Friday, December 16, 2005

The Jenks Response

One of the regular readers of this space, Matthew Gordon "The Beer Tsar" Jenks, has responded to some of my recent posts in rather copious fashion. First off thanks to all who read and respond here. You make doing this worthwhile. Secondly, I will respond/clairfy/expand on some of the aforementioned Beer Tsar's musings as of late (for the original texts, refer to the below referenced posts on this site and the comments therein):
  • "Blame Canada." - While I never expected an exodus of everyone from the "blue" states (that would involve my parents) moving to Canada, the results of the election did seem to land like a dull thud. The seeming coincidences of history, however, seem to be playing out. The Ol' Second Term Curse seems to be creeping in and one must wonder about the mid-term elections next year. Will the Democrats get their act together? They have an opportunity to really do something, but as of late, they seem to have trouble getting elected to much more than dog catcher or the joke jobs (Chicago building inspector, for example). As for Belgium, you make some good points. Germany ran over them twice and threatened a third time (during the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian War). I can see how the classic French rentier mentality survives; it has often been said that Frenchmen fly their flag on the left, but vote on the right. I think, moreover, that it must be said that Belgium, as we know it, has only existed since 1830 and they are in no way innocent of horrible atrocities in the past. Any time they want to deride the USA, remind them of King Leopold II and his "humanitarian" record in the Congo. That'll shut 'em up. Brussels may be a nice city and home of the EU, but it was built on the blood of millions of Africans. Let them choke on their Chimay with that.
  • "The 'Smoke-Filled Room' Commits Suicide." - Well put. As all of you know, I have long been an enemy of the nanny state. The state takes so much. We must fight tooth and nail for what we can salvage of our rights. It is sad, however, that we must concentrate on the mere dignities of life and not the "big" issues concerning our eroding rights. This news today, however, was a good sign. A good fight led in part by Russ Feingold, but if he thinks this is the basis for a presidential run, he's nuts. He will be a latter day Dennis Kucinich.
  • "Bucky Vs. A Dead Pope? Advantage Bucky!" - Football and polka? So, you were at the Essen Haus this fall? That describes a large part of my social life. Anyway, I never claimed that Wisconsin is claiming to be a b-ball powerhouse. Their gradual rise over the past years has raised us, I think, to the level of a "regional power." In traditional "Great Power" politics (thanks for the idea to my hero, A.J.P. Taylor), we have not gained Great Power status. Hockey is another issue. We are the best in the land, excepting that one upset against Michigan Tech last week (which was avenged the next day by a 7-0 drubbing). All of the Colorado college hockey teams like bitch-ass Colorado College and it's less hot sister the University of Denver can do various lewd things to certain regions of my anatomy. Namely the ballsack. Sorry for that...I really hate Colorado (with the exception of a few select people).
  • "Packers: Take Your Ball And Go Home." - I am a Chicago Bears fan, and you are telling me about teams needing time to rebuild? What the hell were the Dave Wannstead years? Well, and Dick Jauron...and Lovie Smith. The Bears have shown flashes of greatness lately, but are plagued by injury and fines. We must consider, after the embarassing loss to a desparate Pittsburgh team, that the world has not come to an end and that Atlanta is immenently beatable. As for the Packers, yes it is the time to rebuild and regain strength. Chicago teams are notorious for screwing up when it counts, so it could happen. Perhaps it is because I would have no other team as our rivals...we are the classic pairing. Still, it is a great moral victory for the Bears to beat the Packers, regardless of the condition/record of either franchise. It is like any classic can make a bad season good or a good one feel less glorious. I know here at Wisconsin, we had a decent season for King Barry's last, but the Minnesota game is always crucial. Being a Notre Dame fan, I needn't lecture you on classic football rivalries.

So there you go, Jenks. Thanks again and perhaps we shall gather on the ground of the Hoosier State once again.


Matthew "Bier Kaiser" Jenks said...

Quick counters (while I'm waiting for my fellows to get back with me about lunch).

1) I usually trotted out the "oh yes, we'll do a GREAT job protecting the people of Rwanda from genocide" when I argued about the great, peaceful leadership role that the Belgians (who, by the way, have a unionized army...I'm sure Samuel Gompers and Huey P. "Kingfish" Long are toasting their Chimays over that laugh) play in world politics.
2) At least Feingold won't be nuts, like Kucinich. Funny enough, down here, where it's heavy liberal bias, the Kerry/Edwards stickers are waning (though can still be seen on occasion), but the Kucinich 2004 bumper stickers are still going strong. Weirdos.
3) I was more or less warning you on the dangers of self-proclamation of basketball prowess status. Can I trot more nouns together in a row? Anyway, they did that at Notre Dame (after one marginally good year with Matt Dohertry, built on the strength of Troy Murphy's inside game) and then basically got laughed out of the stadiums later on (especially when Indiana came in, to Notre Dame's home court, when ND was ranked 10th in the nation, undefeated, and then soundly drubbed the Irish by 22). While Bucky has been doing a good job on the hardwood, and Wisconsin is a strong, strong home court where NO ONE wants to visit, there needs to be one little more oomph to get them over the top to being at least considered in the elite. Of course, my veins run red and white (of course they do, it's biology) with Hoosier Hysteria, so I'm a little jaded. Insert ascii-inspired winking smilie right here.
4) True, the Packers sure seem to be trying to eff up that whole "get Reggie Bush" in the draft thing (win last week against hapless Lions at home and a road game against even more hapless Ravens...I'm a Packers fan, but I'll still be tuning in ESPN's matchup of Indiana vs. Charlotte). And it's also true that Mike Sherman (and Ray "One and Done" Rhodes) are no Mike Holmgren, but I'm still supportive of Sherman. He lets Favre basically call the shots, and until this year, has done a decent job keeping the NFC north in control (but then, that's not tough when you've got the Mike Tice travesty in Minnesota, the Dave Wandstedt era in Chicago and, well, we won't go into Detroit and Matt Millen's antics...hell, even I could have coached the Packers to at least one championship during that time). Still...Brady Quinn in Packer green and gold would look real nice. A Heisman-winning quarterback from Notre Dame leading the Packers on offense? Man, it'd be like I'm sipping from the same cup as Jesus Christ, Knute Rockne and Vince Lombardi.

And here this was supposed to be a short response. Hopefully it's, at least, amusing.

P.S. It was so nice to see ND wipe that smirk off Wandstedt's face during the Pittsburgh game this year. Not as nice as watching the Purdue defensive coordinator stand around, jaw agape, while he tried to figure out how to slow down the Irish offense, but still pretty nice. I can't think of a smirking dumbass I'd rather see get his comeuppance...unless it's Tom O'Brien ("Loves Mr. Burns...wants to be Mr. Burns...ain't gonna happen").

Anonymous said...

About Wisconsin Basketball, don't be so quick to judge. It has won a national championship (which is obviously more than I can say for Illinois). It has had 16 Big Ten.

In addition, it is not as though this is a Notre Dame-esque one and done story of basketball success.

You are quite right in noting that they play like the 1970s UCLA on the home court, and that is a non-trivial fact.

However, apart from that:

They have appeared in 8 consecutive NCAA tournaments. That is impressive in and of itself, but in addition during that time. Have never lost in the tournament to a lower rated seat. Have not lost a first round game. Have had one final four, one elite eight and two sweet sixteen appearances.

They have won at least a part of the Big Ten Title for three of the last four years.

Past six years:

2004-2005 (25-9) #15 Final ranking.

2003-2004 (24-6) Big Ten Tournament First Place, Tied Second Regular Season #14

2002-2003 (22-7) Outright First in Big Ten # 13

2001-2002 (19-13) Tied First Big Ten. (Don't have final AP Rankings from here out)

2000-2001 (18-11) Coaching Turmoil here. Bennett resigned middle of year, very bad and personal situation

It doesn't seem to me that

1999-2000 (22-14) Final Four Apearance.

You get the picture. In addition, Wisconsin has had a lottery pick for the NBA the year before last. Very, very good incoming classes as rated by recruiting services (take that for what it is worth)

I would definately take the situation and long term prospects of Wisconsin over every team in the Big Ten, except perhaps Michigan State.

Illinois had a cute team last year, but like the Flyin' Illini of old, choked when the time was right. In addition, their recruiting classes seem completely below par. Weber just can't recruit. Purdue used to be impressive, but look at them now.

Indiana, Michigan, and Iowa seem to be ranked high at the beginning of every year, but time and again their lack of any coaching ability causes their teams to completely choke. Sorry if you're a Hoosier fan (what is a Hoosier anyway?) but you can't honestly believe Davis is a good coach.

-- Greg