Archive for August, 2006

Ernesto nears N.C.

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Ernesto is almost ashore near Cape Fear, North Carolina. But will he make landfall as a tropical storm, or as a hurricane? We’ll find out in a few minutes, when the 11:00 PM advisory from the NHC comes out.

Hurricane Track has more, including video reports from the strike zone.

UPDATE, 10:45 PM: Nope… still a tropical storm. The Hurricane Watches remain up, but I don’t see how Ernesto can realistically strengthen to a hurricane at this point. He’s already halfway ashore!

And so it begins

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Boston College and Central Michigan just kicked off. The college football season has begun!

P.S. You can watch the Buffalo-Temple game here.

Also underway: Connecticut vs. Rhode Island! Audio here.

UPDATE: It’s a thriller in Buffalo, where, after 52 minutes and 22 seconds of scoreless play, including two missed field goals by the Bulls, Buffalo just took a 3-0 lead on a field goal with 7:38 left! Woohoo! America’s two worst college-football teams, living up to their lofty reputations! LOL!

Meanwhile, Central Michigan misses several golden opportunities and loses to Boston College, 31-24, in a game which did not exactly make the Eagles look impressive.

UPDATE 2: Buffalo and Temple are going to overtime… tied at 3!

Why, it’s almost like an SEC game! :) (Indeed, in a nationally televised tilt, South Carolina leads Mississippi State, 3-0 in the third quarter. Let’s hear it for the Ol’ Ball Coach!)

UPDATE 3: BUFFALO WINS!!! 9-3 in overtime!!! WOOHOO!!!

P.S. Heh:

It was the Bulls’ first season-opening victory since 1997 when they were a Division I-AA program. It also marked the first time Buffalo has had a winning record at any point in a season since opening the 1998 season 4-3.

In other news, Joe Lieberman and Connecticut easily defeated Lincoln Chaffee and Rhode Island in the DINO-RINO Bowl. :) Final score, UConn 52, URI 7.

Meanwhile, could the season’s first upset be Toledo over Iowa State? Or how about NAU over ASU?

FINAL UPDATE: Iowa State won in triple-overtime, and Arizona State pulled away in the fourth quarter. So, no real upsets yesterday.

Here’s the Buffalo News article about Buffalo’s win. And here’s the Hartford Courant article about UConn’s win.

CNN Breaking News

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

The National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Ernesto’s top sustained winds have increased to near 70 mph and the storm could reach the U.S. East Coast as a hurricane. Visit CNN for the latest.

Ernesto strengthens, nears Carolinas

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Tropical Storm Ernesto is strengthening. As of 2:00 PM, it’s at 70 mph — just shy of the requisite 74 mph to become a hurricane — and Hurricane Watches are up for the Carolina coasts. Alan Sullivan thinks it will be a hurricane. The NHC isn’t officially forecasting that, but acknowledged the possibility in the 11:00 AM discussion:


Dr. Jeff Masters has more.

Incidentally, I may have a liveblogger reporting later this evening, via audioblog and/or cell-phone photo posts, from just south of Myrtle Beach, very close to the expected landfall point… but no promises about that yet. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, check out the current images from the long-range Charleston and Wilmington radars. That’s the same storm, but it looks a lot more impressive on the Charleston radar, doesn’t it? This is a great example of how radar images of the far side of a tropical system tend to make it look weaker than it really is. The Charleston radar is piercing the side of the storm and seeing a strong left back quadrant. The Wilmington radar has to cut through the bulk of the storm to see that, and thus, isn’t picking it up very well. At least, that’s what appears to be happening; if someone has a different explanation, by all means offer it. I’m not a radar expert, but I’ve definitely seen this pattern before.

Of hookers and happy marriages

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Over at her long-dormant Valkyrie of Discarded Thought, Becky is finally blogging again, first about the secrets to a happy marriage and then about our run-in with a drunk driver in Buffalo last weekend. (As Becky aptly summarizes it: “our drunk driving man is a) drunk, b) has no ID, c) has a bag of weed on him and d) has a nasty hooker in his car.” Yes, it was an entertaining encounter.)

In the happy-marriage post, I particularly like this paragraph:

I think it’s important to remember that love doesn’t only describe a feeling. Love is a verb. Verbs are actions and therefore, love is an action. Sometimes feeling the love isn’t enough. You need to see it and experience it. For example, Brendan will occasionally clean out my car when I accumulate a ridiculous number of half full water bottles. He’ll drop what he’s doing if I’m headed to bed before he is and I can’t find my teddy bear. He’ll indulge me by listening to my endless proclamations about the wonders of my Netflix queue. I smile and nod when he starts hypothesizing about Hurricane Ernesto and what the latest computer models are saying.


Let the games begin!

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

[NOTE: Don’t forget to enter the Irish Trojan USC & ND pick ’em contest! Deadline is 8pm EDT Sunday Saturday.]
Last year’s college-football season ended with a thrilling showdown between two teams, USC and Texas, who had been previously undefeated. One of the first games of this year’s college-football season — tonight at 7:00 PM EDT — is, in a way, the mirror image of that game: it’s a showdown between two teams, Buffalo and Temple, who will very likely go winless from here on out. :)

Believe it or not, this Cellar Bowl, if you will, between the Bulls (1-10 last season) and the Owls (0-11), is actually televised… sorta. It’s on CN8, which is “televised” in the same sense that games on ESPNU and ESPN360 are “televised.” In other words, you can’t watch it unless you subscribe to some sort of fancy-pants newfangled TV thingamadooger that I don’t. :) But apparently you can also watch it live on CN8’s website, which is pretty nifty! If that fails, you can always listen to the UB audio. (They’re expecting a near-record crowd, by the way, which is really a bit sad.)

While the Bulls-Owls crapfest isn’t on normal, non-newfangled TV here in South Bend, a whole bunch of other games that you might not necessarily expect to be televised, are. (For example: Nevada vs. Fresno? On the flagship ESPN? Really?) Here’s the full rundown of this weekend’s locally viewable college-football action, all times EDT:

Boston College at Central Michigan, 6:00 PM, ESPN2
South Carolina at Mississippi State, 8:00 PM, ESPN

Nevada at Fresno State, 8:00 PM, ESPN

Vanderbilt at Michigan, noon, ESPN
Grambling State at Hampton, noon, ESPN2
Akron at Penn State, 3:30 PM, ESPN2
*Northern Illinois at Ohio State, 3:30 PM, ABC
Cal at Tennessee, 5:30 PM, ESPN
UAB at Oklahoma, 7:00 PM, TBS
Washington State at Auburn, 7:45 PM, ESPN2
Notre Dame at Georgia Tech, 8:00 PM, ABC
USC at Arkansas, 8:45 PM, ESPN
BYU at Arizona, 10:15 PM, TBS

*ABC hasn’t actually announced yet which game they’ll be broadcasting locally, but the options are Stanford at Oregon, Rutgers at North Carolina, and NIU at OSU. Regionally, the latter seems the head-smackingly obvious choice, and it involves the #1-ranked team in the nation to boot, so I assume that’s what we’ll be getting.

Let’s get ready to rumble!!! Goooo Irish, Beeeeat Jackets! Fight on Trojans, Beat the Razorbacks! Also, for purposes of Pac-10 pride: Go Bears, rock Rocky Top! (Sorry, Jay.) And of course: LET’S GO BUFF-A-LO!!


Thursday, August 31st, 2006

I realize my website has been up and down today. There appears to be some recurring problem with the MySQL database (which contains the 92.5 MB of back-end data that constitutes my blog archives), causing it to crash periodically. I’m working on figuring out the source of problem, but in the mean time, I’ve set up a cron job that restarts the database every half-hour, so even if I’m not paying attention, the blog should not remain offline for more than 30 consecutive minutes (unlike this morning, when it was down for several hours).

I freakin’ hate Ticketmaster

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Here’s why:

Seriously… when the “Convenience Charge” costs more than 30% of what the ticket itself costs, I think that officially goes from “minor annoyance” to “bloody f***ing ripoff.”

CNN Breaking News

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

The National Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane watch for South Carolina and North Carolina as Tropical Storm Ernesto’s winds strengthen to 60 mph. Visit CNN for the latest.

Ernesto to Buffalo? Ioke into the record books?

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Ernesto is a tropical storm again, as of 11:25 PM. Mark Sudduth still thinks it may regain hurricane strength before all is said and done; the official forecast calls for strengthening, but only to 60 mph. The official forecast track predicts a second landfall near the SC/NC border this evening, and then an inland track taking Ernesto straight toward… Buffalo! If the timing is just right, maybe Shannon will give her baby the middle name “Ernesto”? :) No, but seriously: Ernesto’s biggest impact may be inland flooding particularly in the mid-Atlantic states.

Meanwhile, Margie Kieper has an excellent post about Supertyphoon Ioke, which is about to make an improbable direct hit on tiny Wake Island. SciGuy says of Ioke: “The worst may be yet to come. Some models, such as the GFS, forecast Ioke to become ridiculously strong. A recent model run had the storm reaching 210 mph winds with a central pressure of 865 millibars. Such a storm would easily eclipse Typhoon Tip as the most intense ever to form.”

ND & USC pick ’em

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

As we all count the hours (less than 18!) until the college football season begins with that much-anticipated Boston College-Central Michigan showdown — lots of BCS implications there! — I figure this should help tide us over: the Irish Trojan’s second annual ND & USC prediction contests!

Just like last year, the goal is not merely to predict each team’s final record correctly, but to predict each game correctly, and that is how the contests will be scored. Final record and margin of victory will be used as tiebreakers.

To enter the contest, simply leave a comment with your name* (or a psuedonym that will adequately identify you to Irish Trojan readers) and your predicted margin of victory for each USC and Notre Dame game. (They’re separate contests, so you can choose to enter one or the other if you wish; you don’t have to enter both, though of course it’s encouraged.) Positive margins of victory mean you’re predicting a win by the Trojans/Irish; negative margins of victory mean you’re predicting a loss. So, for example, if I want to predict that USC will beat Arkansas by 10, beat Nebraska by 13, and lose to Arizona by 3, my entry for the Trojans would begin:

Arkansas: +10
Nebraska: +13
Arizona: -3

USC’s schedule is here; Notre Dame’s schedule is here. I’ll leave a comment at the top of comments listing all the games, so you can copy & paste that, and then fill in the relevant numbers, if you wish.

The deadline to enter is 8:00 PM EDT on Saturday. The prize is eternal glory, bragging rights, and… that’s it. But isn’t that enough?

Good luck! (Especially to those who predict an undefeated Trojan season! :)

*First and last names preferred, not required. But please, if you have a particularly common name, at least give a last initial or something. I don’t want three “Davids” and four “Andrews” with no last names. :)


Thursday, August 31st, 2006

My Wikipedia page has been saved from deletion (over the continuing objections and vandalism of some), but as of yet I don’t have an IMDB entry. Oh, the humanity! :)

The AP lies, credibility dies

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

Let the record show that David’s post yesterday about Donald Rumsfeld’s speech was based on an Associated Press article that was basically a fabrication:

[There is] no “accusation” with the phrase “moral and intellectual confusion.” In fact he’s talking about our military when he uses the phrase. “Moral confusion” is also found in the speech where he discussed the history leading up to WWII. However it is never addressed to the administration’s critics. [The AP said, “In unusually explicit terms, Rumsfeld portrayed the administration’s critics as suffering from ‘moral or intellectual confusion’ about what threatens the nation’s security and accused them of lacking the courage to fight back.” -ed.]

Additionally, “courage” is found one time in the speech and it is addressing something completely different (“And one day, a future speaker may reflect back on this time of historic choice — remembering the questions raised as to our country’s courage, dedication, and willingness to continue this fight until we have prevailed.”). Nowhere is anyone “accused” of “lacking the courage to fight back.”

And so on and so forth. The AP has now edited the story, by the way, eliminating the most egregious errors. But not before the writer’s (perhaps deliberate, or perhaps just unconscious but overwhelmingly biased) mischaracterizations and fabrications were read by hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of Americans, on websites like CNN, Forbes, Yahoo, ABC, and yes, even Fox — and many, many others. (It’s a good thing all those big-media sites, unlike we pajama-clad bloggers, have fact-checkers!)

None of this is David’s fault, of course. It’s the fault of the biased AP writer and his overly trusting (and probably also biased) editors. But it is a good object lesson, not just for David but for all of us: NEVER BLINDLY TRUST A THIRD PARTY’S WRITE-UP OF A SPEECH — especially when that third party is an MSM reporter and the speech is given by a member of the Bush Administration or some other prominent Republican. (That said, it sometimes applies to non-Republicans too… like, for example, Julian Bond. Yep, I plead guilty: I haven’t always followed this rule either.) A speech says what it says; it doesn’t say what someone else says it says. Before you criticize a speech (or article, or other published work) on the basis of someone else’s write-up, find a transcript and judge for yourself — or, if you can’t find a transcript, at least load your analysis with caveats, because there’s an excellent chance they’ll be needed. (Hat tip: flicka47.)

P.S. It’s like, remember that time when Joe Lieberman said no one should criticize the president? Or that time Paul Wolfowitz said we invaded Iraq for oil? Or that time George Bush said terrorists aren’t a problem anymore? Or that time…

The end of the Valerie Plame kerfuffle

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

In case you missed it, Nadagate ended with a whimper. It turns out that the administration official who originally leaked Valerie Plame’s identity to Robert Novak was … [drumroll please]

Richard Armitage.

Yes, that Richard Armitage — the one who has consistently been hailed by Bush administration foes as a friendly moderate and anti-neocon in the Colin Powell mold.


College football rocks

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

Stewart Mandel offers 20 reasons why college football is better than the NFL. I couldn’t agree more. I would simply add two more reasons (both of which, in fairness, fit under the umbrella of Mandel’s #20), and those two are:

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Mandel also discusses a pair of substantive football-related topics of potential interest to Irish Trojan readers.