Thursday, January 29, 2009

My return to The Holocaust

Well before last year's slate of Holocaust-themed movies released just in time for the holidays (you know, mass murder on an epic scale is such cheery, holiday fare...WTF?), I visited the Indianapolis Children's Musuem's The Power of Children: Making A Difference. The section about Anne Frank really moved me. Something about seeing all of the artifacts from Nazi-controlled Europe, like personal diaries, Antisemitic propoganda posters, etc., really gave The Holocaust a new sense of realism and humanity to me, almost like I could touch and feel the evidence for the first time.

Up until then, the worst astrocity of the 20th century had been relegated to some old, black-and-white newsreel footage. And as disturbing as I found many scenes in Schindler's List, it still didn't bring home the reality like seeing the actual relics. I think this launched me on a quest to explore The Holocaust like never before. While I didn't make a trip abroad or even visit a national museum stateside, I did embark on a personal journey back into the 1930's and 40's. I tried to put myself in war-torn, depression-ravaged Europe.

First, I checked-out Schindler's List at my local library, making a mental note to do this at least once a year to keep the horrible reality alive in my mind. Then, I asked my wife to buy The Boy In Striped Pajamas as a Christmas gift (again, nothing quite says "Happy Holidays" like a Holocaust-themed novel). After seeing the movie trailer in November, I thought it best to read the book at home, first. That way, I could release the full-scale of my emotions in the privacy of my own living room and avoid making a fool of myself at the local theater. But I was a bit disappointed in the book. It was the most shallow treatment of The Holocaust I had ever witnessed with an ending I had figured out about 20 pages too soon. I didn't even cry at the anti-climactic end of the story.

It did, however, arouse even further curiosity about the death camps, namely Auschwitz. I went to my library everyday for weeks, gobbling up everything I could on Auschwitz and the Holocaust. I found myself becoming very frustrated with the lack of empathy and effort on the part of the Allied nations to DO SOMETHING about the blatant genocide taking place right under their noses! So I found a book titled Why We Watched and scoured it for answers. It left me just as empty, frustrated and guilt-ridden as I did watching Schindler's for the first time.

One of the highlights of my library checking spree was a little known documentary, Forgiving Dr. Mengele. It introduced me to Auschwitz and Mengele twin survivor, Eva Kor. And guess what? She lives RIGHT HERE in Indiana! I am going to meet her this Saturday at her Holocaust Museum in Terre Haute where she will be celebrating her 75th birthday! Eva has done her part to "forgive" her Nazi torturers and is part of the larger Forgiveness Project. I can't wait to meet and talk to her!

All this to say, I am still very saddened by the fact that my country did so little to directly help Eva and her coreligionists in Europe during Nazi oppression. It troubles me that author/professor Theodore Hamerow has concluded that rampant Anti-semitism both here and abroad shackeled Allied hands. If that is true, then shame on us...and shame on the rest of the free world!
I will be discussing Hamerow's book in more detail in my next blog...this could turn into a series on The Holocaust. Just so you know, I have much more to say on this topic (Holocaust deniers beware).

Monday, January 12, 2009

BCS--a lot of BS if you ask me!

Yes, I'm a bonafide BCS-basher. For my non-sports-watching friends, that's the Bowl Championship Series wrongly condoned by the National Collegiate Athletics Association. Sheesh, would one Sportscenter a week kill ya???

I've been on the playoff bandwagon ever since the ill-conceived BCS was launched back in the 90's. I say, what's good for the basketball court is good for the gridiron. What would we call March Madness if college basketball had a corrupt system to determine the national champion? March Moolah?

College football needs a playoff system and it needs one NOW! This is actually an Obama policy I can stand behind. In fact, I'm thinking of writing my representatives on the matter.

I know it's just a game, people, but tell that to Utah. Tell that to the money-grubbing university presidents, the boosters, the conference execs and the TV networks. There are millions of dollars, dare I say BILLIONS, at stake here! So, really, it's more than just the game of football. It is college scholarships, capital improvements for campuses, research funding and so much more for higher education.

And on a point of principle, it's about fairness.

How fair is it that a dominant Utah team wins out, going undefeated and doesn't even get a nod for the national championship? Oh sorry, they received ONE vote for it in the USA Today Coaches' Poll. Are you kidding me???

Think of all the great March Madness moments over the years, where you've cheered on a Gonzaga or Western Kentucky in the Sweet Sixteen. Cinderella stories like their's are what make the month of March, and college basketball in general, so fun to watch. Why wouldn't the TV networks want that for the month of January in college football? I know I do.

And I also want what's fair. Excluding the majority of Division I schools from the BCS is ridiculously unfair! It is what forced schools like my alma mater (FSU) to join a stupid conference (the ACC) back in the 90's. I liked our independence just fine, thank you! Notre Dame is the only independent included in the BCS' supercomputer formula.

Why the heck are computers figuring who's best in college football anyway? I've never seen a PC OR a Mac score a collegiate touchdown! Have you?

We need a playoff in college football worse than Brittany needs a lifecoach or the Jonas' Brothers need a haircut (or some real talent)! We need college presidents who are supposed to be the forebearer's of morality and higher education to do what's right and fair. Quit being such greedy, elitist bast***s and open the competition (and the hugenormous booty to boot) to everyone in Division I!

I agree with Rick Reilly of Utah IS the national champion. No two ways about it!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Why is Teerlinck not our D-coord???

Ever watched a Colts game and wonder who the obese coach sitting on the bench is? He's John Teerlinck, the Colts' Defensive Line Coach. Talk about underrated. He's a big part of the reason Indianapolis is sending TWO defensive linemen--Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis--to Honolulu for the NFL's Pro-Bowl. He came to Indy from the Denver Broncos, and yes, he has a Superbowl ring with both franchises. Now tell me, why is he not our Defensive Coordinator, again?

I've said it once and I'll say it again, Ron Meeks is a pathetic excuse for an NFL coach. He couldn't coordinate the defense for the Fishers Junior League Colts who play in my neighborhood! The guy is a proven loser, yet Dungy has stuck with him and the media has largely written him a hall pass to skip any scrutiny during press conferences. Shall I scream it from atop the Soldiers and Sailors Monument? RON MEEKS IS NOT WORTH HIS WEIGHT IN SALT (or whatever currency with which Irsay is paying him)! I've been saying this for the past four years and only my dad seems to be listening.

Just watch Meeks on the sidelines. He looks completely lost. And even if he DOES know where the first down marker is, he has no idea how to stop the opposing offense from reaching it. Just look at how many third-and-longs our defense has given up during his tenure. If you have a short-term memory, just think last night's loss in San Diego (which DOES NOT mean whale's v'jay-jay).

Dungy or no Dungy next year, the Indianapolis Colts CANNOT suffer another year with Meeks at the defensive helm. Heck, Blue (pictured at left) could call a better defensive game than Ron Meeks! Please, Jim Irsay, give Blue a Teerlinck. The guy may look like a huge lump of lifeless clay on the sideline, but I'll bet he can run cerebral circles around (cue Baby Huey voice-over) duh...Ron Meeks.
Shoot, even the guy's name wouldn't strike fear in the heart of a small child. Not like Monty Kiffin or Dick LeBeau.
Okay, maybe those names are soft, too, but there defenses aren't! And they don't let ANYBODY run all over their defensive backs, especially not 5'6" dwarves named Sproles. And they wouldn't tolerate a "defensive player of the year" who only played 40% of the time (clearing throat, "SANDERS!").
Come on, Indianapolis! Am I the only one who sees it? We've had a smallish, underacheiving defense since before the Superbowl, and a linebacking corps that is CONSISTENTLY out of position to stop the run. We've got a secondary that couldn't wrap up and stop the Keebler elves, let alone Maurice Jones-Drew, Darrin Sproles or the guy on Houston's practice squad. The bend but don't break philosophy has never set well with me, and will never win us another championship. Is it personnel? I don't think so. It's the entire defensive philosophy, and we have one guy to hold accountable...Ron Meeks.
There, I feel much better now. What channel is broadcasting college basketball today?