Sunday, September 30, 2007

Number One!

The Tigers jumped in front of USC to claim the top ranking in the nation in this week's Associated Press college football poll. LSU received 33 first-place votes (up from 22 last week), while the Trojans, who narrowly won against Washington this weekend, received 32 first-place votes (down from 43).

It's the first No. 1 AP ranking for the Tigers since Nov. 2, 1959, which followed the team's first national championship season in 1958.

Strangely, sports columnist Peter Finney with my old paper, The Times-Picayune, wondered in his Sunday column if LSU's lackluster, error-filled 34-9 win over Tulane on Saturday might hurt the Tiger's shot at the national title.

What a bonehead! A mediocre game against a crummy opponent a week before the biggest game of the year (LSU's bout with Florida next weekend) doesn't exactly define where this team is at the moment. There was nothing to be gained from beating the Greenies 70-0. So is it really surprising the Tigers didn't have their heads, or their hearts, in the game?

Clearly, other sports writers from around the country weren't in the throes of the bizarre Uptown Tulane Green Wave apologist fog that so badly afflicts Finney's grasp of reality.
After the game in the Superdome in New Orleans, Coach Miles and the team kept to their tradition of singing LSU's Alma Mater with fans.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Knowing his place

Looks like Coach Hollywood is finally telling the truth about where the Trojans belong in the national rankings. This photo was taken by Image of Sports after last week's USC-Washington State game.

Now if only the poll voters would get the order right.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

(Drunk) students behaving badly

It happens every few years at Tiger Stadium. A group of young inebriated fans in the student section stumble upon some new profane chant that follows the rhythm of a song played by the Golden Band from Tigerland. Eventually -- usually when the vulgar words become audible over a national television broadcast of a game -- the band stops playing the song in hopes of killing the new cheer.

It happened again last Saturday. During the musical interlude played after LSU touchdowns and extra points, the student section mixed the words "You suck cock" into their normal chant. The inspiration appeared to be the Tigers' opponents on this day: the South Carolina Gamecocks.

Here's a video of the cheer made by a student:


In response, the band stopped playing the interlude toward the end of the game. That triggered accusations of free-speech censorship by some students. A history freshman has started a protest page on Facebook.com called "You can't censor the LSU student section!," according to this LSU Daily Reveille article on the controversy.

Of course, you can censor the student section.

That's what happened in the 1980s when I and my classmates started chanting "Assholes, assholes" at the opposing fans after touchdowns during "Tiger Rag." Not a very nice thing to say to guests in the stadium, especially after scoring on their team.

Once the cheer was heard on national television, the administration ordered the band to stop playing the traditional song. It was a decade before "Tiger Rag" returned to the band's game-day repertoire.

Pelican Rising

When the Tigers take the field in New Orleans Saturday to take on Tulane, they will be wearing these specially designed Nike uniforms honoring the city's continuing recovery from Hurricane Katrina.

The uniforms feature an LSU emblem that includes a heart-shaped stylized pelican, a symbol of the state, rising like a phoenix.

Nike is selling related merchandise and has promised to donate $1 from each sale to efforts to restore youth athletic programs in New Orleans.

Go here to see the items and place your order.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

And the No. 1 team in the country is . . .

The top of the polls haven't realigned themselves this week, but No. 2 LSU's drubbing of No. 9 Virginia Tech has many college football gurus rethinking a notion seemingly as firm as the law of gravity - that USC is the best college football team in the land, hands down.

The shine of the Trojans is fading as LSU's frightening power becomes more apparent with each week.

In the new Associated Press poll, LSU received 25 first-place votes, up from 5 a week earlier. USC, which was idle this weekend, received 40 first-place votes, down from 59 a week earlier but enough to retain it's No. 1 ranking.

In this week's USA Today Coaches poll, LSU got 11 first-place votes, up from four, and USC got 42 votes, down from 49.

It's sort of like being a Middle-Age Christian astronomer and suddenly waking one morning to realize that the Earth isn't the center of the universe after all.

For more on this fast-emerging college football heresy read this, this and this.

*Photo is courtesy of LSUSports.net.

Blast from the past

This is Jami, an old friend of mine and the daughter of my high school Catholic youth group directors, Jim and Ann Marie.

I took this picture of her in 1983 at a church retreat in Spokane, Washington.

They moved away from my hometown in 1984 when Jami was a 14-year-old freshman. We lost touch a few years later after they relocated to southern California.

I tried tracking them down in recent years through mutual friends and the Internet, but I never found them.

Then a couple of months ago, I got a message from Jami through Classmates.com telling me that they were all living just a few hours from San Diego.Jami was in town this weekend, and we met at the local bar where LSU fans in gather to watch football games. It was our first meeting in more than 23 years.

It was AMAZING seeing her. She's not that bashful, naïve girl frozen in time in my head for all of those years. She's an outgoing, confident, beautiful, grown-up wife and mom of two. The old Jami is still there too -- she has the same sense of humor, the same laugh and the same smile.

I can't wait to visit her, Jim and Ann Marie later this year.

On the prowl

In celebration of No. 2 ranked LSU's 48-7 thrashing of No. 9 ranked Virginia Tech, I'm posting a couple of videos of the newly anointed Mike VI, LSU's tiger mascot.

These videos were taken of Mike as he roamed his 15,000-square-foot, $2.9-million habitat next to Tiger Stadium. You also might want to check out this New York Times article that appeared in Saturday's edition. The story is about Mike and the controversy surrounding universities that keep live mascots.

Rex and I can't wait to see him for ourselves when we visit Loosiana in late October to attend the LSU-Auburn game.



Monday, September 03, 2007

Kramer, the video

Legendary gay activist and acclaimed author Larry Kramer talked about presidential politics, marriage, gay history, national LGBT organizations and more in an appearance at the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association convention in San Diego this past weekend.

Larry didn't disappoint the crowd. He was typically pessimistic, caustic and reflective. He had the demeanor of a worn-out general who's lost the energy to guide the front line into battle.

His most challenging question of the afternoon: Will there ever be more Larry Kramers?

Today, perhaps more than ever before, Larry's gloomy message of failure, shortcomings and second-class citizenry offers a raw challenge to the sense of acceptance, freedom and security that many gay people feel today.

So, is Larry a killjoy who has outlived his time or the movement's most forthright judge? Watch the video and decide for yourself.

video

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Rex's latest obsession: smoothies

If you know Rex, then you know that he can become a bit obsessed with things . . . okay, sometimes more than a bit. It's the one trait that he shares with the pug. Well, they're also both hairy. And they have bellies. And they bark much more than they bite. But I digress.

At worse, Rex's compulsions are annoying. At best, they're entertaining and even productive.
That's the case with his latest fetish. It involves mixing various fruits, syrups, peanut butter and ice in a blender until it all becomes a cool frothy drink.

His concoctions are actually pretty tasty, and presumably healthy. And given the heat wave that's smothered us for the last week or so, the smoothies are a welcomed bit of relief.
Here's a pic of my thermometer showing the high temperature yesterday inside the apartment. Like many homes in the city, ours doesn't have air conditioning because it's usually not needed. The outdoor temperature almost never rises above the upper 70s.

The forecast says we have at least two or three more days of scorching heat before the weather returns to normal.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

What a stud!

Roscoe, the two-year-old tiger that is expected to soon be officially named Mike VI, made his public debut today in Baton Rouge, frolicking around his new habitat within view of Tiger Stadium. Go here to see more pics.

Read news coverage of the new mascot's first day in his outdoor digs here and here.

Dinner with an icon

We hung out last night with Larry Kramer (above), the legendary gay activist who founded ACT UP, and his partner David. Not only is Larry one of the best-known gay activists in the country, he's also an acclaimed writer who was nominated for an Academy Award for best screenplay, was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize, and wrote Faggots, a pivotal novel that turned a critical eye on gay life in pre-AIDS America.

Rex, who's known Larry for 20 years, convinced him to speak this weekend at the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association national convention here in San Diego.Larry is a sweetheart. And his partner David (left), who is an architect, is charming and playful.

I named David an honorary Cajun cousin of mine. Turns out his mother had family in Louisiana, and David visited the family rice farm in Crowley, La., nearly every summer as a kid. What a small freakin' world! Crowley is just a few miles from my home town of Jennings.Fergal took the guys out for drinks earlier in the evening. I think the sly Irishman is gunning to become Larry's new poolboy.