Happy New Year, and Happy President’s Day

February 15

Greetings friends, on this kinda holiday weekend.

Happy Presidents’ Day … pay homage today to one of our worst presidents, James Buchanan, the only bachelor in the White House.

Also, Happy Chinese New Year. It’s the Year of the Tiger. Perfect, just perfect.

And now, some thoughts from a very busy weekend:

Pebble Beach almost had a U.S. Open setup on some holes Sunday, and scores soared as the wind kicked up. Bryce Molder shot a 9 on the par 5-14th , followed by Paul Goydos with an even more painful 9 that cost him the lead. If 14 is set up that way in June, it will cost somebody the Open. No way to approach that pin.


The NBA All-Star Slam Dunk contest is just about dead. Nobody should have been declared the winner Saturday night, but Nate Robinson won it for a third time because he’s short, and very athletic. There was one nice lob off the side of the backboard, but that’s about it.


So Danica Patrick crashed in her first stock car race Saturday. Big surprise, and who cares? If we want to treat women equally, we wouldn’t give Danica a week of over-coverage for a second-tier race. We would know as much about her as we did about Jamie MacMurray before Sunday. Win something, Danica, then I’ll wake up.


Early conclusions about the Olympics: failure to air them live on the West Coast is a joke, another example of why NBC thinks we’re stupid. Apparently Dick Ebersol and company haven’t heard of a thing called the “Internet,” and that people can get results whenever they want. Oh yes, they can also listen for results on radio. This is why the Olympics will hopefully go to cable, and live coverage, soon.

I am tired of the networks’ pre-packaged, canned spontaneity. Apparently Ebersol thinks there are enough people who will fall for the shell game. And enough of the teases: “Apollo Anton Ohno coming up.” “Apollo Anton Ohno, in just a few minutes.” “Apollo Anton Ohno, perilously imminent.”

The network has its A-list of stars it wants to promote, such as Ohno, but my favorite moments are when someone not in the Favored Circle wins. That was the case Saturday night when Hannah Kearney, going last, pulled off one of the great clutch runs in history to win the moguls. She edged out Canadian favorite Jenn Heil, who was supposed to be the first Canadian to win gold on home soil.

Speaking of Ohno, the finish of the 1500 short track event Saturday night was one of the wildest ever, and Ted Robinson did a marvelous job of capturing the craziness of the moment. Emmy-worthy stuff from Ted and crew. Talk about karma: three Koreans elbowed out Ohno on the last turn, then two wiped out to give Ohno the gold and J.R. Celski the bronze.

Seeing as how it was Valentine’s Day, I had to fall on the sword for my wife. Under no other circumstances would I watch “The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.” Under no other circumstances would I watch figure skating pairs.

Figure skating is as ridiculous ever. Not the athletes. The strength and timing they have to show on ice, under pressure, is nothing short of amazing.

It’s everything surrounding the sport that is ridiculous, primarily the judging. I swear, you had to fall to get into medal contention in the short program last night. It happened to the Russians, then the Canadians. Hope there isn’t any vote-trading going on among judges … nah, that would never happen.

Also, clown outfits? Seriously? The top German couple scared children worldwide with their makeup and gear as they skated to “Send In The Clowns.” Will a gold medal be worth it to the male half of that couple 20 years later? “Hi, did you win the Gold in Vancouver?” “Yeah, I dressed up as Chucko.”

The Winter Olympics is fun because you get accessories you don’t see anywhere else in sports. Curling has brooms ( apparently no Swiffers allowed ), biathlon has rifles ( I’m waiting for one competitor to shoot another ), and figure skating has, well, sparkly things.

The other amusing part is watching my wife, who is a casual sports fan, get into the Olympic events. By the end of the second night, she was an expert. “Oh, his knees weren’t together.” “Oh, they weren’t in synch on that sit and spin.” “Oh, he’s taking a high line on that curve.”

Nothing gives me more joy. NBC should sign her up.


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