Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Today's BCS Synonym: Unjust

Today's BCS Synonym: unjust

un⋅just [uhn-juhst]
–adjective 1. not just; lacking in justice or fairness: unjust criticism; an unjust ruler.
2. Archaic. unfaithful or dishonest.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Richie a Very "Un-Incogntio" Offensive Lineman

It's not often that offensive guards determine outcomes of football games. Former St. Louis Rams Richie Incogntio, however, is one of the rare offensive lineman who can claim that distinction.

As an interested observer of the Rams for many years, RI is truly a unique specimen: He's responsible for a at least three Ram losses over the years.

How does this special specimen accomplish this? Penalties.

Not sure if the NFL keeps personal penalty stats, but Richie Incognito is in a league of his own. He's made numerous personal fouls in his tenure. Many have come at crucial times and cost the team games.

Maybe he didn't cost Steve Spagnuolo's team this game, but he shot them in the foot early. (Note: this year's STL team is BAD.) His foul killed an early scoring drive.

Later, he committed two more personal fouls. Spagnoulo then benched him.

There was joy in Ramland when he did what previous leaders Haslett and Linehan would not: He cut him.

That brilliant move by Spags gives hope for the future.

For some reason the Bills singed up the human personal foul. Maybe they don't know he get bounced from the University of Nebraska. Then he transferred to Oregon, but never got on the field for the Ducks.

The Rams may be weaker on the offensive line with RI's departure. However, the team is poised for future improvement with the tatooed Dude shuffled off to Buffalo.

Bicycling in Greensboro Hazardous to Health

I had always wanted to ride my bicycle to work and this summer I made it happen. I live in the Adams Farm area and work on the edge of downtown Greensboro.

I'd had some trepidation, since the Triad is not the best place for cyclists.


The first bump in the road (excuse the pun) occurred on High Point Road. Your options are:

l To ride the curb (not enough space).

l To use the road (a very bad idea, given the two-lane traffic).

l To go off-road (acceptable only because I own a mountain bike).

Greensboro was a finalist for the bicycling Hall of Fame. But I'd guess that if Hall officials saw this major connector between High Point and Greensboro in Sedgefield on their site visit, it likely killed the deal.

On another attempt, I used the bike trails in Adams Farm to give Hilltop Road a try. Hilltop is a very good example of many of our area's roads. There was a stretch of about one-half a mile where I had to trust motorists to pass me on the left on this four-lane street, which is not a comforting thought. The shoulder is rideable at times, then gets too narrow. The sidewalks work for a while, then suddenly disappear, just before I reach High Point Road.

This part of High Point Road is navigable but also has its warts. I rode the sidewalk on the north side. Once again, my mountain bike came in handy. Its shock absorbers made passing the various driveways more tolerable. One other hazard: Bicyclists also must yield to vehicles exiting businesses via the driveways.

Next I made a left on Holden Road, which was a pleasant surprise. There's a full stretch of sidewalk on its east side. This took me all the way to Spring Garden Street for a rarity in the Gate City: a bike lane. I cruised comfortably, reminiscing how easy bike travel is in my home state of California.

Yet the lane ends after UNCG before it picks up again.

Near the end of my commute, side streets are an easy entry to my office at Greensboro College.

The good news: I've made it safely. Also, the 20-mile round trip has helped me get fit and lose weight. And it kept another car off the road.

As for the lack of friendliness by drivers toward cycling, it seems to come in, well, cycles. When gas prices go up, more folks choose bike travel, but danger increases, too. An Alamance County biker recently lost his life on the street. Let's hope we don't need something like this to spur change.

Perhaps our leaders look at bicycling as recreation rather than transportation. Is that why more bike lanes haven't been built?

Regardless, the Triad deserves better. Current bike lanes need to connect to other trails or reasonably safe streets. Additionally, elected officials must address why one cannot ride safely between Guilford County's two biggest cities, High Point and Greensboro.

Federal stimulus money is being spent locally on less worthy projects, yet some improvements could be inexpensive. Adding paint for bike lanes on some roads and extending sidewalks on other streets are mandatory steps that should be happening now.

When not risking his life with death-defying acts like bicycling in the Triad, Bob Lowe serves as the sports information director at Greensboro College.

Note this letter to the editor appeared in the Greensboro News & Record in the summer of 2009.

Greensboro Swims for future Cash

Obama's "Cash for Caulkers" idea is a good one. Invest now in making homes more energy-efficient for the future.

Makes a lot of sense.

Greensboro has an opportunity to make an investment, and reap big benefits, in our future: The aquatic center.

Now, I'm the first to admit that Greensboro messed up this thing. They fooled a voting public that doesn't read the fine print by packaging the aquatic center under a parks and rec umbrella on the ballot.

Additionally, we can't ignore the cost overruns of the center.

But we need to close the gap and close this deal. There are many reason to complete this project:

-It adds to our tournament town moniker

-Local swimmers have chance to compete in a top-notch facility in back yard.

-Gate City WILL PRODUCE more Olympic-caliber swimmers.

-Jobs will be created and retained (hotels, restaurants, etc.)

-Hotel tax can help pay for it

-Greensboro will become a better-known destination

Let's invest in our future and build the pool!

Handicapping PAC 10 Expansion

My hunch is the Big 10 may expand, but the Pac 10 will likely wait this one out.

The Big 10 seems to be hurt by taking the time off between OSU-Mich and the Rose Bowl. The Pac 10, on the other hand, hasn't. (Mostly due to USC of late.)

That said, here's my order of likeliness of Pac 10 expansion candidates.

-Utah: fits profile (public university) and is new market
-TCU: Christian school, but a new market (Tejas)
-BYU: Hard core Christian Campbell just moved conferences and will now play on Sunday. If not for the religious issues, BYU would be #1 based on entire athletic program.
-Colorado: They already recruit Calif. heavy, but could lose Tejas connection (unless TCU goes with them)
-UNLV: Logical in the sense of grabbing close state not already associated to Pac 10. Woeful football tradition and still carrying the Tarkanian baggage.
-SDSU: School's profile improving, with new FB stadium a better candidate in 10 years.
-Boise State: a better candidate in 10 years; needs to improve profile of entire department.
-Nevada: If SDSU is 10 years away, Reno is looking at 2035 or later
-Fresno State: No, no and no
-USD: This is ridiculous and should be about 200 lines below other candidates. Let's take Pt. Loma Nazarene, too!

In sum, if the Mtn. West loses Utah, TCU and or BYU, it will recover and cherry pick from its junior circuit: the WAC.

Today's BCS Synonym: Upchuck

Upchuck  [uhp-chuhk] verb; to vomit.

Book review "The Book of Basketball," Bill Simmons

If you are a Laker fan, I don’t blame you if you can’t make it through the first 20 pages of “The Basketball Book” by notorious Celtic homer Bill Simmons.

Simmons is the no-credibility Boston fan we knew growing up. As a writer, he’s think Johnny Most of announcers or Red Auerbach of distinguished coach/administrator.

Hopefully they hung around like I did. He has something worth reading.

Simmons writes well and does a great job on the subject matter once he gets off the ant-LA, anti-Detroit or anti-Knick tirades.

If you’re an NBA fan you will enjoy the stroll down memory lane. He’s too young to remember Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain or Bob Petit, but he does a thorough job dissecting the stats, newspapers, film, etc. from the era(s).

This part is better than the next “what if” section. For example: "What happened if Len Bias did not die of a crack overdose?" I found this tedious and unimportant. The book is nearly 700 pages. Simmons could’ve clipped this.

Nevertheless, Simmons regains steam when he rates the top 96 players in pyramid. He’s done his homework and makes his cases for top all-time cagers. Fortunately, the Beantown bias is left at the door.

Simmons uses plenty of pop culture reference and locker room humor to accent his research. His use of copious footnotes is at time humorous. Other times, it’s distracting.

This is the only basketball book where you will find Bill Walton’s career compared to that of Tupac Shakur. My guess is Walton may be the lease pleased of anyone.

Simmons is a true NBA fan. He is passionate about the league and his devotion is evident in his work. He brings the intricacies of NBA excellence to the doorstep of less rabid fans.

His all-time player ratings (pyramid) are surprisingly fair. When it comes to final evaluations, Simmons puts the gloves down and learned assessments. I was amazed to find players who were pummeled in earlier pages rise to the top of the heap. [1]

He closes the book with a sit down with one of my all-time favorites: Walton.

The biggest compliment, however, I can give to Simmons is this. I’d recommend spending two hours on the couch with his book, rather than plopping down in front in the front of the big screen and actually watch an NBA game.

Today's BCS Synonym: Chaos

Today's BCS Synonym: Chaos

cha⋅os: [key-os] –noun, a state of utter confusion or disorder; a total lack of organization or order.