intertribal: (huh?)
Part of the reason I keep a livejournal is so I can remember hilarious things, years later. For instance, while listening to Roland Garros radio eight years ago, I discovered a wonderful tennis commentator by the name of Richard Evans, who was commentating a painful women's match on his own, running out of things to talk about, and wondering when dinner was. Years passed, I discovered Robbie Koenig, and I would have forgotten all about him if not for going back through old entries. Richard Evans, I thought. You cantankerous bastard. Whatever happened to you?

Look who showed up on my Twitter feed just now:
Never change, Richard Evans! (Never change, Roger Federer!)
intertribal: (paint it black)
I discovered "Russian Bar" while watching America's Got Talent. And yes, I know. I watch for the danger tricks/magic tricks, okay?  Basically it's an acrobatic/gymnastic routine with extreme likelihood of death, at least from my vantage point.  Imagine the balance beam routine in gymnastics competitions (and yes, I picked the gymnast that I was "named after").  Keep in mind I already think the balance beam is very scary.  Now imagine the balance beam is made of rubber and bounces you thirty feet into the air.  The group on this season of AGT seem to be a lesser version of the group that performed on season 3 of AGT, the "Russian Bar Trio" from Quebec.  This is them:

Here's a routine done by Chinese gymnasts - look at how high she jumps around the 2:10 mark.  And look at the double-jumper thing at 3:10.  What the fuck, right? 

intertribal: (paint it black)
March 27: Some guy coded Dead Cert Man bets £8,400 (US $13,789) on Kim Clijsters and Novak Djokovic winning their tennis matches at the Sony Ericsson open.  They win.  He wins.  He keeps on winning.  Incidentally, Djokovic also keeps on winning.  He is undefeated so far in 2011, a great accomplishment for the #2 player in the world.  Dead Cert Man always places his bets in the same William Hill shop in London - a representative of William Hill says "This is the most spectacular winning run in recent memory and must constitute a world record.  The longest consecutive winning run of any newspaper horse racing tipster has been 13 winners. Our man is now on 23 - and seems intent on going on and on."  Dead Cert Man only beats "hot" players who are "dead certain" to win.

June 2: Dead Cert Man places £120,000 (US $196,992) on Djokovic to beat #3 Roger Federer in the semifinals of the French Open.  It is Dead Cert Man's biggest wager yet.  Because the odds are so narrow, he'd only pull in £40,000 if he's right, but that would still take his winnings to £227,000 (US $372,643).  Lots of money, right?  And he's drawn out none of it.  He wants to buy a house, you see.  William Hill representative says "I can't recall another tennis bet of this size."  Incidentally, Djokovic's win streak is now at a whopping 43.  His 41-win streak since the beginning of the year is just one short of McEnroe's record for the best start to a tennis player's year, ever.  So Dead Cert Man is on a 26 win run, and Djokovic is on a 43 win run.  Not only that!  But Djokovic would become #1 in the world for the first time if he won!  No one - no one! - expects Djokovic to lose.  Especially not to "No Country For Old Men" Federer.

June 3: Roger Federer says: 

And wins

This match took up my entire "working" afternoon, by the way.  When I was little, and my allegiance was with Andre Agassi, I once drew up a chart that I planned to use to figure out whether Agassi played better in matches when I was watching vs. not watching.  I was going to conduct an experiment wherein I would watch for 5 minutes, not watch for 5 minutes, and see if it made a difference.  Yes, I was insane even as a child.  I didn't actually carry this experiment out, by the way, so we will never know...

I was listening to Radio Roland Garros and aside from their hilarious, mile-a-minute commentary (they basically sound like soccer commentators, which is nuts, especially considering tennis cannot be narrated, especially to people like me who actually have to think about what "crosscourt forehand" means), one of the wonderful things about Radio Roland Garros is when they read emails/Tweets from fans all over the world.  You get to hear about all the North Americans pretending they're on "conference calls" while at work (one lady wrote "I've been on a conference call for 2 weeks straight," the length of the tournament), all the Indian kids pretending they're studying for finals ("but I've got the radio in my room!"), and all the Australians not sleeping.  Today they had emails from some poor kid named Lawrence in either Sydney or Melbourne for whom it was 3:45 in the morning - Lawrence had a track meet at 8:30 a.m. the next day, but he wrote "I can't sleep until Roger wins!"  Dear Lawrence: I hope you woke up for your run.

June 3: [Later] Dead Cert Man loses almost everything.  He ends up with a "consolation prize" of £41,000 (US $67,305). 

Title of the post is from Marilyn Manson's "The Dope Show," which is a classic (?) song about fame and celebrity and therefore applies to athletics and sports coverage: "They love you when you're on all the covers.  When you're not, then they love another."  If you would like to see the video (warning! strange imagery!  but not as bad as an Aphex Twin or Tool video), press play below:

intertribal: (baby got an alibi)
It's budget cutting time at the university, and while majors, faculty positions, staff positions, departments, and structures are being eliminated, the coach of the men's basketball team - which hovers somewhere between "appalling" and "merely embarrassing" in league play - has received a $100,000 raise to a salary of $900,000 each year.  Nebraska actually does a little better than most universities in this regard, because the athletic department supposedly doesn't receive university subsidies and never ends up "in the red," because wealthy Nebraskans have their priorities straight.  But, substitute Nebraska for almost any other NCAA-member school and you've got essentially a money drain that's untouchable

My mother was complaining about this disparity and I said, "Well, you know what the athletic department is, right?  It's the Department of Defense."

The analogies are actually kind of fun.  We've got this department that supposedly generates enough revenue to make up that spending - tickets and merchandise, war - but maybe doesn't, and it's built on the backs of young men (and some young women) and fancy gear and armor, and fuck those young men and women when they leave the department.  If they're not strong enough, then they're on their own.  Oh, and the department's got a lot of cheering, waving fans. 
intertribal: (audrey)
Connie Chung worked for CNN at the time, hosting Connie Chung Tonight.  Martina Navratilova is a former tennis star, current tennis commentator.  Extra note: Navratilova was born a citizen of Czechoslovakia (then a Communist country).  She defected to the U.S. when she was 18, in 1975, seeking political asylum - she had already been told by Czech authorities that she was "becoming too Americanized" - and became a U.S. citizen in 1981.  This interview took place in 2002.  Bold emphasis is mine.

CHUNG: All right. I'm going to read what was said, a quote from that German newspaper. Quote: "The most absurd part of my escape from the unjust system is that I have exchanged one system that suppresses free opinion for another. The Republicans in the U.S. manipulate public opinion and sweep controversial issues under the table. It's depressing. Decisions in America are based solely on the question of how much money will come out of it and not on the questions of how much health, morals or environment suffer as a result."  So, is that accurate?

NAVRATILOVA: Well, that's pretty accurate. I mean, I was talking about the Bush administration making a lot of environmental decisions, again, based on money pandering to the people that perhaps help put Bush in the office. I was talking about a particular amendment that I know about. There was a vote that was about education. It was a good bill. And then they try to sneak in that Alaska Wildlife Refuge drilling. It's like, by the way, we're going to drill but we don't really need to know that we're going to do it.

CHUNG: But what about that one key sentence, I think, "the most absurd part of my escape from the unjust system is that I've changed one system that suppresses free opinion for another?" You're trading one regime for another. I mean, that's I think one of the main quotes that raised so much ire.

NAVRATILOVA: Well, obviously, I'm not saying this is a communist system, but I think we're having -- after 9/11, there's a big centralization of power. President Bush is having more and more power. John Ashcroft is having more and more power. Americans are losing their personal rights left and right. I mean, the ACLU is up in arms about all of the stuff that's going on right now.

CHUNG: So you were or weren't misquoted in that particular -- you know, regarding that particular sentence of trading one regime for another?

NAVRATILOVA: I don't think I said it exactly in that context. I certainly didn't mean that I'm here in a communist country and that I can't be what I want to be. However, when it comes to personal freedom as a lesbian, I am getting more squished here than I would be in Europe or in...

CHUNG: In Czechoslovakia.

NAVRATILOVA: Well, Czechoslovakia, in a communist country, they sent you into the asylum. This is a whole different story.

CHUNG: Can I be honest with you? I can tell you that when I read this, I have to tell you that I thought it was un-American, unpatriotic. I wanted to say, go back to Czechoslovakia. You know, if you don't like it here, this a country that gave you so much, gave you the freedom to do what you want.

NAVRATILOVA: And I'm giving it back. This is why I speak out. When I see something that I don't like, I'm going to speak out because you can do that here. And again, I feel there are too many things happening that are taking our rights away.

CHUNG: But you know what? I think it is, OK, if you believe that, you know, then go ahead and think that at home. But why do you have to spill it out? You know, why do you have to talk about it as a celebrity so that people will write it down and talk about what you said?

NAVRATILOVA: I think athletes have a duty to speak out when there is something that's not right, when they feel that perhaps social issues are not being paid attention to. As a woman, as a lesbian, as a woman athlete, there is a whole bunch of barriers that I've had to jump over, and we shouldn't have to be jumping over them any more.

CHUNG: Got you. But sometimes, when you hear celebrities saying something, do you ever say to yourself, I don't care what so and so thinks, you know. Yes, go ahead and say whatever you want to say. But you're not a politician. You're not in a position of government power or whatever.

NAVRATILOVA: No. And I just might do that. I may run for office one of these days and really do make a difference. But...

CHUNG: Are you kidding me?

NAVRATILOVA: No, I'm not. One of these days, hopefully. But when you say go back to Czech Republic, why are you sending me back there? I live here. I love this country. I've lived here 27 years. I've paid taxes here for 27 years. Do I not have a right to speak out? Why is that unpatriotic?

CHUNG: Well, you know the old line, love it or leave it.

NAVRATILOVA: I love it and I'm here and I'm trying to do my best to make it a better place to live in, not just this country, but the whole world. And, you know, I'm doing my little part. And I'm just a tennis player.
intertribal: (audrey)
Student athletes are either (a) professional athletes in all but name, enrolled in college just to be super-studs on the field in preparation for being super-studs on bigger NFL fields - in the process, they need to navigate a pervasive and corrupt system that is much bigger than themselves, and for the pursuit of their own success, must be allowed to have agents, make pay-for-play deals, accept Cadillacs, cheat on exams, take steroids, and whatever else - in turn, they are expected to play well; or (b) college students not even old enough to vote who are playing very intense extracurriculars, who are out there fighting their hearts out for a pure love of the game, and should be unconditionally supported (not criticized) for their play. 

I don't care which one you (NCAA, ESPN, schools, coaches, fans) choose - well, maybe I do care, seeing as how I prefer college football for a reason - but you gotta choose one.  If they're professional athletes getting paid to play football, then don't get all "I'm A Man I'm 40" when people criticize the player. If they're amateur children doin' everything right, they should not be getting paid.  It's seriously as simple as that.
intertribal: (stu and tatum; scream)
Richard Evans, for those late to the party, is my new favorite tennis commentator.  You can't even vaguely mistake his comments for anyone else's, because they are Richard-Evans-isms.
"That's blood and sweat for the Belgian.  Tears for the Serb." 

[Djokovic v. Rochus, First Round of Wimbledon]
Richard Evans is considerably more animated about well-played men's tennis than painfully-played women's tennis.
intertribal: (stu and tatum; scream)
I don't know who this commentator is (other than the guy that takes over for espn3 in the evening in Paris), but this is what happens when you're commentating on a match you don't care about and you're all alone in the booth.

First we have some off-topic comments in an attempt to keep amused [he also talked about the plight of pigeons wanting to eat on the court and being denied, but I missed that one]:

"... she should go to drama school after she quits tennis.  She's certainly pretty enough.  [Long silence]  Anyway, first game of the third set..."

"And Wozniak can't get her hairdo where she wants it. [...] All her hair's come completely out of her bun now, so she'll have to put up with it flapping around her back. [...] Must be a distraction if you're worried about what to do with your hair, but maybe she can put it out of her mind. [...] Very good service game from Wozniak, whether her hair is doing what she wants or not."

Add some nice dry disdain:

"Well, that was a pretty horrendous backhand."

"Oh, she's gonna try a practice shot.  'Oh, that's how you do it.'  Just a reminder.  She's only hit about 5 million in her life."

And finally we reach straight-up pessimism:

"Poor mum.  Oh dear.  She must have been through this so many times.  Her daughter is 28 years old and has been on the tour forever and played so many matches like this.  It's all too much for the Russian.  I don't know if it's all too much for Mrs. Dementieva in the stands, but her daughter is suffering."

"A sudden rush of double faults in her last service games, but what can she do now."

In the end, disturbing croaking sounds begin:

"Excuse me, my voice is going."

At least he doesn't say "that's a fault" after every serve that doesn't go in, as if we can neither see the match nor hear the linesperson squawk.

ETA: His name's Richard Evans!  And he thinks it's time for a little bit of dinner and a glass of wine, so forgive him if he says goodnight!  Yeah, goodnight, Richard Evans.  You take care.
intertribal: (to be with you in hell)
French Open starts tomorrow!  I'm predicting a lot of rage in terms of the results (can't have 2009 every year, I suppose), but I still love the French Open.  The French Open is like, the soccer tournament of the Grand Slams.  There are few things more amusing than watching the French spectators heckle the American players and the American players scream at the umpire in retaliation. 

Ridiculous things that have happened at the French Open:

Martina Hingis vs. Steffi Graf, French Open Final 1999

I don't have any tennis gifs, so have a figure-skating gif (Yagudin was actually my favorite male figure-skater when I was a kid, so it is posted with affection):
intertribal: (to be with you in hell)
"I'd worry if I were you.  Everything is in red.  Red is either Huskers, or Satan."
intertribal: (your own personal jesus)
My feelings regarding the whole uproar of giving a football player who tested positive for a banned substance a rookie of the year award (twice) can be summed up by this comment:
I don't think what Cushing did was right, but when will everyone learn that we need to stop putting NFL players on a pedestal as our "role-models"? Throwing, running and tackling (even chemically enhanced) does not make you a good person last time I checked
OK, no more football for the next three months.

No doubt there will be plenty of tennis wankery to discuss instead.
intertribal: (i'm a hustler baby)
Warning: This is a football post.  So apparently the Big Ten has invited Nebraska [along with Missouri, Rutgers, and ~Notre Dame~] to their conference.  This would mean leaving the Big 12.  And apparently some Nebraska fans are like this: "We should totally join, because the Big 12 doesn't give Nebraska enough respect!  We're tough enough now that we can take on Iowa and UPenn!  Rarr!  Leave the stinky Big 12 behind!" 

Yeah, I'm gonna disagree on this one. 

1.  There is a huge difference between the Heartland and the Great Lakes regions.  I know coastal people lump 'em all together (or think that everything west of Illinois and east of Oregon is like, a large prehistoric lake where plesiosaurs roam), but they're different.  The Census is right.  HeartlandGreat Lakes.  And for Chrissake, this goes all the way to Rutgers?  May as well rename the conference The No Slavery Conference, because that's all Nebraska has in common with Big Ten states.  Except, oh wait, I guess Missouri would invalidate that.  And yes, geographic proximity/culture does matter.  Would you ask Arizona State to join the SEC? 

2.  Nebraska has been in the Big 12 since its inception in 1996.  That was when the Texas schools joined, by the way.  Before then it was called the Big 8, and Nebraska had been in the Big 8 since its inception in 1964 (or 1958 unofficially).  And before that, it was called the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association, and Nebraska had been there since its inception in 1908.  Nebraska has been playing sports with Kansas, Missouri, Iowa State, Kansas State, and Oklahoma since 1928.  Just putting that out there.

3.  I am instantly suspicious of these "I don't get enough respect 'round here, so I'm just gonna pack up and take my show somewhere else!" arguments.  You know why?  Karma.  These are the same people who "drink the big red kool-aid," and think because we won the Holiday Bowl we're going to win the National Championship this year.  These are probably the same people who thought Callahan was our personal Jesus.  These are also the same people who then leave threatening phone calls and gather at the airport to heckle the coach when things get bad.  Every time they start talking my impulse is just to go, "Shhhhh!  You'll scare away all the sane people!"  And, you know, these braggarts also invite the wrath of The God Of Poetic Justice.  See now, this is what will actually happen: we join the Big Ten and lose to everyone there.  Texas [and possibly Oklahoma] T.P.'s the entire state of Nebraska.  Massive amounts of actual poisoned big red kool-aid are consumed.  We do not want this, people! 

4.  Oh yeah, and the whole "if Texas wants to dominate OUR conference, then we'll just LEAVE" comment is just ultimate weaksauce.  I hate Texas too, but I want to beat up on them, people.  I don't want to flounce.  Christ. 

5.  A better idea is to realign the Big 12 like such: add Oklahoma and Okie St. to the Big 12 North, add TCU to the Big 12 South, make Colorado join the Mountain West Conference, make Iowa State and Kansas State join... something else, and then have just have The Northern Great Plains versus the State of Texas.  Now that's hot. 
intertribal: (strum strum)
I hate media coverage of the Olympics, and I actually have a lot of problems with the Olympics in general (chiefly, I think that the whole "bringing the nations together" thing is a bunch of tripe), but tonight I think I actually found an instance of the sort of thing I loathe and explain it, instead of resorting to frothy accusations of jingoism.  

It's the women's figure skating long program/freeskate - that is, the big decisive part of the skating competition.  The short program has already concluded several days earlier.  This is for the podium.  The big sob story of the competition is, admittedly, a mega calamity for the skater and her family - Joannie Rochette's mother died two days before the short program of a sudden heart attack.  Rochette is 5th in the world, and Canadian to boot, so she becomes an automatic media hotspot, especially after she cries after her short program.  This continues into the freeskate.  Big close-up shots of Joannie's face, looking heavenward; long shots of her father clapping in the stands.  Before, during, and after her skate the commentators cannot stop mentioning how "courageous" her performance is, what a true "Olympian" she is - it is, by the end, a feat of "superhuman courage."  On the New York Times blog, Todd Eldredge describes the experience thusly: "She had that Olympic experience of winning a medal but she also lived out her personal life, the death of her mother, in front of everyone and with everyone. That’s just really cool for her."  

Actually, Todd Eldredge, living out the experience of her mother dying - in front of everyone or not - was probably not really cool for her.  Maybe what you mean to say is: That's just really cool for me to watch.  And while I can't control the outpouring of rubbernecky-stranger-pathos toward Rochette - although I will say it creeps me out - I do object to the value judgment placed on the way she deals with grief.  Everyone deals with grief differently, and anyone who loses someone close - but especially kids who lose parents - need to be reminded of this all the fucking time.  There's incredible pressure placed on mourners to behave in a "certain" way that is deemed proper to society.  This we know from The Stranger and from Lindy Chamberlain's trial.  When you're told, "oh, you're doing so good," or "you're staying so strong," or the worst of all, "you're being so brave," all you hear is: fuck.  gotta keep this up, whatever I'm doing.  I don't want to disappoint.  I don't want to be bad, or weak, or cowardly.  They're gonna mess me up and steal all my children if I don't pay the ransom.  People get breakdowns because they stop being able to live in this facade.  My grief counselor would say that people would always ask her, "is this normal?" and she would say, "normal is whatever you are."  If Joannie Rochette decided she had to drop out of the Olympics, would that make her a coward?  Of course NBC wouldn't say so, but that is what they're implying.  There needs to be a lot less judgment of other people's grief processes, is what I'm trying to say. 

So I say, leave her alone.  Note the untimely death, send your thoughts psychically to her family if you must, but lay off the drip.  It's psychological mindwarp, it's insincere, and it's false.  There is no way to deal with the shock of death that is fucking courageous.  There is ketabahan, as my mother would say, which basically translates to endurance/the will to live.  See Juliane Köpcke.  That's not this strange thing, "courage," though - it's just the absolute refusal to die.  And you do that however way you have to.  There is no wrong way to endure, because all it means is the heart keeps beating.  You might radio for help or drink your own urine or chop off your own leg.  And guess what - if you can't endure, you can't endure, and I won't judge you for that either.

I didn't root for Joannie Rochette, by the way.  She's not my favorite skater.  I'm sympathetic to her loss, and I hope that she's dealt with it in the way she wants and needs (instead of acting under pressure).  I rooted for Kim Yu-na, who is so brilliant and beautiful to watch that she makes you want to move when she pulls her chin along the line of her arms.  She's like the Roger Federer of women's skating - she's pure fluidity.  The figure skater's figure skater.  When I watch her, my heart aches, and God knows I don't know shit about her personal life.  That's what makes her such an impressive athlete and artist.  She broke her own world record of 210 total points and got 228 total points, including 150 - another world record - for her freeskate.  She won the gold medal by a huge distance, and totally deserved it too. 

Her freeskate isn't up yet on YouTube, obviously, so I present her 2009 World Championship-winning freeskate to Scheherazade. 
intertribal: (strum strum)
As Grand Slams go, the Australian Open was pretty typical, though it had choice moments of amusement.  I'm not going to say it was some kind of great emotional rollercoaster either.  Hell, even Federer didn't cry.  Serena certainly didn't, and Henin seemed almost happy-to-be-there.  Okay, Murray was kind of sad, but he'll get over it.  The theme song for this tournament should have been "Down Under" by Men At Work, not the melodramatic "All The Right Moves" by One Republic.

Fucking stayed up until 6 A.M. this morning to finish watching the men's final though.  I took a power nap between 11 p.m. and 2:30 a.m., and at first I was like soooo asleep, but pretty soon I was having tension-ulcers and had to switch between the final and two really wretched horror movies, The Haunting and 5ive Girls.  Please do not watch either; watch tennis instead. 

I said, do you speak-a my language? He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich. )
intertribal: (all you bitches by your christian names)
Tennis is my new DBZ-substitute.  And oh, when it works, it's better than NCAA football could ever be (I know football has physical contact on its side - it's also a team sport, and in tennis, injury is a guaranteed loss unless you're Michael Chang).  I should point out that a lot of times, it doesn't work.  A lot of matches are ho-hum, clinical, predictable.  If you win the first set 6-2, you're not usually going to lose the second 6-3, and you pretty much never lose the third set 6-0. 

I realized this when I realized I was watching the Federer-Davydenko quarterfinal for like the fourth time on ESPN 360 (Hulu for sports psychos!).  And not just the exciting finish or the comfortable middle sets either.  The whole damn thing, horrifically bad beginning and all.  I actually watched it live too - starting at MIDNIGHT, thank you Williams sisters - but I had to keep switching to the X-Files (which had a creepy evil doll premise but rather disappointing execution - the fact that it was co-written by Stephen King is making me seriously doubt all that I thought was right).  Watching this match was like watching a DBZ episode.  Minus the blood and explosions.  The commentators called it "the weirdest match they'd ever seen," and if by weird they mean roller-coaster-awesome, then yes, I agree. 

On a tangentially related note, I watched Shaft (2000) tonight.  I was a little doubtful at first, but then I saw Christian Bale's name in the opening credits and Christina said he played the bad guy and I was like, WHERE DO I SIGN UP.  And it was actually a pretty awesome movie, so good job, Shaft.  Keep in mind I think Running Scared is one of the most underrated action movies out there and I kept seeing actors I LOVE in it (me: "Look, it's Mekhi Phifer!"  "Look, it's Beecher!"), so I was pretty easily convinced.  Vanessa Williams was useless (not an actress...), but Toni Collette was awesomely realistic.
intertribal: (Default)

I hope to have an actual post sometime, but for now, I had to share this.  The Tree is actually pretty douchey, but this, I think, is a lovely picture.  Found via one of those weird mascot lists.  I don't see why they put Li'l Red on there though.  I mean, The Tree is clearly way weirder.
intertribal: (all you bitches by your christian names)
Welp, college football season's over (is it fall yet?)  - and because I'm a Philadelphia Eagles fan (no need to remind me), pro football season is also over. 

Just in time, figure skating and tennis have both made dramatic reappearances on television.  Which means I can go back to cheering wildly for Roger Federer and jeering all the Americans in both sports (Michelle Kwan and Andre Agassi have retired, so I'm off the paddy wagon). 

My prognosis so far: the U.S. figure skating team may actually NOT suck this year.  The pair that won the U.S. nationals this weekend were actually presentable, mostly because they skated like Russians and didn't go all Dainty Flower Dance.  And apparently the guy that won the U.S. nationals wasn't bad either.  Kind of sad that Johnny Weir landed at 3rd though, because he's about entertaining enough that he should got automatic entry, just like Jelena Dokic gets automatic entry at tennis Grand Slams because everyone loves to watch her have psychotic breaks.  My mother thinks that Evan Lysacek, whom she now calls "the fascist" (because he dresses in crisp all black and slicks back his hair?!), was put in 2nd place despite falling and being bad because the U.S. Olympic committee didn't want to send Johnny Weir to Toronto.  On the women's side, Sasha "Trainwreck" Cohen is apparently trying to compete again, but somebody from China, Japan, or South Korea will win it all.  My early bet is Kim Yu-Na, she's gold-medal-worthy.  It's possible I'll be totally surprised and have somebody like Carolina "So Boring Can't Remember Anything About Her" Kostner win - after all Sarah "Mediocre" Hughes did win the Olympics when all the other skaters fell down - but I predict the Asians will clean up most of the medals in most of the categories.  I hope we've finally gotten to the point where the snooty American commentators can stop saying that they don't skate with enough "expression." 

Compared to American tennis commentators, though, figure skating commentators are enlightened.  Last year's U.S. Open was the lowest the pathetic ESPN crew has ever dipped - there was manic hysteria over Melanie "Great White Hope" Oudin, culminating in the worst excuse for a post-match interview that I have ever seen - but I see that Pam Shriver has not been put out to pasture, so I can only expect more psycho-patriotic bullshit in the Australian Open.  Tonight they cut away from a tense Federer match - you know, the world number 1? - in order to have a nice long interview with John "Hurr Hurr I'm a Georgia Bulldog" Isner, whose only accomplishment to date has been beating that other American, Andy Roddick.  The commentators have taken to ignoring the real American powerhouses - Roddick and the Williams sisters.  Granted, Roddick will never win another Grand Slam, and Serena is the definition of a Mean Girl, but he's a witty interview and she's almost untouchable (bad news bears for her is that Kim "I'm A Mommy!" Clijsters and Justine "I'm The Original Mean Girl" Henin are back).  Good to see Roddick has ditched his awful plaid shirt.  Not so good to see all the players wearing neon-yellow or sunburn-orange (only Federer is wearing a refreshing aqua-blue).  Terrell Owens is in Melbourne claiming to be Andy Roddick's friend.  Nadal is looking healthier, but he remains a we-shall-see.  Juan Martin Del Potro is the sexy pick - he won the U.S. Open last year and was almost forbidden from saying his acceptance speech in Spanish because they were "out of time."  I suppose I should mention Lleyton Hewitt because he's the token Australian, but lord, winning matches for that man is like pulling teeth.  The Wildcard/TrainWreck is going to be Nikolay Davydenko, who's recovered from his match-fixing scandals to say that "everyone in the draw is afraid of him."  Start the popcorn. 
intertribal: (yes and)
I feel like I've been away from LJ for longer than usual.  For no reason really.  I've been working on a story that I thought died an uneventful death many months ago - makes me realize how much I've grown as a writer, to tell the truth.  I've also been working on a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle featuring a Germanic castle of some sort and it made me realize that I write stories like puzzles - I write things down as they come, and it becomes a matter of stitching the parts together, waiting for the right combination of sentences to come.  This is probably totally obvious and asinine, but keep in mind I actually know very little about the mechanics of writing. 

This is the most important thing I discovered during my leave of absence:

I wasn't paying much attention to college football when this happened (in 2007).  But I've been saying "I'm a man!  I'm 40!" for the past few days at random intervals.  The tentative clapping at the end is the best part.

I spent New Year's Eve with essentially the entire Greek population of Lincoln, Nebraska.  Had ouzo for the first time.  I'm not a big fan of licorice, so I'm not a big fan of ouzo, but it's all right.  There was much breaking of plates.  Then we left and went to O Street and O Street was lame, as usual.  I almost died doing the human shuffle on the dance floor because the dance floor was covered in alcohol and my boots had no traction, but Christina caught me, so I survived.  Then Christina almost died walking back to the car (winter is not a wonderland in heels, apparently) , but I caught her, so she survived.  Oh, and I got $1 from a balloon.  The end. 

Oh yeah, and I discovered the new One Republic song, "All The Right Moves."  I like it.  Reminds me of all the 5-star recruits that have fizzled out at Nebraska, because we are apparently destroyer of impressive high school players.  What can I say.  Our defensive MVP at the Holiday Bowl, Matt O'Hanlon, was a walk-on, no lie.  That means he happened to be at UNL and decided to try out for the team, and repeatedly cut it during try-outs.  "The epitome of what Nebraska football's all about," he is. 
intertribal: (the light and the dark)
A.  Nebraska's happenin'.

Tim Griffin, ESPN*: Nebraska's 33-0 victory over Arizona in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl was much easier than anyone would have ever expected. It pushed the Cornhuskers to their 10th victory in a season for the first time since 2003.

Ted Miller, ESPN*: Wow. That was a complete butt-kicking... Nebraska showed up and punched Arizona in the mouth on both sides of the ball. Over and over and over and over. And over again. It's not an exaggeration to say that Arizona didn't have a single positive moment in the entire football game.

LA Times: The Holiday Bowl is... supposed to be about entertaining games with gobs of points by both teams.
Nebraska, ranked 20th, ruined that tradition, dominating No. 22 Arizona, 33-0, in front of 64,607.

APA 33-0 Holiday Bowl rout of Arizona is providing further evidence that the Cornhuskers are on the verge of becoming major players on the national scene again.

Big 12 Conference: First shutout in Nebraska's 46 bowl appearances, first shutout in Holiday Bowl history, first shutout by a Big 12 team in a bowl game.
*: With this performance, Nebraska has elevated themselves beyond a “sexy pick” for next season... Still, the Wildcats’ effort should be praised in one regard: It is quite an arduous task to make the Holiday Bowl boring.

Dr. Saturday:
Nebraska strung up Arizona's offense in the first quarter and spent the next three beating on it with a stick, until 'Zona quarterback Nick Foles fell out in the fetal position... The garbage-time chatter in the ESPN booth about top-10 preseason rankings was like the planning session to launch the campaign for 2010: The Year Nebraska Is Back.

Every Day Should Be Saturday
If we’d made the Holiday Bowl drinking game dependent on Wildcat points, we wouldn’t have this rusty barbed wire halo of a headache today.

The Scores Report
Stop doesn’t even begin to describe what the Cornhuskers did to the Wildcats on Wednesday night. Stop is something you do when you’ve had too much to eat. Completely shutting someone down to the point of feeling sorry for them is what Nebraska accomplished.

San Diego News Network [the funniest live game updates out there, from an uninvested San Diegan]:
There’s 6:50 left on the clock and Nebraska has a 33-point lead.  I don’t think I’ll miss anything of significance... It’s hard to find a weakness in Nebraska. Judging from this performance and their near-win against Texas, the Huskers are closing the season considerably better than their No. 22 ranking suggests. This team belongs in a BCS bowl.

Sports Shakes (California-based): That wasn't the Holiday Bowl.  That was a smackdown... It was as if the rain and fury cleansed the program of the Callahan era. Gone are the embarrassing losses, the hideous score lines, and the disgruntled fan base, at least for now. Bo Pelini has this program on the right track, and if tonight was any indication, the Big XII may have to brace for another wave of dominance on the plains.

Inside The Shoe (Ohio State): 
The statistics are grim so I will not delve into them. Suffice it to say that they [Arizona] mustered 109 total yards in 51 plays. So Suh moves on and the remainder of the teams in CFB especially the Big 12 heave a sigh of relief.

Shakin the Southland (Clemson, a Nebraska-compatriot team): 
Nebraska is almost Bammer-like genius in its coaching hire:  Bo Pelini.  These guys are doing a number on Stoops and Arizona this evening, and look to be the class of the Big 12 North for the near future.

NewsOK (Oklahoma):
Then Nebraska ran all over Arizona.

SB Nation:
Nebraska absolutely dominated Arizona in Wednesday night's Holiday Bowl. The Huskers outscored the Wildcats, 33-0, but it gets worse. Nebraska had 21 first downs, compared to Arizona's five; 399 total yards to 108 (most of which were gained in garbage time with the game already out of hand); 226 yards rushing to just 62. It was an absolute destruction by the Bo Pelini led defense.

Green Valley News & Sun [also very funny Lovecraftian live game updates, from an Arizona fan]: 
Nebraska's front four (including you-know-who) has swallowed everything... A nightmare... That about does it. Zac Lee hits a wide-open Niles Paul for a 74-yard touchdown to put Nebraska ahead 33-0. With the way Arizona is playing offensively, it might as well be 400-0.

Arizona Desert Swarm:
Terrible. Period.

Mike Stoops, Arizona head coach, graduate of Cardinal Mooney high school: "When you think you have arrived, that’s when you are going to get whacked. And we certainly got whacked by a much better team."

Bo Pelini, Nebraska head coach, graduate of Cardinal Mooney high school: "Nebraska is back and we’re here to stay."

So long, Suh!

*: Picked Arizona to win the game.  Those are just the ones I know of. 
intertribal: (Default)
Strange things are afoot in Big 12 football.  At the end of the season, Kansas coach Mark Mangino was fired for abusing his players (one was made to do a bear-crawl until his hands bled, then a bunch of other (black) players said they'd been threatened with being sent home to get shot with their "homies").  Now, Texas Tech coach Mike Leach has been suspended from coaching Tech in the Alamo Bowl for putting a player who said he had a concussion in a closet as punishment for "faking" the concussion.  It is craziness.  It's also worth noting that Leach had been one of Mangino's big defenders: "The mean man told some player something he didn’t want to hear... Well, there’s a mean man in Lubbock that tells people stuff they don’t want to hear, too, and that’s just part of it.”

And it gets weirder.  The player who made the accusation, Adam James, is the son of ESPN announcer Craig James - who had been scheduled to call the Alamo Bowl.  He has been removed from that post, but Craig James has been calling Texas Tech games all year.  Said a user on Life In The Red: "his broadcast of the Tech-NU game was not close to being balanced. He made it sound like the NU D gave up 60 to tech, when in fact it was the least yards a Leach team had ever gained, and one TD was scored by the Tech D!" 

Yeah, see, this is why I'm glad I discovered sports blogs.  Not only have I discovered that I am not crazy to hate Brett Favre and Tim Tebow - and, Christ, that many other people, even Americans, hated the ridiculously bombastic coverage of the 2009 US Open - but they give me an alternative to the corrupt machine that is ESPN and its cohorts.  Because seriously, FUCK that shit.  This is why I watch Awful Announcing.

As a side note, I actually like Texas Tech (more than the other three Texas teams in the Big 12, anyway) - I like how Mike Leach is all "arrr I'm a pirate" and the team runs into the stadium in Lubbock led by this chick in a Zorro costume, I mean, it's awesome, you know.  Mike Leach clearly talks too much and has a really short fuse when it comes to his players (he's said that his players were wrong to listen to their "fat little girlfriends", he banned the players from having Twitter pages when one player tweeted that Leach was late to a team meeting because Twitter is just for "narcissists" anyway) - times like that that I'm happy our coach does not talk to the media at all, and mostly just goes batshit psycho on referees.  Still, I have always preferred blunt coaches to smarmy ones.  And God knows what all is going on in this story, but the whole Craig James angle makes it less straightforward.

But: I'm not one of those people who thinks that college football coaches should be able to do whatever they want to their players (if certain NFL coaches would grow a bit more of a spine, however, I would not object).  I'm never going to be all, oh those boys just need to toughen up, society's gotten too soft.  Because that just creeps me out, to be frank.  It's one thing to be blunt.  But if being blunt means you make it obvious that you're a sadist, you still suck. 
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