Bits for Vanity

There are two types of people in this world: people who occasionally Google themselves, and damn liars. Last night I felt that self-congratulatory urge.

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Wait, Myspace is still around?

I’ve been on the Internet for some time. It’ll be 20 years in October as a matter of fact. As a result there’s a lot miscellaneous electronic flotsam related to me. For example, a Google search might lead you to incorrectly assume I’m still an insurance agent or even running for Governor of Idaho. Sadly, neither has been the case for years. You might also notice I edited a book many moons ago. That remains true.

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Pictured: Hardcore writer’s narcissism.

I admit I have an easier time finding information about myself on Google than some. “Lane Startin” is a fairly distinctive name, much more so than, say, a “John Smith” or a “Jennifer Jones.” That means I can reasonably assume anything that turns up is about me.

Which makes results such as this all the more perplexing:

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Flabbergasting.

I suppose when and if this blog becomes an integral part of society they’ll let me have a Wikipedia article again. But knowing Wikipedia as I do, probably not.

More Facebook Crap

Hey! Did you know SB’s staff cats Djoser and Sneferu have Facebook pages now? Click on their names to “like” them. They’ll be eternally grateful, I think ….

Oh yeah, I have a Facebook page to “like” as well. Also, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!

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Treatise on a Boring Saturday

The worst enemies of a blog like this are boredom and mediocrity. Unfortunately, today is rife with both. A day to drink water, get a headache and contemplate the depressing silence enveloping you. It’s bland, blasé. Dare I say stagnant?

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Yes, comrades. I dare.

Although it’s sunny out, it’s one of those windy days you’d just as soon not be a part of. You know it’s cold. You don’t have to go outside or look at the weather. Crispness is seen in the air by those in the know. That in turn keeps you inside … where absolutely shit bloody nothing is happening.

It’s that time of year in the 2T. Especially during March and April, southern Idaho has a hard time remembering what the hell season it is. One day it’s an idyllic spring wonderland. The next, your internal barometer wonders if the Idaho State Bengals lost their football game yet, or if the ass-whipping this week has an evening kickoff. Many other places experience this phenomenon, but it’s here where I grew up and therefore here I write about.

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It used to be worse.

Back in the 80s a day like this was made to watch golf, mainly because nothing else was on. Also because to this day that’s pretty much all Dad watches on the weekends. Yes, even now I can hear the announcer’s forebodingly soothing intonations as Craig Stadler‘s ball finds the water hazard on 16. “Deep into a watery grave.” So much for his chances at that year’s Bob Hope Desert Classic.

After the United Airlines golf sign-off the day invariably degenerated further into the likes of a bad TV movie or worse, The Love Boat followed by Fantasy Island. There are very few specific memories from these ordeals. It’s all a blur of Charo, polyester and toothpaste commercials.

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“Abandon all hope, ye who sail with Gopher.”

Later on I’d try to break the monotony with bike trips to the neighborhood Circle K and/or 7-11. But Big Gulps only go so far in terms of entertainment value. Barring something unexpectedly cool such as a hailstorm, the day would lethargically and mercifully.

Sunday might be a better day, but after Saturdays like this the odds were never good.

March Blandness

March Madness is all over the news, so I might as well give it a mention. Inspiration is definitely in short supply today.

I’ve never been much of a basketball fan, so every year when the NCAA basketball tournaments come around I give them little more than passing notice. When the subject comes up thoughts invariably turn to Idaho State’s upset win over UCLA to make the Elite Eight.

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And that was way the hell back in 1977.
Image credit: thedraftreview.com

Although I’m not the prototypical American sports fan by any stretch of the imagination, I follow college football much more closely. Even then, my tendency is to check the scores online rather than watch the games. I know how they’re played, so except for the occasional big play they hold little interest for me. If I want to watch the big play later, it’s easy to find.

My sport of choice used to be hockey. I was a fan of the old Quebec Nordiques and to this day host a web site about the team. Many years ago I held press passes to report on Idaho Steelheads and Philadelphia Phantoms games for a long-dead minor league hockey news site. I haven’t been to a hockey game since I lived in Las Vegas. That was nearly eight years ago.

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I haven’t looked at the Nordiques site in some time. It needs some work.

Based on the premise that the person least knowledgeable about college basketball is the one who wins the office pool, I was going to fill out a bracket and post it here. However, I didn’t get around to doing it. Since the tournament is half-over there’s no point in doing it now. Maybe next year.

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Florida Gulf Coast. Really? Well, gotta go with them now.

A closing thought for today. Apparently “March Madness” is also a term to describe the height of the annual European hare mating season.

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Which would have undoubtedly made for a much better article today. Oh well.
Image credit: Takkk

Friday Crap Roundup VI

I almost didn’t make the deadline today. Yet here I am for the 41st time. Maybe a slow weekend will get me back in rhythm. That said, it’s time for the Friday Crap Roundup! Um, yay?

Respect At Last

I’ve mentioned a couple times Idaho State University is my alma mater. What I haven’t mentioned is how utterly dreadful most of their sports teams are. Case in point, the football team hasn’t won a road conference game since 2006.

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And being constantly confused with these guys doesn’t help.

So it’s good to see Idaho State finally won a national championship in something this week. What is that something, you ask? Well, we have a national champion mascot in Benny Bengal. He won the 2013 U.S. College Championship Mascot Division in Anaheim this week. It’s always good to win something.

Benny Bengal

And when you’re an Idaho State alumnus, you take what you can get.
Image credit: ISU

He’s All Right

As I’m sure many of you do, I occasionally post memes and other images on Facebook I find amusing. This little gem produced a lot of buzz on my page this week. Absolutely freakin’ brilliant.

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Kenny Loggins is actually alive and well. Jesus didn’t look like him anyway.

History With a Dope Beat

Speaking of brilliant, I love the Epic Rap Battles of History series on YouTube. These guys are not only pretty accurate with their history, they’re also good musicians. Hell, they even got Snoop Dogg to do a cameo. Or is it Snoop Lion now? It’s so hard to keep up with these things.

This one is pretty tame by their standards. Many of the others are NSFW.

Track of the Week

Churning out this stuff every day has been particularly difficult recently. Nevertheless, I just gotta …

… Whip it good!

History Wednesday: The Central American Footy Fracas

If you live in the United States, you know football is a big, big deal to a lot of people. For some it’s a matter of civic pride. For others, a favorite player. Or perhaps just because it’s a tradition. However no matter how partial fans may be towards their teams, you’ll never see an NFL game devolve into a regional shooting war. American football fans are more civilized than that.

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Although I sometimes wonder about Steelers fans.
Image credit: Steelcityhobbies

The rest of the world is another matter. Their football rivalries – what we silly Americans know as “soccer” – are on another level entirely. If you don’t believe me, wear an Argentine kit in a rough São Paulo neighborhood. If you’re actually foolhardy enough to do this, have your next of kin let me know how it turned out.

With that in mind, today History Wednesday travels back to July 1969. During that month the moon landing was staged at a location near Worland, Wyoming. Also, El Salvador and Honduras fought a brief war against each other, ostensibly over a soccer match. One of these ridiculous statements is actually true.

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And that’s the last time I listen to Alex Jones.

In 1969 neither Honduras nor El Salvador were particularly pleasant places to live for the average person. Both countries were run by right-wing military governments. El Salvador was horribly overcrowded, prompting many to emigrate to neighboring Honduras. However, much of Honduras was owned by a relatively small number of landowners and corporations, notably the United Fruit Company. The Honduran leader, Gen. Oswaldo Lopez Arellano, was both very cozy with United Fruit and decidedly anti-Salvadorian. Together they did their best to push the Salvadorian refugees out of Honduras.

None of this was new. These issues had plagued both countries for most of the 20th Century. Needless to say they weren’t on the best of terms to begin with. In many ways corporate interests supplying America with sweet, sweet tropical fruit were making a bad situation worse.

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Hence the term “banana republic.” Remember that next time you wear those capris.
Image credit: Ed Yourdon

And so with this backdrop Honduras and El Salvador met in the best-of-three semifinal round of the tournament to represent CONCACAF in the 1970 World Cup. The home team won the first two matches in Tegucigalpa and San Salvador respectively. Both games were followed by significant fan-on-fan violence which only served to bring the two nations closer to war. On 26 June 1969, the rubber match was played on neutral turf in Mexico City. El Salvador won in extra time and moved on to the final, which it would later win.

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Haiti clobbered the United States in the other semifinal. Seriously.

The same day El Salvador eliminated Honduras from World Cup contention, citing Tegucigalpa’s treatment of Salvadoran refugees it severed diplomatic relations with its neighbor.

Taking his nation’s win over its hated rival a bit too far, on 14 July 1969 Salvadorian President Gen. Fidel Sanchez Hernandez decided bitches needed to go down. Despite being hilariously ramshackle, comprised mainly of World War II-era Corsairs, P-51 Mustangs and passenger aircraft hastily converted into bombers, that afternoon the Salvadoran Air Force caught the Hondurans by surprise, bombing the Tegucigalpa airport. However El Salvador failed to neutralize the similarly equipped but much larger Honduran Air Force, so Honduras responded by bombing several targets in El Salvador, including the San Salvador airport.

Salvadorian ground troops fared much better. Within hours they captured several western Honduran towns, including the departmental capital of Nueva Ocotepeque. Salvadorian newspapers soon boasted they were within striking distance of Tegucigalpa itself.

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And they looked damn smooth doing it.

Fearing an invasion of Tegucigalpa, the Honduran government petitioned the Organization of American States to intervene in the matter. With both running low on ammunition, the two sides quickly agreed to a cease-fire, but Salvadorian troops remained in Honduras until early August.

The war’s outcome was inconclusive at best. While El Salvador was the clear winner on the ground, Honduras won the air battle. However, the fallout of the war contributed to continued political instability in Honduras and a brutal civil war which engulfed El Salvador in the 1980s. The border dispute inflamed by the war wasn’t entirely settled until 1992. Today both countries have normalized relations with each other and are relatively stable, although Honduras was the victim of a military coup d’etat as recently as 2009.

Remember this next time your team loses an overtime heartbreaker. It could be worse, a lot worse.