Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The dude he shot down

NPR's World Cafe did an interview with Widespread Panic earlier this month and lead singer John Bell told the story behind Saint Ex, the first track on the band's latest studio album, Dirty Side Down.

I transcribed a bit of the interview:
Saint Ex is the short title for the guy who wrote the book The Little Prince. He did a bunch of other stuff, too. Wrote incredible books that weren't just children's stories. ... But he was shot down, theoretically, because for a while - they didn't find his body 'til like 3 or 4 years ago. Or, not his body, but evidence that he was shot down. But he was shot down in the mid 1940s, during the war.

There was a German pilot that read the story of him being - that it was discovered, hey, this is the remains of his plane, this is some evidence he was here. And this 80-something-year-old German pilot came up and said, "I know I was the guy, because that was the air space I was in. And I just came across him, shot him down."

... But the freaky thing was that Saint Ex was his favorite author. He was a much younger pilot than Saint Ex was, and so his books were already out and he had a lot of influence on his life. ... So that's the dude he shot down. So that's a part of, you know — chalk it up to war.
Chalk it up to war. I can't improve on that.

The German pilot's story ran in newspapers around the world a couple of years ago. This is from The Telegraph in Great Britain:
"If I had known it was Saint-Exupéry I would never have shot him down," said Mr Rippert.

"He knew admirably how to describe the sky, the thoughts and feelings of pilots", he added.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Impressive incompetence at Zoo Atlanta

I imagine you followed this story over the weekend. A particularly toxic rattlesnake went missing from the Atlanta zoo. Zoo officials, saying they believed it was trapped somewhere in a building not accessible to the public, decided they didn't need to put up signs, or take extra care to inform people living in nearby residential areas.

Someone found the snake near their house and killed it.

From The AJC:
Zoo spokeswoman Keisha Hines said Sunday the nocturnal snake was believed to be still inside the building where it was housed, which is not accessible to the public. But Hines could not say why staff thought the snake was still in that building. Hines said signs warning the public were not needed.

"Hindsight being 20/20, we probably should've knocked on a few doors," (Zoo Atlanta deputy director Dwight) Lawson said. The local neighborhood association was alerted, he said, and an announcement was made to visitors at the zoo Saturday, he said, though there was no follow-up announcement Sunday.
Yeah, hindsight. That's what it takes. No one could be expected to figure that out using foresight.

Update: In hindsight, I've changed my mind. I mean, it was in the newspaper - albeit with the caveat of "We think it's in this building ... although we can't find it or tell you why we think that."

So let this be a lesson to you: Read the newspaper, or a rattlesnake might kill one of your children.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Washaun runs this state into parked car

From The Banner-Herald:
Georgia running back Washaun Ealey, the Bulldogs’ leading rusher last season, is in the Clarke County Jail this morning after he was arrested on misdemeanor charges of hit-and-run of a parked vehicle and driving on a suspended license.
Well that sounds like a multiple-game suspension, doesn't it?

Dontavius Jackson, he of the recent transfer, would have had to sit six games for his version of the hit and run. Washaun's cases doesn't include any alcohol charges, almost magically, it would seem, since the incident happened after 3 a.m. But if the facts as known now hold up, it's almost a no-brainer that we won't see him on the field in Columbia, and we probably won't see him in September.

Carlton Thomas and Ken Malcome, come on down.

Also, at my last job I had to show proof of a valid driver's license once a year or so. Can we not get some kind of program like that at Butts Mehre?

Because we have really got to stop going down for dumb shit.

Update: Seth Emerson reports that Washaun also has an outstanding warrant for failure to appear on a speeding ticket. So the dumb just gets dumber.

Update: It looks like Washaun may only be suspended for one game, which is surprising, but I'm not complaining.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Jeff Schultz: 100 percent right

Quite possibly the best piece I've read on the state of Georgia football and the upcoming season.

State: SC players stayed at hotel for $15 a night

I haven't been following the NCAA's investigation at South Carolina very closely. But this piece, from The State, provides an excellent summary:
Other than making restitution to the hotel and moving out, players have been asked to write a letter to the NCAA expressing their regret. But Spurrier said players might be ruled ineligible for a couple of games. “Historically, guys who’ve maybe received some extra benefit, according to the NCAA, they have to miss a game or two along the way,” Spurrier said. “If that happens, we’ll accept it and move on. It may not happen. We don’t know.”

There are six projected starters among the players who have been linked to the Whitney: Saunders, Paulk, Robertson, Auguste, King and defensive tackle Ladi Ajiboye. Whitlock is a second-team cornerback.

Spurrier said last week he knew players were living at the hotel but did not know the details of their lease agreements.

A representative of the Whitney said the hotel’s extended-stay rates included a $57-a-night rate for reservations of three months or longer. The $450 monthly rate sources said players received equates to a rate of $15 a night.
The South Carolina game will be, as always, an important bellwether for our season. I would like to be in a position to say I want to play all the teams on our schedule at full strength, but the truth is I don't care. I just want to win, and it looks like these guys are going down.

Hat tip to the senator.

The Dawgs in 2010: Get ready to worry

This may end up being a good year for the Dawgs, I don't know. But it will almost certainly be a year full of stomach-clenching concern and games that come right down to the wire.

Coach Richt, on quarterback Aaron Murray:
“He’s still learning,” Richt said. “It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t real bad. But there were a couple times he could have made a better decision.

“But I’m just real thankful we got into those situations and it happened (Wednesday), and hopefully the point will be driven home a little bit better. Because it was more of a real situation. So hopefully he’ll learn from it.”
I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that, if it was a problem in an empty stadium 11 days before the opener, it will still be a problem in the opener, and beyond. That's just life with a freshman quarterback.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Ambassador of Death

I know I shouldn't be flip about this, but I have to tell you, Mahmoud, well done on the nickname.

From The AP:
TEHRAN, Iran – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday inaugurated the country's first domestically built unmanned bomber aircraft, calling it an "ambassador of death" to Iran's enemies.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Texting money to Pakistan

"Why throw money at problems? That is what it is for."
- Kurt Vonnegut

I'm sure you're well aware of the need. From prnewswire:
For those who want to donate to the relief effort, a simple text message pledges either $5 or $10. To donate:

* For Central Asia Institute, text the word CAI to 50555 to give $10. Central Asia Institute provides community-based education opportunities in Pakistan & Afghanistan.

* For CHF International, text the word PAKISTAN to 50555 to give $5. CHF International will provide transitional shelter, create livelihoods, and ultimately re-build Pakistan's economic and social foundations.

* For Islamic Society of North America, text the word RELIEF to 27722 to give $10. The Islamic Society of North America contributes to the betterment of the Muslim community and society at large.

* For UNHCR, text the word SWAT to 50555 to give $10. UNHCR emergency response teams are distributing tents, relief supplies, and humanitarian assistance to people displaced by the flooding.

* For World Food Programme USA, text the word AID to 27722 to give $10. WFP will use helicopters to transport food to people in isolated communities across the Swat Valley.

* For World Emergency Relief, text the word RESCUE to 50555 to give $10. Rescue Task Force is a San Diego County based non-profit relief agency that responds to natural and man-made disasters world-wide.

* For Zakat Foundation of America, text the work ZAKATUS to 50555 to give $10. Zakat Foundation has begun to address the immediate needs of flood survivors by providing food and clothing in four key Pakistani districts.
I'm familiar with the World Food Program, the UNHCR (which is the United Nations' refugee program) and the CAI, all of which seem to be good organizations. You might also consider contacting CARE, which is based in Atlanta.

I contacted CAI and the World Food Program to confirm that using this text service will, in fact, send the money their way. Spokespeople for both organizations confirmed it, though the CAI spokeswoman noted that their program doesn't provide immediate relief.

They build schools for children in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

4th walk-on wins scholarship

From The Banner Herald:
Walk-on fullback Josh Sailors has been awarded a scholarship.

The 5-foot-9, 230-pound junior played at Oconee County High School. He is a two-time academic honor roll recipient, majoring in biology.
Good for Sailors, who sounds like a good kid. The paper goes on to say he is the fourth walk on to receive a scholarship this year.

That sounds like a lot.

Update: By The Telegraph's count, it's five walk ons with scholarships.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Of bangs and whimpers

A couple of stories today that remind me, no matter how much we learn, we never know what we don't know, or how our actions will change things.

From The New York Times:
Growing scientific evidence suggests that felt, which helps anglers stay upright on slick rocks, is also a vehicle for noxious microorganisms that hitchhike to new places and disrupt freshwater ecosystems.
And, presumably far more disturbing, from The Raleigh News & Observer:
"We're seeing a transition from MRSA being an infection largely of chronically ill and hospitalized patients, to one of healthy children," said Dr. Mark Piehl, medical director of WakeMed Children's Hospital. "There's no question that the bacteria is more prevalent in the community now."
Given that we basically created these "super bugs" through use, and likely over-use, of antibiotics, you have to wonder whether our saviors will eventually kill us. And whether there's any way to avoid that.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Time short for that August optimism

There's not much time to be optimistic. You gotta optimize it.
- Joe Petersen, l.i. chief analyst

Me: Reports of a "sluggish" scrimmage ... in which Logan Gray led all receivers with 3 catches for 70 yards.

Joe: You take 3 offensive linemen out and anyone's gonna struggle. I'm not worried about Ben Jones. The D line. That's where it all starts.

Me: And in a year that we lose three strong defensive tackles, we go to a defense that really only requires one.

Joe: It's a perfect time for it, personnel wise. And a change in attitude, that's always good. We need more middle linebackers. So, Akeem Dent, unhurt yourself. Darryl Gamble, stop being so effective at outside linebacker and, Richard Samuel, learn how to tackle.

Me: Always nice to have Branden Smith back.

Joe: Yeah. How did that turn out?

Me: Completely unexplained.

Friday, August 13, 2010

McGarity: Sweet. Now talk to me about tailgating

I'm excited. And I'd like to get to know Greg McGarity.

But I would ask his opinion on north campus tailgating at this 4 p.m. press conference. President Adams, too.

I hope the press conference will be streamed somewhere. Fox Atlanta streamed Damon's press conference.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Portraits in Awesome: Joe Namath

From Namath: A Biography, by Mark Kriegel:
Several men are alleged to have visited Bryant atop his tower: Governor Wallace, Dr. Frank Rose, the university president, Happy Campbell, the baseball coach; and a comedian from Mississippi in whom Bryant took great delight. But these sightings are difficult to confirm. More certain are the fact concerning Namath's arrival at the practice field. There is no shortage of witnesses, all of whom recount with awe the moment when Joe Namath became the first and only player to ascend.

"Everybody was just shocked," says Hicks, the manager. "Joe was up there thirty, forty minutes, and Coach Bryant talked the whole time. Joe said he could only understand one word: 'stud.' The whole time, 'stud' is the only word he could understand."

Tells the story of Namath's life through January of 2004.

Image: SI.

And, yes, I'm writing book reports now, mother.

Telegraph: Branden Smith is back

From Seth Emerson:
Mark Richt just announced it. The sophomore cornerback-kick returner has been cleared academically.
Only one response comes to mind.

But the fast part. Like in Die Hard.

On a sad note, Seth also notes that Quintin Banks, the oft-injured safety from Houston County, won't be playing football this year. I hate to see it, but I'm glad Quintin made a decision for his future.

Update: I didn't want to steal the whole story, but Banks, a fifth-year senior, will remain with the team as a student coach. That's excellent. Teach the death method.

Izzy Alcántara kicks the catcher

ESPN had a segment on the top 10 baseball brawls last night. This one clocked in at four, but you've got to admire its novelty.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The man may die, but not the music

Today makes eight years since Widespread Panic guitarist Michael Houser died of pancreatic cancer. Time, she flies.

And a little lesser known, but maybe my personal favorite ...

First live scrimmage today

From The Red & Black:
The Bulldogs will be in full pads for their first scrimmage of fall camp Tuesday, with the No. 1 offense and defense going against the No. 2 offense and defense.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Drop your beer: AD news

Now pick your beer back up.

Mark Weiszer for The ABHDN:
Florida executive associate athletic director Greg McGarity, an Athens native and University of Georgia graduate, is interested in becoming the next athletic director at his alma mater.

Endorsed: Hopsecutioner

Generally we have a "you don't need to tell people about Terrapin beer" policy here. But, at $10 a six pack here in North Carolina, the "Hopsecutioner" IPA feels like the best value in my grocery cart.

Though I did buy a whole chicken today for $3.63.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Shot by the party gun, 10 of 13 years

Being named the nation's No. 1 party school would be significantly better if Damon Evans had not just gotten a DUI.

From The AJC:
UGA climbed up from No. 4 to snatch the top spot on the annual list compiled by the Princeton Review. The university has the distinction -- or disgrace, depending on your perspective -- of being on the top 20 party list for 10 of the past 13 years.
Worth noting that No. 2 on the list, Ohio University, is located in Athens, Ohio.