Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Could someone tell me why the concept of movie concerts shown in theaters hasn’t taken off?  A fifth of the cost at most, great view, awesome sound system, no (well…less) drunk guys seat-jumping and constantly yapping during songs, and once more……a fifth of the cost! is the place to watch for them, but there really hasn’t been too much to choose from so far.  Still, a fantastic idea.  

Now I don’t think the Texans are intentionally tanking, but they sure are making a convincing argument for the NFL to institute a lottery, aren’t they?  The New Year’s Day matchup between Houston and the 49ers could set the stage for the most comically bad game of all-time.  I’d personally like to see Reggie Bush placed in the stadium to watch with multiple cameras capturing every horrified facial expression.  

Color me excited for UT-USC on Jan. 4th.  The only two real candidates for the national title, separated by the thinnest possible margins all season, everyone’s healthy, three out of the four Heisman candidates going at it.  If this game can possibly match a third of the hype, it’ll be the best championship game in years.  Just make sure Lindsay Lohan’s not going to sing at halftime, ABC.  

Mike & Mike, the ESPN morning radio talk show that (IMO) blows all competition out of the water, will begin simulcasting on ESPN2 this new year.  Very happy to see this promotion from their current TV simulcasts on ESPNnews, hopefully more people will discover them.  Unlike today’s norm, these two guys (Mike Greenburg and Mike Golic) don’t bother with screaming into the mics, don’t take absurdly extreme views to drum up the phone lines, or lean on a never-ending stream of bad attempts at comedy to keep their ratings.  They take a coffee-sipping approach, demonstrate zero egos, and regularly bring in experts to shed light on topics rather than wax ignorance.  Their chemistry is so good, anytime one of them is out and the show brings in a replacement for the day, I don’t even watch.  Can’t say enough about these guys who convinced me to not only forget about Sportscenter and CNN for my morning routine, but to start setting the channel the night before so the DVR will get a head start and let me watch without commercials!  Solid, solid, solid.  

Already making Arrested Development walk the plank, Fox has apparently twisted the knife by slashing the show’s studio time and budget.  Painful for all involved.  It’s striking to see the results when a cast has only 2 or 3 takes to nail a scene.  On the Dec 5th show sending off Charlize Theron, several actors never managed to get into character, the cinematography and audio were obviously downgraded, and the writing reminded me of my last-minute attempts with high school assignments.  It was like pre- versus post-Bobby Whitney Houston.  Well, this past Monday’s episode somewhat alleviated my concerns, bringing the sharp dialogue, plots, and delivery back to the table.  The Danny Most reference was particularly well received by me.  Hopefully, the final few episodes can maintain this and the show moves to Showtime.  

And moving from Fox to other back-stabbers…..

I’m surprised at the few people that are willing to buy into Stan Van Gundy’s “personal reasons” for leaving the Heat.  This was a classic case of spin, not unlike Rudy T resigning from the Rockets (and Lakers) because of “health concerns.”  Pat Riley’s comments (I have to do what I feel is best for this organization….”) should have sealed things for everyone.  His attempted coup over the summer got stuck into a closet after the massive outcry, but an 11-10 record without Shaq was the opportunity seized.  I also subscribe to the conspiracy theory that Riles brought in so many talented headcases (Williams, Walker, Payton) to set SVG up to fail.  None of this is to say that Riley won’t prove to be the better man at the helm.  It’s just unfortunate that he had put cement boots on one of his most loyal people to do so.  

Ron Artest repays Larry Bird, Rick Carlise, and Donnie Walsh for sticking by him after his involvement in the ugliest scene in professional sports history by demanding a trade because he’s not getting the ball enough.   If his shameless plugs for his CD last year during what was supposed to be his stage for an apology to the nation didn’t tell you enough about this guy, maybe this will.  Jermaine O’Neal wasted no time telling the media that he’d pack the bags and chauffeur him to the airport if it would speed his departure.  Caveat Emptor, anyone?  

Let’s shake down where he may or may not be headed.  Knocking off some ideas: no way do Bird and Walsh send him to an Eastern Conference rival; knock off the Heat, Pistons, and Cavs.  Artest for Peja is the most popular idea since both want out and have matching salaries, but Peja will be a free agent this summer, making him a very risky acquisition.  Unless he convinces Indiana that he’d be just as happy there as Chicago or L.A., I don’t see it happening.  The Pacers want to keep running on all cylinders, not rebuild.  So throw out minor league guys or expiring contracts and think of higher level talent like Lamar Odom and Paul Pierce.  Teams that think Ron’s on-court dominance can make up for his mental issues will probably eat Austin Croshere’s contract to make the money work.  Since tomm is the day that players signed over the summer can be traded, things should get interesting.

A bit of hoo-rah over the Astros declining arbitration to Clemens.  I’m not so sure there’s a lot to read into.  Clemens really limped through the playoffs this fall, and reportedly tore muscles in his back.  The situation may be that the Astros want to make a push for the batting help they desperately need, and their success in that will let Clemens better evaluate whether he’d want to join in mid-season for a final title push.  No arbitration frees the Astros to sign Clemens for less than the $20 million he’d surely receive and allows Clemens to take his time healing.  It’s not surprising that the Sox expressed their interest, or that Clemens liked hearing about it, but they can’t offer him the sweet semi-retirement arrangement Houston has with him.   That Clemens hasn’t vowed revenge on the Astros’ management at this point is also telling.