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Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Weekend's End

Hitchcock's Revenge

Those aren't leaves, they're birds. Birds at dusk. Eerie.


Playoffs

Yay for the Seattle Seahawks. They deserve it... They won yesterday, you know. So did the Denver Broncos. I spent a good portion of my adult life loathing the Broncos, but now I find myself hoping they'll win once in a while. As good as quarterback John Elway was throughout his career, I didn't like him - I thought he was too cocky and full of himself for some reason. The current quarterback for the Broncos, Jake Plummer, is kind of fun to watch... He reminds me of a big goofy hippie who happens to be able to throw a football. I am cheering for the Steelers next week, though...

The first game today was the best of the bunch - the favored Indianapolis Colts lost to underdog Pittsburgh Steelers. Two classy teams led by two good coaches - it was a hard-fought nailbiter. The surprising part of the game was that there were no fights, no showboating, no spitting - it was very refreshing! Kudos to both teams and their coaches. I am, however, a little disappointed in the officiating - there were several questionable calls (including one head-scratcher that still has me wondering what in the world could have distracted every official on the field at the same time - UFO's in the dome?), and all of them seemed to go against the Steelers. I'll sure there will be some fallout over that... But, to be fair, both calls were rather obscure rules, and the refs may be one-hundred percent correct for all I know. But it sure didn't look that way to me. This is the first time in years I've wondered if the officials had a handle on the game - the NFL truly does have quality personnel.

At the moment I'm watching the Carolina-Chicago game, which is not so classy. It's a close game, and both teams are good, but there are plenty of scuffles, players yelling at their own teammates, receivers doing strange and unnatural little dances in the endzone... But, all in all, I've seen worse. No one's spit on anyone yet today, and thankfully I've yet to see a player moon anyone since Mr. Randy Moss (formerly of Minnesota) pretend to wiggle his skinny posterior at the Green Bay crowd last year.

Looks like my beloved NFC North is pretty much through for the year. The Packers only won four games and fired their coach. The Lions won five games and fired their coach before the season was even over. The Vikings did better, in spite of losing all sense of morality, but still fired their coach. Chicago made it to the playoffs, relying on backup quarterback Kyle Ortmann, a solid running game, and a stellar defense. They are currently losing their playoff game, though, after putting in a different quarterback, abandoning their running game, and generally ignoring all the aspects of the game that got them into the playoffs in the first place...

Shoot. I just saw the officials make a mistake that cost Chicago possession of the ball (trailing by eight points with two minutes to go). That's disappointing.


After all these years...

In the 1970s the United States was hit hard by a shortage of oil, leading to the now-infamous gas lines. Since then we've invented such environmentally friendly devices as the Dodge Ram pickup, which gets nine miles per gallon source, and the Hummer, which gets about eight miles per gallon source (though that's just a guess - the Hummer is so large it's exempt from having to post mileage figures). Since we inexplicably went to war with Iraq, gasoline prices have soared. I just saw a commercial on television touting a car that got an astounding 30 miles per gallon. Wow. Thirty miles per gallon...

Shouldn't we be driving electric cars by now? We've had 30 years notice, for gosh sakes! We should at least be exploring the hydrogen economy... There ARE cars out there that get sixty miles per gallon (the Honda Insight and the Toyota Prius, for example), the problem is that no one buys them because if you buy an Insight or a Prius, you can't see around the @*%($& Hummer that's sitting in that cloud of smog next to you at the intersection. A quick glance at my company's parking lot tells the tale - four very large trucks, four SUV's, one ten-cylinder Jaguar (owned by the boss of course), and my little four-cylinder Geo Prism. (Side note - I often walk to work anyway. With all those behemoth vehicles in the parking lot I often lose my little car.)

The government NEEDS to do more to discourage the public from buying large vehicles. We NEED to re-invent public transportation. We NEED to encourage hybrid cars until we can switch to a hydrogen-based economy. We ARE going to run out of oil in my lifetime - and I smoked for twenty-five years. It's gonna happen soon, and we're going to be completely unprepared.

Passenger trains between major cities (by major I mean Sioux City, Sioux Falls, and Omaha) - wouldn't that be nice? I'd take advantage of that... Sioux City needs to abandon the full-sized buses they use for public transportation and go to smaller buses or vans. That would save fuel money AND allow the city to run more routes and offer more services. Some cities, such as Seattle (I think), bought a bunch of butt-ugly bicycles (ugly enough that no one would steal them) and put them in the downtown district where anyone can borrow one to ride whenever they want. We really, really need to start thinking like that. Maybe we should put more resources into high-speed Internet access so more people in rural areas can telecommute. Maybe we need to go back to boarding schools to save on the cost of driving children around all the time. (I know - that's probably a bad idea, but have you ever driven past a school at 3:30 and seen all the "soccer moms" sitting in their SUV's waiting for their kids? Have you noticed that almost all the SUV's are running, either to keep the air conditioner going or to keep the heat on or so the driver can listen to the radio...? It's insane! Idea - put a solar panel on the top of every car to generate enough power to run the radio or the AC while the car is off.)

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