So… no more nasty election campaign ads. They get replaced by… Christmas shopping ads. Crap: it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, people! Sheesh!

FC: great photos from the wedding/reception. Looks like everyone had a great time!

I’m getting very excited about the new Bond movie. Probably not seeing it this weekend (the opening weekend gets the crazies out, don’t they?), but will have to see it. My man Clive Owen might not have gotten the role, but Daniel Craig’s looking mighty fine to me. Not classically handsome (but then I don’t consider early Sean Connery to be classically handsome either), but looking – well – rather hunkish anyway. Mmm. 😉

Today, Princeton’s going after the Ivy League football championship title, and Harvard’s playing Yale. The reason why I mention this: well, I don’t know – just kind of weird seeing this Harvard-Yale game on my tv right now. Not like my Alma Mater’s team was any good this year (as usual). Interesting story in the NY Times concerning Ivy League football and why they can’t seem to be on the same level of similar schools that find a way to balance sports and academics (like Stanford or Duke or something):

But less than a month after the 1981 season ended, the Ivy League was expelled from big-time college football. In a squabble over television revenue, the eight Ivy institutions were demoted to the N.C.A.A.’s Division I-AA. Given the chance to appeal, the Ivy League presidents did not protest and instead willingly walked away from the highest level of a game their teams created.

Twenty-five years later, that quiet act of rebellion stands out all the more in the increasingly commercial world of major college sports. Ivy League leaders say they have protected the academic stature of their institutions, avoided the stain of recruiting and classroom scandals, and nurtured athletics as a truly amateur endeavor.

“Thank goodness,” said Derek Bok, Harvard’s president in 1981 and its interim president now. “The quality of football is not the primary objective of the institution.”

But there have been tradeoffs: fewer victories, diminished television exposure, disappointed alumni and dwindling attendance. On the eve of tomorrow’s annual Harvard-Yale game, the wisdom of the 1981 downsizing of football is still broadly debated.

“It has been painful to watch the unnecessary atrophy of the league,” said John Rogan, Yale’s quarterback in 1981. [….]

The debate intensifies when the Ivy League is compared with institutions like Stanford, Northwestern, Duke and the service academies, which still compete in Division I-A and adhere to high academic credentials. It is often suggested that the Ivy teams could have maintained their Division I-A status, which would have likely boosted recruiting and attendance, while playing league opponents and a mix of games against institutions with similar academic standards. [….]

“Once you start worrying about a national football championship, then you begin to worry about getting the quality of athlete, and the numbers needed, to win a national championship,” Bok said when asked why football is kept out of the postseason playoffs. “And that worry leads to pressure to compromise academic standards to admit those athletes. That’s how even responsible institutions end up doing things they don’t like doing.”

With that kind of thinking dominating the positions of leadership, a scenario in which the Ivy League would step up in class to join Division I-A football programs like Stanford or the service academies seems unlikely.

Jeff Orleans, the Ivy League’s executive director, said, “For those who wonder why we didn’t stay in Division I-A as Duke, Stanford and Northwestern did, I would ask, what do you think of their football experience this year?”

Duke’s football team is 0-10 this season. Stanford is 1-9 and Northwestern is 3-8.

“One could argue,” Orleans said, “that the Ivy League has had the better football experience than those institutions have had for the last 25 years. You might want to ask why they didn’t do what we did.”

But others say Ivy League football is too central to the game’s history to be in its current position. The teams were perennial national champions from 1869 to 1939 and were still nationally ranked well into the 1970s, but now they frequently lose to less established programs with no national reputation. More demoralizing might be that these games are often played in storied locations like the Yale Bowl and Harvard Stadium before crowds that fill only one-fourth of the seats.

“It’s depressing when you can walk up to one of those great old Ivy League places 15 minutes before game time and buy a ticket without even waiting in line,” said Joe Restic, who coached at Harvard for 23 seasons beginning in 1971. “It all started with the I-AA classification. Right away the recruits said to us, ‘I don’t want to play with the second-class citizens.’

“The Ivy presidents should have fought it. A great institution should try to excel in whatever it undertakes. We didn’t have to play Notre Dame, but we should have held the line so we could still compete with our traditional nonleague rivals. Instead, before the season started I could look at the schedule and see three games where I knew our chances of losing were very high.”

A balancing of interests indeed.

The week:

ABC’s “Ugly Betty” had their Thanksgiving episode a week early. Debbi Mazar plays a shady immigration lawyer (oops) who managed to take the money but not really help Betty’s dad’s illegal status issue. Betty is torn between trying to balance her career and her family, but realizes that it probably is ok to give her sister (a bossy sort if there ever was one!) a shot at doing more for the family too. Betty tries to support her boss, Daniel – the man who’s trying to get over his himbo (rather than bimbo) image in being an editor of his dad’s fashion magazine (Vogue-like magazine that’s part of the dad’s big corporate media empire); nice friendship thing developing, as Betty becomes the one to recommend that he wear a purple shirt on his sort-of date and has to get him home because he drunk after getting spurned bythe newest editor in his dad’s Media Empire, well played by the show’s producer Salma Hayek.
After seeing a few episodes of “Betty,” I think it’s a pretty well done show – characters are interesting, touching and funny moments are balanced. It’s very much an Americanized network version of the telenovela of Spanish tv – some over the top moments, but still some quality stuff. Heck, if you can make Vanessa Williams’ villainous Wilhemina a human being (particularly in the area of her dealing with her estranged teen daughter), you’re doing a pretty good job in developing a good tv show. The stuff I don’t care about (probably because I missed the first couple of episodes and therefore don’t really understand what’s going on): this weird conspiracy Wilhemina and Fey are doing on Daniel’s dad. Apparently, Fey is pretending to be dead to make her ex-lover the Media Mogul go crazy (Medial Mogul apparently treated Fey as his beloved mistress, since his wife, played by the ex-“Who’s the Boss” star Juditch Light, is an alcoholic). Don’t know why they’re doing this storyline since it’s annoying. Otherwise, I like Betty and her family – they bring a nice element of diversity that’s sorely needed on tv.

“Grey’s Anatomy” this week – interesting. I usually do like Meredith Grey, but even I realize how annoying she can be. I like it best when Meredith’s trying to deal with her Alzheimer afflicted mother – it make Meredith more human again, not just as Surgical Intern or Dr. McDreamy’s Girlfriend. Meredith has issues to get over regarding her parents, so it’s interesting to see her stumble over them again and again. The Chief, Dr. Webber, has decided to stop visiting Ellis, Meredith’s mom and his ex, because – well, apparently he wants to go back to his wife. Funny how he confessed this to McDreamy and Dr. Addison and neither were listening to him! Dr. McSteamy continues to treat Alex like crap; sooner or later, someone’s got to realize that. And, will Dr. Burke’s malady be officially discovered? As Cristina told him: George knows! Dr. Webber will not be happy with Burke, forget even Dr. Bailey (who probably should murder him, forget Cristina).

I watched most of this week’s “Heroes” on NBC. I’ve watched some of it before, but haven’t had the discipline to watch a whole episode and figured I’d ought to, since I’m such a big superhero fan (but having been disappointed in seeing these shows not meet up with potential). Looks like they’re finally moving to get the disparate people with superpowers together very soon. Gosh, I hope so – the too many characters and the rather slow pace gnaws on me. I keep wondering if these storylines will meet up already. Next week is apparently the big episode. Ooh!