Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Poor Guy

"I knew zee bird tasted funny."

The above cat was discovered to have died from bird flu last weekend in Germany, marking the first time the virus has been identified in a mammal in the European Union.

I really have nothing to add to this news other than I found it funny that the poor cat's photo was included with the story. Maybe it's just me, and it's probably wrong, but that struck me as somehow humorous. Besides, that laid back, completely disinterested, you-can-feed-me-or-go-fuck-yourself look that cats always have on their mugs will never fail to crack me up.

Also, cats make the funniest photos. Enjoy plenty here.

I Don't Even Want To Know

Yes, that's Barry Bonds dressed up as Paul Abdul. No, I have no idea what it's all about, nor do I care, though my guess would be that this is how he enters the backdoor of the Balco offices.

I only mention it because this is the first time Bonds has smiled since 1993.


USA Basketball on Sunday will announce the names of the 25 players invited to compete for national team spots during this summer's world championships and the 2008 Olympics.

Allen Iverson's name, weirdly, will not be on the list.

This seems odd for two reasons:

First, the notion that Iverson isn't one of the best 12 players in America, let alone among the top 25, is absurd.

Second, when the U.S. team was busy embarrassing itself at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Iverson was about the only cat who came off as a stand-up guy. While others fought with Larry Brown, failed to recognize the subtle differences to the international game, or generally showed up without any passion, Iverson spoke of the honor it was for him to compete and backed that up by playing his tail off in a doomed effort. When the U.S. was relegated to the bronze medal game, and the rest of the team was busy checking to see when their flights home were boarding, Iverson spoke of the importance of at least medaling. And when he spoke on January 4 with Jerry Colangelo, who's in charge of picking the team, Iverson said he'd be honored to have another chance in 2008.

Alas, Iverson won't get it. Ridiculous. He deserves better.

Ironically, Kobe Bryant will be donning the red, white and blue even though he's proven to be a pariah to pretty much every teammate he's ever had. I bet he's already wondering if he can singlehandedly outscore Angola.

Johnny B Still Rockin'

It was a sad day when Jonathon Brandmeier left Chicago radio in 2001 and a glorious day when he returned this past November. Today, the Tribune has an article on how he's been a rating bonanza for the Loop since returning to the Chitown airwaves.

As sad as it was to see Howard Stern take his show to Sirius in January, it was certainly fortunate timing that Brandmeier returned to the airwaves at roughly the same time. He's filled a huge void and has me, and many others, cracking up in the mornings just as he has been since the early '80s. Without Stern, I don't know where Chicago radio would be had Brandmeier not returned. Mancow Muller sucks.

There was a point around the turn of the century when WCKG featured a radio lineup so great that I don't see it being equalled here anytime soon. Three giants. Howard Stern opened in the earling morning, Brandmeier came on from 11-2, and Steve Dahl brought it all home until 7 pm. If funny radio is your thing, it just didn't get much better than that. It was a little bit of heaven. At the time, while slowly trying to work my way through college, one of my many tedious jobs was driving a truck for Army vets. I'm sure you've seen this operation: someone calls you up and asks if you have anything you'd like to donate to charity - anything at all, provided it can be lifted by a single person who would do such a thing for hardly any pay. If you do have something to donate - and most people do as they see it as a fine opportunity to have someone haul away their junk - you're given you a date to leave it all on your front porch or driveway so some schlep can come by in a truck and take it away. So that's what I did for awhile. I'd pick up old clothes, TVs, toys, books, furniture - whatever - and at the end of the day I'd drop it off at various thrift stores around Chicagoland where it would be sold on the cheap with, I guess, part of the profit being delivered to military vets.

It was a lame job and paid peanuts, and I was suffering ungodly hangovers most mornings, but I can honestly say that the time flew by as I got to drive around in a big ole truck listeing to Howard, Jonny B., and Dahl all day long. They made it bearable, at least somewhat. The gig started at 7 am every morning, so I'd grab coffee, pick up a truck, and head off to whatever part of Chicagoland I was roaming that day. And I'd immediately turn on the radio as loud as it could go - ear-splitting levels, in fact - as I didn't want to miss any hilarity as I trudged up to front doors to grab whatever goodies were waiting for me. Believe me, my truck could be heard coming from blocks way. Occasionally, people would forget to leave their stuff out and I'd have to ring the bell. It was always hysterical when some housewife would answer and the sound of Howard imploring a chick to show her boobs or Brandmeier getting Buzz Kilman to bellow his signature laugh could be heard blaring from the truck behind me.

Like I said, I don't see a radio lineup that solid coming around again anytime soon. We were lucky. But at least Jonny B is back.

By the way, I need a little help here. I could have sworn that at some point in the '80s Brandmeier had a late-night talk show on television. I'm almost positive it was shortlived but that I caught it once or twice on a Friday night when I was allowed to stay up a little later than the rest of the week and watch Letterman. I think Brandmeier was the late, late show, sort of like Carson Daley now. Did this really happen or did I hallucinate it? Any help?

When Will Jay Mariotti Leave Chicago?

Jay Mariotti has long been a scourge on Chicago sports, a negative buffoon, a pathetic clown with a pen, a buzzing fly that makes just enough noise to be annoying, a thing that just won't go away. The guy has been writing in Chicago for years now and yet still has a fan base that could probably fit in the back of a Chicago taxi cab.

It's sad, really.

And the past two days are a perfect example why.

Yesterday Mariotti wasted valuable paper by raining all over Mayor Daley's dream of bringing the Summer Olympics to Chicago in 2016. Of course, this isn't the first time Mariotti has soured on Daley's dream. It's Mariotti's habit to be as negative on a subject as possible and then beat it to an ugly, depressing pulp in case the entire world doesn't yet realize that he hates himself and everyone else and probably got beat up a lot in high school and rarely, if ever, gets laid. I mean, did you catch his daily drivel concerning Shani Davis day after day after day? The Sun-Times couldn't give Mariotti enough space to rip Davis. If I remember correctly, Mariotti wrote five columns - FIVE! - that criticized Davis in one way or another. (It was at least four.) Way to jump all over the feel-good aspect of a South Sider and first black winning a gold medal, Jay.

(And for the record, yes, I am ashamed by to admit knowing what Mariotti writes about, but I like the rest of the Sun-Times sports section. I can't help it. I read the Sun-Times and unfortunately his drivel is right there like dog shit on your shoe. It's hard to get away from. What can I say?)

As for the Olympics in Chitown, my theory is, Why the fuck not? Why not think big? Why not dream big? Why not ponder the impossibe and see if maybe, just maybe, you can make it happen? If the dream never comes to fuition, oh well. At least you tried.

I applaud Daley for thinking so big the box just exploded, sending shattered pieces flying in all directions. Is his dream of landing the Olympics farfetched? Maybe. Is it a longshot? Probably.

But why not at least dream it all up? Why not? Why not throw Chicago's name into the ring?

Why does Mariotti, who isn't even from Chicago, by the way, even though he uses the word "we" several times in the column, feel the need to trample all over a feel-good story? If it ever happened, Chicago would do a damn fine job of hosting the Olympics, just as it does a damn fine job at most things. It would make it work. I guarantee it. And if Mariotti doesn't see this yet after the years he's spent being an unliked, sorry curmudgeon in this town, then he should just get out already. Hardly anyone cares for his garbage column anyway. It's not like he would be missed. He wouldn't be.

Today Mariotti does a hatchet job on that which he most likes to do hatchet jobs on - the White Sox. This is his bread and butter. Specifically, he rips Kenny Williams for reacting to Frank Thomas' latest verbal grenade launched at the Sox.

Can the hypocrisy get any worse? Listen, Mariotti has spent years ripping Thomas. Years. He's called for Thomas' head on countless occasions. And now, when someone in the White Sox organization takes a few minutes - the operative words here being "a few minutes" - to finally set Thomas straight, Mariotti rips him for it. So I guess it's OK for Mariotti to rip the Sox from his home (as I believe he's too chicken to show up at the Cell these days after Hawk Harrelson made him dribble in his drawers), yet when someone actually involved with the Sox does so, it's wrong.

Hypocrisy. Pure and simple. Hypocrisy.

By the way, here's Mariotti trying to be funny...

Any more of this, and Kenny will be sent to his room without dinner.

Ugh. It's like watching a chronic depressive do stand-up. And, yeah, that's it. That's Mariotti at his most funny, most clever best. That's what earns him the big bucks. Are you laughing? I didn't think so.

Oh, wait, I'm mistaken. Mariotti tries being funny again to end his trash...

The American League playoffs start in seven months. Until then, I'm referring to the South Side ballpark as The Padded Cell.

Oh, boy! Isn't that hysterical? The Padded Cell! Get it?

At least he tries. He sucks. Oh, lord, how he sucks. But at least he tries. Poor guy. It must suck being so unliked in the very town you cover. No wonder he's never happy.

Officiating As Performance Art

This video is great. Apparently, this soccer ref is very passionate and possibly very gay - not that there's anything wrong with that. Whatever. He's hysterical. I've played a lot of soccer in my life, and I've never seen a ref so into it. And if I had, I'm fairly certain I would have become preoccupied with him, laughed hysterically and forgotten all about the task at hand. Hell, I may have gone out of my way to earn a yellow card just so it could be administered to me with so much passion. Awesome.

Conference Tourney Time Is Here

I have to give a shout out to my boys at UIC as they open up the Horizon League tourney against Wright State tonight at the Pavilion. The last time the Flames were the sixth seed (in 2002), as they are this year, they won it and went to the Big Dance where they gave second-seeded Oklahoma a tough game. They've currently won three straight and all in OT, including one over Wright St last weekend. Here we go now.

By the way, how great is it that conference tourneys are starting? I love this time of year.

Tuesday's action...

Wake Forest at Boston College. BC has recovered nicely from its 0-3 start in ACC play.

LSU at South Carolina. I'm going to have to get around to seeing Glen Davis (18.5 ppg, 10.3 rpg) play one of these days. Tigers can clinch at least share of first SEC title in six years.

Cincinnati at Seton Hall. The Hall is fading badly, having lost three straight to teams that may not even make Big East tourney. Their bubble may have burst already and Louis Orr may be looking for work soon. On the other hand, Cincy has been playing well of late and should just about be in barring a loss here. Maybe Andy kennedy won't be looking for work after all? With WVU coming up to close out the regular season, the Bearcats would be wise to win this one.

Illinois at Minnesota. Illini still with a chance at third straight Big Ten crown, but need to win out and then get some help. Minnesota has been tough at home and much improved in the second half of the season.

Tonight's likes...

UIC (-3) over Wright State.

LSU (+1.5) at South Carolina.

Bulls (-5) over Timberwolves.

Lakers/Magic under 196.

Monday, February 27, 2006

You, Sir, Are A Woman

I just have to give a hearty GO FUCK YOURSELF to the Timberwolves fan who wet his dress last night. In case you missed it, the breakdown goes like this:

- Kevin Garnett was unhappy with a call so he tossed the ball into the stands. He didn't sling the ball or whip it or wind up or anything of the sort. He lazily tossed the ball in the direction of the front rows as he turned to head back downcourt. The ball was tossed with roughly the same velocity you'd toss a ball if playing catch with a kid.

- The ball lands on the pussified fan in question. Judging by his reaction, it may have hit him in the nose.

- Garnett comes over and extends his hand to apologize, to which the fan gives Garnett a dirty look and refuses.

- Then it gets good. After arena ushers question the man, he gets WHEELED AWAY ON A STRETCHER!

Goodgawd! Dude should be ashamed of himself. He was clearly thinking lawsuit. At least the rest of the Timberwolves' fans had the sense to boo the guy mercilessly as he was carted away. Total garbage.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

A Little Bit Of Truth

If you're a White Sox fan, I want you to be honest with me for a minute here.

Frank Thomas. Best player in Sox history, right? You love him, right? He provided a whole lot of great memories, right? You were happy he didn't leave before getting an elusive ring, right?

Now, here is where I need your complete honesty: Tell me there weren't instances during his time in Chicago that he made you madder than the Unknown Column at last call.

Be honest. Tell me there weren't times you felt like saying exactly this about Frank:

"He's an idiot. He's selfish. That's why we don't miss him...If you go out there and ask any one of my players or staff members, we don't miss him. We don't miss his attitude. We don't miss the whining. We don't miss it. Good riddance. See you later."

You did, didn't you?

You know you wanted to to say that about Frank at some point over the years. You know it. Admit it. Frank was always yapping about something and you reached a boiling point. More than once probably, right? Several times, right?

Well, Kenny Williams said it, and all I have to say to that is, Amen, my brutha.

Look, I love Frank as much as the next Sox fan, but let's not kid ourselves - the Big Hurt is a big baby and he always has been. This Thomas/White Sox garbage is just like Shani Davis/Chad Hedrick - a bunch of lame yap yap yapping through the media - except it's been going on for years. The only reason this is national news being reported by ESPN now is because the Sox are champs. So I guess people care now. Nobody cared before except Sox fans, and they've been forced to listen to Thomas whine about how unhappy he is, and how disrespected he is, for years now. YEARS! This is old news. Old, old news. Sad news.

Thing is, in the past everyone involved with the Sox had to walk on eggshells. Frank was the face of the Sox, the star, and in no way could he be upset lest everyone hear about it, which everyone inevitably did anyway regardless of how far out of the way they went to make sure he was satisfied, which Frank never, ever is. Ever.

But no more. He isn't the Sox problem anymore.

Frank is in Oakland now and has continued to yap through the press about how the Sox supposedly mistreated him even though, really, they parted ways about as amicably as could be expected. So you know what? Fuck him. I still love Frank, but fuck him. He should have heard the hard words Williams laid on him a long, long time ago. At some point. From someone. So I applaud Williams here. There a few things sweeter to the ear than truth, cold truth, no matter how ugly, and Williams just laid a whole lot of truth right on Frank in a big way. He smacked Thomas upside the head with a fistful of truth. He soaked him in it. Thomas has been drenched in truth. And the truth is, nobody really cares that he's gone. Sure, some fans will hold onto the memories a little longer than others, some may even feel a few tugs at the heart when Opening Day arrives and Frank isn't around, but nobody really, truly cares. Not really. Not truly.

The Sox and their fans have moved on. Frank hasn't. Too bad.

Now that Williams has told him how it is, maybe Frank will shut up.

But I doubt it.

Between Williams and Ozzie, the South Side is flowing with straight-up, hardcore truth - and I love it.


So I just flipped on the Celtics-Lakers game at the Staples Center and nearly shit myself. The Lakers are wearing white uniforms. White! Yeah, I've seen the white unis before, so I wasn't shocked, but against the Celtics? The white monstrocities look like something the LA Sparks should be wearing. Lisa Leslie might look nice. Not the Lakers and especially not against the Celtics.

But this put me over the top: the Celtics are wearing some god forsaken alternate unis featuring black trim. I had already seen these unis when the Celtics played the Bulls, which is one thing, but...you know what? I can't even comment on this rationally right now.

I'm far from wise, but one thing I know is that when the Lakers and Celtics meet in LA, the Lakers should be wearing yellow and the Celtics should be wearing the classic, old fashioned green with nothing but simple white trim. Just like Bill Russell and Bob Cousy and Larry Bird. Anything else is unacceptable. UNACCEPTABLE!

Doesn't anyone respect tradition anymore? For fucksake.

That said, I must admit that Delonte West is quite nicely filling Dennis Johnson's old role on the Celtics of being one ugly mofo with vaguely red hair.

Davis Says Goodbye To Bloomington

Mike Davis coached his last home game as the coach of enigmatic Indiana today and went out on a high note with a 78-71 win over an equally enigmatic Michigan State team. For a guy who has been so maligned, and who clearly seems to be a bit sensitive to hold the job made holy by Bobby Knight, it was nice to see the Bloomington faithful and Davis depart on a good terms. Sure, once Indiana's tourney bubble burts in the next week or so, as it very possibly will, the entire state will be back to cursing his name, but for one day at least, Davis could feel good.

And what's up with Michigan State? The only thing I can gather is that they must be lacking heart. They seemingly have everything else.

A great coach? Check. Tom Izzo is one of the best with the resume to prove it.

Talent? Check. It's everywhere, from the guard play of Maurice Ager and Shannon Brown to the big man, Paul Davis. You'd be hard-pressed to find more sheer talent on any campus that isn't located in Connecticut.

Experience? Check. Virtually the same group went to the Final Four last season.

Yet the Spartans now sit at a very mediocre 7-7 in the Big Ten. All season long I've been telling myself that they were simply working out kinks and that an Izzo-coached team would certainly be ready for the NCAA tourney. And while it wouldn't surprise me if it works out that way, I'm now not sure anymore.

The Spartans are clearly lacking something.

Speaking of the Indiana head coaching vacancy, Peter Vescey suggests there is reason to believe Isiah Thomas may want to return to his alma mater to coach. Excuse me one moment...


OK, I'm back. That laugh felt good.

Now, I have no idea if this rumor is true or if Vescey is just blowing smoke, but I tend to believe it. This definitely has Isiah written all over it, and I have to give Isiah credit here. I mean, he takes the art of "just not getting it" to new levels. He actually doesn't see that the the ENTIRE WORLD, by this point, is on to him. Everybody knows he's failure in shoes. Everybody. He's a walking joke and we all know it. Yet, apparently, he still thinks to himself, "I'm Isiah Thomas. I was a helluva point guard. I'm the man and I want a job." Heh-heh-heh. Ob-liv-i-ous.

Besides, it would be just like Isiah to completely ruin a franchise (in this case the Knicks, his latest catastrophe), and then calmly shake his hands free of the mess and walk away in search of a new gig. No scruples. None. It's been his legacy ever since his playing days as a sneaky thug ended: break something>>>>new job, break something>>>>new job, break something>>>>new job. Like clockwork.

Indiana would be beyond foolish to hire Isiah. Sure, his name alone might be enough to attract a few big time recruits, but if you think that a post-playing days Isiah has what it takes to lead a starving man to food, let alone a team to the top, you haven't been following closely.

Is it obvious that I can't stand Isiah? The filthy punk.

If Steve Alford isn't the coach of the Hoosiers next season, color me positively shocked. With Iowa enjoying it's best season under Alford (not to mention being a senior-laden team that will go into rebuilding mode next year), and Davis checking out, the timing is almost too good to be true. It almost seems pre-ordained or meant to happen. Never fuck with fate.

Amazing Anagrams

This site has a collection of anagrams of some famous people's names, and I gotta say, some of this stuff is amazing:

Arnold Schwarzenegger = he's grown large n' crazed

Saddam Hussein = UNs said he's mad

My personal favorite? Jim Morrison = Mr. Mojo Risin'

It amazes me that people actually take the time to figure this stuff out. Man, I'm so friggin' lazy. I will, however, try to make a clever anagram of my real name and get back to you if I do. And if anyone can figure out an anagram for "Unknown Column" I'd love to hear it. (Feel free to make it "The Unknown Column" if the extra letters help.)

(*Cough*) I'm sure I will be bombarded with responses. (*Cough*)

Wasted Talent

If you long ago grew tired of hearing about Bode Miller, and seeing his commercials, and following his unfortunate travails in Turin (which have come to and end with a whimper, not a bang), and you're looking for someone to blame between him and the incorrigible media that built him into something he's not, I guess it depends on what you think is worse: wasted talent or unsubstantiated, manufactured hype.

In the last two weeks Miller has become the face of failure and dumb American ego. He has gone from being America's great hope at Olympic glory to a stray dog to be kicked around by people who like to kick things around, particularly when said things are already down. It's easier that way.

But is it really Miller's fault that the powers that be in the forever foolish media decided to hype him the way they did? Would anyone be so down on Miller if people other than himself hadn't decided before he even reached Turin that he should bring home a bevy of medals and glory and should be an unconventional rebel while doing so? If not for the relentless hype, wouldn't Miller be seen simply as a top American skier who was good enough to represent the U.S. in five events, which isn't shabby, but came up short of the podium in each, which will happen when competing against the best athletes in the world?

Why should Miller be blamed because others were so wrong about him? They built him up, and now they tear him down. What an ugly, sickening process, right?

True, but...

For starters, for a guy who so often bemoans the hype, Miller seemed more than willing to feed it by talking to and posing for Time, Rolling Stone, Newsweek, 60 Minutes and any other news outlets of varying sizes that wanted a piece of the guy who would be great. He gladly ran with the image they tried to present. This seems hypocritical on his part, no? If you dislike the hype, then don't do your best to feed it.

Then there is all that wasted talent.

While I barely knew of Miller before as a top American skier, I think the hype first started to hit me after his claim of skiing "wasted." At the time, I instantly liked the guy. I figured he was a character, a free spirit. Hell, when the talk comes around to being "wasted," I figured I could relate. I'm "wasted" half the time myself. I saw Miller as a guy who did things his way, sort of a Steve Pefontaine, but on skis. I was intrigued.

Then I actually saw the interviews and read the articles and began to view him more as a guy about to toss his talent away behind a mask of foolish bravado.

Miller seems less like a free spirit and more like a guy who stubbornly refuses to give his obvious talent the dedication it deserves. I read about the fights with coaches, the reluctance to ski conservatively when needed, and his constant claim that winning isn't of utmost importance to him. He seemed to be setting himself up for disappointment and trying to soften the impending fall.

And I guess that's where he quickly veers away from someone like Prefontaine, or really, any athlete who's in it to win it and pushes their natural talent as far as it can be pushed.

So now a bunch of easily agitated Americans hear stories of Miller partying in the Olympic village and view him as a guy who cheated his country by giving less than his best. Hogwash. He earned his spot on the team and qualified fair and square.

Miller, however, may have cheated himself, which is probably worse.

I don't see Miller as the bad guy so many people are now painting him to be, but I can't help the feeling that he's fooling nobody but himself. He can make claims to any news outlet in the world that it isn't all about winning and losing, and while there is truth in this, truth to be valued in a world of cold hearts and sharks, I think he is less speaking the truth and more stubbornly refusing to admit that in the prime of his career, while his natural ability was at its peak, he chose to carelessly flaunt it rather than maximize its abilities, and now unless he competes again in 2010, there are no second chances. I can't help but feel that depsite what Miller steadfastly claims in public, that late at night, as he lies in bed, he knows he threw it all away.

And worse, years from now, when he's no longer a competitive skier, and nobody is coming around to get his latest controversial quote, he'll be saddened by what could have been.

Or what should have been.

Miller can tell the world a thousand times that he's content with what he accomplished in Turin, but he's probably trying to convince himself as much as anyone else.

Wasted talent. So, so sad.

So, no, Miller probably isn't a bad guy, and he doesn't deserve the backlash he's received. There are plenty of athletes in these or any other Olympics who never reach the podium. There is no shame in competing but not being the best.

But then, most never sit where Miller sits - in the eye of the perfect storm created by false hype and stubborn ego.

Besides, Nike's hype of Miller is far from the most ill-advised marketing blunder ever. That would have to be Reebok's "Dan vs. Dave" ad campaign, which would have been so much more worthwhile if O'Brien actually, you know, qualified for the Olympics.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Tonight's Likes

Georgia Tech (-4) over Wake Forest.

Mavericks (-10) over Raptors.

Hawks (-1.5) over Bucks.

Suns (-14) over Bobcats.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Awesome Story

The story of Jason McElwain, a kid with autism who got to be a hero on the court for one night. It's already been posted everywhere, but I'll put it here so I can come back and watch the accompanying video the next time I need a little inspiration.

Yes, There Are Dumb Questions After All

Civil war in Iraq was predicted and feared, and as of today, it looks like civil war may just be officially underway as the Sunnis and Shias are now raising the violence up a notch. FOX news is looking at the bright side, though. And I'm speechless. Unreal. (Hat tip, DaveInSeattle.)

Garbage like the above is why I prefer CNN...

Fuck The Pistons

History seems to be repeating itself - sort of.

Back in the late '80s/early '90s as the Bulls were beiginning their rise to prominence, the Pistons were on top of the NBA, a fierce division rival that routinely beat up on the Bulls as Isiah Thomas delivered that slimy grin, Bill Lambier's elbows sought out the nearest skull, and Dennis Rodman played with the psyche of Scottie Pippen.

Today it is much the same - sort of.

Granted, back then the Bulls had Michael Jordan and company and were knocking on the door of the NBA Finals while today's Bulls are just hoping to squeeze into the playoffs, but the point remains the same: The Pistons are back to being a juggernaut the Bulls must overcome if they ever hope to lay claim to anything of importance in the Central Division or the Eastern Conference. The road to the top goes through the Palace today just as it did back then.

So while tonight's Bulls-Pistons tilt at the United Center isn't a win-or-else situation, I certainly hope the Bulls view it as a huge game, as a chance to draw a line in the sand. If nothing else, a win would extend their little two-game winning streak, continue to establish a homecourt advantage that has been missing and keep pressure on the Sixers for the final playoff spot in the East. Besides, after being blown out in their previous two meetings, it would serve notice to the Pistons that the Bulls shouldn't be taken lightly should they meet again in the first round of the playoffs. Can the Bulls beat the Pistons in a seven-game series? Probably not, but they could at least make it interesting. Hell, they fared quite well against the Pistons last year.

So let's kick the rivalry back into gear. It would only serve to benefit the Bulls.

And if a scuffle or two breaks out just like in the old days, that would be cool, too. Here we go now.


The title of this post says it all, so this video is most definitely not safe for work. I just figured someone might be interested, so who am I not to pass it along?

My only question is, where are the clubs like this when I go out? Seriously.

Untimely Injury

George Washington's Pops Mensah-Bonsu has a slight tear in his left knee and will miss at least two weeks. This is an unfortunate story.

Hopefully, the guy can recover in time for the NCAA tournament. At 23-1, the Colonials are enjoying an historic season and are on the verge of cracking the Top Five, which is unchartered territory for them. Regardless of whether or not you care about GW basketball, you hate to see a burgeoning feel-good story and dream season altered by a team's best player going down through injury. The Colonials, undoubtedly, have plenty of naysayers out there, people who think their gaudy record in the down Atlantic 10 is unfairly inflated, people who think their schedule is soft. Well, maybe, but whatever. You'd still like to see them at full strength as they attempt to prove the doubters wrong.

Cradle Of Love

I had to laugh this morning when I heard Billy Idol's "Cradle of Love" on the radio. I hadn't heard it in a while, and not only is it a decent song, but it had arguably the best video ever. If you've seen it even once, you know what I'm talking about. Uh-huh. Innocent-looking, girl-next-door chick comes to the front door of some uptight yuppie-looking dork's elegant apartment and wants to listen to a tape she's holding. He nervously obliges and - BAM! - she starts going nutty, taking off her clothes and dancing around his apartment like all it needed was a pole, a DJ and a bunch of chicks with names like Glitter and Diamond. Hot, hott, hott. All I remember is a young Unknown Column running through the front door after school, flipping on MTV, and waiting for the video to come on. This was in the days when MTV actually still played videos and before the days of easily accessible porn on the internet. Awesome video. Legendary.

Watch the video here.

God bless Billy Idol for that. By the way, I may just have to break out some Idol after hearing "Cradle of Love." He had some decent stuff back in the day. Don't even try telling me that "Rebel Yell" isn't one of the greatest rock'n'roll songs ever. It is. A classic.

I walked the ward with you, babe
A thousand miles with you
I dried your tears of pain, babe
A million times for you

I'd sell my soul for you babe
For money to burn with you
I'd give you all, and have none, babe
Just, just, justa, justa to have you here by me

In the midnight hour she cried- "more, more, more"
With a rebel yell she cried- "more, more, more"
In the midniight hour babe- "more, more, more"
With a rebel yell she cried "more, more, more"
More, more, more.

"Listen, bloke. If you call me Sting one more time, I'm gonna crack your bloody skull."

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Not To Be

I actually made a concerted effort not to hear the results of Thursday's female figure skating until I watched it unfold. I have the quirky notion that a sporting event might be more enjoyable if I don't know the outcome heading in. I know, I know. I'm weird like that.

Unfortunately, it didn't work. I heard. So, yeah, I knew that Sasha Cohen fell, not once but twice, and on her first two jump attempts to boot.

But, man, was it still painful to watch. I had one eye closed and my head cocked sideways, and it didn't help. It isn't easy witnessing an athlete crack so undeniably on the biggest stage with the world watching, unless said athlete is somehow cocky or a Detroit Piston, in which case it would be enjoyable. Cohen's demise? Simply sad.

As Cohen headed onto the ice you could just see it in her eyes. All of her self doubt, all of her soft parts, were right there, exposed. Even had I not known what was about to happen, I might have guessed. The clouds were definitely forming and looking like rain. She looked like she was expecting the worst, which is usually a recipe to get just that. The most unfortunate part was that, once those opening spills were out of the way, Cohen skated beautifully, probably at least as well as gold medal winner Shizuka Arakawa of Japan, whose only clear advantage over Cohen was that she skated cleanly, which in this case, was everything. The mishaps happened so quick, only seconds into her routine, it was as if Cohen knew, somewhere in the back of her fragile psyche, that once the inevitable was out of the way, she could breathe free. It was as if she needed the mistakes to happen before she could accept the fact that she wasn't going to be perfect when she most needed to be perfect and then, and only then, could she do her thing. And she did.

But it was too late.

It's such a fine line between glory and infamy. Cohen had the gold medal right there within her grasp, not to mention the lifetime of accolades (and endorsements) that would have come along with it. Now, at the young age of only 21, she presumably heads into retirement from the ice with the memory of faltering at the most important moment forever etched into her brain. If you don't think she'll think about this forever more, you're crazy.

Life is rough sometimes.

At least Cohen carried herself with grace and humility even in defeat, which can't be said of all American athletes in these Olympics. Asked if her groin injury was a factor, she denied it as a convenient excuse. She just didn't get it done and she said so.

And hey, she's still hot, so she has that going for her, which is nice.

By the way, I wonder what got better ratings last night: Olympic figure skating or FOX's Skating with the Stars? I have my hunch and it has a lot to do with my disdain for anything involving the American public.

Hey, Ladies

John Rocker is single and looking.*

(* Non-caucasians need not apply.)

One More Year Of Joey

"Relax. I wasn't a Heisman candidate at Oregon for nothing."

I think it's safe to say you can chalk up at least two wins for the Bears in 2006. Courtesy of the Sun-Times Ron Rapaport today...

Joey Harrington, on the other hand, isn't going anywhere. ''I think we have our starter, wouldn't you say?'' Matt Millen, said to new Lions coach Rod Marinelli at the team's training camp this week. ''I'd agree,'' Marinelli said. ''We like him.''

Works for me. You know, as a Bears fan, reading 'Joey Harrington' and 'Matt Millen' in the same sentence makes me feel all warm inside. Toss in 'Mike Martz', and this car wreck of a franchise gets even more entertaining. I'm just waiting for one of the Lions' "big-name" wide receivers to get arrested.

Slow News Day?

Victoria Beckham is hot and all, but this may be the dumbest "news" item I have ever read. At least there isn't any photos.

It Just Keeps Getting Better

A Stephon Marbury-Steve Francis backcourt? Uh-huh, yeah, that's going to work. This has to be right up there with New Coke and the XFL as worst ideas ever.

At this point, following the career of Isiah Thomas is like watching a dog chase its tail in an endless circle. Neither gets that it just isn't ever going to happen. Ever.

I do enjoy it, though.

So, what is Larry Brown thinking in the above photo?

A) The $10 million is so not worth it.
B) I hate ex-Pistons.
C) Shoot me.
D) That Allen Iverson really was a nice young man.
E) All of the above.

Thursday's College Action

"Twelve straight losses to ranked teams? Andy Kennedy shouldn't sweat it. I couldn't win the big games, either."

Cal at Wahington State. At 16-7, if Cal wants to make the tourney, this weekend trip to Washington St and Washington will be big, especially after losing in double OT to last-place Arizona St. Need a win tonight. Underrated big man: Leon Powe, 20.1 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 47% FG.

Wisconsin at Northwestern. Badgers looking to keep pace with Ohio St and Iowa atop Big Ten. Cats have beaten Iowa at home.

Villanova at Cincinnati. Cincy has righted the ship of late, and at 22 in RPI, tonight could cement a tourney spot. Wouldn't hurt. Bearcats have lost 12 straight to ranked teams.

Louisiana Tech at New Mexico State. Paul Millsap had 28 rebounds in a game last week.

Oregon State at UCLA. Bruins have lost two straight. No worries tonight, though.

Stanford at Washington. Huskies are picking up steam with four straight wins. Brandon Roy has stepped it up, averaging 23 ppg in conference play.

Tonight's likes...

Mavericks (-7.5) over Grizzlies.

USC (-2) over Oregon.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Man Is Nothing

The earth is all. And more. She's still amazing us after all this time, which really, hasn't been long at all.

A cave so huge helicopters can fly into it has just been discovered deep in the hills of a South American jungle paradise.

I actually look forward to the day man wipes himself off the earth and lets her replenish and simply exist again. Yeah, that'll be nice.

Just Shoot Me


Spring Must Be Just Around The Corner

You know spring is in the air when Mark Prior and the Cubs are denying rumors about his possible shoulder problems.

And I love how Prior has been reported to be be looking "sick and weak." Are you kidding me? This should worry Cubs fans. Prior and Kerry Wood may be past normal baseball injuries and moving onto rare and exotic diseases. One of them may be going down this season with the bird flu or something.

Wednesday's College Action

Penn State at Indiana. If the Hoosiers get swept by Penn State, they have hit a new low. Who's ending up at Indiana? Alford? Lavin?

Duke at Georgia Tech. Redick looking to pass Dickie Hemric as the ACC's all-time leading scorer, leading me to one question: Who the $%@# is Dickie Hemric?

LaSalle at George Washington. GW continues to laugh at nearby ACC competition. LaSalle has won seven in a row and has not raped anyone lately, so they could be dangerous here. Anyone remember when Lionel Simmons injured his hand playing video games?

Rutgers at Georgetown. I think I cursed the Hoyas by jumping on their bandwagon so heartily as they have since lost three straight. They should remedy that here, although Rutgers does quietly have 15 wins and Quincy Douby (27 ppg) might be the best player nobody cares about. He averaged 30 per in February, which is damn impressive in the Big Beast. Morrison and Redick are scoring more but they play in obviously much weaker conferences, especially Redick. I could get 15 a night in the ACC.

Colorado at Nebraska. Last week the Buffs beat Oklahoma and then blew a 12-point second-half lead to Kansas St and lost. Cuckoo, cuckoo.

Texas at Kansas St. After beating Colorado, Kansas St just looking to knock off another Big 12 contender.

Ohio State at Michigan State. Buckeyes haven't won in East Lansing in 14 years and are coming off loss at Wisconsin. And I'm hearing rumors of Thad Matta-to-Indiana. Crazy talk? Spartans have been tough to figure, but you get the feeling Izzo will have them primed come March as usual. Hopefully, more drunken MSU students wander onto the court. Good times.

Mississippi at Kentucky. Huge game for Cats as they must head to LSU and Tennessee after this, but I don't think Ole Miss could win in Lexington against the Cats' ladies team - in a good year. Ramel Bradley out indefinitely.

Tennessee at Florida. First game pitting ranked SEC teams this season. Ouch. Where have you gone Nolan Richardson and Dale Brown? Gators only 5-4 in their last nine.

LSU at Vanderbilt. LSU quietly 10-2 in the SEC, but I don't know if that's saying much.

Bradley at Northern Iowa. UNI tries to avoid sweep by Bradley, who isn't bad.

North Carolina at North Carolina State. If I hear one more comment about what a great job Roy Williams is doing, I'm going to puke. It's Norh Carolina! What do people expect? Wolfpack looks for better showing than their trip to Chapel Hill.

DePaul at Louisvlle. The Blue Demons renaissance begins NOW! A win here would actually get them (I think) into a situation where they presently win a tiebreaker for the last spot to make it to the Garden. Maybe. They'd have beaten Notre Dame and Louiville. Whatever. Just win, baby. Cardinals fading and have games with West Virginia and Marquette coming up.

Oklahoma State at Iowa State. You know what's hilarious? Oklahoma St's court has "Eddie Sutton Court" written in massive letters stretching almost from one free throw line to the other. Hysterical. They should dot the "i" with a shot glass.

San Diego State at BYU. Aztecs can clinch at least a share of conference title with win.

UTEP at Memphis. Miners are 9-1 in C-USA and have won 10 of 11. If they somehow win this, they'll be tied for first without another date with Memphis. But that isn't happening.

Tonight's likes...

Michigan State (-4.5) over Ohio State.

Bulls (-5.5) over Bucks.

Cavs (+1.5) at Sixers.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Get These Two A Room Already

The catfight between Shani Davis and Chad Hedrick continued on during a press conference after their race yesterday. Hiss! Listen, when you're being compared to Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan in the annals of Olympic history, somewhere along the line, somehow, you done fucked up. And there's no going back.

"There's nothing to kiss and hug about," Hedrick said. "We're competitors. We want to beat everybody out there. And if we don't feel that way we're never going to win. Michael Jordan doesn't go onto the court unless he is confident he's going to win. He's going to do everything he can do to win. And that's how it is. And that's how every top level athlete is and if he's not that way he's not a winner."

Seemingly irritated when Hedrick evoked Jordan's name, Davis fired his own salvo:

"Speaking of Michael Jordan, since I'm from Chicago and a big Michael Jordan fan, I've never seen him act in an unprofessional manner when it came to losing....

Oh, snap! Hedrick did not bring up the name of Michael Jordan to a Chicagoan, did he? Tell me he didn't bring up the name of Michael Jordan! Tell me before I hurt somebody! Dems fighting words!

Then, after Hedrick straightened out his dress, Davis went all bitchy his damn self...

"I'll be honest in front of all you people since me and Chad were fighting for the same thing. He wants to win; I want to win. It would have been nice - and I'm just throwing it out there - it would have been nice if after the 1000 meters he could have been a good teammate and shook my hand. Just like I hugged him after he won the 5000 meters."

Davis then stalked off the dais. "I'm done," he said. "I've got nothing else to say, then quietly, "shakes my hand when I lose."

Throw it out there, baby! I'll tell you what. If this were a couple of broads I'd be turned on by now. Where's the Jello?

"We had a great opportunity to win the team pursuit race and I felt betrayed in a way," Hedrick said after Davis left the room. "Not only did Shani not participate in it, he didn't even discuss it with me. And as the leader of the team I felt like we passed up a medal. It was nothing to do with me wining five gold medals because I never quoted that in the paper. That's something that you guys started. I felt betrayed in a way."

Now, this actually interests me. A lot of people have been throwing Hedrick under the bus for being selfish in wanting Davis to race in the pursuit, saying he only cared about his own personal medal count. Well, Hedrick implies that he never said that. It certainly wouldn't be the first time the media ran with a storyline regardless of the truth behind it.

Fabris and Davis skated a victory lap together, while Hedrick, visibly upset, sat down and removed his skates. Davis then tousled Fabris' hair on the podium, while Hedrick continued to look like a man who didn't accomplish much of anything.

What??? Davis "tousled" Fabris' hair? This just keeps getting gayer and gayer.

Hedrick said "there's nothing going on between us," and tried making the argument that "he and I make each other stronger."

You complete me.

Also, the Tribune had this tidbit...

Before he left, Davis repeatedly lectured the media for focusing on their two-year rivalry over the competition.

"[Speedskating] is going to be popular in America when people realize that it's something Americans are good at," he said. "But when you put things in a negative twist and you try to make things controversial to bring in more attention to something that people wouldn't normally pay attention to, it's false, it's not correct and I don't appreciate it at all."

Hedrick's response, unsurprisingly, was the opposite of Davis'.

"I think it's great what they're trying to make [out of] this sport, and it's Shani and I battling each other," he said. "That's what this sport needs, and it's up to us.

I have to agree with Hedrick here. There are a lot of people who before this week knew little or nothing about speedskating, but today are interested. Look, Hedrick beat Davis in the 5000. Davis beat Hedrick in the 1500. And it's a shame that they won't have a rubber match, right?

All I know for sure is that neither of these cats are ending up on one of these...

Olympic Photo Fun

Please tell me how this old dude got into the Olympics. Oh, wait, he's a curler. Nevermind. With curling out there, I may enjoy rampant sex in the Olympic village someday after all. I could make the curling team.

I'm glad to see one of the Hanson brothers found a spot on the U.S. women's hockey team.

This is just so, so wrong on so, so many levels.

Women's hockey would be so much better in bikinis.

You know, I appreciate Italy's decision to include cheerleaders at the hockey venue. I really do. But for the love of God, what sort of drugs were being consumed when these outfits were thought up?

"That $%#@ Bode Miller cost me a %$%# fortune. That's the last time I bet on a $%#* pothead."

Yo, camerman, stop filming that's guy's ass in tights. Pervert!

You didn't actually think I'd make it through the Olympics without posting a pic of Tanith Belbin, did you?

And another one.

And another.

All That Fuss, No Gold

Well, that was disappointing, eh?

After all the squabbling and bickering and general spite, neither Shani Davis nor Chad Hedrick came away with a gold medal in the 1500. Davis got the silver, Hedrick the bronze, and the rest of the world got to laugh at the funny Americans who were too busy giving dirty looks to each other to notice that Enrico Fabris of Italy was faster than the both of them.

Which is probably fitting.

First, let me apologize for my earlier post which questioned Davis' decision not to race in the team pursuit. At the time, I assumed that these guys must train together a la track athletes. Or something like that. I thought that Davis had left his teammates hanging by waiting until he arrived in the Olympic village to inform them that he was no longer interested in the event. Of course, a general lack of knowledge concerning most things, particularly anything involving the wearing of tights, has never stopped me from commenting before, even if it means eventually apologizing, so there you go. I was wrong.

It turns out, the United States speed skating federation is run by monkeys who travel all the way to the Olympics without any clue as to who will be doing what events. How is this possible? How do you arrive in Italy still hammering out the lineup? Unreal. Apparently, Davis never had any intention of doing the team pursuit, which is his right.

So, yeah, I was wrong to criticize Davis and I apologize. Truth be told, after Jay Mariotti wasted his column space to rip on Davis on more than one occasion in the past week - ooooh, Cherie Davis is going to fill up his e-mail inbox like nobody's business - I knew something was wrong. When I'm half-agreeing with the doofus that is Mariotti, I need to stop and reevaluate my thinking. Pronto. That was scary.

Besides, it's not like I was going to stay mad at a South Sider and White Sox fan for long.

Bottom line? I guess somewhere along the line there was a disconnect between Davis' thinking and my own. I mean, if I had turned my back on teammates the way Davis did back when I was growing up, my old man would have slapped me upside the head, stuck a boot up my ass, and screamed, "Get out there and race, you pretty boy! You don't need no %$%# rest!" And then he'd slap me upside the head again after the race. My ears hurt just thinking about it. So, yeah, I can't quite wrap my brain around Davis' decision to turn down the team pursuit and the chance at another medal, which the U.S. team may have won had he raced.

But then, I'm not Shani Davis, and I'm not a dude with the opportunity to become the first-ever black to win an individual gold medal in the Winter Olympics. That was quite a unique position he was in, a position not I nor anyone else can understand. So if his decision was to go for that one gold medal and make history, so be it. Who am I or anyone else to fault him? And that includes Hedrick.

That said, Davis probably cost himself some cash in endorsement deals when he seemingly went out of his way to look like someone killed his dog as Melissa Stark interviewed him after his gold medal-winning race. Hell, I don't look that grumpy in the early AM on a Monday morning after a long weekend of hardcore drinking and my car won't start and it's 10 degrees outside. And how can you not be at your most charming and smooth when Starks is interviewing you? Or at least trying your damndest to be charming and smooth? (For some cats such as myself, it isn't easy.) She's a cutie. Has Joe Namath taught us nothing? Get your grin on, Shani. Lighten up.

Hedrick, meanwhile, should have worried about his own agenda, and less about what Davis or anyone else was doing. Sure, Hedrick's goal of five medals was admirable. And he certainly is willing to man up, put on the U.S. uniform and race in any event he can (even the upcoming 10,000) no questions asked, meaning, I suppose, he is the one guy who might rightfully accuse Davis of not stepping up. But come on now. Mind your business. Take care of your own agenda. And if you do have a problem with Davis' decision not to race, confront him with it in private. Don't whine through the media.


In the end, after all the naysaying and finger-pointing like a couple of junior high girls fighting over a boy without braces, neither Davis nor Hedrick won the race dubbed as a showdown between the two.

And following the way both did a nice job of annoying potential fans over the past week, I suppose that's fitting.

Now we can all go back to not caring about speed skating until 2010.

Sasha! Cohen! (Clap! Clap! Clapclapclap!)

Sasha! Cohen! (Clap! Clap! Clapclapclap!)

Sasha Time

Sasha Cohen skates tonight. At long last. Be there. She's a cutie.

So will Emily Hughes, who has the potential to be one of the better stories of these Olympics. With her sister Sarah winning in 2002, and after the debacle with Michelle Kwan's controversial inclusion on the team initially, an Emily Hughes win here would certainly cause a stir. You can't stop the Hughes sisters; you can only hope to contain them.

And, yes, I actually have a thing for female figure skating. Call me weird or effeminate or gay even. I don't care. I just do and I always have. If I'm wrong, I don't want to be right. I think this is all Katarina Witt's fault. My problem must have started with her.

By the way, the favorite is Russian Irini Slutskaya. Slutskaya. Get it? (Oh, lord, I'm still thirteen years old in my head.)

Sasha! Cohen! (Clap! Clap! Clapclapclap!)

Sasha! Cohen! (Clap! Clap! Clapclapclap!)


The Tribune has a decent article today on all the kids from Illinois who play Division 1 basketball across the nation. I've always been slightly obssessed with this issue. I mean, with all the success Illinois and Southern Illinois enjoy annually, and to a leseer extent UIC, and this year at least, Bradley, I often wonder how good these programs would be if they roped in all the state's best talent. And don't even get me started on the need of DePaul to start hitting the local recruiting trails hardcore if it wants to return to the upper echelon in college hoops. The talent is out there. Bottom line? If the Blue Demons get their hands on the Chicago pipeline of talent, they'll be just fine. It is an art form they lost over the years. Maybe Will Walker's arrival at DePaul next year will start a trend.

Look, there is no need for Bobby Frasor to be at North Carolina nor Julian Wright at Kansas this season as freshmen. It also saddens me that Jon Scheyer will attened Duke next year while Sherron Collins will follow Wright to Kansas.

These guys should be suiting up for the Illini or Blue Demons or Salukis or Flames, and that's all I have to say about that.

Tuesday's College Action

Illinois at Michigan. Illini are rolling and 'bout to run the table, baby.

Boston College at Virginia. Ugh. My least favorite team vs. the carpetbagger. Ugh. Cavs try to stay at least .500 in ACC which would be a great accomplishment for them.

Notre Dame at UConn. Don't believe the rankings. Huskies still best in nation.

Seton Hall at St John's. Up and down Pirates need to find some consistency if they want to secure NCAA berth. Could be a tricky trip into NYC.

Xavier at Dayton. Musketeers still hanging on bubble. Dayton has been disappointing this year, but is usually tough at home.

Baylor at Kansas. Bill Self deserves some props. Who thought the young Jayhawks would be atop the Big 12 in late February? Well, I guess Kansas atop the Big 12 is never shocking, but still. Kansas vs Texas on Saturday.

Texas A&M at Missouri. You know, seeing Mizzou lose by 30 every time out just isn't as much fun now that Quin Hair has been sent into exile.

Alabama at Arkansas. I heard Arkansas was fined 5 grand for its fans storming the court on Saturday after beating Florida. What kind of garbage is that? Let the kids have some fun. I guess both these teams are on the bubble, if only barely. Razorbacks' win over Gators helped, but they are only 6-6 in SEC, so a loss here would hurt. Alabama already has nine losses, but blew out Tennessee on Saturday. Hard team to figure. They play Arkansas here and then Florida at home, so their fate is in their own hands this week.

Southern Illinois at Evansville. Salukis have been strugling late, losing some close games. Need a win here.

Tonight's likes...

Boston College (-2.5) at Virginia.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Back in Business

Illini fans can come in off the ledge now.

That frightening two-game losing streak is a memory after the Illini beat Northwestern on Wednesday and pounded on Indiana today. Sure, these may not be the most impressive wins possible, but for the moment the Illini seem to be back in business.

And avenging an earlier loss to the Hoosiers is never a bad thing.

It also leaves the Illini right where they need to be - back atop the Big Ten standings, though Iowa has a game in hand in the win column.

The day's best highlight came when Brian Randle dunked over Marco Killingsworth late in the first half, sending Killingsworth to the ground in a heap, drawing a foul, and even managing to hang on the rim for a good two seconds without getting called for a technical. It was pretty much game, set, and match at that point, regardless of how early it still was.

Killingsworth played like a punk in these teams' first meeting in Bloomington, violently throwing his elbows and the ball around and even drawing the ire of Dick Vitale, who rarely gets mad at anybody. So it was particularly gratifying to see Randle stick his sack in Killingsworth's face. The best part? Randle said nothing. He just walked to the free throw line.

Indiana, meanwhile, is a lost team. I guess you could easily blame it on Mike Davis announcing his resignation this week, but they lost themselves long before that. The fact that the game never got uglier than it did was about the best you could say of the Hoosiers on this day. My how times have changed.

Indiana has rapidly gone from a Top Ten team to NCAA lock to a bubble team to a team that may not even finish above .500. At 13-10 now, it's no certainty.

When the vast sea of orange began chanting "N-I-T! N-I-T! N-I-T!" I almost felt bad for Davis.

But not really.

Hero Or Asshole?

There is so much about Shani Davis that you want to like.

He's become the first black athlete to win a Winter Olympic gold medal in an individual event. This is quite an accomplishment. Legendary, even.

He did it in a sport where being a black guy couldn't have been easy, not with the white establishment he competed against and not with his fellow inner-city kids who laughed at him.

Hell, Davis is from the South Side and even donned a White Sox cap during his victory lap. This touch was most excellent. The dude has great taste and a sense of the moment. Never forget where you're from.

Yet for all the reasons there are to admire the guy, he comes off like a dude who goes out of his way to make himself unlikeable. Earlier in the week, while already in Torino, he decided to inform his teamates on the U.S. relay team that he wouldn't be competing with them. Gee, that was nice of him to give advanced notice, eh? Davis has been portrayed as a loner who does things his way, and I have no problem with such a cat. In fact, more often than not that is a trait I admire. But there is a difference between doing things your way and being a dick simply for the sake of being a dick. It amazes me that some are now portraying Chad Hedrick, who was critical of Davis' last minute decision to ditch his teammates, as the bad guy here, as the guy who's whining. Hell, who wouldn't be mad if at the pinnacle of your career, in the biggest moment of your life, a teammate said thanks, but no thanks? Hedrick had every right to be angered, and so did the other two skaters on that team. Davis had no obligation to compete in the relay if he didn;t want to, but it wouldn't have taken much effort on his part to inform somebody of his desire to focus solely on his individual events a long time ago. It's almost as if he planned the timing perfectly in such a manner as to intentionally be a difficult, spiteful dickbag, or to get back at people for reasons only known to him.

And from the little I know of Davis' mother, Cherie , maybe the apple doesn't far from the tree.

From the above link there was this...

Several of her emails have labelled the speed skating community "KKK", "white supremacist" and "neo-Nazi genetic mutation". Cherie Davis has also railed against journalists who have written about her son and touched on those issues.

Well, isn't that sweet? While I'm sure Davis has encountered racist garbage over the years in the white world of skating - there is, after all, always going to be jerks - Ms. Davis is a little over the top, no? Nazis? Come on now.

Hell, as much as I dislike Jay Mariotti, his column today provided this...

Up in the seats, as Davis received his shiny new accessory, Bonnie Blair was finishing her broadcast duties after the 1,000-meter final. I asked the queen of speedskating what she thought of Davis' triumph. She paused, cryptically.

"I'm very impressed with Joey Cheek winning the silver and becoming a double-medalist for the U.S.,'' she said.

I asked again about Davis. After all, hadn't he been the only male youngster in Hyde Park wearing a Bonnie Blair sweatshirt in the '90s? Wasn't she an inspiration for him?

"I'm not allowed to talk about him,'' Blair said. "His mother sent me an e-mail and told me not to talk about him. So I can't talk about him.''


"I have no idea,'' Blair said. "If you can figure it out, let me know. I've never said a bad word about him. Joey Cheek was great.''

And from this link I found this...

A Dutch television documentary filmed during the December short-track Olympic trials provided a behind-the-scenes look at one other constantly discussed element of Davis' career -- the heavy influence of his mother and manager, Cherie.

In the concluding footage of the documentary Dubbel Davis (Double Davis), Cherie Davis goes to the locker room after her son fails to make the team and is seen telling him, "Someone's going to see what a loser you are."

Davis responds: "If you're going to be negative, get out of here. You think that makes me feel good, telling me I'm a loser?"

Later, Davis' mother laughs and says: "I'm so sorry you let all those little kids beat you. Maybe you should retire."

And Davis laments, "I cannot wait until this season is over."

Look, I don't know enough about Davis, his mother, nor speed skating in general to pass any judgements here. And I hate being judgemental and negative in the first place. But even during his post-race victory interview, Davis came off as a sullen, bitter guy who had to get in one last bad word aimed in Hedrick's direction. Perhaps it was that time of month. I don't know. He certainly didn't take the high road.

Davis' story could very well be the biggest, the most inspirational, of the entire Olympics, but it probably won't be. It will likely be overshadowed by the blunder of Lindsey Jacobellis or a possible Emily Hughes triumph (which would be a great story) or even the U.S. hockey team stumbling its way through another Olympics.

Davis will be just another story, a mix of immense and legendary accomplishment and just another athlete acting selfish and jaded.

And that's a shame. Davis could go down as the rare athlete that marks a true watershed moment in sports. He broke barriers. He could be legendary. And maybe he will be.

But if his legacy is dimmed because he's viewed as a selfish guy who had no qualms about screwing over his teammates and never seemingly being happy, well, don't say he didn't bring it on himself. (With the help of his antichrist mother.) Sure, it's not Davis' responsibilty to carry himself with the grace of Jackie Robinson or Arthur Ashe or any other African-American athlete who broke barriers.

But he could have. But didn't. And that's his loss. Not ours.

By the way, Davis and Hedrick will compete against each other on Tuesday in the 1,500. That could very well be one of the most entertaining moments of these Olympics. I would highly recommend viewing.

There, There, Lindsey...

...the Unknown Column is here for you.

By now I'm sure you've heard about Lindsey Jacobellis and her unfortunate spill/moment of hubris. Hell, this story has more legs than Dick Cheney shooting someone in the face. Jacobellis' most embarrassing moment continues to be dissected as if somewhere therein lies the answer to the Iran nucleur situation. People have accused Jacobellis of being dumb, unpatriotic, egotistical or simply a stoned snowboarder. It has become cause for national debate.

Get over it.

I mean, look at this face. Just look at it!

How can you be upset at a face like that? You cold-hearted bastards! It's like when your dog takes a dump on your carpet and just as you're about to put a boot up his ass, he looks at you with those big, beautiful eyes and you melt. How can you be mad after that?

Even though in the immediate aftermath of the now infamous race Jacobellis told a little white lie and said she grabbed the board to try and "stabilize" it - uh-huh, sure, riiiiiight - in subsequent interviews she came around and said, yeah, she got caught up in the moment. She was excited. She used the word "happy" on several occasions to describe her feelings as she saw the finish line and that gold medal and went just a little too far.

She wasn't being a spoiled American, though I'm sure her fateful move garnered chuckles all over the world. She wasn't showing up her competitors. She wasn't showboating.

She was having fun. I won't even get into the topic of snowboarding being the essense of a sport based on fun (pot?) as much as it is competition, but that's what Jacobellis was doing. Having fun. So big deal. Just think of what a great photo it would have made if she landed it and got the gold.

But she didn't. And she has to live with that. All by herself. Nobody else. So get off her back.

And this brings me to the bigger point I want to make: Bob Costas and Jimmy Roberts are imcomparable douchebags. Goodgawd, somebody send these guys off to pasture already.

On Friday night, after Jacobellis' fall, NBC's two pretty boy windbags spent the last half hour of its primetime coverage making her feel like a shit. Absolutely disgraceful.

First, Roberts joined Costas next to the fireplace, a scene which in and of itself should have prompted me to change channels faster than Bode Miller falling out of medal contention, but I didn't. Jacobelllis was coming on soon and her golden curls were calling me. So then Roberts had one of his lame "pieces" where he talks in slow, highly innunciated tones and does his best to sound poetic (he's not) and self-important (he is). The "piece" showed Jacobellis' crash about 776 times from several different angles as Roberts compared her to Jana Novotna, Greg Norman, and even Leon Lett, all the while being as overly-dramatic and over-the-top as possible. The whole ordeal was a car wreck, with Roberts being too damn pompous to even notice.

Honestly, I don't know how Roberts was able to look Jacobellis in the eye as she was surely in the same room waiting to be interviewed by Costas.

So then Jacobellis sat dwon with Costas and for roughly ten minutes he asked the same goddamn question about six times. I'm not kidding. The. Same. Question. The only difference was that after Jacobellis sadly answered each time, Costas would preface the next version of the question with, "Yes, but..." and then ask a slighly altered version of, "You fucked up as the entire world watched and laughed at you and this has to be the lowest point of your life, so how does it feel?"

Then Costas would ask it again.

And again.

Jacobellis bravely answered each time and looked as though she might cry by the end. The whole seen was disgraceful and maddening. Nothing quite like two tight-assed middle aged men on Viagra making a 20-year old chick feel like shit for 30 minutes straight. I nearly puked.



If it was me, I would have sat Jacobellis down on my lap in front of that fireplace and said, "There, there, honey. Forget all these angry little people. What's done is done. Now let's go back to the Olympic Village, find some fine Italian wine, and forget the world. D'accordo?"

P.S. - Snowboard cross is a cool sport. But I have one recommendation: Place more than four racers in each qualifying heat. The way it is set up, the top two in each heat advance to the next round. But what happens a lot is that two racers will collide and knock themselves out of the race and then the other two can coast to the bottom with no real worries or reason to win. Other than that, snowboard cross is very watchable. I'm still not sold on the halfpipe, though. We already have enough sports ruled by judges.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Congratulations, Chemmy Alcott

I just wanted to give some props to Britain's Chemmy Alcott for finishing in 32nd place (out of 35) in the women's downhill in Torino. Job well done, I say.


Someone is about to be administered an ass-kicking. Gonna get ugly...

Celebrity Game?

I'll pass, thank you.

I caught the beginning of this abomination of an event last night at NBA All-Star weekend and was alarmed at how few of the clebrities I actually knew. Ice Cube and Nelly were about the only dudes I could recognize for sure. And maybe Bow Wow, though I'm not sure if it was him and didn't really care. (Admittedly, watching the teams trot out of the tunnel was about all I could stomach before switching channels.) Eva Longoria and Queen latifah were the coaches, which meant we wouldn't see the stunning spectacle of Longoria shaking her tight ass up and down the court, nor the hilarity of Queen Latifah doing the same with here robust behind. Other than that, I was seriously lost as to who these people were. I figured my total disregard for inane pop culture would someday be complete, and was probably nearing that point already, but this was ridiculous. Hell, I didn't even know the token hot blonde chick. How could I not know the hot blond chick? Am I slipping?

Then I figured, nah, it's probably a good thing that I don't now these people.

Anyway, I didn't even make it through to the tipoff before Olympic curling actually seemed like a better entertainment option. Can someone please explain curling to me? Please? It looks like it might be fun, and some of the chicks are quite nice to look at, but I have no idea how it works. None. And while you're at it, I'd also like to know why you or I couldn't compete at curling. While drinking. Heavily. At this point, darts might as well be an Olympic sport. And dodgeball. Most definitely dodgeball.

Elton Brand was interviewed before the celebrity game and I couldn't help but wonder, not for the first time, what Brand, Brad Miller, and Ron Artest would look like if still in Bulls uniforms.

Ah, who gives a hit? What's done is done.

Da Bulls pounded, pounded, the Sixers on Thursday night. We have good vibes over All-Star weekend. Here we go now.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

More Ozzie Being Ozzie

I was already a big fan of Ozzie Guillen speaking the blunt truth, but when he steers his sharp words in the direction of Alex "A-Fraud" Rogriguez, well, now that's scratching me right where I need to be itched. There are few things more enjoyable than the tools and fakes of the world being called out as such.

To wit...

"Alex was kissing Latino people's (butts)," Guillen, who's from Venezuela, said in the most recent issue of Sports Illustrated. "He knew he wasn't going to play for the Dominicans; he's not a Dominican!"

Rodriguez, who has dual citizenship in the Dominican Republic and United States, was linked to both teams' rosters at various points over the past few months and also said once that he simply wasn't going to play in the tournament because choosing a country to represent was too difficult. After talking with MLB and WBC officials, however, he opted to play for the Americans, and Guillen apparently found his flip-flopping to be disingenuous. "I hate hypocrites: He's full of ---," Guillen said. "The Dominican team doesn't need his (butt).

Ozzie was equally harsh towards Nomar Garciaparra...

It's the same with (Nomar) Garciaparra playing for Mexico. Garciaparra only knows Cancun because he went to visit."

Now, while I agree that A-Fraud is one of the phoniest, most loathsome pretty boys in sports, a guy who only wavered between countries as he decided which one made him look better, and I love that seemingly more and more people realize this all the time, I have to disagree with Ozzie's stance that playing for another country other than the one you were born and/or raised in is somehow wrong.

The reason A-Fraud can play for the Dominican Republic or Garciaparra for Mexicao is because they do have definite ties to those countries. It's where their roots are originally from, and I see no reason why pride in your heritage should be frowned upon. Lots of American kids grow up in houses where the parents or grandparents came from somewhere else and the native culture is still very much alive within their home's walls. So, no, I find nothing repulsive about wanting to represent the country where your blood hails from.

In fact, growing up as an avid soccer player, I used to daydream about playing with the Irish national team. My dad is from there and thus I already have dual citizenship, which would have made it possible, and the Irish team usually has a few guys who are actually from England but their parents' Irish roots allow them to play for the Green and Gold.

It wasn't that I had anything against the United States team. It was just that at the time (late '80s/early 90s) the U.S. team was largely irrelevent. In other words, they sucked. Their games were rarely on TV, played before small crowds and the media hardly batted an eye. The entire operation was very amateurish. The team was virtually invisible.

Then I'd catch the rare game from Europe and it was immediatley obvious that the passion for soccer around the globe dwarfs even what we see here in the States for "our" sports. So, yeah, as a youngster daydreaming wildly, I had farfetched visions of donning the Green and Gold someday and playing in packed stadiums in games that mattered as opposed to playing for an American national team that not many people cared about.

I don't think that made me un-American, and I don't think Garciaparra should be faulted for wanting to represent the country his family came from.

Of course, things have changed drastically since then, and now soccer is on the verge of massive things in America and the national team has become beloved.

And this is a good thing.

Tonight's college basketball action...

Miami at Boston College. BC is on a winning streak, which will only make their abrupt departure in March all the more sweet.

Washington at Oregon. Wasn't Oregon an up-and-coming program just like two years ago?

Georgetown at Marquette. Marquette tries to snap two-game losing streak at home. We'll see how Hoyas bounce back on road after dropping one at home to West Virginia.

San Diego State at UNLV. First vs. second in the MWC. The memoty of Tark is stirring on the Strip.

Arizona at Cal. Two bubble teams. Cal has quietly won five in a row, and with Leon Powe doing his thing, may be a sleeper.