Tondar's Daily Rant

Prepare yourself for the writings of Tondar the Destroyer, Baron of Atlanta, Rightful Heir to the Throne of Spain, from whom all babies come. As his will be blogged, so let it be done.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

DO WE HAVE HIM?

The U.S. is denying reports from Iranian radio that the Pakistani's have captured Bin Laden. This is interesting for a number of reasons. First, Iranian radio was the first to report the capture of Saddam. This is because they were able to intercept the American chatter in neighboring Iraq. It is not a far stretch that they have heard similar chatter coming from their eastern neighbor Afganhistan. In addition, they have no need to sit on this information.

Secondly, we will probably not hear anything official because of what I would like to call the McLaughlin Theory. John McLaughlin hosts a roundtable political show on PBS, (he's the one that screams, "WRONG!" at his guests) and he theorized that Bush would produce Bin Laden right before the Nov 2004 election to give him the lift he will need for reelection. This is becoming a very likely scenario as Bush is becoming increasingly upopular despite the amazing job he has done wining the war on terror and turning the economy around. Contrary to popular belief, Bush is not a stupid man and he knows how and when to play his cards. Like Clinton bombing Iraq in an election year, look for Bush to either produce Bin Laden or something quite spectacular in the weeks just before the election.
WHATEVER WORKS!

In another effort to lift the curse, Harry Caray's restaurant bought and destroyed the Bartman ball from this year's NLCS. This is the ball that led to the 8 run inning that cost the Chicago Cubs game 6 (and probably the series) last fall. Though if they are interested in winning it all, Dusty Baker might consider not leaving his starting pitchers in for so long.
CAT'S OUTTA THE BAG

John Kerry is going to have a difficult time moving to the center during the coming election. It appears that he has once again proven to be the most liberal member of the senate. Well good luck appealing to mainstream voters now.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

WHAT'S THE WORD?

Tonight Im going to another artsy party so I talked to the devil and we decided that I should drink a bottle of Thunderbird before I go. This way i could provide excellent commentary on their work. So I went down to the liquor store, and of course I couldn't understand the foreign man behind the counter because my Broken English is not the best. However, the gentleman in a wool cap and full jacket perched upon the box of wild Irish Rose was able to translate as I am rather fluent in Ebonics. He explained that Thunderbird (his drink) is kept in the cooler. However, probably the strangest part of my adventure at the liquor store came when somebody came in and tried to cash a check. This threw the man on the boxes into a fit of rage at which point he began screaming "Can't cash check heaw! Gotta putta sign out fron dat say 'can't cash check heaw!" Though I did agree with the man's point, I just stayed silent and payed my bill and left. Oh you crazy Brooklyn liquor strore! You gonna git me in a heap o' trouble one of dese days!

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

THE ELITE 8 OF THE NBA

Check out David Aldridge's breakdown of the top teams in the NBA. I would agree that the Pistons have seriously shortened their bench since last year. However, I think their biggest problem has been putting together a cohesive offensive threat. There have been many games this year where they simply go cold and can't buy a basket. This will be their biggest obstical for post-season success.
PIGPEN ON THE ISOLATION OFFENSE

"I heard a pretty good opinion on the lack of fundamentals in the NBA, just the other day. High schools are diminishing their role in player development of fundementals and putting it in the hands of AAU type organizations, the problem however is not as clear cut as just that. With more and more high school kids going right into the NBA it takes away from the "professional" aspect of the league. There have been exceptions, Amare Stoudamire and it appears LeBron. Nevertheless most straight out of HS players take a year or two or three to develop and acheive at least mediochre skills to hang with professionals ie: Kobe's development. It is also a problem that starts with David Stern - as more and more teams look for and sign the "second comming of basketball" and place all of their hopes on one Krazy scoring freak there will be no team dynamic.

The Pistons were the closest to team dynamic, but now that they've thrown their efforts and energy into Wallace this paper thin dynamic is all but gone. Or you have a Sacremento of LA where it is stacked with all stars and veterans who understand how to use all of the tools that they have on the floor and are confident with the superstar skills of many of the teammates on the floor at any given time. But it is like saying the Wings are the only ones that play like a team and somebody like Chicago only gives it to Fluery because he's the only on on the ice that has any type of professional level skill and game sense."

I think that Pigpen is right in that there is a great lack of fundamentals in today's NBA. However, I think the Isolation problem has more to do with a prima dona problem.  As
these players grow up they were always the best on their HS and college team.  Now they have to learn to share and work together?  Screw that!  That's why Phillie and Orlando have taken such dumps this year.  They allow player egos to take over the club.  I would agree some teams can click (Sac, LAL, Ind).  But also look at Dallas.  By far they have the most TALENTED team.  But just because you have 8 guys that avg 20 points with other teams doesnt mean they are willing to lower their egos for the good of the club.

As for the Pistons trade.  they did have good chemistry and Chucky will be missed.  But there were many times this year the offense just couldnt do anything.  If you shut down Chauncy and Rip then the Pistons will lose.  Now Sheed is an extreme headcase but if he can keep it together for 6 months we will be in good shape for the playoffs with a third great scoring option.  On top of that, last weeks Wallace trade was made with a focus on maintaining the core of the team which has the best chemistry and is still intact...Big Ben, Okur, Rip, Chauncy, Tayshaun, and Darko.  Sheed is here because he has the expiring contract (thats also why Cliff Robinson and Chucky were traded) and will free up cap room to resign Okur at seasons end.
SICK AND WRONG

I don't get it. I don't think I want to get it. But at least the man is facing criminal charges.
COOL

See what happens as nature collides with man at The Home Depot.
TOTO CAN SUCK IT

I was about to call it a night on the blog but then "I heard the drums echo into night as Cheetahs only whisper some quiet conversation," and it reminded me that I was going to try and blog more personal things from now on. So I figured I would share a dream I had a few days ago.

In this dream Pigpen and I found out that the band Toto was goinig to be playing a show in my grandparents' den. Since we didn't have anything else to do we decided to "press the rains" and check it out. Well when we got there the band was setting up. But as they were setting up they started playing part of the song "Roseanna." But instead of playing the song as a whole, they were playing random parts here and there, an occaissional sax note, a few random guitar licks, and about half of a mumbled chorus. They then stopped and continued playing the same way with one of their hit ballads, "I Won't Hold You Back." However, as they were playing the band noticed that we were kinda singing along. At this point Toto stopped playing altogether to make fun of us for listening to Toto enough to know some of the words. However, since it was only Toto making fun of us, we just shook our heads and left the room. This concluded Toto's concert in my Grandparents den.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

PEOPLE ON THE PASSION

Mel Gibson's new movie "The Passion of the Christ" opens today. And surprise, surprise, the NYTimes doesn't like it. However, if you read the review you notice two things. First, from what is described, the movies sounds very interesting and worth seeing simply described from some of the opening effects and shots. Second, this is probably the worst review of a movie I have ever seen. It is simply unprofessional and is the type of thing that belongs in an email or on somebody's blog. The author makes several asides that make it sound like he is writing to friends instead of for a nationwide newspaper.

But anyways, the article was very good when answering charges of anti-semitism. It agreed that people will take from the movie what they want. This is a good point because that is what happens with every piece of art. In fact, it is difficult to tell the story of "The Passion" without blaming the jews because their pharasees played such an important role in Biblical times. As James puts it...

"Part of the ministry of jesus was in opposition to the pharasees, who did not believe in an afterlife.  however, one must keep in mind that the gospels were probably written after the destruction of the second temple.  i keep that frame of reference when reading matthew 27: 25 "And the whole people said in reply, "His blood be upon us and upon our children"".  to me, it seems to imply a condemnation of the people of jerusalem, blaming them for the destruction of the second temple rather than a condemnation of jews as a whole.  everyone knows its was the roman soldiers who did the dirty deed and drove the nails in.  during the middle ages, however, it wasn't fashionable to interpret anything against rome, because it was the pinnacle of civilazation that they strove to emulate, a "holy roman empire" that in late antiquity was the bastion of christendom against the heathen pagan barbarians.  jews, however, were were not so revered, so it stands to reason that the medieval mind might rationalize prejudices with the bible.  after all, matthew only condemns the crowd in jerusalem, and only for one generation.  mark doesn't admonish pilate or condemn the crowd for a generation, luke and john give varying levels or reprieve to pilate but only matthew places blame on the crowd.  both luke and john have pilate willing to scourge and villify jesus with no prodding.  at any rate, that is how i read the situation.  i don't plan on seeing the movie, so i can't say for sure whether these people are reactionaries and acting in an unjustified manner to attempt to censure art or not.

Also Jewish Seth weighs in...

The reason the Jewish groups are so anxious is that the "Jews killed Jesus" argument is historically one of the most prominent battle cries of anti-semitism. James is right in that blaming Pontius Pilate was against the Renaissance and Enlightenments' general perception of Rome as a golden age. But I think this goes deeper; dark ages anti-semitism used the deiocide argument, along with infanticide by the way, as did late Romans. I think it stems from the fact that Christianity, in effect, grew out of and gradually replaced the Roman empire in the West in the 4th and 5th centuries.
 
However, there are ways in which an accurate portrayal of Jesus' death could very well implicate certain Jews. Leave out the fact that Judas was also Jewish, along with J.C. and the rest of his boys. We know from the Dead Sea Scrolls that Judaism was split between the temple-ites and the rabbinical movement. Jesus was historically most likely on the left fringe of the rabbinical side, which believed rabbis and prayer were more proper than tossing blood around a great temple. In this tense political atmosphere within a society already unhappy about Roman occupation, it's conceivable that a conservative group (who had the money and political contacts within Roman government to get it accomplished) or even a moderate rabbinical group wanted Jesus removed. However, it's much more likely that these people were not collaborators, given that Jesus was far from the most extreme or most powerful of the fringe group leaders, and that the Roman governor had him crucified in order to quell tensions.
 
Of course, every Christian on the planet cannot be expected to understand the political atmosphere of Palestine in Jesus' time. What Jews are concerned about is the substantial number of rabble rousers within the various sects of Jesus' followers today taking up a call that has caused us so much grief historically and the Pope himself called fictitious. Because the prevailing belief among historians leans towards Pontius Pilate being the culprit, if Mel Gibson did in fact portray the Jews as being responsibe, it questions whether he thought he had good reason to refute historians, was given bad information, or purposely blamed the Jews. That's all I can really say having not seen the movie..."

Of course Pigpen later pointed out...

"...It's quite refreshing to read an argument from him (Seth) that weigh facts rather than political party doctrine. However I do like how he slips in the conservative (temple) and the liberal (rabbinical) aspects of it and throws a right wing blame in there - subtle yet present. Putting good on the extreme left and the middle and distinguishing evil as the entire right side of the first century politcal spectrum. Maybe I try to find this in his writings, but I think it's valid..."

But anyways, the movie opens tomorrow and I will be seeing it over the weekend. I saw the trailer a while back and the movie looked really well made. Even if the NYTimes is right and there is no reasoning behind all the suffering in the film. As a Christian I am able to look beyond this because redemption is implied in any story about Christ.
ONE BUCKEYE SHORT OF...

It seems Maurice Clarret is on his best behavior as he's trying to get in shape for the coming NFL draft. Of course, even if he isn't doing anything illegal he still hasn't been working out during his time away from football.

Money Quote: "I think I'm going to keep my mouth shut at this level."
A TONDAR KINDA DAY

Yesterday, I had a job interview on 42nd Street across from the Chrysler Building. Since it was such a beautiful day I decided to go for a little stroll and bow down at the alter of the U.N. Well instead of heading towards the UN Building, I ended up going the other way and wound up in Time Square. I stopped by the Toys R Us where the stuffed animal department had a greeter that also happened to be Earth's creepiest resident. However, I was able to pick up a set of 8 impressionist era puzzles for $20. Since it was about 3 pm show tickets were going on sale in the center of the square. So I decided, what a great day to see "Phantom of the Opera." The show was pretty good but I guess they left out a scene towards the end and the special effects were not as good as "normal." But since this was the first time I ever saw the show I was impressed. But on the way home a billboard triggered a...

Quote of the week: "I'm gonna go home and go to joshgroben.com!

It was a day full of interviews, shows, and nachos, or in other words: A Tondar Kinda Day.
CAN'T GET YOUR HEAD AROUND IT WATCH

Here's one liberal with whom Seth won't agree. You have to read this one for yourself to see the stupidity that would make ANYONE prefer the Matrix trilogy over the Lord of the Rings. This one speaks for itself. *shaking head*
RUMSFELD'S WAR

Shortly after the attacks on September 11th Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld realized that America was at war. Instead of making the hunt for terrorism a police effort, he advised the President to make this a broader campaign against global terrorism. Check out these excerpts from a new book ("Rumsfeld's War") that chronicles the War on Terror from the Pentagon. It is quite the profile in leadership, showing how Rumsfeld is working to change both the U.S. Military and the world in the wake of 9/11.

On a broader note, this will be the biggest issue in the coming election. President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld have made the War on Terror an actual war. We are fighting World War III, a clash of civilization with very different views on freedom and democracy. Democrats have viewed terror as a police measure to be handled by police, the United Nations, and other established frameworks. However, what they often forget is that terrorism was allowed to flourish under this framework resulting in a vast worldwide network of destructive non-state actors. The only way to ensure our safety is to challenge the status quo and pro-actively fight to ensure our national defense. It's important that this distinction be made otherwise we may face a regression to our pre-9/11 position. Or even worse, we may see a broader crackdown on our civil liberties and freedoms in the name of national security.
ANOTHER REVOLUTION IN BOSTON?

As part of the continuing series of "What's Wrong With the NBA," check out this well written ESPN Page 2 article that calls on fans to boycott the Boston Celtics. After trading away Paul Pierce, Erick Williams, Tony Battie and forcing the resignation of Jim O'Brien, General Manager Danny Ainge has taken this solid team and ran it straight into the ground. Now in the spirit of Samuel Adams, will Boston be leading the fan revolt over the NBA?
POOR PIGGY

Check out the size of this chinese pig. It grew to weigh almost a full ton before it finally died of a lack of exercise.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

THE BUSINESS OF THE NBA

Check out Marc Stein's take on why it's difficult to be an NBA fan these days. Unlike TNR he blames free agency, trades, and the possibility of a luxury tax. These combine to make the business side more complex than simply trying to build a great team. It also explains the recent trade that sent Rasheed Wallace to the Pistons in exchange for a collection of jabronies and cash. Only the Pistons got more talent for this season. Everybody else just got the chance to possibly improve their position in the coming off-season.
YANKEE OR DIXIE

Try this quick and easy test to see if you talk more Yankee or Dixie. Be sure to read the directions and only click one button per question before it's computed. Otherwise it gets all messed up. It seems ole Tondar is just barely Yankee though there are so few questions it allows for alotta variation from people of the same region.