The Eclectic

Time moves in one direction, memory in another. – William Gibson

Archive for January, 2009

The joys of being a Southeastern Conference Fan

Posted by David Leslie on January 14, 2009

So I’m volunteering at my son’s school for COSI on Wheels. I’m rockin the colors with my Nike Alabama coaches’ polo working the bugs and microscope table when I see a 4th grader come in with a Gator shirt on. Now if you’re an SEC fan, you know what’s coming but for those of you who are not, here’s what happened.

During the COSI guy’s intro to the stations, the kid is eyeing me. As soon as they get the OK to go to the stations, the kid all but runs my table popping the shirt’s Gator logo, flashing the #1 sign as he heads over but drew short of giving me the Gator chomp. He musta forgot.

See SEC fans make it a point to remind each other who’s got scoreboard regardless of age. I had a 4th grade hit me which smack but I rolled with it.

Besides I know the line having lived in Gainsville for 2 years “If you ain’t a Gator, you’re Gator bait!”

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Rice and Henderson to the Hall of Fame

Posted by David Leslie on January 12, 2009

Rickey Henderson is a 5 tool freak of a player. Take this example among many as what Rickey could do from the 1989 playoffs rebroadcasted on MLB Network (my new wake up channel).

Game tied, Rickey draws a walk. Carney Lansford to the plate. Rickey steals second base and then third. Infield now in to try and keep Rickey on third if Carney hits a ground ball. Lansford hits a line drive that would have been caught by the shortstop at his normal depth to drive in Rickey. So with just a walk, Rickey was able to change the game in just one at bat.

Then there was the night I saw him go from home to third on a passed ball third strike. You want to talk pain. That was pain. Pitcher was on the bump just stunned how he when from striking Rickey out to Rickey on third base due to a pass ball and a throwing error trying to chase him.

Last, you’ve gotta love how Rickey inspired a new generation of great players like the Phillies’s Jimmy J-Roll Rollins

BTW: Who are the 28 morons writers who didn’t vote Rickey on the first ballot?

Jim Rice had to replaced a Red Sox hero and Hall of Famer. While the city never let him forget who’s came before him, Jim became himself a Hall of Famer. Only question here was why did it take so long?

This also starts the new debate. Since Jim Rice is in the Hall, who is the best eligible player still waiting for the call?

My take is still for Buck O’Neil.

Posted in The Locker Room | 1 Comment »

Thoughts on this bowl season

Posted by David Leslie on January 8, 2009

As a Bama fan, losing to Utah in the Sugar Bowl was tough. It was a no win for the Tide. You’re expected to win and if you lose, no matter how, you choked. But living in Columbus Ohio, I have to put up with Buckeye fan so I have to follow them via osmosis.

Yet losing as the Buckeye’s did because of a busted coverage with less than 30 seconds to go has got to hurt more than losing as Bama did.

With Bama’s loss, about all you can do tip the hat to the Utes and say ‘Dang it!” under your breath. You came in, got thumped early, fought back but fell way short as they thump you again for good measure. Nothing is really changes this. There isn’t that one play that shifted the game. It time to pull the cleat they shoved up ya hind end out and start getting ready for next season.

With OSU’s loss, it’s coulda, shoulda, woulda hell time. Winning with less than 30 sec to play; Then it comes undone, the spot (face it, he made the progress) then that slant and poof you just lost. Now you’re looking at every play wondering if this had happened or that had happened, would the outcome been different.

At least me and my fellow Tide fans had a whole quarter to let the lost sink in with the welcoming arms of the Big Easy and a long weekend to comfort our pain. Buckeye fan had 10 seconds and a late night plane ride to go back to work.

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Book Review: How to Break a Terrorist

Posted by David Leslie on January 7, 2009

4 out of 5 stars

What worked:

  • Great examples of how interrogation approaches work
  • Quick read
  • Gets you involved in the fate of the subjects
  • the Randy-isms

What didn’t work:

  • Too short
  • Only discussed the hunt for al-Zaraqwi from the point of view of his unit

2 years ago I was having breakfast with some friends of my uncle’s before a Christmas tree hunt. On the TV a story popped on discussing waterboarding and its use in interrogations. One of the fellas at the table popped off that waterboarding isn’t torture and was the best way to “get them to talk”.

When I tried to interject that waterboarding was great for scaring the crap out of someone but it does little to get real information, I got what I call the “Jack Bauer argument”. You know, <play some really tense music please and read this with a gravely voice of Don LaFontaine> you have a bomber in custody who knows where a nuclear bomb is planted. There is only one way to get him to talk before it is too late <end with a close up of Jack who has the GUTS to do what must be done>.

How to break a Terrorist by Matthew Alexander with John R. Bruning details Alexander’s role in using the ‘new school’ of interrogations techniques based on rapport, respect of culture and approaches that play on the subject’s hope that proved invaluable in the hunt for al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

The book is a quick read (finished in about 2 nights) and discusses in very understandable prose how these techniques and approaches arose from ones used in criminal investigations and car sales (ever have a sales person go ‘get their boss’ before you leave? This is an approach), how rapport is built using doppelgangers regardless of what the subject has done, and the frustrations with those who still believe that harsh interrogations are the way to go.

It also talks about the dilemma faced when you have built rapport with the subject and have offered them hope as a way to get them to cooperate but know that in reality the subject’s crimes has sealed their fate.

Yet even with this book detailing how more information was pulled out of a subject in 6 hours using the new techniques than was extracted in a month of the old techniques of fear and control, you still get the believers of the Jack Bauer arguments like Sean Hannity shooting their mouth’s off in this interview with Alexander. If it wasn’t for Ollie North blabbering about al Zarqawi at the opening of the interview, I would have loved to seen Alexander look at Hannity and say “I broke a senior Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader in the 6 hours using rapport! You still thing torturing someone who is expecting it is going to get information faster than that?” when Hannity cut him off for time at the end.

Sad that a comedy show did a better interview with him than a news show.

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