Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Namibia's Democracy

Namibia has had two presidents since independence, Sam Nujoma and Hifikepunye Pohamba, from SWAPO, the party that led the liberation war against the South Africa colonizers. SWAPO has dominated every election since the one held 1989, immediately preceding independence in 1990.


Namibia's democracy has a few defining qualities. SWAPO dominates the contests. Numerous political parties, most are personality-based, thin any potential opposition SWAPO may face. Namibian elections are free of violence beyond the rare incident. However, dissent is often chastised harshly, though it exists. Overall, Namibia elections are generally regarded as free and fair.

(More at The HQT-IE)

Monday, March 29, 2010

ELL, Season 7, Week 6

For the next 8 days, Jews can't eat anything leavened. How about, in honor of the Jews, for the next 8 days our leaders give up killing people. Is that too much to ask? Madonna loves the official Evil Leaders League site (claim unverified).

Kim vs al-Bashir
North Korea was originally suspected of sinking a South Korean battleship. It fits in with Kim Jong-Il's plan to rule his nation based on his favorite childhood board games. It's why he holds a monopoly on everything in the country. Unfortunately for his citizens, however, he never liked the game of Life. South Korea later had to admit that the North wasn't responsible for their ship sinking. Hey, when your spouse is always cheating, you don't assume they're absent because they're working late.

Omar al-Bashir says the ICC warrant on charges of genocide boosted his popularity. The same can be said for Jesse James. Further proof that girls like the bad boy. A few newspaper editors were questioned recently for insulting al-Bashir. So ladies, he's sensitive too. Add to his description that he's very committed to his faith and you get the perfect dreamboat.

It's not how you play the game; it's if you win it. Check out the winners at the Evil Leaders League site.

Shwe vs Ahmadinejad
Myanmar junta leader Than Shwe says that his Burmese citizens should avoid "divisive acts" in order to keep the country's road to democracy on track, which makes about as much sense as O.J. writing a book entitled If I Did It to prove his innocence. But it's an understandable mistake; Burmese dictionaries skip from demobilize to démodé (Don't think about that one too much).

Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is like an absurdly arrogant geek who acts hard on the internet because he knows he'll never have to back it up. The bearded big mouth claims the sanctions placed against Iran for their pursuit of nuclear technology won't hurt the poor Persian nation. How can he make such an outrageous claim? Hey, his terms will be up in a few years and then he'll be out like Clay Aiken.

Obiang vs Berlusconi
The head of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang, didn't have much going on this week besides being caught leering through the window of a yoga studio and being asked to leave. Obiang claims he was merely on his way towards the nearby Burger King, but the yoga instructor asserts the dictator was frozen in place outside of the yoga studio for several minutes mumbling something about young juicy tushes.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's party faired poorly in recent regional elections. Berlusconi has no idea why. People don't like an incompetent, corrupt adulterer, who childishly derides anyone who disagrees with him? I thought this was Italy!

Morales vs Karzai
Indigenous President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, is railing against American imperialism yet again. He gets his inspiration from the large poster of Che Guevara hanging in his office. But don't get too close to the poster, it's very sticky.

As part of his gangsta upbringing, Hamid Karzai refuses to turn in one of his ministers who is accused of corruption. It's part of the gangsta code: Never give into The Man. Someone should probably tell Karzai that he is The Man. It's not standing up to authority when you are the authority. President Obama visited Karzai asking for his help on stopping corruption and to generally stop fucking things up for Obama and doing an overall shitty job.

click for Standings

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Weather Forecast for Washington DC

Get ready for a stormy week!

Showers all day
Hi: 52
Low: 38
70% chance of rain

Hi: 50
Low: 40
80% chance of rain

AM Rain
Hi: 56
Low: 43
60% chance of rain

Hot and Sweaty
100% chance of you and me naked

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The New Census Questions

If you've received a census form in the mail, throw it out. It's a fake. This is the real census form. Please print it out, answer the questions, and mail it immediately.

1) How many people are living in your place as of April 1, 2010?

2) What kind of shelter do you live in? Check one of the following:
__ Is your 'house' rolling down the hill right now?
__ Is your landlord a jerk?
__ Is the bank about to repossess your house?

3) Do people have sex in your place?

4) How many times a week?

5) Can we watch?

6) Seriously, can we watch?

7) We'll stay in the corner and be quiet.

8) What race(s) are you?

9) Really? That's a hot mix.

10) Write down your digits for me. You know, just in case we didn't understand any of your answers.
___- ___- ____

2010 Census:
10 Questions in 10 Minutes,
We Can't Move Forward Unless You Mail It Back

Thursday, March 25, 2010

NBA Latino Heritage Month

"So, it's decided. We'll put 'Los Suns' on the uniform of the Phoenix Suns in honor of Latino Heritage Month."
"Hold on. What is 'sun' in Spanish?"
"I don't know. Do you?"
"Well, I'm certainly not going to look it up."
"Alright, 'Los Suns' it is."

I really hate when the home team wears the dark uniform in the NBA, which I've noticed a lot this season. Usually, it's a throwback jersey. I like the throwbacks, but wear an old home jersey at home and an old road jersey on the road. I've been conditioned to assume the crowd will root for the team in the white uniform and it's very confusing when that doesn't happen. Please NBA, make things easier for us dumb fans.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Great Thing About Christians

The one positive thing Christian civilization has given the world is the chocolate Easter bunny. I don't understand it, but who cares, it's delicious. For at least a month, I'm not so filled with anger and resentment. At least not towards Christians. So, for giving us the chocolate Easter bunny, I say thank you Christians.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Who Can Beat the Klitschkos?

Wladimir Klitschko destroyed Eddie Chambers last Saturday. I thought Chambers might actually give him fits, if not win, because of Chambers's ability to move. It’s not the first time I though a potential opponent might pose a stiff challenge to one of the Klitschkos. And it's not the first time I was dead wrong.

The Klitschkos are wildly underrated. They're not exciting in the ring. They're not brash outside of it. But both Wladimir and Vitali have perfected a style that enhances their gifts. They dominate distance with their jabs and always their mighty right hands are lurking.

Here now is a breakdown of the prospects of their potential opponents.

David Haye - I'm a fan of his. He's fun to watch, outspoken, athletic, and powerful. But besides a few world class fights at cruiserweight, he hasn't had much opposition. At heavyweight, he defeated the giant Nikolai Valuev. In two weeks, he'll fight John Ruiz. Those will be the two best heavyweights he has faced. Against, Valuev, who is much taller than the Klitschkos but not nearly as skilled, Haye struggled. He was reluctant to throw. Haye likes to heave bombs from the outside and was confused as to how to attack the considerably taller Valuev. Against either Klitschko, I see him suffering from the same issue, with far more devastating results.

Odlanier Solis - Solis is a legendary amateur boxer with vicious power. But his plodding stalking, one-punch style is tailor-made for the Klitschos. Solis would give nearly half a foot to either champion. Plus, Solis hasn't fought a single world class boxer in the pros. I don't see him so much as touching either one at this point.

Tomasz Adamek - Like Haye, he's a former cruiserweight champion. Adamek has power and has faired well against world class opposition. Adamek is fairly easy to hit though. But he has a better chance of at least putting pressure on either Klitschko than the above two contenders. The question is whether or not Adamek can take a powerful heavyweight's punch. We'll find out when he faces Chris Arreola. If he can, he still probably won't beat either champ, but at least he could give them the challenge they've lacked for some time now.

Bernard Hopkins - Yep. That's how depleted the heavyweight division has become. A 45-year old former middleweight champion probably has a better chance than anyone else to dethrone the Klitschkos. Hopkins would likely lose a decision to either brother, but he wouldn't get manhandled like the others.

Ones of the reasons that the talent in the heavyweight division is so meager is once a fighter beats a halfway decent opponent, they challenge for the title before they're ready. Both Haye and Solis should take on a few world class foes before jumping. Beat a Ruslan Chagaev. Challenge Chambers. Alexander Povetkin has won against Chambers and Chris Byrd. That's a start for him at least. Neither Haye nor Solis has fought a heavyweight even to that ability. Adamek seems to be taking a better approach, another reason why I like his chances more than the first two. Hopkins would need at least one fight at heavyweight, as to not be so awed by the Ukrainians' size. Basically, the bottom line becomes: the Klitschkos are pretty great.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pound-for-Pound Best

Everyone has their own opinion on the pound-for-pound best in boxing. Allow me to obnoxiously add my own to the bevy of lists already occupying the internet.

1) Manny Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 KOs)
2) Floyd Mayweather (40-0, 25 KOs)
3) Shane Mosley (46-5, 39 KOs)
4) Wladimir Klitschko (54-3, 48 KOs)
5) Paul Williams (38-1, 27 KOs)
6) Chad Dawson (29-0, 17 KOs)
7) Arthur Abraham (31-0, 25 KOs)
8) Vitali Klitschko (39-2, 37 KOs)
9) Bernard Hopkins (50-5-1, 32 KOs)
10) Juan Manuel Marquez (50-5-1, 37 KOs)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Thoughts on the First 2 Rounds of the NCAA Tournament

Just as I predicted, a 14 seed beat a 3, a 13 beat a 4, and a mid-major power ousted a 1 seed in the second round. Unfortunately for me, I didn't predict any of the right teams.

But the tournament has been great for mid-majors. Despite being consistently underseeded, thus having to face tougher teams earlier, mid-majors make up 5 of the remaining 16 teams left. Their seeds are 5, 6, 9, 10, and 12. So, if everything had worked according to plan, none of these teams would have made the Sweet 16.

March Madness On Demand is great. In theory. I kept being told to select a new game with one minute to go in Villanova's first round game. Apparently, March Madness On Demand decided a tie game with a minute to go was "over." Anyway, we're two games away from a potential Cornell, St. Mary's, Northern Iowa, Butler Final Four.

Truth be told I'm rooting for Tennessee because the coach, Bruce Pearl, is a Jew. Yep, it's been a tough tournament for me.

Also, I noticed some tension between the broadcasting team of Kevin Harlan and Dan Bonner and also between Gus Johnson and Len Elmore. I like all four. Maybe they can just switch. Johnson and Bonner have worked together and they were a good team. Harlan and Elmore would compliment each other really well as long as they don't resent the other one talking too much.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Thoughts of the First Round of the NCAA Tournament

Well, I've been lamenting the thought of posting after Georgetown's loss. But I have no problem facing up to my failures. I've had a lot of practice. I didn't like Georgetown's scramble defensive and it cost them dearly. They gave up nearly 100 points. As they were flying all over the place, Ohio was picking them apart by passing to the open man.

I thought Notre Dame's burn offense was a bit of poor strategy. When Haringody was out and Notre Dame had to face Big East opposition, it makes sense to limit the number of possessions in the game. But against Old Dominion and with Harangody back in the lineup, you're just giving them a chance to shine. ODU is a team that prides itself on execution. Notre Dame should have tried to maximize their talent advantage.

After Georgetown lost, I stopped caring. Oh, I've been watching the games, but not with the same intensity. Immediately after the defeat, I laid stiff in grief for about an hour and a half and even fell asleep a little bit. There's very little as disappointing as losing your predicted champion in the first round on the NCAA Tournament. Especially when it's your team and it was widely thought they'd have a shot at winning it all.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

2010 NCAA Tournament Predictions

Just the upsets:
First round
10 Georgia Tech over 7 Oklahoma St.
11 Minnesota over 6 Xavier
10 Florida over 7 BYU
14 Montana over 3 New Mexico
13 Siena over 4 Purdue
10 St. Mary's over 7 Richmond

Thrilling 32
5 Michigan St. over 4 Maryland
8 Gonzaga over 1 Syracuse
5 Temple over 4 Wisconsin

Sweet 16
3 Georgetown over 2 Ohio State
5 Texas A&M over 1 Duke
3 Baylor over 2 Villanova

All of the Elite 8
Midwest - 3 Georgetown over 1 Kansas
West - 2 Kansas St. over 4 Vanderbilt
East - 1 Kentucky over 2 West Virginia
South - 3 Baylor over 5 Texas A&M

Final 4
3 Georgetown over 2 Kansas St.
1 Kentucky over 3 Baylor

Championship Game
Georgetown over Kentucky, 72-66

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Snowpocalypse or Snowmageddon?

Both are made up words where the word “snow” is added to partial words, in one case “apocalypse” and the other "armageddon." Both original words describe the annihilation of life as we know it.

Last month, this area received back-to-back blizzards, which SUCKED! It was made all the worse because we possess incompetent governments. We lost power for a day and had to throw the food in a bag and put it outside so it wouldn't spoil. Our street was half-heartedly plowed and several inches of ice remained blanketing it for two weeks after the final snowflake had fallen.

But, as far as I know, after the snow melted, everything is still intact. Sure, a few roofs caved in and some guys ingenuously torched frozen power lines resulting in a house catching fire, but things are pretty normal if you ask me. Life still exists.

That takes us to the made up words snowpocalypse and snowmageddon. Neither is clever. Neither "ar" nor "a" rhyme with "snow." Neither means snow in another language. It’s a very clumsy pun- puns being the lowest form of humor to begin with.

Why does this really matter? Because I'm sick of stupidity. We settle for pitiful mediocrity at every turn. I am avowedly against violence, but the next time some moron suggests something on the level of snowpocalypse or snowmageddon, please shoot that person in the face.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Twenty Ten Watch

Has everyone with half a brain knows, you pronounce this year as Twenty Ten, not Two Thousand Ten. Here is a running Watch List on people who have said this year incorrectly.

David Letterman
Dave Pasch
Max Kellerman
Jon Stewart
Stephen Colbert
Dick Enberg
Chevy Malibu voiceover guy
Women's Final Four voiceover lady
Ian Eagle
Tim Brando
Shane Mosley
Wyatt Cenac

Monday, March 15, 2010

ELL, Season 7, Week 5

I'm thinking about making this league infinitely more confusing by adding continent tournaments after the regular season that will determine who makes the playoffs. In any event, let's get to the results. The ELL site is here.

Kim vs Obiang
It's been a bad week for Kim Jong-Il of North Korea. He could be indicted by the International Criminal Court and he was named as Mr. Blackwell's Worst Dressed Dictator Since Gaddafi. Apparently, "the style of the two men resembles half the cast of a 1980s sitcom about the sex lives of elderly women." Meeeow!

British mercenary Simon Mann was recently released from prison after being convicted of trying to overthrow Equatorial Guinean President Teodoro Obiang. Mann's wife called Obiang a "lovely" dictator. She also said he has the softest balls, like a kitten; he has a succulent mushroom head, and the asshole of an angel. Obiang reportedly made sure Mann received excellent care while in prison, including quality health care and gourmet meals. Kinda makes you think the rest of Equatorial Guinea should try to overthrow him.

I know you want to see who won each contest. To do so, check out the official free no-catch Evil Leaders League site. Your mother would be so proud.

Karzai vs Shwe
According to his psychiatrist, Adam Silverberg, Hamid Karzai wears his trademark karakul hat in an attempt to replace his feelings of inadequacy with the attention the garish accessory brings. The source of his feelings of inadequacy stems from his inability to restore law and order to Kandahar, do anything to stop the Taliban, or be fairly elected. Dr. Silverberg describes Karzai's condition as "electile dysfunction."

Even before Than Shwe steals the upcoming Burmese election, his Myanmar-ruling junta is stealing everything else. As they begin "privatizing" the economy. They're selling off state assets to the highest bidder (who happens to be associated with the junta). Democratization and capitalism. See, Than Shwe is finally appeasing the West!

Morales vs Ahmadinejad
Bolivian president, Evo Morales, is a radical authoritarian and harsh critic of the U.S. He claims that the U.S. is trying to control Latin American governments through its war on drugs and that the U.S. dominates the OAS. I bet he probably holds the genocide of his fellow Indians against us too. That crazy socialist dictator needs a reality check. But seriously, I wouldn't smoke your next cigar.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has recently called the attacks of 9/11 a lie, saying that if you believe 9/11 happened, then you probably believe the refs didn't give the Super Bowl to the Saints. Ahmadinejad is a huge Colts fan. In fact, in his mind, the Colts have won the last 5 Super Bowls. Contrary to U.S. policy, the NFL has chosen to ignore the Iranian leader and his incendiary statements.

al-Bashir vs Berlusconi
Regardless of the possible peace deal between the government and Darfur rebels or his recent campaigning in Rumbek, analysts applaud al-Bashir's electoral strategy. The strategy? Stealing it. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi once hired the mafia to protect his family. But that was a long time ago. Recently, he's been racking up mistresses and corruption charges. You wonder why people are coming out in droves to protest this guy? I mean, he's Italian, what do you expect? Have these people never watched The Godfather?

click for Standings

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Initial Thoughts on the NCAA Seedings

Every year, during a particularly dramatic conference tournament game, some analyst talks about how wonderful conference tournaments are. When you put a mediocre team playing for its season (or its life?) against a talent with superior talent but no incentive to win, of course you'll get an exciting finish. But it doesn't make for good basketball. More importantly, because some bad team from a power conference wins a few games in a row, a deserving team should be bounced out of the NCAA Tournament? It doesn't make sense and it's not logical. Get rid of conference tournaments.

I don't have any gripes as to teams that didn't get into the tournament, so let's talk about the old debate of power conferences against mid-majors.

The mid-majors got 8 at large teams in this season, twice as many as the paltry number the committee granted them last year. The fact is the top mid-majors tend to always be underrated. Winning should count for something. There seems to be an asterisk attached to the wins of mid-major teams and to the losses of teams out of the power conferences. We are told that a win or loss is valued based on who you play. That's fine in theory, but in determining the quality of opponent, the current system assumes teams from the power conferences are better than mid-majors. It should be based on wins and losses in a given year. If you are consistently beating winning teams, that should count more, regardless of the name on the front of your opponents' jerseys.

The thing that bothers me the most about the mid-major discussion is when analysts say that a top mid-major couldn't have a .500 record in a power conference. It depends on the school in a given year, but that's an ignorant comment from guys who spend their lives analyzing basketball, most focusing the bulk of their energy on the power 6. First of all, mid-majors always are put at a disadvantage. They only get to play power teams on the road. In the tournament, they’re traditionally given worse seeds, putting them in a tougher position than they should be in. When a 12 seed (who should be a 7 seed) losses to 5 seed, the analysts cackle the above comment. See, they couldn't hang with the big boys.

Old Dominion won the CAA this season. They played 3 power teams, going 1-2. Two of those games were on a neutral court and the third on the road. They played two NCAA Tournament teams going 1-1, and the third game was against a bubble team. The win was at Georgetown. Had ODU been able to play against bad power conference teams, especially at home, are you telling me they couldn't finish 8-8 in any conference in America? Listen analysts, turn off the Pac 10 game and turn on a CAA, MVC, WCC, or a MAC game once in a while. In any event, I'm glad Billy Packer retired.

Miami U lost in the conference semis and George Mason lost in the conference quarters, so I only have Georgetown. I'm pleased with their 3 seed, but I wish it wasn't in such a stacked region.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Basketball and Relationships

Relationships are a lot like basketball players. Sometimes one appears like it has a lot of potential and, for whatever reason, that potential just never materializes. You can continue to pin your hopes to that dwindling potential or draft someone else. Both relationships and basketball players have windows of possibilities. Sometimes we don't quite know when those windows are open or closed until after they're shut and locked.

You see what happens when I spend too much time analyzing past NBA drafts.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Eric Massa Scandal Has Affected Me

This Eric Massa thing has really been bothering me. I'm sick over it. If tickling is considered groping, then I am a bad man. I'm thinking about the babies that I've evidently sexually assaulted. I'm thinking about the friends I unexpectedly "jolted" in college. I thought it was just silly fun, but apparently it was sexual harassment.

It's been quite a shock. Last week I was a playful guy who was good with babies. Now I'm a sex offender and a pedophile. And it's all thanks to Eric Massa. Damn you, Massa!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Beckian Post

This post very well might change the course of our country as we know it. After reading this, it is quite possible- likely even- that you will view life differently.

Now, I don't know what's coming in this post. How can any of us truly know what is to come? It could be zany or bizarre. Or, it might just be the truth. The truth. Isn't that a novel concept? But will it be the truth? We'll have to find out. Like I said, I don't know what's coming in this post. I just know that it could shake the foundation of our nation forever.

Our country is in a desperate plight. The economy is in shambles. Government is abusing its power. The continued existence of our country is a precarious concept at this point. Perhaps this post just might change things. We'll get the real change we've been clamoring for. Not the pre-packaged change that has been forced down our throats for the last two years.

It appears that the country hasn't changed within the course of this post. I'm as shocked as any. America, I’m going to shoot straight with you; I think I've wasted your time. I'm sorry.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What Eric Massa Should've Said to Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck: You've been looking me in the eye the whole time you've been talking to me. That requires, if you're lying, that requires a soulless person; do you believe in G-d?

Eric Massa: Wait, did you just insinuate you were G-d? 'Cuz I'm pretty sure that's what you just did.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Dirk Nowitzki

For a star player, who has been one for nearly a decade, Dirk Nowitzki is fairly maligned. At the end of the '08 season, I had him as the 8th best player in the league. At the end of last season, I rated him as the 9th best. Now, I have him as the 7th best in the NBA. Few people would argue with my general placement of Dirk compared to the rest of the league's elite.

But Dirk is typically seen as a soft player. He is often derided for making the wrong judgment, usually when it comes to physically standing up to an opposing player. The reality is that Nowitzki has a European-style game. He doesn’t come with the same sense of bravado. He also isn't accustomed to using his height to punish players in the post.

This flaw resulted in the lowest point of his career. Coming off of an MVP season and with his team finishing with the best record in the league, the Mavs lost in the first round of the 2007 playoffs. The Golden State Warriors, the 8th seed, were a run-and-gun club filled with wing players. All Dirk needed to do was go into the post and score at will. For whatever reason, it didn't happen and the Mavs were victimized by the greatest upset in NBA playoff history.

In recent years, Dirk has developed a game closer to the basket. Some of that is shown by the fact that he shoots far fewer three point shots compared to the early part of his career. That takes us to one odd compliment Nowitzki always receives. He's credited with being a marvel, a big guy who can shoot. My response is, so what? If anything, you want the other team's 7-footer to shoot from deep, if only because that will keep him away from the basket, which is a far more efficient shot.

Despite his relative reluctance to take the ball in the post when his team needs it, Nowitzki is a wonderful player. He’s averaged over 25 points per game 4 out of the last 6 seasons. He was pretty close in the other two seasons too (averaging 24.6 in his MVP season). During that stretch, he has been the best player on a playoff team.

A German guy once argued to me that Dirk was a better team player than (you Americans, like) LeBron or Kobe, in a bid to impress his Danish girlfriend (trying to show that he can talk about basketball with an American). The look of unbridled shock on my face seemed to shame him. But that's not Dirk's job. He's a scorer. At times, crucial playoff games included, he has been unstoppable. He possesses a dizzying myriad of ways to score the ball.

I once got into a vicious argument with a friend who contended that Dirk was a good defensive player and not the horrific defender that I thought he was. His argument went that Dirk averaged 1.5 blocks a game that past season (which turned out to be his career high) and 10 boards a game (something he's actually never done). Forget that blocks are not much of an indication of good defense, my friend later admitted 1.5 for a 7-footer isn't a whole lot. Dirk averages a decent 8.5 rebounds per game for his career, but how that relates to his ability to defend still baffles me.

But that isn't Dirk's game either. His best defense is making shots on the other end. It’s a skill he's perfected. Dirk is a go-to player when it counts, in the playoffs, where he averages 25.5 ppg (more than his 22.9 regular season mark). And for that, he is a perennial top 10 player in the NBA.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Pacquiao-Clottey Prediction

It's no secret that I like Joshua Clottey. My fear for the fight is that he simply won't be busy enough. It's conceivable that Clottey won't be hurt once, will face no danger, will deflect all of pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao's best punches, hit Pac Man with some memorable shots, and still lose every round.

Judges don't like Clottey's methodical style. He is one of the best defensive fighters in the game. Even if you manage to penetrate his guard, his chin is rock solid. Only one flash knockdown in the first round against Miguel Cotto has sent him to the canvass during his career. The punches that he manages to launch often find their target with authority. He just doesn't throw enough.

Besides his unpopular- however effective- style, Clottey has another disadvantage. He's facing disarray in his corner. He recently parted with his longtime trainer. His preferred replacement is stuck in Ghana due to visa issues. Meanwhile, Pacquiao has the best in the game on his side.

If Pacquiao stops Clottey, I'll be shocked. Margarito couldn't hurt him. Neither could Cotto, Judah, nor Corrales. It would be Pacquiao's best performance to date, if he gets the stoppage. More likely is a knockout the other way. If Clottey can place his punches effectively, especially to the body, he can negate Pacquiao's onslaught. In that case, the smaller, slowed-down, Pacquiao would be open season. But Clottey would have to throw punches to finish the deal.

Whatever happens, I have respect for Pacquiao for fighting a dangerous guy without much name recognition. I'm happy Clottey is getting a chance to show himself on a big stage. I wish both guys well.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Road Rage

Merging off of 495 onto 95 North, I saw an opening in the far right access lane. My lane had slowed. I noticed a car creeping up to the right, but figured I had plenty of time to move over, so I put my turn signal on.

Once I entered the lane, I looked in the rearview mirror and saw a hand waving, as if claiming I cut off the driver it belonged to. I thought I had had plenty of space to make the lane change andit was a case of this person speeding up on me. In Maryland, if you put on your turn signal, it's like flaunting a red towel in front of a bull, people will speed up on you. So, I waved my hand back.

I also put my right turn signal on. Of course, at this point, going right meant off to the side of the road. My intention was to show that I had my signal on and this driver sped up on me. I realized afterwards, it could have been a sign to pull over and start a confrontation.

In any event, this driver was tailgating me and, for some reason, people go really slowly when exiting onto 95 North, so there wasn't anywhere for me to go. I found an opening back in the left lane and this person followed me. Before hitting the road work for the new ICC (I thought we voted against everyone who supported it!), everyone slows down. So I slowed down, which infuriated this tailgater. The person sped up right next to me on the left (and off the road). I greeted the tinted windows of the white car (including painted flames!) with the old middle finger salute.

For the next ten miles, the white car stayed within distance of me. I drove normally, not running, but kept my eye on this vehicle. At one point, I got caught in a slow-moving left lane and the white car pulled up next to me on the right. Inside, with the window rolled down, was a large ugly bald white man. He held a sneer for me (unless it was just a case of bell's palsy) and shook his head pathetically at me.

I stared back, never releasing my gaze. He was the first to flinch, looking forward as he passed me. He then looked back, startled to see me still stoicly eying him. As he passed, he disgustedly threw down a piece of garbage, which I believe was intended on being a protest at my actions, but instead looked like a bit of passive aggressiveness. My experience has been that big guys, who look mean and ugly, don't like to be stood up to.

After any encounter like that, I always evaluate my actions. There are things I did to ignite the situation further. Ultimately, I don't think Gandhi would be very pleased with my response. Sorry G.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

RIP Hank

Hank Gathers, a high school basketball star from Philadelphia who went on to college fame at Loyola Marymount University, died 20 years ago day. Every anniversary, Hank Gathers's death teaches another lesson. Two decades on, it teaches us the unstoppable flow of time. Whether we're ready or not, life goes on.

I remember quite vividly, as an 8-year old boy, recently introduced to the concept of death, trying to grapple with its finality, watching SportsCenter and hearing of the death of Hank Gathers. I can see the pictures of that night now. I can feel the spontaneous tears rolling down my cheeks. It reinforced the reality that a boy's heroes can die, whether it's a father or a basketball star.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Growing Up

When I was little, I always dreamed of staying up late, eating candy, and going to ball games whenever I pleased. Set your goals low and you will always be happy.

I remember the exact point I became an adult and it had nothing to do with achieving the above dreams. I was looking for the reaction to Obama's first speech to a joint session of Congress last year. The media reported that Congress members were using Twitter throughout his speech. My first thought was, "What's Twitter?"

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

A Moment of Reflection

In the wake of a constant string of inevitable tragedies, the challenge is always to find a balance between becoming so consumed with grief as to cease to function and becoming so numb as to lack the ability to empathize.

Bless those affected in Chile, Haiti, or wherever people are suffering.

Monday, March 01, 2010

ELL, Season 7, Week 4, a site that almost makes less sense than the Evil Leaders League, has a collection featuring the Evil Leaders League's competitors. So far, 7 of our evil leaders, from past and present seasons, have an annoying rating of 100%, with Season 5's Ayatollah Khamenei garnering the most votes from this group this year. Felipe Calderon, from Season 4, is the only participant with an under 50% annoying rating. But what about his plot to invade America with a squadron of illegal immigrants and talking chihuahuas? Anyway, let's get to the results.

Shwe vs al-Bashir
Aung San Suu Kyi , one of the numerous political prisoners in Than Shwe's Myanmar, lost her latest appeal to end over a decade under house arrest. Lucky for her, she has X-Box 360 and a killer sound system in her house. Unlucky for the rest of the country, she's still not free to lead them. But lucky for Shwe as it bolsters his evilness cred. He's keeping it real.

A peace deal between Omar al-Bashir's Sudanese government and the rebels of Darfur has actually been met with an increase in fighting. It was probably a bad sign that the paper the peace agreement was printed on used to be the skin of a former Darfur resident. That should've been the rebel's first clue things wouldn't work out.

You know what's more annoying that any of our evil leaders? Not knowing the results of this week's action. Check it out at the Evil Leaders League site.

Ahmadinejad vs Kim
In a bid to be Barry Sanders to Israel's Harlon Barnett, Iran is reportedly trying to avoid a hit by hiding their nukes in a mountain, which is a good reason to boycott the 2018 Winter Olympics in Tehran. Well, at least the skiers should. Very crafty by Iranian leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is short, hirsute, and likes to make Holocaust jokes. Are we sure he isn't a Jew?

Celebrating Kim Jong-Il's 68th birthday, North Korean officials regarded him as "peerlessly brilliant because we've never heard of Albert Einstein. Not even Amartya Sen." But before you scoff so loudly someone in the room asks, "What?" consider this: Kim is an international pariah, has spent his entire reign starving his people, and may have died 5 years ago; yet, he's still in power! Pretty genius if you think about.

Berlusconi vs Karzai
The womanizing xenophobic Prime Minister of Italy is Silvio Berlusconi. Berlusconi is facing 2 corruption charges, inducing him to describe the Italian legal system as run by a band of Taliban (or a "Taliband" if you will and hope that you won't). After renting a DVD of the Sopranos and watching episodes of the Jersey Shore online, the Taliban said they were offended to be associated with anything Italian.

The opponents of Afghan leader Hamid Karzai note that the country's justice system is in shambles. They describe the legal system as run by a band of Italians. Karzai admitted that he's an election-stealing, corrupt, incompetent leader, but claimed that was going too far. The opposition quickly apologized.

Morales vs Obiang
Bolivia's President Evo Morales is an inspiration to indigenous people, has worked to empower women in his country, and has acted to alleviate poverty. But he doesn't have to be so fucking arrogant about it.

Captain Bienvenido Esono Engoga, a high-level security officer, has been fired and arrested for attempting to kill Equatorial Guinean dictator, Teodoro Obiang. Obiang has ruled Equatorial Guinea for 30 years and recently won another 7-year term with 95.73% of the vote. I guess we know at least one of the 4.27% who didn't vote him. Captain Engoga said he never really meant to kill the ruthless totalitarian; he was just being sarcastic.

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