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Saturday, June 7, 2008

One quick thought on the Belmont

Did I really hear Brent Musberger say that perhaps the Triple Crown races could be spaced out?!?

Is it possible that part of the reason we've had so many Derby and Preakness winners falter in the Belmont is because these horses should maybe be moved to being bred for more endurance... for the sake of winning the Triple Crown?

That balance between needing a lot of speed to win, but being able to hold up long enough to do it thrice in less than two months, is part of what makes the Triple Crown one of the greatest feats in sports. If it was intended to reward speed alone, it would consist of just one race.

If the horse racing community decides to reward speed alone even more by spacing out the Triple Crown races, they're doing the exact opposite of what they should do. They shouldn't legitimize the years-long bastardization of the sport.

Here's a thought: Is a de-emphasization of the Triple Crown in order?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Random, irrelevant rant time!

Several weeks back, I knocked a small piece of my tooth out after slightly burning a hamburger. Today, I called a local dental clinic to see when I could set an appointment.

I just got off the phone. I was redirected to the "answering service" for - and I may get this name wrong - "Puget Sound Neighborhood Health Clinics". The conversation went something like this:

Me: Hi.
Person on phone: Hi.
Me: My name is Morgan Wick.
Person on phone: And what clinic are you calling?
Me: (name of clinic)
Person on phone: That clinic does not have Friday hours.
Conversation wraps up and concludes.

Now, about a week ago I called this clinic during business hours and was patched through to an automated system. Because I didn't want to set an appointment until I had answers to some questions, I didn't do anything at that time.

I know these people would get swamped, and I know that no one would have the answers to these questions better than the people who work at the specific clinic. But if you have a centralized "answering service" shouldn't you use it for more than just telling people they tried to call a place that's closed? Shouldn't I be able to get some questions answered anyway (not that I tried)? Why can't the same automated service that runs the clinic's own system also tell me I can't call right now? And WHY THE HELL don't the people at the "answering service" have some system to tell them what number I was calling so they don't have to ask me what clinic I was calling?

Sports Watcher for the Weekend of 6/7-8

The first time I filled out most of this schedule, including all the comments on the French Open women's final, the second paragraph of the UFC write-up, and all the college baseball and IndyCar stuff, I lost it all because I pre-scheduled all the posts with pre-qualified championship info, once a post is scheduled Blogger stops autosaving drafts, and the Internet connection I'm using is fritzing out all of a sudden. DSZGFJBD JGGHFXGDFMS HVCJHJXGD!!!!!!!~!!!~!!!!!

It's moments like these that are the ONLY reason I keep strongly considering getting a job and moving out of my mom's place and into a place where I can have my own Internet connection instead of stealing a neighbor's.


As I was saying. All times PDT.

6-9 AM: Tennis, French Open, includes women's final, Dinara Safina v. Ana Ivanovic (NBC). Okay, I've heard some things about these two, but really, do you really think either one of them is really a household name in the US? Most people are going, "Dana Sana wha? Ana Vana wha?" At least it doesn't involve 3-seed Jelena Jankovic. Who? Exactly.

9-12 PM: College baseball, NC State v. Georgia or Wichita State v. Florida State (ESPN2). Wait, is ESPN regionalizing the super regionals? And Coastal Carolina plays North Carolina on ESPNU at the same time as well!

12-3 PM: Ultimate Fighting Championship, UFC 85 (PPV). It's a bit odd for UFC to be running events every other week, and then not necessarily show the same people each week. Oh wait, this is in London. Odd schedule placement might be to be expected. Well, I'm still keeping an eye on things.

While we're on the topic of MMA, the verdict is in from EliteXC, and, well... whether or not it outperformed the Stanley Cup Finals depends on your definition. But expect it to tumble in the future after Kimbo Slice lost his aura. Meanwhile, look for World Extreme Cagefighting - essentially UFC's equivalent to the Nationwide Series (see below) - to potentially make an appearance in future Watchers; I missed their show on Sunday, which most MMA-heads would say put EliteXC to shame. Of course, that "cagefighting" bit can't be good for building legitimacy.

3:25-4 PM: Horse racing, Belmont Stakes (ABC). Skip the mindless pregame and cut straight to the race. I'm not sure if they'll be off before or after 3:30; if I had to guess, it'd probably be after, but you might want to tune in a little early just in case. WILL BIG BROWN WIN THE ELUSIVE TRIPLE CROWN OR WILL HE JOIN THE SCRAP HEAP OF A GAZILLION PREVIOUS OVERHYPED DERBY/PREAKNESS WINNERS THAT FLOPPED IN THE BELMONT JUST SINCE AFFIRMED OR HELL JUST IN THE LAST TEN YEARS?

4:30-7:30 PM: College baseball, Arizona v. Miami (FL) or Stanford v. Cal State Fullerton (ESPN). Yes, I know it conflicts with the event below. I would have done the Nationwide Series race but I'm not doing the Sprint Cup race. The nearest ESPNU games' start times are 3 and 6 PM. Sue me.

7-9:30 PM: IndyCar Series, Bombardier Learjet 550 (ESPN2). Last week's race was on ABC coming out of the Indy 500 in a year where ratings are up because of the merger. The ratings: .8. Did I mention that USA Today ran an article around the time of the Indy 500 saying that IndyCar could very well run down NASCAR?

6-11 AM: Tennis, French Open, includes men's final, Roger Federer v. Rafael Nadal (NBC). How many times have these two squared off just at the French? How about some dap for Gael Monfils making it all the way to the semis before running headfirst into FederTron 2000? I remember when he was a sensation in the boys' tournament...

1-4 PM: LPGA Golf, McDonald's LPGA Championship, final round (Golf Channel). WTF is the final round of a MAJOR still doing on the f'ing Golf Channel? I mean, I knew it was on the Golf Channel a few years ago, but I thought they'd corrected that injustice! Virtually every PGA Tour event has its final round on broadcast; what does it say that one of the top four women's event is considered less important than, well, ANY men's event? When can this come up for renegotiation? The LPGA needs to correct this injustice... back when it happened in the first place!

(Incidentially, it appears to technically be the "McDonald's LPGA Championship Presented by Coca-Cola". That's as bad as the "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim". Also, what the hell is with the sports news cycle acting like the US Open is THIS weekend?)

6-8:30 PM: NBA Basketball, LA Lakers @ Boston (ABC). Obviously, I shouldn't have to say anything more.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Abstractions without context, and a rare moment of self-honesty

I wrote today's strip in what you might call a fit of pique (I'm not even sure what that means) after getting dissed. Probably a mistake to crank something out in the moment, but what do I care? Are we really so uptight as a society that we value pandering to everyone over honesty? No wonder politicians do the same. At heart, we're all politicians whether we like it or not.

I'm perfectly fine with getting my ass handed to me. The sentiment in the last panel is genuine (although I intend to continue my remarks tomorrow). In fact I would have been perfectly fine with receiving this criticism via e-mail. The problem is that:
  1. None of the criticisms offered are things I see as bad for what I'm trying to do.
  2. Conversely, I'm not getting any criticism that would be constructive for me and what I'm trying to do.

Incidentially, the main reason I'm writing this post is to point out the latest deluge of readers.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Now playing on C-SPAN 2:

"Senate Republicans are forcing the clerk to read the entire" much-ballyhooed climate change bill. The part in quotes is actually being displayed at the bottom of the screen.

Absolutely disgraceful. Not just because I'm morally opposed to the filibuster, but because there is no reason whatsoever not to save the planet. When the s*** hits the fan, it's going to be in everyone's interests, conflicts with anything else be damned. From what I've found out about it from watching C-SPAN 2, I don't think it goes far enough.

Of course, if there's one thing you're not here for, it's a political blog, but as I couldn't find any mention of this anywhere else in my admittedly pathetically lame search...

UPDATE: "Republicans are protesting what they say is the slow pace of work on judicial nominations." By slowing down the work of the Senate even further? By risking the future of the entire planet? Personally, I'm a bit disturbed at the fact the Supreme Court has essentially become filled with partisans from both parties. Shouldn't the Supreme Court be impartial and objective, not bipartisan and only objective in its divided subjectivity? How can we make sure it's the best judges, not the best partisans, who get selected to our federal courts?

UPDATE 2: Full AP story with quotes from legislators. The most distressing part: If a cloture motion fails we'll have to wait another year for the American people to turn out the Republicans not swept up in the revolt of 2006... another year of more ravaging of the planet that's already quite possibly ravaged beyond repair.

Strip will be up soon.

Very soon. Hey, I've been much later than this.

Okay, I'm only two hours late as I write this, but if the next strip is what it might be, it would mean tomorrow's would be one less hour late than today's, if that makes any sense.