Monday, October 29, 2007

When we last left our intrepid explorers...

We (the royal we, that is) left off at the end of one of the first confontations that stirred the pot that was Cuban Missile Crisis soup (which does NOT come with the free breadsticks, so don't even ask), the US Naval blockade of Cuba. The Russians had lost the battle, but still definitely felt they could win the war. So strap in kids, here's the exciting conclusion of...
Cuban Missile Crisis
Part IV, "A New Hope..." (NERD!)

October 24-25
The State Department floated an idea. If the Russians pulled the missiles out of Cuba, the US would remove a series of missile bases it had established in Turkey (which is about as close to Russia as Cuba is to the US, at least as far as missile launch and response time is concerned).

By late afternoon of the 25th, U2 flights and a series of CIA operatives in Cuba confirmed that work on the missile sites had not slowed down at all. Kennedy (who, if you'll remember, always had an itchy trigger finger as far as the Cubans were concerned) wanted to invade to remove the missiles, but (and this will become a theme, thank God) cooler heads prevailed, and diplomacy was allowed to continue.

*****Special Sidebar!*****
Backdoor Diplomacy
The Crisis was full of it. ABC News (!) was carrying on discussions with Aleksandr Formin (Washington D.C. KGB Section Chief, c. 1960-1964) about the removal of missiles from Cuba in return for a guarantee that the US would never invade the island. A message was passed by the Brazilian (!) Embassy in Cuba to Castro, telling him to pressure the Russians to remove the missiles to protect his borders from the threat of US invasion.
(* A note on Russian foreign relations...The Russians didn't have "alliances." They tended to be wary of (Castro) and sometimes openly confrontational with (Mao in China) other Communist leaders. They were looking out for their own interests, and expected other Communist states (outside of Europe) to do the same. Until the missiles were on Cuban soil, there was little formal relationship between Havana and Moscow, and as soon as the missiles were removed (I gave away the ending...oh no!) there would again be little formal relationship. To prove the point, Nixon went to Russia before Castro even thought about doing so, and only went in '73 after Nixon's SECOND visit in May of '72. I'd say they were friendly enough with each other, but definitely "chilly." Now, back to the action! [thank you Encyclopedia Americana for the Nixon info])

6:00 that night...
Khrushchev wrote and had delivered a letter written in his own hand that Robert Kennedy would later describe as "long and emotional" that basically said "if you keep up your end of the bargain, I'll keep up mine."

October 27...
Things get "el testy-o" in Cuba
Castro is BALLSY, you've gotta give him that. Case in point...
Castro was convinced the US was going to invade (can you blame him? Look at the history!), so he was pressuring the Russians to not remove the missiles, but USE them! He also oredered his Anti-aircraft gunners to shoot down any US planes over Cuban soil (an open act of "hostility," or war).
Khrushchev, in the mean time, was working his magic. He wanted the missiles out of Turkey, and said so in a radio address on Radio Moscow. Robert McNamara, in the mean time, had a stroke of brilliance when he realized no one told the Russians where the blockade line was (dumbasses). he had U Thant (UN Sec. General) relay a message to prevent any stickiness.

Later in the day, Castro made good on his word and shot down a U2 spy plane flying over Cuba. A sortie of US planes was also fired upon but not destroyed. Kennedy had said he would attack Cuba if this happened, but decided to wait to see if diplomacy could still carry the day (cooler heads!).

October 27-28...
Kennedy and Khrushchev, playing the world's most important game of "telephone," continued negotiating about the missiles in Turkey. For the sake of brevity, I'll sum it up. Kennedy wanted the missiles out of Cuba, and was willing to take the missiles out of Turkey, but didn't want the world to think the Russians made him do it. Khrushchev wanted the missiles out of Turkey, and was willing to take the ones out of Cuba. Turkey, for it's part, wanted the missiles to stay, but who cares what Turkey wants? Turkey doesn't want to get cooked on Thanksgiving, but we still eat it in late November (plus sandwich time for the next week or two). Kennedy wasn't going to let the Russians save any face on the Turkey Situation. The Russians were mulling it over, and to prod them along, Kennedy had a message sent through official diplomatic channels saying "time is short, poop or get off the pot." He was telling the Russians "either take the deal or we'll invade Cuba."

October 28....
It worked. Khrushchev ordered the dimantling of the missiles and their immediate return to the Soviet Union. Kennedy immediately gave a speech praising the Russians for taking an important step in the peace process. People all across America were putting finishing touches on bomb shelters that, while awesome, would never be used during the Cold War.

"A schooner is a sailboat, stupidhead!" (What the big picture is...)
This was the event that saved the (up to that time, disastrous) Kennedy presidency, and would get his name mentioned in the same breath as Lincoln (the ULTIMATE American compliment).

Khrushchev kept power for two years, and was eventually ousted by Leonid Brezhnev, many believe due to the "loss of face" that occured during the Crisis. Brezhnev would hold the post of General Secretary longer than anybody but Stalin (1964-1982).

Castro is still as nutty as squirrel turds, chattering like a monkey in Havana to this day. Americans are still prohibited from travelling to Cuba and have to go to Canada to get cigars.

The Soviet Union would collapse in 1990-91.

Friday, October 26, 2007

In honor of the new set up...

A History Lesson! Hooray! Gather 'round kiddies/and you shall see/ the midnight ride/ of a U2 spy plane, a fat Soviet (who looks a little like Don Zimmer), and a Massachusetts cuckolder. That's right...

Cuban Missile Crisis!

The Setting...

Seeing it as his duty to Monroe Doctorine/Rosevelt Corollary politics, JFK decided Castro had to go. Cuba was too sweet a place to leave in the hands of those dirty commies. Havana, after all, was the Las Vegas of it's time. When you hear someone say "It's not Havana in the 50's, but it's nice(as I often do)," they mean that it isn't the place to be. Castro gained power in Cuba in 1959, and the democrats (not those democrats, just people who supported Democracy in general) scattered like 17 year olds at a keg party getting raided by the cops. By April 15, 1961, a brigade of Cuban ex-pats (whose training started und
er Eisenhower) was ready for an invasion to take back the motherland. They landed on the Bay of Pigs, got CRUSHED (thanks in large part to the fact that Kennedy wouldn't authorize direct US support, not wanting to literally "poke the (Russian) bear."), and left Kennedy with a HUGE black eye. See, the whole world knew it was us, but (hooray plausible deniability!) couldn't prove it (yet). Che Guevara (you know, the guy on the T-Shirts!) famously sent Kennedy a note stating: "Thanks for Playa Giron (Bay of Pigs). Before the invasion, the revolution was weak, Now it's stronger than ever."(*Thanks, Wikipedia, for the quotiness!) Now you get why Kennedy had such a bug up his but about Cuba...

The Event...(with a picture of the "Cuban Missiles" in question, shot by the U2!)

October 14, 1962...
A U2 spy plane flying over San Cristobal in Western Cuba snaps the photo above, along with PLENTY of others, of Russian SS-4 and SS-5 Medium and Long Range Ballistic Missiles. How did we know to take the pictures? Prepare to be shocked...the FRENCH told us the Cubans were getting the boom-boom phalluses early in 1962. Can you believe that?

October 16...
Kennedy meets with his cabinet to discuss the situation, having seen the photos earlier in the morning (presumably after the skank of the day got booted out of his office in yesterday's dress, reeking of cigarette smoke with a little vomit in her hair...Kennedy liked 'em dirty). The big problem here is that there was NO policy regarding Soviet action in Cuba. American foreign policy makers always thought that if the Russians EVER made a move, it'd be in Berlin (which was the heart of the Cold War from beginning to end, except for these two weeks in October). ANYHOOT, the Joint Chiefs said "Invade." Problem was, we invade Cuba, the Soviets use it as an excuse to invade Berlin, Kennedy gets blamed, not to mention The Day After moving from the "fiction" to "biography" section at the burnt-out husk of the Blockbuster. Robert McNamara (then Secretary of Defense) suggested a blockade. Technically, it was still an act of war, but with approval from the Organization of American States, Kennedy could claim it was legal. Things were getting ugly.

October 18...
The Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Soviet Union tells Kennedy they weren't missiles, it was a land reform project...with missiles...I mean...damn...Look, John D. Rockefeller throwing silver dollars from a zeppelin! (Minister runs out of room, Kennedy goes to get wash-basin to collect silver dollars, gets halfway to the White House shed, realizes he's been duped, and shakes a fist at the heavens).

October 19...
U2 spy plane photos show between 4 and 5 operational missile sites (depending on your source). Kennedy tells the British and other allies of the plans for blockade, etc. and tells them to keep it on the D-L until he can address the nation. Strategic Air Command (SAC) lanches what will become round-the-clock flights of B-52 Stratofortresses armed with nuclear missiles, ready to launch a full first-strike against the Soviet Union should either side flinch...this was high-stakes fo' sho'.

Looking to rust some tin roofs in the USSR, bitches!

October 22...
Kennedy addresses the nation. He states that (and I'm paraphrasing here) any missile launched from Cuba will be seen as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, and will be met with a full retaliatory response. He announces the blockade and places US forces on DEFCON 3, which moved radio communication to classified codes and increased force readiness. 180 US ships are ready to blockade that bitch!

October 23...
Khrushchev calls the blockade illegal and tells his ships to run it.

October 24, 10 A.M....
The blockade officially goes in to effect. When the blockade goes in to effect, there are nineteen Soviet vessels bound for Cuba. 16 turn right back around and head for the Soviet union. The tanker Bucharest continues heading for US lines, while two other ships, the Gagarin and Komiles, were miles from US lines and being escorted by a submarine that was sandwiched between the two. Force was authorized to stop the ships. Less than a half an hour later, all the ships had stopped advancing towards US lines. At this point, Dean Rusk famously quipped, "We're eyeball to eyeball, and I think the other fellow just blinked." This would be the first of a number of NEAR misses over the next few days.

Later in the day, after Khrushchev publicly said that "pirate actions" would not be tolerated. He also sent a private telegram to Kennedy that said in much cooler but no less uncertain terms that the Soviets could not and would not back down. So much for blinking, douchebag...

Propmted by these messages, for the only time in it's history, US Armed Forces were put on DEFCON 2, one step from open armed conflict. By comparison, we only reached DEFCON 3 on September 11th, 2001. This...was...BIG trouble in Little China, with Khrushchev as Lo Pan, The Kennedy Boys as Jack Burton, Adlai Stevenson (...Don't wait for the translation, yes or no, you are in the courtroom of world opinion...) as Gracie Law, and McNamara as Egg Shen.

I'm going to stop here, and let this all set in...I'll be back tomorrow with the thrilling conclusion. Check it out, yo!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

So, Here are a few things...

What happened to needing talent to get ahead in this country? I just watched 20 minutes of a show, my hand to God, called "A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila." If you haven't seen it (and since you're reading this, I'm assuming you haven't), Tila Tequila is a diminutive bisexual who gained huge celebrity by having a myspace page and being a vapid whore. 16 guys (and they are amazing men, captains of industry every one) and 16 lesbians( complaints about that part of it actually) "compete" for a chance to "hit it." That's it. That's your show. Guess what network it's on? MTV. maybe I'm getting to old, but remember when the "M" in "MTV" was for "Music," not "Look! vagina!"

Everyone says that Pete Carroll is the greatest coach in college football these days. He coches USC, which might be the easiest school to recruit for in the country. Not to be a homer, but I think Jimmy T has a much stiffer challenge...Lets look at it objectively...
USC is nestled in kind of a shitty area of LA. Other than that, it is a lovely campus, it's always sunny and 70, and the student body is as attractive as they come.

Ohio State on the other hand, is in the middle of Columbus, Ohio. I love it here, but 70 and sunny it is not. Ohio State happens to have the largest enrollment of any degree-granting institution (that isn't on the internet...I mean, come on, really?) in the United States. The student body?

And yet...
Career records at respective schools...
Carroll at USC...71-13 (45-8)
Tressel at Ohio State...70-14 (42-10)

End of season rankings...
USC (2001-current) NR,4,2,1,2,4,8
OSU (2001-current) NR,1,4,20,4,2,1

Conference Competition...
End of season rankings...(2002-current)
Pac 10 (AP)
2002 (USC Conf. Title)
Washington State (10)

2003 (USC Nat'l Camp. [split, LSU])
Washington State (9)

2004 (USC Nat'l Camp)
California (9)
Arizona State (19)

2005 (USC Conf. Title)
Oregon (12)
UCLA (16)
California (25)

2006 (USC Conf. Title)
California (14)
Oregon State (21)

2007 (through week 8, USC at 8)
Oregon (5)
Arizona State (7)
California (18)

Big 10 (AP)
2002 (Ohio State Nat'l Champ)
Iowa (8)
Michigan (9)
Penn State (16)

Michigan (6)
Iowa (8)
Purdue (18)
Minnesota (20)

Iowa (8)
Michigan (14)
Wisconsin (17)

2005 (Ohio State Conf. Title)
Penn State (3)
Wisconsin (15)

2006 (Ohio State Conf. Title)
Wisconsin (7)
Michigan (8)
Penn State (24)

2007 (Through Week 8, Ohio State 1)
Michigan (19)
Penn State (24)

The only seasons in which the Pac 10 had more teams in the top 25 than the Big 10 were 2005 (USC 2, OSU 4) and this year (USC 8, Ohio State 1). The Pac 10 had 12 teams in the top 25 at year's end during this span, with an average ranking of (13.75). The Big 10 had 17 teams in the top 25 at year's end with an average ranking of (13.18). It's kind of splitting hairs as to who's better, but I think the numbers do a pretty good job of showing it. Tressel has 3 fewer conference wins. That can be accounted for by level of competition. He also has one less win overall. Again, level of competition. I hope this was as enlightening to read as it was to research. I hope to revisit again at the end of the year, sucakfish!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

To 25 in tha piece! Also...O-H!

Here it is, my personal top 25...
1. LSU
2. Cal
3. Ohio State
4. Oregon
5. Boston College
6. USF
7. South Carolina
8. West Virginia
9. Florida
10. Kentucky
11. Missouri
12. Oklahoma
13. Cincinnati
14. Arizona State
15. Illinois
16. Hawaii
17. Kansas
18. Florida State
19. Wisconsin
20. Auburn
21. USC
22. Indiana
23. Purdue
24. Rutgers
25. Texas
My logic...
1. Losses to any of the top three shouldn't hurt much, if at all (Hi Oregon/Florida).
2. Losses at home to teams that suck hurt. A LOT (welcome, USC/Texas).
3. Night games are different. They just are. Losing a night game on the road to a ranked opponent (especially in the top 10) isn't as bad as a loss in a day or afternoon game. It's different under the lights (You're welcome, Purdue/Rutgers).
In other news...
Ohio State is good. VERY good. They've outscored opponents 202-43. If you subtract junk points (which are points scored after the Buckeyes are up by 21 or more) that number drops to 26. 26 REAL points in 6 games. WOW.

Check back Friday for hyperlinks! Leave comments! Hooray!

Cubs = Poopy

Grr. Want to know what being a Cubs fan feels like? It's a little like THIS. And yet we come back, year after year. It is what it is I suppose. I can finally say this with some confidence that it might actually happen..."We'll get 'em next year."
Some telling statistics from the series...
Team batting average
CUBS... .194 (19-98)
DBACKS... .266 (25-94)

CUBS... 1 6
DBACKS... 6 16

TEAM K (hitters)
CUBS... 27
DBACKS... 35 (that's right, D'Backs hitters struck out more...)

CUBS... 54
DBACKS... 50

The Cubs as a team hit .271 for the 2007 season. The D'Backs? .250
Aramis Ramirez is the perfect example. The 2007 season saw him it (.310/26HR/101RBI). He struck out 66 times (13 percent of AB's) and grounded in to 13 Double Plays (3 percent of AB's). This series? He was 0-12 with 5 K (42%) and 2 GIDP (17%). He created 14 outs in 12 AB's. I don't blame him. I think the Cubs, as a team, had a miserable three games at the worst possible time. Should Lou have pulled Zambrano in game 1? With Marmol pitching the way he did all season, you'd've done the same, and anyone who says they wouldn't is a liar.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Stay tuned gang...

I have to work Sunday and Monday, but Tuesday will bring a huge statistical anaysis of the Cubs' meltdown and the weekend that was in college football, including my top 25...Keep it real.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Here we go again...

Ohio State (-7) at Purdue
Purdue throws the ball. A LOT. Which is weird. I don't think Purdue has ever had a team that throws (up) a lot...ANYWAY...
Curtis Painter is a helluva quarterback. He has TD passes to eight different recievers and 18 overall. He is coming off a year (2006, for those of you as good at math as I am) when he threw a gazillion TD's, but 19 interceptions as well (leading all 1A). This year he only has three against football powerhouses such as Toledo (1-4), Eastern Illinois (3-2, 1AA), Central Michigan (2-3), Minnesota (1-4), and Notre Dame (0-5!). Beforetherewas contest: Without cheating, name the 4 teams the above referenced are playing just by the uniforms. Hell, get help, you probably still can't do it...
Ohio State comes fresh off a drubbing of Minnesota, and a week in which no one was arrested for soliciting a(n 80's) prostitute! Hooray!
I think the Buckeyes win this one 33-17. I HATE road games at Purdue. Purdue is THAT team for Sweatervest. Always more trouble than they are worth. Purdue keeps it close for three quarters, then depth on the lines takes over, and Ohio State runs it up in the 4th.
In other news...
Please Jeebus, give me a comeback of biblical proportions. I beg of you. I think the Cubs will take the two in Wrigley.