NBA 'stars': You Owe it to your country

Lack of patriotism in our major sports hit a new low as Mark Cuban made a thought-provoking statement this week, an aberration, perhaps, from his usual asinine remarks.

Wednesday, Cuban’s comments were published in the Dallas Morning News regarding the Olympics and how we, as Americans, are lying to ourselves if we accept them as anything different than another lucrative opportunity.

“I hate the fact that we lie to ourselves and pretend this is about representing country," Cuban told the Dallas Morning News. "It's not. It's about money."

Cuban, who doesn’t want his players to play because of the money he has invested in them, brought up an interesting point that is just simply embarrassing.

As the U.S. basketball team is assembled and NBA players are pulled, scratching and clawing from their posh-multi-million-dollar estates, to make ‘the best’ team in the world, it shows the sad state of our major-sports stars.

The best players in our country have become too good to play for the country that has given them the opportunity to make iniquitous amounts of money. Some cite fear of injury, others give little reason, as Amare Stoudemire and Chauncey Billups did this week, respectively.

And although Cuban is in the middle of this, he is attempting to run an enterprise that he has to pay millions to sustain. Who can blame him for not wanting his players to play when his star: Dirk Nowitzky made over $16 million last year alone, and will by the way play for Germany.

Imagine being invited to play a game you supposedly love, that comes easy to you, and you make vast amounts of money playing, and turning it down. The self-inflicted embarrassment is worse than yawning with satisfaction at the urinal in a crowded bathroom.

Other than a lack of patriotism, this situation is reflective of the how wide the gap between our major sports and the minor sports has become.

While it takes less work and more natural ability to be good at the major sports than say swimming or distance running, the players make more money and yet turn down the opportunity to represent their country; the ultimate goal of a track, swimming or soccer athlete.

And it can all be blamed on one thing: $. Or rather: $$$$$$$.

Capitalism is great, don’t get me wrong and I am happy the players in our major sports are getting their share of the money rather than the times when owners ruled and players had to get second jobs in the off-season.

But the money has become too much and is reflective when our greatest athletes are worth too much, for one reason or another, to play for the country that allowed for their current economic status.
For the first time I’m embarrassed to be a major American sports fan.

When Steve Prefontaine spoke out against the AAU and called for paid athletes to be allowed to compete it was a good solution to allow our best athletes to represent our country.

But now as Pre’s dream is ever apparent and the best athletes ARE asked to represent our country it’s sad to say the best people, they are not.

Another rounds third and heads for home

TODAY, following my routine consisting of walking in the newsroom, grabbing a cup of coffee and today’s paper and sitting down ended with a jolt as I opened to the sports page.

It was Thursday, June 5 and I was sitting here working on one story or another, fielding every few telephone calls as the main line runs through my phone.

I will answer calls running through my phone at least once or twice a day before transferring them on to their intended recipient. This one morning the phone rang and for some ‘reason’ I picked up the phone.

On the other end was, as I was to find out, Betty Chambers. She inquired right off the bat for the sports department, to which I explained they did not come in until the afternoon, brushing her off as another ‘complaining’ customer, that are the majority of my fielded calls.

She questioned the Cincinnati Reds schedule as it was listed in the paper, as she thought they were to play in Florida that day, not in Philadelphia as it was listed.

I assured her, as I knew because of my own allegiance, that indeed the Reds did play the Phillies in the cap to a rare 4-game series.

She proceeded to tell me who she was and that she called every day asking if her beloved Reds were going to be on the radio, 1340 AM in Muncie. Her usual call recipient was Greg Fallon, sports editor, who she said, “didn’t even have to look at the phone to see who was calling and instead just answers: Yeah Betty what do you need?”

I talked to Betty about my own family and the importance of listening to the Reds on the radio. She told me of how she loved to hear Marty Brennaman on the radio, how she missed Joe Nuxhall and how she couldn’t wait to see Ken Griffey Jr. break into the 600 HR club.

“And when they win and Marty say’s: And this one belongs to the Reds, I always say it with him,” she told me.

Well, as you know where this is going, Betty died last night at Westminster Village in Muncie at the age of 81.

As I led with my daily routine the story that caught my attention was a tribute to Betty Chambers written by Greg Fallon, which can be read here.

The Reds lost again last night, as the Dodgers finished up a three-game sweep at Great American Ball Park. And although Betty will go unnoticed by most, including the Reds, she deserves a hero’s honor for following the team she loved these many years.

And as perhaps one of the greatest Reds fans ‘rounded third and headed for home’ I now wonder whether that random answer of the telephone, that rings off the hook, was all that random.

Betty Chambers (1926-2008)

A bit of humor

For a funny story about how the Cubs uniforms are the most quirky of all-time click here.

No poke at Cubs fans, I genuinely thought this was a funny article.


Gay Marriage and Consignment Shops

Your mind can rest at ease now that George Takei is happily married.

Yesterday was the official day that gay couples could tie the knot officially in California.

Of course there has been as much outrage as rejoice from people across the nation but I don't see the problem.

On another topic, consignment shops or used-clothes sellers are seeing an increase in business. Several shop owners are thanking the high-gas prices. That's a first.

Vinyl albums are on the rise and making a comeback and there happens to be a record store in Muncie that specializes in vinyls. Dan's Downtown Records is the name and I think I might stop by after work.

I just found out that Michelle Kinsey that works in the cubicle right next to me is related to Karl Malone. Yes, that Karl Malone. Cool huh?



Today I awoke late and didn't go to the newspaper because my stomach had been bothering and I just figured it would be OK to take the day off.

The theme of my day took a different turn however as I have been interested in learning the secret of making good sushi. I just can't get enough of the stuff and thought I've learned to cook everything else why not sushi.

And before you get that idea in your mind, it is not the raw-fish variety instead a variety where well, I do whatever the heck i want to do with it.

After a brief interview for another job at Isanogel camp, where my sidekick is working, I made my way back to Meijer with the thought of picking up some essentials to making sushi.

I headed directly for the ethnic food aisle and proceeded to look over three different packs of rice attempting to decide which one would work the best. While I was at it I picked up other essentials including rice vinegar, soy sauce, Nori (seaweed paper for wrap), imitation crab meat, frozen spinach and a new knife w/o a serrated edge.

After leaving Meijer I made my way back to the flat/apartment, can't get that out of my lexicon. I went through the processes that I have been reading about for a few weeks that ran as follows:

Rinse 1 cup rice until the water coming off of it is clear
Fill up a pot with 2 cups of water and 2 Tbsp. of rice vinegar and pinch of salt
After letting the rice drain I dump it in the pot and evenly layered it at the bottom of the pan with all of it being fully submerged.
I turned on the heat to simmer/2 and let it sit for about 25 minutes before turning off the heat and letting it sit for another 15 minutes.

After I let it do that I opened up the lid and found the rice to be quite sticky - SUCCESS!

I then took out a layer of Nori, seaweed paper and applied the rice about 1/2 thick on the paper leaving one end of the paper without rice on it.
I then took bacon I had fried and laid it out in the middle before rolling the entire roll up and then slicing it up.

You can put whatever you want in the middle with the rice being the staple but this time i was modest making the bacon roll and one with baby spinach and pastrami.

Its rather easy if you are good at making the rice, which I am. (;

Wish Wash

Yesterday was interesting in that I did almost NOTHING!

Awaking at 8:30 a.m. is not a big thing anywhere but here. I live in a basement if you didn't know and so the amount of light that trickles through the crevices they call windows resembles the amount that creeps into Mammoth cave.

I stumbled to The Star Press at about 9 a.m. without caffeine running through my veins leading to a disillusionment with the world rivaled by only these people.

I plopped at my desk and planned to stay for only three hours. I received an email back from my advisor in London, Dr. Popovich who at this moment is still cleaning out the remains of 30+ years of teaching at Ball State. It was a kind email telling me that he misses London everyday and that it is something WE can only understand fully.

"It is a special time, but probably a time that can only be experienced in a certain way. We certainly are richer for that special time. Just don't let yourself forget to go back."

He also urged me to read an English paper online everyday, as he reads the Daily Telegraph. Talking to him also reminded me of our 'Happy Hour' we used to have at the local Prince Alfred pub, when he would buy nachos for all of us. They were good nachos.

Doing research for stories I ran upon an Iraqi doctor that goes to Ball State and created a prize-winning documentary on the Iraq war and the state of hospitals.

I discovered while drinking the coffee out of a styrofoam cup that it causes cancer just like everything else. At the rate things are causing cancer these days, I figure we'll all be dying of cancer in about 20 years. So much for you heart disease, I'm eating all the cholesterol I want.

I also began looking for a job on journalismjobs.com, and stumbled upon a job of interest in Georgetown, KY.


Here is an interesting column that I heard Paul Daughtery talking about. Had no idea about Bernie Carbo.

And here is an interesting article about Pete Rose and A-Rod and their interestingly close relationship.

The Reds were off yesterday and therefore the pains of losing two out of three to the BoSOX rings in the ears of Reds fans as much as, well maybe not as loud as the Homers that Homer gave up in only 2 1/3 innings in his most recent start.

It's beginning to make me wonder if the scouts got him wrong like Brandon Claussen, Ryan Wagner, Brandon Larsen, like well the list can go on forever for the Reds.

I don't think that the debate over the fifth starter position should be getting the talk that it is in Cincinnati as THAT spot in the rotation is not supposed to be as strong and therefore in my opinion send Homer down, and just let Fogg or Belisle pitch in the fifth spot.

There are worse things the Reds are having to deal with right now is what i'm saying.


Weekend Life

After the astounding weekend I just fleeted from, I think refreshment is in order and I am not finding it at the desk of The Star Press.

However I did have two stories run over the weekend. Not on topics that I expect will excite you but hey, I am not exactly in a position to write about everything that I want, yet.

One is reflective of father's day and another of strawberry season.

The weekend began Thursday night with a slight pause on Friday. But Thursday night I traveled down old 101 to Cincinnati to see our beloved Reds play the hated Cardinals.

I made the trip with my dad but also met friends or I should say colleagues from our Fountain City Baseball League. For those of you unfamiliar, well, who am I kidding no one reads this anyway.

Anyway we met a few of those characters at the front of the stadium before marching in to watch the Reds beat the Cardinals 6 to 2.

Friday morning I arose and traveled back to Muncie to finish my final project for my J315 Media Editing class. And that's all I have to say about that.

That night I watch a bit of the Greece football match on the tele before going to the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner of Mr. and Mrs. McMorrow to be, at the time.

Saturday I woke up and spent the day as I do every other weekend at Reid Hospital scraping and washing trays and dishes and arguing baseball. At night I went to the wedding of Mr. and Mrs. McMorrow.

Sunday I did the same thing as Saturday before NOT going to a wedding and instead heading up to Fountain City to have a father's day cookout with family. This was prior to seeing the commissioner of our league riding a bicycle.


Digital Doldrums

Several media outlets are reporting the coupons issued to recompense the digital converters needed for TV’s transition to all digital, are expiring before people can redeem them.

According to an official at the U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration told a congressional committee yesterday; they need more money to pay for the postage to send out the coupons.

But that is not all. Apparently the coupons are also expiring before people can redeem them because stores are unable to keep the converters in stock because of the tidal wave of consumers to get the converters.

If you need some context, DTV a branch of the Federal Communications Commission has this statement on their website:

On February 17, 2009 all full-power broadcast television stations in the United States will stop broadcasting on analog airwaves and begin broadcasting only in digital. Digital broadcasting will allow stations to offer improved picture and sound quality and additional channels.”


Tomatoes equal Death

Don’t blame the tomatoes.
For those of you out there that are blaming tomatoes as the cause for the salmonella outbreak well you might be right but its really more of a ‘guilty by association’.
The tomatoes that have affected nearly 150 people nationwide carried trace signs of salmonella causing grocery stores, restaurants, and other food vendors to pull their tomatoes.
The FDA has urged people to NOT eat red Roma, red round or red plum tomatoes because of the salmonella that may be on or in them.
Salmonella for those of you not in the know, is a virus borne from animal feces. (poop)
Which makes me think, why not just wash your fruits and veggies. I know some people do, my grandma included, but some people don’t.
I WAS one of those people that didn’t well, in regards to grapes that I bought from the Church Street market in London. That’s London, England, not Kentucky, which may be more of a health hazard town than the latter.
I bought some red grapes and didn’t wash them. Leaving them to sit out all day while festering whatever bacteria it was that affected me grew and grew until the moment that I did eat them, to which I was punished soon after.
This caused a great 48 hours of abdominal thrusts I didn’t pay my trainer for as well as becoming more up-close-and-personal with the porcelain throne that I am now 4,000 miles from.


It's A Boy!

Congrats to one of our most loyal readers!

Congratulations Greyson Zane Blewett for making it to THIS world unscathed. Well, almost.

Anyway, congratulations Heather and Phill and here's hoping we see each other again soon.


Bruce Almighty and The Natural

And yet another amazing chapter in the evolution of the “Jay Bruce story.”

The kid has not stopped since he arrived last week and in his first full week he has a .591 batting average with 13 hits in 22 at-bats, two home runs, three doubles, six RBIs and six walks.

And speaking of good, check out yet another story about Josh Hamilton here, what an incredible story. As the writer says: "The Josh Hamilton story never gets old, even for Josh Hamilton."

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