Tuesday, November 24, 2009

College Bowl Season Cometh

This weekend the bowl forecasting will start to become clearer. We already know that Ohio State is in the Rose Bowl and their opponent will be the winner of Saturday’s Oregon/Oregon State game. After this weekend, unless Florida or Alabama is defeated, the championship game will contain a SEC team, Florida or Alabama, going against a team from Texas…more likely to be Texas rather than TCU. Whoever looses between Florida and Alabama will get an at large bid to a BCS game…likely the Sugar Bowl.

Rightly so TCU will earn one of the three remaining at large bids…likely the Orange or Fiesta. Boise State deserves one of the at large bids too…likely to be the Fiesta or the Orange. Boise will likely play the last at large team, which could well be either hurting Iowa or Penn State. Without Stanzi at QB, Iowa will have difficulty beating whoever they play in the Fiesta Bowl. As a Hawkeye fan I am conflicted over Iowa going to the BCS when their starting QB is out of the rest of the season. With Stanzi being hurt I suspect that Penn State will receive the last at large bid leaving the Hawkeyes going to the Capital One Bowl against Mississippi or long shot LSU.

LSU would have to have a convincing win over Arkansas and Mississippi loose to hapless Mississippi State. LSU’s poor clock management has likely moved them down to the Cotton Bowl, or worse, the Gaylor Music City Bowl.

I would have loved to see LSU and Iowa in the Outback, but alas it will not happen this year. By the way Josh asked his mother if LSU and Iowa played against one another, then for whom would she cheer. Her wise and simple response is precious, “I will cheer for the LSU band to play and march well at half-time.”

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tailgating at LSU

One of the unique American traditions which is foreign to Canadians is tailgating. While at Iowa we witnessed college tailgating but what happens at Iowa pails in what we saw at LSU. Some people claim their tailgating locations the evening before the game, others the morning before the game.

Following are some pictures of tailgating that takes place throughout the campus. The first three pictures were taken 6 hours before game time. Already people are gathering to visit and party with friends.

The above RVs are in a prime location near the stadium. Another large RV area about a half a mile from the stadium has people camping and tailgating for the weekend.

Tailgating sites are located around academic buildings. Notice the trailer by the curb...we saw a good number of such trailers that people use to store and transport their tailgating equipment.

The above two and those below are taken about 4 hours before game time and a little over a half mile from the stadium. In the one above, notice behind the man in the chair there is a flat screen TV. We saw several people having TVs used to keep track of games that were currently underway. Josh's dorm is in the right background. The last two are across the street from Josh's dorm.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Questions about CFOT Sessions in Canada

Year after year, children of Salvation Army officers have made up the core of any training college session. When I look at the officers I have known in NCV over the last eight years, a good number of their children have or are entering the CFOT in Atlanta. From the 24 couples who have children have reached 20 years of age, 17 children are Officers, or in CFOT currently or in process. From my experience during my teens and young adult years, while the ratio may not be as high, a large children of officers in Canada entered the work.

If the percent of children of Officers entering CFOT dropped dramatically, it would not bode well. Such a drop should be not the red flag storm warning, but a red flag with a square in the middle of it, the hurricane warning. It would stand to reason for a healthy TSA and a sign of a healthy office corps that the core of any session, about 15 to 25%, should be made up of children of officers.

Last week on Facebook a friend who is a second year cadet in Canada was tagged in an album from the Remembrance Day service in which the cadets participated. One picture in the album showed a group of cadets with a description suggested it was of all the first year cadets. I was stunned that there were only thirteen cadets. From antidotal information I understand the two current sessions are small but surely the first year session is not that small?

Each cadet was identified. I did not recognize any last names. Are there not seven to ten children of officers in a given session? This caused Evie and I to try to do a count of how many children of officers we know in Canada have entered the work in the last ten years. We are somewhat out of the loop but we cannot think of more than one or two.

If there are few officers’ children entering the work in Canada then something wrong that has taken place. What we cannot say as we are too removed. Culture may be a factor but not a dominant factor since the USA which has a similar culture, is not seeing the same trend. If there is a decline, what have the children seen in the Army, or in how their parents are engaged by the system, or by the expectations/appreciation, or the attitude they hear from their parents in the home, that discourages them from entering officership? If there is a decline it may well be a combination of factors, none of which speak well of and for the immediate future of the Canadian territory.

If the sessions are much stronger than my impression and children of officers are still entering in good numbers every year, I would appreciate comments to that end.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Honoring Veterans

Yesterday's Tigerband half-time show was posted on youtube. With Nov 11 just days before, the show honors veterans. The person who recorded the show was sitting in upper nosebleed territory....where we were sitting.

I have not idea where Josh was on the field. If he reads this post he may leave a comment as to what letters he was part of for each service branch.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Is the Ballot Box Supreme?

In a democracy is the ballet box supreme over the Constitution? Does majority rule of ballot box such an inviolate principle that the majority can use ballot measures to marginalize unpopular groups?

In the United States these questions are real. Over the last twenty years local and state-wide initiatives on the ballot have become increasingly popular. They are being used “to correct” legislation and court rulings. While proponents claim not to be bigoted, a significant number of the initiatives are aimed at minorities, such as gays, Hispanics, Muslims, non-Christian groups in general and atheists.

When unfettered majority rules does that then not mean that the equality clauses in the founding documents like the Constitution becomes merely lofty words with little effective meaning? I think so. The character of a nation is partly measured by how it treats and protects the rights of unpopular groups...and that character is being tested by various ballot initiatives targeting minority groups.

The ballot box cannot be supreme or we can end up with the tyranny of the majority. The nation's primary documents take primacy over the ballot box and so do court rulings, even the court rulings I do not like.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Traditions and Alma Maters

During our visit to LSU I was struck that the playing and singing of the LSU alma mater is so central to campus traditions, far more than it was at Iowa.

At Iowa most students know their alma mater and are able to sing it when it is played before every football game (in contrast to Canada colleges where a large number of students can only sing their alma meter if given the words.) As with Iowa, at LSU the alma mater is also played before every sporting event. At LSU the alma mater is utilized more than at the beginning of the game. After the game, victory or lost, the team gathers before the band, and the team stands arm in arm to sing the alma mater as the band plays. Many of the students in the stands link arm in arm as they join the team in singing too.

Following the team’s departure as the band plays “Let us Break Bread Together” (a nice tradition I also like…we fought hard on the field but we depart as brothers/sisters in spirit), the band sets their instruments down, link arm in arm and sings their alma mater. This is the second time the team has sung the alma mater together on game day, the first being at the end of practice before exiting the IFF (see picture below).

The same takes place at other sporting events. Evie and I witnessed at the end of the woman’s volleyball game on Friday night. The little pep band playing for the team to sing the alma mater at the end of the game and the before putting their instruments away, the players put down their instruments, linked arms and quietly sung the alma meter.

The use the alma meter is wonderful tradition.

FYI - Josh is in the red shorts by the guy in the blue shirt.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Evie Brought to Tears

Saturday morning Evie was brought to tears.

This September Josh pledged a music fraternity. He is has been going through the pledge period for the last 6 weeks. He is a probationary member along with five other men....five trumpets and one trombone.
On Saturday morning following the practice on the IFF, the six probationary members sang "Blood Stained Banner" to the parents.

The six young men sang an old barber shop love song, I cannot recall the title but it made reference to "you are my gal" and deep abiding love. At the right moment the young men knelt before the mothers who did not have dry eyes.