Saturday, December 31, 2005

Never tell me the odds

So much for my powers of prognostication -- a few years back, I finished with the best record in my bowl pool, but ever since then it's been decidedly average for me. This year I'm barely above .500 so far, but the way the group I'm in allocates points, I'm 60 places behind other people with the same record. So ... go, Tulsa! Yep.

Here is a nice article from the Sun-Times earlier this week on Brady Quinn and Dublin, Ohio. I liked one observation from Brady's father:

"I noticed that over at the Meijer's across town, they are actually carrying more Notre Dame merchandise than normal," Quinn said. "Nowhere near as much Ohio State stuff as they have, but more than normal. That's good."

One of the first things I noticed, when doing freshman-dorm-room shopping in South Bend a few years back, was that there actually was Notre Dame stuff in the Meijer on Grape Road. Growing up in Columbus, you start to think it's just a feature of all Meijer stores that they only stock OSU merchandise, because that's all you ever see. So to see some ND inroads being made in Columbus stores ... it's a start! Also, and importantly, BGS passes on the news that Brady will definitely be returning to South Bend next year. I never seriously thought he'd leave -- there's too much to return for, not least earning a Notre Dame degree -- but it's nice to have it confirmed. For other Fiesta-related articles, Bill at Bare Down has the best daily round-up.

EDIT: Did Mark May just claim he'd been "on the Notre Dame bandwagon from Day One"?! This, from the guy whom ND message boards have had to ban all mention of because he's so egregious in his anti-ND bias? Ha -- follow-up quip: "Mark May has just received an honorary degree in revisionist history." (Lou wouldn't have let the claim stand in any case.)

Sunday, December 25, 2005

A savior has been born

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone has a wonderful and blessed day. If you do take time to reflect today on the reason why we Christians celebrate this holy day, I offer the words of Pope Benedict XVI, from the homily of his first Christmas Mass as pope last night:

But there is more: in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God himself became man. To him the Father says: “You are my son”. God’s everlasting “today” has come down into the fleeting today of the world and lifted our momentary today into God’s eternal today. God is so great that he can become small. God is so powerful that he can make himself vulnerable and come to us as a defenceless child, so that we can love him. God is so good that he can give up his divine splendour and come down to a stable, so that we might find him, so that his goodness might touch us, give itself to us and continue to work through us. This is Christmas: “You are my son, this day I have begotten you”. God has become one of us, so that we can be with him and become like him. As a sign, he chose the Child lying in the manger: this is how God is. This is how we come to know him. And on every child shines something of the splendour of that “today”, of that closeness of God which we ought to love and to which we must yield – it shines on every child, even on those still unborn.

Friday, December 23, 2005

'Twas the night before (a Notre Dame) Christmas

Fantastic poem going around, written by John Rosemeyer. (I think it might be a guy I knew from my class, though there's another alumnus named John Rosemeyer out there also. Whichever it is, nicely done!) Thought I would post it here for other Notre Dame fans to enjoy. Instant classic (I also especially like the reference to everyone's favorite Indiana State Trooper).

GO IRISH!!!!


'Twas the night before Christmas, When all through South Bend
Not a creature was stirring, neither rooster nor hen

The banners were hung on the stadium with care,
In hopes that St. Charlie soon would be there

The alumni were nestled all snug in their beds,
With dreams of Leahy and Holtz in their heads;

While the students at the Grotto, down by the lake,
Were just giving thanks for a long winter break,

When out on those quads arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter,

Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The Dome with a crest of new-fallen snow
Gave luster of mid-day to a campus below

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear
A high-powered offense: the champions next year!

With a large and proud leader, so friendly and nice
I knew in a moment it must be Coach Weis

As fast as Four Horsemen, onward they came
He whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

“Now Hoyte, Now Samardzija, Walker, Fasano
On Stovall, On Shelton, Wooden, Anastascio!”

To the top of the rankings, to the top of them all
“Now throw a-way, run a-way, and dive for the ball!

We will move like the wind, our runners will fly
And just for balance, we’ll take to the sky!”

So up to the top of the rankings they flew
With a big book of plays, and Brady Quinn too

And then in a twinkling, to the sound of the cleats
The scoring and wins, I forgot past defeats

As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney, Coach Weis came with a bound

He was dressed with his rings, and headset to boot
And his clothes were all drenched with Gatorade and soot

A number of victories he carried on his back
And he smiled as he turned and presented a sack --

of trophies -– how they twinkled! Like heaps of gold treasures
His cheeks were like roses, his wisdom past measure

Weis commanded the team on fourth downs to throw
Through hail and through fog, through sleet and through snow

His genius caused points in the forties and fifties,
To hearten alumni and keep our stats spiffy

Weis had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed, like BCS bowl-ful of jelly,

He was chubby and plump, and so sure of himself,
That I cheered when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know, that Ohio State would be dead

He boasted not a word, praise makes not his day
But all now know, for the title we’ll play

And laying a finger to the side of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the rankings we rose

At his departure I heard Trooper McCarthy say;
“If your sleigh flight looks fishy, you’ll be the catch of the day!”

Weis sprang to the roof, to his team gave cheer
And away to a victory in the Fiesta next year;

And I heard him call plays for winning the game
“Merry Christmas to all. And love thee Notre Dame!!!”

Christmas palm trees

I'm heading down to Florida this afternoon, to visit my parents and see the rest of my family for Christmas. I'm sure I'll post during the week, especially as the main bowl events get closer (I'm only 2-2 in my picks right now . . . doh). In the meantime, I should say to all those who keep ending up at my site as a result of Google searches to this effect: I have absolutely no reason to believe Pope Benedict is an Ohio State fan. It must be an urban legend. If the Holy Father is aware enough of any American college football teams to be a fan, then despite the fact that we probably had more Polish immigrant kids than German ones playing for us over the years, I'm sure he'd be a Notre Dame fan. And with that, happy holidays to my readers!

EDIT: I'm now in Florida, and surrounded by an extra three ND alumni in my family. They have informed me that there's a picture -- very clearly Photoshopped -- being widely circulated, that shows Pope Benedict with an Ohio State background. Heresy! I won't link to it. As I said, if the pope loves any American football team, it has to be the Irish. But of course. :)

The panda in winter


They let the panda cub go outside yesterday morning for the first time, where he spent awhile climbing tree limbs. Otherwise, he's been rolling around in a rubber feed tray doing headflips in and out of it. This morning, he got a soccer ball to play with as well, so he batted that around. Some kind of life, n'est-ce pas? I'll just get back to my document review here at home this morning . . . :)

(Photo by the Smithsonian.)

Don't believe DeBeers

I've gone on a rant about inescapable jewelry ads before. With their annoyingly chirpy jingles, they always promise some variation on, "Buy her something shiny and expensive, and she'll love you forever!" Whatever. If a woman really wouldn't love a man unless the shiny rocks were big enough, there probably wasn't much there to begin with. (Jonah Goldberg put it less charitably in his annual shot at Kay Jewellers the other day.) Gifts can definitely be a nice way to say "I love you," but it's not as though there's more love if there's more money involved -- and plenty of sweet, thoughtful gifts don't require trips to Jared's. I know many women really love jewelry -- and if there's a lot of thoughtfulness involved, I suppose I can understand that -- but at least some women don't. And those of us who don't are still a little peeved at DeBeers, who invented the "Diamonds are Forever" slogan in the first place. It's all a big marketing ploy.

Via Family Scholars, another trend story from the NYT about women "who once rigorously avoided a fancy engagement ring," but who, now that they're on their second marriages, "are revising their notions about this classic symbol of commitment and love" -- that is, they're wanting "bigger stones." Let's hope there's an equally increased focus on the marriage, not just the ring, for these new couples the second time around. Oh, well.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A jolly sight

Via Amy Welborn, I saw these pictures of Pope Benedict wearing what appears to be a Santa Claus hat. Heh. Apparently it's a traditional hat, and even has a formal name (a "camauro"), but I hadn't seen it before. Merry Christmas to His Holiness!

Heavenly fans

A few people have landed at my site recently by searching for Ohio State vs. Notre Dame jokes. I'm not sure why Google led them here (and I'm not sure really how many of those jokes exist), but in the event, I'll post one that was recently forwarded to me:

After OSU Coach Jim Tressel passes away and enters the pearly gates, God takes him on a tour. He shows Tressel a little two-bedroom house with a faded OSU banner hanging from the front porch. "This is your home, Coach. Most people don't get their own house up here," God exclaims.

Coach Tressel looks at the house, then turns around and looks at the one sitting on the top of the hill behind him. It's a huge two-story mansion with white marble columns and little patios under all of the windows. Notre Dame flags line both sides of the sidewalk with a huge blue and gold University of Notre Dame banner hanging between the marble columns.

"Thanks for the home, God, but let me ask you a question," says Coach Tressel. "I get this little two bedroom house with a faded OSU banner and Charlie Weis gets a mansion with new Notre Dame banners and ND flags flying all over the place. Why is that?"

God looks at him seriously for a moment and then replies, "That's not Charlie's house, that's Mine!"

This also makes me think of Lou Holtz's response to the question of why ND fans should think that Jesus cares about our team any more than any other. Holtz's quick reply is always, "We don't . . . but we think his mother might!" :)

Self-selection

On Sunday, the Post Magazine had an extensive cover story about a same-sex couple who, "after years of hiding their love," were comfortably 'out' in their town, "until Virginia's lawmakers chased them across the Potomac." So what did those discriminatory lawmakers actually do? A little less than chasing people out of the state, to be sure; but they did pass a Defense of Marriage Act that made this couple sufficiently upset and concerned as to move north to Frederick, MD. The story is almost entirely sympathetic to the couple and their sad departure from their adopted hometown to a new one, but ends with an optimistic scene from a Unitarian Universalist church and the couple heading "out into the autumn sunshine."

Well, all right. The story, though a soft-focus character study, may be newsworthy in that migration to perceived more-liberal states could be a real phenomenon among gay couples. Yet consider this sharp comment from the next day's online chat with the author, which comment does a lot to illuminate a bit of the bias here:

I look forward to your follow-up article in which you spend 8-10 pages describing Heterosexual couples who decided to either stay in VA or move there because they were comfortable with the defense of marriage amendment. Please be sure to include less than a page from people opposed to the amendment, so as to be as evenhanded and fair as you were in yesterday's article.

Is it even imaginable that a publication like the Post's would do such an extensive cover story, casting a family like this in a favorable light with little perspective given from the other side? I find it difficult to believe so, based on years of reading one type of story and almost none of the other. Were one to be written, it would almost certainly be done with the "Conservatives in the Mist" approach that the MSM seems so often to take.

To a larger point, as I suggested above, it might be newsworthy to report on this type of movement if such movement was reported in both directions. Stories about the red state/blue state divide are plentiful enough, but it is interesting to wonder, what does it portend for us if we continue to split between the coasts and the "fly-over" country? Unless it was absolutely necessary, I'm sure I would never raise my family in San Francisco (despite my still-persistent partiality to the 49ers) or Massachusetts. I'm all for "engaging the culture," but when it comes to where my children would be in public schools, I wouldn't care to have them in a state where middle-school teachers happily talk about sex toys. Conversely, I've no doubt the gay couple with "their" two-year-old daughter by a surrogate mother would be less than thrilled to live in Mobile. That's not surprising; it's the divide we're currently living in many places, though the discussion is far from settled in many other states. In any event, if I do catch the Post writing an equally sympathetic story from the opposite perspective, I'll be sure to post it.

A thank you to our troops

This week is Thank a Soldier Week, organized by Townhall.com and given public support by celebrities like Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss at the recent Country Music Awards. More than 37,000 people so far have taken this opportunity to send a message of support and thanks to our troops, particularly those currently serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. I'd like to join them and express my gratitude toward all those who are sacrificing so much for our country, making it safer by promoting democracy and fighting terrorism around the world.


Also, do go see the sweet picture posted at The Anchoress, who has several good links up. And visit Operation Iraqi Children to see a great example of a charitable organization that is helping soldiers connect with kids.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Planned Priorities

Now here's a headline: "Groups concerned by grants promoting pregnancy over abortion." Horrors! Childbirth over abortion? Well, actually, it sounds like a great idea. The AP reports that the Texas legislature has voted to award $5 million in grants to crisis pregnancy centers, which offer support to women facing difficult pregnancies and encourage them to choose life for their children. It would seem to be difficult to object to a policy favoring life over death -- even the Supreme Court's messed-up jurisprudence on the matter of abortion allows for this -- but NARAL and Planned Parenthood are unhappy anyway. They seem to be concerned that by helping CPCs, the state is implying that abortion might not be an equally morally good choice for pregnant women. That is, of course, what the state is implying; it also happens to be true. Here's one specific complaint, though:

Abortion rights groups such as Planned Parenthood complain the program will divert money from health clinics that often serve poor women to groups whose primary goal to persuade women from having abortions.

It's an interesting dichotomy, but not that valid. CPCs serve many poor women as well -- since poor women have disproportionate numbers of abortions, as I have written about in the past, they are a particularly vulnerable population. But while Planned Parenthood may say they also want to serve the poor, they actually have a vested interest in continuing to exploit the poor. PP is now responsible for almost 1 in 5 abortions in America -- more than a quarter million in 2004. That number of abortions is about 140 times more than the number of people they referred to adoption agencies. And it means more money for the quite profitable group. In 2003-2004, it's a reasonable estimate that Planned Parenthood took in $100 million, a third of its clinic income, just from abortions. While state money might not be able to be used directly for these, PP does benefit from government money. If PP is really upset that crisis pregnancy centers, which offer real hope and support to women, should be receiving any money, it says more about their true concerns (profiting from abortion) than they think.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Fiesta-sphere

I pulled a few links up from my "Notre Dame" section and added some others to a Fiesta Bowl section on the left. (The rest of my Notre Dame links are still in that section, though.) Should provide good insight (or better, entertainment) until the actual game. To start, this post by Teds at BGS gives an exhaustive breakdown of the Buckeyes this year and some keys to the game for the Irish.

Whose cause is it anyway

Nice one from The Onion this week taking on my favorite Irish rock band:

Rest Of U2 Perfectly Fine With Africans Starving

SAN FRANCISCO—Rock band U2, currently on tour in North America, is well-known for its human-rights advocacy, particularly its ongoing campaign to eradicate poverty in Africa. Less known to fans of the Irish supergroup, however, is that the lion's share of these efforts are made by lead singer Bono. The three other U2 members are perfectly okay with the dismal plight of Africa's poor.

More motivation, Weis-style

From the man who promised to bring a "nasty" style of football to Notre Dame, Charlie Weis is now also talking about "humiliation" -- but not of opponents, of his own guys:

Ohio State, in itself, should command Notre Dame's undivided attention, but Weis always keeps psychological ammunition in his hip pocket.

Seven straight bowl losses? Perfect for challenging their pride in a program they have worked to rebuild.

"I think it gives you a great opportunity to humiliate them," Weis said, his feigned fidgeting transformed now into a fiendish grin, "and I think I'm really looking forward to that."

For all his celebrated X-ing and O-ing, Weis relishes that more visceral element of preparation.

I do think it's better to have the humiliation before the game, used as an incentive to keep ND's focus on preparing for the Bucks, than afterwards. Right? So while our bowl game losing streak is "otherwise irrelevant to the Fiesta Bowl," if it helps with inspiration, I'm all for it.

Monday, December 12, 2005

A Fresh Aire Document Review


In addition to some other projects, I've been working on a document review for the last few months. The review shifted into higher gear this past week, though, so that's been taking up my time (including a few dozen hours this weekend) almost exclusively. At least I can do most of it from my computer, so in the evenings I've been working from my couch next to the Christmas tree, with the Charlie Brown Christmas and Mannheim Steamroller CDs playing in the background. This is the first year I've had my own Christmas tree and it was a lot of fun decorating, so I'm determined to enjoy it as much as I can while coding. Merry Christmas :) (And yes, if you look closely at the picture, that is Darth Tater next to the tree.)

Let's send it down to Jack Aroo

This was just forwarded to me -- I wasn't sure where it was from, so I googled it and it looks like it's from a Fanblogs post earlier this season. Now that another Ohio State game is coming up for him to broadcast, and given my loathing of his announcing style, I have to link to the Brent Musburger drinking game, complete with a warning to "Play at your own risk. It is conceivable your whole party will be passed out with 8 mins remaining in the 1st quarter." Heheh. A sampling:

Rule #3: "It's a foot race!". Whenever Brent says "It's a foot race" everyone has to finish their drink. The first one done becomes "That Man" and gets to punch the Pardner in the arm.

Rule #6: "Jack Arute". Whenever Brent says "Our ol' buddy Jack Arute" everyone has to say "AROOOOOOT!" Last one to do it has to do a shot. If everyone does it simultaneously, the Pardner must do a shot.

Rule #11: "The Major". If Brent has a pet nickname for one of the players during the game, for example calling Major Applewhite "The Major", everyone must drink 5 anytime Brent uses this nickname. However, "Gary, my man" does not drink but gets to give away 5 drinks since this person already has a nickname of their own.

Rule #12: "John Saunders". The first time Brent quips with John Saunders, everyone must drink 1. The next time, everyone must drink 2, and so on and so on.

Every time he fawns over an Ohio State player (as one commenter pointed out, Andy Katzenmoyer remains a favorite) or says "folks," but particularly, every time he goes to Jack Arute (I swear it sounds like "Aroo") I roll my eyes and hit the mute button. It would be nice if the Westwood One or other radio broadcast were in sync with my TV for the games Musburger is on, but the few times I've tried to watch games that way it never matches up. *Grumble.*

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Bowl motivations

Here is the AP article on Notre Dame's return to the BCS. It quotes Brady Quinn (like me, from Dublin, Ohio) confirming the experience of growing up Irish in Columbus:

"Being a Notre Dame fan in Columbus was kind of hard, especially two years back-to-back like that," he said.

Yep. The article also notes the rather embarrassing fact that "the Irish have lost seven straight bowl games: the Fiesta Bowl to end the 1994 and 2000 seasons, the Orange Bowl to end the 1995 season, the Independence Bowl to end the 1997 season, the Gator Bowl to end the 1998 and 2002 seasons, and the Insight Bowl in Phoenix last year" -- an ignoble streak, to be sure. Quinn again: "That's something that obviously needs to end." That would be nice.

Irish in Ohio, or: A personal history of the series

My dad grew up listening to Notre Dame football games on the radio from his home in Miami (that's Florida, to my Ohio friends), before he went there and promptly became the biggest Notre Dame fan anyone who knows him has ever met. With that parentage, our family could never be anything but Irish. When we moved from Atlanta to Columbus when I was ten, however, it became clear there was a bigger game in town. We were surrounded by tens of thousands of Ohio State graduates, students, and fans, and almost every single one of them had an inherent dislike of Domers. Here's the story of the last time our teams met, as my family experienced it and as I wrote about it for the ND student magazine my freshman year:

Things came to a head in 1995, when the Irish came to Columbus for the first time in about 60 years. Now, the city paper, the Dispatch, rarely deigns to write about Notre Dame, but the week of this game stories were all over the paper. Notre Dame had won the two games in the '30s, creating, according to the paper, "ghosts that had annoyed and haunted generations of Buckeye fans." The humiliation of being on the short side of a 2-0 series record still smarted, and the team was aching for revenge.

They got it. My parents were downtown at the game along with a smattering of other loyal Irish fans, but they were lost in that sea of 100,000 red shirts. I was watching the game at home, and as the game progressed and ND fumbled it away in the third quarter, I kept hearing strange noises outside my house: hammering. Lots of it. My neighbor (we'll call him Joe) walked through the house a few times, looking around speculatively. "Joe?" I said a bit nervously. "What are you doing, Joe?" "Where's the garage door opener?" he replied. Followed by: "Do you guys have any extra nails?"

I ventured outside when the construction noises stopped. Our Notre Dame flag had been taken down, replaced by an OSU one. Blinking red Christmas tree lights hung on the bushes. The score had been chalked onto our driveway. Black sheets hung from the garage doors reading, "Quiet please. In mourning." Candles in Ohio State paper bags lined the driveway. And as my parents drove up the street, there were lots of neighbors from up and down the street standing and watching with their arms crossed, nodding approvingly at the redecorating efforts.

The next year the game was played in South Bend. Unfortunately, it was another loss for ND, and the neighbors outdid themselves this time. When we returned home from out of town the next day, we found that in addition to the lights, flag, and score (this time colorfully spray-painted on the lawn), there were also now cardboard tombstones. "R.I.P. ND '96," they announced, and "Here lie the Irish, dead and gone." Black crepe paper was draped on the mailbox and front door. The TV van pulled up a few minutes later.

On the local news that night, after the requisite story about OSU students overturning cars and burning couches in celebration, the anchors turned to the story of the ND alum, my father, who had returned from out of town that day. "He's a huge Notre Dame fan," the voice-over reported as the camera pulled back from the sticker on his car to reveal the mock graveyard. The scene shifted to Joe the neighbor. "He's just so arrogant about it," he said of my father in a long-suffering tone. "It's always 'Notre Dame this' and 'Notre Dame that.'"

"So he asked for this?" confirmed the reporter with a grin.

"Every day he asks for this," nodded Joe.

My father started laughing, knowing secretly that the arrogance was justified, seeing as he'd gone to, unquestionably, the best school in the country. He got in the last word, too, when the eternal reporter question, "How do you feel about this?" was put to him. "Oh, there's no hard feelings. I just find it sad, you know, that this football game means so much to Ohio State fans," he said regretfully, forgetting, of course, that had Notre Dame won, all of us Irish fans would have lorded it over the city for weeks, maybe even years. "I mean, people, come on. Get a life."

I don't mean to suggest there aren't nice students at or graduates of Ohio State out of the hundreds of thousands in the city; I personally know three or four of them. (Joke! I am one now, of course.) It was just that the only way we could have been more anathema as football fans in Ohio would have been to be from Michigan. Fortunately, fans of ND and OSU will always have at least that one thing in common: opposition to the Blue.

Addendum: When I decided to return to Columbus after college to attend OSU for law school, my parents never heard the end of it. It turned out it was a pretty nice place to go to school, though, and I had a great experience at the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University. It would have been convenient if I had been a fan of the football team, also, since they did win the National Championship my 1L year (a fact which you can never, ever escape in Columbus, particularly if you fly through the airport where the game is on a constant loop in the fan shop). However, I came to the school with my football allegiances too well set to become a Buckeye fan. In 1999, I wrote that if we ever faced OSU again or were in a BCS game, I thought I would go into hiding. Well, here we are, and I've rethought my position, although it might be made easier by the fact that after 15 years I'm no longer resident in Buckeye Central. Be that as it may, no hiding here. I think the Irish can handle the Bucks this year, and I look forward to seeing the Irish prove it on the field next month. I say, bring it on.

¡Fiesta dos mil seis!

Well, it's official: Notre Dame vs. Ohio State in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl on January 2. The teams have met four times in the past, twice in the 1930s and twice in the 1990s, with the series split 2-2. You might not think that makes for a serious rivalry, but if you think that, you've never lived in Columbus.* I'll be following the run-up to the game over the next month, but first, go back a few weeks and read about Stewart Mandel's encounter with obsessive fans of The Ohio State University here, including his opinion at the time of both teams:

All right, I can't take it any more -- what's wrong with you Ohio State people? Honestly? Do you have nothing better to do with your time than play the "my two-loss team is better than your two-loss team" game? This is like arguing over the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

We're basically splitting hairs here, but if you want my honest opinion: Ohio State is the more talented team, but in the Buckeyes' two biggest games of the season, I watched as their offense -- at the direction of their coaches -- curled into the fetal position. In Notre Dame's biggest game of the season, Charlie Weis showed no fear whatsoever against the No. 1 team in the country. When the Irish fell behind 28-24 with 5:09 left, Quinn promptly drove them 87 yards and dove for the go-ahead touchdown. When Ohio State fell behind Texas 23-22 with 2:37 remaining, Buckeyes QB Justin Zwick promptly fumbled. Down seven to Penn State in the final minutes, Troy Smith fumbled.

Mandel did add that "since that Penn State game, Smith and the OSU offense have been among the most explosive in the country," and after the Michigan game and other subsequent events, the Bucks did finish fourth in the national rankings. However, changing his opinion of the teams' rankings didn't stop Mandel from calling Buckeye fans "the craziest fans in the land." This is true. This will be demonstrated amply over the next month, I'm sure. But the ultimate outcome is going to be that despite Jim Tressel's recent successes in Tempe, the Irish are going to walk out January 2 with the win. Go Irish.

*Stories to follow.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Hook 'em

According to CBS Gametracker, Texas is up 42-3 at the half, and this game is shaping up to be even more of a rout than October's. Unless Colorado somehow acquires an offense in the next twenty minutes. Or, you know, a defense. Right. That leaves USC to do its thing against the Bruins so we can have the definitive Young-Bush matchup in January, along with that ever-more-likely-seeming Notre Dame-Ohio State game. As far as I know, I'm the only blogger from both places. Is anyone else out there?

In the meantime, very cool speech from Lou Holtz at last night's football banquet (complete with jokes, praise for Our Lady's University, and a nice little dig at Mark May), posted at BGS; and a post from Fanblogs looking at the merits of Oregon and Ohio State from Fiesta's perspective. Comments contain ample amounts of Irish love and hate.

EDIT: Looks like there's another "Irish Buckeye" out there, a 2L at ND Law School, Alex of Arguend-Ho. Check out his blog -- I'm sorry I missed it before :)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

BCS chaos theory

Stewart Mandel plays a game of what-if in his column this week, that is: what if Texas loses to Colorado? What if USC loses to UCLA? What if they both lose?

Not gonna happen, says Mandel. But aren't the scenarios fun to work out? The permutations would result in Notre Dame playing either Va. Tech or West Virginia. If the butterfly doesn't flap its wings, though, everyone seems to agree we'll be playing Ohio State. I'm sure others will do much better breakdowns of the matchups than I could, so I'll just share my instinctive feeling that I would much rather play Ohio State than Virginia Tech. Sure, Charlie can study Miami's game plan against the Hokies and might be able to replicate it, but they still strike me as more dangerous than even the peaking Troy Smith or (Brent Musberger's favorite) Santonio Holmes. Hmm.

Chesterton confusion

Random thought: Whenever Mark Shea posts a quote (here, for example) from G.K. "Prophet" Chesterton (as Mark calls him), I always find myself impressed with Chesterton's writing and prescience. However, I'm currently struggling through Orthodoxy, and finding it a mostly painful experience. Chesterton has an odd way of drawing analogies and his examples usually don't work for me. He's not nearly as clear an apologist, or as straightforward a read, as C.S. Lewis. Is it just me?

Three abortions before lunch

. . . and three after, for three decades, and pretty soon you've personally destroyed the lives of more than 20,000 unborn children. A tidy operation, and a nice way to make a living. In this LA Times article (I waited until it was printed not behind a firewall), Stephanie Simon writes about Arkansas abortionist William Harrison, who in the course of his career has killed more than three times as many babies as he's delivered. Lest there be a quibble with my phrasing, Harrison himself says he's an "abortionist," and admits freely that he's "destroying life." Both of these things are true. Then, in a perverse inversion of the evangelical Christian meaning of "born again," Harrison believes his patients are born again after their unborn children are gone: "When you end what the woman considers a disastrous pregnancy, she has literally been given her life back," he says. But this is false. Harrison never claims any women he's performed abortions on had life-threatening conditions, so their actual lives would have continued if their children had been born. Even if Harrison means "life" in the sense of "lifestyle," as he more presumably does, it may be true in the short term, but for millions of women the severe spiritual and emotional (and even physical) damage that comes with the knowledge, whether it hits immediately or decades later, of having chosen to end the lives of their own children will take years to heal. The women (and some men) of After Abortion or Silent No More testify to this every day as they try to help others with healing. (Project Rachel also ministers to women.)

Harrison's morality is monstrous enough (and a nice example of the kinds of people Roe v. Wade requires states to allow to "practice"), but the snapshots of the women coming into his Arkansas clinic are also depressing. So many women in this country have chosen, some freely but many not, this unnatural path. Estimates are that a quarter of all women will have an abortion at some point in their lives, ending one out of every four pregnancies in this country: that's around 40,000,000 abortions and counting at this point, an entire generation. Who are these women? We've seen a lot of testimony in the media in particular over the past year, including the woman who didn't want to have to shop at Costco and the woman who wanted a genetically perfect infant. In this story, we also get "Sarah, who works in real estate, [and] was in the midst of planning her wedding. 'I don't think my dress would have fit with a baby in there,' she says."

More, though, we've seen the fear and regret, the emotional confusion, the having to actively work to overcome the hesitations of conscience, and the desperate attempts to believe that this isn't their own baby, that this is just the best way for everyone (not just themselves). In this story:

The 17-year-old in for a consultation this morning assures the nurse that she does not consider the embryo inside her a baby. "Not until it's developed," she says. "That would be about three months?"

"It's completely formed about nine weeks," the nurse tells her. "Yours is more like a chicken yolk."

The girl, who is five weeks pregnant, looks relieved. "Then no," she says, "it's not a baby." Her mother sits in the corner wiping her tears. . . .

[An 18-year-old with "tears rolling down her cheeks"] is not yet sure, she says, how she is doing emotionally. She feels guilty, sad and relieved, all in a jumble.

"There's things wrong with abortion," she says. "But I want to have a good life. And provide a good life for my child." To keep this baby now, she says, when she's single, broke and about to start college, "would be unfair."

These stories are terrible. The 17-year-old and her weeping mother were simply lied to, as the nurse equated the girl's baby to a chicken yolk: her five-week-old unborn child already had a heartbeat. If she waited another week to schedule the actual abortion, her baby would have formed more of his internal organs, a little nose, and had his arms and legs grow a bit more and his eyebuds appear. I wouldn't count on that information to matter a whit to Dr. Harrison and his thriving business, but women should know, so that they will be able to take responsibility and give their children the gift of life, instead of taking life away.