Tag Archives: ncaa men’s basketball tournament

Padre Steve’s NCAA Basketball Tournament Mascot Picks

NCAA-2013-bracket1

I don’t always follow basketball but every year I am drawn to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament like a vulture drawn to fresh roadkill. This year I have entered a couple of different brackets to pick who I think will win the tournament. I did one based on records and conferences, statistics and coaches. I will not reveal the secrets of that bracket because unlike baseball I know almost nothing about basketball except that it is played by people a lot taller than me who can both jump and actually throw a basketball through a hoop. Thus those picks are under lockdown. If I win the pool I’ll beat on my chest and say what an expert that I am, get hired by ESPN as an analyst and live happily ever after at least for a season or two until I get fired because I really don’t know what I am talking about. But then there are guys that have been doing that for decades why can’t I join them? But I digress….

Now I know that there are a lot of people who use various means to pick the tournament winners. But this is not baseball and none of these people are Bill James the Saber metrics guru. Again as I said I am not an expert when it comes to basketball. However I do know something about mascots and it happens that every team has one. Some are animals of various types, others some kind of human hero, others something to do with mountains, nature and even the supernatural. I figure that why not do another bracket based on my intuition of how the mascots would do. Unfortunately a lot of the teams had the same mascots so in picking I had to make sure that none of the mascots ended up facing their alternate universe self.

So to make the simple difficult I will break this up into the geography of the NCAA tournament which generally corresponds to the regions of the United States, the Midwest, the West, the South and the East. Obviously there is no such thing as the North in our country otherwise the Glenda the Good Witch of the North would have made sure that it still existed.

The Midwest Regional

In the NCAA Midwest the Louisville Cardinals meet the Aggies of North Carolina A&T. Cardinals are pretty mean birds and Aggies are not well known for outsmarting things. So Cardinals beat Aggies. The Colorado State Rams will play the Missouri Tigers and as anyone knows a Tiger beats a Ram any day of the week. In the second round it comes down to nature. Cats eat birds, thus Missouri goes to the Sweet Sixteen.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys play the Oregon Ducks in the first round and while Cowboys may do great against Indians and Buffalo they are no match for a Ducks. The St Louis Billikens, which are some kind of weird doll will meet the New Mexico State Aggies. Yes I know that I said that Aggies are not known to be the swiftest or the toughest, but even the most limp wristed Aggie can break a china doll with no problem. But in the second round humans again are confounded by Ducks and Oregon moves on the the Sweet Sixteen.

The Memphis Tigers will play the St Mary’s Gaels. Now “what the hell is a Gael” you ask? A Gael is someone that speaks Gaelic. Tigers eat people, even Gaelic speaking ones, unless they are drunken Irishmen, but they are in a different Region. Memphis wins. The Michigan State Spartans play the Valparaiso Crusaders and this was a tough one to pick. Crusaders are tough but motivated by religion and ideology, while Spartans are just badass, kickass fighters. Spartans win. Did you see the movie 300? They move on, unless by chance a traitor comes in behind them. Still Michigan State to the Sweet Sixteen.

The Creighton Blue Jays play the Cincinnati Bearcats. Blue Jays are tough birds and mean, while no one knows if a Bearcat is a bear or a cat. Actually a Bearcat is some kind of weird looking animal like a Giant Panda found in Southeast Asia. Anyone knows that Panda are an endangered species while Bluejays are not. That in mind and the fact that the game is being played in the United States and not the Mekong Delta leads me to pick Creighton. Finally in the Midwest the Duke Blue Devils play the Albany Great Danes. This one comes down to metaphysics and spirituality. Devils only lose to God and a Great Dane is not God despite dog being God spelled backward. Thus the Blue Devils take on the Blue Jays who can’t beat the Devil. Duke to the Sweet Sixteen.

In the Sweet Sixteen Oregon’s Ducks will beat the Missouri Tigers because Ducks can both fly and go in the water and Tigers can do neither. Likewise Blue Devils beat Spartans. Spartans may be tough but they ain’t God. This means that in the regional final that the Ducks will face the Blue Devils and though Ducks may have the evil qualities of a witch, because like wood both float (see Monty Python and the Holy Grail http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp_l5ntikaU ) a witch and therefore a Duck is no match for the Devil. So the Duke Blue Devils go on to the Final Four.

The West Regional

The West Region will start with a surprise, the number one seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs will be defeated by the Southern University Jaguars. Let’s face it. Bulldogs look tough but are pretty slow and probably no match for a big cat. Southern wins. The Pittsburgh Panthers play the Wichita State Shockers. Now I know what you are thinking Panthers are a big cat, but if I recall a Shocker has something to do with electricity and cats do not do with with electricity. Wichita wins against them  and repeats against the Jaguars for the same reason, electricity kills cats. In a Shocker, Wichita moves to the Sweet Sixteen.

The Wisconsin Badgers play the Ole Miss Rebels and as anyone knows Badgers are tough and crafty and love feeding on Southern food. Badgers win. The Kansas State Wildcats will play the La Salle Explorers and Wildcats like to eat unsuspecting Explorers. K-State wins and moves on. This sets up a classic match up of the Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom as the Badgers kill the Wildcats and move to the Sweet Sixteen.

The Arizona Wildcats play the Belmont Bruins and while normally I would take a Bruin over a cat of any kind any day of the week these Bruins used to be called the Rebels until 1995 and just the scenario described above Rebels don’t do well against wild animals. Even Rebels that have changed their name, it was a crafty name but nature knows the real thing. Arizona wins. The New Mexico Lobos, which is like a New Mexican Wolf play the Harvard Crimson, and crimson will be the color of the court when the Lobos devour Harvard. New Mexico Wins.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will play the Iowa State Cyclones. Drunken Irishmen like to fight and are not bothered by bad weather. Notre Dame wins. The Ohio State Buckeyes play the Iona State Gaels, yet another team with an obscure mascot that is in the tournament twice. But this time the Gaels win, because anyone knows that if there is no Haggis around that any Scots-Irish-Welshman will eat whatever vegetation is available, and since a Buckeye is a tree and most parts are edible, the Iona Gaels I win.

In the West region of the Sweet Sixteen the Fighting Irish play the Lobos and once again drunken Irishmen win and move on to face the winner of the Wisconsin-Wichita State match up. In this the Shockers finally spark out because their cord won’t get deep enough into the cave of the Badgers. Wisconsin wins. In the West Regional final The Fighting Irish win again, like I said, they aren’t afraid of anything and will defeat Wisconsin.

The South Regional

In the South the Kansas Jayhawks play the Western Kentucky Hill Toppers. Now to my knowledge a Hill Topper is someone at the top of a hill but birds, particularly Hawks fly high, over hills and for me altitude is the key in the match up. Kansas wins. The North Carolina Tar Heels play the Villanova Wildcats. Now everyone knows that Tar is bad for you, and if you get too much of it on your feet or in your lungs you end up with bad diseases. Since Wildcats tend to be healthier than people stuck in tar Wildcats win. Since I live in North Carolina and don’t even know where Villanova is, I wish this was not the case, but working in healthcare settings for many years means that I have to go with science and Villanova wins to go to the Sweet Sixteen.

The VCU Rams play the Akron Zips and since Zip is the mascot of the US Postal Service Zip Code and the Postal Service is in trouble one has to go with VCU. VCU wins. The Michigan Wolverines, named after the Marvel Comics super hero play the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. Sorry Wolverine has those nasty knife like claws and that will carve up a Jackrabbit any day of the week. Michigan wins. Likewise I don’t think I don’t think that the Wolverines can lose to Rams and will make Mutton of them. Michigan to the Sweet Sixteen.

The UCLA Bruins play the Minnesota Golden Gophers and anyone with any sense knows that a Gopher will do anything to avoid a bear and thus UCLA Wins. The Florida Gators play the Northwestern State Demons. Now we all know that Demons are pretty badass beings, but these are not Demons from a major conference thus kind of minor Demons. Gators live in the water and anyone that knows their Bible knows what happens when Demons get in the water, they lose. Jesus showed us that when he chased those pigs into a lake. Florida wins but when they have to battle the Bruins, who can fight in land and water the lose. UCLA to the Sweet Sixteen.

The San Diego State Aztecs play the Oklahoma Sooners, and sooner rather than later we all know that the Aztecs will carve up the Sooners. The Georgetown Hoyas, the basketball team of a Jesuit school, which are named after a Latin Term Hoya Saxa, which means “What rocks” play the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles. Anyone knows that no Jesuit is killed by an Eagle, Jesuits are much more crafty than that and Jesuits throwing rocks, they are dangerous. Georgetown wins. However, the Hoya’s have to face the Aztecs and the Aztecs have been waiting for revenge ever since Cortez came knocking at the Halls of Montezuma. San Diego State to the Sweet Sixteen.

In the Southern Region Sweet Sixteen the Villanova Wildcats mix it up with the Wolverines and despite the claws I think by now that the Wolverines are tired and the Wildcats win. The UCLA Bruins, because they are cool Southern California type Bruins with no love for San Diego beat the Aztecs who really don’t have anything against the Bruins because they like nature. However the Bruins finally lose when they face the Villanova Wildcats. Wildcats do better on the high plains of North Texas than large bears and so they have the advantage and thus Villanova goes to the Final Four.

The East Regional

In the East Regional the number one seeded Indiana Hoosiers face the JMU Dukes. Now no one knows what a Hoosier is, which makes them hard to define and the Dukes are named after minor nobility, totally out of place in the United States. Hoosiers win. The North Carolina State Wolfpack plays the Temple Owls. Now I give you the fact that Owls are great hunters, but they are night hunters and this game is being played in the afternoon, giving the Wolfpack the advantage. Yes wolves like the night too, but they do well in the day too. NC State wins.

The UNLV Running Rebels of the Vegas strip play the California Bears. In this case I give the Rebels the edge, these are Berkley Bears and far too mellow for this kind of fight, and anyone knows that the Rebels that moved to Vegas after the great War Between the States are much more crafty than other Rebels. UNLV wins. The Syracuse Orangemen who I am reliably informed are named after Speaker of the House John Boehner play the Montana Grizzlies, yet another Bear, but Boehner, the Orangeman himself controls the budget and Montana Grizzlies tend to live on National Parks, and if there is no funding these bears die. Syracuse wins.

The Butler Bulldogs will play the Bucknell Bison. This was a hard pick, but dogs are used to herd Bison, I think anyway and if that is true then the Bulldogs of Butler have to win. The Davidson Wildcats play the Marquette Golden Eagles and cats eat birds, even highly seeded birds. The Wildcats then move on to defeat the Bulldogs.

Finally the Illinois Fighting Illini play the Colorado Buffaloes. History is the key in this. You always see the Indians hunting down Buffalo and not the other way around. Illinois wins. But the big surprise is the University of the Pacific Tigers defeating the Miami Hurricanes. Now one might ask how that could be, but Tigers don’t live in Hurricane zones and thus are safe. Pacific wins. However, the Illini are pretty good hunters and will kill off the Tigers to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

In East Region Sweet Sixteen match ups the Hoosiers of Indiana defeat the Running Rebels of UNLV because even Rebels on the Vegas Strip have a hard time figuring out what a Hoosier is and how to defeat it. Illinois moves on to defeat Davidson, once again using their superior hunting skills, but the Fighting Illini meet their match when the run up against the Hoosiers, who like everyone else they have no idea how to defeat because they don’t know what they are. This sends the Indian Hoosiers to the Final Four.

The Final Four

In the Final Four the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame come up against the Devil in the form of the Duke Blue Devils and even drunken Fighting Irishmen don’t beat the Devil. Indiana will defeat Villanova because like everyone else even Wildcats don’t know what a Hoosier is, but the Devil does and this means that the Duke Blue Devils are my Mascot Pick for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Is this a logical way to pick a bracket? Not at all, but I bet that it works pretty well.

Have fun with your brackets.

Peace

 

Padre Steve+

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Denver is the New Peyton Place and My “Tangy 10”

Peyton Manning is Denver Bound

Well it looks like Peyton Manning has chosen the Denver Broncos as the next stop in his illustrious NFL career. He appears to be heading to the Denver Broncos who will be in the market to trade a low mileage 2010 Tebow.  I was hoping that Peyton would sign with the 49ers where I thought that if he remained injury free that he could lead that team to the Super Bowl. But that probably won’t happen and who knows it could be for the best.  Manning has had four surgeries for in his neck to correct a nerve problem that took the strength out of his throwing arm and while he appears to be back up to speed one wonders if he will be more susceptible to injury in the future.  He is 36 years old and the deal is reportedly a 5 year 95 million dollar deal which means that he will be 41 when the contract ends.  If Manning does well Denver will be an exciting place but there is risk in this contract with his recent medical history and his age.

Tim Tebow will be on the Train Bound for…

In the mean time Tim Tebow will be on the trading block and no-one really knows where he will go. John Elway never seemed comfortable with Tebow as his starting QB so Tebow’s exit is now a given. What remains is to see just who might take the young man who despite his limitations as a NFL Quarterback did inspire and lead the Broncos to the playoffs.  There are reports that Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots might have his eyes on Tebow and reports that the new owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars likes Tebow. The proximity to the location of his glory with the the University of Florida days in Gainesville could help fill seats in Jacksonville’s often less than full stadium.

President Obama’s Bracket…He is doing much better than Me…

Some people have the “Sweet 16” but after the first weekend of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament I am down to a Tangy Ten. I went 58% for my picks in the opening weekend picking 28 of 48 games.  Only ten of my “Sweet 16” picks are still around and only two of my Final Four picks made the cut.  I still have Kentucky, Indiana, Baylor, Michigan State,  Louisville, Florida, Syracuse, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Kansas.  I was stunned to see Duke and Florida State knocked out.  I’ll have to see if I do better with what I have left this weekend.

Oh well, there is a reason that I pretty much stick to baseball and let the President who is much better than me at picking the NCAA brackets. However the President and I are picking North Carolina to win it all. Will see how that works out. At least I am doing at least as good as Lebron James in picking my brackets.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Madness! Norfolk State Shocks Mizzou; Lehigh Mountain Downs Duke and Ohio Manhandles Michigan

Kyle O’Quinn leads Norfolk State in their historic upset of Mizzou 

The reason I love the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament even though it is not baseball is because of nights like tonight. For some teams it was hell on earth as their expectations for going deep into the tournament maybe to the championship game were dashed by teams that for all practical purposes had almost no chance of winning. But three teams in particular the Norfolk State Spartans, the Lehigh Mountain Hawks and the Ohio Bobcats had other plans and put the madness back in March.

After an uneventful Thursday in which favorites pretty much ran the table there were a series of stunning upsets that busted brackets around the nation. First it was the 15 seed in the West Norfolk State Spartans stunning number 2 seed Missouri State University 86-84.  Missouri was picked by many to make the Final Four and by quite a few to win it.  However the plucky Spartans in their first NCAA tournament scored more points than any number 15 seed and were only the 5th 15 seed to defeat a 2 seed in tournament history.

However the Spartans were joined by another number 15 seed team the Lehigh Mountain Hawks upsetting the Duke Blue Devils by a score of 75-70 in the South. That win blew my bracket as I had Duke going to the Final Four and the title game, but not winning it.

In another shock the Ohio Bobcats seeded 13 in the Midwest knocked out number 4 seed Michigan 65-60. Yesterday the number one seed in the East struggled to beat 16 seed UNC Asheville and a number 12 seeded Virginia Commonwealth University upset the number 5 seed Wichita State 62-59. I figured that VCU would win due to how they performed in last year’s tournament when they made the Final Four.  Number 12 seed in the Midwest South Florida beat number 5 seeded Temple 58-44 in yet another upset.

There were other upsets as well but none as shocking as the two 15 seeds taking down the heavily favored 2 seeds. This has never happened in the NCAA tournament.  Personally I am fine with it even though it pretty much messed up my picks.  I actually wouldn’t mind seeing the 15 seeds continue deep into the tournament.  It makes things fun. I love madness. It may not be baseball but it is certainly fun.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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The BCS (Bogus Championship Series) Sham, Tebow the Heretic wins Again, and Moolah over Miami…

It is amazing to see how the Bowl Championship series works. I think we should rename it the Bogus Championship Series.  I am old fashioned it just seems to me that we have an SEC West rematch as the national title game. Sorry, LSU won that Alabama should not be considered for the National Championship. Yes they are a solid team, one of the best in the country but it would have been far more “national championshippy” to have two teams out of the same division playing for the “national championship” if that is what it pretends to be. Even in sports that have “wild card” berths such as Major League Baseball and the NFL never can a wild card team play for the World Series or Super Bowl against a team from its own division. Same goes for the NHL and the NBA. The fact is that we should have LSU playing Oklahoma State for the Title or another team that actually won its Conference Championship.

The fact is that in most sports in fact all but the BCS there are times that an excellent team doesn’t get to play for the championship simply because someone in their conference, division or league had a better record.  If an entity wants to call its title a “national” title it should include two teams that represent different conferences.  What a sham, the real national title game will not be played just to replay the SEC West championship. When you look at the other BCS games it is clear that the BCS process has failed again. Since we are never going to get a playoff system in Division One NCAA College Football or a tournament like in NCAA Basketball we would be just as well off to go back to the old bowl system and let everyone argue about what team is number one.  We end up doing that now anyway most of the time so let’s end the BCS farce.  Actually you could probably have a real playoff system but there is far too much money in the current system for anyone, the NCAA, the Universities and the Bowl Game sponsors themselves to want to change it no matter how bad of system it is.

From real failures we go to the man that so many want to fail, Denver Broncos Quarterback Tim Tebow.  Now I am not a Tebow fan or promoter by far and certainly am not a Broncos fan unless they are playing the Cowboys or Steelers. However, despite the fact that he is not the kind of quarterback that has dominated the sport for decades.  Since the day he was drafted he has been treated with distain by most of the sports media and former players that serve as commentators.

Now I agree that Tebow doesn’t fit the template that the NFL uses now but he leads and inspires his team to win.  The way that he does it isn’t pretty and he will never be John Elway or Steve Young.  He is to use religious parlance a “heretic.” But who says that he needs to be? What if he is the kid that defies the rules wins games and inspires his team. Isn’t that what it is really about or is it about maintaining an illusion that there is only one way to lead teams and win games?  Tebow for all of his technical limitations finds ways to win and inspires his teammates.  He rapidly becoming a successful NFL heretic. I like heretics and despite it all I hope that he continues to win just to make “experts” look foolish shut his critics up.

Finally the Miami Marlins have spent more money on one player than they did for their entire payroll.  This is actually nothing new Jeff Loria buys a team, wins a world series and discards the team the next year.  However money talks and Loria has a lot to throw around. He signed closer Heath Bell for 27 million and Jose Reyes for a cool 102 million on a six year deal that includes no “no trade” clause.  It looks like they are also serious about spending big money on Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder and possibly Tiger starting pitcher Mark Buerhle. If they keep spending money like this and the Security Exchange Commission keeps investigating this could end up more like an episode of Miami Vice rather than last years CSI Miami season which ended with the Marlins dead on the slab.   Regardless the National League East will be radically different in 2012 with Ozzie Guillen at the helm and what looks like unlimited money to spend.  I can only say I wish the same would happen for the Orioles despite the fact that our uniforms are going to be way cooler than the Marlins new duds even if we lose over 90 games again.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Another Sign of the Apocalypse: No Number One Seeds Left in the NCAA Tournament

Signs of the Apocalypse?

Well my friends there are wars, rumors of wars, natural and unnatural disasters Iranian Ayatollahs proclaiming that the Mahdi is coming so Iran can beat the snot out of all the infidels and all the number one seeds eliminated before the Final Four. What a deal, the only things lacking for the great apocalyptic battle are the Cubs winning the World Series and a conspiracy theory website that purports that President Obama is actually a Vulcan with clipped ears, thus no birth certificate.  Wow, I had just typed that when an advertisement for a nutty televangelist and his ditzy wife was aired while I was watching House hinting that Obama might be a Moslem, so be sure to watch them on Sunday.

Yes my friends it looks like the Four Horsemen, Dick Cheney, Nancy Pelosi, Oprah and Gilbert Gottfried, are mounting their steeds and preparing Trigger, Champion, Secretariat and Mr. Ed for the last rodeo. Things are getting serious all over the place. When showed Padre Steve that this was the case was not the wars or the natural disasters. No friends it was VCU killing off Kansas to ensure that no number one seeded team got in the Final Four this year.  Of course Butler had killed off Pitt, Kentucky had killed off Ohio State and Arizona had killed off Duke. Since my bracket had gone to hell by the round of 32 and my last finalist North Carolina went Tango Uniform in the Elite 8 I couldn’t care less who actually won I just wanted no number ones in the Final Four, no number twos if possible and chaos to reign.

I got my wish when VCU took down Kansas yesterday and even though I had put North Carolina through to the Final Four I wanted Kentucky to win simply because they were a lower seed than the Tar Heels. When you come to think about the fact that no number one or two seeded teams are in the Final Four really is amazing.  In fact it is the first time ever that no number one or number two seeds have made the Final Four. In 2006 and 1980 no number one teams made it but this is the first time ever that this has happened and this year the aggregate seeding of the Final Four Teams is lower than any Final Four ever.  Three number three seeds have won the National Championship Florida (2006), Indiana (1981), Michigan (1989) and Syracuse (2003). Only one number four seed has won the National Title Arizona in 1997.  Villanova is the only number eight seed to take the National Championship and that was in 1985. No number eleven seeds have ever reached the title game although George Mason (2006) and LSU (1986) did reach the Final Four.

Now just because this is the lowest seeding of Final Four teams does not mean that these are bad teams. Let’s face it UCONN is a major player as is Kentucky and Butler is no stranger to the Sweet 16 and Final Four getting into the title game last year. VCU is the real surprise because they were the last team chosen and had to win an extra game to get in the 64 team field.

This is also no real changing of the guard in College Basketball. With the exception of Richmond and VCU the teams in the Elite Eight were all big programs or in the case of Butler a team that was in the Final Four last year and is a quality program.  While more VCUs and Butler’s may go deep in the tournament expect that the big programs will still be in the Final Four more often than not. I may want the little guys to be there all the time but that probably won’t happen but that doesn’t mean that I can’t cheer them on every year, heck I picked ODU to be in the Final Four but Butler took them out in the first round.

So the Four Horsemen have lined up, the world is all goofy but at least this Final Four field is no threat to the end of the world as we know it.  So my picks for the National Championship, VCU against Kentucky and God only knows who wins that. As my Iraqi friends say, Inshallah.

Peace

Padre Steve+

 

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Padre Steve’s Top 25 Articles of 2010, some Statistics and a Big Thank You to My Readers

Well we are coming to the end of the year here at Padre Steve’s World and as if you didn’t know from my baseball posts I am a fanatic about statistics.  Last year I published my “Top 10” in order to just get an idea about what my readers were reading and to kind of point new readers to articles that might interest them.

Before I delve into this I want to say thank you to all those people that take the time to stop by my little realm of cyber space and to those that take the time to leave comments, positive and even negative. You help me out a lot both in what I write and making me look at different angles on the subjects that I write about. Likewise various reads comments and suggestions have inspired and sometimes provoked me into writing articles that I might not have written otherwise. So thank you for taking the time to look at this site. Unlike the talk radio hosts that as us to give them 3 hours a day 5 days a week I just hope that you stop by once in a while and if you like what you see to come by more often and recommended the site to friends.

What is interesting to me is the way that some of these essays have almost taken on lives of their own and become much more popular than I could have ever imagined.  Who knows maybe I can actually work on finding a publisher this year and get some of this into print and maybe just maybe actually make a little money for my efforts.  I’ve been looking at the 700 plus posts that now are on the site and I can see a few book possibilities and if you have suggestions please let me know.

So as far as statistics go Padre Steve’s World is coming up on 2 Million total views and should go over that mark late today or early tomorrow.  Of those views about 1,280,000 have come this year, I won’t get an exact count until the New Year but then who but me is counting anyway? With those numbers I am averaging about 3500 views a day with the highest today being on June 17th when I had 9647 views.  I have had readers from almost every country or territory in the world from the United States to Togo and almost everywhere in between.  I think that is pretty cool and shows how the internet can reach almost all parts of the globe and I hope that the people in far off lands are getting something positive out of what I write.

This year I have posted 377 articles of which 169 had something to do with Baseball and 70 were about the military and of the military articles 18 dealt with various types of warships and a further dealt with history.  Another 21 articles dealt with Iraq or Afghanistan in one way or another ranging from historical, operational and theoretical articles interspersed with essays about the human cost of war.  Now the categories dealing with religion were harder to quantify as I posted them in several different categories with some articles listed in more than one category. Of these 24 articles dealt with faith, 29 with the Christian life, 49 in the general category of Religion and 53 fit into the rather amorphous category of Philosophy. I also listed 20 in the Pastoral Care section.  Again many of these posts overlapped so depending on the subject an article might be listed under several categories.

I have also more interactive this year with my readers in terms of the comment section and comments listed on my Facebook page for different articles. If you want to subscribe to the site or a single post and its comments feel free to do so and if you want to be a Facebook “friend” just tell me that you read the site when you do the request.

So this year I am posting my top 25 essays of 2010 as I think it gives me and you a better grasp on what people find interesting on this site.  I have also written a little bit of what caused me to write about those subjects.

Music of the 1970s and 1980s topped my list with 3 articles in the top 25 coming it at number 1, 5 and 9

1. I Miss the Music of the 70’s and 80’s I wrote this because I am went to High School and College in the 70s and 80s and like anyone my musical tastes and preferences were set back then. This year the essay which includes a lot of links to music videos has had over 46,000 viewers.

My article about the Rape of Nanking got me some hate mail from Japan

2. “Revisionist” History and the Rape of Nanking 1937 This article grew out of a research paper that I did in one of my classes for my Masters Degree in Military History. I found the subject interesting because I remember some of the Holocaust deniers when I was in college and the fact that people try to expunge the reality of such crimes against humanity is something for which that I have little tolerance. I did get a couple of nasty responses from some Japanese deniers regarding this article. Almost 20,000 people read this article this year.

3. Padre Steve’s World: Top 10 articles of 2009 What can I say? A lot of people, a bit of 13,000 have found my site and other articles through this post.

4. Halloween Book Burning Update: Bring the Marshmallows Please! I wrote this just prior to Halloween of 2009 on a lark. It was fun but serious and deals with a little church near Ashville North Carolina that publicized a book and Bible burning.  About 10,500 folks read this one.

5. More about Why I Miss the Music of the 70’s and 80’s Obviously I wrote this because I didn’t get enough 70s and 80s songs in the first time. Evidently a lot of people like this one as well as about 10,500 folks read it in 2010 and like the first edition it is chocked full of links to music videos.

The Einsatzgrüppen were a key component of Hitler’s racial war in the East

6. The Ideological War: How Hitler’s Racial Theories Influenced German Operations in Poland and Russia This article also came out of a lot of study and thought. I was a history major in college and my concentration area was in modern German History particularly Weimar and the Nazi Era. In the following 28 years or so I have continued to study and I wrote this essay for one of my Masters Degree classes.  About 10,300 people have read this one this year.

7. Reformation Day: How Martin Luther and Hans Kung Brought Me to an Anglo-Catholic Perspective, a Book and Bible Burning Reaches Ludicrous Speed and Yankees take Game Three 8-5 I wrote this during the 2009 World Series and it was kind of a catch all article for that day. The primary focus was Reformation Day and my journey to a Catholic faith.  It also included an update about the previously mentioned book and Bible burning and game three of the 2009 World Series between the Yankees and Phillies. About 7300 people looked at this article since January 1st 2010.

Star Trek is a part of my spiritual journey

8. Star Trek, God and Me 1966 to 2009 This article came out of my spiritual journey and kind of wove my faith with Star Trek.  I grew up with the original series but find Star Trek TNG and DS9 to be my favorites and I loved the new movie.  When I wrote the article back in May of 2009 I was still struggling with faith and in the midst of a spiritual crisis. Even though it is a relatively old article on the site that it had almost 6000 views this year which I attribute to the popularity of Star Trek and not this site or me.

9. Padre Steve’s Favorite Love Songs…Happy Valentine’s Day! Once again I write about music in this post with many love songs from the 1970s and 80s as well as a few from other eras. Close to 6,000 folks have looked at this since I wrote it in February and it too has a lot of music video links.

10. Can Anybody Spare a DIME: A Short Primer on Early Axis Success and How the Allies Won the Second World War This I kind of wrote on the spur of the moment as I was thinking about the concept of the DIME, or the Diplomatic, Intelligence, Military and Economic factors of national power and how it relates to war, in this case World War Two. About 4800 people read this and though it is to me a rather innocuous post it attracted the attention of a Neo-Nazi White Supremacist who didn’t like it.  The guy would bother me a number of other times and even threaten my life on one of my Norfolk Tides Baseball posts.  Such is the danger of putting stuff in public but the Neo-Nazis can pound sand.

11. Oh the Pain…Padre Steve’s Kidney Stone Naming Contest In February I got slammed hard by a nasty 7mm Kidney Stone that lodged at the top of the bladder and would move. I was out of action for over a month and as I waited for my surgery to get the nasty thing out I had a naming contest. So far about 4600 people have read this and I guess that it is one of the more humorous posts on this very painful subject on the internet. By the way I named him Adolf.

12. Background to “The Pacific” Part One: The Guadalcanal Campaign and the Beginning of Joint Operations I had originally written this article for my Master’s Degree program. When the HBO series The Pacific came out I re-wrote it and published it. Almost 4600 people have read this article.

The Landings at D-Day have always been a favorite subject of mine and this article was written in a more reflective moment

13. D-Day- Courage, Sacrifice and Luck, the Costs of War and Reconciliation This article was written in a more reflective moment before the 2009 D-Day anniversary. It has retained its popularity with almost 4500 views this year.

14. 20 Years: The Fall of the Berlin Wall and the End of the Cold War I wrote this around the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Since we lived in Germany where I was a Platoon Leader, Company XO and Company Commander in the Cold War and having travelled to East Berlin in November 1986 I couldn’t help but write about it. We cried when the wall came down and I have had the chance to travel in the former East Germany on a number of occasions since the fall of the wall. A bit over 3700 people have read this article.

The loss of shipmates and friends like Senior Chief Pam Branum played a big role in my writing since I started Padre Steve’s World

15. Turning Points: The Battle of Midway, Randy Johnson Gets his 300th Win and Chief Branum Gets Her Star This was a catch-all article when I wrote it back in June of 2009. I was thinking about the Battle of Midway, celebrating Randy Johnson getting his 300th career victory and remembering a shipmate and friend Senior Chief Petty Officer Pamela Branum who was posthumously promoted at her memorial service.  A bit over 3600 people had read this article.

16. Memorable Recruiting Slogans and the All Volunteer Force This was a fun article because it took me back to the days when I first enlisted in the Army national Guard in 1981.  About 3600 folks viewed this article this year.

17. Operation “Dachs” My First Foray into the Genre “Alternative History” I wrote this originally for my Master’s Degree when I asked permission of a professor to do an alternative history of the Battle of Kursk.  I write it using actual sources but altering one key fact which changes the story. What sets it apart is that I get to kill off Hitler before the battle presuming that the anti-Hitler plotters bomb had gone off in his aircraft as he returned to Germany following his visit to Army Group Center.  Almost 3600 people read this in 2010.

The Battle of Stalingrad

18. The Anniversary of Disaster: Stalingrad 67 Years Later This was an article that I modified from a paper that I wrote for my Master’s degree.  I find I have sympathy for the struggle of common soldiers in hopeless causes, even when they fight in causes and under leaders that are unjust or even evil as the Nazis were. Just over 3000 people read this article this year.

The role of Jackie Robinson and other African American Baseball Players in helping end segregation and give added support to the Civil Rights Movement led by Dr Martin Luther King and others

19. Jackie Robinson and Dr. Martin Luther King they Changed America I find the Civil Rights movement to be one of the most important parts of American history and Jackie Robinson possibly had as much or more impact in the movement as anyone with the exception of Doctor Martin Luther King Junior. I know a number of former Negro League players and I respect their struggle on the diamond and how they helped integrate America.  Almost 3000 people read this article.

20. Laughing to the Music: The Musical Genius of Mel Brooks Mel Brooks is my favorite filmmaker and I probably know almost every song in his films by heart. Most people don’t know that Brooks wrote almost all the music in his films. Just over 2900 folks have read this article which like my other music articles is full of links to videos of Mel Brook’s music.

The Battleships of Pearl Harbor essay focused on what happened to the great ladies of Pearl Harbor like the USS West Virginia above

21. The Battleships of Pearl Harbor This was the first article about the attack on Pearl Harbor. I looked at the Battleships which were present and what happened to each of them. Almost 2900 people took a look at this article which spawned articles about the ships on the far side of Ford Island and one about all the ships present.

22. Padre Steve’s Decade in Review: Up Down Tryin’ to Get the Feeling Again I wrote this on New Year’s Eve day in 2009. It was kind of a fun but serious look at some of the events of the first decade of the new millennium. Almost 2800 folks read this one.

23. Why Johnny Can’t Read Maps: NCAA Tournament Geography for Dummies and a Solution I wrote this as the 2010 NCAA Basketball Tournament began. I just hit tilt on way that the NCAA names the brackets by geographic areas that have no connection with some of the cities in them. Like when is Seattle in the Southeast? Give me a break. Evidently almost 2600 people agree with me.

24. Mortain to Market-Garden: A Study in How Armies Improvise in Rapidly Changing Situations I wrote this originally for my Master’s degree program a few years back. I thought about it more and took another crack at it for the website. Almost 2500 folks took a look a this article this year.

The French in Indochina and Algeria and how we can learn from their experience especially on how such campaigns affect the men that fight them

25. Lessons for the Afghan War: The Effects of Counterinsurgency Warfare on the French Army in Indo-China and Algeria and the United States Military in Vietnam I have studied insurgencies since before I went to Iraq when I started my Master’s Degree in Military History program.  As I studied it I began to buy all the books that I could on the subject and with my Iraq experience still resonating in me, I wrote about how counter-insurgency campaigns affect the Armies and Soldiers that wage them.

So my friends thank you for your support over the past year. I pray that you have a wonderful New Year and hope that you keep stopping by.

Peace

Padre Steve+

 

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Filed under Loose thoughts and musings

Why Johnny Can’t Read Maps: NCAA Tournament Geography for Dummies and a Solution

I love the NCAA College Men’s Basketball Tournament.  It is the only time of year that I will even watch basketball since like football and other sports it is simply another heretic sect compared to the one true religion, the Church of Baseball of which I am a confirmed member of at the Harbor Park Parish, Section 102, Row B, seats 1 and 2.  I have really liked this year’s tournament since none of my alma maters are in it and I am rooting for underdogs and many have won…God Bless Northern Iowa, St Mary’s, ODU, Cornell, Ohio and all the others who have knocked off the big programs in the first two rounds.  A usual I failed to complete a bracket sheet but if I had if would have looked something like the “Sweet Sixteen” does now except there would have been no number ones left, maybe even not any number twos. But hey…it’s only a game as compared to baseball thank you.

Now my purpose is not in talking about the games, the teams or the tournament itself.  Instead it is to express my bewilderment at geographic ignorance and maybe incontinence of the NCAA committee’s knowledge of geography in regard to the so called “regions.”  I mean this is insane.  What are we teaching the next generation?  That Providence Rhode Island in the Midwest and Spokane Washington is in the South?  Is this not insane? Are we not living in a society people?

Now please do not take offense and call me a sociopath.   I am not a sociopath I was a History major and have a Master of Arts in History as well.  But as a mere historian I did gain a slight appreciation of Geography, even that to the good old USA despite focusing on Europe and the Pacific.  For a fact I know that Providence Rhode Island is in New England which happens to be in the Northeast. I know this because I have been there and spent a decent amount of time going to Navy schools in Rhode Island.  Likewise I have lived in Jacksonville Florida which is in the East but would really be considered part of the South and to cover their bases the NCAA committee has in both the South and the East. Buffalo is in both the West and the East which kind of makes it schizophrenic.  Of course then there is Spokane Washington which according to the NCAA is in the Midwest.  Last time I checked it is WEST of the Rocky Mountains in the wasteland o eastern Washington but very much in the Northwest.  Milwaukee Wisconsin is EAST of the Mississippi River which it means it can’t even be considered in the West even the Brewers are in the National League Central Division.  Heck, the last time New Orleans was considered to be in the West was about the time of the Louisiana Purchase.  San Jose is definitely in the East, the East Bay….give me a break San Jose is like 25 miles if that from the Pacific Ocean.  To further confuse the issue Providence and Spokane are also in the South Region.

Now what is this saying to the youth of America?  I’ll tell you what it says…it says that the NCAA committee that put this mess together doesn’t know anything about geography.  They are turning the minds of our young people into tapioca pudding (looks like gelified brains.) However, I am not unaware that the placement of games is not to be geographically correct but to make money.

In an attempt to be a “uniter” and not a divider I have a proposal.  Instead of calling them regions we call them divisions and name them after great coaches such as John Wooden, Dean Smith and Bobby Knight that way any city can be in any division and geography would not matter.  People could go wherever they want and not corrupt the minds of our young people.  What’s next these kids will be driving willy-nilly all over the country trying to get some place that they have no idea where is. Think of the repercussions for UPS, FEDEX and the USPS…if these kids grow up and go a career in delivery industry we will never get anything.

Until the current system is replaced it will be simply madness….it’s madness I tell you…we’re going to have to set ludicrous speed…I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore…Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?  Concentrate… concentrate… I’ve got to concentrate… concentrate… concentrate… Hello?… hello… hello… Echo… echo… echo… Pinch hitting for Pedro Borbon… Manny Mota… Mota… Mota… Joey, have you ever been in a… in a Turkish prison? It’s the same old story. Boy finds girl, boy loses girl, girl finds boy, boy forgets girl, boy remembers girl; girl dies in a tragic blimp accident over the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Day…  Auntie Em, Uncle Henry, Toto! It’s a twister! It’s a twister! If this is Tuesday this must be Belgium…No, it’s not what you think. It’s much, much worse! … Would you like another schnitzengruben? …. Soylent Green is people, its people! …. Now I don’t have to tell you good folks what’s been happening in our beloved little town. Sheriff murdered, crops burned, stores looted, people stampeded, and cattle raped. The time has come to act, and act fast. I’m leaving….All right, you win. You win. I give. I’ll say it. I’ll say it. I’ll say it…. DESTINY! DESTINY! NO ESCAPING THAT FOR ME! DESTINY! DESTINY! NO ESCAPING THAT FOR ME! ….Oh, cut the bleeding heart crap, will ya? We’ve all got our switches, lights, and knobs to deal with, Striker. I mean, down here there are literally hundreds and thousands of blinking, beeping, and flashing lights, blinking and beeping and flashing – they’re *flashing* and they’re *beeping*. I can’t stand it anymore! They’re *blinking* and *beeping* and *flashing*! Why doesn’t somebody pull the plug! Serenity now!

Lots of Laughs to you,

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Filed under Just for fun, purely humorous