Tuesday, April 2, 2013

the great blackie sherrod voice: scattershooting while ...

"I took my love, and I took it down.
I climbed the mountain, and I turned around.
And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills,
'Til the landslide brought me down.

Oh mirror in the sky?  What is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

Hmm hmm, I don't know.
Hmm hmm.  Hmm hmm ...

Well I've been afraid of changing,
'Cause I built my life around you.
But times makes you bolder --
Children get older,
And I'm getting older too ..."

"Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac.


To think that Stevie Nicks wrote that when she was 22 years old.  I'm 36, have been writing on this site for 5 1/2 years now, have been writing in general for pushing 20 years (hell yes, I was the editor of my high school's yearbook (gulp) 19 years ago).

And what never fails to amaze me, is the difference ... between the original in 1975, and the version off "The Dance" reunion concert in 1997.  Seriously, listen to both versions.  Not a single word changes, save for three words that get inserted into the 1997 version.  And yet, they couldn't be more different.

1975's version is upbeat, optimistic -- it's hopeful.  It's a girl looking out at all that life has to offer, and looking forward to enjoying it, to embracing it, to making it.

1997's version is slower, depressing -- it's realistic.  It's a girl looking back at her life, assessing the mistakes she's made ... and being grateful for having pulled through.

At least that's how I've always interpreted the two versions.

Anyways, since I haven't posted in a week, and don't really have any one subject matter driving my train of thought, in honor of the great Dallas Morning News SportsDay columnist Blackie Sherrod, I'll be "scattershooting while" ...

* wondering how in the hell Rutgers coach Mike Rice has a job.

Let me get this straight: the dude "is seen hurling basketballs from close range at his players' heads, legs, and feet; shoving and grabbing his players; feigning punching them; kicking them; and screaming obsenities and homophobic slurs".

Lovely!  And what, pray tell, were those "obsenities and homophobic slurs", you ask?  Well I'm glad you did!

"Mother f*ckers".  "P*ssies".  "Sissy b*tches".  "C*nts".  "Amongst other things".

So basically, your random Tuesday night conversation at a Lil' Wayne concert (rimshot!).

Seriously, how in the name of God is this man employed at an academic institution?  And how in the hell is Rutgers AD -- who only suspended Mr. Rice three games for this ridiculous behavior -- still drawing a state salary?

I mean, I read on Twitter today, and I think it was Clay Travis from his great OutKickTheCoverage site that posted it: Rice got three games for all that.  Bruce Pearl got a three year show-cause for merely hosting a barbeque for his players.

Which reminds me ...

* we're getting closer to the most important lawsuit to come down the pike, since the two heard by the Supreme Court last week: Ed O'Bannon and Sam Keller's suit against the NCAA, to require them to compensate players, for using their likeness, selling their jerseys -- basically profiteering from slave labor.

The NCAA has done the impossible in my eyes -- they've become even more corrupt than the United Way. This organization cannot be killed off soon enough.  I have said this before, and I will say it again -- it is outrageous, and beyond wrong, that the Chris Webber Michigan jersey that hangs in my closet, Mr. Webber will never see $0.01 of profit from.  The Tommie Frazier Nebraska jersey that hangs in my closet, Mr. Frazier will never see $0.01 of profit from.  The John Wallace Syracuse jersey that I know is somewhere,  Mr. Wallace will never see $0.01 of profit from.  The Lawrence Phillips Orange Bowl jersey that hangs in my closet, Mr. Phillips will never see $0.01 of ... well, that's probably a good thing, actually.

But still.  The NCAA is the single biggest profiteer of slave labor that has been in existence in this country, since General Sheridan (finally) broke General Lee's lines at Petersburg at Five Forks, and forced the evacuation of Petersburg and the destruction of Richmond.  John C. Calhoun is rolling over in his grave of embarrassment, at the pure plantation owner mentality the NCAA exhibits.

They cannot be "marched to the sea" soon enough.  Speaking of "cannot get out of my life soon enough" ...

* it's fitting karma and justice, that KU lost Friday night, because Elijah Johnson (a) bricked a free throw that would have clinched it, (b) failed to adequately defend Michigan guard Trey Burke when every damned person in Jerry World knew he was shooting it for the tie, and (c) took the chicken sh*t coward's way out with the game, and the season, on the line in overtime, by passing up an open drive at the basket.

And yes, Elijah Johnson is a chicken sh*t coward.  Hell, he's worse -- he punched a dude in the balls for God's sake.  Not "accidentally hit" -- punched.  He clinched that fist and let 'er rip.

On behalf of this KU fan, Mr. Johnson -- goodbye, good riddance, and please, let the door hit you repeatedly in the balls on your way out, so you can know what a true sucker punch feels like.

Speaking of a sucker punch ...

* no, Mr. Mellinger, no.  Please -- just ... no.

The Star's Sam Mellinger, in his weekly "Twitter Tuesday" column today, took at stab at the ten most heartbreaking defeats KU has suffered in the tourney over the last twenty five years.  (In the interest of full disclosure ... KU is the ONLY team to qualify for the tournament every year they were eligible to do so, over the last 25 years.  We're 24 for 24 baybee!  Suck it Mizzou!  Farm it KSU!  Take a shower with it Duke!)

You can read his ten, by clicking on the link.  My top 10, in reverse order (unlike Sam's), and here's a hint -- my number one, did not appear on Sammy's list:

10. vs Maryland, 2002 Final Four.  Roy's first trip back in 10 years to the "promised land", and it was the de facto National Title Game (Maryland rolled Indiana in the actual title game).  KU was never a factor -- fell behind early, mounted a late rally, but came up short.  Just like number three on this list.

9. vs Bucknell, 2005 first round.  KU has won 22 of its last 24 first round games.  This was the start, of two straight defeats.  And the culmination of a beyond painful 90 minutes to end St. Patrick's Day 2005 for this hot as hell 36 year old ... as Syracuse lost in overtime to (josh lyman voice) Vermont?!?!?! as well that evening.

8. vs Syracuse, 2003 National Championship Game.  Would sting more, if I didn't also root for the other team involved.  When 1B beats 1A, you can't get that upset.  Even if Hakim Warrick would have been arrested for raping Mikey Lee on that final shot in any state but Louisiana or New York.

7. vs Arizona, 1997 Sweet Sixteen.  At the time, and really for a few years afterwards, I thought nothing would hurt worse.  KU's only defeat that season was a double OT defeat at Mizzou.  In hindsight, I agree with Sam -- Arizona was so damned talented, it stings less than ...

6. vs Rhode Island, 1998 second round.  Your 1998 Final Four, by the way?  Kentucky (who won it), Utah (Keith Van Horn led team, runner up), Stanford (won KU's regional), and North Carolina (how the hell did Bill Guthridge make two Final Fours in his three years as coach?)  I think a team anchored by Raef LaFrentz, Paul Pierce, and Jacque Vaughn, could have at least matched Utah's run to the title game, against that motley crew.

5. vs UTEP, 1992 second round**.  Let's just be real folks -- yeah, losing as a 1 seed before the Sweet Sixteen sucks ... but be honest -- was KU beating the Fab Five in the Elite 8?  (Nope).  And quite frankly, I have my doubts they'd have gotten by Jim Jackson's Ohio State team in the Sweet Sixteen.

(**: added after posting -- this was the Tim Hardaway led UTEP team.  No shame at all, in losing here.)

4. vs Kentucky, 2012 National Championship Game.  A totally expected loss ... but when you're that close ... kind of like ...

3. vs Duke, 1991 National Championship Game.  I still have nightmares about Grant Hill's tomahawk dunk, to put Duke ahead for good with about five minutes to play.  Jesus freaking Christ.  Arguably my second "holy crap!" reaction to a dunk, in a good way, of all time ... behind only John Starks stuffing it over MJ, Pippen, and Grant in Game Two of the 1993 Eastern Finals.

Plus -- consider what that game offered.  If Roy wins it all that soon?  That was year three, for crying out loud -- year one was probation, year two was a second round loss to UCLA (no shame in that), and now year three is the National Title game, with a win over North Carolina in the Final Four to boot!

Plus, the other side of the bracket, is what everyone remembers, and for good measure -- it's not just one of the greatest games ever played, it's not just one of the biggest upsets in the sport's history ... it's THE greatest coaching performance I've ever watched.  Coach K absolutely de-pants Coach Tark, absolutely humiliated him on the national stage.  What Duke did that night -- and look it, Duke had talent -- Laettner, Hurley, the Hill (not) brothers -- they beat a team that hadn't lost in literally 22 months, that had FIVE FIRST ROUND PICKS IN THAT YEAR'S DRAFT STARTING FOR THEM!  Are you sh*tting me?  And again -- Duke had just lost in this exact spot, 51 weeks earlier ... by THIRTY FREAKING POINTS, and neither team had changed at all!  Again -- are you sh*tting me?

Let's just say, there's a reason I don't hate Duke.  You HAVE to respect that night***.

(And yes, the fact that the Rat Bastard coaches the heels of tar, has something to do with that embrace of the Devils.  (Pause).  Ok, ok, fine -- it has EVERYTHING to do, with my embrace of the Devils.  But that Saturday night to open April of 1991, didn't hurt.)

(***: any Duke fans who read this, I ask this with all seriousness -- what win meant more: UNLV in the Final Four in 1991 ... or Kentucky in the Elite Eight, the single, (allard baird voice) without question!, greatest college basketball game ever played, the Laettner buzzer beater over Kentucky in overtime, to take the 1992 East Regional?  I won't lie -- if I was a huge Duke fan ... I don't think I could pick.  I guess this is how parents of multiple kids feel?

I hate to go off on a Duke rant here, but consider what Coach K did in a seven year run here -- Final Four in 1988 (losing to KU in Kansas City, no shame in that).  Final Four in 1989 (losing to Seton Hall, who lost the title game in overtime, no shame in that).  National Title Game in 1990 (losing to UNLV ... no shame in that).  National Title in 1991.  National Title in 1992.  A stunning second round loss ... to Jason Kidd and Cal, in 1993 (no shame in that).  And National Title Game in 1994 (losing to a loaded Arkansas team with President Clinton in attendance).  Are you (blanking) kidding me!  SIX Final Fours in seven years!  Un (blanking) believable!)

2. vs Syracuse, 1996 Elite Eight.  Oh hoh!  Forgot about this doozie, didn't ya?  KU blew a lead late, let Syracuse escape.  The winner of this one had a cakewalk to the national title game (fifth seeded Mississippi State somehow won the South Regional), and the "de facto national title game" was the other side of the bracket: Marcus Camby and John Calipari's UMass squad ... against Antoine Walker and Rick Pitino's Kentucky squad.  What could have been.

But my unquestioned numero uno ...

1. vs Georgia Tech, 2004 Elite Eight.  There are not words to describe, how badly this one hurt.  KU never led for a second of this game in regulation.  No, really -- not one damned second.  They trailed by 10 with barely two to play.  Then JR Giddens caught fire.  Hit a three to tie it, survived a Jarrett Jack miss as time expired to force overtime at 63.  There was not a person in that building -- and I was amongst the 43,000 plus at the "whatever the hell they call it nowadays" Dome in St. Louis that rainy Sunday afternoon -- who thought KU was losing at that point.  KU scores the first point of regulation ... and that was their only lead.  The Jack / Crittendon / Bosh Jackets would reach the National Title Game ... but godd*mmit, what could have been.

Speaking of would'ves and could'ves ...

* have our Boyz N Blue found a legitimate ace, for the first time in a few years?  There was nothing about yesterday's opener that discouraged me at all.  Nothing.  Not even the lack of scoring.  Seriously -- it's not like the White Sox did much either.  You lose 1-0 on Opening Day?  I'll take it.

Speaking of taking it ...

* you fools got what you voted for.

And speaking of fools ...

* you fools got what you voted for.

And speaking of fools ...

* you fools got what you voted for.  Jesus freaking Christ, even I could top 2 of 22 at the damned free throw line.

And just because, well, he is a fool ...

* "And I'm told that, uuh, that, uuh, state senator, Chuck Graham is here.  Chuck?  Stand up Chuck!  Let 'em see ya!  (Pause).  Oh.  God love ya.  What am I talking about?  I tell you what, you're making everybody else stand up though pal!  Thank you very, very much.  I tell you what -- stand up for Chuck!  Thank you pal.  You can tell I'm new -- good to see ya buddy, thank you.  Thank you ..."

Speaking of folks who've chosen to stand up ...

* I have no issues whatsoever with Branden Albert wanting the Chiefs to sign him long term, before he'll report to camp ... because for God's sake, anyone who believes this is a story, is a bigger dumbf*ck than our Vice President.  He's signed the one year tender.  He'll be there in July.  Does anyone really believe that avoiding having to do sprints and dummy drills when its 45 degrees out in April, is going to matter come September 8th?  Cause I sure as hell don't.

And what the hell is wrong with simply wanting an organization to do right by you, to simply let you know what they want you to be, what position they want you to play?  Seems reasonable to me.

Finally ...

* No.  Just ... no.

Enough is enough.  How many more people have to die senselessly and needlessly, until we as a nation rise above our lowest common denominator, and enact legitimate gun laws that make sense?

Seriously -- how can ANYONE oppose a background check?  How can ANYONE oppose limiting ammunition sale to, say, three times the capacity of your weapon?  How can ANYONE oppose taking military style assault rifles off the shelf?

Fellow readers and friends, I've become much more conservative over the last ten years economically ... but with the exception of abortion*, I've gone even farther left socially that I used to be, nowhere more so than on gun control.

(*: fifteen years ago, you wouldn't have found a more pro-choice advocate, than me.  I feel the exact 180 degree opposite today, than I did back then.)

Call me crazy ... but it seems pretty much impossible to shoot someone, if you don't have a gun.  Maybe if you have a rubber band, possibly a paintball sprayer ... but to actually shoot someone with the intent to kill?  Can't really do it without a gun.

Sensible gun control laws.  NOW.  Our children will judge us someday by how we respond to Sandy Hook, to Aurora, to Fort Hood, to countless other tragedies these vile instruments have brought upon our society.  I pray they don't look back at us with regret, twenty years from now ...

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