Thursday, October 14, 2010

Suburban Urban Nashville

Today, The Huffington Post has a post by Suburban Nation co-author Jeff Speck on the, "10 Worst Things About Suburban Sprawl." This photographic lists includes, rather depressingly, an example from urban Nashville--Green Hills:

Hillsboro Circle, near Hobbs Road:

Yes, Green Hills is an area that is notoriously suburban in nature despite being in (what should be) an urban area. The good news is that the photo is out-dated and the pedestrian obstruction has been removed from the sidewalk:

You can even see the scar left behind by our stupidity:

So, yes, Green Hills and much of urban Nashville is still annoyingly suburban in nature. Perhaps the good news is that things are slowly changing for the better. One good Green Hills example is the delightfully walkable Hill Center.
Also, Mayor Karl Dean recently signed an executive order to implement a, "Complete Streets," initiative for Nashville.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

feeding the multitude

. . . and a large crowd had gathered there, following Him. And the people were hungry. And His disciples worried, how will we feed all these people? There are thousands and thousands of people here (not that we're counting). And Glenn said: thousands? If the media says there are thousands of people here, then there hath wilt be a multitude of millions of those that gather here in the shadow of humanity to witness great miracles. (By the way, I am humbled).

And Glenn took just five loaves of bread and two fish from a small boy who was brought forth by Americans for Prosperity. And He shouted aloud to the people: I couldeth pass this bread and fish around and feed the masses, in the name of my Lord. But socialism is of the devil. Rise up and feed yourselves! And Glenn used the word shall as much as possible. And the people were all white, except for the important token non-whites, who legitimized the movement. And there was great pointlessness and vague declarations.

And Glenn said: I am the bread of life. Also, President Obama has a deep seated hatred for white people. He is a racist.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Americans choose WC soccer over Glenn Beck

"It doesn't matter how you sell it to us. It doesn't matter how many celebrities you get. It doesn't matter how many bars open early. It doesn't matter how many beer commercials they run. We don't want the World Cup. We don't like the World Cup. We don't like soccer. We want nothing to do with it. You can package it any way -- you can spend all kinds of money. You can force it on our television sets. We will not enjoy the World Cup."

(by 'we,' I'm guessing he means himself and that guy at the Vatican who keeps Beck up to date on how wildly important his work is)

Glenn Beck on June 17: World Cup Soccer will, "never interest Americans."

On June 23rd, the US-Algeria game on ESPN was the highest rated show on any network, including Beck's, among the males aged 18-34 and 18-49 demographics.

Glenn Beck may not need that vapor rub to help him cry this time...

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Nashville flood slideshow

from yesterday to today

Photo taken Monday morning:

Photo taken Tuesday afternoon:

Looks like not much is changing, but in between the time these two pictures were taken, the river went up some more and then came back down to about the level it was when the first picture was taken. The good news is that the river is slowly going down.

But we have a long ways to go.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Bob Cesca has a great column on Glenn Beck as a fraud (obvious), but a dangerous fraud (maybe not so obvious). Cesca nailed it when he compared Glenn Beck to another TV personality who puts on a rather entertaining fear mongering act:

"Listen to any random monologue by Glenn Beck and then watch some clips of televangelist Jack Van Impe. Both are master manipulators and (crazy aside) riveting speakers. They each nail their audiences with rapid-fire barrages of nonsense presented as dramatic fact -- so twisted and obscured that it begins to seem real and anything that might not seem entirely plausible, just have faith. After all, there are complicated drawings on a blackboard!"

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mystery NCAA resumes

Team #1
27-7, 14-4 in conference
RPI: #23
SOS: #80

Team #2
25-8, 11-5 in conference
RPI: #12
SOS: #22

Team #3
24-8, 12-4 in conference
RPI: #25
SOS: #32



Team #1: Ohio State, 2 seed in NCAA
Team #2: Tennessee, 6 seed in NCAA
Team #3: Vanderbilt, 4 seed in NCAA

When Vandy fans are finding undeniable proof of it, then it must mean UT got screwed with that 6 seed. Listening to some of the talk surrounding the NCAA Tournament selection process this year, I am beginning to think the whole process needs serious reform. Instead, there is talk of expanding to 96 teams--imagine that mess.

ht: Got this idea after listening to a discussion on 1045theZone.

Is Murray State the next Siena?

In the 2007-08 season, Vandy went 26-8, 10-6 in an SEC that qualified 6 teams for the NCAA Tourney. That earned the Dores a 4 seed and an opening round game versus 13 seed Siena. Vandy was a no-show and was blown out by the Siena Saints. You may remember how many college basketball talking heads were picking Vandy to get upset in that game. They were right.

Now in the 2009-10 season, Vandy has earned a 24-8 record, 12-4 in an SEC that qualified 4 teams to the NCAA Tourney. Again Vandy was placed into March Madness as a 4 seed. And again the talking heads like a 13th seed, this time the Murray State Racers, to upset the Dores.

There do appear to be some similarities between the 07-08 season and this season. One may hear the talking heads and wonder: are the Murray State Racers the Siena Saints of the 09-10 NCAAs for Vandy?

If you've followed Vandy basketball for any time at all, you know that Vandy almost never enters any competition as a favorite--no matter their ranking or seed. Hell, (if I remember right) Vandy was picked by the media to finish third or fourth in the SEC East in 1993 when they ended up as overall SEC Champs.

In 2004, Bob Ryan said 6th seeded Vanderbilt University was, "too white," to compete with opening round opponent and 11 seed Western Michigan. Vandy ended up in the Sweet 16 that season. In 2007, 11th seeded George Washington was a hot 1st round upset pick versus the 6th seeded Dores. Again, Vanderbilt went on to the Sweet 16 that year, and even then were only stopped by a team that was allowed to, "travel," past them.

Before that? Vandy was a 10 seed and was matched up against 7 seed Xavier. Did the experts see an upset in that one? No, they thought Xavier would prevail (and they did).

No matter what Vandy does, who they have on their team or what their record is--when they advance to the post-season, they frequently seem to be viewed as a team that is, "likely," to lose. Sometimes the experts are right, sometimes they are (very) wrong. I don't think you can count on the, "experts," for anything when it comes to predictions on Vanderbilt.

So, what do the resumes say? How likely is it that Murray State will be the dagger to the Commodores that Siena was?

Looking at Siena in 2007-08 and Murray State in 2009-10, there are some similarities. Murray State actually has a higher RPI than Siena did in 2007-08. But that comes from Murray only losing 4 games, despite playing an almost all cupcake schedule. Obviously winning your games can be more important than playing a tough schedule when it comes to RPI ranking, as evidenced by the numbers of 2007-08 Siena and 2009-10 Murray State:

Siena 2007-2008
23-11, 13-5 in MAAC
RPI: 67
SOS: 143
loss by 8 on road at Syracuse (NIT team in 07-08)
beat Stanford by 8 at home (was top 10 team in 07-08, advanced to Sweet 16)
bad losses:
lost 102-58 at eventual national championship runner-up Memphis

30-4, 17-1 in OVC
RPI: 62
SOS: 287
5 point loss at California to open season. No other games all season long versus top 50 RPI teams. Only had 2 other games against teams that advanced to NCAA Tournament this year: 61-57 neutral site victory over ETSU (16 seed in this year's tournament) and 75-66 home win over Morgan State, who is a 15 seed in this year's NCAAs.

I say Murray State's 2009-10 tournament resume is much more similar to that of Vanderbilt's 1st round opponent in 2003-04, the Western Michigan Broncos (we just need Bob Ryan to open his yap again):

26-5, 15-3 in MAC
RPI: 53
SOS: 226
all loses came on road
neutral court win over RPI 31 UAB, 69-62

Both Western Michigan and Murray State dominated weak conferences and were strong at home. All loses for both teams came on the road. Vandy and Siena, however, were built to compete with the big boys, and win away from home against quality competition.

Unfortunately, Vanderbilt has been consistently inconsistent the last few weeks of the season. And that makes them ripe for an upset. They could probably beat just about anyone or lose to just about anyone right now.

So, Murray State could well upset Vanderbilt. But when you look at how untested Murray State is this year compared to Siena in 2007-08, Vandy is getting an easier out this time. And Vandy, themselves, are a more balanced, more talented team than the last Commodores edition that entered the NCAA Tournament.

Final Four sleeper vs. Cinderella

CNNSI's Stewart Mandel on Dores/Racers in NCAA:

"Best first-round matchup: Vanderbilt-Murray State. Prior to Sunday night, I would have listed Vanderbilt as my Final Four sleeper and Murray State as my top Cinderella candidate. But now they're playing each other. At least it should be entertaining."

Sunday, March 14, 2010

MSU compares favorably to Ole Miss & Florida

The talking heads of college basketball are obviously more knowledgeable and aware than me, but I think they are wrong...about Miss. St.

If you stop listening to the group think (that says MSU is out after losing SEC Tourney Final) and start looking at the numbers, then MSU should make the NCAA Tournament, at least in comparison to their SEC bubble team counterparts. Compare MSU's numbers to Florida's and Ole Miss' and if either of those teams make the tournament then Mississippi State definitely deserves to as well.


23-10, 9-7 in SEC
SOS: 97
2-4 vs. top 1-50 RPI teams
bad losses: Rider, WKU
strengths: advanced to SEC Final and took UK to OT; beat Houston on road, swept Ole Miss, beat Vandy in SEC Tourney

21-12, 9-7
SOS: 33
3-8 vs. top 1-50 RPI teams
bad losses: lost to South Alabama at home
strengths: beat UT at home, beat Ole Miss at home; beat Michigan St.

21-10, 9-7
SOS: 70
2-6 vs. top 1-50 RPI teams
Don't see a really bad loss; did lose to Arkansas at home by 7
strengths: lost to UT on road in OT;

Florida and MSU both lost to Richmond, which I don't consider all that bad of a loss. Richmond, RPI rank #22, just took Temple (a 3/4 seed) to the wire in final of A-10 Tournament today.

I know the talking heads are the talking heads for a reason, and MSU may not make it into the NCAAs. I don't know if MSU deserves to make the NCAA Tournament--but I do know, without a doubt, that if either Florida or Ole Miss make field of 64, then MSU definitely deserve to go as well. And the numbers support me, not the talking heads.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

for those about to get stupid, there's always Deadspin

Tony Kornheiser recently got in trouble for saying these stupid things:

“Hannah Storm in a horrifying, horrifying outfit today. She’s got on red go-go boots and a catholic school plaid skirt … way too short for somebody in her 40s or maybe early 50s by now.” [She's 47.] “She’s got on her typically very, very tight shirt. She looks like she has sausage casing wrapping around her upper body … I know she’s very good, and I’m not supposed to be critical of ESPN people, so I won’t … but Hannah Storm … come on now! Stop! What are you doing?

And here's what the ignorant fuckwads at Deadspin, attempting to write about the controversy, said about Hannah Storm:

"She just wants to talk into the camera, look pretty, and go home and play with her kids."

Tony Kornheiser=stupid. Deadspin=makes Kornheiser look brilliant. Deadspin is incredibly inept at writing about actual sports, they relegate themselves to everything sensationalistic and nothing substantive. Here, they reported on a controversy by displaying the exact sort of ignorance that created the controversy in the first place.

Deadspin is Mark Sanford to Tony Kornheiser's Bill Clinton

Sunday, February 21, 2010

ignorance and hypocrisy plagues teabaggers

If you turn on any political news show or debate these days, you will surely hear about how important the Teabaggers have become. But the Teabaggers have never really given any of us a reason to take them seriously. Because they don't really stand for anything (other than white rage, I would contend). And they are either ignorant of, and/or completely hypocritical on, the one thing they claim they do stand for--tax cuts.

Bill Maher provided a perfect example of this on his show on Friday night:

"Now here’s an amazing statistic--in a recent poll, almost 90% of Teabaggers said that they thought taxes had either gone up or stayed the same under Obama. Only 2% thought that they went down. But the reality is taxes have gone down. For 95% of working families taxes went down. Think about that--only 2% of the people in a movement about taxes, named after a tax revolt, have the slightest idea what’s going on with taxes."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

less b.s.+more sports=good

The other day I turned the radio dial over to the Thom Abraham show just to see what was going on. He was talking about how he didn't understand how Nashville (specifically the Nashville media) was ignoring a video on TMZ of Vince Young dancing and fooling around with friends in the streets of Dallas at the NBA All-Star game festivities.

Abraham was speculating/assuming that VY was drunk and claimed that his behavior was irresponsible and one reason why he will never be an elite quarterback, like Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and others (because they would never be caught behaving this way).

First of all, it's a little bit funny and ironic that he mentioned Brett Favre, who has a very specific history of drug and alcohol abuse. Hello, hypocrisy. Secondly, this sort of crap is a good example of why Abraham was annihilated by the Sports Zone the last time he was on during drive time. He just doesn't understand Nashville. He literally sounds like hundreds of other shock jocks all across the nation, who spend their time on the air trying to say or do something controversial, just looking for something to complain about.

It's the angry white man syndrome. Talk radio is filled with it--white guys behind the mic screaming and yelling to mostly white guy listeners about how angry they are about the unbelievable things some non-white athlete has done. And often times it's something as harmless as dancing in the streets or embracing a rapper or something similar.

There's a reason why George Plaster's Sports Zone has completely blown out every other sports show that has ever competed in their time slot. They know and understand Nashville. And they don't bring the typical sports talk radio bullshit that you have to put up with on nearly every other show out there. If a controversial topic comes up they address it. They argue, they discuss, they lament. But they don't give angry monologues, they don't muck up good talk about sports with a lot of b.s. in a pathetic attempt to grab attention.

I understand that the Sports Zone isn't for everyone. Some consider them boring--God knows they can be cheesy. And yes, Thom Abraham is filling a (small?) void out there. There are people who like the typical sports talk crap. Its not that I haven't tried it. I've listened to a lot of the big ones before--like J.T. the Brick and Colin Cowherd--they spend as much time stroking their egos as they do on actual sports talk.

I once listened to a long conversation on a national sports talk show on whether a man can carry an umbrella when rain is in the forecast and still be a man---or if it makes him girlie. See, when I tune into sports talk, I like to hear discussion on sports related topics, not a pathetic diatribe on someone's thinly veiled sexual insecurities. But it's surprising how often some shows are reduced to just that.

It's not that I think that Thom Abraham is bad. He seems like a nice, genuine guy. In fact I think he's probably better than most of the typical sports talk crap out there. And the times that I have tuned in, he hasn't usually been doing this angry white guy crap. But I still don't think he understands Nashville very well. If he's still complaining about how the fools in New York or wherever else would be throwing a fit about a non-story, just to have something to complain about, then I would expect he will continue to trail far behind the Sports Zone.

Nashville is more laid back than a lot of big cities out there. There isn't such an obsession over athletes and celebrities--their every move isn't tracked compulsively. I think, for the most part, they are allowed to live fairly normal lives here, compared to many other places. I think that is a refreshing change from many other markets. And that's one way in which I hope Nashville doesn't change.

I definitely think there is room for two successful drive time sports talk radio shows in a sports-obsessed town like Nashville. But as it is now, I think we only have one. With good reason.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

countdown status check

31 days to spring, 2 weeks to March.

Vandy countdown status: LOCK

In the last week or so, the Commodores have played two bad games and one brilliant one (sweep!)--but they went 2-1, which is good news (especially considering recent injuries/illnesses). Vandy is now 19-5, 8-2 in the SEC and are alone in second place in the SEC East (with a two game lead over UT and Florida). They are #10 in the RPI rankings.

I originally set the countdown at 10 wins, because 10 wins in the SEC would make Vandy a lock most years in the league. But Vandy's non-conference schedule helped boost their RPI and got them some quality wins (along with a few blemishes) on the resume. But at 19-5 with 8 SEC wins, it is hard to imagine a scenario where Vandy wouldn't end up with an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament. There is no more denying--Vandy is a lock for the post-season.

Preds countdown status: UP IN THE AIR

The Preds record at the Olympic Break: 33-23-5, 71 points, 7th place in the Western Conference. 19 points away from 90 and a possible playoff berth. 71.3% probability of making the post-season.

The countdown for the Preds is much less of a sure thing. Just when it looks like they might be ready to shed an apparent slump, the Preds find a way to lose a game to one of the league's worst teams. And just when it looks like they might be ready to bow out of the playoff race, they come up with an impressive win against a team like Pittsburgh.

The Preds sent themselves to the Olympic break by killing off a Pittsburgh Penguin overtime power play, diving and scrapping along the way, and then becoming the first team to beat the Pens in a shootout this year. It was an inspired performance from a Preds team that has struggled badly at special teams. But any momentum will have to wait--the Olympic hockey tournament gets underway today.

ps--just 4 months until the World Cup

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

twitter helps politicians...display their dumbassness

I love that Twitter provides politicians a very public forum for making complete asses out of themselves.

After D.C. (22" of snow last week, more on the way) and Nashville (first significant snowfall in nearly a decade) each experienced rare amounts of snowfall, the dumbassness of the conservatives went on display via Twitter:

Jim Demint: It's going to keep snowing in DC until Al Gore cries "uncle

Ron Ramsey: Heading from Chattanooga to Knoxville. Creeping along on interstate. Snowing like crazy! Hey Al Gore, what happened to Global Warming?

What happened to global warming? Well, using these conservatives' moronic logic**, it's currently wreaking havoc on the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics:
"The Olympic plans at Cypress were undercut by the warmest January on record, which kept snow-making to a minimum. According to Environment Canada, the average temperature this year was 7.2 degrees Celsius ( 45 Fahrenheit), when it normally is 3.3 C (38). From Dec. 1 to Jan. 31, the area received 79 percent of its usual precipitation, but most of it was rain."
Wow. Canada is literally having to truck in snow for the Winter Olympics at the same time Republicans are celebrating extreme weather, a hallmark of the effects of global warming, as proof that global warming doesn't exist.


**Obviously, neither snow nor lack of snow is proof of anything when it comes to global warming--those are just local weather events, but this contrast does provide a window into the idiocy of the climate change deniers . . . and their failed attempts at quippy humor.