Category Archives: University of Florida

Ugly unis, saving bears and other pearls

It’s a nasty day in the Gator Nation. Last night, the Gators embarrassed themselves by allowing Louisville to have their way with them in the Sugar Bowl. If you are going to be trounced, I guess it’s best that it not come from a big rival. And at least we like Louisville coach Charlie Strong. Coach Strong spent most of his coaching career as an assistant at Florida and was very well liked and respected.

I blame it all on the Curse of the Ugly Uniforms. Teams simply do not play well in ugly uniforms, and the Gators’ unis were stinkos last night. Blue jerseys and orange pants look terrible. They have perfectly good white pants to wear.

From The Gainesville Sun

From The Gainesville Sun

At least they didn’t wear orange over orange. They would have looked like Clemson. Well, at least Clemson won their bowl game.

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I get marketing emails from Barnes & Noble. They advertise the impending release of “bestsellers.” How can a book be a bestseller when it hasn’t been released yet?

Similarly, I was talking with a neighbor last week. She said her family had “started a new Christmas tradition.” Isn’t a “new tradition” an oxymoron? Like the frequently mentioned “instant classic.” I think you have to do something for a while before it becomes a tradition.

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Presents 2Several of us parents with adult children were talking last weekend about giving our offspring Christmas presents. Several mothers, including Mrs. Poolman, were sharing their difficulties in making sure that they spent the exact same amount of money on each child. One mother keeps a careful list with her receipts and adds it up to make sure there isn’t more than a $20 difference in the multi-hundred dollar gift lists. They even got into discussing whether it matters if they get a present on sale. Should they count the sale price or the regular retail price in their computations?

I thought the whole issue was ridiculous. Gifts are supposed to be an expression of affection, respect or appreciation, not a mathematical model. If I ever heard even an inkling of a complaint from one of my children that I had not spent enough money on their Christmas gifts, it would make my shopping next year a lot easier and a lot cheaper.

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And finally, I ran across this video today and was astounded. Apparently it’s been out for several months. It’s only about a minute long, but it will make you feel good. The world needs more people like this.

 

 

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Let’s talk a little college football

The great thing about football season is you never run out of things to talk about. This week, Alabama coach Nick Saban and Florida coach Will Muschamp fired some shots at each other. Since Will is one of Nick’s protégés it makes it all the more interesting. Nick isn’t happy with the way the BCS bowls will be selected after the conference games.

One of the unfair elements of the process is that those voting in the various polls tend to look at a team’s losses, not their wins. So this year, Alabama and Georgia both have one loss and will play for the conference championship. However, the loser of that game will have a second loss and almost definitely be ranked behind one-loss Florida in the BCS rankings.  Because they won’t play in the conference championship, Florida won’t have the “opportunity” to pick up that additional loss. That means Florida will probably get a BCS invitation, while the Alabama-Georgia loser will not.

No fair! Says Nick.

“It’s not really a great scenario for either team. You play your way into the championship game, which means you’re the best team in your division. It doesn’t seem quite right. I don’t feel good about it for our football team or their football team.”

Actually, I agree. What’s interesting, however, is that Nick didn’t express that opinion last year when his Alabama team…

1.) Finished second to LSU in the Western Division and did not go to the championship game.

2.) Advanced to the #2 BCS ranking, when Georgia lost to LSU.

3.) Picked up the SEC’s second BCS invitation, to the national championship game.

4.) Won the national championship even though they did not win their division or play in the conference championship.

I love a little hypocrisy.

By the way, Muschamp’s response – “I can switch and go to Atlanta if he doesn’t want to go to Atlanta and play the ‘Dogs. Be careful what you wish for Nick.”

Is young Will channeling a little Stevie Spurrier?

Meanwhile the discrepancy in the strengths of the conferences is creating some interesting situations.

Georgia Tech, with a 6-6 record, will play FSU in the ACC conference game this weekend. If they win, they get a bid for a BCS bowl, probably the Orange Bowl. Meanwhile, the Big East doesn’t have a single team in the top 25, but guess what conference does? The MAC! Right now, Kent (“Four dead in O-hi-o”) State could move into the top 16 with a win in their conference championship game.  The BCS rules state that a school not from a “guaranteed-bid” conference earns a spot in one of the BCS bowls if it finishes in the top 16, and is ahead of the top-ranked team from one of the “guaranteed-bid” conferences.

If you were running the Orange Bowl, how excited would you be to host a 7-6 Georgia Tech playing Kent State? (Sorry, son-in law.)  One columnist, Pat Dooley, from the Gainesville Sun, wrote he wouldn’t watch that game if were played in his backyard.

Gators finish 11-1!

My Florida Gators beat FSU to finish the season 11-1. Not too shabby for a team that went 7-6 last year and that many predicted would need a lot of luck to improve on that this year. Go Gators!

This and that

It’s been about a month since I last posted. After our trip to France, I needed a bit of a “blogacation.” I’m back with a mixed bag of thoughts.

The hot news out there this past week has been the sex scandal surrounding David Petraeus.

David and Paula Broadwell in happier times.

What a waste! It is interesting to note the double standards our society has for those in the public eye. If Petraeus were a Hollywood celebrity or a professional athlete, the entire episode might not even be worth a mention in People Magazine. I think we, as a society, tend to be a little sanctimonious when it comes to a good scandal. I’m not justifying marital infidelity, but I don’t understand why today that activity needs to ruin a good career. In the not-to-distant past, many great and admired leaders had a little, or a lot, action on the side. (Hello, FDR, Ike, JFK, Teddy K, etc.)

I got a chuckle out of a set of petitions that have been circulating around the Web promoting states to secede from the Union following President Obama’s re-election. What a bunch of sore losers! I’m not an Obama supporter, and, while fairly centric, lean more towards the right side of the political spectrum. (Big surprise there, huh?) This is a democracy folks. If you want someone you like in any elected office, then go out and convince enough people and get them to vote. If you can’t, then suck it up and live with it. Don’t just try to take your ball and go home. And, oh, by the way, didn’t we settle the issue of secession back in the 1860s? You would think the folks here in Georgia would remember that.

How messed up is college football? Imagine this. My Florida Gators are 10-1 and ranked #4 in the country. With just a couple of games going the “right way” this weekend, (wins by UF, USC, and Alabama) they could play for the national championship. And this, for a team with an offense so bad they would have trouble getting a first down against Sister Mary’s School for the Deaf and Blind. I love the Gators, but I do wish they would play some offense.

And if sex scandals, a replay of the Civil War and the BCS aren’t enough controversy for you, how about skydiving cats? There has been a uproar (or at least an upwhisper) over a Swedish insurance company television commercial that featured supposedly skydiving cats. I like cats. I have two of my own, one of whom is snuggled in my lap as I write this. But when I heard about this, I laughed. Jeannie Moos with CNN picked up on the story and had this tongue-in-cheek report.

The key here, folks — they didn’t really throw cats of airplanes. It’s all a joke. And besides, don’t cats always land on their feet anyway? (That’s also a joke.)

Is it football season yet?

It’s still five and a half months until college football season starts up again, but I ran across a couple things that are interesting.

The first is a map of college football loyalties. For those parts of the country of which I am familiar, it is pretty accurate.  (Click on it for a full screen version.)

The United States of College Football

The second is a video of “Things Gator fans say?” This guy has some talent. The video really hits home.

“How do you fall asleep at a MacDonalds drive through window?”  Funny!

OCD running wild

I’m a bit of a geek, and, as I’ve already discussed, I am mildly OCD.

I’m not an expert on anything, but I know a little bit about a lot of subjects. Almost all of it is totally useless trivia. I “play” Jeopardy when the show is on almost every evening and usually do pretty well. This trait came in handy as a journalist and still makes me a good partner in Trivial Pursuit. Otherwise it is pretty useless, and sometimes annoying to friends and family. Sorry ‘bout that. 

Some of this trivial knowledge comes from the fact that I have always read a lot, and remember a lot of what I read. Some of it, especially science and art, comes from the outstanding high school I attended (Mt. Lebanon HS in suburban Pittsburgh), and a rather diverse collection of courses at the University of Florida (That’s what you get when you change your major three times.)

As a high school senior, I took a course in “Humanities” from an excellent teacher, Joanne Bailey.  It covered art, architecture and music from ancient through modern times. As a result, I have a superficial knowledge of art and art history. (For the most part, music was a lost cause for me.) I’m no expert by any stretch, but I am just slightly conversant in some of the periods of art history, styles and some of the major figures.

This brings me to an incident a couple of weeks ago. Mrs. Poolman and I were watching the ABC sitcom, “Suburgatory.” 

In this episode, “Tessa” talks her neighbor “Dallas” into taking her into New York City for an afternoon. In one scene, the two are standing before a painting in an art museum and arguing whether it would be for sale. Dallas wanted to buy it, but Tessa said, “It’s not for sale.”

I looked at Mrs. Poolman and said, “I doubt it would be for sale. That’s a Degas.” I don’t recall ever seeing that particular painting before, and everything I knew about Edgar Degas could be written on the back of my fingernail.  For some reason, I was able to ID the artist, or so I thought anyway. However, quickly I had self-doubt and felt the compulsion to see if my impulse ID  was correct.  (That’s the OCD part.)

I did what anyone else in the 21st century would do; I Googled “Degas” and “Metropolitan Museum of Art” to try to locate the painting. I searched high and low and could not find the painting in question, certainly not at the Met. Finally, I expanded my search and eventually located the painting. Here it is.

Dance Foyer at the Opera -- Edgar Degas

I couldn’t find it at the Met, simply because it isn’t there. It’s permanently housed at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, and to the best my search could find, has never visited the Met.

Then I realized, “Stupid me!,” the producers didn’t go to a museum to shoot the scene with the painting. The show is probably shot in Los Angeles anyway. They simply got a poster of a painting and used it in a studio shot.

The bottom line is –the poster in the TV show probably is for sale, for about $19.99 on line or in a museum gift shop.

I shared this experience with Mrs. Poolman, thinking that maybe she would be interested in the solution to the mystery. She just sighed deeply, and her eyes rolled back into her head. A little cartoon balloon appeared above her head:  “What did I do to deserve this?”

The Tebow train keeps on chugging along

For a Steeler fan like myself, it was tough to watch the Steelers-Broncos game at our house last weekend. There were two reasons.

1. The Steelers’ defense, #1 in the league, made the NFL’s worst quarterback look like the second coming of Johnny Unitas.

2. Mrs. Poolman actively cheered for Tim Tebow and the Broncos the entire game.

Actually, I have really enjoyed all the fuss and controversy over Tebow this year. Of course, we have followed him since he was recruited by the Gators, his four years of playing for the Gators, a Heisman Trophy and two national championships. These days he has been driving people crazy, again for two reasons.

–As a man, he is the “real deal.”  Critics have been searching for some evidence of hypocrisy in Tim for years, but haven’t been able to find any. He is what he is, and that is a strong character and good person.

–He has marginal skills as a traditional NFL quarterback, but that hasn’t kept him from being a major player in a story-book season for the Broncos. The team’s performance, most recently against Pittsburgh last weekend, has caused all kinds of “experts” to eat their words.

It has also given editorial cartoonists plenty of material to work with.

Frankly, I don’t know if Tim has a long-term future as an NFL quarterback. I’m not enough of an expert to make that kind of judgment. But in the meantime, the story has been a lot of fun to watch.

Another reason Timmy has been fun to watch is the criticism and outrage over his public displays of faith.  The term “Tebowing” has entered the language. (I also thought it was hysterical when, during one game this season, a defensive player sacked Tim, and then took a knee in the “Tebow pose.” Now that’s funny!)

I ran across this piece from Fox News featuring commentator Bernard Goldberg, who addresses the criticism and defends Tim. As usual, Bernie is right on target.

We’ll be watching the Denver-New England game on Saturday evening. We’ll see if the miracle train continues on down the track.