Tuesday, March 31, 2009

There’s probably not a story in recent times that has hit more hot buttons for me than the story of DPD Officer Robert Powell and his treatment of Ryan Moats in a traffic stop outside the hospital where Moats’s mother-in-law was dying upstairs. Obviously, there are very few if any allies in Powell’s corner right now and rightly so, I believe. But it’s made me think about a few things and why this story hit me so hard personally.

First off, it made me realize how differently I think of things as a young white girl. I think about what I would have done if I were Moats or his wife and I found myself in that situation. Would I even be as likely to be in the situation in the first place being a young white girl? That’s pure speculation on my part but I tend to think I wouldn’t. But even if I was, my brain immediately tells me that I would explain hastily (as the Moats indeed tried to do) that my mother was upstairs taking what were going to be her final breaths and that I had to get upstairs. If for some reason the officer wanted to argue with me about that, he would have to do so as he ran to catch up with me because I would simply take off. It’s my mom and you’d have to Taser me into a smoking pile of obscenities before you stop me from getting to her bedside.

But that’s because I am not of an ethnicity which has faced being shot 41 times by a police officer simply for producing a wallet to supply an ID as was requested by the officer. I am not of an ethnicity which just a few months ago faced having a young man being shot in the back at point blank range and killed while other officers held him down in an Oakland BART transit station. Rodney King was not a young white girl. So what would happen to me if I did run? Clearly Ryan Moats could probably run faster than me but between his respect for the law and fear of disobeying an officer, he didn’t get to his mother-in-law’s hospital room in time. And that both earns he and his wife tremendous respect in my book and breaks my heart.

But the other thing it reminds me of is how many bad examples of the kind of people that go into public safety for all the wrong reasons I have seen in my life compared with the depressingly small number of examples of people who are actually in the game to protect and serve I can recall. I need to preface everything with this: I have some personal connections to law enforcement which gave me, from a very early age, a very grim view of how police departments and cops in general operate. In fact, one of the reasons why I can’t sit through The Wire is a credit to its realism. It might be gritty and wonderful and fascinating to watch for an hour each week if you are an adult but it’s terrifying and depressing and dehumanizing to witness that mentality as a child.

But back to the sort of people who go into this line of work. There’s a Pollyanna deep inside of me that wants to believe that the numbers are not the way I see them to be and that my vision is slightly if not terribly askew. The cops that I have met and known in my life who were good cops were doing their job to help people and to keep them safe. They make me happy. But how many of you have had a run in with or know of the cop who is a cop because of the power trip that they get from that position of power? Whether it was just a traffic stop that went on far too long for a broken taillight or it’s that bully from high school who you find out is one of the boys in blue now, it seems to be a job that is incredibly alluring to a certain type of character. Officer Powell seems to fit this profile. I’m sure he will not mind me profiling him as it seems to be a practice he wholeheartedly endorses.

Many cops that I have known have, after a few years, developed what I consider to be an incredibly dangerous mentality especially considering the whole point of their job. They develop an “us and them” mentality. I don’t mean “cops vs. criminals” or “good guys vs. bad guys”. I mean “cops vs. everyone else” and when I mention this to other people who have family members who are police, they immediately know what I am talking about. There is a kind of secret society/fraternal order that is understandable amongst people who risk their lives every day and never know who could be waiting to shoot them behind a door. But when that attitude carries over into everyone behind the wheel of a car, everyone crossing the street, everyone walking their dog it becomes dangerous. When I was a child, I actually heard a cop who was a family friend allude to this and say something along the lines of “we have to keep the public safe because they’re all too fucking stupid to take care of themselves.”

Now, Darwin Award winners aside, that’s the kind of attitude that terrifies me. That’s not Norman Rockwell’s officer helping a freckle faced child find a puppy. Hell, that’s not even the chuckling officer on Cops asking the cracked-out tranny hooker why she’s wearing two different wigs. That is the cop who thinks he’s God. And that’s the kind of cop who thinks he can “screw over” someone who is clearly (with hospital employees and Plano Police officers corroborating his story) in a hurry to get to the bedside of his dying relative.

I respect anyone who puts their lives at risk every day. And like I said, I want to genuinely believe that the bullies, racists and small men getting off on power trips are the exceptions and not the rule. I would not want to be a cop so I’m glad someone does. But this whole incident has made me remember how apprehensive I am about the ego and power that sometimes is packed tightly into that uniform.

Friday, March 20, 2009

It’s become incredibly popular to dogpile on the failed or failing or at least struggling Victory Park. I was and am completely guilty of that. In fact, I may have called Victory Park “the Dubai of the West” on FrontBurner last month. And I didn’t mean it in a good way. Let me get it all out before I actually try to be positive. The development in the way that it was originally conceived was catering to a very risky clientele. They were gunning for New Money. Old Highland Park Money already had a place to spend their money. They like their Snider Plazas and their Highland Park Village and their Mom and Pop Scots-boosting local merchants. They don’t need glass and steel and neon and awkward, uncomfortable ultra-sleek modern seating to be lured into buying something. Look at some place like Bob’s. The actual storefront of Bob’s is hardly overwhelming or architecturally breathtaking. It doesn’t seem to be hurting business at all. Old Money is stable.

New Money is often based on lines of credit and rounds of fundings and borrowing against future earnings and all kinds of shaky, shadowy funny money. New Money likes glass and steel and Michael Graves furniture and polished concrete floors and feeling extremely urban and cosmopolitan. Never ask to open a bottle of wine at New Money’s loft because they will produce a polished steel corkscrew from Sharper Image that will be a very complicated version of an extremely simple tool and it will make no sense and you will feel stupid for not knowing how to operate it and you will give up on opening your bottle of wine. Victory Park figured that Old Money already knew where they wanted to spend their money but they thought that the young New Money needed a place to spend insane amounts of money on anything and everything, as long as it was a steak dinner or a suit or a pair of distressed jeans. And didn’t New Money want to live where the action was? Well, unfortunately downtown Dallas is deader than a doornail after the sun goes down but at least there’s the AAC with events happening at least half the year, right?

Cue the bottom falling out, the funding drying up, the lines of credit going bye bye and the New Money evaporating pretty quickly. Old Money suffered but I can’t imagine that they felt it as suddenly and as sharply as New Money, who tended to lease and finance things beyond their means much more often. So all businesses suffer. Now if Victory Park had not decided to cater exclusively (and they have said as much with the “KISS concert” quote) to the top 3% of earners in Dallas, they might have been able to tighten the purse strings and cut a few corners and struggle through. But when you let the riff-raff know that they were never welcome in the first place, you never had a shot at staying afloat once your small customer base took a hit. God, did you learn nothing from The Five Man Electrical Band’s anthem “Signs” or the movie “Pretty Woman” guys?

Alright, now for the positive. As tempting as it is for me to refer to the recently announced plans to open several “moderately priced” eateries in Victory Park as an attempt to rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic, I can’t for several reasons. The first one is that I went through a phase where I used that phrase to refer to almost everything and every situation to the point where a friend called me out on it and placed a moratorium on my use of the phrase. But also, I think there COULD be a bright-ish future to Victory Park, provided that some very major changes occur.

As of now, the baby steps towards avoiding complete irrelevance, oblivion and reverting back to an auto wrecking yard entails adding a pizza place, a Thai place and a Hard Rock Café. Umm, I’m not sure about those but I guess it’s a step in the right direction. However, the development company (Hillwood) in charge of Victory Park seems to still be sticking to their “city within a city” concept. Also, much of the conversation swirling around the future of the development centers on the AAC. I think that’s a huge mistake. The AAC should be seen as a happy coincidence but not as the anchor and life-breath of the development. Mavs games, Stars games and concerts are tantamount to only a few hours of foot traffic, at most, on event nights. And the even itself is usually so pricey that, in this economy, parking and tickets and a beer are pretty much all a budget will allow. So I don’t know why the entire AAC crowd is not set aside. Remember that the crowd attending a game are generally not even there during typical retail hours and games end after normal restaurant closing hours?

So that takes us back to this “city within a city” business. First off, that’s not viable because the only people who could afford to live within your self-described city can’t do so anymore and won’t be able to do so in any substantial numbers for the foreseeable future. But even if that were a viable concept, you haven’t built a city within a city. You’ve built the East Springfield that Homer Simpson built when he was indignant over a new area code, complete with walls made of garbage and refuge. Where do your city-within-a-city’s resident’s buy toilet paper? Where do they get their prescriptions filled? It’s 9pm and they want to have a bowl of cereal but they don’t have any milk. Where can one purchase a gallon of milk in the city-within-a-city? Will they have to go to some sort of MilkBar where they will be charged a cover and pay for premium top shelf milk while a DJ pumps out a clumsily-made mash up? I get that Victory Park is for people who love the nightlife but even people who love the nightlife need toothpaste and dishwasher detergent and some magazines.

Giving up on the city within a city concept could be the best thing that could happen for Hillwood and, more importantly, me. I live within 10 minutes of Victory Park. There is only one Target in the immediate downtown area and it’s not so hot. While I am no fan of their schlumptastic couture, Old Navy sells cheap clothes that I can wear to work. The only problem? There’s not a single one south of LBJ. But I understand Victory Park wanting to stay hip and keep its edge. Let me drop a few names on you right now, Hillwood: H&M, Marimekko, Ikea. You mix a few of those with some universal appeal places like Old Navy and you’re starting to cook with oil. You might say that either a) those places are too down market or b) that there are too many low income households in the Dallas/East Dallas/South Dallas area to keep those kinds of businesses afloat. To that I say, a) nothing is more down market than a Hard Fucking Rock Café b) I think that it’s very cynical to believe that low to middle income houses prefer to buy crap. Example: I hear people constantly say that they would love this or that from Ikea but that there is no way they are willing to drive all the way “up there”. So if given a choice between shopping in a litter-strewn Ross or Big Lots to buy a $6 pillow or $10 lamp or shopping in a clean Ikea to buy something comparably priced, I think that Ikea wins each time.

I am just saying this: it seems like you have two options here. You can keep trying to make Victory Park into a self-sustaining upper-middle class residential neighborhood which relies heavily on game nights for increased business and foot traffic. Or you can make Victory Park an actual commercial retail and restaurant development and let people know that even if you don’t live in the neighborhood, there is plenty of shopping and eating and revelry to be had in Victory Park for you. You don’t have to worry about paying for parking unless it’s a game night. All that scary stuff you heard about crime and confusing one-way streets and snotty salespeople and stores that spray vinegar in your eyes and bum toss you out when they realize you don’t make six figures? That’s all gone. We want your money. What little you have, you can spend here and leave with more than a foam finger and a doggie bag. If you live in Lakewood or East Dallas or Bishop Arts and you need some placemats and nice scented candles or maybe a skirt to wear to work, why not come down to Victory Park? Bring your friends and sit down and have a nice lunch for under $10 a head.

The burden is not on the retailers, it’s on Hillwood. They are going to have to beg and grovel for franchises to give them a second chance after originally being the self-proclaimed arbiters of good taste who deemed certain franchises too lowbrow. They are going to have to entice bar owners to open Old Monk and Idle Rich type pubs which encourage people to drink before and after Mavs games and eventually, on nights when there are no games happening. They are going to have to get the word out that the old concept of Victory Park is dead. They are going to essentially have to write a huge, groveling “Take Me Back” card to the city of Dallas to win back business. They are going to have to slash rents for retail spaces dramatically and take a hit for the time being if they stand any chance of not taking the disastrous hit of the whole thing failing and imploding once the development across from NorthPark gets fully up and running.

I am assuming that since I am not in retail and restaurant development or city planning, there is something atrociously wrong or undoable about this idea. I just want to know what it is so I can let go of my hopes of one day being able to go down to Victory Park and stroll around and shop for clothes and housewares and have a nice lunch with my friends. Provided I produce the proper documentation required of non-residential outsiders requesting one-day visitors passes.

A Little Touch of Cobra Clarification on my Nom de Plume

There’s something that’s been bothering me for a little while now and I feel like it is time to address it. I get asked at least a half dozen times a month by people who read this blog why my pen name (blog name?) is Amanda Cobra. More specifically, they ask if it is some reference to the on-air nickname used by Corby Davidson of 1310 The Ticket, a sports radio station here in Dallas for those of you who are not in the area. Corby Davidson goes by the nickname “The Cobra” or “The Snake” or some variation thereof on the air pretty regularly and I guess people have assumed that since I write about sports a lot that I must have decided to in some way co-opt or coattail ride on that nickname. Here’s the story:

When I was 22, my five closest friends and I formed a girl gang/fake band called the Very Very Dangerous Cobras. We would have boys pledge by doing things like scrawling our VVDC gang sign across their abdomens or at the top of ladies bathroom doors at bars across town. One or two may still even be visible to this day in places like the Dubliner. The band never really got off the ground other than some great song titles. I still kind of wish that “Gallons of Lace” and “Stab Stab Stab” and “Five Dollar Lover/Five Dollar Cover (Slight Return)” had come to fruition. But we did start going by our “Cobra” names as a joke. But this also coincided with the Great Social Networking Revolution of 2003-ish. So Friendster came along and then Myspace and frankly, I never really loved the idea of giving over my complete identity to the internet so Amanda Cobra it was. It was just a nickname that stuck and then became the name under which I blogged. All of which sprung from a fake band who all collectively drank Cherry Vodka Sours in pint glasses on a nightly basis. We were all on a race to see who could get diabetes first, I guess.

Fast forward to early 2007. A good friend of mine named Aaron tells me that I should check out this radio station called The Ticket. He says that since I like sports so much, it’s weird that I don’t listen to it. He tells me to listen to the afternoon show called The Hardline. I listen to about 45 minutes of one show and tell Aaron that he has greatly misjudged me. I tell him that I can’t stand The Hardline and I don’t understand anything because it’s all just inside jokes and random disembodied voices coming out of nowhere that say things that don’t really pertain to anything that anyone is talking about. And perhaps most annoying, there is some tool who just keeps interrupting the other guys to mention that he has a flask in his car if anyone wants to have an after-party. Peace out. Aaron told me to not write it off and to stick with it and give it another few days. He also kindly explains what “drops” are to me. With that knowledge and after a few days of slowly being hipped to the inside jokes, I did start to find the show pretty entertaining. I would still get confused from time to time about who was who but Aaron made me a cheat sheet for quick reference (grumpy older guy who likes baseball = Mike/cocky younger guy who always talks about college football = Corby). I like the show a lot now. I thank Aaron for that. But to clear up any future confusion, here’s a cheat sheet for you:

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Confusion, Relief, Crankiness and Then Finally Total Satiation

1. Confusion, you are twitter - So presumably you’re exactly like me. You set up a twitter account months or maybe even a year ago then never touched it again and now you are getting email notices that friends and sometimes strangers are now following your twitter. They’d probably be far more entertained if they followed the vapor trail of passing passenger jets or the Texas Rangers or something. I don’t even remember my password for twitter. Wait, is there a password for twitter? It’s really very passé to be that person who bitches about the newest development on the social networking/blogging/exposing your life on the InterWebs front because ultimately you will give in and learn to use it and then you will compulsively check it and update it and it will become part of your vernacular and you will use the website’s name as a verb one day and it will come spilling very awkwardly from your lips and you will wonder if you just coined the term. You didn’t. Someone has already referred to being “Facebooked” or “twitted” or whatever.

But I am really trying extremely hard to figure out the point of twitter. When I started getting notifications that people were following me, I felt a mild (repeat, mild) pressure to learn what twitter was or at least reset my password. Then, as luck would have it, on Access Hollywood (I only watch crap on TV) yesterday, Billy Bush did a hard-hitting expose on what twitter was. It entailed him asking Julia Roberts to tweet something for the Access Hollywood twitter (“Julia Roberts loves Michelle Obama”). Then Billy told me how ALL the celebrities are on twitter and how I, the Mia Farrow to their Jeff Daniels in this techno Purple Rose of Cairo, can follow their twitters and see what kind of things they think about on a daily basis. For instance, Ashton Kutcher’s twitter (Aplusk) reveals that he needs to hit the gym every day this week because he’s super self-conscious about filming scenes with his shirt off. LOL!

So other than following the guy from Punk’d’s workout routine, why should I Twitter or be tweeted or really invest in finding the point of this whole thing? In doing some research, I have found that “twitter has experienced a substantial growth in popularity in the month of March 2009” which means that there was some big marketing push and that’s why I suddenly am aware of more than just its’ mere existence. But then I found it. I found the reason I must tweeteroo:

At some point yesterday Stephen Fry overtook Kevin Rose to be the most followed individual on twitter.

He's still number 3 overall - above him are Barack Obama, who does not do his own twittering, and CNN Breaking News, which is not an individual user.

So here I come, twitter. Please be gentle with me.

2. Relief, you are me not having to be at South by Southwest this year – The haircuts are swarming in. I can just imagine the scene right now. The tote bags flapping in the breeze. The headbands glistening in the Austin sun. The iPhones being tapped into submission over in the line for the Black Lips show. The absolute ass-beating of an event has begun and you know where I am? 3 hours to the north in Dallas where the sun is out, it is 74 degrees and I had dinner with my friends last night that didn’t involve standing in a flyer-littered street eating pizza off a soggy plate.

I’ve never been called up for jury duty but I assume this is feeling you get when you find out you aren’t going to have to sit on the jury. Combined with the feeling you get when you find out that your positive Hep C test result was just a false positive. Basically, there is no place on earth I would less like to be than in Austin now and no matter how stressful my day at work may get, I can always take a second to remember that I am not standing in a hot parking lot watching 20 year old snotty white kids sing songs about their scene over Macbook beats and I get a rush of energy and enthusiasm. If you want to see me go a slightly jaundiced color, just say the words “Fader Fort” to me. Thank you Music Jesus for allowing me to not have to go to Hipster Hell this year. I owe you one, buddy.

3. Crankiness, you are clearly Morrissey – I got really excited about seeing Morrissey the other night. I was, am and will probably always be a maniacal Smiths fan. I think Morrissey is a probably a horse’s ass but I can’t help but love him. Even Sparks wrote a song called “Lighten Up, Morrissey” then admitted that they loved the guy. Alright, no one needs to hear anyone gush about Morrissey on the internet. I don’t go to shows much anymore. So I thought it would be great to go see Morrissey. My office roomie loves the Smiths too so she and I talked about going to the show. I was really getting worked up.

Then I took the initiative to look up tickets today. First off, I am so out of the loop that I didn’t know if tickets had gone on sale yet. Yes, they did. In January. Because the show is in three weeks. And it is sold out. No big surprise there. But then I start finding tickets on the internet for anywhere from $58 to $283, which is hilarious since the venue is general admission. I am assuming that the $283 tickets come with a Morrissey DNA sample or something. So I start to falter a little. $58 isn’t out of my budget. It’s just money that I could probably spend at Target with much more satisfaction.

I say this because I have seen Morrissey twice and once was pretty good and once was not pretty good at all. So I am taking a $60 gamble on potentially being bored and let down. Add in the fact that his new album sucks. And all but 2 of the past 6 or so that he has put out also fall into that category. Then I think back on that Morrissey show that I saw that was good and why it was good. It, ironically, was at a SXSW a few years ago. Richard Hawley opened which probably had a lot to do with my radiating happiness by the time Morrissey hit the stage. So what was my big mental highlight from Morrissey’s set? “Still Ill”, which was the only Smiths song he did. Wait, I am paying $60 for a chance to hear Morrissey sing approximately 3 to 4 minutes of a Smiths song?

Oh my god, it’s not Morrissey I am wanting to go see. It’s The Smiths. So here’s my math on that. I would be willing to pay up to $40 for one Morrissey-performed Smiths song at the April 10th concert here in Dallas. However, if The Smiths were to reform and play a set of 10 to 12 Smiths songs together, I would still pay $40 a song to see that. So instead of paying $60 to be disappointed, packed into a venue like cattle and bent over and raped monetarily for a lukewarm beer, I will instead save a little money every month to pay $400 – $480 to see The Smiths perform a set at some point in the future. It’s the same price as a SXSW badge and way more satisfying. Ball’s in your court, Steve and Johnny.

4. And finally…total bliss, you are Astro Novelist (TM Amber) – I know that I have just spent a lot of time telling you why music sucks and life sucks and twitter sucks. But it doesn’t. And I know that now because I saw an old friend last night. And when I say “old friend” I mean “a guy who doesn’t know me at all but who I used to go see perform all the time” and that guy is Astronautalis. But due to Amber’s tendency to be easily confused by names and things, he will henceforth be known by her version: Astro Novelist.

Big ups to Slim from the Landing for hipping us to the fact that Mr. Novelist was playing down the street at the Doublewide last night. It turned out to be one of the best shows I have seen in the past year or two. I got out of the music journalist game a long time ago so don’t ask me to tell you why this guy’s a glittering chunk of genius gold. Use Google. It works, I promise. You won’t regret it. We couldn’t stop talking about “Timothy McVeigh cats” after the show last night. I would buy one of everything he had on sale if musicians would remember that I’m not a day laborer or drug dealer and therefore don’t carry cash on me ever. As Philip yelled at the end of the set, “Hooray for music!” Astro Novelist makes me happy crazy about music again. But only for as long as it takes me to check everyone’s SXSW party-related Facebook status updates. And then I am back to the grey zone of apathy leaning towards “meh-ness”. But thank you for that beautiful respite, Astro Novelist.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Due to my aversion to paying $10 a ticket and having to sit in theaters with the poorly behaved movie-going masses, I never see Oscar nominated movies in the theater. So tonight I rented Milk. I knew I wanted to see it even before it was released but my distaste of the theater experience overpowered that desire. But I watched it tonight.

My uncle is gay and is very near and dear to me. He’s the person who bought me books about the pyramids as a kid and jewelry from his far-flung travels as an adult for my birthday. He’s the person who will help me finish off the wine at dinner. He’s the one who eats the skin from the salmon that I won’t eat even though he lectures me about how that’s where a higher concentration of Omega 3 fatty acids are. He’s the only other person in my family who I could successfully get hooked on Mad Men as much as I am hooked on it. Come to think of it, he’s still got my Mad Men box set that I let him take back to Washington DC with him this Christmas.

I wrote a thing about a bizarre experience I had about 7 years ago when I found myself in the uncomfortable position of meeting Anita Bryant face to face on her turf. I don’t know what I ever planned on doing with it but at the time that I wrote it, I kind of wrote it out of an “oh man, this was weird” kind of thing. But after watching Milk, I think it’s probably as good a time as any to post it…

It was my gay uncle of whom I was thinking when I found myself in the surreal position of having to be the lone dissenting voice that stood up to Mrs. Orange Juice Herself, Anita Bryant. Clearly, I had not left the house that day expecting that to happen. A little back story: I unwisely dated a guy named Johnny for a few years when I was in my late teens/early 20’s who was 14 years older and much more messed up than I was. He was a local musician, former junkie, perennial retail worker, jujitsu blackbelt and all-around mess. At some point, had taken to smoking copious amounts of pot and reading the Bible at night. Did I mention that I was 20 and that’s the only excuse I have for tolerating such behavior? After a few months of toking and atoning, he decided to take up a friend’s recommendation of a church. I can’t remember how the actual pitch went but it was very similar when high school guidance counselors try to extol the “extreme” and “bodacious” nature of ACT Prep classes. As a born, baptized and raised Episcopal, this Snowboarding Jesus approach was strange to me. But seeing as how Johnny had read the book already, I figured we might as well go see the movie.

And oh what a spectacle it was. The screens were the right size for Extreme Jesusing. They may have even been in HD. I don’t know because we missed the previews since we had to wait for the tram to take us from our car to the church. That’s not a joke. We had to wait for the God Shuttle because we could only find parking in the economy lot. I have never felt the creepy crawlies run up and down me so fast and so violently as I felt that moment we entered the venue, errrrrr, sanctuary. No, it wasn’t the Holy Spirit taking me over. It was a feeling of shock and disgust. Again, this is from someone raised in and comfortable inside the confines of a church. But this wasn’t a church. This was some sort of time share presentation. I asked where the crosses were as there wasn’t a single one in sight. I was told that the church didn’t believe in displaying the cross as it was a reminder of bad times. Bummer, right? Then the pastor came out. I had never imagined that the spawn of every retired, non-starting NFL player turned used car franchise owner and their catalog model/succubus mate would ever stand before me. But there he was. Pastor Mike.

Pastor Mike introduced himself and started some sort of call and response routine which I never really caught onto. He told us that he wouldn’t be doing one of his trademark, life-changing sermons this Sunday because there was an extra special guest in the house. A God VIP? Here in Club Christ? It must have been my lucky Sabbath.
Pastor Mike starts to build up a good head of steam and launches into his introduction of our extra special guest. He starts by saying that she was once a beauty queen and national celebrity who did not cave to the pressures of the ungodly Hollywood types and stood up for her good Christian values. She even lost some career opportunities just because she stuck to her guns. I had a really bad feeling that I knew to whom he was eluding. But he kept going. “In fact, the ground she stood in the name of her faith was standing up against an ordinance that would force Christian families to have their children taught by open homosexuals and predators.” Cue gasps from the audience, errrrr, congregation. Cue me covering my face with a surprisingly large pledge envelope. “Please welcome our sister in Jesus, Anita Bryant…” and the applause and standing ovations start. Like Robert Altman winning the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award at the Oscars.

I stood up and calmly walked outside and called my mom and then later, my grandmother. I can’t tell you if my laughter was rooted in the absurdity of Anita Bryant receiving a hero’s welcome or if it was one of those laughs that spring from you when you’re watching a Funniest Home Video in which you know that someone is about to do something very bad and very stupid. I am eternally grateful that my family found Anita Bryant’s guest appearance as amusing as I did. Now what to do? I knew that I had no easy access to pies and I had heard rumors that she had become a smidge less homophobic in the past few decades. So I thought I would take a page out of her Good Christian book and write her a short note. I can’t remember what the note said exactly but the main thing that I wanted to convey was the fact that my uncle was not only a gay man but also a music director at his church, a regular participant and donor in various charitable organizations and an incredibly responsible and upstanding member of society. A Good Christian Gay, if she could believe it. I decided that after the service, I would deliver my note to her even though it would mean I would have to wait in the autograph line. Yes, the autograph line.

Johnny rolled his eyes. Yes, the guy whose first, and only, gift to me was a Dead Kennedy’s b-sides mix tape. He thought I was being silly. Clearly, we were not to be the Jessica Tandy/Hume Cronyn of the scene. But I soldiered on in my mission to deliver my note and noticed that Pastor Mike was standing next to Anita Bryant and I was only half a dozen people down the line from my encounter. When I made it up to the front, I shook Anita’s hand and handed her the note telling her, “My uncle is a great man, a Christian and gay. I don’t appreciate that you called my uncle a monster. Jesus probably doesn’t either. Most of the people here today don’t know their history but I do and you are not a Christian, you are a bigot.”

If you ever want to see an autograph line grind to a halt, try that one. Pastor Mike was first to jump in. By putting his arm around me and laughing, exposing his big white ivory tiles that Jesus needed him to have to spread his message. After a moment of Anita Bryant trying to be absolutely sure I was not a process server, she recommended that I read her book which, as Jesus-luck would have it, was for sale in the church’s bookshop and which she would be autographing starting in ten minutes. Pastor Mike made some sort of wink-wink, nudge-nudge motion to Johnny and said something about me being “feisty.”

Johnny and I split up shortly thereafter and he since married a member of the church and, I was told, later burned or destroyed all the secular music and memorabilia that he had collected for over 20 years. I ran into him years ago and while the discussion was extremely uncomfortable, he did give me one good little chuckle. He told me about how Pastor Mike commented about what great servants of the Lord he and his wife had both become and how he was so pleased to see his wife fall in line with the beliefs of the church after initially “causing such a fuss when Anita Bryant came to minister to us.” Johnny had to correct him and I’m sure his wife appreciated the humor of the mix-up greatly. I’m just glad to see I made such an impression on Pastor Mike.

Friday, March 13, 2009

It’s the Worst Holiday Time of the Year

I hate St. Patrick’s Day. With a passion. A really hot, poking passion. There cannot be a worse “holiday” than St. Patrick’s Day. I would rather celebrate a monthly Malaria Day. I would rather make sure to mark my calendar each March 17th with a reminder that I need to watch footage of a Kleenex-boxes-stage Howard Hughes getting a colonic followed by the entire Friends box set than live the nightmare that is St. Patrick’s Day. I really cannot handle St. Patrick’s Day. So instead, I will be going to high tea with my grandmother in North Dallas at 3pm. Here are just a few reasons why:

1. You’re not Irish. Shut up.
2. If you pinch me, you will henceforth refer to that day (via artificial voicebox) as “the day I shouldn’t have pinched that girl”
3. I choose to drink on non-novelty drinking days amongst seasoned adults not fanny pack wearing amateurs
4. Because I choose to do this, I do not have to use Port-a-Pottys and instead can use indoor plumbing and the big girl potty
5. Unless you’ve smuggled in some absinthe, I don’t want your green drink. Wait, who am I, Marilyn Manson? I don’t want absinthe either.
6. You know what’s fun? Having drinks with your friends. You know what’s not fun? Standing in line or pinned up against sweaty strangers like cattle in hot weather or rain. Wait, you’ve combined those two? Great!
7. Seriously, even if you are like 1/56th Irish, you’re really not.
8. You do realize that on 364 other days of the year, you can go up to an Irish bar and though there isn’t a line for drinks, you can just stand and wait for about 15 minutes before you place your drink order and then when you get change from your $5 back (which would never happen on St. Patrick’s Day), you can set the paper money on fire or eat the coins. Every day is like St. Patrick’s Day. I typed that to the tune of “Every Day is Like Sunday” which makes me think that someone should start St. Steven Patrick Morrissey’s Day where we don’t eat meat and everyone is really clever and wears extra large blouses and waves gladiolas over their head in a circular motion. Alright, next year: done.
9. I don’t mean to HARP (pauses for groans) on this but let’s say that your grandmother always told you that your great great great whatever on her side was Irish and came over during the potato famine, you realize that both record keeping at Ellis Island and the verbal genealogical tree laid forth by a kind octogenarian are sketchy at best, right? You’re Irish like the Olive Garden is Italian.

So please, do not get in my way tomorrow. Do not run your car into mine while trying to find your favorite Flogging Molly song on your iPod after a day of drinking green beer by the yard. Do not vomit your Jameson that you couldn’t handle onto the floors and seats of places that I like to relax and hang out with my friends. In fact, why can’t you just roll this one in with Texas-OU weekend? That way, all of “us” (you will know if you are one of us if you are reading this right now and weeping tears of understanding) can get out of town while you puke on each other and taunt the people wearing the other team’s colors or not wearing something green and you all end up making out in a dumpster and then end the night by crying when your favorite Coldplay song comes on at closing time. Then you can leave and we can all come back and file the appropriate insurance claims.

Oscar Wilde to Mavs: Yes, I know that we are in the gutter but some of us, yourselves included, are looking up at the stars or at least the #3 spot.

I am probably not the most optimistic of Mavs fans, possibly because I enjoy watching them even when they are not doing so hot. But to say that my optimism power bars were incredibly low about this West coast four game road trip was low is a huge understatement. There haven’t been any blowouts and Wednesday night’s nail biter against Portland did nothing to calm my fears of the Mavs still being capable of blowing leads in the fourth quarter. But to have started the nailing of Phoenix’s coffin and then to beat the #6 team on back to back nights makes me feel pretty good about my basketball team of choice. But then I look at the playoff standings as of now and I start to get a special, warm feeling.

We are half a game back from Denver and Portland and only one game from New Orleans. A game and a half is all that separates us from the #3 Rockets, who have a testes crusher of a season remaining. That’s absurd. I’ve heard lots of number crunching about the road records against fellow Western conference teams for each of the 8 potential playoff cast members. It gets pretty math-y and stat-y and reading this blog, you know that math-ys and stat-ys are not my strong suit. I just know this: I expect the Mavs to beat Golden State tonight. It’s a combination of entitlement, bitterness and sheer probability and records. I do not expect the Mavs to beat the Lakers. I would like to not get blown out but I am not even holding my breath for that. All I want at this point is to come back home with a 3-1 result from this road trip.

And now to my favorite thing in the world: the Eastern (WNBA-esque) conference. I just can never wrap my head around it. If the playoffs happened today, it would be weird because it’s only the middle of March. But also, if the playoffs happened today, there is one Eastern conference team who would make the playoffs with a record under .500. That’s amazing to me. All it would take is one more 76ers loss to make that two teams. Blows my mind. In the West, the Lakers have put a great distance between themselves and everyone else. Eight and a half games to be exact. But from the Spurs downwards, there is never more than a two game differential between teams in the remaining 7 spots. In the Eastern conference, the #3 and #4 teams (Orlando and Atlanta, respectively) are separated by TEN AND A HALF GAMES. Wow.

Finally, related to nothing I just talked about, I am annoyed that Dwanye Wadye (I get to spell it however I like) is ESPN’s hot tip for MVP. Really? If there is a God in heaven, a drop of the milk of human kindness left in the universe, a prayer for peace in our time, a flickering ember of hope for justice then the MVP will go to Chris Paul. I love Chris Paul. Even when he beats us. Scratch that, even when he beats us up until we are nearly unconscious, pulls our pants down and finishes us off with a swirlie in the handicapped stall, I love him. I would watch him play tether ball while he talked on his cell phone. I would probably watch him fill out a bank deposit slip and wait in line to deposit a check his grandma sent him for his birthday. I would watch him spend an afternoon in the off-season gathering receipts to take to the accountant who does his taxes. I would watch him sit on his couch and try to get a piece of a popcorn kernel out of his teeth that’s been stuck there for an hour. Fuck it, I would start a blog called thingsiwouldwatchchrispauldo.blogspot.com. And in case you are curious, #1 is play basketball followed quickly thereafter by #2 which is to watch him beat Dwayene Wayede for the MVP this year.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Champagne Wishes and Dishwasher Dreams

(Currently listed at $950 a month, this 1 bedroom/1 bath charmer on Goliad is close to public transportation and the new Whole Foods! Tennant pays all utilities including malaria-preventing mosquito netting costs.)

I am looking for a new place to move. My problems with my current place have been well documented in this blog. Let’s just say that I miss Lakewood and living on the edge of Uptown ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Now I am the first to admit two things: a) I have a very low standard of living and b) I have been incredibly lucky in the past with finding extremely cheap places to live. But I have become borderline obsessed with what I perceive as the next big leap up the food chain for me in my 28th year of living on this planet. I want a dishwasher and/or a washer and dryer. I am not kidding.

Just thinking about what it would be like to be able to just put dishes into a machine that washes them for you and not potentially gash your finger open and almost require stitches when a soapy glass tumbler slips and becomes an impromptu scalpel makes me all giddy. The thought of being able to do laundry ANY TIME is like thinking about having my own private plane and pilot which I could command to take me on late night runs to In-n-Out Burger on a whim. I thought about what it would be like to have an ice-maker the other day while looking at apartments, none of which were in my price range. The only way I can describe what the thought of an ice-maker felt like would be like if you took every “getting married in a white chapel in a beautiful gown to the handsomest man in the world” montage from any movie but instead of a handsome groom, it would be a device that makes ice by itself and doesn’t require you to constantly refill trays with tap water.

Now remember that I grew up pretty poor so not having these things isn’t like a daily struggle. I wash my dishes by hand. I save up quarters to do laundry throughout the week. I try to go on ice cube making sprees a few times a week to ensure I don’t run out unexpectedly. But just to think about the luxury of not having to do those things makes me swoon. So here’s my quandary: when did those things become so expensive? I have been driving around the area of town I have lived in, other than this recent foray into slumming Uptownism, ever since I was 18. I drove around Lower Greenville/Lakewood assuming I would just copy down the numbers of the crappiest places I could find and one of them would be in my price range and if one of those places had a dishwasher, well wa-hey! I drove around for hours copying down numbers and descriptions. Then I called those numbers. Then I sat on my couch and stared at the wall and realized that I might have to live in a cardboard box under Trinity River bridge for the rest of my adult life.

The guideline that I have read about all these places is that: “As a guideline, your monthly net income should be at least 3 to 4 times the rental amount.” So let’s say that you should make (net per month) three times what you pay in rent a month to be able to afford to live in a place. Well, I have yet to find even the darkest, dankest, dreariest near-teardown (with no dishwasher, natch) for less than $700 a month before bills. So you’re telling me that someone needs to be making $30,000 a year to afford the cheapest one bedroom apartment in Lakewood? When did this happen? When will I ever be able to have a dishwasher or a washing machine?

I always love when I am moving somewhere and people tell me about places on their street that look “cute” or “affordable” or “decent” or “updated” and then I find out what the place is renting for a month and wonder if my friend is under the impression that I am hooking on the side or something. I also like it when people ask me things like “how big a place are you looking for?” or “do you mind if it needs a little work?” To answer that and any other questions, let me introduce you to Amanda’s Criteria for Renting an Apartment:

1. Bugs must be of a species that can be killed with either a can of poisonous spray or a shoe or combination thereof.
2. If wiring is old and an event occurs (as it has in previous apartments) where I unplug an alarm clock and flames lick out of the outlet, singe the wall and char the bottom of the curtains hanging above the outlet, I would like to be able to get the outlet fixed in the next calendar month if possible.
3. I need whatever amount of room that is in my price range. I didn’t pay for any of my furniture so if it doesn’t fit, I can just leave it on my porch until someone steals it or the neighbors follow suit and we rename our street Little Denton.

In all seriousnessosity, I am really starting to get very frustrated by the whole experience. I understand that cohabitation with either a significant other or a roommate is one way to be able to afford such outrageous luxuries as a dishwasher or other automated appliances. But I like living by myself. Scratch that, I have to live by myself. I cannot ever see myself having a roommate again as it is always a recipe for disaster. So what is one to do? The only answer, fiscally speaking, that I have found is “move to Arlington” which I just can’t see myself doing. Where are all the deathtrap duplexes with amateur-installed garbage disposals and jimmyrigged water heaters that were so prevalent only a few years ago? I miss those places and their dummy smoke detectors. Because if $900 a month is the new median rent price for an aging shitbox of an abode these days, please forward all correspondence to my new address at:

Amanda Cobra
1 Honda Accord Place
Dallas, TX Depends

People’s Temple Basketball Project

Full disclosure here: I have always had weird fascinations with bizarre cults. Mostly because it is so beyond me how anyone can give up their own sense of self and their own free thought to follow any kind of guru. When I was in junior high, I read Helter Skelter dozens of times, trying to wrap my head around why young girls would commit horrendous murders all in the name of a very lackluster musician and con artist named Charles Manson. Boggles the mind. I think I have blogged about my favorite book when I was a kid but I will bring it up again. I used to read this book obsessively as a kid:

And while reading it as a pre-teen, I came across Jonestown. Yet another unfathomable case of seemingly sensible people going to extremes normally reserved for people who also write on walls in their own feces just because they have fallen under the spell of a charismatic leader. I stuffed my DVD queue full of American Experience discs a few weeks ago to catch up on many that I have missed. Last night, I had two hours to kill before the Mavs-Suns tipped off and the American Experience documentary on Jonestown had arrived.

Now bear in mind that I was already pretty familiar with the details of Jonestown and the People’s Temple. But an hour after putting this DVD in, I sat on my couch with my jaw agape. My poor mother, bless her. She’s a history teacher who lived through the 60’s and 70’s and also teaches psychology so clearly she gets to be the person I call after watching this documentary. What followed was a 45 minute conversation that went from Okinawa to textile-producing Utopian communities in New England in the 1800’s to the problem with the flexibility of the modern application of the term “socialism” to how great TV is.

And here’s the conclusion I came to: I am either not enlightened enough, have become too spoiled, am too lazy or am too spiritually bankrupt to see anything worthwhile in the kind of pursuits and ideals that ultimately led those 909 people to drink the Kool Aid. And this is obviously not a condemnation of those people who fell prey to Jim Jones. As my mom pointed out, a huge factor was the spirit of the times and the feeling alternately of revolution and oppression and upheaval none of which I experienced as I had not been born and stuff. But if the pitch you are giving me is “Come with me to the hot, sweaty ass jungles of Guyana where you will work in the fields doing hard labor picking crops each day. But don’t worry because at the end of the day, you will return to your shack where there will be no televisions, no newspapers, no radio, only the sound of my delusional ravings over the loudspeaker 24 hours a day. Who’s in?” I guess I should feel ashamed that my desire to become spiritually enlightened is not greater than my hatred of manual labor. But that’s just the way it is. The only cult I subscribe to is the cult of Dallas sports franchises who cannot string together anything more than first round playoff exits.

Which leads me to last night’s Mavs game. I was pretty sure that I had primed myself for watching mass basketball suicide by watching the Jonestown documentary before the Suns-Mavs game last night. Even by halftime, I wondered if I was going to have to declare JJ Barea the new Savior of the Mavs considering he lead the team in scoring at the half with 14. But somehow, in some great show of apostolic athleticism and despite the Suns (well, Nash and Barnes) repeatedly scoring in 5 seconds or less in the final minute and a half of the game, the Mavs hung on and beat the Suns. That means that they are 5 games ahead of the Suns and only half a game behind the #7 Nuggets. Tonight they play Portland who, because I am too lazy not only to go live in a jungle and tend to banana crops in the hot sun but also to go check the Western Conference standings right now, are the 5th seed but only a game and a half ahead of the Mavs. I think. I can only hope that the mailman brings me yet another completely depressing American Experience documentary today to kill the two hours between The Simpsons and the Mavs game. Perhaps even one about Pompeii, just in case the Mavs get buried alive by the Trailblazers tonight.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Alright Cubes...

Might be time to issue a few more threats. No reason for this spanking I am witnessing right now. And I am not hanging out at the Lizard Lounge or anything.

Rebounds? Taking shots you have a snowball's chance in hell of making?

You are murdering my soul, Mavs. You have three minutes left in the game. Let's just try to keep this one out of the oh-so-crowded "Embarassing Mavs Losses" column. Please.

Best Day Ever-ish

Today is a day I will tell my grandchildren about. It’s the day I woke up to a Terrell Owens and Roy Williams (the horse collar-y one)-free Cowboys and a Mavs team who can look in the mirror and confidently say, “We split the series with San Antonio this season.” Yep, mediocrity reigns supreme in this title draught city. But I am still going to celebrate. And I will celebrate the only way I know how. By blogging out hypothetical scenarios of hanging out with infamous local/Texas sports figures.

A commenter on my blog of a highly anonymous nature asked this highly important question of me:

Anonymous said...
Amanda, I have a question I have been meaning to ask you...if you had one night, to party one on one with one of the following, who would you choose:

A) Pacman Jones
B) Tony Romo
C) Tony Parker

I have thought about this and come up with a short list of pros and cons for each scenario.

Pacman Jones:

Pros –
1. Always plenty of strong bodyguards around to open tightly sealed jars of jam, jellies or other condiments
2. Legs and Eggs buffet
3. No shortage of dollar bills for the vending machine at work the next day

Cons –
1. Potential bodily harm
2. Stomaching the smell of peachberry body splash
3. Waking up early to show up for your deposition

Tony Romo:
(Josh kindly already pointed to the fact that pro or con, if I chose Tony Romo it would mean I would get to hang with Pete Wentz. OMGLOLZ!)

Pros –
1. Totally the kind of guy that will promise to help you move while you are out drinking but would actually show up the next morning to help. And would bring breakfast tacos and coffee.
2. Would think all your jokes are really funny except the mean ones
3. Could probably just dock his iPod at a family barbeque and hit random and not sweat it for the rest of the day

Cons –
1. So addicted to Good Samaritanism that he distracts you then flings you into oncoming traffic just so he can rescue you
2. You feel bad about swearing around him
3. You would have to find a way to resist punching him in the face when he starts talking about how there’s more to life than football and winning a championship will not make him a better person

Tony Parker:

Pros –
1. Wow. Jesus, this one is hard. I really find Tony Parker very annoying. Ummm, what if he put scotch tape over his nose to make it look like a pig’s nose and crawled around the floor of the Ghostbar (because I am assuming that’s where we will be hanging out) shouting, “I am looking for ze truffles! I must find ze truffles!”?
2. Live, a capella version of "Balance-toi",
3. Getting good, juicy behind-the-scenes gossip about “Over Her Dead Body”

Cons –
1. Eva Longoria
2. Tony Parker
3. The fact that he probably wouldn’t do the truffle thing

But in all seriousness (well, not really), the Cowboys have 20 million dollars to play with in the free agency and the draft. The Suns lost to Miami last night, play Houston on Friday and the Spurs on Sunday. There’s nothing that can or needs to be said about Terrell Owens that hasn’t been said already. So instead I will quote a guy I sat next to at a Mavs game two months ago. This man was in town from Philadelphia on business. He said I seemed like I knew the game pretty well and was pretty into it. I said I was. He said he was more of a football man. I said I was also a football fan. The next thing he said was, “So do you support Jerry holding onto T.O. or do you want him gone?” I glared at my new friend. He laughed. Then he said the sweetest, softest words that any man has ever said to me…

“Don’t worry, he won’t be around next year. And then you’ll feel that feeling we all got to experience in Philly. The liberating feeling of knowing that Terrell Owens is someone else’s problem now.”

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Now That's What I Call Improvement!

Mavs beat the Spurs and the Cowboys cut T.O.

I might be late to work tomorrow.

Mark Cuban is Angry, the Mavs Are in Trouble and I am Hungry

That other Mavs blogger in town, Mark Cuban, is apparently just as gutted about the Mavs embarrassing loss to the Oklahoma City Really, They Have a Franchise? as I was the other night. The only difference is, whereas the only recourse I have is to write a snarky blog entry about how the Mavs are really screwing the pooch, he has the actual ability to issue threats to the job security of underperforming players. While I would love to think that Devean George gets really ashamed of himself when I blog about his team’s poor performance in a game against a team that some people (including my friend Kris) expressed surprise at the news that not only had they beaten the Mavs but that they actually existed, I don’t think the Mavs are subscribing to my blog. Mark Cuban usually is the first person to offer reassurances (to put it kindly) or excuses (to put it bluntly) for the Mavs blown games. So you know it’s bad when Cuban issues a warning to the team that players that aren’t performing well might not want to shell out on that gold-plated plasma TV anytime soon.

Listen, it could all be empty talk. Unfortunately, there’s no way to take a team back to the NBA store and ask for an exchange. This isn’t like Scrabble where you can lose a turn and trade in all your letters for better ones. We are stuck with the Q’s and no U’s for the time being. Not that I don’t think that this team has a lot of promise and could, should they remove their collective heads from their collectively overpaid asses, make a decent run in the playoffs. But there’s some sense of complacency and “meh”-ness about this year’s Mavs that infuriates and frustrates me. To be so close to the huge moral victory of beating the Celtics and then let that slip away in the final two minutes? That should have been like a bloody steak in front of a pack of pit bulls. Instead, the Mavs treated it with an “well, at least we tried and gee we sure did get close to beating them” attitude.

And since my blog and every sports fan in Dallas has been using any opportunity to take potshots at Jerry Jones for the purple nurple that was this past Cowboys season and the apparent lack of change in the organization, I will use this as an opportunity to take one more potshot at Jerry Jones. Even if Cuban’s threats are mostly empty. Even if the Mavs see Cuban’s comments as the angry rants of an annoyed boss who will probably forget all about it in a day or two. Even if it’s just a front to appease angry fans who feel like there’s no accountability, it’s something. When I hear Dirk Nowitzki say, “At this point, we don’t really deserve to be in the playoffs but we’ll see what we can do in the next 20 games”, it makes me wish I had Tony Romo’s email address. Contriteness, Tones? Ur doing it rong.

I can’t imagine the Mavs playing dominoes on the plane back from Oklahoma City. I imagine the glum factor was a little higher on that team plane despite it being nowhere near as important a game as, say, a must-win game against a team rival which will propel one of the teams into the playoffs and will end the season of the other team. Jerry Jones, you see how this works? When shit hits the fan and the team is not playing how they should and people blow off practices and team meetings, you fine them. Or at least threaten them. You are the owner and you need to be feared. You want your players to trust you to an extent but more importantly, you want them to fear you just a little. You are their boss. You aren’t going to be the Momma Young to their Vince Young. You are going to call them out. You are going to side with the fans when they are angrily camped at the gates demanding to know why the team isn’t taking the very real prospect of not making the playoffs seriously.

Tonight’s game against San Antonio has taken on a little more meaning to me. Not just because I take any opportunity I can to root for an Andy Dick-level meltdown of the hated Spurs but also because I want to see a Mavs team that look like they know there’s a better than 50% chance that if they blow tonight’s game, they could wake up with a bloody horse head in their beds. I want Mafia-payback level fear from this team. I think it’s the only thing that is going to get us into the playoffs this season. I want the Mavs to live in a nightmarish, Saw-like world of professional uncertainty until they can do things like not lose to Oklahoma Fucking City.

Now for some hummus.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Mr. Hollinger's Opus

So Old Man Hollinger has given us his statistical chances for each team in the NBA to make the playoffs. I could just as easily clink on the link on ESPN called “Hollinger: How it works” but that would rob me of my basic civil right as a sports fan to bitch about bias and agendas and underdoggery.

In the photo above, I have broken down the Western Conference minus the teams that have already taken an early vacation and are allowing shaved inhabitants of the local zoo to dress out for the rest of the season. The only three teams I really care about are us, New Orleans and Phoenix. But what I would probably understand in a matter of minutes if I just clicked on the link about how this whole Hollinger thing works, confuses me since I refuse to read directions to anything. How can the Hornets, with just one more win and two less losses (though one would imagine that with 5 wins in a row, that number could drop back down to one game soon-ish) than the Mavs be statistically 24% more likely to make the playoffs. I get that it means that Dallas and Phoenix are going to be busy battling it out for that #8 slot, therefore pretty much guaranteeing the Hornets a playoff berth. But still. It just looks weird to me.

Alright, let’s cut the small talk. I am worried. I am a worried little Mavs fan. Steve Nash will be back within the next few games. Shaq seems to have re-acquired his genie powers and the Suns just beat the Lakers on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Mavs needed overtime to beat the Oklahoma City Big Lots Cashiers last week and last night, could not physically stop themselves from turning it over to the OKCBLC.

I’m trying to be optimistic. I am trying to see the t-shirt cannon as half full. But it’s hard, man. I’ve got no Cowboys hope for this coming season because our most exciting move so far in the off-season is getting John Kitna. You know, 36-year old guy who went on IR in Week 5 last season? The guy who spent his past two seasons with the Detroit Lions? Yeah, that guy. I’ve got no Stars. Mostly because I don’t follow hockey but also because the Stars don’t seem to be destined for the playoffs this year. You know what that means, right?