Saturday, June 23, 2007

"It's Not About the Truth" by Mike Pressler

“It’s Not About the Truth” by the former head coach of the Duke lacrosse team, Mike Pressler, is an engrossing and enlightening read.

I thought that I had paid attention throughout the process, and still learned a great deal and picked up some keen insights.

The book chronicles the events from the phone call to escort service up to declaration of “innocent” and the start of the 2007 lacrosse season.

Major and bit players in the drama are profiled and their actions recounted in a documentary/narrative style that is easy to follow and comprehend.

The University bureaucrats (starting with President Brodhead) showed no profiles in courage and abandoned the team, its season and Coach Pressler in a show of politically correct CYA.

The AD is revealed as a cowardly marionette whose word was not his bond.

The 88 faculty members (20% of the Duke staff) who took out a full-page “social disaster” ad in the student newspaper openly flew their agenda flag. A huge rush to judgment before the facts were known.

As egregiously as the university acted in forsaking the team and coach, the actions of the DA (Mike Nifong) and the Durham PD were enough to prompt two ethics charges from the North Carolina State Bar. Trial starts this week.

Nifong’s rush to judgment was motivated by his desire to be elected in the 2006 DA race.

The book points out that he never spoke to the escort (complainant) until about eight months after the supposed incident.

The book does show where the profiles in courage reside.

Ironically, it is James Ammons (Chancellor at the historically black college NCCU), who was the initial public voice of reason…being the first to say “don’t rush to judgment.”

Coach Pressler and his family proved to be a rock of stability in all the turmoil for the team. After speaking with the Senior Captains, he knew they were speaking the truth…and never wavered in this belief.

While the AD was not supportive, the other coaches were loyal to the lacrosse team.

The legal team was incredible. Joseph Chesire V said he knew after three minutes that Dave Evans was telling the truth, and proceeded accordingly.

The members of the team and their parents are the real heroes. The anguish and anxiety they all suffered waiting for the third indictment had to be excruciating. Lives were turned upside down for over a year.

They banded together and never lost faith in one another. That not one underclassman transferred showed a great leap of faith to a university that did not show the same loyalty.

It took a lot of bravery, trust and faith for the parents to send their sons back to Duke.
“The Truth” kept their resolve intact.

Anyone who saw the address Dave Evans gave on May 15, 2006 knew he was speaking from the heart and meant every word he said. It was a powerful moment.

If you watched him speak and did not know he was truthful you should not play poker, as every tell was there.

There are some of us who never vacillated in believing in the innocence of the team. I still feel apologies are owed by many to Coach Pressler, the defendants, the team and the parents.

Curmudgeon in the Wry 351

Monday, June 11, 2007---890 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 57 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.
+++++++
Rave: Ida Lupino
+++++++
On the Victrola: Illinois Jacquet---“The Black Velvet Band”
+++++++
Reading: “Spare Change” by Robert Parker
+++++++
Didjaknow: Bobby Troup, writer of “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66” managed and was married to Julie London.
+++++++
Rant: It sure would be nice if the Home Depot employees in the TV ads were actually working in the stores.
+++++++
Rave: Lee Marvin made every movie he was in better.
Among my favorites: “The Professionals,” “Seven Men from Now,” “Dirty Dozen,” “Hell in the Pacific,” “Bad Day at Black Rock,” “Big Red One,” “Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.”
And, his TV show---“M Squad” (1957-60) ---remains a noir fan’s nirvana. The second season theme was composed by Count Basie…and the incidental music was written by Benny Carter. John Williams also created some of the music.
Along with “Peter Gunn” (with music by Mancini), “M Squad” led the way with jazz inspired scores on TV.
+++++++
Factoid: In 19 starts with the Astros last season, Roger Clemens lasted less than six innings 13 times.
+++++++
Rant: High school proms are out of control. How about: no limos, apply all school regs, kids stay until it is over. Maybe save a few lives.
+++++++
Hmmm: Is it called “the forever stamp” because that is how long it takes the Post Office to get it from here to there?
+++++++
Pop Quiz: Name all the major league baseball stadiums.
+++++++
Rant: John Edwards probably thinks World War II was merely a bumper sticker slogan.
+++++++
Rave: You have got to love Yankee reliever Kyle Farnsworth. He told a Chicago radio station that no one, not even Clemens, should be allowed to leave the team when he is not pitching. Telling it like it is---a lost art.
+++++++
Rave: “It’s Not About the Truth” by the former head coach of the Duke lacrosse team, Mike Pressler, is an engrossing and enlightening read.
I thought that I had paid attention throughout the process, and still learned a great deal and picked up some keen insights.
The book chronicles the events from the phone call to escort service up to declaration of “innocent” and the start of the 2007 lacrosse season.
Major and bit players in the drama are profiled and their actions recounted in a documentary/narrative style that is easy to follow and comprehend.
The University bureaucrats (starting with President Brodhead) showed no profiles in courage and abandoned the team, its season and Coach Pressler in a show of politically correct CYA.
The AD is revealed as a cowardly marionette whose word was not his bond.
The 88 faculty members (20% of the Duke staff) who took out a full-page “social disaster” ad in the student newspaper openly flew their agenda flag. A huge rush to judgment before the facts were known.
As egregiously as the university acted in forsaking the team and coach, the actions of the DA (Mike Nifong) and the Durham PD were enough to prompt two ethics charges from the North Carolina State Bar. Trial starts this week.
Nifong’s rush to judgment was motivated by his desire to be elected in the 2006 DA race. The book points out that he never spoke to the escort (complainant) until about eight months after the supposed incident.
The book does show where the profiles in courage reside.
Ironically, it is James Ammons (Chancellor at the historically black college NCCU), who was the initial public voice of reason…being the first to say “don’t rush to judgment.”
Coach Pressler and his family proved to be a rock of stability in all the turmoil for the team. After speaking with the Senior Captains, he knew they were speaking the truth…and never wavered in this belief.
While the AD was not supportive, the other coaches were loyal to the lacrosse team.
The legal team was incredible. Joseph Cheshire V said he knew after three minutes that Dave Evans was telling the truth, and proceeded accordingly.
The members of the team and their parents are the real heroes. The anguish and anxiety they all suffered waiting for the third indictment had to be excruciating. Lives were turned upside down for over a year.
They banded together and never lost faith in one another. That not one underclassman transferred showed a great leap of faith to a university that did not show the same loyalty. It took a lot of bravery, trust and faith for the parents to send their sons back to Duke.
“The Truth” kept their resolve intact.
Anyone who saw the address Dave Evans gave on May 15, 2006 knew he was speaking from the heart and meant every word he said. It was a powerful moment.
Anyone who watched him speak and did not know he was truthful should not play poker, as every tell was there.
There are some of us who never vacillated in believing in the innocence of the team. I still feel apologies are owed by many to Coach Pressler, the defendants, the team and the parents.
+++++++
If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Curmudgeon in the Wry 352

Friday, June 22, 2007---868 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 54 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.
+++++++
Rave: Dennis Miller
+++++++
On the Victrola: Toni Tennille “Sings Big Band”.
+++++++
Reading: “Lying With Strangers” by James Grippando.
+++++++
Full Disclosure: President Bush’s carping and insisting the Amnesty Bill get passed, has driven me from the Republican Party. I have registered as an Independent…and hope Lou Dobbs runs for POTUS.
+++++++
Get a grip: Paris Hilton whines about going to jail. Kobe Bryant’s whining that playing for the Lakers is similar to house arrest. These two self absorbed jerks need to toughen up. They are leading the league in pathetic!
+++++++
Rant: We are living under the tyranny of Political Correctness.
+++++++
Rave: The Xerox “I came to fix the mute button” is my favorite TV spot currently in rotation.
+++++++
Hmmm: Isn’t all salt sea salt? And isn’t oil really a bio fuel?
+++++++
Rant: College basketball games that tip off at 9 PM
+++++++
Rave: Among my favorite Hollywood sound effects are the giant ants screeching in “Them” and the “thwack” of the arrows in the archery competition in “Robin Hood” starring Errol Flynn (the only Robin Hood who counts). What are yours?
+++++++
Truism: Retirement is the period in life when you finally stop quoting the proverb that time is money.
+++++++
Book Bits: Joe Pickett is a 21st century cowboy hero in C.J. Box’s seven (and counting) book series. “Free Fire” is an intensely taut tale set in Yellowstone National Park.
Joe signs on to be a special undercover investigator for the Governor. Working without a net, Joe unearths a wide conspiracy and finds no one to trust with his findings.
It is a nonstop, can’t put down, just one more chapter read that has me nominating C.J. Box as one of the mystery/thriller genre’s most underappreciated writers.
+++++++
Rant: One would hope that expiration date has occurred for the (over)use of the word issues. Newspapers and magazines have issues. If people are FUBAR, they have a problem, not an issue. Let’s call a spade a spade…enough with the PC speech.
+++++++
Rave: It’s a tough call, but I know that the music from “The Guns of Navarone” and “The Magnificent Seven” are in my Top Five movie soundtracks. And yours?
+++++++
Didjaknow: John Travolta turned down the starring roles in both “Tootsie” and “An Officer and a Gentleman.”
+++++++
Book Bits: I am part of the minority that enjoys the Sunny Randall series from Robert B. Parker.
However, I must say that “Spare Change” is not a keeper.
The most important plot is most interesting and could carry the book.
But…please… show me mercy and reduce the time devoted to the dog and visits to the shrink…especially when the shrink is the wearisome Susan Silverman from the “Spenser” series.
What should have been a clever and compelling tale gets bogged down with the unessential.
+++++++
Rant: Major League Baseball continues to get it wrong in the name of TV…MLB just rolls over for Fox. Game 7 of the 2007 World Series is set for November 1…the start has been moved from Saturday to Wednesday. That leaves nine days between the end of the National League Championship and the first pitch of the World Series.
+++++++
You betcha: When the Red Sox look in the rear view mirror, the Yankees are “closer than they appear.”
+++++++
Hmmm: What is up with that orange cauliflower in the produce section?
+++++++
Book Bits: If you like the con game, the caper or the grand scam…then Matthew Klein’s “Con Ed” is a must read.
It is “The Sting” brought up to date in Silicon Valley
The plot (con) is tighter than a tick. You are hooked from page one to the most satisfying payoff.
The con is intricate…but never confusing…you simply never know who is scamming who.
It is a smart, witty, amusing and clever narrative with never a dull moment.
I figured out the Judas in protagonist’s camp early on. When that happens I always wonder if it is because I am guessing luckily, am smart enough to apply to Mensa or if the writer is not so gifted. In “Con Ed” it is not the latter option.
It is big fun to be the mark and get roped in by “Con Ed.”
+++++++
Rant: I sure do find Angelina Jolie tedious.
+++++++
Rave: Hats off to Mike Lupica who continues to declare his friendship thru thick and thin to Don Imus in his newspaper columns.
Free Don Imus!
+++++++
Rant: The Imus replacement attempts MSNBC has tried have been uniformly pathetic.
+++++++
Truism: If you were scoring at home you would have to score the ratings for the NBA Finals an “air ball.”
+++++++
More NBA: Methinks LeBron needs to spend more time this off season working on his jump shot and less time filming commercials.
+++++++
Rant: Neck tattoos on athletes. Actually neck tattoos on anyone. No, actually any tattoo.
+++++++
If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.










Sunday, June 03, 2007

Curmudgeon in the Wry 350

Sunday, June 03, 2007---794 Words---Average reading time: 2-minutes, 45 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.
+++++++
Rave: Charles Barkley
+++++++
On the Victrola: Nat King Cole’s “Stepping Out of a Dream”---a Starbucks collection.
+++++++
Reading: “The Entitled” by Frank Deford
+++++++
Rant: I am in a quandary. I cannot decide which is more tedious---the countdown on the home run record by that reprobate, Barry Bonds or the minute by minute countdown on Roger Clemens. However, neither is nearly as mind-numbing as the recent wall to wall coverage on every network of American Idol---ho hum.
+++++++
Truism: Aging pitchers have less margin for error---something Curt Schilling is finding out. Something Clemens will learn.
+++++++
Rant: Now you know why Canadians call the USA, “Upper Mexico.”
+++++++
Rave: Michael Connelly’s novella, “The Overlook” moves at an incredible velocity. It takes place in a twelve hour period.
Medical physicist, Stanley Kent is found shot gangland style.
He transports cesium 137 (a radioactive isotope used to treat cervical cancer) between “hot labs.”
The killers kidnapped his wife and he thought he was ransoming her, not going to his death.
Homeland Security and the FBI suspect terrorists…an obvious assumption given the initial facts.
Detective Harry Bosch caught the homicide for the LAPD---and will not allow the case to be “big footed” by federal bureaucrats.
Harry believes, “find the killers, you find the cesium.”
Fighting the power grabs, following the clues and paying no attention to the politics of the LAPD, Harry does it his way.
Every detail counts in this Swiss-watch plot…as usual, no one is better than Michael Connelly at hiding the vital clues in plain sight.
Not to be missed.
+++++++
Pop quiz: Quickly---name the teams playing in the Stanley Cup Finals.
+++++++
Factoid: According to the Wall Street Journal, smoking is forbidden in nearly 3 out of 4 US households---up from 43% a decade ago.
+++++++
Rave: Good for NBC to continue with “Friday Night Lights.” That is network TV at its best.
+++++++
Under Rated: Phil Harris. Quite a versatile entertainer---band leader, singer, actor, song writer, comedian and married to Alice Faye for 54 years.
+++++++
Rave: In the great logos division, the Jeep logo is memorable, identifiable in one glance and sticks with you.
+++++++
Rant: Black is the proper color to wear for graduating seniors in cap and gown, the little black cocktail dress, men’s dinner jackets and Italian World War II widows. The rest of you are simply trying too hard---and have entered the tragically hip dimension. And, it does not make you look slimmer---you must lose weight to make that happen.
+++++++
Rave: Greensburg, Kansas will be rebuilt in an efficient and timely manner due to the absence of New Orleans politics.
+++++++
Just wondering: Where are Sharpton and Jackson when a young black man with a promising future is killed by another with a long rap sheet and no father?
+++++++
Rim shot: A better question than “why did the chicken cross the road” is why to possums and squirrels keep trying?
+++++++
NBA observation: Proving there are no members of the Mensa Society in the NBA---of the 440 players on team rosters, 79% describe themselves as being of color, and 37% as white Americans. You do the math!!!
+++++++
Rave: Good for college lacrosse to award the Tewaaraton Trophy, honoring the nation’s player of the year to Duke’s Matt Danowski. Refreshing see a sports body recognize the entire season, not just the final game.
+++++++
Anniversaries: John Wayne and the bra both made their debuts one hundred years ago.
+++++++
Rant: Connecticut’s sacred Heart University presented an honorary doctorate to pro wrestling’s Vince McMahon. The dumbing down of America continues.
+++++++
Quote: “Never confuse movement with action.”---Ernest Hemingway.
+++++++
Rant: Home Depot needs to figure out that the lack of customer service just might be a factor in its declining profits. Once upon a time clerks were proactive; asking if you needed assistance---now they run the other way.
+++++++
Duh: TV announcers need to know that speed is a factor in every auto accidents. Stationary cars seldom ever hit anything.
+++++++
For sure: If anyone should know about a thing or two about failed presidencies, it is Jimmy Carter.
+++++++
Hmmm: Is a zebra white with black strips or black with white strips?
+++++++
Factoid: 92,000 fans showed up at the University of Alabama spring football game.
+++++++
Truism: There are two types of men in the world: those who don’t tuck their shirts in---and those who do.
+++++++
Trust me: 81 is the only number in the universe whose square root is also the sum of its digits.
+++++++
If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.