It's the first Random Ten+5 of the new year, and ordinarily this'd be the time I bang out another set of New Year's resolutions for your readerly delectation. But you know what? I don't answer to you people, except in only the most vague and philosophical sense, and I don't need to go changin' to please any of you. Go hound some other poor bastard, you vultures. (Well, OK, I'll give you one resolution of mine: to be less confrontational. It's working great so far!)
Instead, I've got some advice for a few other people, because quite frankly, some of y'all out there could use it. Hence, this first +5 of '09 is Five New Year's Resolutions I Came Up With For Other People:
America's motorists: We resolve to use acceleration ramps/lanes properly
This problem seemed to be worse when I was living in Virginia -- actually, now that I think about it, most of the things I bitch about other motorists doing were more pronounced in Virginia than anyplace else I've ever lived. The central part of the state must just be bursting with terrible drivers. But anyway, people, if you're moving from a secondary or slower-moving road on to a primary or faster-moving one, such as an interstate, you're likely to find that even when your on-ramp actually connects with the road you're trying to get on, your lane continues for a few hundred feet more until it merges in with the rest of the traffic. Guess what? That handy li'l stretch of asphalt is for you to gun it a little so that you can be moving along at the same speed as the rest of traffic before your lane disappears; it is not intended to give you extra time to plead with other motorists to let you in when we're all going 75 and you're only going 40. Your pleas will fall on deaf ears, so for God's sake, sack up and use that right pedal. Oh, and if you come to a complete halt at the threshold of the freeway, refusing to use the acceleration lane at all, don't give me the finger when I go around you so that I can use the lane for the purpose for which it was intended. You're the mindless dicklick in this little scenario, not me.
Barack Obama: I resolve to not let myself get caught up in bullshit controversies
As good as we had it for the majority of Bill Clinton's presidency, it seems like some people have this memory of the period as bad because Bill was getting hit with scandals and controversies all the time, and I'm talking about the stuff that happened before he got his infamous knob-shine from Monica Lewinsky. Every other week the right wing would gin up some new, contrived scandal to involve him in, but Bill's problem was that he would either a) dignify it with a response, ensuring that it'd just be stretched out for another news cycle or two, or b) he would make himself look guilty by engineering a "cover-up" of a scandal that wasn't really a scandal to begin with. Whitewater, Filegate, blah blah blah. Barack, you're a smart guy and you've already done a good job of not giving the birth-certificate/stealth-Muslim conspiracy theorists any extra meat to chew on, but I'm advising you to keep this up once you actually become president, because it's probably only a matter of time before some asshole talk-radio host starts spreading a rumor that you only got Oprah's endorsement in exchange for some sexual servicing. You know it, I know it, and the American people know it.
The U.S. airline industry: We resolve to come up with a better system for boarding passengers
I've spent a lot more time than usual on airplanes the last few months, and I appreciate what Delta and other airlines are trying to do with this boarding by "zones" business, but that'd probably work a lot better if there were any rhyme or reason to it whatsoever. Like, why can't they board everyone in the back of the plane first, so that I don't have to stand in the aisle waiting for a bunch of people to wrestle their oversized bags into the overhead compartment before I can get to my seat? And why don't they board everybody with window seats first and aisle seats last, so that if I'm sitting in a window or middle seat I don't have to make people get up out of their seats so that I can get to mine, thereby clogging the aisle even more? See, this is the kind of thing you guys would think of if you weren't spending so much of your brain power coming up with ways to charge me extra for things (coughUSAirwayscough).
Mark Richt: I resolve to hire a dedicated special-teams coach.
Missed field goals, muffed punts, kickoffs out of bounds, subpar kickoff returns: As bad as our defense was over the last half of the season, our special teams were rarely any better, and I've gotta think that's partly because instead of having a single special-teams coordinator, our coaching staff handles special teams the way my high school handled 10th-grade social studies: "OK, Coach Gaither will handle first period, Coach Seifert will handle second and third periods, and . . . well, I guess whoever's available will handle fourth. Just teach 'em up enough that they don't completely tank on the PSATs, and we'll call it a day." A number of our defensive assistants are expected to handle some aspect of special teams in addition to the specific position they've already been assigned, and not only does that render special teams an afterthought, it hurts our defense because they're having to take time away from defensive coaching to mess with something they may or may not be qualified to handle. Dig into that big-ass athletic budget and hire us a special-teams guy, Mark, and everyone on your staff will be a lot happier for it.
All football announcers: I resolve to stop calling an end-around a reverse, and a reverse a double-reverse
If a player who's split wide runs toward the opposite side of the line, takes the handoff from the QB in the middle, and takes off running, it's not a reverse just because he went from one side of the field to the other; it's an end-around. And if he hands it off to another dude while he's running in that wide arc around the back of the formation, it's not a double-reverse, it's just a reverse, because the ball only changed direction once. I know all this, and I'm just some idiot with an Internet connection. It drives me nuts to hear all the highly paid commentators on TV who can't master these relatively simple distinctions. Then again, Thom Brennaman referred to Virginia Tech as West Virginia during the Orange Bowl last night -- exactly one year to the day after calling Knowshon Moreno a Florida Gator, now that I think about it -- so maybe I'm putting the cart wayyyy before the horse here. Some of these guys may need to handle remedial English (and learn to check a roster) before we get started feeding them actual playbooks.
Well, I don't know about you, but I certainly feel better! Got all that, world? You may now begin living up to my expectations.
Oh, and here's the Ten:
1. The Farm, "Rising Sun"
2. Underworld, "Rez/Cowgirl" (live)
3. Pet Shop Boys, "Go West" (Kevin Saunderson tribe mix)
4. Groove Armada, "At the River" (English Riviera mix)
5. Pet Shop Boys, "This Must Be the Place I Waited Years to Leave"
6. Rose Royce, "Car Wash"
7. The Pharcyde, "Hard Times"
8. KRS-One, "The MC"
9. The Beastie Boys, "What Comes Around"
10. The Chemical Brothers, "Don't Stop the Rock" (Electronic Battle Weapon version)
All right, folks, now it's time for your Random Tens and/or resolutions you've come up with for other people. Anyone at all. Only not me, I'm doing fine, thanks.