Sunday, September 18, 2016

Quick WITS

What I Think, Sports edition

Oh, Furman.  You hurt me so. It would help if you'd get the offense rolling before the 4th quarter.

I don't know what Notre Done and Oklahonot are going to do with the rest of their season.

Speaking of being eliminated, if Clemson were to be Louisville, Florida state would be able to single-handedly deny their own conference a playoff berth by winning out.

If Clemson doesn't win the ACC, at least their season so far has given coaches a lot of film to teach players. The score so far - dropped passes, letting an inferior opponent hang around, dropping the ball before reaching the endzone, and (by SC State) tossing a kickoff to a ref in the endzone without downing it.

So if North Dakota St wins a 6th consecutive FCS championship to go with its 6 wins in a row over FBS schools, can we just slot them into the FBS playoff?

Because unless Baylor wins out or the PAC 12 doesn't cannibalize itself, there's going to be an open slot.  more than one if Houston stumbles.

At this point the Big 12 might want Houston

The ACC contenders are going to be making noise in the first half of the season, the Big 10 the second half.  Be interesting to see how the national championship committee scores that as time goes on.

I feel like I'm forgetting something.  Oh yeah...

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Nerd Culture - A Golden Enterprise: 50 years of Star Trek

Fair Warning: If you aren't a fan of "block of text" posts or Star Trek this post isn't for.
Forgive me my nerd indulgence. :)  I'll try to find a nice meme or apropos Garfield next time.

Space, the final frontier, these are the voyages of the starship Enterprise.  It's five year reaching the 50 year mark.

Fifty years ago today, the crew of the Enterprise first hit the "small screen". (A term that used to mean TV but today better refers to a phone or watch of some sort.  But I digress.)

Nerd Nation hasn't been the same since.  In the days before the immediacy of email, social media, online polls, and live streaming, and the ability to organize allowed by fan sites, message boards, and subreddits,  Star Trek fans were able to flex their collective muscle to save their show from cancellation through a concerted (snail) mail campaign and then continued to keep the flame burning through pre-photo copier fanzines,  The fandom grew through nearly unprecedented syndication viewership.  Oh, and their passion basically invented the modern fan convention scene.

Future editions of the franchise spearheaded the practice of shows being first released in syndication (Next Generation) and as the cornerstone of a broadcast network (Voyager on UPN, which ironically became part of the CW network that now has almost an entire lineup of geeky shows).  CBS will try to use a new Star Trek show to drive its online streaming network early next year.

But that (along with the progressive casting choices) is the meta.  This is about the personal.

For me it was about the ideas.  Don't get me wrong, I've grown attached to the characters. I still get misty-eyed at the end of The Wrath of Khan.

But the voyage into the unknown, new life forms, the interplay of ideas and philosophy, that was for me.  And yes, I hear some of you yawning about how slow some of the plots were.  And chuckling about Spock walking around without his brain or the giant space amoeba.  Or lamenting some of the inconsistencies from episode to episode.

But for me I settled in for each to episode to see what's next, what's new.  It's best summed up at the end of The Motion Picture when Kirk is asked for a course and he leans forward and responds with an awed and reverent "Out there!"

That's why the original series and The Next Generation pulled me in.  (And other series continued.)  What's out there? And what will we discover about ourselves? 

The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine. (A quote or variation of which has been attributed to J.B.S. Haldane, Sir Arthur Harrington, and Werner von Heisenburg.)

I also like the hopeful and positive tone of the Star Trek universe.  The idea that humanity can create a society where basic and even some advanced needs are met, where each individual has both the means and desire to pursue their highest level of achievement in science, art, philosophy.

I hope fifty years from now, we're closer to that future.  I firmly believe that whether we are or not, Star Trek will be there.

Thank you, Mr Roddenberry.  And to all those who have made this franchise come alive.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Keeping my WITS about me

What I Think, Sports edition

A few notes from the first full college football weekend:

 Unless Southern Cal is a really bad team, there's Alabama and then there's everybody else.

The rest of the SEC has a lot to prove, though Texas A&M and Georgia are off to a good start.

Clemson players need to work on situational awareness.  Their mistakes in the last minute should have cost them.

Stupid penalties seem to abound when combining young men, an emotional games, and high (or at least hypes) stakes.

Someone needs to check the uprights in Starkville. Mississippi State and South Alabama hit them 3 times.  They can't be regulation.

The PAC-12 better hope Southern Cal or UCLA don't win the conference. They might get left out of the playoff again.

I am unreasonably optimistic about Furman's season after giving a good game to Michigan State.  But then the Paladins always seem to give FBS teams a better game than teams on their own level.

Just when you think the ACC is taking care of business, Virginia happens.

I wonder which credit card company gets stuck paying up on frequent flyer miles for the Hawaii athletic program.  Some executive probably got a heart attack after the Australia trip.

With no potential for a conference title, does the loss to Texas mean Notre Dame is Notre Done for the year?

Less than three days until the 2016 NFL kick off.