Archive for October, 2009

A solid 31-13 win for the Tennessee Vols tonight.  This is a good sign for those hoping the Vols didn’t leave it all on the field for the Alabama game.  I continue to be encouraged that the Vols can perhaps go ahead and win out from here and put together a pretty nice season.

The Good:

  • The black jerseys were pretty cool.  I don’t think they should wear them all the time, but as a one-time thing, it is fine.  Ignore the “traditionalists” out there who will moan and complain about this.
  • Hardesty continues his excellent year, racking up another 120 yards of rushing.
  • Dan Williams is becoming unblockable at the DT position.  I am also impressed with his hustle, making tackles and recovery a fumble down the field.
  • Vols defense forcing 4 turnovers, including 3 in the first half that led to 21 UT points.  That pretty much was the ballgame right there.

The Bad:

  • Jonathan Crompton didn’t play particularly well.  He didn’t make any horrendous mistakes that put the team in a bad position.  But the 50% completion and 142 yards passing is a little more closer to early season Jonathan Crompton than I would like.

The Ugly:

  • That knee injury to Savion Frazier.  That did not look good at all, and that’s the 2nd MLB down to injury.  And boy, I really didn’t need the ESPN boom mike picking up those sounds of agony from him.  I know they want to get us close to the action, but sometimes I would rather just not know!

Next up for the Vols are the Memphis Tigers.  On paper, that looks like it should be a pretty easy win for Tennessee.  But Memphis never seems to read what is on paper when they play UT, and always give the Vols fits.  So don’t be shocked if this is closer than it should be.

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Just got back from running my second 5k race, the Calera Eagle 5k in Calera, AL.  I have a runner’s high right now that I think is going to last the rest of the day!  A different atmosphere than the Race For The Cure, but I kind of liked it.  I think there was a little over 100 entrants in total (as opposed to the thousands at Race For The Cure).  The rain was there (wouldn’t mind running a race without rain at some point!).  But once again, the rain did not dampen the enthusiasm!  This course was advertised as flat and fast, and I can now attest that it is as advertised.  I crushed my Race For The Cure Time, coming in at 26:06 (shaving over 2 minutes off my previous 5k).  That felt really good!

I have to say that I felt like I was robbed in the costume contest!  I thought my zombie outfit was pretty nifty there at the beginning.  (It was cracking up during the race when I would hear “Look, there’s the zombie!” from somebody watching.)  But I had a couple of things working against me.  One, the rain played havoc on my makeup and effects.  I am sure the sweat didn’t do it much good either.  By the end of the race, I had lost my scars and the sign I was wearing on the back of my shirt (“Zombie Survival Rule #1:  Cardio!), and the makeup just didn’t look good.  So I went ahead and washed it off before the judging.  Which leads to two, judging was done by crowd reaction as we stood in front of the crowd.  So it pretty much didn’t help that I was no longer in costume.  Plus, the folks I was with are not the most vocal around.  And I am from out-of-town.  But I DO know vocal people, so next year watch out Calera!  I am so winning the costume contest!

Anyway, I had a lot of fun.  I won’t have to wait long for my next race, I have entered the Vulcan 10k next Saturday.  The distance shouldn’t be a problem, as long as I don’t get carried away with the race pace.  The pace I ran today works for 5k, but I would be in trouble for the last 5k if I tried that next week.  So I just have to run my race and not pay attention to anyone else, and I think I will be fine.  If nothing else, it should be another opportunity for fun!

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My gut is on quite a losing streak.  As I said in my blog entry on Sunday, I had a feeling that Larry Langford would either get completely off or get off easy.  Instead, a jury this afternoon found Larry guilty on all 60 counts of bribery and fraud:

Larry Found Guilty On All 60 Counts — updated

First of all I have to mention about the article link posted above, I love the line, “Langford, who is 61 or 63,….”.  LOL!  Well played, The Birmingham News, well played!  Second, this answers a question that I had, would Larry have to give up being mayor immediately upon conviction, or would he be allowed to go through the appeals process?  As we can see, Carole Smitherman is now mayor of Birmingham (she didn’t even have to be sworn in).  Lastly, I agree with Governor Bob Riley’s comments about needing a change to corruption laws and increased transparency in government business.  Government business is this state just too often appears shady, even if in some circumstances it might not be.

Now of course I wasn’t at the trial and didn’t hear all the testimony and see all the evidence.  But from what I do know, it is hard to think the jury got it wrong here.  There doesn’t seem to be any denial that Larry received gifts from the gentlemen that testified against him.  There is also no denying that these same men were awarded county contracts.  So in order to believe that Larry was innocent, you have to believe that Larry did not know that the people giving him “gifts” and helping him pay back loans expected something in return.  You also have to believe that coincidentally, these same people just happened to win county contracts in totally unrelated decisions.  Such logic really stretches all reasonable credibility.

Larry is going to appeal of course.  I am not sure on what grounds, though he was playing the race card in the press conference aftermath (it should be noted that 3 of the jurors were black).  I am no lawyer, but I was very surprised that the Langford team requested the move of the trial out of Birmingham.  I would think he would have had a better chance of getting a more sympathetic jury in Birmingham.  We did elect the man after all.   And he only needed one juror to see things his way.  But the lawyers are the experts in such matters, so who am I to question it.

I wonder when the special election will be to elect a new mayor?  I believe the guy I voted for last time, Patrick Cooper, will likely run again.  I really believe he would be good for the city.  It will be interesting to see how it turns out.

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This commercial for Cullman Liquidation Center in Cullman, Alabama is indeed epic! If you don’t buy a trailer home from Robert Lee, it’s not going to hurt his feelings!

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  • Larry Langford loves clothes.  Really loves clothes.  Whomever coined the cliche that it is women that love clothes obviously did not meet Larry Langford.  Prosecutors in the trial claimed that Larry returned 65 dress shirts to the Gus Mayer store.  65!!!!  I am not sure I even own 65 articles of clothing, period!  And if you combine all the dress shirts I have ever owned, I don’t think you would get close to 65.  And this is just what the man returned.  How many does he still have?
  • On the other hand, perhaps it just means that Larry really hates doing laundry.  That’s an idea I can support!
  • Bill Blount, Al LaPierre, Steve Sayler….associates of Langford.  It’s probably just me, but just the names sound sleazy.
  • Larry even lies about his age.  Probably.  Unless he both graduated high school and enlisted in the Air Force when he was 16.  How sad is that?  What difference does it make whether you are 61 or 63?  Really?
  • Larry buys whatever he wants now, and worries about how he is going to pay for it later.  This actually explains a lot about his budget philosophies when it comes to dealing with county and now city business, doesn’t it?
  • Larry’s team seem to be applying a version of the Richard Scrushy’s “I’m stupid” defense that worked for Scrushy in his Birmingham trial, but failed at his other trial.  Larry is claiming that he assumed that all these gifts and loan repayments where just gifts from good friends.  Apparently the fact that these “good friends” were then rewarded with county business was just coincidence.  And now his “friends” have stabbed him in the back!  Can the “I’m stupid” defense really work again?
  • Of course, it would be like our justice system to find the people giving the bribes, etc. guilty while finding the receiver of those bribes innocent.  Really, doesn’t either everyone have to be guilty, or nobody is guilty, in this scenario?  I realize Blount and LaPierre rolled on Larry to get a lesser sentence.  But if they really didn’t think they were going to get anything in return for the favors they were doing for Larry, they wouldn’t have ever plead guilty in the first place because they wouldn’t have done anything wrong.  So it’s not like they can be totally lying either.
  • I am amazed how little people care about the appearances of impropriety around here.  Because even if you believe Larry is totally innocent, you have to admit that this stuff just doesn’t look right.  You shouldn’t take personal gifts from people you also do public business with, period.  And we shouldn’t elect people into office that do.
  • I am getting a sinking feeling that Larry is either going to completely walk, or get off very lightly.  Then again, I am the guy who got the feeling that Tennessee was going to beat Alabama and therefore I am going to have to wear a stupid Crimson Tide cap every time I run the rest of the year.  So what do I know?  My gut is not as big as it used to me, maybe that is why it is failing me lately!

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Boy, that was soul crushing!  I have to say, I am not a big fan of field goal kickers right now!  Alabama’s inability to score touchdowns almost cost them the game today, but it was trumped by UT’s inability to kick a field goal above armpit level, apparently.  Man, this one really hurts!

The Good:

  • Jonathan Crompton had a very solid game.  265 yards against this defense is good, and more than I expected.  He played well enough for UT to win.
  • The defense continues to be solid.  They find a way to not to give up many points.  And holding Mark Ingram under 100 yards is very impressive.
  • The best part about this UT team is they never quit playing.  That had been lacking the last couple of years, so it is good to see.

The Bad:

  • I thought we would be able to run the ball, but the running game was pretty much shut down.  The Bama D-line is really good.
  • Penalties played a big role.  UT had 8 penalties for 68 yards, while Alabama only had 1 penalty for 10 yards.  And worse, the penalties that UT had were drive killers.
  • Lane Kiffin’s strategy at the end.  Given the way the kicking game had gone, Kiffin should have been trying to get as close as possible.  Instead he shut it down with 36 seconds to go and left the kicker with a 44 yarder.  Definitely a mistake!  (To be fair, had Kiffin gone for more and Crompton would have thrown an interception, he would have caught all kinds of grief by most fans.  You will just have to take my word for it, but I wouldn’t have been one of those fans.  Heck, personally after seeing that last kick, I would have been trying my best to get the TD!)

The Ugly:

  • Daniel Lincoln.  Gary Danielson looks like a genius for mentioning the low trajectory of Lincoln’s kicks early in the game.  I didn’t think much about it, after all, it was only one kick (at the time).  But he called it.  Lincoln just seemed incapable of getting any height on any of his kicks (and distance for that matter).  “Mount” Cody got a little push on those plays, but he was blocking kicks without jumping and with his armpit for goodness sake!
  • My ill-advised bet.  I shouldn’t bet, it’s not my nature.  But I did, and I did so with my heart instead of my brain.  So stupidly, I made a bet with a co-worker on this game without getting any points at all.  Now I am going to have to….hold on….OK, I just threw up a little in my mouth…..just give me a second here……OK, I am going to have to purchase an Alabama cap and wear it every time I run until the end of the year…….just barfed again!  Um, doesn’t look like I have enough sick-personal time to miss the rest the year.  Yeah, this is pretty much going to suck.  But a bet is a bet, and I am a man of my word.  So I guess I am going hat shopping tomorrow.  Blah!

Next up for the Vols is South Carolina.  It will be interesting to see how they rebound for the rest of the season.  Looking at the schedule, it is not out of the question that they could win out and finish a very respectable 8-4.  But these kind of losses sometimes take all the fight out of a team.  We will find out a lot about this team’s character down the stretch of the season.

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This is a VERY clever video created for a contest held by the AARP.  Really neat.

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