Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Curmudgeon in the Wry 474

Wednesday, April 28, 2010---565 Words---Average Reading Time: 2 Minutes, 2 Seconds. (A pointless waste of time---time frittered away)
Offending readers and hindering productivity one issue at a time since 2001.
Virtually free of original ideas.
Warning: Contains unsound bites from the apple of life.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
Being wrong is the risk you run by thinking and acting.
A Grumpy Old Man Production.
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Rave:
“The Invaders.”
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Reading: “
White Horse, Black Hat”---C. Jack Lewis.
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On the Hi Fi:
Les McCann’s “Listen Up.”
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Under rated:
Simone Signoret.
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Truism: First law of bicycling---No matter where you're going, it's uphill; and against the wind.
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Rant: One of the two new bowl games approved by the NCAA is the Dallas Football Classic on New Year's Day, pitting the seventh-ranked team from the Big 12 against the sixth-ranked team from the Big Ten. I can't imagine anyone wanting to miss that.
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Hmmm: Why are there so many orange traffic barrels sitting around?
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Quote: “The word sexist doesn't just pertain only to men, just as racist doesn't pertain only to white men.” —George Johns.
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Truism: The current economic downturn shows that when the rich get poorer … everybody gets poorer.
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Hmmm: Goldman Sachs contributed about 7 times ($1,007,370.85) as much to obama’s campaign as Enron ($151,722.42) did to George W. Bush. Goldman also donated $415,595.63 to Hillary Clinton.
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Rave: “The Co
wboys of the Silver Screen” commemorative stamps.
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Rave: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is one tough cookie.
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Rant: Shouldn’t we stop tipping valet parkers at hotels that charge $14 for the convenience?
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Didjaknow:
June Havoc was Gypsy Rose Lee’s younger sister.
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Rant: Just when you think you’ve seen it all, along comes “Celebrity Rehab,” the new reality TV freak show.
Then again, where else was Dennis Rodman going to end up?
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Rave: I hope the Arizona Illegal Immigration Law becomes the template for the other 49 states.
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Quote: To paraphrase
Truman Capote---“It is now apparent that you lose a point of your IQ for every day you spend at PMSDNC.”
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Rave: Central Florida’s azaleas were brilliant this year…mine never looked better. Same goes for the bottlebrush trees currently ablaze in all their scarlet finery.
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Rant: One would like to think that when you call yourself the Atlantic Coast Conference that one prerequisite would be that your state is actually on the Atlantic coast.
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Duh: You know that baseball games are too long when even Bud Selig has figured it out.
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Didjaknow: A pound of hundred dollar bills is worth $48,000.
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Rave:
Burn Notice returns to the USA Network on Thursday, June 3rd. New time---9 PM. Two additional seasons have been ordered.
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Rant: If someone had told me a generation ago that much of youth culture would mirror prison culture, I would have thought I’d been transported to Mars.
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Truism: Any word other than yes, still means no.
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Movie BIZ: The Writers Guild of America picked its best 101 screenplays of all time---the top five are:
Casablanca, The Godfather, Chinatown, Citizen Kane, All About Eve.
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Hmmm: I'm told a spoonful of honey a day keeps the allergies at bay…it has to be local honey. Don’t have any idea of the veracity of this thesis…however, I can accept it intellectually.
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If you can read this, thank a teacher.
If you can’t, thank the teacher’s union.
If you are reading it in English, thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Welcome to Bracketville, Off Season Rates Available

The Missouri Tigers should be a preseason Top 25 team. Coach Mike Anderson stays after turning down an estimated $2 million from Oregon…they return their top three scorers and will enroll a recruiting class MaxPreps.com ranks 10th nationally. The six-player class is headlined by junior college All-American Ricardo Ratliffe.

If Purdue juniors JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore don’t withdraw their names from the NBA draft, Michigan State (with Durrell Summers and Kalin Lucas returning) will be favored to repeat as Big Ten champ.

Purdue will be as good as just about anyone if JaJuan Johnson elects to return and Robbie Hummel comes back 100 percent from a torn ACL.

You can understand if the folks at ESPN are steamed that the NCAA's 14-year TV contract extension includes a different cable network, not the one that has done more than any media outlet to elevate the tournament and the sport to a national attraction.

Fifty of the 65 schools in the Tournament had student enrollments greater than either Duke or Butler. Duke and Butler have basketball team graduation rates in excess of 90%.

My take: Expanding the field from 65 to 68---it could have been worse. Probably will bloat up to 96 in the future---but for know, not terrible.

I do like the idea floating around that the eight “play-in” teams should be the last four in and the last four out and become the 12 or 13 seed in the bracket. This gives some name value to these games.

It just seems unfair to me that teams in the smaller conferences who work all season to win their conference tournament should be matched against one another in single elimination. Their reward for that effort ought to be better than a trip to Dayton.

Obviously, I am thrilled that Kyle Singler is returning to Duke for his senior season. It is sort of like UNC’s Tyler Hansbrough a couple of years ago. Both guys enjoy the college life style and I laude them. Earning one’s degree is a requirement to have one’s Duke jersey retired. Kyle has a legitimate opportunity to meet all the conditions and see #12 hang from Cameron Indoor Stadium’s rafters.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Curmudgeon in the Wry 473

Saturday, April 17, 2010---583 Words---Average Reading Time: Minute, 57 Seconds. (A pointless waste of time---time frittered away)
Offending readers and hindering productivity one issue at a time since 2001.
Virtually free of original ideas.
Warning: Contains unsound bites from the apple of life.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
Being wrong is the risk you run by thinking and acting.
A Grumpy Old Man Production.
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Rave: “
Reveille with Beverly.”
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Reading: “The Amateurs” by
Marcus Sakey.
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On the Hi Fi:
Esquire’s All-American Hot Jazz Sessions
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Under rated:
Neal Hefti.
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Truism: The tabloids have covered the tiger woods story better than anybody else since the beginning.
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Hmmm: Is sheet music, music that is composed in bed?
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Rave: You’ve got to love Charles Barkley, who when asked about the Celtics chances in the playoffs, said, in the best politically incorrect way, “Old people die. They don’t get better.” Refreshingly honest!
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Rant: Enough with the phrase “man up.” Its fifteen minutes of fame expired long ago.
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Computer logic: Tech Support taking away your computer for upgrades with promises that you will never notice the changes is like the dentist saying there will be some discomfort.
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Truism: The shortest pencil is more reliable than the longest memory.
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Hmmm: I guess for Larry King, the eighth time was not the charm.
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Rave: Margaret Hoover is one tough cookie.
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Rant: Chris Mathews could not solve a two-piece jigsaw puzzle.
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Truism: No bad idea is unworthy of duplication is the mantra of Hollywood for movie and TV fare.
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Good advice: Ask for input, only if you plan to do something with it and about it.
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Business 101: There is no such thing as a probationary period. We’re all on probation, every day.
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The “Abilene Paradox”: Everyone does something that no one wants to do because no one could make up their mind. Avoid it!
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Rave: I can think of no current network show as entertaining as a “
Monk” rerun.
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Rant: One problem with the NFL Draft is no one knows who the players are. Another is ESPN host Chris Berman.
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Hmmm: How did all those slow drivers wind up ahead of you at the red light?
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Quote: “If I listened to what the customers claimed they wanted I would have just given them a faster horse.” —Henry Ford.
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Didjaknow: Your funny bone is a nerve, not a bone.
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Chemistry 101: Fabric softeners grease and lubricate the fibers of material to make them feel soft; they do not actually soften them.
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Hmmm: Is it true that Coach John Calipari is going to petition the Kentucky state legislature to change the name of the university to One and Done.
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Rave: Computer icons don’t always mean what you think they do. Always double-check before you double-click.
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Betcha: Never thought your mother’s maiden name was so important until all those people in security asked about it.
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Truism: The more deregulated the airlines get, the more the airlines seem to be regulating customers.
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Rant: And is there anyone out there who thinks this going to end well for Big Papi?
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Truism: Make three consecutive correct guesses and you will establish a reputation as an expert.
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Didjaknow: The auto on the back of the ten-dollar bill is a Ford.
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Rant: The Weather Channel has gone downhill since NBC took over.
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If you can read this, thank a teacher.
If you can’t, thank the teacher’s union.
If you are reading it in English, thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Curmudgeon in the Wry 472

Saturday, April 10, 2010---549 Words---Average Reading Time: 1 Minute, 54 Seconds. (A pointless waste of time---time frittered away)
Offending readers and hindering productivity one issue at a time since 2001.
Virtually free of original ideas.
Warning: Contains unsound bites from the apple of life.
Often wrong…never in doubt.
Being wrong is the risk you run by thinking and acting.
A Grumpy Old Man Production.
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Rave:
Linda Chavez.
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Reading:
“Fear the Worst” by Linwood Barclay.
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On the Hi Fi:
“Orchestration” by Pat Metheny.
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Under rated:
“The Rifleman.”
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Truism: A tattoo is permanent proof of temporary insanity.
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Rave:
Margaret Hoover is one tough cookie.
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Rant: There’s nothing I want to do for four hours at a stretch, never mind watch a baseball game.
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Quote: “It’s more difficult to get out of a cell phone contract than your typical coaching contract.” —
Gary Parrish.
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Truism: The days of Big Papi hitting good pitching appear as gone as the Easter Bunny.
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Rave: No one exemplified the term “dame” in all its most positive aspects than
Jean Harlow. Whenever she is in the frame, your eyes and ears are drawn to her in inexplicable ways.
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Rant: Any nitwit who yells “You the Man” at Tiger should be sent to de-programming school.
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Mission Impossible: Finding signs of intelligent life on PMSNBC.
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Quote: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” —
William Faulkner.
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Not Forgotten: The suave, silver-haired
John Forsythe is probably best remembered for his starring role in Dynasty (he won two Golden Globe awards for best actor) and the voice of the unseen private-eye agency chief, Charlie, in “Charlie’s Angels.” I remember him more fondly for his role as Uncle Bentley in “Bachelor Father.”
By the way, Charlie’s last name was Townsend---for all you trivia buffs.
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Quote: “Democrats are genetically incapable of understanding the free market. You might say it’s a pre-existing condition with them.” —Ann Coulter, one tough cookie.
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Hmmm: If you and I knew that the Yankees would be better with Joba coming out of the pen, why did it take the Yankees so long to figure it out?
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Rant: If you think the “The Bounty Hunter” is worth your time, you need a life coach.
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Dontchathink: When Tiger Woods referenced Buddhism, he actually meant “Bootyism.”
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Rant: Every day, another Tiger Woods horror story. Can the Tiger Network be far behind?
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Rant: Raise your hand if you were shocked by the news this week that Tiger supposedly was taught his lifestyle by his two mentors, Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley.
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Rant: The recent floods in Rhode Island were their Katrina. Presbo flies over on his way to fund raisers in Maine. Why was the media silent about his absence and lack of compassion and so vitriolic about George W. Bush’s response in New Orleans? Three guesses.
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Hmmm: Does anyone really root for A-Rod?
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Stupid is, as stupid does: Anyone who believes what a celebrity tells them deserves what they get.
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Rave: Cut you state tax bill…don’t buy lottery tickets.
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Try this at home: Next time you receive one of those irritating unsolicited phone calls---say your parents aren’t at home.
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If you can read this, thank a teacher.
If you can’t, thank the teacher’s union.
If you are reading it in English, thank a Veteran.
That is all.
As you were.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Welcome To Bracketville, Population 9, Version 3.3

The sixty-four games over the three weeks of the 2010 edition of the NCAA Men’s basketball Tournament were exhilarating, thrilling, often electrifying, tension-filled, frequently Hollywood-scripted and habitually entertaining.

As a Duke fan, I am exhilarated, elated, ecstatic and exhausted.

This group of kids won Monday night because they lost to VCU in the opening round three years ago, were slapped around by West Virginia two years ago in round two and eviscerated in the second half by Villanova in last season’s Sweet Sixteen. This assemblage of talent, grit, courage and class was blessed with a work ethic second to none. They lost their first NCAA tournament game playing for Duke and won the last one.

This year they were a written-off, upperclassmen-laden team, lacking much NBA talent who nobody thought could win it all.

They are as surely a “band of brothers” as those made famous by Stephen Ambrose for their World War II exploits. And, in Coach Krzyzewski, they have a leader, mentor and guiding spirit who is a master motivator. Always prepared, they realized a goal that maybe a handful outside their extended family thought possible.

Certainly, my bracket did not have them in the winner’s circle. For the past five or six years, I have picked Duke to go one round further than they did. This year I chose them one round short. Trust me; picking them, a game light is more fun.

These kids proved that that being flashy, trying to make ESPN’s top plays or coming up with arrogant dance moves are not what it takes to win in college basketball. They out-rebounded every opponent, played incredibly hard-nosed defense and played smarter than the competition.

Of this team, I’ll quote Al McGuire (from his UNC days), “We were lucky, but we were good too.”

Naturally, this championship team will unleash a new wave of Duke-hating. To this, I quote Coach Krzyzewski, “We have great kids who go to school, they graduate. If we're going to be despised or hated by anybody because we go to school and we want to win, you know what, that's your problem.”

In my opinion, those who wish to hate the Duke program that K has taken to excellence in both athletics and the classroom…they best save room for programs like Butler, Purdue, Vanderbilt, Cornell, Xavier and Stanford. Those colleges emphasize superiority in basketball and scholarship as well…and they are succeeding. Even better, maybe the haters should hope their teams attempt to join the club striving for distinction.

This season I have read hundred of article, hundreds of thousands of words on college basketball in general and Duke in particular. I think Joe Posnanski’s article in Sports Illustrated is the best I’ve read. Now, were Frank Deford to summarize the season, I’d bet his would be the definitive piece.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/joe_posnanski/04/06/duke.title/index.html
It was a nifty season. Butler was a most worthy opponent. They played such powerhouses as Syracuse, Michigan State, Kansas State and Duke with no fear---and came within a half-inch of taking the crown. They may have been defeated by Duke, but they never lost. They did everything with dignity, pride and poise…they are noble warriors.

While many teams from “power conferences” whined about being left out of dance due to a pre-conference cream-puff schedule (Virginia Tech comes to minds), Butler took on Davidson, Minnesota, Georgetown, Ohio State and Xavier. Butler went for it from day one. Just a great story.

As Duke’s Lance Thomas said about Butler, “If I wasn’t playing them; I probably would root for them.”

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Welcome to Bracketville, Population 9, Version 3.2

Happy Birthday to Doris Day!

Six games left. Do not overlook the Women’s Final Four and Championship games on Sunday and Tuesday. All four finalists feature some spectacular athletes who will give you a bunch of thrills if you tune in.

Quote: “This has been a great NCAA Tournament — reason enough not to expand it.
Or have you heard one person complain about it?
It’s been just the opposite. It’s been a tournament full of upsets and great games, full of suspense.” —Bill Reynolds, Providence Journal.

Butler drew 29,000 fans for their practice.

Butler coach, Brad Stevens, is the youngest coach (at 33) to reach the Final Four since Bobby Knight got there in 1973 at the age of 32.

Jim Nantz puts me to sleep and Clark Kellogg makes me toss my cookies. I am eternally grateful to Westwood One’s radio coverage.
Find a Westwood One affiliate in you area. Boy, do I miss Billy Packer.
The Big Ten has the best record in the tournament this season at 10-4. Big 12 is 8-6, SEC at 6-4, Big East is 8-7, and ACC is 7-5.

During Coach Krzyzewski’s tenure, Duke is the fourth winningest men’s basketball program of all time. He has produced 55 All-Americans, 11 Players of the Year and between 1996-2007 spent 200 consecutive weeks in the AP Top 25.

The Big East has won the NCAA Men’s Championship five times. Georgetown, Villanova, Syracuse and UConn (twice).

I fail to understand why the media continues to give praise and positive press to WVU’s coach (T)Huggins. During his 16 years at Cincinnati, his player’s graduation rate was 28%. When the school bought out his contract in 2005, Cincinnati’s president cited a “lack of character” as the reason. While in charge of the basketball program at Cincinnati, 21 players had “significant encounters with law enforcement.” He is a disgrace. Simply despicable.

Duke has held its eight opponents below their average shooting percentage. Baylor was the first to shoot better than 40 percent.