June 28, 2009

The Cougar Lounge - Junk In The Trunk



"There are no gold-plated limos."

- Wazzu athletic department administrator Anne McCoy, shooting down yet another myth about Wazzu's immense stores of wealth. No gold-plated limos and therefore, no money or MC Hammer commercials to be made from Cash4Gold.




"They major in graduation and championships here - two pretty good things."

- New USC head men's hoop coach, Kevin O'Neill. Uh, Earth to Kevin - neither of these "two pretty good things" have happened to USC men's hoop. All those championships? In football, zero in men's hoop. Graduation? USC's last three NCAA APR's in men's hoop were 906, 863 and 882 - well below the 925 cut line for minimum acceptable graduation numbers.




"Sometimes football is a funny thing."

- USA goalkeeper Tim Howard, after the Americans stunned top-ranked Spain behind his shutout effort last week at the Confederations Cup in South Africa.




"My men, yonder are the Hessians. They were brought for seven pound and ten pence a man. Are you worth more? Prove it. Tonight, the American flag floats from yonder hill or Molly Stark sleeps a widow!"

- American General John Stark rallying his troops with a pep talk at the Battle of Bennington [Vermont] in 1777.








The Lounge's appearance may be somewhat gnarled this week as we recover from the triple tragedy last week in losing Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and, most stunning of all, Michael Jackson. Why, it was stressful enough for us to want to take a trip to visit our South American mistress. The Lounge grew up with McMahon, Fawcett and Jackson [the good, bad and ugly days]. McMahon was the undeniable sidekick prototype and part of the reason the Tonight Show maintained its humor element for so long as Johnny Carson aged. Fawcett was one of the three original Charlie's Angels that every high school boy fantasized about [although the Lounge preferred Jaclyn Smith - the hot, sensible one] and Jackson, well, what can one say? The early years were the best - particularly when he was performing with his brothers as part of the Jackson 5 or merely, the Jacksons. When he struck out on his own, all three album collaborations with legendary composer Quincy Jones [Off The Wall, Thriller, Bad] were, well, legendary. Then he went "bad" and got kooky with multiple surgeries for multiple reasons both imagined and real and added a variety of loopy behaviors to that mix that the media jumped on time and again. Jackson had stopped being relevant in the late 1990s but his mark on the music industry had been made in the 1970s and his mark on the world in the 1980s. His work was done and now, regrettably, he is too. The Lounge flies a single, sequined white glove at half-mast this week.


Jackson's death, because of his girth in the musical industry, had a worldwide impact and even overshadowed the improbable victory of the USA men's soccer team over Spain at the Confederations Cup in South Africa. It was the first-ever win - after 93 years of trying - for the USA men in a FIFA-sponsored semi-final Their reward? Fifth-ranked [according to current FIFA rankings, although everybody knows they are a top three team] Brazil. Not surprisingly, the Americans have not had much success against Brazil over the years but they have been competitive and that, coupled with the confidence they got from the win over Spain, should give them at least a chance to defeat Brazil. But even if they lose, the Americans, ranked 14th before the tournament began, will surely move up into the Top 10 in the world and Jozy Altidore is an international star in the making. Perhaps now his Spanish league pro team will "suddenly" encounter an epiphany and find a way to play him instead of sending him off to their B team.

It is not as bad a situation as faces the incredibly stupid pop stars Chris Brown and Rihanna. The world is mourning Michael Jackson this week and then we get a reminder of how stupid pop stars can really be - Brown assaults his girlfriend Rihanna who then foolishly decides to try and protect Brown by not pursuing charges and now the duo have been ordered to stay away from each other by the distance of 50 yards - unless it is an industry schmooze-fest, when the distance is reduced to 10 yards. Who is whipping out their tape measures and measuring these distances anyway - lawyers?

So watch for tape measure backlash if you see Brown and Rihanna at next year's Academy Awards, you know, the ones where they just increased the best picture nominations to 10. Look, it was bad enough when we had five films that only the Academy's voters liked, now we are going to have 10 - and this makes sense how? Instead of two or three culturally or socially-engrossed film taking itself way too seriously, we are now going to have four or five such films bunging up the works. Everybody knows the average age of the typical Academy Award voter is 93 [at least in their criteria and decision-making voting processes] and they vote for whoever their connection is to a particular film, making it a flawed and impure vote - and now we are going to have it twice as bad. Makes us want to go out and drink gallons of rum - good thing the Pacific Northwest is one of America's top 10 rum-drinking markets [source: the Lounge's own eyeballs and some market research study…]

Two more days and it will be official in the 2008-09 CougZone Coach of the Year [and Athlete of the Year] contest. The voting period has officially ended and the finalists have been profiled and the winners will be announced this week on the CougZone main page.

"Jeshua is going to Berlin, I can feel it in my trick knee!" reports Anne Elk, who claims extra sensory perception in her joints in regard to Wazzu sophomore hurdling sensation Jeshua Anderson.

The odds look good for Anderson to make the USA squad for the World Track & Field Championships in Berlin in August. Anderson has already moved one step further than he did last year by advancing to today's final in the men's 400-meter hurdles at the USA Track & Field Championships in Eugene. Last month he ran a 48.47 in claiming his second consecutive NCAA championship and that time is the seventh-fastest in the world so far. With world champion Kerron Clement getting a bye to Berlin, that opens up one spot and Anderson is only behind Bershawn Jackson so far in the qualifying rounds. Angelo Taylor is an expected top three finisher, so it will likely come down to Anderson and Johnny Dutch - whom Anderson has beaten twice at the NCAA's - for the third and final spot on the USA squad.

"Why is it that nobody can seem to get the 'gray' part of crimson and gray right?" asks Attila The Nun in reference to the recently unveiled Cougar football uniforms featuring a distinct scarcity of one of the school's official colors.

Yes, we brought this up last week when the football uniforms were first unveiled and we were as surprised as everybody to learn that, apparently, judging from human mannequins in the display window, that white had supplanted gray as one of the school's official colors. Crimson and gray are the school's two official colors but the only presence of gray was in a thin stripe down the pants of one uniform and a censorship-shaped bar on the sleeve of another. The Lounge clientele was in universal agreement that this was a travesty but since Nike was in charge of the new uniforms, there was little surprise at the audacity - only that the university would allow it to happen. Now we know why - because Nike saved all the gray [or as they refer to it - steel - whatever…] for Oregon's uniforms! Well, sure, that makes sense - Oregon's Uncle Phil owns Nike and gray is one of Oregon's colors and….waitaminute - gray is one of Oregon's new school colors?


Upon seeing that, we immediately facebooked and twittered and ran up and down the street in case there were any humans remaining on this Earth still unaware of how crucially and vitally important social media networking is and how we just cannot live our lives without it or the services connected to it or else we will all die horrible fiery deaths! But we do not do it justice, we will leave that up to The Complete Social Media Douchebag. We particularly endorse Tips # 666, 864 and 1053.

Meanwhile, the Lounge Scientists were stunned to learn that Tasmanian wallabies hopped up on goofballs were creating crop circles Down Under. Yes, it is true, apparently the wallabies were getting into the legally-grown opium fields and getting extremely messed up or "high as a kite" as the lawyers say in their special legal lingo in the Southern hemisphere.

"We have a problem with wallabies entering poppy fields, getting as high as a kite and going around in circles," says Lounge Scientist #9, Lara Giddings, also an attorney general for Tasmania, who reportedly is exactly sure how high a kite can get.

Only two days until bliss officially arrives on schedule on Track Nine. On Tuesday - hold a big party with a piñata and rum - it will be Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen's final day. On Wednesday, the sun will come up in the morning on a new era in the conference and here is to hoping that new era will include support for a football playoff, TV deal with ESPN, more television coverage of sports other than football and men's hoop [possibly on a Pac-10 channel] and some movement toward fair rotation of the men's and women's post-season conference tournaments under new commish Larry Scott.




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