The Last Thing the Internet Needs Now


12.24/12.25, 2007

Seasons Greetings, dear readers (all five of you).

This is old, but great, and it works surprisingly well (NSFW language)

Awesome! These young ladies express their righteous scorn for MySpace better than I did earlier in this blog.

I still can’t begin to express my disgust that I was ever a part of that POS, and how much I enjoy sites that hold MySpace up to the ridicule it deserves. Mind you, I still have offline friends who use MySpace, and more power to them if that’s what they want to do, it just isn’t for me. And that’s completely aside from their buggy, rife-with-errors, and just-fuckin’ ugly site. Even uglier after users “pimp” their pages and/or put up some background so obtrusive that you can’t read the text on the page. That was another thing that just got on my nerves the more I explored other users’ pages.

The individual who persuaded me to start a MySpace account, well, we’re not communicating anymore. As much as I would like to go back and undo the things that made us become hostile towards one another — things that were largely my fault, but not all — I won’t be holding my breath for it. Fundamentally he is a warmhearted and good individual, and I wish him well in his life (and future profession) ongoing.

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But did they really have to can him on Christmas Eve? Now-former Bulls Coach Scott Skiles says the timing is neither here nor there, but still, geez, Christmas Eve.

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Who would have thought the Portland Trail Blazers would become the hottest team in the NBA? They are riding a 10 game winning streak and, led by reigning Rookie of the Year Brandon Roy, are getting solid contributions all around, but especially from Travis Outlaw, James Jones, and LaMarcus Aldridge. Underappreciated veterans Joel Przybilla and Steve Blake are also chipping in. This is a good, cohesive, talented team — despite its youth — that has vaulted to the upper tier of the NW Division standings.

On Christmas Day Night they will meet the Seattle Supersonics in a big game, but for different reasons than might have been the case a few months ago. Were circumstances different, this game would pit No. 1 overall draft pick Greg Oden against No. 2 overall draft pick Kevin Durant. Oden, of course, underwent microfracture surgery and won’t see an NBA court until next season; Durant is putting up great numbers for an otherwise woeful Sonics team. Now its an opportunity for a national audience to see a team that should be one of the NBA’s feel-good stories in action. What this means, of course, is … Portland cannot relax, because you’d better believe the Sonics would probably love to spoil that win streak and one of the precious few nationally televised games the Blazers will have this season.

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Maryland Terrapins fans — please try not to press the shiny, red, candylike panic button. Yes, it’s horrible and unacceptable that the Terps lost inter-conference home games to Ohio and American (!) in succession. It also leads to the inevitable questions about 19-year head coach Gary Williams and his future.

Bear in mind that these are questions that were asked when Maryland couldn’t get past the Round of 16 in the late 1990s. They were also asked a few short years ago when the Terps missed the NCAA Tournament altogether in 2005 and 2006 just a few short years removed from winning the whole thing.

For what its worth, the 62-year old Williams has now spent a significant portion of his lifetime connected with that institution: In the 1960s he played there under Bud Millikan, and graduated in 1968. When he took the job in 1989, he stated in so many words that this would be the last coaching job he would take (after successful runs at American, Boston College and Ohio State) and would not be looking to leave for another job. Given that he’s still there 19 years later, Williams clearly meant it. And early in his tenure he was clearly tested by the NCAA sanctions that Maryland incurred because of violations committed under predecessor Bob Wade. Williams rode out that storm, needless to say. I don’t question the man’s passion for coaching (although his passion for recruiting is often questioned by some observers) — or the institution he belongs to — at all.

A losing streak, or not making the NCAA Tournament is not the end of the world to me; program-killing or program-shaming NCAA sanctions can certainly be, for enough time that it can take a while to rebuild a program’s reputation.

College basketball is a funny thing, and a cyclical thing. Right now the cycle is not running in the Terps’ favor. The funny thing is, that cycle could rotate back once the team rights its ship and starts winning games. Remember last season when they got off to a horrid start in conference play and then closed the season with a run that included knocking off Duke (twice) and then UNC at home? While those losses to Ohio and American don’t look good on a tournament resume, it is NOT too late the right the ship this season. For that reason, I’m not willing to throw Gary Williams under the bus.

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I mentioned “cyclical.” This brings me to OU, who started their Christmas break by knocking off the then 20th-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs last Thursday, on national television, in the All-College Classic.

Mark Few’s team was playing with a slightly-injured Matt Bouldin (ankle), a rusty Josh Heytvelt (who hadn’t played any kind of game since being suspended last February, and is recovering from foot surgery). However, despite being bothered by a knee, Jeremy Pargo went nuts against the Sooners (career-high 28 points). Pargo is the engine that makes the Zags go, and one of those kind of dangerous objects that you don’t want to leave unattended. So imagine my surprise when Pargo’s late-game shot was blocked by skinny little Austin Johnson, who of late has been playing some of the best basketball of his whole time at OU.

Pargo’s older brother Jannero, a reserve guard for the New Orleans Hornets, also has played on that same Ford Center court. The elder Pargo joined the Hornets before the 2006-2007 season, the last one of the Hornets’ temporary relocation to Oklahoma City in the wake of Katrina.

Despite Gonzaga’s semi-depleted state, this was still a statement game for the Sooners and second-year head coach Jeff Capel. The Sooners have been down for a while, and a win over a ranked (and well-regarded) foe is a milestone in Capel’s quest to bring Sooner basketball back to respectability.

I also think this helps in further distancing OU from the not-that-great last years of the Kelvin Sampson era (speaking of program-shaming NCAA violations).

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