Saturday, September 29, 2007

Clothing and Football

I am toggling between the Florida-Auburn game and the Minnesota-Ohio State game. The Minnesota uniforms are atrocious.

(Off topic, Beth's major professor is a Big Ten fan. He tells her all about the Big Ten and says the SEC is nothing. He has absolutely no interest in the SEC and never thinks about them. Then he will give her some statistic that he thinks shows the superiority of the Big Ten as opposed to the SEC. If he doesn't care about the SEC, where did he get the statistics. I told her to ask him what the score of the championship game was in January. Of course, she can't do that.)

There are some colors that should not be worn as both the shirt and pants color. That includes the bright yellow that Minnesota is wearing. Why do they do that when their other color is so nice. (Almost maroon.) Other colors where the pants should not match the shirt are green lighter than hunter, orange, and maybe red. Nothing bright or pastel. They look silly to me. They look like emasculating to me.

Acceptable colors are maroon, black, hunter green, dark red, the darker blues, brown, or other darker colors.

When did coaches start wearing leisurewear? And those new ones this year with the slashes of color that go under the arms are particularly bad. But nothing will ever be worse than those NFL pants with zebra stripes in team colors. Remember them?

This trend led us inevitably to Bill Bellichek and Phil Fulmer.

Let's go back to wearing suits like The Bear did.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I see that there is something new on my itunes playlist. This is a mystery but so is everything about that playlist.

Yes, I have gone to the iTunes website, just to see what it was about and to see if I could work it. I saw the website and could not navigate it.

Then an iTune icon appeared on my desktop. Clicking on it was interesting. There were some songs on there that I would not have picked. But also on there is two songs by the Mississippi State band. One is Mr. Touchdown and the other is MSU Fanfare, which includes the fight song. Another recording is of a ex-Confederate soldier in about 1900 giving a genuine rebel yell.

How did this happen? I certainly did no choose those songs yet some were right on. I have enjoyed playing them.

This was a long time ago, maybe a couple of years.

Then when I clicked on it today, I saw that something had been added. It said "Larry Craig 3." I couldn't play it because I don't have something on my computer that it needed.

But why was it put on my computer? Whatever would any machine think that I would be interested in Larry Craig?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Adventures of a Mathematician, by S.M. Ulam

I read this book decades ago and it made a deep impression on me. I have often told stories from the book. Now I am rereading the book and I find that one of my favorite stories is not in that book.


The boy had to tell something to the class about current events. The Chicago Cubs had brought up a new pitcher. The rookie had been called to pitch and had gotten hit pretty hard. The boy figured up his ERA. It was something like 87.

When the boy gave his report to the class, the teacher crushed him when she told him that that was wrong, that a pitcher's ERA could not be more than 27. (Obviously, she was mixed up as this is the minimum number of batters for a 9 inning game.)

At the end of the baseball year, the Chicago newspaper printed the complete statistics for the Chicago Cubs. As it turned out, and not surprisingly, that game was the only game that pitcher ever pitched for the Cubs. His ERA given in the paper was the same as the boy had computed.

This was irrefutable evidence that he was right. Furthermore, he was right and the teacher was wrong. He was so impressed that mathematics gave real answers, that there is a truth there, regardless of the belief of teachers or anyone else.

So he determined that he would be a mathematician.

A great story. I have enjoyed it and enjoyed telling it. But S. M. Ulam is not its author. Now I will have to search to find the real author. Ulam was a professor at the University of Wisconsin. I had always told the story as happening at the University of Chicago. Maybe that is a clue to the real author.

Another favorite story of mine that I had attributed to Ulam is in the book.

It was during the war and the best, most brilliant mathematics students and professors started disappearing. Going to work for the war effort was the excuse given but he still puzzled over it. One was a great-granddaughter of Georg Boole of Boolean algebra fame. Then von Neuman interviewed him and offered him a job which he accepted. (Von Neuman had two big, burly guards with him at all times.)

When Ulam was told that he would be going to New Mexico, he went to the library and checked out a guidebook to the state. On the charge slip in the back were the names of those people who had disappeared. When he got to Los Alamos, sure enough, there were those mathematics students and professors.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I have been reading Alabama papers about Mississippi State's victory over Auburn yesterday. I know that teams like Auburn have little to no respect for State. It hurts but I understand it.

However, when reading the accounts of the game, the columns, and the fan comments, one would think that Auburn played itself and lost. Mississippi State gets no, zero, zip credit for winning.

A lot of the comments were about the fans booing Brandon Cox, the Auburn quarterback. There was controversy, actually, about whether the booing was for Cox, the team, or the coaches.

I can only remember booing at State in one instance. It was in the Jackie Sherrill era. We were getting beat all the time with an all running offense that wasn't working.

Late in a game we were losing, the crowd just lost it. They booed a running play. It was clear it was the play. The next play was an unsuccessful pass play. I joined in with the cheers. A play that was a failure got cheered just for the effort.

The local sports editor of the Starkville Daily News wrote a column the next week denouncing the boos and even the cheers.]

I wrote him, not for publication, explaining why I cheered. I said that every year I sit in the stands supporting the team. No one ever knows or cares what my opinion it. It is the same for others around me. The frustration builds up about the play selection and we finally express it. We were not booing the players, I would not condone that. As a sports writer, he has access to the coaches. His opinion is heard,both in private and in the pages of the newspaper. Gameday is the only time the loyal crowd has for expressing an opinion, and that is only through cheers and boos.

He was very nice and wrote back that he thought maybe he agreed with me. We got to know him better the next year when the baseball team went to Maine and we hung around together, going to tourist sites, like passing Stephen King's house.

I don't think Auburn should have booed in that situation but I understand their frustration.

I once heard a man behind me boo a couple of times at a State game. I turned around and told me how it hurt to hear him boo these young men. He apologized to me, saying I was right, but just sometimes it gets him down and he loses perspective. He did not do it again.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I talked to Emma last night. She was selling me magazines on behalf of her Girl Scout troop. I asked her if she liked school and she said she did, that she was having a good time.

The fourth grade is studying Indians. The triplets had handed in their reports early. Emma had written on the Hopis, Adam the Cherokee, and George the Aztec.

LSU's slaughter of Virginia Tech last week makes State look a little better. We play Auburn this week at Auburn.

The sportcasters on ESPN were talking tonight about the Michigan-Notre Dame game this weekend is the most important game ever between unranked teams. Only in their eyes. Other people feel very differently. The State-Ole Miss game is always important to me, much more important than the MI-ND game.

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