Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Shutterfly book

Yeah, I'm still unhappy about the passage of the healthcare bill and have little hope the lawsuits filed by several states will do much to stop it, but right now I'd just like to focus on something else. I could go on all day about the bill and the reactions it's been getting, not to mention the unbridled (and unrealistic) idealism that seems to be returning again just like when Obama was first elected and the whole "big brother" mentality that's running rampant. People really think a government bureaucracy will be friendlier, fairer, and more efficient than bureaucracy from insurance companies. Again, based on what?!? Sigh. If the mandate forcing people to get insurance wasn't there, I don't think I'd be so vehement about it. If it was the same bill minus the mandate I'd probably look at like I see the "stimulus": action that helps some people but is largely a waste of money that does little to actually solve the problems it was designed to. It crossed the line when it forced me and those like me to buy a product from a private company. This is NOT the same as the draft (which is not all the time anyway) or even paying taxes, which some have already compared it to. Never before has the federal government forced the entire country to buy a product from a private company in the name of "universal coverage". As another blogger pointed out, it's like eliminating poverty by making a law requiring poor people to make money.

On to happier things! Last Friday I received my latest creation, a book from the photo service Shutterfly. My sister Becky had recently opened an account on Shutterfly (my cousin Lindsay had also done the same thing a short time earlier), so I checked out her albums and saw that not only could I store all of my photos on Shutterfly for FREE but they also had several product choices for using photos. Being able to publish photos in a book really caught my eye. My brother and sister-in-law had their wedding album made into an actual published book and I really liked it. The book I made is a little history book of Kent using mostly pictures that I've taken over the past year, plus a few from my grandpa Derby, and two from a Wikipedia user (whom I only know as "Pacificboyksu") who posted them online in the public domain. I made the book for my sister Becky and brother-in-law David as a birthday present to have a little reminder of home (well, mostly Becky but David has some connections to Kent too!) to share with their friends in Utah. I was a little worried how it would turn out given my camera. Not that it takes bad pictures, but it doesn't exactly take the best pictures either being a basic point-and-shoot camera. Well, let me tell you I was TOTALLY happy how it turned out. The pictures look WAY better in print than they did on the computer! The only problems were from my typing the text portions: there are some grammatical errors. The wizard to make the book has a spell-check, but it just says there "may" be spelling errors, so any word it doesn't recognize is counted in that. There are tons of background, text, photo border, and layout choices, so you can be really creative and make it pretty personal. About the only thing I didn't like was the inflexibility of the text boxes. You can't adjust how big they are, so your only options are to try a different layout, lower the font size, or trim the actual text. I wish I could've just adjusted the size of the box; it would've made things a lot easier.

Oh, in case you're wondering, I DID let Becky know I was going to blog about--and thus spoil--her and David's birthday present which I will bring with me when I visit in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS!!!! I also let her know about the grammatical errors since she has a degree in English and WILL notice them!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Why I am opposed to ObamaCare

I am surprised how charged up I am about this issue. It seems to be hitting me from so many angles and I've really been thinking about it a lot the past few days. Of course that's not hard to figure out why since it's been the main news all week, but still, I've been thinking really hard and really digging deep in understanding not only what I think about this, but why and if my reasons are justified.

On Wednesday I was subbing at Roosevelt for the AP US History teacher, a teacher I have really enjoyed subbing for this school year. He's a good guy, leaves a decent amount of work for the students, and he teaches all the Advanced Placement classes and a service-oriented class called Riders Taking Action. In other words, I have many of the most motivated students in the school. It makes for a pretty comfortable day for me. On top of that, this week was the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) so there was a delayed start in school and all the periods were 25 or 30 minutes long each. Anyway, the main thing the Riders Taking Action class did was watch the movie Sicko. I wasn't familiar with it at first, but all it took was about 5 minutes of watching it before I remembered what it was-- a Michael Moore "documentary" (and I use that term loosely). I was watching it with the students just because it was there, but the more I watched it the more I was like "what is this garbage?!?" So, instead of watching, I looked up Sicko on the Internet; I looked up a synopsis and I looked up the criticisms of it. Of course there was tons of praise for it from the left and tons of criticism from the right. It was hardly a documentary in telling a story; it was far closer to propaganda in my opinion than a documentary as it was clearly slanted. I've always thought of documentaries as being more neutral and letting the viewer make their own decision. There was also a book on the teacher's desk that basically sang the praises of socialized medicine in the UK, France, Japan, and Canada. I didn't have time to read it, but did have time to glance at the summary. Since I'm only in this class once every few weeks, the last thing I want to do is accuse anyone of promoting a viewpoint or giving a slanted view. That's not my point. For all I know I came in while one viewpoint was being presented and the other side will follow soon (at least I hope!). I'll have a whole other blog post on the importance of having a balanced view in school. No, that just caused me to really start thinking about my opposition to the current reform being debated (which I, like many others, refer to as ObamaCare). Why am I opposed to it and to government-run healthcare in general? Is it just because it's the "other side" and I don't want them to succeed? Or is it really not a good thing that I have rational reasons for not supporting?

I was really thinking about this a lot the rest of this week, particularly yesterday as it seems like the votes are there and the Democrats will use a voting technique to avoid a plurality and get this signed ASAP. These are the reasons I came up with as to why this isn't a good idea:

1. The biggest problem I have is the requirement for people without insurance to get insurance or pay a fine as this will directly affect me. My current job situation has me only working part-time with no benefits. What I get paid depends on how much I'm needed, so it fluctuates greatly. I barely make enough to get by with the help of my family and now, should this pass, I will be expected to buy something I cannot afford or pay a fine. And not just me, but anyone who works part-time with no benefits will be in the same boat. And government subsidies? Even if there is a subsidy that pays for ALL my insurance (which I highly doubt) we can be certain in order to qualify for it, we will need to go through mountains of paperwork to "prove" how poor we are. Having had to do that already for other expenses, I can tell you it's degrading and time consuming. In the end, I fail to see the constitutionality of forcing private citizens to buy something from a private company.

2. Next, in forcing me to buy health insurance, not only is the government telling me WHEN to buy it, but it will also tell me from whom I can buy it. So, another government bureaucracy is going to have access to my personal health information and is somehow going to magically know what insurance company I am allowed to buy coverage from. Unbelievable. Once again, the "Progressive" movement's "we know best" rears its ugly head. This goes right along with my "Brother's Keeper" post from Wednesday. It is incredibly arrogant and agency-robbing.

3. I have yet to see a large government agency actually operate with great efficiency, in budget, smoothly, while also reducing costs to those it serves yet somehow I'm supposed to believe it will be able to improve on the problems we have with insurance companies. Sorry, the track record speaks otherwise. Not only have government agencies like the Post Office been hemorrhaging money for a long time, but it was recently announced Social Security will hand out more in payments than it receives in income this year. In other words, it's broke. I even had a well-meaning friend use libraries and the military as examples of good government-run programs. Libraries aren't mainly federal responsibilities; they are mostly funded at the local and state levels, much like schools (many here are attached to a local school district). The military, as much as I appreciate and support it, is hardly an example of fiscal responsibility or efficiency. It's funny and ironic any liberal would use the military as a reason to support government healthcare given their near constant criticism of and attempts to undermine its missions. Anyone remember Walter Reed Hospital?!? Let's not forget two much smaller programs the government ran recently to "help" people out: Cash for Clunkers and the Foreclosure Relief Plan. Not only did both largely fail to actually do much of anything they were planned to do, but they were marred by endless paperwork and confusion not to mention lots more imaginary money spent. If we're going to spend close to a TRILLION dollars on something, shouldn't it be a significant improvement over what we have?? Or have we become numb to how much money a trillion dollars actually is? And again...the government demonstrated its inabilies and shortcomings in big ways with relatively (compared to ObamaCare) small programs and we want to give them MORE say in our healthcare?!? Stay the heck away from my health decisions please!

4. Another thing that bothers me is more policy and incredibly long-reaching decisions being made about healthcare by politicians almost exclusively without the input of physicians. This is not only smart for the public (what right do most politicians have in making medical-related decisions) but also for physicians. It's going to affect their careers too, careers they have invested an enormous amount of time and money in. I see the same thing in education. Many of the main problems in education come from the fact that many of the policies and guidelines (particularly from the federal and state levels) are made not by educational professionals, but by politicians. Thus, many of the standards and ideas are unrealistic when actually put into practice in a classroom. On top of that, the measurements used to see how effective a school is are hardly comprehensive and often tell only a small part of the story and then improper judgments are made about a teacher, school, and or community based on only a partial picture. I see the same thing happening with healthcare. Major decisions will be made not by doctors, but by politicians. While the bill promises not to deny anyone coverage because of a pre-existing condition, that does not mean all claims will be filled. This story is a great example of that out of Canada where someone covered under the Canadian healthcare system was denied a claim for a specific (and expensive) drug because it wasn't on the "approved" list for that ailment. And before you say, "Oh that's just an isolated case" just remember this: because it happened ONCE it can happen again and has probably happened before. Not only that, but what if YOU or a loved on were that ONE "isolated case" that puts you between death and bankruptcy? We want politicians and bureaucrats to have a bigger say in our healthcare? I thought that was the big complaint about the "Big Insurance" companies?

5. As several "fence-sitting" Democrats have changed to "yes" it's become clear they are more concerned with the success of their party more than whether or not this is an actual improvement. Democrat Dennis Kucinich, long an embarrassment for Ohio (yet his district continues to elect him!), even cited Obama's "legacy as President" as a reason to vote yes even though the bill is "flawed". I'm sorry, NO president's so-called "legacy" is worth this. Congress was elected to work for the people, not to help build Obama's "legacy." WOW

Yesterday, I really was feeling more and more like those in the same situation I am with part-time work but no pressing medical problems are being thrown under the bus for the sake of helping other people without insurance. It seems whenever the "little guy" says to liberals (who, of course, claim to be helping the "little guy") "hey stop helping. You're screwing me" The liberals say back, "I'm sorry you have to suffer, but look at all the people that will be helped. We know better, so just be quiet and listen." Well guess what, I'm one of the "little guys" here and this will totally screw me and anyone like me. Something this large and drastic shouldn't sacrifice one group for the benefit of the other as that is really nothing different than what we already have. ObamaCare doesn't even guarantee that it will cover everyone who is uninsured. Will it help some people? Sure it will, especially those who can't get coverage due to pre-existing conditions. But as I said, it will not only cost people like me even more money that I really can't afford, but everyone else as well in taxes. As people have less money to spend, think of what that will do to the economy, in particular non-essential things like entertainment. If people who support this really do think this is part of the "much needed" first step, why does it have to cost so much? Why can't the first step be more in terms of policy and less in spending MORE money we don't have? Why does this first step have to be drastic and admittedly flawed? Why does it have to pass NOW even though most benefits for adults won't even kick in for up to FOUR YEARS? I'm not opposed to reform; changes need to be made so that everyone has access to quality healthcare. This, however, is not the answer to the problem. Throwing one group under the bus for another is not a solution, it's just a relocation of the problem. The most recent poll released yesterday finds 80% of Americans disapprove of Congress, yet onward they push with this bill. Again, the old arrogant liberal ideology "we know better" is in full force along with cries the pubic is "being misled". The public is not, of course, being misled when polls find Americans opposed to things liberals hate like the Iraq war. Then what the public wants, according to polls, is what Democrats want and they need to reflect the will of the people. Well, the people are speaking again Obama, Pelosi, Reid, & Co. Are you listening? Or do you only listen when what the public wants matches what you want?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Brother's keeper?

I was reading an article the other day that mentioned the concept of being our brother's keeper and it asked the question "'Am I my brother's keeper?' YES YOU ARE!" As soon as I read that I thought, "NO YOU AREN'T!" What? What about the hymn and all the talks about being our brother's keeper? If we actually look at the definition of "keeper" and how it's used in other instances we can see we are certainly not our brother's keeper.

First, the phrase "brother's keeper" really only appears a grand total of ONE time in the scriptures (two if you count its appearance in the book of Moses which is telling the same story) . That, of course, is in Genesis 4:9: "And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And [Cain] said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?" OK let's put this into context. First, the Lord knew very well where Cain's brother Abel was so Cain's answer is hardly anything beyond a smart@$$ remark. It certainly isn't some profound statement of truth from Cain. Translated into 21st century talk he's basically saying, "how should I know? Am I in charge of him?" Remember, this is CAIN we're talking about. You know, he not only killed his brother, but made a pact with the Devil. Outside of Lucifer himself he's one of the great villains in all scripture if not the greatest. Despite this, we use the very phrase only he uttered as a Gospel principle. Cain knew very well the principle of agency and the fact that both he and Abel were adults fully capable of and responsible for making their own decisions, hence the smart remark. Nowhere is it implied in what he said or the Lord's response that Cain was his brother's keeper. Instead, the Lord simply exclaims "What has thou done?" (Genesis 4:10) He doesn't even respond to the question "Am I my brother's keeper?" knowing full well what Cain meant by that remark.

OK, so besides the fact that it was Cain who said this, let's look at the current meaning of the word "keeper". While there are a number of definitions of "keeper" we use today, the one that applies here is "A person charged with guarding or caring for, storing, or maintaining something; a custodian, a guard." Examples include words like housekeeper, goalkeeper, zookeeper, beekeeper, etc. My mom has stated that being our brother's keeper has been confused with "bearing one another's burdens" and seeing "caring for" as part of the definition it's easy to see why. In the end, though, a "keeper" is almost completely responsible for whatever it is they are "keeping". We are not responsible for the actions of our "brothers" not only because of personal accountability, but also because of agency. Does that mean we shouldn't watch out for our "brothers" and help them when we can or that we shouldn't tell them when they're doing or about to do something stupid? Absolutely not. Unfortunately, too many people take being their "brother's keeper" to mean they are a keeper in the very real sense of the word; that is, it is their job to guard and even police their brothers. I saw this all too frequently while attending BYU-Idaho. "Brother's keeper" was translated into "informant" and/or "watcher" in regards to following the school's Honor Code. I've also seen it in legislation where the government takes on the role of brother's keeper by passing laws that show they believe they know more about what's best for your health, education, wellness, etc. than you do. There is a fine line between helpful advice and intrusion. Parents, however, are far more keepers than we should be of our fellow adults. But even parenthood has its limits as to what is too much "guarding" (i.e. overprotecting). When parents are overprotecting, it simply robs children of the ability to learn problem solving as well as the experience adversity brings. That doesn't mean we go looking for adversity but at the same time it also doesn't mean we shut ourselves up and avoid the world completely. What good does that do?

I think we should find a different word to use besides "keeper" to describe what we are to our brothers. Perhaps we are our "brother's advocate" or "best friend" or even "confidant". Parents are their children's keepers, but only for so long and in a limited way. There are just to many reasons why "brother's keeper" doesn't work as a phrase, from the meaning of "keeper" to the main person who first used the phrase.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Silver lining

I was saddened as a fan of history to find out the Arvin Olin house was torn down yesterday by the city of Akron. The Arvin Olin house was built in 1834-1835 an was a listing on the National Register of Historic Places. It was located at the corner of Ravenna Road and Diagonal Road in Franklin Township just north of Kent. It had been included on the NRHP in 1995 mostly because of its age and as a rare example of the late Federal style of architecture it was. Even when nominated in 1995 it was already not being used, so that's pretty much the state it's been in since then so you can imagine what kind of shape the house was in. I took pictures of the exterior last May to include on Wikipedia and there were already places where bricks had fallen off. It was a sad sight to see then, so the demolition doesn't surprise me.

I first even noticed the house probably in 2005 or 2006 while I was working at Geauga Lake. I drove past it going to and from Aurora as Ravenna Road makes an excellent bypass around the northeast side of Kent. I'm not sure when I first really started liking the 1830s style for a house, but I really liked what I saw the first time I saw the Olin house and always hoped it would get restored or would last until I could do it myself. I actually didn't know it was on the National Register of Historic Places until recently, probably last year. I'm glad I had the time to get some pictures of it last year!

Of course the question comes up that since it is in Franklin Township, why did the city of Akron own it? Well, just a few thousand feet down Ravenna Road is the Akron Water Treatment plant and Lake Rockwell, so Akron acquired the land under the reasoning of protecting the water supply. According to the Record-Courier article, they bought it in 1990 and briefly used it to house employees of the plant. The article makes it sound like Akron really tried their best to save the structure by working with the Kent Historical Society and a descendant of Arvin Olin, but I'm pretty skeptical. Moving the house was pretty much out of the question as it was made almost completely of brick, so it weighs a lot more than a typical house. Because it had been abandoned for so long (at least 15 years, probably much longer) it was deteriorating more and more. If Akron really cared, why did they buy it in the first place? Does having someone living there really pose a threat to the water supply? Why invest money in a property like that if you don't intend to remove the house? This is just the latest example of Akron owning waaaaay too much land here. Akron owns all of the land around Lakes Rockwell and Pippen-- not just immediately around the lakes but a significant distance away from them-- so I'd estimate it owns close to 1/4 of Franklin Township. Not only does Akron prohibit any kind of recreation on Lake Rockwell, but they also restrict any use of Lake Pippen even though it is not used as part of the water supply and is actually completely separate from Lake Rockwell. That's on top of the land prevented from any kind of development due to it being near the water supply or occupied by Lake Rockwell, a man-made reservoir built in 1912. What a way for one city to control and limit the development of another. And Akron's not alone in Franklin Township; both Kent and Stow also own land and have their respective wells in the township. Thus, Franklin Township supplies water for three different cities on top of the residents who all have wells of their own.

The silver lining for me was getting a call yesterday from Roger Di Paolo, the editor of the local Record-Courier newspaper asking if he could use a picture I had uploaded last May of the house. Of course I said yes since that's why I took and uploaded them to the Wikimedia Commons (a sister project of Wikipedia) in the first place. In doing that, I gave them a Creative Commons-Attribute license meaning people are free to use the photo for anything, but just give credit to me as the author. Below is the front page and the continuation that I pasted together from the PDF. You can see my credit just below the lower picture on the right.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Blog Book and Birthdays

I mentioned a little while back about the blog book I was making; well it finally came on Friday, March 5. It contains all my blog posts from my first MySpace blog, so it ranges from June 2006-March 2008 when I stopped using MySpace to blog and started using Blogger full-time. I originally got the idea of a blog book from my friend Jessica Kay as she had done that some time ago to her blog as a way to archive it. I had tried putting one together several months ago using the service she had used, but at least then they didn't offer the option of using Blogger to publish a blog from; you had to have one of the other blogging sites. A solution I tried was opening a mirror to my blog on one of those sites, but it didn't transfer the pictures and it just became a headache, so I gave up until a few weeks ago. The biggest challenge from this was getting the MySpace blog posts into this one as well as the comments from those posts. If there was some kind of automatic way to transfer blog posts from MySpace to Blogger I certainly wasn't aware of it, so I did them manually, one at a time. Even that wasn't quite so simple as I had to go through the "Edit HTML" tab on Blogger to eliminate the MySpace text formatting and background. Once I figured out exactly what needed to be done (like copying text from the posts and the comments directly to the HTML instead of the Composition area), it got a little quicker, but still took some time given the amount of posts. I also made sure to tag them and place them in the original time they had been published on MySpace.

The next challenge was where the two blogs overlap in February and March 2008 as I was starting one and closing out the other. When putting a book together, you simply specify a date range of posts for the program to put in a given book. Because I wanted just the posts from MySpace in a book, I had to figure out a way to remove the 2 Blogger posts that are dated before my last MySpace post in 2008. I had hoped it was just as simple as just deleting the posts from the book itself before publishing, but it wasn't that simple. The book software essentially "takes a picture" as a representative told me, so you can't actually edit the book once it's been "captured" from the blog posts. That was annoying to me because it doesn't truly "take a picture", so there are instances where the pictures are in a different arrangement than they were on the blog itself and then the captions below get all weird (Blogger needs a picture caption feature). She suggested that I save the posts I didn't want in the book as drafts and then put the book together before republishing the posts again, essentially hiding them for a little bit. It worked, so thankfully I won't need to do it again as the book for my 2008 blog posts was already created before I added my MySpace posts.

Overall I like how it turned out. It certainly isn't perfect, but that's mostly my fault in missing little things from typing and then not catching them before publishing. Also, if you do use this service, make sure your pictures are in JPEG format because it won't recognize anything in PNG. As I said, my biggest problem was not being able to edit the layout of the pages in the book, but I did like being able to choose a cover picture, back cover picture, inside cover picture (all with captions if you want) and I could add pages in the book, which I did to include the Christmas newsletters from 2007 in full size. The cost is fair, though it certainly isn't cheap. This book was 57 pages long and cost about $38.00 for the hardcover. There are other options to make it cost less. The base cost of $24.95 for a hardcover includes up to 20 pages and shipping and then 35 cents per page after that, so if you blog as much as or more than I do, it can start to get pricey. Anyway, the company is SharedBook if you're interested. I would highly recommend it!

On a side note, I had a great 28th birthday! I appreciated all the birthday wishes via Facebook (it's such a great reminder!) and the cards I got. I think I most enjoy hearing from so many people on my birthday more than anything, some of whom I rarely hear from much any more. The day itself was relaxing (I didn't sub and we didn't have Akron After-School but I did have a callback at Weathervane for "The Wedding Singer" auditions) and I got some very cool presents like tickets to an Indians game in May and a $50 gift card (which I just used!) to get the two books I had wanted. I also got an interesting "History of the Simpsons" book and some new warm-up pants, not to mention some money :). Now I am looking forward to my upcoming trip to Utah in less than a month!!

Saturday, March 6, 2010


It's always nice to win a rivalry game, but it's even sweeter when the game means something more than bragging rights. Such was the case once again between Kent State and Akron, who played last night in Akron in front of an ESPN2 national audience to decide the Mid-American Conference regular season champion as well as the MAC East division champion and #1 seed to the upcoming conference tournament. Both teams were 22-8 overall and 12-3 in the MAC, far better than any other team (next best records were Buffalo, Miami, and Central Michigan all at 9-7). Going into this game, I fully expected something similar to the game two years ago when Kent had to hold off a furious Akron rally to win on an Al Fisher three-pointer with just a few seconds left. Even after Kent State's surprisingly easy 87-70 win over Akron this past January, I didn't expect a repeat of that at the JAR (James A. Rhodes Arena), where Akron was 77-11 over the past few years and had planned a "whiteout". Well, turns out it WAS a repeat of that game in January as Kent State rolled to a 74-61 win over Akron in a game even Akron coach Keith Dambrot said wasn't as close as the score. Deep down I thought it was possible again, but didn't want to say it, mostly because I thought it was just wishful thinking and have been dead wrong about such things before! After Kent's win in January, many Akron fans posted comments online to the effect of "well just wait till we get them at our place in March" and "the home team always wins in this series." My comment back was basically if the problems that led to Akron's loss weren't addressed in the second meeting, the result really wouldn't be much different no matter where it was played. Turns out I was right as the game had pretty much the same script as far as Kent shooting the ball well, getting inside, solid defense, and out-rebounding the Zips. Other than the initial energy burst to start the game, Kent was in control throughout. Akron opened an 11-5 lead and would never lead again. Kent led by 19 midway through the second half and Akron never got closer than 12 the rest of the way. And I must say, clearly hearing "WE ARE...KENT STATE" on TV live from the JAR was pretty awesome!

What's amazing to me is that this is Kent's 4th MAC regular season title and all have happened in the last 10 years ('02, '06, '08, '10). Basketball is one of the oldest sports at Kent State (first game in 1913, first intercollegiate game in 1915), yet only since 1999 have they done much of anything. When they won 19 games last year it was regarded as a huge letdown; people complain when we have crowds under 4,000. I remember growing up seeing maybe a few people sitting in the balcony sections at the MAC Center and having crowds that didn't even top 2,000. There was a time prior to 1999 when the Kent State women's basketball team (which was regularly in the MAC title hunt during the 1990s and early 2000s) was drawing almost as many fans as the men. It was also during that time that MAC tournament play meant one-and-done for KSU and time to think about Spring sports. Even more impressive is that Kent State has been able to maintain the success despite going through 4 different head coaches in that time; not because of firings but because of wealthier programs coming in and hiring KSU coaches!

Well, now it's on to the MAC Tournament in Cleveland. Kent State opens play against Ohio or Ball State on Thursday March 11. There is already talk of a rematch in the MAC Tournament Championship game, but first both teams have to win their respective games. Kent State and Akron have played three times previously in the MAC tournament: Kent won an opening round game in Akron in 1998, Akron won in Cleveland in the semifinals in 2007, and Kent won in Cleveland in the MAC championship game in 2008 (which I attended). The 1998 game is significant in relation to this because prior to that meeting, Akron had beaten Kent twice easily by over 20 points at Kent (their first win in Kent since the 1960s) and at Akron. Everyone expected another Akron blowout since the game was at Akron (Akron's first time ever in the MAC tournament), but Kent pulled the stunner 95-88, which at the time ended a 9-game losing streak for Kent in the MAC tournament. The next year KSU won the tournament for the first time ever. While I'm sure Akron fans would love to see the same thing happen here -- and there certainly is a possibility -- the biggest difference is that in 1998, Akron was making their first appearance EVER in the MAC tournament; this will hardly be Kent's first appearance in the tournament or even the championship game should they get there. In the other 2 meetings, both were also the 3rd meeting of the year, but resulted in 3 game sweeps for each team. But hey, that's why they play the games! And, should Kent State get there, I will make the short trip to Cleveland to cheer them on. Go Kent!

Picture credits: The first picture is from the Record-Courier article "Beatdown for Banner" from the March 5th issue. This was the featured picture in the print edition sports section as well. I liked it not only because of the dramatic angle, but also the two people in yellow in the background sticking out like a sore thumb. I'm still not a fan of Kent State's black uniforms though. The second picture comes from the Flickr photostream of Kate Sheets, a KSU alum who is now a law student at the University of Akron. I liked the view of the whole arena with so you can see the whiteout and where the Kent fans fit in. Very cool view!