Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Leftover Stew

One thing is for sure – I’ve really missed posting on this blog.  In the past few weeks, I’ve stressed over the FoxSports blog, trying to wedge in at least one post a day on varied sports topics.  I brought some of them over here, but only a handful.  What added to the stress was that I didn’t have the time to write non-sports posts at all.  Left me a little pent up, but happily, I can start letting loose again.  Hope you’re ready.  

Update on the Duke case that I wrote about a while back: pile some more “oops” onto the News & Observer and Mike Nifong, who were so unprofessionally quick to try and convict 46 members of the Duke lacrosse team.  The semen sample, recovered during the medical exam that set off the rape allegation and used unsuccessfully to try and match team members’ DNA twice, has finally found a match: the accuser’s boyfriend.  Odd that the DA did not include him in their first two rounds of testing, but this of course is the same office that violated standard procedures by having the accuser identify her three suspects out of mugshots that only featured Duke lacrosse players and refused to accept a player’s polygraph test offer (he took his own anyway).  With each passing day, this rat stinks a little more.  What’s truly upsetting is that the exculpatory evidence continues to be ignored by the same mainstream media that was happy to pile on the players in April.

Invasion, we hardly knew you.  ABC has pulled the plug on the show, which I’m a little sorry about.  This was a show that simply didn’t drum up enough of an audience to merit its relatively high budget.  I myself barely stayed with it, despite it’s LOST lead in and the wife’s intrigue, since the fall episodes were, in my opinion, only passably scripted, directed, and acted out.  They seemed to be trying to keep the hurricane-covered “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” premise as a smoking man-like mystery when any child would have caught on within minutes.  Then something strange happened in the second half of the season: it got good.  Unforseen twists and layers to the show emerged and ran up to a fairly engrossing finale that was armed with a legitimate series-shifting cliffhanger.  Unfortunately, we don’t live in a country that appreciates cooking with charcoal when propane is so much quicker.  I’ll say this though – a big screen leap a la Firefly would be backed in this corner.

San Antonio, we know you pretty well, but you also bowed out earlier than expected.  I was tremendously impressed with Duncan’s heart and determination, but can’t say the same about the overall team maturity.  I am thankful not to have to endure any more of the whistle-induced childish sulking that was spread across the entire team.  In tasteless order: Bruce Bowen and his slumping eye-roll; Ginobilli’s horrified reactions that make you think he’s witnessing a family member being stabbed; Duncan’s 11-year old “it wasn’t my fault” hysterics; and, Parker’s dazed and confused bit.  Popovich’s demeanor after game 7 spoke volumes – he really struck me as a father completely exasperated by his children, especially when asked about Ginobilli’s moronic block attempt/foul on Dirk that allowed Dallas to tie the game with the and-one free throw.  Q: Did you tell them in the timeout not to allow 3-pointers and not to foul anyone going to the basket?  Pop: (vein pops out, sinks back in) Yes.  Q: Where you surprised when Ginobilli fouled Dirk going to the basket?  Pop:  (vein pops out, sinks back in) Yes.

The Dixie Chicks are back, and the return has been awkward, at least in Texas.  Now, I really liked this group a few years ago; I saw them in concert I was invited to, and was greatly surprised to find they were far more than the radio country girl group I had taken them for.  They tend to dumb things down when on tour to pander to the younger 3-minute attention span crowd that pays the bills (or rather, their parents), but there’s some real musicianship inside that trio.  Unfortunately, the infamous incident in London happened.  Unfortunate not in that it sparked controversy, but unfortunate in that it led to Natalie Maines taking the low road and tossing fuel all over the place.  The group has chosen an antagonistic path rather than leaving well enough alone, kicking off their new album with the sharply pointed single “Not Ready to Make Nice” and following it up with quotes to the media saying they’d “rather have a small following of really cool people who get it, who will grow with us as we grow and are fans for life, than people that have us in their five-disc changer with Reba McEntire and Toby Keith. We don't want those kinds of fans. They limit what you can do.”  So in short, unless you enjoy their soapboxing, the door’s that way.  Strikes me as not being far off from Lauren Hill’s notorious take on the Fugee’s popularity with white kids.  Hey look, I want to enjoy music.  I don’t really care what your thoughts are, one way or the other.  If you’re a hippy, a Bill O’Reilly zealot, a rabid PETA member, a militant Islamic, a scorpion, a follower of Zeus, I don’t mind so long as you can pop out a good tune.  Just don’t go Tom Cruise on me, it’s a turnoff.  Songs with a political slant are cool – Dylan certainly hung his hat on them, and Born in the U.S.A. didn’t exactly end Springsteen’s career.  It’s ranting put to music and concerts that are halfway rallies that annoy the tomfoolery out of me.  Eddie Vedder – take the Bush mask off and play Better Man.  Bono – quit making up intros about how “One” is about the plight of Norwegian wildlife.  Sting – change the lyrics to “Every Breath You Take” one more time and I’ll put a hit out on you.  Natalie – just STFU.

The NBA Lottery was last night and it was pretty interesting.  Toronto “won” the first pick, unfortunately they badly need a backcourt stud in a draft where the top 5 guys are frontcourt players.  Rumor has it that Brian Colangelo has decided that the team should focus on foreign players since Americans can’t get out of Toronto fast enough while Europeans are perfectly comfortable there.  With that in mind, they’ve repotedly made some inroads at bringing over an assistant GM with ties to Italian prospect Andrea Bargnani.  Personally, I think they’d be best off trading down and grabbing Brandon Roy or Marcus Williams, but second guessing a Colangelo as about as smart as bending over in front of Reggie Evans.  The real losers from last night were the New York Knicks, who were mentioned at every possible opportunity for handing the #2 pick over to Chicago for Eddy Curry’s 6 rebounds a game and Portland, falling to the #4 pick despite having the worst record in the league.  Let the misery continue.

24 ended with a somewhat limp finale Monday as a show that is rapidly becoming stale and formulaic.  The anticlimatic wrap-up was sadly predictable though it closed with a quick twist of a cliffhanger.  The Chinese got to Jack!  Don’t get too excited or lose sleep this summer and fall.  The show has ended with a cliff hanger before, when President Palmer fell prey to a poisoned handshake in the closing minutes of season 2.  Expect this cliffhanger to be resolved similarly – forgotten and explained away with some dialogue in the next opener.  As the producers themselves have already admitted, bringing Jack home from China would eat 16 of the show’s 24 hours…

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again.  Something’s wrong with the Detroit Pistons.  They averaged 97 PPG over the season, and all of a sudden this group can barely manage 85.  Rasheed’s ankle isn’t enough for me, and he turned it after the drop off began.  Nothing jumps out at me when watching them and I’ve yet to see anything to suggest strife within the locker room.  This clearly isn’t the same team that managed only 9 losses over the first 4 months of the season, however, and isn’t a team that will get the remaining 8 wins they need unless something drastic changes in a hurry.  



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