Monday, March 26, 2007

Further notes, or What's with all this news stuff on BBC?

A few things.

CORRECTION - I shouldn't have been calling the weather man "Chubby," or even "chubby" for that matter. As a friend of mine likes to say, that's like making fun of Rush Limbaugh for being fat. By joking about his weight, I took away from the salient point, which was his stupidity, or someone's stupidity, in thinking that a second-hand report of a phone call made for compelling televison. Run a scroll, we can read. Anyway, it was wrriten out of a temporary anger, and I'm already sorry that it was so malicious. I apologize for the error in judgment, which is an oddly spelled word.

Then just one thing I forgot. If anyone out there is a fan of books, or movies, or news, they should chase down the following news cycles and their history.

First, the Russian spy agent who was poisoned while meeting with someone to obtain information about his own government. This is the start to a book by Robert Ludlum, or Tom Clancy, or someone else, but this time it's real. Keep looking around, and you realize strange and bad things are happening to reporters and other interested parties. This is serious stuff. And those movies (based on Ludlum and Clancy) do very well at the box office, yet we hardly hear about this story anymore. I have, however, seen the Bahamian Minister of Tourism's father on television, to speak about Anna Nicole Smith, and those two kids who were cruelly rejected from American Idol.

Another story to get into is that of the British coach Bob Woolmer, who coached the Pakistani cricket team. The team lost to huge underdog Ireland at the Cricket World Cup, and it should be mentioned in this sentence that cricket has had serious problems with gambling and match-fixing in recent years. Later on in the night, Woolmer was found dead of strangulation. This is Agatha Christie and two dozen rip-offs, although, again, it's real.

Here in America, these stories will get covered as interesting little British stories. Quaint, even. And isn't it an odd game, cricket? It's like baseball, isn't it? Now then--


But if you read about either of these two stories, you realize their weight. In one case, a man, well-liked, with a wife and two boys. In the other case, several people.

They're dead. Innocent, good people, some of them it seems very brave and decent people, dead. And we should morn their loss, and find out what happened.

I'm not saying it should be splashed all over the news. I'm just saying keep an ear out, and when a good reporter takes a crack at a book on either of these things (and, in the KGB case, lives until publication), go find it and read it. Or wait for the big-budget movie that gets made.

Also, read things by Erik Larson. And get some sleep, my God, you look like hell.



Thursday, March 22, 2007

Bob Schulte


Here, now, the exclusive Bob Schulte story. Read the previous entry if you want the background on this. Otherwise just read it. Thanks.

"It was a great, beautiful morning –– just after sunrise," he remembers now.
Mandan, N.D. resident Bob Schulte, now 67, was a helicopter pilot for the first 30 years of his adult life. This began when Schulte was a 22-year-old in the National Guard, spending much of his tour of duty in Germany. His duties included shuttling troops between several of the American post-World War II bases.
Often Bob flew more than a dozen troops of one unit, a job that called for an H-34: the military’s largest chopper. Schulte was often called upon to pilot a full load.
One of these flights etched itself so sharply into Bob’s memory he could still tell you what the weather was like that morning.


Bob Schulte’s is a story of pressure and consequence.
What does a man do when he feels eyes on him? What if the eyes belonged to a queen? Or to his boyhood idol?
Where does a man go to get away from the weight of gravity?
What does a man do in freefall – falling faster and faster every second? What does he do when his eyes fill with smoke and 20 lives are suddenly in his hands?


Bob was shuttling a group of infantry troops from the Grafinvere base to Hannau, a routine 200-mile trip.
The H-34 ran smoothly across the flat skyline for an hour and a half. Then, deep in the engine, an oil line ruptured. Immediately thick black smoke poured into the cockpit.
The fire alert light came on. The only other time he’d seen this red button light up was during the routine check before a flight.
"This was no precheck," Schulte said. "Besides, I didn’t need any light to tell me. That great big engine is right below me and the cotton-pickin’ cockpit was filled with smoke."
Schulte cut the engine and prepared for auto-rotation: using the chopper’s given momentum and wind to bring down the helicopter.
Schulte thought of the dozens of times he'd brought down a chopper in auto-rotation. But never before had there been these 19 men on board. Never had there been this smoke.
Never this pressure.


Tony Schulte, Bob's father, worked full-time at the John Morrell meat factory.
"We were very poor," Bob Schulte says now. "We lived in the poor part of town."
Schulte had taken part-time jobs at John Morrell over the summers. He grew up knowing he’d start full-time when high school was over.
In 1950's America, when Bob was a teenager, baseball was king.
Mickey Mantle in the Bronx, Willie Mays in Harlem, Ted Williams in Boston –– and in the middle of the country, a young catcher was about to throw his hat into the ring.
Bob Schulte’s first brush with major league baseball came after attending Cathedral high school. Schulte played on the Air National Guard team. His coach, Vince Bruggelman, had a connection with a Baltimore Orioles’ scout and informed him of the 17-year-old standout.
At 6-foot, 180 pounds, Schulte was the rarest of finds in a catcher: an able receiver behind the plate with a strong arm, he could also change a game in the batter’s box.
One night, as players dressed in the locker room before a game, Bruggelman approached Schulte and told him that two pro scouts would be there to watch him.
As the game started Bob noticed two men sitting directly behind home plate. Certainly they liked how comfortable the kid looked catching.
And maybe they liked even more that Bob Schulte hit two home runs, the first a towering shot into a cornfield beyond the wall in left.
The Orioles offered him a contract after he graduated from Cathedral. Schulte’s mother Bernice would have none of it: college came before pro baseball.
Bob was baffled. No one on his mother or father’s side had ever gone to college. But there was no changing Bernice’s mind.
So he went to college, and pitchers and baserunners in the area probably hated him for it, so the White Sox wanted a look.
Schulte, then 22, was invited to try out for the Chicago White Sox after completing his junior season at South Dakota State University, during which he hit for a .659 average.
At the tryout, Schulte found himself at a tryout staring down former pro pitcher Dizzy Trout. Crushing him.
After a series of home runs and line drives, Schulte sat down in the dugout only to be called back on by Trout. The catcher was pitted against one of Chicago’s best young pitching prospects.
The change of pitcher made no difference. Schulte hit and hit and hit.
The White Sox told reporters that at 22, Schulte was too old to spend much time in the minors. If anything, he would make a stop at Triple A before being moved up to start at catcher – a position the White Sox needed to fill.
With another year left at SDSU, Schulte could not sign with the White Sox. But when scout Bill Kimball put a hand on his shoulder at the end of the tryout and said, "Good luck next season," Schulte knew the implications.
He was going to play pro ball.


While attending SDSU, where he also played three years as starting halfback on the football team, Schulte married his girlfriend Euella. They lived together in a 15-by-15 foot apartment.
To make ends meet Bob and Euella cleaned school buildings, and Bob also signed up for the SDSU Reserve Officers Training Corps. He was paid 90 cents a day, which nearly covered his rent.
Harry Forsyth, assistant baseball coach at SDSU, was a licensed helicopter pilot in the national guard. Schulte had been intrigued from the start.
"He knew I flew helicopters," Forsyth said. "And he would not stop asking me about it."
Finally, he took his catcher up in a chopper ride around the air base.
As they climbed, the air pressure dropped and gravity seemed to fall away. The horizon pulled apart. Bob loved every minute.
"Helicopters aren’t for everybody," Forsyth admits. "Some people are scared to death by ‘em. Some people, though – like Bob – can’t get enough."
Schulte signed up for the ROTC, knowing that if he couldn’t play professional baseball, he could happily fly helicopters for the rest of his working life.
But Schulte could play pro ball, and the White Sox wanted to pay him handsomely for it. Shortly after Schulte finished his senior season at SDSU -- he hit over .500, again -- Bill Kimball paid a visit to Bob and Euella’s apartment. Schulte signed a contract with the White Sox. In March of 1960, he was to report to Lincoln, Nebraska for spring training with Chicago’s Triple A team.
The contract included a signing bonus of $30,000. Once the ink was dry and Bill Kimball was out the door, Bob and Euella started celebrating.
"A couple of college kids, back then – man, we’d never had that kind of money," Schulte said. "We used to clean the classrooms at school to make money to pay for our house and kids. $30,000 was a lot to us."
But there was a problem. Schulte’s four-year ROTC tour of duty was to begin in October of that year. The White Sox had told Schulte that they would consider him after his tour of duty, but Schulte did not want his future in jeopardy.
"I didn’t want to do that," he said. "I had a wife and a kid to take care of. I went (to SDSU) for sports, but after a year or so I started thinking, ‘I could get a degree here.’"
So Schulte drafted a letter to the commanding general of the Fifth Army.
In the letter he wrote about his contract his childhood dreams of playing in the major leagues. Schulte offered to serve a six-month tour of duty, and to pay back the fees of aviation training.
Colonel Frederic Ray, Schulte’s commanding officer, sent a joint letter in support of Schulte’s request. The colonel wrote that Bill Kimball had told him of the "great possibilities" for Cadet Schulte.
He also warned about the consequences in forcing Schulte into service.
"It is my opinion that failure to approve this request will be an injustice to the individual in prohibiting him from taking advantage of this opportunity to initiate his chosen career and lead to resentment for this denial," Col. Ray wrote.
In his own letter, Schulte wrote that while he had made his ROTC commitment in good faith and with no intention of quitting, he now wanted "an opportunity to establish myself in my life’s work."
A few weeks later, Schulte would receive a one-page letter signed by Patrick Mackey, the Adjutant General to the U.S. Army.
Like Schulte’s and all military letters, the memo was organized by numbers.
"1. Recommend disapproval. The conditions stated are not considered sufficient…"
As they read the letter, Bob and Euella cried.
"It hurt when I couldn’t go," Schulte said. "That really felt bad."
Upon hearing the news, the White Sox sent a letter to Schulte. It said that he would have to write back to them and ask to be let out of his contract.


A few months into his tour of duty, Schulte was contacted by Major General Creighton Abrams, his commanding officer in the Air National Guard. Abrams wanted Bob to play for the Third Armored Division team in the European World Tournament Army, Marine, and Naval teams were also assembled for the tournament.
Abrams said he wanted to win.
Schulte expressed concern about how the tournament would look on the yearly report issued on each private.
Abrams told him not to worry. He would write Schulte’s report.
That worked for Bob, so he accepted the offer and became the team’s starting catcher.
Early in one of the tournament games, it was announced that the day's attendance included the most famous living baseball player in the world -- Yankee legend Joe Dimaggio.
To the young catcher from Sioux Falls there was no more powerful figure than Joltin’ Joe. Dimaggio was Mr. Coffee, Mr. 56-game hit streak, Mr. Marilyn Monroe.
Bob’s team was in the field during the announcement. He remembers it took a long time to get out of the inning. He remembers coming up to bat as the next inning started.
The young Schulte watched the first pitch go by.
Then the private read and turned into the second pitch ball and sent a white speck over the wall in left. He trotted to first base and made the turn for second with his head down. After touching the second bag and turning once more, Schulte couldn’t help stealing a glance.
There, in the stands behind third base: Dimaggio. He was looking right at Bob, smiling. Clapping.
“It was kind of a funny feeling, almost embarrassing in a way to see him clapping for me. I mean, golly – he was an American hero,” Schulte said.
Schulte’s team went on to win the tournament. His report checked out.


The U.S. Army had denied Bob Schulte’s opportunity at pursuing his "life’s work," so instead the Army became his life’s work.
After his tour of active duty, Schulte moved to Bismarck and joined the North Dakota National Guard. 38 years later, he retired as the Deputy Commanding General of the Fifth Army, a two-star position.
In 1996, when he had been named a Major General, Schulte got to travel to England as a representative with an Army marksmanship team. The team was to put on an exhibition for a crowd that included Queen Elizabeth.
A large Englishman in a suit approached Schulte. The team was told not to speak unless spoken to.
Schulte was more nervous than on his wedding day: "I figured with my big mouth I ain’t never gonna’ make this."
The Queen arrived by fancy car. Security was thick. The Americans stood in a line waiting as her majesty approached.
"She’s such a little lady – I didn’t know that before," Schulte said. "And she walked right up to me and stuck her hand out and said, ‘How do you do sir?’ She was just such a warm and lovely lady."
The soldiers took lunch with the Queen. Before the shooting exhibition, one of the marksman approached Schulte. He asked if Schulte wanted to take a few shots.
The Major General said sure, he’ll take a few shots. After admiring the sniper rifle he was given, Schulte aimed and settled his vision. He eyed the target through sheets of rain.
His first shot struck three millimeters off the bullseye.
The next three hit dead on.


Schulte also took a full-time job as plant superintendent at Cloverdale Meat when he returned from active duty. In 1991, he retired as Cloverdale’s Chief Executive Officer.
He winters in Arizona, where the General also avidly follows spring training. Through a mutual friend has developed a relationship with Los Angeles Angels outfielder Darrin Erstad. Schulte follows Erstad’s Angels and the Minnesota Twins. He’s fond of the Twins young catcher, Joe Mauer. Maybe Mauer reminds him of someone.
Mandan native Don Hanson has been a pro baseball scout for more than 10 years, and a friend of Schulte’s for many more. The two sat reminiscing some time ago, joking about softball teams they played on "a hundred years ago."
Then the conversation came back to the chance to play pro baseball, and Schulte looked into Hanson’s eyes with seriousness.
"Man, Don, I can say – without bragging – I’da made it," Schulte said. "I’da made it."
Hanson did him one better.
"If he was 17 years old, he’d be a first-round draft pick," he said. "Bill Kimball told me that Bob would’ve been an All Star."


One day scouts show up to watch him, and he hits a couple homers for them. Then a few more for the White Sox. There's Joe Dimaggio and "I'll be damned if I didn't hit a home run.”
Three bullseyes for the Queen. All with an "Aw, shucks" grin. All fun and games.
Then one day his engine catches fire and smoke hits his eyes and he has no choice but to fall out of the sky.
What does a man do under pressure?


The H-34 took less than a minute to descend from 3,000 feet. The ground still zipped by at 90 knots as it got closer and closer out the windshield. The pilot flared the great chopper, pulling the controls until his tail nearly touched the ground.
Bob found himself looking up at the sky. His backwheel caught in the dirt, and the body of the helicopter slapped down.
The still-smoking H-34 jarred back on impact, shattering the meadow’s cool stillness. The jolt signaled to the troops on board that they were back on earth.
The hatch door flew open and 20 men piled out and ran away from the smouldering wreckage. But the H-34 did not explode, and within minutes everyone was joking and laughing and hugging each other.
The military report would later document that, the accident was no fault of the pilot, Private Bob Schulte, who executed a textbook landing in auto-rotation. No injuries.
No one wondered whether Bob was in the right place.
"I’m sure everyone was scared shitless for a minute there," Schulte said. "When that happens, they’re at the mercy of the pilot. But you’ve just gotta’ go ahead and do your thing, and we all came out fine."


Euella has seen everything. Every game she could – "Thousands," Bob said – every event, every ceremony. Every plaque, every ribbon and every medal is in the Schulte’s basement. Over the 40 years she’s know him, she’s compiled a binder of newspaper clippings that runs 4 inches deep.
It’s all there, if you want to see it. It all happened, Schulte says, and he can prove it. But Bob doesn’t want to talk about all that.
He’d rather tell you about his grandkids.
Michael, 15, played catcher on a Little League team that made it to three Little League World Series.
It all sounds so familiar: Michael’s pretty big for his age. Good receiver. Strong arm. And "God, can he hit," Bob says, twice.
Michael and his grandpa talk catcher, sure, but Bob’s main advice is to hit the books. He tells all his grandkids to prepare for an adult life that may not include sports.
Michael says that if he can’t play pro baseball someday, he wants to be in the Air Force.

Notes, or Kevin Durant's invisible teammates


Welcome back.

This will be labelled a "Notes" blog, but it will more likely be referred to at the watercooler, or, scratched into the stall wall of an airport men's room, as "the Durant thing." And that stuff is coming. But first, a quick intro to the next entry, which could come any minute after this one.

I originally wrote a feature on a man named Bob Schulte for the Bismarck Tribune sports page some two years ago. It was probably the best story I've ever published in a professional newspaper. The Trib was incredibly generous in giving me space, and a massively edited version eventually hit the Associated Press wire, where it was then picked up by the Miami Herald and another paper I can't remember. Good for me.

I realized soon after my deadline that there was an even bigger and better story to Bob Schulte, so I went back and reinterviewed for hours on hours, and rewrote the story to double its original size. I did so thinking I would then publish it in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where Bob grew up. I won't get into the e-mail and phone call exchange, but here's the short version: I wrote a big story under a misunderstood pretense, offered said big story to the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, paper shocked author when asked to cut said story IN HALF, I refused, they stood firm. So I sat on the story a couple months, pouted, hoped someone might call me, out of the blue, tell me my story was "getting around," and that someone was very interested in this Schulte fellow.

This did not happen. In the interim, I started blogging. Good for me.So I'll be posting the story at its full length, here, for free. This seems, and is, stupid. But I can't stand the thought of cutting it in half, it's too much. I don't think it would be fair to anyone involved, nor fair to the story, if I may be esoteric, and I may.

This way I appear to take the moral high ground, and publish the story for storytelling's sake. And I also get to serve my own purpose of leaving the story intact. If anyone out there wants to work like hell, learn fascinating things and not make rent, I encourage them to borrow this idea.

So, the entry that follows this will be the Bob Schulte story in its entirety. Hope you like it. I gave up roughly $175 to bring it to you.

- Okay, what follows in this particular entry has become extremely, extremely long, so long that I don't think anyone should even read it. Anyone who does, will either be a) my blood relative b) hopelessly obssessed with basketball or c) within arms reach of a gallon of Thunderbird wine. Either way.

- Now, onto the subject of why I have not written in a week's time. I had planned, as I hinted in other entries, to write a full-fledged preview of the National Collegiate Athletic Association men's basketball tournament.

But, in the days leading up to the tournament, I realized that everyone and their father figure was in-depth, line-by-line, who ya' got previewing this damn thing. We got so bracket-crazy someone I heard was previewing the NIT, for God Shamgod's sake. (NIT, for the uninformed, stands for Not the Important Tournament.)

So I decided I'd wait it out, and instead post after a round or two had been played.At about the midpoint of the first day, I realized that the brackets I had filled out on two websites were worth about as much as the F5 button on my laptop. The second day it got worse.I've got eight, count 'em, eight teams left out of 16. My bracket was horrible.

Here's who I've got left in the Midwest bracket: No one. 0 of 4 teams. I had Wisconsin and Maryland, which were chalk (see note), and then I had Notre Dame in a big upset of Oregon, and Arizona in an earth-shaker over Florida. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

(Note: "chalk" is a gambling and bracket term, which refers to picking a favored higher seed to beat an underdog lower seed and advance. I just learned it this year, and thought I should share. Feel free to also use it in non-sports conversations, as in, "Phil Spector was involved in a gun-and-alcohol related death, which was chalk. But a perm at the arraignment, now THAT was an upset.")

Let me explain. Maryland closed out the season very hot. That one seemed easy. Butler was, and still is, Butler. I don't know how many they're bringing back next year. I don't care. I won't take them against a team I believe to be good because they are Butler until further notice, and I only had them beating ODU because, I mean, c'mon.

Full disclosure: My pops went undergrad to Notre Dame. I grew up with them as my team to watch in the big two sports, they still are, so I watched them a bunch this year and liked them. Gotta like a team that loses a starting point guard midway, brings in a freshman and doesn't miss a beat. Plus, they shot 3s and free throws very well, free throws so well, from top to bottom, that I had to give them the nod in any close game. Naturally, they missed NINE out of 13 free throws in a close game, muffed a bunch of layups, and went 4-of-22 from the college three point line, which, really, is walking distance.

Wisconsin I was never very impressed with, not once. Tucker's a nice player, but that's about it. But I thought they were surrounding by really, really mediocre teams. And I don't think anyone had the University of Nevada Las Vegas this far, outside of Mike Cufflinks and Jimmy Legs at the Mirage.

How can I defend Arizona over Florida? Well, I can't really. 'Zona did not look good, and Florida did, right at the end of the year. And that's why I picked it. There had to be one huge upset, right? In this year, which I think was about the hardest to read since I started paying attention in the mid-90s.

As soon as a team got ranked in or near the top five, they forgot how to do everything remotely related to basketball, as evidenced by Duke's team TWICE showing up at away games on horseback and wearing polo uniforms, only to be informed of the nature of the occasion just before tip-off. Okay, that I can't prove, but you would have to believe it.

So I look at Zona', which is incredibly talented on the face of it, and looked terrific before someone told them they were highly-ranked, at which point they took a few weeks off. But my theory on teams returning to the tourney is, it's hard to rely on a group of young men, particularly men around my age (20), that young, to perform well under pressure in consecutive years. Frankly, I've never performed well in consecutive years, and a lot of people can attest to that. So in that case, I look at the oldest guy around, the coach.

Or, in Florida's case, junior forward Al Horford, who is several years older than head coach Billy Donavan, 16. In 'Zona, you've got 94-year-old Lute Olson, who I assume doesn't even take time to learn players names anymore. It's just "12's gotta' clear out here. Pay attention, 24." So I went with Zona, and I never even got to see my matchup because AU didn't show up against Purdue. (On a side note, Purdue? Really?)

So that's how you get an entire region wrong. My bracket was so bad, I got no one through in the Midwest, and I LIVE in the midwest. Bad, bad, picks.

As I teased earlier, my other huge upset (again, crazy year, crazy picks), was Gonzaga beating UCLA and losing to Kansas in the final 8. For Gonzaga, like ND, I liked free throws and threes, and, in this case, great guard play from Raivio and Pargo all year. Again, wrong.

So, you can see why I might have taken a few days to come clean with these kind of picks in public. As you can imagine, I wanted to make a good first impression here. It does not look good for someone who is paid to write about sports to be so tragically incorrect about a major sporting event like this.

So I took my beating, and I'll now glance through swollen eyes at the 16 teams left. And here's what I see: this was, indeed, the weirdest year in college ball I can remember.

You want proof? Here's proof. The seeds, my friends, the seeds. . . were pretty much right. We've got four No. 1s still left, three 2s, and three 3s. And so, now, I will make a prediction that is, based on my recent experience, remarkably bold and spectacularly wrong.

My new final four, today, Final Four 2.0, or Vista, or whatever, goes like this. No. 1 North Carolina, No. 1 Kansas, No. 1 Ohio State, and No. 1 Florida. That's right. I've got chalk. It's never happened before. And that's how weird I think this year is.

I'll skip round-by-round breakdowns, because, why waste our time when I'm going to be wrong anyway? This is actually the reason why I'm making these picks. Because they feel wrong. It's just that kind of year. Put your left glove on your right foot, walk out the back door, smoke 'em if you got 'em, and take UNC 78-66 over Florida, led by Reyshawn Terry.

- Now, quickly to Kevin Durant. This came off the wire six months ago.

DA NANG, VIETNAM (AP) - Kevin Durant, a species scientists believed to be extinct for 3 million years, was found and captured live and in near-adult form off the coast of Vietnam early Tuesday morning. Durant, which could possibly grow to be 7 feet (roughly 2m) in length, was pulled aboard a Chinese fishing boat that had been trolling for shrimp when he was accidentally snagged in a large net. Fisherman described Durant as "soft spoken and mild-mannered."During the Paleolithic Era, Durant had been known to make 18-month journeys from the South China Sea to the Gulf of Tonkin, eating mostly small fish, but known to take on the occasional squid. Durant has exceptionally long arms and a velvety mid-range jumpshot, and will be on exhibit at the Honk Kong Zoo for one month, before being shipped off to the United States, where he will start at guard-forward for the University of Texas this fall.

Here's what's weird about that story: it's the NON-basketball people who think it's not true. Those who have seen Durant play might actually be inclined to believe it. It is, alas, just a rumor, as alleged by numerous internet sites and proven in Texas's loss to USC.

By the way. Texas, USC, Florida, Ohio State. Can we send Dannah Priest around just to confirm that there are still students attending classes at these places? Would you really be shocked to find out that the given address for the University Florida at Gainesville was actually just a single basement office with one phone, a cheery-sounding woman and four dozen fax machines?

Back to the youngster in Austin, Texas. He's a truly remarkable talent, and rare, inasmuchas, there has never been another player like him, which is actually more than rare. Let's call Durant's talent singular.

There are two comparisons to be made here, in trying to describe Durant, and both take a current NBA star and tweak them. One is, Kevin Durant is Tracy McGrady, but taller. The other is Dirk Nowitzki, but smoother. Both of these are terrifying descriptions. But I'll go with the Nowitzki one for now, and here's why.

Dirk is just, just beginning to realize how important it is to find his teammates. Let's throw the name Steve Nash in here. If Nash goes for 18 points and 11 assists (which he's equalled or surpassed 25 times this year), he's accounting for 18 points, plus at least 22 points on 11 other made baskets. Let's assume two-to-four of these assists are on 3-pointers. That's 40-44 points coming directly from Nash.

Not only is that a whole pile of buckets to trace back to one guy, it makes his teammates happy and, surprise, it compels them to pass to -- and trust -- Nash as much as any team has trusted any player since MJ. Watch how many times a Suns player gets a rebound or grabs a loose ball, and doesn't even look at any other player than Nash. By the way, by my count the Suns have won 21 of those 25 games. Two of the losses were their second and third games of the season.

To compare Nash and Durant is silly. They play different positions, their teams ask for different things.

But do you know how many assists Durant had in one four-game stretch against Baylor, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Texas A & M? Zero.

Finally, he was credited two assists in a loss to Kansas, and one more the next week in the Baylor rematch. And then, in the Big 12 conference tournament, against Oklahoma St. and then Kansas? Zero assists, zero assists.

I mean, have you ever heard of anything like this in your life? Durant had 10 games this year with no assists. 12 more games with only one, including the USC loss. He might be headed to the NBA with a career high of four. Really? Four?

A lot of these are home games, where Oldy Whitehair over at the scorer's table is just dying to give Durant credit, even if the ball falls out of his hands to a teammate, even if it HITS HIM IN THE HEAD, he wants KD to have that assist. Zero assists at home against Texas State? You're six-nine, the most well-known offensive talent in the country, and nobody's open against Texas State?

I don't want this to seem like a scathing indictment of someone who is just a kid. But that's essentially what it is.

I remember hearing KD's mom doing an interview where she talked about how proud she was that Kevin spent the entire summer working one-on-one with a private coach, day in day out. Apparently one thing coach forgot to say, all summer, was, "Hey, kid gimme' the damn ball."

Now, as I said, Dirk is starting to learn how important it is to find his teammates when they're open, and I have to believe that this kid will too. But I am not, as some are, ready to white-out the record books and re-christen the NBA the National Durant Association (NDA), of course coupled by the National Durant Development League (NDDL).

MJ and Danny Ainge have both been fined by the NBA for talking about the Lone Ranger.

Jordan's fine was only 15 grand, which Michael immediately produced from his wallett, in five dollar bills, before deadpanning, "Now, you ask your grandmother if she needs something from the grocery store before you spend this."

And this Ainge thing must be addressed.

Here's the situation: Danny Ainge played professional basketball for the Boston Celtics, where he won championships, and played in Phoenix with Charles Barkley. He was in the league for a long time. He's still in the league, in fact, representing Boston as their general manager. Boston, which is terrible right now, looks like it might have the No. 1 pick, which looks like it might be Durant.

During the Big 12 tournament, Ainge was spotted sitting next to whom? Kevin,Durant's,mother.

What's in Danny's briefcase these days? An empty vodka bottle?

This is a no no, and he was fined 30-large for it. Here's what's even dumber. Apparently, Ainge and Durant's mother did not say one word to each other the entire time. Not one. Let's assume Danny was hoping for KD's mom to strike up a conversation, which would have probably gone like this:

KD's mom: "Did you go to Texas or USC?"

Ainge: "Uh, neither, actually."

KD's mom: "Oh, what brings you here?"

Ainge: (trying to play it cool) "No reason."

KD's mom: (uncomfortable, forcing small talk): "Oh, what do you do?"

Ainge: "Well, you're not gonna' believe this, but actually I'm the general manager of the Boston Celtics."

(Long pause as this sinks in with mom.)

KD's mom: "You're Danny Ainge, aren't you?"

Ainge: "That's right."

Mom: "I thought Mormons didn't drink."

If Ainge wasn't hoping for this scenario, then I can only guess that he was there to spy. At this point, when you realize that the Boston Celtics cannot find a more inconspicuous person than Danny Ainge, well... you could even begin to feel bad for the Lone Ranger.

NOTES - In my last entry, I used the word "first" twice in one sentence. Good for you if you caught it.

That's all for notes this week, and you can see now why they'll probably just call it the Durant thing.

Thanks for reading, you've been great. Enjoy Bob Schulte, I know I did.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Jason Kidd


Now, to the issue of Jason Kidd.

The Kidd question is, to me, the single most important in all of sports. In fact it may drive me away from sports altogether someday.

I need to preface this, for ethical and probably even legal reasons. This piece is written based on legal documents which have not yet reached the court. I am treading in the "allegedly" end of the pool here, but only because I think this is something that needs to be looked at.

The entire thought behind this operates on a massive assumption: that at least some large percentage of the divorce papers filed by Joumana Kidd are true.

I'm sure it will come up at some point, but let me just get a few of these out of the way: if, if, if, if . . .

In early January, Jason Kidd filed divorce papers against Joumana, his wife of nearly ten years. The brief cites "extreme cruelty," and outlines a variety of intrusive actions that Joumana took to control Kidd's life. It was speculated by some, at the time, to be a pre-emptive manuever.

But pre-emptive to what?

A month later, Joumana's lawyers filed her counterclaim divorce papers. We can assume that somewhere in Hackensack they landed with a thud on the desk of Kidd's lawyer.

I would encourage anyone who is still reading look into the filings themselves, which are found at I won't elaborate too much, but let's put it like this: Kidd's divorce papers tend to paint Joumana as, at worst, triflin'.

Now I don't know Jason Kidd personally and I doubt I ever will. But the man who features in Joumana's counterclaim is downright monstrous. Again, I encourage you to read it yourself, and I know that these are only allegations at this point, but. . . we could be looking at one of the all-time bad guys in sports.


Anyone with a rough understanding of alimony and the NBA salary scale could deduce that Joumana stands to receive lots of American money if Kidd is found at fault.

But several incidents of physical abuse are said to have happened in the presence of others, and more than once Joumana visited a hospital for treatment. To say that these accusations are false assumes not only a conspiracy, but Joumana's willingness to self-inflict enough damage to put herself in the ER.

The one thing case that we can accept as truth is the January 2001 episode, when Kidd plead guilty to punching Joumana in the mouth. It should be made clear that the beginning of this incident was Jason eating a french fry off his son's plate. Knowing this, let's just assume that either the Kidds were an extremely high-strung family, or that one or both of them is completely insane.

These parties will settle. Both of them will be financially comfortable, and they will probably share custody. In a few years, about five percent of sports fans will have much memory of any of this. Twenty more and it will be completely forgotten.

Now, to get to the question.

Over a 5-8 year span, Kidd would have been the first teammate a whole bunch of players would pick first. I can't remember who, but one of the columnists wrote a few years ago that "Kidd has completed passes that only a few other players in league history would have even attempted," and that sounds about right. He's got some of the quickest and cleverest wrists among the human race. He reads a ball hitting the rim or a sprinting group like it is his first language, and everyone else is getting the translation.

What I'm trying to say is this: three months ago, I loved Jason Kidd. I knew about the arrest in 2001, but I let it lay dormant. All I saw were fastbreaks and lookaways.

Now, I can't see anything but page on page of "defendant sustained damage to her right eardrum, which necessitated a procedure. . ."

So what the fuck am I supposed to think of Jason Kidd?

Not long ago, word got out that Kidd was on the trading block. This got the attention of about half the teams in the league and raised a half-dozen more questions.

Did the divorce proeedings have anything to do with Kidd's sudden availability? Might Beyonce frequent Were other teams factoring this into their decision on whether to make the deal? Would you, as a fan, want him on your team?

While I was thinking about this, Ron Artest had his own domestic life hit the newsreel. Artest, well, put it this way: a lot of sportswriters have probably at some point accidentally hit an "r" instead of a "t" when writing his name and thought, "Well, yeah, that could happen."

Artest is back playing with the Kings while his legal issues are taken care of, and I think this is a good thing. If Artest is unstable, and you take away the structure and purpose that comes with basketball, what's left?

By the way, most athletes have proven that things happening in their private life don't effect their game. Artest played a good, Artest-style game against Denver on Sunday. Kidd has been GREAT since the divorce papers hit. Barry Bonds swung pretty well while he was - allegedly - ingesting 25 pounds of horse food every day. And surely you'll remember Kobe hitting two game winners on his court days.

We Americans do not have this market cornered. Let's cross the pond for a moment, where in the soccer world, Welshman Craig Bellamy has been a sprinting, scoring, steaming heap of attitude for years now. He's the type who doesn't stay too long in any one place. This year, Bellamy's checks come from Liverpool.

It seems that in February, Mr. Bellamy got into an argument with teammate John Arne Riise, the prodigious left-footed Norwegian who stands a half-foot taller than Bellamy. Naturally, as this argument stemmed from a karaoke incident, Bellamy's solution was to ATTACK HIS TEAMMATE WITH A GOLF CLUB. Seriously, this is directly out of the "Jason, did you just eat one of his fries?" category.

Bellamy was allowed to play in Liverpool's next match, a crucial Champions League game against Spanish powerhouse Barcelona. It should have surprised no one, then, that Bellamy scored Liverpool's first goal.

Then, with time running out and the score 1-1, what could be more likely than Bellamy passing to his recent victim Riise, who - as if to prove that NONE of this shit makes any sense - converted the first right-footed goal he ever remembers scoring.

The point here is that what happens on the field of play seems to have absolutely nothing to do with what happens off it.

The Kidd problem runs deeper when you consider exactly how it is he plays: as one of the all-time unselfish teammates. A win-at-all costs kind of guy, but never, ever dirty. Someone as liable to hit the deck for a loose ball as he is to place a 40-foot pass right next to the rim. Pretty hard to reconcile this guy with the Jason Kidd that the legal team of Newman, McDonough, Schofel & Giger want you to see.

Contrast Kidd's situation with the Wolves' Mike James, who I've been hammering (to my uninterested girlfriend) all year as being selfish. This assertion was, of course, based on how James plays basketball. Off the court, I've never heard a bad thing about him, and he's involved in a couple charity gigs. (By the way, before the trade deadline, the Wolves were desperate to get rid of James, and no one wanted him.)

You may feel however you like about how closely we should hold people's past transgressions. But try and get your head around this one: Last week, Michael Jackson did an appearance for some troops overseas. (Apparently USO now [allegedly] stands for Undead Sex Offender.)

My stance on Kidd, and all of these athletes, is that we should let the legal system run its course, and view the accused (or convicted) as such, even when the defendant is running the fastbreak. They should be allowed to compete at the highest level they can, and their offenses should never leave the forefront of our mind. For example, want to hear something interesting about Mike Tyson?

In 1991, he raped a girl. That should be the first and last thing you think about him. End of story. If you can still see him as an athlete, then contact Cinemax. You'll have to excuse me if I sit that career out.

If I may be as preachy as possible, I think you should view your athletes only as competitors until you know otherwise. Should said athlete make a mistake, let him be punished for what he's done. Then, dues paid, he should return to the game. And, depending on the offense, he should be offered a chance at redemption at some later date.

For me, Jason Kidd's will not come until some time after he walks away from this silly game, which used to be the only thing I knew him for.

Friday, March 9, 2007

This is me


Probably not a good sign to go to one of my "just in case" ideas in the first WEEK of my blog. But I will, tonight, be posting a column I published in my high school newspaper.

The Kidd thing is still coming, and will, in my opinion, be my first real entry. That will be followed by my NCAA tournament preview.

If you want the real reason I won't be writing about Kidd tonight, some friends I have not seen in a while called me, and I will be getting drunk with them. Please do not tell my parents or the city of Minneapolis. I'm sorry if it feels like I'm choosing them over you, but, well, I am.

So instead, you get my last offering as a high school columnist. This piece, which I titled ran under the headline, "Everything I know," is simply a list of things I knew about myself before I graduated. It is one of the only, if not the only column I still like from back then. So another reason I feel like this is an appropriate - if lazy - entry is because I think it tells you a bit more about me.

If you were a friend of mine in high school, you may have already read it. In that case, you may proceed to whatever you actually wanted to do on the internet. Or you could read it for nostalgia. Maybe you were unaware that I wrote a column.

To those of you who have not known me that long, enjoy. I think most of the column is self-explanatory, and any part of it that isn't should probably also be left alone.

So, without further ado. . .

Everything I know

This is me.
I am 17 years old. 6’1”, 180 pounds. Reddish blonde hair.
Irish. Scottish. English. In that order.
Born in Washington D.C. Moved here when I was six.
I live in the basement of my house with my parents, who are 5 decades older than I am. My dad was born in 1939.
They are well-educated. Business suits. Law degrees. Few weeks ago I heard them talking about Marbury v. Madison over dinner. They worry about me and will not stop telling me what leftovers are in the fridge.
They seem like nice people.
I am the youngest of four. Three big sisters. They give me advice. Get me out of jams.
They lead interesting lives and have my best interests in mind.
I wear clothes that I bought at the mall with my fathers’ credit card. I have his name.
I score well on reading and verbal portions of standardized tests.
The two things that make me happiest are the newspaper I edit and my gorgeous red-haired huskie Suzy.
I lift weights 5 or 6 days a week. It is the only commitment I have ever made, probably because it leads to visible results. Unlike chemistry.
I own CDs by Weezer, Jay-Z, and Miles Davis.
I often felt unchallenged by high school at Century. I did not apply myself.
I schmoozed my teachers. I made them laugh. I made them want to give me good grades.
I lied. I cheated. I skipped assignments I did not like.
I got into the college I wanted.
I am bored and boring.
Since moving to North Dakota, I have met exactly four black kids. I was friends with two of them.
I rarely initiate anything. I react.
I identify with characters in literature and movies who have gifts but lack motivation. (See: Holden Caulfield, Will Hunting.)
I have had exactly two interesting things happen in my entire life. One of them I cannot talk about here, and the other I don’t want to. Both things felt like they happened to me and I played no part in them.
I won an award and I got arrested.
I am good at observing people, talking to them, and capturing them in print. Journalism comes naturally to me.
I’ve spent hours this year looking at myself in mirrors and I can’t figure out much of anything.
I’m not looking out of vanity. Like most people I’ve met, I do not like my face.
I’m just curious. I can’t walk past a mirror in my house without stopping for a quick staredown and wondering.
What’s inside that massive, perfectly round head?
What’s behind those little-boy blue eyes?
As of yet I cannot answer these questions. But my journalist’s eye usually lets me know within a minute whether someone is interesting. If the answers to these questions were not interesting, I would have stopped looking months ago.
I have a strange feeling that something is going to happen to or around me sometime soon that will change everything I know.
I am potential energy. I am in constant and furious motion but without movement. I am unfocused light.
I am a body spinning hopelessly under control.
I am Mike Mullen.
I don’t know what that means.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Notes or, Manu Ginobli and Marko Jaric should move their damn faces

I'll get to Kidd, but first, a few notes: correcting my corrections, the wild incident that involves me, KG, and white powder, Kobe Bryant's case of St. Vitus' Dance, and some T-Wolves optimism.

After posting my first entry, I realized that blogspot has an "edit" feature. Having not edited my post, I read it after publishing and saw that I had written that the Associated Press did not want an author's "work." I realized upon reading that this was not only misleading but false.

So I changed it. After doing this, I decided that I would not be doing it again. It seems like cheating to be able to so easily take back a statement that I put in print and made public. I will resist the temptation to dig into my history and remove theories that may not have come to fruition, like Gonzaga reaching the Elite Eight this year (I'll explain later). For the remainder of this blog I will be making all of my corrections postscript. I will be my own editor, ombudsman, and grammatician, which, I will reveal in my next corrections, is not a real word.

These entries will run under the title "Notes" and will look like this:

CORRECTION - I wrote in my last entry that you were free to kill your own "retired pirate," which is much funnier than "ex-pirate," but, upon further review, is not nearly as funny as "mutinied pirate." I apologize for the mistake.

- Grammatician is not a real word. Neither is "electability" (more on that later), nor "sticktoitiveness."

Now, for one request from blogger to reader. If you are a close friend of mine, and you have a fond memory of something that we, or just I did that my grandmother may be less impressed with, please don't mention it on the blog. I think we're all clear on what I mean. I will, in return, try and avoid writing about your personal lives. Thank you.

Speaking of personal lives, I mentioned my own in the intro. In so doing, I used some harsh phrasing in referencing my relationship with my girlfriend. I hope that the reader does not - as she did - take these words to mean that I am bored with it. My life is made better by ten thousand inside jokes and moments that, if I shared them with you, would mean less to me. Needless to say, it's mostly off limits, though I'm not ruling it out as a topic. Just don't expect much.

Couple more notes on the T-Wolves-Lakers game.

- The talcom powder thing KG does before every game, where he gets a bunch in his hands and then tosses it in the air in the direction of someone on press row? Before I really noticed what was going on, he was doing it to me and Jon, one of my bosses. Once I stopped laughing, I noticed that Jon had put his notebook over his cup, while I now had a dotting of powder in my coffee. I proceeded to drink the coffee, because I was cold and because I couldn't think of how else that story should end.

Very cool moment. It's probably a short list of people that will be on the other end of this, the funniest on-court ritual in NBA history. My Garnett entry is somewhere down the road. He was great in this game, by the way. And Ricky Davis was as good as I've seen him in a long time.

- Also, a quick note on the Kobe Bryant incident. One thing to look at here is on both plays, the guys defending (Ginobli then, this time Jaric) had made great defensive plays, blocking a guy who easily clears their top jump by at least half a foot. Ginobli's, however, was a much bigger play. As I remember it, it was near the end of and perhaps in the last minute of a very close game.

After the second offense, a lot of people are echoing what I thought right after the Ginobli incident: Kobe can do practically whatever he wants in the air, including absorb impact. Twice in this game I saw him flick his legs at a defender and try to create a foul. (Got free throws off one of them.) So for him to throw his arms out with such violence. . .there is no question he's doing it by choice.

I think we need to look at the very real possibility that, as much as he was looking for a foul, it could also be that Kobe's flails - or at least their force - were bourne of frustration. Here, he was being blocked by two players that he should probably never be blocked by. And both of them got a forearm in the chops. By the way, if I may play daycare provider for a moment, Jaric, Ginobli, and Kobe are all fortunate that no one got a finger in the eye.

My problem with this is that I don't think Kobe is a smart guy. I know he is. I've seen enough reel on the guy, seen him work refs and the media, probably learning a bit from Phil along the way. But a lot of it seems very natural. Seeing Kobe post game, I can tell you that he is articulate and, having just taken a shower, both senator Joe Biden (D-DE) and I would assume he was clean.

Now, if Kobe's a smart guy, why would he have the Ginobli incident, which was an ugly scene, and proceed to throw his arms out again, weeks later? Is it possible that he could be so petulent that his knee-jerk response to being blocked is to try and whack the guy in the face?

I hope not, but I haven't heard this theory yet, so I'm putting it out there.

And for all the media coverage its gotten, Stu Jackson put it best in suspending him after the first one. This is a "non-basketball move."

Kobe, you know what's up. Get this out of your game.

-Now as for what this does for, or to both teams, I think LA will be fine. For the last two minutes of Tuesday's first half, everything was going against Kobe, and I could see it building up inside him. I noticed this and said the following:

"I think you might want Kobe a bit frustrated. But not pissed off."

Kobe was absolute flames to start the second half, 12 before you could look up. As long as Kobe and Phil can find ways to fire themselves and each other up, they'll steal enough wins down the stretch to make the playoffs.

As for the Wolves, this seems like the kind of win that could. . .well, let's hold off on that thought, because so did the first game I covered, a come-from-behind shocker over the Clips. Foye ripped off 14 in that 4th quarter, including a breakaway dunk to ice it, and I was sure he'd just played his way into the starting lineup. By the way, he's still not starting, and he still should.

The next game I worked, they were terrible in a loss to the Hawks. The Atlanta Hawks. Big Ticket looked uninterested for large periods of this game, particularly in missing a handful of bunnies in the first half that are dunks for him on most nights. On a side note, Craig Smith could easily pass for an NFL lineman, and is better than pretty much anyone had him, including probably McHale. But he missed three, four, or five wide open looks from inside four feet on Tuesday night. It was like the giant high school player who hasn't quite grown into his body yet, and after a while, even the other team probably wants him to get one. Hard to watch. That being said, he'll drop ten pounds in the offseason and maybe start next year.

Speaking of which, it appears that LSU's Glen "Big Baby" Davis dropped at least 10, and gave all of them to Michael Sweetney.

But to get back to my point, I'm not sure where this leaves the Wolves. If I had to pick, I see them passing those Clips, who are due for a tailspin. The Wolves have a tougher remaining schedule, and Cassell's going to be very effective in close games.

But I have to go with the single best player on the two teams, which is Garnett by a huge margin. So I'll take the Wolves, though neither of these teams would win a playoff game against Dallas.

Enough, enough. This was just supposed to be notes.

No more. Good day.

Thanks, and please keep reading.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


Hello and welcome.

It's been a while since I've written for a general audience, and, for that matter, since I've written anything of much consequence at all.
Please bear with me if it takes a moment to regain my voice. I'll find it.
It's odd to be staring at a blinking cursor and a blank page, knowing that when I feel like I'm done writing, I'll do something with it. The anticipation of what words I'll write, the idea of anyone them who reads being entertained or provoked by said words, the pressure to please said people -- I have missed all of these things, and now I have them back.
It feels like waking up.
It's hard to describe, and I'm doing it poorly. But let me at least explain this: in terms of writing, I seem to be mid-to-long-term bipolar. I go months and months, and have hardly a single idea I feel worth sharing. I am boring in my conversations and I feel that I rarely see something any differently than anyone else.
Then, with no warning, it all comes rushing back, and I feel like I could get rolling and maybe never stop. A couple of weeks ago I got this feeling, that there was something I should be saying. It was a simple insight, and at the time I enjoyed it for what it was and assumed it was a fleeting moment of clarity. But then came another and another, and soon they were piling up.
And so I return to the laptop and the blank page, if for no other reason than to temporarily avoid a stroke.
The good news, for me at least, is that the page is still blank and the cursor still blinks. The good news for you is that this thing could tragically flame-out in less than a week and Mike Mullen's blog will be litttle more than piles of rubble. And not even, like, Greek or Roman rubble. More like, "Do you remember that Mexican restaurant that burned down?" rubble.

In the course of my writings, I will examine any number of things that I have thoughts about, or things that happen in my own life that I feel like commenting on or at least sharing. However, as I have a live-in girlfriend and no job, it seems unlikely that much of interest will happen to me.
More often, I will write about sports, politics, music, movies, miscellaneous news... things I think you'd want to hear about. I feel reluctant to rule anything out, as I'm not sure what will come up.
But I can tell you with absolute 100 percent certainty that I will not be writing about my cat. I don't have a cat, and if I did, I would know better than to tell you about it. Anyone who blogs about (or on behalf of, isn't that cute) their damn cat should spayed or neutered immediately.
I can admit that, like all bloggers excluding a handful of Washington insiders, I will not be breaking any news. At least not on purpose.
For your sake, if I see Prince beating a homeless man to death with his own wooden leg, I'll post it. But these odds seem very slim, as I'm sure Prince has a mansion where he does that kind of thing. If this bothers you, go kill your own retired pirate.
I also doubt that I will do very little actual reporting, outside of the kind of thing anyone else could do if they had internet access and spare time. That being said, I've used a cell phone before, and if I feel like posting on something and need clarification or desire a comment from the source, I think I could figure that out.
I will instead be offering up my view on things I see. Also, there will be the occasional pop culture and/or historical reference, and the posts will also includes jokes, and sometimes these two things will join together to form a pop culture and/or historical joke. I will accept no responsibilty if any of these things compel you to look something up or laugh out loud, and should my writing cause you to abbreviate the term "laugh out loud" in any way, you will be spayed or neutered using only a rolled-up copy of the Washington Post.

Now, to me, and I'll make this as brief as possible.
I am a 20 year old white male. I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I was born in Washington D.C., but spent most of my childhood in Bismarck, North Dakota.
In high school I wrote columns and stories for my high school paper (which I will share with you at a later date) and covered sports part-time for the Bismarck Tribune.
I moved to Minneapolis to start college at the University of Minnesota in the fall of 2004. I got a job at the Minnesota Daily, the very popular student newspaper, and was given the job of men's hockey beat reporter.
Within months I had been fired from the Daily and dropped out of the University. For a variety of reasons I stayed in town, where I now work as a sports stringer for the Associated Press.
This job comes with perks. For example, last night (Monday March 6), I stood four feet away from Kobe Bryant, who was boring, wore a great suit, and smelled fantastic.
Later I saw Kevin Garnett laughing and joking with a few old people who work at the Target Center. In his left ear was a shiny thing that I assume normal people would kill for.
For moments like this I am grateful to have my job. But it does not allow me an outlet where I can write what I want, how I want, and when I want to. Indeed, the best wire service writing is completely devoid of the author's own style or opinion, and I applaud the lifers for being able to do this night-in night-out.
But ultimately I need more. I need to say something, and I need someone to hear it. I don't even need to be right, although I'll certainly try. By the way, if I'm ever not right, let me know.
Okay, I'm winding down now. It's 4:55 am central time, and I usually peak from 5-10 am, so, if I want to get out a real entry still today (of which I make no guarantee), I should take a break.
I should've edited or rewritten this intro, because I can tell right now that by later today I'll hate it. But I'm afraid that if I back off it now, I might never start. So in a minute or so I'll post it, and from then on the onus is on me to be clever or interesting or at least productive.
Coming up soon on my blog: Jason Kidd, the NCAA tournament, a few thoughts on presidential candidates, and other things of note.
Fear not. I'll get my voice back.

Thanks for stopping by, and please keep reading.