Friday, March 21, 2008

The Worldwide Leader Needs More Bandwidth

I'm doing pretty well so far in the tourney. Through 20 games I'm 18-2 (Drake lost in OT, BYU fell to Texas A&M). No serious damage to my brackets yet.

I only entered one on-line bracket challenge this year, at I enjoy listening to Colin Cowherd in the mornings on ESPN radio, and he started up a group for himself, some of his ESPN buddies, and his listeners, so I joined the group and am doing pretty well so far (I don't expect it to last).

The interesting thing is that ESPN's web servers are really struggling to keep up with service demand. When asking for my real-time brackets to display, pages are loading slowly, if at all. Frequently you get a "page unavailable, check back later" message." Most recently, I'm getting error messages saying that the pages can't be found at all. So, if you are in the Bristol, Connecticut area and see a column of smoke rising from the ESPN campus, it's probably because their web servers are melting down. The problem was very noticeable yesterday as well, and I'm surprised that a company with the resources of Disney, Inc. couldn't find a way over the course of 24 hours to add more bandwidth.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Madness, 2008 Edition

Yes, I have blogger guilt over the low productivity lately. But surveying the blogging landscape it is clear that I'm not the only blogger out there with a case of the Spring doldrums. For several weeks now I've been on the verge of writing my "Ding, Dong the Witch is Dead" article devoted to Hillary Clinton's spectacular defeat, but the bit*% won't die! And I just have a hard time getting fired up about NBA basketball, regular season college basketball, hockey, or spring training. Hence, a lull.

But it's March, and the real beginning of March Madness is just a few hours away. (Who else cringes every time they hear the phrase "first round of the tournament" used in reference to the play-in game between the 64th and 65th seeded teams? Can we just un-do that horrible mistake and pretend it never happened?) Before the tournament gets under way, I had just a couple of thoughts, and I wanted to get my picks on the record so that I can totally gloat later if I guessed, errr, "predicted" correctly.

First, congratulations to Coach Mike Brey and the Fighting Irish for a great regular season and for landing a #5 seed in the tourney. Coach Brey has done an outstanding job of building the program up from one that was maybe on the bubble each year if they were lucky to one that is consistently in the tournament at a very respectable seeding. That's a big step up in overall quality. We still need to fix that Madison Square Garden jinx, and it's now time for the program to take the next step up to winning some big games and becoming a regular Sweet 16, Elite 8 level team. I think that can start this year. In my bracket, I have the Irish losing to UNC in the round of 16.

As for my brackets, understand that I haven't watched a lot of college hoops this year, and I spent a total of about 25 minutes making my picks before heading off to a doctor's appointment yesterday. What this means is that if my picks are better than yours, you are weak! Here are my picks for teams making it to the Sweet 16, Elite 8, Final 4, and the Final:

Sweet 16:

  1. UNC
  2. Notre Dame
  3. L'Ville
  4. Tenn
  5. Kansas
  6. Vandy
  7. K State
  8. G-Town
  9. Memphis
  10. Pitt
  11. Stanford
  12. Texas
  13. UCLA
  14. U Conn
  15. Xavier
  16. Duke
Elite 8:
  1. UNC
  2. L'Ville
  3. Kansas
  4. G-Town
  5. Memphis
  6. Texas
  7. UCLA
  8. Duke
Final 4:
  1. UNC
  2. G-Town
  3. Memphis
  4. Duke
Tournament Final: University of North Carolina defeats Memphis.

Let the madness begin! And thank goodness the Irish don't have to play the opening game in New York!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Somewhere, George Orwell is Smiling

Via Matt Drudge we learn that an appeals court in California has ruled that parents can only homeschool their children if they hold a valid teaching credential. Forget, for now, about the incredible infringement upon individual liberty this is. Or the hubris of those who assert that only WE know, and only WE have the right to dictate, what your child should be taught. Forget the objective evidence that homeschooled kids get an actual education at least as good as, if not usually better than, that doled out by the public school system. Forget what this means for kids who are being homeschooled because the public school in their neighborhood is a drug and gang infested sewer where no actual education takes place.

No, I want you to focus instead on one particular line from the court's opinion. You'd better sit down first. And put down that drink - I don't want you ruining your computer by spewing coffee all over it. Here we go:

A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare[.]
Wow. Now this isn't the whole opinion. And it doesn't say that the above reasons are THE primary purpose of the education system. But how can any judge who is socially aware pen those words? Any person who is socially aware, any parent who is paying attention, knows that liberal political correctness is destroying (has already destroyed?) public education in America, and one of the most important tools in the liberal PC arsenal is to pervert the meaning of the phrase "good citizenship" and to strip our children of their patriotism and loyalty to our nation. To have a court assert that kids must be taught by credentialed teachers, against the will of their parents, in order to further the "good citizenship" and "patriotism" of those children is an absolute joke. It would make me laugh if it weren't so damn sad.

I'm sure President Hillary or President Obama will fix this. Won't they?