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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday Links (2/14)

I spent Christmas Eve and much of Christmas day stuck at airports because of snow in Dallas.

My trip home last Saturday was delayed because of immense snow in the Northeast.

My trip to Syracuse was cancelled completely because of more immense snow just four days later.

And then, to top it all off, my drive back from the Northeast on Friday took 16 hours, thanks to snow in the Carolinas and Georgia.

I'm convinced that Al Gore knows how to use Power Point as well as anyone in America. Beyond that, I'm remaining skeptical.

(And if you're out of state and didn't get to see the snow in Athens, Dancing in the End Zone has some great photos. Of course, I think this one from Central Park in New York might have been my favorite snow design.)

Anyway, back to work today (sort of), and we certainly have lots to catch up on:

-- I got a bunch of questions from you guys while I was away, but I'm going to save most of them for a mailbag this week.

-- I missed one hoops game (a disastrous loss) and covered last night's win over South Carolina at home.

I'm constantly amazed at the difference in how this team plays at home and on the road, and I'm struggling to really understand it. It's not a matter of talent -- Georgia has proven it has the talent to compete, particularly with a team like Auburn. It really seems like it's completely about attitude. How can the Dawgs finish so strong last night after absolutely folding against the same team on the road just a couple weeks ago?

And it's a shame, because if you give Georgia back that awful loss to Auburn, the one-point choke job against South Carolina in Columbia and the loss to Mississippi State in which the Dawgs had a double-digit lead midway through the second half, and we're talking about an NCAA tournament team right now. Georgia has wins over Illinois, Tennessee, Vandy, South Carolina and Georgia Tech... how many other teams would kill for that resume at this point?

A lot of credit, obviously, needs to go to Mark Fox. As I watched Georgia hit so many huge free throws down the stretch and come up with so many big rebounds after the Gamecocks launched one absurd 3 after another, I couldn't help but be struck by how far this team had come from the Dennis Felton era just one year earlier.

Of course, the flip side of that is that Fox probably deserves some of the blame for the failures on the road, too. Again, the Auburn game underscores just how much psychology is involved in this rather than a deficiency of talent. That's something coaching needs to overcome. I'm certain it's something at the forefront of Fox's concerns right now, too.

But for all the credit (and potential blame) Fox has earned this season, I think what the 2009-10 Georgia basketball season has come down to is two distinct issues:

1.) Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie are much better than they were a year ago. How many other teams in the SEC have two legitimate NBA players in their starting five? Neither Thompkins nor Leslie are ready to enter the draft this year, but they both have that level of ability, which makes the notion that Georgia lacks talent absurd. What Georgia lacks is depth of talent. These two guys have taken big steps forward and they are the biggest reason the Bulldogs are competitive sooner than most people expected.

2.) The guard play is not where it needs to be. Dustin Ware hasn't progressed like many hoped. He showed so many signs of improvement as the year went on last season, but his growth seems to have flattened. Ricky McPhee is a nice shooter, and a necessary component of a good team, but he lacks the athleticism and defensive ability for Georgia to play at a championship level. The problematic guard play is probably most evident on the road, too.

Fox said last week that if Gerald Robinson, Jr. -- a transfer who is sitting out this season -- had been able to play, the Bulldogs would easily have won between three and five more games. He's probably right. A bit more depth and a bit better play at the guard position, and we're talking about a team that could do some serious damage -- not just in the SEC tourney, but in the Field of 65, too.

-- I missed episode 2 of "Lost," but I watched it on DVR yesterday (a day which involved a ton of DVR watching). So here are a few (*spoiler alert*) thoughts:

Last season was completely about playing with the element of time, and I think we need to be careful not to ignore that this season. The producers have always been very careful about sort of telling us when things are happening without being obvious about it. (My favorite being when The Others showed Jack the footage of the Red Sox 2004 World Series.) I think we got some clues in this episode, too.

The theory goes that the LA X flight was simply a continuation of the original flight the castaways were on... way back in 2004. So it stands to reason that our parallel universe is occurring then. I think most of us assumed that what was happening back on the island was going on in 2007 (or '08?)... essentially a few days after the second plane crash that brought Sun and Ben and Locke's body back to the island. And, of course, we assumed that when the bomb went off, our parallel dimension Jack, Kate, et al are now living in that same time.

But are those things true?

First, we know that there are lots of differences between LA originally and LA X. Desmond on the plane, Hurley's lucky, etc. I read a post elsewhere that said (and I had forgotten this) that Claire was 32 weeks pregnant in Season 1, and in this week's episode, she was 36 weeks. So... what's to say that we're still talking about 2004? When they detonated the bomb, it clearly changed life off the island. So perhaps the same flight happens... but later?

And on the island, there was the reference to the French woman who "died years ago." But as we remember it, she would have only died a couple of years before the time the Losties are currently living in. It seemed an odd bit of language to use for it not to have had any meaning.

Add that to the confusing bit of seeming recognition of the LA X group (Jack with Desmond, Kate with Jack, Claire and Kate with the name Aaron) and I can't help but think that much of our assumptions about the timeline of both universes is not what we suspect.

A few other things:

I thought this episode was more like Season 1 than perhaps any in the last three years. That part, I really liked.

The Jack-Sawyer-Kate love triangle thing was interesting for a while, but now it almost seems cliched. I'm tired of it.

I actually thought Jack's character was rather likable in this episode. Perhaps he's grown from the experience of detonating the bomb and having it "not work."

Ethan was off the island and working as a doctor, using the last name "Goodspeed." This doesn't make much sense because we know that young Ethan was living on the island when the bomb went off. So if the explosion is what caused the slit between the two universes, are we to assume then that not only did the time traveling Losties get split off into the X universe, but everyone else who was on the island at that time did, too?

Another interesting thing I read afterward: Remember last season when Sawyer killed some of The Others to protect the Dharma folks, and the big rift that occurred afterward was that The Others wanted the bodies back? Seems that leaving a dead body on the island is bad news... as we might soon learn with Claire and Sayid.

I've never been the type that gets frustrated over a lack of answers or because a story doesn't unfold like I wanted it to. But there aren't many episodes left, and my list of questions is far longer now than it was two weeks ago.

Anyway, what did you guys think?

Oh, and if you want a far more insightful recap, check out the fine work over at Stuff of Legend.

And for anyone who just read that and wishes they had the last four minutes of their life back, here are some links to make up for it...

-- First off, a bit of commercial advertising: The Legends Poll is holding a contest for fans who follow them on Twitter or Facebook in which you can win a football autographed by one of the legends, including former Georgia coach Vince Dooley. No strings attached, no purchases necessary... just keep up with the goings on at the poll and you have a chance to win.

-- Wrapping up some hoops discussion, I wish I could tell you more on the Albert Jackson situation, but Mark Fox emphatically shot down any attempts to extract information yesterday, saying he has already commented on the situation -- referring to his "no comment" the day before.

Coaches have a right to handle things however they want, but this reminds me a bit of the Rennie Curran situation in Shreveport. By saying nothing, you don't keep the story from getting out there. You simply lose any control over how it is portrayed.

Curran's infraction was minor, but since Richt never commented on it until after the game, the TV audience for the Indy Bowl was left wondering just how bad it was. It looked bad for Rennie.

The initial reports said Jackson had been arrested for a hit-and-run. That sounds pretty bad. The real story isn't nearly as damning, and Jackson (and Georgia) would probably benefit from a more forthcoming approach to the situation.

Again, I can't tell anyone how to do their job, but I think there's a notion that controlling the message means stopping the message. That's just not how the world works now. The media is too big, and fans have a bigger voice than ever. If you say nothing, people will automatically fill in the blanks for you.

I think coaches -- Fox and Richt included -- could do themselves a big favor by simply making themselves a bit more available when it comes to information, and in doing so, ensure that the right information is getting out there.

-- Matthew Stafford isn't exactly doing his part to boost the local economy in Detroit.

-- Speaking of Stafford, Team Speed Kills looks at how this year could look a lot like 2006 on offense, which means the standard for success at the QB position might not need to be as lofty as you'd think for Georgia to win nine or 10 games (and maybe more).

-- Bill King wonders whether it's the QB position or the defensive questions that are of bigger concern to Georgia heading into spring ball.

-- And in other ex-Dawg news... The Super Bowl is over, and it's back to business for some of the Saints, including former Georgia player Charles Grant, who may find himself out of a job if he doesn't take a hefty pay cut. (h/t Jim F)

-- Get the Picture looks at the big money flowing in from football programs around the SEC.

-- And speaking of money, that's all the NCAA (and SEC) seem to care about. Because after completely jobbing Georgia last year because of the league's BS rules on excessive celebration, they now want to make the rules even more strict. I'm at a loss.

-- Psychology Today breaks down why people watch "How I Met Your Mother." (I thought this week's episode wasn't great, but the "Perfect Week" episode two weeks ago was my favorite of the year.)

-- Next season could be the last for "Friday Night Lights," but producers aren't confirming anything just yet.

-- The Wrap takes a look at which TV shows are on the bubble for renewal next season. Of the ones listed, I have a few thoughts:

I'm ready to say goodbye to "Scrubs." In truth, they should have pulled the plug after last year's excellent finale.

I'm enjoying the remodeled version of "Chuck" and I hope it sticks around. The show isn't perfect, but it's fun and not utterly insulting to people with functioning brain cells.

I'm extremely hopeful that NBC keeps "Community" alive. The show started slowly, but I think it's really started to find its voice in the last few weeks. I think last week's episode was probably my favorite half-hour of TV all week. I'm a sucker for a good '80s montage.

"Heroes" needs to be put out of its misery. I'm also ready for "24" to end its run... particularly with a rumored movie version in the works. I've always thought "24" was a good show that could have been great on a network like HBO, where the limits of traditional programming could be removed.

I've never seen an episode of "Mercy," but I've really enjoyed sarcastically making fun of the commercials all year.

Good riddance to "Flash Forward," but I hope "V" gets a little more time to develop.

-- And finally, I want to say a big thanks to Eye on Sports Media for their hefty praise of yours truly. It's not at all deserved, but it is much appreciated. Thanks!

20 comments:

Ben in Georgia said...

It also got dark last night, David. I guess, by your logic, you thought it would remain so forever? I understand the subject of global warming has become politicized to the point of absurdity, and whether it exists or not, using the fact that it snowed in the middle of Winter as an argument against it is illogical at best. Don't worry though, you're not alone in your thinking. I actually saw the same sentiment expressed on the marquee of a church sign last night...and then I threw up a little in my mouth.

But, concerning things that actually matter:

Good points on Lost. I hadn't thought of any of that. If you haven't done so (and if you have the time), I highly recommend going back and watching the series from the beginning after knowing what we know now. It's amazing to see how early some of this stuff was thought about.

During the Auburn and Arkansas games, I kept having these flashbacks and could have sworn I saw Dennis Felton back on the sidelines. Luckily, I awoke to the Vandy and Carolina (home) games. Fox has shown me enough that I have nothing but faith that he'll have this problem corrected soon.

David Hale said...

Trust me, Ben, we're on the same page on the global warming stuff. I was being a bit facetious to underscore the horrors of my recent travels.

I watched the whole series of "Lost" before last season, and you're right... it's crazy to see the little loose ends that end up developing years later.

"The Wire" also did an excellent job of making a small plot point from one season a big issue two seasons later.

Ben in Georgia said...

Apologies for the confusion, then. Outside of re-arranging the letters on said church sign (which was very tempting but it's in a high traffic area) your blog was simply the first outlet I came across to combat the ignorance I've been bombarded with lately.

Wow, maybe I need to go back and watch The Wire again too. I don't really recall anything too major lingering from one season to the next. That's one show that really takes some patience.

gene said...

Congrats on the recognition Dave. It is very well deserved!

CyberDawg said...

David, congrats on the award, btw.

As to Lost, you only have to look to the biblical fable of Jacob and Esau to see some of the themes the writers have rehashed from mythology. As the story goes, Jacob was the intelligent "spiritual brother" and Esau the gruff, stupid "brother of flesh" destined to work with animals and man. But Jacob was not always the "pure" one, having conned his father into giving him Esau's birthright even though Esau was born a few minutes earlier. In the biblical tale, both brothers follow separate paths, but are brought back together later in life. (a definite allegory to the good and evil in us all)

Note that Jacob can leave the island and travel to the past, but cannot be seen by the living on the island. (with the exception of Hugo, who sees dead people) Meanwhile Esau (the man in black and the man of flesh) is trapped on the island, presumably in one time.

Esau seems capable of imitating dead people, like Locke and Eko's brother. Perhaps Jacob is capable of actually inhabiting dead people, either in the past or future.

Now we see that there are two universes and two versions of the characters. How do these double universes get resolved in the end? I have a theory. Perhaps Jacob and Esau are the same person split apart by some other event in the long past, but with one being the spirit of the person and the other, the "flesh." Perhaps that is why there is a "rule" that one cannot kill the other, simply being the law of causality. (one can't kill oneself from the past since that would require one to never exist in the first place) Esau had to trick someone else into doing the deed.

Being writers, we know there are certain "mechanical" requirements of stories and the theme of Lost has always been about the dual lives all the characters lead, between their good and bad characteristics.

It just makes sense that some "coming together" of entities and universes will be the final theme and outcome of the show.

I remain convinced that Abrams will try to provide a scientific explanation for his mythological themes, and I think it must be somewhere along these lines.

What do you think?

Carter said...

Global warming is like a religion to many of its adherents. I remain agnostic on the matter.

I just wish ManBearPig would be more open to a friendly debate. Insulting the intelligence of the opposition and saying, "The science is settled," doesn't help a cause that is polling as less and less of a concern everyday with skeptical citizens.

It is kind of odd that no matter what happens with the weather, advocates explain it away with global warming, or "man-made climate change." Is it too hot? Global warming. Too cold? Climate change. Too much rain or perhaps too arid? Climate change. Too many hurricanes? Global warming. Too few hurricanes? Uh….

Anyway, I digress: kudos on your red eye kudos, Dave. I remember when Ching announced he was moving on and that you would be replacing him. I feared then that you wouldn't work as hard as Ching, but this is one instance in which I was happy to be proven wrong.

CyberDawg said...

To Carter...

"Global warming is like a religion to many of its adherents."

As a person with climatology training, I hate to tell you, but the the global warming debate is like a religion to many treehuggers and virtually all conservatives. Their arguments have nothing to do with science and facts and everything to do with propping up their own self worth and worldview. Most laymen's understanding of climatology is virtually nonexistent.

Meanwhile, the scientists who study global warming for a living are sitting on a mountain of evidence supporting global warming. Are they 100% certain? No. But I'd estimate about 90% certainty for 99% of all climatologists.

Meanwhile, the religious zealots on both sides of the argument are simply muddying the waters and making it impossible for ordinary folks to glean any substantive conclusions about the risk.

I can tell you this. The possible ramifications of runaway global warming are truly catastrophic. (worldwide famine and destabilization of governments. Read the Pentagon study) If there's even a small chance of its existence, we should be doing all we can to avoid the negative aspects of global warming.

The changes we need to make would also make us less dependent on foreign oil and recharge our economy and manufacturing capability, something BOTH SIDES of this issue should be able to agree on.

Carter said...

Dave,

I apologize as I know this isn’t the proper forum, but it's a lazy Sunday and I just can’t help myself.

“Predictably, the New York Times says those Climategate emails reveal nothing more than the pettiness of a few scientists - and in no way undermines global warming science. And no surprise, both Robert Gibbs and the chair of the IPCC dismissed the Climategate scandal as no big deal.

But sadly, what were seeing now with Climategate is not an anomaly, as the Times wants you to believe, but the opposite of an anomaly (a promonaly, if you will). Fact is, those emails were all about suppression- and suppression has been the bedrock of global warming science since day one.

So, let's start with the basics: greenhouse gases. CO2 is one of them, and activists like to tell us than man-made driven CO2 is what's causing global warming. However, of all the CO2 entering our atmosphere every year, only 3 percent or so comes from evil humans. The rest comes from Satan's triad: oceans, animals and plant life. Well, you can't say that humanity is destroying the planet, once you realize man's impact is negligible.

Big Green also likes to talk about consensus. Well let's talk about consensus - like the Gallup poll of climate scientists showing that nearly 50 percent had rejected man-caused global warming. Or how about the first assessment report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change? They even suggested that the temperature changes of the last century could all be due to "natural variation." However, the summarizers ignored the report's uncertainty, and instead predicted substantial warming. And look up the infamous Hockey Stick graph - which eliminated real global warming from ages ago, in order to make it look like the climate's getting way hotter now. That's how you get consensus: through suppression.

And then there's Al Gore. When one of his beloved professors published a paper saying global warming science was uncertain, Gore made the man's sanity an issue. He also tried to pressure Ted Koppel into linking political and economic forces to anti-global warming factions. And of course, there's his movie, which exaggerated faulty data until it became utterly laughable.

And now the EPA declares global warming a health issue - the last refuge of a scare-mongering scoundrel. If you can't get the world to pay up by showing them pictures of drowning polar bears - tell them your kids will die through vector-borne diseases. It's all crap, but it's dangerous crap - designed to turn sloppy science into a deadly, hysteric scare.

But what's the biggest fraud of all? It's the marginalization of anyone who stands in the way of Big Globe. Never before has a defense of science been so mocked and ridiculed - all in the name of science. Even if you don't question the hypothesis, but question the methods, you're a heretic. If you even don't question the methods, but question the policy, you're a monster. And even if you don't question the policy, but question the hysteria, you're a murderer.

The fact is, for the media and our administration - global warming ideology is too big to fail, because that failure is their failure. You kill global warming, you kill their god - and if you do that - then where in the world will they be?

Rediscovering global cooling, probably.”

http://www.dailygut.com/?i=4397

“See, arguing about global warming is like arguing about religion. You will never change the mind of a true believer, and if you're a skeptic, you're seen as a soulless heathen. But in a way, the global warming religion is worse – because at least the Pope isn't demanding we damage our economy to sustain his belief in a higher power.”

http://www.dailygut.com/?i=4193

Anonymous said...

Coach Fox is doing this with whatever was left over from the terrible shipwreck that was 6 years of Felton. He has taken what would have been another miserable season and somehow turned chicken feed into chicken salad. He has worked wonders in simply teaching the players the FUNDAMENTALS. I still wonder what Felton did with all that time and money.

Nolan said...

Congats on the award, David. You deserve it.

CyberDawg said...

To Carter,

Well, you certainly have your propaganda down. Unfortunately, as a Climatologist, I can tell you, that you know NOTHING about the subject. It's like a plumber trying to debate brain surgery. You can make comments that sound convincing to a laymen but are totally worthless from a scientific perspective.

I'm not going to belabor the point here because this is not a political forum.

Let's just leave it at this: your unqualified blather sounds just like the so-called religious zealotry you claim for the treehugger wingnuts. You're not fooling anyone.

Please take this crap elsewhere. And btw, I will too. This will be my last post on the subject. Leave poor David to his subject matter. I never should have egged you on.

Ben in Georgia said...

Carter,

So, supposedly, 50% of scientists reject the idea of man-made global warming (we'll just ignore the 50% that don't for argument's sake). Well, what about naturally occurring global warming? As someone who seems way more interested (and therefore, hopefully, more informed) on the subject than I, I trust you know the ramifications that could occur even with a few degrees difference in Earth's average temperature. I agree we shouldn't "damage our economy", but would it be right to ignore it completely and live in ignorant bliss? I would argue that there are just as many "religious zealots" on both sides of the issue nowadays.

Carter said...

Cyberdawg,

Thanks for proving my point.

Ben,

Thanks for your relatively civil tone. I am not “a person with climatology training” as Cyberdawg stated at 4:58PM or “a Climatologist” as Cyberdawg stated he was at 10:21PM. The entirety of the body of my second post is in quotation marks followed by the urls where said text can be found. As stated in my initial post, I am agnostic on this particular matter. My background is in finance and politics. I am a libertarian (fiscally conservative, socially liberal) and a pragmatist who is generally skeptical of overreaching federal and world government. But enough about me.

I’m in favor of doing whatever we can to help the environment, but my concern is if it’s necessary to severely damage our way of life with legislation like "cap and trade" or feckless international protocols? We all saw how fruitless and farcical the Copenhagen summit was. Is cap and trade even the best way to help, and how can such a bill have any effect on the global climate? The U.S. isn't even the top producer of CO2 emissions any longer, China is. And guess who doesn’t give a damn about cutting CO2 emissions? China, India, and the rest of the developing world scoff at proposed global climate agreements. We “fat cat” Americans and the ever increasingly irrelevant Europeans don’t come off too well when we lecture previously impoverished nations. They aren't going to let anything get in the way of their continued financial emergence and increasing the standard of living for their people. China is accumulating oil and natural gas resources all over the world. If environmentalists really want to make progress on saving the world, they’re going to have to learn Mandarin and convince a billion-plus more people of their “settled science.”

David,

Again, my bad.

dawg1976 said...

yay... links links

glad to see you are safely back in Georgia after your adventures up north in yankeeland.

congrats... that is one creepy looking eyeball

NCT said...

Carter, other than the article you linked, which didn't include any cites that I could see, where might one view this "Gallup poll of climate scientists"? Color me skeptical, but I haven't found anything. Not saying it doesn't exist, but it's hard to take your article too seriously when it doesn't lead the reader to sources.

papadawg said...

DH,

Congrats on the much-deserved award.
Your blog remains the best.

P.S. Please never bring up Global Warming again. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Which is worse? Talking about Lost or climate change?

Guh.

Ricky McPhee is underrated as a defender. He did a great job on Rotnei Clarke of Arkansas, and held his own against Devan Downey in the 1st half on Saturday.

David Hale said...

PapaDawg... My bad...So, anyone want to discuss universal healthcare?

Dawg '85 said...

Congrats on the deserved recognition, DH. Wow, your sparked some rather serious philosophical debate there.

I always enjoy your cultural references, but I'll stick to sports for philosophical matters.
So, if Bryan Evans fell over in a forest... would he cover anything?

NCT said...

Sorry. I had no intent to engage, regardless of the answer to my question or whether I got one. It was a simple, single question.