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  1. The fans and the owners benefitted from the real enmity that existed between teams and players when Michael entered the league, and he carried that worldview his entire career. The players probably have a healthier attitude and better relationships these days, but the ASG has been worthless for a couple of decades as a competitive endeavor. The Bigs had a stretch where the outcome of the MLB ASG determined the home field advantage for the World Series, although I don't know how useful that really was. Other than the $10 million check idea, it is difficult to see how to fix it these days. Even this sort of competition seems unlikely these days.
  2. Yes, I am a decade and more older, and I saw this film when I went to visit my folks on Christmas break at the end of 1988. But completely I agreed with you and your crews' thoughts on Steve Martin. He isn't an actor I like to watch in anything else, and in the rest of the movie he isn't great either, but in this Ruprecht the Monkey Boy role, he is fantastic. And I love this role for Michael Caine as well. So delicious, probably the role I like him best in all of his career next to Without a Clue. "Now Diana, as you were saying, you don't think the poor should be allowed in museums..." He rips off these lines and others like them that just get better as I understand them better. Again, though, you are correct about the contrast between the characters of Martin and Caine. The contrast and rivalry works well. It would have been an interestingly different film had Martin's role been played by Rowan Atkinson, Richard Dreyfuss or Leslie Nielsen, for instance. None of them are as coarse or unrefined as the performance from Martin. The humor works for people of a certain age, but probably less so for younger people. Young people today are both more sensitive to disabilities, so unlikely to laugh at Martin's characters, and also less amused by social comedy, which this plot depends upon to work. My daughter's view of some of his scenes were, "that is just mean", whereas I found it funny. The plot has one foot in the world of P.G. Wodehouse and the comedy of manners, but that is so far away from the world younger people know that it just no longer works for them. I am familiar with the manners expected of the characters in the movie, so when they transgress those manners, it is humorous. Those manners, however, are just historical footnotes today, so several of the "bits" don't work AT ALL for my daughter, for instance. I learned from your podcast that it is a remake of 1964's Bedtime Story, which we will now need to watch this weekend. Good podcast, I enjoyed it! (up until you started playing Chicago, though, which is when I had to tap out. Just say no to Chicago.)
  3. A conversation with my wife prompted me to look at the list of Hugo award winning novels at the end of last year, and I noticed that I had never read Vonda N. McIntyre's 1979 winning novel, Dreamsnake. I had seen copies of the paperback in used bookstore many times, but the seventies-erific cover illustrations were such that I always figured it was a New Wave story, and I don't really know anything about the author, so I had passed on it. Last week I picked up the audiobook, read by the excellent Anna Fields. It started off very unobtrusively, featuring simple scenes and straightforward characterizations. However it soon became obvious why it won the Hugo (and Locus and Nebula), as the world-building and character development became expansive and enchanting. I won't spoil too much here, except to say that this book shares a development path with the first third of Walter M Miller Jr.'s most famous novel without really sharing much else with it. But the sense of wonder, of exploring a strange new world, and learning about people who are learning about their world - all of that is here in Dreamsnake. I won't touch on the plot any further because it is difficult to do so without spoiling various elements that will surprise the first-time reader, but it is a plot that works on three levels in retrospect. At least half of the characters are women, and the protagonist is a women with strong agency without partaking of the Mary Sue trope. Sexuality is handled in a way that could only happen after the New Wave in science fiction, but doesn't engage in the shock tactics of most of that sub-genre. Literature critics among you ought to have a field day considering some of the themes and symbols, but more importantly, the story left me wanting much, much more, and sad to discover that I could not follow what happened to the protagonist at the end of the book. Strongly recommended and genuinely deserving of the Hugo.
  4. Come on, now, you recently reviewed Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and didn't announce it here. Looking forward to that one. Steve Martin's greatest role!
  5. Looks very interesting. Also, RDJ is an actor with some range.
  6. For all the ways in which the NFL has tried to juice up scoring in the recent past, it is interesting to see how defensive excellence almost always results in great Superb Owls. Think of the most exciting ones, and the most memorable are so because of tremendous defensive performances. This game was terrific because of the outstanding defenses on both teams that forced the offenses to the very limits of their performances. Similarly, consider some other classic SBs: SB X - Steel Curtain vs The Doomsday Defense SB XIII - Steel Curtain vs The Doomsday Defense redux SB XXV - Bruce Smith vs LT SB XLII - Spagnolo again with a masterclass to tip the balance SB XXIII - Dick LeBeau almost stops Montana SB XXXII - Multiple players KO'd during the game SB XLVII - The Blackout Bowl is won on the strength of defense (and faulty infrastructure) SB IX and XLVIII - Start the game with a safety, twice! SB XLIII - James Harrison pick-6 For all of the work that the NFL puts into tilting the advantage in the direction of the offense, truly memorable, good games depend upon strongly-performing defenses.
  7. No, I didn't mean to give the impression I coached him - I work mainly with the girls. He had access to much more capable and excellent coaching, and he has all the tools. But he and his individual coach would use the gym in the hour prior to our summer sessions. So I got to watch him finish his workouts as we set up, plus the varsity boys' HUDL film for each game is the second half of the girls' film, and I would look at some of that as well. That game film is where you would see the mental game difference between a freshman and a senior.
  8. So I "watched" the Magic-Spurs game this afternoon while I was puttering around in the garage, prompted by the discussion about Wemby's 1-rebound game. Some days, it is clear that a 20-year-old kid is going to play like a kid. Unlike Kareem or Bird, who came into the league at 23-ish after three or four years of serious college competition, he is just young and inexperienced, and sometimes that shows up in a game. And he is still not yet grown into a man's frame, and he runs like his feet hurt, and some nights you are the windshield, and other nights you are the bug. For me, you can only start comparing the effect VW has on his team to KAJ or LB or Bob McAdoo, etc. once he is also 23 years old. I compared his play to Wagner, and it very much reminded me of our high school boy's team last season. Monty William's son, a freshman, was a big, talented kid who practices hard and has a lot of potential. But he was still a freshman, and the analog to VW. There were games last season where the smart move was to put the ball in the hands of the senior who was smaller, less athletic, and more experienced, because for the senior, the game wasn't moving at an overwhelming speed. In this analogy, Wagner was the senior, and although he is smaller and has a lower ceiling than Wemby, he has reached and become comfortable in his full adult size, and the game is not requiring him to consider options before he takes action. There is every reason to believe that Monty's son, and VW, will achieve more in the future than the senior last year / Wagner. But not this year, because the young guys are still have to look, to see, and to process before they take action. It is just a matter of experience. And the Spurs aren't really holding VW in the paint, so when the ball goes up, he could be anywhere on the court. Other players are just reacting to the ball faster, and they are often closer to the rim - thus the single rebound.
  9. How is Ted Cruz a Republican? This kind of horseshit, specifically special treatment for the political elites, is exactly the kind of thing the Republican Party should stand up AGAINST, not sponsor and tack onto other, useful bills. My grandfather would puke.
  10. I can see one obvious problem with the Blue Cards for dissent, though, and it is culture mismatches. What a Scots or English player can say to a countryman ref without any significant notice will draw a card in the States. Similarly, Spanish-language dialect differences mean that an off-hand remark in Mexican Spanish made to a Uruguayan ref will have the same effect. Language usage is different enough that the refs will need to be cognizant of those differences and negotiate between usage and dissent. Not every ref is all that intelligent. Maybe this has changed a little bit over the past years with more cultural interchange, but back in the dark ages when I came back to the States for college, my roommate picked up a yellow in the first ten minutes of the first game of the season. I was completely mystified, and only at half-time did I discover that effin' and jeffin' with the officials was considered dissent. Soccer in the USA during the 1980s was a barren wilderness of knowledge and culture, let me tell you.
  11. Anybody voting for book burners wasn't paying attention in Civics, History, West Civ, Government, or Economics. Probably slept through all their English classes, too.
  12. That was quite a game. South Africa played hard, but they never seemed to be as talented in front of goal as some of the other sides who went out previously, yet squandered their talent with oddly passive play (Senegal!). VAR got both possible penalty calls right, too. Both the Egyptian pen you mentioned, then the extra-time second half red against Egypt that wasn't a pen.
  13. I always tell my girls that, "Triumphalism is unattractive", and if we were all perfect people, winners and losers would all shake hands and head out for dinner together after a match. However, sometimes there are games that have a deeper meaning or value, psychologically, to a team. Perhaps you have lost the championship game three seasons in a row, and then you finally win. Or perhaps the other team has been bullying your team's players online. Or perhaps you have been practicing a certain technique, and the players finally put it out there on the field or court. When you win those games, you ought to be able to celebrate without others doing a lot of complaining. I wish the Tricky Reds had won, but Arteta's celebration is completely understandable. Nobody should be talking trash about it.
  14. "...VAR has looked at it seven or eight times now." Neville: "Well, they can stop looking at it." Laughter throughout the room at my house.
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