Monday, November 29, 2010


Notre Dame starts five seniors.

Illinois has nine guys logging solid minutes on the floor, and five players scoring in double-digits.

Temple returns four of their top five scorers…and they have a really good coach.

Now that he playing shooting guard, Villanova’s Corey Fisher has 16 assists and just two turnovers, a vast improvement from last season’s 1.9 ratio.

San Diego State rotates four guys over 6’7” down low, so they can battle with anyone. Underestimate them at your peril.

Mississippi Valley State plays their first home game on January 8th. That makes for a 13 game road trip to start the season. In one eleven-day stretch they line up against Butler, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Kentucky and Marquette. Quite an ambitious schedule.

“Basketball fights last two punches, make sure you throw both of them.”—John Thompson II.

The Pittsburgh women’s team has five seniors in the starting line-up and an all Freshman bench.

UConn was picked to finish tenth in the Big East…not an unreasonable call at the time.

Pitt plays hard, they play together, they play for each other…what’s not to like?

The Mountain West deserves more attention.

16 of Marquette’s games last season were decided by four or fewer points…they went 8-8 in those games.

Grant Hill is second only to Jason Kidd as the NBA player with the most career triple-doubles.

The decision to sit a basketball player with two fouls in the first half was started in the mid-‘80s by Georgetown’s John Thompson with Patrick Ewing.

If Villanova keeps up the kind of foul trouble they displayed against Tennessee during Big East play they will have a difficult time challenging Pitt, UConn and Georgetown for the title.

Thus far, no team boasts two better wins than UConn’s victories over Kentucky and Michigan State.

After the way they won the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, you have to take Minnesota seriously in the Big Ten race. They’ve got a nice trio of big men in the paint.

Did any team have a worse tournament than Oklahoma? Losing to Virginia and Chaminade as well as Kentucky.

Pay attention to Pitt’s Ashton Gibbs.

The ACC/Big Ten Challenge is this week. I don’t see the ACC winning more than four games.

Looks like Tennessee has gotten serious about defense.

Even in limited action after his injury, it’s easy to see why Georgia’s Trey Thompkins gets all the raves. He makes it look effortless.

Through five games, Kansas State is shooting 50.8% from the foul line…345th out of 346.



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Welcome to Bracketville, November Tournaments Edition 1.0

What I saw and learned from some of the November Tournaments.




Kansas City’s Sprint Center court had more decals than a Sprint Cup car.

Oddly enough, during both Duke games the Duke Radio Broadcast was in perfect sync with the TV, so I got the full home treatment as well as a more detailed play-by-play.

Even so, it took a while to adjust to both Duke and Kansas State having an Irving and a Kelly on the floor.

Is there anywhere where No. 1 Duke can play where fans will remain neutral?

Duke’s Kyrie Irving might be the most gifted player in Division I this season. In his opening five games he has 33 assists and just 11 turnovers; made 48% of his field goal attempts (42% on three-point shooting); 91% of his foul shots. And, he plays tenacious defense.

Nice to see Duke dusting off the high ball screens, not seen to this extent since Gerald Henderson’s 2008-2009 season.

Duke’s ability to switch off K-State’s ball screens was a work of art…something you would expect from a far more veteran team.

Calling the first four fouls on Kansas State as well as a pair of three-second calls helped take the predominately Kansas State crowd out of it.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke teams are 107-10 in November…20-11 record in games in which both teams were ranked in the top five…171-24 in games when Duke was ranked number one.

Duke transfer, Seth Curry’s initial shot against a ranked team resulted in a four-point play.

Cruising the other tournaments, I am most impressed with Kentucky’s Brandon Knight and Terance Jones; UConn’s Kemba Walker; Michigan State’s Draymond Green and Washington’s Justin Holiday.

I just hope Michigan State plays like they did against Chaminade and UConn in the Maui Invitational when they come Cameron Indoor next Wednesday for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Curmudgeon in the Wry 491

Tuesday, November 23, 2010---555 Words---Average Reading Time: 1 Minute, 41 Seconds. (A pointless waste of time---time frittered away)

Offending readers and hindering productivity one issue at a time since 2001.

Continuing to call them as I see them.

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: Sterling Hayden.

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Reading: “Hell’s Corner” by David Baldacci.

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On the Hi Fi: “The Music of Peter Gunn” by Henry Mancini.

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Under rated: Barton MacLane.

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Truism: Few people who play the lottery are noted for their math skills.

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Rave: The 90-120 voice Duke Chapel choir is absolutely wonderful.

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I miss: Duke Ellington, Virginia Mayo, Jackie Jensen.

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Rave: I admire those who can whistle, do origami or calligraphy.

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Truism: Since the TSA started confiscating little old ladies’ knitting needles; there has been no decrease in the number of high jacking attempts by little old ladies.

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Hmm: Raise your hand if you are allowed to keep the health care plan you liked.

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Didjaknow: February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon.

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Hmmm: The average person’s left hand does 56% of the typing.

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Rave: Roger Ailes’ opinion on obama---"He just has a different belief system than most Americans.” I agree.

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Quote: “It’s not what we don’t know that causes us trouble. It’s what we know that isn’t so.” Attributed to many.

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Rant: His ESPN radio interview and Newsweek article are attempts by Tiger Woods to get ahead of the inevitable anniversary stories of the Thanksgiving Day car crash that changed his life, and should not be mistaken for anything other than a calculated public-relations offensive.

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Hmmm: Christmas music on the radio before Thanksgiving is almost an obscenity.

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Rant: Turn signals are standard equipment and are there for a reason, use them.

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Rave: The return of “Burn Notice” and “Psych” on the USA Network. The closing music Psych’s first episode was “Such a Night” by Elvis---that’s all right with me.

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Maybe it’s just me: Merchants who have "Christmas" commercials and don't say "Christmas" won't get any of my business.

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Didjaknow: Charlie Rangel was convicted of eleven ethics violation, the most ever found against any member of congress.

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Quote: “The probability of winning the lottery is the same whether you buy a ticket or not.” Fran Lebowitz.

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Hmmm: Why is traffic in the afternoon slower since the time change? Could it be because it's harder to text and drive in the dark?

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Duh!: If you have to buy something to get something else for "free" - the something else is not "free." Something else for the math impaired to cogitate on.

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Quote: “It’s been lots of fun watching the liberals fulminating about the ignorance, not to mention bigotry, of the American voter. Isn’t it amazing how dumb and racist those voters become since 2008.”—Burt Prelutsky.

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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, November 20, 2010

Welcome to Bracketville, PreConference Tournement Edition 1.0

Is there a college other than Princeton that has an offense named after it?

Princeton’s senior guard Dan Mavraides averaged 26 ppg last season…shooting an amazing 60% from three-point range.

Last season only one team was able to score more than 70 points against Princeton…California.

Last season Texas was the third worst Division I team in free throw shooting (63.3%). These woes continue so far this season.

So far this season, UNC is 46-80 from the line.

So far Duke freshman point guard, Kyrie Irving, has 20 assists and only three turnovers. However, next week Duke starts playing the adults: Marquette, probably Kansas State [in KC], Michigan State, @ Oregon and Butler in a twelve-day period.

The best college basketball game of the week was the UConn women barely hanging on against Baylor to preserve their 80-game winning streak.

Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl was suspended by the SEC for improprieties? I wasn’t sure the SEC even knew what improprieties were, never mind penalizing a coach for them.

Many of the early season tournaments have had some exciting games. Pitt looks strong…able to find a way to win.

Maryland is another Gary Williams over-achieving team So far, just barely losing. They’ll be a factor once the ACC season starts.

Texas starting off strong…can they keep it up or will they lose focus like last season?

North Carolina’s C.J. Leslie appears to be as good as advertised.

Did anyone really think any visiting team would defeat Louisville on opening night at the Yum Center? Butler’s going be just fine.

A bunch of good games on TV Sunday. Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Welcome to Bracketville, The Games Have Begun Editon

Michigan State returns seven of its nine top scorers.

In Bo Ryan’s tenure as coach at Wisconsin, the team has never finished worse than forth in the Big 10, and failed to win at least 24 games just three times.

Last season the Big 12 was 28-12 against other BCS Conference teams…followed by the ACC (24-21). The Big 12 padded that stat with a 13-4 mark versus the woeful Pac 10.

Ohio State returns four starters from last season…Illinois, all five (three seniors

Butler’s returning senior center, Matt Howard, carries a 3.88 GPA while majoring finance.

Duke has played in 16 consecutive NCAA Tournaments and advanced to the Final Four four times.

In the 1,015 games Mike Krzyzewski has coached at Duke, his teams have been ranked #1 for 190 of them (18.7%).

Last season West Virginia rebounded 41.8% of their missed shots. Only one other team in the country was better at offensive rebounding---that being Huggins’ previous team, Kansas State.

The Top 5 Division 1 winning percentages since the 2001-02 season: Kansas (.828), Duke (.824), Gonzaga (.807) Memphis (.799) Pittsburgh (790).

In the 21st century, George Mason has played in one more Final Four than Kentucky.

In the past four NCAA Tournaments, ACC qualifiers other than Duke and UNC have a 9-17 record…Duke and UNC, 22-5. The ACC has five trophies in the past ten years.

Curmudgeon in the Wry 490

Sunday, November 14, 2010---652 Words---Average Reading Time: 2 Minutes, 7 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: Gregory Peck.

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Reading: “Moonlight Mile” by Dennis Lehane.

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On the Hi Fi: “New Standards” by John Pizzarelli.

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Under rated: The Poni-Tails.

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I miss: Billy Pierce, Anita O’Day and Jean Harlow.

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Rant: The baseball season is too long…NBA, ditto

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Quote: “Liberals are very broadminded: they are always willing to give careful consideration to both sides of the same side.”—Anon.

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Truism: At airports, TSA now stands for "touching sensitive areas".

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Hmmm: If there is "no inflation" and, therefore, no COLA for Social Security recipients - again, then why is obama proposing a pay raise for federal employees?

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Smooth Move: Lou Dobbs to Fox Business Network!

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Quote: “When you’re through learning, you’re through.”—John Wooden.

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Rant: Very disappointing to see AMC canceling “Rubicon.” It was a thoughtfully made conspiracy thriller, a beautifully filmed story with an atmosphere, well written, with a look and vibe all its own. It was a tense, witty brain-teaser. I am unlikely to forget the quirky characters and complex (and oft-times) Byzantine plot twists. One had to pay attention to keep up with the flow. Not that it matters, but I was not enamored with the season finale. Would it seem paranoid to say I suspect a conspiracy was involved in the cancelation? I suspect the news was delivered to the producers via coded crossword puzzles, posted in all of the major newspapers.

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Happy Birthday: Robert Louis Stevenson was born yesterday in 1850. Arguably one of the great storytellers of his generation, he was the author of (Treasure Island, Prince Otto, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde).

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Quote: Burt Prelutsky on negative political ads…”If you don’t have bad things to say about your opponent, you not only shouldn’t be running, you should probably stay home and vote for him.”

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Truism: NPR is a solution in search of a problem.

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Pop quiz: It has been 40 years since the merger of the NFL and AFL. Name the ten AFL teams.

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R.I.P.: Mr. Goodwrench, the iconic mechanic who, for more than three decades, promised owners of General Motors vehicles that he'd keep their cars running. He's been laid off.

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Rave: On Veteran’s Day, Applebee’s offered free meals to active and retired military personnel. Over one million service men and women took them up on the offer.

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Truism: If you have to buy something to get something else for "free" - the something else is not "free."

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Didjaknow: In the 21st century, George Mason has played in one more Final Four than Kentucky.

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Quote: “Neurotics build castles in the air, psychotics live in them. My mother cleans them.”--Rita Rudner

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Hmmm: Remember when the whole world stopped for the World Series? No longer. This year matched the lowest TV ratings ever

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Surprising: CNN's Parker/Spitzer is still on television. Predictable: it's dying a slow and painful death.

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Hmmm: Rule of Defactualization: Information deteriorates upward through bureaucracies.

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Quote: ''Be Yourself. Everyone Else Is Taken!"—Oscar Wilde.

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Hmmm: Conan O’Brien’s appeal has eluded me.

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Truism: They didn’t make two of Rex Ryan.

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Just asking: Can stupid people use smart phones?

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Hmmm: Did you ever think you’d see the phone book as an endangered species?

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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, November 06, 2010

Olbermann BIZ

Once upon a time I agreed with something Keith Olbermann said.

He spoke the truth when, during his ESPN days he compared the outfield play of Barry Bonds to that of a statue.

Now MSDNC has suspended him for not adhering to their standards. MSDNC has standards…who knew?

Methinks MSDNC protests too much. How many thousands of dollars do you think the employees of their parent GE donated to the leftist candidates this election cycle?

I agree with Bill Kristol on this one. He gave money…he did not receive any dough to sway his opinion (he is a columnist, not a reporter). “If Olbermann wants to put his money where his mouth is, more power to him.”

In any event, no amount of contributions to liberals could push him any further to the left.

MSDNC’s outrage reminds me of Captain Louis Renault’s (Claude Raines) priceless line in “Casablanca”---they are “shocked, shocked” to find donations to leftist politicians among their partisan ranks. A little too sanctimonious for my tastes.

Don’t get me wrong…I have no use for Olbermann or his ilk on MSDNC. However, at least he is up-front about his bias. That’s certainly more honest behavior that that practiced by frauds like Couric, Harry Smith, Steve Croft, Lesley Stahl, etc.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Curmudgeon in the Wry 489

Thursday, November 04, 2010---706 Words---Average Reading Time: 2 Minutes, 5 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: Randolph Scott.

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Reading: “Moonlight Mile” by Dennis Lehane.

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On the Hi Fi: “Ricky Nelson’s Great Hits”

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Under rated: Billie Burke.

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I miss: Joel McCrea, Count Basie and Jungle Jim Rivera.

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Rant: Joyless Behar has the makings of every man’s ex-wife.

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Truism: If government employees had to live off of tips they would all starve to death.

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Quote: “The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you've got it made.” -- Daniel Schorr.

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Rave: I enjoyed the great majority of this season’s “Mad Men.” Just a great cast of characters and many an interesting plot twist. I can hardly wait for next season…there is much to look forward to. Will Don follow through with his marriage plans to Megan…or reconcile with Faye? The future of the firm, its people and advertisements? Stay tuned.

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Hmmm: Juan Williams 1, NPR 0, if you’re scoring at home.

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Hmmm: The supposedly intolerant Fox News apparently had no problem with the liberal Williams working for National Pathetic Radio.

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Rant: CAIR, the Islamic advocacy group that pressured NPR to fire William for stating the obvious, gave a lifetime achievement award to the anti-Semite Helen Thomas, who called for the destruction of Israel by having the Jews “get the Hell out of Palestine."

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Pop quiz: Do you think Williams would have incurred NPR’s wrath had he moonlighted at PMSNBC or PBS?

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Didjaknow: obama accepted $71,000 from BP for his 2008 campaign. Nowadays he’d rather talk tough to them than to an actual enemy of this country. Those are the only bucks that stop with him.

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R.I.P.: Spenser, the famed Boston PI in the late Robert B. Parker’s powerhouse series. The final Spenser adventure was the recently released, “Painted Ladies,” a most enjoyable read.

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Truism: You know France is really in trouble when a Lady Gaga concert is called off.

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Quote: “Now even rich fans are balking at buying seats that have Tiffany prices. How often do you see games on TV where the best seats are the ones that are empty.” Frank Deford.

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Rant: All we have to know is that in 50 years we’ve gone from “Father Knows Best” to “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”

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Truism: No matter how bad your past couple of weeks have been, you had a better go of it than Charlie Sheen.

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Quote: “In Germany, as in other countries in Europe, welcoming millions of foreign workers who insist on remaining foreign has created problems so obvious that only the intelligentsia could fail to see them. It takes a high IQ to evade the obvious.”—Thomas Sowell.

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Rant: Enough of this clich├ęd “working families” nonsense. If they are not unemployed, aren’t all families working?

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Hmmm: How does one find a good Halloween costume in a culture where every day seems like Halloween?

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Truism: There is always something worse than the “worst case scenario.”

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Rave: I love the “quick look” feature to look at E*Mail attachments on my MacBook Pro.

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Rant: Remember when the History Channel was must-see-TV? That was back when their programming was devoted to…well…history.

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Quote: “The sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch up.”—Anon.

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Rave: I still enjoy Dagwood and Blondie.

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Truism: If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably a wise investment.

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Rant: College football players should spend a little more time practicing tackling than on the touchdown dance.

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Irony Alert: As the iPod celebrates its ninth birthday, Sony is retiring the Walkman.

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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.