Anything from current events, campaign finance reform, sports (especially baseball), corporate/political/legal ethics, pop culture, confessions of a recovering comic book addict, and probably some overly indulgent discourses about my 3-year old daughter. E-Mail: sardonicviews -at-
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Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Stay Away From the Radio

At the risk of sounding sexist (and the wife will let me know about this one), let me give Kurt Warner some advice: dude, you have got to rein in your wife.

The wife of benched St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner sounded off again Monday, saying in a radio interview that a trade would be welcomed after the season if the situation stayed the same.

Last season, Brenda Warner called a radio show to complain that she -- and not coach Mike Martz -- had suggested that the two-time MVP have his injured hand X-rayed. The X-ray revealed a broken hand that Warner had been playing with.

On Monday, Brenda Warner told "Steve and D.C." on The Mall that her husband wouldn't mind changing teams.

Really this rule should apply to any public figure. You have got to keep your significant other away from interviews and talk radio of any sort when things aren't right. They only make things worse.

Couch Must Go

Living in Cleveland area, I've had no choice but to have followed the Tim Couch saga from the day he was drafted to the end of Sunday's loss to the Bengals. For a while I've been thinking it, but after seeing Couch get into a shouting match with a fan in the stands there can be only one conclusion: Tim Couch has to leave Cleveland.

The Cleveland Browns fans will never accept him as the team leader; and will never forgive him for not living up to the hype of being the very first pick of the Cleveland Browns (version 2.0, now up to version 2.1), but especially for the whining and crying after getting knocked out of a game and being cheered for it.

Couch will never forgive the Browns fans for treating him like dirt and preferring the back-up QB over him -- not that this isn't the general rule in football, the backup is invariably popular because he is suspected of having potential but doesn't have to do anything; the blank slate people can project upon. (But I digress.)

Both need a fresh start. Couch can still be a solid QB in the NFL, but not in Cleveland. This is not that different than when Kerry Collins got run out of Carolina, and then eventually (after a humiliating DUI and release by the Saints) resurrected his career with the New York Giants -- only without the alcohol abuse.

Sometimes a player, the team and its fans just don't work.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Lazy and Hypocritical

Inevitably it seems that I read something along the veins of this article every year.

This, I submit, is a very good thing for college football. The sport needs USC to be good. Needs Notre Dame to be strong. Needs Oklahoma and Alabama and Michigan to be competitive.
And the sport is stronger when those schools with the most powerful histories and traditions are strong, and not struggling. It's fun to see an outsider charge into the big room and challenge for a championship, like Virginia Tech did in 1999, but college football's touchstones are in places such as Austin and Norman and Columbus.

Every year it sets my teeth to grinding.

Part of it is the sheer arrogance in believing that college football and tradition only belong in certain places that are still producing winning teams. I don't read any stories about the grand old days of when Fordham, Columbia and the Ivy Leagues ruled. What about poor old Rutgers, one of the true founding schools of college football? Haven't heard much about missing the great old Southern Methodist University teams.

Part of it is the elitism in denying that college football doesn't or shouldn't become that big in other places -- that they are less worthy for some reason. Sure schools like Virginia Tech and Florida State have built top-tier programs, and they have created rabid and fanatical fans, but that doesn't mean they have any right to be treated like Nebraska, Penn St., Oklahoma, Michigan, Ohio St., Texas, or Notre Dame. Why, the nerve!

Mainly, though, it annoys me because what it is really just a chance for sportswriters to get lazy and pretentious. Who cares about really analyzing and writing about a present team, when you can just bask in the comparisons to teams of yore. Or to write about the great old traditions. They write their flowery prose with dreams of dime-a-dozen sportswriting awards, and fantasies of a Pulitzer dancing before them. Never noticing that they are writing the same generic piece that has been written dozens of times before in dozens of cities before.

And when things go south, the same writers quickly turn on the "storied programs" by bleating about how overbearing and unrealistic and arrogant the fans, alumni and boosters are in daring to compare today's situation to the days when Bryant, Schembeckler (sp?), Hayes, Rockne, Osbourne and so on strode the sidelines. As if.

Spare me.

My Inner Geek Screams in Agony

When I gave up being a regular reader and collector of comics, by far the hardest regular read to give up was Hellblazer. In the time since, there have been various rumors of a a Hellblazer movie. Of course, that leads to the question of who would play the lead, John Constantine -- the trenchcoat clad, cocky, Cockney, anti-hero. The wife favors the idea of Ewan McGregor (of course the wife generally favors Ewan McGregor for most things), while I could see Jude Law doing the role justice.

Well, a script has been written, and it looks to be in pre-production (August 21) with this plot

Title: Constantine
Log Line: A man who dabbles in the occult teams with a female police officer to fight evil forces, after her twin sister dies in a mysterious suicide.

The female police officer looks to be played by the always watchable Rachel Weisz. The apparent lead though, is hard to stomach:

Keanu Reeves.


I'll spare you the obligatory "dude" line. This is just wrong. I live in mortal fear of Reeves even trying to do an English accent, actually any accent from Reeves would immediately rank amongst the worst of all time -- thinking of Tom Cruise's "Irish" brogue in Far and Away, or worse, Kevin Costner in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves.

The horror... The horror.

Coupling Review and Thoughts

So, getting back to Thursday's topic -- the Americanized/NBC Coupling.

Well, I'm going to give the NBC Coupling a chance, if for no other reason, then the wife has decided to give it a chance, so it will be on anyways.

Seriously, the problem with the pilot, was indeed an issue of cramming too much into a smaller time frame. The pilot was almost word for word what was in the BBC pilot. The problem is cramming roughly 30 minutes into 22-23 minutes with very little dialogue actually cut. This makes it extremely difficult to give effective delivery of the lines other than in a rushed way that piles on top of the last line. This results in stilted talking, that has no feel for a real conversation with pauses and facial expressions when every character is always talking (when the camera is on them).

This point was driven home painfully by watching the BBC version right afterwards. There were these nifty things called -- pauses -- between lines. Where it actually appeared that one character actually heard what the other said before saying anything.

Pat made a point as to the quality of the actors. I'll disagree with him as to Rena Sofer (who plays "Susan"). I've liked her since her co-starring role in the short-lived SciFi Channel show, The Chronicle. I think she can pull it off, if they give the actors a chance to do something other than the rapid firing of their lines.

Sonya Walger ("Sally") was practically invisible in the first episode, so I don't know if she's any good or not. As was Colin Ferguson ("Patrick").

Jay Harrington ("Steve") seems almost like a blank slate at the moment -- he needs some personality fast. He's got a tough role because his British counterpart (Jack Davenport) was so good at conveying his emotions -- generally a sense of helplessness against his hormones and others.

Lindsay Price ("Jane") seems to have grasped the role right away -- slightly ditzy, sexually adventurous, and just conveys a lot of light fun.

Chirs Moynihan ("Jeff") (and you would think a solid partisan like Pat would get behind any Moynihan), has the most difficult and seems most lost at the moment. Jeff's character is the guy with all of the theories, ideas and concepts about sex, relationships and women -- but none of the experience. Why? Because he is so neurotic that he does and says things that seem to come from no where. There is also the expectations of the character after the amazing job done by Ben Miles. On the Coupling, Season One DVD there are cast interviews which quickly makes clear how big a role Ben Miles had in shaping the character -- beyond his mere delivery of the lines. He really helped to develop and create the character of "Jeff." Ultimately this uniqueness of the BBC "Jeff" may be what dooms the NBC version.

If I was feeling suitably pretentious and academic I might delve into the inherent Freudian symbolism of the three male characters -- Patrick, Steve and Jeff as Id, Ego and Superego -- not to mention how the animus compares with the anima. Forget it.

Recap on the Personal Side

Blogging has been very light lately. Several reasons for that.

1) It isn't as bad as it seems, if you take into account my blogging over at Pitt Sports Blather.

2) I've been in a bit of a blog funk lately -- not a lot I'm seeing that motivates me to post.

3) Angie has a cold. She came down with it last Wednesday. Meaning she needs lots of extra attention and nose wiping. It's one of those sniffly jobs, that has a lot of clear snot all the time, and a periodic cough that sounds like gurgling because of all the fluid. She's getting better, but...

4) The wife now has the cold. This leaves me the only one to go run some errands, and I was needed all weekend to help keep the kid from wreaking total chaos.

Insert obligatory, overly cute photo of daughter.


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