Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Get Your Grubby Hands Off My Coach!

Seriously. The Big East is making its move to the big time. We have so much potential right now. WVU, Louisville, and Rutgers have all shown a lot of talent and heart this year, and the nation has noticed. When we lost Miami, BC, and Virginia Tech, everyone thought the Big East would quietly slink into obscurity, lose its BCS bid, and eventually dissolve.

Welly welly welly welly well! South Florida is now showing promise, and with a BCS bid stably assured to our conference for the forseeable future, I think they'll start drawing some of that amazing Floridian football talent. Pittsburgh is just having a couple down years. Wannstedt will have that program in the top 25 consistently soon. Hell, even Syracuse may creep back out of the basement some day, back to their former glory as a respectable football program, which produced such greats as Art Monk, Donovan McNabb, and Larry Csonka.

So, of course, everyone wants to strip the Big East of its most prized assets: its coaches. I am literally getting sick of reading articles saying how Rich Rodriguez, Bobby Petrino, and Greg Schiano are all candidates somewhere else. And if Rutgers fails to step up and pay Schiano to stay in New Jersey, I may feel compelled to take matters into my own hands... not sure how I'd do that, but I'd do something... and it probobly wouldn't be pretty. Louisville's already given Petrino a pretty sweet deal, and he's commited to them, according to this post. WVU has also stepped up and given Richie Rod what he asked for. Hopefully they'll keep heaping it on. Investing in these coaches now will pay off big for all these programs in the future, even if the coaches do choose to leave. As long as we can keep them here long enough to build up the conference's reputation as a whole, we'll all benefit from it.

Consider the fact that when the Big East was abandoned by Miami, VT, and BC, we still had WVU and Pitt, but even though those were both good programs, our BCS bid was under serious scrutiny. Without it, a top coach would obviously have doubts about moving to, or staying in, the dying conference. Thankfully, we've come through with some clutch wins, and shown the world that we're not a dying conference, but one with incredible potential for long term growth and improvement. Who knows, maybe we'll even be able to get Penn State to take notice. If we can keep these great coaches here long enough to build the conference up into a powerhouse conference, like the SEC and the Pac-10, we would be able to more easily afford losing them, because other great coaches will be more attracted to the conference.

Miami, Alabama, Florida State, and UNC, I'm talking to you when I say...

Get your stinking hands off my coaches, you damned dirty apes!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Vive St. Louis!

I really do love living in St. Louis. I live in St. Louis City. Shaw, to be precise. St. Louis's neighborhoods are distinct entities with well-defined borders, which is pretty cool. However, I'm not from St. Louis, I was raised in rural West Virginia. Yes, rural West Virginia. I say this because I've found that most of the people I know who live in St. Louis proper are also not from St. Louis, or even the St. Louis area. Like me, they were raised in rural America.

Over the past seven years I've lived here, I've learned that there's some sort of stigma felt by native "St. Louisans" against living in the actual city. It totally caught me by suprise when I first moved here, because I had no idea that when you live in the city, you're not actually supposed to live in the city. Nobody told me.

My neighbors are from places like northern Mississippi, southwest Missouri, northern Pennsylvania, northern Utah, etc. Rural places. I guess nobody told them either. It's an interesting phenomena. As it turns out, the most fervent proponents of City Living in St. Louis that I know of were raised in rural environments (not suburbs). It seems to me that most "St. Louisans" take pride in saying they're from St. Louis, but only about 1% of the people I work with actually live in the city. About 1 in 100. Most people live about 30 minutes from Downtown, or more. Why would you want to live so far from where you work?

The City of St. Louis is a great place to live. It has some of the most unique and beautiful buildings - both commercial and residential - in all of America. The natives generally don't appreciate that. These houses are relatively inexpensive, to boot. Why someone would want to live out in the 'burbs, in a house with hollow doors, vinyl siding, and that cheap 1" wide painted wood trim, when they could be living in a solid brick house with solid core doors, stained glass, hardwood floors, and real oak and pine wood trim, for the same price or less, and be much closer to work, is totally beyond me.

Living in St. Louis has made me firmly believe that supporting the city, any city, is a great way to preserve the environment. Urban sprawl is a sickening waste of green space. Sure, everyone wants to live in their own private Idaho. They stretch infrastructure out into the prairie, or the [insert sensitive ecosystem here], and then complain about the cost of gas, and traffic, and taxes. Man, get a clue. If more people had the notion to make America's urban areas strong, safe, and vibrant places to live, imagine the money - and scenery - we could save.

I'm not saying every city should be like Tokyo. There's definately a point where you can have overcrowding. However, the endless fields of McMansions sprouting up across the plains and valleys is just atrocious.

This coming from a person who loves and respects the American landscape too much to block the view with cheap vinyl siding, and stacks of gables.

Another thing about urban sprawl that irritates the shit out of me is how people who live in suburbs like to consider themselves simple country folk. Ok, just because you own a pickup truck, and you actually do live in the country, does not make you simple country folk. Dude, we all know that truck has never seen more than an inch of mud, and the number of times you actually used it to haul something definately does not justify the cost of owning it. I know you want to be a simple, manly man, in an ever-increasingly complex world, but get real. Owning a pickup truck doesn't make you a man. Independent thought, integrity, and wisdom are what make you a man.

Sorry this turned into a rant about suburbanism, but it did, and I'm not taking it back.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Republicans vs. Democrats

How is it that the U.S. is split perfectly in two by the two reigning political parties? How can it be that voters vote almost exactly 50% vs 50% each presidential vote? It seems preposterous to me that a country of 300 million people would somehow find themselves split directly in twain, opposing each other.

In following with the populus, the rest of our government is likewise split. The Senate, the House of Representatives, the Judiciary. Every branch is split nearly in half, except for the Executive, which can only be controlled by one party.

The only explanation I can speculate is that the tweaking of each party to suit voters' preferences, as well as the time-honored tradition of gerrymandering, over time, has gradually developed this impenetrable parity. I believe a balance this perfect can only serve to perpetuate the two parties currently in power, which is exactly what I do not want.

I would love to see a new party rise to power in America that is based on rationalism and social responsibility. However, I'm afraid that will not happen, because with two parties so perfectly opposed, a voter is always obliged to vote for the lesser of two evils, else deal with the anxiety of feeling the vote was wasted.

How does a third party become a viable alternative? I'm really asking, because I know very little about political theory, which is probably already evident to anyone who does know.

1) There must be a secession of powerful politicians from the two encumbant parties to draw voters to it. Of course they must be motivated to secede, and there must be an entity, or idea, responsible for uniting them.

2) There must an extremely strong grass-roots movement to mobilize unprecedented numbers of voters in favor of the new party. This seems practically impossible.

3) One of the two major parties must become so crippled by dissention among its voters, that it either redefines itself, or is overtaken by a third party.

I just don't understand how I, as a voter, can only have the choice of voting for the bible-thumping Republican party, with its fear mongering, and its disgusting corporate handouts, or the fumbling Democratic party, with its uninspired, syrupy, legislative ineptitude.

No matter who the candidate is, they all become the same person the further up the ladder they go. They're forced to by their obligations to the party. It's a fact of life. We need more idealistic rationalists in government. Seems like the only kind of people in Washington D.C. are extremists. How about some extreme rationalism?