Win Future? Get cutting…

Let’s be honest, if you’re engaged enough to have looked at the deficit commission’s report a few months back, it made you a little uncomfortable.  You saw stuff on the chopping block that directly affects you in one way or another.  But that’s how we win the future…  By ensuring our kids and grandkids actually have some hope and not a mountain of government-induced debt.

If you listened to the state of the union address, you no doubt heard an uplifting speech by the President with many references to investing in people and programs.  Of course the Republicans quickly countered by labeling this as dem-speak for more spending.  Who has the right of it?  Well, you could look at recent history as an indicator…  And then folks like newly-elected Senator Rand Paul chime in, suggesting major cuts to a lot of programs that don’t meet with his particular social viewpoint (the NEA, Public Broadcasting, etc.).  Not all that helpful either, Senator. Continue reading

Vacation Planner

Nothing like a couple of weeks of sub-freezing weather and snow to put a vacation in mind.  Some place warm and pleasant…  Some place with all-ages family entertainment…  A location with decent weather of the warmer variety… And  we have such a place in mind, have even designated our timeframe.  Of course by then the weather should be considerably better around here, and who knows how high the gas prices may climb.

Therein lies the danger.  When you have young kids and vacation time rolls around, you want to maximize the fun factor and get the most out of your hard-earned money.  Your inner-Clark Griswold rises to the fore, and you have to fight the urge to plan every last detail within the frame of your own personal definition of vacation fun.  You have to think about the others.  You have to remember:  it’s supposed to be fun!  You have to try and avoid worrying too much about the expense – because what’s the fun in that?  You can’t feel guilty about taking a vacation in these troubled economic times.  Hey, you’re feeding the economy and you’ve certainly earned it…

Most importantly, you have to fight your instinctive urges to couch the journey in the trappinsg of a wagon train or cattle drive or sea expedition and avoid that ‘onward or else!’ mentality.

Ahh,  vacations…

Cali Camp and the year to come

U.S. Soccer’s annual SoCal Training Camp is well under way, ushering in the year.  2011 will lack the drama and draw of last year for the team (naturally), but it still has several themes and events worth following for fans.  The Training Camp, which always includes MLS and Scandanavian-based players on break from their leagues (and therefore not all the A-team), sets the tone with a number of youthful call-ups.  Saturday’s (Jan. 22) friendly against Chile is the culmination of this camp, giving some young and otherwise unknown players their shot.

Coach Bob Bradley brought in a youngish group, with many of the call-ups eligible for next year’s London Olympics.  Some of these guys, we’ve barely heard of – especially those with dual-citizenship (like Ukrainian-American and Russian-based Eugene Starikov) or guys who skipped MLS after school with little fanfare.  The objective here is not only Olympic qualification, but getting a chance to evaluate the depth chart before the next cycle of World Cup qualification begins.  See for yourself…

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Fresh off another disappointing loss, this time to a Penn State team that’s been troublesome in recent years, my brother AKA the Rube checks in with a short missive about expectations here in Illini Country.  Some good points to be made here.  A couple of points about last night’s game:  you don’t deserve ti win when you sleepwalk through the first 15 minutes of the game, and you just don’t win when four of your five players are clinched up and frightened in the last five minutes of the game…


So….The Rube along with several other like-minded Illini fans have been more than a bit disappointed by this year’s hoops team.  There are the obvious problems, like losing to Misery and ……gulp…..UIC….However, The Rube among other famous prognosticators saw this coming dating back to the game vs. Oakland and it continued vs. Northern Colorado.  The team looked lethargic, slow and lacked the usually desired attitude to win at rock, paper, scissors, much less Division 1 basketball.

So how about a little investigatory work/review into our Sr. laden starting group.  It was decided that this should be done without the Orange and Blue sunglasses.  This year’s ballclub (in my best Lou Henson voice), had some fairly lofty expectations put upon them at the onset of the season.  Right or wrong most expected this team to be in the top division of the Big Ten and to make the NCAA tourney maybe even get past the first week-end of the tourney!  Here’s where The Rube thinks the rubber meets the road.  The Expectations!?!?!?  Are they too high for this group?  Below is an exhaustive search of what The Rube could find about our Sr.’s on this year’s collective.  You can of course draw your own conclusions at the end of this, but The Rube’s is right so……

Demetri McCamey:  Coming out of High School was a tough, strong PG from Chicago.  He needed to improve his outside jumper, defense and shooting off the dribble.  He was a 4 star recruit and ranked as the #10 PG in his class that year.  Other than Illinois he had offers reported from, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Michigan, Boston College, Depaul, Virginia, Miami (FL) and Wake Forest.  He was the only PG we offered that year.  Other PG’s in DMac’s general vacinity were Kalin Lucas #5 MSU, Chris Wright #9 Georgetown, Jamelle McMillan #15 Arizona State.  Of course everyone knows about OJ Mayo and Derrick Rose. Continue reading

Books: The Wilding

…by Benjamin Percy.  In The Wilding, three generations of males enter a disappearing Oregon wilderness for one last outdoor weekend.  Echo Canyon, where Justin Cave and his father Paul have been hunting for many years, is about to be acquired and developed by encroaching suburbanites, so they want to bring young Graham along to see the place and to blood him into the manly ways of hunting and camping.  Of course the Caves have their issues.  Justin and Paul have been at odds over the elder’s domineering redneck simplicity for years, and Graham, a sixth-grader with early designs on writing computer software, is in dire need of some general wildness.  Yes, their male bonds are about to be tested, old wounds will be revisited.  Also, there’s a grizzly in the canyon.  A big one.

And so we have the canvas for Ben Percy’s debut novel.  Witness the dualities of nature and civilization, man and beast, known and unknowable.  It’s the kind of book that explores our evolving view of what was once the wilderness in precise, often stunning language.  The author’s talent for turning a phrase or metaphor and his obvious knowledge of the setting make for some first-rate reading. Continue reading

2010 Faves

2010 is over and the year-end retrospectives are thick on the interwebs.  Not to miss out, Beemsville presents some favorites of the year in no particular order.

Fave Book: House of Chains by Steven Erikson.  This is the 4th book in the Malazan series and certainly worthy of the epic descriptor.  HofC features Karsa Orlong, one of the most formidable and memorable characters in years.  Favorite book actually published in 2010 would be Ben Percy’s, The Wilding.

Political Faves: The pivot towards addressing the nation’s spiraling debt – whether brought about by noisy outsiders and an angry mid-term election, the continuing trouble economy, failed policies – is our favorite.  It’s past time the debt-spending ratios were front-and-center in Washington.  Least favorite in politics:  the fact that the entire Blagojevich fiasco seems to have had no discernible effect on the Illinois political landscape.

Fave Sports Moment: Could there be any doubt?  This is up there on the all-time list.

Least favorite would also be soccer and World Cup themed:  with FIFA awarding the 2022 tournament to Qatar over the U.S. Continue reading