Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Boring but important: Supreme Court hearing redistricting tomorrow

Well, it may not be sexy, but the Supreme Court tomorrow will rule on the Constitutionality of the Texas legislature redrawing its voting boundaries, essentially rendering meaningless the votes of minorities (and whoever else they deem a threat) in certain parts of the state when electing their leaders.

As I have
mentioned before, to me, this is an incredibly important case. Those state leaders are basically trying to pull up the ladder on the treehouse and disenfranchise all the voters who don't agree with them. It's not a liberal issue or a conservative issue. It's a democracy issue. Let's hope this new Supreme Court group makes the right - and Constitutional - decision. Otherwise, this opens a very, very dangerous Pandora's box. Those who get elected would only have to redraw their state's voting boundaries and stay in power indefinitely. That's not democracy. No joke. I'm now getting off my soapbox - but still. Big issue!

P.S. They're hearing it Wednesday, and are expected to rule some time before July.


Breaking News: Washington Examiner breaks news

Congrats to the fledgling D.C. newspaper, the Washington Examiner, which broke its first national story today (that I know of).

The paper reported that President Bush felt that Osama Bin Laden helped him win the 2004 presidential election. Boy, that Bush. He's so media savvy. He seems to know just what to say, and just how and when to say it. I'm sure his assertion that Bin Laden is essentially his political ally will play well with all 10 of the Washington Examiner's readers. Kudos to the Examiner - the little Washington tabloid that is owned by a Colorado billionaire that could.


Your Montgomery County Parent of the Year!

All riiiiight! Let's give it up - for Shirley Lumbao! Lumbao said she was unable to get her two teenaged sons to go to school, and just got sentenced to two days in jail for it. Way to take a hard line with the wee ones, Shirley. Don't let them get the upper hand! Fight the system! That's just the problem with kids nowadays - too much damn schooling! If I done said it once, I done said it a gadillion times.

If nothing else, this proves that the Office Space work/school avoidance strategy unfortunately just doesn't work.

"Yeah. I don't really like school? So I don't think I'm gonna go anymore."

"Are you calling in sick?"

"Nah. I'm just going to, you know. Stop going."

Nice try, you two Lumbao scamps. If possible, please try not to forget to visit your mama in the Big House. Or, if nothing else, please remember to feed her parking meter in the Short-term Convict lot.


Monday, February 27, 2006

Etan Thomas is my strong Nubian friend

Good article from ESPN's Scoop Jackson (aka, the new Ralph Wiley) spotlighting the socially conscious side of Wizards forward and poet Etan Thomas, and wondering if he would show that side if we were a more visible (read: better) player in the league. Definitely worth a read.

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Travis Garrison makes "shocking" statment

Well, after getting absolutely waxed by 24 at North Carolina in more or less a must-win situation, Terp forward/center Travis Garrison predicted the Maryland Terrapin basketball team is primed to "shock a lot of people" over the last couple weeks of the season, presumably by winning a bunch of games and making the Big Dance. And you know what? I really buy into that, Travis. It's clear you've just been biding your time. Like when you couldn't guard Tyler Hansbrough (or Shelden Williams, or Al Thornton, or anyone else from a major school) and lost your starting job to underclassmen? Just rocking them to sleep, baby. Just preparing to SHOCK THE WORLD!!

Because why do your job every game, build up some wins, and be a tournament lock in January? That would be too boring. So you thought you'd spice it up, huh? So all those airballs, all those turnovers, all that mushy defense, all those moments of cowardice over the season (ALL your seasons, in fact) that was all meaningless - just a warm-up. Just priming the pump. All in the past, right, Travis? Now is the time when you're firing on all cylinders, ready to make that stretch run, and SHOCK THE WORLD? Have they awoken a sleeping giant, Travis? Oh, man. I'm on the edge of my fucking seat.

I can't wait to see how Travis plays against Miami. He's going to be like a man possessed. Because there's no way he isn't going to back up all this big talk. Right, Travis? Right? There's no way you'd be weak or stupid enough to spout false bravado about shocking the world and not giving up while in the comfort of your own locker room, only to wilt like a hothouse flower the second some guy backs you over in the lane, shaking your head at teammates and hanging your face low like your mama just sent you to your bedroom. Right?

So let's go out there and get to shocking! Final push into the tournament! You take the lead Travis! Walk it like you talk it! I'm waiting.


Friday, February 24, 2006

Random Bulletized Thoughts

As the weekend approaches, here are some delightful musings. Some delightful bulletized musings! Without further ado:

  • I like this new blog template much better. The old template was beginning to make me feel like Merlin or some such, toiling at my scrolls.

  • After watching Kobe Bryant absolutely abuse Ron Artest last night, it's official -- no basketball player on planet Earth can handle Kobe one-on-one.

  • On a sad note, I can't believe the ridiculously hot Becky O'Donohue was among the first round of American Idol cuts! Starting now, she and her sister are officially on the Playboy clock. And judging by all the people who found my blog this week by Googling "Becky O'Donohue + naked" and so forth, there will be frequent checking (winding?) of those watches.

  • If a televised golf tournament's theme music is ragtime piano, and/or they keep showing players laughing and hamming it up, and/or Gary McCord is involved in any way, you must change the channel. Are you listening, Accenture Match Play Championship?

  • I think there are no losers in the Donald Trump-Martha Stewart war.

  • Kudos to Metro for finally overhauling its bus system - along with its chairman and various other things. It's just unfortunate that it takes months of bad press to light a fire under them. If I was pissing off my wife, and it took months for me to get that message, I'd be divorced. But unless you want to sit in traffic, Metro's the only game in town. Well, good to see they're making the changes, one way or another.

  • I think Friday is my favorite day of the week. You've got the whole weekend spread out, but you went to work or school and were productive during the day. And it's usually a quiet workday anyway.

  • I'm definitely going to watch that Dave Chappelle movie when it comes out. Some say he's just the next Chris Rock, but I think he's definitely got his own thing. And the movie premise seems inventive, not to mention hilarious, not to mention the Fugees reunited for it.

Great New Look, Same Great Bloggy Taste

I was getting tired of the old design...a little too parchmenty. A little too medieval for me. This one is so 2006...it's so Ryan Seacrest. So Arctic Monkeys. So Chicken Fries. I'm excited. Onward and upward.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Terps on the Move: Francis traded, Dixon surges

First off, a terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible Terps loss last night. Not much else to say on it...I'd just refer back to my previous post on this team. Barring a magical late-season run, I think this team is done.

Now, onto some news about a few former Terps from better days. First, extremely highly paid, malcontented tweener guard and one-year University of Maryland attendee Steve Francis yesterday got
shipped to the Knicks, where he will team with extremely highly paid, malcontented tweener guard and one-year Georgia Tech attendee Stephon Marbury. Not only do they play the same positions, they're the same guy!

The Knicks (a team I like) just loaded up on more salaries for yet another tweener player with loads of talent, a chip on his shoulder, and no history as a winner in the pros. Good job, Isiah Thomas. Or, shall I say, the Worst General Manager Ever.

This Mitch Lawrence column in the NY Daily News says it all - he makes the case that Isiah Thomas is out to rebuild every team in the league but the Knicks. And at this point, who can argue? Maybe the Bullets can sell the Knicks a bunch of their crap, too!

Can we tempt you, Isiah? I guess we could let him go for two first-rounders...

Meanwhile, Orlandoans seem
a little miffed by the direction of their team, but they're definitely happy to see Francis go. I can't feel too bad for them. They've got young buck Dwight Howard and lots of cap room to sign guys in the 2007 free agent class, which includes Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki, and some dude named LeBron James. In any case, here's hoping Francis turns things around in New York.

So, how about some good news from the Terps? How about hometown Terp hero Juan Dixon,
stepping up in Portland to help lead the Trailblazers? Was there ever any doubt he would catch on in the NBA -- who doesn't need a gutty guy who will give you instant offense off the bench? Steve Blake is also playing well and getting more minutes for Portland. Way to go, champs.

(Photo Credit: Bahram Mark Sobhani/Express-News)

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I'm totally gonna quit oil tomorrow, guys - seriously.

So in his State of the Union Address, Bush, as everyone knows, claimed America is addicted to oil.

Well, apparently, we're going to eat, drink, and be merry for a little while longer. And we'll start that 12-step program tomorrow. Because, how has Bush proceeded to help us cure this addiction? He has
increased drilling on federally protected land, and laid off 32 people from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory - the very office that stood the most chance to help us "kick" this "addiction" - before a political damage-control scramble to bring them back. Forgive my cynicism, but these do not sound like the actions of a man serious about kicking a habit. We all love you, George. We're behind you. Get the help you need! Denial ain't just a petroleum shipping lane in Egypt, my friend.

"Hey! What did I just tell you, pea brain? Anyone home in there? I'm going to quit...right after the Hummer party tonight at Ted Stevens' house. Ever been to a Hummer party, chicken legs?"

To be fair, he
proposed a few things to back up his words, and I'll certainly give that credit where it's due. But still. He could call for tax credits for hybrid car owners (as he did with SUVs) and really get this rolling. Or, he could stop nickel-and-diming effective and relatively cheap programs like the EPA's Energy Star program for appliances, or call for better gas mileage standards for cars. There are A LOT of things he could do, many of which wouldn't cost the government much, if any, money. But he seems content to keep drilling for oil while the status quo - ie, high gas prices - does his work for him, all the while benefitting his oil-company friends and supporters from all sides and ignoring this quaint little notion people once called "the public good."

So basically, I'm not holding my breath and waiting for the Bush administration to fully walk its talk on this. Why should they start now? They've had a problem for a long time, and shouldn't be trusted to quit cold turkey. At least, not without an intervention.

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Maryland off the medal podium

Well, it's official. As of the latest USA TODAY/ESPN Coaches Top 25 college basketball poll, the Maryland Terrapins men's basketball team is now the D.C. area's fourth-best squad, behind George Washington University, Georgetown University, and the upstart George Mason University, now that the Patriots are ranked #25. Congrats to them on their first-ever Top 25 ranking.

It's a role reversal for the Terps. The three George schools are all having great seasons after being low for decades, while the usually powerhouse Terrapins are down. But hope isn't
entirely dead yet, even if we have, to use the current Winter Olympics terminology, been temporarily knocked off the medal podium for local hoops teams. Goterps.

P.S. Here's
a great piece from John Feinstein on Gary Williams - or more specifically, the fans' tendency to turn on him. I agree completely with every word Feinstein writes here. Maryland fans are way too fickle. It's like if they don't get to riot every couple of weeks, their aggression backs up and they have to unleash it elsewhere. It's a frustrating year, sure, but Gary's not the appropriate target.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The bass player from The Who killed a baby?

Oh my God! I can't believe bass player from The Who John Entwistle killed his wife and baby! Oh, the humanity! Maybe I would have expected this out of Pete Townshend, but not John Entwhistle! He was the glue that held that whole operation together! They called him The Ox! Because he was their rock! The Ox was The Rock of The Who!

Wait...what's that you say? The Who bass player John Entwistle
is dead? Oh no! What a horrible turn! I can't take this! When will this rash of bad news end? Why did my Friday have to get off to such a lousy start? I can't believe The Ox is gone! No wonder he hasn't been returning my letters.

But if that is the case, then who committed these horrible crimes? Some bloke named
Neil Entwistle? And he has pleaded not guilty? Well, this is all just horrible.

But while we're here, what's the deal with the last name Entwistle? Neil and The Ox do not seem to be related. Is Entwistle like the Smith of the U.K.? Where's that Entwistle chap got off to? Oh, you mean Nigel Entwistle? No, I speak of James Entwistle, of Kent. Not James Entwistle of Birmingham, or young Jimmy Entwistle of Canterbury? No, you fool, how many Entwistles you know what can work these bellows? Twenty-four, sir.

Regardless, I'm just happy that bass player of The Who John Entwistle is not involved. I take comfort in that. Crazy Entwistles...the whole lot of them, I say, daft as loons!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

American Idol finally gets some hotties

Well, the most popular show on TV has named its finalists. And there's one major and noteworthy improvement from previous seasons. Back to that in a second.

Despite the naysayers, there are a lot of reasons to like American Idol, because there are so many different ways to watch it. You can laugh, cry, scream, appreciate the good, ridicule the bad, watch for the contestants or watch for the judges. You can delight in the early car-wreck auditions, enjoy the Hollywood group drama, and participate directly in the show by voting off indivdual contestants when the "real" competition gets rolling.

But up until this year, the show was lacking in one enjoyability factor: Where were all the hot girls?

Well, I believe someone got wise this year. Because it's an embarrassment of riches! There has been some decent eye candy in past seasons - 2005's
Lindsey Cardinale and D.C.'s own Tamrya Gray from season one come to mind - but NOTHING like this year. So how's about a little round-up.

Let's start with the smoking hot
Kellie Pickler. I couldn't find any good photos of her, but trust me, she's like the Barbie doll you imagined during all those nasty boyhood tea parties come to life. She's serious. Then there is the slut-o-rific and delightfully named Heather Cox, who seems primed for an "after hours" career once Idol fans vote her off.

Either one of those two (especially Pickler, who has
won beauty pageants) could easily have earned the title of hottest female finalist in American Idol history. But it was not to be. Because every now and then, the homo sapien species sees fit to produce a mutant specimen that crosses the beauty threshold into drop-dead gorgeous territory. I'm talking forget-your-own-name, walk-into-a-stop-sign gorgeous. And this year, we've got one - and we almost had two! That's right, I'm talking about the ridiculous Becky O'Donohue. And what's even crazier...she has a freaking twin! (The twin, Jesse, also showed up, but couldn't sing due to a recent surgery. Dammit!) I mean, look at them! I remember they came in to audition together, and Simon and Randy (neither of whom are strangers to hot girls) were both floored. Randy seemed barely able to speak, and a gape-mouthed Simon stammered something along the lines of "looking the way you do, I don't think you even need this competition."

These twins are...what was I saying? Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa........

So there you have it. May the hottest woman win. What is this, after all. A freaking singing contest?

(Photo Credit: R&L Models)


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

How doth the Terps suck? Let me count the ways.

Looks like another Valentine's Day Massacre for the Maryland Terrapins. At the risk of sounding like a negative nelly, last night's loss to Clemson - their fourth consecutive loss to the Tigers - could be the beginning of the end. This is the same Clemson Tigers team who lost to Elon earlier this season. Elon! The Elon Phoenix! And not only did the Terps lose, they lost by 12!

Of course, this conjures images of the fabled
Valentine's Day Massacre of 2001, when Maryland lost at home to then-last-place Florida State. The only thing is, that loss woke up those Terps, and catapulted them on a late-season run that ended in the Final Four. The result of this year's Valentine's Day Massacre remains to be seen. But I'm not holding my breath.

Last night's game almost made me physically ill. The Terps did just about everything wrong. So to that end, here's a list I drew up of all of Maryland's faults. Pull up a chair. In no particular order:

1) Primary scorers disappear for long stretches of games.

2) No discernibly consistent execution of any offensive game plan.

3) Don't capitalize on turnovers or convert fast breaks.

4) They hang their heads and get discouraged when they're down. (Note to James Gist:
Eeyore called. He wants his sunny resilient disposition back.)

5) They seem unable and/or unwilling to exploit another team's weaknesses.

6) They take unnecessary risks on both ends of the court.

7) They panic easily.

8) They celebrate prematurely.

Yeah, dog! We just cut the lead to five! What!

9) No viable Division I-caliber point guard.

10) No discernible substitution patterns or set lineups.

11) ZERO interior toughness. (See
Shelden Williams, Sharrod Ford last year, etc.)

12) They can neither make nor catch passes. It's true.

13) No strong ballhandlers, guard, forward, or otherwise.

14) They think they are more talented than they are.

15) Lack of consistent defensive presence in all phases.

16) Inability to beat full- and half-court traps.

17) Generally little demonstration of a true competitive spirit.

That's about it. Other than that, they're a great team! Don't get me wrong here, I still love the Terps and I'm going to continue to root hard for them and hope for the best. I'm not throwing in the towel - I think it just might be time to recalibrate the expectations. I'm no longer sure if my previous predictions of a Sweet Sixteen berth or a Mike Jones-led resurgence after Chris McCray's loss are in the cards. It might just be time to cut our losses and turn the page on this maddening season, and this wildly underacheiving team.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Dear Tony Kornheiser

Dear Tony,

Just read
your column about how much you love J.J. Redick, how great of a pro you're convinced he'll be after watching him play Maryland the other night, and how "small" the opinions are of those who dislike him. Interesting.

Now I know you're King of the Sports Section, Tony, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to take issue with you here.

In the interest of full disclosure,
I hate Duke. I hate Redick, too. And I resent you - supposedly an insightful voice in the sports world - basically taunting me and other Duke detractors with "nyah nyah nyah nyah, you're just jealous." Well, that just wraps it all up in a neat little package, doesn't it? Except for the fact that it's not an accurate statement.

The fact is, Duke has nothing I want. My team - The Maryland Terrapins - got its national championship, and is a strong program. They are good in many non-basketball sports as well, unlike the Blue Devils. I got a good education there and I'm proud to have gone to school there. So there's no jealousy here.

What I dislike about Duke and Redick (and granted, I am generalizing here) is the fact that they are by and large a bunch of smug, snot-nosed, elitist, arrogant, holier-than-thou, disagreeable, lily-white trust-fund babies who
get all the calls and who seem programmed to joylessly play basketball as if their lives depended on it. In other words, they pretty much embody what I don't like in a person. Is it still okay if I choose which characteristics I dislike in people and sports teams (which undoubtedly have "personalities"), and then proceed to dislike them based on those characteristics? Is that still allowed? Disliking people?

So the "you're just jealous" angle that you play here, Tony, is trite, untrue, ill-intended and equally ill-taken. As is your claim that people dislike Redick for "small" reasons. Tony, I thought your role in the sports discourse was to foster discussion, make interesting points, and help set a local and national sports agenda. Your latest column, however, seems to be nothing more than a naked attempt to piss people off. Liking J.J. Redick is your right. Just like it is my right to dislike him. Saying my reasons for disliking him are "small" is in and of itself a small act - especially while presuming to tell me what my own reasons are for disliking him.

So your judgments and jumpy conclusions are hereby not accepted. Maybe next time you should make some balanced statements instead of throwing some knee-jerk bouquets to whichever player you can stay awake long enough to watch, and using your bully pulpit to hurl insults at anyone who feels differently.

Finally, Tony, just so you have all the facts, here's some
delightful poetry from your hero I thought you might want to read and memorize! Isn't it sweet? J.J. for poet laureate, right? How will you quit him now, Tony?

Thank you for granting time to me, the smallest of the small. Just a Terp fan weighing in with his tiny two cents.


No One Appreciates Me


Grey's Anatomy: The Emperor Wears No Clothes!

Welcome to The Emperor Wears No Clothes, a new periodic feature here at No One Appreciates Me. In our first formal installment, we're going to break down "Grey's Anatomy," the wildly popular ABC hospital dramedy. Or, as I like to call it, "Sex and the City with Doctors."

Doctor? I want you to walk, don't run, very slowly away from the television set. Slowly! I want you to turn off "Grey's Anatomy," run to your nearest neighbor, and tell them we have a Code Suck. I repeat, doctor. A Code. Suck.

I'm very, VERY tired of a couple of television trends: 1) The Voiceover. It's effective and it's easy to follow, but it's lazy and it's been done to death. Please leave that dead horse alone. And 2) Female characters who are all insane with hormones. Case in point: let's take Sunday's episode, part 2 of this little "Code Black" cliffhanger. Among other things, it involved the Isobel character banging some guy in a supply closet because she's upset about not being more of a "doer" in life, and Sandra Oh's Cristina character running out on a brain surgery (one she barged in on uninvited and begged to assist with, because apparently she IS a "doer" in life) and tearing down the hall after the gurney carrying the patient with the bomb in his chest cavity. She then jumps in front of the gurney and demands to know where a certain doctor is - when she is told they don't know, she gets upset because now she may never be able to tell him she loved him. This while Grey, the main character, who is helping with the bomb guy, complains that she "really has to pee." Did I mention this patient was bleeding to death and had an unexploded bomb in his chest cavity?

There are many more instances of this, in every episode - I'm just stopping here. The upshot is, these are supposed to be doctors? How does this make any sense? How is this in any way a realistic, interesting, engaging, compelling, professional, entertaining, flattering, or empowering portrayal of women? If I was a woman - a woman doctor in particular - I would be livid at this assumption that all females are whiny, frazzled, oversexed nerve bundles. I should really treat this patient, but what would that cute surgeon think if I messed up? Would he hate me? I should have stayed in bed this morning. God, I am SO bad with stress. Even worse, the black female doctor on the show is a walking stereotype, the "don't take no crap," finger-wagging type that everyone's afraid of. Is this what passes for nuanced writing these days?

(Also, I am tired of lazy show producers who can't come up with a decent name for their show, so they just name a character in a way that makes for an easy pun. See "Bones," "Hope and Faith," "Will and Grace," "The Lyon's Den," "Jake in Progress," "The Book of Daniel," "Crossing Jordan," "Tru Calling," and so on. I'm going to come up with a show called "Fauk You and the Horse You Rode in On." It stars Dave Coulier as private detective Ernest Fauk and
Jamie Luner as his sexy neighbor, Matilda Horse. I think it's about time for a Jamie Luner comeback, don't you?)

As for the characters on "Grey's Anatomy," can't we flesh out our female characters a little bit? I don't want to hear anything else about how brilliant this show is. And I'm not the only one who thinks this,
for various reasons. If I could sum up this writing in a word, it would be careless. It's just another freaking vacuous soap opera! Until they add another dimension, let's just go for the real thing. Put "All My Children" on and pass the Thin Mints.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Insert snappy winter headline here

Call it The Weekend White-Out. Call it A Taste of Winter. Call it the February Blizzard Bombing of Aught and Six. I'm still too cold to come up with anything punchy right now, as I just finished trudging through the approximately 14 inches of snow that fell in my northern suburb as part of the snow storm that blanketed the Washington area early Sunday morning and set snowfall records across the Eastern Seaboard.

The snow was a record for New York, but Boston wanted in on the action, too. I saw a Today show report from Boston's Sean (pronounced "SEEN," thank you very much) McLaughlin, who said it was a record-breaking snowfall for them, too, right before pointing out it was the eleventh-biggest snow total ever for the area. Now, I may not be a fancy-schmancy television journalist there, Seen, but in order for something to be described as record-breaking, doesn't it have to, you know, break a record? But hey, that's just one man's opinion. Seen, you will always be my favorite wacky New England meterologist. And by "favorite," I mean "eleventh favorite."

Now, we just have to hold on for the melt. This morning, sore from an hours-long Sunday shovel-thon, I trudged to work in frigid temperatures, only to find out that a long stretch of sidewalk between my house and the subway station was not cleared. There was only a thin trench of footprints created the night before, with the melted snow in the bottom of each footprint having frozen solid. That left me with three choices: walk directly on the ice, walk directly in the snow, or walk directly in the traffic. I went with the ice.

Of course, this is all God's way of getting us all in the mood for the Winter Olympics. I can think of no other reason for this snowfall. And like not many others, I am watching a lot of it. Shaun (pronounced "Shawn," like a normal person, please take note, Seen McLaughlin) White got his first gold, and that was sweet. That guy is on a whole other level. He's definitely taken the mantle from Tony Hawk as The Michael Jordan of Extreme Sports. It was also rather disappointing to see Michelle Kwan leave the games. Especially so given a new revelation I had about her: She's Hot! Truly, her loss is everyone's.

Friday, February 10, 2006

I can't believe Gilbert Arenas didn't make the All-Star Team

It makes no sense that Gilbert got snubbed. Actually, this is beyond a snub. I'm glad he says he's using it as motivation, but still. It sucks. I mean, I know the East is stacked with guards, but are you seriously telling me Gilbert isn't better than Richard Hamilton, or Chris Bosh, or pitiful, mail-it-in, cottony soft, prima donna Vince Carter? (Scroll down to the New Jersey Nets part of this story and read all about VC, then tell me with a straight face that he deserves any of the accolades or money he receives on a regular basis. I dare you. I hate that guy.)

No way. Scoring-wise, Gilbert is actually better than all but three other players in the league. He's
fourth in the league in scoring. I repeat - HE'S FOURTH IN THE LEAGUE IN SCORING!! And Chris Bosh is better? Maybe if it was the Players Who Look Like Their Team Mascot Game, he'd be in.

Congratulations, Chris Bosh! You're the MVP of the 2006 Dudes
Who Look Like Their Team Mascot Game! What are you going to do next?

Otherwise, I don't see any justification for taking him over Gilbert. I know Gilbert's team isn't great, but that's not his fault. If it wasn't for Gilbert, the Wizards would be in the toilet. And what about Bosh's freaking God-awful Raptors? Arenas deserves to be there. If the fans can't vote correctly, they shouldn't be allowed to vote.

(P.S. He made the all-star team Friday as an injury replacement. Huzzah!)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Barack Obama, Rock Star

It's been quite a week for Barack Obama, that sexiest of senators from Illinois. He's the dreamiest Democrat around...I mean, his plainspoken demeanor, his touch with the common man, his courage in policymaking...well, I'm just swooning. I need to step away from the keyboard. Get some air.

That's better. So first, the week began with Obama starting and then
squashing his beef with Arizona's John McCain, the rock star senator to end all rock star senators - the Bono to Obama's Green Day, if I may. And this is good, because that beef threatened to destroy us all. Don't kid yourself. Not since 50 and Game has a beef-squashing meant so much to so many.

But that was not enough for Barack Obama. Believe you me. He wasn't gonna stop until he literally became THE rock star on the Senate floor. And last night, he did just that when he went out and got himself
a rock star award. That's right - Obama took home the Grammy statuette last night for his spoken word album, "Dreams From My Father". Congratulations, Barack.

Jealous, John? The roof, the roof, the roof is on FI-YAH!!!

So now all I have to say is, where are all the haters at? Where are all your Senate heroes? Senator Conrad Burns - do YOU have a Grammy Award? No, no I do not believe that you do. Show me the Grammy Award of Senator Mark Dayton! Oh, you cannot, for he does not have one? Oh, yes, I knew that. Even the great McCain himself cannot boast a Grammy Award - although, who could forget his rousing medley of Barbra Streisand favorites on "Saturday Night Live?" Sadly, however, no Grammy was forthcoming.

So hats off to Barack Obama, because it's official. He has become THE rock star senator.

Let's work together to end cartoon violence

Yeah, yah, I know the violence over the Mohammed cartoons is a very serious thing. But when people write headlines like "Bush urges end to cartoon violence," you're just setting it up on a tee. (I see they've since changed the headline, but that's what it was before...I wonder if there's some out-of-work headline writer wandering the streets right now, wondering how else he could possibly earn $19,000 a year.)

So anyway, I'll bite. I say, let's come together and stop
dropping anvils on one another, huh? After all, are we not human? If you drop an anvil on me, do stars not encircle my head? And while we're at it, why don't we refrain from setting each others' butts on fire? And can't we all just get along without running away from each other, until we reach a cliff, and then we paint a tunnel in the cliff and run through that, but the person chasing us runs into the wall and can't get through the tunnel, and a bunch of their teeth fall out?

I picture a traumatized president, in a chocolate-stained striped T-shirt, watching TV and tearfully wondering why that bird has to be so mean to that cat. So for the sake of that image, Nation of Islam, let's end this cartoon violence once and for all. You've all become such a bunch of, I don't know, caricatures.

(Psst...Wanna see them? No opinions - this is just for informational purposes.)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

As The Nats Turn

You know something? The Washington Post has the best stable of sports columnists in the country. Tony "Monday Night Football" Kornheiser, Mike Wilbon, Mike Wise, Andrew Beyer (apparently, an essential voice in the world of horse racing), and of course, Tom "The Bozz" Boswell. Sometimes, I find Boswell to be a little boring, but when he's on, there's no other columnist I find myself agreeing with more. I just nod my head throughout the entire column.

A great example is his column today on the
the ongoing saga with the Washington Nationals, which is a joke and a disgrace to the D.C. City Council. We reject. No wait, we approve it. No wait, we reject. No wait, let's have some more closed-door mediation. Council members like Adrian Fenty and Linda Cropp keep saying they don't want the stadium to be paid for by the D.C. taxpayers. Okay, fair enough. But the tax money is not going to come from regular residents, but rather from businesses and federal offices, a rent payment by the team itself, and a tax on stadium concessions. So don't make it sound like the Sheriff of Nottingham is coming around to take food away from babies and steal glasses away from blind people.

And once (or if) the admittedly pricey $700 million stadium gets built as part of the revitalization of the Anacostia waterfront, that is going to bring in BILLIONS of dollars and other benefits for the city. If you can't see the public benefit of improving that area and putting in a whole new sports and shopping district for the city and its visitors to enjoy, then I don't know what you're doing pretending you are a public servant.

These council members just don't see the forest for the trees. I hope this costs Cropp and Fenty their mayoral election bids this year (what a coincidence that two mayoral candidates would take such high-profile positions on such a high-profile issue in an election year! But right, they do it for the good of the city.)

Because when Major League Baseball's leaders are saying you're incompetent and playing dirty and you aren't doing what's best for those who pay your bills, then that's really saying something.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Dookie refs get a little justice...Clougherty style!

We're bringing down the Dookie machine, brick by brick! It's about time someone stood up to the Duke refs and admit they create an unfair advantage for that team. Thanks to The Dymond for passing this one along.

ACC suspends crew for call in Florida State-Duke game
February 6, 2006

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- The referees who worked the Florida State-Duke game received a one-game suspension Monday for what the league said was an unnecessary technical foul on a Seminoles player.

The crew of Mike Eades, Ray Natili and Ed Corbett shouldn't have assessed a technical on Florida State's Alexander Johnson in the second half of Duke's 97-96 overtime win Saturday, said John Clougherty, coordinator of men's basketball officials for the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The technical was Johnson's fifth foul, and he left the game with 9:23 remaining. Johnson had 13 points and 11 rebounds before he went to the bench. Johnson picked up his fourth foul for an intentional foul on Duke center Shelden Williams, who quickly got to his feet and bumped Johnson.

Television replays showed Johnson attempting to back away. The confrontation had resulted in technicals for both players.

Referees also whistled Johnson for an intentional foul against Williams in the first half.

Always flop like a fish to get calls, my young apprentice. It is the way of The Dark Side.

(Photo Credit: AP/ESPN Page 2)

Well, that was just Super

Well, the Stillers got one for the thumb, and blah blah blah, winning Super Bowl XL last night over the Seattle Seahawks, 21-10.

In honor of said event, which was rather
dull, I have some bulletized thoughts on the game, the ads, and the moments. The Super Moments. I actually took notes on all this stuff, but I accidentally left them at home this morning, so these will be a little seat-of-the-pants. Damn you, Mondays!

Wow, did Big Ben overthrow another receiver? Great. I'm going back to bed. This is not really me.

On the game:

1) At the very beginning of the second quarter, Seattle had a third-and-two (and some momentum) in Steeler territory, and Shaun Alexander was on the sideline. Wait, what? For all his talk about
hitting the bully in the mouth (scroll about halfway down), his sitting out on that down really set the tone for his day. I understand that people get tired, but come on. Him or someone else over there didn't think the league rushing champion belonged on the field on third-and-two? Please. The Seahawks tried a pass, it fell incomplete. Punt. And in that sequence, Seahawks, you punted away my respect as well. You punted it away.

2) To me, the biggest non-trick (I call them "trick plays" - feel free to call them "gadgets" if you want, but that means you are probably a jerk) game-changing play came on third-and-five at about midfield. Big Ben shook the rush and shoveled it, total improv-style, to Hines Ward for the first. A few plays later, Ben completes the long pass down to the goal line to set up the first TD. The Seattle D was firing on all cylinders up to that point, and that one play started the leak in their balloon.

3) The Seahawks' clock management at the end of both halves was piss poor. I don't think Mike Holmgren is a very good coach.

4) Speaking of piss poor, I really miss the days when NFL games were well-officiated. Last night's officiating was
disgraceful. That was like watching a Duke or a Michael Jordan game. It ALL went against Seattle. A phantom offensive pass interference call erased a Darrell Jackson TD. Later, Ben R. gets tackled before he scores on a goal-line plunge, but they give him the TD anyway. Then, later, a phantom holding call erased what would have been 1st-and-goal for the Hawks. Then, after a Hasselbeck INT, Hasselbeck gets 15 yards for cutting out the legs of the guy returning the ball. The only problem is, that's perfectly legal! It's only illegal on a block. I tell you - the NFL needs a full-time squad of refs who are under the age of 60. They make too much money for them not to do this, especially when it's hurting their product on the field. The Hawks didn't play well enough to win, but without all those bullshit penalties, who knows?

5) Trick plays and one Willie Parker run aside, this game wasn't that good. I agree with what Steve Young said in the post-game - that Pittsburgh really won the title against Indy and Denver, and had just enough left to limp through this one. You could tell after the game that both teams just kind of wanted to get off the field. It reminded me a lot of Maryland the year they won the basketball championship. The real championship games came against Kansas and UConn, with the final Indiana game being almost a formality. It was klunky, mistake-prone play, followed by an exhausted team awkwardly celebrating the championship despite knowing they just played like crap. But whatev. It's still the Super Bowl, so big ups to the Stillers.

On the Commercials:

1) Ah, they all pretty much sucked. Especially all the Bud Light commercials in which all those "regular dudes" will do anything for Bud Light, including taunt a bear, tackle co-workers, worship furniture, etc. So, is the message that Bud Light drinkers are idiots?

2) The most effective one was actually an ABC promo for "Dancing with the Stars." It showed a lot of the female dancers prancing around and showing skin. Then the screen flashed "Wardrobe Malfunction?" "You Wish!" And that was it. See, it was an effective commercial because it knew its audience, knew what it was selling and who it was selling it to, and sold it. It was a good way to get "regular dudes" to watch that show, in addition to its regular soccer-mom demographic. That's what a commercial should do - it shouldn't make me laugh, make me think, make me squirm, re-affirm my faith in life, etc. It should, in 30 seconds or less, convince me why I need to consume a specific product. And that's it.


1) Just hung out with the wife last night to watch the game. We had many delicious snacks, but one that didn't make the grade was the brie cheese we had purchased. When your brie cheese is good, it is truly delicious. But when it's bad, it tastes a little like Palmolive dishwashing liquid. Errr, no thanks.

2) The Rolling Stones sucked. I think I've heard them do the old "Start Me Up" into "Song Off the New Record" into "Satisfaction" medley about 400 times. But hey, give them props for still getting out there at this age, and what a great rock and roll band, and blah, blah, blah. Someone should take away their pickling liquid and end this once and for all.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Surrender yourself to The Super Bowl

Resistance is futile. Give in to the hype. You must become one with it. And then and only then shall you know the ways of Super Bowl Madness. And so forth.

The hype really does hit a fever pitch right about now. With two weeks between the conference games and The Big Game, the media storylines and angles really wear thin. How many carrots did they dangle in front of
Joey Porter before he finally bit and started running his mouth? I wouldn't be surprised if some reporter went to Jerramy Stevens and said "I'll give you a thousand bucks if you say something to piss of Joey Porter." And then wrote him a bad check for it.

But hey, they are the sports media, and there are two weeks between games, and they have to talk about something, because they can't just cancel "SportsCenter" and the Sports sections, and not talking about the biggest sporting event in the world would be kind of negligent. So it's an unavoidable evil, I guess. Unless you want to start making it one week.

By the way, I'm officially tired of the sports media's two main storylines - mocking the fact that the "rest of the media" is focused on Jerome Bettis' return home and quest for a ring, and congratulating the Seahawks while simultaneously making a point to withhold respect from the team, talk about how obscure they are to us big, bad, jaded East Coasters, and so on.

Sports media people can be so tiresome like this. It's like it's a contest to see who can out-cynic the others, or who can be the biggest jerk. Have you ever heard the theory that when girls dress up, they're really dressing up to impress other girls and not guys? Well, I feel like sports reporters nowadays formulate their stories based on what's going to impress their sources and colleagues, rather than what will actually, you know, interest the viewers or readers. And that's why I tend to ignore the sports media during times like this. But hey, that's just one guy's opinion.

As for game day, I'm spending it at home this year. And you know what that means - unbridled food intake. That's right - I throw it all out the window on Super Bowl Sunday, and I don't care what anyone says. I'm dipping Krispy Kreme donuts in nacho cheese. I'm deep-frying cotton candy, slicing it up, and serving it on an onion roll with bacon, swiss cheese, and extra mayo. I'm concocting a fine slurry of Oreo cookies, guacamole, and Budweiser, with just a touch of clotted cream for texture. It's just my way of further surrendering to the day.

As for the actual game - they're still having it? - I predict that the Steelers win a boring one, but don't cover that ridiculous
four-point spread. The keys to the game? What the keys always are - who plays better. Final score: Steelers 20, Seahawks 17.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

LeBron skipping dunk contest makes no sense

Thought I'd post a little something about some non-Super Bowl-related sports issue. So here's something frustrating: why is LeBron James once again skipping the slam dunk contest? Great. Another year of watching Josh Smith and Jason Richardson duke it out while Steve Francis clangs tomahawks off the back rim. I can't wait.

Actually, we don't even have THOSE names this year. Ladies and gentleman, your participants for the 2006 NBA Sprite Rising Stars Dunk Contest Presented by AOL!

I love the spin in which they call them "Rising Stars." They're just waving the white flag on ever getting a big name in there again, aren't they? I guess "Rising Stars Dunk Contest" had a nicer ring to it than "Rookies and Journeymen Dunk Contest."

But seriously, I don't understand why players feel the need to skip this. Here's what LeBron said about it (as told to ESPN):

"On the spur of the moment, I can do dunks during the game. I can't think of a dunk before I do it. I'll leave it up to the guys who don't play as many minutes as I do. Those guys can go out there and throw the ball between their legs and stuff."

Sorry guys. I'm just not that into fancy dunks and stuff.

Hey, I know stars play a lot of minutes, but come on, it's just a stupid dunk contest! Is it really THAT taxing? Throw the fans a bone, huh? Besides, look what the dunk contest did for
Vince Carter (not to mention Michael "Jumpman 23" Jordan, for whom his slam dunk contest silhouette has essentially become the de facto league logo)! Carter's 2000 performance was awesome, and what has he really done since? To an extent, he's still living off that, in my opinion. And it's not like LeBron's never been in or won a dunk contest before, so don't give me that "I can't do pre-planned dunks" stuff. Come on, LeBron - I love you man. Give me the goods!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

February is Super Doldrum-y

Even though it doesn't really feel like winter around here - which is nice, if not more than a little creepy - February is easily the worst month of the year.

Come on, come on, do you call that trudging?

I don't care what anyone says about
Jan. 24 being the most depressing day of the year. To me, it's a tie between all the days in February. Here's why: there's this gray coldness to the days, the winter holidays are way in the past (although the debt is not), it's still dark when I leave work each evening, football season is over with March Madness still weeks away, and people are so hunkered down that you never see anyone, and when you do, you're all depressed and falling asleep by 8 p.m. because everyone's in hibernation mode.

And, of course, there is the fact that
I hate Valentine's Day.

Even though I'm married, I refuse to celebrate this holiday. Just because I'm in a relationship now means I become just another sap celebrating a holiday with
dubious origins and an exclusive message? Sorry, not this guy.

I'm also not celebrating because in my earlier years, during which I often didn't have a significant other, I got so tired of the condescending pats on the head that inevitably followed my telling any couple I didn't like Valentine's Day that I vowed to myself that I would never celebrate it regardless. Yes - just to spite them! And then there is sickening crap like
this. So you're telling me that all the singles, in order to make themselves feel better, are now being advised to send themselves flowers at the office and act all surprised? Now there's a good lesson for the kids - if you can't find some way to be happy with your life, just fake your way through it! Sending yourself a fake gift to impress others - man, that just sounds fulfulling.

Anyway, now my very understanding wife and I go out to dinner on February 15. No cards, no chocolate, no red and white crap, no teddy bear-shaped balloons, no footsy wootsies and feetsy weetsies and sweety pateeties and booty patooties.

Wow, your shirt even matches the flowers! I love you, Tyler - I just knew slapping you around with that bicycle chain would pay dividends!

So back to the February rant. Basically, in February, you're in the middle of the metaphorical tunnel with no end-light in sight. You can't remember a time when it wasn't dark and cold, and you can't see any changes on the horizon, except for piece-of-crap Valentine's Day. Well, here's hoping that disgustingly huge rat sees its shadow (or doesn't - whatever it is), and spring shows up soon. I can't take this doldrum-y feeling much longer.

P.S. Loved King Kong last night. I was telling my friend on the way out that Peter Jackson really gets how to use all these CGIs and special effects the right way. He uses them with heart, and actually uses them to enhance the characters, rather than usurp them. Good stuff.