Friday, September 29, 2006

My Old Oscoda Owls Get Their Wings Clipped

We Take Flight!

The Blue And White!
Fight! Fight! Fight!

In 1975, I started attending Kindergarten in the Oscoda Schools, one of hundreds of military brats from the neighboring Wurtsmith Air Force Base to do so. And despite the fact that the majority of children from the base would move away every couple of years (like all my childhood friends from the base, for example)...I managed to attend the schools for the next 11 years, until my father received orders to go to another base. By that time, our family was the longest current resident of the base, at 15 years and a handful of months. (4, I think.)

I remember the school as a great place to be a Band Nerd. Which I was. The band people and the basketball people...they pretty much ruled the school.

Because our Football Team was the joke of District IX.

The Owls were never all that good. It was nearly impossible to build a real team when your star player, whom you've cultivated into a solid position player...suddenly has to move to Ramstein, Germany. Or South Korea. Or any of the other bases around the world. You can't hold on to talent. We had the same problem in the band. No matter how good we were, we never did well at district competitions because someone who was a clear leader was always suddenly gone by the time they were needed.

The rule of thumb for the Owl Football Team was simple: beat the hated Tawas Braves, win the Homecoming Game...and you should be pretty well set. Little else was expected of them, and little else was ever delivered. Every now and then a team that was worse off than we were, like Grayling or Hale, would come to town and get beat down by 30 points or more...but those games were pretty rare. there's this. On my way to pick up my children from school today, roughly twenty years after the last class I had at Oscoda High School, I listened to The Big Show with Dan & Keith on ESPN Radio (a particular favorite of mine). And they're talking about a high school team in Michigan that hasn't scored a single point in four games. The school board is concerned that they'll get hurt, because the team obviously wasn't ready to play this year. So they're done. They've cancelled the rest of the schedule, without so much as a warning to the players or their parents.

THAT part of it irks me. Communication being what I do for a living, it irritates the hell out of me when people are unable to properly pass along vital information. But, I'm not entirely sure I disagree with the decision to cancel the year.

The arguement can be made that it's a bad lesson for the students. "If it looks too difficult...just quit." But it runs deeper than that. This a town that's been on a serious decline since the AF Base closed about eleven years ago. When that happened...the population of the school went from near 1100 students to about 530. I've only back once since the closure, and what I saw was a ghost town compared to what I remember as a child.

They sold a joke bumper sticker in one of the shops. DON'T TURN OUT THE LIGHTS...I'M STAYING! It's about the least funny joke I've ever seen. And I work in radio, where unfunny breeds like diseases in Madonna's underwear drawer.

Many have said that the town has used to closing of Wurtsmith as a patsy to point to for everything that has ever gone wrong since. Basketball team sucks? The base closing did it. No one came to the Paul Bunyan Festival? The base closing did it. Drug abuse, militia rumors...tons of crap was hung on that hook.

One of the shooters at Columbine High School in Colorado grew up in Oscoda. I think it was Dylan Klebold, or whatever. The town is featured in Michael Moore's Bowling For Columbine movie. It's painted as depressed community that "breeds psychos".

Hardly the town I remember growing up in.

Back to Football. There's a ton of great articles that I've been able to find since this afternoon, but none so solid
as the one from the town itself.

I remember The Oscoda Press as a fairly decent newspaper, part of the reason I became a news junkie. I think my mother worked there for a while when I was a lot younger.

I dug around in my lock box, and then my jewelry box, until I found my Class Of 1988 ring from Oscoda High. We ordered them as Sophomores at OHS, and when I moved on to the school I graduated from, I chose to keep the Oscoda ring instead of getting a new one.

I put it on. It still fits.

I think I'll take it off when the High School Football Season ends.

Let's go blue...

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Links for 928


Another school gunman, with a sadistic twist.

I'm so confused about Iran I just don't know what to think anymore.

Bob Dylan...vault-style.

Big-ass spyglass.

A grasp on 1918.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Crowe might play Irwin

Russell Crowe is reportedly planning to step into "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin's safari jacket. The two-time Oscar-winner isn't going to be wrangling crocodiles on Animal Planet -- he's reportedly considering playing his late pal in a Universal Pictures big-screen bio-pic of the man he dubbed "the Australian we all aspire to be."

Why not? I've seen worse castings...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Amazing Exploding Spleen

Chris Simms, the starting QB for my beloved Buccaneers, was rushed to a hospital near the Ray Jay in critical condition after the game.

Where they cut him open and pulled out what was left of his spleen.

He's been under a ton of scrutiny this week, a lot of fans calling for his head.

I was NOT one of them, as I know we have no one to replace him with. But the kid is probably out for the season now.

More importantly, he's doing much better now. He should be ready to start working out again in 2 or 3 weeks.

And we look to be pretty much screwed.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Antarctic Resort, 2055

For sheer spunk, though, you’ve got to admire the Resort Hotel in Antarctica (a special-category winner) designed by Heehyun Nam, also of UIUC. That’s because his hotel wouldn’t really be in Antarctica, but rather, underneath it, hanging like an upside-down high-rise from the underside of the continent’s massive ice shelf.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Links for 919

News items from CNN:

-- Tanks are rolling through the streets of Bangkok, Thailand, amid rumors of a coup attempt, CNN confirms.

-- NASA has delayed tomorrow's landing of the space shuttle Atlantis after engineers spotted a mystery object outside the shuttle; weather at the Florida landing site also is a concern.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Links for 914

Marianne Faithful has cancer...but the good news is that it was diagnosed early, so hopefully she can have a full recovery. I'm not particularly a fan...but I respect her work.

The Arctic region lost about a Pakistan-worth of ice between 2004 and 2005. Yes. We're all going to die.

There is a possibility that the US report on Iran's nuclear program weren't entirely accurate. Imagine that. Our country, screwing with the facts in the Middle East. Never thought I'd live to see the day.

"His name is Trench. You will come to know him as the Angel Of Death." Canada's Columbine-type shooting from yesterday has a name and a face now. You know, I used to wear a trenchcoat in high school. Never had the urge to ever shoot anyone.

The Chief Judge in Saddam Hussein's trial says the defendant "was not a Dictator". Hmmm. Misunderstood Artist? Politically Misunderstood Victim Of Circumstance? Industrious Ladder-Climber?

Paging Sarah Connor

I, for one, welcome our impending robotic overlords. begins...

Self-learning and adaptability will be the key to success, and this is where the Creativity Machine excels. Give it any set of robotic limbs and it will master locomotion within minutes without any programming, swiftly finding the most efficient way of moving toward a goal. It will spontaneously develop new gaits for new challenges. (Thaler recounts how a virtual robotic cockroach adopted a two-legged gait and ran on its hind legs, not unlike basilisk lizards, when it needed to move faster.)

Perhaps the most impressive -- and spookiest -- aspect of the project is the swarming behavior of the robots. In computer simulations, they acted together to tackle obstacles and grouped together into defensive formations where needed, Thaler said. They also worked out how to deal with defenders, and spontaneously devised the most efficient strategy for mapping their environment, he added.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Never Forget

Today is September 13th. Which, of course, is the 7th Anniversary of our moon being blasted out of Earth's orbit.

Remember this day, in whatever way you deem appropriate.

Monday, September 11, 2006

could be amusing, could suck

Explore this and see if it's worth anything.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

World Trade Center Cough

"I am like an old man now. I don't know what will happen to me... I am thinking about whether I will live or pass away, it is the number one question for me now."

I saw somebody on CNN the other day talking about this. He described crying in his sleep, waking up, and seeing that his tears were BLACK on the pillow.



Monday, September 04, 2006

Steve Irwin has died

Television personality and environmentalist Steve Irwin has died in a marine accident in north Queensland.

The 44-year-old is believed to have been killed by a stingray barb that went through his chest. He was filming an underwater documentary off Port Douglas when the accident occurred.

The Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) said a call was received about 11am (AEST) on Monday and an emergency services helicopter was flown to the boat on Batt Reef, off the coast near Cairns, with a doctor and emergency services paramedic on board.

Mr Irwin had a puncture wound to the left side of his chest and he was pronounced dead at the scene. Mr Irwin's body is being flown to Cairns.

It's believed Mr Irwin's American-born wife Terri is trekking on Cradle Mountain in Tasmania and has yet to be told of her husband's death.

Mr Irwin - known worldwide as the Crocodile Hunter - is famous for his enthusiasm for wildlife and his catchcry "Crikey!". The father of two's Crocodile Hunter program was first broadcast in 1992 and has been shown around the world on cable network Discovery. He's also starred in movies and has developed the Australia Zoo wildlife park, north of Brisbane, which was started by his parents Bob and Lyn Irwin.

The Irwins have two children - a daughter, Bindi Sue Irwin, eight, and a three-year-old son, Robert (Bob) Clarence Irwin. Bob was involved in a controversial incident with his father in January, 2004, when he dangled him near a crocodile at Australia Zoo. Mr Irwin carried his infant son in one arm while feeding a dead chicken carcass to a crocodile with the other hand. Child welfare and animal rights groups criticised his actions as irresponsible and tantamount to child abuse. Mr Irwin stated any danger to his son was only a perceived danger and that he was in complete control of the situation. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, who used a photograph of his family at Australia Zoo for his official Christmas card last year, hailed Mr Irwin for his work in promoting Australia.