Archive for February, 2006

March Madness in February

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

ESPN may not be touting “Championship Week” just yet, but three conference tournaments are now underway: the Big South, Horizon League and Ohio Valley. Kyle Whelliston has the lowdown on those leagues. Scoreboard of all of tonight’s games here.

Meanwhile, SI‘s designated bubble-watcher, Stewart Mandel, says this weekend’s Missouri Valley Conference tournament — which Becky and I will be at — has massive nationwide implications. Cool. :)

Oh, and Oklahoma is officially the anti-Notre Dame. The Sooners are on a streak of four consecutive one-point wins. Jeez!

P.S. A pet peeve: when ESPN is showing conference-tournament scores on the scrolling scoreboard thingy at the bottom of the screen, would it kill them to include the seed numbers? Because pardon my ignorance, but I don’t know, off the top of my head, whether it’s surprising that Coastal Carolina beat UNC Asheville (no) or that Tennessee State is hanging with Samford (yes). Seeds would help.

Beauty sleep

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

My fellow Zag fan, Kristin, snapped this photo of me napping in the law lounge between classes earlier today:

Heh. I suppose I should open this up for a caption contest… :)

Bush calls the Internets “ether space”

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

Mark my words, this will the official motto of somebody’s blog before you know it:

[President Bush said,] “And the amazing thing about this world we live in is that there’s a kind of free-flowing, kind of bulletin board of ideas and thoughts out there in the ether space, sometimes landing on somebody’s desk and sometimes not, but always available. It’s a very interesting period.”

Take out the Bushist stumbles, and you have the potential for something like “ a free-flowing bulletin board of ideas and thoughts out there in the ether space.” Heh.

Apple event underway

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

Macworld has live coverage.

UPDATE: See also here and here.

UPDATE 2: What they announced is basically what I rumor-mongered yesterday, an iPod Boombox and a new Intel-based Mac mini… but the latter is without its coolest rumored features, the “TiVo-Killer” DVR application. Also, no iTMS movie announcement. So basically, it’s what I said yesterday, but without the exciting stuff. As David says, “Solid but not too exciting projects. Neither of which seemed unexpected, and neither of which seemed to fit the ‘cooler than new laptops’ rumor after MacWorld. Guess we still have to wait.”

Watch Dmytro beat a guy up… for charity!

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

The NDLS Class of 2007’s most exalted piece of meat, Dmytro “Fun Size” Aponte, a.k.a. “Pain from Ukraine,” boxes in the quarterfinals of the Bengal Bouts tonight. The bouts start at 6:30 PM, and the Alaskan Assassin’s fight will begin shortly thereafter. His opponent is, if I have this right, some sophomore named Carlson. You can buy tickets at the door, and all proceeds benefit the Holy Cross missions in Bangladesh.


14 and… whew!

Monday, February 27th, 2006

It’s official: for the second time in three years, Gonzaga has run the table in the West Coast Conference regular season, finishing 14-0!

The Zags wrapped up their perfect conference season with a less-than-perfect effort, another game that was far closer than it should have been. In fact, San Francisco (11-16) led Gonzaga (25-3) for the most of the game. Blame it on Senior Night nerves, blame it on the “best shot” phenomenon, blame it on playing down to the level of your opponent, blame it on fundamental flaws in Gonzaga’s game — whatever the cause(s), for a while there it looked like the Zags’ best-in-the-nation 37-game home winning streak would end wiith a stunning whimper.

But Adam Morrison & co. rallied, and ultimately pulled out the 75-72 win on a dramatic three-pointer by Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes (a.k.a. “P-Mac”) with 0.9 seconds left. Here’s the call from the Bulldogs Radio Network:

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So the Zags can celebrate their 16th consecutive win, their 23rd in a row in conference, and their 38th straight at home. Now it’s on to the WCC tournament, which Gonzaga is hosting this year, and in which they’ll receive a bye straight to Sunday’s semifinals. (The title game is Monday.)

Alas, this game did nothing to quell the doubts about Gonzaga’s NCAA prospects that I expressed after the Pepperdine game. I feel like my motto for the Zags at this point should be, “I Want To Believe.” :)

UPDATE: B. Minich suggests a Photoshop contest. Any takers?

Apple announcement: T-minus 18 hours

Monday, February 27th, 2006

So… what “fun new products” will Apple announce tomorrow? We’ll know for sure in just over 18 hours, at 1:00 PM EST (10:00 AM PST), but in the mean time, the rumors are running rampant.

According to the rumor-site conventional wisdom, the Intel iBook (or MacBook?) will not be unveiled tomorrow; instead, “the Intel Mac mini and an iPod Boombox/Hi-Fi companion product are expected to be released.” And the rumored details of the new Mac mini, if true, may explain what that anonymous source was talking about last month when he advised a Mac blogger to hold off on buying a MacBook Pro because something “much cooler” was just around the bend. Supposedly, one of the features of the new Mac mini is a “TiVo-Killer” DVR application, which sounds cool enough that the mere mention of it caused both Becky and I to independently react the exact same way: “Oooooooh.” :)

As for the iPod Boombox/Hi-Fi thingy, its “exact functionality…remains a mystery, but hints of ‘unique capabilities’ and ‘strikingly different’ have been used to describe the unit.” AppleInsider describes it as “a radical new approach to traditional Boombox systems that will reportedly retail in excess of $300.”

There is also a school of thought that says Apple will announce the debut of full-length movies, in addition to music videos and TV shows, for purchase and download on the iTunes Music Store. But, as one analyst sagely notes, “We’re talking about Apple, so it could be all of those things, none of those things, or something brand new.”

Like I said, we’ll know in about 18 hours. Until then, let the rampant speculation continue…

P.S. Am I the only one who finds it mildly annoying that it’s “Mac mini” instead of “Mac Mini”? I hope tomorrow’s announcement includes a decision to capitalize the word “mini.” :)

13 down, 1 to go

Monday, February 27th, 2006

Observant readers have doubtless noticed by now that there is a new box on my sidebar, proclaiming “GO ZAGS!!!”; it appeared there this morning. A few link-happy readers may also have ascertained that my Bloypedia page explaining why I like Gonzaga is finally finished, brought up to the present day.

This is no coincidence: I’ve had my eye on February 27 for some time as the date to launch into full Zag mode here on Originally, I was planning to temporarily rename the blog “The Irish Trojan Zag’s Blog,” but I ultimately decided that was a bit much. :) However, a central theme of these pages over the next several weeks is going to be Gonzaga basketball, and thus the Zags deserve at least a prominent spot on the sidebar.

Why February 27, you ask? Because tonight’s the night when Gonzaga goes for 14-0. The Zags host San Francisco in their regular-season finale at 9pm EST, and if they win, they’ll complete their second undefeated West Coast Conference regular season in three years. I don’t care what conference you play in, going undefeated is hard, and that would be one hell of an accomplishment, if they can pull it off.

Tonight’s game might be more difficult than USF’s 11-15 record would suggest, if for no other reason than that Gonzaga’s junior superstar, Adam Morrison, will apparently be sitting on the bench for a while in the early stages of the game. Tonight is Senior Night at McCarthey Athletic Center — the two-year-old facility where the Zags, who own the nation’s best home winning streak at 37, have never lost — and apparently Coach Mark Few intends to stick with tradition and start an all-senior lineup:

Such a lineup would include walk-ons Colin Floyd and Stephen Gentry, along with Texas Tech transfer Nathan Doudney, whose contributions in two seasons as a Zag have been severely limited by the devastating knee injury he suffered early last season in a 54-52 road win over Washington State.

Those three would join starting center J.P. Batista and backup shooting guard Erroll Knight in a makeshift lineup that would not appear to match up well against a quick and athletic USF team (11-15, 7-6) that still has a chance to grab a share of second place in the WCC standings.

It’ll be interesting to see how long Few sticks with the all-senior lineup if the Zags struggle early.

Lingering in the back of everyone’s mind during the Senior Night festivities, I suspect, will be the question of whether Morrison will be back to be honored at next year’s Senior Night. Will he “Matt Leinart it,” as a TV announcer put it earlier this season, and forego the certainty of a high draft pick for the glory of a final college season? Or will he declare for the NBA Draft, where he might be #1 pick? The guy trying to sell his bloody gauze pad isn’t the only one who wants to know.

Anyway… like I said, gametime is 9:00 PM EST; here’s a preview. The game isn’t televised, but I’ll be listening via Internet radio.

For those who are still confused about my Gonzaga fandom, or who think I’m some sort of recent convert to the Zag cause, I encourage you to read the Bloypedia page. As I explain there: “I jumped on the Gonzaga bandwagon before it even existed, and I ain’t getting off now!” :)

Oh, and if you’re wondering about the countdown thingy in the sidebar… normally I would worry about “jinxing” my team with such a conceit, but I boldly did something similar when the Red Sox were getting ready to play the Yankees in 2004 — a countdown in the upper left-hand corner of the homepage displaying the number of wins Boston needed to capture the World Championship. That countdown was stuck at 8 for quite some time, as you may recall :), but even with the Sox down 3-0 to the Yanks, I never removed it from the page, hopeless though things seemed. And, hey: once that number finally started dropping, its momentum was unstoppable. So hopefully that good luck will carry over to the Zags.

The 7 games separating Gonzaga from its first-ever Final Four appearance are: tonight’s game, a WCC semifinal, the WCC final and four NCAA Tournament games. Of course, the first three are not strictly speaking essential to a Final Four trip; indeed, it’s possible that there could be just 6 instead of 7, if they lose in the WCC semis. But nevermind about that. The only thing that really matters is: GO ZAGS!!!

Casey v. Bode

Monday, February 27th, 2006

Having received 108 comments (and counting) on his original “Bode Miller Sucks” post, Casey has now added a “Bode Miller Sucks” category to his blog. The most recent entry: “Bode Sucks” haikus. Heh.

P.S. Casey is #4 on Google for the search phrase “bode miller sucks.” Hopefully the above links will help push him to the top. :)

The Trojan bubble

Monday, February 27th, 2006

USC is on the bubble… for the NIT.

On the wrong side of the bubble at the moment, I might add.

(Notre Dame, on the other hand, is projected as a solid NIT #6 seed. Yes, the NIT is seeded this year.)

P.S. On the women’s side, USC is projected as an NCAA #11 seed in ESPN’s Bracketology, while Notre Dame is one of the first four teams left out… but that was before big Irish wins at WVU and Cincy. (Those of you who don’t much like women’s hoops, read Gene Wojciechowski’s column before you dismiss this paragraph as irrelevant.)

Something a bit more wholesome

Monday, February 27th, 2006

Since I missed Friday catblogging last week, and since I feel mildly dirty letting the debauchery below stay at the very top of my homepage, I offer this bit of unadulterated cuteness:


Good thing Butter can’t read, or else she’d probably be rather offended to be snuggling up against a sweatshirt that says “Bulldogs.” :)

CheerleaderSex: “hot lesbian action” theory revived!

Monday, February 27th, 2006

Following up on HotCheerleaderLesbianSexGate, the story that captivated the blogosphere (or at least its horny heterosexual male contingent) last fall, The Smoking Gun has obtained the police reports from the incident, including witness statements which seem to cast a considerable amount of doubt on the ex-cheerleader Angela Keathley’s claim that fellow ex-cheerleader Renee Thomas was merely “comforting her” after she ran into an ex-boyfriend at Banana Joe’s bar in Tampa last November. This statement is particularly, um, compelling:

Amanda Miner stated that she was in the ladies restroom waiting to use the restroom when she noticed that two females were engaged in what she believed to be sexual activity in one of the bathroom stalls. Miner said that defendant Keathley was standing on the toilet and her head was over the stall wall. She observed Keathley’s facial expressions and saw her eyes rolling back into her head. Miner said that Keathley was moaning as a person does during sexual activity. Miner further stated that one of the girls that was in the front of the line looked over the stall wall and told everyone that one of the girls was “Going Down” on the other.

Well, hey, maybe she was comforting her, come to think of it. That’s one way to take a person’s mind off an old flame! :)

Renee Thomas, left, and Angela Keathley, right: Did they or didn’t they?

Actually, the best part of the police report is what comes immediately after the above-quoted excerpt. The officer summarizing the witness’s statement felt the need to clarify: “‘Going Down’ is slang for oral sex.” Heh.

Anyway, that version of events (corroborated by two other witness statements) certainly doesn’t seem to jive with the ex-cheerleaders’ insistence that there was “no sex” (unless perhaps they’ve retained Bill Clinton as counsel), and that the “moaning” heard by the people waiting in line was really the sound of the traumatized Keathley crying. Standing on top of a toilet and letting your eyes roll back in your head does not seem the most obvious way to react to being “emotional” after running into an ex-boyfriend… but the hotties are sticking to their guns:

“My client has previously denied that any sexual activity ever took place in that bathroom stall and she denies it again,” [Thomas’s lawyer] Pete Anderson said Wednesday. “The sex never happened. The police reports released on Wednesday were based upon witness statements that are simply not credible. We believe a number of other witness statements were taken where the individuals denied that the cheerleaders were having sex.” Anderson said Keathley and her lawyer joined in the statement.

Seriously, Angela and Renee… it’s not too late to reconsider that Penthouse offer…

Previous blogospheric discussion of the Smoking Gun statements can be found here. As you can see, I’m several weeks behind the curve on this one; the reports appeared on The Smoking Gun on February 1, but I only found out about it just now, by chance. (Surely someone must have seen this. No e-mail tips? Throw me a freakin’ bone here! :) Sorry for the delay… but “better late than never” is my philosophy, particularly when the topic is hot NFL cheerleaders allegedly having lesbian sex in a public bathroom stall.

Oh, and if anyone is offended by my coverage of this story… uhh… sorry… but, well, you know what I said about the “horny heterosexual male contingent” of the blogosphere? Yeah, well, just because I’m married doesn’t mean I’m not still a part of that contingent. :) Anyway, I promise I won’t post anything else about this story… until something else awesome happens… :)

It’s late, it’s Tate, it’s great!

Monday, February 27th, 2006

As long as I’m on the topic of NCAA Tournament-related videos, here’s one of perhaps somewhat broader interest — especially for UConn fans. From a CBS highlight tape, this is a clip of arguably the sweetest shot in the history of the Sweet Sixteen: Tate George’s game-winner against Clemson, known simply (in Connecticut anyway) as “The Shot.” (Bryce Drew, eat your heart out.) The date was March 22, 1990, and I was just eight years old, watching my first-ever NCAA Tournament game (no kidding), and this happened…

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Like I said: my first-ever NCAA Tournament game. (Fuller explanation here.) Is it any wonder I became a huge tournament junkie?

Really, “The Shot” wasn’t nearly as remarkable as what ought to be known as “The Pass,” the 90-foot precision heave from Scott Burrell that set up George’s jumper. Burrell was certainly the man for the job if you needed a “baseball pass” from the other end of the court; he had been recruited by colleges in both baseball and basketball, and was a Toronto Blue Jay for a time, according to this page. But he ultimately chose basketball over baseball, and won an NBA championship with the Chicago Bulls in 1998. (Here are his stats.)

Alas, Tate George’s NBA career was somewhat less successful than Burrell’s, as his biography at the bottom of this page attests. “The Shot” is still pretty much his #1 claim to fame. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; hell, I wish I had a claim to fame that good! :)

Incidentally, the title of this post comes from the headline of the Hartford Courant on the day after that incredible win over Clemson. If it sounds vaguely familiar to long-time readers, that’s because it previously surfaced here on the blog in 2004 as a lyric in my NCAA Tournament “battle hymn,” Glory, Glory, Cinderella!

UConn went on to lose to Duke in the Elite Eight on a not-nearly-as-cool buzzer-beater by Christian Laettner, who had 2.4 seconds, and the ball only had to go half the length of the court. Of course, as it turns out, Laettner was just warming up for that other buzzer-beater two years later.

“Catholic” mobs attacking “Protestants” in Eire

Monday, February 27th, 2006

Seems the fanatical Madness is contagious these days.

Over the weekend the provocationist first Orange march in Dublin since the Partion of Ireland in 1921 drew massive downtown hooliganistic Green rioting in Protest. / Joe Loy, guestLamenting.

Sunday February 26, 2006
The Observer

The first loyalist march in Dublin since Partition had to be rerouted after thousands of republican protesters rioted in the centre of the Irish capital yesterday, with several Irish police among 40 people injured.

The main thoroughfare, O’Connell Street, became a battle zone as up to 2,000 rioters tore up building materials being used in major renovation work in the road and hurled them at Irish police. Shops and hotels closed their doors, and at least three Irish police were taken to hospital as rioters hurled scaffolding poles, bricks, slates and rocks at their lines.

Violence raged throughout the afternoon as protesters opposed to the Love Ulster rally, involving Orangemen and relatives of IRA murder victims, fought running battles with Irish police. Cars were set alight and fireworks thrown at police. Shops near O’Connell Bridge were looted as the riot squad combined with a mounted unit initially prevented demonstrators, some of whom were chanting ‘IRA, IRA’, from crossing the river Liffey.

Read the whole sorry business. Here also is The Times Online editorial Take, with which I Must say I substantially Agree. / They have disgraced themselves, and Ireland. Again.

Agony and ecstasy: two March Madness video clips

Monday, February 27th, 2006

With Selection Sunday less than two weeks away, I’m trying to finalize my Bloypedia-centered digital archive of NCAA Tournament-related stuff. As part of that effort, I’ve unearthed two old videos of me and Becky watching tournament games in 2003.

We’ll start with the agony of defeat: Arizona vs. Gonzaga, the instant-classic double-overtime Zag loss that left us heartbroken (notwithstanding that we were watching the game in Arizona, which explains why Becky’s mom, whose voice can be heard in the background, was cheering for the Wildcats). Here’s the clip:

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The next day, the thrill of victory reasserted itself as, after a string of setbacks in my pool picks, my biggest successful upset pick of the tournament happened: #12-seed Butler beat Louisville to advance to the Sweet 16:

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Never one to be shy when it comes to bragging about picking the upset, you can hear me 27 seconds into the clip saying to Becky, “I knew Butler would do it. I knew it.” (She replies, “Shh! There’s still 12.8 seconds left!”)

But then, after a bit more bragging, comes moment of candor just before the buzzer: “No one has to remember that I picked Weber State and Holy Cross and they didn’t make it; all they have to remember is that I picked Butler and they did make it.” Heh.

Alas, I don’t presently have at my disposal the most memorable tourney-watching video of all: Becky’s and my celebration, in 2001, as Hampton — a #15 seed that Becky had, against all odds and against my advice, picked to beat #2 Iowa State — pulled off the colossal upset. Becky has never let me forget that one. :)

Incidentally, the setting of these videos is the same place we’ll be watching the first two rounds of the tournament again this year: at the in-laws’ house in Arizona. God bless that big-screen TV, God bless those couches, and God bless the convenient timing of spring break. :)

P.S. Speaking of the Zaks’ big-screen TV… the year of the above clips, 2003, was also, of course, the year we invaded Iraq… and, as any college basketball fan will recall, the invasion started during the NCAA Tournament. This led to massive utilization of that TV’s wonderful split-screen abilities, as these photos demonstrate.

There’ll never be another March Madness quite like that one…