Happy New Year

I have not been blogging much in the last week or so, as I have been occupied with the Holidays, all the Bowl games, and prepping for next semester, but I did want to take a moment ant wish everyone a very happy New Year.

A couple of quick New Year’s Eve notes:

1.) Tomorrow at 12:30 is the biggest bowl game of the year for me, with my beloved West Virginia University Mountaineers taking on the University of Maryland in the Gator Bowl. Wvu started out weak this season, then almost beat Miami, and then won seven i a row, including one of the largest upsets in history when we THROTTLED Virginia Tech. Both teams are solid, and it should be a great game. Root for the Mountaineers if you watch, of course.

2.) Matt Stinson, who has one of the best blogs and also one of the most under-rated blogs in the blogosphere, is looking at a serious change of lifestyle in the New Year:

I’ve been coy about this for the last month or so, but if all goes as planned, sometime in February I’ll be living and working in a major city in the People’s Republic of China…

Like my friend, I’d be teaching English to Chinese college students. I’ve had experience tutoring ESL students before, but this would be the first time for me to deal with them as a group. You don’t teach in China to make money, however, and my primary goal will be to develop Chinese language proficiency and better familiarize myself with Chinese culture and politics. While I haven’t had time as a grad student to study Chinese — FSU’s political science program, unlike, say, Indiana University’s, promotes strong methods and general skills rather than area specialization — I was one of FSU’s top Chinese language students as an undergrad. (Thus begins and ends me tooting my own horn.)

At any rate, like all worthwhile endeavors, this is going to cost a great deal of money for him to get over there and get established. If you have any spare cash and wish to donate it to a worthy cause, hop on over to Matt’s site and donate so he can go fulfill this dream. If you had ever thought about giving a dollar to this site- forget about it- go give that dollar and anything else you can spare to Matt so he can do something really worthwhile.

3.) January 2nd, 2004, will mark the second anniversary of Balloon Juice. This last year has been an especially fulfilling year for me as a blogger, and I appreciate the fact that so many of you visit this site, link to this site, and I really enjoy the thoughtful comments left by most people. When I started this, I did not know how long it would last, but I see no end in sight- I really enjoy blogging and the exchanges from all the different people I have run into online since I started this site. Through this site and through ICQ and AOL IM, I have met a great number of really interesting people, and for that I am truly grateful.

With that- go pop some champagne and have a Happy New Year, and I am really looking forward to another great year. And remember- the best cure for a hangover is two aspirin and a bottle of Pedialyte.

Not Dead…

I am not dead… Just unmotivated. Too much college football.

Blame Canada!

I expect the Luddites and anti-free-traders will seize on this info:

Investigators tentatively traced the first U.S. cow with mad cow disease to Canada, which could help determine the scope of the outbreak and might even limit the economic damage to the American beef industry.

Dr. Ron DeHaven, the Agriculture Department’s chief veterinarian, said on Saturday that Canadian officials provided records indicating the sick Holstein was in a herd of 74 cattle shipped from Alberta, Canada, into this country in August 2001 at Eastport, Idaho.

“These animals were all dairy cattle and entered the U.S. only about two or two-and-a-half years ago, so most of them are still likely alive,” DeHaven said.

It will also make the asshole Democratic candidates look rather foolish, as they really did try to blame the economic impact of this lone cow with “Mad Cow Disease” on Bush:

The former governor, whose state has a large dairy cow population, said the Bush administration failed to aggressively set up a tracking system that would allow the government to quickly track the origins of the sick cow, quarantine other animals it came in contact with and assure the marketplace the rest of the meat supply is safe.

“What we need in this country is instant traceability,” he said.

Dean said such a system should have been set up quickly after the mad cow scare that devastated the British beef industry in the mid- to late-1990s. The Bush administration was still devising its plan when the sick cow was slaughtered Dec. 9, and on Friday the government still hadn’t determine the infected animal’s origins.

“This just shows the complete lack of foresight by the Bush administration once again,” Dean said. “This is something that easily could be predicted and was predicted.”

Which is why the standards and procedures in place today that made sure that no bad beef went to the market, no one became ill from bad beef, and that insured that only one cow was infected- this was predictable. It really is like Tourette’s: B-B-B-Bush Sucks! B-B-Bush Bad!

I guess since Dean is already calling for a bailout of big beef, we know where he would stand on the farm bill and the airline bail-out.

Absence of Alarmism

Is it just me, or has the American public reacted pretty admirably despite the glaring “Mad Cow” headlines in the papers and on the news? I have yet to see signs of a full fledge hysteria, much to the media’s dismay.


This sort of thing has got to give his staff headaches. Dean then:

Some Dean supporters privately say Dean’s admonition for southerners to stop voting based on “guns, gays, God and school prayer” is offensive to many voters.

“Coming to the South during the church hour on a Sunday morning to tell southerners what they should believe is not the way to reach out to southern Democratic voters,” Edwards said.

Dean now:

Presidential contender Howard B. Dean, who has said little about religion while campaigning except to emphasize the separation of church and state, described himself in an interview with the Globe as a committed believer in Jesus Christ and said he expects to increasingly include references to Jesus and God in his speeches as he stumps in the South.

I hope my prediction about him winning the nomination is right.

Christmas Wrap-Up

Christmas was fine, despite having the flu. I never got rid of that cough from about a month ago, and it just got worse and worse until I finally had a full-on cold. Really quite annoying. I shuffled arounf my parent’s house feeling miserable, while my father chased me with a lysol bottle yelling at me not to touch anything.

Christmas loot: Really nice set of samsonite luggage, a bunch of assorted jellies and mustards from Canada, LOTR Extended DVD’s for Fellowship and TT, a bunch of Steelers paraphrenalia, and other stuff. Best gift that I had no idea about: a copy of Terror in the Mind of God.

Earthquake in Iran

The news seems to get worse and worse by the minute in Iran. Up to 20,000 dead? Unimagineable, although it is hard to see how anyone could have survived this:


Just tragic. I also must admit that every time I hear a news report pointing out that the earthquake was a 6.7 on the Richter Scale, I find myself singing Beastie Boys lyrics for the next ten minutes.