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Just some quick thoughts about last night's award ceremony...admittedly, I only caught portions as I went in and out of the family room.
* Besides being busy with other things, one of the reasons that I didn't (can't) sit through the whole thing is how annoying the "stars" are. They used to make me angry, but now I have more pity for them. I see the vast majority as lost souls, immoral, guided by their desires, myopic, emotionally stunted and just plain sad.
* With every award determined more by politics than actual merit, the honor of winning an Academy Award diminishes.
* Al Gore was brilliant with his statement that "[climate crisis] is not a political issue, it’s a moral issue." Get it? If you disagree with him, you are no longer just on the other side of the political isle, you are no longer just a person who demands scientific evidence, instead you are immoral. I love it! From now on everything I ever talk or post about is not a liberal issue or a conservative issue, it's a moral issue. And, you know what you are if you disagree with me.
* I also thought Al Gore's reference to morality was rather ironic coming from a microphone located in the epicenter of immorality, Hollywood.
* Mary got more annoyed than me (a first?) by the repeated references to losing the right to free speech. What Hollywood and the entertainment industry as a whole actually want is free speech without consequences. They want to say stupid insulting stuff but not be held accountable. And, then when us common folk won't go to their movies (or concerts), they claim censorship. That's not censorship! You were and still are free to say anything you want. But, you are not free from the lawful consequences of what you say. The only censorship in America is coming from the left in the form of political correctness and speech codes, not the right. Further, the people who they accuse of censorship, i.e, the Bush administration, are the ones fighting the people who really do want to censor Hollywood...and by censor, I mean stab a pair of knives in their chest like happened to film director Theo van Gogh because a radical Muslim didn't like his film which shed a little light on the violence against women in Islamic societies. Notice all the films and documentaries coming out of Hollywood dealing with issues relating to radical Islam...oh wait, there are none. Now that's censorship!
* Finally, Drew saw the part with Lightning McQueen and Mater in the audience. After they failed to win one of the two awards they were nominated for (Best Animated Feature Film, won by Happy Feet, and Best Original Song a/k/a "Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures," won by "I Need to Wake Up" - An Inconvenient Truth), Drew asked why didn't Mater say, "Dad-gum!"
The state of Illinois is named for the Illini tribes of Native Americans who previously inhabited the state. It is not surprising, therefore, the state university, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, would celebrate an Illini chief. And that is exactly what happened in 1926, 81 years ago, when Chief Illiniwek first became the proud and noble symbol of the University of Illinois' athletic programs.
The Chief predates the more modern, often cartoonish, notion of "mascots" for sports teams. Chief Illiniwek does not parade the sidelines, cheer for the team, interact with fans or cheerleaders and only appears at home games. Chief Illiniwek wears Lakota (Sioux) regalia sold to the University by Chief Frank Fools Crow (nephew of Black Elk who was the second cousin of Crazy Horse) which was sewn by Fools Crow's wife. Chief Illiniwek's limited performance consists of a half-time appearance in which he undertakes a dance performed for generations based on the Indian fancy dance, the worst complaint of critics being that it includes an unauthentic jump-split. Chief Illiniwek performs empty-handed without tomahawks, spears or other stereotypical Indian props.
Of course, there are people who can find offense in everything and, as always, there's plenty of sufferers of white liberal guilt who will put aside logic and reason and use force and coercion in order to instill their values and sensibilities on others. And so, at the behest of individuals and organizations whose protests appeared to grow more out of self-promotion than actual offense, the NCAA stepped in to declare Chief Illiniwek "hostile and abusive." The NCAA included the University of Illinois in the group of other universities which it declared "display hostile or abusive racial/ethnic/national origin mascots, nicknames or imagery." The current sanction prohibits such schools from hosting post-season athletic tournaments at the cost of millions of dollars of lost income as well as the publicity and notoriety that comes with such tournaments.
I had originally written that "the NCAA had to walk a fine, if illogical, line with the banning of Chief Illiniwek since a ban of the use of the Illini name would result in banning the name of the state of Illinois as well." However, further research reveals that the NCAA, is devoid of any semblance of logic and did, in fact, originally ban "Illini" and "Fighting Illini." This decision came from their headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana. Only after two rounds of appeals did the NCAA relent and limit the ban to only the Chief Illiniwek name, symbol and performance. The NCAA's stated rationale...don't try to understand it, just read it...was that "Illini" was based on the name of the state and not of Native American descent. And, if you can make sense of this rationale, you're as irrational and disingenuous as the NCAA. Where do they think "Illinois" came from?!?!
A 2002 Peter Harris Research Group poll of those who declared Native American ethnicity on a U.S. census showed that 81% of Native Americans support the use of Indian nicknames in high school and college sports, and 83% of Native Americans support the use of Indian mascots and symbols in professional sports.
In a non-binding student referendum on Chief Illiniwek conducted in March 2004, Of the approximately one third of the University of Illinois student body who cast ballots, 69% of the voters favored retention of the Chief.
The Illini tribe was nearly wiped out by fighting with other Indian tribes (you don't hear too much about those kind of things from your liberal history professors) and what remained was eventually relocated to Oklahoma as part of the Peoria Tribe. In 1995, Chief Don Giles of the Peoria Tribe said, "To say that we are anything but proud to have these portrayals would be completely wrong. We are proud. We're proud that the University of Illinois, the flagship university of the state, a seat of learning, is drawing on that background of our having been there. And what more honor could they pay us?" Peoria tribal elder, Ron Froman, stated at the time that the protesters "don't speak for all Native Americans, and certainly not us." In 2000, Froman became chief and he and the tribal counsel came out against Chief Illiniwek. As part of the rationale for his 180 degree turn, Forman shared such pearls of wisdom as, "I don't think it was to honor us, because, hell, they ran our (butts) out of Illinois."
Adam Fortunate Eagle, grandfather of the radical Indian movement, known for his attempts to reclaim Alcatraz on behalf of Indians of all tribes, his protests against Columbus Day celebrations and his self-proclaimed discovery of Italy, declared that symbols like the Chief gave him heart amid the generally negative images of American Indians.
Myself, I attended the University of Illinois from 1984 to 1989 and never heard anyone...not once...speak against Chief Illiniwek or treat him as anything other than a very positive and powerful symbol of strength and valor which we were all very proud to have as the symbol of our school.
The NCAA originally included the Florida State mascot, Chief Osceola, in the list of colleges that "display hostile or abusive racial/ethnic/national origin mascots, nicknames or imagery." This wasn't surprising given the inclusion of Chief Illiniwek who never carries any props let alone instruments of war while Chief Osceola, while riding an Appaloosa horse named Renegade, plants a flaming spear at midfield to begin every home football game. Chief Osceola's face-paint, Appaloosa horse and flaming spear have no connection to Seminole history nor is FSU's version of Chief Osceola steeped in history having only first appeared in 1978. Despite the obviously offensive imagery...I mean, come on, really, a flaming spear?!?!...the NCAA eventually changed its position on Chief Osceola allowing him to remain the spear-chucking mascot of FSU.
So why the different treatment of the University of Illinois and Florida State University? The NCAA, with a surprisingly straight face, says that it is because the FSU crazed blood-thirsty mascot has the approval of the local Seminole Indian Tribe of Florida. The NCAA stated, "The decision of a namesake sovereign tribe, regarding when and how its name and imagery can be used, must be respected even when others may not agree."
On first blush namesake discretion sounds fair, but it doesn't explain how an institution is to react when, as with Chief Illiniwek, a tribe changes its position. It is ridiculous to expect an institution's use of a symbol to come and go with the different decisions of each newly elected chief or tribal counsel. Further, such a policy caters to the easily and/or irrationally offended and provides no support for legitimate reverent use of a symbol by an institution against groups that would attempt to hold such imagery hostage by claiming a proprietary right. That which is right does not ebb and flow with opinion...unless you are a liberal, then that is actually the definition of right. Namesake discretion also does not address the case where there are no true namesakes to be offended such as the Illini which no longer exist and are only loosely associated with the Oklahoma Peoria Tribe or where two tribes with different opinions vie for namesake standing.
The latter is the case where the Oklahoma Seminole Tribe is less approving of the FSU mascot. In 1830, President Andrew Jackson pushed the Indian Removal Act through Congress and, in the ensuing wars, the Seminoles and numerous other tribes were marched to Oklahoma during the infamous Trail of Tears. An estimated 200 to 500 Seminoles escaped into the Florida Everglades, where some of their descendants remain. One could argue the primary Seminole tribe is located in Oklahoma, while the smaller Florida Seminole Tribe is merely an offshoot. Further, Osceola despised American expansion into Florida and when he died in American custody, his head was chopped off as a trophy. Does the NCAA really think that Osceola would want to be portrayed as a state university mascot wearing war paint which he and other Seminoles never wore, riding a breed of horse he never rode while performing for a bunch of affluent white kids?
So why the unequal treatment of the University of Illinois' respected and dignified Chief Illiniwek and the Florida State University Chief Osceola? The answer is provided by the NCAA itself which cites to the "close relationship" between FSU and the Florida Seminole Tribe. Close relationship? So, the administration and tribal counsel go out drinking together and have each other over for family barbeques? No, you know the answer already...money. Florida Seminole tribal members get an automatic 80% scholarship [Updated Link] from the school which, when combined with other assistance, almost guarantees a full free ride at the university. Additionally, the school has a broad array of other programs and interactions which, together, only the most jaded (or observant) would describe as having bought off the Florida Seminoles. This brings to light the University of Illinois' real problem, not a "hostile and abusive" symbol but rather...no one to pay off or, alternatively, a failure to pay off a distant tribe two states away.
And don't even get me started on the Fighting Irish or the scores of other institutions of higher learning with symbols and mascots of identifiable groups who just don't seem bothered by a wacky caricature of their namesake. How can the Irish and, apparently the NCAA, take pride in a mascot which mocks the brawling drunk Irish stereotype while others find offense in an earnest attempt to honor an extinct Indian tribe?
Lest anyone be confused, I am not arguing that Florida State University should get rid of their mascot. On the contrary, I think the NCAA should keep their white liberal guilt noses out of the affairs of the universities. It should be up to the individual schools, their students, faculty, administration, alumni, and governing bodies to establish the individual policies of each school without punitive measures forced on them from afar. The whole thing just reeks of everything that's wrong with liberalism: kowtowing to special interest groups who proclaim irrational victimization, ignoring time honored traditions, governing bodies going far beyond their stated purpose to issue social edicts, governance from afar rather than locally and unequal treatment of different groups.
In recognition of the financial realities of the NCAA's sanctions, the University of Illinois capitulated and this week on Wednesday, February 21, 2007, Chief Illiniwek made his last appearance at Assembly Hall in Champaign-Urbana. At the end of this post, I will put links to noteworthy articles, clips and downloads of video of Chief Illiniwek's last dance and other topical information. Additionally, in memory and in honor of Chief Illiniwek, I have permanently added the random Chief Illini picture to the left-hand column.
Finally, please remember that I take strong offense at anyone who disagrees with me in the comments. In fact, I consider any such disagreement "hostile and abusive" and, as modern liberalism has taught us, you are not allowed to tell me that my being offended is irrational, unjustified or otherwise contrived for ulterior purposes. In other words, if I say I am offended you must change your conduct, otherwise you are a hate mongering bigot.
Honor the Chief website.
Champaign, Illinois, CBS affiliate WCIA video of Chief Illiniwek's Last Dance, 10MB QuickTime (.mov), please right-click and "Save As...."
YouTube page of Chief Illiniwek's Last Dance videos.
Illinois Loyalty - Chief Illiniwek's Last Dance photo collection.
DumpEppley.com website dedicated to ousting the President of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees for his role in banning the Chief.
Students for Chief Illiniwek website.
Aunt Michelle and Uncle Matt (a/k/a sister/sister-in-law Michelle and brother-in-law Matt/the guy you want as your lifeline for anything relating to sports), started their new blog February 1st. It is called "A day in the life..." and if it's anything like its authors, it will be a lively mix of intellect and humor.
When I was very young I learned the classic dinner prayer:
God is good, God is great
And we thank Him for our food
It is still my favorite and the most common one I say. I have just now learned that, me being me, I never quite said it the "correct" way. It is supposed to be:
God is great, God is good
And we thank Him for our food
(-or- Let us thank Him for our food)
I've never had any ability for music, rhyme, beat, or anything remotely relating to such concepts, so the notion that "good" and "food" should end each line or stanza was lost on me. I'm sure my mind was far more concerned with the concept that one would normally follow one adjective with a greater adjective and not the other way around. You wouldn't say that something is great...it's good! Much more likely, you'd say that something is good, it's great! For example, this is cold, it's freezing! That building is big, it's huge! It just doesn't work the other way around. Hence, I think, the reason for my version of the prayer.
So, now I've passed on my altered version of the dinner prayer to our three year old son Drew who, in true Danz fashion, has added his own change. But, unlike my arbitrary twist, his change makes the prayer BETTER, and I am so proud of him:
God is good, God is great
And we thank Him for His food
Did you catch his change? Drew thanks God for "His" food. It's so subtle that I missed it the first few times, but he says "His food" every time. I think it's brilliant! Of course, the food isn't "ours," it's God's, as in all gifts come from God. We shouldn't be thanking God for our food but, rather His food. And, I learned this from a three year old. Thank you Drew!
At the time of this writing, a Google search for the three phrases "god is good," "god is great" and "thank Him for our food" returns 578 results. A search for the first two phrases and "thank Him for His food" returns zero results. Drew, you are an original!
[Update] Now with video goodness:
YouTube version after the jump.
Will, just six months old, is not yet crawling. However, he is doing everything other than crawling and is able to move in almost any direction he desires...except straight ahead. His incredible array of movements frequently includes push-up like activities shown here.
Drew made Valentine's Day cards for everyone...with a little help from Momma.
And, after dinner, we all enjoyed our Valentine's Day brownies!
Clearly evidencing his genius, six month old Will shows how he can operate his gumball machine.
While Mary and Drew were Christmas shopping they came upon a Salvation Army bell-ringer. Mary gave Drew a dollar so that he could give it to the bell-ringer. Afterwards, Drew asked Mary for another dollar so that he would be ready next time they saw a bell ringer. Mary gave Drew the dollar and Drew put it in his coat pocket and zipped it shut. But, the next time they saw a bell ringer, they were all caught up in the Christmas rush and forgot about the dollar Drew had in his pocket.
We went to Chicago to spend Christmas with Ma Danz and Aunt Donelda. While there, the discussion turned to all things "Chicago" and Drew mentioned that his Cubs hat was too small and said he needed a new one. Remembering the dollar he still had, Drew volunteered that he would buy it with his "one money." Unfortunately, in all the hustle and bustle we weren't able to stop by a place which sold children's Cubs hats before leaving Chicago. Ever since, Drew has continued to mention how he wanted to buy a new Cubs hat with his one money.
At church today, all on his own, without even a mention, Drew said that he wanted to put his one money in the offering basket. Of course, he decided this after the basket was already coming down the row. To his defense, I don't think he sits high enough to see it coming any sooner. Mary held the basket while Drew worked to open his zippered coat pocket which had been safely holding his one money since December. The usher waited patiently, while Drew retrieved his one money and placed it in the offering basket. He then sat back with a smile and a look of accomplishment.
Momma and Daddy couldn't have been prouder.
Aunt Michelle was in town to see Aunt Catherine's homecoming this weekend. It was the perfect opportunity for Will to ham it up for the camera with another one of his aunts.
Aunt Catherine was elected to Bishop Kelley's Homecoming Court and tonight, during half-time of the Homecoming basketball game, it was announced that the student body had elected her Maid of Honor, runner up to the Homecoming Queen. Here she is with her escort Troy.
Congratulations Aunt Catherine...your quiet grace and leadership by example have allowed you to forge your own path and accomplish something unique from your four older siblings. We hope the recognition of your peers gives you the confidence to continue to achieve beyond your wildest dreams. Congratulations!
Did you happen to catch Wheel of Fortune the other day? It was a pretty easy puzzle. After all, the clue totally gave it away.
(And, yes, I'm aware they're not "clues," they're "categories.")
Setting: (Saturday morning...early Saturday morning...very early Saturday morning)
Drew: (Standing bedside) Why is the sky orange?
Momma: Because you got out of bed before the sun came up.
You can create your own dancing paint-person at Pictaps.
Ninety-nine smiles...that's how many times out of a hundred Will smiles for the camera when getting his picture taken. But then, how you see him here is how he is all day long. Everyone who spends any amount of time with Will comments about what a smiley baby he is. I can't imagine being any more blessed.
(And no, this is not a game where you have to pick out the two pictures that are the same...all the pictures of Will are different and in the order they were taken.)