Tomorrow night, Mars will make its closest approach to Earth until 2016. At 55 million miles away, it won’t be as nearby as it was during the much-hyped close encounters in 2003 (35 million) and 2005 (43 million), but it’s well worth a look regardless. Indeed, the Red Planet has been a brilliant fixture in the night sky for several weeks now. I see it all the time while walking Robbie.
Mars will be in the eastern sky, not far from Orion, in the hours after sunset tomorrow.
P.S. For those who prefer astrology to astronomy:
The entire Mars perigee period is always one of elevated tension and conflict, the kind of atmosphere that cultivates inflamed passions, hot tempers and rash action: feelings that we have suppressed or have not paid attention to will in some way be held up to the truth and any illusions we have ever harboured will be shattered.
At a more impersonal level a Mars perigee period is marked by fires, explosions, accidents, storms and various Ã¢â‚¬Ëœacts of GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢. To be forewarned is forearmed: have candles and matches and a good supply of water and a few tins of food at hand. Be aware.
Well then. Good to know.
In the Dec. 17 NY Times [free registration required] Adam Nagourney shares the Shocking revelation that in the presidential nominations contests, Super Duper Tuesday just might Not constitute The End of All Things. [Why yes, I’ve been rewatching The Trilogy on TV lately; how’dja Guess? :] Emphases Added:
As campaigns try to keep up with this fast-paced, multi-layered campaign, there is growing sense among Republicans that for their contest at least Ã¢â‚¬â€ and perhaps for Democrats Ã¢â‚¬â€ Feb. 5 may not be the end of the line…
…The conventional wisdom is that a candidate must do well enough in the contests that take place in January Ã¢â‚¬â€ starting with Iowa and New Hampshire Ã¢â‚¬â€ to roll into Feb. 5 with enough force to sweep the table. Even if the candidate doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t actually accumulate enough delegates to claim the nomination, the pressure from party leaders to coalesce around a nominee, combined with the obstacles facing other candidates who might want to fight on, would carry the day.
Except that it is now entirely possible that no Republican will be moving very quickly going into Feb. 5. In fact, it is entirely plausible that Mike Huckabee of Arkansas will win the caucuses [in Iowa]; that John McCain of Arizona will win New Hampshire; that Mitt Romney of Massachusetts will win Michigan, Fred Thompson of Tennessee will win South Carolina and Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York will win Florida. In those circumstances, with no obvious front-runner, and with many of the candidates having adequate resources and varying bases of support, they could just divide the prize on Feb. 5 and move on to the next primary.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Which means the race might not be over until the convention,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Peter Robinson, a fellow with the Hoover Institution and a speechwriter in the Reagan White House. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I know there comes a time every year when journalists say this is going to be decided at the convention. I wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t say itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s probable, but it is possible: This race just wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t close.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Still, there are considerable obstacles to a protracted nominating battle…
…Which Nagourney goes on to elucidate. Read the whole free-registration-required thing.
(Full Disclosure: my own Impish fantasy is TWO contested Conventions, a Dem 3-way and Repub 4-way, in which the seating of the Penalized Delegations ~ those from the Impermissibly Early primary-&-caucus states, previously presumed to be No Problemo because the respective Nominees Presumptive will grant them Full Dispensations for the sake of Party Harmony ~ become, in the unanticipatedly-consequential Absence of said Nominees Presumptive, the very Condundrum whose solution is Crucial to the the concoction of a Majority for Somebody. / IOW ohhh, wouldn’t it be Fierce? :)
Some critics of Tyrone Willingham believed it was his unwillingness to make staff changes that led to his ouster at Notre Dame 3 years ago. Whether that was true or not, it can’t be said this time, as he has fired Defensive Coordinator Kent Baer along with Special Teams coach Bob Simmons. Defensive struggles were one of the Huskies’ lowlights this season, and many were pushing for Baer’s firing.
There finally appears to be some progress in the negotiations between USC and the L.A. Coliseum Commission… but this part concerns me:
The school…will allow the commission to pay for a stadium overhaul — one that would cost in the neighborhood of $50 million — by allowing the use of USC’s logos in a stadium naming-rights deal.
“In the interest of getting a deal done we have … agreed to allow the commission to do a naming-rights deal and cooperate with the commission to get a single, prime naming-rights sponsor to name the Coliseum and put together a package,” Dickey said. “As long as the money that was raised from that will go toward improving the Coliseum, based on the list of improvements that we feel are necessary and the specific deadlines by which they must be done.”
Does this mean the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is going to become the Office Depot Coliseum of Los Angeles or some such blasphemy? Good lord.
(Suggested corporate sponsor via Boi From Troy, who blogged about this possibility way back in September.)
Since my shameless plugs for Julie worked, I figured I might as well try another sort of shameless plug… one that could make me money!
I recently got an e-mail from a fellow at Asgard Press inviting me to check out their selection of Vintage College Football calendars. They’re pretty nifty, if you’re into old-timey-lookin’ football type stuff. Here, for instance, is what the cover of their Notre Dame calendar looks like:
They’ve got a ton of other schools, too, including Tennessee. Alas, no USC — that’s in the works for next year.
Anyway, they make great stocking-stuffers… if you have an enormous stocking. :) Okay, okay, they make great gifts, anyway, for the old-school football fan in your life. Go over and see for yourself! And if you decide to buy one, be sure to use that link to get to it: you’ll get a 10% discount, and I’ll get a 15% cut. So everybody wins! :)
With Rich Rodriguez leaving West Virginia to become, at long last, the new coach at Michigan, the question now becomes who will be West Virginia’s new coach, and it appears that a possible candidate is… that’s right, kids…
Sources close to University President Mike Garrison have informed WBGV that Nick Saban’s agent has contacted WVU regarding our vacant head-coaching position.
These sources tell us that Saban is extremely unhappy in Tuscaloosa and has failed to recapture the situation he had in Baton Rouge with LSU. The purpose of the agent’s call was to express initial interest in the position and to have WVU athletics put together a compensation package enough to lure Saban from Alabama.
LOL!! Just when you thought Bobby Petrino might take over the title of “most blatantly disloyal sleazeball coach east of
the Mississippi Dennis Erickson,” King Saban reasserts his claim to the throne…
If you have any sort of pre-emptive strategies for preventing yourself from coming down with a cold/flu/fever, and your wife is getting into the latter stages of pregnancy, employ those strategies, immediately if not sooner.
There is nothing more miserable, I have learned, than being sick while your wife is super-pregnant. I’ve had a severe sore throat and a wildly fluctuating fever (as high as 101.3°, as low as 97.4°) for the last three days, and it totally sucks. I mean, being sick always sucks, but it especially sucks right now, and it sucks for both of us. Why? Because 1) I can’t dote on Becky as much I normally would when she’s 38 weeks pregnant, and 2) Becky can’t dote on me as much as she normally would when I’m all sick. Oh yeah, and 3) I have the added stress of worrying that 3a) I’ll still be sick when Becky goes into labor, which technically could happen at any moment, and/or 3b) Becky will catch what I have, won’t be able to take the medicines I can take, will be totally miserable, and it’ll be all my fault.
As it is, we’re both basically sitting around the house in a somewhat zombie-like state, each trying to do what we can for the other, then periodically stopping to wallow in our respective islands of discomfort: my stuffy nose, hacking cough, eyes that feel like they’re on fire, chills trading off with hot flashes, and oh yeah, the horrible pain whenever I swallow. Becky, meanwhile, gets to deal with getting kicked in the ribs, feeling stretched, smooshed and crowded all over, and being exhausted… all… the… time. (And so forth.)
Actually, Becky has been a saint through all this. Despite my efforts, I daresay she’s been doting on me more than I have on her, and with very little complaint. Personally, I see this as further evidence in support of my longstanding theory that Becky is the most awesome wife in the world. Here we are, at this unique moment in our lives when I ought to be waiting on her hand and foot, and instead, she’s trying to nurse her sick hubby back to health. (For example: homemade chicken-noodle soup tonight!) Becky rocks.
Oh, and one other piece of advice, albeit perhaps of the somewhat more obvious, damn-Brendan-you’re-a-dumbass variety. If you wake up with a fever of 100.8°, and you still have ambitions of going to work, and you decide to take a shower in pursuit of those ambitions… don’t take a hot shower. I had chills when I got in, so it felt good… for about 30 seconds. Then I started to feel very nauseous, which in retrospect I realized was because (duh) my body temperature was starting to spike. I got out after about ten minutes, and after maybe five minutes of evaporative cooling, my temp was at 101.3°. Who knows how hot it was when I first got out. In conclusion, I’m a dumbass.
P.S. For any worry-wort fathers and ex-medical-professionals-in-law who may be reading this, rest assured: I went to the doctor, got a strep test, and it was negative. I was told it’s just a run-of-the-mill upper-respiratory virus, and that I just need to take it easy, drink lots of fluids, and get plenty of rest. So that’s what I’m doing.
The netroots’ reaction to Joe Lieberman’s endorsement of John McCain is relatively muted, notwithstanding Andrew Sullivan’s prediction that it would make their heads asplode. The king of the netroots, Kos himself, writes that it’s “kind of silly” to be “outraged” about this, and in fact professes to be “quite pleased with this turn of events.” He says it reveals Lieberman’s true colors at last (those of a “disloyal backstabbing ass”), and renders the hated Nutmegger increasingly irrelevant.
One thing about the McCain-Lieberman
ticket alliance does seem to be sticking in the lefties’ craw, though, and that’s the fact that Senator Joe supposedly “promised the voters of his state that he would fight to elect a Democratic Senate and president.” This claim deserves some additional scrutiny.
If you’re a Drudge Report reader, you know that Matt’s top “story” right now is a picture of a wrinkly and bedraggled-looking Hillary Clinton, above the headline “THE TOLL OF A CAMPAIGN.”
What you may not know — I only recently learned it — is that the Drudge Report has become, at least in part, a Mitt Romney vehicle, courtesy of the Stormin’ Mormon’s senior communications strategist, Matt Rhoades, who is described as having a “direct line” to Drudge. I don’t know whether Romney and Rhoades have anything to do with today’s Hillary-bash, but it’s widely believed that Drudge’s recent anti-Huckabee headlines have been fed to him directly from the Romney camp.
But anyway, more interesting than the Romney angle, IMHO, is the sexism angle, which Ann Althouse tackles:
My first reaction to that picture is simple disbelief. How can she suddenly look that much older? I know Presidents age horribly in their few years in office, but she’s not President yet, and this seems to have happened overnight. Did some treatment wear off?
But here’s my second reaction, on reflection: We make high demands on women. A picture like this of a male candidate would barely register. Fred Thompson always looks this bad, and people seem to think he’s handsome. We need to get used to older women and get over the feeling that when women look old they are properly marginalized as “old ladies.” If women are to exercise great power, they will come into that power in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. We must Ã¢â‚¬â€ if we care about the advancement of women Ã¢â‚¬â€ accommodate our vision and see a face like this as mature, experienced, serious Ã¢â‚¬â€ the way we naturally and normally see men’s faces.
I think Althouse is right. As such, I disagree with Glenn Reynolds and particularly with his reader, Thomas S. Baker, who writes: “Remember all the media attention regarding John Kerry and his alleged botox injections?” I think that actually proves the point, rather than disproving it. Kerry didn’t get bad press for being wrinkly, ugly and old-looking; he got bad press for trying to improve his appearance, so that he would look smoother, more attractive and younger! His supposed use of Botox was seen as unmanly, and that’s why it was a big deal. (To an extent, the same is true of John Edwards’s $400 haircut, and that video.)
If Kerry had never used Botox, his wrinkliness never would have been a campaign issue, just as Fred Thompson’s isn’t. Glenn says “if Fred went from apparently smooth-skinned to wrinkly overnight, people would notice.” But let’s get real. The camera can make the same person look wonderful one minute and horrible the next, depending on camera angles, lighting conditions and so forth… not to mention how much makeup the candidate is wearing (and yes, the male candidates wear makeup, too). Point is, I’m sure there are plenty of unusually unflattering photos of male candidates sitting on various wire services’ cutting-room floors, never published, and certainly never the top “story” on Drudge. So this isn’t just a double-standard based on gender; it’s almost an opposite standard. Women are supposed to look young(-ish) and fashionable (but not too fashionable) and unwrinkled at all times. Men are supposed to project an aura of not caring about their appearance at all — beyond looking “presidential,” of course, whatever the heck that means (and wrinkles probably help in that department).