Thursday, March 22, 2007

Curmudeon in the Wry 346

Thursday, March 22, 2007---736 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 31 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: Barry Levinson
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On the Victrola: “Prestige Jazz”---A Starbucks Entertainment release of 1950’s Prestige artists.
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Reading: “The Watchman” by Robert Crais.
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Hmmmm: I read that CBS has hired a new producer for Katie Couric. Maybe they should hire a new Katie Couric. The one they have isn’t doing too well.
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Rant: Trust me, there is no such thing as a short sleeve dress shirt, and nothing is quite as tacky as a clip-on bow tie.
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Useless factoid: There are about 280,000 blue mail collection boxes in the USA, down around 50,000 since 1999.
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Hmmm: Who’d have thunk it---an NIT bubble?
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Rave: The latest Thorn novel, “Magic City” by James W. Hall, is well worth the two-year wait.

It is set is present day Miami and 1964 around the Clay-Liston heavyweight fight.

During the fight, an aspiring photographer snaps a random photo. Caught on film are individuals who ought not to have been seen in public together---the mayor, CIA, mobsters, anti-Castro Cuban ex-pats, hired killers---Miami’s rich, powerful and infamous.

Shortly after Clay’s upset victory, a family of Cuban exiles and their zealous anti-Castro freedom fighters are massacred. The homicides were never solved, but rumors were rampant…conspiracy theory perhaps.

The two boys who survived the mass executions (Snake and Carlos) were adopted by the mayor (Stanton King), are now working for the former mayor.

When King attends a gallery show and sees the picture, he wants all copies located and eliminated. Those who could be embarrassed by the photo will kill repeatedly to suppress it.

Thorn’s girlfriend’s father (Lawton Collins, a former Miami cop) owns a copy and is in danger.

Thorn is a low profile, off the books, reluctant hero. Trouble has a way of finding him…and he will not avoid taking action when he and those he cares for are endangered. That trait seems to be in his DNA.

After Snake and Carlos attempt to steal Lawton’s copy, Thorn’s instinctive fierceness kicks in.

Bloodshed occurs as Thorn pulls out all the stops to uncover the raison d’etre for the photo cover-up.

From page one to the finale; the pacing reflects the best of the tropics. It is sultry, intoxicating and addictive. One does not appreciate how vigorous, powerful and potent the journey is until arriving at the destination.

“Magic City” takes the reader on a sophisticated tour of the Miami beneath the picture postcards and bright lights in this fascinating and deliciously complex tale.

While the opaque connections between disparate groups at first blush may appear implausible, they are based on recently declassified documents. Mind boggling!

A must read!
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Rant: Cable news guests who are born for cable, always an interesting place, but one where you pay little price for being wrong.
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Rimshot: If I run into a camouflage-painted pickup, whose fault is it?
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If you’re scoring at home: Britney Spears has taken the lead over Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan in the ongoing Bimbo Sweepstakes.
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My take: “Lost” is starting to look more over than disco.
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Rave: There are not many Geico commercials I don’t like.
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Might work: One way to find Osama bin Laden is to tell the Jehovah’s Witnesses that he wants Bible study.
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Bumper Sticker Award: One of those square cars passed me the other day, and the bumper sticker read: “You have just been passed by a toaster.”
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Rant: John Travolta is the perfect Hollywood environmentalist. He is against global warming but hops in one of his two commercial-size jets to fly 50 miles.
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Could be: Have some of our wounded vets asked to be transferred from Walter Reed to Guantanamo?
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Hell-o: Dick Cheney blames the problems at veteran’s hospitals on the federal bureaucracy. Dick, you are the federal bureaucracy.
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Useless factoid: Khaki is Hindu for dust.
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Rant: Ann Coulter calls a straight man gay and that is “hate speech.” Bill Maher says we would be better off if Dick Cheney had been killed and that is “freedom of speech.” Go figure!
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Hmmmm: Just how many people do you think actually take Lunesta and attempt to operate machinery?
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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.










"Magic City" by James W. Hall

The latest Thorn novel, “Magic City” by James W. Hall, is well worth the two-year wait.

It is set is present day Miami and 1964 around the Clay-Liston heavyweight fight.

During the fight, an aspiring photographer snaps a random photo. Caught on film are individuals who ought not to have been seen in public together---the mayor, CIA, mobsters, anti-Castro Cuban ex-pats, hired killers---Miami’s rich, powerful and infamous.

Shortly after Clay’s upset victory, a family of Cuban exiles and their zealous anti-Castro freedom fighters are massacred. The homicides were never solved, but rumors were rampant…conspiracy theory perhaps.

The two boys who survived the mass executions (Snake and Carlos) were adopted by the mayor (Stanton King), are now working for the former mayor.

When King attends a gallery show and sees the picture, he wants all copies located and eliminated. Those who could be embarrassed by the photo will kill repeatedly to suppress it.

Thorn’s girlfriend’s father (Lawton Collins, a former Miami cop) owns a copy and is in danger.

Thorn is a low profile, off the books, reluctant hero. Trouble has a way of finding him…and he will not avoid taking action when he and those he cares for are endangered. That trait seems to be in his DNA.

After Snake and Carlos attempt to steal Lawton’s copy, Thorn’s instinctive fierceness kicks in.

Bloodshed occurs as Thorn pulls out all the stops to uncover the raison d’etre for the photo cover-up.

From page one to the finale; the pacing reflects the best of the tropics. It is sultry, intoxicating and addictive. One does not appreciate how vigorous, powerful and potent the journey is until arriving at the destination.

“Magic City” takes the reader on a sophisticated tour of the Miami beneath the picture postcards and bright lights in this fascinating and deliciously complex tale.

While the opaque connections between disparate groups at first blush may appear implausible, they are based on recently declassified documents. Mind boggling!

A must read!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

NCAA Tournament Banter 3

This season I have learned that if a team has athletic guards, they have a better than average shot at beating Duke.

If they have big athletic guards, it’s a lock.

Last nite’s sad game against Maryland conclusively proved that.

At one time or another Duke tried everyone on Mike James and he still scored 25 points.

The most disappointing thing about last nite was Duke’s inability to execute K’s in-game strategy.

On the radio broadcasts, Duke has an announcer a row behind the Duke bench who lets you know K’s time-out directions. Last nite his calls were correct 100% of the time…about 95% of the time the team failed to follow up. Part of that is the fact that they were overmatched and Maryland is really good.

At least three times K told them that someone had to get back on defense fast to counter Strawberry. Never once did they stop his run outs.

A real positive was the quality minute we got from Zoubek…only one foul and one turnover in eleven minutes. After an off-season in the weight room, his 2007-2008 season will be much improved.

Paulus is 6’1” and does not possess Roger Bannister speed. Hard for him to stop big guards for 40 minutes playing K’s man-to-man.

Duke’s best on ball defender, DeMarcus Nelson, is 6’4”---and while he can leap for ally-oops and rebounds, he is still 6’4’’ on the floor.

McClure is 6’6”, hustles and has a nose for the ball…but has average speed. He makes a difference overall on defense because of his basketball instincts and needs to be on the floor. On offense he is a liability…he is no shooter and a 61% free throw shooter. Quite often, you will notice he is not guarded by opponents.

My opinion: in the ACC Tournament and the NCAA, Duke will be eliminated by the first team they play with big (like the 6’5” guys from Maryland) athletic guards.

Overall, this season I see many good teams---very good teams---but no odds on favorite. Everyone has proven they can be beaten.

Therefore, I am looking for the teams that gave the best fight while losing…the ones who let you know you should be grateful to leave with all your body parts intact.

That makes me feel the winner will have to go thru the Big 12.

If there are no off nites in ACC games and they are wars…Big 12 games are hand-to-hand combat. The top half of that conference is battle tested.

Comments and thoughts appreciated.