Friday, March 31, 2006

Duke Lacrosse

As most of you probably know the Duke lacrosse team has suspended play for the rest of its season following allegations that a dancer at a team party was beaten, choked, and raped.

I have had several conversations regarding this situation at Duke and have encountered a few different opinions. At least two people (ironically women) have remarked that the lesson of this is not to become a professional dancer. They argue that these women unnecessarily put themselves in danger by engaging in a less than safe profession where they tempt testosterone filled groups of excited males. In their opinion, a result like what happened at Duke is not surprising and perhaps even expected. The women got what they were asking for, so to speak.

I see the point, to a degree, but tend not to agree. I assert that the culpability lies squarely on the shoulders of the offending males. The relationship between dancer and client is clearly understood, and there are certain boundaries (such as physical contact) which are in place to protect the woman. Consequently, when a man, or group of men as the case may be, breeches the contract, no matter how tempted and excited, they are clearly the guilty party.

In any case, hopefully this sad drama in Durham can be wrapped up quickly, and without further racial strife, so that the school can get back to its normal pattern of educating bright students.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Workoholics Anonymous

Instead of AA, this is WA, and the focus is to get compulsive workers to chill out and take it easy. Apparently working long hours is now some kind of disease which requires a 12 step process to cure. In the 1800s, immigrants who worked incessantly were rewarded for their tireless work effort by moving up the socio-economic latter. Now, when people work incredibly hard, they are babied by support groups.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Can a Fat Person Be Pretty?

That is, are being fat and being physically attractive mutually exclusive? This is a question which I have been considering for a little while, and I am genuinely interested in whether an overweight individual can be aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

I assert that beauty begins in one's face. Whenever I look at an individual, I first notice their face, and use this as the first determinant of beauty. Closely following is the body type, shape, proportions, etc. So, using this methodology, it is conceivable that a fat person could have a pretty face...I think. But, perhaps their fatness would extend to their face, and that makes me wonder, can a fat face be pretty? I doubt it. But, assuming that the fatness does not extend to the face, then it is possible that a fat person could have a pretty face - nice eyes, lovely hair, etc. But, could the attractiveness of the face make up for the unattractiveness of the fat body? That is the main question that remains, and one I feel unable to answer.

I have tried very hard to think of fat people who are physically attractive, and have not yet been able to identify one. This leads me to conclude that fatness and physical beauty are not necessarily mutually exclusive; however, a pretty fat person certainly must be a rarity.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Guy Spends Spring Break in Wal-Mart

The title is slightly misleading. Skyler Bartels really only spent 41 hours of his break in a Wal-Mart in Des-Moines, Iowa. I don't get what his deal prove you can live in a Wal-Mart. Its long been known that Wal-Marts sell everything that one needs to stay alive, and even more...but I guess this guy wanted to prove it. This behavior strikes me as something similar to what Morgan Spurlock did with Super Size Me. Obviously eating massive amounts of McDonalds is unhealthy, and equally obviously, people could live their whole lives in a Wal-Mart. I wish people would stop wasting their time doing ridiculous stunts that prove absolutely nothing.

UPDATE - Below is an excerpt from the Des Moines Register:

After Marc Hansen's Des Moines Register column turned up on the Drudge Report Web site Monday, Bartels was flooded with e-mail and phone calls. Some of the correspondence included requests for national media appearances and interviews.

First to get in touch was a representative from "The Late Show with David Letterman." If all went well in a half-hour phone interview Monday afternoon, Bartels was told, they'd fly him in this week to do the show.

Also trying to reach Bartels were producers from "Good Morning America," "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" on MSNBC, National Public Radio and a radio station in Ireland.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

From WSJ's Daily Fix

Below is an excerpt from the Daily Fix, WSJ's daily sports column. The commentary on Nova guard Allan Ray's eye injury is at some points uncomfortable and at other points enjoy. Also, this may be my last post for awhile. I am driving down to south Georgia tomorrow afternoon and will be there for a week and a half. I hope everyone enjoys March Madness, and whatever political controversies may come up while I am gone. And, if the notion strikes you, reread my last post - Will Percy's Mint Julep instructions, gather the necessary ingredients, and imbibe in that delicious concoction.

On Friday night Villanova's Allan Ray suffered a pretty terrifying injury: He got hit in the eye by Pittsburgh's Carl Krauser as the two scrambled for a loose ball, with Mr. Ray's eyeball winding up…well, the worry was that it had been dislodged.

Thankfully, Mr. Ray should be OK. In fact, he's been cleared to practice. (Though he should be forgiven if he'd prefer to spend the rest of his life hiding under a bed.) But his ordeal leads to a basic question, put rather bluntly by Slate's Daniel Engber: "My eyeball just fell out of its socket. What should I do?"

The Fix's reaction would be to immediately try to die, but failing that…well, if you're still around, here goes: "The treatment for globe luxation is pretty simple: Doctors apply some topical painkillers, hold back your lashes, and poke your eyeball into its socket by pressing on the white part with gloved fingers. (In some cases, they'll use a simple tool like a bent paperclip to shoehorn it back into place.)"

If you finished that quote without squealing in terror and drumming your heels on the floor, well, you are made of much tougher stuff than the Fix is.

- One more thing - The odds of Oral Roberts beating Memphis on Friday are 5 sextillion to 1. Gene Wojciechowski from ESPN shares some other incredibls odds.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Mint Julep

William Alexander Percy gives this delicious description of how to make a Mint Julep, in his novel "Lanterns on the Levy." As March is passing us by, and Springtime appears to be nearly here, I found it appropriate to post this excerpt.

First, you needed excellent bourbon whiskey; rye or Scotch would not do at all. Then you put half an inch sugar in the bottom of the glass and merely dampened it with water. Next, very quickly-and here was the trick in the procedure-you crushed your ice, actually powdered it, preferably in a towel with a wooden mallet, so quickly that it remained dry, and, slipping two sprigs of fresh mint against the inside of the glass, you crammed the ice in right to the brim, packing it with your hand. Last, you filled the glass, which apparently had not room for anything else, with bourbon, the older the better, and grated a bit of nutmeg on the top. The glass immediately frosted and you settled back in your chair for half an hour of sedate cumulative bliss.

I have a rather large paper to write on this book, and after I complete it, I will be in the mood for perhaps several hours of "sedate cumulative bliss."

Friday, March 10, 2006

From the WSJ...

"The Simpsons" has introduced viewers young and old to political corruption, religious controversy and same-sex marriage debates. But it's safe to say that the Bill of Rights has had a greater impact on our history, if only because of its two-century head start. So it was troubling to learn last week of a survey that found 22% of Americans could name all five members of the Simpsons family, but just 0.1% were able to name all five freedoms granted under the First Amendment.

I'll be honest, I can name all the Simpsons and only could remember four of the five Amendments. If this were Sports Illustrated instead of the Wall Street Journal, the above stat would be placed under Signs of The Apocalypse.


And that means its time for some serious basketball. After a disapointing regular season, Kentucky is looking to set things right in the post-season. That began yesterday with a 71-57 victory over Ole Miss. In yesterday's New York Times, there was an article about Tubby Smith and the extraordinarily high expectations which come along with coaching at the University of Kentucky. Excerpt from the article, entitled, "For Kentucky's Smith, Good Just Isn't Good Enough" are below, as the NYT is a subscription site.

NASHVILLE, March 8 — Tubby Smith has been poked and ridiculed for the Kentucky men's basketball team's un-Kentucky-like performances this season. He has been called a subpar recruiter, and there have been suggestions throughout his state that he should start packing for a big payday as a head coach in the N.B.A.

But Smith, 54, has compiled a 238-69 record while winning a national championship and five Southeastern Conference titles as Kentucky's coach. His winning percentage in nine seasons (.775) is higher than the storied program's overall winning percentage (.766).

N.C.A.A. tournament bid, gauging the popularity of Smith among Kentucky's fans and fanatics can be difficult. A team with one of the most passionate fan bases in the country, Kentucky may be at a crossroads with Smith, the coach who brought a national title to Lexington in his first season, 1997-98. Smith has never received universal support among Kentucky's fans, despite his success. Many fans never reconciled the departure of Rick Pitino in 1997 and the notion that Smith, a disciple of Pitino's, would lead a program befitting a star.

Now the Wildcats (19-11) are playing in the opening round of the SEC tournament for the first time since 1979; they finished the regular season 9-7 and did not earn a first-round bye.

Kentucky is expected to make the N.C.A.A. tournament when the pairings are announced Sunday, but the fact that the Wildcats do not have a solid foothold in the field has prompted a storm of criticism of Smith on talk radio, blogs and chat rooms.

"None on me," Smith said when asked if the criticism had a wearing affect. "I have a lot of confidence in who I am and what I'm about."

UPDATE - Down 11 points with 6:15 to go in the game, Kentucky stage an incredible rally, going on a 21-3 run to end the game. Final score, UK 68 Alabama 61. The Cats face the Gamecocks of South Carolina at 1 eastern tomorrow.