Lileks goes to a reunion

Why are you even bothering with the Internet if you don’t read Lileks?

A taste:

It wasn’t that you knew her well, even though you’dbeen in school together since tot-hood. Perhaps you had a sneaky crushon her, like the rest of the nerds. She was smart, killer smart; shewas pretty, achingly pretty, but she carried herself in a way thatdeflected your attention. She hunched, as though she was trying to drawin her beauty and keep it from spilling out, making a mess. Everythingabout her seemed an improvised defense. Her smile could melt coal. Shedied.

You look atthe faces, you ask around, you get the stats: rare blood disease.Parking garage accident in Vegas. Car crash.  How about her? Whathappened?

You discoverthat she married a fellow who founded a software  company known inthese parts as the A-1 code factory. Microsoft bought the company. Lotsof people made lots of money; you have relatives who owe their lakecabin to a judicious stock position.

She went down in a small plane with her husband.

Youdon’t remember a word you said to her or a word she said to you, butyou stand there looking at that photo and you know you will neverforget her. You’ll never knew her, either, but that’s a differentmatter.

The band is too loud. Of course, the band is always too loud. Everywhere. It’s what bands do:be too loud. This has the effect of driving everyone into the hallway,but by the end of the night the magic effects of Mr. Liquor will drivea few couples onto the dance floor, which allows you the chance tostand by the wall, watch other people dance, and remember the otherside of High School.

Then you go outside and have a cigar with a cheerleader, which reminds you how things can change.

Youcatch up with other people’s profession. Giant retail mall manager.Gravestone coordinator. Gas-pump repairman / musician. Photographerextraordinaire. Corporate-function entertainer. Educator, realtor,high-end small-market auto detailer. Computer chip designer.

As Evil Glenn[*2] says, read the whole thing.[*1]

Harry Potter NUDE!

I find this story[*1] oddly disturbing . . .

LONDON – Daniel Radcliffe will strip off his Harry Potter eyeglasses and robes for his London stage debut next year.

The 17-year-old actor, who plays the bespectacled schoolboy wizard in the Hollywood adaptations of J.K. Rowling’s novels, will star as a troubled stableboy in Peter Shaffer’s “Equus.”
. . .
In one scene (Radcliffe) is required to simulate sexual ecstasy while riding a horse naked. But Davies said nudity was not the focus of the play.

UPDATE:  Upon further review, the entire concept of a male human attaining sexual ecstacy while on horseback is . . um . . well, use your imagination.


Lileks takes a road trip

Minneapolis Star/Tribune columnist James Lileks takes a road trip back home to Fargo[*1] and discovers . . . a Ben Franklin, among other wonders:

Consider first this unbelievable rarity: a 1960s Ben Franklin, lookingas though the chain was still a retail powerhouse with clothes andpopcorn and a record section and parakeets in the back:

Lileks is a very good writer, and the pictures are just icing on the cake . . .

Hat tip: Hugh Hewett[*2]

Update:  Lileks story link fixed.

It’s alive! ALIVE!!! (MST3K, almost)

Captain’s Quarters[*1] reports that Mike Nelson has a new project–Rifftrax[*2] !

From the Captain:

Mike has launched the beta version of Rifftrax[*2] ,a clever way to have an MST3K experience on demand. Mike will createpodcasts that match up with our favorite films (meaning our favoritecheesefests), designed to be played along with a DVD that the viewerrents or buys. The site will eventually have downloads of many films,but right now Rifftrax users can download Mike’s commentary for Roadhouse,a Patrick Swayze laugher that somehow included Ben Gazzara and SamElliot. (It also has Kelly Lynch, which seems about right for thisclassic cheeseball.)

From the Rifftrax[*2] web site:

Do you feel that some of the movies coming out of Hollywood are just, well, missing something? At RiffTrax, you can download Mike’s running commentaries and listen to them along with your favorite, and not so favorite DVDs. It’s like watching a movie with your funniest friend. And it’s easy to do. Just check out our FAQ; more than likely, you have the tools to do it already.

It won’t be the same without Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo, but it’ll have to do until some network picks up Mystery Science Theater:  The Next Generation.

SDSU’s women’s basketball team #1 in GPA

The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announces the Jackrabbits are #1[*1] :

Atlanta, Ga. — The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) announced its 2005-2006 Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll for NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, NAIA and Junior College/Community College. The awards recognize teams throughout the nation that have the highest grade point averages (GPA) for the 2005-2006 season based upon nominations submitted by WBCA-member coaches.

“It is my pleasure to recognize each of these distinguished women’s basketball programs that have gone above and beyond excellence on the court, and have extended it to the classroom,” said WBCA Chief Executive Officer Beth Bass. “These 117 teams admirably strive to be successful all-around and we commend their efforts. Congratulations!”

Division Institution 2005-06 Head Coach GPA Top 25 Range
NCAA I South Dakota State University Aaron Johnston 3.730 3.730-3.298
NCAA II University of Nebraska – Kearney Carol Russell 3.663 3.663-3.297
NCAA III Colorado College Kelly Mahlum 3.577 3.577-3.331
NAIA Dana College Brenda Mechels 3.585 3.585-2.991
JC/CC Colby Community College Tom Stephens 3.458 3.458-2.675*
*=top 17 range

Each of the top ranking institutions have appeared on the WBCA Academic Top 25 Honor Roll as least once in the past six years. The University of Nebraska – Kearney returns to the number one spot for the second time, with the first time in 2003. South Dakota State University finished in a close second last year and has taken the number one seed for the first time. Also finishing at the top spot for the first time are Colorado College, Dana College and Colby Community College. These “classy” teams combine for an average 3.602 GPA for the 2005-2006 season.

GPAs are calculated by dividing the total number of quality points earned by each student-athlete on an institution’s roster in the given academic terms by the total number of hours earned by the team. The GPAs are rounded to the nearest thousandth of a point.

NCAA Division I
In his second season at the NCAA Division I level, South Dakota State’s Aaron Johnston has already taken over the ranks to top this year’s Academic Top 25. After finishing second in 2005, Johnston’s team took it one step further to become the number one academic team in the nation not only for NCAA Division I, but they also carried the highest GPA at all levels. The Lady Jacks squad’s success in the classroom carried over to the court, as they finished the season with 21 wins and an overall record of 21-7.

“We had a really dedicated team committed to doing both academics and athletics. Being in the top 15 of the WBCA Academic Top 25 is always a goal of ours,” Johnston said. “Last year we finished second, so it was a goal to try to improve upon that. The team did a great job!”

The WBCA Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll for NCAA Division I is as follows:

School 2005-2006 Head Coach Team GPA
1. South Dakota State Aaron Johnston 3.730
2. Indiana State University Jim Wiedie 3.612
3. Eastern Washington University Wendy Schuller 3.474
4. Valparaiso University Keith Freeman 3.468
5. Montana State – Bozeman Tricia Binford 3.459
6. University of New Mexico Don Flanagan 3.424
7. Oakland University Beckie Francis 3.402
8. University of Northern Iowa Tony DiCecco 3.399
9. Northern Arizona University Laurie Kelly 3.364
10. Univ. of Wisconsin – Green Bay Kevin Borseth 3.362
11. DePaul University Doug Bruno 3.361
12. Canisius College Terrence Zeh 3.344
13. University of Denver Pamela Tanner 3.343
T14. Lehigh University Susan Troyan 3.338
T14. Liberty University Carey Green 3.338
16. University of Central Florida Gail Striegler 3.335
17. Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Robert Robinson 3.330
18. Dartmouth College Christina Wielgus 3.323
19. University of Oklahoma Sherri Coale 3.315
20. Saint Bonaventure University Jim Crowley 3.307
21 Long Island University Stephanie Gaitley 3.301
22. Villanova University Harry Perretta 3.300
23. University of Florida Carolyn Peck 3.299
T24. Bradley University Paula Buscher 3.298
T24. Fairleigh Dickinson University Sandy Gordon 3.298

The Royals are suddenly respectable

After an awful start, the Kansas City Royals have gone 14-7 in their last 21 games and are now getting as many as eight strong innings from their starting pitchers.

Can the general manager make that big a difference?

Mid-Con to visit SDSU Aug. 9-11

According to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader[*1] , the NCAA Division I Mid-Continent Conference[*2] has scheduled their site visit to South Dakota State U. as the next step in the process towards bringing SDSU in as a full member. The conference is sending a seven-team delegation to SDSU which will review the university’s academic, athletic, and financial status.

SDSU is transitioning from Division II to Division I and will be eligible for Division I championship play in 2008-09. The Mid-Continent is suffering the defection of two schools–Chicago State this year, and Valparaiso after next year (2007-08) and would be down to seven members if no new members were added. North Dakota State and IPFW in Ft. Wayne, Indiana are also being visited by the Mid-Con.