Thursday, May 31, 2007

I Propose a Moratorium on Sending American Men to Roland Garros

This is just embarrassing. Male tennis players from the United States have gone 0-9 in this year's French Open. Roddick lost; Blake lost; Spadea, Gimelstob, and five guys no one's ever heard of lost. While American men usually struggle in Paris—Americans have won only four men's titles at the Roland Garros in the Open Era—this is the first time since the 1973 Australian Open that no man has represented the United States in the second round of a Grand Slam tennis tournament.

The problem is obvious: Americans don't know how to play on clay. In men's tennis right now, there are two outstanding players—Federer and Nadal. There's not much disparity in talent among the next hundred or so players. Thus, for example, if the 125th best player in the world is more comfortable on a given surface than the 3rd best player in the world, the 125th best player is well positioned to pull off the upset.

At any rate, the plight of American men in Paris will require government intervention. If we want to be competitive in the men's draw at the French Open, Congress needs to pass a law requiring every American city with a population over 100,000 to have at least one public park with clay tennis courts. Otherwise, Congress must authorize the Department of Homeland Security to prevent any male tennis player who claims United States citizenship from traveling to Paris during the last week of May or first week of June.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

How to Make Kobe Bryant a Pacer

After making a series of questionable trades in the past two years, my Indiana Pacers have no cap space nor first round pick and have put themselves in position to miss the Playoffs for the next eight or nine seasons. In my desperate search for a glimpse of hope, I have convinced myself (against my better judgment) that the Pacers have an outside chance of trading for the league's best player.

Kobe Bryant told Stephen A. Smith today that he no longer wants to be a Laker. Personally, I can't imagine the Lakers trading Kobe unless they were to get in return a proven superstar whose best days are still ahead (someone like Chris Bosh or Gilbert Arenas). But let's pretend that Jerry Buss and Mitch Kupchak would consider trading their franchise player for Jermaine O'Neal.

I played with's NBA trade machine to see if I could come up with a deal that wouldn't seem entirely ridiculous to Lakers management. Here's what I came up with: Indiana would send O'Neal, Marquis Daniels (a solid bench player and capable occasional starter), and Shawne Williams (last year's questionable draft pick who may or may not have the potential to become a good player) to Los Angeles for Bryant and Kwame Brown. Not only would the Lakers get a perennial all-star, a proven role-player, and a prospect, but they would also rid themselves of Kwame Brown and his inflated contract.

Mull it over, Dr. Buss.

New Pictures of the Kids

Left: Resha Kate models the dress grandma made her for her birthday.

Right: Meyer demonstrates his knack for building large, Lego® staircases.

"Flaming Arrows of Death" in the TNIV

A while back I complained about the recurrance of the phrase "making love" in Today's New International Version of the Holy Bible (TNIV). This morning, the TNIV redeemed itself in my mind when I read its translation of Proverbs 26:18-19:

Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death
is one who deceives a neighbor and says, "I was only joking!"

"Flaming arrows of death!" This is a big improvement over the original NIV, which reads:

Like a madman shooting firebrands or deadly arrows
is a man who deceives his neighbor and says, "I was only joking!"

or the NRSV, which reads:

Like a maniac who shoots deadly firebrands and arrows,
so is one who deceives a neighbor and says, "I am only joking!"

Image from Visit

Don't Touch That Shopping Cart

Snopes, the keeper of all Urban Legends, has researched the legend that shopping carts (known to many in the South as "buggies") are exceptionally filthy. Snopes' conclusion? Yes they are:

The very folks that fuss with disposable toilet seat covers often won't think twice about manhandling a grocery cart around a store for half an hour, even though the surface they're hanging onto so fiercely for that interval has likely been coughed on, sneezed on, and grasped by shoppers who'd just finished handling packages of raw chicken and meat, or who just weren't the sort to wash their hands all that often. . . .

According to a four-year study conducted by the University of Arizona's Environmental Research Lab and sponsored by Clorox, grocery carts are veritable petri dishes teeming with human saliva, mucus, urine, fecal matter, as well as the blood and juices from raw meat. Swabs taken from the handles and child seats of 36 grocery carts in San Francisco, Chicago, Tucson, and Tampa showed these common surfaces to rank third on the list of nastiest public items to touch, with only playground equipment and the armrests on public transportation producing more disgusting results.

Controvery on the Horizon in the UMC (and I’m Afraid to Write About It)

Last night I wrote a lengthy post about Drew Phoenix, the trangender United Methodist pastor who has become the source of a heated debate in the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference. But I chickened out and couldn't bring myself to hit "Publish." I don't know why I'm so scared to deal with this subject, but I am. I'll keep working on it. If anyone is really interested in what I have to say, maybe I'll muster up the gusto to publish the post later this week.

At any rate, Phoenix, formerly Ann Gordon, appears to be safe. The United Methodist Book of Discipline has no rules prohibiting or restricting transgender pastors, and Scripture is silent on the subject of gender reassignment. (The most closely related Scripture I know of is Deuteronomy 22:5, which prohibits cross-dressing. But I've know more than one clergyperson to dress in drag without being defrocked.) Of course, The IRD is all over this story, so much drama is sure to ensue.

More on this story as I find the courage to write about it.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Tuesday Sports Notes

  • Congrats to Vanderbilt's baseball team, which overcame an upset loss to Tennessee in the opening game of the SEC tourney to win the conference title and earn the number one overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.

  • Is anyone else having trouble getting excited about seemingly inevitable prospect of watching the Spurs play the Pistons in the NBA Finals? I have a great respect for both teams; I'm just tired of San Antonio, and I still haven't forgiven Detroit for what they did to the Pacers.

  • Add Michael Andretti to the list of superstars who have never won the big one. Andretti will re-retire from open-wheel racing after finishing 13th in the Indy 500. Despite leading over 400 laps in his 16 appearances at the Brickyard (including more than one appearance where Andretti appeared to be the best driver in the field), Michael never finished Indy in Victory Lane. Indy hasn't been kind to the Andrettis (Mario, Michael, Jeff, John, and Marco), who have one title between them—Mario's win in 1969. Michael's son, Marco, lost last year's race by a fraction of a second on the final straightaway.

  • I confess that I'm looking forward to Thursday's Scripps National Spelling Bee, hosted this year by ESPN's Mike & Mike. Deadspin has the odds.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

I'm Not Ready to Accept the Vanilla Frosty™

I spent six consecutive summers in high school and college helping the late Dave Thomas (may he rest in peace) fulfill his dream of good food, made fresh to order, for low prices. Though I haven't eaten meat in nearly six years, I maintain that Wendy's has the best burgers and chicken sandwiches in the business—at least better than those served by chief rivals McDonald's and Burger King. I took pride in serving hamburgers that were served fresh off an actual grill and real, whole-breast chicken (as opposed to processed circular patties).

I also took a lot of pride in the Frosty™. The Frosty™ is somewhat unique in that it isn't really ice cream, but it isn't really a milkshake. And until recently, the Frosty™ came in one flavor: chocolate. Actually, I never gave much thought to the Frosty's chocolate flavor. A Frosty tasted like a Frosty, and there was no need to describe the flavor because there was only one.

I confess that I used to scoff at customers who inquired about Frosty™ flavors or ordered a vanilla- or strawberry-flavored version of the frozen dessert. I was often tempted to say: "It's a Frosty™! Haven't you ever had a Frosty™ before? The Frosty™ comes in one flavor—always has always will." (I may have actually said that, or something to the same effect, once or twice. I had very little patience with customers who didn't know how to order.)

Last year, Wendy's introduced the Vanilla Frosty™. Today, I ordered my first Frosty™ since the restaurant began offering vanilla as a second flavor. (I'm embarrassed to say it's been so long; but as a vegetarian, I haven't been to Wendy's much since they got rid of the Fresh Stuffed Pitas.) I was aware of the Vanilla Frosty™; but I couldn't bring myself to specify a flavor when I ordered. I just said, "Two medium Frosties," and hoped that the person on speaker would default to chocolate. She didn't; and I had to answer the question, "Chocolate or vanilla?" After spending much of my mid-to-late adolescence shaking my head in disgust at anyone who even pondered the existence of a Vanilla Frosty™, I had to clarify that I wanted chocolate, not vanilla. It was a weird moment.

Friday, May 25, 2007

God and Mammon: Virtue®, the Bible Perfume

From the Chicago Divinity School website:

Combining ingredients such as frankincense and myrrh, Virtue® is a perfume inspired by Biblical ingredients and marketed as a tool for spiritual attainment. The product's literature advises the consumer to "hold it in Sacred regard as a means to train yourself to readily contact your Spiritual Self," so as to "serve both your worldly fragrance needs and provide a means of focusing your Spiritual Intent." Pioneered by Vicki Pratt and Rick Larimore, Virtue retails for $80 a bottle.

That's a lot of cash to smell like 2,000 years ago. Of course, the Gospels give us precedent for using expensive perfume in Christ's name (John 12:1-8). But Mary of Bethany doesn't use her costly fragrance as a "tool for spiritual attainment"—she pours it out for the Lord.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Keyshawn Decides He'd Rather Retire Than Play for the Titans

Just in on

Keyshawn Johnson has declined an offer from the Tennessee Titans and decided to retire from football in order to pursue a broadcasting career at ESPN.

The wide receiver, the No. 1 draft pick in the 1996 NFL draft, was expected to address his decision at a Wednesday afternoon news conference at his alma mater of USC.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Is Hockey Really One of the "Four Major Professional Team Sports"?

Short answer: No.

Need proof? Saturday, NBC switched away from the overtime of the Sabres-Senators playoff game to show pre-race coverage of the Preakness. NBC says that "its Preakness contract superseded the NHL telecast," but the fact remains that the crucial moments of a crucial game in the NHL Conference Finals were deemed less crucial than the hype leading up to a horse race—not the race itself. Moreover, the ratings suggest that NBC probably made a wise decision: "The Sabres-Senators game scored a 1.5 overnight household rating from 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.; the Preakness pre-race coverage averaged a 3.8 from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m."

NBC acted in the interests of its corporate policies, its sponsors, and the majority of its viewers, even if it angered several hockey fans in the process. But the fact that cutting away from overtime in a crucial hockey playoff game was a logical move for NBC to make—and the fact that the game only scored a 1.5 rating—speaks volumes about the decline of the NHL in the United States. Referring to the NHL—along with the NFL, the NBA, and Major League Baseball—as one of the "four major professional team sports" is no longer appropriate.

So, how would one rank professional team sports in the United States in 2007? Well, one would start with the NFL. The NFL, I would argue, is alone in the top tier, far above even Major League Baseball and the NBA, which would fall into the second tier. Based on national popularity and television ratings, I'm tempted to put the NHL in a third tier with Major League Soccer, Arena Football, and the WNBA. But attendance, popularity in cities that have a franchise, and player salaries may put hockey alone in the third tier—definitely below MLB and the NBA, but definitely above MLS, the AFL, and the WNBA. The latter three would then fall to a fourth tier. (See below.) One could argue that AAA baseball also belongs on that fourth tier, but it doesn't get nearly as much national coverage as the other fourth-tier sports. Other minor baseball leagues and minor basketball leagues, lacrosse, indoor soccer, rugby, women's football, and so forth would fall somewhere in the fifth, sixth, and seventh tiers—but I lack the knowledge to break down those tiers with any integrity.

Top Tier
National Football League

Second Tier
National Basketball Association
Major League Baseball

Third Tier
National Hockey League

Fourth Tier
Major League Soccer
Women's National Basketball Association
Arena Football League

What do you think?

Monday, May 21, 2007

My Kids Love The Cure

Twice in the past week, Meyer has put on The Cure (Galore, the band's second singles compilation) and danced around in circles. I think Robert Smith would approve. The second time Kate joined in, though with a much different dancing style (see below).

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Is Rowling Planning Eighth Harry Potter Book?

According to this article from, she is, sorta:

The seventh novel, 'The Deathly Hollows', due out in the summer, will bring the young wizard's adventures to an end, but Rowling has said she might write an eighth for charity.

The 41-year-old writer wrote on her website: "I might do an eighth book for charity - a kind of encyclopedia of the world, so that I could use all the extra material that's not in the books."

USA Today Sports Blog Acknowledges My Existence

Nice. A blog affiliated with a major national media outlet, USA Today's Sports Scope, linked to something I wrote. I know it's not a big deal; I'm one of several bloggers and writers mentioned in a post that hasn't received a single comment. Still, it's USA Today, kind of.

Jerry Falwell Was a Sports Fan

I'm not sure how to react to Jerry Falwell's death. I think that Falwell had a largely negative effect on religious and political discourse in the United States. I won't get into that right now. Instead, I'll say this: I can appreciate Jerry Falwell as a sports fan. While I disagree with Liberty University's ethos, I respect their athletic programs. I'm impressed that Liberty, the school Falwell founded in 1971, has held its own in Division I, mid-major sports, despite its unusually strict code of conduct. Falwell oversaw the school's move from NAIA to Division I, made sure the school had top-flight sports facilities, and, according to former Liberty athletic director Chuck Burch wanted Liberty "to be for the evangelical kids what Notre Dame was for the Catholics."

Falwell valued sports as a means of evangelism. ("Sports and music are the two platforms that can reach youth," he said in a 2006 interview with "They may not know Billy Graham, but they know Michael Jordan.") But he was also a former basketball and football player who loved to watch sports. "I love all sports," Falwell told in 2006. "Basketball, football, baseball, track ... I'm here for everything. I can't travel on the road with them, but I'm here for the home games." And the reverend loved and supported women's sports as much as men's.

There you go. I didn't like Jerry Falwell the public figure, but I can appreciate Jerry Falwell the sports fan.

UM Bishops Update "In Defense of Creation" Document

Once upon a time, all issues concerning the fate of our beautiful world and its people were secondary to the concern that life on earth as we know it would end in a nuclear holocaust. Nuclear weapons haven't gone away—several nations have them—but the Cold War is over, and the human race has made it this long without annihilating itself, so we don't worry about nukes much anymore.

Thus United Methodist bishops have decided to revisit "In Defense of Creation," a document they crafted during the Cold War. From the UM News Service:

United Methodists are invited to assist the church’s bishops in drafting a statement exploring the problems of and solutions to nuclear weapons, environmental degradation, global warming, endemic poverty and disease.

More than 20 years ago, the United Methodist Council of Bishops introduced a pastoral letter called "In Defense of Creation." . . . On May 3, the Council of Bishops heard a presentation from a task force seeking to update the 1986 statement with input from The United Methodist Church and "other persons of goodwill" as authorized by the 2004 General Conference.

The article suggests that the bishops want to deal with the interconnections between poverty, disease, environmental degredation, and war, and I commend them. One cannot faithfully address one of these issues without addressing them all. I'm also glad to see a document titled "In Defense of Creation" that has nothing to do with evolution or intelligent design.

You may have noticed that the article begins, "United Methodists are invited to assist the church’s bishops . . . ." Here's how you can get involved:

The task force encourages annual conferences, seminaries and other constitutenties to conduct hearings, conversation and study on nuclear proliferation, the environment and poverty in 2007 and 2008. The results should be sent to the Rev. Barbara Green, executive director of the Church's Center for Theology and Public Policy or by mail to 4500 Massachusetts Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20016. For more information, contact Green at (202) 885-8648.

Arkansas Governors Are Funny

I caught just enough of last night's GOP presidential debate to hear Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee say, "Congress has been spending money like John Edwards in a beauty shop." I know that insulting a man by likening him to a woman borders on misogyny, but Huckabee's delivery was perfect, and it was really funny in the moment. If nothing else, the joke helped Huckabee separate himself from the 86 other Republican candidates on stage last night.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I'm Very Disappointed in NBA Executive Vice President Stu Jackson


Why did you suspend Amare Stoudamire from Game 5 in the Suns-Spurs series? Why did you remove one of the league's best players from a game in the only playoff series that's really interesting right now? By making this decision, you—and not the players—may have decided the outcome of a competitive series between two of the league's best teams; by extension, you may have determined which team wins the NBA Championship.


OK. I'm being overdramatic. Even without Amare and Boris Diaw, the Suns could beat the Spurs. Phoenix will have home court and an us-against-the-league emotional boost, and San Antonio will be without key role-player Robert Horry. One could even argue that, regardless of what happens in Game 5, the Suns will have a slight advantage in Game 6, because Diaw and Stoudamire will be back on the floor and Horry will be serving the second game of his 2-game suspension. It's a stretch, but one could make that argument. Also, if I'm completely honest with myself, the more I see the tape of the incident at the end of Game 4, the more I think that Stu Jackson probably made the right decision, applying a rule that has lasted for more than a decade.

(I realize that I've provided no context for this post. If you didn't catch the highlights from Game 4 between Phoenix and San Antonio and if you're not familiar with the NBA's policy of suspending any player who leaves the bench during an altercation, you probably don't understand anything I've written thus far.)

I don't want to say that the NBA should ditch the don't-leave-the-bench rule. For the most part, I think it's a good rule. But in this case, the Spurs are being rewarded for Robert Horry's shoving Steve Nash into the scorer's table. One game without Amare Stoudemire is far more severe a penalty than two games without Robert Horry, especially since Amare didn't really do anything.

This isn't the first time a team has been rewarded for having one of its players lash out at an opponent. In the 1997 playoffs the Heat's P.J. Brown body-slammed Knicks point guard Charlie Ward. Five Knicks, including three starters, came off the bench, though none got involved in the altercation. All five got suspensions, and the suspensions were spread out over two games. The Knicks lost the next two games and the series.

Then, of course, on November 19, 2004 (I remember it well), Ben Wallace ambushed Ron Artest, starting a chain reaction that would destroy the Pacers franchise.

Now that I think about it, all three of these incidents have something in common: All three took place after the game had been decided.

At any rate, Stu Jackson has done NBA fans a disservice by suspending Amare Stoudemire for Game 5. I know what the rules say, but he could have made something up. Jackson could've said, "What happened between Horry and Nash wasn't really an 'altercation.' It was a dirty foul, but it happened when the ball was in play and no punches were ever thrown. Therefore, suspensions for players leaving the bench are unnecessary." If he'd said that, no one (aside from a few Spurs fans) would've complained.

Tuesday Links

Meyer Reads to Kate

Monday, May 14, 2007

Happy First Birthday, Baby Kate!

Read about Kate's first birthday at the new Resha

Friday, May 11, 2007

Expensive Gifts Can Cheapen Mother's Day

I've decided that I'm somewhat offended by the Kay Jewelers commercial in which four children write and perform a "Happy Mother's Day" song for mom before presenting her with a gaudy piece of jewelry. It implies that gifts requiring hard work and creativity are incomplete without some bling.

I don't know. Maybe I'm looking into this too much.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

And You Thought Global Warming Was Bad on Earth

Just be glad you don't live on HD 149026b, a newly discovered extrasolar planet where temperatures reach 3,700 degrees Fahrenheit. HD 149026b is a gas giant, like Jupiter, that orbits a star in the constellation Hercules (though the people there have no idea that they live in the constellation Hercules). Apparently the extreme heat is due to HD 149026b's relatively small size for a gas giant, its relatively dense atmosphere, and its close proximity to the star it orbits.

SI Wipes the Specks Out of America’s Eyes, Ignores the Log in Its Own

Sports Illustrated's Aditi Kinkhabwala, in an installment of her "The Better Half" column titled, "Sex Sells? Not so Fast—Women's Sports Need Substance, Not Sexy Pictures," argues that pictures of scantily clad female athletes in sexually provocative (and non-athletic) poses sell lots of magazines but do nothing to sell women's sports. She writes:

Jan Stevenson got naked in a bathtub of golf balls back in the 1970s, Brandi Chastain took off her clothes before the 1999 World Cup, and swimmer Amanda Beard is going to be in Playboy next month. But according to a ground-breaking pilot study, none of that did -- or will do -- a single thing for women's sports. . . .

Females across the board are drawn to images of athletic competence. So are men, in the 35 to 55 age range, who think of their daughters. "They don't see," Kane said, "how a passive, sexualized pose is celebrating an athletic body. How do bare breasts increase respect for and interest in women sports?"

The article is accompanied by sexy swimsuit shots of Amanda Beard and Maria Sharapova (pictured); an editor might argue that these images are included to illustrate the author's point. OK. But, below these images, readers can click on links to view Amanda and Maria's SI Swimsuit Collections. Essentially, Sports Illustrated is using a column that argues that sexy photos of female athletes are bad for women's sports to promote sexy photos of female athletes. It's not as though pics of attractive women's sports stars in "passive, sexualized poses" are hard to come by at (or any site affiliated with You'd think that the site's editors could resist putting a link to Maria Sharapova's SI Swimsuit Collection next to an article that argues that Maria's status as a sex-symbol is having a negative effect on how she's viewed as a tennis player.

Elsewhere on is an article on how Danica Patrick feels pressure to start winning races. Patrick (pictured) is the most marketed and marketable IRL driver, even though she is by no means the best. While her fame is largely due to her being an attractive female athlete, Patrick has been competitive throughout her IRL career, has finished several races in the top ten, led the Indy 500 briefly in 2005, and is currently eighth in the IRL points standings. She has also shied away from opportunities to sell herself as a sex symbol.

Anyway, beneath a large picture of Patrick is the caption: "With a seventh-place finish the best of her career, Danica Patrick is starting to feel the pressure to finally capture her first win." That is incorrect. Patrick famously finished fourth in the 2005 Indy 500 and, according to the article, twice finished fourth last year. If SI is serious about lifting up female athletes, it's caption writers should be careful not to undervalue these women's accomplishments.

For an explanation of the title, see Matthew 7:3-5.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Iraq's Government Also Kills People Who Might Be Innocent


[Samar Saed Abdullah] is accused of being an accessory to the murder of her uncle, aunt and cousin -- slayings that allegedly were carried out at their family home by her husband.

In the court documents from her trial, she admitted to confessing she had gone to her uncle's house with her husband with the intent to steal, but she says she made that confession as a result of being tortured.

In reaching its verdict, the court disregarded her testimony on the grounds that her confession was closer to the date of the crime.

She was tried and convicted in a single day, August 15, 2005.

"She didn't confess," her mother, Hana'a Abdul Hakim, told CNN. "It was from the beating they gave her. She was bleeding. She finally said write what you want, just stop."

Under Iraqi law, her claim to confessing under torture should have been investigated, but it wasn't. CNN's repeated queries to the Higher Judicial Council and the Ministry of Justice went unanswered.

NASA Telescope Captures Brightest Supernova Ever

From The Guardian:

The brightest supernova ever seen has been observed by Nasa's orbiting Chandra x-ray telescope. The enormous star explosion released about 100 times more energy than a typical supernova and at its peak was 100,000 million times brighter than the sun.

The supernova's scientific name is SN 2006gy. If it really is the brightest ever, SN 2006gy needs a catchier name.

Philip Workman Is Dead

His last words were, "I commend my spirit into your hands Lord Jesus Christ."

As I mentioned last night, he requested that, in lieu of his last meal, the state make a vegetarian pizza and give it to a homeless person. His request was denied.

I don't really know what to say at this point.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Workman Declines Last Meal

Instead, he asked that a vegetarian pizza be given to a homeless person.

Meanwhile, Philip Workman has only hours left to live.

This is just sad.

Bellevue Center Still Has No Future

I missed out on last night's meeting about the fate of my neighborhood mall. Apparently, I didn't miss much:

About 100 people packed the Bellevue Middle School auditorium to hear what representatives of the mall’s owners and area Metro Council members had to say about the center’s future — which could include a sale to new owners.

But no one at Monday’s meeting revealed exactly what’s in store or how soon new owners might materialize for the property.

If you haven't been to Bellevue Center in a while, most major national retailers have been replaced by a dozen-or-so Finders Keepers consignment stores, offices, a baseball academy, a church, and several locally owned specialty shops. While I think that a local art, exotic pets, or sports memorabilia store is much more interesting than an Eddie Bauer or a Hollister Outlet, the people of Bellevue aren't exactly flocking to their neighborhood Oriental gifts store.

Rumors about revitalizing the mall have captured the imagination of Nashville's west suburbs for years, but none have come to fruition. Wal-Mart pulled out and Target opted to open a new store a few miles away on Charlotte Pike. Rumors of appending an elegant outdoor walking mall to the existing indoor mall are exciting, but they come and go. And while I don't doubt that any of these never-to-be-realized "solutions" would have put more cars in the mall parking lot, I'm not sure they would have increased traffic inside the mall itself.

I have no idea what Bellevue Center can or should do to warrant its removal from Dead While patronage has decreased as big-name retailers have fled, in the seven years that I've shopped there, the mall has never been busy, and shoppers have always been outnumbered by mall-walkers and families (like mine) taking advantage of the Kid's Zone. Maybe Bellevue just isn't a mall community. Maybe we're a shop-online-pick-up-some-things-from-Home-Depot-and-make-the-occasional-trip-to-Green-Hills-when-we-want-to-be-fancy community.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Workman Moved to Death Watch

Ginger has the details.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Links to Start Your Week

Saturday, May 05, 2007

NBA Playoff Notes

  • Both of the teams that played in last year's Finals—the Heat and the Mavericks—failed to make the second round of the Playoffs this year. This has never happened under the current 16-team playoff format (1984–present). The last time neither NBA Finals contender won a playoff series in the following year was 1957, when neither the 1956 champion Philadelphia Warriors nor the 1956 runner-up Fort Wayne Pistons won a series.

  • I'm trying to decide whether Golden State's 4-2 series victory over Dallas is the greatest playoff upset ever. On paper it is. Eighth seed Golden State finished the regular season 25 games behind top seed Dallas. The 1994 Denver Nuggets, the first eight seed to defeat a one seed, finished that season 21 games behind number one Seattle. The 1999 Knicks, the only other eight seed to pull a first-round upset, finished only six games behind top seed Miami in a lockout-shortened season.

    On the other hand, Golden State spent most of the regular season looking for the right mix of players—the January 17 trade with the Pacers substantially altered the team's chemistry. The Warriors finally seemed to figure things out in late March, and they won nine of their last ten games, including wins against Phoenix and Dallas and at Houston. The team that went 9-1 in the season's final three weeks was substantially better than the team that went 33-39 in the first five months.

    Still, when you consider that the Mavericks advanced to the NBA Finals last year and ended the season with the sixth best record in NBA history and that the Warriors hadn't made the Playoffs since 1994, it's hard to find a bigger upset.

  • While I don't care for the Detroit Pistons, Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton are one of the greatest backcourt duos of all time. Aside from Isaiah Thomas/Joe Dumars and Walt Frazier/Earl Monroe, I can't think of a better two-guard combination.

  • Today's performance against the Pistons notwithstanding, Luol Deng is about two years away from being an upper-tier superstar.

  • Game 7 between Houston and Utah is unreal. I'll be up late tonight watching the rest of it.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Workman Granted Stay of Execution

From ABC 24 in Memphis:

A federal judge has delayed the scheduled execution of Philip Workman.
Workman was set to be executed on Wednesday, May 9, 2007.

The judge actually issued a restraining order against Governor Bredesen that said he couldn't execute Workman until a hearing on May 14, 2007.

Workman's attorneys asked for a delay because they didn't have time to file complaints against new execution rules. Those rules were put into effect only a week ago.

Unfortunately, the question is whether our current lethal injection procedure is humane, not whether Philip Workman is actually guilty or whether execution is a moral and civilized form of punishment.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Tennessee Resumes Executions, Prepares to Kill Innocent Man

What did Governor Bredesen learn during the 90-day moratorium on executions in Tennessee? Not much. The state has just tweaked its guidelines for lethal injection and will presumably return to killing next week when Philip Workman is scheduled to die. While I oppose all state killings on religious grounds, Workman's case is particularly frustrating because he is most likely not actually guilty. This brief documentary by Sharon Cobb lays out the evidence for Workman's innocence and takes a first-hand look at the state's cold, stubborn, and sometimes irrational clemency board:

The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty recently issued this report, which profiles four cases in Texas and Missouri in which persons who were executed were almost certainly innocent.