Tuesday, January 31, 2006

State of the Union

Tonight President Bush gave his State of the Union Address. I enjoy being able to sit and listen to the President's speeches. Its not like I'm a great political junkie. But for the 8 years of the Clinton administration I rarely got to listen to anything old slick Willie had to say. Everytime I would see him on television, I'd start muttering something about "listening to the lying sack of s--t" and then change the channel.

I'm not going to go into a deep analysis of the State of the Union Address. There will be plenty of those flying around the internet and the main stream media. Often this analysis will be provided by much more politically astute or more intellegent people than I am. But here is my impressions of tonights speech

I liked most of the Presidents speech. I liked the parts about staying to course in the War of Terror. I liked when he explained why he had the authority for the wiretapping and why it was necessary. The only thing that would have made this part of the speech better would have been seeing the President stick his tongue out at Ted Kennedy during the applause. OK, maybe not really but it's fun to imagine

I wasn't really pleased with his new ethanol initiative. Sounds just like more spending on farmers who we pay too much not to grow things already. I mean really, who thinks that more ethanol is going to solve our oil problems?

I thought it was amusing that the only thing that got the Democrats on their feet and cheering was the Presidents remark that the senate failed to do anything about fixing Social Security last year. Isn't it kind of telling that the Democrats are proud of thier ability to obstruct an attempt to fix a large looming problem? I wonder if the Democrats who were standing and cheering thier obstruction of an attempted Social Security reform understood how stupid and idiotic they looked standing there cheering their failure to do something.

I would have liked to hear the President be a little more forcefull about stopping illegal immigration. I would also like to hear more about his science and math education intiatives.

Overall it was a pretty good speech. The President was upbeat and positive. But it was a typical State of the Union Address. The Presidents party loved it and the opposing party hated it. Just like every year.

Then I decided to stick around and see what kind of train wreck the Democrats sent out to do their rebuttal. I was actually shocked at the rebuttal given by Tom Kane the Governor of Virginia. Where is the world did the Democrats find a calm rational soft spoken member who could get through a speech without yelling, turning red faced, spraying spittle around or just ranting incoherently? Guys like Governor Kane worry me. If the radical right wing of the Democratic party keeps letting men like him speak people might actually start listening to them.

Now that said, what did Governor Kane actually have to say. He said "There's a better way." The only thing he didn't say was what the better way was. What I heard during his speech was that the Democrats don't really object to the job President Bush is doing, they only object to the fact that it is him doing it instead of one of them.

So in the interest of fairness and because this is my blog and I can do so if I want to I can offer my own rebuttal to both speeches.

To President Bush:

More non-corn ethenol is not going to solve our dependance on foreign oil. Illegal immigration is a major hole in your war on terror and needs more than just some lip service. Yes immigrant labor is an important part of our national economy. But so is the drain on our economy that the cost of welfare, education and health care that is spent on illegals.

I liked the Presidents comments on both parties working together for the good of the nation. But surely you have figured out after 5 years that holding your hand out to the democrats is only going to get you bit. You need to stop worrying about trying to include the Democrats wishes in your plans. Do what you think is right and if they disagree with it let them win enough elections to stop you. Otherwise let their obstructionist policies continue to push them into obscurity.

To Govornor Kane.

If there is a better way, tell us what that way is. You gave a wonder travelogue style retrocspective of what Virginia is like. Sure it's a nice state to live in. But that is because it is a red state. Now show us a blue state that is prospering as well and we might be impressed.

Maybe it's time for your party to stop telling us that there is a better way and start concentrating on doing what is right for America. Not what is best for your political party. Your partisan politicing has become the showcase for everything that is wrong with America. When our enemies start sending out tapes and press releases that sound like your press releases maybe it's time for you to start asking yourself whose side you are really on. America's or Howard Dean's.

Relief - Sort of.....

I spent three and a half hours in the dentist's chair today. My sore tooth has been root canaled and crowned.

Under normal conditions this is something I would want to avoid. But this morning I was looking forward to it. I have been in a lot of pain for the last week and it wasn't getting any better. If it makes any difference to anyone, the pain was intense enough that it took two ampules of novocane to get me numb enough to start. Then once he started drilling I was still getting sharp stabs of pain. Finally the good doctor had to give me an other injection directly into the core of the tooth. After all that I still had several sharp stabs of pain when he started filing. But at least I didn't jump out of the chair when they hit.

Later in the procedure the doctor, nurse and I learned something new. I had a lot of saliva collecting behind the rubber dam he was using to protect the open tooth. It was difficult to swallow with the dam in place and my jaws wedged open. Eventually I started choking on that saliva. To prevent this from happening the dentist hung a vacuum in my mouth under the rubber dam. This worked pretty well for a couple minutes then the trouble started. When the vacuum wasn't sucking up saliva it was sucking up air. Unfortunately there wasn't any air coming into my mouth because of the rubber dam. So the vacuum was sucking air in through my nose. This didn't seem so bad at first since I was breathing through my nose anyway. Then this constant flow air started drying out my sinuses. After about 20 minutes the sinus cavities on the right side of my face were dry and starting to hurt. Then over the next half hour that hurt grew into a sharp, burning PAIN. I couldn't say anything with all the stuff that was in my mouth so I had to just lay there and wait. Eventually they finished and removed the rubber dam, the vacuum and all the other stuff. The relief was almost instanteous. It took about an hour for my sinuses to recover but they eventually did. When I told the Dentist about this he was surprised. He never imagined that something like that would happen but assured me that they would watch out for it in the future.

So I'm home now. Sore, tired and aching. My tooth doesn't hurt much. But the rest of my mouth, head, neck, shoulders and back feel like I've been battered by a Narn Bat Squad.

President Bush is getting ready to deliver the State of the Union speech and I want to listen. I'll try and write something else later.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Sore tooth blogging

I haven't been blogging much the last few days. It is hard to concentrate. I'm having trouble with a tooth. One of my molars has occasionally hurt when I bit down on it for the last couple months. So being the rational adult that I am, I naturally ignored it until it stopped being a minor inconvienence and started hurting more.

It turns out I had cracked one of the cusps. This tooth was like most of the others in my mouth, full of lots of old dental work. In the past this has made repairing damage to some teeth difficult, which has resulted in repairs requiring crowns instead of just fillings. This tooth was no exception.

The crown prep was fairly routine. Except for the syringe and needle the size of 16 penny nail that the doctor used to numb me up. OK, it wasn't really that big, but it felt like it was.

So I left the doctor's office with lips the size of spare tires and a temporary crown. I really don't care much for the new temporary crowns that dentists use today. My last temporary was metal and didn't fit well. These new ones are cast and fit just like the original tooth. But they taste bad. The dentist says I'm imagining things but I disagree. I have had a bad taste in my mouth for two weeks now.

My poor tooth had been irritated for several months to start all this. On top of that it didn't take kindly to the crown preparation. As a result, the pulp became ittitated and started to hurt. This last week has been excruciating. Left alone the pain pretty much dominates the entire lower left quarter of my face. It makes my neck, ears and jaw ache.

Now I should point out that historically I have a pretty high pain toleranace. As a youth I was upset that my Dad always complained about how expensive my dentist bills were. So in my youthful, ignorant of the way things really are way, I figured out that I could save Dad some money by refusing to let the dentist give me a novocane injection. I didn't realize that the price of the filling was the same with or without the novocane. But I assumed that since I was not getting that shot the dentist would charge my Dad less. So, during my middle school and high school years I had somewhere between 20 and 30 fillings done with out novocane.

I finally started using novocane again right after college because the dentist I was seeing refused to work on my teeth without it. He would not believe that I could sit there without jerking or moving.

I needed to point that out so that you will understand that when I say that the pain from this tooth is at times so bad that I comfort myself thinking of different ways to forcably remove it from my head. This afternoon it got so bad that Tom Hank's ice skate and rock method from the movie Castaway was looking pretty good.

I have been taking an inordinate amount of Extra Strength Tylenol and Advil. The Dentist gave me a precription for Tylenol 3 (with codine). But they actually provide about 30 minutes less relief than just 2 Extra Strength Tylenol.

So blogging has been kind of light the last few days. Since my ability to concentrate has been hampered by intense thoughts of door knobs and string, toasters and string, vicegrip plyers and watching the clock anxiously waiting for my next dose of pain mitigator.

I'm scheduled for a root canal on this pesky tooth next tuesday. I should be able to concentrate better then. In the meantime I may try writing some during those periods where the pain medication is working.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

New Ridgecrest Blogger

I just got an e-mail from a new Ridgecrest Blogger. Let's see, that makes a total of two of us now.

Erik with a "K" has just started a blog. Today is day one for Erik, so give him a read and lets hope he keeps it up.

Monday, January 23, 2006

XL = 40

Unfortunately those old Romans seemed to know what they were talking about when they decided that:

40 = Extra Large

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Why Blogging Part 2

Back in March 2005 when I started this blog I wrote a rather flippant article about why I was starting a blog. I had reasons like:
Working late into the night with the lights on pisses off the cockroaches

While these reasons for blogging are still mostly valid they did not cover why I decided to call this collection of blabbering that almost no one reads - Ridgecrest Blog.

I'm not trying to set myself up as the voice of the City of Ridgecrest. I don't pretend to even attempt to discuss everything that is happening here in town. I don't try and be fair and open minded. I'm writing my opinions about things that catch my attention, stick in my craw, make me laugh, make me angry, that I just want to make a snarky comment about or thoughts I want to remember later.

So why did I call this Ridgecrest Blog instead of something more personal? There are a couple reasons.

First off, I didn't have any good ideas for a name. I sat and scribbled ideas on a couple sheets of engineering paper for days and nothing really jumped out at me. Google and Technorati searches seemed to indicate that there weren't any regular bloggers from Ridgecrest. The name Ridgecrest Blog was available on Blogger. So I grabbed it and started writing. I figured if a better name came to mind later, I could change.

My second reason for calling this the Ridgecrest Blog wasn't really apparent to me even as I started this blog. I knew one of the things I wanted to happen with my blog, but I didn't know how to word it until recently. It took an e-mail exchange with a former Ridgecrest resident to get my thoughts solidified enough that I could express them with words.

Will Brown is a regular contributor to the Warrior Class Blog. He moved from Ridgecrest about the same time that I moved here - 20 years ago.

Will found my blog the other day and sent me an e-mail reminiscing about his favorite fishing hole at Lake Isabella, the City Council, our Gateway to Death signs and how the City of Ridgecrest has changed through the years.

I checked out the Warrior Class Blog and then wrote back to Will. My response to him led him to write a blog entry called Blog How You Want to Be.

The title of that short blog posting pretty much summed up a lot of the reason why I named this blog after a town that I don’t like living in. That right, for most of the last 20 years I have hated living here.

I moved here in November of 1985. I had been working in Amarillo TX. But things had changed. I was recovering from a severe knee injury that was preventing me from doing almost all of the things outside of my job that I enjoyed doing. My career had taken an ugly turn and I was looking at the possibility of spending the rest of my professional life being bored out of my freaking mind. So when I was offered a job here I jumped at the chance.

My career here in Ridgecrest has had a lot of ups and downs that have forced me to reinvent my career several times. My kids like to joke that Daddy doesn't know what he wants to be when he grows up. But for most of my 20 years here the work has been interesting and I have managed to feel useful. Something I wasn't feeling in Amarillo.

But outside of my work, I hated this town, for several different reasons:

I'm apparently not a desert person. I find nothing attractive about sand, creosote bushes, sand, wind, sand, spiders, sand, brown everything, and sand. The only time I want to see this much sand is at the beach. My idea of Mother Nature at her finest is trees and mountains. The outdoors should be green and hilly. There is nothing better than a hillside with the sunshine sifting through a heavy forest canopy while the light breezes stir up the wafting odor of rotting leaves or the soft crunch of pine needles under your feet accompanied by the rustle of the aspen trees in the next draw. I just don’t see the beauty is brown hills, sandy soil and scrub brush.

The almost complete lack of a sense of "community" here. I used to tell my parents that Ridgecrest isn't a town, it's a wide spot in the road where 20,000 people built their houses and somebody paved the streets. Ridgecrest is improving. But for many years there was little sense of community here. There were, and still are, lots of clubs and organizations. But they only worried about what is good for their own little circle of friends. There seemed to be no overwhelming concern of "What is good for Ridgecrest." I blame this attitude on Ridgecrest's age. Ridgecrest is a young town. Founded in 1941, Ridgecrest is only 65 years old. I have furnishings in my house that is older than this town. Since I have always lived in towns that have been around for over a hundred or more years I never paid much attention to the community spirit and history in those places until I found myself living where there wasn’t much.

The heat, dust and wind. There is only one good thing about 115 degrees with 40 mph winds blowing so much dust in the air that you can’t see or breathe – you never have to shovel snow in it.

The small business owners. A large number of the businesses in town are run by truly good smart and caring owners. But Ridgecrest seems to have more than it’s fair share of small business owners who only want their customers to throw their money on the counter and get out of their store.

The architecture. Is there any style of house homelier and less appealing than a frame and stucco house on a concrete slab?

So for somewhere around 18 years I lived in a town that I really hated. I didn’t hate my life here - just the here.

But a couple years ago I started to really examine my life here. I have a nice home, three wonderful children, and a fantastic wife that I’m hopelessly in love with. I have a career that provides us with a comfortable living, private school for my kids and occasionally a few luxuries for ourselves. I just wished that we could have these things somewhere else.

So why stay here? There are places all over this country that need engineers/computer scientists. But there are very few small towns were I can do the kind of work I get to do here. I don’t want to raise my children in a big city. I like working for the Navy. I have never served in the military but I have always felt that spending my professional career helping to make sure that our military is the best trained and equipped fighting force in the world was a way to do my part in defending our freedom.

So if I want to keep those things, I have to stay working here. But more importantly, my family is here. My wife and kids were all born and raised here in Ridgecrest. It is their home. I have always regretted that I wasn’t able to grow up in my home town of Madison SD. I loved spending my summers there with my grandma and always wanted to move back there. I didn’t mind living in Rapid City SD, Cheyenne and Laramie WY. But they were places I moved to, not my home town.

My dear wife and I have often talked about leaving Ridgecrest, but every time we do she is always so glad to be back home again. This is the only home town she has ever known. I just don’t think that she will ever be able to leave.

My children would probably adjust to life in another town but it would be hard on them. We would have to pick a warm climate. We have trouble getting them to wear shoes and long pants even in the winter here. They would freeze if we moved to someplace like Wyoming or South Dakota.

It took 18 years but I finally admitted to myself that not only am I stuck living here in Ridgecrest but I will probably die here. So maybe it was about time that I stopped hating this town and start trying to make the best of it.

I made a few changes in my way of thinking and some of my attitudes. It didn’t change too much about my feelings for Ridgecrest. But it was a small start. Then last year I decided to start a blog. I needed a title. But more than either of those things I need a chance to occasionally talk about Ridgecrest is a positive light. So I started Ridgecrest Blog as a way to force myself to look at this town and the surrounding area and try and find things about it that I might be interested in writing about.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Do not click on this picture unless you got really really fed up with the media manufacturing a mystical threepeat National Championship for the USC Trojans at this year's Rose Bowl.

Onepeat Billboard

Spelling Bee

Just before Christmas my oldest daughter won her school spelling bee. The ability to spell is a talent that she inherited from her mother, or acquired via hard work. She certainly didn't learn it from me.

Today we drove over to Bakersfield so she could compete in a spelling bee there. She was joined in this competition by 6 other students from the other smaller private schools in the county. The winner of this competition would represent this group of schools in the overall county spelling bee in February.

I had never been to a formal spelling bee before so I didn't really know what to expect. It was surprisingly interesting. It started out with a minor controversy. The second word in the first round was "bowl". However when the pronouncer said the word, I heard "bold". Apparently so did the competitor, and most of the rest of the audience. When the student repeated the word before starting to spell he said "bold" and then as all three judges started to stop him to correct his error he blurted out the letters b-o-l-d, said the word bold and was immediately told he was wrong. His mother immediately objected that the word was not clearly pronounced in the first place. I think the judges were swayed by the entire audience nodding in agreement when the little boy's mother objected that the word sounded like "bold" not "bowl". So after a brief conference the judges decided to use this little boy as an example to the contestants to ask for definitions or sentences. Then they allowed him to approach the microphone and they gave him another word.

This may have not been the correct thing to do, in the strictest interpretation of the rules. But the audience believed it was the fairest thing to do. The contestants didn't mind, and it did serve as a good lesson for the rest of the students. Granted some of the other parents may have complained if this young man had won, but he was the second contestant eliminated, 3 rounds later.

My daughter did very well especially since she didn't study very hard for this. She finished in a tie for 4th place and was eliminated in the 6th round. The word she missed was "nausea". So immediately her Principal, who had gone with us, and I started making jokes about her being asked to spell what her stomach was feeling at the time.

It didn't help that she admitted after the event was over that her stomach didn't hurt any longer.

She laughed the jokes the first couple times, but by the time I got done telling her mother this evening she informed me that it wasn't funny anymore.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Yellow Feathered Friends

The weather today was incredible. The temperature topped out at a very confortable 65 degrees. I spent a large portion of the morning taking down and packing up the last of the outdoor Christmas decorations.

While I was taking down the lights that I had strung in the trees in the front yard I really irritated this little fellow.


He was just trying to enjoy the thistle seeds that my dear wife had hung out in the front yard tree. But me, the ladder and the long pole that I was using to get the lights out of the tree kind of spooked him. He would squawk at me, if you can call the noise such a little finch makes a squawk. Then he would flutter madly about making as much noise as possible.

After I got the camera and zoom lens out of the house I had to park myself about 6 feet from the feed and wait. Evenutally his hunger overcame his worry about me standing there and he fluttered down to eat.

So while my yellowbellied friend had a couple other finches over for lunch, I finished putting away all the outdoor Christmas Decorations. Meanwhile my dear wife finished packing away all the indoor decorations.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

What Senator's Are Thinking

I have watched bits and pieces of the Alito confirmation hearings over the last few days. One thing that has really stood out to me is many of the Senator's almost pathological inability to allow Judge Alito to talk without interupting him. Senators Leahy and Binden seem to be the worst offenders (for interrupting). Both will drone on for several minutes jumping from thought to thought and eventually they reach a place where they ask a question. Judge Alito will begin to answer the questions but is invariable interrupted by the Senator who then starts another rambling disassemblage.

Now thanks to a miraculous new technology, the source of which I'm not at liberty to disclose, we can finally hear what is going on in these Senator's minds during these hearings.

Senator Leahy:
"Oh Crap he is starting to make me sound like a fool, I'd better interrupt him and ask a different question. Oh Crap he is starting to make me sound like a fool, I'd better interrupt him and ask a different question. Oh Crap he is starting to make me sound like a fool, I'd better interrupt him and ask a different question."

Senator Binden:
"Hey? He's talking again. Why is he talking again? The Chairman said I would get 20 minutes. Why is he talking during my 20 minutes. He's still talking. What is this? He has used up almost 30 seconds of my 20 minutes. Why is he talking? Did I remember to tell him that I hate Princeton?"

Senator Feinstein:
"OK, don't open your eyes really wide or they will think you are Nancy Pelosi. Be careful, don't close them too much or they will think I'm talking in my sleep like that idiot Boxer always does. Now, get my scowl set just right, i need to find that balance between wicked witch of the west and ranting harpie. Now, timing has to be perfect, just as he starts to actually answer my question I need to shake my fist in the air and point out that this isn't about him, it's all about Johnny Depp. Man he makes a cute pirate, I really like the beads in his beard. Careful, don't let your eyes open too far."

Senator Kennedy:
"I wonder if that hottie in the third row likes beer. Do you think she likes quiet rides in the country? I wonder if she can swim? Damnit, that new rule about not dating anyone who can't swim is really cramping my style. Man is it lunch time yet, I'm really thristy. Wow, when DiFi opens her eyes really wide she looks just like Nancy Pelosi. I wonder if Nancy can swim?"

Senator Schumer:
"Ha! We made her cry, we made her cry, we made her cry. I love it when their wives cry. Whoa. DiFi really does that ranting harpie scowl well. I wonder if she can teach me how to do that?"

Senator Spectre:
"I guess it's about time to call a recess, Teddy looks like his blood alcohol level is dropping again."

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Latest BRAC News

Just to set the record straight this is the last place anyone should be looking for definative word on the BRAC realignment and its effect on the City of Ridgecrest. I am not in the loop, the know, or the inside for BRAC information. All I really know is what I hear on the radio, read in the newspaper or hear in the hallway.

Many folks in our fair city have been almost giddy with excitement since the BRAC report was finalized and we were told that there would be about 2500 new jobs moved here. The real estate market has boomed and the city council has been feverishly plotting, planning and preparing for up to 10,000 new residents.

This is not the first BRAC realignment that we have been through and anyone who hasn't forgotten their history should remember that the President signing the Base Realignment And Closure into law doesn't end the politics. Just because the BRAC says we should get 2500 jobs does not mean the we will get them.

At lunchtime today I heard on the radio that 2100 of the jobs most folks were expecting will come from Pt. Mugu. Now apparently that number has been reduced to around 400. Some folks think that number may reduce even further.

Personally I think that when the dust clears 5 to 6 years from now we will be lucky not to have lost jobs. I don't have any reason for this other than when it comes to political manuevering between China Lake and Pt Mugu, China Lake almost always comes out on the lossing end of the deal.

So if you are one of the salivating throng waiting for all the new residents to show up. don't hold your breath until the moving van pulls into the driveway next door and you feel obligated to go help unload their sofa bed.

Thank You Senator Leahy

I turned on Fox News this morning while eating breakfast in order to watch a few minutes of the Alito hearings.

I happened to tune in during Senator Leahy's (D-Vt) grilling of Mr. Alito. The 15 minutes of the hearing that I watched were very illuminating. The difference in personality of the two men is remarkable. Leahy just drones on, shifting from topic to topic. He rehashes questions over and over without ever actually asking any questions. Judge Alito meanwhile sits quietly and listens to this drivel. When Leahy finally slips up and asks a question Alito will start to answer the question. Granted I only got to watch about 15 - 20 minutes of the hearings. But in that time period Alito only got to speak three times. Each time he was only allowed to speak for less than a minute before the Senator would interrupt him by either refuting Alitos statements, discounting Alito's statements, or just simply changing the subject. It was very obvious that Senator Leahy was not nearly as interested in hearing Judge Alito's responses as he was listening to his own voice.

I should be surprised, but I'm not, Senator Leahy, even after saying his time was up and turning the floor over to Alito for a final comment, Senator Leahy interrupted Alito one last time, preventing him from finishing his final sentence.

However I have to give Senator Leahy credit for one thing. He finally found a way to make me want to go to work in the morning. It is that, or i have to scoop my brains out with spoon. I suppose I could just change the channel, but that would require me to reach for the remote, and the spoon was already in my hand.

A Sharp Blow to the Head

Last week CA Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger, during his state of the state speech proposed over 220 billion dollars in additional spending for the State of California over the next 10 years.

Now over the weekend the RINOator, with his son riding in a side car, ran his motercycle into a car that backed out in front of him. Our RINOator and his son suffered minor injuries. Schwarzenegger needed 15 stiches in his upper lip.

I real rino would have ripped that car to shreds and not needed stiches afterwards so I guess our Governor will have to settle for being a RINO in name only. Does that make him a RINOINO?

Let's all hope that this little incident will jar the RINOator back to reality. You know? The reality that many of us fiscal conservatives in California were willing to vote for him knowing that he was a social liberal, because we felt having an electable fiscal conservative was worth it. But since the Rinoator seems to have given up on fiscal conservativism also. I don't seem much reason to keep him around any more.

The Rinoator's new spending plan for the State of California is the antithesis of everything we elected him for. If he continues with this line of thinking I hope he enjoyed his time in Sacramento. Because come Novemeber we will send him and his stiched up lip home. Maybe he can use his new look to get a part is the new Rocky movie.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Hook 'm Horns

Congratulations to the University of Texas - BCS and AP National Champions.

How about Vince Young - 30/40 passing for 267 yards, 20 carries for 200 yards. Can you say one-man-wrecking-crew?

Wow, I great game, a great finish, and the satisfaction of being one of a small handful of Texas supporters in a bowling alley full of USC fans. I didn't bowl all that well, but my team went 2-2 for the night.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm not really a Texas fan. I cheer just as loudly for anyone who plays against USC. Which is unfortunate, because I really like Pete Carroll as a coach. I just can't stand the team he coaches.

Bowl Championship Series

Where to start? There are so many things about the BCS that I hate that it is hard to figure out where to start. Actually starting is easy, it's doing so in a coherent manner that is hard.

The BCS was started in 1999 under the fiction of being able to make sure that the two best teams in the country play for the national championship. However what they didn't take into account is that choosing which two teams are the best in the country is usually not very cut and dried. In the past the National Champion, or champions were selected by polls. Which like all things so subjectively judged turns into a popularity contest. This system put Division 1 College Football in the same bracket as gymnastics and figure skating. Your ability to win a championship was dependant solely on other peoples opinions of your performance.

The biggest problem with the BCS is that they did nothing to change this. The rankings are still bases on polls, or other peoples opinions on how good a team is.

Now it seems like it would be a simple thing to just put in a playoff system for Division 1 college football. But it is not. That is because there is too much money involved in the current system. The college presidents who would have to approve a palyoff system would have to face up to and deal with the loss of millions of dollars of bowl money every year.

The 2006 Bowl Championship Series Revenue Distribution is budgeted at $96,160,000.00.


Conference with one team in Fiesta, Orange or Sugar Bowl: $18,322,222
Conference with two teams in Fiesta, Orange or Sugar Bowl: $22,822,222
Conference with one team in Rose Bowl: $3,455,556
Conference with one team in Rose Bowl and one team in Other BCS Bowls: $ 7,955,556
Total: $89,200,000

Conference USA: $1,050,000
Mid-American: $1,050,000
Mountain West: $1,050,000
Western Athletic: $1,050,000
Sun Belt: $960,000
Total: $5,160,000

Atlantic 10: $225,000
Big Sky: $225,000
Gateway: $225,000
Mid-Eastern: $225,000
Ohio Valley: $225,000
Southland: $225,000
Southern: $225,000
Southwestern Athletic: $225,000
Total: $1,800,000

That is a lot of incentive for the founding members of the BCS to not to want a playoff system.

As long as the BCS is in charge, or the bowl games are involved in the national championship system Division 1 will never have a definative national Champion. Until the championship is decided on the field there will always be arguement and disagreement about who should have played.

The other major problem with the BCS and the bowl game system is that the entire system is designed to make sure that the big six conferences which have all the money to start with get to keep getting all the money. Each conference is assured of a spot in a BCS bowl game. The other conferences are told that they have a shot at one of the at large BCS spots. But in order for that to happen a team from that conference has to go undefeated for the season. They also have to hope that not too many other schools go undefeated. Just ask Boise State who in 2004 finished the season 11-0 and played in the Liberty bowl instead of a BCS bowl. This slight was probably caused because Utah was also 11-0 and they managed to get one of the two at large BCS bids. The big six conferences certainly weren't going to give up two of their money spots in one year.

Lastly the BCS system that assures that the 6 founding conference champions play in the BCS games often puts inferior teams into the big bowl games while higher ranked teams with better records play in the smaller bowls. A prime example was last night's Orange Bowl. Florida State went into the bowl game ranked #22 with a 8-4 record while 13 other schools who were ranked above them in the BCS rankings and had better records played in smaller bowls.

Now I like thed the Joe Paterno - Bobby Bowden match up last night. But I still don't think Florida State deserved to be in that bowl game.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

USB Insanity

USB = Universal Serial Bus. What a joke. Every computer that I have or use has USB ports on it. They are all the same shape and size. So how come the cables that plug into these ports all have different size and shape plugs on the other end.

My desktop computer has USB connections for two different Kodak cameras, a Pentax Camera, a printer/scanner/copier, three different Palm brand PDAs, my daughter's iPod and a film scanner. Each of these devices uses a different cable.

I would like to know why two Kodak point and shoot cameras need to have two different USB cables? Why do three different Palm brand PDAs need three different cables? At least my Printer/scanner/ copier, film scanner and external hard drive will all use the same cable. Although the film scanner did warn me:

Note: Your scanner may not work correctly if you use a USB cable other than the one supplied by Epson or if you connect your scanner through moe than one hub.

At first I though USB was a good idea. Since the Universal part of USB seems to mean something different to each manufacturer. Even companies like Kodak and Palm can't make up their mind what type and size of universal connector to use from product to product.

What would have been so wrong with a standard USB connector for the end of the cable tha plugs into the computer, then three different connectors for the other end - regular, small and mini.

But I guess that would make too much sense.

Well I have to go rescue my kid from the mass of cables hanging out from around my computer. I think they are trying to eat him.

First Snow of the Year

We woke up this morning to find snow on the mountains.

OK, its not a lot of snow, and the upper elevations north of us have been getting snow for a couple months. But this is the first snow that we have seen on our high desert mountains this winter. Definately the first snow of the new year.

There is not enough snow up there to take the kids tubing on, yet. I took the kids up to Walker pass tubing last winter and they had a blast. I hope we get the chance to do so again this winter.

First Snow

Monday, January 02, 2006

Rising Cost of Medical Care

I've been going through a box of old pictures from my Dad's Mother. I'm getting them scanned and put into albums. In with the pictures I found a folded paper that turned out to be an invoice from the hospital for my Dad's Birth.

From St. John's Hospital - Rapid City SD - March 4, 1934

Board Room and Care
Delivery Room and Anesthesia



Reading this got me to thinking about what the hospital charged for the births of our three children. Granted we didn't pay this amount, our insurance covered most of it. But they charged somebody a lot. I couldn't remember the exact numbers, but my dear wife reminded me that the hospital bill for our first born in 1992 was around $10,000. For the twins, in 1997, the hospital bill totaled around $25,000.00 (I'll guesstimate to half for only one baby).

In 1934 the average national salary was $1,368.00
In 1992 the average national salary was $22,935.42
In 1998 the average national salary was $27,426.00

Using these numbers, the cost for the hospital stay for a birth of as a percentage of the average annual salary in the United States is:


I know this isn't very scientific, and there are a lot of variables that I did not take into account such as insurance (and it's cost), locale, national average salary vs actual salary, complexity of the births, length of stay, etc. I didn't start this to be a research project. I was just wondering...

But those increases, if they are even close to accurate, are big....

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year

I wish for anyone reading this a very happy New Year. Just try and remember that 2006 is a magical year. It is the only year that could possibly fill the 365 day long void between 2005 and 2007.

We survived my 13 year old daughter's New Years Eve party. They girls just hung out and giggled and laughed until midnight. Then they all went outside and yelled, screamed, blew noisemakers, and created a terrible din. After a couple minutes we convinced them that we didn't want the police at their party and they quieted down and moved inside.

Once inside they settled down to watch movies and talk the rest of the night away.

I got up at 9:30 to make carmel rolls for breakfast. They were all still sleeping. My daughter admits to being up until around 4:30. The others wouldn't say. They pointed out to me that my parting instructions to them were "Don't destroy the house, don't light anything on fire, try and keep the noise down, and try and get to sleep before the sun comes up." The assured me that they were asleep before the sun came up.

Most of them finally got moving around noon. In a couple cases it was the smell of fresh baked carmel rolls that got them moving. For the others it was the torment and teasing of their friends that got them up.

So I settled in for an afternoon of NFL football, snacks, and a nap.

I only made one New Years Resolution this year. I'm going to try and live a little healthier. More exercise and less junk food. It's not very objective, and doesn't really have any concrete metrics I will be able to measure other than how I feel. But it will have to do.

Happy New Year!