Sunday, March 13, 2011

What I Said

(The self-contradictory statements in much of this are intentional, self-deprecatory irony, and nobody does it better. Whatever it is.)

I've posted it before, quoting the Talking Heads' "Psycho-Killer":
Said something once; Why say it again?

So, as I don't want to repeat myself, I refer you to my prior commments, without further elaboration, on the following topics: What should be done about Libya; my comments on the 2010 movies, before nominations and after the awards; the New Mexico gas crisis--I'm glad to see there is a class action suit now being formed up for those, like us, who did not have pipes break or have to close our business, but were just tremendously inconvenienced; my comments about "The Lightning Revolution" in the Middle East, especially which countries are not good sites for People Power uprisings (Libya among them); and the opinions expressed in my last Political Update.

I'd just add to my prior comments on Wisconsin's mess that the way it ended--with the Republicans ramming the limitations on the public unions through--was the way it had to end, given the Governor's stubborn insistence on refusing to negotiate on that issue, regardless of the falsely argued connection or lack to their budget issue. And, while I hope Walker and his legislative cronies are recalled, I can't see that it is a national issue to which I should contribute: it's up to the residents of Wisconsin to determine whether they want to become one of the states-wrongs "right-to-work" places like most of the South, or not.

...Modified Just Slightly
I must call attention to my last blog posting of the 2001-2010 decade entitled "Best of a Bad Decade", sadly hidden by the chronological scheme this blog uses to organize its archives. I have to underline my praise for David Mitchell (his "Cloud Atlas" is being made into a movie for release this year--I can't imagine how, really, except possibly to focus on the pivotal futuristic episodes in a deteriorating Hawaii Big Island), for the Coen Brothers (I have since expounded a lot more on the quality of "True Grit"), and for Bright Eyes (his new album deserves a proper critique, which I'll do after a few more listens). Let me just add that I might've mentioned some good 2010 musical products from Arcade Fire and the Black Keys in my update from the 2009 9/10 decade review.

In terms of my initial SPBLORG in January, I neglected to give sufficient attention to the emerging big stories: the owner-player battles in the NFL and NBA. I will summarize my views by saying the owners are not to be trusted, that their problems lie in their inability to restrain themselves from offering great contracts to mediocre players and to share revenue properly among themselves, and that I stand prepared to offer extraordinary assistance to either players' union should they strike out on their own and leave these unsympathetic oligarchs behind.

I will close with some transitional comments on college basketball, elaborating on that SPBLORG and anticipating some future posting on the NCAA tournament. As I write, the final tournament championship game is being played and the bracket announcements are due in a couple of hours. I think this is a great time to speculate on what will be, though I am limited in my guesses of something like the Final Four because I don't know which seeds will go to which regions--it's becoming more random all the time. In my previous comments, I rated too highly Texas--a team with great talent but difficulty in recent weeks playing their game--and neglected completely Ohio State, the team which has come through all this as #1 (though they were no more immune to the #1 jinx than all the others, they disappointed the poll participants less frequently, losing only twice and late, to good teams, on the road).

Bracket pickers, and especially bracket contest organizers, will have less time to think and prepare this year because of the added four teams--the so-called bracket busters--which will be playing on Tuesday and Wednesday (there's also, less significantly, another play-in game). A few comments on faves and the opposite of those: Three teams that were "hot" in the late season got comeuppance in the tournaments--North Carolina, which proved that you can come back against some teams all the time, but not all teams all the time; Notre Dame, which narrowly lost to Louisville in the Big East semis just when they seemed to have won a #1 seed; and Florida, decisively handled by Kentucky (which seems to have overcome their tendency to late-game jitters). All three are dangerous, but I'd tend to discount their chances of going all the way. I don't like BYU, which despite the superb play of Jimmer (who eliminated local fave UNM in the MWC semifinals with a 52-point effort), showed themselves far too weak up the middle since they dropped their center for dubious moralistic reasons--they will find a team in the middle rounds strong enough to eliminate them (Ohio St., or practically any Big East or Big 10 or Big 12 team, for that matter, would be examples). On the other hand, I love MWC tourney champion SDSU as a dark-horse pick to win it all, along with Kansas, Pittsburgh, Duke (hate to admit it), and either Kentucky or Louisville (but not both--I see they are likely to be in the same region according to ESPN's "bracketologist").

The conference tournament week is one of the purest events in sports; some of it is desperate bids to make the tournament for teams on the bubble, or completely outside the bubble in smaller conferences; some of it is the simple love of the game, the urge to play, as shown by the eight final teams in the Big East tournament, all of which were pretty much guaranteed tourney spots, but who played their butts off (possibly to the detriment of their future tournament chances)--I'm thinking particularly of Louisville, which looked totally exhausted at the end of their Big East final game, and Connecticut, which somehow did not after winning five games in five days. I was thrilled by the performance of Kemba Walker, my Player of the Year, who re-emerged after superior early-season performance for the week of his life. Good luck in the NBA, Kemba!

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