Friday, September 26, 2008
I’ve known people in my life that had fun for a while then for one reason or another they stopped. Often times the change was the result of a major life milestone like starting a career, or getting married, or having children. The added responsibility associated with these milestones had a severely negative impact on their personalities. Just because you mature and become more responsible doesn’t mean you need to stop having fun. Everyone should learn how to balance the responsibility in their lives with activities that foster joy and laughter. This balance will make you a happier person and you will never resent your responsibilities. I’ve also known people who were changed by adversity. They went through a tough time in their lives and ended up different people. Their positive attitudes and optimistic outlooks became negative and jaded. If adversity comes your way don’t let it change you and don’t let it keep you down. Life’s pretty short and as far as I know you only get one shot at it. We all have a choice to make. You can lead a fun-loving life and enjoy the ride. Or you can lead a sad-sack existence and bitter your way to the end. As I see it having fun is the only way to play it.
August 11, 2008. Bob Costas interviews President George W. Bush live in studio during NBC's primetime coverage from the Beijing Olympics.
Costas: "This past week you restated America's fundamental differences with China but given China's growing strength and America's own problems, realistically, how much leverage and influence does the U.S. have here?"
Bush: "First of all, I don't see America having problems. I see America as a nation that is a world leader that has got great values and leverage, I don't think you should look at the relationship as one of leverage, I think you should look at the relationship as one of constructive engagement, where you can find common areas like North Korea and Iran. But also be in a position where they can respect you enough to listen to your views on religious freedom and political liberty."
September 24, 2008. President George W. Bush addresses the nation on the state of our economy.
Bush: "Good evening. This is an extraordinary period for America's economy.
Over the past few weeks, many Americans have felt anxiety about their finances and their future. I understand their worry and their frustration. We've seen triple-digit swings in the stock market. Major financial institutions have teetered on the edge of collapse, and some have failed. As uncertainty has grown, many banks have restricted lending, credit markets have frozen, and families and businesses have found it harder to borrow money. We're in the midst of a serious financial crisis, and the federal government is responding with decisive action.
In forty three days we went from "I don't see America having problems" to "We're in the midst of a serious financial crisis". Forty three days. This means one of two things. Either a) on August 11 President Bush truly believed America was in good shape overall even though he knew full well that we were in the midst of financial ruins, or b) on August 11 President Bush was completely unaware of any financial problems with America, and at some point between August 11 and September 24 somebody smart filled him in on the situation.
–noun Psychology. anxiety that results from simultaneously holding contradictory or otherwise incompatible attitudes, beliefs, or the like, as when one likes a person but disapproves strongly of one of his or her habits.
–noun the state or fact of being ignorant; lack of knowledge, learning, information, etc.
So we have a sitting President that is either a) completely in denial about how bad things really are, or b) just plain stupid. I'm starting to lean towards the latter. Either way we're pretty much fxxxed.
I have been a registered Republican since I was old enough to vote, I have never voted for a non-Republican in any election, and I am very much in favor of the government staying out of our lives. That being said things cannot go on as they are. I do not know who the right candidate is to lead our country for the next four years. But I do know that it is time to stop voting blindly for a party, to get informed on the issues most relevant to America's vitality, and to begin effecting change in Washington. Apathy will no longer cut it.
And I never wanted this blog to be political in any way. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
On September 18, 2007, computer science professor Randy Pausch stepped in front of an audience of 400 people at Carnegie Mellon University to deliver a last lecture called “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams." A lot of professors give talks titled "The Last Lecture". Professors are asked to consider their demise and rumninate on what matters most to them. When Randy Pausch was asked to give such a lecture he didn't have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave wasn't about dying. It was about overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because "time is all you have... and you may find one day that you have less than you think"). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living. Randy’s lecture has become a phenomenon, as has the book he wrote based on the same principles, celebrating the dreams we all strive to make realities.
I first read the book then later viewed the lecture itself on You Tube. While the live lecture was both gripping and inspirational and I strongly recommend viewing it, I found the book to be both more poignant and emotional. This no doubt was by design as it would have been nearly impossible for Dr. Pausch to hold it together on stage had he spoken about his wife and children during the live lecture. So the book essentially picks up where the lecture leaves off and you can't experience the full power of Dr. Pausch's words without also reading the book, especially the last few sections. That being said I felt compelled to document and comment on certain passages from the book that I found particularly moving.
On page 185, Dr. Pausch writes about hearing from a man in his early forties with serious heart problems: "He wrote to tell me about Krishnamurti, a spiritual leader in India who died in 1986. Krishnamurti was once asked what is the most appropriate thing to say to a friend who was about to die. He answered: "Tell your friend that in his death, a part of you dies and goes with him. Wherever he goes, you also go. He will not be alone." In his e-mail to me, this man was reassuring: I know you are not alone."
- We've all lost people we love, and death is perhaps the most painful thing we will experience in life. This passage is both insightful and comforting. Enjoy your loved ones while they are still alive and provide reassurance to them in the afterlife.
On page 186, Dr. Pausch writes about an interview with TV news anchor Diane Sawyer: "... and when the cameras were off, (she) helped me think more clearly about the touchstones I'll be leaving for my kids. She gave me an incredible piece of advice. I knew I was going to leave my kids letters and videos. But she told me the crucial thing is to tell them the specific idiosyncratic ways in which I related to them. So I've been thinking a lot about that. I've decided to tell each of my kids things like: "I love the way you tilted back your head when you laughed." I will give them specific stuff they can grasp."
- If you have kids you can't help but be moved by this passage, and to feel a little selfish about how much we as parents take for granted. Enjoy every little perfect detail about your kids. You never know how much longer you'll be around to enjoy them.
On page 187, Dr. Pausch writes about a conversation he had with his minister after he received the terminal diagnosis: "You have life insurance, right?" he said. "Yes, it's all in place," I told him. "Well, you also need emotional insurance," he said. And then he explained that the premiums of emotional insurance would be paid for with my time, not my money. To that end, he suggested that I needed to spend hours making videotapes of myself with the kids, so they'll have a record of how we played and laughed. Years from now, they will be able to see the ease with which we touched each other and interacted. He also gave me his thoughts on specific things I could do for Jai to leave her a record of my love."
- This is very sad but it's another good reminder of how much we take for granted in good health. It doesn't matter how much money you earn or how much financial security you provide for your family, if you don't give them the most valuable asset of all - your time. Do whatever it takes to spend as much time as possible with your wife and kids right now, and it will pay dividends for the rest of your lives.
On pages 191 & 192, Dr. Pausch writes about his thoughts on death and leaving his young children behind (this is where I completely lost it): "I want the kids to know who I am, what I've always believed in, and all the ways in which I've come to love them... Jai and I haven't even told them yet that I'm dying... And so my kids remain unaware that in my every encounter with them I'm saying goodbye. It pains me to think that when they're older, they won't have a father. When I cry in the shower, I'm not usually thinking, "I won't get to see them do this" or "I won't get to see them do that." I'm thinking about the kids not having a father. I'm focused more on what they're going to lose than on what I'm going to lose. Yes, a percentage of my sadness is, "I won't, I won't, I won't..." But a bigger part of me grieves for them. I keep thinking, "They won't... they won't... they won't." That's what chews me up inside, when I let it."
- I can't even imagine the torture of knowing that you're going to die and leave your young children behind. Dr. Pausch is courageous and strong, and his words make me fully appreciate both the fragility and the beauty of life.
On page 193, Dr. Pausch writes about his 18-month old daughter: "I'm aware that Chloe may have no memory of me at all. She's too young. But I want her to grow up knowing that I was the first man ever to fall in love with her." I can't hold back the tears as I read this passage over and over again.
- I have a daughter and it pains me to read this. But some day Chloe will read her Dad's words and even though she will be deeply saddened by the father she never got to know, she will be touched and inspired by his love.
On page 194, Dr. Pausch writes about speaking to other people who lost their parents at a very young age: "Lately, I've been making a point of speaking to people who lost parents when they were very young. I want to know what got them through the hard times, and what keepsakes have been most meaningful to them. They told me they found it consoling to learn about how much their mothers and father loved them. The more they knew , the more they could still feel that love."
- While you're still living make it a point to show your kids how much you love them everyday and in every way. That way if anything should ever happen to you, your kids will always know exactly how you felt about them.
On page 198, Dr. Pausch writes about the dreams of his children: "So my dreams for my kids are very exact: I want them to find their own path to fulfillment. And given that I won't be there, I want to make this clear: Kids, don't try to figure out what I wanted you to become. I want you to become what you want to become."
- This is great advice for any parent. It's important not to live vicariously through our children. They are not us. They are unique and wonderful individuals. Encourage them and prepare them to succeed, but above all else let them live their own lives.
On page 200, Dr. Pausch writes about what life will be like for his wife (Jai) when he's gone: "There are so many things Jai and I are discussing as we work to come to terms with what her life will be like after I'm gone. "Lucky" is a strange word to use to describe my situation, but a part of me does feel fortunate that I didn't get hit by the proverbial bus. Cancer has given me the time to have these vital conversations with Jai that wouldn't be possible if my fate were a heart attack or a car accident."
- This passage is a testament to Dr. Pausch's unbreakable positivity and optimism. Dr. Pausch is an accomplished researcher and professor with a distinguished academic career, but even more impressive are his accomplishments as a human being. Attitude is infectious and I can't help but be inspired by Dr. Pausch's exceptional attitude, even in the face of death.
On page 202, Dr. Pausch writes about his marriage: "Jai and I work hard at our marriage. We've gotten so much better at communicating, at sensing each other's needs and strengths, and at finding more things to love about each other. So it saddens us that we won't get to experience this richness in our marriage for the next thirty or forty years. We won't get to amortize the hard efforts we've put in so far. Still, we wouldn't trade our eight years of marriage for anything."
- If you have a happy marriage enjoy it. If you have an unhappy marriage fix it. Try to remember why you got together in the first place and get back to that spot. Marriage isn't easy but it's a labor of love. And you'll only get out of your marriage what you put into it. Don't wait until you're confronted with death to figure this out.
The passage from the book that I found perhaps the most poignant and pertinent to the way people should lead their lives comes from pages 62 & 63, where Dr. Pausch writes about the moments after he receives the terminal diagnosis: "Leaving the doctor's office, I thought about what I'd said to Jai in the water park in the afterglow of the speed slide. "Even if the scan results are bad tomorrow," I had told her, "I just want you to know that it feels great to be alive, and to be here today, alive with you. Whatever news we get about the scans, I'm not going to die when we hear it. I won't die the next day, or the next day after that, or the day after that. So today, right now, well this is a wonderful day. And I want you to know how much I'm enjoying it." I thought about that, and about Jai's smile. I knew then. That's the way the rest of my life would need to be lived."
- This is such a beautiful way to approach life. Enjoy every minute of it, live it to the fullest, and love the people around you. As Dr. Pausch would say, "there's no other way to play it."
I was truly inspired and moved by "The Last Lecture" and I think everyone could benefit from reading this book. People who know me may be surprised by this post as I rarely show this side of myself. Randy Pausch was a great educator, a great husband and father, and beyond all else a great human being. I only wish I could have had the opportunity to shake his hand before he left this world.
Sadly, Dr. Randy Pausch lost his battle to pancreatic cancer on July 25th, 2008, but his legacy will indeed live on.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
April 18, 1998. The day I got married. Also the day I killed dancing forever. I’d danced in public many times before but surprisingly my wedding was the first time it was recorded on video. I always sensed that my dance skills left something to be desired but I never knew the full extent of my futility until I watched it on video. It was a painful moment of realization. From that point on I invoked a personal moratorium on dancing. I strongly suggest that all other white people do the same. Maybe you think you're a good dancer so this suggestion doesn't apply to you. But here's the thing - thinking something and it actually being true are two completely different things altogether. It's not your fault you were born white and there's nothing you can do to change it. So suck it and play the hand you were dealt. Look at it this way - would it be a good idea for a person born without arms to take up rowing? Of course not - so why put yourself through the agony. If you're still not convinced go out to a club and watch the white people dance. Even if they're able to fake it on the bottom check out their arms. Yup that's right - they have no fxxxin idea what to do with them. Painful isn't it? Like watching a fat kid run laps during gym class. I'm not saying all white people can't dance. Genetic anomalies exist to create exceptions to any rule. But why leave it to chance? If you're white and someone asks you to dance - just say no. You'll thank me later.
Friday, September 12, 2008
First off he says our football and baseball teams are bad again and that we are lucky to get a glimpse of the Dodgers, who are on their way to winning yet another World Series title. ("What a treat for the small-town losers in San Diego, the local yokels saddled with bad football and baseball teams again, but catching a break finally and getting a glimpse of the Los Angeles Dodgers as they move toward yet another World Series title.")
Hmmm that's interesting. Let's take a look at the recent history of San Diego's major sports franchises versus those in Los Angeles. Let's first look at the Chargers. Over the last four years (2004-2007) the Chargers have gone 46-18, while winning three division championships. Over that same span the Oakland Raiders (who are the defacto NFL team in Los Angeles since they can't get their own NFL franchise) have gone 15-49, while winning zero division championships. Over that same span the Chargers have beaten the hapless Raiders nine straight times. So who's football franchise is bad again TJ? Now let's look at the Padres. Granted they are terrible this year. You'll get no argument from me there. But if you look at the previous four years (2003 - 2007) the Padres went 346-303, while winning two division titles. Over that same span the Los Angeles Dodgers went 334-314, while winning just one division title. The Padres have a slightly higher winning percentage and one more division title but the overall records are similar. If you look at the head to head record it follows a similar trend. The Padres own a 39-34 head to head edge over that span. So if you're going to call the Padres bad (which is a stretch given the recent parity in the National League) you have to call the Dodgers bad too. As for the Dodgers winning yet another World Series title? Well, it hasn't happened since 1988 and 1981 before that. To find any other Dodgers titles you'd have to go all the way back to the 60's. Granted Simers does look pretty old in his bio so he was probably around to remember those titles. That being said live in the now TJ. Nobody cares what happened 50 years ago. Besides we're talking about the Dodgers, not the Yankees. There's a franchise with some World Series Titles to boast about.
Simers then goes on to take credit for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as he lumps them in with the Dodgers, Lakers, and USC Trojans. ("If only the yokels had what it takes to make it up north, and enjoy what the Dodgers, Angels, Lakers and Trojans have to offer. But I guess somebody has to live down here.")
He apparently got confused by their recent name change because everyone knows the Angels play in Anaheim which is part of Orange County, not Los Angeles. Nice try TJ. But I happen to live in Orange County. And if anything Orange County is more like San Diego than it is Los Angeles.
He goes on demean the Spanos family, the residents of San Diego, and the Chargers head coach, Norv Turner. ("...the Spanos Goofs..."), ("...the small-town losers in San Diego, the local yokels..."), ("San Diego has Norv Turner as Chargers coach, while the Dodgers are managed by the great Joe Torre and the media.") Even for a member of the media, this guy is toxic. I see what he's trying to do in stirring people up and being controversial, but at the end of the day it's just sad. What he's really doing is giving good journalists a bad name. It's okay to report your opinions and pass it off as news. But it's not okay when you have no facts to back up your opinions. In the future do some research TJ. I'm sure at some point you weren't as bitter and lazy as you are now. Try to remember what inspired you to be a sports writer in the first place and maybe you'll have a chance of restoring at least some of your credibility. Otherwise do all sports fans a favor and just quit. Trust me no one will miss you when you're gone.
September 9, 2008
San Diego is a town filled with losers
It's no wonder the people there are jealous of L.A., where all the winners reside.
DINKY TOWN DOWN SOUTH -- What a treat for the small-town losers in San Diego, the local yokels saddled with bad football and baseball teams again, but catching a break finally and getting a glimpse of the Los Angeles Dodgers as they move toward yet another World Series title.
No autographs, please, the boys are busy preparing for the first round of the playoffs against the Cubs, which explains why they really couldn't take the Padres seriously.
As for Chargers fans, they are trying to decide if life is worth living, a question they seemingly have to contemplate every year.
All together now: "San Diego Super Chargers!
"We're coming your way, we're gonna dazzle you with our super play. The time has come" to apparently fall flat on our face masks once again.
If only the yokels had what it takes to make it up north, and enjoy what the Dodgers, Angels, Lakers and Trojans have to offer. But I guess somebody has to live down here.
The Chargers have been picked by some experts to win the Super Bowl, but the Spanos Goofs and their band of heartbreakers regularly fall shy of expectations, which might explain why the team was the only one unable to sell out the opener -- a TV station buying tickets so the game could be shown here locally.
As a result, everyone down here got the chance to watch their heroes fold, Carolina scoring on the last play, and the Chargers sport a worse winning percentage than the Padres, who are 32 games below. 500.
San Diego Super Chargers!
"This was one of those September NFL eye-openers, a mimosa with a gallon of Red Bull for legs, a Bloody Mary with not enough caffeine in its blood," wrote San Diego Union-Tribune columnist Nick Canepa. "When you get up the following morning after one of these losses, the room still hasn't stopped spinning."
When everyone in the big city woke up Monday, the Dodgers and Angels were in first place.
L.A. has USC, and San Diego has San Diego State, losers to Cal Poly SLO recently. L.A. has the Lakers, and San Diego still has the Clippers in their background.
San Diego has a minor league outfit in the Padres and Norv Turner as Chargers coach, while the Dodgers are managed by the great Joe Torre and the media.
As for Monday, it really didn't matter what happened here. The Dodgers were due for a letdown, the Diamondbacks dead and matched against Giants sensation Tim Lincecum.
It's also probably a given the Dodgers will lose every game the rest of the way Greg Maddux pitches, although he finally did make the Padres winners.
The Diamondbacks are cooked, the Dodgers' magic number is 18 and soon they will be getting BradPenny, Rafael Furcal, Andruw Jones, Takashi Saito and Jeff Kent back -- making them favorites to win the World Series.
That's what ESPN's Eduardo Perez said this weekend on the radio, and he's an expert. Probably picked the Chargers to win the Super Bowl too.
I WILL undergo the same surgical procedure on my knee, and the same knee as Kent next week. We'll see who returns to work first.
The surgeon wanted me to see our family doctor, Thomas Parsa, who had to introduce himself, because he not only doesn't make house calls, he also doesn't take visits to his office if he can push you off on a nurse practitioner.
When it came time for blood to be taken, Danielle Davis -- the Andruw Jones of the nursing profession -- stuck me what seemed like 18 times while never hitting a vein before finally drilling into my hand.
The Raiders' team doctor, Frederick Nicola, will be doing the surgery, which got me to thinking as Danielle Davis kept poking that needle in my arm -- does Al Davis have a daughter named Danielle? I know this, if the anesthesiologist's last name is Davis, I'm out of there.
By the way, Parsa said he'd be seeing me soon. I guess his nurse practitioner is going to be on vacation.
WISE guy that he is, Scully wanted to know if I was making the entire road trip. "Murray would," he said.
I knew Scully wasn't going to Pittsburgh, so I wanted to fire back and say, "So-and-so would too," but with 59 years on the job, he got me. I had no idea who so-and-so might be.
Great news, of course, that he's returning, and although that cuts into Charley Steiner's airtime, maybe we can get him to come back for two or three more years.
T.J. Simers can be reached at email@example.com. To read previous columns by Simers, go to latimes.com/simers.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Where have you gone Marshall Faulk? A nation turns it's lonely eyes to you. Did SDSU really just lose at home to Division I-AA cream puff Cal Poly? For the 2nd time in a row? Yes, they really did. That thud you heard after Cal Poly kicker Andrew Gardner nailed the game winning field goal from 21 yards out as time expired, was the sound of Aztec football hitting rock bottom. SDSU hasn't been to a bowl game or had a winning season for that matter since 1998. They got close in 2003, going 6-6, but two of their wins that year came against Division I-AA schools Eastern Washington and Samford, so they weren't as close as they appeared. Since the beginning of 2004 SDSU has gone a paltry 16-32. And let me remind you that they don't play in the SEC or the Big Ten or even the Big East, no they play in the mediocre Mountain West. So why can't they win? They consistently place players in the NFL, they are 1 of only 3 Division I-A programs in Southern California (an area notoriously rich with high school and junior college football talent), and they have one of the most widely respected athletic directors in the country in Jeff Schemmel. So how can they possibly be this bad?
You could easily point to coaching and blame it on their head coach, Chuck Long. Afterall since Long arrived on campus in 2005 the Aztecs are a pathetic 7-18. Yes his roster is consistently lacking talent but how can you not recruit successfully when your school is located in San Diego, America's undisputed finest city? Add to that the fact that in a preseason college football article in "Sporting News" where they ranked the top 52 coaches from non-BCS Division I-A schools, Chuck Long was ranked number 52. But I'm not sure Long's the problem. He came to SDSU with a distinguished background in assistant coaching stints at Iowa and college football powerhouse Oklahoma. And he was a finalist in 2004 for the Broyles Award, which goes to the nation's top assistant coach. Granted he came in with zero head coaching experience but how can a guy go from top tier assistant coach to bottom ranked head coach in a span of two seasons? It doesn't make any sense.
Maybe it's the scheduling? It seems like every year their 4 non-league opponents include at least one team from both the Big Ten and the Pac Ten. What genius made this decision? Perhaps starting off every season with 2 demoralizing blow-outs at the hands of superior opponents has damaged the team's confidence to the point where they simply can't perform? Had they not lost to Idaho, San Jose State, and Cal Poly (twice) over the span of the last 6 seasons this theory might hold water, but since they did it does not. Besides the non-league shedule was rectified this season with cream puffs Cal Poly, San Jose State, and Idaho. Oh wait, the same teams that beat them over the span of the last 6 seasons. Perhaps they adopted the same mantra as the 08 U.S. Men's Olympic basketballers - the redeem team. After an opening loss against Cal Poly it's time to find a new mantra.
Perhaps it's the University's athletic department itself. Tony Gwynn, first ballot hall of famer and SDSU alumni, has been the head coach of the Aztecs baseball team for the past 5 years. Over that span the team's record is just 142-162 and has zero post season victories. Steve Fisher, national championship head coach at Michigan in 1989, has been the head coach of the Aztec basketball team for the past 9 years. Over that span the team is just 147-130 and has zero victories in the NCAA tournament. Distinguished coaches with undistinguished records at SDSU. Why? Is it the AD, Jeff Schemmel? The same Jeff Schemmel who is largely credited with transforming Kansas State football from perennial Big 12 doormat to perennial Big 12 contender? How could it be his fault? Like I said before it doesn't make any sense.
So why then is Aztec football (and Aztec sports in general) so bad.? It's the San Diego Sports Curse... what else?
The San Diego Sports Curse is a mythical explanation for the city of San Diego's inability to win a Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, or any other major league sports championship in the United States.
Because of the lack of a championship, and the city's population, San Diego has the dubious distinction of being the largest city in the United States to have never won a major league sports championship. Furthermore, San Diego has one of longest sports championship droughts in all of the United States, only winning the AFL championship in 1963. This record surpasses that of Cleveland, another cursed city, whose Browns last won an NFL Championship in 1964. Since then, no other team from that city has won a major professional sports championship.
Unlike other "curses" that seem to strike particular teams (the Boston Red Sox's Curse of the Bambino, the Chicago White Sox's Curse of the Black Sox – both of which seem to have been lifted – and the Chicago Cubs' Curse of the Billy Goat), this evil is said to have struck all professional teams in the city and county of San Diego, much like Philadelphia's Curse of Billy Penn. Neither the San Diego Padres nor the San Diego Chargers have ever won a championship in their current league, nor has any other major sports team that has resided in San Diego (including the Clippers, the Conquistadors and the Rockets). Moreover, the fact that San Diego does not have an NHL or NBA team makes it harder for the city to break the long-running problem of being the largest American city without a championship.
The curse of post-season failure extends even to college sports. The San Diego State Aztecs have never won a game in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, and the football team has not won a bowl game in the past 37 years (0-3 since their 1969 Pasadena Bowl victory).
The cause of the curse, which is theoretically impossible to prove, can be traced to the trade of Chargers wideout Lance Alworth to the Dallas Cowboys in 1970, which is similar to Boston's Curse of the Bambino in that the flip side of the curse was the Cowboys' success after the transaction. Dallas went from being a perennial loser in championship games over the previous five seasons (the Ice Bowl, Super Bowl V) to a team that won the Super Bowl during Alworth's first season there (and has won 5 Super Bowls overall), and gained the distinction of being "America's Team." In stark contrast, the Chargers were sent into a huge championship drought, although this development would fail to explain why all San Diego teams are cursed (the trade of Babe Ruth to the Yankees cursed just the Red Sox and not the Patriots, Celtics, or Bruins, who have all enjoyed dynasties since the start of the Curse of the Bambino).
Another explanation that has been advanced is the exceptional weather and the high quality of life many San Diegans enjoy. This line of thinking argues that the more miserable a place is to live, the more likely that place is to have a winning sports franchise. Of course, this theory is refuted when one looks at Buffalo, New York (a city known for cold, snowy winters and for hosting the Bills, the only NFL team to lose four straight Super Bowls).
Whatever the cause of the curse may be, here's to the Chargers breaking it in Tampa this February. Superbolts baby! Get er done men.