Friday, June 20, 2008

A Brief Encounter

Well, I know I said tomorrow morning, but what I really meant was tomorrow at 9:30 pm. Anyway:

The University of Michigan's Washington Alumni chapter (Or guild? Club? Pirate vessel?) held a cocktail party last night at the Press Club downtown to award a graduating high school senior a full scholarship to study political science at Michigan.

I arrived home from my job at the zoo yesterday blissfully unaware of any such festivities; even if I had known I probably wouldn't have cared. After all, I'm not an alumnus of the university yet.

So when I walked in the door, sweaty and tired and ready for an evening of some Gorton's Fisherman haddock fillets and a Deadliest Catch marathon, you can imagine I was a little surprised to see my mother hurriedly putting in a pair of fancy earrings.

"Big date tonight?" I offered with a smile.

"Get in the shower," came the reply. "We're going to the Press Club. And when you're done, put on a coat and tie."

After a brief inquiry I discovered that my mother and father, two Michigan alums in Washington, were attending this event catered specifically to people like them. That part made sense. What didn't was the plan to smuggle me in amongst the 50 and 60-year-olds without a ticket or a Michigan diploma.

But whatever. We were en route and there was no place for discussion. When we got to the Press Club I made my way to the back of the room as quickly and quietly as possible. Thirty seconds later, a familiar face walked through the rear door.

I had met Lloyd briefly in December. I was visiting Jim Brandstatter, host of Michigan Replay and former fraternity brother of one Wild Bill Coston, when Lloyd rolled through the studio after shooting some stuff for the show. He was way more cordial than he needed to be, asking me about my studies and my family. But it only lasted about fifteen seconds. Last night, I was hiding by the bar in a room full of old people and Lloyd simply deduced that he would rather talk to me than them.

The journalist in me wishes I had a tape recorder for our chat so I could share it with you all, but the other half--whatever it's called--is thrilled just to be considered worthy of any face time with a man like Lloyd Carr.

Now that I've spoken with him at considerable length, I think I can objectively say that there will never be another football coach like Lloyd Carr. For one thing, he talks. A lot. About random stuff. And as my father pointed out later that night, rambling incoherence does not a champion make.

But his composure and his simple ability to tell a great story makes him unforgettably awesome. If Pete Carroll is Rock You Like a Hurricane, Lloyd is Moonlight Sonata.

There isn't an adequate adjective or sentence to describe the feeling of talking to Lloyd Carr. He's like a friendly uncle that just happens to be an archbishop or something. He is at once as approachable as an uncle on a fishing boat and as overwhelming as a foreign dignitary.

One thing is for sure, though. We will miss him dearly.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Exclusive awesomeness coming tomorrow morning. Michigan peoples take special notice.

Daily Wailing Rocker: Bruce Dickinson

Last night, your humble author and his brother went to a concert. But not just any concert, HO NO!!! This was Iron Maiden! Still rocking as hard as ever, Maiden played a great 3 hour set that included all their hits and epically brutal ballads, including Run to the Hills, the Trooper, and Fear of the Dark.

And the front-man for all this mayhem is the great Bruce Dickinson.

Described by Wikipedia as a "British singer, airline pilot (verily: Bruce often pilots Iron Maiden's tour plane), radio show host, DJ, historian, television presenter, fencer, and songwriter" Bruce is true renaissance man known for his trademark wail and on-stage antics (though not quite as ridiculous as Diamond Dave).

Bruce is a legend in the music industry and a god in metal circles.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

No more complaints

Congratulations to the Boston Celtics. Last night, the team defeated their longtime (though not recently) rivals the Los Angeles Lakers 131-92 to capture their 17th NBA Championship. Though not the more talented team (at least by my estimation), the Celtics played harder and more cohesively in the series and seemed to want the title more than the Black Mamba and his compatriots. I'm especially happy for the team's Big 3: Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett. All three have been good to great players on terrible teams their entire careers and now, with a legitimate supporting cast, have won it all. This also firmly plants KG as one of the best ever.

Of course, all of this means one thing:


You now have the best basketball team, the best baseball team, and the best football team (and yes, 99 out of 100 times, the Patriots beat the Giants). Hell, even your hockey team made the playoffs. You cannot, under any circumstances, complain about your sports teams. And if I hear one thing about all the suffering you had to endure in the past, I'll start stabbing throats. It doesn't matter what you had to put up with because it's all good now...and if you were really so hardcore back in the day how come nobody came to your teams' games when they were terrible? The Red Sox have become the Yankees. The Patriots have become the Cowboys. The Celtics have become the old Celtics (or Lakers, if you're into that). And the thing is: you should all be fine with that. I would kill for my teams to be that, but Bostonians have such a huge persecution complex that they can't handle being successful so they either continue to complain or get overly confident and rub it in the faces of others. So I'm asking the good people of Boston and the seemingly endless hordes of Beantown fans elsewhere to simply shut up and enjoy the greatness that is your sports town.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Journeys into the absurd

So the NY Mets fired manager Willie Randolph last night.

And now they expect their problems to be solved? It doesn't work like that, not with this Mets team. As is the case with most teams, the manager is rarely the problem. And Randolph was even less of a problem than most. By all accounts a classy and respected guy, one could hardly blame Randolph for the team's many woes (remember: managers don't play, if Joe Outfield can't hit his way out of a wet paper bag, it isn't the manager's fault when he strikes out with the bases loaded against a division rival late in the season). No no, the real problem with the Mets is that they just aren't as good as everyone thought (even I was fooled into believing they were going to be pretty good).

The Mets are old and over-payed, relying on name-recognition instead of actual production. They're weak at many positions. Catcher? Brian Scheinder and Ramon Castro? How is that tandem considered to be even remotely acceptable for a team considering itself a contender? The infield tandem of David Wright and Jose Reyes is really good, but the trio of Damion Easley, Carlos Delgado, and Luis Castillo is superb...assuming this is 1998 and not 2008. Moises Alou is old and hurt (not a surprise), Carlos Beltran is under-producing, and the rest of the outfield is made up of spare parts and Ryan Church (who's hurt). The entire pitching staff is hurt, or under-producing, or Johan Santana.
At this point, the Mets don't need a new manager, they need a new team. They have some very solid building blocks in Santana, Reyes, Wright, and some solid players in the minors like Mike Pelfrey, Fernando Martinez, and Eddie Kunz, but there are just too many old, oft-injured, and over-payed bodies for the team to ever be serious about making a playoff run.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Daily Dominator

We're starting back up strong!

Today's SAll-Star is the greatest at what he does and it's not even up for debate.

Tiger Woods won the US Open today in a sudden-death playoff after an 18-hole playoff with Rocco Mediate, the feel-good story of the tournament. Mediate played about as well as one can play, but it proved not to be enough as Tiger, despite an injured and swollen knee, played just one hole better.

Woods has proven time and again that he's the best player in the world. When he's 3 or 4 strokes back it's considered a major disappointment. Tiger has the best long game, the best short game, and the best everything in between. Simply put: Mr. Woods is the best.