I-65, Mack Hatcher

Now more fights about which of the 14 or so proposed routes for the Mack Hatcher extension. I guess I haven't read close enough on this, but will this extension be four lanes? Can they please make it so? And while they're at it, widen the stretch from Columbia toMurfreesboro?!?

It appears that there has been discussion while I was out about whether it makes more sense to widen Columbia, Main, and Hillsboro or to extend Mack Hatcher. Some are saying that these roads are backed up during rush hour and would benefit from the widening far more than the benefit of the extension. But I must pose a question: Wouldn't the extension take a fair amount of this traffic off of these roads? I know that I won't be turning onto Hillsboro or Columbia from Mack Hatcher once this is complete. From experience, it appears to me that a large portion of the Hillsboro backup turns right onto 96W. This is the exact group of people that would instead use the extension, no?