16 November 2011

Hard to be patient with a team that gives up leads so easily

Not just San Jose State's football team, which gave up yet another opportunity to win last Saturday in Logan, losing to Utah State 34-33 and thus losing bowl eligibility (I'd rather there be a playoff system in college football a la the NCAA basketball tournament, but I'll save that for another blog).

In the meantime, SJSU basketball came off a very close 51-50 win in its home opener v UC Irvine. The win resulted from the referees deciding that a UC Irvine player didn't get a successful shot off his hands before the buzzer. A similar thing happened in SJSU's 75-74 WAC tournament win last season v Hawaii, as seen in this fan-created video (starting at the 1:25 mark)

Tonight, SJSU lost at the War Memorial Arena to San Francisco 83-81 in overtime. The Spartans rallied from a 20-8 deficit early in the 1st quarter to lead 37-35 at halftime. Then the Spartans had led as many as 8 for the majority of the 2nd half (similar to the previous game v UCI) before San Francisco rallied to force OT, tied 71 both. USF began OT with a 7-2 run. Finally, SJSU had the chance to tie or win with a three after USF's Cody Doolin missed both free throws. There were 7 seconds left. James Kinney (a transfer from the Mid-American Conference Ohio and then the jr. college Eastern Utah) tried a desperation half-court shot when he really could've gotten within reasonable range for a buzzer beater. No good. Although SJSU had a good defensive effort and Keith Shamburger once again showed his offensive talents--he even opened the 2nd half with two consecutive three-pointers--the team just found yet another way to give the game away in the last minute. A similar OT loss happened in Feb. 2011 v Nevada, except the loss was by 8.

San Jose State has yet to win on the road but has another opportunity Saturday night when the Spartans face cross-town rival Santa Clara. Unlike the past two games in which SJSU made less than 30% of field goals, tonight the Spartans made 48.5%. Because it's so early in the season, average statistics are not reliably predictable, as Santa Clara has a 39.1% FG average based on two lopsided games: 44.8% v the D-III UC Merced and 32.8% v the defending Big West champions UC Santa Barbara. SJSU's average, in contrast, so far is a measly 28%. The past two of SJSU's games were within close margins, while SJSU's opening game was a 79-52 loss to Cal Poly. On the individual player level, it appears that Santa Clara has the offensive advantage in its leading scorer. A comparison:
  • Keith Shamburger (SJSU) averages: 35 mins, 12.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3 assists, 30% field goals made, 73.3% free throws, 22.2% 3-pointers. Committed 7 turnovers. Grabbed 5 rebounds, all defensive.
  • Kevin Foster (SCU): 21 mins, 14.5 points, 2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 33.3% field goals, 71.4% free throws, 28.6% 3-pointers. Committed 2 turnovers. Of 4 rebounds, 2 each in offense and defense.
But again, keep in mind that these statistics could be skewed in favor of SCU because the team played a D-III opponent for its first game. It's interesting to note that SJSU had better field goal and 3 point percentages in losing to USF than UCSB had winning over SCU:
  • Field goals: SJSU 48.5% v USF, UCSB 47.5% v SCU
  • 3 pointers: SJSU 35.7% v USF, UCBS 30.0% v SCU
San Jose State will have a truly competitive game against Santa Clara on Saturday night if the team improves on offense, most of all, and enforces the defense against the Broncos.

12 November 2011

Dear Brent Bozell, you're not entitled to have everyone respect your beliefs

Ah, Brent Bozell. The man who longs for the days when people would unquestionably submit to conservative Christianity and when TV was so squeaky-clean that CBS couldn't show Elvis shaking his hips. Now he's out with his latest "wah wah wah why won't the media respect my beliefs" column "The Anti-God Book, By 'God'":

Those prestigious publishers at Simon & Schuster selected All Saints Day to unleash the book world's latest attempt at mocking Christianity. It’s called "The Last Testament, by God."

The author is David Javerbaum, a top writer for 11 years for "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central, perhaps America's leading religion-hating TV network. Is it any surprise that the critics are loving it?

Publishers Weekly raves, "The Almighty opens up in this blithely blasphemous satire of monotheism." God, in this alleged autobiography, is "a complex, troubled Deity: vain, petulant, desperate for praise and burnt offerings, guiltily pensive in the after-wrath of unhinged smitings. Adherents of every Abrahamic faith will find plenty of hilarious, offensive manna for thought in these revelations." Kirkus Reviews bluntly adds, "Damned comical. Amen."

”Hilarious, offensive.” What they mean is that it’s hilarious because it’s offensive.

When has Bozell ever said that Rush Limbaugh is popular because he's offensive? It's true in a sense that Javerbaum's book is offensive to a certain segment of the US population, but keep in mind that fewer Americans choose to be religious in this age. Could it be why it's easier in the mainstream to mock religion? I thought that people like Bozell advocated free market economics (that's why he founded the Business and Media Institute as part of his right-wing Media Research Center).

Furthermore, Bozell neglects to mention Simon & Schuster's conservative imprint Sentinel that has published authors such as Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, and Alfred Regnery.

When he criticized anti-Christian themes he perceived in the Showtime programs Dexter and Californication (keep in mind that Showtime is a pay cable network) in "Jesus Is Not a Serial Killer", he huffed that Showtime executives lacked respect for Jesus, the figure who makes us good if we follow him, concluding: "You think of the hundreds upon hundreds of people involved in this Showtime enteprise - the actors, producers, promotional and marketing staff, the blue-suit executives in New York, the advertising agencies. And of those hundreds and hundreds, not one will stand up to defend Our Lord? How sad."

Uhh, Brent, there is plenty of pro-Christian programming all over the broadcast channels, and there are even entire cable networks (EWTN, God TV, TBN, Word Network) that are devoted to preaching the Gospels. Again, considering how those cable networks with those violent TV-MA programming that Bozell thinks are rotting American culture: what's the value of those cable channels being premium if Bozell got to be CEO and fill the schedule with G-rated films, Leave It to Beaver reruns, and Sunday school all week? Since the mid-1990s with the Parents Television Council, Bozell has been pushing for the mainstream TV networks to be more family-friendly (hmm, code word for pro-Christian?), and that's why you'll hear the PTC complain every time a TV show dares to be sexual or has a dramatic storyline that happens to be violent. But do TV audiences really prefer tame, non-confrontational programming or the shows on premium cable? Let the ratings tell the story. If there wasn't such a demand for Dexter, TV networks would've stuck with the tame side.

All that Bozell can do to justify his archaic views is to play the religion/persecuted Christian card. That's it: no reasoning, logic, or reality-based evidence whatsoever.

02 November 2011

ESPN=Evangelical Suckers Promoting Nonsense

So the Detroit Lions were allegedly mocking Tim Tebow's prayer pose. Tebow denies it. A holier-than-thou ESPN columnist Jemele Hill does though: "Lions disrespected Tim Tebow's faith"!

Detroit linebacker Stephen Tulloch openly mocked Tebow's prayer pose -- a new phenomenon known across the Internet as "Tebowing" -- after sacking Tebow in the second quarter.

Tulloch explained directly after the game and on Twitter that he was just having some fun at the quarterback's expense.

"Football is a form of entertainment," Tulloch tweeted. "Have a sense of humor. I wasn't mocking GOD!"


Tulloch and Scheffler probably didn't intend to disrespect Tebow's faith with their celebrations. But if Tebow were Muslim or Jewish, would Tulloch and Scheffler have been so quick to execute a prayer parody? Would columnists, such as my friend Dan Wetzel -- whom I respect a great deal -- encourage those who were offended by Tulloch's and Scheffler's Tebowing to just lighten up?

"I think the linebacker for the Lions was attempting to not mock God, but to mock Tebow and have fun with it," said Gordon Thiessen, the director for training and resources for the Nebraska Fellowship of Christian Athletes, "but it was still in bad taste and inappropriate, at best."


Prayer is a sacred component of any religion. Making fun of someone else's spiritual connection is on par with ridiculing them about their family. You don't have to be a Christian to get that, just someone who understands the concept of respect.
Ms. Hill, c'mon. Have whatever religious beliefs or none as you want...no one is obligated to agree with those beliefs. Can't you tell the difference between attacking people and attacking ideas? Religion deserves to be criticized and ridiculed even though it is a constitutional right in the US. Go ahead and believe in hell or practice witchcraft if you want. I'm never ever going to embrace that superstitious nonsense. It's frustrating that most mainstream media voices such as Hill are quicker to defend religion instead of considering that religion isn't as positive and inspiring as it promotes itself. I wish PZ Myers, Richard Dawkins, and Sam Harris had more media exposure to their ideas.

Does believing in God and following the Ten Commandments have ANY, I repeat, ANY objective connection with being able to throw complete passes or make defensive stops? NO. BTW, thank you to ESPN.com commenters (the most liked comments are critical of Hill's commentary). Furthermore, Tebow had the audacity to lose his face in the Super Bowl before the 2010 draft with an incredibly stupid Super Bowl commercial for the Christian fundamentalist group Focus on the Family in which he essentially credits his promise to a great football career to his mother choosing to carry him to term despite recommendations otherwise from doctors.

Now on to Tebow's performance as an NFL player. Tebow is now in his 2nd professional season with the Denver Broncos. As a rookie, he played 9 games and started 5; he completed 50% of his passes over 654 yards for 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Passes averaged 8 yards each. Ran for 6 TDs too. 82.1 rating. Thing is, will Tebow have a great NFL career or will he become a bust a la JaMarcus Russell or a mediocre and at age 30 will become a motivational speaker or preacher? Let's compare Tebow's rookie stats with those of other great QBs (source: NFL.com player profiles):
  • John Elway (also played for the Broncos) in 1983: 47.5% completed over 1,663 yards. 6.4 yards/pass. Passed for 7 TDs and ran in 1. 54.9 rating.
  • Drafted in 1987, Rich Gannon played his first season as starter in 1990. He had a 52.1% completion rate for 16 TDs and 16 INTs. 68.9 rating.
  • Drafted in 1991 by Atlanta Falcons, Brett Favre played as a starter the first time in 1992 with the Green Bay Packers. 64.1% completed over 3,227 yards for 18 TDs and 13 INTs. 85.3 rating.
  • Aaron Rodgers of the Packers played his first 3 pro seasons as Favre's backup before starting all 16 games of 2008. Stats: 63.6% for 28 TDs and 13 INTs. 93.8 rating.
So far, Tebow hasn't broken out big early in his career like Elway, Gannon, Favre, and Rodgers have.

Guess what, Jemele Hill and other brainless Christian apologists? This isn't a Christian nation anymore, and fewer and fewer in America want to be associated with such uselessness. Yes I know I'm gonna get spam from godbots and anger from narrow-minded fundies. But still. It's the 21st century and we should be over this idiocy already.