Tondar's Daily Rant

Prepare yourself for the writings of Tondar the Destroyer, Baron of Atlanta, Rightful Heir to the Throne of Spain, from whom all babies come. As his will be blogged, so let it be done.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

OFFICIALLY A GEORGAIN

Well I just got back from getting my new Georgia driver's license. I have to admit I liked my Michigan picture better. On the other hand, it was still a pretty good experience. They gave me my "Stars and Bars" flag for my back window. I also got my NASCAR assignment. Turns out I'm a Robby Gordon fan. Not sure if that will have much impact on my life, but hey, when in Rome...
AFRO-UPDATE FROM KATHERINE

My buddy Katherine is out on the road again. This time she is student teaching in Ghana (that's Africa) for half a semester. Here's her first update as she presses the rains like Toto...

"I hope you are all doing well. I just wanted to let you all know that I got here safe! It took 2 days to get here, and I am very tired but too excited to sleep. I left my house at 10am on Thursday, and I arrived in Ghana Saturday morning around 4am. I spent the whole day in London because our plane was delayed (super-delayed!).

Things are beautiful here! It is much different than I expected. I always expect nothing, and then I am impressed! I have my own room and I share a bathroom with another CMU teacher. Yes, I have a toilet and a shower. Most of the places I will visit do not have that, but thank goodness we do! Yes, we have a bed (I actually have 2!), and NO we are not in grass huts or huts made of dung. There are 11 teachers all together, and most of us are in the same village. The food is good (so far), and I really love it here! It is really hot, but other than that things are going well.

It all feels so surreal right now.... but I am trying to get used to it. The people are all super nice, and there are some gorgeous black men here! We are the only white people in the area, but it is a neat experience to be the minority for once in my life. Everyone carries everything on their heads, including suitcases at the airport. I didn't try it because I would have severely hurt myself with my huge bag!

Well, I am at the international High School checking my email. There are only 3 CMU teachers here, and this place is brand new. They have some equipment that I have never seen before in a classroom. Apparently the students are on holiday break (winter break, which is funny because it is about 90+degrees!), so this week we will get to see Ghana and get used to the life before we teach in a week."

Friday, October 15, 2004

READY FOR A REPEAT

Check out this Chad Ford column that talks about the Pistons chemistry and talent, and how it is a nice recipe for another championship. However, in today's NBA with such depleted rosters, Dumars simply had the vision to turn talent on its ear and concentrate on teamwork.

Money Quote: "Dumars' ability to pluck players in free agency and the draft that weren't marquee names, but who had the inner fight in them to succeed, has destroyed long held myths about how to build a contender. For years, the obsession of almost every GM in the league was about finding one or two guys who could be superstars -- the next Shaq or KG. Dumars proved the past several years that a collection of talented, hard-working, unselfish players who are willing to fight through adversity can do it even better."

Thursday, October 14, 2004

UGH PORK CHOPS

Not as cool as finding human body parts in your food. But certainly
much higher on the nasty-scale.
TONDAR GETS TONDARD

So this afternoon at work I was dicking around and sending AJC photos to a few of the kids out there when my phone rings. Now all day long my caller ID has been malfunctioning. When it rings it says one thing and then when I pick it up, it changes to who it actually is. Well this time it says NY. So I think it's one of my buddies calling from the Big Apple to comment about idiotically dressed puppies. Turns out the voice has a southern accent. He then identifies himself as one of the attornies whose name appears on the stationary of my fine employer. At this point Ole Tondar begins to sweat it. I've spent about 30 minutes dicking around with these accursed Halloween animals while waiting on Tennessee to get their act in order. Seems the pipehitter upstairs wants to have a "talk" with Ole Tondar. Right before the deuce drops from my rear I look over and notice the caller ID hasn't changed. Who do I know in NYC that would pull this? Suddenly it hits me, "Alright Larry, that's enough." On the other end all I hear is that silly New Jersey chuckle. "Larry, you're a piece of crap!" But anyways, Larry has a thing for practical jokes from running a mafia casino in his New Jersey garage, to e-mailing the entire office compromising photos of co-workers, he has run the gambit of bastardry. But anyways, my congrats to Larry. It's rare when you can slip one by the ole Dar. You will be rewarded with a few rounds when you swing through the A.T.L. in a few weeks.
SETH ON THE SENATE RACE

"We've been following the presidential campaign closely in recent months.

But the executive branch is only part of the story.

Let's look at the Senate. Currently, the Senate stands at 51 Republicans, 48 Democrats and one Independent. Since Jim Jeffords, the Independent, usually votes with the Democrats, let's just say it's 51-49 right now and remember one of the Dems is an I.

Of the 34 seats up for election, 19 are currently Democratic and 15 Republican. That makes this an uphill battle for the Democrats, who have to defend six seats in South.

Probably will stay:
Democrats will probably keep 14 of their seats, with the incumbent leading by a large margin. Republicans will undoubtedly hold at least 11 of theirs.

So let's look at the rest. For the Dems, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. For the Republicans, Colorado, Oklahoma, Alaska, and Illinois.

Louisiana: This one's interesting. A Democratic Senator, John Breaux, retired and endorsed Chris John, but a guy named John Kennedy is also running on the Democratic ticket. The State is weird in that if you don't get 51 percent of the vote, there's a runoff election later. Right now, the Republican candidate David Vittier has 44 percent, the two Democrats a combined 54. Traditionally in the state, the runoffs have favored the Democrats. My guess is Vittier will lose the runoff election against John but I could be very wrong if the liberal Kennedy voters don't come around to the Moderate Chris John. GOP 51, Dems 49

Florida: Bob Graham (D) is retiring and this Senate race looked like a pick 'em in September. However, the Democratic candidate, Betty Castor, was gaining momemtum against Mel Martinez. This one will come down to voter turnout and how much Martinez can bring over the Hispanic vote. Let's say he does and the GOP picks this one up. GOP 52, Dems 48.

Georgia: Zell Miller (D) is retiring and the Dems are losing this seat almost certainly. Rep. Johnny Isakson (R) has a big lead. GOP 53, Dems 47.

South Carolina: Ernest Hollings (D) is retiring and the state leans pretty Conservative. Rep. Jim DeMint (R) is a moderate who won a surprising race against former GOP governor David Beasley. Inez Tenenbaum, a pro-lifer who made her bones in education has run a good campaign, as had the honest DeMint, but I'm betting DeMint takes it all the way. GOP 54, Dems 46

North Carolina: John Edwards (D) abandoned his post to run for Vice President, but Erskine Bowles, a Conservative Democrat, now has a strong lead over Rep. Richard Burr (R). GOP 54, Dems 46

Colorado: Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R), the only motorcycle-riding Senator besides Kerry, is retiring. Peter Coors of the Coors fortune (R) is running against AG Ken Salazar (D), a popular Hispanic centrist who owns a Harley. Coors was up at first, but has been plummeting, now down by 11 points (the state is now leaning toward Kerry now as well). Moral of the story: Coors should've bought himself a bike. GOP 53, Dems 47.

Oklahoma: Don Nickles (R) is retiring and left what he though was a shoe-in to replace him. But Dr. Tom Coburn (R) has been taking hits recently after accusations about his medical ethics surfaced. Although he was up by 10 points last summer, he was down 5 in September. The momentum is squarely with Pro-Gun, Pro-Life, Pro-War Democrat Brad Carson, who asked Kerry not to campaign for him. Looks like the Democrats have their new Zell Miller, although Carson is a future possibility for GOP recruitment. GOP 52, Dems 48.

Alaska: Former Governor Tony Knowles (D) is coming on strong against sitting Senator Lisa Murkowski. Green Party candidate Jim Sykes is withdrawing, which would give Knowles the election. GOP 51, Dems 49.

Illinois: Senator Peter Fitzgerald (R) decided to retire because he though the husband of Boston Public's hottie Jerrie Ryan could easily succeed him. At the time, they figured the Democrats were going with Blair Hull - who couldn't win. But megabucks and good-looking Jack Ryan had to drop out after getting caught at a strip club, Hull had his divorce become a scandal, and the Democrats found a rising star in
Barack Obama. Republicans searched for help, even asking Mike Ditka until Ditka said he didn't know anything about politics. They finally got Alan Keyes, but Obama is gonna kill him. GOP 50, Dems 50.

So after all that, we're going to have a split Senate again. Still, considering that out of the four closest races I've picked three Democrats. Louisiana is the one I'm least comfortable with - the state goes Democrat in runoffs but that's because the Clinton was president for the run-offs. If the winner of the presidential election wins the runoff election in Louisiana, it means quite literally that the presidental election will determine who controls the Senate. Either way, because the Dems are putting in a few Conservative Democrats here and losing a few liberals, I'd say even if we win the Senate or get the 50/50 and Kerry wins the presidency to give Dems control, it will be a more right-leaning Senate.

Republicans prefer to retire in off elections, when you get very low Democrat turnout, so look for 2006 to feature a lot more open GOP seats.

I'll tackle the house in coming weeks."

This seems like a pretty solid rundown, though Ole Tondar hasn't done the research like Seth. AJC isn't THAT great of a paper. Though Im not too sure of the specific numbers. However, I would compare this to the senatorial election of 2000. In 1994 some weak republicans snuck in on the coattails of the anti-clinton Republican revolution that shifted control of Congress. However, by 2000 many were thrown out of office accounting for the brief 50-50 split of that term.

I think the senate Dems are ripe this year for a few paybacks. Because many of these democrats were elected in support of Clinton during his impeachment back in 1998. Both parties benefitted from an angry electorate that elected weak senators, and like the Republicans in 2000 I think some of these dems are gonna get hit with a little balance.

Its a shame Alan Keyes wont win. I really like him a lot. Once in awhile he'll say some horrible things, but his record as a conservative is top-notch.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

WHAT MAKES THE DEMOCRATS TICK

Check out this Jim Wooten column that not only explains the core beliefs of the modern liberal democratic party, but it's also well written. It's a shame more people can't write about so many subjects in such a concise tight manner.
THE "NUISSANCE" REMARK

Pigpen sent me this great quote from Rudy Giuliani, speaking about John Kerry and why he can't be trusted with the war on terror.

Money quote: "The idea that you can have an acceptable level of terrorism is frightening. How do you explain that to the people who are beheaded or the innocent people that are killed, that we’re going to tolerate a certain acceptable [level] of terrorism, and that acceptable level will exist and then we’ll stop thinking about it? This is an extraordinary statement. I think it is not a statement that in any way is ancillary. I think this is the core of John Kerry’s thinking. This does create some consistency in his thinking."
THE MOST SWINGIN' STATES

Thanks to Seth for compiling this pretty accurate list of swing states. Now as the candidates jockey back in forth in the national polls we can see where it falls along this continuum...

****Democrat****
Maryland
Oregon
New Jersey
Michigan
Maine
Iowa
Minnesota
Pennsylvania
New Hampshire
Wisconsin
Ohio
Florida
Missouri
Nevada
New Mexico
Colorado
Arkansas
Louisiana
West Virginia
Virginia
North Carolina
Kentucky
Tennessee
Idaho
****Republican****

Note recent elections. Except for N.C., which is Edwards' territory, Clinton swept the swing states against Dole. In the closest election in history, Bush won by breaking as high as Ohio and Missouri, the meat of the middle. You can never expect the states to align just so - Kerry has reached down as far as Arkansas at times without getting Florida. But in general, you have a slight differential to begin with in each of these states and when you influence a large group of the country at once, say, after a debate, you'll see the states move generally in this order.
SHOULDA LOWERED THEM MORE!

Looks like Bush dropped the ball again. Turns out that his great victory in lowering taxes wasn't actually enough to create the necessary stimulus.
SHOULDA LOWERED THEM MORE!

Looks like Bush dropped the ball again. Turns out that his great victory in lowering taxes wasn't actually enough to create the necessary stimulus.

Monday, October 11, 2004

HISTORY OF CONSERVATISM

Check out this interesting piece by George Will that traces the rise of Conservatism from Barry Goldwater in 1964 through Clinton's Co-opted successes of balanced budgets and welfare reform. Plus if you're a liberal, you just might learn something.
THE SETH TOP 25

Screw the AP and coaches poll. We've got the Seth poll...

1. USC
The most talent, so I had them #1 pre-season. They need to lose to drop unless #2 beats #3 or something.

2. Oklahoma
They haven't lost and they beat an undefeated, highly regarded, highly talented Texas team this weekend.

3. Miami (Fla.)
I started them ranked highly for and gave them props for beating Florida State.

4. Auburn
They beat LSU and Tennessee, which moves me. Whacking LaTech doesn't.

5. Purdue
They killed Notre Dame. They have the Heisman front-runner at QB.

6. Wisconsin
Beating Ohio State is one step less cool than beating LSU. The Badgers' non-conf. schedule hurts them, but considering who they still have to play, I can't be too harsh.

7. Virginia
Gotta like the win against W. Virginia, but the rest of them were forgettable.

8. Arizona St.
They beat two good Big Ten teams and two good Pac10 teams. Rank 'em high now and next week's game against USC can either drop 'em far or raise 'em into the elite teams.

9. Oklahoma St.
Took on UCLA in non-conf. They haven't played anyone big, but they're undefeated heading into the tough part of the Big 12 season.

10. Utah
Beat Texas A&M and are undefeated, but if they win out from here, I still won't put them far, as every team they have on the schedule won't put up any fight.

11. Tennessee
Beat Florida. Beat Georgia. Lost only to #4 Auburn. Makes 'em my top 1-lossers.

12. Michigan
The close loss to Notre Dame was weeks ago. Beating previosly undefeated Minnesota demands respect

13. Georgia
Beat LSU but lost to Tennessee. Dropped from the top, they have Florida and Auburn left so be nice.

14. Cal
They're 3-1, with a win over Oregon St. (who's coming apart) the only one worth mentioning. So they hung in there against USC? I don't see a better team than Georgia here.

15. Florida St.
They've won poorly against bad teams, then got whupped by Miami. Sorry, but If the Noles want a high ranking, BEAT SOMEONE.

16. Texas
Same thing, but more embarrassing. They struggle to beat forgettables all season then get blanked by Oklahoma.

17. Minnesota
This weekend was their crucible and they failed against the first good team they came across. Not so badly as Texas or FSU, but Michigan isn't Oklahoma or Miami.

18. West Virginia
That's nice that Lee Corso wants you to win it all this season. But the Mountaineers tripped against their only Big-Bad opponent in Virginia and, left behind in the Big East, even a conference championship can't heal that wound.

19. Louisville
Every year it's the same. Easy schedule, easy wins. When the loss comes, I want them close to #25 so I can drop 'em.

20. Boise St.
Again, B team beating up C and D opponents. They'll lose eventually and then it's bye-bye

21. LSU
That's great that you're defending champions with loads of talent. And I respect your schedule tons, as well as that win against Florida. But 2 losses is 2 losses.

22. Florida
Chris Leak is fun to watch and all, but the Gators beat 3 teams that they should have and lost two close ones to LSU and Tennesse.

23. Ohio State
I keep you around for the talented squad you have, and there should be no shame in losing to Wisconsin. But Northwestern? Sheesh.

24. Southern Miss
Hurricanes postponed their only worthwhile opponent, Cal, and thus their first sound beating.

25. Texas A&M
Personally responsible for giving Utah a ranking. Hang around because they have a tough schedule left and a win against any of those conference powers will justify my leaving them up there.

Honorable mention:
Notre Dame - loss to Purdue and BYU, kind of like Ohio State syndrome, but got revenge on Michigan and recently took out a good Stanford squad.
Virginia Tech - Another case of beat bad opponents, lose to good ones.
Missouri - Worthy of pre-season hype? Not after losing to Troy. Who's Troy anyway? But I'll allow for an early-season blip if they can come out of the next four games (Texas, OkSt., Nebraska, Kansas St.) with 4 wins.
Iowa - Lost to two very respectable teams in Arizona State and Michigan.
The schedule from here is the toughest yet, with Ohio State, Purdue, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, nobody's tea party.

Note:

Putting together an offense that exploits talent holes has worked for a number of Mid-Major programs who win their conference and can sometimes upset a major conference team early in the season. The mark of such a team (late-'90s Marshall being the prime example) is that they score a ton against bad teams and have trouble scoring against good ones.

Of all the teams in the land, the last I'd expect to follow such an offensive strategy is Joe Paterno's Nittany Lions. Yet in their two wins they scored 85 points. In their 4 losses, just 30.

I know we get frustrated when Lloyd Carr's Wolverines can "only" score 35 against a MAC team early in the season. But our offense is built on Pro principles, which not only accounts for our QBs going directly to the NFL, but also our ability to move the ball the same against good or bad defenses.

I watched the 1st half of the Seahawks/Rams game (turned it off 'cause I thought "there's NO WAY the Rams are coming back") yesterday, and realized that Seattle's game strategy is very much like our own. They use quick passes to the split ends to open up the screen, off-tackle running plays, draws, and the occasional deep pass. On defense, it's a constant stream of linebackers and DBs showing blitz and backing off, with greater-than-normal substitution.
FOREIGN BROWN SUBSTANCE - PART II

From Pigpen...

"When my friend Andy was a line foreman up at Electrolux (just before they moved him into the engineering office) there was a guy on the trim line that he was in charge of. He was always asking Andy to take bathroom break, which is not the most kosher thing to do alot when you work on a moving assembly line. If he wasn't allowed to go when ever he felt necessary (ie: out for a moke-break) he would call upon the Archduke to ride around with him. I guess this guy would pull that about once a month so he would get sent home. Can you think of anything lower than a grown man dooking in his drawers so he could get a paid "sick day". Especially since this became the guys M.O. long before Andy was foeman. Broqtun's long lost daddy?"

Certainly puts the "sick" in sickday. And they really wondered why Electrolux decided to move the factory to Mexico.
DON'T BOTHER ENFORCING THE LAWS

How do you stop illegal immigration? Create awareness with delightful television comercials of course. Of course they don't mention all the freebies Mexicans recieve from our massive welfare state when they open their baby factories on this side of the boarder. Ad or not, the economic incentive to sneak into America is too great and there's nothing that a great ad campaign can do to negate that fact.
A KRUK OF TOUGH-TALK

From Pigpen...

"For being the subject of a very funny Chris Farley skit, ("shoulda been there!") John Kruk probably hit the nail on the head as far as a working man's athlete's take on the current state of pro-sports. I wish I was John Kruck (without the cancer and alcoholism of course)."

Money Quote: "There's another part of this I don't get. If Ricky Williams gets suspended for smoking dope, and then he quits the game and admits that part of the reason is because of the drug policy -- how are the cops not over at his house right after they see this on "SportsCenter?" I guess their idea of getting drugs off the street is getting them into Ricky's house."
NOT MY BAG, BABY

Check out the latest trend in Paris fashion. And here I've been throwing away my bags for years like a chump.
"BLESSED IS THE PEACEMAKER..."

Looks like the Vatican has reversed its policy and now supports a successful rebuilding effort in Iraq. Though I doubt secular Europe will pay much attention, but its a step in the right direction for the people of Iraq.
WE'RE NOT THAT FREE

Check out this interesting site that rates nations based on the amount of freedom within the country. From Hong Kong to North Korea, all the kids are there. Turns out the U.S. ranks number 10. This this rather low rating is due to our massive tax system which especially hits corporations and individuals very hard.
CAN'T GET YOUR HEAD AROUND IT WATCH

7/8 Time featuring Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill..."

Bottom line, what a great song! And because of songs like this and Rush's "Natural Science," I know that God exists and there's many things that I simply will never get my head around such as eternal life, or the nature of the soul, I know this especially when I can't even grasp a simple earthly delight as "Solsbury Hill" and its 7/8 time, But hey, BOOM BOOM BOOM, whatever, "you can keep my things, they've come to take me home!"