Saturday, January 20, 2007

Curmudgeon in the Wry 341

Saturday, January 20, 2007---622 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 09 seconds (time frittered away)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…but never in doubt.
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Rave: Manhattan Transfer
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On the Victrola: West Coast Jazz---A Starbucks collection.
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Reading: “The Machiavelli Covenant” by Allan Folsom
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Must see TV: The #1 Duke women visit the #4 Lady Vols in Knoxville’s Thompson-Boiling Arena---Monday nite on espn2 at 7 PM.
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Rave: I continue to watch “Hoosiers” every time AMC reruns it…no matter where I tune in. It gets better with age.
Dennis Hopper was brilliant.
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Rant: Sports were better before anyone heard of the phrase “naming rights.”
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Pop Quiz: How many of the eight original AFC teams can you name?
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The New Hollywood Trifecta: Celebrity, the club life, rehab. Lindsay Lohan’s just the latest.
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I miss: Mutt & Jeff, Li’l Abner, Bringing Up Father, Dick Tracy and Smokey Stover.
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Rave: The Cold War was the most fertile time for the cat and mouse spy-vs.-spy novels.
“Whirlwind” by Joseph Gerber is an inventive spy story in a contemporary setting.
Charlie McKenzie is summoned out of his discriminatorily forced retirement from the CIA…at the request of the President.
Seems an ultra secret weapon was stolen by a pair of Russian spies. A number of unusual circumstances made the theft possible---those one in a million odds.
Regardless, Whirlwind is missing and in the hands of a self reliant, capable, beautiful female Russian spy (Irina).
It is up to Charlie to recover the weapon. However, the real enemy is not Irina---it is within.
The President’s national security advisor was responsible for Charlie’s dismissal in a CYA maneuver. In addition, he has hired an independent contractor to ensure that Charlie (if he succeeds) does not live to tell the tale.
The wily Charlie anticipates several of the moves of his adversaries…and has a lifetime of cagey reactions as rejoinders.
“Whirlwind” is fast paced, chock-full of snappy dialogue and fills in the breaks with informative interior dialogue.
Mr. Gerber has creates truly malicious villains and utilizes a most economical cast of characters. You get to know everyone well.
Suspend your disbelief and enjoy the ride.
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Prediction: Don’t expect to see a line to buy the Gary Sheffield book due out this spring.
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Not attending the Mensa meeting: The Chargers, Marty Schottemheimer, BC’s Sean Williams.
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Truism: The trio of Britney Spears, Linsay Lohan and Paris Hilton prove that the bimbos have won.
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Truism Corollary: The world will run out of oil before it runs out of bimbos.
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Rave: In watching some of the original James Bond movies, I have rediscovered the beauty of a silicone-free environment.
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Rimshot: I am addicted to placebos. I would quit, but it would not really matter.
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Rant: Baseball’s off-season should be covered in the business section, because it is all about the money.
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Factoid: In 1953, the initial printing of the first James Bond novel (“Casino Royale”) was fewer than 5,000 copies.
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Didjaknow: That last month’s Meineke Bowl between B.C. and Navy featured the two teams with highest graduation rate in 1-A football.
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Eye sore: The trend of college and pro football teams to the dark monochromatic look---same color jerseys and pants. It is as big a fashion disaster as the “shorts” worn by today’s basketball players.
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Rant: I detest it when someone says, “Needless to say,” and then goes ahead and says it anyway.
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If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.


Monday, January 15, 2007

Curmudgeon in the Wry 340

Monday, January 15, 2007---715 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 15 seconds (time frittered away)
Offending readers one issue at a time since 2001.
Almost completely free of original ideas.
Often wrong…but never in doubt.
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Rave: Del Vikings
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On the Victrola: Toni Tennille “Sings Big Band”
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Reading: “Whirlwind” by Joseph Garber
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Must see TV: The #5 U-Conn Husky Women at #2 UNC. Espn2 at 7PM tonight. Go U-Conn!
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Rave: Add me to the chorus singing the praises of Joseph Wambaugh’s “Hollywood Station.”
It has been at least ten years since his last novel (“The Floaters”) and he has not skipped a beat.
It is a splendid police procedural, but it is the superb characterizations that steal the show.
The cops at Hollywood Station are a most colorful bunch. A forty-year vet known as “The Oracle” makes the assignments and keeps the station running.
A couple of surfer cops, a Russian/American, a woman back from maternity leave, and Hollywood Nate (who angles for bit parts and off duty movie security gigs) are but a few of patrolmen and detectives that come to life in vivid fashion.
On the other side of the law are the tweakers and Russian Mafia…and the uniquely Hollywood types like Batman, Superman and Elvis working the tourists.
The detectives are pursuing assorted cases that coalesce at the conclusion. The cases are interesting, and the crooks are fascinating. Every character is thoroughly depicted and unforgettable.
The BS of the federal bureaucracy is portrayed clearly, as are the not so politically correct solutions the cops utilize to work around the red tape that inhibits their ability to serve and protect.
It is great theater, fantastic reading, first-rate entertainment and inspired writing.
We are the richer for the return of Joseph Wambaugh.
Oh, yes…after reading “Hollywood Station” you will find yourself dropping off your mail at the post office…not in the big blue mailbox on the corner.
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Rant: Jim Rice would sure my vote for the Hall of Fame.
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Quote: Line of the Week comes from Don Shula on Nick Saban bailing out of Miami: "My reaction is that Saban in two years was 15-17. I don't think that will be any great loss."
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Sad, but true: When President Bush goes up against a live microphone he should at least get some points.
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Like, oh gee: It is tough to believe in love when Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz call it quits.
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Recycle this: Thanks to the ACLU for sending me postage-paid envelopes. I’m helping Florida’s environment by mailing my trash out of state. As long as the left wing ACLU sends me their garbage, I will send them my garbage.
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Rant: The elite liberal media crucified George Bush for past alcohol use. Now that media darling Barack Hussein Obama has admitted using marijuana and cocaine, it will be interesting to see the media reaction.
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I don’t get it: For coming to America to help grow Major League Soccer, David Beckham reportedly will make about $1 million a week in a league where the median salary is $36,000. Beckham spends more than that each year on hair products.
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Rant: The media is falling all over itself singing the praises of Pelosi being the first female House Speaker. Condi Rice, being first black female Secretary of State hardly pegged the media meter as anything unusual.
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True or false: The Gerald Ford funeral lasted longer than his presidency.
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Rant: It's amazing that Barry Bonds initially accused a teammate of contributing to his positive test for amphetamines. Until now, it was unclear that Bonds even knew he had a teammate.
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Totally Useless Factoid: Jack Klugman is the only juror from the 1957 film “Twelve Angry Men” still living.
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Rant: Ever think that some area or road is “always under construction”---but you never see “anything new?”
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Another Useless Factoid: Robert Vaughn is the last remaining member of the “Magnificent Seven.”
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Rant: Hasn’t the expression “back in the day” had its fifteen minutes of fame? Sports announcers are the worst offender in overusing the phrase
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If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.










Saturday, January 06, 2007

If you cannot beat Virginia Tech (a team that lost to a 3-8 Marshall last week) in your ACC home opener, than the ACC is truly UNC and all the rest.
I think this game vindicated all the basketball pundits who said Duke was not a Top 5 team.
No more arguments from me...that was a weak effort to my eye.
Gets no easier on Wednesday in Atlanta against Georgia Tech...then another road game on Sunday the 14th at Miami.
When was the last time any team got 14 steals against a Coach K team?
64% on foul shots...missing 10 of 28 was just as damaging as the 22 turnovers...VT had only 7 TOs.
Paulus had zero points and 6 TOs. He is consistently outclassed by fast guards. UNC and UVA will eat him up.
I thought we were better than this, but I guess those basketball writers are correct.
It does not appear the offense is going to turn around. I thought the time off with lots of practice and healing time would make a difference.
As I look at the rest of the Duke ACC schedule I am not encouraged.
At home, I think we ought to beat Wake. Maybe Georgia Tech, Clemson, BC, Fla. St. Lose to UNC, Maryland.
On the road I see a victory at Miami, NC State...and losses at UNC, Clemson, BC, Maryland, Georgia Tech and UVA.
VT showed the rest of the ACC that there is no need to be awed by Duke.
Four guys scored in double figures. That should be enough to win most games. But, when the rest of the players get only 7, it is impossible.
McClure or Thomas have to step up and make up for Paulus. Paulus is still not 100% (not an excuse he or K would give)...but it is a demanding game if you are less than 100%.
I still have a ton of faith in McClure, but we need a point guard who can dominate.