No major topic today, so let's just hunt through the headlines and see what's going on:
Florida wins the National Championship. Like most fans outside of Columbus and Gainesville, I tuned this one out early in the second half, but it was a familiar, if not predictable, result. How many times have we seen one team that is so clearly athletically superior to its opponent in the college national championship? That's why last year's comeback win by Texas was such an instant classic. Ohio State lost Ted Ginn Jr. early in the game last night, but unless they were planning to add him to the defensive backfield, it wouldn't have made any difference. Urban Meyer's offensive scheme makes Steve Spurrier look like Pop Warner. Three backs in an I formation, no backs in the backfield, alternating QB's, the Gators did everything except hide the ball under their jerseys, and everything worked. It even rubbed off on the kicker, Chris Hetland, who came into the game 4-13 on field goals this season, none longer than 33 yards, and booted two from more than 40 in the second quarter. Now, for all those carping for a playoff system or for Boise State to get their shot, please, Florida earned this championship. Personally, I think way too much time passes between the last regular season game and the championship, but until the ratings come down, none of that will change. Maybe they could start the season later or find a good primetime slot for this game before the second week in January. Anyway, on to the NFL playoffs.
The Baltimore Sun is going to get some angry letters responding to its cover story on Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay. He was only 24 when his father moved Baltimore's beloved Colts away, and the article tries to show his side of the story, but evenhanded journalism has no place in the hearts of the hometowners when it comes to Irsay, whose name is synonymous with Hussein and bin Laden around here (although Khomeini or Gadaffi might be a more appropriate substitute, historically speaking).
Speaking of Baltimore history, Cal Ripken should get voted into the Hall of Fame by the time this is posted today, and no one ever deserved it more. My older son got a chance to meet him this fall at a soccer tournament where one of his kids was playing. I didn't want to take him away from that, but he stopped to say hello and shake hands when I asked. No surprise to anyone who waited in the long lines for his autograph at Camden Yards, and a nice little thrill for my boy (and me).
Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday hails the DVD release of Mike Judge's "Idiocracy." I must have missed this one when it flopped in theaters last fall, but it seems it might be worth a peek. Anyone who came up with Office Space gets a few second shots in my book.
The creator of Scooby-Doo died yesterday at the age of 81. It was neither Hanna nor Barbera, but Iwao Takamoto. He took the name for his canine creation from the last line of Sinatra's "Strangers in the Night." Now there's a FitzFact if ever there was one. RIP.
Today's blogging soundtrack is Johnny Cash's American IV: The Man Comes Around. There are two genii at work on this album; the first is Cash, of course, and the second is producer Rick Rubin. The accompanying musicians and vocalists aren't too shabby either: Nick Cave, Don Henley, Billy Preston, Fiona Apple, John Frusciante, Benmont Tench and others. The disc contains many well-known pop and folk tunes, but don't mistake this for one of those weak standards collections so many former rockers like Rod Stewart have turned to in the twilight of their careers. That notion is quickly dispelled in the title track, a new Cash original based on his reading of the Book of Revelation, which leads off the album. The sparse guitar licks and rolling keyboard bass summon exactly the apocalyptic themes called for in the lyrics. The next cut, the Grammy-winning Cash take on Trent Reznor's "Hurt," lets you know that you can expect just about anything the rest of the way. Not that that there aren't some missteps (I've come around on "Danny Boy," not quite there on "Desperado,") but if you listen to the album from start to finish, and consider that Cash had to know that he wasn't going to be around much longer (American V was released after his death), I think you'll find something to contemplate. So much so, that I don't recommend popping this one in while you're driving; you might end up lost, and not just in thought.
Finally, do you think Dear Abby ever had to deal with questions like this?