Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Sports: The Mid-Major Top 25

A poll of mid-major basketball programs.

UC Irvine Anteaters rank 20th.

Politics: Alito confirmed

It's a final: Alito confirmed 58-42. It was as I predicted!

Now, if I could only be this good in stock picking!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Politics: Cloture passes on Alito nomination

C-SPAN reports that the vote just tallied up was 72-25 to end debate on Alito nomination. Confirmation vote is expected Tuesday morning.

C-SPAN's tally has 57 YES, 36 NO, 7 UNKNOWN.

The Democrats will be pretty solidly against the nomination but it seems only 1/2 of them were willing to go on record as supporting a fillibuster.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sports: Giving some love for the Anteaters

Mid-major basketball programs fly under the radar. Mid-major programs on the West-coast even more so.

So this blog is going to be the place to give some love for the Anteaters. Maybe some bored intern at ESPN.com might stumble upon it and start the ball rolling for some East coast sports media attention to the team with the weird mascot. A few years back when Jerry Green was on the team and UCI was a 20-game winner each season, the program got on ESPN.

The team has yet to appear in the NCAAs and there are no certainty they will this year. It comes down to a good regular season to position themselves for a run in the post-season conference tournament to get the coveted Big West automatic (and only) NCAA bid for this year's March Madness.

The Anteater profile is classic team concept and senior leadership: two senior guards leading the team in scoring in Schraeder (the team's top 3-point shooter) and Fitzgerald (team leader in assists), four out of five starters averaging in double digits, a monster on the boards in sophmore Fells (6-7 and 250 with nearly 7 rebounds a game) and another 3-point shooter in small forward Campbell.

Next game is against second place Pacific on the road.

'Rip 'Em Eaters. Zot! Zot!! Zot!!!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Culture: Do you know your Mozart?

A quiz with audio clips to see if you know your Mozart.

If you are wondering why there is all Mozart all the time in some circles, it is in recognition that he was born 250 years ago on January 27, 1756.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Sports: The Only Anteater Basketball Blogger in the World?

I wonder?

Anyway, tonight is the second game against Cal State Fullerton in 5 days.


Go 'Eaters!

UPDATE: Read about the Anteaters at the UCI men's basketball page. Also, there is a link to streaming audio to hear their games. It is looking good for the 'Eaters! 1:29 left and UCI is up 81-62!!

UPDATE: Its a final: UCI 83 CSUF 68. Next up, second place in the Big West, Long Beach State! Rip 'em 'Eaters! Zot! Zot! Zot!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Politics: Alito headed for SCOTUS

Alito clears Senate committee 10-8.

My guess is that he will be confirmed by the Senate with yea votes in the 50s.

There will be huge pressure on the democrats to hold the line to keep the yea vote below 60 so they can say, we could have filibustered this nominee if they really wanted to.

Best guess: 58-42.

Politics and Culture: O Canada

Ever wonder what they are singing at many NHL games and games with the Toronto Bluejays?
O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.

With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!

From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
For more information about the Canadian national anthem, go here

Anyway, congrats to the neighbors up north for carrying off their elections! Here is an excerpt of the article:
The Conservatives were taking about 36 percent of the vote nationwide, compared to 30 percent for the Liberals, 17 percent for the left-wing New Democrats and 10 percent for the Quebec-separatist Bloc Quebecois, which only runs candidates in the province.

Under Canada's electoral system, the Conservatives, as the largest party, would form a minority government, as Martin did after a similar split in the last election in 2004. That will force Harper to find support from around 30 opposition lawmakers in order to advance measures through Parliament.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Sports: Big Showdown in Big West

Legions of basketball fans (okay, I exaggerate slightly) will be following the showdown between Cal State Fullerton Titans and UC Irvine Anteaters.

They play today and then Wednesday.

The Titans were the pre-season favorites to win the Big West. However, the Anteaters have gotten off to a surprising start.

UPDATE: Anteaters topple the Titans 67-59! Round II at the Bren on the UCI campus on Wednesday. Go Eaters! Rip 'em Eaters! Zot! Zot!! Zot!!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Sports: Anteaters continue to live by the three

Anteaters bomb away in a victory over the Tigers. UCI hit 10 of 27 from three-point land. Not exactly a great percentage but enough to pull off the huge upset against one of the top programs in the Big West.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Culture: Postrel on Megachurch Christianity

Postrel takes aim at Megachurch Christianity.

Today's suburban Christianity is all about accessibility. It's been dumbed down.

Now I'm not a Christian, let alone an evangelical. If megachurches want to play bad-to-mediocre rock instead of great hymns, that's their business. But the spread of Christian pap does have spillovers, not the least of which is that devout Christian faith no longer brings with it a deep familiarity with what's actually in the Bible, as opposed to a few verses from the preacher's PowerPoint.
Megachurch Christianity may hone organizational and business skills, but it isn't teaching believers to think about abstractions or communicate in higher than "everyday" language. No wonder megachurches combine their up-to-date media with fundamentalist doctrine. It fits well on PowerPoint--no paragraphs required. Leaving aside the validity of what they preach, today's most successful evangelicals are spreading pap.
In the U.S., after all, religion is the freest market. But I'm not against the system; I'm all for it. As institutional responses to modern life, I find megachurches fascinating and productive. (I even had nice things to say about their architecture, which, while purely functional, is more interesting than its low-church Baptist predecessors.) But the most successful product is not necessarily the best on all dimensions--or on the ones I care about. And criticism is also part of the system.
Quite a few zingers there!

I've been a semi-regular reader of her blog and I have read The Future and Its Enemies. She does get on her horse occasionally!

My reaction is that I agree and disagree. I agree in that there has been a big move to making Christianity more accessible. I disagree that it is a bad thing. At least in some circumstances, accessibility is a good thing.

I think part of the "dumbing down" is simply that people come into the church today from a different starting point than perhaps in the past. If the level of Bible literacy is low as a starting point then talking about the depth and breadth and richness of Christian theology and history would simply go over the heads of the people.

St. Paul said in I Corinthians 3:2, I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able.

And St. Peter said in I Peter 2:2, Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.

There is definitely a time and place for keeping it simple and in a phrase, getting it to the ground where sheep can get at it.

However, I agree with her that we are losing something by not having more depth. Once we get the basics down, we need to be reminded of the basics regularly but we should also be "pushed" and "stretched" to explore the richness that Christianity offers in the depth of theology and beauty of its expression in less familiar parts of the Bible and in classic literature and songs written by giants of the faith from the past.

St. Paul said in Ephesians 1:18-19, I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Sports: Live by the three ...

The Anteaters won!

They hit eleven three pointers in a 70-66 victory over UC Santa Barbara.

11 x 3 = 33!

33 out of 70 points is almost one half of their points!

Duke shoots it a lot too. In their latest victory, 42 of 82 points were from three-point land.

Alas, I don't think any of the Anteaters will have NBA careers while I wonder how many from Duke will make it to the Pros?


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Sports: Peter the Anteater!

More about Peter the Anteater the famed mascot of UC Irvine!

Sports: BCS forecast

My picks:

Ohio State is favored by 5 over Notre Dame - ND

UPDATE: OSU 34 ND 20 thus I was wrong.

Georgia is favored by 6 over West Virginia - Georgia

UPDATE: WVa 38 Georgia 35 thus I was wrong.

Penn State is favored by 10 over Florida State - PSU

UPDATE: WRONG again! The BCS people must be very pleased that two of the games have been so dramatic and close. THREE overtimes! So, so far, I have a perfect record forecasting BCS games, I'm 0-3.

USC is favored by 7 over Texas - Texas

UPDATE: Hmmm, if Texas beat Ohio State and Ohio State beat Notre Dame and Notre Dame almost beat USC ... is there now going to be a stampede to support Texas? So far the media has been playing up the angle that it is USC's to win and it is a question of by how much?

UPDATE: Last year, Oklahoma suffered what was an early round knock out. Once they got behind, it snowballed and it became a laugher. Texas can't afford a meltdown at any point in the game.

USC's offense is strong. As the cliche goes, you can't stop 'em you can only hope to contain 'em. That is what Notre Dame did. USC scored its fewest points in the victory over the Golden Domers and most agree the final touchdown was somewhat irregular.

Fresno State tried to outscore them and that was a case of a team that played way over its head. The Bulldogs went on to lose their next three games. Texas on paper should prove dangerous to USC because they have a QB that can run and pass. If he can scramble some and buy that bit of extra time, he can do what the Bulldogs did and exploit USC's secondary.

On the other side of the ball, will Texas defensive line have the speed and strength to stand up to USC which has essentially and NFL offensive line? If USC line blows them off the ball then White and Bush will run wild and it will be a pretty boring night watching that USC horse with a Trojan on him marching around and egging on the crowd.

Divided loyalties. As a Pac10 apologist, it would be good to see the Pac10 go 4-1 in bowl games which would make it the best performing conference this bowl season. On the other hand, USC fans are insufferable in this town and they are becoming like the Yankees, the team you can't stand!

UPDATE: Texas beat the spread and won the game; therefore, I was RIGHT! As a UCLA alum and fan, I have to tip my hat to both programs for putting up an amazing contest. I really thought USC would pull it off but for me the seeds of doubt were planted by Ohio State's easy win over Notre Dame ... if Texas beat Ohio State and Ohio State beat Notre Dame and Notre Dame almost beat USC ... USC defense was weaker than last year's team that beat Oklahoma and Texas this year had more team speed than Oklahoma last year and rightly the MVP, Vince Young is one of those rare players.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Sports: the three-pointer, the tactic of the mid-majors

If you are the Dukes, Michigan States, Floridas and Arizonas of the college baseketball world, you can recruit the tallest and fastest scorers though NBA raids of the high school ranks have made it a bit harder. But no doubt about it, the haves in college basketball are much better off than the have nots.

So, if you are a mid-major coach, what kind of players do you wind up getting?

I think maybe you wind up with the not so tall, not so fast scorers. In short, you wind up living and dying by the THREE point shot!

I suppose I'm stating the incredibly obvious. But I like to convince myself with some numbers.

If this hypothesis is true, than the key stat one could look at is three point shots ATTEMPTED.

These are the teams launching the most three point shots:
1. Troy
2. West Virginia
3. Appalachian St.
4. Syracuse
5. Montana State
5. Clemson
7. Sacramento State
8. Illinois
9. N.C. State
10. Air Force
11. Louisville
12. TCU
13. Wofford
14. Marquette
15. UT-Chattanooga
16. Davidson
16. Northern Iowa
18. New Hampshire
18. Butler
20. Campbell

How many of them are in the top 20 of the polls? How many are mid-majors? Is this data supportive of the hypothesis?

Sports: This or that, a look back

One thing about being a "pundit" on a blog is that one can go back and look at the predictions and laugh!

Last year, I made these forcasts about sports.

Angels or Yankees? I picked the Angels and was right.

Houston or St. Louis? I picked Houston and was right.

VaTech or Fl State? I picked Va Tech and was wrong.
In the head to head game Virginia Tech got beat but their overall record was better than Florida State.

Big 10 football or Big 12 football? WAIT and SEE!
The Big 10 as of this moment is 0-3 in bowl games but have 4 more games to go. The Big 12 is 4-2 with 2 more games to go.

Georgia or Alabama? I picked Alabama and was wrong.

Cincinnatti Bengals or Cincinnatti Bungles? WAIT and SEE!
They got to the playoffs so in that sense they have shed part of the Bungles label. But will they be one and done in the playoffs?

Washington Redskins or Dallas Cowboys? I picked the Cowboys and was wrong.

Angels or White Sox? I picked the Angels and was wrong.