1. I just had one of those classic "It's raining! No, it's sunny!" moments. This morning, I read this article (subscription required, but who doesn't subscribe to The New Republic?) on Samuel Alito's surprisingly candid testimony before the Senate Judicial Committee yesterday. Then, I came into the office and, passing the copy of the AJC in the reception area, noticed the headline "Alito Tiptoes Around Hot-Button Inquiries". I didn't read the article, but given the mainstream media's desperate attempts to make themselves as vanilla as possible, the article probably expressed shock that he didn't come out and say that Roe v. Wade was a badly-reasoned decision or that the Bush Administration violated the law by authorizing warrant-less wiretaps. For the record, and this ranks up there with "The Hawks and Thrashers were 4-0 this weekend" among topics that I never thought I'd discuss on this blog, I find Supreme Court confirmation hearings to be as much of a waste of time as college basketball polls in January. The hearings are like first dates. The nominees do their best to avoid saying anything definite or controversial, the Senators from the party that doesn't hold the Oval Office throw up their hands, and the nominee gets confirmed (unless he smoked pot at some point in his life.)
2. Have I mentioned that I hate Ticketmaster? Two days ago, I tried to get Rolling Stones tickets and then gave up in a huff because Ticketmaster was charging an $18 "convenience fee" on $160 tickets. Interestingly, I was uneasy, but willing to pay that much money to further Keith Richards' attempts to find the purest opium on the planet, but the $18 fee from Ticketmaster was totally unacceptable. Riddle me this: why would the "convenience fee" be higher for the Stones than it would for the average Braves game, since I'm utilizing the exact same technology? Wait, I just remembered that price reflects supply and demand and has nothing to do with actual cost. Never mind. Anyway, my second gripe is that I tried to order tickets online for the Thrashers game tonight and was offered the worst possible seats in a given price category. I then spoke with someone at the Thrashers' box office and got some of the best seats in that price category. I've had the same experience with Braves games. Ticketmaster generally offers the highest seats as far down the base lines as possible. Why does Ticketmaster try to screw its customers? And better yet, if they have a clear incentive to get me to order online as opposed to speaking to an actual human being who has to be paid wages, why does their computer system try to screw me?
3. Tony Barnhart tapped Ohio State as the pre-season #1 for next year. Thus, we can lump him in with the rest of the chattering classes who think that defense is just some sort of side activity, like sherbert in between courses of a really good meal. The Bucks lose nine starters on defense, including the entire back seven. If they can go unbeaten with an average defense, then more power to 'em, but I'm doubting it.
4. The rumors in Michiganworld are that defensive coordinator Jim Herrmann, the bane of that fan base's existence for years now, has been terminated, that secondary coach Ron English has been elevated to the coordinator position, and that English will employ more aggressive coverage schemes. Having lived through the disastrous 1999 Kevin Ramsey experiment at Georgia (another secondary coach elevated to defensive coordinator,) where their defense became "more aggressive" and thus unable to stop opponents running basic crossing routes, I have a pang of "be careful what you wish for. I still enjoy mentioning the name "Kevin Ramsey" around my Georgia friends and watching them break chairs over bars in response.
5. The Hawks blew another 4th quarter lead last night. Mental block or the result of opponents focusing for five minutes and showing the Hawks' true quality (or lack thereof)?