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Saturday, July 19, 2003
CNN.com - Osbourne family loses a member - Jul. 19, 2003
You know who the member is? Their black Chihuahua Lulu. Lulu, sadly, was killed by coyotes.
The only reason I bring this up is that it was one of the TOP HEADLINES on CNN.com when I visited this evening. Good god.
Asia Times - Iraq: Schemers have their way: "A close examination of the public record indicates that all of these individuals - both in and outside the administration - were actively preparing the ground within days, even hours, after the September 11 attacks, for an eventual attack on Iraq, whether or not it had any role in the attacks or any connection to al-Qaeda.
The challenge, in their view, was to convince the public that such links either did indeed exist or were sufficiently likely to exist that a preventive strike against Iraq was warranted. Their success in that respect was stunning, although, in order to pull it off, they also had to distort and exaggerate the evidence being collected by US intelligence agencies.
A hint of a deliberate campaign to connect Iraq with the September 11 attacks and al-Qaeda surfaced last month in a televised interview of General Wesley Clark on the popular public-affairs program Meet the Press. In answer to a question, Clark asserted, 'There was a concerted effort during the fall of 2001, starting immediately after September 11, to pin September 11 and the terrorism problem on Saddam Hussein.
'It came from the White House, it came from other people around the White House. It came from all over. I got a call on September 11. I was on CNN, and I got a call at my home saying, 'You got to say this is connected. This is state-sponsored terrorism. This has to be connected to Saddam Hussein.'' "
This is what I've been saying all along. Why do the Republicans try to beat the bushes looking for dirt like Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky on a guy like Clinton, but when we've got an administration that is apparently lying to America the Democrats don't do anything to try to hang these guys out to dry?
And on a side note, it's a big deal that Clinton maybe (ok, probably) smoked pot in college, but NOT A BIG DEAL WHATSOEVER because he's somehow reformed that Bush PROBABLY snorted coke? Why wasn't a big deal made of that during the election?
Motor City Bad Boys: The 1989-90 NBA Champs
I overheard Craig Kilborn and Dan Patrick on Patrick's radio show yesterday saying that any of the teams that won championships in the 80s would have taken down that Bulls Dynasty in a head-to-head. That's what I like to hear.
I love my Pistons. Let's do a matchup breakdown with the Bulls team that won 72 games in 95-96 and the 89-90 Pistons team:
CENTER - Bill Laimbeer (Pistons) vs. Luc Longley (Bulls) -
Big advantage to the Pistons here. Laimbeer was quite possibly the most underrated player in the NBA during the years the Pistons were at the top of their game. He was good for 10-20 PPG from inside and out. You couldn't leave him alone beyond the arc, from 18 feet, or under the boards. Not only that, but he made you pay if you thought you were going to drive to the bucket. Was he a cheap shot artist? Maybe. But he was my favorite cheap shot artist. Longley was no more than a serviceable center. He was just athletic enough to run on the break, and had a nice enough shot to knock down open 15 footers. ADVANTAGE - PISTONS
POWER FORWARD - Rick Mahorn (Pistons) vs. Dennis Rodman (Bulls) -
A real tough matchup here. Both guys played hard nosed on and off the ball defense, both were good rebounders, but Rodman wasn't just a good rebounder, he was a great rebounder. Bonus points to Rodman here for being in the prime of his career, and also being able to get into the heads of his opponents. ADVANTAGE - BULLS
SMALL FORWARD - Mark Aguirre (Pistons) vs. Scottie Pippen (Bulls) -
While Aguirre was far more creative with his back to the basket than Pippen ever was, the symbiotic relationship between Pippen, Jordan, and that triangle offense got Pippen the open looks and open lanes to the basket he needed to be effective on the offensive end as well. The big difference comes with Pippen's defense. Between Pippen and Rodman, you more than make up for the adequate but unspectacular defense of Luc Longley in your frontcourt. Plus, if I'm looking to move the ball from end-to-end quickly, give me Pippen and Rodman over Aguirre and Mahorn any day. Different styles, but more destructive both offensively and defensively. ADVANTAGE - BULLS
SHOOTING GUARD - Joe Dumars (Pistons) vs. Michael Jordan (Bulls) -
In this matchup, you have the best shooting guard of all time versus one of the most underrated shooting guards of all time, both in the prime of their careers. While Dumars gets a lot of credit for being the one guy who could even come close to containing Jordan during those years, he's still Michael Jordan, the greatest offensive and defensive player at that position in the history of the NBA. Consider too, that Jordan's leadership during this season in particular is about as big an intangible edge as you can imagine. Plus, while Dumars had a great year for the Pistons in 89-90, I think it was 90-91 where he really laid the wood to the Blazers in the Finals. While I could say "Huge Advantage" to the Bulls, and be just as right, the one mitigating factor in all this is that these Piston teams physically abused Jordan during their years, and while a head-to-head matchup is what we're ostensibly doing here, I'm not going to ignore that factor either. ADVANTAGE - BULLS
POINT GUARD - Isiah Thomas (Pistons) vs. Ron Harper (Bulls) -
The greatest little man to ever play the game, Isiah Thomas would have a field day with this matchup. He'd face constant double teams from Rodman and Pippen, I'm sure, but Harper couldn't presume to contain Isiah. And god help the Bulls if they had to go to their bench for help on Zeke, because there isn't anyone there to help. HUGE ADVANTAGE - PISTONS.
COACH - Chuck Daly (Pistons) vs. Phil Jackson (Bulls) -
While Daly was probably the prototype for the Coach-as-CEO philosophy (delegate, let your leaders on the floor lead), Phil Jackson's 72 victories cannot be ignored. I could go either way on this. Theoretically, Phil did more with less. Beyond Pippen and Jordan, there isn't a true scorer on this Bulls team. If Pippen wasn't throwing in 20 points, I don't know where else you're looking to get it. Daly, however, had to contend with Magic and Bird and Barkley and Malone in their primes, and also was the guy elected to take control of the "Dream Team" in 92, which is no small reward for his greatness. Still, 72 victories is 72 victories. RAZOR THIN ADVANTAGE - BULLS.
SECOND FIVE - James Edwards (C), Vinnie Johnson (SG), John Salley (PF), Dennis Rodman (SF), Michael Williams (PG) (PISTONS) vs. Steve Kerr (PG), Toni Kukoc (SF), Bill Wennington (C), Jud Buechler (SG), Dickey Simpkins (PF) (BULLS) -
Here is where the race is won. The Pistons used to start most or all of this second five in the third quarter, and turn from a slow tempo, smashmouth team into more of an uptempo fast breaking squad. Basically, this second five could have started for most of the bottom half of the league. They were young, athletic, and featured a streaky shooter in Vinnie Johnson. When "the Microwave" was hot, there wasn't a guard in the league that could check him. He had the ugliest off-balance shots you've ever seen, but they would drop. Salley was a master at filling the lane on the break, and Rodman, while not to the height of his powers yet, was a terrific rebounder and on the ball defender. James Edwards was a legitimate seven footer with solid post moves and a nearly unblockable fade away jumper. The Bulls big asset off the bench was Toni Kukoc, who had terrific range, good handle, and was an excellent passer. Steve Kerr could hit open shots from anywhere on the court, and Bill Wennington was good for five fouls a game. That's the best you can say for the Bulls' bench. They simply didn't have the talent or athleticism the Pistons team did, and can't hold a candle to that depth. HUGE ADVANTAGE - PISTONS.
If these teams met in the Finals, with the Bulls having home court (due to the 72 wins), I'd predict the Pistons to win in 7.
Friday, July 18, 2003
CNN.com - Inmate seeks sex change, women's jail - Jul. 18, 2003
CNN filed this in the "offbeat" section. Here's what I don't get. He's a woman trapped inside a man's body, but wants to be transferred to a woman's prison when his "reassignment" is complete. Umm... psst... dude, if you're a woman trapped inside a man's body, isn't prison a GREAT place to be? I mean, isn't this basically Disneyland for you?
I don't understand. Maybe he's one of those wanna-be-she's that feels like a woman but is only attracted to women and not men. Leaving the obvious question aside as to why our government is somehow on the hook potentially for paying for this guy's mental condition (how about a free lifetime supply of valium? feel better?), I'm bugged by how the treatment of this disease is somehow the same as treating diabetes or even schizophrenia. And how a preventing a sex change is "cruel and unusual punishment" under the 8th Amendment. We need to find a really conservative Federal judge to strike this kind of crap down in a hurry.
Cool XM Radio moment of my Thursday
As I was driving home last night, the "60's on 6" channel was playing "Sie Liebt Dich," which is the German language version the Beatles did of "She Loves You." That was something I had never heard before, and an awful lot of fun.
Jennifer Lopez's Ass Meets the Airbrush
What are they thinking? The most famous ass on the planet, and it's airbrushed to look smaller? There's one shot of her in the preview that features her from behind in some low cut jeans, and I just stare in amazement and wonder. What an ass.
Thursday, July 17, 2003
CNN.com - Car plows through market, killing 9 - Jul. 17, 2003 "Right now it looks as though there may be some negligence as far as his capacity to drive safely"
Why are licenses for senior citizens renewed the same way a 30 year old's are? Does that make any sense? They should be given YEARLY vision and mental tests, and records should be kept that show if there's a pattern of year to year disintegration of their faculties. They should have to take driving tests with a live instructor in the car periodically as well. This just frustrates me.
Wednesday, July 16, 2003
Money Center - Business First of Columbus: "Also coming back to haunt him was a case brought by the estate of Kimbra Raeshun Royal.
The 24-year-old woman died in December 1997 after stopping on LBJ Freeway in Dallas to help Elisha Kelly Spacek, Tarpley's girlfriend, who was behind the wheel of a car Tarpley owned when it collided with another vehicle and rolled over, records say.
Spacek and Royal were standing on the side of the road by Tarpley's car after the accident when it was struck by another vehicle. Both women died because of the impact, according to court records.
Royal's mother, Georgia, brought a court case against Tarpley while he was playing overseas, arguing that he negligently let Spacek use his car despite her record of driving while intoxicated and other violations, records say. Tarpley, who was not present when the accident occurred, did not present a defense or otherwise respond to the litigation.
In June 2000 a Denton County judge awarded two judgments against him, one on behalf of Georgia Royal and one for her daughter's estate, according to court records. Each judgment was worth a total of about $4.2 million, including about $750,000 each in punitive damages. "
Roy Tarpley is a tragic figure, a guy that just couldn't keep his nose out of trouble (you like that? That's my favorite pun I've heard in awhile). However, this lawsuit he got hit with was absolutely ridiculous. Let me get this straight... He's out of the country, his girlfriend is using the car, and by some freak accident a good samaritan who stops to help her roadside gets hit by another driver, who isn't Roy Tarpley, and dies.
And Roy Tarpley is responsible for $4.2 million dollars?
How bad do we need tort reform in this country?
I've been irritated more than usual lately by advertising on TV. There are a few trends that I wish would go away...
1) The use of current or older pop/rock in commercials. Other people have commented better on the Jewel song being used in the razor commercial, so I'll leave that one alone. But my biggest annoyances are with a couple of songs in particular:
- "Hey. Ho. Let's Go," or whatever that song is called in that Verizon commercial. OK, so all the hip people have cell phones, so that makes me an old fuddy duddy because I don't? Club kids, like the unwashed masses in this commercial, need to do their X and dance like idiots out of sight please. Don't sell me a cell phone.
- "So don't delay, act now. Supplies are running out," or that song about "walking on the sun," if that's it's title. You can't tell me that song wasn't written with "sellout potential" in mind.
It's been pretty noticeable lately that more and more recognizable songs have moved their way into ads. Is this because MTV stopped playing videos? Now that you don't have mainstream TV access for your song, you don't feel as bad about using it to sell Wheat Thins? I don't get it, and I really don't like it.
2) The use of "fun" for kids products / the use of "extreme" for young adult products. This has gone way too far. Fruit Roll-Ups aren't fun. Neither is yogurt (yogurt was never fun). But these commercials with the kids having paintball fights in lab coats in some supposed yogurt factory is just annoying. Food isn't fun. Except Fun Dip and Pop Rocks. And "extreme." Thank you skateboarders and snowboarders. Because your brand of cool seems to appeal to almost everyone five to fifteen years younger than me, I have to deal with that Vin Diesel Jr. Mountain Dew ad where the kid rolls his T-top car in mid air to grab his open can of "Dew" from the supposed poacher. By the way, take this for what it's worth, but I've heard before that if you think something even vaguely connotes sexual imagery in a commerical, it's probably there on purpose. Did you ever notice that kid holds the can about two inches from his mouth and pours it down his throat, while steady streams of drops run out of the corners of his mouth and down his neck. What does that make you think of. Uh huh.
3) The use of scrubby and dirty people to begin with. Not that I think that everyone should look like Tony Dow as Wally Cleaver, but did I miss the memo that went around a couple years ago that made it OK to not comb your hair? I don't understand. I just wish more ads had people that looked like me in them. That's right, slightly overweight and totally underconfident 5'10" white guys that are carrying most of their extra poundage in the new chin they've developed.
So I've got that XM Radio in my car, right? You know how when you climb into your car and roll down the windows in the summertime, and once the radio kicks in you just hope it's a cool song that makes you look cool as you're driving away? Well, I was leaving rehearsal the other day, had my volume turned up, and had forgotten what channel I had left on when I shut my car off earlier. Instead of something cool like the J. Geils Band's "Freeze Frame," I get the blaring voice of Judy Garland shooting out of my speakers, and heads are turning all around the parking lot looking at me. Ugh.
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
HOW CONTENT QUALITY IMPACTS WEB SITE ADVERTISING
I find it really ironic that this article, which details how loyal readers of a page (such as ESPN.com) are more likely to respond to advertising at the site, is flanked on the top and sidebar by banner ads for GATOR. Short of the "dialler" programs those of you *cough* who look at porn online may have accidentally been forced to download by their instructions printed only in Czechoslovakian, GATOR's programs are the most insidious on the web. They call it "spy ware" for a reason - and that is that the software tracks your footprints online and reports back to the GATOR servers, where a profile of your assumed likes and dislikes is formulated and appropriate advertising to your tastes is supposedly generated.
Here's how to keep me loyal to your site. First, have interesting and varied content with a minimum of bullshit bells and whistles. Secondly, don't ever ever engage in the dissemination of spyware. Third, don't get cute with the advertising and the popups.
It's that easy.
Monday, July 14, 2003
Rush Limbaugh joins ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown
This report will probably be moved off Drudge's site soon, so don't be surprised if the link doesn't work. I start off with Conservatives today, and I find myself lamenting the addition of the biggest fathead conservative of them all to the best thing on TV during the NFL season. Shit.
Doonesbury@Slate - Daily Dose
I thought Sunday's Doonesbury was terrific. "Conservatives feel no need whatsoever to consider other views. We know we're right, so why bother?"
Bill Simmons @ ESPN
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