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, June 18, 2005


From Seth...

"We always knew this would hit the Supreme Court. The SC justices sent it back originally because they were looking for something to rule on, like a procedure for determining unfairness.

What they were trying to avoid was a ruling on gerrymandering altogether. We knew the Texas justices would support the redistricting plan. They're not exactly non-partisan. But they didn't take the bait to make the SC's job easy.

Texas obviously isn't the only state that could be affected by such an outcome. What we really need is legislation from Congress, probably an amendment to the Constitution, to specify what constitutes a "community" and how district lines should be re-drawn. Problem is, the Congressmen are the direct beneficiaries of all that cheating. I hope the court realizes this on the next appeal.

I can't believe no generation before has had the guts to do something about this. Gerrymandering is a direct affront to republican government. Representatives need to be responsive to the will of their respective communities, not their parties (who do the district drawing). Basically, Northern Detroit's cry for gun control, Oakland County's public education focus, Macomb's blue collar aims, etc. are drowned out simply by breaking those areas up and placing them with large rural areas that elect rural-interest representatives. No wonder Congress has drifted so far from issues and into partisanship. The people are left with no outlet but partisanship to express their will. That's a failure of democracy if ever I heard one.

Maybe it's time for more Representatives. Double 'em up.

But it is time to end gerrymandering once and for all. I hope the Supreme Court's ready.

Frank sent this link over. But come to think of it, I think Drake has quite a few pics with Lenny in this condition.

Inspired by Larry Brown's comments, Seth has had his eye on NBA officials Ron Garretson and Danny Crawford. In fact he was able to connect the dots to some of the most questionable games in history...

"From Game 6 of the Portland/Lakers series:

"One of the referees was Ron Garretson, who threw Wallace out of Game 2. He gave Wallace the second technical for staring at him. Although Garretson took a lot of heckling from the fans, there were no exchanges between him and Wallace"

Dan Crawford reffed that game too.

But that's far from the most famous bad-call game they did together. Remember the protested Spurs/Lakers game? Scroll down and you'll see the refs at the center of Laker Rules conspiracies were none other than Crawford and Garretson.

Does it end there?

Actually, the crew for the most notorious of Laker/Timberwolves games -- the one where they refused to call intentional fouls on Shaq -- was Dan Crawford, Ron Garretson, and Derrick Stafford."

Recently Seth asked me what the Monkey Citizens thought of Miss Allison. Well, actually the response is very positive all around. In fact, Miss Allison has even assisted in Mr. Mojo's goal of bringing all monkeys into the Republic. It seems Miss Allison discovered the Duchess Violeta in exile and has brought her to the Republic. Right now she is serving as Minister of Fruit and Candy. However, she has been considered a possible replacement for Sir Hugs-A-Lot at the Information Ministry, if he decides to go the way of the cave and be trained as a successor to Philosopher King Mr. Mojo. Both Hugs-A-Lot and Violeta can talk, and she is considered far more competent than talking janitor, welfare recipient, and general societal burden, Melvin Thornton (more of a screamer than a talker actually).

But everybody has taken a liking to Miss Allison. Paddington Huggs says:

"Miss Allison, Miss Allison, she be best friend number two. TWO! Allison give Paddington hugs mmmmmmmmmmm. Paddington give Miss Allison hugs mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Paddinton still love stove. Paddington turn stove dial. Make happy light come on! *giggle* Allison need come bring Paddington candy."

Even Lord Grumpington had relatively nice things to say:

"I don't give a rats ass about that woman. What worry Grumpington is Al Qaeda, Julius and Friends, and Iran."

From James...

"I found an interesting article about the rising income gap between rich and poor (largest since pre-depression era) and its causes, including insights by frank's favorite plutocrat, Mr. Alan Greenspan.

Can't decide on a caption so Seth provided 2...

Popovich: Hey Tim, I can see up that cheerleader's skirt.
Duncan: Daaaaaaaaamn, coach!


Popovich: Timmy. Timmy... TIMMY! C'mon boy, it's a basketball game, not World War I. Life goes on. Posted by Hello

I was recently looking at the boxscores for an angle on the NBA Finals. The thing about it is, there isn't really one. Everything comes right down to which officials are calling the game. With Ticky-tack fouls Detroit is going tob lose. If they let the teams play, it becomes obvious that D-TROIT BASKETBALL is too much for the Spurs to handle.

I find it kinda dissapointing that everything plays out within the hands of the officials. Why bother discussing shooting percentages, the boards, or turnovers when the finals are decided by a bunch of short fat guys in gray shirts.

However, Seth sees it differently...

"I dunno. I think the turnover margin is still a bigger story than the refs, although there's an argument to be made that in a ticky-tack game, slapping the ball away is grounds for a foul. Anyway, we had 20 more shots than they did

The Pistons are getting better at collapsing without losing the man on the perimeter. Although SA always sets up their offense with a trail-guy coming down the center. If the game gets close, I bet you'll see Hunter jump this progression for a steal.

Another thing I saw that changed the game is how the Pistons guard the "other" 2. They concentrated a lot on Ginobli, Duncan and Parker in the first two games, which freed the help to make 3-pointers. Rip's hounding Bowen like he was Allen Iverson, while Ben and Rasheed did a great job in neutralizing (if not neutering) Nazir under the basket.

I hope I'm right, but I think I found a weakness in San Antonio. Mohammed plays too close to the basket. He's there for a quick put-back sometimes, but otherwise, he's too easy to cover when you're guarding Duncan. Most teams they could play above, but the Pistons have too many long arms for that. So Nazir and Duncan get forced to play low, where we can poke the ball out or make him take contested shots. Duncan was 5 of 17, Mohammed 2 of 6. That's their INSIDE guys! It's quite a testament to the paint game we're playing.

Still, the steals are the difference. The Pistons can take SA off their game and get the fans going with turnovers and transition baskets. That's why I'm saying right now that this series isn't tied until the Pistons are up 3-2. Because so far we've only found one way to win, and you need more than that against a team like the Spurs. Plus, we have to win a game in their arena. They don't.

Perhaps this is playing to our advantage. San Antonio may feel subconsciously like they can live out this road trip and get back in their own arena. They know they can dominate in their own arena. What they might not know so well is that the Pistons don't blow opportunities to end series. So forget Game 7. I say the winner of Game 5 will win Game 6. That is, unless the Pistons take the game Sunday and then face Darth Crawford (Emperor Stern's henchman) or Garretson in Game 6.

Like we said the last two times this year we went down 2-1 in a series: Game 4 is the most important game in the series, except if you win it, Game 5 becomes the most important game of the series.

Anyway, if it is the officiating stye, as you say, then I have a plan: let's stink-palm the ref. Every time he went to blow his whistle, the whiff would make him think twice."

One problem with nature is that it does not have proper sanitation. Look what happened on Mount McKinley thanks to some "virus-laden poo..."

"At high altitudes and in cold temperatures, the authors said those troubles can be severe and potentially dangerous, leading to acute mountain sickness, hypothermia and fatigue-related accidents.

"They think they're going out on a pristine climb and there's virus-laden poo all around them," said Dr. Bradford Gessner, a mountaineer and one of the study's authors."

Let this be a lesson to everyone on why not to go camping.

Instead of turning out another Batman movie or a buddy pic featuring a hip-hoppin' black dude and an uptight white guy, I present a kick-butt movie idea that will never be made. This film would be the life story of San Lorenzo Da Brindisi. In the tradition of St. Anthony, St. Bonaventure, he is considered a doctor of the Franciscan order. Also, unlike what happens today, San Lorenzo was deeply involved in politics and still found a way to be loved by all the people. In addition, to all the Holy happenstance of his life there was also this chapter of Christendom's triumph over Islam that would seem quite relevant to our contemporary War against Terror and Islamic Aggression...

"It was on the occasion of the foundation of the convent of Prague (1601) that St. Lorenzo was named chaplain of the Imperial army, then about to march against the Turks. The victory of Lepanto (1571) had only temporarily checked the Moslem invasion, and several battles were still necessary to secure the final triumph of the Christian armies. Mohammed III had, since his accession (1595), conquered a large part of Hungary. The emperor, determined to prevent a further advance, sent Lorenzo of Brindisi as deputy to the German princes to obtain their cooperation. They responded to his appeal, and moreover the Duke of Mercœur, Governor of Brittany, joined the imperial army, of which he received the effective command. The attack on Albe-Royal (now Stulweissenburg) was then contemplated. To pit 18,000 men against 80,000 Turks was a daring undertaking and the generals, hesitating to attempt it, appealed to Lorenzo for advice. Holding himself responsible for victory, he communicated to the entire army in a glowing speech the ardour and confidence with which he was himself animated. As his feebleness prevented him from marching, he mounted on horseback and, crucifix in hand, took the lead of the army, which he drew irresistibly after him. Three other Capuchins were also in the ranks of the army. Although the most exposed to danger, Lorenzo was not wounded, which was universally regarded as due to a miraculous protection. The city was finally taken, and the Turks lost 30,000 men. As however they still exceeded in numbers the Christian army, they formed their lines anew, and a few days later another battle was fought. It always the chaplain who was at the head of the army. "Forward!" he cried, showing them the crucifix, "Victory is ours." The Turks were again defeated, and the honour of this double victory was attributed by the general and the entire army to Lorenzo."

In case you noticed, San Lorenzo de Brindisi converted many of the Jews of Rome because of his reason and ability to speak Hebrew. Due to religious and biological aspects of Judaism, I asked Seth at what point does one stop being considered "Jewish" after conversion?

From Seth...

"The question you asked is actually one of the hottest debates going on in Judaism right now.

First, understand that there are Jews who say that I am not Jewish. Afterall, I do not follow the 270 laws (read: no sideburns, no dice). Some right-wingers tried in the '90s to add those who intermarry to the list of those kicked out of the faith.

But here's the thing: you have various "lives" or stages as a Jew, and you can gain or lose these through your actions. If you were born to a Jewish mother, and we all agree on this, you are a born Jew. You have Jewish potential. You may touch the Torah. Your access card for the Temple is good enough without 3 forms of ID.

If you are a female, this act of being born of a Jewish female enables you to create other Jews from your loins.

If you are a male, you MUST be circumcized. This is supposed to be done 8 days after birth, but can be accomplished later. At your circumcision, you are given your hebrew name and godparents (this comes from the eldest son being blessed by a Kohane, or "Cohen" today. The Christian baptism kept a lot of the of ceremony from the bris)However, it's a prerequisite for the next step. In reform Judaism, we have a baby naming for girls so they may achieve Step 2 Judaism, but in Orthodoxy and
beyond, the womenfolk are stuck as Type 1s until marriage.

The man then goes into education, whereupon at his Bar Mitzvah (once again, Reform lets girls do this too) he becomes a full-fledged adult Jew.

These are starting to sound like the sacraments, right? Well, where do you think you got them from?

The last step most Jews attain is marriage, where you enter into a covenant with G-d to create more Jews and teach them to follow G-d.

If you attain the age of 40 and studied hard enough, you can progress one more step, to Kabbalah.

Anyone may spend a year in study to convert, at which point you become a Jew (we have no word for convert. If you're in, you're in.) The rules are, though, that you must swear you were not forced into this or preached to or badgered; that you do this with your full heart. Then again, if you're doing this for your wife, we understand some badgering will be involved, and considering you agreed to marry a Jewess, we take
pity. Usually if a man is converting, the rabbi will have him Bar Mitzvah as well.

Now, if you are baptized as a Christian, or choose another faith, you get bumped back down to Step 1. If you started a Jewish life (read: progressed beyond step 1) before going to Christianity, at this point your loved ones say the prayer over the dead for your Jewish life, which has ended. There is, however, a prayer kind of like a morning-after pill that you can say within 24 hours of being forced to convert to Christianity that will break ANY oath you made under coersion. Anyway, if you go gentile for real, and not because the Inquisition made you do it, your mom will wear black for a year and not speak to you and when she speaks about you she'll say "Oy veh!" Your father will be disgraced, and he'll go to G-d and say, "What did I do wrong? I thought I brought the boy up right and then he up and becomes a Christian!"

At which G-d will reply, "Oh, I know what you mean, Moishe. Let me tell you about MY son!"

Tickets went on sale this morning at Ticketmaster. Here's what the 2005 schedule looks like...

DETROIT June 30-July 5: Dates aren't certain, but we're looking at a Yeza bash for Friday July 1st. And then we are having the 308 Reunion most likely on Sunday July 3rd. It should be a crazy time full of Tondarrings, Dance-offs, and even a scheduled appearance by the Southern Baptist Preacher.

KNOXVILLE July 16-17: A very special appearance featuring the delightful Miss Allison.

GRAND RAPIDS July 22-25: Another trip to Michigan this time featuring another appearance by Miss Allison. This time we are hoping to have the 308 crew celebrate on the west side somewhere in the Lake Michigan/Grand Haven vicinity.

But anyways, the details have yet to be worked out for much of the schedule, so shoot me an e-mail and lay claim to your night of festivities. It's gonna be one rockin' good time!

Friday, June 17, 2005


I'm surprised to see that the House actually passed a bill to withhold half of America's UN dues if reforms aren't passed. And though there is much to complain about...

"During the two days of debate, legislators discussed the seating of such human rights abusers as Cuba and Sudan on the U.N. Commission on Human Rights and the oil-for-food program that became a source of up to $10 billion in illicit revenue for former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein."

On top of that, the total egalitarian nature turns the UN into a screw the rich mob-ruled democracy (democracy being used in the Platonic sense to denote a government of mob rule).

"Hyde was joined by lawmakers with a litany of complaints against what they said was the U.N.'s lavish spending, its coddling of rogue regimes, its anti-America, anti-Israel bias and recent scandals such as the mismanagement of the oil-for-food program in Iraq and the sexual misconduct of peacekeepers."

Though on the one hand, I'm happy to see the US step up and say we are not going to be bullied by moral relativists, I also agree with American diplomats that this is probably not the best move for making more friends in the international community.

With the NBA Finals in full swing, CNNSI takes a very balanced look at Darko Milicic and the growing pains associated with trying to find junk time on a contending team.

"Pistons president Joe Dumars told anybody who would listen that Milicic would not play early in his career, but that hasn't stopped many from declaring him as a bust.

Dumars insists he still believes Milicic will help the defending champion Pistons contend for titles for the rest of the decade.

"Darko is a big part of our future here in Detroit," Dumars said. "Darko is big, young and very talented and you have to allow young big guys the time to develop."

I would agree with Joe on this one. Darko has alotta potential and he showed it when he got to beat up on the lowly Atlanta Hawks back in April. Plus at a very raw 20 years of age, I don't expect him to offer a significant contribution for another 4 years. Nevertheless, it's still dissapointing to have to sit back and wait while Dwyane Wade, Carmello Anthony, and Chris Bosch are tearing it up elsewhere.

I was talking with Dark Lord Denise about the Farrell Ice Cream chain and apparently they had one in Grand Rapids near Woodland Mall. I only have faint memories of this. However, I too can remember being scared to death of the giant robotic keyboard playing gorilla at Show-Biz Pizza (where a kid can be a kid). But anyways, it seems that like the phoenix that it is, society could not keep Farrell's Ice Cream down for long. Like Captain Spalding of the House of 1,000 Corpses, Farrell's has returned yet again for another run at frightening children. Just be sure to check out the story of its demise and rebirth.

Also for those of you into law be sure to check out these "pleadings" regarding a customer's complaint and Farrell's legal response. Money quote:

"Comes now the Defendant with tears big as watermelons and with great trepidation and travail, and for its answer and various and sundry defenses herein, alleges:"

Almost daily we have a "cry me a river" moment at the firm (especially with litigators). However, it's never crossed our minds to respond with all due sarcasm and patronization. Tondar is amused!

Thursday, June 16, 2005


From Seth...

"Litke didn't think the Pistons/Spurs game was entertaining? He didn't even appreciate how Stevie Wonder became the first person to silence a major sport championship crowd in awe with a harmonica?

Gee, what does Litke like?

Oh yeah, the REAL NBA: Michael Jordan cameos, Phil Jackson feuding with Kobe, who's feuding with Shaq, and LeBron James. As for the Finals, well, I guess they're just a show to highlight the Spurs' cultural diversity and some international style coaches in order to get more Europeans to show up to next year's preseason exhibitions.

Considering last night is the first time Litke saw the Phil Jackson-dressed-as-a-Jedi commercial, I'm guessing he isn't even watching the playoffs. Naw, aside from checking in to see how the LA love triangle is fairing, he's just sitting back wondering how Stern's going to engineer a return of the Knicks and Celtics.

Don't worry, he pulls it together near the end.

Money quote: "The NBA Finals between the Pistons and Spurs features purposeful, fluid, team-oriented basketball, full of effort and rugged defense -- basically, what every brainy fan clamored for right after a team of NBA players got hammered by Argentina, Yugoslavia and even Spain (yes, Spain!) at the 2002 World Championships."

Stern's plan for world domination stays on schedule

By JIM LITKE, AP Sports Columnist

Though he's only been back in the fold for a day, attempts to clone Phil Jackson are proceeding apace.

Commissioner David Stern's plan for world domination is going to require lots of bodies in a hurry, and if they come attached to one of the more recognizable faces on the sporting planet, well, so much the better.

At the end of a long day, in the middle of a week of mixed reviews, Stern announced that four NBA teams will hold training camps overseas the next two years and play preseason games against top European clubs. He also hinted he might stage exhibition games in China and Latin America in 2006, an All-Star game in Paris soon, and the 2015 NBA Finals on Mars.

The commish didn't stick pins in any maps -- Mars is my idea, not his -- but he promised to do that in October.

``If you began to guess at large European cities, and teams that have some sort of international flavor, you could begin to sort of see the list from which we are working,'' he said just before Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

It's a small miracle Stern got word of his itinerary out, considering how much action the NBA packed into the Tuesday already. First, there was Jackson's return to Los Angeles, artfully hyped by the Zenmaster himself as a tale of ``reconciliation,'' and timed so Shaq could add his two cents about the reunion of his old coach and Kobe Bryant, whom Jackson labeled ``uncoachable'' in his latest book.

No sooner had the sports shows signed off than a sitcom by the NBA's TV partner picked up the cross-promotional ball. Stern loves synergy and it showed. Michael Jordan did a cameo on ``My Wife & Kids,'' which in turn led into the telecast of the game. The transition was seamless, assuming you didn't mind Stevie Wonder hawking his new CD, or his jazzy throwback version of the national anthem. After all that came the actual game, finally, followed by a not very entertaining 96-79 win by the Pistons.

TV ratings have been flat this season, no matter how the league or network spins them. What no one argues is that the fracturing of the triangle in LA is at fault. That's why some think Stern should devote more energy toward getting his house in order -- domestically speaking -- before worrying about the export market.

But that's not how the commissioner works. Stern deftly used Yao Ming to get a foot inside the door of China's lucrative markets, just like he used the Dream Team at the 1992 Olympics to put Europe in play. If the returns seem limited right now, know that Stern's ambitions are not. He's in this for the long haul. He plans to replace soccer as the world's game.

``What we are doing here tonight, and have done, is to assure that elite athletes will increasingly bounce the ball rather than kick it,'' Stern said. ``I think we're increasing the viability of the sport on a global basis.''

It's no coincidence the Spurs lineup includes Tony Parker from France, Tim Duncan from the Virgin Islands and Manu Ginobili from Argentina, the reigning Olympic gold-medalist. Or that Detroit and San Antonio are coached by Larry Brown and astute disciple Gregg Popovich, guys who realized years ago that players here needed to learn the international game, instead of the other way around.

Both were on hand for the close shaves and eventual beatings suffered by U.S. teams that were too arrogant, lazy or thrown together too late to hold back the tide. Both have scouted and coached accordingly ever since.

The NBA Finals between the Pistons and Spurs features purposeful, fluid, team-oriented basketball, full of effort and rugged defense --basically, what every brainy fan clamored for right after a team of NBA players got hammered by Argentina, Yugoslavia and even Spain (yes, Spain!) at the 2002 World Championships.

A nice side effect is that both teams are filled with unselfish, hustling players who know highlight-reel dunks are a lousy way to measure success. The shame is their rosters combined can't generate a Q-rating in Jackson's neighborhood. The proof: the ink was still drying on Jackson's return to Bryant's den when he popped up in a new
commercial wearing a monk's robe and spouting lessons on karma for Toyota.

There is Stern's dilemma in a nutshell. When he became commissioner in 1984, the NBA Finals were still shown on tape-delay. He changed that by cleverly marketing a succession of transcendent stars -- Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, then Jordan -- but his league has paid for failing to find their replacements.

Shaq, Kobe and Jackson are the best the NBA has come up with so far, and LeBron James might be ready
soon. But none of them are in uniform for its showcase series this year -- unless you count commercials.

Stern views that as just a temporary problem, just like the bumpy labor negotiations, or the fact that flagship franchises in New York and Boston haven't contended in a while. He's got the game being played the way the rest of the world can relate to. And once Stern figures out a way to stick Jackson and a few other recognizable faces in a few strategic locales, he can turn his attention to outer space.

Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at

From Seth...

"Star Wars dorks make fun of Lord of the Rings Dorks

Lord of the Rings Dorks make fun of Trekkies

Trekkies make fun of Magic: The Gathering Players

Magic Players make fun of Dungeon & Dragons players

Dungeon Masters make fun of Woody Allen fans

and so on...

So who's at the bottom of the list of American nerds?

I don't know what to say, except, "Gentlemen, Light your Pipes."

OK, but how do you win?

From Pigpen...

"I thought this was a pretty good read - I guess it's that way since the author knows Billups. But, ESPN and ABC can still suck it... laast night every time the momentum changed they were hyping who ever was up by 1 for 2 seconds. Pistons rule...Spurs are too much...I'm tired of it!"

Monday, June 13, 2005


From Seth...

"This is from Werriam-Webster's Dictionary. They don't add them to the dictionary, though. I love number 5, although the pyschological state it parodies actually describes the type of paranoia already, kind of like "grip" and "gription

If there were more people from Michigan, "snirt" would be IN the dictionary already."

Top Ten Favorite Words (Not in the Dictionary)

1. ginormous (adj): bigger than gigantic and bigger than enormous

2. confuzzled (adj): confused and puzzled at the same time

3. woot (interj): an exclamation of joy or excitement

4. chillax (v): chill out/relax, hang out with friends

5. cognitive displaysia (n): the feeling you have before you even leave the house that you are going to forget something and not remember it until you're on the highway

6. gription (n): the purchase gained by friction: "My car needs new tires because the old ones have lost their gription."

7. phonecrastinate (v): to put off answering the phone until caller ID displays the incoming name and number

8. slickery (adj): having a surface that is wet and icy

9. snirt (n): snow that is dirty, often seen by the side of roads and parking lots that have been plowed

10. lingweenie (n): a person incapable of producing neologisms

Anyone out there besides James remember the horror?

"so at work we were required to watch a customer service video made by mr. farrell. mr. farrell used to own a successful ice cream franchise called "farrell's ice cream". they even had one in michigan. i can barely remember being traumatized by that place. luckily they've all closed. but i was wondering if anyone else remembers.

Kinda reminds me of me. i fucking hated those animatronic musicians at chucky cheeses. am i crazy?"

Sunday, June 12, 2005


Trainwreckin' indeed! Posted by Hello

Another great NBA "team" was down 2-0 in the Finals and then came back to win it. Of course those 2 losses were much slower and the 1977 Portland Trailblazers also didn't have to face the 2-3-2 format. However, check out the story of how Bill Walton and Dr. Jack Ramsey overcame the 0-2 deficit in the first year after the NBA/ABA merger.

7:11 to go in the 4th qtr

Det 73 SA 81

That's how you get back into the game. Chauncey is gettin' it started in he-ah. Plus SA all of a sudden isn't shooting 60%. The Pistons are gonna have to outscore them 16 in the 4th. However, 10-2 after 5 minutes is a great start.
3:15 LEFT IN THE 2nd QTR

DET 35 SA 51

OK, the train wreck is blasting tearing right through the station. However, the Spurs can't keep shooting 60.0 FG%, right? RIGHT?

Maybe it's just me but whenever I hear Hubie Brown announcing a game, can't help but say to the TV: "Yes Coach. Sorry Coach. I'll do that next time."