Saturday, November 29, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Here's my stance on this. If the best teams lose out, then clearly, they weren't the best teams. This is a problem that will have been manufactured by the money grab known as the conference championship games. I am deeply opposed to conference championship games. They undermine the importance of conference play, and they screw up the national title picture. However, it is the bed the Big XII has made, and now they must lie in it.
The fact that he's arguing for the Big XII makes his case even shakier. The Big XII has already screwed up the BCS picture in this exact same manner twice. In 2001, the Big XII champion was Colorado, however, the Big XII sent Nebraska to the national title game. The result? 37-14 Miami. They didn't learn their lesson. In 2003, Kansas State was the Big XII champion, but the Big XII sent Oklahoma to the National Title Game. This time it was 21-14 LSU.
I believe the voters might have learned their lesson. Last season, Georgia was ranked second with only the conference championship games to go. Georgia was not playing, so they figured that their spot in the title game against Ohio State was assured. Far from it. Eventual SEC Champion LSU jumped from 7th to 2nd, and locked the #3 team in the SEC from attempting to play in the title game. The results were quite pleasing to the SEC. 38-24 LSU.
So to answer your question Brad, in case your doomsday scenario does play out, yes, Penn State-Florida would be just fine.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
"Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large, thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?"
If there's an author this side of Earnest Hemingway who really knew his liquor, it was Ian Flemming, the creator of secret agent James Bond. In honor of the release of Quantum of Solace, I bring you the drink Flemming created through 007, The Vesper.
The Vesper was introduced in Flemming's 1953 novel, Casino Royal. During a high stakes game of Baccarat. Bond invents the drink when asked if he'd like a drink from the bar. When Felix Lighter, one of the other players comments on the drink, Bond says this.
"I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink's my own invention. I'm going to patent it when I can think of a good name."
As you can read above, the drink involves Gin, Vodka, and Kina Lillet. However, if you want to make an accurate Vesper, you must keep in mind that this recipe was devised in 1953, when men were men, and alcohol was strong. Gordon's Gin has been cut down in proof, and most vodkas currently sold are 80 proof. Kina Lillet isn't made anymore. They replaced it with Lillet Blanc, which has no quinine in it, so it lacks any real bite to it.
To get around these issues, there are several quick fixes. Many modern gins maintain the 94 proof of 50's Gordon's. 100 proof vodka is easy to find. A dash of quinine powder turns a Lillet Blanc back into Kina Lillet. The quinine powder might be difficult to find, so if you can't get your hands on it, substitute in 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters.
You wind up with 3 oz 94 proof gin, 1 oz 100 proof vodka, 1/2 oz of Lillet Blanc, and a dash of Quinine Powder (or two dashed bitters). Shake until cold, then strain into a Cocktail glass, or a deep champagne goblet if you want to be true to Bond. Garnish with a long thin lemon peel. Take a sip, and picture yourself heads up with Le Chiffre.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Quantum - [kwon-tuhm] -(physics) the smallest discrete quantity of some
physical property that a system can possess.
Quantum of Solace is the latest James Bond film, and once you watch it, the title becomes quite apt.
Daniel Craig stars for the second time as the man with a license to kill. Craig's portrayal of Bond is more in line with the model put forward by previous actors Sean Connery and Timothy Dalton. Craig's Bond is a killer for his country. Gone are the quips and one liners of the campier Bonds. Personally, I like it this way.
Judi Dench comes back as M, Bond's supervisor. As always, she does a sharp job at this.
Olga Kurylenko and Gemma Arterton play Bond Girls Camille Montes and Strawberry Fields, respectively. Montes is a beautiful Russian Bolivian woman who's on a vendetta against the man who killed her family. Fields is a lovely British redhead working for the British Consulate. Fields exudes the almost prudish form of sex appeal that only the British have mastered.
Mathieu Amalric plays Dominic Greene. The main villain of the film. Eco friendly CEO of a major corporation, and member of the secretive criminal syndicate Quantum. Unlike previous villains, Greene lacks an outstanding deformity. He's probably the most normal villain to grace Her Majesty's Silver Screen. He still comes off as a little creepy though.
Quantum of Solace picks up right where Casino Royal left off. Right off, as in Mr. White, the operative for Quantum that Bond captured at the end of the previous film, is still in the trunk of Bond's Aston Martin. The film jumps right into a pitched gunfight on the narrow European highways, and the action never slows up.
After making his escape from the gunmen of Quantum, Bond brings Mr. White to an MI6 safehouse, where M herself prepares to interrogate him, using unscrupulous means if need be. Mr. White laughs her ominous threats off, claiming that Quantum has people everywhere. Usually when someone says that, it's a setup for someone to be a double agent down the road. Apparently, it wasn't very far down the road, because one of the MI6 agents in the room opens fire, killing the guards. Bond gives chase, leaving Mr. White unattended.
In Bond's furious pursuit of the traitor, we begin to get a peak at the reason why the film was given it's name. The betrayal and death of Vesper Lynd in Casino Royal has made him into an inconsolable font of wrath. He has buried himself in his duties with MI6, and walks a perilous line between his duty, and pure vengeance.
As he chases leads regarding the shadow syndicate of Quantum, he is led to Dominic Greene, the CEO of Greene Planet. Mr. Greene has some shady dealings going on that will bring about the downfall of the Bolivian government, and give Greene control of the worlds most valuable resource.
This is an EON Bond film, so it's rather stunning visually. The stunts are jaw dropping. Picture Parkour on roid rage. The score suits the film well. It utilizes the Bond Theme leitmotif, without becoming dependent upon it. The theme song is well done, but a little unremarkable. I liked "You Know My Name" from Casino Royal better. However, Alicia Keys does a good job singing.
The writing has gone far away from the gadget filled camp of the series prior. For the most part, everything they use is plausible. There are not so subtle homages to Goldfinger and Moonraker. Think black gold. The characters are much more filled out in the Craig films than in any previous incarnations.
The film is 106 minutes long, and garnered a 58 on Metacritic. Most critics complained that it didn't seem like Bond was having fun in this one. I agree, but I believe that that was the point of this film. 007 is no longer the quip producing charmer in control of everything. He's human now. He bleeds, he hurts, and he has doubts. I think this is a great move. I give the film an 8/10.