Hello and welcome back. Today, we've got affirmation in the NBA, pain and triumph on the soccer field, and my thoughts on Mike Vick's pet cemetery.
- In a quick editor's note, I've started breaking my posts up with seperate links. If you're looking for something in particular, click on the link at the top of the post and you'll be taken directly to that section. Those links-within-the page are called anchors, which is also the term you use for fat-headed stiffs who weigh down sports networks. Eventually I'll get it so that the entire archives are organized in this way.
- Of course, we begin with robots.
Two AP stories recently appeared on MSNC.com -- one on June 22, the other on June 28 -- that are mistakently reported as seperate news. Oddly enough, they both came out of Boston, and yet they were not combined into one super-story, that should really should be getting play everywhere.
June 22 - Robots to look for life in Arctic
And June 28 - What happens when you hand a 'bot a Taser?
This is it, folks. Live it up, because we've all got a few months left.
The first story explains that we're sending robots to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean to look for life in some hotprings. We plan to someday use robots to look for life on the moons of distant planets. In other terms, we'll be sending these robots about 500 million miles into space, where they'll go through piles of frozen dirt looking for minnow fossils.
That's a bad gig. Apparently, limited benefits on this job. Although if the robots do form a union, it's expected they would endorse Mitt Romney.
So, to the second story. I think this is self-explanatory. The question is, "What happens when you hand a 'bot a Taser?", and the answer is "Probably nothing all that great."
The lead source in that story is John Pike of Globalsecurity.org. Mr. Pike says that in the near future, "you're going to start seeing Robocops, or a Terminator. We may see autonomous robots capable of inflicting lethal force."
First of all, when we're in the development phase of these Robocops, I think I have a volunteer to play the test criminal. "That's right, Mr. Pike. Just pretend to take the old lady's purse, and hopefully your heavily-armed robot is a reasonable fellow."
By the way, how hard would it be for a robot with a taser to wait for the right moment, stick it to some guard's neck and say, "Hey, how about you give me the rest of the tasers?"
And here's how the two stories are actually one story, and it's also how the world ends: one of the robots in the first story meets one of the robots from the second story.
Robot: Check it out. I got a taser.
Robot 2: A taser? I have to go to the bottom of the Arctic, and you get a weapon? Do you think you could get me one?
Robot 3: Well they're sending me to Jupiter to go play in the dirt. Does it have a "KILL" setting?
Don't say I didn't warn you.
- Okay, now some quick notes on the NBA. First, an update on my Grant Hill idea from last month.
June 23 - Notes or Trying to make sense of a bullet hole
"If Hill comes back, can we just make it so that it's not with the Orlando Magic? Phoenix, Dallas...somebody offer him a jersey."
Well that didn't take long. Phoenix signed Hill to a two-year contract. I think it's a good fit for everyone. Hill makes the Suns go one guy deeper, and he can still find the open guy.
Phoenix, meanwhile, gets Hill's leadership. Hopefully Shawn Marion and Amare Stoudemire tip an ear toward Hill. Both of them have expressed at least some willingness to leave Phoenix, and I think Hill can point out the reality here. You can get paid later. You can be the man later. But when you're in a situation where you're trying to build talent, and you finally start to see over the horizon. . . you're only one or five ankle injuries away from never getting your chance. It would be stupid for either of them to split Phoenix until they actually see Steve Nash's back carried away in a garbage bag.
By the way, for all the people taking shots at them on this, this absolutely makes them better. They can now rotate lineups of Nash, Barbosa, Marion, Diaw, Hill, Raja Bell and Stoudemire, where they'll have four passers on the floor with the league's best catcher-and-dunker.
Barring injury or suspension, that's my pick in the Western Conference.
- Now to the ever-worsening case of Mike Vick. And when I say ever-worsening, I mean that it's looking pretty good for him. It's highly unlikely that he'll be indicted for anything, particularly because that would call for someone to snitch on him.
But investigators just found double-digit dog carcasses on the property that was in Vick's name. And I don't care if he gets indicted or not. There's something very, very wrong going on at that place.
Here's who should have more than 10 dead dogs in his yard: a 120 year old dog lover. Everyone else? You'll need to explain that.
And I don't care that this will probably never reach him. One thing that you don't do when your rich and famous buddy puts you up with a property is set up an illegal business without, you know, asking him. My message here goes to all the people who rushed to defend him: make sure you know who you're fighting for. I know you didn't want to believe that Mike Vick was in the wrong. But you'd never met him, and it seems like the critical details in how we should view Mr. Vick are just coming out now, and they have very little to do with his left arm.
After all, there was a time in my life when my first instinct would've been to speak up on behalf of Jason Kidd.
- Now, soccer. I'd heaped about 5,000 tons of praise on the national team. I even went so far as to say, " I am now of the delusional opinion that our second team shouldn't get blown-out by anybody."
I'm not sure if I should get any credit for correctly labelling my own opinion "delusional," but it seems that I was a bit wrong on the Copa America. We lost 4-1 to Argentina, 3-1 to Paraguay, and 1-0 to Columbia, and a number of our players got a "NOT READY" stamp jammed onto their forehead.
The high point in our tournament came on Benny Feilhaber's 40-yard pass that Eddie Johnson ran onto to draw the penalty kick. Then Johnson calmly scored the kick. And that was it. There were a few moments of steely defense, and even fewer offensive-minded moves. But by the time the second half of the Argentina game started, the U.S. looked so travel-weary that they may have travelled to Venezuala by boat.
At about the 60 minute mark, it appeared that they may have rowed the boat.
But when I look at this roster, I see only a handful of players who I think should represent us at the 2010 World Cup: Feilhaber, Johnathan Bornstein, Ricardo Clark, Justin Mapp, Twellman or Johnson (but not both), Demerit or Conrad.
And why am I ready to get rid of the majority of this squad -- which I have since decided is our third team -- just based on this hideous week?
Because after each Copa game, the national team got bumped-off the top story on ussoccer.com by a plucky group of youngsters who were playing about 2,500 miles north of them.
Our under-20 national team played a 1-1 stalemate against Korea in its first group game.
Then Freddy Adu made like Tommy Johnson and agreed to a deal at the crossroads. Freddy left the meeting with boundless skill and no soul, and who are we to judge?
First he terrorized Poland in a 6-1 blowout. He scored three, and that included his
first one. (Seen there slightly underplayed by the French-speaking highlights guy.)
And that goal. . . I tried to sum up Benny Feilhaber's goal in the least modest terms. And Freddy's goal was as good as Benny's Gold Cup winner. And we Americans just don't really score 'em like that.
We could expect an American player to take a swing at a falling ball like Feilhaber, or to turn on a defender and fire like Freddy. But when Feilhaber's shot hung-up in the back of the net, and when Freddy's curler smacked off the inside of the post, my head snapped a little bit and I flinched.
I was not surprised by the trajectory of either shot. But I was stunned when both balls stopped mid-flight because they flew into the goal. Again, we're the Americans, and we're not supposed to score those goals.
As good as Freddy was against Poland, he was equally brilliant against Brazil. He simply could not be stopped with the ball, and all of his teammates were always open, and he himself was always wide open. Appropriately he set up both Josmer Altidore goals, the second one with a perposterous bit of juggling to escape a corner trap.
We won 2-1 against Brazil, and we'll know who we've got in the round of 16 after today. At the moment, Freddy looks like the best player in the tournament, and we look like the best team.
The future is not now. It never is. But it looks closer and closer these days, and by the time it gets here, who cares whether you've got your soul?
- That's all for today. Be careful out there. This is the time of year when renegade weather balloons are known to fall out of the sky.
Back soon with other things. Goodbye.