This That

Sports: I’m a serious, serious, SERIOUS college basketball junkie. You want some perspective on what’s going down in the West Division of the Southland Conference? I’m your man, homes. I’m your man. (Early March Madness tip: If Stephen F. Austin or Sam Houston State get into the Big Dance as #14 or #15 seeds, they have the skills to knock off a #2 or a #3. Just saying). And this week has been a monumental week in college basketball to me, as the odious Bob Knight has finally left the stage for the last time. His apologists have been crowing about his victories (more than any other college coach ever) and his refusal to cheat (questionable), but I flat out don’t care about either of those things: no adult in a position of power should ever, ever, EVER treat a blooming adolescent or young adult the way that Coach Knight did. It’s just wrong. Period. While I don’t pull for Duke as a general rule (I’m an N.C. State fan, since that was my dad’s alma mater, making Duke the #2 seed in the Anathema Schools List, after UNC), I still can’t wait for Coach Mike Krzyzewski to knock Bob Knight off the top of the career wins list. Three or four years, if Duke has good seasons. Which odds are they will, since Coach K won’t be kicking his players when they don’t perform to his satisfaction. Good riddance, Coach Knight. No surprise that you bailed mid-season, two games after you won your 900th, since your students clearly weren’t important enough to merit your attention once you’d reached that plateau and realized there wasn’t likely to be a 1,000th win.

Politics: Regardless of how I feel about his administration, I never say “Bush” to refer to our Commander in Chief. He is “President Bush,” always. Manners matter, even in politics, and addressing people by their proper titles with respect is just good manners. Because I feel this way, it absolutely drives me crazy when TV announcers or observers refer to the Presidential candidates as Obama . . . Romney . . . McCain . . . and Hillary. That’s Senarot Obama, Governor Romney, Senator McCain and Senator Clinton, people. And the offense on the last one is particularly noteworthy . . . I mean, doesn’t Senator Clinton deserve a last name? I know her campaign has turned her name into a brand, so it’s not so much “Hillary” as it is “HILLARY!!”, but doesn’t it bug anybody other than me that the one female candidate is always referred to by her first name, while the men get last name and/or title recognition? This seems very backwards and offensive to me. On Super Tuesday, Cokie Roberts actually referred to New York’s junior senator as “Mrs. Clinton” multiple times. Why? Do we refer to Mr. Romney or Mr. McCain or Mr. Obama? No. Why is this? Why doesn’t anyone else complain?

Space: The commander of Space Shuttle Atlantis, which launched yesterday after a two month delay, is a Naval Academy classmate of mine, which makes me one proud alumnus. My era at Annapolis is very well represented among the current astronaut corps, and as a space junkie, it does me good to see them doing so well in this most fascinating of professional endeavors. The European Space Agency’s science module Columbus is aboard for installation at the International Space Station (ISS), some 15 years after it was originally supposed to go aloft. Hooray! I would also point you over to the Cassini-Huygens link to the right: there’s some amazing visual reportage coming back from Saturn this month, while the Mars Rovers cool their heels hoping to survive another Martian winter. Did you know that after Magellan’s crew circumnavigated the Earth for the first time that it was nearly 80 years before anyone else did it again? Space is the same way as a field of exploration: it’s been 35 years since we last went to the moon, but I believe we will return sooner than it took an intrepid crew to follow Magellan’s path. The ISS is a stepping stone. I hope I live long enough to see where we jump from it.

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