Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Back for another year, with lessons to learn . . .

Greetings and salutations, everyone. After a long vacation from my bloggy home, Our Man in LA finds himself back home in the electronic ether, ready for another go-around.

I realize it's been a while, and I know it's Tuesday - which would normally mean an old-fashioned TOP FIVE coming right at you. But, to be honest, I'm not feeling a top five of anything right now. Bad football mojo last night and extended hangover from the holidays has left me bereft of the usual bon mots. So I'm going to do the next best thing to one of those long-awaited TOP FIVEs.

It's . . . The Annual Top Five Things I've Learned over the last month or so. Lame title, I grant you. We're working on it. Send in your recommendations.

I should also mention that I'm going to do a lesson a day here, just to get things started. I've been away awhile, I need to ease back in. Plus, I'm thinking of you, the reader. Do you really want a stupid long post on the first day? No, sir.

Also, it's worth noting that while a normal Top Five only references things that are good, A LEARNING TOP FIVE can reflect all manner of lessons - good, painful, annoying, interesting, the list just goes on.

To wit, Lesson #5:


See what I mean? A good example of a not-so-fun lesson, learned totally the hard way over the last week or so. As an Ohio kid and a Northwestern grad, I've always been a Big Ten guy. I root for my teams (Buckeyes and Wildcats) through the season, and then usually, for the entire conference come bowl season.

OK, I don't always root for the whole conference. I wasn't about to cheer Iowa over Texas this year, but certainly you folks can understand that. I'm a Texas grad. I have a diploma from there and everything. And a shirt. And a cap. And last year's Rose Bowl taking up space on the TIVO. You get the picture.

But look, when I moved out west, I scoffed at these Big 12 fans and Pac 10 boosters. Certainly their conferences were soft. Certainly they had no conception of real football. Fools, they were. Bureaucratic fools.

And SEC fans were worse. I'd tell them that, but then there'd be this whole incident with a gun rack and everything.

Or so I thought. Yeah. Not so much.

Just ask this guy.

As you might have heard, during bowl season, the Big Ten got more or less destroyed. Florida completely embarrassed Ohio State in the national championship game last night. USC did the same to Michigan in the Rose Bowl. Sure, Wisconsin won, but Purdue and Iowa were sent packing. Minnesota lost so bad that they fired their coach. And Notre Dame, which most of the country thinks is part of the Big Ten, got shelled worse than . . . I can't really think of an apt war metaphor, so you get the picture.

OK, Penn State and Wisconsin won. But Penn State shouldn't even be in the conference.

Anyhow, you get the point. Disaster. Big Ten football is a suckfest. One more blow to feelings of Midwestern superiority. Well, wait until . . . no, we're going to lose in basketball season, too.

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