Saturday, February 26, 2011

Thank You, Part 2

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“Trent Jones embraces his human foibles and makes his way as honestly as he can, one foot in front of the next, in a world both beautifully flawed and painfully hopeful. He is the modern, lost man whose affections are deep, even if we can’t see them clearly. His morality, like his loves and his hates, is home-made on the fly, and is very moving. He is no saint, but I blame the churches for that, not him.”
— Jay Anania, screenwriter and film director
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Thank You

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“Sam Spade, Mike Hammer, Travis McGee, and Phillip Marlowe: sure, these guys ain’t bad when it comes to solving a crime, but what do they know about college basketball?

In Trent Jones, the hero of WHO KILLED 20G?, Mark Phialas has turned loose a charming Southerner with an occasional knack for gambling, sporadic luck with the ladies, and an inevitable habit of getting hit on the head...He can take a shot and give them out. I wouldn’t trust him with my girl. But I like his rooting interest in college basketball...Watching him figure out who killed 20G is as good as sweating your way through a triple overtime thriller in which your team wins.”
Will Blythe, author of  TO HATE LIKE THIS IS TO BE HAPPY FOREVER.
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Signs That Might Be Omens

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Tiger Woods has been on a journey toward recovery of his life and his golf game since the scandal broke Thanksgiving weekend 2009. Those of us who remained fans of his talents have observed each step of this path, hoping for glimpses of what had been a unique force, not just in golf, but in all of sports.

Naturally, each ray of light that popped through the swirling clouds, prompted declarations that Old Tiger had returned. I'm not sure Old Tiger will ever come back, but what about New and Improved Tiger?

There are signs. But are they omens? Reading between the lines to predict the future is always a tricky endeavor, but to quote James Taylor (again), "I ain't asking for details. Won't you just give me a clue? Oh Lord, what am I going to do?"


Last week, one of Tiger's closest friends, John Cook, shared that he was on the Isleworth range when Tiger "got it" in regard to his current swing change, that Cook witnessed the kinds of shots and ball flight that have defined Tiger's career. Much has been made of those comments, which I firmly believe are the truth.


In my view, the key issue in regard to the range is that it's the same wind (usually during a practice), and at least at Isleworth, that range is a source of comfort and sanctuary. Lots of golfers at all levels have "left it on the range." And that taking it to the golf course is the ultimate step. Could this be true for an elite player, perhaps THE elite player of all time? Why not?

Regardless of what Tiger says in regard that he's ready for the wind, I'm not sure he has enough confidence in his swing is yet. After Wednesday's Golf Channel coverage concluded, Charlie Rhymer nailed it during the wrap-up with his critique of Tiger on the 19th Tee (first hole). Tiger seemed uncertain, almost desperate, and appeared to be definitely in golf swing mode, as opposed to playing golf.

The signs are good on the journey, but instead of TIGER IS BACK, 3 MILES .... I'd say TIGER GETTING CLOSER, 150 MILES ... To Next Good Sign.

Yes, I wish he'd play Honda and anywhere else just to play his way back.

But here are the good things. Tiger is hitting more and more clutch shots, and the putt he made on 18 was definitely Old Tiger Stuff.

Van Morrison's VEEDON FLEECE includes a song that applies to this process: "You Don't Pull No Punches, But You Don't Push The River."  Or as Robin and Linda Williams have observed, "I don't worry about the weather; the weather will do what it wants."

We're talking flow, and in my view, the current is headed in the right direction. I strongly believe playing more is the best course of action for Tiger. Victory in an event is going to be achieved with the gradual day-to-day little triumphs over the latent and insidious habits that have his swing – and his confidence – in disarray.

We would need to ask Tiger's therapist if he's healed from the scandal, but in my uninformed opinion, I think Tiger is a recovering sex addict who is still trying to invent his new life, and that one search at a time is just about all any human can handle.

More time, not less time, is the answer. That, and playing more.
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Black Roses

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Sirens screamed in the
cruel afternoon heat
county police finding 
a warm Glock on the seat
of a rag-top Mustang 
with New York plates

Twelve black roses
and broken crates
provided a trail
to room 222
and its vague patio
without a sea view

They'd come to the Keys
for Valentine's Day
Five months later
it ended this way
Nothing left to do
even less to say

Twelve black roses
Fourth of July
two empty shells
a shared good-bye
No one knew them
or could guess why

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Coincidence

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Former Tar Heel Jerry Stackhouse, wearing a Carolina blue hoodie, sat behind the UNC bench Saturday in Littlejohn Coliseum for the game against Clemson.

Freshman Reggie Bullock is from Kingston, also Stackhouse's hometown, and it would appear that Jerry had traveled to the game to support his former team and current protege.

Carolina fans relish the memory of what are now considered legendary Stackhouse dunks during his two years in Chapel Hill. And as it happened with the score tied, 51-51, Tar Heel freshman Harrison Barnes made the play of his young career with a move and finish that must simply be termed as Stackhousian.

Coincidence? Not a chance.
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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Bachmann-Palin 2012?

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Oh, please let this happen.

Saw a Bachmann-Palin 2012 bumper sticker at a bluegrass festival, so there's at least one supporter for this lunacy.

I'd pay to follow that campaign in the press bus. The daily briefings alone would be worth the price of admission. Imagine the suspense.

The sense of impending disaster would be off the charts – perhaps equal to an ill-advised partnership of the former captains of the Titanic and Hindenburg, and their even more ill-advised plan to build nuclear powered vehicles, jet skis, elevators, and amusement park rides and make them available to the masses.

Oh, the humanity.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

1 CD (could not possibly be enough)

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But it would have to do, if Robinson Crusoe/Tom Hanks circumstance dictated.

And, as Forest Gump might advise – since you never know ( like a box of chocolates), what's going to happen – let's prepare BEFORE the crash, shipwreck, unexplained disaster.

Remember, you're gonna have to listen to this CD for a long, long, long, time. 18 songs. That's it. For the sake of this exercise, let's say 75 minutes of music. Thus, no 20 minute epics. We're using the honor system, but Big Brother is watching.

Here goes:

1.    Like A Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan.
2.    Copperhead Road – Steve Earle.
3.    The Road Goes On Forever – Robert Earl Keen.
4.    I Will – Alison Krauss.
5.    Chief – Patty Griffin
6.    Pancho and Lefty – Emmy Lou Harris
7.    Moonlight Mile – The Rolling Stones
8.    Sweet Melissa – The Allman Brothers
9.    No Alibis – Eric Clapton
10.  Rosalita – Bruce Springsteen
11.  Before I Go – Bearfoot
12.  At The Hop – Stone Coyotes
13.  Hypnotized – Fleetwood Mac
14.  Too Many Ways To Fall – Arc Angels
15.  Sensitive Kind – J.J. Cale
16.  Red Queen – Frank Carillo and The Bandoleros
17.  The Weary Kind – Ryan Bingham
18.  Locked Away – Keith Richards


So, who ya got?
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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Duke/Carolina Vol. 1, 2011

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Congratulations to the Blue Devils.

Both teams played with passion and heart – as they always do.

I can't say I know how folks without a dog in the fight perceived last night's game, but I imagine the atmosphere and intensity sustained interest, even without a classic ebb and flow storyline that would remind one of a prize fight.

Instead, last night was a tale of two halves, actually more akin to 3/8 to 5/8.

Carolina enjoyed a strong (and from my perspective, surprising) start while Duke elevated its game after intermission. Neither team shot that well, but Duke hit enough big shots in the second half to erase a deficit and forge a solid lead late down the stretch.

I thought the game turned with Duke's ability to control the boards in the final 20 minutes. Duke also seemed to be the fresher team in the second half, and that's in part because it's so tough for any team to thrive for sustained amounts of time in Cameron.

Add the intensity to Duke's defense to the feeling that its fans are almost on top of the court, it takes an extraordinary amount of poise and resolve to maintain focus. In my opinion, there is no better home-court advantage anywhere in all of sports.

Obviously, as a Tar Heel I'm disappointed, but considering the many circumstances leading up to the game, I'm not bummed. If you asked most North Carolina fans the day after the horrid loss to Georgia Tech about the Heels chances in Durham, most of us would have been pessimistic – if  not overtly negative.

Thus, there's plenty of light blue in today's swirling clouds, and my view has always been that if a team (particularly North Carolina) can compete in Cameron, you have a decent chance of success in the ACC and NCAA tournaments.

Carolina rose to the occasion last night, quite unlike its performance last March in Durham – a game that was decided in the opening seconds.

I'm sure both sets of fans look forward to the next installment of this great series.
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