February 16, 2010

QotD: Football

Filed under: Football, Humour, Quotations — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 13:11

The Super Bowl is one of those great annual events that is uniquely American — except for the Roman numerals. I think those still belong to the Vatican.

If you missed it, the final score was Saints, XXXI and Colts, XVII.

The Super Bowl represents what we Americans are all about: creative commercials occasionally interrupted by violence. During the six-hour broadcast, there were only 11 minutes of actual, live football action. Some of the commercial breaks were so long that, when we finally came back to the game, I had forgotten which teams were playing.

And what better Norman Rockwell-esque ritual could I have with my kids than to watch 20 erectile dysfunction commercials to every snap of the football? “Daddy, why are those people in bathtubs watching the sun set?” I just tell them the people lost their homes to foreclosure.

Football is a lot like sex: countless hours of advertising how good it will be with only 11 minutes of actual action. Then, for me, there is always that awkward moment at the end when my credit card is declined.

Ron Hart, “Super Bowl: Uniquely American – except the Roman numerals”, Orange County Register, 2010-02-10

The (looming) Greek default

Filed under: Economics, Europe — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 12:56

Tim Cavanaugh dispenses with the careful-to-avoid-blaming-anyone information being peddled by most reporters:

If you ever start thinking no place could suck harder than the good ol’ U.S.A., just look to the glory that is Greece. The Greek government is responding to its self-inflicted debt crisis by doing just about every single thing wrong.

That might not be clear from most of the media coverage. To comprehend any of the popular descriptions of Greece’s public debt problem, you need to be a yes man as mindless as the guy whose job it is to keep saying “Certainly, Socrates… You’re quite right, Socrates…” in the Platonic dialogues.

The New York Times blames the investment banks that held a gun to the crowned heads of Europe and forced governments to take on more debt. The Guardian says it was deregulation and privatization of state enterprises that caused public spending to, um, increase? (Just go with it.) Greek tax collectors say the problem is that tax collectors need to be paid more. And because he knows that being able to print your own money always encourages fiscal responsibility, Paul Krugman says it’s because Greece went off the drachma too soon. (That problem may be working itself out faster than anybody planned.)

But the beauty of Greece’s looming default is that it is a totally straightforward story of uncontrolled public spending and the determination of governments to run up impossible debts. In this case, as the above Times article spells out, those debts were run up in duplicitous ways that in fact violated the public debt rules of the EU from which Greece is now trying to get a bailout. Your worst nightmare of a wastrel American politician — call him Barack Schwarzenegger — would have a hard time mismanaging state finances this badly. Since getting on the euro in 2001, the Greek government has apparently been fudging its budget statistics, a practice countenanced by both conservative and socialist governments. To its credit, the current government kicked the current crisis into high gear when it released a deficit-to-GDP number of 12.7 percent — double the previously announced figure, and by far the highest in Europe.

Read the whole link-laden thing.

Things I did not know about Curling

Filed under: Humour, Sports — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 12:35

I’ve been living under a bunch of misapprehensions about the “sport” of Curling. I admit, I haven’t subjected these revelations to any peer review or fact checking, but if the climate “scientists” can get away with that kind of sloppiness, why can’t I?

* The movie Death Race 2000 was loosely based on curling.
* Curling has been described as shuffleboard plus ice plus chess times football plus ninjas times a grizzly bear plus a nuclear explosion minus badminton.
* Curling is banned in most of Europe due to making their heads explode with its awesomeness
* The stones in curling are made from brimstone mined from the very depths of hell.
* Placing a stone perfectly in the house has been rated the hardest act in any sport, harder than hitting a fast ball or catching the golden snitch.
* Due to the excitement, curling is not recommended for the elderly, those with heart conditions, pregnant women, and people who suck and don’t like awesome things.
* In ancient times, only the greatest, strongest warriors were chosen to play curling… and housewives good at sweeping.
* No one is sure where curling came from, but most guess it was a collaborative project of Chuck Norris, Mr. T, Jack Bauer, and Fred Thompson.

It’s not surprising that more Canucks are lefties than Yanks

Filed under: Cancon, Sports, USA — Tags: — Nicholas @ 08:38

Although this is about hockey, not politics:

What is the difference between a Canadian and an American? The old question is coming up again here at the Olympics, with answers involving eagerness for war, ketchup, the pronunciation of toque or the ability to identify poutine and the Tragically Hip.

But none may be so simple as how one holds a hockey stick. According to sales figures from stick manufacturers, a majority of Canadian hockey players shoot left-handed, and a majority of American players shoot right-handed. No reason is known for this disparity, which cuts across all age groups and has persisted for decades.

Most Canadians, like most Americans, are naturally right-handed, so the discrepancy has nothing to do with national brain-wiring. And how you hold a pencil, say, has little or no bearing on how you hold a stick. A left-handed shooter puts his right hand on top; a right-hander puts the left hand there.

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