July 20, 2008

The Cougar Lounge - The Dreaded Doldrum Beat



"That's the first time you will hear this from me, but I was not happy with one athlete - and that was the guy who was pushing out."

- Former Wazzu distance ace, Bernard Lagat, after winning the 1500 meters at the U.S. Olympic Trials this month to qualify for the Olympics in Beijing - making sure not to mention the name of competitor Said Ahmed, who attempted to bullrush his way through Lagat with 500 meters to go in the race.




"Ricco swore on his mother's head that he had never turned to illegal substances or means to improve his performance."

- Saunier-Duval-Scott team manager Mauro Gianetti after his team pulled out of the Tour de France when team leader Riccardo Ricco tested positive for EPO - while also evidently showing no hesitation about tossing his mother in front of a charging peloton.




"Why can't we broadcast freely during the day? Why don't we have a normal timetable as promised in the beginning? The Chinese didn't give a clear answer, only excuses. Both slots are totally useless for us."

- Head of sports programming for the European Broadcasting Union, Fernando Pardo, complaining about the Chinese government's decision to limit live broadcasting from Tiananmen Square during next month's Olympics to two time slots - 3-7am and 6-8pm [PDT] - when, it is presumed any Chinese person[s] attempting to exercise free speech by uttering the word "Tibet" and/or farting in the general direction of, oh, say, any government officials - will be sent to work in the MSG mines.




"It seems like it would be a lot easier talking to Lindsay Lohan for 10 minutes. I think I can probably handle that stoned and drunk."

- Longtime comedian and talk show host Bill Maher, explaining why he considers a possible future Tonight Show gig as less challenging than his current HBO gig.






The Lounge is having a party! We are calling it the Nothing But Net party because CBS finally did the right thing and sent commentator Billy Packer packing! After sending up television commentating air balls for the good part of the last decade whenever the Big Dance came around and we were stuck with the perennially pompous Packer, CBS finally saw the light and blinded Packer with it. Packer is to be replaced with Clark Kellogg, who seems unassuming enough and whom nobody to date has much of a big problem with. It was not that Packer went all Howard Cosell or Dennis Miller on us in using big $10 words, it was the overwhelming perception he gave off that he was a Mr. Know-It-All [or Mr. Smarty Pants, if you prefer] - and nobody in the history of the world [Part Three] has been known to like those types. Sure he knew lots of stuff, but lots of people know stuff [some - yes it's true - know more stuff than Packer] and don't choose to bring their sledgehammers out on a consistent basis and pound you over the head with reminders of their gigantic knowledge base. Packer was also much too enamored of the big conferences when nearly everybody likes the story of the plucky underdog when it's Big Dance time. Nobody likes big conference weasels who pick #1 seeds for their Final Four brackets. We have been hard on CBS in the past, but this was a good call.


Maybe the problem was that Packer was not using the right words. Merriam-Webster [the people who make dictionaries] recently released the list of new words and phrases they will be including in their dictionaries and they include "mondegreen"[a misinterpretation of a word or phrase], "soju" [Korean rice vodka] and our favorite, "wing nut", which can have two interpretations - as a nut with two flat projecting pieces or Billy Packer.

Speaking of good calls, there is always Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen on Versus with their Tour de France coverage. Why couldn't Packer be more like them? The Lounge has been following the Tour de France with that same kind of interest one has when passing the seven-car pileup on the freeway. First, is there anyone on the planet who thinks that whoever wins this year's race will be the best rider? More like the company softball league champ. But then that's only because many of the sport's best riders just can't seem to stay away from the drug trough like Phil and Paul can't get through an entire stage without mentioning sprinter Robbie McEwen [even though he has yet to win a stage, much less, the race]. The race began with 198 riders and now, after drug busts and injuries, they are down to 17 with six of them being from the Amish team. But Versus is still reporting higher viewing numbers from a year ago as viewers tune in to see which cycling junkie gets busted next or who tries to outlast the agitated peloton.

Meanwhile, ABC is obviously trying to grab some MXC love with their lame version called - equally lamely - "I Survived A Japanese Game Show". Look, the reason MXC was - and still is - so good was not because of the people flinging themselves around in some kooky human pinball game. Well, okay, that was part of it…we have to admit that nothing on television these days is much more entertaining than the Rotating Surfboard Of Death. But the other major part of it was the writing of the American "translation" of the original Japanese game show. Whether it was the witty barbs being traded by Kenny Blankenship and Vic Romano, the demanding soliloquies of Captain Tenneal or the mere competition's running commentary - that, combined with the slapstick elements, made it a total hoot. ABC seems to think it was merely the people flinging themselves around. ABC does not get it and will not get it until they view Jilted Wives vs. Cheating Husbands [AKA - The "Jens" vs. the "Brads"] from Season Four.

Of course, the current Chinese government will never get it like Japan gets it and we are beginning to wonder if America will get it - the live finals of the track and field events, that is - as long as they are not broadcast from Tiananmen Square at 10 in the morning. Of course, NBC, holder of the U.S. television rights, says you can view lots of stuff on TV, computers, cell phones - over 2200 hours worth of stuff - but is any of it the good stuff? You know, the finals or the compelling competitions and not the syrupy features with the weepy music and the melancholy narration? We shall see [or hope to].

Back here in America, college football season is just around the corner [the corner being the month of August] and that means it is time to begin working up that healthy hatred of the Chinese government-controlled [well, it seems that way sometimes] BCS Taliban. The new television contract by Fox runs through January of 2010 and Fox receives an exclusive 30-day window to re-up before ABC/ESPN is allowed to enter the fray - unless, of course, saner minds intercept the nefarious talks and a playoff format enters the picture before gas hits $7 per gallon.

"Do you think Anderson will do track or football?" asks a curious West Side Patty about Wazzu hurdling sensation Jeshua Anderson.

That is a good question, Patty - and one which only Anderson can truly answer. The Lounge commissioned the accounting firm of PriceWaterhouse to conduct a survey of our clientele and they reported that much of the clientele was loopy on soju and had effectively become wing nuts. However, before that happened, a consensus seemed to form that Anderson's most productive future may lie in track and field. Except in Olympic years, the sport is not as popular in America as it is in Europe and going pro in track could prove to be equally lucrative as being a pro in American football, depending upon the circumstances. With a Pac-10 title, NCAA title and both the USA and world junior titles in the 400-meter hurdles, Anderson has already proven he has the talent to compete on a worldwide stage in his signature event. Additionally, he has proven to be a valuable 4x400 relay runner as well. In football, Anderson was moderately productive last year with a few touchdowns generally on long distance patterns. But he will have to learn a new offense and be proficient in it this year to create the same kind of production he has already had on the track. That, coupled with the danger of a football injury curtailing his promising track career, will make the decision a tough one. Ultimately, it will be up to Anderson to make it.


"Football is not a known entity to me at the moment" reports Ms. Dee Ceased with that quizzical look on her face.

You are in good company Dee. There are not many people who will know what to make of the Cougar football team until the month of September is well and over. It's a new offense with new personnel and a new coaching staff at the controls. How that will play out in the Pac-10 is anybody's guess at this point - but we will surely know or have a good set of clues by the end of September, when they will have played all their non-conference games and a couple conference games. That should give a reasonable expectation as to how the rest of the season might play out. For the present time frame though, it is all up in the air - at least until CougZone's predictions come out later this week - for head coach Paul Wulff and his staff.

With the Olympics only a few weeks away and college football season just a few more weeks after that, it is time to put yourself in the right mood for both events. To do that, you need to go directly to - do not pass Go - to the The Institute of Cheer. We suggest the Gallery of Regrettable Food and naturally, The Orphanage of Cast-off Mascots, where you will find Happy Egg, Undead Lard-Can Man and Dave, the Self-Denying Fish.

The Lounge Scientists cannot be accused of not looking ahead. The college football season is mere weeks away and that means numerous ankle injuries are coming this way. The Scientists can see that coming from a mile away and they have determined, in a study, that the old method of a plaster cast for broken bones [such as one might get jumping off a roof in an attempt to "fly like Superman" when one is eight years old and not very bright…] might go the way of the Dodo. Or at least in that direction.

"Our review shows that using a removable splint and doing exercises could give up to 20% additional benefit in improving a patient's mobility in the long term after an ankle fracture, compared to a fixed cast with no exercise," says Lounge Scientist #2, Christine Lin, a scientist at the University of Sydney in Australia and who is reputed to have been previously been contemplating a life as Wonder Woman.

Nothing that a little soju could not assist.





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