Wednesday, January 6, 2010
The plucky Kafka led comeback after comeback in an astounding five-interception performance that at times resembled the mythical Shane Falco meltdown from late night basic cable staple The Replacements starring Keanu Reeves, whose fictional Sugar Bowl performance apparently ended up with him living in a houseboat, which in movies is a clear sign of hitting rock bottom since you never see a movie organized around the theme of successful, well-adjusted, clean-shaven people living and prospering in a happy neighborhood of houseboats.
Keanu Reeves in the first two parts of his planned
"Quarterback Trilogy" loosely organized around the themes
of being a former quarterback and Keanu Reeves. On a vaguely
related note, I strongly believe that while people are willing to
accept Keanu Reeves characters named Shane Falco and
Johnny Utah, if Keanu attempted to play a quarterback named
Colt McCoy from Texas back in 1997, Keanu would have entered
the Uncanny Valley of fake quarterback names that are too
ridiculous even for someone willing to pay money for a Keanu
Reeves performance meaning that we are now living in a world
where quarterbacks can legitimately have names that would have
been too over-the-top for Keanu Reeves only ten years ago
The Outback Bowl had everything-- gut-wrenching reversals of fortune, multiple lead changes, crazy offenses, writhing kickers, inexplicable costly penalties, and the fake field goal that everybody knew was coming. If Northwestern was ever going to win a bowl game, it would seem that the most appropriate way would involve some sort of ludicrous comeback. After all, every single NU bowl game this decade has been in the same mold (except for the 2000 Alamo Bowl) including the Debacle in Detroit, the UCLA Onside Fiasco, and the Missouri Why Are You Punting To Maclinstravaganza. And while watching the 'Cats lose in increasingly excruciating ways may put a bit of a damper on a New Year's hangover, it is far better than not making it to bowl games at all.
EXPLORING THE OPTIONS
I was recently thinking about the Age of Exploration and the extent to which explorers' lust for fame, fortune, spices from the orient, and just plain regular lust led them to set off on a death wish of a journey into parts unknown armed only with some swords, crude muskets, and Western disease. And, in the competitive, international, anti-Olympic spirit of conquest and intrigue, where could one go to meet a gloriously horrific end, what country was most likely to kill its explorers, and other such important information germane to an irregularly published college football blog.
The Portuguese were somehow the greatest explorers, expanding remarkably throughout the early modern world in a short-lived burst of relevance. Yet, their explorers did not fare particularly well, with Vasco da Gama dying of malaria in Goa and Magellan losing to the invincible forces of Lapu-Lapu in Cebu. Both explorers are memorialized by logos-- da Gama as part of a Brazilian soccer team entitled Club de Regatas Vasco da Gama and Magellan by the inclusion of a victorious Lapu-Lapu on the official seal of the Philippine National Police.
Lapu-Lapu provides a reminder that exploration and conquest
provides a rare attempt to list getting hacked to pieces by indigenous
groups in a failed attempt to extract armed tribute as a valid
The Spanish-funded explorers fared better. Both Columbus and Cortes died in Spain-- the fact that Cortes survived despite making war upon the entire Aztec Empire and was able to return to Spain twice and even take a shot at the Ottomans for good measure is fairly remarkable. After his death, his remains were even more mobile, moved at the whims of Dukes who needed space, lackadaisical enforcement of his last wished in his will, and attempts to avoid desecration in the heady aftermath of Mexican independence.
Being an English explorer, however, seemed to invite the most trouble. Henry Hudson found himself on the business end of a mutiny-- although some suspect that the crew dispatched of their captain, they claim that they merely abandoned Hudson, his son, and his loyal lieutenants in a boat in uncharted and foreboding waters with every chance of not dying from hunger, thirst, scurvy, or attack by some sort of comical Bay Monster that seems like something that early modern sailors might believe in. Sir Walter Raleigh, the warrior/poet/explorer/ruffle enthusiast did not even get the pleasure of being hacked to pieces by a warrior in his search for El Dorado or killed by a crazed Roanoke survivor that had latched onto the back of his boat like a sort of Elizabethan Cape Feare (I'm adding the extra e for an authentic Shakespeare touch) but instead got beheaded by the order of James I for a complex web of reasons involving everybody hating Sir Walter Raleigh by the seventeenth century. And Drake had dysentery.
An official explorer death map indicating (from left to right)
1 Hernando de Soto: died of a fever, putting a minor wrinkle in his plan to convince
Native Americans that he was an immortal god
2 Hudson and the Mutiny
3 Cortes and a dysentery related death
4 Raleigh's beheading
5 Da Gama's malaria
6 Magellan's encounter with Lapu-Lapu
PULLING THE FOOTBALL
Northwestern's basketball team has also struggled in Big Ten play, losing in overtime (why not) to Illinois and struggling against a tough Michigan State Team at home. Hopefully, they can pull together against UT-Pan-American and gain some momentum for the rest of the Big Ten season and avoid mutineers, dysentery, and the N.I.T.