Monday, October 15, 2007

Lee Corso, Lou Holtz, and accountability.


Been a while since I wrote. 

Back when I began writing, Karen's house had burned down. Since then, there have been virtually no hurricanes in the Atlantic. Pam and Jim finally got together on the Office. Notre Dame has become one of the worst football teams in the country...and Kentucky is in the national title hunt with a 6-1 record.

I know, I know--at some point we need to buy a harness for all these flying pigs and use them for transportation.

But seriously, it's a great feeling. It has also lead me into a very unfamiliar area of college football--the inner workings of the polls and commentators.

Now there are things that I knew already existed, like the fact that Ohio State plays no one and somehow gets annointed as a great team. (and where is their amazing QB at nowadays). Every year, the Big Ten is deemed a great conference when it is mediocre at best.

What I hadn't seen yet is why everyone hated Lee Corso, Lou Holtz, and various other college pundits and talking heads; now I totally see why.

...AND for the most part, it is not because they are stupid. No seriously, Lee and Lou know their stuff (I'll get to the stupid stuff later). But watch this clip from the great USC website, letsshowcorso.com.


Lee pretty much got punked on that one, and rightfully so. 

But it happens to all of us! We all make picks and predictions like that. What bothers me is how offended the little guy gets when someone dares to hold him accountable for it.

Here is another classic, this time involving Lou Holtz. Now I know everyone likes to say he's losing his mind, but listen to the guy when he actually gives stats. He knows his stuff. 

But when he starts picking only the teams he coached to win (including Notre Dame EVERY WEEK) and making outlandish statements, that's where things get worse than that awful lisp he has (though I would relish one day hearing him say "sufferin' succoatash").

Earlier, after again picking Notre Dame to win and again watching them lose (to a mediocre Purdue team), he explain that their improvement in that particular game meant they could compete with anybody.

Crazy? Maybe. But he has a point--there is a reason we play the games on the field and not on paper. Any of you LSU fans know that real well after this past Saturday.

But here, the logic that he laid down for Notre Dame having a chance against anybody doesn't seem to hold true with Auburn (a great road team that proved it could beat Florida last year).


Well, we all know how that turned out. (Joe has a great picture for Lou's campaign). At least Lou had a little fun with it.


But seriously, what the heck was that? Here is the final one that will really set off all you fellow Kentucky fans.


This idiot (Craig James) has UK as the #24 team in the country...after beating #1 ranked LSU on Saturday. He has Cincinatti, who lost to Lousiville, ahead of us.

Now I know people will say that any of us could be wrong about teams. But here is the difference:

THESE GUYS ARE PAID TO DO THIS!!! They are paid to analyze college football and they are making idiots out of themselves. I could give you tons more Corso and Lou examples, but Karen gets on to me about ranting too much when I write, so I'll let you find the youtube goodness.

But to paraphrase Marie's soon to be husband, James: "Nick, when it comes to the polls, [screw] 'em. All that matters is winning games."

Right on, James. Kentucky vs. Florida this weekend---GO CATS!!!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Let me stand next to your fire...

The answers to the most simple yet important questions: Karen's house burned down, but she and the puppies are completely okay.

Now, some things that I have learned, experienced, and had reinforced the last few days:

-There is no worse feeling than driving on the interstate, knowing you are too far away to help.

-That feeling was magnified when Joe tells me that he can't go check on Karen...cause our apartment complex is on fire as well and there are 3 fire trucks in the parking lot. Armageddon now seemed plausible. (Luckily, it was a small fire two buildings down and no one was hurt).

-Hearing that Karen and the puppies were okay was great. Seeing that they were okay was a lot better.

-I have stood and watched fires before. Now, anyone who was not friend, family, or neighbor, I wanted to punch in the face. I know it makes no sense--none of us could do anything else but stand there and watch as the firefighters worked. But it's how you feel.

-Firefighters are some amazing, brave people. Fire Marshals have a tough job and some pretty amazing people skills.

-Karen looks pretty funny in her neighbor's clothes.

-I would make a horrible fireman. Not due to a lack of bravery, but because when they gave me a helmet to walk through the house with, I put it on backwards and didn't notice.

-Lightning sucks. The bolt that hit Karen's house must have been an evil male one, because it struck her clothing closet first and destroyed everything in it. 

-Katie and Rachel Voytko rock even more than I knew--they gave Karen clothes the next morning. This does not excuse the fact that Rachel think Tomb Raider is a good movie and that Katie thought Alicia Silverstone as Batwoman was cool, but it's a start.

-The morning after a fire, everything looks a lot worse.

-The smell of burned and water/smoked damaged stuff hangs on you like a bad prom date.

-Insurance rocks. Seriously.

-Karen is a pretty amazing. I'd be a total basket case at this point. One of Karen's first reactions: "NICK! Darth Tater survived!!"

-Yes, Darth Tater, pictured above, came out unscathed. So did nearly every other piece of Darth Vader paraphernalia that she owned (which if you know Karen, you know her odd fascination with this character). The power of the dark side, indeed...

-Karen's family is pretty amazing as well. Her mom and sister in law, Stephanie, drove all night to get there and help the next day.

-Even more weird stuff in her house survived. Her bassoon and the reeds she had with it all came out unscathed. Her ipod might have some water damage, but it still worked. Important documents that she kept in Rubber Maid containers all made it. You hear that Rubber Maid? Do you hear that commercial endorsement opportunity screaming at you... :)

-No matter what you think, you cannot force Karen to sleep when she is in "must get things done" mode. Even with her going on 1 hour of sleep, this task proved impossible.

-My birthday is today, and even though it's cliche to say so, the best present I could get is having Karen and the puppies be okay.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The commercial is over, but the product remains a mystery...

Recently, a trailer for a new film came out that has folks talking. (See the link conviently placed below).


It's a great trailer, but what really has folks talking is the fact that it ends with a severe lack of information. Message boards and movie spy sites have been on fire trying to figure this stuff out.

What many don't realize, however, is that this has been going on with commercials for quite a while. They give you a pretty good pitch...but there is something mysterious, confusing, or unexplained that begs us to question further. Here, for your reading enjoyment, are a few...

1.) Weightloss product commercials, especially ones that show before and after shots.If the results are really possible, I have no problem with them showing some real life examples. I just think it's odd that they leave out the breast implants and/or deep tanning that also takes place during those 20-40 lbs.

2.) While we are on the subject of weightloss products, I would like to mention the one for Alli. They say it works and that it has FDA approval. That's great, but the side effects (cleverly renamed as 'treatment effects'), posted below, are what concerns me. 

What exactly is "gas with oily spotting?" And just how hard are the stools to control?


3.) Prescription drugs that don't tell you what they do. Seriously, this one has got to be a conspiracy by some mad scientist. We have no idea what they do, but some guy is climbing a mountain or something, so it must be good, right? Probably kills you.

4.) Commercials for E.D. pills, particularly for Cialis. It's not the crazy yet soothing guitar music, or the vauge terms they use such as "closeness" or "the time." It's those freaking bath tubs out in the middle of no where. Seriously, where did they come from and why are old couples sitting in them naked. I mean, who knows who or what else has been in those things.

There are more, but I'll add them later. Until then, here's to more mysteries...

Sunday, May 20, 2007

A "Why I love teaching middle school" Moment: O Canada


During one of my 6th grade band classes, we had been working extensively on a line out of Essential Elements. The line happened the Canadian national anthem, 'O Canada'.

"Now class," I began,"before we play this again, is anyone in here Canadian?"

No one raised their hand.

I went on to explain that this was the Canadian national anthem and began discussing some of the rhythms to watch out for.

One of my students had an incredibly perplexed look on her face. Perhaps I was explaining this all wrong. 

The girl next to her raised her hand.

"Mr. N, {student} doesn't know what a Canadian is."

"Yeah," said {student}, "what is a Canadian?"

At this point, I (and fortunately, most of the class) was stunned. 

"Are you serious?" I asked.

"Yes," she replied earnestly.

"A Canadian, {student}, is someone that is from the country of Canada."

Many times in teaching, we talk about a "light bulb moment." It is usually indicated by a look that a student's face they finally understand something.

The look on this student's face (who is actually a really smart kid) was more like a light bulb from a witness interrogation lamp hitting her. She did laugh about it later and at least she understood without any further explanation. I may have needed to storm down to the social studies department if I needed to do more on that one...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A "Why I love teaching middle school" Moment: Yes, There Are Dumb Questions


I'm still not sure what this kid was thinking, but this quick story needs a little bit of set up:

1. The UK Fight Song is my cell phone ring tone and it is a lively march, much like any college fight song.

2. The kid involved in this story makes these types of odd statements frequently.

During class today, my cell phone went off. I normally turn it off during school, but apparently I had forgotten to do so. As the University of Kentucky fight song played, I stopped my lesson and stared down at my pocket. The other students giggled as I got my phone out to turn it off.

After I shut off the ringer, a tuba player in the back raised his hand and asked "Was that the American Flag?"

Yeah...my reaction was about the same.

After the synapses in my brain untangled themselves, I explained that it was the University of Kentucky Fight Song, which is a piece of music and not a tangible object. 

Sometimes, there are lessons to teach that come up outside of our subject areas....

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A "Why I love teaching middle school" Moment.


Yes, I know that I haven't written in a long time. I tend to write more when I'm stressed, and my lack of writing probably has a lot to do with the fact that things are going much better, lately.

HOWEVER, I do miss writing and making some of you laugh (either with me or at me) or think, so I decided to start a new series in the tradition of "Another Amazing Nick Story." These entries will be for when I don't have time to write a lot, but just feel like putting something out there.

A perfect opportunity for this is the many random, confusing, and inadvertently humorous things that middle school kids do and say.

When I tell people that I teach middle school, they often look at me as though I am dying of a rare disease and try to comfort me. While I will be the first to admit that it can be a difficult age to teach, I think that it is the best one--especially for music! You are teaching kids HOW to actually play their instruments and to begin to really make music. You are also guiding them through some tough years where they need all the guidance, support, and encouragement that they can get.

And of course, you get to laugh at all the stupid things they say and do...and their incredible lack of coordination and social skills. And with that long introduction, here is the first in a new series. This one just happened today:

Middle School Student (who is very smart and an All-Region Honor Band member): Mr. N, I need to ask you something.

Me: What is it?

Middle School Student: Well, I asked my science teacher if she played an instrument, and she told me that she played the radio.

Me <chuckling>: Okay...so what's your question?

Middle School Student: Mr. N, what is "The Radio?"