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March 28, 2004 - April 3, 2004 Archives

March 28, 2004


In the first half today, Xavier's Anthony Myles drove toward the basket, pulled up in the lane, and ducked under a Duke defender who'd committed to leave his feet. The Duke player came down and fouled him, he made the shot, and then came the celebration. Myles thumped his chest, yelled at the Duke players, acted as if he'd just proven his manhood many times over.

Just one thing remained: the free throw.

And when I saw his act, I thought "this guy's guaranteed to miss the free throw."

And then the announcer mentioned that Myles is 51% from the line.

And then he missed the free throw.

And then Duke grabbed the rebound, sped to the other end of the court, and scored.

And Myles, an important part of Xavier's success, ended up fouling out with about 12 minutes to go, sparking a Duke run.

Yeah, Anthony, you go celebrate. (As I write this, the game's far from over, so there may be some celebration yet, but as the game moved into the critical part of the second half, he sat on the bench)

So this is what we get- excessive celebration of relatively minor achievement, and a marked inability of players to perform the most simple of tasks. You can be a star player and shoot less than 50% from the line, and you get to jump and yell and point at yourself and taunt opposing players and rile up the crowd because you, um, drew a foul early in the first half.

I still love basketball. I just have to remind myself of that sometimes. It's easy to forget.


March 29, 2004


A few minutes ago, I was watching a few minutes of "On Air With Ryan Seacrest" when it struck me that the show is really "Entertainment Tonight" for the developmentally disabled.

OK, not really. It's "Entertainment Tonight" for teenage girls, only I'm not so sure that teenage girls even LIKE Ryan Seacrest. But I can't tell- I'm not a teenage girl. (And no, I'm not suggesting that teenage girls are developmentally disabled, so stop that right now)

The same disconnect hit me when we saw "Jersey Girl" this weekend. I like Kevin Smith movies- I even enjoyed the self-indulgent "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back"- but this movie is a different animal. It's a schmaltz-fest, pure and simple. A chick flick. But I happen to be married to a chick, and SHE didn't care for it, either- she agreed with me that we'd give anything for Jay and Bob to wander into the movie for some drug-addled low comedy, or Dante and Randall to come on over from the Quickstop for some street hockey. Instead, we got a morose Ben Affleck and a lot of phony angst, "Chasing Amy" without the lesbian, the plot, and the humor but with a little girl. Chick flick. Not for me.

That's why it has to be hard to be a critic. You have to watch movies that aren't intended for you, and you have to be fair. If you're not in the target audience- that is, if you're not a farting 12 year old at an Adam Sandler movie, or a guy with hygiene issues who still lives with Mom at "Lord of the Rings"- it's difficult to put yourself in the mindset of the people who might appreciate the movie. You try, but you can't.

Well, actually, you can. I'll never be able to look at it like a teenage girl would, but I'm fairly certain "On Air with Ryan Seacrest" sucks.


March 30, 2004


    Democracy is a good thing.


    If the majority of people want something, that's the way things should go.


    Like when Californians wanted to stop massive tax hikes by passing Prop. 13.

    No, that's...

    And when they voted to recall Gov. Davis. That was good, too.

    No, no, that was...

    The will of the people?


They're having a vote in Inglewood next Tuesday. The measure is basically a referendum on Wal-Mart- the company wants to build a SuperCenter in the empty space between the Forum and Hollywood Park, and the unions don't want it. It's specifically a question on whether to remove some red tape in the permit process, but the bottom line is that it's all about Wal-Mart, yea or nay.

This morning in the L.A. Times, Patt "The Hatt" Morrison wrote a blistering column attacking Wal-Mart and its right to build in Inglewood or, really, anywhere. After describing Wal-Mart executives as sitting back in Bentonville laughing at the rubes in Inglewood "ready to sell their birthright," whatever that means, she goes on to question the very idea that people should have the right to even vote on this:

    But really, do you want initiatives on the ballot for technical matters? You hire city planners and zoning experts for the same reason you hire a doctor to take out your appendix or an electrician to wire your house you can't do it yourself. Don't give a voter like me control over engineering and zoning considerations. A sufficiently slick ad campaign might persuade me that red licorice is as good a building material as steel.

Patt doesn't mean that. She knows SHE'S smart enough to understand a ballot initiative. Inglewood residents? Nah, way, WAY too stupid to understand the complexities of the situation.

It's a long initiative, to be sure. And it would let Wal-Mart have its way at the site. That would be worrisome, if not for this: the site's empty now. Nothing there but parking and dirt where a hotel used to be. It's not the nicest neighborhood in the area- in fact, it's pretty poor. And there are few uses for it as long as there's a racetrack on one side and an arena on the other. There's no environment there to protect, no traffic situation that needs deep examination- the intersection handled nightly crowds of 17,000 when the Forum was in use by the Lakers and Kings, so it can handle Wal-Mart. In short, the environmental and procedural questions are just background to the real question- Wal-Mart or not? Non-union or union? Jobs or no jobs? Cheap labor or no labor? Tax revenues or no tax revenues?

You know, I don't really care. I wouldn't shop in Inglewood anyway, I've been to Hollywood Park once in 5 years, I haven't been to the Forum since the teams moved, and although I have a little Wal-Mart stock- who doesn't?- whether they build in Inglewood is really immaterial to me. Besides, if they don't build there, they'll find another plot of land nearby to build on. They always do. But it does amuse me when people say that the people can't be trusted to vote on things. You might not always like the result, but that IS democracy. And if the people want their low, low prices or want to throw the bums out, well, maybe Patt the Hatt thinks she's different, but I'm not gonna be the one to tell them they can't have it their way.



Prompted by an entry on LGF, here's a map of where I've been, generated by a very cool page at World66.com:

create your own visited country map
or write about it on the open travel guide

OK, it's kinda pathetic, but how many of YOU fainted at the birthplace of Simon Bolivar, or got refused service at a Paris bistro? (There's also the matter of several of the countries being too small to see, mostly Caribbean islands like Antigua or Guadaloupe or Curacao) Anyway, it's cool, go try it.


March 31, 2004


John Kerry makes a bid for street cred:

    "I'm fascinated by Rap and Hip-Hop" said Democratic presidential candidate, John Kerry during an MTV Choose or Lose forum. Offering up a heavy dose of street credibility, Kerry defended gangsta rap, freedom of speech and the realities of street life....

    "I'm fascinated by rap and by hip-hop. I think there's a lot of poetry in it. There's a lot of anger, a lot of social energy in it. And I think you'd better listen to it pretty carefully, 'cause it's important."

Oh, yeah? Name some songs you like. Offer some recommendations. Go on, we'll wait.

Thought so.

    When questioned about offensive rap lyrics, Kerry said there is a line to be drawn, but defended freedom of speech.

    "I think that there is a line you draw between government intervention and the right of speech and the right for people to express themselves, but do I think there are standards of decency in that? Yes, I do. Do I think that sometimes some lyrics in some songs have stepped over what I consider to be a reasonable line? Yeah, I do. I think when you start talking about killing cops or something like that, it bothers me."

But bitches and hos and drugs and killing non-cops? Is that OK with you, Jo-Ker? Really, tell us where that "reasonable line" is. Give examples. It should be easy- after all, you're fascinated by rap and hip-hop.

Sorry, I couldn't hear that. Could you speak up?

It's embarrassing for a middle-aged rich guy to try to act like he has even the remotest idea of what's happening with youth culture, worse when it's hip-hop. If he's being honest, John Kerry would admit that he doesn't know Chingy from 50 Cent from Kanye West. And there would be NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. Really, when politicians attempt to prove they're youth-culture-relevant, it's condescending in the extreme. Think about the president in recent years who was most beloved by young people when he was in office.

No, not Clinton. Think Reagan.

Ronald Reagan never once attempted to prove that he knew anything about rap, or rock, or MTV. He didn't have to. Most young people don't care whether the President knows who Fred Durst is. In fact, they don't WANT that. They want a father figure, someone who will be able to handle the finances and make them feel safe.

Think about it- remember when you were a kid and your father tried to "take an interest" in the stuff you liked? Remember the abject embarrassment you felt? I mean, when I was a kid, you wouldn't even see your parents in jeans, ever. You didn't want to.

There was a show on for a half-season a few years ago called "Undeclared." In it, Loudon Wainwright III played one of the main characters' fathers, a guy lost in the throes of a broken marriage and midlife crisis who started hanging around the kids on campus a little TOO much. When a presidential candidate starts to talk about his deep interest in rap and hip-hop, that's the dad who won't stop hanging around the kids. He thinks he's really making an impression. He is, but not the kind he wants to make.

He's your dad in baggies and bling, acting 15. Give it up, man.


April 1, 2004


According to Sky News:

    The TV Geordie duo Ant and Dec are to star in their very own movie.

    The film could help them achieve their dream of cracking America if it becomes a box office hit.

Let me make myself clear- we already have a Ryan Seacrest. We do not need to import two more.

Seriously, please, guys, stay in England. Even our Ryan Seacrest's TV ratings aren't all that hot. You're better off just hosting "Pop Idol" and stuff. It's cold and scary over here, and we eat weird food and there are dragons and tigers roaming the streets. Turn back now.

Thank you.


April 2, 2004


So many things to talk about, so little time, and it's late, so here's the shorthand:

Tyco? Don't care.

Hoops or sex? Sex. With the TV on so you can watch the game, too. You CAN have it all.

April Fool's? Unfunny.

Me? Done for the night.


April 3, 2004


I'm finishing my taxes and watching the Duke-UConn game.

Sorry. You gotta set priorities sometimes.


About March 2004

This page contains all entries posted to PMSimon.com in March 2004. They are listed from oldest to newest.

March 21, 2004 - March 27, 2004 is the previous archive.

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