Month: May 2012

a shift in time

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it’s almost time for another memorial day weekend. the beginning of summer as it were. time to once again honor all those who never made it back from one of our endless wars. time to pause and raise a glass in honor of those soldiers. happy dead soldier weekend, my brothers and sisters. this post first appeared back in august of 2007.

jmh

i spent several hours yesterday on line at the vietnam center and archive, texas tech university.  lots of good stuff to noodle around and look at if you are a veteran or a history buff.  there’s numerous oral histories and collections in their museum to meander through as well.  it’s a very nice place and i’m more than happy to have given them what little stuff i had from my collecting or picking up stuff days from that place long ago.  what i was looking at wasn’t the oral histories or the museum stuff but their maps.  a very nice and easily negotiable 1:50,000 map of vietnam.  map sections blown up to very large jpgs, everything there.  all the contours, streams, rivers, and mountains with names so long ago forgotten but still remembered when given half a chance.  it’s odd to look at those maps and the places i once traveled thru or lived in and around.  seeing the names again brought back a flood of stuff.

i spent most of the time tracing the road trip from saigon to out where i was stationed in ham tan.  80 miles of 2 lane black top or hwy 1 as it was and is still known today.  the 40 miles or so out to xuan loc were fairly civilized even boasting mp(military police) speed traps.  yes, strange things in strange times.  the last 40 miles or so after xuan loc and a right turn were another story.  particularly the 30 or so miles of dirt road with the jungle closing in on both sides fighting it’s way back to life after many doses of agent orange.  that stretch of road had that certain pucker factor to it.  your body telling you, this ain’t right and can’t we just go someplace else, now, please.

that 80 mile road trip was my introduction to the wilder side of vietnam.  i’d spent a few days in the company area in bien hoa but i knew where i was going right from the start.  when the first sargent saw me his first words were, boy, you going to ham tan.  the die was cast and the deal went down a few days later when a solitary deuce and a half rolled into the company area to pick me up. 

i made that trip more than a few times in the old smoking deuce hauling building supplies out to ham tan in order to finish a bunker for our generators and large a/c units.  units used to cool all the communication gear inside the bunker.  that first trip though was an eye opener for sure. 

yeah, for 2 hours yesterday i was back on the road again.  memories exploding like a 105 round.  the last 40 miles of bad road in particular.  just like the old duane eddy tune from the early 60’s.  i think i’m still there today.  oh, i know i am today because the memories of those single deuce and a half trips have been running pretty much non stop since yesterday.  then again maybe i never left in the first place.

jmh

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college football playoffs ~ a new look

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the fools that are currently running, or more to the point, ruining college football have finally decided after much hand wringing and assorted weird juju they want to see playoffs in college football. though of course, we’re told not to hold our breath because they really aren’t so sure about any of it just yet. especially the big 10 or 12 or whatever it is these days. god forbid anything should just happen with those people.

at any rate, whatever the anointed finally decide upon will be stupid to be sure and as pointless as the current system. the brand new current system will be just as pointless and moribund in stupidity as the old system. plus the fact that at some point they will totally screw whatever they come up with up. you can count on that.

i’ve never been a fan of playoffs in college football. i’m old and old school. however, with all the league’s running amok and teams jumping leagues trying to catch the golden ring at the end of the season for a shot at the championship game. i’ve become pissed and disgruntled by the whole vapid experience. screw the deans, regents, commissioners, assorted other flacks, hangers on, big TV money, and the strippers they support. oh, and the damn bowl committees as well. i barely care anymore about them and the game they are hell bent on ruining. well, almost.

what would i do if i were running things? screw league play. it’s a waste of time and i’d dump it. i’d use college basketball’s march madness tourney model and adapt it to college football. sure why not? if you’re going to mess stuff up you may as well go for it. why just tweak and muddle stuff when you can toss out the baby along with the bath water at the same time? start all over as it were. begin anew.

ok. 64 teams. when you actually look closely at college football you’ll probably find only 64 FBS teams that are consistently good teams year in and year out. as for the rest of the schools who cares? right? they can do whatever they want except join this tournament. you take those 64 teams and they play one another in week 1. week 2 you have 32 teams left. by week 3 there are 16 teams remaining. now just to mix stuff up a bit you take the 32 teams who lost in week one and they all play each other in a double elimination round robin tournament while all the other games are going on. they would get down to 16 teams as well at some point or maybe 8 or 4. it would just depend on how crazed you wanted to get doing this playoff mode and how many weeks you want the season to be.

at any rate, i figure that by around thanksgiving you’d end up with 8 teams. 4 that went undefeated in their quest and 4 teams from the first 32 to be eliminated. those 8 teams would play each other and you’d end up with the four schools the deans and other related goofballs are now willing to tolerate in a 4 team playoff. pretty simple, right? damn straight it is. probably too simple for the simpletons running the show.

i say we give it a shot and see what shakes out. after all we could just go back to the old deal if this plan bombs. though i doubt it will. plenty of games on TV and the long suffering fans won’t have to sit through weeks of FBS teams playing crappy jr college squads, or worse, pick up teams composed of yahoos stupid enough to go up against ham handed drugged up college kids on football scholarships like they do now. it’s the proverbial win win if there ever was one. i can see it now and it’s a good thing.

jmh