Friday, December 31, 2010

My own votes for Sports Quote of the Year

I like the selection provided by ESPN, but I would rank them differently.

#3. "Every second I'm talking to you is another second I'm not at Waffle House."
-- Tennessee forward Wayne Chism, on talking to the media

Don't tell me there aren't people in your life that don't make you feel this way.

#2. Best Conversion Of A Complimentary Phrase Into A Deadly Insult goes to Bruce Pearl: "I've made mistakes, I clearly did, but what I was hoping for was that some other dumb--- would get on the front page and take me off the hook. I miss Lane Kiffin."
-- Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl

And the winner, purely because it was instantly both parodiable in potentia and parodied in actu, is LeBron:

#1. "I'm going to take my talents to South Beach."

The possible variations on this astonishly un-self-aware phrase are endless.

A much longer list of quotes may be found starting here at #100 and following the links all the way to ESPN's #1, which is not the same as mine.

Grand Entrance Of The Day...

...or not.

HT: Page 2.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Highly recommended fail video

What happens when you lose your tennis ball in a storm drain? Why, you crawl into the storm drain to retrieve it, of course. (And the ending is not the one that I, at least, foresaw, which these days is sadly uncommon on the ever less discriminating Failblog.)

Male Priorities Dept

I'm not really seeing the problem here...?

Jack Bauer vs. Santa Claus

HT: Dave, of course, who else?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Husky Women Make History

Congratulations to UConn! This is a genuinely towering competitive accomplishment.

And it gives me a chance to write one of the most gleefully obnoxious posts I've written in a long time.

There is, predictably, a lot of lame commentary going on in the ESPN forums about how the record can't be compared to the '71-'74 Bruins record because women's basketball isn't as competitive as men's basketball. A sample, which I actually picked because it was less stupid than most:
Its #### women's basketball. Obviously an impressive streak, but the competition is so small compared to men's hoops. UCLA's streak is in a completely different conversation. I'm not trying to be sexist but its the truth...congrats UCONN, but it does not compare to UCLA's streak. Theres only a select 5-10 teams with a legitamate chance of winning women's hoops each year, whereas in men's hoops theres so much talent any team can win on any given day.
Now this guy at least is trying to address the competitive issue, unlike the hilariously dimwitted character who sneered, "another reason the mens and womens game cannot compare. the most simple aspect of the game has been made easier in favor of the women. you can fit two womens basketballs inside a hoop at once, men can only fit one." Resisting the urge to congratulate this gentleman for having discovered the heretofore unknown fact that men have bigger balls than women, I merely point out that for two basketball winning streaks to be comparable, it is only necessary that each of the two habitually winning teams in question be required to use the same ball as do their opponents.

But what is clearly lost on the geniuses ranting in that forum, is the fact that, while it is quite true that "the competition is so small compared to men's hoops. UCLA's streak is in a completely different conversation...Theres only a select 5-10 teams with a legitamate chance of winning women's hoops each year, whereas in men's hoops theres so much talent any team can win on any given day," that is only true of men's sports now. It was absolutely not the case in the 1970's, when UCLA set the men's record. From 1961 to 1978 there were only nine teams who won NCAA titles, and while obviously this had a lot to do with UCLA's ten titles, still you see Cincinnati coming one game from a threepeat in '61-'63, you see Duke and Kentucky and North Carolina (sound familiar?) making eleven Final Fours among them in that stretch...

In 1974, when UCLA's streak ended, ESPN was still five years from its first telecast and nobody had ever heard the word "Sportscenter." You could catch a replay of a Dr. J in 1974 if you watched the late-night news religiously -- the Doc's professional career began the same year the streak did. The NCAA tournament was still untelevised (at least the early rounds) and nobody had ever called it "March Madness." So you didn't exactly have a nation of young men who had grown up watching hours upon hours of top-quality basketball on high-def TV and practicing the moves in endless pickup games. And as for the quality of the formal coaching -- well, Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education was handed down in 1971, meaning that most young black men of college age in 1971 had played in segregated schools with appalling facilities and bad coaching -- creating immense opportunities for a high-quality coach such as Wooden to open huge gaps between his team's play and that of his opponents'. There is absolutely no way that Wooden's UCLA streak could possibly be compared to the near-supernatural feat that would be represented by an 88-game winning streak starting tomorrow by, say, Duke.

You see, the idiot chauvinists in those comments have perfectly good arguments to prove that UConn's streak should not be compared to an 88-game win streak in today's men's game. But if that means that UConn shouldn't be allowed to claim the record on the grounds that they have reeled off those wins in a vastly less talented, vastly less skilled, and vastly less uniformly competitive landscape than today's men's NCAA...why, then, it also means that the 1971-1974 Bruins ought not be allowed to claim the record, either -- and on exactly the same grounds.


Listen, if you're really desperate to keep your male chauvinist brass...trophies...buffed and shiny, then you shouldn't be whining about how female basketball players aren't as athletic at male players -- only the willfully insane would deny that. And you shouldn't be complaining that the women's game isn't as competitive as the men's game and then using that to argue that a men's streak from forty years ago is better than a women's streak now, because the best that can be said for that complaint is that you have put very little thought into it. What you should be pointing out -- since most feminists don't argue that they are as good at athletics as men but DO try to claim that women are just as good at brains and leadership -- is the striking fact that the one women's team that has completely lapped the field and could now spot practically any other women's team 20 points and still win going away, is the team coached by practically the only male coach in women's NCAA basketball. (And the only female coach who still owns any record Geno hasn't broken, namely Tennessee's Pat Summit who has about two more months to enjoy being one national championship ahead of Geno, got so tired of being regularly spanked that she now refuses to play against UConn unless forced to in the NCAA tournament.) Fastest to 500 wins? Geno. Fastest to 600 wins? A tie between Geno and Phillip Kahler -- oh, look, another male women's coach! Fastest to 700 wins? Geno. Fastest to seven championships? Geno (twenty-five years to Pat's thirty-three, and I doubt you'd find anybody outside of Tennessee who thinks Pat will get to ten before Geno does). Number of undefeated seasons by Geno? Four. Number of other undefeated seasons by all other NCAA women's basketball coaches in the entire history of the NCAA, combined?


This isn't strictly speaking an argument for men's superiority over women generally speaking, because it is almost certainly simply an example of the well-known fact that in many human characteristics (notoriously, for example, intelligence) the variance of the distribution is higher in the male population than in the female, even though the means are roughly identical. That is to say, if you took a thousand women and a thousand men and gave them each a basketball team to coach, the average coach and the average coachette would be about the same -- but the worst four or five male coaches would probably achieve depths of suckitude that none of the female coaches would dream of inflicting upon their hapless victims players, while the best four or five male coaches would probably be quite a bit better than the best female coach.

But at the NCAA elite level, you are of course way out in the tail of the distribution, where you're not working with random coaches -- you're working with samples that have been highly and brutally sorted for efficiency. And, sadly for Pat Summit and Geno's other competition, it turns out that at the tail of the distributions, the higher male standard deviation makes it almost inevitable that the men's tail is at a significantly higher level than the women's tail. (That probably didn't come out right but I'm in too much of a hurry to fix it.) It's probably true that the super-elite male coaches coach at a level that largely can't be reached by their female counterparts with any consistency; Pat Summit might be able to win a lot of NCAA games if she coached a men's team because she would beat lots of average and even better-than-average male coaches, but any team coached by Pat Summit would be at a severe disadvantage if they had to go up against a team coached by Coach K, or Dean Smith, or Roy Williams, or John Wooden. Geno dominates the women's basketball landscape; but it's entirely possible that if he and Jim Calhoun were to switch places, the UConn men would rapidly become less competitive and the UConn women's average margin of victory would rapidly jump to thirty points a game. Not inevitable, mind you -- but entirely possible.

You see, if you want to take a male chauvinist approach to demeaning the UConn women's streak, then you shouldn't complain that the UConn women have it easy because they're playing against women -- that's a fair fight because they're women too. The real reason the streak can't fairly be compared to the UCLA streak is quite simple:

John Wooden had to coach against other men.

[chuckling evilly]

P.S. OK, the bit about Pat Summit's being regularly spanked by Geno isn't really true; it was pure snark. NCAA women's basketball championship coaches from 2000 to present:

2000 Geno
2001 somebody else
2002 Geno, beating Pat in the title game
2003 Geno, beating Pat in the title game
2004 Geno
2005 somebody else
2006 Pat
2007 Pat
2008 somebody else
2009 Geno
2010 Geno
2011 lookin' pretty good for the Huskies

So Pat did actually get him in '06 and '07. [sigh] It sucks to have a strong blogging conscience.

Friday, December 17, 2010

As I told my parents...

...I ain't sayin' there's not a girl somewhere in the world who's cuter than my wife...I'm just sayin' that if there is one, I haven't run across her yet.

Well, if you're going to sell a random house...

...why not sell one that's on a bridge?

HT: Failblog.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Latin Pun Of The Day

HT: Failbook.

When Iowahawk is bad, it's painful, but when he's good even the Onion could take notes

And in this old piece from 2008, he's not only very, very good, but -- in light of President Obama' fail me...very odd decision to leave Bill Clinton in charge of a Presidential press conference -- downright prophetic:
Obama Names Bill Clinton to Presidential Post

WASHINGTON DC - Ending weeks of speculation and rumors, President-Elect Barack Obama today named Bill Clinton to join his incoming administration as President of the United States, where he will head the federal government's executive branch.

"I am pleased that Bill Clinton has agreed to come out of retirement to head up this crucial post in my administration," said Obama. "He brings a lifetime of previous executive experience as Governor of Arkansas and President of the United States, and has worked closely with most of the members of my Cabinet."

Seriously, read the whole thing. Oh, I should warn you that, like the Onion, Iowahawk can sometimes allow his fictional characters to use extremely non-Baptist language.

And while we're comparing Iowahawk to The Onion, here's you a compare-and-contrast exercise. First, we have a classic Onion point-counterpoint. First to give her side is Vicki Helmholz, receptionist for Dr. Glickman, who argues, "My Computer Totally Hates Me!" In response, we have Miss Helmholz's computer, responding, "God, Do I Hate That Bitch".

Now compare this old Iowahawk videoparody from the Obama campaign trail, in which Obama's teleprompter has some demands to make, and some threats in case Obama is not disposed to grant said demands.

Best Political Tweet Of The Month So Far

In response to President Obama' fail me...very odd decision to leave Bill Clinton in charge of a Presidential press conference, Michael Goldfarb tweeted: "Finally, America has a black President again."

Thank God I wasn't sipping Scotch while reading the tweet. (This is a reference to a long-ago occasion on which a co-worker cracked a hilarious ad-lib just as I was swallowing a mouthful of Oban single-malt, thereby putting me in the position of being able to assure you, Gentle Reader, that snorking Scotch whiskey out one's nose unexpectedly is an EXTREMELY painful experience. I mean, I suppose snorking Scotch whiskey out one's nose expectedly would also be painful, but the Voice Of Experience cannot speak to the latter hypothetical situation. Naturally, these ten years later, I don't remember the ad-lib and I'm not even sure who the friend was, though for some reason I think it was Tina Walker...but I certainly remember the fiery pain.)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

For that matter, so do I.

But Helen should be here in just a few more months...

Yet again, it's a good thing we have scientists, otherwise we wouldn't know anything.

HT: Insty.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

If I were a Nebraska fan I'd be really upset with Bo

If Tyler Martinez is not allowed onto the field in the second half then Nebraska leaves the Big XII as champions. I have no idea why, when it was painfully obvious that Martinez (a) has feet but no brains and (b) thanks to injuries didn't even have feet tonight...still Pellini left him in to throw/fumble/hang-onto-the-ball-until-sacked-out-of-even-Henery's-godlike-range the game away. The only Nebraska touchdown pass of the game? Thrown by Burkhead (who, to be fair, did also commit a critical fumble). And I wish I could find stats on Nebraska's yards-per-snap with Martinez at quarterback vs. yards-per-snap in the Wildcat.

Absolutely mystifying. But, speaking not only for myself but also for everybody associated with the Big XII: thanks, Bo, from the bottom of our collective heart, for depriving your whiny fans a chance to brag about leaving with a Big XII championship, by your bull-headed insistence on sticking to a hopelessly flawed offensive game plan to the bitter end. Now don't let the door hit you as you leave. Oh, and by the way, please do us a favor and go undefeated in Big Ten play for about the next decade so that the Big Ten will maybe get over itself a bit. It would be very satisfying to see the Big Ten get dominated by a team that went 0-for-the-century in the Big XII title hunt.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

A couple of observations late in the first half of the Big XII championship game

1. The O.U. offense simply doesn't work without DeMarco Murray. Since Murray is not the back A.D. was, and yet the drop-off when Murray leaves is as dramatic as when A.D. used to go out, I think we have to say that O.U. is not looking very good for running back next year. On the bright side, if you're a ferocious blue-chip running back graduating from high school next year, you have to like your chances of getting lots of touches on national television right away next year by signing with O.U. So that should make recruiting a little easier this year.

2. You may win a lot of games with Landry Jones as your quarterback, but you will not win a national championship. He will give you some huge plays but he simply is not capable of error-free football. There is a top tier for national-championship-caliber quarterbacks. He is not in it. But on the bright side, at least he has had the sense to get rid of that lame 'stache.

3. I don't at all fault Stoops for going for it in no-man's land three times in the first half...but how in God's name is it possible that there is any big-time coach or quarterback in college or pro footfall who doesn't know how to quick-snap when a reviewable call has gone your way but hasn't yet been reviewed???? Jones acted as though the play clock sets a minimum time before the snap rather than a maximum. What, we quick-snap a fourth-down but stand back trying to read the defense when a review could be (and indeed turned out to be) catastrophic????????

4. Every aspect of the O.U. game -- offense, special teams and defense -- has had a breakdown at this point. Hard not to think that this team, this year, has been the most mentally sloppy of Stoops's tenure. That's not characteristic of a Stoops team and I think is simply an example of the fact that in the end no coach can make plays on his players' behalf.

5. Broyles is a frickin' stud. The play he made to almost get the ball back on that interception was hellaciously athletic and even more hellaciously competitive. If his coach and quarterback have their act together he saves a touchdown.