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.

Friday, April 30, 2004

POSITIVE TRENDS IN THE WAR ON TERROR

The US Department of State has released data for 2003 and terrorist attacks were at their lowest level since 1969. I think you have to chalk this one up as a victory for President Bush and the success of the Patriot Act. It's certainly a struggle, but here is proof that we CAN win the war on terror.
A LI'L FACT OR FICTION

ESPN's Sports Guy has a new amusing column recapping the first round of the NBA playoffs. It's well worth the read, though his NBA persective is very close to Tondar's. The only difference? Tondar is a Detroit homer. Sports Guy is a Boston homer.

Money Quote: "FACT OR FICTION: Billy Joel is the Celtics GM.

Fiction. It's actually Danny Ainge. Although he did manage to drive the bandwagon into a telephone pole."
THE SCIENCE OF DISASTER FLICKS

From Seth...

"Americans can't seem to get enough trite disaster movies laden with cliche - at least according to NBC. But reviews haven't been good for the network's sweeps week "event movie" 10.5, which supposedly depicts an earthquake in California large enough to make everything west of the San Andreas fault line fall into the ocean, tourist site by tourist site. This time, the Sunshine State apparently won't have Superman to save them from Los Angeles being replaced by Otisberg. Scientists are apparently upset at another round of "why don't you friggin' ask us instead of making shit up" but this article unfortunately doesn't say why."

Personally, Ole Tondar really enjoys a great special effects shot like the destruction of Paris, Manhatan, or California. My guess is that they don't consult with the scientists because 9 times out of 10 their own artistic ideas of destruction are going to be cooler than anything fact driven scientists can imagine. But when it comes to science in movies, the one thing that drives me nuts is when there are fiery explosions or simply just noise in outter space. There's no oxygen to burn and there certainly isn't going to be any sort of atmosphere to transfer noise disturbances so why depict it? If you're going to do that you might as well just make a race of sexy moon vixens that seduce our astronauts a permanent fixture of cinema.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

THE EMERGENCE OF TAYSHAUN

Thursday night the Pistons eliminated the Bucks in game 5 to move on to a Tondar predicted second round showdown with the New Jersey Nets. In the 91-77 victory, Tayshaun Prince almost had a tripple double to go with his 24 points. Tuesday, Drew Sharp of the FreeP had a column about Tayshaun's amazing play in the post-season. No other player has come on as strongly and elevated their play to the degree Tayshaun has. He is really kicking butt on both ends of the floor. On top of that, it is really going to throw other teams when the Pistons suddenly have a 6-9 swing man that could explode on them for 20 pts any night. The Pistons are bringing a lot of weapons when there are now 4 key scorers (Rasheed, Chauncey, and Rip) that can deliver the goods on a strong team where everybody knows their roll. I said it before and I will say it again: there are two well oiled machines in the NBA, Detroit and San Antonio, and they are on a collision course.
THIS DAMN OLD HOUSE

Well last night at 5:30 AM my roomie and I were awoken to smoke and the stench of burning popcorn. We were totally confused, as we opened the windows to try and get some fresh air before figuring out if we should grab our stuff and evacuate. However, outside on the front stoop a hobo was curled up sleeping? Did that homeless bastard light our apartment building on fire? Did he fall asleep smoking? I threw on pants and went down there to find out, but it turns out it was only Derek from the apartment below. He was getting ready for work and left a milk carton on the stove. Well the thing burst into flames filling the entire building with a stench that was a cross between burnt popcorn and burnt hair. Derek was down curled up on the stoop trying to get some fresh air into his lungs. Back upstairs, it took about an hour for the ceiling high smoke to die down enough for me to climb back into the loft. Though watching the sun come up is great, I did not have a night of drinking under my belt nor had I been up running shenanigans with my amigos. Bottom line: I wish I'd been sleeping.

But this is the second day in a row that our apartment has been struck by some freak disaster. First, it was water raining down from above. Then it was smoke and fire rising from the depths below. Basically that leaves the elements of wind and earth that have yet to ravage our second floor apartment.

Plus, speaking of water from above. I got the bathroom cleaned up. However, the exposed floorboards under the toilet have become wet. And I'm not sure who lived here before but they were a nasty pig that pissed on the floor. How do I know? The resoaked floorboards are filling our apartment with a urinal funk that would make George Clinton gag. It's not that we have that horrible of an apartment. I would consider my Ann Arbor crackhouse to be worse. But it just seems This Damn Old House is taking a major freak dump as of late.
PRESSING THE COMMUNION ISSUE

A few days ago I posted on whether John Kerry should be taking Holy Communion. In the meantime, the Catholic House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi is now throwing herself into this controversy by insisting that she will take Communion no matter what because her conscience tells her abortion is ok. Unfortunately in Vatican II following your conscience means following God's will, and when it comes to abortion the Church is very clear on this issue. Catholic.org had a very interesting piece today explaining the difference between Vatican II and Catholic Conscience, as defined by the Church.

Money quote: "But, if we're serious in our Catholic faith, we also need to acknowledge that conscience does not "invent" truth. Rather, conscience must seek truth out, and conform itself to the truth once discovered — no matter how inconvenient. Conscience is never just a matter of personal opinion or private preference. It never exists in a vacuum of individual sovereignty."

I think this happens quite often in our modern world. Instead of trying to please God, I think many of us create our own god that will be pleased with our actions regardless. Afterall, it is quite the blow to the ego and individualism to consider that God may be dissapointed in our behavior and life style.
BITTER ON EBAY

With divorce and marriage in the air, I think it's best for eveybody to check out this bitter but optimistic shell of a man selling an old wedding dress on EBay.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

HOW MUCH REST IS ENOUGH?

Seth answers my question on whether a team can be too rested going into the next round of the playoffs...

"
You wanted to know if sports people think it's better to be well rested when entering a series or does a team that just played a few days ago have a leg up for being "in the zone?"

First of all, in the case of the Wings, they played just one more game than Calgary in the 1st round.

There really is no definitive answer to this question. You'll see this
comment a lot as the Red Wings and Pistons (hopefully) progress through the playoffs. Usually, in my experience, it comes from the local paper and reflects the position we're in at the time. When the Wings knock off an opponent in 4 or 5, the players get asked if the layoff will affect their timing. When the Wings finish a close 7-game series, the microphones get shoved in their short-breathed faces with a burning question of whether they'll be too worn out to be fresh for Game 1 against those rested guys.

7-game series:
1987: Red Wings beat Toronto in Game 7 of Norris Division finals
    Next Series: Lost to Edmonton in 5

1992: Defeated Minnesota North Stars in Game 7 of round 1
    Next Series: Lost to Chicago in 4

1996: Red Wings beat St. Louis with a thrilling Game 7 double-overtime goal in conf. semis
    Next Series: Lost to Colorado in 6

2002: Red Wings beat Colorado by dominating Game 7 of conf. finals
    Next Series: Beat Carolina in 5

4-game series:
1987: Swept Chicago in Round 1
    Next Series: Defeated Toronto in 7

1995: Swept San Jose in Round 1
    Next Series: Defeated Dallas in 5

1997: Swept Anaheim in conf. semis
    Next Series: Defeated Colorado in 6

2000: Swept Los Angeles in Round 1.
    Next Series: Lost to Colorado in 5

At least according to the Red Wings, three to one it's better to sweep a series and have a long layoff than play through a Game 7.

So why the bother? Media need to talk hockey every day during the playoffs. But each team only plays every other day in the playoffs. And if a home team sweeps their last opponent, that's a whole week's worth of column inches that need to be filled with predicting a next round that doesn't even have an opponent yet.

There's no true means of predicting hockey. Heck, up until Round 1 of this year, I was certain that the home team always wins in Game 7 - but here's Calgary and Montreal, mucking it up in Round 2. You never know when some life-long 7th defenseman will turn into the team's leading scorer, or the referees all of a sudden start calling a one-way game (see last night's officiating abortion).

Generally, at least in my estimation, you want to get through a series as quickly as possible. The longer you go, the more injuries amount, the more tired the guys get, and less they can bring to the next series. If there's an edge you lose by not playing for too long, it's back in more than enough time to perform in your next series. Being "overconfident" is a common stigma of a sweeper, but "confident enough to make plays" is what they'll call a team that's scoring. If you have the kind of guys who will take an opponent for granted, you'll be out the playoffs in a hurry, one way or another.

If you look at the teams who played a 7-game series in round 1 this year, they're currently 2-6 in Round 2. Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal all came out flat in their opening road series. They also all have injuries to key personnel. The guys on the ice have that many more bruises and sprains, and any number of wounds that hockey players sustain. Everyone else is just plain tired.

Case in point: Two years ago, Colorado advanced through its first two series by playing 7 games. By the time they got to their third Game 7 of the playoffs, they were so out of gas that Detroit manhandled them. It was their 21st game of the playoffs that year. The Red Wings played 23 to win the Cup, and by Game 21, they were so tired that it took them 3 overtimes to get past equally exhausted Carolina.

Here's a stat that might help: (stats taken since playoffs went to
modern 4 best-of-seven series in 1986-87 season)

    10 of 17 Stanley Cup Champions since 1987 won at least one Game 7 and then played another series.
   
11 of 17 Cup Winners since 1986 swept an opponent and had to play another series after that.

93 of 479 7-game series in NHL history have been sweeps. (19.4 percent)

149 of 479 have gone to a game 7. (31.1 percent)

I can't find better figures than this for some reason.

Don't do it twice!

From 1939 through 2003, NHL teams that eked out two seven game series wins posted an 0-4 record in the corresponding
best-of-7 Semis or Finals rounds afterwards. The four teams were the

2002 Colorado Avalanche*, 1993 Toronto Maple Leafs, the 1990 Chicago Blackhawks, and the 1968 St. Louis Blues. In that same period, teams that swept two opponents in a row posted an 0-2 record in best-of-seven series played afterwards: 1992 Blackhawks and 1969 Blues. Actually, it gets worse: both of those teams were swept themselves in their respective finals following the winning streaks.

*The 2002 Avalanche were actually playing in their 4th series in a row to get to game 7, dating back to the 2001 stanley cup championship, which they won against New Jersey.

The layoff effect just gets more press; what else is there to talk about when every other playoff town has hockey to watch on their local sports report while we're stuck with highlights of college football studs in practice uniforms competing to see who can whip up the most hype for the NFL draft."

Just one thing...

Your statistic gathering is very impressive, but isn't the data a bit skewed since every year 15/16 teams eventually lose in the playoffs? To really have a good breakdown of the data you must only take Stanley Cup winners into consideration. But otherwise I think that Seth is right on. There is little layoff effect. And even the effect that does exist is usually gone halfway through the game (whatever the sport may be).
RICHARD'S RAGE IN BERLIN

Here's a German after my own heart. Roll on Bulldozer Gang, garden weasel that sonuvabitch into oblivion!
HEADING TO ANOTHER OLYMPIC DISASTER

America has the best basketball players in the world. Thus they should win the gold medal in EVERY international contest. However, in 2000 they barely won the gold. And then in 2002 disaster struck as USABasketball fell apart. Now in 2004 it looks like we may be heading towards another Olympic disaster in Athens according to ESPN's Marc Stein (ya gotta scroll down a bit). We are not getting the best players on the team. However, his report conflicts with an AP story posted on ESPN so I don't know what to think. But anyways, in the spirit of speculation here is my Dream Team for 2004...

Gaurds

Jason Kidd--Gotta have a strong point guard so why not take the best in the world he led the league in assists and will open things up for TEAM USA

Tracey McGrady--This versatile one man show led the league in scoring

Allen Iverson--Nobody else can get to the basket like AI

Kobe Bryant--He'd be all over Olympic basketball if it weren't for him being all over 19 yr olds

Paul Pierce--The international game is about shooting jumpers so you gotta load up with streak jump shooters

Sam Cassell--He plays the point and can light it up for ALOTTA points on any given night

Reggie Miller--Yes, Reggie is a bit too old but he provides veteran leadership, experience, and can still hit big jumpers

Forwards--

Kevin Garnett--Wow em with the Big Time star power of the NBA MVP

Tim Duncan--A strong post game and defense opens up alotta scoring oppurtunities

Jermaine O'Neal--Gotta have a backup power forward

Centers

Shaq--There's no better or bigger basketball star

Ben Wallace--You also need a strong focus on Defense and can gaurantee American domination on the boards

Explanations

It may seem like I went too easy on forwards, but alotta the guards listed can easily play the small fwd position. A good variety of strong shooters ensures that SOMEBODY will be on for every game. Unfortunately the international game does not rely on a strong post game so bangers like Shaq and Ben Wallace are at a disadvantage. But they are needed for a defensive presence, and their big bodies will make it difficult for other teams to get into any sort of rhythm on either end of the floor. I left off Chris Webber and Vince Carter due to questions surrounding their injuries. The last thing you need is to play with only 11 because Vince Carter sprained his knee climbing around the Acropolis. And as for second tier stars like Richard Jefferson, K-Mart, Elton Brand and Mike Bibby, they are the reason USABasketball has taken a dump.
PROBLEMS WITH THE EU

Check out this transcript of a debate from Uncommon Knowledge on the future of the EU. There are many interesting bits so I'm simply going to call this one a must read.

Money quotes and topics for further discussion if anybody is down...

THE PAPERTRAIL
"In June of this year a European convention produced a document that was the result of more than 18 months of labor, a draft Constitution for the European Union that runs to more than 200 pages. The Constitution of the United States by contrast, runs to just five pages and that's including the Bill of Rights..."

FRENCH HUBRIS
"I think it's a case of cultural hubris and it's essentially the work of the French. And the French think they know everything. One of the things I've been trying to get into the heads of Frenchmen or any Frenchman, for a very long time now, is that if you want to use history to help you, study the history of how the United States was created because there are so many lessons to be learned from the 1770s and 1780s. And after all, this was the first republican constitution of its kind, subject to a few amendments, it's lasted over 200 years. And under its aegis, it has created the richest, most powerful country in the world. You'd think that the Europeans would want to see how it was done and how this came into existence and incidentally learn a bit about democracy. Not at all. No, we have nothing to learn from those barbarians across the Atlantic. That is virtually what they think."

THE MUSLIM QUESTION
"The Mullahs, particularly in the Balkans, are already talking about the day when we recover the kingdom of Granada that they lost in 1492. And they have their own agenda and it doesn't include a United Europe or a free Europe or a Christian Europe or any other kind of Europe. It is an Islamic Europe."

MAINTAINING THE WELFARE STATE
"The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the Union in the proposed European Constitution runs to 50 paragraphs and listen to a few of the rights included: the right to join trade unions, the right to vocational training, the right to free education, the right to paid maternity leave and to parental leave, the right of access to a free placement service. So I put it to you, Timothy Garton Ash, that the proposed charter in this new Constitution does not merely call on member nations to respect fundamental human rights but to maintain in perpetuity the vast apparatus of the welfare state."

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

KERRY AND THE CHURCH

From Seth...

"Kerry's taking communion in the face of a papal edict to not give abortion supporters the rite."
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I actually posted on this a while back. But since then the Vatican has become more persistant in their position so I thought I would tackle the issue again...

Pat Buchanan had a great piece a while back that cites the Church's Catechism on the Catholic's obligations and responsibilities in a democracy. And it is absolutely true Kerry is not following following the teachings of the church...

"Now Kerry may believe as he wishes. What he cannot do is vote for abortions and to elevate immoral sexual unions to the level of marriage and claim his votes do not violate Catholic doctrine."

So, yes, Kerry should not be taking the Sacrament of Communion as long as he chooses not to act as a political disciple of Christ. On the other hand, I have problems with this as a campaign issue. This is a very complex issue within the Church and cannot be easily understood by even most Catholics. So if Kerry is ex-communicated there is a strong possibilty of backlash. Especially when so many liberals cling to the seperation of state and elimination of church ideal. Plus when Kerry comes to take Communion, as a responsible Catholic he is to have taken care of these sins before hand in Confession, thus the priest is somewhat bound by goodfaith to assume Kerry has actually cleansed his soul and is in a position to accept the Body of Christ. Thus he would have to be ex-communicated by some high ranking Church official before hand (I'm not sure of the details within the modern Church). But anyways, I think if Kerry were to be ex-communicated it would have little affect on the outcome of the election since most true practicing Catholics left the Democratic party long ago when it became so militantly pro-abortion.
"JOHN KERRY MUST GO"

It seems Democrats have finally figured out what Tondar knew all along: John Kerry is unelectable. Not only is he too liberal but some say he combines the integrity of Clinton with the charm of Dole. However, I think this is a bit hard on Clinton and Dole. Check out this piece in the liberal Village Voice calling for Kerry to be replaced at the convention. I wouldn't be surprised if Hillary jumped in and took over the nomination. Everybody knows she is eyeing 2 more terms in the White House for herself. However, with Kerry, the Democrats really got what they deserved. The base got behind the crazy anti-war Howard Dean and after he imploded with his "YAH!" speech in Iowa there wasn't enough time to weed through the other candidates and select a TRUE centrist that could appeal to mainstream America. Instead the angry Bush-haters fell back on John Kerry and he was nominated without proper media scrutiny that would have rooted out Kerry's flaws before it's too late.

Personally, I don't agree with the Democrats or their platform at all but I think it is dangerous for the nation when their party becomes so out of touch it leaves America as a one-party democracy. While President Bush is fighting a war, an actual shooting war, they are dragging their feet and trying to talk about healthcare and the economy, issues that have little relivence in a life and death struggle with Islamic Fascism. I don't wanna go Dr. Jack Ramsey and prescribe how to fix the Democrats, but since they will not heed my advice I don't see any problem with it.

First, the party needs to break up the current coallition. They are spread too thin and promise too many things to too many people. They need to reasses who they are and what they really want to do for the nation. Secondly, they need to expel the old communist element. Send 'em to the Green party. There is no way they can regain legitimate power relying on a base that calls George W. Bush a murderer and thinks Stalin and Saddam "aren't that bad of guys." Finally, they need to steal one out of the Republican playbook and create a Contract with America that offers voters a clear alternative policy. Nobody ever wins with an anti-ideas. This is why abortion advocates have been so successful because they have painted themselves as "pro-choice." Nobody wants to be a part of the negative. Can you really picture these same people going around callng themselves "anti-life?" The democratic agenda needs to be focused in a classic JFK/FDR way. They must be strong on defense, promise to restore American prestige abroad (without sacrificing strength), and capable of eliminating pork spending and balancing the budget without raising taxes on anyone.

One must remember that the 2 party system is important to American politics and keeps the ruling party in check. Without it I fear we will only see more Republican triangulation as they merely become like Italy's Christian Democrats. Not a viable or trustworthy leader, but the only legitimate option for voters next to the frightening alternative presented by the communist masses.
ALBUM REVIEW OF THE DAY

Zucchero: Blues--1987

If you check the all music guide, the entry for "Blues" is a little misleading. It claims the LP is from 1992 instead of the ? 1987 on the CD itself. Since the album is an Italian import I will trust the packaging over the AMG. Upon listen, there is little doubt that this album must be the follow up to Zucchero's "Rispetto." This is simply because the album seems trapped by it's late 80's production style. Synthesizers and primitive studio beats permeate the blues driven sound. Despite all of this, the music is completely more mature as Zucchero begins to embrace American Blues, thus fusing together Italian pop with American Rock and Roll. This American fusion can especially be heard in Zucchero's showcasing of a black choir, (which makes for another in a long line of goofy Zucchero album covers).

The first half of the album is very forgettable. However, by the 7th track, "Senza Una Donna," things pick up revealing a very strong set of songs. Here the album shines, and it is pure gold. The best of these are the more timeless "Hey Man," and "Solo Una Sana E Consapevole Libidine Salva Il Giovane Cattolica." These three have become concert favorites of Zucchero and have nicely evolved beyond their 80's production. The album then finally concludes with the beautiful ballads, "Hai Scelto Me," and "Dune Mosse." It's strange to have an album with such contrasting quality. But if you loved Zucchero's later masterpieces, such as 2002's "Shake," then "Blues" is an enjoyable listen.

Tondar's rating: ***
All Music rating: N/A
DON'T DRINK THAT APPLE JUICE HOBO MAN

This morning I was awoken to the steady pitter patter of running water. Since it was loud and regular I figured I'd better get my lazy butt up and check it out. It's a shame too because I had to abandon a GREAT dream involving a tall brunette. But anyways, it turns out the water was coming in from the apartment above. I then threw on clothes and went up and POUNDED on their door until someone opened up. Turns out somebody had left the water running and due to the bad plumbing in our building, it came raining down into our second floor apartment, UGH. However, before I could start cleaning up the mess I really had to use the flooded bathroom. But since our only bathroom was flooded with nastage, I couldn't get in there to use the toilet. So after a quick potty dance, I did the only logical thing one can do in this city. I filled an old apple juice container. I of course immediately took out the trash, and then set about mopping the disaster area. However, I just hope no hobo goes through our garbage looking for bottles or old food. Though on the other hand, it would be kinda funny, so maybe I do.
REVOLUTION!

Since ole Tondar is STILL unemployed. I've decided that I should devote more time to the blog. Not just linking more articles, but actually composing more rantations of my own. So from now on look for the Daily Rant to tackle more issues in depth, whether it be music, sports, politics, culture, or simply Tondar adventure stories there is no time like unemployment to slap down ideas, manifestos, and rants. Look for the occaissional DVD review and also the return of the daily CD review (until I run out of CD's to review), because from now on the Daily Rant will be 50% more Rantatia-rriffic!
PLENTY OF WORK FOR GIBSON

The NYTimes reported that Mel Gibson would have difficulty finding work after he made "The Passion of the Christ." However, Seth sent me this link because it seems the Franciscans want Gibson to make a biography of St. Francis of Assisi. Personally, I doubt Gibson would get behind the story of St. Francis. It's simply just not bloody enough. However, Gibson did say on Sean Hannity a while back that he is considering a movie based on the Old Testament book of Maccabees. The story has a wonderful moral message with a great deal of violence and butt kicking action.

Personally, I hope Gibson (or somebody) does take up some of these stories. I often thought it would be great to start a film studio that produces well made moral films. Whether it's the Bible, the lives of the Saints, or simply the struggles between good and evil in our modern world, there are plenty of great positive stories that could be made without the typical Hollywood bastardization of the script. Sure sex sells, but as proved by "The Passion" there exists a demand for high quality intelligent films with a positive and or spiritual message. However, one of the problems with artists today is they feel they must challenge the status quo. This means fecal art and defiling religious icons in an attempt to be the avant garde of offensive material. But in reality the best and most interesting pieces of original modern art I have ever seen are religious. If you ever make it to the Vatican check out the isolated wing devoted to modern religious art. Of course it's not as great as the Sistene Chapel or Raphael's Stanza, but it's still some of the best I have ever seen. First, you can get your head around it and understand. Secondly, it relies on our modern sense of originality for appreciation. I'm not sure when art became racey, offensive, or simply strange, to be considered good, but that same mentality seems to affect most Hollywood directors. But since Hollywood is driven by money, it's not too much of a stretch to think they would try to make solid movies that appeal to the demographic that was so willing to throw down cash to see "The Passion."

But anyways, as for the story of St. Francis, if you can't wait for the movie you may wanna check out the biography by St. Bonaventure. I have a copy of it and it makes a great companion to Bonaventure's two other essays: "The Soul's Journey Into God" and "The Tree of Life."
SETH'S NFL DRAFT RECAP

Everybody is praising the Lions for having a great draft day. Even Len Pasquarelli of ESPN was hopping on the Lions bangwagon. Personally, Ole Tondar is still not convinced of the Matt Millen debacle err, injury err, I mean the Matt Millen system. He's had several years to get his system into place and STILL has not produced any results. In the business world he would be fired. In government he would be promoted. But since this is sports, he continues to have William Clay Ford in some sort of creepy Rasputen magical hold, thus, he still holds sway over our hopes of a Lion's Superbowl. I will of course be following the Lion's this year as usual, but I have learned better than to get my hopes up.

From Seth...

"NFL Draft: when was the last time that a draft day announcer said, "You had to know that the Lions would get the guys they wanted."
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What? The Lions? Draft Wizards? Either we're being way too hard on Matt Millen or he didn't just orchestrate his second wildly successful draft day in as many years. We got so used to the old Lions sitting pat and taking an overrated offensive lineman with their mid-1st round pick that we've overlooked how good the Millen/Mariucci tandem has been.
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Pick 1: On draft day in 2002, Millen wanted Harrington. Marty Morninwheg (he doesn't work here anymore so I don't have to spell his damn name correctly) wanted Oklahoma safety Roy Williams (now in Dallas). Well, now we have Roy Williams...er....the other one. This was a great pick. First of all, the trade with Cleveland was absolutely brilliant; the Lions got a high 2nd rounder for moving?back just one slot! Then, they took the guy they wanted anyway. Williams was considered about on par with Charles Rogers last year, before he decided to return to Texas. Roy moved up the boards faster than anyone not named Manning in the weeks prior to the draft. He's everything you want in a receiver, and the guy I would have chosen over the somewhat flashier Larry Fitzgerald. Williams played better against better opponents this past season than Fitzgerald and, unlike Pitt's sophomore ESPN glamour boy, had to compete with a number of highly regarded fellow receivers for pass attention and a Big 12 coaching style based on a multi-lateral running attack. So while Fitzgerald spent every down of 2004 running routes designed to bring a Heisman trophy to Western Pennsylvania, Williams was using his time learning how to block. Guess which skill NFL scouts have been screaming about (usually on deaf ears) in picking offensive talent? Did we need him (and a 2nd rounder) more than Kellen Winslow? Well, gee, did you watch "the soldier" play this year? Miami hype: never fails.
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Pick 2: So the Lions found themselves in the unique position of having stockpiled early 2nd round picks. In previous years, this spot has been Detroit's favorite haunt for picking gems who slipped past the first round. Kalimba Edwards,?and Boss Bailey managed to outplay their respective 1st round counterparts, Joey Harrington, and Charles Rogers in recent years. But with a noteable need at tailback and two blue-chippers already off the board, the Lions moved up into the late 1st round to snag Virginia Tech's Kevin Jones. Jones is called a side-to-side runner but I think that's more because speed is the only thing?they talk about in the Big East (Miami hype: never fails). The guy does have power - enough to supplant then Heisman candidate Lee Suggs for starting time when Michael Vick left for the NFL. He's not Stephen Jackson - Oregeon State's Ricky Williams-type and the real steal of the draft - but Jones has the potential to be a great back. I don't, however, agree with his draft-day statement "the next Barry is here." I think the kid's been playing too much against Miami.
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Pick 3: Now we get to the annual early 2nd-round steal. This year we feature outside linebacker Teddy Lehman of Oklahoma. Funny what one season does. Miami had two linebackers taken in the early 1st round this year. While both of these guys are stud athletes, we seem to have forgotten who was predicted to be in that spot right from 2002 up until Oklahoma lost in the Big 12 championship in '04. Miami hype: never fails. Teddy Lehman was the heart and soul of the Sooner defense of 2001-2004 that should go down in legend as one of the best in college football history.
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Whew. See, I can play the hypemaster role when necessary, and if you haven't figured it out yet, Draft Day is only half about filling your roster with good young talent and half about hyping your team to sell tickets for next season. I'm very happy with the Lions drafting these past two years. But there's a lot of burning questions that I didn't see addressed:

??? 1. Who's going to be our tight end?

??? 2. Who will fill the other offensive guard spot?

??? 3. We got a 3rd-round cornerback - can he play the nickel package though?

??? 4. Don't you need a tight end to play the West Coast offense?

??? 5. We don't have any more linebackers. Can Teddy Lehmann step into the role of starter right away?

??? 6. Is Joey Harrington going to finally shine this year, and how long does he have to become a star?

??? 7. I thought Steve Mariucci and Matt Millen were West Coast Offense guys; don't they need a tight end?

??? 8. Can Cory Redding or Kalimba Edwards replace Robert Porcher?

??? 9. With 2 new receivers coming to town after this offseason, is there still room for guys like David Kircus?

??? 10. Does Roy Williams play tight end?
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The Lions still have a grace period, so long as they keep improving, before they're expected to be competing with the NFL's elite franchises. Starting in 2005, we're not going to be just plugging the holes in our team, but face new ones springing up as Porcher, Schleishinger, and Hanson - what's left of the 1990s core of the team - start considering retirement. If the Lions can get some early wins, it might be worth it to trade a future draft pick for some plugs at Tight End?and Guard?this season and make a Cinderella run. The worst thing they?could do is to take all of this rebuilding and become another 8-8 team like the last one.
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Final thought: With Miami (Fla.) featuring a record 6 players chosen in the 1st round, I thought I'd address a line stated by then Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde: "You can never have enough guys from Miami."
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Team with most players from Miami on active roster in 2003: Cleveland Browns, with 5 (Winslow makes 6 for '04). 2003 record: 5-11 Miami players on active roster for last three Super Bowl winners (Tampa Bay and New Englandx2): 0."

Something to think about. Though ole Tondar was never too high on Kellen Winslow. Between his stats and his "soljah" attitude he has a VERY long way to go before he lives anywhere up to his name. In the tradition of Ryan Leaf and Shawn Bradley, Tondar smells a professional bust.

Monday, April 26, 2004

THE BEST IDEA SINCE SOYLANT GREEN

And here I've been flushing the toilet like a chump! Well no more. Check out how scientists have figured out how to turn human waste into a source of renewable energy. May I suggest printing out the article and taking it to the bathroom with you for optimal irony.
KILL BILL VOL. 2 :(

Saturday night after the Pistons game I saw Kill Bill Vol. 2. Unfortunately it was not at the theater near Madison Square Garden so I don't have any great tales of idiots talking to the movie. But anyways, I was really dissapointed by the second half of "The Bride's" bloody saga of revenge. Like the Fox 411 pointed out, Vol. 2 was more plot driven and was meant to fill out the characters and their relationships better. However, in the end Vol. 2 raised more questions than it answered. Instead of butt kicking action sequences, the struggle to kill Bill becomes more psychological and emotional in Vol. 2. Vol. 1 was one of the best movies I have seen in recent years. The clash of styles added so much to the violence and it's ability to combine Eastern kickbutt movies (Sonny Chiba) with Western kickbutt action (Sergio Leone) that one would assume that Vol. 2 was a sure hit if it just stuck with the momentum of Vol. 1. Unfortunately, there were too many plot lines and stories to fully get your head around. For example, take the character of Budd. He was introduced slightly towards the end of Vol. 1 with a great shot of him in profile looking like the Marlboro Man in the desert saying "That woman deserves her revenge...and...we deserve to die." When we finally meet Budd in Vol 2, we learn that he is Bill's brother and after a falling out Budd is no longer an assasin but an alcoholic bouncer at the local tittie bar. On top of that, with such a great quote as that, one would expect Budd to be some sorta philosopher cowboy similar to Sam Elliot's drifter in "Big Lebowski." Unfortunately Budd is a stupid bastard that makes you really wonder how THIS GUY was ever a member of Bill's assasin squad. The movie has many many more holes that make Ole Tondar just downright dissapointed in Kill Bill Vol. 2.

QUESTIONS RAISED (AND NOT ANSWERED) IN KILL BILL Vol. 2

1. What happened between Budd and Bill?

2. Why was the Bride so favored by Pai Mei?

3. What EXACTLY happened to the "Pussy Wagon?"

4. How did Elle make it so long as a dirty one-eyed assasin?

5. What was with the old pimp?

6. What happened to Sophie?

7. What happens to Elle?

8. What made the bride choose El Paso for her wedding?

9. Why does Hanzo break his vow and make a new sword to kill Bill?

10. Why did the Deadly Viper Assasin Squad disband?

All legitimate questions with no answer. If you're going to make a good character study/psychological film than you really need to baby step the audience along especially when dealing with a process film like Kill Bill. After all, the ending is given away in the title! If you loved Vol. 1 as much as Tondar, Vol. 2 is worth the view. Nevertheless, Kill Bill Vol. 2, you dissapoint Tondar.

All Movie Rating: **** outta 5
Tondar's Rating: ** 1/2 outta 5