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, April 23, 2005

90 YEAR OLD WOMAN WATCH

From Seth, though, in fact, it sounds a bit like my Grandma...

"Woman, 90, Grabs Bobcat's Tail to Free Cat

WYMAN TOWNSHIP, Maine (AP) _ A 90-year-old woman grabbed a bobcat by the tail to free her beloved pet cat from the wildcat's mouth. Mildred Luce, who lives alone, said the action began one recent day when she looked outside her window and saw the bobcat lying on its side with the head of her 20-year-old cat, Smudge, in its mouth.

Luce ran out the door, grabbed an aluminum snow shovel and pushed it down on the bobcat's neck. But it held on tight.

``Then I took hold of its head with my hand and pulled on its tail, and Smudge popped out,'' she said.

Smudge hightailed into the house with the bobcat hot on her heels. Once inside, the wildcat calmed down and appeared more bewildered than aggressive, Luce said, wandering from room to room before walking into the bathroom.

A neighbor whom Luce had called for help secured the door until Warden Mark Rollins arrived and snared the animal as it hid behind a shower curtain.

Luce was upset by the episode, even more so because her other cat, 5-year-old Foxy, had been mauled the night before and died two days later.

But Luce never had a second thought about coming to the rescue of Smudge, who is still on the mend.

"I had no fear of it _ I was just interested in saving Smudge,'' she said.

The bobcat was killed so it could be tested for rabies, and the results were negative.
DAVE SACKETT'S STRIKES OUT FOR MEN EVERYWHERE

Scroll down on the following links to see what Beth and Dave had to say to eachother. I hate to quote rap lyrics, but dizamn somebody got fucked up...

Monday a girl I knew Beth Montgomery wrote in to the michigan daily---and here
is my response on wednesday. You guys might like it. It's not Frank-level
wit and sarcasm, but I gave it a shot.

P.S. By the way, I have a funny story about Rich I want to tell you about. Rich,
you know this chinese guy named Ding right?
HARRINGTON TRADE RUMOURS?

From Seth...

"Seems it was just a rumor.

What isn't a rumor, though, is the possibility of the Lions taking a quarterback in the late rounds. You know me: I'm all for late-round draft pick quarterbacks. At worst, you have a cheap backup for a couple years who's learning your system. At best, you have Tom Brady.

The trick is to pick a year that's deep with QBs.

The fact is, Garcia can push Joey and help him learn Mariucci's offense now, but we could really use a draft pick backup guy. He'll know he's not going to have anything given to him, and he can push Joey in the years to come. I'm surprised, considering how many QBs there are available every year, that more teams don't develop their own
back-ups. That is, except for the 49ers of the '80s and '90s (Montana, Young,
and Garcia all came up as back-ups; Favre, Tomczak, Detmer and Kurt Warner).

I think it's a great strategy. It's less expensive and more rewarding that trolling the free agent list every 3 years to find a Jeff George, Gus Ferotte or Brad/Doug/Steve/Craig/Mike/Emilio Johnson. Almost nobody drafts for backups anymore, so the number of guys who can go in and play 4 games in the middle of the season is decreasing. Who's drafted a solid QB the last few years who was only expected to be a backup? Tennessee's Bill Volek and New England's Major Applewhite. Who else?

Think of all the guys who were gutty drop-back QBs in college who didn't have a gun for an arm. Or, conversely, those highly recruited studs who ended up behind another stud (or guts guy) on the depth chart. The talent's still there, and now you have NFL coaches to develop it.

Anyway, here's some guys who should be around by the 3rd round or later that I wouldn't mind seeing the Lions draft...

1. Charlie Frye: It seems the secret's out on Frye, who managed to not be seen in 4 years at Akron. He'll be gone by the 3rd round now, if not the 2nd.

2. Jason White: What, did he go away? He won the Heisman, came back, and almost won it again. The guy can play! He'll catch on somewhere, but if he's still around in the 5th, I'd nab him.

3. Timmy Chang: Need someone who can throw downfield and is used to playing with no offensive line? Playing for Hawaii in games that resembled arena league football, Chang wracked up more passing yards than any QB in NCAA history. At least worth a shot in the 5th right?

4. Brock Berlin: Here's a stud who needs coaching. He got impatient and transferred from Florida to Miami to avoid Rex Grossman, who was gone by the time he became a starter anyway. The move arrested his development, but his upside is huge for a 5th or 6th round pick.

5. Stan Hill: Marshall's latest quarterback doesn't have the flash, but does have the numbers of Pennington and Leftwich. 6th round steal.

6. Jon Beujter: Never had a team around him in Illinois, but you and I saw how he faired against Big Ten defenders, who are the closest you're going to get to NFL defenses in the NCAA. Probably won't be drafted, so he's a free agent steal.

7. Danny Wimprine: He WAS Memphis. He's short, which is why the big colleges passed on him in recruitment. But everything else is there, especially guts. 5th round. A steal in the 6th.

8. Ryan Fitzpatrick: I guess in football, a degree from Haahhhvard doesn't mean as much. Except that the guy is smart. Well, yes he is. Really smart. 6th round.

Anyway, by the 4th or 5th round there's usually still enough QBs still on the board that you can pick and choose what type you're looking for. And unlike a 1st round, #1 overall pick, they're not asked to eat pressure for breakfast and command $6 million/year contracts during their development.
RIP THIS HEADLINE

Seth wants to see the Malvo/Muhammad case on Law and Order. Money quote...

"The court rejected Muhammad's claim that "intimidation" and other terms should have been defined in the terrorism statute. Muhammad's lawyers also had argued that the law was improperly used against Malvo because it was intended to address crimes like the Sept. 11 hijackings.

"Nothing in the words of these statutes evinces an intent to limit its application to criminal actors with political motives," the court said.


Seth is onto something here because, who is to say what is and isn't terrorism. Sure it is obvious in cases such as 9/11. But such as "hate-crimes" legislation, it is easy to stretch prosecutorial descretion to cover something that doesn't exactly fit, such as the two idiot girls in the Atlanta area that baked a poisonous cake for their junior high.
DON'T GO TOO FAR SILVIO

Looks like Italy hasn't totally done away with Silvio Berlusconi. As James has pointed out there may be a chance for him to return to his position as Prime Minister conditionally...

"Both the National Alliance (AN) party and the Union of Christian Democrats (UDC) said they would return to the new cabinet, but warned that it must be seen to do more for poorer voters especially in the underdeveloped south."


That is a huge problem in Italian Politics. Basically any leader has to integrate the 4 countries of Lombardy, Tuscany, Rome and the Two Sicilies. Each one has it's own politics, and for some reason the South, especially Sicily remains dirt poor, and in need of massive wealth redistribution. Though for all their poverty, they won't vote communist, so you gotta give them major props for that.
NOT AN EASY TARGET

From Seth...

"Why isn't Target a target? The answer that makes the most sense to me is that by going after the industry leader, everyone else has to follow suit.

But it raises an interesting point about media savvyness. The greater distinction, though, isn't in how they treat their workers but in their expansion policies. Wal-Mart kind of has a policy of not letting anything get in their way, while Target is a bit more selective about where they open a store.

I watched a video about the [Mississippi] Delta Jews last night. Really interesting, especially in how they reacted to the Civil Rights Movement and the influx of Freedom Fighters (many of them Jewish) to Delta during that time. Anyway, they're a good example of how the small-town Jewish population in America is dwindling or disappearing with the end of Main Street America. Jews populated small American towns much like we did Eastern Europe: by starting as cart merchants in one generation and settling as small store owners in the next. We were good at this in the South because under the strict racial codes of the time, we alone could occupy a racial ambiguity (hiring black workers to run the store on Shabbat when the black migrant workers filled the town, then work on Sundays and week days when the white minority occupied Main Street).

Anyway, the influx of Wal-Mart coincided with mass exodus of the Jewish store owners' kids, who largely went to major universities and re-settled in major cities like Detroit, Chicago, L.A., New York, Austin, Denver, and Atlanta. The Jews were particularly hard-hit by the Wal-Mart way of life, but in a lot of instances, the baby boomer small-town Jews were already gone, while their Depression Gen parents simply used Wal-Mart as a reason to close the store and retire."
1 DOWN 15 TO GO

I caught the first game of this year's playoffs on ABC this afternoon. First I would like to give props to ABC for using Destiny's Child "Lose My Breath" as an intro for this year's games. Like last year's Black Eyed Peas "Let's Get 'It Started' In Here," it provides that right pump-yo-ass up kinda energy one needs to fully enjoy playoff basketball. I know Tondar is down. In fact, I went grocery shopping right before the game. I was so excited I was slowly dancing a polka in the checkout before totally pulling a Big Ed and running out of Kroger with a big ass smile on my face just cuz I knew I had Chauncey and 'Sheed waiting at home for me in playoff mode.

But anyways, I was impressed with the Pistons 106-85 victory in game one. The Pistons certainly came out a bit flat. However, I guess that is to be expected after taking the week off (beating the Hawks with the supporting cast, and losing to the Bobcats the next day). Phillie was really hot early shooting over 50% and allowing Iverson to rack up the steals and get a punishing transition game going.

However, in the second quarter, the Pistons settled down and went to work. With a more focused offense they were able to score the 31 points while limiting the 76ers and the transition game that worked so well in the first to only 17 points. By the third quarter we witnessed Rasheed Wallace come to life with 16 of his 29. While Tayshaun heated up towards his 23 points. I think this will be the trend all through the playoffs. Every starter (except Ben Wallace) is totally capable of scoring over 20 ppg. Most likely, we will see slow starts before the Pistons realize who has the hot hand, and how best to feed that stud. I can even see McDyess and Arroyo catching on as they are both totally capable of dropping 20 ppg on any given night.

However, if you look at the boxscore from game 1. In the Tondar retrospective 2 stats really stand out. First, Detroit had a 13 rebound edge on the total boards. Sure, this is to be expected, but it does illustrate perfectly the shortcomings of the 76ers front court. Other than Dalembert (18 rebounds) nobody else was able to bang with Wallace, Wallace & McDyess (is that not the perfect name for a law firm?). Secondly, if you look at the field goal percentage, Philadelphia started out redhot but eventually cooled to 40.3%. While on the other hand, the Pistons became increasingly hot as they realized who had the hot hand on their way to shooting 51.9%.

Finally, it should also be noted that Ben Wallace had 7 blocked shots (that's the same amount of points he had). Also Tondar was a bit worried after watching just how physical Philadelphia played. Sure, the Pistons can bang like that. But I was hoping that this would be a series where we could be a bit dainty and beat them based on skill and save the grinding and bruising play for Miami. I realized that this was not to be, after a sequence where Big Ben blocked 2 layups in a row and then having it capped off by Rip dropping all his weight via his knee onto the back of Kyle Korver (only 1-4, with 2 pts by the way), as they both dove for a loose ball. Sure this made up for some physical no-calls the 76ers pulled early. However, I was hoping to avoid this kinda play especially in the first game of the first series.
2005 NBA PLAYOFF PREVIEW

Once again, spring is here, as the air fills with pollen, the trees fill with leaves, Michigan fills with snow :) and NBA Players finally fill with enthusiastic concern. However, this year has been a bit different than previous NBA seasons. Denver, New Jersey, Dallas, Detroit, and Houston all come roaring into the post-season red hot. This tide is going to make a huge difference. So like last year, here is a reiteration of the 4 necessary keys to turning "Slamma Jamma In Yo Face Action" (aka the bling factor) on its head and winning an NBA Championship...

1. DEFENSE *clap clap* DEFENSE--In spite of the new anti-Pistons rules about handchecking, defense is still the most important ingrediant for winning a title. Last year, I was all about Detroit and San Antonio. This year, due to mutant offenses, there is a larger field of teams to watch. Nevertheless, San Antonio and Detroit are once again #1 and #2 in points allowed at 88.4 and 89.5 respectively. And speaking of hot teams, New Jersey, Indiana, Houston, and Memphis all have defenses worth keeping an eye on. In the opinion of the Dar, this is going to dictate how the playoffs unfold, as the old cliche goes; "Defense wins championships." And this year won't be any different.

2. Secondly, an ability to score SOME points is highly in demand this year. Last year we watched Indiana, Detroit, and New Jersey play a very tedious snail of a pace game with scores in the 60s. Thanks to handchecking, we witnessed some of the worst offense in NBA history. On the other hand, this year we are going to have to watch out for offensive jaugernauts like Phoenix, Miami, Sacramento, and Seattle. If these guys heat up, anything could happen this year. So keep in mind, any sorta playoff preview is going to be filled with many wild cards and predictions that are totally off base.

3. As always, playoff experience is going to bite alotta teams this year. Last year we saw Detroit and Los Angeles fight their way to the finals based on gutsy veteran leadership. It's for this reason, I can't see Phoenix, Denver, or Seattle, playing that many games this May. These young teams certainly have the regular season record to suggest that they may go deep. However, in the NBA, more than any other sport, teams must pay their dues if they are to survive and win the big 16 necessary for the NBA Title.

4. Finally, don't forget the implosion factor. Whether it's getting popped by the injury train, or Derek Fisher nailing an impossible last minute shot, there's many demoralizing factors that could contribute to a team falling apart at the most important moment. So in 2005, who's gonna crash and burn like the 2004 Spurs?

Well here's the rundown of the playoffs as I see it...

1. Miami over 8. New Jersey in 7. Woe unto ye who misunderestimate this Nets team. With Jason Kidd and Vince Carter firing on all cylanders, this team roars into the playoffs redhot. Though Miami, was simply resting up, it is the opinion of the Daily Rant that you gotta put the nuts to your opponents face and hit the playoffs in full stride. Of course, in the end New Jersey doesn't have the bodies to throw at Shaq, Collins and Krstic (can that guy have fewer vowels in his name?) have 12 fouls to give in the chess match known as Hacka Shaq. In addition, a partially healthy Richard Jefferson, will also help reveal the weakness that is the Heat supporting cast. Though they will survive, the Heat shall be revealed!

2. Detroit over 7. Philadelphia in 5. I'm a bit weary to see Iverson in the first round. However, as the Sports Guy pointed out in his preview (surprisingly a lot Different than the Dar's), Chris Webber was never fully integrated into the 76ers game. Thus, I am sure we will have one game where Iverson will put the world on his shoulders and single handedly beat the Pistons. But otherwise, this is a team game and nobody plays as a better unit than these world champion Pistons. Not to underestimate Iguodala or Krover. But, they are young, and will not be able to step it up compared to a veteran team as hot as the Pistons.

6. Indian over 3. Boston in 6. I have to agree with Seth and disagree with The Sports Guy on this one. Though Boston could get hot and show why they ranked 4th in PPG, I think Indiana will overcome and show why they are ranked 4th in points allowed. In addition, as the year's go by, I think we are going to see less and less of the Carlisle predictability factor that has hampered his teams the last 3 years. Though Boston will shoot their lights out in a couple of games (just like in the first round series in 2003), look for Carlisle to out coach Doc Rivers as defense wins the day.

4. Chicago over 5. Washington in 7. Talk about 2 teams limping into the playoffs. On the one hand Chicago has been popped by the injury train, so they will have to play without Luol Deng and Eddy Curry. Though this series is a toss up to see who can get whooped by Miami, I think Chicago has just the right amount of playoff savy, defensive minded veterans to pull this off in the end. But keep in mind this is my least assured prediction.

1. Phoenix over 8. Memphis in 7. Talk about a showcase of 2 very different approaches. Phoenix likes to run and gun and shoot your lights out as they finished the season averaging 110.4 ppg. On the other hand, Mike Fratello's Grizzlies are a grind it out kind of team built for Tondar. Phoenix will win out in the end, but not until after Memphis shows us how to take this Suns team apart.

2. San Antonio over 7. Denver in 7. It's rare to have the Western Conference Finals in the first round of the playoffs. However, San Antonio was a 59 win team, while Denver has recently been playing like a 67 win team. This will certainly be one of the most exciting series of this year's playoffs as we see George Karl's uptempo Doug Moe offense push the Spurs to their limits. In the end, the Spurs experience and backcourt will win out, but not until K-Mart, Nene, and Marcus Camby grind the hobbled Tim Duncan down. Like nuclear war, there won't really be a winner, but San Antonio will be the team that advances.

6. Sacramento over 3. Seattle in 6. This would have been an exciting series if the SuperSonics hadn't been popped by the injury train and came in dead cold with a .273 winning percentage in April. Like the Celtics, I think Seattle's ability to shoot the lights out will give them a couple of games, but look for Sac-to's playoff experience to be enough to send Seattle home.

4. Dallas over 5. Houston in 6. This is another great matchup. Jeff Van Gundy plays a Tondar style posession driven game. While on the other hand, Avery Johnson has the Mavericks playing defense for the first time since I have been watching the NBA. I would REALLY like to give this series to Houston. However,due to injury, the Rockets are being forced to start Clarence Weatherspoon against Tondar's 2005 MVP Dirk Nowitzki, I have no choice but to go with Dallas in this one.

SECOND ROUND

4. Dallas over 1. Phoenix in 6.
This is where the wheels will finally fall off of the Phoenix Suns. They had a great run as Amare Stoudemire came of age as a real All Star and Steve Nash stepped up his game and became an MVP caliber player. On the other hand, Phoenix, and especially Nash, DO NOT PLAY DEFENSE. This will finally catch up to them as Nowitzki, Jason Terry, and the veteran, Michael Finley frustrate and stick it to this young inexperienced Suns team.

2. San Antonio over Sacramento in 5. With the Western Conference Finals behind them, the Spurs will have a much easier series as they systematically destroy the Kings. On the bright side, Sacramento will get healthy and be ready to rock for 60 plus wins next year. However, in my crystal ball, I see this as the series where that nagging ankle comes back to haunt Tim Duncan.

1. Miami over 4. Chicago in 4. Chicago will win a hard fought first round series with guts, experience, and homecourt advantage. Unfortunately against Miami they will have none of that going for them.

2. Detroit over 6. Indiana in 6. Every dynasty has a team they need to beat on for supremacy. The Red Wings had the Avalanche. The Bad Boys had Jordan's Bulls. Shaq's Lakers had Chris Webber's Kings. The Hard Workin' Pistons have Rick Carlisle's Pacers. This series comes as a result of David Stern's decree, and 'so let it be written, so let it be done.' This will certainly ratchet up the grudge match between these two teams, and sets the stage for Detroit's ultimate demise. However, without Artest, Indiana will have to take another year of lumps.

CONFERENCE FINALS

2. Detroit over 1. Miami in 6.
The Sports Guy has a good rundown of why Miami can't beat Detroit. Ole Tondar sees Miami's problems as 3 fold. First, Miami doesn't have the smothering defense one would expect from a Van Gundy team that almost won 60 games. In fact, they have been giving up 95 points a game. Though this could be a result of them scoring 101.5 ppg, I see this as a greater problem of simply not having enough defensive discipline. Secondly, I don't think Dwyane Wade is quite experienced enough to be able to translate his 24.1 ppg into the final nail in the coffin for Detroit. Look for Chauncey and Tayshaun to increase the defensive pressure. While Wade averaged a NBA second worst 4.2 turnovers per game, look for that to increase as Detroit puts the hobnail boot to his neck. And in the end, what will finally do the Heat in is their lack of supporting cast to really stick it to Detroit when the time comes. Sure Shaq will get his, and even Wade to a certain degree. However, in the end Eddie Jones, Haslem, Mourning, and Laettner, just won't have enough in the tank to support Shaq and give enough to overcome a Pistons team with Tayshaun, 'Sheed, and Rip Hamilton firing on all cylanders.

4. Dallas over 2. San Antonio in 6 The second great Texas Showdown of this year's playoffs will have us witness the wheels coming off Tim Duncan and his pouty face. The pounding received at the hands of the Nuggets will finally catch up to TD. Though Ginobli and Parker will provide enough of a spark to win 2 games. The Spurs will be no match for a Mavericks team that enters the playoffs with a 9 game winning streak. Plus if Dallas, can sharpen their skills against Phoenix, like the Pistons they are gonna be 2HOT2HANDLE come late May (sorry, I will never blog like that again).

NBA FINALS

Detroit (54-28) over Dallas (58-24) in 5. To get to this point I had to make some unconventional predictions, so I will not dwell too much on this showdown until June. It should be noted however, that Detroit won as many games as they did last year. Yeah, there's gonna be alotta playah haters at ESPN that are gonna be down on the champs. However, I just don't see anybody being able to beat a healthy Pistons team with great defense and Championship experience. Now, the media has certainly pointed out the Pistons shortcomings this year. Between the brawl in the first 10 games, and Larry Brown's loose lips and detriment hip, ESPN has plenty of reasons to stir up faux controversy. Thus I say look to history and remember that the defending champion 1995 Houston Rockets finished the season with a 47-35 record before going on to sweep a young Orlando Magic team led by Shaq in the NBA Finals. I see this year's Pistons the same way. Though the bench is a bit shorter, it is more talented. Carlos Arroyo, Antonio McDyess, and Lindsey Hunter could easily be starting for many teams around the league. Plus, going into the playoffs Coach Larry Brown opted to keep Darvin Ham and Darko Milicic on the roster instead of Carlos Delfino. Obviously, he was thinking ahead to the Eastern Conference Finals where Ham and Darko provide an extra 12 fouls for a Hacka Shaq game plan. In addition, Darko's presence is a great signal for opposing teams that they have lost a game. Nothing the Pistons do is more demoralizing than letting their Serb get some junk time against you in the last few minutes of the 4th.

In conclusion, it should be a good run. Compared to years past, this is a wide open field with alotta hot teams that could continue to roll right through the playoffs. I know I'm looking forward to the playoffs, so just be prepared to get crazy righ now cuz I don't know about y'all, but Tondar Crazy in Love wit dis game.
SETH'S NBA PLAYOFF PREVIEW

Last year Seth called the Lakers making it to the NBA Finals. However, I don't think anybody could predict that the Pistons would have been allowed to play their style in the finals throwing Slamma-jamma back in the face of David Stern and the NBA. But this year, thanks to rule changes, this is a totally different ball game. From Seth...


Nets-Heat: Don't believe what you read. Shaq isn't hurt, or sick, or anything. He's getting sleep. Jefferson, on the other hand, won't be himself until Round 2 at the earliest. Kidd and Carter are going to have to get hot while Shaq warms up again. But the frontcourt disparity between these two teams is so great, I can't imagine the Nets taking this very far. Miami in 5, because Krstic can't contain Shaq and Collins can't score.

76ers-Pistons: Tayshaun Prince is playing the best basketball of his career. We match up against them in every category. Telling stat: against what team does Allen Iverson have the lowest shooting percentage AND lowest assist/turnover ratio? Yep. Pistons in 5.

Pacers-Celtics: Jermaine O'Neal isn't playing like he was before the sabbatical, but he'll improve as the series progresses, so Boston better get their act together quickly. Their mid-season surge is over, while the Pacers are heating up. Reggie Miller wants this year badly, and Carlisle has a history of making the Celtics look bad. Indiana in 7.

Wizards-Bulls: The Michael Jordan series? With Curry out it's a whole new ballgame up front, while Arenas is looking hot. If Chicago were healthy, they'd be in it, but I think the Wizards can pull this one off in 6.

Suns-Grizzlies: Memphis is the worst team Phoenix could have drawn.
Seriously. They're not unlike the Pistons of a few years ago, with Gasol a poor man's Ben. But the real thin is they have a deep bench, so they can whether a bit of the up-and-down storm. However, this probably means they'll just lose 120-110 instead of 130-105. Phoenix in 6.

Nuggets-Spurs: Carmelo, Camby and co. are playing great basketball and finished the season really really really hot. Meanwhile, San Antonio was reeling over the last month without Duncan. Well, Duncan's back, and Parker and Ginobli make a great back-court. This Western showdown will go late. Sorry to everyone who thinks Denver's gonna win it all: Spurs in 7.

Kings-Sonics: When they played each other earlier in the season, it was no contest: Sonics were killing 'em. Well, it's a different world now, one in which Stojakovic and Bibby are scoring like it's going out of style and Radmanovic has to sit out. Kings in 6.

Rockets-Mavs: The Texas Showdown. Everyone's high on Dirk Nowitzki right now and having Stackhouse and Van Horn on the bench can really help. But T-Mac and Yao aren't the second coming of the Lakers for nothing, and Van Gundy does his best coaching during the playoffs. Houston in 7.

Round 2:

Pistons-Pacers: This is going to be the matchup every year, some way or another. These guys gave us so many fits this year, much as I hate to
do it, I'm gonna go with the....just kidding. Home court advantage does its job and the Playoff Pistons do it to Miller again. Detroit in 7.

Heat-Wizards: This is when Shaq's job gets easy, because the Wizards have nothin' to throw at him in the front court. Arenas can score only so much, especially the way the Heat can isolate guards and whether an athlete with their depth. Heat in 4.

Phoenix-Houston: The one way to beat Yao Ming is to speed up the game so much that he can't get in position. Well, Yao, meet the experts. Phoenix in 5.

Spurs-Kings: The Kings lucked out in getting a hurt Seattle in the first round. But Duncan and co. with a series behind them? San Antonio all the way (in 5).

Conf. Finals:

Pistons-Heat: I wish the Heat had played two or three more games in the earlier rounds. Shaq will play better than he did last year with the Lakers, and the Heat are a good enough road team to win in Detroit and great home team. We'll scratch and claw our way to Game 7, but by then, we'll run out of gas. Heat in 7.

Spurs-Phoenix: I hate to pick two #1 seeds. And San Antonio gives me
an out. Because if anyone can absorb Nash's up-and-down style, it's the Spurs, who will get great games out of Ginobli and Duncan and put out the Sun in 7. But if they lose Duncan anywhere along the way, the tide will spill over.

Finals:

Heat-Spurs:
See how I did this? Shaq against Duncan, just like old times. Shaq used to elevate his play the deeper he went in the playoffs, but he can get tired, too. But so can Duncan, especially coming off an injury that's bound to hurt more after banging against Shaquille O'Neal. And because their off-the-bench Shaq-answer Rasho Nesterovic is also injured (ankle), he'll be in there a lot. The Heat aren't the Lakers. They can play defense. And they can make it two Eastern Conference champions in as many years. Miami in 6.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

PIC OF THE DAY


Brothers Beardo! Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

PIC OF THE DAY

From the Rose Bowl 1/1/05...


"Look at the monkeys Frank! Oh, aren't they cute!" Posted by Hello
IN DEFENSE OF JUDICIAL ACTIVISM

Seth sent along this little piece that takes issue with Tom DeLay's recent criticism of the courts. Of course the Christian Science Monitor is correct about the functionality of the government in theory. However, we are still left with a judiciary that is willing to usurp the powers of both the legislative and executive branches in defense of their oligarchical overreach. To a certain degree, I agree with much of what DeLay says. Unfortunately he has become such a lightning rod for the left and the liberal media it is a shame that originalist interpretations and a return to a government of checks and balances, can't find a more trustworthy spokesman.
POWER BIAS

From Seth...

"I never thought we would hear such truth from Karl Rove.

He's right, you know. Journalists do feel like it's our job to antagonize those in power, whomever they may be. But a little of that HAS to be expected. They're in power. They're making decisions. OF COURSE they're going to be held to a higher scrutiny. Asking journalists to be more careful of how closely they inspect our leaders is like asking police investigators not to think of the criminals under investigation any differently than they would their mother. Would it be better? Sure. Is it a realistic expectation? Hardly.

The article (thankfully) also managed to call out Rove for not practicing what he preaches. But still, it's refreshing to hear a politician, especially one so close to the president and the right who've propagated this war on truth."
HOPE FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES YET

Sure it seems like douchebag cops are always up in our grill. However, it's good to know that in many places, such as New Hampshire, Big Brother's all seeing eye is being told to chillax.
WHO'S COLLAPSE

Check out this Mark Bechtel quick one that compares this year's collapse of the Cavs to a Who album. Though it's a bit strained, I'll buy it. Interesting thought...

"Now, just as The Who is Townshend's band, the Cavs are LeBron's team. Say what you will about Moon's drumming or Daltrey's tight jeans, but if Townshend isn't writing, then Moon isn't banging the skins and Daltrey's not doing centripetal acceleration experiments with the microphone. (The fact that the band went ahead with a tour a week after Entwistle died should tell you something about how Pete and Roger viewed his relative indispensability.)"

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

HEY WHA' HAPPENED

Sorry the blogging has been light, Ole Tondar has been busy lately. In fact, tonight I went down to Phillips Arena to see my Pistons dismantle the Atlanta Hawks, 95-68. I will detail it later but, during his first career start Darko had himself quite the game, with 16 pts. It was a great way for my first NBA game to unfold.
PIC OF THE DAY


Viva il Papa! Posted by Hello
PICKING A NAME

Here's an interesting piece on selecting a Papal name.
PIC OF THE DAY


A Classic! Posted by Hello

Monday, April 18, 2005

"MEET THE NEW BOSS..."

For those of you down with Italian politics, Silvio Berlusconi, the longest serving Prime Minister in Italian history is about to resign. Apparently a crack has formed in his centrist-right coalition that has eroded support for his leadership. What's interesting is that during the course of the First Republic (1946-1994), the government has changed hands many times. In fact, this is the 59th government of the Republic Era. However, after the fall of the Soviet Union (and the communist party) things have been rather stable in Italy with regard to rapidly transforming governments.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

PIC OF THE DAY

Artistically, this is a great photo on so many level...


Is it ironic that the Playoff Pistons and the Conclave Cardinals both go to work this week? Posted by Hello
INSIDE THE LAST CONCLAVE

The Virgin Mary's Prophecy page has an interesting history of the events of the last conclave, back in 1978. If you remember, it is said that Satan entered the Church in 1972. And that as a result of much prayer his candidate, Cardinal Benelli was defeated by Cardinal Wojtyla...

"In the first ballot Cardinal Benelli got 22 votes; Siri 18; Felici 17; Baggio 15; Poletti, the Vicar General of the Pope, 6; Cardinal Wojtyla only 2. The remaining 31 votes were dispersed (of the 138 electors, 27 were Italians). 75 votes were required to be elected.

The second vote shortened the field with a big surprise: Cardinal Siri had no votes, but Felici had increased to 30. Benelli had escalated to 40; he needed 35 more to win. Cardinal Wojtyla was astonished to have escalated to 9. Cardinal Koenig was certainly his enthusiastic fan, making proselytes in his favor, especially among the Polish and Germans such as Cardinals Krol and Ratzinger. The other 23 votes were dispersed. The idea of a non-Italian Pope was still hard to digest.

For the third vote there were two big contenders: Cardinal Felici, 38; and Benelli, 46. Cardinal Wojtyla remained immovable at 9 votes.

The fourth ballot was, for many, the end, when they heard that Benelli had got 20 more votes for a total of 60, leaving all other challengers far behind.

So went the fifth and the sixth ballots, except that Cardinal Wojtyla had started to gain ground and his supporters now were 25.

After the seventh ballot, Cardinal Benelli thought he was nearly elected: 70. Five more and he would be the new Pope. Still black smoke poured through the Sistine chimney.

Suddenly, after the eighth ballot, the count had switched: Cardinal Wojtyla, 70; Benelli, 40. All stared at Wojtyla, who went to his room to pray.

Finally, the ninth scrutiny voiced loudly: Karol, Cardinal Wojtyla, from Krakow, had obtained 96 votes. The news was announced by white smoke. Pope John Paul II had become the 266th successor of St. Peter!"


I don't really know what to think of all of this. However, I think it is interesting and at least worth some consideration. Afterall, within the heirarchy of the Church it is difficult to know what is going on because unlike temporal governments, the Church is insulated from the populism that affects the kingdom of man.
CONSTITUTION IN EXILE

If you have time, check out this lengthy thread of posts that track the recent Jeffrey Rosen NYTimes piece regarding the "conservative" idea of a pre-New Deal "Constitution in Exile." As usual it seems to be a construct of the liberal media...

"First, I take issue with the whole idea that there is a "Constitution in Exile movement," as such. [UPDATE: co-blogger Orin makes similar points here.] "Constitution in Exile" is a phrase used by Judge Douglas Ginsburg in an obscure article in Regulation magazine in 1995. From then until 2001, I, as someone who knows probably just about every libertarian and most Federalist Society law professors in the United States (there aren't that many of us), and who teaches on the most libertarian law faculty in the nation, never heard the phrase. Instead, the phrase was pretty much ignored until 2001, when it was picked up and publicized by liberals. In October 2001, the Duke Law Journal, at the behest of some liberal law professors assumedly worried about what would happen to constitutional law under Bush appointees, published a symposium on the Constitution in Exile. Thereafter, other left-wingers, such as Doug Kendall of the Community Rights Council and Professor Cass Sunstein, began to write about some dark conspiracy among right-wingers to restore something called "the Constitution in Exile."
CONCLAVE WATCH

Leading up to the Conclave we have heard a lot of positive things about some of the candidates. However, it looks like many people aren't down with the ambitious Cardinal Archbishop Dionigi Tettamanzi. Money quote...

"Among the orthodox, a cry has gone out to the faithful Cardinals gathering for the Conclave: 'No to Tettamanzi!' and even 'Anybody but Tettamanzi!' (Well, almost anybody -- we wouldn't want anybody from the Netherlands, for example)."


On the other hand, there is another Italian, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, who may be just the answer to Cardinal Tettamanzi. Cardinal Re is described as a pastor, diplomat, and intellectual (so Seth will like that)...

"He is a man of peace and conciliation whose reach is not limited to Europe -- he has very close connections to the Third World -- but he is not naive about real dangers in our age of Terror, and has a very realistic appreciation of the contemporary world. He is not afraid to preach the Gospel and/or the truths of the Church to anyone, and has an excellent relationship with the world's bishops. Everything else I have been told about Cardinal Re, who attends confession frequently -- so sensitive he is to sin -- leads me to believe that 'he will be a magnificent Pope..."