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 22, 2006

QUOTE OF THE MOMENT

Tondar - Well that's their own fault for having boyfriends and goat legs.
Legatus Mors

Behold, T-Bagg the Impaler's sword finally has a name. The Ambassador of Death is upon us. Behold! Fear! Death!
EVERSOR SECUNDUS

Optimus Prime may have been destroyed during the legendary Second Battle of the Forest of Illyrium, however she was able to give birth to the most powerful weapon in the kingdom: Eversor Secundus. She will be unveiled tonight and our unholy matrimony shall bring singultus to the Barony such as the Saracens have never seen. So let it be written. So let it be done.
2006 NBA PLAYOFF PREVIEW

Caveat Ruinam est Verum...

Fortune rota volvitur:
The wheel of Fortune turns;

descendo minoratus;
I go down, demeaned;

alter in altum tollitur;
another is raised up;

nimis exaltatus
far too high up

rex sedet in vertice
sits the king at the summit -

caveat ruinam!
let him fear ruin!

nam sub axe legimus
for under the axis is written

Hecubam reginam.
Queen Hecuba.


The wheel of fortune has once again brought us to the most wonderful time of the year. High upon their throne sit the San Antonio Spurs of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli, and Tony Parker. And it is right that the king should fear ruin, for the Detroit Pistons, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat are on a mission to usurp the throne.


Hac in hora
So at this hour

sine mora
without delay


let us ask the 4 muses of Tondar basketball what is necessary for a championship...

I. DEFENSE - There is a reason this is always first on the Tondar list. And when we go inside the numbers we see the same kingdoms dominating this field. In the East we should keep an eye on Detroit 90.2 PA, Indiana 92 PA, and New Jersey 92.4 PA. Now it was expected to see Detroit here. However, Lawrence Frank's, 6th ranked Nets are a huge surprise compared to the mediocrity of the 14th ranked Miami Heat 96.0 PA. Meanwhile in the West we see San Antonius Rex 88.8 PA, and the Dallas Maverix 93.1 PA, being beat out by the league leading Memphis Grizzlies 88.5 PA. I would expect much more from the above mentioned teams if it weren't for the horrible seeding system that will have most of these teams eliminated by the second round.

II SOME SCORING - This is where a team like Memphis runs in to trouble since they also were 4th to last in scoring. Plus relying so heavily on European Pau Gasol, they are ripe to be knocked off. However, the casual fan should rejoice because this is really the only serious contender that totally lacks offensive excitement. So for those of you looking for high-flying, Nuts in the ear, Slamma-Jamma-In-Yo-Face Action look to teams like Phoenix, Washington, and Denver. Also let it be said that major props go out to David Stern for slowly transforming the league from the Pistons/Spurs 60 ppg slugfests of a few years ago to a rebirth of 80's style offense. All of this was accomplished without destroying the integrity of the game, and forcing only the Indiana Pacers into a downward spiral towards rebuilding.

III EXPERIENCE - In case you haven't noticed the more romantic language above, I did this to celebrate a more classical NBA Playoffs. In many ways this reminds me of the late 80s and early 90s where everybody knows who the real contenders are, and there are simply a few teams that will be gobbled up by the old veteran masters. Like ancient warriors, some of these teams are the Achilles, and Hectors destined for single combat greatness. On the other hand, teams like the Bulls or Bucks are more akin to the peasant that was handed a spear and dragged off to Asia Minor to be crushed underfoot, and lucky to only have their names mentioned. My apologies go out to Carmello, LeBron, and Gilbert Arenas, but you simply have to pay yo' dues before being welcomed to the latter rounds of combat greatness.

IV IMPLOSION - From injuries to insanity, there are many factors that can undo a team. This year it was the league and its seeding system doing most of this work. But enough of this jibba-jabba let's get to the skidly-diddley and see who shall join the 2000 Trailblazers, 2002 Kings, 2004 Spurs and Lakers or the 2005 Heat in the Meltdown Hall of Fame...

THE ORIENTAL CONFERENCE

1. Detroit over 8. Milwaukee in 4. It was obvious after last year when Detroit had to win game 7 in Miami and game 6 in San Antonio, that there is a better way of doing this. So our Pistons went to work winning 64 games and securing home court advantage throughout the playoffs. This 40-42 Milwaukee team really should not be in the playoffs. But when you take a look behind the numbers you see how this makes sense. There are 30 teams and they each play a total of 82 games. This leaves only 2,460 wins to be divided amongst the teams. When you add that San Antonio has won 63 games and Dallas has won 60, that leaves much fewer wins for the rest of the kids and thus mediocre teams like Milwaukee will sneak into the playoffs with losing records. On the brightside, this Milwaukee team is only a few years away from being a contender. They have an excellent backcourt in the rejuvinated T.J. Ford and dead-eye shooter Michael Redd. Plus with Andrew Bogut and Bobby Simmons in the frontcourt, they could become a very dangerous team. It just won't happen this year.

2. Miami over 7. Chicago in 4. As predicted the Heat seem to be clicking under coach Pat Riley, winning 52 games this year. However, as predicted they have serious concerns over injuries between Shaq, Alonzo Mourning, James Posey, and Jason Williams, this roster isn't as great on the hardcourt as it is on paper. On the other hand, Shaq seems to have gotten himself in shape (for now). That will come in handy as he takes Tyson Chandler for 20 points and 10 boards every night, spreading the floor and allowing Dwayne Wade to do his thing. With all the injuries it will be important to finish the Bulls as quickly as possible so that they can stay rested for their next opponents, but I'm sure that a coach like Riley is aware of such things.

3. New Jersey over 6, Indiana in 5. Poor Indiana. 2 years ago they had the best record in the NBA and played right along with the eventual champion Pistons. Now their defense-first team is in ruins. Ron Artest has been exiled for Peja Stojakavic. Jermaine O'Neal has refused to step up and provide the leadership this troubled team needs. Plus they have been hit something fierce by the injury train. Without Jamaal Tinsley at the point, look for Jason Kidd to grab a few more tripple-doubles as he takes full advantage of the mismatch. I would expect O'Neal to have a monster series, but don't look for Vagina Carter to "get hurt" in this series as he and Richard Jefferson put the hurt on the Pacers.

5. Washington over 4. Cleveland in 6 In years past I made a big deal about who was hot coming into the playoffs. However, the historical record would suggest that this has little impact when the second season starts. Washington limps into the playoffs at 42-40 while LeBron is making his first trip having won 50 games. I would like to say that LeBron should propel them into the next round. However, I don't see him getting much help. Look for Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison, and Brendan Haywood to all have a big series and capitalize on the experience of getting the tar beat out of them last year by the Heat. If that's not enough to convince you, consider that the Wizards won 3 of 4 from the Cavs averaging 101.5 ppg. For those of you that know about Cleveland's defense, one has to question their 95.4 PA average when they are playing a team with multiple scoring options.

IN THE OCCIDENT

1. San Antonio over 8. Sacramento in 6. The Occidental Conference has plenty of juicey matchups. It seems that I spoke too soon when I suggested the Orient had become the dominant conference. This particular matchup seems to be all about hype. The truth is that Ron Artest can only shut down Parker or Ginobli, allowing the other to go to town against Mike Bibby. In the front court look for Kenny Thomas, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, and Brad Miller to grind on Tim Duncan's Planters Cheezcurlitis doing some damage before going down in 6. Also take a look at Abdur-Rahim's career statistics and try to answer the million dollar question. Why has Shareef never made the playoffs before? Just try to get your head around that one before thinking the Kings have any chance to knock off the champs.

2. Phoenix over 7. Lakers in 5. ESPN has informed me that I am excited to see Kobe return to the playoffs. However, they seem to forget he doesn't have any teammates. Sure Lamar Odom has returned to his 2004 form and they are getting solid contribution from Kwame Brown (yeah, go figure) and that Son of a bitch Luke Walton (that's a slam against his ass of a father Bill). But on the other hand, when Steve Nash and Shawn Marion start getting up and down that court and they make players like Boris Diaw, Leandro Barbosa, and Eddie House look great, you will all remember that Tondar was right, so don't buy the hype.

6. Clippers over 3. Denver in 7. This matchup is truly a toss up. The Clippers delightfully tanked down the stretch to get the 6th seed, homecourt advantage, and a matchup with this underachieving Nuggets team. Denver has slightly more playoff experience considering that they had to face the Spurs in what I called the Western Conference Finals in spite of the series being in the first round last year. Unfortunately we are really only seeing the Carmello Anthony show as Nene and Kenyan Martin were injured for most of the season. Look for Sam Cassell to provide the needed veteran leadership the way he did in Minnesota as he led the 2004 team to the WCF. Also with Elton Brand playing like an MVP and other players such as Chris Kaman, Cuttino Mobley, and Vladimir Radmanovic all contributing they should be able to capitalize on their late season dive and make it to the second round for the first time in team history.

4. Dallas over 5. Memphis in 6. Poor Memphis! What luck for them to be rewarded for their best team in franchise history, than being forced to play a 60 win Dallas team in the first round. Memphis plays great defense. They get outstanding play from their foreign born power forward. And they have a nice mix of experienced veterans nad young talent. Unfortunately, Dallas does all these things better. Last year we saw the rise of this defense-first Mavericks team and with a whole year of playing experience under their belt, they are going to be that much better. Look for MVP contender Dirk Nowitzki to have a big series as he shows Pau Gasol how the Americans play it tough in the post-season. If there is one silver lining for Memphis, they should be able to win a playoff game for the first time in franchise history. They are too good to go down without a fight, but they will still be going down.

SECOND ROUND

1. Detroit over 5. Washington in 4. Assuming Detroit stays healthy, I do not see them facing much of a challenge in the second round. If by chance LeBron's Cavs win I could see them simply winning a game based on his superstar status. But in this matchup just look for Detroit to do their thing while they try to keep their starters rested as the give more minutes to Tony Delk, Antonio McDyess, and Maurice Evans.

2. Miami over 3. New Jersey in 6. The New York media wants me to be psyched about this second round matchup and it would be pretty good IF NEW JERSEY HAD A FRONT COURT. However, they will realize their problem when they try to box out Shaq, Antoine Walker and Udonis Haslem. I expect Carter, Kidd or Jefferson to carry the nets to a couple of victories based on some freak lights-out shooting. But Miami is going to pound it into the post and from there Shaq will find the open man or take it for 2 since Nenad Kristc (7 ft. 255 lbs) is not enough to stop Shaq. New Jersey's best chance for winning this series relies upon the officials and how they call the Shaq/Krstic matchup. There were some games later in the season where Krstic was able to get Shaq into foul trouble and take advantage of his absence. But since this is the playoffs everybody knows a rematch of last years Eastern Conference Finals would be more fateful so look for Miami to win this year, but next year New Jersey should be able to find a big man stud to make them a 55+ win team.

4. Dallas over 1. San Antonio in 6. This is the true Western Conference Finals of this year. Given the word on the street, Tim Duncan is not 100%. His Plantars Cheezcurlitis has him playing at about 80%. If he were full speed I would expect him to dominate in this Battle of Texas. When it comes down to it, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli will not be able to get it going for the Spurs. On the other side, I expect a big series from Marquis Daniels and I think even Erick Dampier will decide to play and punish chump change Nazr Muhammad on the inside. Sure Dallas will probably have some mental breakdowns, but they should be able to wrap things up at home in game 6. If they don't, than as the Pistons found out last year, San Antonio doesn't lose game 7 at home.

2. Phoenix over 6. LA Clippers in 7. Just imagine if this Suns team were at full strength with Amare Stoudamire and a 100% healthy Kurt Thomas. They could fly up and down that court and run a team like the Clippers ragged, inside and out. However, since the Suns are playing small ball, they will have matchup problems with the Clippers. Look for Cassell to get the ball into Elton Brand and Chris Kaman. They are going to punish any small Suns lineup they encounter. In the end I expect superstars Steve Nash and Shawn Marion to prevail for Phoenix. But due to matchup difficulties it will be much closer than anticipated.

THE ORIENTAL FINALS

1. Detroit over 2. Miami in 6. Seth had this one right on when he predicted a win for the officials and a win for Dwayne Wade. Miami just has too many injuries to be firing on all cylinders. Plus given Flip Saunders experience with coaching against Shaq from his days in the Occidental Conference, he may be more prone to using Hacka-Shaq than Larry Brown (I know I would). But I figure it like this. Shaq will get his, so just try to make him earn them on the foul line. In the meantime shutdown Wade and force Antoine Walker, Jason Williams and James Posey to beat you (assuming that they are close to healthy). I don't see that really happening and Detroit's dominance of Shaq's Heat shall continue.

THE OCCIDENTAL FINALS

4. Dallas over 2. Phoenix in 5. Dallas (or possibly San Antonio) should be riding high after the second round win. On the other hand, Phoenix will probably be tuckered out after being tested by both of the LA teams (at least they can simply set up camp in the Staples Center locker-room). I figure this year will be similar to last years where not playing defense finally catches up with Phoenix. So assuming no meltdowns and pending Tim Duncan's ankle the Mavericks should dispatch the Suns quite easily.

NBA FINALS

1. Detroit over 4. Dallas in 6. In the days of the old NBA, everybody knew who was going to be in the Finals. One only had to look at their regular season records. This year 3 teams have over 60 wins. And like those classic matchups, we will see 2 of these teams in the Finals. In the end, I think Detroit's cohesiveness and experience will win the day. Dallas, gave the Pistons quite the spanking early in the season, so they are certainly capable of grabbing a couple of wins, but there's just too much Chauncey, Rip, Tayshaun, 'Sheed, and BW for these kids to handle. Thus we will see these playoffs end in a classic coronation as the best team from the regular season fulfills their destiny and once again are raised high upon the Wheel of Fortune.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Tondar - No, it's OK Im like the Ogre with the heart of gold.

Friday, April 21, 2006

SETH'S NBA PREVIEW

Round 1:

Detroit Pistons v. Milwaukee Bucks
One of basketball's all-time best teams faces off against five paraplegic midgets. Hilarity ensues.

Miami Heat v. Chicago Bulls
Shaq comes out on a walker and coos at the babies, but things will get deadly serious after the Bulls win a game in Miami. Eventually, Dwayne Wade takes over the series and sports announcers breath a collective sigh of relief that they don't have to think of things to say about Ben Gordon anymore.

New Jersey Nets v. Indiana Pacers
The Pacers will fail to show up and forfeit the series, then blame somebody else for it, then say the way they played this year they don't deserve to win, then say Jermaine O'Neal should be MVP.

Cleveland Cavaliers v. Washington Wizards
Cleveland welcomes the Wizards, congratulates them on not becoming the first 5-seed in history with a losing record, then shoves LeBron James down their throats.

San Antonio Spurs v. Sacramento Kings
The one guy who watches this series will remark, "gosh, Tony Parker is really good, but where's Manu Ginobli and Tim Duncan this year?" Then Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli will show up and it'll be over quick.

Phoenix Suns v. Los Angeles Lakers
When researching the Lakers, I was surprised to discover that there's actually more than one guy on the team, but they all have funny names like "Lamar" or "Smush" or "Kwame" or "Sasha," so I can see why they never mention them. Kobe will set an all-time series record for scoring, and the refs will give one or two games to the Lakers. But by game 6, Kobe will score only 120 points and lose to Phoenix 133-122.

Denver Nuggets v. Los Angeles Clippers
The "I want to lose so I can play Denver" affair between the Clippers and the Grizzlies was one of the more bizarre basketball games in history. Well, it was worth it, as the "winners" of the lose-a-thon are rewarded with home-court advantage over a 3-seed that's tanking faster than you can say "Carmelo can't play defense."

Dallas Mavericks v. Memphis Grizzlies
Last time a 4-seed was this much better than a 5-seed, it was the 1997 Arizona Wildcats against the College of Charleston. At least that was just one game. This drubbing will have to take four. Shoulda lost to the Clippers when you had the chance, kids.


Round 2:

Pistons v. Cavaliers
King James may look good in a castle, but he's not ready to face the Palace.

Miami v. New Jersey
The Nets are on a mission this year, but the Heat are playoff-built, no matter their late-season troubles. 7-game series that Miami/ref duo pulls off in tight finale.

Spurs v. Clippers
This is a tough road for San Antonio, but they're too good to fall here

Dallas v. Phoenix
This is an easy road for Dirk and co. The Suns can overcome a myopic Laker team, but not a team that bothers to play defense.

Conference Championship

Pistons v. Miami
Weren't we built for this? Hacka-Shaq, give one game to The Flash, one game to the refs, and we're done in 6.

Spurs v. Dallas
Finally the battle of Texas begins, but if you can't predict the winner, you don't watch basketball.

Finals:

Pistons v. Spurs

We could have saved a lot of time and money if we'd taken my suggestion last October to skip the season and the playoffs and go right to a Game 7 betwen Detroit and San Antonio. Rough road for Duncan versus an easy one for the Pistons. This is Detroit's turn.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

PIC OF THE DAY


I was going to blog the most mind-blowing thing ever revealed to humanity today. Instead I had to make something for the foreclosure potluck tomorrow. Well after Paddington burned our soufle, Mr. Mojo suggested that I bring them a bottle of Mad Dog 20/20 and Big Lots antacids. I agreed because everybody likes sweets. Posted by Picasa
A PLAGUE ON DRAKE'S HOUSE

Looks like hosting an international flophouse of ill repute has caught up with Drake. As James puts it...

"to our Yeza brethren on the west coast: When is it safe to visit California? Please, send us an email informing us when the plague has passed."

Bubonic plague ails L.A. woman

LOS ANGELES - A woman is in stable condition with bubonic plague, the first confirmed human case in Los Angeles County since 1984, health officials said Tuesday.


I'd grab my cat-o-nine-tails and take to the streets immediately, for the plague shall only passover the penitent man.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

PIC OF THE DAY


It was said that Pops had a substance abuse problem. But through the course of my conversations with him, he informed me that it was not a "problem" at all. Posted by Picasa
NEW WORD

I have found this new word very useful, and you will too. Learn it. Know it. Love it.

logorrhea
n.

Excessive use of words.
HAWKS RISING

The Atlanta Hawks finished right where I expected. As today's AP says...

DOUBLED

Tyrone Lue hit a 3-pointer with 8.3 seconds left to give Atlanta a 103-100 victory over Miami on Tuesday and twice the number of wins they had last season. The Hawks have improved from 13 wins last year to 26 this season, but they are still only one game out of last place in the Southeast Division.


Their young team seems to be coming along nicely as they are getting more production out of Josh Smith, Josh Childress and Marvin Williams. And before his injury, I was very impressed with the next Michael Redd, Salim Stoudamire. This kids got a sweet stroke from the outside that will make any defense pay for collapsing. On top of that they have been getting solid play out of veterans like Lue and Al Harrington. On the other hand, they still have yet to find a bigman to fill up the middle. This has been one of their biggest problems all season since their divisional rivals have great inside players like Emaka Okafor, Dwight Howard, and of course Shaq. Plus to make it all that much sweeter, they even got the chance to beat up on former Pistons loser, Ronny Rothstein...

RILEY OUT

Miami Heat coach Pat Riley was not with the team for Tuesday night's game against Atlanta as he remained in upstate New York with his ailing mother. Mary Riley, 96, lives in the Schenectady, N.Y. area where Pat Riley grew up. Assistant coach Ron Rothstein filled in for Riley as the Heat lost 103-100 to the Hawks.


Rothstein couldn't win in Detroit and he's back in classic form for the Heat. But after doubling their wins people are going to expect the Hawks to continue this pace and win around 40 next season. In the east that's enough to make the playoffs. I don't think this is that unreasonable of a goal. They still need a point guard, and though New York has 4 they are looking to unload, I wouldn't go near any of them. On top of that, in spite of the solid play of Zaza Pechulia, he's not cutting it as the Hawks only bigman. If I were named GM the first thing I would do is try to bring in a free agent point guard or bigman. However, since the field is going to be limited, I would suggest the Hawks take their lottery pick and trade down with one of the more mediocre teams to pick up Sheldon Williams. I've been big on him after watching him play in the tournament. This Duke star reminds me a lot of Karl Malone considering his 6-9, 240 lb frame and his refined post moves. He appears to be the kind of player that could contribute up front and add instant toughness where the Hawks are most in need. As for the lack of point guard, I don't think there is much that can be done since Chris Pauls, Jason Kidds, and Steve Nashs don't come along very often. But free agent to be Mike James would be a nice veteran addition considering the tear he was on this season in the basketball Siberia of Toronto. But anyways, it will be interesting to see which way this team goes. After winning 13 and then 26 games, the upward trajectory is obvious and this becomes the crucial moment where rebuilding separates the Clippers and Warriors from the Suns and Lakers.
PIC OF THE DAY


Holy Diver
You've been down too long in the midnight sea
Oh what's becoming of me Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

KATHERINE WATCH

I'll salem alekom you upside the head...

Salem Alekom everyone!

I hope this email finds you all well and enjoying the beautiful spring weather wherever you may be. Oh, and Happy Easter as well! It is Easter Sunday, and I am at school preparing for my lesson this evening. Obviously, they do not celebrate this holiday here because it is an Islamic country. So, today is just like any other day for me.

WOW. What a week. I hope you got a chance to check out the pictures of the pyramids this weekend. Our group went to Cairo on Friday and our first stop was Giza to see the Pyramids and the Sphynix. It was so much warmer in Cairo, I am very thankful that we are going to school in Alexandria on the sea.... it is so much better!

The pyramids were breathtaking. I was speechless, and actually in shock while I was there gazing at them. We walked around the great pyramid, and then we tried to get a ticket to go inside, but they were sold out. They only sell 150 each morning, and we didn't make it. But no worries, we still got to go in a different pyramid. I got my ticket and the guards checked my bags, but I had hidden my camera.... so I got right in. I know, I am so sneaky! Unfortunately, my friends all had to put their cameras on the bus, so I went in first. It was so hot and humid. I can't even explain how wet my entire body was just seconds after descending into the pyramid. There are ramps that you have to go down on to get in the pyramid, but the problem is that the tunnels to get in are about 4 feet high... and I am almost 6 feet tall. So, I had to crouch down really low, and it was super uncomfortable crawling down the huge ramp to get to the bottom. Once I got to the bottom, we had to go up another ramp doing the same thing. I really thought I was going to lose it- there were so many people, it was so hot, and there was barely any oxygen to breathe. Once we made it in, I saw the tomb quickly and headed back out to get some air. WOW. It was quite an experience. If any of you ever go, I advise going in the winter so it will actually be breathable down there! I can't even imagine going in July when the temperatures are well above 100degrees outside, let alone in the pyramid! I am really glad that I did it, even though it was a rough experience!

One of the coolest parts of the whole thing was the camel ride by the pyramids! I really felt as if I was getting the whole Egyptian experience! It was great fun! The sphynix was also beautiful, but much smaller than I had expected. Overall, the history is unreal. It was hard to believe that this site is thousands of years old!

Next we went to the Egyptian Museum where they have all of the neat stuff that was found in the pyramids and tombs. Bummer, but I couldn't sneak my camera in this time since they had metal detectors and security like airports do.... but the mental images I have will stay forever. I got to see King Tut's mask and the tomb. WOW. The real thing.... it was sending chills up my spine as I sat and stared at it. All of the things in the museum were so amazing, all of the history to go along with it is even better. My favorite part of the museum was going to see the Royal Mummies. This part was an extra 70 Egyptian pounds to see, but it was totally worth it. These mummies still had hair and skin.... it was so gross! I wish you could see what I am talking about! It was hard to believe that these mummies are real, and thousands of years old! Can you imagine it?

At the end of the day we went into Cairo to go to the market and then have some fresh mint tea before heading back to Alex. It was so overwhelming at the market- people haggling you from every direction to buy.... and they know so many languages! English, Arabic, Spanish, French, German- they know it all! I wish I was multi-lingual like that!

Overall, it was a great weekend. This past week was the best yet because I feel more and more comfortable here everyday. It was Ryan's (the Australian in our group) birthday, so we got him a cake and went to this incredible Egyptian cafe for dinner. It was so delicious- steak, different meat, sparrow soup, rice, and all kinds of salads. Oh, so good!

I also learned how to play the Egyptian version of Backgammon this week, so I have been spending my lunch hours playing at the cafe on the sea with my sheesha and sandwich. Oh, how I love it here!

Everything is going so very well. Tonight I will be teaching my last tutoring class, but then I start to teach in the classroom tomorrow. I am teaching our driver Hussein English, and he is so sweet. His son works at the school, and they are both learning English. It is so much fun!

I miss you and love you all! Take care! Hoppy Easter!

Besitos
Kat
BACK TO BEDLAM

Now that Lent is over I can finally fall off the drinking bandwagon. On the one hand I am very happy with the weight I have lost. However, without alcohol, I have also lost the will to clean. Plus when you're hiding in the bushes on an adventure, you just feel awkward without the inspirational nectar to inspire new places to trespass or imagine grand armies of infidel warriors.

Well today, we finally get things rolling again with a PBR/Cleaning Session, a scotch, and probably even a calimatxo or two. But from now on, I think we will only see Tondar drinking in one of two instances: the above mentioned cleaning session or in a festive situation such as Tondarfest or a visit with the Dark Lord.
FOR FUTURE REFERENCE

There will be no more mangy Italians using my shower. This weekend I went through a whole bottle of Liquid Plumber taking care of your long dark silky hairs. Sure Allison and James, you know how I would love to sit in a field of daisies and run my hands through your hair singing a song of adoration and love recognizing our cosmetic place in the universe...

"Oh what a pretty mane
Always caught in the drain

Give a home to the fleas in your hair

A home for fleas
A hive for bees
A bowl for turds
There ain't no words

For the beauty, the splendor, the wonder
Of your...

HAIR!"


Together we could watch the sun set as your hair falls all around me. Maybe it smells of flowers. Maybe it smells of wild honey and jasmine. Maybe it simply smells like carpet cleaner. But either way, I would know that I was in heaven being in the presence of James, Allison and all that long dark beautiful hair, assuming of course...

THAT IT STAYS OUT OF MY DRAIN!!!!
PIC OF THE DAY


Another Tuesday, and another work from home day with help from the monkeys. Let's hope they do a better job this time. Their spelling gives me away. Posted by Picasa
NBA AWARD WEEK

It's the last week of the NBA season so it's time to hand out a few awards. Our first award is the true no brainer of the season so little has to be said.

So let me introduce the reasons in favor...

Magic Johnson - 18.0 ppg 7.3 apg 4.0 topg

Anfernee Hardaway - 16.0 ppg 6.6 apg 3.6 topg (when he was young and healthy)

Chris Paul - 16.3 ppg 7.9 apg 2.33 topg

And the reason against...

Steve Francis - 18.0 ppg 6.6 apg 4.0 topg

Sure his early numbers are very similar to Magic and Francis. However, I'm pretty sure we're dealing with the real-deal next great point guard. Plus, this cat is an American, so it will be great to see him go at it for Team USA in the coming years. Since his numbers speak for themselves, all that's left to do is to chastise the Atlanta Hawks for not selecting him at number 2. Marvin Williams isn't that bad of a player. But when you get the chance to draft a REAL superstar-point guard and you pass it up to add your third small forward, you deserve a slap upside the head.

But anyways, Congratulations to Chris Paul, Tondar's NBA Rookie of the Year.
DEFAMATION OF CHARACTERS?

Pigpen found this one. Refresh the page a few times to see the Saudi Park characters on the right. I never thought I would see an Indian Cartman, an Algerian Butters, or a Qatari Stan. Plus after last weeks episode (not) featuring Muhammed, this makes even less sense.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

PIC OF THE DAY


If you post it, then you can delete it Posted by Picasa
PLAYOFF WATCH

Well in the NHL, the Thrashers are still alive...barely...

"Atlanta's only hope for making the playoffs: The Thrashers must win their final two games -- at Washington on Monday, at Florida the following night -- and have the Lightning lose in regulation time to the lowly Capitals at home on Tuesday."


In the meantime we have good news out of the NBA...

"Chicago's win not only spoiled Miami's home finale, it eliminated any hope Orlando had of sneaking onto the East's playoff bracket. Later Sunday, Philadelphia - which could have passed Chicago by winning its final two games and hoping the Bulls lost their final three - was ousted from the playoff picture when Washington beat Cleveland and secured its own postseason berth."


So as it stands right now, all the teams are in but we will have yet to determine the seedings and matchups.

If it's not too much to ask, when everything is settled, let's see if we can get some previews going here at the Daily Rant. I will definitely be doing my annual NBA Playoff Preview along with handing out some awards, but if you're an NHL fan toss your knowledge into the Rant and we'll see what we come up with.

Also, since the Red Wings won the President's Cup in an even year, does this mean we have Red Wings Parties at Pigpen's house? And if so, do we go to the house where his parents live, or where he and his wife now live with their 67 cats?
YES, EVERYBODY DOES POOP

I think somebody at Reuters has a fecile fixation. If you look at this picture of Donald Rumsfeld or the one below of Newt Gingrich, it makes you wonder who's getting pictures of these guys while they are visiting the Dook.
WHERE'S NEWT WHEN YOU NEED HIM

If the 2008 presidential election were held today, I would probably vote for Newt Gingrich if I were to even vote for a Republican. He seems to be the only one that recognizes the corruption that power brings and would put the flame to the GOP before the voters do. Or as Reuters puts it...

"With the federal budget deficit at record levels, Gingrich said Americans are losing patience with "pork," the discretionary spending earmarked to benefit local political constituencies.

"We were sent here to reform Washington, not to be co-opted by Washington," he said."


Of course there is the good chance these are merely empty words and that it will be business as usual. But something will have to be done because as Newt says...

"You have to respect the right of the American people to say they want change," he said, criticizing the federal government's bungled efforts to cope with Hurricane Katrina and the Republican-led Congress' failure to enact immigration reforms."


Change will come, but I still don't trust either faction of the bifactional ruling party to do it properly.
PIC OF THE DAY


Happy Easter kids. Posted by Picasa
KATHERINE WATCH

Katherine's no Badolino, but she still seems to get into adventures in the orient...

Salem alekom! (a greeting you say instead of hello in Arabic)

How is everyone? I hope you are all having a great spring wherever you may be! I can't believe that I have been here for over a week now! Time sure does fly by, but I guess that happens when I stay busy!

This week has been quite the learning experience since I have been living in the largest Muslim country in the world! First off, this is a VERY religious country. That means that men pray 5 times a day here; they take off their shoes and must touch feet with the other men in the mosque. Noon and before sundown are the big times to pray (from what I have noticed anyway). Also, it is a status symbol for men to have a callus, or bruise on their forehead indicating that they are very serious about their religion and pray often. So, many men I see have this on their forehead. As for women, heads and all skin must be covered otherwise you are considered different (meaning dirty, not religious, etc.) Some women choose the head dress that covers everything except for the eyes, and others choose to show their faces... it is all personal preference. So, since I do not do this, EVERYONE stares at me. Last week I was walking down the street, and I had a few different cars stop and ask me to go with them.... which is meaning that they thought I was a prostitute! I was highly offended, but I have grown to accept this since it happens almost daily here. I can't go anywhere without people staring- my skin color gives it away. I wear long skirts like other women here, and I always wear my little jacket to cover my arms, but they still stare! I have never felt like this in a country before, but I am growing to accept it. The reason behind the headdress for women is so that they will not "tempt" the men.... which of course I think is crap. Men should be able to control themselves, and thus is why I am hassled in the streets. I would never be able to live in a country like this for the rest of my life- men are definelty more powerful. Even at cafes and other places they always ask the men, greet the men- it's like women are invisible! As an independent woman, this drives me crazy!

OK, enough of that. The work week here in Egypt is Sunday through Thursday, and Friday is the day of rest. Over a loudspeaker throughout the town they say prayers (or the like) for everyone to hear, and you will see people praying wherever they are. I was in a shop and someone got out their carpet and started praying. This religion is so mysterious to me, and I am trying to learn more everyday! So, if you know more about it.... please do tell!

Yesteday was Mohammed's birthday, so it was a national holiday. My friends and I went to the beach all day and studied for our big test that I just finished.

This past weekend I did the touristy stuff here in Alex, which was fun. The weather is great and quite windy since we are on the sea. I got to see a castle fort, Pompey's pillar, and these really scary catacombs. The catacombs were so awesome! Unfortunately they didn't allow us to bring in our cameras, so you won't get to see pics of that. I felt like I was Indiana Jones getting lost in these underground catacombs with Egyptian hieroglyphics on the wall. At one point I was lost by myself in these freaky tombs and was actually pretty scared. These catacombs are ancient Roman burying grounds, and they say over 350 people were buried down here. They were first discovered about 100 years ago when a donkey fell through the ground (yes, funny I know!).

As for my daily life, I go to class around 9:15 and get home at 5:15. I had a lot of Arabic lessons last week, so I feel much more confident and comfortable here. It is a difficult thing to learn because their numbers are even different! When I go to the store, it takes time to figure out the prices! You should see the receipts! My goodness!

I live in an apartment with Jill, and the others in the program live in our building as well. We live above a mosque, so there is always a lot of music and praying going on around me.

Also, since it is such a religious country, alcohol is prohibited everywhere. We did find one of the two places that have alcohol for foreigners, so we got a couple of beers to celebrate our first week of class was finished. As for the classes, we are learning phonetics, English grammar, and how to teach for foreign language. They are demanding classes with at least 2 hours of homework each night, so I am really busy with that. I can't even remember when the last time was that I did this much homework!

This Friday I am going to the pyramids! I am so excited! This will probably be the best day of the month here for me because I have wanted to see these for so long!

Well, that's enough for now. Thanks for staying in touch and sending emails! I love you guys!

Take care! Don't forget to check out the photos on RINGO! I will email you next week with the pyramid pics!

Salem!
Kat

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