31 March, 2008

Half Right Ain't Half Bad

The Final Four is set and my pick to win it all still remains as does my runner-up so, all things considered, I didn't do too bad. North Carolina and UCLA still can meet in the championship game. I missed on Texas and real big on Georgetown. But all four number 1 seeds have never made it to the Final Four before so I'm far from the only one who missed on this. Despite history being made I still feel that this year's tournament has been lacking much drama. I believe that the fact that chalk won out (i.e. all 4 top seeds won out) proves my point. The only truly dramatic upset was Davidson beating Georgetown. Ratings for the tournament as a whole seldom fluctuate much so the mediocrity of this year's version wouldn't be reflected there. It will be interesting to see how many people tune in for this weekend's games. They'll be hyped beyond belief by ESPN and other sports outlets, you can rest assured. Unfortunately, as with many things in our society, that is how people measure importance...by how much something is talked about. In this case, don't be fooled. The final games may be great but it won't hide the fact that the overall product has been bland.

27 March, 2008

Ramble On

Well, the Superiority Report is moving on. Or, rather, it's creator is. My wife and I are expecting a baby in September (a minority report, heh heh). Anyways, this is our first together but fourth overall. Since my two boys are still living in Louisiana we have decided to move back there so that they and the baby will not be strangers. We really like it here in our corner of Tennessee but believe this is best for our family. So I will probably be headed down to New Orleans in the next couple of weeks to find a job and place to live while my wife stays behind and gets the house sold. It's certainly going to be a hectic, stressful time so my blogs may not be as frequent as I would like. On the bright side (since this blog is ostensibly dedicated to battling stupidity in all its nefarious phases) I know, as a long time resident, that New Orleans has more stupidity per capita than perhaps anywhere else in the world. That should give me more to rail about in my blogs. So I will be moving on but hopefully the Superiority Report will not suffer. At least not enough so my 5 loyal readers abandon me.

21 March, 2008

Signs of Spring

Yes, you can choose to determine how close spring (and by extension, summer) are by paying attention to the weather. I choose to do so by the sports calendar. And, according to said calendar...spring is pretty much here. March Madness has begun (rather dully thus far it must be said). NBA playoffs are near. The NFL draft is around the corner. Baseball is about to begin. Now, baseball may not be my favorite sport(it ranks about 4th or 5th) but I love Opening Day. Maybe it's the air of hope that surrounds every team. Maybe it's because it does signify a quasi-official end to winter. Whatever it is, it's addictive. So, I'll watch as much as I can. Once again, I'm ready to follow my Red Sox all the way to another championship.

17 March, 2008

The Madness

Well, it's that time of the year again. Time for March Madness. Even if you're not a sports fan or basketball in particular it is likely you know what I am referring to. It is time for the NCAA's annual college basketball tournament. As far as yearly sporting events go, this is by far my favorite (soccer's World Cup-my favorite sporting event of all-only occurs once every four years). To me, the tournament is better than the Super Bowl or World Series or NBA playoffs. The Super Bowl is just one game and if it's bad then too bad for the viewer. I really only care about the World Series if my Red Sox are in it. The NBA playoffs can be fun but they drag them out sooooo looooong (they start in April and end in June). No, for my money the Madness is by far the best. You get three weekends of high drama, last second shots, and big upsets. The first weekend is by far the best. And that is this coming weekend. Starting Thursday, actually. Four days of madness. It just doesn't get any better than that. For the record, my Final Four consists of North Carolina, UCLA, Texas and Georgetown with North Carolina winning it all. You know what that means... if you're betting and rely on me put your money on someone other than one of these teams.

Erickson's Greatness

Sorry it's been awhile. I've been very busy at work and by the time I get home I'm so wiped I really don't feel like getting on line and posting anything new. One thing I have been keeping up on though is Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series. Those of you who have been reading my blog regularly know how highly I think of this series. With each book my admiration grows. Last week I finished reading Midnight Tides, the fifth book in the series. I am currently reading The Bonehunters, the sixth. Both books continue to confirm Erikson's storytelling ability and world building genius. I am about a third of the way through The Bonehunters and it already puts me in mind of Memories of Ice (the third in the series and my personal favorite thus far).
So what is it about this series that has drawn in myself and so many others? At the risk of sounding sacrilegious, I believe it is because Erikson is the closest thing to Tolkien since Tolkien. How so? Before Tolkien's epic Lord of the Rings trilogy there had been fantasy but nothing on that scale with that depth. Tolkein created a world that was so rich and deep you could almost believe it existed. He created characters that you truly cared about. I have read a lot of fantasy over the years and enjoyed alot of it but, ultimately, it is all derivative of Tolkien. Until I "discovered" Erikson. He has done the same thing that Tolkien did only he did it without using Tolkien's template. There is almost nothing here that is reminiscent of Tolkien (outside of the existence of magic in both worlds although in very different aspects). My guess is that the next twenty to thirty years will see an abundance of writers seeking to re-create what Erikson has done much in the way that all the years since Tolkien have seen writers trying to emulate Tolkien.
Erikson and Tolkien also share another trait. They are unforgiving to "casual" readers. Theirs are not books that you can read and then just forget. At least, not if you intend to continue with the rest of their respective series. Everything leads somewhere and sometimes seemingly obscure events have unexpected ramifications later in the series. This is especially true concerning Erikson. There have been times I find myself lost for awhile because I have forgotten events being referred to. Ultimately, when the series is complete, I look forward to going back and reading the entire series consecutively and realizing all that I missed the first time. In the final evaluation that may be what puts Erikson in Tolkein's solitary company-the fact that you can re-read both and always discover something new.

03 March, 2008

Beautiftul Day

We have had three days of absolutely gorgeous weather here in my little part of Tennessee. While I know tomorrow is predicted to be very cold again and winter has yet to completely relinquish its grip, it still gets me a little excited. It means spring will soon be officially here. Anyone who has read this blog before likely knows autumn is my favorite time of year. But spring has become a close second since I've relocated to Tennessee. Spending most of my life in New Orleans spring never really meant anything to me. After all, there really is no spring there. It's really cold one day and then suddenly it's summer. Being here though has reminded me of the springs vaguely remembered of my childhood in Iowa. Here you can see everything coming back to life and you can see the change in people as well. The winter can really bring you down after awhile but a change in the weather can be almost miraculous. So I will enjoy the weather as much as possible until spring is officially here and celebrate the fact that winter will soon be but a distant memory. And how best to celebrate? Why, to stay inside and read of course. But, hey, the windows are open at least.

02 March, 2008

Blame it on Disney

First, a disclaimer of sorts: I like animals and have no problem with pets (except cats). Having said that, I cannot tolerate people who believe animals are on an equal level with humans. They are not. Even the stupidest human alive is vastly more intelligent than the smartest animal. Animals may have some "human-like" characteristics but that does not make them human. I feel a mixture of sorrow and revulsion for people who treat their pets like they are equal parts of the family. Worse, by far, than these mostly harmless individuals are the members of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). I am all for treating animals with respect and not abusing them. That is about as far as I'm willing to go. PETA though will, and often does, go to ridiculous extremes. These people seem to care more about animals than their fellow humans. Seriously, these individuals scare me. While I certainly wouldn't put them in the same category as terrorists, I am quite comfortable classifying them as extremists.
So who is to blame for this culture that sometimes places animals above humans? Why, Disney of course. It sounds funny but I am more than half serious. Most of these people are of a generation that grew up on Disney movies. What is the one common theme of Disney movies? Yep, animals with human characteristics (they even talk). I believe over the years these people's subconscious reinforced the idea of animals as humans so that as they grew up they believed real animals were the same way. Why else would some people be so fanatical about animal rights? I mean they have car insurance for your pet now! I'm not kidding. It's Geico I think and maybe others. This is ridiculous. It's only been maybe the last thirty years or so that people have been such strong animal activists. There has to be some underlying cause for that. I choose to blame it on Disney. They can take the hit.