Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Tweener: A Wizard, A Chief, and a CIA Diplomat

On February 26, I wrote an inaugural Tweener column. As a "periodic" piece, I can now put them out whenever I have something to say. Here are this issue's quick hitters:
  • As the Pope steps down from his post, he plans to carry out the rest of his life in the Castel Gandolfo (that's Italian for "Gandalf's Castle"). Interestingly, this castle basically comprises the Vatican's backyard. This move has brought to light the often hushed-up adherence in the Catholic Church to the beliefs and stories of JRR Tolkien. In fact, the Vatican seized this property in 1596 when the Savelli family threatened to prevent the Valinor from departing Middle Earth at the dawn of the "Age of Men." Anyway, it reminded me of this: 

  • The Kansas City Chiefs will (hopefully) officially acquire Alex Smith from the 49ers for two high draft picks when the season officially begins on March 12. For the record, I am completely for this trade. I won't do a numbers breakdown, but Smith's numbers, while similar in some spots to Cassel's (pre-trade from NE), are significantly better in the "I know how to hold a football and not just give it to the other team" department. It got me thinking about the lack of trades at the NBA trade deadline. If you're the Utah Jazz, how do you not make a move for Eric Bledsoe. (A) The league is run by point guards. The top 4 contenders have max-level PGs in Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook, and Lebron. Disagree? We'll call them floor generals instead. (B) You're (the "you" here referring to Utah, and probably you reading this as well) not contending for a title this year. Why would you not flip an asset (Milsap or Jefferson) for a franchise-altering guard. If you do that and miss the playoffs, oh well, you get a better draft pick. If you miss the playoffs now, you'll have the same draft pick, no starting point guard (Mo "I bought a ring for myself the year Lebron carried us to the finals" Williams doesn't count), and then you've really messed up. (C) I know I have previously doubted Bledsoe, but that was in the context of a trade with the Celtics - Utah absolutely would have been a great move.  Their starting backcourt last night combined for ZERO POINTS AND THREE ASSISTS last night. That's a Paul Britton stat line! (Just kidding, unnecessary.)  They definitely regret their lack of trade-making.
  • I came across this video of a man trying to use an umbrella like Mary Poppins. My favorite part of that article is the designation (probably self-designation) of this man as a "professional extreme athlete". This made me wonder what sorts of phrases you can toss 'professional' in front of to make it sound legitimate. Professional muskrat tracker? Professional people watcher? Professional pick-up basketballer? Professional Fifa player? Professional nap taker? Professional temple runner? Professional blog writer? Professional TV watcher? Turns out I'm a professional at a lot of things. Anyway, I was going to include professional 3-pt shooter, but then realized Steve Novak actually does do that for a living.
  • Obliging a request from Steven: "If that Portland-Red Bulls game doesn't make the blog, something is wrong. Atmosphere was crazy and the game was intense as hell." Quite right, as the Timbers fought back in the second half to earn a 3-3 draw, though it made me laugh that Steven didn't want to refer to Portland as the "Timbers".  Stadiums like Portland's and Sporting KC's are the new wave in the MLS, and they how the MLS is going to make a name for itself. Smaller, sold out arenas, filled with rambunctious and excited fans make these games a tough ticket to find but worth the price and wait.  Perhaps not as tough to find as a ticket to a North Korean basketball game, but the man who could "get any woman he wanted" as long as he played ball had no problem securing a court-side seat. Look, I have total respect for Rodman as a player. He's one of two players in the 3 point era to average over 16 rebounds a game (and he did it 5 times), and he was an absolute workhorse on the offensive glass. But seriously, what are you doing going to North Korea? Unless this is some secret operation (CIA codename: gon-korrhea) to infiltrate the upper-echelons of the government, it is flat out a dumb idea.  However, it did lead me to read this entire page of Rodman quotes. So I suppose I am thankful for that.

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