Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Top of the World

While the rest of the world mourns the loss of the Utah Utes to the hated BYU Cougars, I was relatively unaffected. Sure, it is always hard to see BYU do well at anything, especially at the expense of the Utes. One of the advantages though of spending a lot of time in higher education is that you gain multiple feelings of allegiance.

Right now, I can align myself more with my current institution, which currently sits atop the college athletics world in both football, where their supremacy is now undisputed, and in men's basketball (#1 in the most recent coach's poll). This is only the third time in history that such a thing has happened. Life is good in Columbus.

It is possible to feel this way because, so far, the Buckeye fans haven't been acting like idiots, as they often do. After OSU beat Michigan, not one car was torched. Given all the alcohol and excitement that surrounded that game, the lack of rioting should be accounted a miracle akin to Moses parting the Red Sea.

OSU football games are really something to behold. I was walking around the "Shoe" (the football stadium) three hours before OSU play Bowling Green (Bowling Green mind you!) and the atmosphere was unlike anything I've ever seen. 3 miles around campus ever single home and frathouse had some sort of Buckeye party going on. As one approaches the stadium, along Lane Avenue, a carnival atmosphere begins to erupt -- a big street fair emerges with thousands of people milling about eating, selling, buying, whatever. 1 mile from the stadium is tailgating country which turns the parking lots into enormous picnic areas. And then there is Buckeye Stadium. It is hard not to get caught up in such excitement, even though I've never been much of a fan of anything Buckeye.


Friday, November 03, 2006

On Being a Homeowner

Owning my own home has made me a different person. I now worry about how well my neighbors are taking care of their house. I read about interest rates. I follow home sales in the neighborhood and in the region. Which brings me to a dismal topic. I wanted to share some graphs with you that I ripped off from my favorite political blog (Kevin Drum on Washington Monthy).

Look closely at the graph at the right. Do you see the peak housing prices? June 2005? That peak corresponds precisely to when we bought our home. How is that for some bad luck? The For-Sale signs are now so thick in our neighborhood it looks like a veritable forrest of signs. The prices for homes in the midwest were never inflated, it seemed, like they were elsewhere. And yet, the housing crash seems to be hitting the midwest as hard as anybody. Go figure.