Thursday, August 21, 2008


I said in my last post that this season has failed written all over it. But now I've seen the light. I believe in the Mavs. Now they have what it takes to go all the way. Finally, the free agent signing that's going to put us over the top! The too-awesome-for-words Deavan George!! We bow down Mark Cuban, Donnie Nelson, and Rick Carlisle. They are surely leading us to the promised land!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sleight of hand

There's a lot of complaining going on about the Beijing Olympics. Since the Opening Ceremony, many have been outraged to learn that some of the fireworks in the television presentation were computer generated. Even more are up in arms over a nine-year-old lip-syncing to the voice of a seven-year-old.

A question for those who are angered by these events: Exactly how big is that rock that you've been under the last twenty years?

Computer generated images and lip-syncing have become staples of big-stage presentations. In the internet age where everyone is a critic, event organizers can't take chances on firework duds or child performers. Instead, they have to play it safe with computers and pre-recorded soundtracks, the smoke and mirrors of our modern world. Any talk of the "fake" Opening Ceremony being non-compliant with the Olympic Spirit is nonsense. The only mistake the Chinese officials made here was admitting that the real singer was replaced because she wasn't cute enough. (Who is their PR man, anyway? Why didn't they just say she was shy about performing in front of such a large audience?)

While most of the world is upset about the treatment of a future hopeful for Chinese Idol, we are missing the real issues at the Beijing Games:

  • Hundreds of thousands of Beijing residents have lost their homes over the past five years to make room for Olympic venues. (The Guardian, New York Times)

  • Peaceful protests have been suppressed. Three protest zones were set up by the government, but no one has actually been allowed to make use of them. Questions regarding this situation by foreign reporters have been ignored. (The Guardian)

  • Despite assurances of media freedom, foreign journalists have been harassed by the police. At least one was arrested while attempting to cover a Free Tibet protest. (The Guardian) When questioned on these tactics, Chinese and IOC officials avoided giving a straight answer, later canceling daily press conferences to avoid the questions altogether. (Sydney Morning Herald) All media personnel were also inexplicably photographed by the Chinese officials after the press conference confrontation.

Thus far, these serious concerns are getting very little attention from Olympic viewers around the world. I'm not opposed to China hosting the Olympics, but I am opposed to human rights violations and government disinformation. I enjoyed the Opening Ceremony, with its portrayal of Chinese history and culture. I enjoyed seeing athletes from around the world enter the stadium, walking proud and tall. But the greater issues over the past few days have taken the thrill out of these Games for me, and I find it even more disturbing that it appears most people aren't even paying attention to it. As with any good movie, the majority of the general public is more concerned with the special effects in Beijing than looking for what is real.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Scattershooting Opinions

I haven't written in a while (but neither has anyone else, so I don't feel bad), mainly because I haven't had a whole lot to say. It seems a waste of time to post a couple of sentences and be done with it, but if you put them all together you can become Blackie Sharrod or some other guy with opinions.

1. So the last four games have put a damper on the Rangers and they have continued to fall out of playoff contention. As I write this, they are winning the last game in the series against the Orioles, but are 7.5 games out of the wild card and fourth behind the Red Sox, White Sox, and Yankees. They were never really serious playoff threats, but those first two games against the Yankees were fun. The problem with the Rangers is, stop me if you heard this before, pitching. Their team ERA is 5.31, a full run more than next closest team. Because of injuries and ineffectiveness, they've ran a bunch of rookies and young guys (Hurley, Harrison, Hunter, Mathis, Madrigal, Mendoza, Feldman, etc). Theoretically, they are going to get better, but raise your hand if you're confident in that. I have hope, but a wise man once said hope is not a strategy.

2. About the Cowboys preseason gamethe Chargers scrubs beat the Cowboys scrubs. Big deal. My only concern is this: the Cowboys played undisciplined: lots of penalties and lots of bad special teams play. Maybe it was just the spares, but still, Wade Phillips is not running a tight camp. There's no denying that the Cowboys have awesome talent, maybe the most in the league, but if they lead the league in sloppy play (penalties, special team problems, turnovers, etc.), they'll win a bunch of games, but start to lose them down the stretch when the games get tight. Sound familiar?
a. I know Hard Knocks is just a show and they can show whatever they want, but Wade Phillips sounds like he's just glad to be there. He doesn't inspire much confidence.
b. I'm not real worried about the cornerback formerly known as Pacman. It's been a year since he played, of course he's gonna be rusty.
c. The Cowboys need a real live backup QB. I have a stronger arm than Brad Johnson. I heard Moose Johnston say on the broadcast that he was comfortable with Johnson as the back up. Maybe Brad Johnson, circa 2000, but this is 2008. He can't be counted on to play meaningful time. As a Texas, I hesitate to long for Chris Simms, but the Cowboys desperately someone they can rely on behind Romo.
d. Felix Jones looked really good. Again, mostly against scrubs, but he looked really good. Their 2nd rd draft choice, not so much. But you can tell from Hard Knocks that they love Martellus Bennett, because the TE coach was on his butt the whole time.

3. The Mavericks summer just keeps getting worse and worse. Josh Howard continues to go off the deep end. I mean, granted, if they traded him now they'd be selling low, but at least they'd trade him before he got suspended or killed for drag racing. Then they get nothing.
a. I was skeptical of getting Ron Artest, until he went to Houston. The Mavs just keep falling further and further from their Western Conference rivals.
b. Jason Kidd is in the olympics, playing behind Chris Paul and Deron Williams. Oh, Kidd starts, but played fewer minutes than the other two. In the first game, in 13 minutes this Kidd's line: 0 Points, 0 Assists, 3 Turnovers, 2 Rebounds. Makes you proud to be an Ameican!
c. Then, their only draft choice, Shan Foster, is going overseas. Another in a long line of the Mavs "draft and stash" strategy that has worked so well over the last several years.
This season has FAILED written all over it. Anyone get the feeling that Mark Cuban is interested in buying the Cubs, because he sees the writing on the wall about the inevitable decline of the Mavs?

4. Every couple of years, the Olympics roll around and I think that this year, I'm not going to care. Then I get sucked into it and watch as much as I can. The 4x100 relay last night was awesome! I hate the human interest stories and I can't hardly watch gymnastics, but everything else is great.

Finally, I don't want to turn this into a political post, but is anyone else wondering why George Bush just seems to be hanging out at the Olympics when stuff is going on all over the world. I know in these days of instant access and internet and global cell phones, but it's just a little disconcerting to hear about the Georgia/ Russia crisis, which I think will probably end up being more important in the global situation than the war in Iraq, and he's playing grab ass with the beach volleyball players, waving a flag at Michael Phelps, and leading the basketball team in a "1-2-3 hustle" chant? Is he just mailing it in?