Friday, March 31, 2006

Rock Bottom

This has to be about as low as it can go for Cubs fans. Right now. Surely, things could not get any worse for the contingent of crazies who willingly get scalped by the pathetic Tribune Co. I actually feel sorry for Cubs fans. Well, no I don't. OK, a little. As a Pale Hose fan, really, I don't care, but I feel a twinge of empathy. Maybe that's just gas.

Rock. Bottom.







If you're a Cubs fan, you must feel like a junkie who has been arrested and sent to the clink cold turkey or John Travolta before Quentin Tarantino cast him in Pulp Fiction. This is some sort of end of the road.

I mean, first the White Sox win the World Series.

Then the bleachers - the famous bleachers that are a sort of Heaven - are "remodeled" and "renovated" so a "few more tickets" could be "scalped", er, "sold". How could they mess with the bleachers? Ridiculous. And now those bleachers' naming rights are being sold out to a beer company as if we aren't bombarded with enough Bud Light advertising already. The least they could have done is thought outside the box a little and shown a little class. They could have chosen, say, Red Stripe or Guinness. Bud Light? Get out of bed with The Man.

And, of course, the real kicker. Mark Prior and Kerry Wood are - surprised, surprise! - injured for Opening Day. Good luck with this, Dusty Baker.

Like I said, this has to be some sort of low point for Cubs fans, and I'm not laughing, just saying. The world of Cubdom is crumbling and burning. It's like standing outside a house - your house - as it slowly burns down, and you're helpless.

OK, I'm laughing a little.

Tonight's Likes

Nets (-6) at Hawks

Bulls (-3) at Bobcats

Wizards/Rockets over 197

Clippers (-6) vs Jazz

Lakers (+1) at Sonics

March record: 56-57-1

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Kyle Orton - Coolest Bear Ever?

For a guy who moved the offense last year about as well I could have, Kyle Orton is coming surprisingly close to being my favorite Bear ever. Seriously. I mean, Orton is already approaching legendary levels here in Chitown. No matter how his career pans out, Bears fans are never going to forget this guy. Ever.

Yes, Orton is drinking again and, yes, the cameras are finding him...

Shirtless. I love it. Why remain fully attired when past photographs of yourself have drawn criticism for the booze stains sullying your shirt? To hell with the shirt! And for that matter, to hell with a glass! Why waste time pouring a drink when you can just sip right from the bottle? There is so much booze to be downed, so let's not fuck around with unecessary shit like finding a glass.

Incidentally, does the other guy in the above photo have a concerned look on his face? It's almost like he's contemplating talking to Orton about maybe drying out for a spell.

First of all, check the time and date on this one. Eleven o' the morning. And March 1 was a Wednesday. I checked. Hysterical.

Limos + bimbos + booze = the life I should be leading. I'm jealous.

If this whole NFL quarterback thing doesn't work out, I'm pretty sure Orton has a career waiting for him as a rock star. Hell, he doesn't even need to play an instrument. He can pull a Sid Vicious and just get smashed and make people laugh. He's a natural.

I cannot wait until Orton and Brian Griese hit the town together. That's going to be a special kind of funny.

(Hat tip, Deadspin.)

For the record, here's some past classic Orton...

Is This News?

NASCAR to remain in Daytona until 2054.

NASCAR officials have signed a new lease that will keep racing there through the year 2054. The lease will also raise the rent they pay for the famed speedway, which is now about equivalent to the cost of a one-bedroom apartment.

Now, I'm far from being an NASCAR expert, but isn't this akin to announcing that the tennis tours will continue their yearly trips to Wimbledon? Yeah, no shit.

Incidentally, is it just me, or are NASCAR drivers pussies compared to the F1/open-wheel drivers? They drive much slower with much more protection, no?

Jeff Gordon couldn't carry Danica Patrick's jockstrap.

People Are Still Having Sex

The Bush Administration has teenage sex on the brain.

The expansion of abstinence programs has been propelled by a steady increase in government funding. The funding started ramping up under the Clinton administration. Since 1998, the federal government has spent about $890 million on abstinence programs, including sex-ed courses taught in schools (as well as pregnancy crisis centers and government agencies). But the bulk of it -- $779 million -- has been spent since President George W. Bush took office in 2001. The government is slated to spend $176 million on abstinence programs this year -- up from nearly $167 million last year and $82 million in 2001.

So Bush has spent $779 million on abstinence programs since 2001? Really? Well, that's a relief. For a second there I was worried he may have spent it on education or health care or some other equally unimportant trivialty.

I honestly don't understand this. What exactly don't these people get? Tossing around hundreds of millions of dollars simply to tell teenagers not to have sex is pointless. People aren't going to have less sex, whether they be adults or high schoolers or - gulp - younger. Sex is everywhere. Television. Magazines. Music. The whole world - EVERYTHING! - revolves around sex. People are going to fuck and fuck some more so why keep pretending that it can be prevented

You can't stop sex, you can only hope to contain it.

Besides, how is it possible that $779 million has been spent on this? I mean, kids aren't stupid. They know all about sex. They know how it works. They know the consequences. All the options are right there in front of them. So how does it require $779 million to tell them to keep it in their pants. Where is this money actually going? I need to know.

Watch and learn: To any kids out there reading this, I have a message for you - keep it in your pants!

See? That was free. No charge. I'm in it for the love.

Listen, I'm not advocating rampant sex among teenagers. That said, it happens. It happens a lot. So stop living in some fantasy world where kids will no longer fuck and pass out some condoms.

I'm sure $779 million can pay for a lot of condoms.

Tax Dollars Going Down Toilet - Literally

Because there are no more problems for our government to confront, it is now treking through the sewers of America searching for traces of cocaine. No, really.

If government studies are a reliable guide, about 25,000 residents of Fairfax County -- 2.5 percent of its population -- have used cocaine in the past year. The same data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health suggest that about 9,000 have partaken within the past 30 days.

Those estimates, based on personal and computer-assisted interviews, rely almost completely on the candor of the respondents. The Bush administration, hoping to someday broaden the government's knowledge of illegal drug use, is probing the mysteries of Fairfax's sewage for a clearer picture.

Earlier this month, the county agreed to participate in a White House pilot program to analyze wastewater from communities throughout the Potomac River Basin for the urinary byproducts of cocaine.

See? Now this is the sort of stringent testing Bud Selig should have implemented years ago. Hell, ESPN's Pedro Gomez is always on hand to file reports on the texture of Barry Bond's latest stool movements. Maybe he can grab a urine sample while he's at it.

Other than that, there are so many Georgie Dipshit/cocaine jokes to be had here that my brain is short-circuiting.

More Spineless Wobbling

"Huh? Sterile moose? Steroid use? What? Na na na na! I can't hear you."

It was less than two weeks ago that I was finally willing to relent just a bit and give Selig a rare pat on the back following the joy that was the World Baseball Classic. Believe me, that was a stretch as I find Selig to be about as likeable as a cold sore.

Well, I take it all back.

Selig's latest toothless stunt is to call for an investigation into past steroid use. Of course, the investigation will be led by an aged Senator with all the vengeful ferocity of a hamster. George Mitchell isn't exactly Brandon Lee in The Crow kicking down doors and seeking revenge. What exactly is Mitchell going to uncover that the authors of "Game of Shadows" haven't already?

This is a farce.

Listen, I dislike Barry Bonds as much as the next guy. Trust me. The guy cheated and acted like an asshole for years, so it's refreshing to see karma catch up to him, just as it's always refreshing to see karma catch up to anyone who has some bad vibes due to come their way. Sure, there is a definite scheudenfreude factor here, and no, I don't feel sorry for Bonds as his situation becomes and all-out witch hunt. He decided to play with fire and now he's getting burnt. Hey, too bad. Shit happens.

That said, let it go. This investigation is little more than smoke and mirrors to distract from the fact that horrible mistakes were made. Selig and baseball fucked up by turning a blind eye for several years to the steroid use that even the most casual of baseball of fans could see by simply turning on a television. None of these mistakes can be undone now. None of them. What exactly is this investigation going to accomplish? We all already know that Bonds and Gary Sheffield and Jason Giambi and others juiced - and don't give me any garbage about them being innocent until proven guilty. You know they juiced. I know it. They know it. We all know it.

So now people are angered that a massive, medicated beast with a surly attitude may pass loveable folk heroes like Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron in the record books. I'm one of those people. I'll admit it. Why sould Bonds sit atop the record books when a significant portion of his career - the most productive portion of his career - was unfairly enhanced?

So I guess this is some last-ditch attempt by Selig to prevent this from happening.

Thing is, Selig didn't have the brains nor the spine to make steroids illegal at the time the record books were being rampaged. Yet now he's going to get on his high horse and act as though he's some tough man of the people, some avenger of wrongs, and announce this investigation as if he actually has a pair of balls and is cracking down?

Give me a fuckin' break.

Pricks like Bonds took advantage of what was laid bare before them - and that was a baseball world that took no offense to their cheating, not even a slap on the wrist or a simple piss test. Nothing. You can gripe all you want about the moral factor, or lack thereof, of what these men chose to do to their bodies and the game of baseball. You cannot, however, claim that they broke the rules of baseball.

They didn't.

If there should be any investigation here, it should be into which owners were the most resistant to steroid legislation. Find out the owners who were the most willing to turn their backs on the wrongdoing as long as fans were tuning in to see the long balls hit into the outfield bleachers. Find these owners. Investigate these owners. And then toss these owners from the game.

Selig, too.

Should Bonds and the other cheats face the howls of a public sickened by what they've done? Sure.

Should their possible entrance into the Hall of Fame be up for scrutiny? Yeah.

They should not, however, be investigated for acts that Selig and the rest of baseball were more than willing to overlook as long as interest was peaked momentarily. In a sense, Selig and the rest used the likes of Bonds when they felt the game needed a jolt. So the record books and even the mere health of the players were disregarded because, for a while, America loved all the dingers. And now that Selig and the owners are done using Bonds and the rest, now that they've gotten what they wanted, they're willing to begin witchhunts and make criminals of them.

The steroid users may have been criminals, but they weren't the only ones.

Tonight's Likes

South Carolina (-3) vs Michigan

Suns/Pacers under 205.5

Spurs (-4.5) at Lakers

March record: 54-56-1

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Tonight's Likes

Pistons (-3.5) at 76ers

Nets (-6) vs Grizzlies

Nuggets (-7) vs Jazz

Celtics (-3.5) at Knicks

March record: 51-55-1

Maguire University

Further proof that the best ideas come while blitzed out of your mind...

Kelly's Pub on Webster has been headquarters for DePaul fans since the early 1930's, but every year at this time there is a change of allegiance. Kelly's Pub is suddenly transformed into Maguire University, founded in 1963. Some of the students even have class rings.

"Maguire University started basically with a bunch of high school coaches on the West Side who used to hang out in a place called Maguire's Pub in Forest Park," said John Kelly, dean of Maguire University Fun and Frolic.

Those coaches created Maguire University, a fake college, so they could get tickets to the Final Four each year. The NCAA fell for the scam and Maguire U was an official school.

"We got away with our ticket allotment for two years and then Bill Jauss broke a story in the Chicago Tribune about it, and from then on the NCAA didn't take too much of a liking to it," Kelly said.

Maguire U then had to acquire their own tickets, and they moved to their new administration building at Kelly's Pub, and for 44 straight Final Fours they have partied at the Big Dance. But the students there still like to laugh about the times Division I teams tried to set up games with little Maguire.

The sad part is, Maguire University may play in a Final Four before DePaul makes it back to one.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

This photograph, released by sculptor Daniel Edwards on Tuesday, March 28, 2006,shows his sculpture of singer Britney Spears giving birth. The life-sized 'Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston,' seen at the artists studio in in Moosup, Conn., will be shown at the Capla Kesting Fine Art gallery in the Williamsburg section of New York beginning April 7.

The Shocker is Still Taking Over

Cheerleaders everywhere need to stand up and fight the bastards who are trying to grind them down.

A team of cheerleaders has been banned from wearing the skimpy new costumes they bought themselves over fears they could embark on dangerous diets.

Girls from the award-winning Spirit Shockers team, from Glossop, spent up to £80 each on their specially-designed pink and black outfits.

The Shockers? Goodgawd, Wichita State lost, but the Shocker is still taking over.

But the British Cheerleaders' Association said the crop-tops fall foul of new regulations which prohibit exposure of the midriff. They are worried they might put pressure on young girls to diet and don't want them to look like "exotic dancers".

What's wrong with exotic dancers? WHAT, I ask you!

What Might Have Been

Interesting article here on what the NCAA tourney might have looked like if all the guys who jumped to the pros early had stuck around. For instance...

Carmelo Anthony would still be at Syracuse
LeBron James = Ohio State
Amare Stoudemire = Memphis
Deron Williams = Illinois
Chris Paul = Wake Forest

Things would look a whole lot different, and I don't think George Mason would still be playing, though I don't mean to rain on any parades.

The author didn't mention Tyson Chandler, who being from Los Angeles, may have chosen UCLA and would have been a senior right now. I'm only guessing that the Bruins may have been Chandler's choice. It would make sense. Can you imagine if the current lockdown UCLA defense had Chandler rebounding and blocking shots? Memphis may not have broken 30 points last Saturday.

Eddy Curry could be a senior at DePaul, which I believe he was leaning towards, though I think his grocery bill was always leaning towards a fat NBA paycheck.

Luol Deng could still be at Duke, but, most likely, there is nothing he could have done to save the Blue Devils from JJ Redick's barrage of misses. Remember that? Yeah, that was funny. (Incidentally, has the Unknown Column mentioned lately how much he loves Luol Deng? Loves him.)

Shaun Livingston could have stayed right in Peoria and played at Bradley instead of for the Clippers. Then again, the Clippers thing is working out pretty well right now.

(Hat tip, Dave Sez.)

Lucky Dozen

I was ready to give up on the Bulls. More than once, to be honest. But on the heels of a mini two-game winning streak, they're only 1.5 games back of the 76ers for the final playoff spot and the right to be fodder for the Pistons in the first round. So I'm not getting off the bandwagon just yet. I'm hanging in there.

But this is it. I won't get fooled again. The Bulls have toyed with my emotions too much this season. It's now or never.

In that vein, I have looked at the Bulls final twelve games and decided that each is winnable. (I hate the word 'winnable' when it comes to the Bulls. All season long I've been looking forward to 'winnable' games only to to watch the Bulls lose. Hell, to everyone else, a game with the Bulls is 'winnable'.)

Yup, I see absolutely no reason why the Bulls shouldn't run the table. None. Let's take a peek:

Magic (tonight) - Grant Hill is busy collecting art. Verdict: Bulls win

At Bobcats (3/31) - For some reason, the Bobcats always play the Bulls tough. This is unacceptable. Verdict: Bulls win.

Celtics (4/1) - The Celtics new unis are cool. April Fools! No they're not. Verdict: Bulls win.

Pacers (4/4) - It's nice to see Jermaine O'Neal back. Too bad he's vastly overrated. Verdict: Bulls win.

At 76ers (4/5) - Obviously, this game is key. Verdict: Bulls win.

76ers (4/8) - Wow, a chance to win two straight against Philly. Couldn't ask for more. Verdict: Bulls win.

Nets (4/11) - Sure, the Nets are hot, but Vince Carter is still a bum. Verdict: Bulls win.

At Hawks (4/12) - Whatever happened to the Omni? Verdict: Bulls win.

Wizards (4/14) - Is Gilbert Arenas still crying about his All-Star snub? Verdict: Bulls win.

At Heat (4/16) - Shaq is wearing down and is clearly no match for Luke Schenscher at this late point in the season. Verdict: Bulls win.

At Magic (4/17) - Darko. Hahahahahaha! Verdict: Bulls win.

Raptors (4/19) - Someone please tell me how Charles Villanueva scored 48 in one game. Inexplicable. Verdict: Bulls win.

So there you have it. After exhaustive research and analysis, I've come to the conclusion that the Bulls could, and should, go 12-0 to close out the regular season. Am I wrong here? 12-0 sounds manageable, right?

Of course it does.

Here we go now.

Tonight's Likes

Michigan (PK) vs Old Dominion

Louisville/South Carolina over 124

Bulls (-5.5) vs Magic

Grizzlies (-7.5) vs Sonics

Kings/Wizards under 205.5

March record: 48-53-1

World Cup Getting Nearer

Video here of the top ten World Cup goals of all time, at least as deemed by some random dude. Good stuff.

There's other soccer vids listed as well.

Triple Talaq

Just when I think Christianity is all screwed up, loony Muslims come along and push the bar just a little bit higher.

A Muslim couple in India have been told by local Islamic leaders they must separate after the husband "divorced" his wife in his sleep, the Press Trust of India reported.

Sohela Ansari told friends that her husband Aftab had uttered the word "talaq", or divorce, three times in his sleep, according to the report published in newspapers on Monday.

When local Islamic leaders got to hear, they said Aftab's words constituted a divorce under an Islamic procedure known as "triple talaq". The couple, married for 11 years with three children, were told they had to split.

What the fuck? "Triple talaq"? That's all it takes? I'm sure there are a bunch of dudes here in America who wish it was so easy.

It gets better.

The religious leaders ruled that if the couple wanted to remarry they would have to wait at least 100 days. Sohela would also have to spend a night with another man and be divorced by him in turn.

Fellas, this makes coming home reeking of the "stripper smell" seem like no big deal, eh?

By the way, I love the stripper smell. Love it.

Heating Up

...and just in time. Jim Thome: four home runs in the last two days. Five days until Opening Day.

The rightfield bleachers at the Cell are going to be a lot of fun this summer.

Don't Look Now But...

...the New Jersey Nets have won nine in a row following a 110-72 mauling of the Suns last night. Listen, as long as anybody besides the Pistons win the East, it'll all be good.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Sweet Scarlett is World's Sexiest Woman

Well, duh.

FHM has dubbed Scarlett Johansson the world's sexiest woman. The Unknown Column, most certainly, does not disagree.

Interestingly, Johannson's first-ever movie, North, received this glowing review from Roger Ebert: "I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it."

So that's two thumbs down then?

Political Pornographers

Alec Baldwin is getting deep...

Pornography is the lurid and detached exploitation of something that is essentially good, even necessary, in order to make money, while simultaneously shaming and disgracing all of those who are involved. Instead of the basic force of sex, "political pornographers" exploit the good and necessary love of country that men and women seek to express and exercise on both sides of the aisle. Hannity is such a pornographer. He taunts and goads his listenership to express their political views in lurid, yet detached, ways. They do it in anonymity. They stress themselves to reach out and touch people in their lurid and detached way who they do not even know. Like pornography, they exert themselves to reach a state that gives them the release that they consciously avoid through a healthier, more personal involvement. Like pornography.

I don't know what it says about me, but I can never think of Baldwin without the Canteen Boy sketch from Saturday Night Live popping into my head.

Cheeky Little Monkey

This video is great. It looks like some Chelsea fan got into this kid's head at a young age. I love it.

More Mason Madness

Bill in DC has been on the George Mason bandwagon longer than the rest of the nation. Marriage vows and all.

Incidentally, who the hell is George Mason?

Tonight's Likes

Warriors (-1) vs Wizards

Nets (+3.5) vs Suns

Nets/Suns under 206.5

March record: 46-52-1

Mike Anderson Heads to Mizzou

Loyalty. It's gone.

At least in the case of Mike Anderson, which is sad as I've grown to love UAB in recent years. Growing up watching the likes of UNLV ("the amoeba") and Arkansas ("forty minutes of hell"), I came to love - and I mean, love - pressure defense. There's nothing like a basketball team that playes D like a pack of dogs afer loose meat, and Anderson is one of the few coaches who still employs the tactic. And UAB reaped the benefits as three straight tourney appearances can attest.

As Anderson steered the Blazers towards the brink of the big time, and thus became a hot commodity as a head coach, he repeatedly mentioned how Birmingham was his hometown and how he wanted to stay. It seemed like a great match and the Blazers seemed like a program on the rise.

Of course, money can alter the whims of the heart and Anderson is headed to Missouri to clean up the mess Hair Snyder made.

Again, these decisions to bolt to the so-called big-time conference often boggle my mind. I realize money plays a role, and the big conferences have it to spend, but is Anderson really making a wise choice? He had a good thing going at UAB. The Blazers had become annual tourney participants and, playing in the relativley weak Conference USA, that was likely to continue. In Memphis, UAB had a built-in and growing rivalry that would only serve to bolster the Blazers program as well as the entire conference. Anderson, had he stayed at UAB where his heart is, could have kept on winning, kept on going to the tourney, and maybe have even taken the next step and improved on his team's Sweet Sixteen run of 2004.

And he could have done it all in his hometown. He could have been a hero.

Instead, Anderson is following the money and abandoning his heart.

Will Anderson turn Missouri around? Probably. After Hair Snyder, the program has nowhere to go but up. However, the world of college basketball is littered with coaches who left a good thing to follow the cash and their careers suffered thusly.

It's a shame, really. I had become such an Anderson fan in recent years, and now I'll be forced to vehemently root against him in the annual Illinois-Mizzou bragging rights game.

Orange Return

The NFL has announced its nationally televised games for 2006, including those to be played on Thanksgiving.

The early game that day (CBS, 12:30 p.m. ET) will feature the Dolphins at the Detroit Lions, under new head coach Rod Marinelli. The second game (FOX, 4:15 p.m. ET) will send the NFC South champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Dallas to face the Cowboys.

The Thanksgiving package concludes at 8 p.m. ET on NFL Network when the top two teams in the AFC West last year meet. The Denver Broncos (13-3) will visit the Kansas City Chiefs (10-6).

In recent years, the NFL has started a tradition of teams wearing throwback or alternate unifroms on Thanksgiving. This, for instance, has resulted in the Bears debuting their orange jerseys and the Patriots donning their old red jerseys with the little dude on the helmet.

To give fair warning, this may mean that the Bucs will wear their infamous orange jerseys fom the days when they were inarguably the worst franchise in sports. You may want to dim the brightness on your telly.

This can't be good for the eyes.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

George Mason? Crazy

It's the morning after now and George Mason is still in the Final Four.

When I awoke this morning I actually had one of those moments in which you ask yourself if the events from the previous day actually ocurred, or if you merely dreamt them. But it's all true. George Mason really did beat UConn and it really is heading to the promised land. Unfortunately, that bit about me and Scarlett Johanssen and the hot tub was only in my head. Oh, well.

This is simply weird. The words "George Mason" just seem out of place everytime I see mention of the Final Four now.

I can't speak for the days before I followed, but this is easily the most improbable tourney run in my lifetime. Perhaps it's fitting that the Final Four is in Indianapolis because George Mason is a bit like the Hickory Huskies in Hoosiers, except the Patriots don't wear shorts so tight they'd make a stripper blush and I doubt they have any horribly alcoholic assistant coaches, although I couldn't blame them if they howled at the moon last night.

George Mason is about as deep as Hickory, too, which I believe only suited up seven players, plus the short blonde kid who only counted as half a person, really. Yesterday, Jim Larranaga's last substitution came with more than ten minutes to play in the second half. The Patriots' starters were rolling, in a groove, and, apparently, they weren't tiring, so why mess with a good thing?

Thank God for TV timeouts.

Apparently, if you'e a mid-major trying to make a deep tourney run, it helps to have a guy with possible NFL aspirations. When Kent St made a surprise trip to the Elite Eight in 2002, it had Antonio Gates. George Mason has Jai Lewis, who has NFL teams interested and cetainly has the body to explain why. The dude is a bus but has a deceptively smooth offensive game. He should give Florida breakout start Joakim Noah plenty of trouble.

In fact, at this point, there is no reason to believe George Mason can't win it all. Hey, why not? It's not like they snuck through a bracket that was weakened by upsets. They caught no breaks. They took a tough road. Michigan St, North Carolina, Wichita St, and UConn. How many teams in the country could have beaten those four teams in a stretch of nine days? Crazy.

Yesterday, George Masoon didn't crumble when it was down 12 points or when it was down nine at the half and it looked like the game was getting away from them. And when UConn made a furious comeback to send it to overtime, Mason didn't crumble or look as though they thought they blew their chance. No, they regrouped and beat UConn again. It was clinical.

Is George Mason on a magical run? Yeah, sure. However, don't discount the truth that the Patriots are simply good. Damn good. Can they win it all? I'd like to see it.

Will this Cinderella story have a happy ending? Who knows? All I do know is that it's fairly safe to assume that any neutral fan will be cheering for George Mason this weekend. The Patriots are everybody's darling. Unless you have some predisposed connection to Florida, UCLA, or LSU (or you're still alive in a pool), and you're not pulling for George Mason, I'd suggest you see a heart specialist immediately because you're heart is cold, cold, cold and that can't be healthy.

How out of it is Billy Packer? At one point Jim Nantz was talking about the music of Noah's father, Yannick, and Packer asked him if he had any "tapes" of it.

Tapes? Is Packer still stuck in 1989? Somebody send this fossill out to pasture already.

All season long, Villanova amazed with the way it continued to win without Curtis Sumpter, its one dominant big man. Well, yesterday it caught up to the Wildcats. Listen, I love some deadly three-point shooting as much as the next guy, but when you become dependant on the trey as much as Villanova did yesterday, you're in trouble.

As I suspected, Memphis crumbled when confronted with a slow-down, possession-by-possession game with UCLA. Dumb team. When the chips were on the line, the Tigers turned into a typical John Calipari mess, meaning four dudes stand around while one dude tries to create something, and when it fails, Calipari flails his arms and becomes increasingly pouty. Memphis is very athletic, but very not smart.

I think Joey Dorsey just missed another layup.

As for UCLA, I don't understand the backlash I have heard because the Bruins play so-called ugly basketball. Who cares? They win. That's the point, right? If they don't earn any style points in the process, so what? If you were expecting a Ben Howland team to play pretty, flowing basketball, guess again. Was UCLA's game with Memphis ugly? Sure. But there is nothing ugly about holding a high-flying, fast-breaking team like Memphis to 45 points. In fact, I'd say that's kind of beautiful.

That said, I don't think I want to see Jordan Farmar win a title. Nothing against the guy, but he just comes off like every frat boy punk I ever sneered at a party for high-fiving his buddies over a good-looking chick, wearing clothes fresh from the mall, and calling you his "bro." Maybe he's a nice guy, but I'll be pulling for LSU, thank you very much.

With George Mason stealing hearts, the feel-good aspect of LSU's success has been overlooked. Nearly every contributor for the Tigers was born and raised right there in the Baton Rouge area. It's nice to see some local kids bringing joy to a state that can use it at the moment more than any other.

Question: How goood will Glen Davis be in the NBA? How about Tryus Thomas? With the Bulls having some very high draft picks coming up, I've become consumed with this topic.

By the way, as you read my meaningless ramblings on college hoops, I should point out that I selected not one of the Final Four teams. Not one. I have been severely humbled.

Palehose Six

Beginning today, the Daily Southtown will be running a new White Sox comic strip called Palehose Six. I can't find today's debut, but the dude who makes them, Carl Skanberg, has a blog with past strips here.

I can't decide if it's funny or not yet. Too early. We'll see, I guess. I can get used to a strip based on the Sox. Why not? If anyone is a born cartoon character, it's Ozzie.

It's Official

The Unknown Column is in love with Stacey Dales-Schuman.

What else could it be? There is absolutely no reason for me to know as much about the women's tournament as I do, other than the trance I fall under if SDS should happen to pop up on one of the ESPN outposts as a studio analyst and I can't change the channel. It must be love.

Sure, I was keeping an eye on DePaul which reached the Sweet Sixteen before losing to LSU yesterday, so that's understandable, but I know entirely too much about the women's tournament altogether. What is wrong with me?

I mean, there is no way I should know that the Cleveland regional was dubbed the toughest amid complaints from certain sectors.

But I do. SDS was talking about it.

There is no reason for me to know who Ivory Latta is.

But I do. SDS says she's the nation's best player at the moment.

And there is no way I should look forward to Chicago's upcoming expansion team in the WNBA, the Condors.

But I do. SDS is coming out of retirement to play.

Granted, it's unlikely I'll actually attend a Condors game, but still, this can't be good. I should most definitely not possess such knowledge about the women's game. I need to clear my head.

And it's all the fault of you, Stacey Dales-Schuman.

Davis Welcomed Home

Shani Davis was back in Chicago yesterday and being treated like a king for his Olympic glory. Of course, he donned a White Sox cap. The dude has class.

Davis also recently broke the world record in the 1,500, which was particularly special because a) it was previously held by his nemesis Chad Hedrick and b) Davis was paired with Hedrick in the race. One on one. Hedrick must have been unhappy.

The Morgan Park football team was honored yesterday, as well, for being city football champs and representing the South Side quite nicely.

Speaking of South Side high schools, this guy has a few final thoughts on the area's efforts in the recently completed basketball season.

The saddest sight my eyes saw was the scene after the five-overtime sectional final between Thornwood and Washington. As soon as the final buzzer went off, a handful of exhausted and crushed Washington players threw themselves to the ground.

One player was wailing and crying as one of the coaches took him by the hands and pulled him — with feet dragging on the floor — over to the handshake line. If it helps, kid, I still think you're a winner. No one on the court was a loser that night.

Five overtimes? That's crazy. Eddy Curry's old team also needed three overtimes to beat Homewood-Flossmoor in the supersectioal and I'm pretty sure that was part of a streak of three straight overtime games they won in the playoffs before falling in a state semifinal. Crazy.

Marshall's Patrick Beverly was arguably the state's best player this year, but I hear he had a falling out with Illinois (i.e., he hasn't qualified - what? Come on.) and is now looking at several schools, none of which are in the state. Hmm. DePaul? Southern Illinois? Bradley? He'd look great anywhere.

Seaking of recruits, Jeff Jordan - yes, son of MJ - is being sought after by Loyola.

Belarus Rioting

Belarus is goung nutty. The people are not happy and being tossed in jail. Around these parts, sometimes these things end with leaders being tossed to the dogs.

The bulk of the detainees were according to eyewitnesses being transported to the infamous Uruchie prison outside Minsk, a detention facility run by the Belarusian KGB, and site of the disappearance of opposition activists in previous years.

Incidentally, what do you know? Dubya Doofus responded by mumbling something about democracy and a fight...

US President George W Bush in a statement declared that he 'stands by the Belarusian people... in their fight for democracy.'

...which is ironic because him and his peeps are probably thinking that tossing locals in jail and making them disappear is a sound plan.

Inadvertant soccer thought: What Belarus needs now is for the national team to make a run at EURO 2008. Qualifying for their first major tourney as an independant nation, and not as a bit part for the old USSR, would create some good vibes. And for what it's worth, when qualifying gets underway in the fall, Group G isn't exactly the most daunting of groups. The Netherlands are tough, obviously, and Romania and Slovenia can rise up on occasion, but a second-place finish and playoff spot wouldn't be completely out of the question. Or maybe not. Pounding on Albania and Luxembourg is a must. In general, if you can't sweep a home-and-home with Luxembourg, you have problems to begin with. Big problems.

Carry on.

Crazy South

Damn. Apparently, it isn't a good time to be religios in the South. First it was a trail of burnt churches, and now ministers are being slain by thier waves in Tennessee.

I blame it on Bruce Pearl.

Tonight's Likes

Connecticut (-4.5) vs George Mason

Villanova (-.5) vs Florida

Pacers (-5.5) vs 76ers

Clippers (-6) at Blazers

Lakers (-7) vs Hornets

March record: 43-50-1

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Next Level?

LeBron James may have quietly jumped to the next level this week as the NCAA tourney grabbed the headlines.

As good as James has been since he entered the NBA, is's weird that they're were murmurs about him not being clutch. After all, he's still only 21. He's younger than plenty of the college guys playing this weekend.

Nonetheless, that silly talk can be hushed.

On Wednesday James hit the first buzzer-beating game-winner of his career, and last night he scored 19 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter as the Cavs beat the Celtics. That's pretty clutch. I think he's jumped.

The Cavs have won four in a row. The Eastern Conference could be more interesting than what is now suspected by many. It may not be the Pistons and whoever wins the West after all. Miami has been scorching hot and LeBron is threatening to become downright scary now that he may have developed the habit of being cut throat with the game on the line. The way the playoff format is set, it's likely the Pistons will have to get through both the Cavs and Heat. That's tough. It'll be interesting to see what LeBron would do against the Pistons in a seven-game series. It would be a little reminiscent of MJ vs the Bad Boys.

Meanwhile, the Bulls are currently two games out of the final playoff spot with thirteen games left to play. It can be done.

Quaid a Bitch?

He's not happy.

Quaid filed a lawsuit Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court that alleges producers got him to work on the cheap by falsely claiming "Brokeback" was "a low-budget, art-house film, with no prospect of making any money."

"Yet from day one, defendants fully intended that the film would not be made on a low budget, would be given a worldwide release, and would be supported as the studio picture it always was secretly intended to be," the lawsuit says.

It sounds to me like Quaid is being the bitch here in this ironic bitchfest between dudes, though money fights usually don't divide by lines of sexuality. Whatever happened to being an artist, baby? So Quaid didn't make as much money as he wants to have? So what? He had a role in one of the biggest movies of the past year. Isn't that enough? I guess not.

Tonight's Likes

Memphis (-3) vs UCLA

Clippers (-5) vs Wizards

Kings (-1) at Jazz

Nuggets (+9) at Suns

March record: 41-48-1

Sweet Sixteen Photo Fun

With Georgetown and George Washington also enjoying outstanding seasons, who would have thought George Mason would be the last DC-area team standing?

George Mason coach Jim Larranaga enjoys his finest moment. Check out George Mason's mascot. A green Cookie Monster? I thought they were the Patriots.

No eyeballs were dislodged during the BC-Nova game.

Luckily, Friday was the last time the world will be forced to see Jared Dudley and Co. act the fool. BC - most annoying team ever? They have to at least be in the conversation.

The Georgetown bench attempts to make the Shocker symbol, but gets it wrong. The Shocker is taking over.

"This new conditioner I'm using is absolutely divine."

"Wha' you say, muttafucka? Sheeeeyit."

Karma. It's a bitch. What goes around, comes around. Washington, despite a valiant effort, discovers that close games aren't quite as easy to win without the advantage of a 39-11 free throw attempts edge, as the Huskies enjoyed last week against Illinois.

After UConn point guard Maurus Williams scored 26 points (including 11-for-11 from the free throw line), Jim Calhoun was very happy with his decision to overlook that whole stealing laptops business. Kids will be kids - especially those who can play the point magnificently.