Friday, November 11, 2011

Husked Corn and Other Staple Crops

Northwestern beat Nebraska. Northwestern beat Nebraska. Northwestern went into Lincoln, Nebraska, beat the #10 team in the country, and has begun an inexorable march to a Pizza City bowl to wreak havoc against another middling team that has also slunk into the postseason, and there's nothing you can do about it.

Pat Fitzgerald can smile again after a rough stretch for his Wildcat football squad

The Northwestern offense once again rallied around jack-of-all-trades Kain Colter after Dan Persa's injury in the second quarter. Colter hit Jeremy Ebert on an 81 yard pass and led the 'Cats on a game-clinching seven minute drive against Nebraska's fearsome "Blackshirt" defense that got its name from Husker football coach Bob Devaney's hatred of former Italian Prime Minister Luigi Facta.

Luigi Facta is best known for stepping down during Mussolini's March on Rome in
1922. He initially gained power for a perceived positive attitude due to his perennially
smiling mustache, among the most spectacular of Europe's interwar mustaches. I
found the logo on the right on Nebraska's official page and not an ill-fated Nebraska
video game for the Atari Jaguar where the Husker defenders were forced to prove they
were bad enough dudes to rescue the president

More importantly, Northwestern's defense played its best game of the season. Though they allowed a career day in the air for Husker QB Tyler Martinez, they kept the Nebraska running game in check, even though they have a running back named "Rex Burkhead," a running back name that would only be topped by something like Truck Shoveler. The Wildcat defense stopped Martinez, Wrench Lunchhandler, and the Husker offensive line repeatedly and caused two key fumbles as the Nebraska coaches stubbornly stuck to the their run game against a stout Northwestern front that I now know would make these Wildcats unstoppable in 1904.


Northwestern must hold steady as Rice comes to Evanston to avenge last years 30-13 loss in Houston. Though Rice has had a tough year at 3-6 and sports one of the most porous defenses in college football, Northwestern fans know first-hand the danger of taking an opponent for granted. A home loss to Rice after last week's monumental victory in Lincoln would be a profound reversal of fortune that could end Northwestern's bowl hopes.

Rice is itself coming off a momentum-swinging victory over Conference USA foes UTEP. Rice quarterback Nick Fanuzzi came off the bench to lead the Owls with 405 yards passing and three touchdowns, as noted in this article from the Rice Thresher student newspaper that is now making me mildly disappointed that their football team is not also named The Threshers with a correspondingly violent Texas football hand gesture. The Owls have also managed a Big Ten upset this season as they defeated Purdue and helped move the Danny Hope regime to "embattled" status.

Purdue Coach Danny Hope has become more haggard with every

Dan Persa will return as quarterback for the Wildcats after suffering a shoulder injury that forced him out of the Nebraska game. Persa will add that to his growing list of ailments that he has shrugged off like a nineteenth century strongman who plays through injury because science has yet to diagnose them properly, for example shrugging off a hernia induced by excess triangular weight lifting as a bowel malady cured only by snorting lizard powders and applying electrodes to his person.


Rice Stadium was the famous venue of President Kennedy's 1960 Moon Mission Speech, where he likened space travel to the difficult feats of climbing the highest mountain, flying across the Atlantic, and attempting to defeat the University of Texas at football. Northwestern has unfortunately as far as I'm aware been the site for any presidential moon grandstanding.

Kennedy returned to Rice a year later for his lesser
known follow-up speech entitled "I Hate the Moon,"
where Kennedy got tough on the moon, characterizing
its alteration of American tides as suspiciously
communist in nature, casting suspicion upon the 1961
lunar eclipse, and earning a rousing ovation for claiming
that "if the man in the moon were to come into this
stadium right now, I would punch him his smug lunar

Kennedy wanted to send astronauts to the moon as quickly as possible, but space travel created complicated legal issues over moon sovereignty. In 1967, United States, United Kingdom, and Soviet Union signed the Outer Space Treaty to regulate acceptable uses for outer space. The Treaty banned launching nuclear missiles from space or storing them on the moon or other celestial bodies. It also banned setting up lunar military installations. The Treaty's provisions unfortunately served as a direct provocation for Bond villains who spent the remainder of the century constructing moon bases and threatening the Earth with all manner of space-borne attacks such as missiles, weather disruptions, and, in up to 65% of Bond movies, some sort of space laser.

The Treaty was in part a reaction to American meddling in space for defense purposes. The 1967 West Ford project launched 480 million cooper diodes into orbit in order to construct an artificial ionosphere in order to facilitate global radio communications. The project was created as an alternative to conventional cable or radio communications that the government feared were vulnerable to Soviet disruption. British and Soviet scientists protested, with Pravda chipping in with a headline reading "USA Dirties Space." The project inspired a clause in the treaty to provide for international consultation to alert other nations to space experiments. Satellite technology quickly rendered the West Ford project obsolete, although remnant diodes remain in orbit.

A 1979 Moon Treaty attempted to subject space and all celestial bodies to international control. The treaty banned exploration of celestial bodies without notifying other nations or consulting the UN Secretary General and forbid claiming sovereignty over other planets, moons, and the like. This treaty has been approved by Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, and Uruguay, none of which have managed to successfully put a person in position to either peacefully explore the heavens or exploit space for nefarious means or tell other to stay the hell away from Ganymede.

An important array of laws governing the use of outer space exist
specifically to prevent this from happening


Last Friday, the Northwestern football season appeared over. Now, the Wildcats have renewed hope. A victory over Rice and either Minnesota or Michigan State will make Northwestern eligible for spectacularly awful bowl game/tractor expo and I can't possibly be more excited. Of course, at 6-6, Northwestern can go to a bowl only if other conferences cannot fill their allotments or the teams bow out of the bowl from shame or some sort of ridiculous NCAA infraction such as punishing players for high-fiving too vigorously for the NCAA's liking. Winning out will guarantee a bowl berth in some god-forsaken wind-swept land. Northwestern fans like the team's chances more against Rice and Minnesota, although the Gophers have been dangerously scrappy lately. Michigan State remains the toughest game on the schedule, though one can never underestimate the Spartans' predilection for unexpected localized ineptitude.

After being mired in the doom and gloom of a losing season, Northwestern has hope again. And if we can play a basketball game on an aircraft carrier, why can't Northwestern play a shitty bowl game on the moon? We do these things not because they're easy, but because they're hard.

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