Sunday, February 28, 2010

Oh Canada!

Wow, what a hockey game!  The good ol' USA gave it all but unfortunately came up on the short end of its gold medal match with Canada.  I'm not a huge fan of hockey on television but the game was pretty darn compelling.  The only letdowns were the opening and closing ceremonies.  Poor Canada had no chance of touching what the Chinese accomplished in 2008, but it seemed their efforts to "entertain" feel short of the tame Mormon production in Salt Lake City in 2002.

The Olympics are special.  I was lucky enough to attend the Los Angeles games in 1984.  I went to the ten days of track and field competition and came away with indelible memories of Sebastian Coe silencing his doubters, Mary Slaney's great fall, Said Aouita's mastery in the 5000 and the incomparable Carl Lewis winning four gold medals. 

The ten days I spent in Los Angeles were incredible.  The city was deserted.  I had planned on taking public transporation to and from the Coliseum but once I figured out that the streets were empty, I rented a car and had the time of my life.  It was mornings at the track, afternoons at the beaches, followed by evenings back at the Coliseum.

I didn't go to Atlanta because it didn't seem to be worth the hassle.  But I want to go to one more Olympics.  London seems doubtful and there's no way in hell I'd go to Rio.  I guess I'll have to wait until 2020!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Free Tony Kornheiser

ESPN, which lost its way about ten years ago, suspended Tony Kornheiser from the only watchable program it airs, PTI aka "Pardon the Interruption."  On his radio show that airs in Washington, DC Kornheiser rightfully took major shots at Hannah Storm for the way she was dressed in the photo you see above.  I happened to be watching myself that day and thought, does she want to look like a teenage hooker or what?!?  Kornheiser apologized for his snarky remarks but that didn't stop ESPN from suspending him for two weeks.

Storm's outfit is inappropriate.  She's a good sportscaster but her taste in clothing is questionable at best.  I'm in shock by what she wears about half the time.  As a news manager I've been faced with the difficult task of dealing with inappropriate clothing.  I've had to tell men to dump horrible jackets and women to cover up.  As big as ESPN is you would think they would have consultants that would make sure their talent look professional.  

This isn't my only bone to pick with ESPN.  SportsCenter jumped the shark a long, long, time ago.  If I turn it on it's usually as background noise.  Besides PTI I do enjoy Colin Cowherd's radio show which they air on ESPNU.  But the other burr up my butt is the decision to replace Ron Franklin and Fran Fraschilla on its Big Monday basketball coverage of the Big 12.  I've always liked Franklin and I got used to Fraschilla because you could tell he did his homework.

Now broadcasting legend Brent Musburger and coaching curmudgeon Bobby Knight are calling the Monday night Big 12 games.  Knight is atrocious.  The game passed him by 15 years ago and it shows in his analysis.  Musburger seems lost and clueless in dealing with Knight as his broadcast partner.  It's almost as if Brent is on the Curt Gowdy downslide.  

Gowdy was a play-by-play legend who completely fell apart in his fifth decade of broadcasting.  His crowning moment was his horrific call of an NCAA tournament game between UCLA and Kansas in 1978.  Gowdy continually missed pronounced the names of the KU players or flat out called them by wrong names.  He passed from the scene quickly after that.

Musburger's performances on Big Monday are bordering on horrible.  He's giving old Curt a run for his money and while that may not be fair he's hurting out there.  ESPN needs to admit it made a monumental mistake in hiring Knight and dump him.  The World Wide Leader in sports needs to pull its collective head out of its huge ass.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Where's the Freakin' Pizza?!?!?

The highlight of the Fort Myers road racing season takes place in February.  It's a 5K that starts about a half hour before sunset traversing the parade route for the Edison Festival of Lights Parade.  The cool part is that the entire course is three to four deep with people waiting for the parade to begin.

Tonight marked my first time in four years running this super fun race.  Injuries and a short lived job transplant kept me away from the Edison contest while the Czarina has run it pretty much every year.  As I warmed up I chuckled to myself thinking how my friends around Kansas City would be cursing me for thinking that it was too warm at 70 degrees.  The day before it had been a perfect 60 at the same time so I was hoping for a repeat.

About 1500 runners toed the line and the start was one of the worst I've endured.  Way too many slowpokes had crowded up front.  I was about 10 feet behind the start line.  It was like roller derby for the first 500 yards, I'm surprised no one went down.  The Czarina who was lined up about five feet behind me said it was just as bad for her.  I was passing all manner of 10 and 12 year olds, 40 plus dudes who overestimated their abilities and a ton of seniors who were in front of me including one 70 year old woman who decided to place herself directly in front of me.  I almost bowled her over in the first 200.

I was hoping to run 22:30 but a cold that I picked up two weeks ago put those ambitions aside.  I got through the first mile in 7:14 and spent the next mile picking off a lot of folks who thought too highly of their fitness.  Much to my surprise with just a little more than a half mile to go a squad of senior grand masters (guys over 60) went rolling by me racing their asses off.  I latched onto the back of the group and followed them to the finish in 22:58.  The poor Czarina, having picked up my cold this week, finished in 25:14, about a minute slower than what she's capable of right now.  Despite her time she still picked up an age group award finishing 2nd.

This brings us to the post race festivities, usually a high point at the Edison race.  The Fort Myers Track Club offers free pizza and beer to the runners starting about an hour after the gun fires.  As the Czarina and I wandered over to the big tent following our warm down run we noticed a huge line.  The pizza wasn't there and didn't show up for another hour.  Much to my displease the FMTC decided to make everyone wait for the pizza instead of handing out the awards which were ready to go at 7 p.m.  We didn't leave until 9 p.m.  It put a damper on an otherwise excellent evening.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tiger Part 2 = FAIL

I listened to it on the radio and then I watched it on TV.  Part of what he had to say sounded like he realized that he has a serious problem.  But more importantly he still believes that he's above the rest of us.  His statement completely missed the mark on two very key issues.

1.  The tabloid media:  Sorry, you can bitch and moan about their invasion of your life, your wife's and your children, but you brought this on yourself.  Nothing you do or say now is going to change that and the paparazzi are not going away.  Standing at that podium acting holier than thou and bashing them for doing their job, albiet a disgusting profession, only deflects from the real issue which was Tiger's abhorrant behavior.

2.  The holiday wreck:  Sorry, that issue is not a topic that you can pass off as something between you and your wife.  You went scrambling out of your house in the wee morning hours and plowed into a tree.  It involved law enforcement.  The thing that chaps my ass is the protest that there was no domestic violence.  What about the bashed in window on your SUV?  Just because the Florida Highway Patrol did a sorry ass job investigating what happened that night doesn't mean you can skate and not give some accounting for your actions and the actions of your wife.

In my final analysis Tiger has a lot more 12 step work to do.  His marriage is toast.  The message he delivered rang hollow with me.  The sad part in a year or two all of the sponsors will come back and like Kobe his reputation will be resurrected.  Americans are suckers, just ask the late Ted Kennedy!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tiger Wood's PR = FAIL

The moment I heard about Tiger Woods's holiday mishap I knew something was amiss.  A highly controlled professional athlete with a sparkling resume doesn't get into a motor vehicle accident in the wee morning hours over a holiday without something weird surrounding the circumstances.  My instincts told me he was hustling out of his house because he had gotten into a fight with his wife.  I had seen the reports earlier in the week about his rumored fling in Australia.  30 plus years in television news covering crap like this may not make me a rocket scientist but I figured in the next couple of days Tiger would step in front of the cameras and put out this smoldering fire that was burning at the edges of his highly polished image.
Wrong!  Instead of getting in front of the story Tiger and his handlers offered up lame news releases.  Granted, he probably didn't want to face the cameras especially if his wife had gashed his face with one of his golf clubs.  But stepping in front of the cameras and candidly discussing his marital problems and asking for time to mend his marriage would have gone a long way in slowing down this PR disaster.  Instead Tiger suffered a the death of a thousand cuts.  By
refusing to get out in front of the tabloids and even the
traditional media the story bubbled and grew into a two week nightmare filled with bimbo eruptions and sponsorship defections.

While the major papers and television outlets have let the story fade away the tabloids continue to dig and dig and dig.  Tiger only fueled the frenzy by going underground and then by announcing his decision to step away from golf.  Now nearly three months into Tiger's sexcapades the golfing great has finally decided to sit down and talk to reporters.  But this decision is yet another glimpse into the PR lunacy that has surrounded this whole affair, excuse the pun.

On Friday Tiger will sit down with a group of handpicked reporter and read a prepared statement, at this moment word is that there will be no questions allowed.  Woods is apparently hell bent on destroying his credibility completely.  No, he doesn't owe journalists or his fans for that matter anything.  But by refusing to step up and open up he only invites unending scrutiny, not just from the paparazzi and tabloids but also from the mainstream media. 

What all this tells me is that Tiger Woods has arrogance that knows no bounds.  Like a lot of superstars Tiger has surrounded himself with sycophants who lack the courage to tell him what he needs to hear.  Tiger Woods may pass Jack Nicklaus as the golfer with the most major championships, but for this sports fan, he will never replace the Golden Bear as the greatest golfer of all time.  For this sports fan, class counts.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bustin' Trees!

I felt a little guilty as I put on a long sleeve shirt and blue jeans to mow the yard this afternoon.  Normally I do it in a t-shirt and shorts but it was a bit brisk outside.  Of course as I fired up the mower I couldn't help but chuckle about my poor friends in the Midwest and the horrible winter they've been forced to endure this year.

As I made my way through the yard I noticed that part of a dead Bottlebrush Tree had fallen off.  Now the Czarina, who loves nothing more than killing all manner of plants, including trees, had been on me to rid our yard of this dying tree.  She's killed or ripped out more trees and bushes than I can remember.  I won't even going into her epic vine rampage in the summer of 1999 back in Kansas City.  It was during that backyard assault that I watched in amazement as the Czarina covered in dirt, sweating like a leaky bucket growled her unforgettable retort, "Now you know why Russians won the war!"

I had tried the chainsaw but it didn't do much to the extremely hard wood.  So with the dead branch lying on the ground it dawned on me a little muscle might do the trick.  But after a lot of snapping and breaking one branch refused to budge.  So attempted to use my biggest asset.
Even with my massive girth the branch didn't want to give way.  I had already managed to snap off considerable chunks of the tree up to this point.  The Czarina even joined in the fun.
Unfortunately the camera could not catch the moment when the two of us decided to suspend ourselves        
the offending limb.  It gave way with a mighty crack and we tumbled to the ground giggling all the while. 
I posed before the shattered branch like a proud hunter lording over his prey.  About two thirds of the tree remains behind.  Part of me just wants to douse it in gasoline and set it on fire, but I don't think the neighbors would approve.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I Hate it When Doctors Are Right

 So when I visited the doctor last week for my bathroom woes he mentioned that he had been seeing these infections turn into respiratory issues.  Now I gave him when if these WTF?!?!? looks because I couldn't see how my visits to the toilet could be interconnected to my sore throat.  Sure enough by Monday I had a full blown cold.  It's been one of these nagging, drippy, but not totally knock you on your ass colds.  I felt good enough to work and good enough to run.

But Wednesday night I made the mistake of running hard.  Just four miles but a fast four miles and my lungs froze up like a water pump in Fargo during a February blizzard.  By Thursday morning there was a lot of blood in my sputem so I went back to the doctor to get antibiotics.  He wasn't surprised to see me.

Usually these respiratory things run there gamet in three or four days but this one seems to be sticking around.  Did I mention I don't like being sick?  The only positive fallout is that whatever I have the Czarina's picked it up as well.  She never gets sick!  I'm sure I'll have hell to pay!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Diarrhea Cha-Cha-Cha, Diarrhea Cha-Cha-Cha

I hate to barge in on a theme explored earlier this week by my friend Hula Girl but for two straight days my bowels have been held hostage.  It started with explosive, and I do mean explosive diarrhea at 4 a.m. on Friday.  It became an hourly event so I reached for the good old Imodium.  By 9 a.m. I had given up on the Imodium and decided to go to work because other than a lack of sleep I felt pretty good.

When I headed home for lunch at noon I gingerly ate a peanut butter sandwich and decided to take my temperature because I was feeling a little feverish.  Sure enough it read 99.4.  By mid-afternoon I was started to really slide.  The bathroom runs had long since stopped as the Imodium was doing its job but I figured I needed to see the doctor. 

The doctor was booked so they suggested the quick clinic in the lobby.  I figured I would suffer for at least a half an hour before getting in but much to my surprise I was in and out in less than 15 minutes.  The diagnosis, an intestinal bug, the solution, stay hydrated and rest.  By early evening my temperature had skyrocketed to 101.2.  The fever finally broke about 10 p.m. after I had consumed two bottles of water and a bottle of Sprite. 

I feel pretty worn out today but the diarrhea is back.  At least I'm not running a fever.  Guess that means I get a two day break from running.  Thank goodness I can watch a Kansas game tonight!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Trudging Along

What's with my hip.  My right hip continues to drive me crazy.  I actually had two consecutive days over the weekend where it didn't hurt.  I went to the chiro on Monday and got a nice adjustment and didn't run.  I ran a brisk eight miles last night and wham!  I don't blame the running.  The pain started creeping in after sitting on a rock hard chair a work just like the one in our office at home.  Sitting for hours on end starts the process.  Running only seals the deal.  It ached and throbbed last night.  This morning it's not so bad.

In the meantime I managed to log more than 200 miles for the month of January.  Without going back through all of my logs I'm pretty sure that's the first time I've totaled that many miles in a month in six years.  I'm looking forward to a fast 5K in a week or so and a half marathon at the beginning of March.  The goal is to run the half in 1:45, which is the pace I would have to run for a full marathon to get my Boston qualifier.  What's funny is the slowest half I've ever run is around 1:42, but I was in horrible shape and it was a really hilly course.  Eight minute pace for 13 miles seems a little daunting right now but I've got another month of training to get there.

As for the job front I'm on my own at iROX.  My former partner in crime has taken off for his new gig in the Tampa area.  I've settled back into the routine of answering emails and taking phone calls.  I'm still waiting to hear about the other jobs I've applied for.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed!