From Dave Coverly's (Ann Arbor in the house!) "Speed Bump."
Look at that kid's legs dangle! How long could you deny the smell of that dump? (I think that's a distinctly male trait, by the way.)
Thursday, June 30, 2005
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
I'm not usually a fan of stories that involve time travel, whether they're sci-fi novels, movies, or comic books. To me, many of these narratives seem to collapse under their own weight at the end or somehow break a rule that was established earlier in the story. That's not to say it hasn't been done well (the "Terminator" flicks) or made into something fun (the first Back to the Future). And if any of you have a favorite example or two that my brain just isn't recalling, I'd love to hear about it.
I'd like to add a movie of my own to that list: Primer. It was so refreshing to have a movie scratch an itch in your brain, rather than just numb it. Working on a seriously indie budget, Primer concentrates more on story and character development than glossy special effects or outlandish premises.
Evil villain: I hate Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, so we're going to go back in time and prevent the guy with chocolate from colliding with the guy with peanut butter. And from then on, we'll live in a world with only plain chocolate bars - which is the way it should be! Bwahaha!
Evil villain's underling: Bwahahahahaha!!
Villain and underling together: Bwaaaahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!
Evil villain's underling: But... but... if you do that, we'll never have Ben & Jerry's Peanut Butter Cup ice cream!
Evil villain: What? Nooooooooooooooooooooo! What have I done? WHAT! HAVE! I! DONE!
(© 2005 Ian Casselberry, by the way. Don't even think of stealing this gold.)
If you haven't heard of it, Primer is about two guys who almost accidentally create a time machine in their garage, but it keeps the science-fictional premise under the surface (though there's some technical jargon in the dialogue), concerning itself instead with how power can affect friendships, how it can corrupt people who suddenly have the power to influence the direction of their lives. It tries to challenge the audience by making you question what you just watched. I don't know how you couldn't want to discuss the film after seeing it. (Where's Mis Hooz and a bar or coffee shop when I need them?)
And even though the story seems to give you everything you need, it definitely rewards multiple viewings. Moments and characters that seemed harmless or insignificant the first time around suddenly become rather important when the whole story reveals itself. I wanted to watch the thing again as soon as I was done with it. (Unfortunately, Shane Carruth's director commentary on the DVD is a bit of a snoozer, unless you're a film school junkie wondering what film stock he used, how he recorded sound, what type of lighting he used, etc., etc. I wanted more story details.)
If I've piqued your curiosity or you've already seen Primer, here's a link to an about.com interview with Carruth.
Also, here are three different attempts to explain the different timelines established in the movie, resulting from the lead characters' actions.
And if you're curious what another blog thinks of it, check out kottke.org's thoughts.
You will thank me later.
Posted by Ian C. at 1:00 PM
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Also, I'm frustrated that the Tigers game isn't on television tonight. This is total #@$%ing ridiculous bull$#!+. Hey guys, it's only a game against the Chicago White Sox, who happen to have the best #@$%ing record in Major League Baseball.
So to cure my baseball fix for the evening, I went to mlb.com and cast my votes for the American and National League All-Star teams. Here's who I voted for, which is something a grand total of zero people were wondering about. Most of the picks, I'll admit, are based on the best stats, with a couple of exceptions.
This should help your insomnia. I hope you sleep nicely.
First base: Mark Teixeira, TEXAS
- .291 avg., 20 HR, 58 RBI, .361 OBP
Second base: Brian Roberts, BALTIMORE
- .363 avg., 12 HR, 43 RBI, .435 OBP
Shortstop: Miguel Tejada, BALTIMORE
- .317 avg., 19 HR, 59 RBI, .364 OBP
(I'd love to vote for Detroit's Carlos Guillen, but he just hasn't played enough, due to injuries.)
Third base: Alex Rodriguez, NY YANKEES
- .332 avg., 20 HR, 65 RBI, .429 OBP
(Though I'd love to vote for Detroit's Brandon Inge, who's "my boy.")
Catcher: Ivan Rodriguez, DETROIT
- .295 avg., 5 HR, 29 RBI, .307 OBP
(An admitted hometown pick. I should probably vote for Boston's Jason Varitek.)
Designated Hitter: David Ortiz, BOSTON
- .303 avg., 19 HR, 65 RBI, .384 OBP
Outfielder: Manny Ramirez, BOSTON
- .271 avg., 19 HR, 66 RBI, .355 OBP
Outfielder: Johnny Damon, BOSTON
- .337 avg., 3 HR, 41 RBI, .383 OBP
Outfielder: Vladimir Guerrero, LA ANGELS
- .345 avg., 12 HR, 41 RBI, .401 OBP
First base: Derrek Lee, CHICAGO
- .388 avg., 22 HR, 64 RBI, .466 OBP
Second base: Jeff Kent, LA DODGERS
- .297 avg., 15 HR, 58 RBI, .372 OBP
Shortstop: Jimmy Rollins, PHILADELPHIA
- .281 avg., 6 HR, 22 RBI, .320 OBP
Third base: Aramis Ramirez, CHICAGO
- .302 avg., 17 HR, 49 RBI, .362 OBP
Catcher: Mike Piazza, NY METS
- .264 avg., 8 HR, 31 RBI, .323 OBP
(Hey, why don't we get to vote for a National League designated hitter? The game's in an American League ballpark.)
Outfielder: Cliff Floyd, NY METS
- .281, 20 HR, 51 RBI, .349 OBP
(Maybe I'm not paying attention to what other people are saying, but I think he's having the best "big year" no one is talking about.)
Outfielder: Jose Guillen, WASHINGTON
- .333 avg., 15 HR, 54 RBI, .385 OBP
(I had to vote for someone from the Nationals, my adopted favorite National League team.)
Outfielder: Bobby Abreu, PHILADELPHIA
- .325 avg., 17 HR, 52 RBI, .442 OBP
Since I had no baseball, I had to choose between two things I don't care about: President Bush's speech or the NBA Draft. Which do you think I chose? Here's a hint: who the #@$% is Jason Maxiell, Pistons fans? Maybe I should've stuck with the news after seeing Jennifer Eccleston on Larry King Live. Sweet sassy molassey!
Posted by Ian C. at 10:15 PM
Saturday, June 25, 2005
"Since when would a celebrity have expertise in medicine? Would you go to your doctor and ask him about movie roles?"
-- Peg Nichols, a spokeswoman for the Landover-based Children and Adults With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (from the Washington Post)
I'm sure most, if not all of you have heard about Tom Cruise's "I know the truth! And you don't!" meltdown on yesterday's Today show in a tense interview with Matt Lauer. If not, here's the gist: Tom Cruise has studied psychiatry, and you haven't.
Do I really want to devote another 500 words to Tommy Boy's further descent into bat-$#!+ craziness? Nah. It's late. It's hot. I'd rather go pick weeds out of the driveway. But if you haven't, you simply must read the transcript. Here's a hilarious version of it from You Can't Make It Up. The photos alone are worth it. The words? Oh, they have to be read to be believed.
And while you're at it:
Richard Leiby makes more fun of Cruise in the Washington Post.
Daniel Engber explores the history of the battle between Psychiatry and Scientology in Slate.
And the New York Times' Alessandra Stanley says this was so much more fun than the usual promote-my-movie celebrity suck-up fest we usually get. (I have to agree.)
Posted by Ian C. at 6:30 PM
Friday, June 24, 2005
Today's Detroit Free Press ran a piece on Pistons blogs that's worth checking out. I was one of the bloggers interviewed for the article, but unfortunately, it looks like my stuff hit the editing room floor. Oh well. Check it out anyway.
It would've been cool for Fried Rice Thoughts to get some attention in a metro Detroit newspaper (and I had the Cristal on ice, ready to pop), but I don't think I supplied much quotable material to the reporter. And even though I've been writing a lot about the Pistons lately, I don't consider this a sports blog, so I wouldn't want people to get the wrong idea about what they'll find when they come here.
However, one of the guys who did supply some good quotes - Greg Eno - does a good job at Out of Bounds, and I'm glad to see him get some attention. More people should definitely be reading his stuff, and I think the Freep article will take care of that.
I'm looking at the bright side: at least I didn't have to shell out a bunch of quarters for a stack of newspapers this morning.
As a Pistons fan, you have to be disappointed with the result of last night's Game 7. But how could you possibly be disappointed in the effort? The Pistons fought to the very end, and made San Antonio earn their third NBA championship. And as I've said in previous entries, that's what Pistons fans wanted out of their team. Compete. Fight to defend their championship. Of course, we wanted a second straight NBA title. We wanted them to show all the skeptics that last year's team was not a fluke champion. But if they had to lose, at least they went down swinging. And I think a lot of pride can be taken from that.
Julian H. Gonzalez/Detroit Free Press
Yes, Tim Duncan won the MVP, and you can't knock his record. Three MVP awards and three NBA championships is truly an impressive resume. And with 25 points and 11 rebounds, he certainly had a good game last night. But - and this is probably a bit of sore loser bubbling to the surface - he owes his teammates (Ginobili and Bruce Bowen, especially) a slice of that trophy.
It's been a long, tough season for the Pistons, and they literally took it as far as it could go. But after getting some much-needed rest, Joe Dumars needs to look at this team and make some difficult decisions. Is Rasheed Wallace becoming more of a headache than he's worth? Or, despite his inconsistencies, is he too much of a key piece to discard? But that might be too big a change to consider, and this team probably doesn't need that. After all, they were minutes away from a second straight NBA title. But bringing in a lethal long-range shooter who can come in off the bench and knock in some three-pointers should be a priority. Scoring points is a problem that Detroit just couldn't overcome at the end.
And of course, the question of whether or not Larry Brown will coach this team next season is something that needs to be addressed - and fast. Health issues aside, Brown's high-maintenance personality might have worn down too many nerves. On the other hand, can another coach come in and maintain credibility with a bunch of veteran players who already know what it takes to win? That'll be an interesting story to follow.
But for now, it's time to throw the basketballs back in the garage until, oh, October. I sense that some of you don't always enjoy these sports blogs, but hey, that's part of the mix that I try to create here every day. And the Detroit Pistons have been a love of mine since I was a teenager. So when they're doing well - and even when they're playing badly - I'll be writing about them. Part of the reason I created this blog was to give myself an outlet for Detroit sports while living in Iowa. You can't cook fried rice without oil, and I can't write a blog without discussing sports. I appreciate you sticking with me and reading, even if the topics aren't always interesting to you. Thanks for that.
Posted by Ian C. at 11:00 AM
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Sis will say this is a sign that I watch too much TV (You're gettin' a noogie when you come home, kiddo), but I've been keeping a close eye on commercials lately, hoping I'll get to spend another 30 seconds with... the Mercury spokeswoman?
Why, yes, I'd be interested in a Mercury Mariner
Can anyone help a brother?
I found this at The Great Curve (and just seconds ago from my New York correspondent, Mis Hooz):
Hey! You have any idea how much this suit cost? No touchie!
"Armored tank for Batmobile: $2,000,000."
Posted by Ian C. at 10:15 AM
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
After Sunday night's soul-crushing loss, many surely thought a Spurs win on their home court in San Antonio was a formality. The Pistons had to be a psychologically beaten team, right? Not so fast, my friend. This photo by Julian H. Gonzalez of the Detroit Free Press speaks rather emphatically.
Get that $#!+ outta here!
And how well did Rasheed Wallace sleep last night? An entire city and legions of Pistons fans were ready to string this guy up by his naughty bits after his total brain lapse at the end of Sunday's Game 5.
Please, please let me off the hook.
It's a tried-and-true sports cliche, but anything can happen in a winner-takes-all Game 7. Even though the game is on San Antonio's home court and probably gives them a slight edge, how can you bet against this Pistons team? Every time you're ready to write them off, they come back defiantly and remind everyone why they're the defending NBA champs.
And a note to Mis Hooz: Since you were on the phone with me through virtually the entire game and Detroit won, you'd better make plans to spend Thursday the same way. Work the kinks out of your neck. Superstition is a mistress that must be served.
One more Pistons blog for the summer, people. Stay with me.
Posted by Ian C. at 11:30 AM
Monday, June 20, 2005
As Ryan Field said on the FOX Sports Detroit post-game show, if the San Antonio Spurs go on to win the NBA Finals in six games, Robert Horry will probably always be known in Detroit as "Robert '#$@%ing' Horry.' Despite Felix Gillette's arguments to the contrary in Slate, Horry lived up to his nickname as "Big Shot Bob" by hitting the three-pointer that gave the Spurs a one-point victory, 96-95.
Nice shot, Bob.
The man who's probably most grateful to Horry is his teammate, Tim Duncan, who did virtually everything in his power to prevent the Spurs from winning. Duncan is a very good player, but in the final minutes of Game 6, he showed why he shouldn't be considered a great player. You cannot miss three of four free throws, and then a rebound tip in the final seconds that could've won the game, along with letting the ball slip through your hands and go out of bounds on an easy pass in overtime, and be considered a great player. Magic Johnson wouldn't have botched those plays. Larry Bird wouldn't have, either. And you know what Michael Jordan would have done. I'm not sure anyone had Duncan on the same level with those legendary players, but he's the one guy in this series who could arguably be called a "superstar."
'Fraid not, Timmy. Maybe that's just me being a sore loser, but your teammate bailed you out this time. You should buy him a big, fat steak dinner tomorrow night.
We'll see if San Antonio can do it again on their home turf Tuesday night. Detroit knows they let one get away, and I'd be surprised if they didn't fight like wild dogs to force the series to a seventh game. So is this officially a series now? Pistons coach Larry Brown says a series really starts when a team wins on their opponent's home court. I hope there are two more games remaining in this series. But the chances of Detroit winning two straight games in San Antonio looks slimmer than Christian Bale in The Machinist.
Posted by Ian C. at 1:20 AM
Sunday, June 19, 2005
For those of you who know me or have been reading this blog for a while, you undoubtedly know that today is a bittersweet day for me. I've tried not to let it get to me, but of course it does. I've spent a lot of time thinking about my father today, and celebrating his memory with my mother as best as I can. (In that spirit, I encourage you to read Hoyt's touching tribute to his late father at Donutbuzz.)
A month or so ago, I intended to write a blog about keeping score in baseball after the Detroit News ran a feature on it. (Sorry, can't find the link.) I ended up shelving the idea, probably in favor of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes jokes. However, Billfer over at The Detroit Tiger Weblog wrote the blog that I never had a chance to write before my father passed away, and I'd like to link to it.
Some of my favorite memories of my Dad are going to Tigers games with him. He taught me how to keep score. He instilled my belief that only mustard, not ketchup should go on a ballpark hot dog. He assured me that the crowd wasn't booing Lou Whitaker, they were chanting "Loooooooou!" (I think he did the same thing with Ruppert Jones. "Ruuuuuup!") He bought me my first Tigers cap at Tiger Stadium. And he got me John Wockenfuss's autograph when I was too shy to bring my baseball up to him on Autograph Day.
Happy Father's Day, Dad. I miss you. We never got to have that last catch at the Field of Dreams in Iowa, like we'd talked about. But we'll have it someday.
Friday, June 17, 2005
©2005 Mark Tatulli/ Dist. by Universal Press Syndicate
In the past, I wouldn't have been able to look at a movie like this objectively. I would've been so excited to see one of my comic book heroes on the big screen that I wouldn't have cared whether or not the movie was crap. It might be a sign of actual maturity (says the man declaring his love for men in capes and tights) that I now look at the previous Batman films and feel ill. (Whomever coined the phrase "gay fantasia" to describe Joel Schumacher's Batman Forever and Batman & Robin - with its fetishistic ogling of Batman's ass and nipples - was right on.) Even Tim Burton's 1989 original doesn't hold up very well anymore. Two words: Prince soundtrack.
(Okay, I liked Batman Returns. Mostly because of Christopher Walken. "Bottom line, she tries to blackmail me, I'll drop her out a higher window. Meantime, I got better fish to fry." Love that line.)
But Christopher Nolan's version of Batman has given us Bat-fans what we've always wanted:
1) He's translated the Batman from the comic books onto the screen. He's standing on rooftops, with his long cape blowing in the wind, immersing himself in the city, not just looking at it from the Batmobile. He's scaring and intimidating criminals, lurking in the shadows, not just jumping out and beating the crap out of them. He drives a tank instead of a sports car (which makes so much sense it's hard to believe only Frank Miller thought of it once before).
2) He's erased the memory of those four previous films (though there's definitely a nod to the 1989 film) with a movie that not only takes the material seriously, but is also really, really good. Look at the frickin' cast Nolan's assembled! Michael Caine (Yes, Mom, Michael Caine), Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Tom Wilkinson, and Gary Oldman? Oh yeah, and Christian Bale plays the guy in the Bat-suit. How can your movie not have serious gravitas when these guys are in it? (And how can Katie Holmes not look completely miscast when she's surrounded by all that talent? Sorry, kiddo. Sing along: One of these actors is not like the others...)
The story is all about the how and why of the Batman story. How did Bruce Wayne learn to fight like that? Where, as Jack Nicholson once asked, does he get all those wonderful toys? How did Bruce Wayne discover the cave underneath Wayne Manor that becomes The Batcave? And what is his deal with bats, anyway? What was James Gordon doing before he was promoted to Commissioner? How did Gotham City suddenly turn into a place where freakos like the Joker hang out? It's all in there.
I could go on and on. (So could these new Batman movies. There's enough stuff in there to drive at least two sequels. Yet the movie isn't completely obvious about it, either.) And maybe I will, if I see Batman Begins again this weekend, which I'm currently jonesing to do. But you've been kind to stick it out with me, especially if you read last night's Pistons live slog, er, blog. Have a great weekend.
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Oh, the people who don't enjoy my sports blogs (and they've been pretty frequent lately, haven't they?) might grind their teeth at this one. Hey, it won't be all sports tonight - I promise. But while watching Game 3, I found myself wishing I was blogging. The nerve endings were tingling. Also, I've been reading Bill Simmons' NBA Finals diaries on espn.com, which just increased the yearning. I am no Simmons. But I'll try my best to be funny.
8:41 - As big a fan as I am of comic books and movies based on comic books (my review of Batman Begins is coming tomorrow), that Fantastic Four movie looks terrible to me. And the NBA tie-in commercial with Magic Johnson isn't changing my opinion. (Jessica Alba? Yeesh.)
8:43 - Hey, a commercial for Batman Begins! Did I mention I'm blogging about that tomorrow? Here's an early preview: I may have liked it. I may have really, really liked it.
8:47 - It just occurred to me: This live blog is jeopardizing my Pistons superstition. Okay, if the Pistons lose this game, you know where to point the fingers. Maybe I'll listen to the first quarter on the radio. That'd make some exciting blogging.
8:52- Big Ben's afro looks extra fluffy tonight. The wonders of conditioner?
9:02 - Mis Hooz has ruined basketball commentary and analysis for me forever. During Game 6 of the Pistons-Heat series, she said it all sounded like this to her: "Blah blah blah... blah blah... blahblahblah..."
9:04 - And she described the first few minutes of Pistons-Spurs Game 1 over the phone to me thusly: "Okay, they're running one way... bouncing, bouncing... now they're running the other way, one guy missed a shot... okay, bouncing... thinking... more bouncing." ABC needs to hire her. Put her on the "SAP" option.
9:07 - ABC is using Rob Thomas' "This Is How A Heart Breaks" as its NBA Finals theme song. This is how a TV screen breaks...!
9:10 - I know Europe's "The Final Countdown" is an example of synth-metal crap that should make my skin crawl. But as a Pistons fan, when it's used for player introductions, it is the coolest #@$%ing song ever.
9:20 - Jabroni just hit his first three-pointer for San Antonio. Uh-oh.
9:25 - Bathroom break. Did I miss anything?
9:30- Al Michaels said Tim Duncan has been "the little girl with the curls" from the free-throw line this series. Wha... ?
9:32 - Ben Wallace just hit a 20-foot jump shot. The Spurs are in trouble. (And does Detroit really have six steals already?)
9:35 - Geena Davis is Commander In Chief. Ian Casselberry is Not Watching.
9:40 - Thank God for sideline reporters. Now I know that Larry Brown is superstitious and does everything the same way. Then he watched that Seinfeld where Costanza did the opposite of what he would normally do and became wildly successful. So Brown decided to do the same thing. Wow - that is insightful $#!+.
9:41 - If that's how Larry Brown is approaching this series, Joe Dumars should give him a ride to Cleveland. And drop him in Lake Erie.
9:45 - How the #@$% do you pronounce "Udrih"?
9:49 - San Antonio scored only 17 points in the first quarter. "Deeee-troooit bas-ket-ball," anyone?
9:50 - ABC's first shot of Eminem in the crowd. Nice curls, Marshall.
9:51 - Can you smell the "please, someone - anyone - see our movie" desperation in the new ads for Cinderella Man with Ron Howard explaining what the movie is about?
9:58 - Al Michaels just listed all the major sporting events taking place in Detroit from last June (2004 NBA Finals) to next February (Super Bowl). That sound you just heard was the national sports media whimpering.
10:04 - Okay, here's something that needs to stop and stop now: listening in on international broadcasts. On Tuesday, we got the French. Tonight, it was Italy. Enough. Especially when the Italians mimic Al Michaels' famous 1980 "Do you believe in miracles?" call.
10:15 - Isn't ABC about two years too late on this "Kaballah craze" story it's running tomorrow night on 20/20?
10:25 - San Antonio scored 38 points in the first half. In Game 2, they scored 30 points in the first quarter of the game. See where I'm going with this? ("Blah blah blah... blahblah.")
10:35 - Here's why I don't like prime-time sporting events. It is halftime. I should be eating something. I should be fixing myself a turkey sandwich stacked six inches high. I should be popping open another beer. But I've already had dinner. I'm not hungry.
10:36 - Yes, that was the most interesting thing I had to say about halftime.
10:45 - Again, with the Fantastic Four. Still not interested. Sorry, Jessica.
10:49 - Now, Jessica Simpson could get me to see that Dukes of Hazzard movie. Maybe. But it'd have to be a matinee.
10:55 - I love hearing how pissed off Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is with his team. Love it.
11:00 - You know what? This game kinda sucks. I'm not complaining. Detroit's up by 15 points. They're dominating. But I got nothing here.
11:05 - We just got a flashback to Morganna the Kissing Bandit kissing Larry Brown when he coached San Antonio. Whatever happened to Morganna? Those things have to be sagging now.
11:15 - Next game, I'm doing a shot every time ABC plays that Rob Thomas song. This is how a liver breaks... !
11:19 - Detroit leads by 20 points. I should've done this live blog thing on Sunday instead.
11:20 - Oh no. Oh no. No! When did we stop getting HBO in this house? I hate you, Comcast!
11:21 - Okay, my parents were getting HBO for two years without paying for it. So I can't complain. Thank you, Comcast, for taking so long to notice.
11:22 - It's a good thing Deadwood or The Sopranos isn't on, though. Y'all'd be some dead mother#@$%ers.
11:23 - Am I missing anything good on Six Feet Under this season?
11:27 - Is it a FCC violation if I threaten a cable company?
11:35 - Tim Duncan looks like he's pouting as Gregg Popovich is lecturing him on the bench. Pouting like a puppy dog. What a great shot. Aw, da widdle bebe...
11:40 - Detroit is going to score 100 points in this game. Maybe 100 points plus. Last week, they looked like they might have trouble scoring 100 points in the entire series. Who can figure this $#!+ out?
11:45 - Darko Milicic is playing. That should be all Popovich has to tell the Spurs when he yells at them after the game. "They put Dinko in! That's how bad we sucked! Dinko!"
11:48 - Darko scores! Darko scores! ("Dinko!") Even Stevie Wonder is amazed.
11:50 - Final score: Detroit 102, San Antonio 71. Holy $#!+. Hey, it was a boring game. Otherwise, the blog would've been funnier. I think.
11:52 - Again, how can a team look so bad last week, and then look awesome the next? That's why we play a seven-game series, kids.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
"I think we finally figured out how hard we have to play." -- Pistons coach Larry Brown
Finally, our Detroit Pistons - the defending NBA champions - decided to show up in this series. Watching last night's game was definitely fun, but I couldn't shake this constant tapping on my shoulder which was saying, "Where the hell has this team been?" 96-79 was the final score. The Pistons who tried to squeeze water from rocks in San Antonio to rack up 80 points almost scored 100.
So what was the difference last night? How could the Pistons look so damn inept in San Antonio, yet play like champions in Detroit? Does the home-court advantage make that much of a difference? Apparently so. Especially when the referees give Detroit every call they gave to the Spurs in San Antonio. I hate to buy into that; the Pistons have spent too much of this playoff run carping to the refs instead of just playing basketball. And usually, blaming the referees is just an excuse. As a sports talk radio host once said, just score more points. Don't leave it up to the refs.
But when you see the fouls that were called against the Spurs, and the defense Detroit was allowed to play last night, how can you not at least raise the question? How the referees call a game shouldn't decide a championship series. But it looks like that's how it's going to play out, and the Pistons need to adjust their game accordingly.
"We're back on bad boy soil now." -- Rasheed Wallace
However, the biggest reason Detroit may have won the game was that Big Ben Wallace unfurled his sweet 'fro and finally played with the energy and desire we all expect from him. Ben set the tone at the very beginning of the game, stealing an inbounds pass and running down the court for an uncontested dunk. That's a play no Piston made in San Antonio. Right away, you knew this game was going to be different.
Robin Buckson/The Detroit News
(Here's more on Ben from Terry Foster's blog and Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press.)
Everything that went wrong in San Antonio went right in Detroit. Rip Hamilton scored 24 points. Rasheed Wallace stopped settling for mid-range jumpers and three-pointers, and instead took the ball aggressively to the basket, forcing the Spurs to defend him. Also playing aggressively was Tayshaun Prince, who took the ball to the basket and got in the face of Manu Ginobili. (Ginobili, by the way, only scored seven points. This was the same guy who looked unstoppable in the first two games of the series.) And when a Spurs player took the ball to the basket, a Piston defender made him pay the price. Did you see that arm Tony Parker took to the forehead? Not a dirty play - the contact looked incidental, at least to me - but it made Frenchie think before driving to the basket again. The old Bad Boys would be proud.
Now, Detroit looks like a team that will not only compete in the series, but could actually come back to win it. Is that a little reactionary? Sure, but hey, that's the nature of the sports fan. When our teams lose badly, they suck and they're terrible. When they win definitively, they're the greatest and we love 'em. It would still be disappointing if the Pistons lose this series to the Spurs, and they're still down two games to one. Detroit needs to win one more game just to give themselves a chance to take the series back to San Antonio. But at least they showed some pride and willingness to compete. They're not going down without a fight, and that's all we Pistons fans ever wanted.
Posted by Ian C. at 11:25 AM
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
(I originally rented Holy Smoke mostly because I read that Winslet gets naked in it. But it's actually not a bad movie.)
Mr. and Mrs. Holmes? I'm not an expert in cult de-programming, but I'm a quick study. If you're interested, e-mail me and I can work on trying to rescue your Katie. I can take Cruise. I'm taller than him.
Posted by Ian C. at 2:30 PM
©2005 Bill Watterson/ Universal Press Syndicate
Thanks, O.J. Isn't that when news stations and networks decided it was compelling to watch cars drive somewhere? What the hell were they expecting those SUVs to do, drive south to Mexico? Jackson was acquitted; he wasn't leaving the country. Was Jacko going to jump up on the roof of his car, grab his crotch, and start smashing windshields, like at the end of the "Black or White" video? (At 70 mph, that might've been impressive.) Or maybe he could've stopped at a soccer field and filled up the van with some kids. I don't know.
Here's another question: who the #$@% is the woman who was waiting in the crowd outside the courtroom with doves and let one fly each time an acquittal was announced? Doves? Are you #$@%ing serious? Prince, take it away.
After 10 hours of driving Saturday night, I was ready to hit the bed hard when I stopped in Lexington again on the way home from Charleston. But no, I had to watch a little ESPN SportsCenter. And once I saw that Mike Tyson had lost to a giant Irish potato named Kevin McBride, I had to stay up and watch the post-fight analysis and interviews.
So after a couple of days, it's clear that it really happened, right? Tyson - maybe the most fearsome and charismatic heavyweight boxer that I had ever seen in my life, and title character of a video game I spent hours playing as a kid - just gave up after six rounds, deciding he didn't want to fight anymore? Are you kidding me?
(For another perspective on what we thought of Mike Tyson as kids, I refer you to my friend Chris, whose blog is back up and running. Welcome back, man. I remember those lunch table conversations.)
Watching the post-fight press conference, if you'd turned the sound down, you would've surely thought that Tyson won the match. He didn't have a mark on him. He was jovial and entertaining. Hell, he looked ready to go clubbing. Meanwhile, McBride's sitting next to him stammering his words with a blotchy face and pushed-in nose. He looked like he'd been in a fight.
In a post-fight interview with ESPN's Jeremy Schaap, Tyson said he no longer had the stomach for boxing and was thinking about doing missionary work. And on Monday evening's SportsCenter, Schaap speculated that this was a sign of Tyson finally maturing into adulthood. In today's Washington Post, Michael Wilbon seemed to agree that Tyson's amazing candor after the fight might indicate that he really means it when he says he's done with boxing.
Tyson is such a sad story. Just listening to him talk about how messed up he is almost makes you want to give him a hug. He obviously has a lot of demons running around in his head, and has spent most of his life fighting them. And many people surrounding him over the years have taken advantage of that. The likely reason Tyson continued to fight was because he owes the IRS so much money.
So if you go on with this missionary thing, I hope it works out for you, Mike. I hope you find what it is you're looking for. I'll be looking for you because, no matter what, I find myself wanting to watch what you do. Maybe you can replace Sally Struthers on those Save the Children commercials.
Monday, June 13, 2005
Since I'm getting to this much later than I thought I would, I won't say much about the Pistons getting crushed by the Spurs last night, 97-76. For one thing, this photo by Robin Buckson of the Detroit News says so much.
I'd love to work up a healthy hatred of Jabroni, his long hair that sticks to his sweaty forehead, that awkward-looking left-handed jump shot, and that elbows-and-knees-flailing style of his, but he's just too damn good to make fun of - especially when he's making the Pistons look like fools.
The Pistons haven't played a game in Detroit yet, so there's a possibility they could put up a fight on their home court. But after the way they've looked in the first two games of this series (John sums it up nicely at peregrine.blog), it's hard to imagine that happening. If Detroit can win two games at the Palace, Pistons fans should be happy with that. At least it would indicate some form of competition.
And I'd love to link to some columns from the Detroit newspapers, but Terry Foster has a much better take on the series at his blog. In his eyes, the Pistons have (at least partially) quit on their coach, are continuing to worry way too much about the referees, and the Spurs play better basketball than any team has over the past 15 years.
Okay, Michael Rosenberg's column in the Detroit Free Press is pretty good.
Posted by Ian C. at 9:20 PM
Something vile and evil invaded my system over the weekend. I don't know what it was, where it came from, or what food may have spawned it, but I've had to spend a lot of time in the bathroom during the past three days. (Those who know me and say that's no different from my usual routine can go walk into that bathroom after I've evacuated the foulness from me. Inhale deeply.) Fortunately, it wasn't so bad on the drive back to Michigan, so I didn't have to face the possibility of actually touching my tush to a rest stop toilet.
And at the risk of offending any readers who might be from Tennessee, I believe virtually every stereotype and caricature I've heard about that state after my brief stop in Knoxville. My dinner at a restaurant I shall not name (but rhymes with Crappletee's) was, shall we say, an unsettling experience.
More later. I definitely have something to say on our suddenly putrid Detroit Pistons and the dramedy that is Mike Tyson.
Posted by Ian C. at 12:23 PM
Friday, June 10, 2005
Dayna reminded me that I didn't write about my Wednesday night birthday dinner. Unfortunately, there's nothing too exciting to report. But hey, since I brought it up...
The birthday dinner was fun, though the ambiance of Kim's Express in downtown Charleston was a bit lacking. It was kind of hard to enjoy the food (which was good, by the way - Bul Go Gi and Bi Bim Bop - they sound like manga cartoons) and the conversation while "World's Wildest Police Videos" was blasting from a plasma TV on the wall.
But I think the staff and owners of the Korean restaurant were so surprised to see another Asian in Charleston (Sis joked that the entire Korean population of Chucktown was probably working in the restaurant) that they couldn't help showing their gratitude. We got some free appetizers and our entrees seemed extra loaded with food. They loved serving "Mama."
Lesson to be learned: If you have an ethnic mother, take her to a restaurant run by her people, and they will love you.
Dinner conversation centered around my fresh buzz cut. Sis thinks I look a bit like Scott Savol, one of the American Idol rejects. (Mama Cass accompanied me to the salon and said watching my head get sheared reminded her of watching a dog get its hair cut.) I might try to parlay that into some summer singing gigs. Stay tuned.
Daniel Mears/The Detroit News
So it looks like an all-sports Friday blog. (Sorry, Dayna.) Last night was Game 1 of the NBA Finals, and my excitement was eventually tempered by the Pistons 84-69 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. That Manu Ginobili dude is pretty good, eh? He looked unstoppable in the second half of the game. But I think some of that could be attributed to the Pistons' fatigue.
As I said in my comments on John's blog, Detroit looked like a team that had just finished a grueling seven-game series with Miami, while San Antonio looked like a team that had a week's rest. (Detroit ran out to a 17-4 lead, but I think that was due to the Spurs' rustiness. Once they got back into sync, Detroit was in trouble.) The Pistons just had no juice at the end of the game, which I think was most apparent in the fourth quarter play when Jabroni drove right through the lane and dunked the basketball. With fresh legs on defense, I don't think Detroit would've let that happen.
But let's see what happens on Sunday night, now that both teams have a game under their belts. I'd be surprised if the Pistons headed back to Detroit, down two games to none in the series. I hope I'm right.
EDIT: And I forgot to mention the most entertaining moment after the game. Did anyone catch the post-game press conference? Detroit's Chauncey Billups was talking to the media, and then some poor guy from the AP - Greg Bertram (sp?) - stood up to ask his question and completely blanked out. "Um... er... do you think... uh... ah..." Finally, Chauncey said to him, "You want us to come back to you, man?" Hilarious. But I felt bad for the reporter. How embarrassing - especially with TV and radio replaying the flub repeatedly.
Posted by Ian C. at 2:30 PM
I was having internet troubles yesterday (i.e., the wireless signal I'd been pirating from someone is Sis's condo complex wasn't working for me), so I didn't get the chance to write about the University of Michigan's softball team, which won its first national championship with a 4-1 victory in 10 innings over defending champion UCLA. Samantha Findlay - who I'm sure could beat me arm wrestling - won the game with a 3-run homer in the top of the 10th inning.
After getting home from my birthday dinner, Sis and I watched the whole thing. And that would be the first time I've ever watched a college softball game on TV, even though ESPN's been showing games throughout the season. And I shouldn't have been surprised, but I really enjoyed the game - probably because I was rooting for Michigan.
How's this for a factoid: Michigan is the first school east of the Mississippi River to win the national championship in college softball. Usually, those west coast schools take home the crown. Pretty cool.
Even cooler was the huge crowd that greeted the softball team when it returned to Ann Arbor. And the game drew ESPN's highest ratings ever for a softball game. Congratulations, ladies.
Posted by Ian C. at 1:45 PM
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Please indulge this rather gratuitous post. Today is my birthday. (How old am I? I'm younger than 40! Whoo-hoo!) It's a bittersweet one, of course, and the mood isn't as celebratory as it could be, but we're trying to enjoy the occasion down here in Charleston. Mom and Sis are taking me out to dinner at a Korean restaurant. Why a Korean restaurant? Mom and Sis made faces when I said I wanted a fried chicken dinner for my birthday.
"But Ian, it's your birthday. You should go where you want." Hey, I hear you, man. But maybe it's just as well. I probably don't need to be eating fried chicken, especially in this butt-hot and humid Charleston weather. Besides, I want everyone to enjoy the evening. That's the kind of guy I am. And as long as we go out for ice cream afterwards, I'll be a happy guy.
Or maybe I'll get surprised with a birthday cake. Mom and Sis could be hiding this one in the closet.
Courtesy of The Cake Fairy
After reading that today is also Frank Lloyd Wright's birthday, I was reminded of how I often lamented the fact that I didn't share a birthday with any cool celebrities. But thanks to the wonders of the internet, my research can be more comprehensive than it used to be. Look at the party we June 8th guys would have! In the birthday lounge, Jerry Stiller, Boz Scaggs, Nancy Sinatra (let Boz do the singing, Nanc), and Keenan Ivory Wayans could all share drinks with me. And in the corner of the room, I could be nuzzling with Juliana Margulies and Maria Menounos!
Here's what Maria might wear to the party.
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
How can a man type with gnawed nubs as fingertips? My fingernails were bitten down to the tips while watching last night's Game 7 between Detroit and Miami. With all of our superstitions at their disposal, the Pistons finally acted like defending NBA champions, focused on playing basketball, and defeated Miami, 88-82.
Robin Buckson/The Detroit News
Now, I no longer have to lament the fact that team president Joe Dumars drafted Darko "Does sitting on the bench make my ass flat?" Milicic instead of superstar-in-waiting Dwyane Wade (who scored 20 points last night, despite his rib injury that felt like a stab wound, according to Terry Foster). I don't have to watch Udonis Haslem'slong braids bouncing off his shoulders as he runs down the court after making a big play against Detroit. And best of all, I get a much-needed break from watching Alonzo Mourning dance, flex, genuflect, and act like a complete idiot after he scores his one basket for the game. Man, I hate that guy.
Next are the San Antonio Spurs for the NBA championship, beginning Thursday night. I noticed that some so-called experts, such as ESPN's Marc Stein and Chad Ford are predicting a win for the Spurs. That's okay. Hell, if I were an unbiased observer, I'd probably admit that San Antonio is playing like the better team right now. And they won the NBA title in 2003. But the Pistons and Detroit fans like it more when their team is considered the underdog. It makes the victory that much sweeter.
Posted by Ian C. at 11:05 AM
Monday, June 06, 2005
There's a reason Mis Hooz is Fried Rice Thoughts' New York correspondent. According to a report she just filed, the New York Times ran a feature on Charleston, SC in yesterday's travel section. I drive to Charleston, and then there's a story about Charleston in the NY Times on the exact same day I arrive? Coincidence or am I now a newsmaker? Has Fried Rice Thoughts become the new "All the News That's Fit to Print"? Is my ever-expanding ego about to overtake the Low Country? Maybe the NY Times will run a story on that.
Day 2 in Charleston, and things are domestic. Sis is trying her first day back at work, leaving Mom and I to clean and cook in her shiny new condo. Hey, we're just trying to help. We broke in Sis's new vacuum cleaner, baked cranberry bran muffins (for the newly health nut Mama Cass), and have a pot roast going in Sis's new Crock-Pot. I just need an apron to make the scene complete. All we need now is for Sis to come home, yell "Honey, I'm home," set her hat and coat on the rack, and we're in Pleasantville. Except she doesn't have a hat rack. And with the temperature 88 degrees here in Charleston, I doubt she's wearing a coat.
In an attempt to regain some masculinity, I'll write about tonight's Pistons-Heat game, which is a loser-goes-home Game 7. Game 7s have led to some of the more exciting moments in professional sports, and hopefully, tonight is no exception. Of course, if Detroit loses, I'll think it was an awful game, regardless of how exciting it was. But I don't think that's going to happen. Throughout the last two playoff rounds, the Pistons have taken some mental breaks, choosing to plead for respect from opponents and referees, rather than seizing it. But there won't be any respect if they lose tonight, and I think the Pistons know that. Their focus should be sharp, and their effort should be strong. If not, then they don't deserve to win the game.
As Perry Farrell writes in today's Detroit Free Press, history is not on Detroit's side. Each time the Pistons have played a Game 7 in an opponent's home arena - and tonight's game is in Miami - they've lost. But those past teams weren't championship teams, like this one is. When these Pistons have had to win a game, they've done it. And if they want the respect they've been crying for, they'll win tonight.
If Miami's best player, Dwyane Wade (Correct spelling this time, Suz?), doesn't play, it should be a lock-cinch for the Pistons. (And Pistons detractors will point to Wade's injury as the reason Detroit won.) But I'm sure he'll play. He probably won't be able to give his full effort because of his strained rib cage muscle, but he'll play. Players define their greatness in moments like these. New York's Willis Reed did it on a sprained ankle in 1970. So did Detroit's Isiah Thomas in 1988. And Michael Jordan fought through the flu in 1997. The others end up forever labeled (albeit unfairly) as pansies, like Chicago's Scottie Pippen, who succumbed to a migraine headache in 1990 and turned in a horrible performance. So there you go, Dwyane: Are you Jordan or Pippen? We'll find out tonight.
Saturday, June 04, 2005
To paraphrase Elwood Blues, it's 873 miles to Charleston, we've got a full tank of gas, a cooler full of pop, water and snacks, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses.
So much for an extended stay at home. Two days after returning from Iowa, I've hit the road again. Hello from Lexington, KY, folks. I'm writing this from the beautiful Embassy Suites, located about four miles from the University of Kentucky. (Tonight, Sis, I applaud your hotel snobbiness. This is way better than my usual accommodations at Motel 6.) I doubt we'll have time for me to check out the campus or pick up some UK swag. Maybe on the return trip.
Why the impromptu road trip? My sister has to return to Charleston, SC, after spending the last two weeks in Michigan helping with funeral preparations and all of the paperwork we suddenly have to deal with. (I've always made fun of my sister's anal retentive need for organization and detail. Sis, I take all those taunts and teases back. You've been amazing.) And my mother decided Sis shouldn't have to return to an empty condo after losing her father. So with Mom taking a family leave from work, and me currently looking for employment, we definitely had the time to help ease my sister's transition back into her normal life.
Okay, I'm going to wander around the lobby and courtyard of this place with my mouth wide open admiringly, looking like the I-usually-stay-in-motels hayseed I am. And I should probably schedule my foot massage and facial. No continental breakfasts for this mofo tomorrow morning, my friends.
Next stop, South Carolina.
Thursday, June 02, 2005
I'm slowly catching up on the news of the past few days, so I'm getting to the "Deep Throat" news a little late. Over at Pub of Knowledge, Susannah has a good take on the story, from the perspective of a fellow history-journalism-politics geek. It's good to know I'm not the only person in my age bracket who cares about this stuff.
So here's my thought: If you're the Washington Post and you've been sitting on this story for years, respecting the confidentiality of probably the most famous secret informant of all time, and then watch Vanity Fair snatch away your rightful glory, how irritated are you?
Poor Bob Woodward has been ready to spill the beans for decades, but diligently kept his promise not to reveal his source until "Deep Throat" passed away. Now John D. O'Connor is getting the byline and lapping up the publicity. Bob tries to remind everyone that "Deep Throat" was his deal in today's Post, though he's very professional about it.
Meanwhile, Howard Kurtz, also of the Post, laments his paper being scooped on its own story and quotes Woodward as being completely surprised. ("I didn't know he was gearing up to go public," he said.)
In the end, Woodward and the Post were trapped by their own word. That has to be a bitter pill to swallow.
Posted by Ian C. at 1:00 PM
If not for recent circumstances, I'd be pretty damn mad about Pistons coach Larry Brown flirting with the Cleveland Cavaliers and their vacant president's job while his current team is still involved in a playoff series with the Miami Heat.
According to ESPN's Chad Ford, it's already a done deal. Brown will leave the Pistons after their season is finished and become Cleveland's team president. That means ol' Larry's lying when he says that he hasn't talked to the Cavaliers. Choose who you want to believe.
Gee, you think that could be a distraction for the Pistons? As Michael Rosenberg wrote in yesterday's Detroit Free Press, Detroit might be the first team to win a NBA championship in spite of its coach.
The Pistons players deserve all the credit for this one. They ignored the incredibly selfish acts of their coach; they ignored his half-truths and the speculation about his future; they ignored him, period, except during the game.
On his blog, Terry Foster writes that the Pistons knew what they were getting into when they hired Brown - who's notoriously high maintenance, nomadic, and something of a drama queen - and might already have his replacement on tap. As always, Joe Dumars knows what he's doing. Your new Pistons coach? Former Minnesota Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders.
But the whole thing still stinks. Anyone has the right to look for another job, of course, but how about displaying some professionalism and waiting until business is finished with your current team before accepting the next job? How about living up to the terms of your contract? And it's not like Brown has a bad job right now. Last I checked, the Pistons were defending NBA champions. They might win another championship this year if this garbage doesn't get in the way. Salon's King Kaufman has it right: Brown's just a jerk.
Posted by Ian C. at 12:19 PM
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
The beginning of a month seems like as good a time as any to start writing again. First, I'd like to thank everyone for the kind, sympathetic words that have been sent my way over the past week. The comments here on the blog, e-mails, and phone calls have all been extremely thoughtful and comforting. I appreciate them more than I can really describe.
This past week has been a blur, as we try to slowly and surely put everything back into place. After my father's memorial service - which was an amazing event, despite the possibly misleading impression such an adjective might imply - Mis Hooz and I drove to Iowa, so I could pick up my stuff and move back to Michigan. (By generously offering to fly in from New York to accompany me for the weekend, Miz Hooz helped me more than she might realize.)
The trip was rather uneventful for the first 150 miles. Then I felt the steering wheel on my moving truck pull to the left. One loud rubbing noise under the truck later, I was pulling off the highway. When the suddenly flat tire hit the grooved pavement on the shoulder, the damn thing just shredded apart. Here's a shot from the Mis Hooz camera phone, apparently given to her by Andy Warhol:
Purple, pretty, yet pulped.
I got your holiday weekend right here.
And I think I'll end on that note for the evening. Again, thank you to everyone who's been checking in on me over the past week. You've made it much easier to cope with this.
Posted by Ian C. at 11:13 PM