My Mensa Question:

First off, I’m sure a lot of people who read this blog know already (because they know Me…) but for those who don’t know: I am a member of Mensa. An easy description is that it is one of the few places in the United States where the stupid aren’t considered innately superior to the smart.

But to the point: a few years ago I bought a membership that covered a few years. Either next year or the year after that membership will end, and I’ll want to make a decision on whether to do a lifetime membership or to just plain quit.

Cost shouldn’t be an issue, as I got plenty of credit and possible plenty of $$$ when the time comes. I’m sure I could even get some financial aid from the person I’m with at the moment.

But here’s the question: If I were to move out, would I still want to be part of Mensa?

That’s it. While my friend is a lifetime member of Mensa, I’m going at it with the possibility of me living by myself when the time for decision comes. One never knows, after all.

Just so you know, I’m just thinking at the moment. Nothing completed, but the thoughts are there.

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Detroit Puddy-Tats Make More (ugh) History

The Detroit Football Puddy-Tats have pushed aside the 1972-73 Houston Oilers in the history books, becoming the team in the post-merger era to have the second longest losing streak (behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who lost their first 26 games as a franchise).

Detroit now shares second place in the longest losing streak with two other teams. The Oakland Raiders had a 19 game losing streak during 1961-62, when they were pretty much a new franchise (although all of the AFL could be considered as new franchises at that point). The then Chicago Cardinals were actually involved in a 29-game losing streak, but between the war affecting them to a greater degree than other teams (they would win an NFL Championship in 1947, two years after the war ended) and a ten game stint where they were combined with the Pittsburgh Steelers, their swoon can be partly explained.

And Detroit’s excuse? The Curse? The Ownership?

Next weekend’s game is against the Redskins, who are actually pretty bad. It’s possible that they’ll be able to win this one…but then, quite a few of the games last year could have been won were it not for mistakes or general Puddy-Tattiness. After the Redskins there’s Chicago (who’s pretty good; they just defeated the Super Bowl Champion Steelers) and if both these games are losses we’ll start seeing a “Countdown to 27(and maybe a countdown to 30, to make EVERYTHING clear).

(first posted September 20th, edited on the 21st)

Central Michigan Defeats Michigan State. Nothing New…

Yeah…let me explain.

I was there in 1991, after four straight years of Michigan State being in the upper echelon of the Big Ten. There was that issue of Steroids, but about the only people who believed it (from my vantage point) were UofM fans and a couple of reporters in Detroit’s Conservative Paper. I don’t even remember a name mentioned in that newspaper article, and quite a few of us read that article and commented on it.

Everyone expected Michigan State to be about as strong and powerful as before, and while Perles’s successful putsch for the Athletic Director’s job left a sour taste in many people’s mouths (including school president John DiBiaggio, he jumped to Tufts University as soon as he could) it was assumed that the Spartans would have another winning season including a good bowl; and from there that sour taste would disappear in the aura of a man able to successfully juggle two jobs.

Then came The Central Michigan University Chippewas. It wasn’t even close in 1991, and the 1992 game was more lopsided than the score looked. Heck, had the Chips had a defense in 1993, they would have been 3-0 against MSU during that period.

Needless to say, the sour taste became bitter.

I remember being in the cab at the time of MSU’s first loss to Central Michigan. I didn’t even listen to the game, but I did ask dispatch what the score was towards the end of the game. He said “Central over State, 20-3;” I didn’t react for three minutes – it took me that long to realize what he said.

I then got caught on campus when the game ended. I’m not sure what was more startling: taking the cab over all the gullies the MSU fans were digging in the sod and pavement, or seeing CMU fans walking OVER my cab.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

In retrospective, that was probably one of the first signs to those of us who hadn’t followed Mandarich’s “career” in Green Bay (He’d have a better time in a few years in Indianapolis, but that’s another story) that the Detroit News and the Michigan fans were right about MSU’s football team being on steroids. After all, a great team doesn’t just fall off the national stage so completely after four years of being one of the best. It takes time to fall…time of fighting, readjusting, even rising back before one sees the possibility of living life in the constant shadow of mediocrity. Ask Michigan fans (who claim they’re still fighting), Notre Dame fans (further along in the collapse, IMHO), Miami Hurricane Fans, Nebraska Cornhusker Fans, even MSU fans who were around during the glory years of the 1950’s and 1960’s (and who remember the struggles since then); if they’re not in denial they’ll tell you the pains and struggles that go with being on the downside of past glories.

And four years of greatness doesn’t cut it. Especially when it comes on the heels of three years of Probation (No TV, No Postseason, many fewer scholarships) and seven years of various levels of sucking after that. Teams with a history of greatness tend to drop slowly, with fits and starts back towards the top.

And even if the Central Michigan’s teams from the early nineties were some of the best they’ve put on the field (if one school’s building their football team from science projects and organic chemicals, wouldn’t it make sense that some others would have good players gifted to them, good players with something to prove?), we’re still talking about the difference between a top level Division 1 team and their little brother in a second-tier division. Enough of a difference that the higher-level team should be questioned. That you’d have four years of “greatness surrounded by five years of sub-500 play on both sides makes those four years look VERY suspicious. Steroid encrusted, maybe.

(Of course, it doesn’t help that Pittsburgh’s 70s juggernaut turns out to have been steroid-fueled, as did the AFL/AFC from the days of Kansas City’s championship year. Of course, you know who was Pittsburgh’s defensive coach during that time. Makes me wonder if he hadn’t been given notice and was allowed to jump to Michigan State before he had to be “fired.”)

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

And, of course, this last year was a year of MSU overachievement. Finishing third at 6-2 in-conference record (9-4 overall, including bowl game), they played better than anyone expected them to. Of course, it was a different year with Michigan struggling to go 3-9 and the whole of the Big Ten having the bad year that everyone else was expecting and hoping for. But still, 9-3 (pre-bowlgame) and third behind OSU and Penn State was much more than expected by all.

In comes Central Michigan. An MAC team with a chip on its shoulder and a history of killing “that giant down 27 127″ every so often. And while  they end up spending most of the game behind, they end up winning on some last-minute plays and final mistakes.

Was CMU 2 points better than MSU? Try a touchdown better. After all, with them being at home and playing in a “better” conference, MSU is coming in with expectations to win the game. CMU not only has to play better than their opponent, they also have to outplay the fact that they’re at the opponent’s stadium (a 3 point swing in and by itself) AND their station in the scheme of the NCAA universe. So definitely a touchdown, maybe more better than MSU.

(and lest you think I’m joking, think of all the games that have played so far that were close. Almost always the bigger, higher-placed team was able to pull out in the end.)

So congratulations, CMU. 3-4 isn’t bad, given the relative stations.

And it looks like it’s going to be a long year at East Lansing….

Dec. 2 edit: Changed from 1A/1AA reference to top tier conference/second tier conference.

A Word For The Obama-Hating Liberals:

I remember reading a blog put out by supposed liberals in Pennsylvania where the bloggers were threatening to vote for the McCain/Palin ticket. I assumed this was a bunch of neocon operatives, since by that time it was obvious what we were seeing with the seemingly presidential Obama and the off-kilter Palin (And the questionableness of McCain for picking her. As I had explained frequently in the real world, I respected that McCain would pick someone like her, what I couldn’t respect was that he picked HER.).

Now, more recently, I’ve seen a few more blogs which claim to be liberal and hate Obama. I’m not going to doubt their liberal credentials. Instead I’m going to try to explain, in plain language, why their candidate (Mrs. Clinton) didn’t win the election:

  • If I remember right, she was about to be coronated the Democratic Candidate when she declared herself a candidate. In short, it was hers to lose.
  • She didn’t seen to have a steady message, but tried out stuff to see what would stick. I especially noticed this towards the end, when McCain talked about a “Gas Tax Holiday” and Hillary readily agreed that that would be a good idea. Obama nuked that idea clearly in time for the Indiana primary (“Twenty-two dollars. A half a tank of gas.”).
  • I don’t remember the racism remarks from the Obama-ites aimed towards the Clintonians. I also don’t remember anything aimed at Obama-ites by the Clintonian I DO remember reading a couple of essays by white women talking about how “those poor little white men will have to choose someone not like them. poor little things…BWAHAHAHAHA.” These same women would, a few months later, yell at white men for “not choosing the proper candidate,” a code phrase for charging us with sexism. (To which I say, if you wish to belittle us to begin with, don’t expect to need our votes for your plans. Or did you feminist columnists forget that already? Mind you, I’d like Obama to remember that in relation to the Republicans…)
  • And while it was true that Obama wasn’t necessarily tested (and I remember thinking it was good that he got good experience along for his ride, a thought I’m now considering as mistaken for various reasons) I remember that Hillary was Tested AND FAILED THE TESTS! If I remember right, Health Care was her responsibility and she messed it up big time. Indeed, she was part of the reason that Bill Clinton became one of the most successful Neocon presidents in the past twenty-eight years.

In short we had good reasons NOT to pick Clinton. She had the nomination and didn’t sew it up, she didn’t have a solid message (Gore? Kerry? Dukakis? Et Tu, Hillary?), She had failed before and We didn’t like the results of her failures. The mocking didn’t directly relate, but I’m sure it had its effect of many men.

And so we have Obama as president.

Deal with it, for once.