Briefly continuing the thought from last week:

Of course, being a pantser has its advantages, too. If I come up with an idea, I can start exploring it immediately without worrying about whether it fits into my existing plan for the book.

As it turned out, Thursday and Friday amounted to about 1,600 words total. That didn’t quite finish the material I had planned, but it did finish a chapter, so that was good enough. And over the weekend, I came up with a couple of evil notions to inflict on my characters, so I’ve got a path forward.

Moving on.

The Oakland Raiders have officially stabbed their fans in the heart, having received permission from the National Football League to move to Las Vegas.

Back in the deep reaches of pre-history, when I actually watched football, the Seahawks were in the same division as the Raiders, so they played twice a year. And it was one of the great rivalries of the sport. The Seahawks were pretty good for a while there, and a playoff berth for one or both of the teams often hinged on those two games a season.

Being a Seahawks fan, I naturally considered the Raiders fans to be a bunch of obnoxious, uncultured barbarians. Certainly, the only time I went to a Seahawks/Raiders game–in Oakland, sitting in the cheap seats–I didn’t see anything that would give me cause to change my mind.

But even so, those barbarians have all my sympathy today. Because losing your team is the absolute worst thing that can happen to any sports fan.

I stopped following basketball years ago–around the same time I stopped following football, actually. But even so, the news that the Seattle SuperSonics were moving to Oklahoma was horrifying. The only bright spot in that mess was that Seattle was able to retain the rights to the name “SuperSonics” and its derivatives, so the fans have been spared the pain of watching the Oklahoma Sonics. And, should Seattle ever get a new basketball team, it can pick up that forty year tradition.

Here’s hoping that Oakland can keep the name “Raiders” and all of the look and feel that goes along with it. Let the team play in Las Vegas under some other name, in uniforms that are not silver and black. Perhaps history will repeat itself and the grand experiment will fail, as it did after the Raiders’ move to LA in the eighties and nineties. If it does, Oakland might have a choice: restore the silver and black, reviving a tradition or make a fresh start.

As I said, Oakland Raiders fans, you’ve got my sympathy. If you need a shoulder to cry on, give me a call.

And remember: even though the Raiders aren’t going anywhere for at least two more seasons, nobody will blame you if you cut the team out of your life now. They’re solely responsible for the breakup of your relationship. It’s not your fault. Don’t let them try to dump it on you. And remember: this is not a trial separation. This is a divorce.

If the Raiders want you back in their life, they need to meet you more than halfway.


We’re back to Google’s hot searches today. I know we just hit it last week, but something popped up that struck me as interesting. (There’s probably a blog post in why peeking at someone else’s searches is so fascinating. This isn’t that post.)

As we’ve discussed in the past, top searches tend to fall into a few recurring categories. Chief among these are sports and partially-dressed women. Monday’s top searches are such a classic example that I had to share it with you. Here’s the top five:

  1. Raiders (for those of you who don’t follow sports, that’s the Oakland Raiders American football team)
  2. Scarlett Johansson (let’s just note that Google’s thumbnail image for this search shows her in a skin-toned tank top and move on)
  3. Atlanta Falcons (another American football team)
  4. Red Sox (over to baseball)
  5. Presidents Cup Streaker (yes, a nearly nude woman ran onto the course at a golf match)

So in the top five results, we have four sporting events and two partially-clad women. So why did I find this interesting? Well, mostly because the streaker only made it to Number Five. Why didn’t an event that combined sports and bare bodies rank higher in the American psyche?

I don’t have any definitive answers for the question, but I do have some ideas.

  • People are bored with streakers – It’s possible. Certainly the pictures of the event seem to include a number of bored-looking spectators. There may be a certain amount of editorial bias in the selection of still photos, though: the videos show more interested-looking onlookers. More generally, Google’s historic results show a definite downward trend in searches for streakers over the past decade.
  • Maybe it’s just Americans losing interest – Google’s trend data points out that the most searches for streakers come from New Zealand, Australia, and the UK. Maybe it’s only Americans who are bored with streakers. An article in the Sydney Morning Herald traces streaking back to London in 1799. It’s only reasonable that members of the late, great British Empire would take a proprietary interest in keeping the tradition alive. On the other hand, Canada and India show even less interest than the U.S.
  • It’s golf – I had to suggest it, since golf is far from the most popular spectator sport. But the fact that the Presidents Cup made the top searches list last week without a streaker’s involvement implies that someone (actually, quite a few someones) is paying attention to golf.
  • She wasn’t nude – Frankly, this is the most convincing theory to me. Once people heard that she was wearing a thong and (as one news report put it) “strategically placed red, white and blue stickers”, they lost interest.

Obviously, more data is necessary. We need to do some controlled experiments. By varying the types of events streaked at and the amount of clothing that the streakers wear, we can begin eliminating some of the possibilities above. We do need to control the other variables, though. Age and sex of the streaker seem likely to skew the response (though that might be the subject of another set of experiments). Since it seems unlikely that Ms Webster, the Presidents Cup streaker, will be available for the complete run of experiments, we’re going to need some volunteers. Women in their early 20s who are willing to bare some-or-all in the name of SCIENCE! are invited to drop a line to their local university. Psychology PhD candidates are standing by.