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Monday, October 22, 2012

Avengers! Disassemble!

 I'm an Avengers fan.  And not just because of the movie, I've been an Avengers fan since I read my first Avengers comics back in the 1980's.  I'm an X-men fan too; but I'm far more an Avengers fan.  I even watched the sucky Iron Man and Avengers cartoons of the 90's, just because.

Recently Disney XD has announced it will replace the current Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes animated series with Avengers: Assemble.  Which means, of course, the current series will end.  And I'm bummed about it, because I'm really liking Avengers: EMH.

Look, I understand the Hollywood "need" to capitalize on a hit.  And I really liked The Avengers movie.  It's not very often I watch a 2+ hour movie, even one I like,  and it doesn't 'feel' like a 2+ hour movie.  But to think for one minute that those who were wowed by the Avengers movie, but didn't previously follow anything Avengers that wasn't on the big screen, are going to flock to this new series because it's "a show that more closely echoes the tone and the feel of the movie" (Marvel’s Jeph Loeb) is ridiculous.  It won't have the same actors voicing the characters and with it being animated and not (mostly) live action, like the movie is, a lot of casual viewers of the movie will be saying "no".

In the meantime, you have this great series going now.  The characters have bonded together through storylines involving classic villains like Ultron, Kang the Conqueror, the Skrulls, the Kree, A.I.M, Hydra, Dr. Doom, and yes, Loki.  It's introduced quintessential Avengers like Black Panther, Ms. Marvel, The Vision, and from day one has had The Wasp and Henry Pym (both Ant-man and his current Yellowjacket versions).  There was a recent episode with Power Man, Iron Fist, Wolverine, Spiderman, and War Machine.  There's back story enough from season one to bring in Black Widow and Mockingbird as well.  Heck, if they just bring in Henry "Beast" McCoy and this fanboy will positively (even more) giddy!

And in then end I don't think this:

Earth's Mightiest Heroes Cancelled Avengers Assemble 

Would draw any less off the movie than this:

Avengers Assemble Cartoon

I'm not saying I won't give the new series a chance.  I most definitely will.  It just seems a shame to end something that's good, just to start something that might be good.

I Dream of Jen Friel

 Please forgive for the shameless promotion linkages below.

Normally, I don't remember dreams.  Or I vaguely remember dreams and by the time I reach for pen and paper, or grope at the thought to fix it better in my mind, the dreams disappears like dew before the summer sun.

Perhaps it was because I had to get up earlier for a meeting at work.  My body often anticipates waking up when I have to rise earlier than usual.  But this morning I actually remembered most of my dream.

I'm not sure why I was in China.  But I was there, at a news conference.  And a Rasputin-like spokesperson introduced someone to proclaim that China was great to the world -- blogger and social media guru, Jen Friel.  She had on a fake smile and the far away look of your B-movie/TV show brain washing victim.  I turned to (blogger, former Apprentice contestant, and FoxNews contributer) Jenn Hoffman and said that Jen did not act or sound like herself.

 (How would I know?  I read her blog www.talknerdytomelover.com. That's not part of the dream. I follow both Jen and Jenn on Twitter).

Jenn agreed.  At which point I uttered: "We've got to save her."  And suddenly I was in the middle of an 80's sci-fi action movie montage of futuristic vehicles preparing for battle.  I can't specifically identify any of them other than Vipers from the original Battlestar Galactica.



I do know the land forces gave me a similar feeling to the old Megaforce movie from 1982.


 Also, there was a spaceship rising from the water

Then I woke up.



Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fabulous Furman Football Funk

Such a glorious, wonderful day.  That needs an edit:

Such glorious, wonderful weather.

Another home Furman home game, Homecoming in fact.  This time the Georgia Southern Eagles come to play.  (As an aside, for some reason Furman always picks a nationally ranked opponent to be its Homecoming game.  Nuts.)

The Eagles apparently watched the game last week, kicking the ball to Furman to start.  True to form, it was three and out for the Paladins.  Then an odd sequence occurred.

Georgia Southern runs a wingbone offense.  It's a heavy run offense, featuring the option, and run primarily by the service academies and Georgia Tech (who's coach came from Georgia Southern via Navy).  Last week, against Wofford, they did not throw a pass.  Against Furman, their first play was a pass, AND FURMAN SACKED THEM!!!!  They too went three and out.  Furman mounted a long drive and set up for a field goal, which promptly CLANGED OFF THE UPRIGHT!!!

(I may at that point have clanged my head off the seat back in front of me.  That remains...hazy.)

Insult to injury, the Eagles then drove down the field and successfully kicked a field goal.  For the remainder of the first quarter and most of the second, the two teams traded punts and field position.  and then the Paladins rose...

A Furman drive, pushing the ball down the field, then punching it in with 1:50 to go in the half.  Then the Eagles quickly moved down the field inside the Furman 20 yard line.  but with less than 40 seconds left: a Georgia Southern run...the ball punched free -- FUMBLE!...Furman recovers! and runs out the half!

I now interrupt this recount to present the reason my recollection may be a bit hazy.  In attendance at Paladin Stadium Saturday was my niece, Rose:

Ain't she cute.  Also, very wiggly.  So at halftime she and her Mimi left to see the Homecoming floats and the geese at the lake.  Just as well; I'm pretty sure Papa (also pictured) muttered some bad words under his breath in the second half.

The Eagles sucked the air out of the crowd by taking the opening kickoff and jamming it down Furman's throat for a touchdown.  Followed by a blocked extra point...A long kickoff return...a field goal to RETAKE THE LEAD!!!

A..a..and then reality set in.  Georgia Southern's next touchdown would be a one play 70+ yard pass.  They'd make the two point conversion.  And score another touchdown.  And then another (though missing the extra point this time).  Furman would mount one final drive for a TD, to cut the deficit to 13.  The onside kick would fail; a methodical Eagle drive would drain the clock.  Then would come the reason I hate Georgia Southern; I call it the jerk factor.

With the ball inside the Furman 5 and less than a minute left the Eagles could have kneeled on the ball and run out the clock.  Instead the punched it in for another score and WENT FOR TWO AGAIN!!!  Really?  Do your players get a bonus for winning by 21.

In the immortal words of the Cosby Kids: N.C. -- no class.

Also, I didn't hear exactly what it was, but at the beginning of the fourth quarter the stadium announcer said that there was a giveaway for the first 1000 fans to leave the stadium. 

The Furman crowd doesn't get fully into their seats until the second quarter.  And many leave at halftime, never to return.  There's a steady stream out from the mid-third quarter on, even in a good game or one Furman is winning!  Do we really need to encourage people to leave?

But I didn't get sunburned again, and Rose did give me this:

So all in all, Unca Greg is happy!
Also, that fingernail needs trimming.  Bye, ya'll.

Monday, October 15, 2012

All States Should be Battlegrounds

Is anyone else as tired of the talk of battleground states as I am?  Or tired of the existence of battleground states for that matter?

It's a sad fact that roughly three quarters of the states in this country are spoken for when it comes to the presidential election.  So a handful of states get the vast majority of the love come election years.  Ironically, this is exactly what the Electoral College was supposed to help prevent.  Our founding fathers chose this way to elect presidents to keep very large population states from dominating the elections; under this system the 3 electoral votes low population states get gives them a greater influence on the election of a president than they would normally have.

There are many people (usually disappointed over the winner) who want the Electoral College to be abolished in favor of a straight popular vote.  I think there's a better solution; one that wouldn't require a change to the Constitution.  Elimination of the winner take all mindset for electoral votes that has dominated our elections.

All but two states award all their electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote.  If a candidate gets 60%, 55%, or even 51% of the vote, he gets 100% of the electoral votes.  Those who voted for the other candidate be it 10%, 30%, or 49% are, in effect, disenfranchised.  Even Nebraska and Massachusetts, adapt the winner take all mindset to different extent.  They award electoral votes to the winner of each Congressional district and two votes to the overall state winner.

My idea is each candidate is awarded electoral votes proportional to the percentage of votes they win.  For example, in 2008, McCain won 54% of the popular vote and Obama 45% in my home state, South Carolina.  Under the current winner take all system, he received all 8 electoral votes SC then had (due to the census SC will have 9 this year).

Under the proportional system, each of those 8 votes would have been given for every 12.5% (1/8) of the votes.  Being over 50% would have gained 4 votes for McCain; being over 37.5% would have gained 3 for Obama.  The last vote would have gone to whoever had the largest share of the remaining votes.  In this case of the unaccounted 12.5%, Obama had 7.5%, McCain 4%, with other candidates splitting the last 1%; so Obama would have ended up splitting the votes 4 to 4 with McCain.  by the same token, California's 55 votes which all went to Obama would have been split, with 20 going to McCain.

(To use a historic example, in the 1984 presidential election, what was a 525 to 13 devastation in favor of Ronald Reagan over Walter Mondale would have been a still decisive 320 to 218 victory more in tune with the 57%-43% split of the popular vote, and not have given the impression that everybody was behind Reagan.  Perhaps some of the "we can do no wrong" excesses of the second term like the Iran-Contra affair could have been avoided.)

Under the proportional system, every state in 2008 would have contributed at least 1 electoral vote to each candidate (only the District of Columbia would have gone wholly for Obama).  Every state would have been a battleground!  Obama still would have won, but the resulting victory would have been 290 to 248, not 365 to 173.  Mandates would be much harder to come by.  Sweeping changes less easy to justify.  The notion of "red" state and "blue" state would fall before the opportunities to 'steal' votes from formerly 'enemy' territory.  And third party candidates would have a chance for legitimate candidacy.

The proportional elector system would not require amending the Constitution.  The states are responsible for the awarding of electoral votes.  If a few states, either 'solid red' or 'solid blue' were to do so, the attention the candidates for president (and others) would pay them could very well drive widespread adoption of this system.

Maybe all it needs is a catchy name.

Proportional
Elector
Allocation
System

For fair presidential elections, we all need to have our PEAS.

(Don't make that face.  It'll stick that way.)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

#FFF Furman Football, Failure

That...was discouraging.

It started out as a cool, cloudy but lovely day.  Mom expressed concern about my wearing shorts and not jeans and a jacket.  It would be a concern, but not for the reason (too chilly) she thought.

The Paladins won the toss and chose to take the ball. A..a..nd three plays later they punted.  The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Moccasins (two of the better team mascots playing each other here) ate up most of the quarter driving the ball deep into Furman territory, but had to settle for a field goal.

Furman had what would be it's best drive of the game.  They were inside the UTC one yard line when the quarter ended. (It looked briefly like they had punched the ball in on the last play.  The officials hesitated before marking the ball.  I wondered if they were considering calling the touchdown rather than having to walk the ball all the way to the other end of the field.)  The Paladins scored on the next play to take their only lead.

The momentum shifted back and forth for most of the rest of the half.  At one point, Furman's defense made a tremendous stop, only to have any possibility of great field position nullified by a punt..that..rolled..for..ever to inside the ten yard line.  Chattanooga (Dear UTC, please get easier to spell name and nickname, thanks) scored a touchdown at the end of the half.

That lead would hold up.  Furman would only muster three points in the second half.  The Moccasins would put up three touchdowns.  Final score: 31-10.

Also, the shorts were not a bad idea due to temperature (I was nice and comfy) but because of lack of sunblock.  I got burned.



The dispiriting part is that other than the one drive, Furman really didn't put up much of a fight.  Every other game they were in the thick of it; they even put in a good show against Clemson. 

Sigh.  Between them, the Braves, and the Panthers I'm just glad Clemson and Laurens High are doing well.  So far.  Sports, you is a harsh mistress.

P.S.:  It was a bad week for state football teams overall.  Only the Charleston area teams (Charleston Southern and The Citadel) scored wins.  North Greenville and PC were pummeled.  Newberry, S.C. State, and Coastal Carolina took it on the chin. Wofford and South Carolina lost tough ones.  It's just as well the Tigers didn't play.  (Note to Dabo and Spurrier: I know you're rivals. But defend your state. One USC, one Carolina, one Death Valley -- ours.)