March 23, 2002


: As predicted in this very space, a double-digit win for the Terps. No gloating required....
Posted by B. Preston at 10:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 22, 2002


: Cut on the Bias' Susanna Cornett just can't let go. After decimating her arguments from one end of the blog to the other I offered an easy out, unilaterally beating my digital sword into a plowshare, but she doesn't take the bait. So I'm going to have to make one more foray onto the hardwoods, I guess. You were warned, Susanna, you were warned.

Susanna says her site is supposed to be about detecting and exposing media bias, and in most areas she does a fine job of that. One way to do expose media bias is by looking at context to see if anything has been misquoted or built up to distort what's actually being said. In her post today, she offers links with a line or two from each story. Problem is, most of the stories she links actually refute her contention that Kentucky will beat Maryland tonight. Juicy bits:

Susanna links this story on ESPN, a story from screamin' Dick Vitale. Susanna quotes from the story "Kentucky is playing its best basketball of the season...and will will fight, scrap and claw." They're going to have to, because the rest of the story reads like an ode to the Terps:

The big question for Tubby's Wildcats is simple: Do they have enough on the inside to offset the likes of Maryland's Lonny Baxter, Chris Wilcox, Tahj Holden and Ryan Randle? The strength inside favors Maryland big time.

Then there is All-American and ACC player of the year Juan Dixon, who is averaging 29 ppg and shooting 56 percent from the field in the Big Dance. He is so tough to stop. Point guard Steve Blake makes smart passes and should help the Terps get to the winner's circle.

Selective quoting...distorting the intended meaning. I report, you decide who's being a homer. From CBS Sportline, Susanna quotes one little line in a big story--"“…(W)in championships…that's what Kentucky basketball does.” Here's the full context of that sentence:

You do it to win championships because that's what Kentucky basketball does. While Tayshaun Prince could have gone for the gold at nearby UCLA, which knows a few things about NCAA titles, the Wildcats have clipped two nets to the Bruins' one during the 6-foot-9 Compton kid's lifetime.

So Prince, a McDonald's All-American, left the big city and beach behind and joined Big Blue, which won it all in 1998, during his senior year of high school.

But four springs later UK hasn't done it again. Hasn't even reached a Final Four, and while Prince has endeared himself to Wildcats fans everywhere for his great career, he was not satisfied with how his senior season was turning out. UK was entering the NCAA Tournament on a slide, coming off a 13-point loss to South Carolina in the Southeastern Conference Tournament and plagued by a season of off-court drama.

That's not exactly a ringing endorsement of the 'Cats chances tonight, is it? But you need a dispassionate observer to give you the straight story. In the ESPN story that Susanna says shows that "Kentucky has the personnel to beat Maryland in the Sweet 16…at the end of the day, Kentucky is still the only SEC team with staying power…”, the prognisticators at ESPN actually favor Maryland to win! They also pick Terp guard Juan Dixon to be MVP. So much for the 'Cats vaunted "staying power."

I hated to do this last bit of smashmouth smack-talking, because I really like Susanna. I once compared her to Peggy Noonan, a writer I've had an intellectual crush on for years now. That comparison stands, but the Wildcats will fall. No amount of fishy quoting will change that.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 21, 2002


SLOTMAN: My name is Preston--P-R-E-S-T-O-N...not "Hlatky". He runs some other doggish blog.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

PC E.T.:

This weekend, Steven Spielberg is re-releasing the 1982 blockbuster E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial. But it's not the ET that ran in 1982, or at least not the same one. Spielberg, probably the best director making big-budget films these days, has had a fit of guilt over two scenes and has decided to alter them. He has digitally removed the guns from the hands of FBI agents trying to apprehend the other-worldly menace, and has changed the line in the Halloween costume scene from "You look like a terrorist" to "You look like a hippie." Others have already excoriated Spielberg for changing the movie in the mindlessly politically-correct way he has, and while I agree wholeheartedly, I'm not here to rant about that. One thing, though--if you're an FBI guy and you're assigned to get a mystery creature that seems to be kidnapping a whole bunch of kids single-handedly, and that same creature has escaped from NASA labs and such, you'd carry a gun. What are you going to do with a walkie-talkie, throw it at him? It's a stupid change, almost as bad as some of the things Lucas did to Star Wars when he re-released in 1997 (like Greedo shooting first before Han kills him--c'mon, George). But that's not why I'm here. I'm here to explain why I absolutely hate ET.

When ET came out, I was 11 years old (go ahead, do the math...I'm 31, alright, get over it). I wanted to see that movie more than anything in the world, but couldn't. I spent that summer with my grandmother, and while I had a great time, she didn't like going to the movies and wouldn't take me. I had a cousin my age who lived in the same town my grandmother lived in, but he ended up seeing it with his friends. At the end of the summer I eventually returned home to my family, who of course had all seen ET in my absence. And all my friends had seen it, and their friends, as so forth. I was the only 11-year-old on planet earth who hadn't seen ET.

I ended up not seeing ET, the movie I had longed to see as a boy, until I was in college. I plopped down a couple bucks to rent it, got to my dorm room, stuck the tape into the VCR and watched it with my girlfriend. She was in love with that movie and had seen it dozens of times, and she was happy to watch it one more time. So we watched it, and I just didn't get what all the fuss was about. You had this plasticy-looking rodent, muttering lame philosophy and launching kids on bicycles. Oh, and his finger glowed. Made me think of all those "pull my finger" tricks we all used to play on each other (not me and my girlfriend, me and my other friends when I was a kid). The only cool part was that NASA was the villian, but since I work for them now I won't dwell on why that was cool (in some ways that's still the only part of the movie that makes sense to me). I just didn't get it. It was pretty lame.

So when it was over, my girlfriend and I finished off the bag of Doritos, polished off a couple of Cokes and studied or something (we were upstanding young people--get your mind out of the gutter). Did you notice how I cleverly worked those product names into the post--Doritos, and Coke? That's the real reason I hate ET--Spielberg used it to sell Riese's Pieces, and thus the age of product placement in the movies had begun. The nerve of the guy--using his God-given skills as a storyteller to shamelessly plug crap in his movies. Ever since then, I've seen Spielberg differently from the way other people do. He's a great director, to be sure, but he's also one of the most cynically manipulative people in Hollywood. He creates these fantastic worlds, invests them with childlike wonder, then turns the whole thing into a slick mega-commercial. I hate that, and I hate ET because that's where it became Spielberg's M.O.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


you see on my face (yes, that's me over on the right perched atop the links section) is because Duke is OUT, ejected, dejected, bounced and broken. Indiana overcame a 16-point lead to dethrone the reigning champs. Tomorrow night's game between Maryland and Kentucky may well be the real national championship now.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


is over. No more rants about the NCAA tournament. I'm done. I really enjoy talking Sports Smack (my second language, with Hick English being my first), and have enjoyed flaming Susanna and getting flamed back, but it's time to put that stuff to bed. The game is tomorrow night. There's no more reason to talk about it.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


: I've just gotten around to checking out Jonah Goldberg's latest, Bring Back the Horror. He's right that the news networks are censoring coverage of that awful day last fall, and the price is national forgetfulness. It's sad that, just a few months after the worst atrocity ever comitted on American soil, we already need to be reminded just how terrible that event was. We need a Frank Capra, a talent who will devote substantial time and energy to reminding us who started the war, how they started it and to chronicle how it will play out. Capra's Why We Fight series, produced at the height of World War II, helped steel the nation's backbone for the remainder of the war by reminding us how it all started. By depriving us of seeing the horrible footage shot on 9-11, the networks are weakening our resolve and allowing us to forget all too soon.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


: You wanna see a take-down? I'll show you a take-down.
Posted by B. Preston at 04:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


: Really, I am. And RELEVANT magazine has just published an article of mine. It's about Genesis and the Big Bang, and it's here.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 20, 2002


This Slate article says what I and a few others have been saying about Bush's lousy steel tarriff decision: it's a swing vote thing, designed to strengthen him in states where he was weak or lost in 2000. I've noticed for a long time now that Presidents tend to diss their base and move opposite their instincts once they're elected, in an effort to capture the swing vote. That can be carried too far though, as Bush 41 learned the hard way when he cooperated with the Dems in raising taxes. Let's hope Bush 43 has kept that lesson in mind.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


UK 'will nuke rogue nations' if attacked, according to a UPI story.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


: Susanna Cornett is back, revealing her bias on her blog that's supposed to be about detecting the bias of others. She's a homer for Kentucky in their upcoming destruction at the hands of Maryland in the NCAA tournament. I'm not a homer--I don't actually like Maryland the state, or the Ravens, or much of anything else around here beyond the availability of blue fin crabs. But I said Maryland crushed Wisconsin and will defeat Kentucky. First, she called me delusional, which I refuted, then she said a few other terrible things about me, said that Kentucky wins "gently" and a whole lot of other stuff that, well, just doesn't fly. I offer witnesses to back me up, so she heads for the press--the press she's supposed to be pasting for bias--to try and make a last, Alamo-like stand (yeah, I know the strategic importance of the defeat at the Alamo--I am a Texan, after all--but that doesn't change the fact that just about all its defenders died, like Susanna's arguments and name-calling will do on Friday). From the NY Post, she pulls a story about how the 'Cats are supposed by be playing NBA-style ball. Fine, I guess, but have you actually watched the NBA in the past few years? They don't run plays anymore, they just run around. They run with the ball and never get caught for travelling, they run ponzi schemes from their locker rooms, and they run from the cops a good majority of the time, but they don't run plays. Defense??? It's hard to mistake most of what goes on in the NBA for any kind of defense. And they're drafting HIGH-SCHOOLERS in droves, for goodness sakes. Kentucky fans should cringe if they're compared to NBA ball, because the NBA style amounts to a pick-up game with overpaid crybabies. Spare me.

If the Post is your guiding light, Susanna, you might want to read this story, about Maryland. Juicy bits:

There is no higher level in college basketball right now than Maryland. The Terps, the No. 1 seed in the East, tore through the sub-region at the MCI Center like no other No. 1 seed, beating Siena and Wisconsin by a total of 45 points. They'll play No. 4-seed Kentucky Friday in a regional semifinal.

The Post says nice things about Kentucky, but then says blockbuster-nice things about Maryland. For some reason, Susanna left that out. Does selective linking equal bias? I report, you decide.

There's more. Guards Juan Dixon and Drew Nicholas are serious role models, and I mean serious. They are both examples of what big-name athletes should be:

"I knew [coaches] Jay Wright and Tom Pecora and those guys," Nicholas said Sunday night after he helped the Terps advance to the Sweet 16 with an 87-57 rout of Wisconsin. "Those guys had been recruiting me since I was in the eighth or ninth grade. But I knew I could play at a different kind of level than that."

"ROUT of Wisconsin..." (emphasis mine). What that quote means is he knew he could start on just about any other team, but wanted to play with Maryland because he wanted to play where the best talent is. Dixon and Nicholas like each other, and have strong families behind their success:

Both of Dixon's parents died of AIDS within a year of each other. The All-American guard could have ended up a junkie like his parents, but aunts, uncles and grandparents wouldn't let it happen.

Nicholas has always had the unwavering love and guidance of his parents, Yvonne and Darryl, and his older brother, Chris, who played at Colgate. They supported Drew's decision to leave Long Island and a chance to be a surefire star at Hofstra - a two-minute drive from home - for Maryland.

Wow. Dixon, by the way, is Maryland's all-time scorer. Nicholas isn't a big scorer, but he's a huge part of the team. And then there's "The Run," a Maryland phenomenon where they gather up steam and blast away at opponents until they've worn out the nets. Susanna thinks it's a bad thing that the Terps don't know when "The Run" is coming. That's the point, though--neither does the opposition. It comes out of nowhere like a springtime tornado in Oklahoma, leaving a mobile-home village in its wake.

Then she quotes the history between the two schools, which admittedly favors the 'Cats, and even quotes Satan himself, Duke's Coach K, as he extols the virtues of Kentucky's b-ball program. Well if it's so freakin' great, coach, why don't you pack up and move there? They might let you be a waterboy or something. He's just playing head games with the one opponent he fears--Maryland--and he's using Kentucky to do it.

And finally, I'll wrap up with another of Susanna's posts. It seems that the junklady herself, Martha Stewart, favors the 'Cats. Here is the story. I have to say first off, I think Martha Stewart is possibly the most frightening presence on the planet. Click on the link and look at the picture of her--there's insanity in that look. But the article--I had to rub my eyes when I read it, I just couldn't believe what I was seeing. Martha and Terps coach Gary Williams have a history together:

It just so happens that Gary Williams and I grew up in New Jersey and though he is slightly younger than I, we met one summer at Camp Haluwasa over in Hammonton. One night Gary and I
took a walk down by the boat dock after the dance…lets just say he introduced me to his motion offense.

Yikes!! Idly speculating, we know that she recycles junk and tries to make knick-knacks out of it. Do you, I'm not going to follow that thought any further. Let's just say that there's more in the article, and it borders on soft-core porn. So what's going on here--why does Martha favor Kentucky? She's a spurned lover, that's why. It has nothing to do with basketball. Hell hath no fury like a scorned hacky interior decorator.

The line says Maryland by six. I say Maryland by double-digits. They have the players, the teamwork, the talent, and the hunger. The 'Cats are good, but inconsistent. They win two or three, then drop one. Friday night, they're up against a Terps team that only lost one game in the past dozen or more, and that one to another tournament team. In March Madness inconsistency kills, and the 'Cats inconsistency will be their undoing, pure and simple.
Posted by B. Preston at 06:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


but I think the hubbub over Rev. Billy Graham's ancient intolerant remarks is a bunch of wind. We've all said things that we wish we could swallow up, but most of us aren't in places where insidious men have installed mics and tape decks to record our every remark. My take, as summed up by the legendary band The Swirling Eddies:

I don't know about those other guys
There's something in the back of their eyes
But Billy, you're the man
Who don't use slight of hand
Ain't wearing no disguise...
I love ya Billy

I love the simple things you say
And you never seem to get in the way
No one is quite like you
Compassionate and true
"Just As I Am," I say...
I love ya Billy

That song, penned by Terry Scott Taylor, appears on the cd Outdoor Elvis, a collection that's pretty hard to get these days. It's here, though, if you're interested.

(By the way, if anyone knows why I keep getting different fonts when I switch paragraphs, please enlighten me. I can't find anything in the code that's causing it.)
Posted by B. Preston at 03:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


over NCAA hoops, Susanna Cornett has been busily posting solid rants about actual war matters and such. I should probably get back to doing the same myself at some point....
Posted by B. Preston at 10:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 19, 2002


Both of you folks who regularly visit the JYB have no doubt noticed the escalating war of words between myself and Susanna Cornett, webmistress of Cut on the Bias and native of the Bluegrass State (that's Kentucky, for those of you from West Palm Beach) over the impending contest between the Maryland Terrapins and the Kentucky Wildcats. It all began when I quite correctly described the 30-point Maryland victory over Wisconsin in the NCAA tournament as a "crushing" win, while, again quite correctly described Kentucky's win over Tulsa, final score 87-82, as "scraping by." For this, she calls me delusional--as delusional as a NY Times editor, which is very delusional indeed. When I point out the evidence on my side, which is overwhelming, she retreats and dredges up some brief career photographing the hairy armpits of high school boys as a way to try and build some credibility for herself. When I point out that my sports announcing career was six times longer than her "writing" career (in which she used definitions supplied her by an actual reporter--Doris Kearns Goodwin, eat yer heart out), she turns that into a negative. A very Rahm Emmanuel thing to do, spin away a good career like that. And I was the one called delusional...

Anyhow, she then impunes the Terps by calling up the etymology of their nick-name, which turns out is of French origin. Can't defend that one--but then again, I never said that I liked Maryland, just that I think they'll win. Do I need to detail, once again, how I've described Maryland as "the laughably nick-named 'Free State'," called it "Cuba on the Chesapeake," etc? My bona fides as a Maryland dissident should be well-established by now. The only Maryland team I like is the Orioles, for reasons of friendship--you can take owner Peter Angelos and throw him to the wolves for all I care. But Susanna seems to equate a dispasstionate belief that one team will spank the other with actually liking one team more than the other. My goal here is simple--make sure Duke gets whooped, beaten like a red-headed step-child, sent packing like a door-to-door salesman, and get hung up on like a long-winded telemarketer who calls as you sit down to dinner. I think Maryland is the team to do that, and they have to get through Kentucky before they'll have the chance.

But enough of that. I have witnesses. Did Maryland actually crush Wisconsin, as I alledged in my first post on the subject? Let's hear from someone who was there, an eye-witness:

Maryland destroyed Wisconsin, by the way. Wisconsin fans can take solace in the fact that the Wisconsin band destroyed the Maryland band by being much louder, funner, and by playing a five-minute Queen medley that included "Fat Bottom Girls." I was grooving.

That's from The Insolvent Republic of Blogistan. Check his site--Justin Slotman says he was there, and provides more than enough detail to convince any reasonable mind that he was. But better than that, an actual Wisconsin fan wrote into the JYB today. Jack Denny of Milwaukee writes:

Yeah, we got crushed. Our bench was very thin-if you watched the game it
was obvious. There were a number of injuries and transfers of former
players that decimated the bench this season.

And on the subject of the Terrapins:

Maryland is a very good team
with a lot of quick, HUGE players. That is an advantage that few teams in
the tournament can overcome.

"FEW teams in the tournament can overcome..." (emphasis mine). And Jack is a Wisconsin fan! And he knows his sports, too. So you have a neutral party, Justin Slotman, and a Badger fan, Jack Denny, agreeing with me that Maryland crushed Wisconsin, while I haven't seen anyone show up to vouch for Susanna's claim that Kentucky beat Tulsa "gently." I'm not holding my breath that anyone will, either--though maybe Susanna can prop up one of her houseguests to help her out. And just to add one more note on my side, Maryland is currently a 6-point favorite Friday night. I think Susanna is scared I'm right, but just can't admit it to herself. When she attacks me and calls me names, it's fear talking.

On a nicer note, Susanna, Jack and myself all agree on one thing: Duke must be beaten. They must not win the tournament this year. That's why I back Maryland--they're talented enough to whip the Dukies. I'd be cheering on the North Carolina Tarheels, my actual favorite NCAA team, but they were DOA this year. Maryland has already whipped Duke this season, and they can (and MUST) do it again. The Wildcats must fall, for the greater good.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Mass. Gov. Swift Drops Out of Race
. She was behind Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination, 75-12. Susanna, could I say that Romney was "crushing" her without qualifying myself for a spot on the NY Times editorial board?
Posted by B. Preston at 01:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


: Alonzo Decker Jr., half of the Black & Decker toolmaking team, died yesterday at the age of 94. Here's the sad story.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Interesting story:

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says he was "surprised and dismayed" that an interview he gave an Arab magazine wound up in Penthouse magazine.

Appearing in the porn magazine alongside the interview on terrorism and the Middle East: articles on sex and March's Penthouse Pet centerfold, the Associated Press reported today.

In a related story, Penthouse "readers" were surprised and dismayed that an interview with UN SecGeneral Kofi Annan wound up in Penthouse magazine.
Posted by B. Preston at 07:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 18, 2002


Tipper ain't running, but Big Al's a-shavin'. Good Lord, this is a real quote from a real story:

''It came down to a personal choice and personal decision,'' Gore said last night in a telephone interview. ''There was no one thing. I looked at it and thought about it, and I weighed all the factors. My family was completely supportive of me either way, and Al even shaved his beard in support of me.''

Funny thing, as I got into that quote I thought I was hearing from Al on his decision to shave...."I looked at it and thought about it, and I weighed all the factors.." Like whether to trim it first or just go for broke, which blade to use, whether to use gel or old-fashioned cream. He'd be like that, weighing a whole bunch of irrelevant factors before deciding to shave his friggin' face. But no, the quote turned out to be Tipper's, about her not running and Al shaving the beard. What an utterly fascinating couple they are.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


"US urges Saudis, other Arabs to halt anti-Jewish incitement in media." Of course, our government's statements may have a little more credibility with the Arabs since we've been harping on the Israeli military actions for a while now.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


I'd temporarily change the name of this one to that. Because I've got a rant coming that would best be titled "Now you listen here, missy" and would be directed at Susanna Cornett, a strange Kentuckian in a strange land. Well, ok she isn't strange, she's actually pretty nice except for a nervous tic that makes her shout "Wildcats!" any time she's within 50 feet of a basketball, but I liked the line so I used it. You see, Susanna seems to think that taking pictures of the armpits of high school boys constitutes a career in "sports journalism." Then she'd get them pictures printed in some local rag, jot down a few notes about the game, and call it a "story." Heck, anybody can do that. Give me a few minutes around a synchronized swimming event, and I'll get you a few pictures of armpits, jot down a few notes and get the "story" published. But that wouldn't make me a "synchronized swimming reporter" any more than being in the Olympics makes synchronized swimming a sport. She even admits that she had to rely on a list of definitions left by her predecessor to pen her "stories." As for my sports career, I did play-by-play for football and basketball, and you have to learn every last nuance of the game to do live play-by-play. I even did a couple of seasons of basketball solo, meaning no color announcer to give me a break. I had to watch the game, keep stats and tell the vast radio audience what was happening--at the same time. It was a small market, alas, but I did become quite the highwire act walker during those days. You can't fake live broadcasting unless you're Orson Welles, and I've never been as hefty as he was. And while her sports journalism "career" spanned a whopping six months--mine lasted more than three years. Mine's also more recent, since it happened during the first Bush administration. I rest my case.

Meanwhile, she criticizes Maryland for winning by too many points (and me for pointing it out), citing fear as the reason. Susanna, you obviously didn't see the game. By the midway point of the second half, Juan Dixon and the rest were tossing up threes just for fun. They were bored. It looked like the Terps were playing "horse" while Wisconsin just sort of ran around swatting at anything round that came into their vision. One of their players took a swing at the lit-up basketball as it bounced across the arena-vision screen--during a time out! It was sad, really. And Kentucky won "gently," she says. I could get real sexist about that one, but I won't. I won't say that only a woman would come up with a line like that, because it would be unchivalrous of me, and because I know she'd blast me for it. I'll just say that in sports, as well as life, winning "gently" usually leads to not winning at all. Winning "gently" is the type of "winning" the French have done in just about every war they've ever fought. I expect the Kentucky Wildcats to "win" similarly on Friday. In other words, a double-digit win for Maryland, and they won't be gentle.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


of being as delusional as a NY Times editor. As donkey says in Shrek, "You cut me real deep." If you read the Godzilla post below, you might be inclined to agree that I am a little off, but Godzilla isn't the source of the complaint. Susanna Cornett says that I'm deluded because of my description of recent sporting events--the Maryland victory over Wisconsin and Kentucky's win over Tulsa in the NCAA tournament. #1 seed Maryland defeated #8 seed Wisconsin by 30 points--87-57, while #4 seed Kentucky defeated #12 seed Tulsa by 5 points--87-82. The difference in seeding levels is about equal, with Maryland being 7 places above Wisconsin and Kentucky being 8 places above Tulsa. Yet the scores are dramatically different--Maryland won by 30 points while Kentucky won by 5. I don't think it's delusional to point out that a 30-point win means Maryland "crushed" Wisconsin, while Kentucky's 5-point win amounts to "scraping by" Tulsa. I won't even delve into our different backgrounds here, such as the fact that I was once an in-demand sports play-by-play announcer in Texas, a state known for its sporting heritage, while Susanna was probably in grad school lugging around textbooks and writing papers and such--I won't bring that up because it would display a glaring disparity in our relative experience in quantifying and cataloging the different levels of victory one team may enjoy over another, and might bias the reader. So I'll let the sport fans out there make up their own minds--is a 30-point margin an example of "crushing" an oponent, or an example of delusional rhetoric?

Susanna also doubts that I'm as dispassionate about the match-up as I claim to be. I've blogged several times on the subject of my intense dislike for the state of Maryland. Yes, I live in Maryland, but no, I do not like Maryland. Maryland is a corrupt one-party state that I liken to Cuba. I don't like the Ravens either. I do like the Orioles, but only because I'm friends with one of the pitchers--if he leaves the team, then the Orioles go back into the dislike column. If I were being a homer like Susanna, I'd be picking fights over a Texas vs Kentucky matchup. But I'm not a homer--I'm astonished that Texas is even still alive in the tournament. I think Maryland will win because they're the most talented team, and because I loathe Duke and want someone to beat them like a cheap drum, and I think Maryland is the team to do it. I am dispassionate--I think Maryland will defeat Kentucky. They'll beat Kentucky by, oh, double-digits. That's my dispassionate read on the game this Friday night. No hankies needed. Well, I won't need them anyway.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 17, 2002


Godzilla vs King Ghidora, one of the worst G-films ever made (and that's saying something). I like Godzilla (the Japanese one, not the impostor that chased Matthew Broderick and wrecked New York in 1998), but most of the films are simply horrible. I think I like them because of what they could be--you have this huge monster with a cool death-ray breath blast, he feeds on power lines and stomps on poorly-insulated Japanese buildings (I lived there during the winter, so I know how poorly insulated their buildings are). It's a great concept, but the kabuki-style love that Toho has for its rubber suit manages to make the whole thing seem like a junior high school stage play. But I think I also like Godzilla because it does have a deeper subtext. It does, I'm not kidding. The original, 1954 Godzilla was made in a post-war Japan that was still simmering over losing the war, having its ill-gotten possessions in the Pacific and mainland Asia taken away from it, and from being nuked twice and forced to surrender. Godzilla the monster was the product of nuclear testing, and was a hideous beast in whom no good resided. Likewise, the US was a menacing presence--wartime propaganda depicted our troops as baby-killers (a line picked up by Jane Fonda and others during Vietnam)--a presence that had single-handedly demolished their empire. But as the years passed, the US role became neutral and, gradually, benevolent. We became Japan's new best friend, we helped her rebuild and prosper and protected her from the Soviet Union and Communist China, two increasingly powerful enemies with grudges against her. During that period, Godzilla also changed roles, becoming a benevolent moster, protecting Japan from other evil monsters. Now, with the fall of the USSR, the role of our troops in Japan is again up for debate. When some of our sailors raped a woman on Okinawa a few years ago, the whole security relationship between our two countries came under fire, and our presence seemed to become a burden again. Likewise, Godzilla is shifting back to the evil monster column. The war on terrorism may yet again put Godzilla in the good column--time will tell. By the way, I shouldn't be mistaken for being "anti-Japanese" in any of this. I spent four years in the Air Force, stationed at Yokota Air Base in Tokyo, and managed to not only develop a real affection for Japan but married a local girl too. I'm anything but anti-Japanese.

Elsewhere, it was a bad weekend in the Middle East but a good weekend for Arafat, since no one killed him. That must be a good weekend for him--he gets to move around a bit and no one kills him. I'm increasinly persuaded that InstaPundit is reading the situation right, and that Jordan will eventually be asked to take over the territories from Israel. Jordan has a few scores to settle with Arafat, and is about the only country that can get away with liquidating the old terrorist without too much fuss. In the same war, but a different location, Pakistani radicals grenaded a Protestant church in Islamabad, killing 5 (including 2 Americans) and wounding many more. While we pretend that this isn't a religious war, our enemies are doing everything they can to make it one.

In more peaceful notes, Maryland crushed Wisconsin and Kentucky scraped past Tulsa, so the two will now meet to see who goes on to the round of 8. I've been backing Maryland to win it all, while Susanna Cornett thinks Kentucky will take the prize. It's not her fault--she's from Kentucky. I'm not from Maryland, just a dispassionate watcher coolly assessing relative talent. If I were going by home state, I'd be going for Texas, which by some miracle is still in the thing. I guess we'll see who's right on Friday night. The tournament brackets are here if you haven't found them already.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack