Sunday, December 8, 2013

College Football, Nelson Mandela, and a great joke


It’s Sunday morning, and it’s sleeting outside. My refrigerator is full of food, church has been cancelled, and Pam is downstairs making a breakfast casserole. Clearly, it’s time for me to pontificate on current events.

For all of the hand wringing about how college football needs a playoff system, once again the right two teams will be playing for the national title. Although my gut and my eyes tell me that the two best teams are Auburn and Alabama, I do get why Florida State is number one in the polls. Although they play in a much weaker conference, they have destroyed everyone on their schedule, and they have a terrific defense. Auburn played a much tougher schedule week in and week out and their only loss came in Baton Rouge on a Saturday night where the visitors practically never win. Regular readers of this space know of my devotion to SEC football, of my convictions, (born out by the record of the last ten years), that the SEC is vastly superior to any other conference in college football. But this year, I’m thinking that their streak of dominance may be about to end. Auburn has a virtually unstoppable running game, despite the fact that although it’s a triple option offense, most of the running plays end up being right up the gut, power football. Still, no one seems to have figured out how to slow it down, let alone stop it. However, Auburn’s defense is horrendous, especially against the pass. Florida State has a great passing game and the one thing that all of the past SEC champs used to have, and even greater defense. Count me among the old geezers who still believe that to win championships, eventually you have to be able to stop somebody. My money is on Florida State.

Nelson Mandela passed away. His death has dominated the news for the past 48 hours and deservedly so. He was a great man precisely because he was not a modern man. Mandela chose to reject Machiavellian schemes of revenge and score settling when he was released from over twenty years of political imprisonment. Instead of getting even, that most 20th century virtue, he chose to pursue healing and reconciliation. This fact alone is reason enough to celebrate his life.

A political joke:

Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid got together and decided that something had to be done to improve their image with “regular, middle class types.” So Nancy says, “I’ve got an idea, let’s go buy some regular people clothes, you know…jeans and t-shirts and go into a working class bar somewhere in Montana and buy everybody a round of drinks!” Harry loved the idea, but added that as a conversation starter and to better blend in with the local folks, they should bring along a dog. So, Nancy and Harry walk into a bar in Bozeman, Montana with a Labrador Retriever and start buying everyone drinks. Everything is going great for a while, then an old gnarly looking rancher walks in, goes up to the dog, lifts its tail and stares for a minute, then shakes his head and walks out. Not long after, another old rancher comes in and does the same thing. Over the next 30 minutes, another ten ranchers walk in, lift the dog’s tail, then shake their heads back and forth and leave without saying a word. Finally, Nancy looks at the bartender and says, “Excuse me. I’ve noticed these men lifting our dog’s tail. Is this some sort of quaint local custom?” The bartender says, “Lord no. Someone’s out there running around town, claiming there’s a Labrador Retriever in here with two assholes.”