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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

JACKASS

Today I called the Paul Finebaum Show. I've been listening and calling for over twenty years now. Today, as has been the case for the better part of twenty years, I made a fool of myself.

The topic that motivated my call today was the public perception of Nick Saban, head football coach at the University of Alabama. Keith Dunnavant was a guest on Paul's show and the topic was how he perceived Saban's now infamous quote while still head coach of the Miami Dolphins:

"I'm not going to take the Alabama job."

When Dunnavant was asked his thoughts on the statement he didn't give a positive response. He didn't feel like Saban came off looking very good after backing down on his word. He and Paul both feel, as do I, some of the media criticism he's received since was valid.

This provoked the typical homer response of an Alabama fan who called and immediately began repeating the boilerplate excuses and defenses of Saban that after a year and a half or so I'm, frankly, sick of hearing. When Nick Saban told the Miami media he wasn't going to take the Alabama job he made a serious mistake, whether he took the job or not. You never allow the media to nail you down like that. Nick Saban made enemies in the Miami sports press corp. When didn't keep his word it gave the media, Miami at first, then nationally, a club to beat him over the head with. And without fail, they haven't missed an opportunity.

The point I did a piss-poor job of trying to make is that after 1 1/2 years, Alabama fans need to quit worrying about what outsiders think of Saban. As long as the Alabama family are happy with what Saban's doing, we should give a whit what anyone else thinks, media or otherwise. Since Saban's hiring, it certainly hasn't been a smooth road. I myself haven't agreed with every decision Nick Saban's made with my Alabama Crimson Tide. But had Saban made the correct decision in every move he made with this team, on the field or off, it wouldn't have made one bit of difference to the Colin Cowherd's and Dan LeBatard's of the world.

They'd still be ripping him to shreds at every opportunity.

As a matter of fact, I'd RATHER have a coach that's doing what he was hired to do and is hated by our opponents and the media than to have a coach who's clueless on how to run a bigtime college football program but is given glowing reviews because of his last name.

Call me the anti-Sally Fields.

"You hate me! You REALLY hate me!!!!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

EARTHQUAKE

They just experienced a 5.4 earthquake in Southern California. No damage. Lots of small aftershocks. Reports of pictures off walls and shaken nerves but not much else.
The epicenter is being reported as Chino Hills, just south of Pomona. This is really just an amusement park ride for these guys.

Let's pray that this is the worst of this episode.

Being from the Birmingham, AL area I've experienced two minor temblors here. The first was around '72 or '73. I was up late watching Carson (in those days the Tonight Show was thought of as very risque in these parts and the Birmingham NBC affliate delayed it until 11:30 to make sure all the Baptists were in bed) and around 11:20 pm the pictures and dishes started rattling. Lasted about 15 seconds. Can't remember when the second one was but do remember riding to work, listening to the radio coverage of it. Both were around 3 on the Richter. I've been told there's a small fault line somewhere north of B'ham.

Was also in another while working in New Hampshire. Laid up in a motel in Gorham around 8:00 one night and the bed started shaking. (Stop it!) This was in November of 1988. It was a small shaker epicentered in Montreal, Canada. I told everyone it was a quake and they all laughed until they saw the news the next morning.

There are several places around the world famous (or infamous?) for quakes but they really happen in a lot of places not known for earthquakes.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

NASCAR In Decline

I sit here listening to the post-race excuses. All the drivers and all the crew chiefs and all the owners are in line.

This was the best we could do.

Well, I'm sorry. This is INDIANAPOLIS YOU GOMERS! That bullshit doesn't feed the bulldog. NASCAR owes every fan who showed up for that bullshit today a refund. And not just the ticket price either. Fans spend big money to get there. They spend big money to get in. Save the excuses about the COT. The track. The tires.

Message to Robin Pemberton: This is YOUR stupid car. You KNEW something was wrong. If one of the teams screwed up this bad, you'd fine them into oblivion. YOU shipped in tires from Pocono anticipating problems.

Keep it up, big boy. Lots of the old line NASCAR fans have already seen enough.

Save the excuses. How about an apology?

War, Children, It's Just A Shot (or a centrifuge) Away

With the today's announcement by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Iran now has in it's possession twice the number of centrifuges needed to enrich weapons-grade nuclear material, can it be made any clearer we are headed towards world war?

Israel cannot allow Iran, it's sworn enemy, to go nuclear. One nuclear-tipped missile would devastate Israel. Iran's president has not been bashful about his intention to "wipe Israel off the map", a point that has been symbolically underscored with Israel's latest "exchange" with Hizbollah, a Lebanese terror organization supported by Iran. The exchange of live terrorists for the dead bodies of Israeli soldiers sends a clear message. It has also likely ensured the re-emergence of the no-nonsense Benjamin Netanyahu as Israeli president. Ben has seen this movie before. He won't repeat the mistakes of Olhmert. He will be pro-active.

The United States stake in this is also huge. A nuclear strike against Israel will likely be accompanied by a strike against the U S in Iraq also.

Due to our dependence on oil imports, prices here and worldwide will skyrocket due to shipping disruption and market instability. Don't believe for two seconds Ahmadinejad doesn't know this. He wants Israel to attack. The ensuing fallout will turn the world on Israel and any ally they might have.

Ahmadinejad's back is against the wall. His oil reserves are dwindling. He faces civil unrest from within and is bordered on two fronts by United States forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nuclear weapons are his last ace-in-the-hole. His actions of late show he won't hesitate to play it.

God help us.

(Update 07/27/08) House Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. was interviewed on Fox and Friends Weekend this morning and was spouting that unbelievably irresponsible line about tapping the Strategic Oil Reserve to lower prices at the pump.

What idiots. With the current events in the Middle East, how can one be this stupid? This reserve was created to address just the kind of crisis that's staring us in the face. By presenting this "plan" Congressional Democrats admit our current petroleum situation is a supply-and-demand issue. Yet they'll throw anything against the wall to deflect attention from what really needs to be done, drill. Drill here. Drill now. Drill everywhere there's oil. Just talking about it's forced the Saudi's to pump more and prices are down.

Yeah. Let's blow our rainy day fund for a little temporary relief.

Again, God help us.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

But Radar Is Also Picking Up A Squadron Of Russian ICBM's, So I Wouldn't Sweat The Thunderstorms!

I love that old line from George Carlin's standup routine. May he RIP.

Alabama v. Clemson

Tommy Bowden v. Nick Saban

August 30th, 2008. 7 pm

Georgia Dome, Atlanta GA

Considering the events at the Dome the last time an Alabama team played there I'd be extremely up-to-date as to the weather conditions BEFORE I entered that arena.

As we all know now, keeping CUSTOMERS abreast of impending severe weather isn't very high on the priority list at that facility.

Good night and good luck!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What Have you Done To Deserve A Raise?

The national minimum wage today went up 70 cents per hour to $6.55 per hour.

(1.) Who makes minimum wage any more??

(2.) The next time you're looking at the "food" they just shoved through the drive-thru window at you and you're wondering how come it can't remotely look like the food on the menu you ordered from, ask yourself: does the tattooed, multiple pierced individual that just threw that slop together deserve a raise???

And please save me the line about how people are struggling to live on minimum wage money. Minimum wage positions are ENTRY LEVEL positions. If you've been working in an entry level job for over a year without a raise based on merit or leaving for a better paying job OR getting a second job to supplement your income, you deserve exactly what you're getting.

Government has NO business telling business what they must pay an individual to work at ANY level.

Monday, July 21, 2008

There's No Place Like Home

So said Dorothy while clicking the heels of her magic red slippers before exiting Oz and going home to Kansas.

No one knows if Antoine Pettway was wearing the red shoes he became famous for wearing during his playing days at Alabama when interviewing for the assistant coaching position he now holds. And this certainly ain't Kansas, (Oz, basketball or otherwise) but it is home.

Coach Pettway was a fan favorite during his playing days. He wasn't highly recruited. Son of a high school coach, he came to 'Bama on an academic scholarship. His hustle, grit and intelligence earned him a full basketball scholarship later. That's one of the few decisions Mark Gottfried's made as head coach at Alabama that's actually paid off. In 2002 Pettway scored a last second layup to beat Florida and secure the regular season championship for Alabama at home. It was as wild a scene as I've ever witnessed in Coleman Coliseum for Alabama basketball. In the '04 NCAA tournament Pettway hit a running jumper to beat Southern Illinois as time expired and sent 'Bama on that magical Elite Eight run.

Since Antoine's graduation times have been tough for 'Bama basketball. Alabama made the NCAA tournament in '05 but was bounced out in an ugly fashion by Wisconsin-Milwaukee coached by Bruce Pearl. (Pearl parlayed that into the head coaching position at Tennessee and is now the refreshment chairman of the Mark Gottfried fan club......really!) In '06 'Bama again made the Big Dance and lost in the second round to eventual Final Four UCLA. Mr. All-Everything Ron Steele missed a last second jumper that would have catapulted Alabama to the Sweet Sixteen. But Gottfried rode his stallion Steele like a rented mule during the '05-'06 season (Steele averaged 40.3 mpg in '05-'06) and that fact reared it's ugly head pre-season '06-'07. Gottfried came under intense scrutiny for his handling of Steele and without a healthy Ron Steele the wheels came off. 'Bama has failed to make the NCAA tournament for the past two years and fan apathy is at David Hobbs levels. (who Mark was hired to replace)

Gottfried has hired Pettway to hopefully bring back the magic touch of his playing days. He's been hired to replace Kobe Baker who's dealing with an ailing family member. Baker was hired to replace Tom Asbury who also had to leave to deal with an ailing family member. Athletic director Mal Moore had to leave Alabama head football coach Gene Stallings' staff to deal with an ailing family member years before. He was later "re-assigned" as athletic director. It is thought Baker will also be similarly "re-assigned".

We're also being told Pettway won the job over numerous other candidates, some being former head basketball coaches. Of course, they're unnamed. He supposedly consulted with the "likes" of none other than Roy Williams.

The inference being Roy Williams recommended Pettway for the job. Sorry, folks. I love Antoine as much as the next Alabama basketball fan but I'm not buying any of this for two seconds. (likely the same amount of time Roy Williams has spent thinking on Mark Gottfried) Kevin Scarbinsky of the Birmingham News, who "broke" this story, has been in the tank for Mark Gottfried for some time. The Alabama head basketball coach likes having his name mentioned with the elite college coaches and Scarbinsky is all too eager to comply.

The sad truth is Antoine Pettway is a desperation hire by Mark Gottfried. Mal has made it plain to anyone listening this is a make-or-break season for Gottfried. Basketball at Alabama is about money and if you ain't makin' the Dance you ain't making money. Plus, attendance is down. If anyone else was consulted it's likely they know Gottfried's the captain of a sinking ship. Richard Hendrix is gone. Ron Steele's damaged goods or he'd be gone too. That leaves Mark with a very young team in need of bench coaching, something Mark's proven he's not very good at.

The hiring of Pettway is a very calculated move by Gottfried designed to hit several birds with one stone.

(1.) Gottfried knows Pettway is a fan favorite and hopes to re-energize apathetic fans.

(2.) Re-energized fans might come back to his games this season.

(3.) Firing Gottfried will mean firing Pettway. Don't think this isn't part of the thought process. If he doesn't make the tournament this season there will be serious pressure to can him. But no one will want to cut loose Pettway.

(4.) He fills a position with a young, inexperienced coach who played for him. Pettway likely won't challenge Mark. He desperately wants to keep this job but he also desperately wants to prove his critics wrong and show the world he CAN coach with the big boys.

(5.) And who knows? Maybe Antoine Pettway IS Mark Gottfried's lucky charm.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Secret Secret

Disgraced and disbarred former NBA ref Tim Donaghy has a secret. Question is, how long will he keep it?

Donaghy has admitted to betting on NBA games and feeding information about those games to gamblers. Yes, Donaghy likes to talk. A lot. Fox News recently reported that in the time period Donaghy confessed to betting on and passing info on NBA games (Oct '06 thru April '07) he also called colleague Scott Foster 134 times. One must hope Donaghy listened to Barkley and had Foster in his T-Mobile myFave plan.

NBA Comissioner David Stern calls Donaghy a "rogue, isolated criminal". Of course, he has to call him that.

Mr. Stern has had a lot on his plate since the retirement of Micheal Jordan. The superstar standard-bearer left huge shoes to fill. Who to do that?

Allen Iverson? With his thuggish off-court activities and gunplay he certainly wasn't the answer.

Shaquille O'Neal? There was certainly a lot of effort put into grooming him to replace MJ but something was missing.

Kobe Bryant? One fateful late night episode with a SWC (stupid white chick) took care of Kobe.

So with the thug culture infesting the "Association" along with the void left by Jordan, Stern's been a busy man. Now this. This is Stern's greatest challenge. The perception that the league's officials are on the take would destroy the NBA's credibility. All of David Stern's hard work since the retirement of Micheal Jordan gone.

And don't believe for one second that Tim Donaghy and his lawyers don't know that. Stern started out demanding 1.4 million dollars in restitution. They're now down to under $500,000. In the end I'll be surprised if he pays anything or does any hard time.

Because Tim Donaghy's got a secret. 134 (or more) of them.