Saturday, December 30, 2006

The End of Saddam

The pseudo Iraqi government finally did what it’s been threatening to do, it executed Saddam Hussein along with two of his cronies.

If anyone ever deserved having his neck stretched, Saddam was the guy. Although I don’t see this solving anything, at least we can be pretty sure the guy wasn’t innocent.

I don't know what else to say really.

Saints at Giants

Good grief! What a miserable season. Tiki’s last game turned into a total bust. I think only the water boy didn’t drop a pass. I mean that was truly pathetic.

Things started out ok with Tiki Barber being the only Giant player introduced on what was his final game at Giants Stadium. Then the Giants scored first on a 50 yard pass play. Things went downhill rapidly after that.

The early chants of “Tiki Barber, Tiki Barber” deteriorated first into “Fire Coughlin, Fire Coughlin” and then hit rock bottom with “Let’s Go Yankees!” The final chant being the fans putting the team on notice that not only had they given up on the season, they had ceased to care.

Oh well, there’s always next year. Final score Saints 30 and Giants 7.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Merry Christmas 2006

Well it’s that time of year again. I don’t send Christmas cards, and haven’t for many years, but I send out a few holiday greeting e-mails to old friends I don’t have much contact with any more and put holiday greeting posts on a few forums. For my current acquaintances I prefer to provide greetings in person.

I see the usual assortment of “Keep Christ in Christmas” signs up and wonder whether or not these folks understand that virtually everything that we’ve come to associate with Christmas is really pagan in origin. Hey, as a matter of fact it was originally the old Roman pagan holiday of Saturnalia that was adopted by the church and not really tamed until the 17th or 18th century.

That being the case, it’s not so much a matter of keeping Christ in Christmas as it is a matter of a sort of hostile takeover along with the enforcement of puritan Christian morality. Luckily most folks haven’t lost their appetite for a good time and pretty much ignore the whole idea.

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or whatever makes you happy.

Eagles and Giants

SOB! Boy, this has been a terribly depressing season. We got whomped again, this time by the Eagles and two touchdowns in the last 4 minutes, 36-22. I hate to complain, but with two critical interceptions, including the crusher at the end of the game, Eli is not helping any.

I see in the N.Y. Post that a son of Wellington Mara decked an Eagles fan on Wall Street after being heckled over the loss. Assuming the Post story is accurate, because with the Post you never know, I'll bet that felt good. I had this female Eagles fan yelling in my ear last Sunday. If it had been a guy I guarantee you he would have had his teeth rearranged on the back of one of the seats. Unfortunately females have an immunity from that kind of stuff.

Oh well, the last game is Sunday against New Orleans. I'll probably go to say farewell to Tiki. To add insult to injury, I didn't realize the bill for the "just in case" play-off tickets was due a week ago. Not that I expect to miss any games by sending it in late, but I hope it doesn't jeopardize my regular season tickets. At least I think I hope it doesn't jeopardize them.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Civil Unions and Stem Cell Research in New Jersey

As expected the New Jersey state legislature passed a bill on Thursday approving Civil Unions for gay couples four months ahead of the deadline issued by the New Jersey Supreme Court. The bill will extend all of the legal benefits of marriage to gay couples. Governor Corzine is expected to sign the bill after what he called a study to insure that “we’re getting what we intended to get.”

The only thing withheld by the bill is the word marriage itself, but the battle isn’t over. The measure passed easily, 56-19 in the Assembly and 23-12 in the Senate, and both legislators and the Governor indicated that periodic reviews of the language left the door open for ultimately exchanging the term “Civil Union” for marriage.

Well it’s certainly a step in the right direction and with a friendly populace, a friendly legislature and a friendly governor, New Jersey will most likely remain a place where gays can push their agenda with a fair likelihood of success. New Jersey could easily become the first state to legalize gay marriage through the legislature as the Zeitgeist moves onward.

The same legislature approved $270 million in appropriations for stem cell research at Rutgers University over the objections of religious and antiabortion groups. At least some parts of the country are trying to move into the 21st century despite the medieval attitude in Washington.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Giants at Panthers

Hey, we won one! Actually I thought they were going to blow it again. There is something fundamentally wrong with this team’s “we have the lead so let’s just hold ‘em” defense.

Actually that’s probably not true. I played defense myself and by the end of the game you’re beat especially when there’s a lack of substitutes. Defense takes more out of you than offense. On offense you know what to expect on each play. On defense you never know what’s coming. I was a cornerback and about the last thing I wanted to see in the 4th quarter was a fresh set of legs coming in at wide receiver. Anyway, the final score was 27-13.

With Dallas getting mauled by New Orleans and Philadelphia beating Washington, things are suddenly up in the air again. This Sunday’s game between the Giants and Eagles, currently the #5 and #6 seeds, should have a major impact on the Wild Card race in the NFC or even possibly the NFC East title because Dallas goes to Atlanta, which is currently the #7 seed.

Elsewhere, one has to wonder how Indianapolis can get blasted by Jacksonville 44-17 and New England could get blanked by Miami 21-0. I guess anyone can have a bad day, but it really makes you wonder.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

HBO’s Rome, Second Season

The second, and rumored last, season of HBO’s Rome begins on January 14th 2007. WOOHOO!!! I’ve been trying to put bits and pieces together from the clips on the HBO web site, but there isn’t a lot of information.

Octavian does get adopted by Caesar in his will and Pullo puts it straight up, saying “you’ll be wanting revenge then” and volunteering his services. Looks like Vorenus decides to take over the Aventine, but exactly why is unclear. Cleopatra shows back up and it appears like they’re going to skip the whole Antony marries Octavia bit and go right for the Antony and Cleopatra angle. Either way, Atia’s reaction should be a joy to behold.

I did see a file clip related to Phillippi so we get to at least 42 BCE. The affair between Antony and Cleopatra starts around 38 BCE but you can’t tell from the clips what will come first in the show. Let’s keep in mind that the little gold digger Cleopatra has what she can claim is Caesar’s son, Caesarion. The battle of Actium, which would sort of signal the end of the series, occurs in 31 BC.

The first season started around 50 BCE. A number of events including the death of Caesar’s daughter Julia, the battle of Alesia, the surrender of Vercingetorix and crossing of the Rubicon are sort of smudged together in the first two episodes although they took place over a period of five to six years. Caesar crossed the Rubicon (iacta alea est) in January of 49 BCE and was assassinated in 44 BCE so the first season covered something like six or seven years and included events stretched out over ten years. That means taking the second season all the way to the battle of Actium wouldn’t be out of the question. Since this is supposed to be the last season it would make some sense to take it to a convenient conclusion and Actium, plus the aftermath in Egypt with the asp and all that, would be a logical place to end it.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Healthiest State?

Minnesota is the healthiest state according to the United Health Federation which bases its ranking on a series of factors including prevalence of obesity, prevalence of smoking, motor vehicle deaths, violent crime and infectious disease rate.

At the bottom of the list was Louisiana which slipped into last place probably due to the aftermath of Katrina. Last years #50, Mississippi, managed to claw its way up to 49.

Right behind Minnesota were Vermont, New Hampshire, Hawaii and Connecticut. In general the Northeastern and Northern Midwestern states ranked the best. Just ahead of Mississippi were South Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas. The South did just horrible. The ten worst states were all from the South.

New Jersey ranked 14th overall and 1st in the High School Graduation category but 49th in Adequacy of Pre-natal care and 45th in incidence of Infectious Disease. Indiana was 33rd overall. Its highest ranking was 17th in Motor Vehicle Deaths and incidence of Infectious Disease. It was 49th in Prevalence of Smoking, 47th in Cancer Deaths and 45th in Poor Mental Health Days.

Giants and Cowboys

Good game, a lousy ending, but a good game. I guess I need to go locate my “Wait until next year” button. Unfortunately I have a feeling it’s going to take more than a year to put together another winning team.

I hope Coughlin has his resume updated, because I think he’s history after this year. There were far too many questionable decisions on his part. Final score, Cowboys 23 and Giants 20.

I've still got two more home games. Wonder if anyone would buy the tickets? Nah, I'm going.