Thursday, May 29, 2003

Between school and illness and network going down at work :), there's been no blogging for a while. We'll resume with a little "light fare", the ESPN.com: NFL - Offseason Overview: New England Patriots

Friday, May 23, 2003

Spinsanity - Dowd spawns Bush media myth Please read and be on the lookout for this misrepresentation!

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

"Mike Tranghese isn't the kind of guy who beats around the bush. He usually says what's on his mind and then lets the chips fall where they may." So starts todays piece by Kevin McNamara in today's ProJo concerning the Big East/ACC flap. It looks like Tranghese puts the blame squarley on the shoulders of the ACC presidents and isn't too pleased with what he views as their unethical behavior in poaching schools from another conference. As has been stated, no matter if the Big East staves off the raid or not, Providence College had better get used to the idea of playing in a mid-major conference for men's basketball. The days of the Friars in the Big East as we know it are over. They don't have enough money, simple as that.

Monday, May 19, 2003

Things aren't looking very good for Providence College's chances of staying in the Big East. Once again, Kevin McNamara is all over the story. Looks like it's almost inevitable that the 5 Catholic Big East schools will have to be spun off because they don't play, or at least try to play, big time football. McNamara has a couple interesting options. When on the ProJo site that I linked to, look to the right for a list of more stories concerning this fiasco.

Friday, May 16, 2003

Motor mouth Dick Vitale has a take on the ACC/Big East mess, too. And he's right on. Best part:

"School presidents talk so often about academic integrity, graduating athletes, etc. I don't want to hear about it -- it's all about the cash, baby! It's all about the dollars, not the kids.

Sadly, it looks obvious to me: Use the kids, spit them out and make as much money as you can. I get fed up when I hear about it. There are seminars, committees are formed, school presidents talk about graduating players.

If schools want to graduate players, then give student-athletes five years to graduate with four years of eligibility and make freshmen ineligible. Let kids get acclimated to college life. Oh well, that won't happen either. It makes sense, but it won't happen in this day and age.

It breaks my heart to hear about situations like this. I have a passion and love for young people and sports. I enjoy dealing with the kids who compete and the coaches who work so hard.

What bothers me is the excess travel and the time involved when conferences use alignments that don't make sense. It isn't conducive to where the schools are located. Please, don't make these kids travel longer distances because conferences make absurd decisions like this!"

Right on Dickie V!

ESPN has a great breakdown on possible conference realignment scenarios that could result from the ACC/Big East mess.
Could it be true? Could Li'l Rhody actually be coming in line with the rest of the nation? Could separation of powers become a reality?
Kevin McNamara piece about the continuing ACC/Big East feud has an interesting angle. What will Notre Dame do? Regardless of what they do with their Independent Football program, which way they lean in a potential Big East split will be the deciding factor in the success of a possible "Catholic East" league made up of St. John's, Providence, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Villanova and other schools, such as Marquette or Xavier, that could be wooed into such a league. If Notre Dame doesn't go with the other Catholic Schools, and probably even if it does, the new "Catholic East" would be a conference on par with the Atlantic 10. Not major but probably the best of the so-called mid-major schools. Regardless, Providence College is a helpless bystander as it watches it's big time conference disintegrate around it. It was PC's Dave Gavitt who got the original Big East basketball conference going. It is former PC administrator Mike Tranghese, who vows a fight, is the current Big East commissioner. A big weekend in Florida lies ahead for the Big East conference. I predict it will not be intact for very long.
Nashville Matriarch June Carter Cash Dead at 73, which is surprising because I thought that Johnny was closer to death over the past few years. The Man in Black has lost his Muse.
Rock, Older Buyers Rule in Depressed Music Market, according to a headline. Does this mean that more singer-songwriter types will start getting radio airplay instead of the Hip-Hop/Pop Shmop Britney Aquilera Backstreet Sync stuff? Doesn't this fly in the face of all we're told about marketing in today's music industry? We can only hope.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Andrew Sullivans Daily Dish has this quote from Margaret Thatcher:

"There are too many people who imagine that there is something sophisticated about always believing the best of those who hate your country, and the worst of those who defend it."

Feel like taking a survey regarding web logs and their impact? Go here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Kevin McNamara of the ProJo weighs in on the effects of the ACC expansion on Providence College.
Big Time colleg sports talk today. The news that the ACC Votes in Favor of Expansion could have serious reperscussions throughout the college athletic world. The obvious bid by the ACC is to strengthen as a football conference by enticing the Univ. of Miami into the fold, they will also try to drag in two other teams, probably from the Big East, and probably Syracuse and either Boston College or Virginia Tech. That would put the ACC at 12 schools, allowing them to break the conference into two divisions, with each regular season winner meeting in an ACC Football Championship game. This would allow enable the ACC to continue to be a viable and important player in the NCAA's jury rigged Bowl Championship Series that is going to be revamped in a couple years. Bottom line, it's about the money.

So what does this mean for the other schools in the Big East? First, the other football schools, Pitt, Rutgers, UConn, Temple and one of either BC or VaTech (whichever doesn't get invited to the ACC) will have to seriously think about splitting off and forming a new conference, perhaps with the likes of Cincinatti, Lousville or some other Conference USA types of schools. This would be the only way they could maintain viability as a football conference. The possibility of a football Big East is there, but it would be more likely that the Big East as a conference would be essentially blown up.

For much of the Big East, this means that their basketball programs would be in jeopardy of dropping a tier. Specifically, the Catholic schools that don't have football (Providence, St. John's, Georgetown, Villanova) would be at a big disadvantage. You would see the Big East basketball conference attempting to entice schools from other conferences, most likely Atlantic 10 schools like Temple, Dayton or the like would seem logical. This would then send shockwaves through the college basketball world as larger conferences robbed slightly less prestigious ones of their better members. This all results in the rich getting richer and the little guys being put at even more of a disadvantage. Capitalism. I love it in the real world, but I'm not sure that it is necessarily a good thing in collegiate athletics.

This move could also prompt Notre Dame to merge with the Big Ten to ensure it has a seat at the table when the BCS comes up for review again. Or they could maintain their independence and continue their relationship with the remnants of the Big East basketball schools, most of whom would also be Catholic institutions. This last would allow the League to essentially operate on similar moral grounds, if you will. Perhaps even a school like Holy Cross would be enticed into the Big East given the Catholic angle. It's all very interesting for a sports nut and points to the ever growing aspects of big business type mentality that is taking over college sports, especially football and basketball. If anyone thinks these kids are amateurs in the truest sense of the word, this should be a wake up call. The disingenuous administrators of the NCAA and these big conferences long ago stopped placing their primary emphasis on the well being of the student athlete. It's all about the money.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

This is my new blogchalk:
United States, Rhode Island, Warwick, English, history, politics, sports. :)

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

A few days ago I posted a "find your faith test"...today it's the Dante's Inferno Test. My interest in things moral and medieval collide! My results below...

The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to Purgatory!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
LevelScore
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very High
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)High
Level 2 (Lustful)High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Very Low
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
Level 7 (Violent)Low
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Moderate
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Very Low

Take the Dante's Divine Comedy Inferno Test
All that I think about this overblown Bill Bennett affair is summed up by Jonah Goldberg' on National Review Online. The summary:

"Bennett is a big, sloppy Irish Catholic guy from Brooklyn who believes in old-fashioned morality and decency. He's not perfect, but he's been focusing our attention on the right things. When charged with hypocrisy, Max Scheler — the moral philosopher who dallied with the ladies — responded that the sign pointing to Boston doesn't have to go there. America is a better place because Bennett pointed in the right direction. Tearing him down is a sorry, pitiful, and deeply hypocritical way for supposed champions of privacy to tear down the man instead of his arguments. If you disagree, fine. Tell me where he was wrong. Don't tell me that the messenger is a sinner — we all knew that. Tell me what's wrong with the message. What passage in The Book of Virtues was invalidated when Bennett put the first $500 chip into the machine?"

Exactly. Never been a big fan of "gotcha" politics/journalism myself.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

The fact that France helped Iraqis escape may be enough to finally make a Franco-American renounce his heritage! Well, not quite...my theory on any of us who have European roots is that our ancestors were the independent and risk taking folks who weren't happy toiling away as their father's did and decided to get out and come to the land of opportunity. Also, our ancestors had to shake the religious and economic repression in Europe that had become the status quo at various times and felt that the place to do it was over here, in America, land of the free. That doesn't mean there aren't some fine individuals back in the various home countries, but I just think that a good percentage of the more adventuresome and rambunctious characters crossed the pond. That would also explain how we as American's are so very much "acta non verba" and why we get all of the supposedly negative stereotypical traits assigned to us by the European chattering class, even if we are sometimes arrogant, loud cowboys. When a country continually puts it on the line, like a great prize fighter, some cockiness is required, don't you think? It's important to point out that I think some admirable individuals didn't give up on their respective homelands, and their progeny continue to fight the good fight. (Andrew Sullivan is one and Tony Blair is another.) This all crossed my mind while chewing over how to reconcile being proud of my French ancestry and possibly even the latest Doonesbury strip this past Sunday's circular. I think Trudeau went too far with his last blurb, but I sympathize with his belief regarding the French reaction to the destruction of the WTC compared to a theoretical reaction by Americans should the Eiffel Tower suffer the same fate. But I digress, I guess it would be a good psychological study of the motivation and make-up of various migratory peoples and/or individuals throughout history. Sounds like a psychohistorical study to me. Wonder if anyone has done something on this? I'll have to look into this.

Monday, May 05, 2003

Life here at The Ocean State Blogger may slow down a bit as I prep for finals. Stay tuned though, I may pop in now and then.

Friday, May 02, 2003

This is a pretty scathing op-ed about the Derderians by James Medoff who is a labor economist at Harvard University. He couches it as a critique on SMALL businesses (as opposed to the much maligned BIG business). There are a few things I didn't know. A couple quotes pulled below:

"The neighbor suggested the Derderians go one step further and insulate the walls. At a company in Johnston, the Derderians bought $575 worth of black packing foam and tacked it up on the ceilings and walls. They didn't buy the fire-retardant kind of foam -- that would have cost another $500.

About eight months later, Jeffrey Derderian did one of those breathless TV investigations on a deadly product he and others have described as 'solid gas.'

He interviewed a Lowell man who had pulled a smoldering mattress to his back porch, only to see it flare up again, injuring eight family members and killing two others. The killer, Derderian told his audience, was what was inside the mattress: polyurethane foam. The same cheap black stuff he and his brother had put up all over The Station."

then he wraps it up with:

"The Station didn't worry about such details and neither did the regulators. These were good guys, local guys, small-business guys. And their employees seemed to be loyal to them right to the end.

Bartender Julie Mellini didn't just run out of the club after the fire started. She says she took time to find the cash drawer and the tips.

She met Jeffery Derderian in the parking lot. According to a chilling story by Journal Staff Writer Lynn Arditi, Derderian told Julie to go back and help people get out of the club.

Mellini says her boss grabbed the cash register drawer from her and ran behind the burning building.

That's a small-business man for you."

That's pretty tough. And pretty maddening.

Did a tweak of the left side links today...I'm trying to decide if I should get more focused with this blog or maintain my jump all over the board style. Yet, I think that the current method is easiest, as I can post anything I want, when I want. So I'll probably maintain the current format. But I reserve the right to change my mind.
Today is the opening night of X2, the X-Men movie sequel. The X-Men were my introduction to fantasy in the form of an old, worn stack of 60's comics from my older cousin. I thumbed through them endlessly as I followed the adventures of Cyclops, Jean Grey, The Beast, Iceman, and Angel, all under the watchful eye of Professor X. In the great Marvel tradition, Stan Lee had taken his "everyman" concept which he had developed for Spiderman and applied it to a "team" of young heroes. He used them as a metaphor for the race relation problems of the sixties. (Lee himself compared Professor X to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Magneto, the evil mutant, to Malcolm X.)

I caught up to the team again in the early 80's when I tired of reading the "old" adventures and sought out the contemporary version. Cyclops and Professor X were still around, but Jean Grey had become Phoenix and there were some cool new guys and gals called Nightcrawler, Storm and Colossus...oh, and this other guy, Wolverine, the meanest sumbitch I'd ever seen in a comic. The theme of benevolent outcasts continued, even including the entire team "dying" at one point so that they could more effectively protect mankind without all of the political problems and notoriety. Ocassionally, Beast or Angel or Iceman would turn up, and new characters were coming in and out all of the time, Rogue among them. By then, well... I was starting to grow up.

I stopped reading them shortly after they had all "died", mostly due to interest in other things, more "respectable" literature (like LOTR, for instance), sports, girls; but also because it started to get too confusing as the spin-off titles exploded into Uncanny X-Men, Adventures of the X-Men, X-Factor, ad naseum. My simple comic had become an industry. And it was getting expensive to spend $ on all of those comics and to try to entertaind the ladies!

Now we have these movies and the X-Men have been brought back to me. The essential theme is still there. The "universe" may have changed a bit, different eras have been mixed together, but the soul of the X-Men remains. The X-Men comic served to remind me that the ignorance of others was not an excuse to lash out at them or to be ignorant yourself. That to do the right thing for it's own sake without expecting any recognition was the right path. Sacrifice for those who misunderstand you was the ultimate act of nobility. The X-Men save mankind a million times and got nothing but grief and misunderstanding in return. To me, in a way, they could be a metaphor for our Armed Forces, who willingly put it on the line for all of us, even for those who may disagree with their mission.

The X-Men were, and are, great characters who are easy vessels of self projection for people young and old. They could be me and you, but they have something a little different that sets them apart. A little something strange that scares people who fear the unknown. Yet, most of the time they are normal like us. They simply want to be accepted for who they are. It may be a dream, but isn't that what we all want?

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Now this is a leader!

This is pretty cool. Take a quiz and see to what religion you REALLY should belong.
Excellent column by Bill Reynolds of the ProJo about the game that pro basketball has become. It's just not as intriguing anymore, and Reynolds, a former Brown player himself, nails it.
Channel 12 here in Providence has a Special Programming Announcement about an episode of CSI:Miami being cancelled because it deals with a night club fire started by pyrotechnics. Here's the complete release"

"The Monday, May 5, 2003 episode of CSI: Miami, scheduled to air at 10 p.m., will not be shown on WPRI-TV. The episode focuses on the crime scene investigation of a Miami nightclub fire caused by pyrotechnics. The episode contains some striking similarities to the tragic fire at the Station Nightclub on February 20, 2003. Out of respect for the victims, their families and the Rhode Island community, WPRI-TV will not air the episode.

In its place, WPRI-TV will air portions of the benefit concert, “A Night of Healing,” held on April 22, 2003 at the Providence Performing Arts Center. The concert, produced by Century Productions, Inc. of Warwick, raised money for the Station Nightclub Fire Relief Fund. In addition to highlights of the bands’ performances, donation information will be included for viewers who wish to contribute money to the Relief Fund. The commercial-free concert will air at 10 p.m., followed by the regularly scheduled Eyewitness News."

Is this justified or necessary? Is it too soon? I'm not sure... But then I remembered that one of the owners of the Station, Jeff Derderian, also was a reporter for Channel 12. This is starting to fail the smell test.
The Circus is in town! Tonight we go! And if there are any PETA types there...
Well, if this Boston Globe Online Warren report is right, the Patriots have drafted a high character guy. It's things like this that make it easy to cheer for this team.