80th Season

A fact that I wasn’t quite aware of until i read it today…but this is my beloved New York Giants 80th Season.
There aren’t many teams still around that are older–one of the few exceptions are their opponent on Sunday, the Green Bay Packers, who are in their 83rd season.
Many of those teams from that era no longer exist, though. Heck, there was even a team in my hometown of Staten Island.
Happy Birthday, NYG!

October 5th

Having a birthday a month before the election can lead to interesting things happening on it, October 5th, as this Frank Rich NY Times article points out.
Fahrenheit 9/11 is coming out on DVD as well as two books by Michael Moore.
Ann Coulter’s latest, too, is, being released.
A DVD documentary about Bush’s 1972 misadventures
REM’s latest album
Cheney and Edwards have the VP debate
And most of all, the hagiographic DVD “George W. Bush: Faith in the White House.”
And of course, if you want to get me something for my birthday, my amazon wish list is available and chock full of stuff.

Pass Interference

There is only one penalty in football without a set amount of yardage assigned to it.
It is the infamous Defensive Pass Interference Call.
Troy Aikman, on NFL.Com tangentially talks about this in his article about his dislike of Instant Replay. But I think I like his idea on Pass Interference better.
Make every Defensive Pass Interference Call 15 yards and an automatic first down. Its too unbalancing as it currently is written, with no limit on yardage.
Think, theoretically, you can have a 99 yard DPI call–if the line of scrimmage is at the one and the DPI is called at the opposing end zone. Okay, that’s nearly impossible because no one has that much arm strength, but my point is, DPI can put too much fortune and luck of the draw of referees into the game. Football isn’t perfect.
And besides, Scott pointed out to me that Hail Mary calls almost NEVER get DPI calls, even if there is clearly lots of contact and a “scrum” in the end zone on every one. Why? If it was called often, then Hail Mary plays would be far more used–unfair to the defense side of the ball.
So, make every DPI a 15 yard call, automatic first down. (Of course, Half the Distance to the Goal would apply as usual in red zone situations).

Asteroid Toutatis

Brad De Long mentions the flyby of the Asteroid Toutatis (via Obsidian Wings) and makes comment about the long but inevitable odds that a sizeable planetoid will hit the Earth, eventually.
Ironically, this dovetails with my watching Babylon 5, Season 1 last night (thanks to Netflix). I was watching Infection, the episode where Commander Sinclair succinctly puts the “eggs in one basket” danger of NOT expanding off of Earth, and into the Universe.
Because it would be a shame as far as the Universe is concerned to lose Lao-Tsu, and Jesus, and Newton, and Einstein, and Rodin, Euclid, and the rest of the greatness of humanity because we decided to stick our head in the sand.
We’re an explorative, inquisitive species. If we weren’t, we’d all still be in Africa. I think of the proto Native Americans, crossing the Bering Strait and exploring a completely unknown land. I think of the Polynesians, exploring the largest Ocean on Earth with small boats, intuition and hard-earned skill.
“It’s not safe out here! It’s wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it’s not for the timid.”
Yes, Q, from Star Trek The Next Generation.

Delightful story?

In the letters section of the online Sci-fi channel’s SF zine, SF Weekly, one of the letter writers wrote:
For those who read Nathan Brazil’s recent letter (“Gandhi Was a True Superhero”) explaining that Mahatma Gandhi was a pacifist superhero, I recommend they also read Harry Turtledove’s delightful story “The Last Article,” which shows what would have happened had Gandhi’s opponents been barbarous Nazis rather than relatively civilized Brits.

I like Turtledove, but The Last Article isn’t delightful in the usual sense. Instead, I found the story chilling. Well written…but chilling.
And definitely not a happy story.

Rumble in the Northwest

No, this is not about Kerry versus Bush in Battleground states.
Remember Mt. St. Helens? It seems the shattered remnants of the volcano which took everyone by surprise by erupting in 1980 is stirring once more.
Volcanoes are dangerous beasts. While I prefer to see and learn about Glaciers, I *respect* the omnipresent danger of these beasts.
Besides, Mount Rainier, a place I want to visit very much one day, is both a Volcano AND a source of glaciers.