Monday, January 19, 2009


Mrs. Snave and I took a brief trip this weekend to see the kids. I took along my new camera and played around a bit with it.

This is the pathway at Smith and Bybee Lakes Park in Portland, OR. The park includes over 2,000 acres of wetland the city set aside from development:
Mrs. Snave and I were there on Saturday with one of our daughters for a birdwatching field trip put on by the local Audubon Society and a birding store. Some of the birds we saw included Brown Creeper, Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, and a thrush... the group couldn't decide if it was a Hermit Thrush or a Swainson's Thrush.

This is one of the lakes. It wasn't far from here that my daughter made the "spot" of the day: two river otters eating a 2-3 foot long carp.

This is a nice sculpture at the park's parking lot! It seems Portland is chock full of stuff like this... whether you are downtown or out in a wilder area of the city, you can expect to see the unexpected:
On the way home yesterday we took a side trip from Portland to Mt. Hood via US 26. Here is the mountain (elevation 11, 245 feet) from about 7,000 feet at the Timberline Lodge parking lot:

This view looks south from the same spot. Mt. Jefferson is visible on the horizon near the right end of the picture:

We will go back and see this place again in summer. We had wanted to take a look inside Timberline Lodge (where "The Shining" was filmed), but there were too many skiers, too many cars, it looked like a parking permit was needed, etc.
If any of you are coming to Oregon and would like some travel advice on places to go, things to see, stuff to do, feel free to inquire. I am one of the state's more ardent promoters!

Friday, January 09, 2009


Hmmmm. I haven't posted anything about politics for... what... since... DECEMBER 27th??? Why, that's... THIRTEEN DAYS!

We're pushing a half a month here, Mr. Snave...

So I guess I'll weigh in with something MARGINALLY political only because it's a FOX "NEWS" article about OBAMA and his idea that American big-time college football needs a national playoff system instead of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) system it uses now. I will sully my good clean website with the FOX link here:

The BCS system is just a big boogery mess that takes into account poll rankings by sportswriters, by coaches, and by computers. The top teams in the composite (BCS) rankings get to play each other in the bowl games at the end of the season. Because the BCS rankings' computer portion takes into account "toughness of schedule", a team which ends the season undefeated at 13-0, as the University of Utah did with it's convincing bowl win over a very good Alabama Crimson Tide team, may not get to play for the "national championship". Utah didn't end up #1, but at least the Associated Press poll gave then the #2 ranking for their efforts. It would have been fun to see the Utes play one of the teams who played for the national title (Oklahoma or Florida)...

I am a college football fan, thus this matters to me somewhat. I know, big-time college sports is much more of a business nowadays than it has ever been. The emphasis is often not on academic achievement but rather on how much money the athletes and athletic programs can rake in for the colleges. Just the same, I love watching the games... especially when it is my alma mater University of Oregon Ducks playing.

(This season, by the way, the Ducks finished ranked 9th in the Associated Press writers' poll and 10th in the USA Today/Coaches' poll... With 10 wins and 3 losses, they far exceeded the expectations of many of their fans, and they looked very nearly unbeatable by the end of the season, winning six of their final seven games including their 65-38 win over Oregon State and a 42-31 Holiday Bowl win over Oklahoma State.)

How would a college football playoff system work? This is my idea:

- The season would need to be made longer (but possibly by only one week) to accomodate extra games at the end.

- The current bowl games like the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, etc. would still exist but would be playoff sites. The lesser bowl games in the current system would be the first round games in the playoffs. The Final Four, which would take three games to play, could be rotated among the big bowl games each year.

- Most teams currently play a 12-game regular season schedule, and most begin around Labor Day. I would be in favor of reducing the number of regular-season games to 11 if necessary. Bowl season traditionally goes for about three weeks, from mid-late December through the end of the first week in January.

- The BCS system might still have some application. Put the 16 top-rated BCS teams into a tournament bracket. There are currently 34 bowl games played each season, and 15 would be used as playoff sites.

- On the first two weekends in December, those teams not ranked in the final 16 would get to square off in the other 19 non-playoff bowl games just for the fun of it. There are already plenty of "toilet bowl" games where marginally good teams (such as Fresno State vs. Colorado State or Wake Forest vs. Navy this year) play each other... so this modern tradition of "toilet bowls" can continue. It would happen in mid-December, before the playoffs begin.

- On the second-to-last weekend in December, the playoffs would begin. Team #16 would play team #1, #15 would play #2, #14 play #3, etc. ... just like any regular tournament would be arranged. Eight playoff/bowl games would reduce the field from 16 teams to 8 teams.

- On the final December weekend, four games would see the number of teams reduced from eight to four.

- On the first weekend of January, two games would reduce the field to two teams.

- On the second weekend of January, the remaining two teams would play for the national championship.

This makes the season only one or two weeks longer than it already is. It puts all the games on weekends, so games should not intefere with athletes studying for or taking exams. 15 of the current bowl games would be used as playoff sites.

Barack Obama is right AGAIN.
Even those commenters at the FOX Sports site don't seem to mind his opinion, and 94% of respondents in an unscientific poll at the FOX Sports site agree.

Even diehard doofus conservative cartoonist Bruce Tinsley of "Mallard Fillmore" agrees with Obama on this one.

As far as I'm concerned, the idea is the most basic of basic "no-brainers" in sports today.

And don't worry, I will actually get back to sharing some political opinions one of these days! Heh!

Monday, January 05, 2009


Don't look at me that way, stranger.
I didn't shit in your seat.
I just come down from the Lehigh Valley,
With my balls all covered with sleet.