Friday, December 26, 2014

Who Do You Trust?

Just an interesting little nugget from Gallup:

Obviously, I have extremely high regard for nurses and find their placement at the top of the list to be perfectly justifiable.  :)

I also think it's quite telling how Congress dropped below car salespeople.  It does make me question the 7% of people who think Congress' ethical standards are "high or very high," though.  Seriously?  What rock have you been under for the past few years?


Ignorance is dangerous, and these people are leading the pack.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Luke 1:26-38
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town in Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin who was to be married to a man named Joseph, of the family of David; and the name of the virgin was Mary.

And the angel came in to her and said, "Peace be with you, to whom special grace has been given; the Lord is with you."

But she was greatly troubled at his words, and said to herself, "What may be the purpose of these words?"

The angel said to her, "Have no fear, Mary, for you have God's approval. And see, you will give birth to a son, and his name will be Jesus. He will be great, and will be named the Son of the Most High: and the Lord God will give him the kingdom of David, his father:

He will have rule over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."

Mary said to the angel, "How may this be, because I have had no knowledge of a man?"

The angel in answer said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will come to rest on you, and so that which will come to birth will be named holy, Son of God. Even now Elisabeth, who is of your family, is to be a mother, though she is old: and this is the sixth month with her who was without children. For there is nothing which God is not able to do."

Mary said: "I am the servant of the Lord; may it be to me as you say." And the angel went away.

Luke 2:1-20

Now it came about in those days that an order went out from Caesar Augustus that there was to be a numbering of all the world. This was the first numbering, which was made when Quirinius was ruler of Syria. And all men went to be numbered, everyone to his town.

Joseph went up from Galilee, out of the town of Nazareth, into Judaea, to Bethlehem, the town of David, because he was of the house and family of David, to be put on the list with Mary, his future wife, who was about to become a mother. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She had her first son; and folding him in linen, she put him to rest in the place where the cattle had their food, because there was no room for them in the house.

And in the same country there were keepers of sheep in the fields, watching over their flock by night. An angel of the Lord came to them, and the glory of the Lord was shining round about them: and fear came on them.

The angel said, "Have no fear; for truly, I give you good news of great joy which will be for all the people: For on this day, in the town of David, a Saviour has come to birth, who is Christ the Lord. This is the sign to you: you will see a young child folded in linen, in the place where the cattle have their food."

And suddenly there was with the angel a great band of spirits from heaven, giving praise to God, and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on the earth peace among men with whom he is well pleased."

When the angels had gone away from them into Heaven, the keepers of the sheep said to one another, "Let us go now to Bethlehem, and see this thing which has come about, which the Lord has made clear to us."

They came quickly, and saw Mary and Joseph, and the child in the place where the cattle had their food. And when they saw it, they gave them an account of the things which had been said to them about the child. All those to whose ears it came were full of wonder at the things said by the keepers of the sheep.

But Mary kept all these words in her heart, and gave much thought to them. Then the keepers of the sheep went back, giving glory and praise to God for all the things which had come to their ears and which they had seen, as it had been said to them.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

You Know It's Bad When Even Hollywood Calls It A Cave

It could be that this reaction is due primarily to the chicken coming directly home to roost, but still...obvious and shameful is obvious and shameful:

No doubt people have heard of major movie theaters nationwide canceling their screening of an edgy Seth Rogan and James Franco flick called The Interview, which pillories North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un.
Deadline Hollywood reported on the cancellations:
Ultimately, The Interview didn’t go well, and Sony’s controversial film appears dead. Regal and Cinemark said today that they will not screen the Seth Rogen-directed comedy, and other major exhibition chains including AMC and Cineplex are expected to follow suit.
And they did. This follows a vague threat of ‘9-11 style’ attacks on movie theaters (that doesn’t make much sense, but I digress) and President Obama even telling people to “go to the movies.”
One Hollywood actor who isn’t shy about speaking his mind is Rob Lowe, who posted the following viral comment on Twitter:
rob lowe

Needless to say, the director Judd Apatow was furious with the decision:
Then the director put it in perspective how ludicrous it is:
Apatow followed up with:
But then he consoled audiences:
Some notable people were appalled by the knee-jerk decision:
The rest of the Twittersphere weighed in:
On the one hand, I'd just like to point out that these are the same people doing and saying stupid things like American soldiers are evil/horrible creatures guilty of the worst atrocities in the known world.  These are also the same people who like to defend ISIS and other terrorist nations, uttering the non-sensical claims that if we would just listen and talk to them, they wouldn't want to kill us so much.  Isn't it amazing, then, that when the same political realities that give them a virtually automatic microphone and built-in audience to speak their own banal thoughts to the masses as informed experts suddenly turn around and harm "their work" they suddenly find something objectionable about caving to politically correct whims?

Just thought that was worth pointing out.  In this case, I happen to agree with most of the thoughts above - this was a terrible, terrible precedent to set, and absolutely the wrong move.  Time will tell if other situations turn out differently, or if this will morph into a new form of negotiating with terrorists and/or terrorist sponsoring nations.  I suspect Apatow is probably correct that more people will ultimately see the film now, but has the damage already been done?

I sincerely hope not.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

This Is Why They Play The Game, Part 2

With everything at stake today, it seemed likely that at least one big upset was going to happen, maybe more.


Not a single one.  The scores, at least at the moment:

#1 Alabama 42, #16 Missouri 16 (final)
#2 Oregon 51, #7 Arizona 13 (final)
#3 TCU 55, Iowa State 3 (final)
#4 FSU 37, #11 Georgia Tech 35
#5 OSU 52, #13 Wisc 0
#6 Baylor 38, #9 KSU 27 (final)

Not a single upset.  *sigh*

So, for K-State, it's a 9-3 finish to the year, and the promise of an above average bowl game.  It works, though I would say the theme of this year is missed opportunities.  They spotted Auburn 19 points and lost a marquee game that they really should have won.  Against TCU and Baylor, they just came up short when it counted.  Too many penalties, too many mistakes.  They didn't deserve either of those wins, unfortunately.  Brace yourself for another building year after losing Waters, Lockett, and a lot of other solid players.

Now, here's the silver lining.  As mentioned in the previous post, the TCU/Baylor mess is going to cause a whole lot of fury either way.  This sort of scenario is just about the most explosive scenario for the inaugural playoff system short of not having an SEC team in the mix at all (alas, Mizzou, I was genuinely rooting for you tonight...!).  The other factor here is Ohio State's obliteration of a very good Wisconsin team using their third string QB.  The talking heads are already talking about OSU jumping over both of the teams from the Big 12.  There are good arguments all around, not only endorsing one's own team, but also in gashing holes in the arguments of the others in the mix.  I don't envy the playoff committee - no matter what they decide, they're going to royally anger a lot of people who will be very right to be angry.

Regardless, hopefully all the gnashing of teeth will mean an immediate expansion to eight teams next year, and a clause that only league champions will be considered for automatic berths out of the Power 5 conferences (the others would be at large spots for the next three best teams regardless of conference).  Give me those changes for next year, and I think we're really talking some good stuff.

We'll see...

This Is Why They Play The Games

Part of why I love college football is that there is so much uncertainty.  This is really aggravating on those years when you're in the driver's seat, of course, but when you're on the outside looking in, well, it's hope that makes Saturdays so exciting.  In that spirit, here's the deal with the Big 12 today...
Baylor has been hoping its head-to-head edge over TCU would ultimately be the calling card that would catapult it over the Horned Frogs into the playoff.

The Bears still have reason believe they can make the playoff.

But it might not be the head-to-head advantage over TCU that gets them there.

Tuesday night, the College Football Playoff selection committee released perhaps it most controversial set of rankings yet.

In a stunner, the committee bumped TCU head of undefeated and defending national champ Florida State into the No. 3 slot. Baylor, meanwhile, was left on the outside looking in all the way back at No. 6.

The committee has noted it would only implement a head-to-head tiebreaker if two teams were close. At the moment, the committee doesn't see TCU and Baylor as being close, underscored by the three-spot gap. Committee chairman Jeff Long wasn't shy in saying the committee believes TCU is "better" than Baylor, either, even though the Bears beat TCU 61-58 in Waco on Oct. 11.

"It's a number of things we look at, and we believe TCU is better and deserving of that No. 3 rank over Baylor," Long said in a conference call with reporters Tuesday night. "We've certainly analyzed statistical data. We've compared those. We've contrasted them. We've looked at the facts, the quality of the wins. As we pointed out before, TCU has five wins over teams with winning records of .500 records and above, and Baylor has three, if you include Texas at 6 6. Those are factors we've taken -- certainly our coaches and others in the room look at the way the game is played, evaluate the games, evaluate the competition. Again, that's what this committee, human committee does. It evaluates the teams on their play in the game. That's one of the things we use to discern between teams."

Baylor has the opportunity to deliver a statement win to the committee this weekend against No. 9 Kansas State. Should Baylor blast the Wildcats, Florida State handle Georgia Tech and Wisconsin knock off Ohio State, it's possible the committee winds up with the Seminoles third, then TCU and Baylor vying for the fourth spot. In that scenario, perhaps the committee gives Baylor the edge, because of head-to-head.

But as of now, it's difficult to fathom that one game will narrow the gap enough for Baylor to pass TCU. Long, in fact, reiterated Tuesday that the committee would view the Bears and Horned Frogs both as equal champions of the Big 12, since the Big 12 recognizes co-champions.

"We will not determine a champion for the Big 12," Long said. "We will take the information that the Big 12 provides us."

For all of those reasons, the ESPN-affiliated statistical Web site gives TCU a 96.3 percent chance of making the playoff heading into the final week -- the highest rate of any team. As long as the Horned Frogs avoid pulling a Kansas and allow Iowa State to hang around into the fourth quarter, they will be difficult to drop out of the top four.

Which is why TCU is sitting pretty. While the Bears might need help elsewhere.

Though maybe not much.

Baylor simply may need Georgia Tech to just beat Florida State. That would put the fourth spot back up for grabs, between, assuming they both won this weekend, Baylor and Ohio State.

The committee sees otherwise, but the justification for ranking the Buckeyes over Baylor is difficult to understand. The Bears have the better wins (TCU and OU vs. Michigan State and Minnesota), the better losses (West Virginia vs. Virginia Tech) and play in the tougher conference, at least according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The committee is also charged with picking the four "best" teams, not necessarily the four most deserving. How the committee could view Ohio State with its third-string quarterback as being better than Baylor with Bryce Petty seems incomprehensible.

So if Baylor takes care of business this weekend and Florida State's luck runs out, the Bears could join TCU in the final four.

One final aside: the scenario nobody seems to be talking about involves Kansas State. The Wildcats quietly moved up three spots to No. 9 this week, and can't be completely discarded from the playoff picture. Should K-State roll past Baylor, Wisconsin beat Ohio State and Georgia Tech finally take out the Seminoles, the Wildcats could conceivably slip into the fourth spot.

Heading into the final week of the season, playoff drama is cresting, nowhere more so than in Big 12 country.

After Tuesday, the Horned Frogs are feeling good.

The Bears are feeling nervous.

And the Wildcats are feeling anything is possible.

Who will be in?

Only four days to find out.
Worst case scenario, KSU ends up with another good bowl game -- Cotton or Alamo, perhaps? --  and another great year.  Best case scenario, a share of the Big 12 Championship and an even better bowl game.  Unrealistically optimistic scenario, the Cats obliterate a distracted and nervous Baylor, mayhem ensues throughout the day in the top 10, and the Cats slide into the #4 slot in the first playoff.  Isn't it fun??

Yes, siree, that's why they play the games.