Monday, April 23, 2007


Followed up on last month's volleyball trip to Indy with a return trip to Minneapolis.

This time we roosted at the fully-kitchened TownePlace Suites in the fabulously gentrified Warehouse District.

Cait's team opened their first round on Friday afternoon, which left Friday morning for a sweet run down by the river.

Well, sweet for me, anyway. For Noreen, not so much. For her it was an unfortunate dust-up with a rocky protuberance that left her with a nasty gash on her knee and a trip to the Hennepin County Medical Center.

A mere six hours or so later, she was stitched up good as new -- or stitched up anyway.

It was unfortunate timing in many respects -- as well as damn painful -- but most unfortunate because she missed seeing Cait's team taking three games to win Pool 16CP32.

The next day's matches were in the morning, which was good, but didn't turn out quite so well -- 1-2 this time.

Later that day left some time for a little sightseeing and picture-taking back down by the Father of Waters.

And then dinner with the team and the other 'rents at Lyon's Pub on Sixth Street. The fish & chips pretty much sucked, but the beers were good, and that's not nothing.

Sunday was the unfortunate finale -- but the 4-3 weekend was good enough for a Top 40 Finish (out of 122 teams in their division), which wasn't half bad.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


He was sitting on a rock. He was barefoot. His feet were frosty with ice-nine. His only garment was a white bedspread with blue tufts. The tufts said Casa Mona. He took no note of our arrival. In one hand was a pencil. In the other was paper.



"May I ask what you're thinking?"

"I am thinking, young man, about the final sentence for The Books of Bokonon. The time for the final sentence has come."

"Any luck?"

He shrugged and handed me a piece of paper. This is what I read:

If I were a younger man, I would write a history of human stupidity, and I would climb to the top of Mount McCabe and lie down on my back with my history for a pillow; and I would take from the ground some of the blue-white poison that makes statues of men; and I would make a statue of myself, lying on my back, grinning horribly, and thumbing my nose at You Know Who.
R.I.P., Kurt Vonnegut.

The Real Problem

Slate's Dahlia Litwick conflates the Duke rape case and the Federal Prosecutors case in order to point out the real significance of the White House's cynical attempt to politicize the U.S. Attorney's offices.

It's easy to be distracted, even slightly amused, by the banal office shenanigans that make up the day-to-day coverage of the scandal. Increasingly, the Justice Department is revealed in all its wacky Dunder Mifflin glory. Alberto Gonzales is unmasked as The Office's Michael Scott—in so far over his head that he has no idea what his youthful employees are up to. With our daily focus on who was e-mailing whom and who was spending what on their fancy investitures, it's tempting to dismiss senior Justice Department staff ranking U.S. attorneys for their "loyalty" to the president as sophomoric. The Duke case is a useful reminder that the little plastic game cards being shuffled around and swapped by Kyle Sampson and Monica Goodling were, in fact, loaded weapons.

Federal prosecutors, like state district attorneys, have tremendous power and almost limitless discretion to launch investigations, to subpoena, to file charges, to question witnesses, and to drop charges when the facts don't bear them out. And if the Duke case reminds us of anything, it's that the innocent targets of such investigations and indictments have only one power: to wait it all out and hope for the best.

When politics are injected into these individual prosecutions—when officials have one eye on the law and the other on mollifying either the party bosses or local voters—it's a certainty that justice will be lost in the shuffle.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Another Final Four

If one conference were to get three teams into the Final Four (I think that the '85 Big East was the only one that managed to do it) you'd probably say that it was a pretty damn good conference.

In that case, the English Premier League must be one pretty damn good soccer league.

Liverpool's 1-0 win over PSV Eindhoven today at Anfield made it three of the four European Champions League semifinalists from the EPL.

Yesterday, Michael Essian's late goal brought Chelsea into the final four (and a date later this month with Liverpool).

Most impressive of all, though, was Manchester United's breathtaking 7-1 dismantling of Roma at Old Trafford yesterday. Doubles by Cristiano Ronaldo and Michael Carrick highlighted the Reds' destruction of the Italians.

ManU has led the EPL all season, and a win this month against AC Milan will give them a chance to prove it against one or the other of their most hated enemies. Bloody 'ell!

Disturbing Story

From AOL Sports:
"Britney Spears could soon be getting up to some "lanky panky" with a 6ft 8in basketball player.

The pop princess is set to go out on a date with LA Lakers star Luke Walton. And his pals say they will be perfect partners – because Britney, 25, is fresh out of rehab and Luke, 27, is on the wagon during his team's run-in to the NBA play-offs.

"His people and her people are trying to thrash out a date when they can have a bite to eat and then we'll see what happens."
The disturbing part is not the use of "lanky panky" -- OK, that's pretty disturbing too -- but the idea that Luke Walton has "people."

Should Luke Walton have "people?"

Monday, April 09, 2007

Cool Brittania

If you have BBC America on your cable system -- and I have no idea how many cable systems actually carry it -- you must do yourself the favor of watching "Live Forever."

It's a recounting of the Britpop years of the mid-90s in England.

While it's entirely possible that the movie misses a lot -- well, it does miss a lot: we barely get one-second glimpses of Radiohead and Elastica, for instance, and if there was any mention of Portishead at all then I sure missed it -- but if you want to know about three bands in 13 letters (BlurPulpOasis) then this one is pretty good. In particular, lots of chat with Damon and Jarvis and Noel and Liam.

Jarvis is a complete treat to hear from: cleverly and wittily British. Damon is crustily and huskily British. Noel is self-aggrandizing and self-obsessed. Liam is ... well, Liam is a bit of a dolt now, i'nt 'e?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Teenage Riot

I've just always loved this video (and song), that's all.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Head Fanatic In Charge

Well, in the end I think that UK probably got the right guy.

I never thought that there was any chance that Billy Donovan would jump. I was rather surprised at the amount of national MSM that thought he would jump. Then I was rather surprised at the amount of national MSM that considered his decision to stay in Gainesville to be some sort of indication of Kentucky's status decline. Did they really imagine that any other CBk job in the country could get Billy to even consider the jump?

Then I was overjoyed that the choice wasn't Rick Barnes.

And in the end, one of the world's most fanatic basketball fanbases -- I say one of, if only because there haven't been (to date anyway) any coaches murdered -- seems to have caught one of the world's most fanatic basketball coaches.

While that may be bad for the psychological treatment of those with certain predispositions, it's quite possible that it may be just as bad for the long-term outlook of the other coaches in the SEC East -- and that certainly does include Billy Donovan. While his NCAA record with Brewer, Horford, Green & Noah in uniform (listed in order of their importance and in reverse order of their capacity for annoyance) is a sterling 13-1, his record without them is a more pedestrian 9-6 -- and they will not be playing in blue and orange next year (unless they wind up in Charlotte, I guess). Also don't forget that Billy D. lost his last seven tilts against UK before those four showed up on campus, so it's entirely possible that the recent Gator-chomping has had as much to do with them as with Billy The Kid.

At the end of the day, Kentucky is the only SEC school (with the possible exception of Vanderbilt) that places basketball on a higher shelf than football. Add a coach who's even more obsessed that Billy D. to the tradition of the program, and you just might find things returning to normal in the SEC within a couple of years.

Friday, April 06, 2007


Yesterday I watched a 25-year-old, 3-1/2 hour long movie about an American Bolshevik who has been dead for nearly a century.


Any chance a movie like this could get made today? Not much more chance than you would have of finding an American Bolshevik today.

But the fact is, the movie -- recently released in a 25th Anniversary DVD edition -- is by no means some sort of leftist diatribe. What makes it seem faintly anachronistic in this day and age is actually its mere willingness to examine lefty political thought as a matter worthy of examination. It does throw into sharp relief the degree to which any mainstream political discussion seems rooted in either a defense or assault on the personalities involved -- as though any underlying theoretical political position is not up for discussion. Everything is up for discussion in the world of the movie's characters (sometimes ad nauseum), and everything is discussed.

Reactions to a movie that I haven't seen for 25 years? Chiefly, whatever happened to Diane Keaton? While I know that the answer is that Hollywood doesn't have much to do with or for 61 year-old actresses, and that she's basically lucky to get work at all, it is just a damn shame that such a great actress is wasted playing the same role over and over and over. She is absolutely brilliant in Reds, the true center of the movie even when she isn't given a whole lot more to do than react to Warren Beatty's lead. I'm not sure that there has ever been a more expressive actress than Keaton in her prime, and this is her prime.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Remarkable list -- how would you even know about this many commericals, let alone have the patience to put the list together? -- but after all that, how do you blow it by then putting the best commercial (period!) of all time at #9?

Actual Top 3?

Number 3

Number 2

Number 1

Seriously, if you can watch that clip without grinning you might as well go get in the box right now.

Sunday, April 01, 2007


Freshly returned from a trip to Lexington and Indianapolis.

In Lexington to see the 'rents and sibs, there is the rumor mill surrounding the hoped-for second coming of Billy Donovan, and there is the news of the continuing mess in Iraq, the funding of the mess in Washington, the Attorney General mess in Washington, and the rest of the world's news.

One is important, the rest is just fluff -- and you know which is which.

Thursday it was on to Indianapolis for Cait's club team's volleyball tournament. First time to spend any time in the Circle City, but here it is in a nutshell: Indianapolis is the perfect city for people who don't like cities.

A truly odd cross between indoor/outdoor mall and the world's biggest county seat -- the weekend driving the circuit around Monument Circle is little different from the lineup around the the courthouse square in Harrisburg, the place does have itself situated as just about the perfect place for a tournament featuring hundreds and hundreds of teenage girls, their volleyball teams and their families. Hotels and national-chain restaurants aplenty are found within easy walking distance of the convention center location.

While the actual volleyball didn't go so well for TSA 16-1 Green, Cait's team did get a chance to play inside the RCA Dome on the very ground upon which Peyton Manning trods (well, anyway on a rubberized plastic court snapped together and placed on top of the very ground upon which Peyton Manning trods) -- twice.