Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Boy Who Lived

I have an empty feeling inside of me, having just finished the seventh and final installment of J.K. Rowling's epic Harry Potter series. First off, the final book is by far the best, tying together all the loose ends created beforehand. You know you have seen a really good movie (or 24 episode) when the complicated plot comes together towards the end, and it all clicks in your mind as you go "Ohhhh, I get it!" THAT feeling is what occurs during Deathly Hallows, particularly in the chapter where Harry looks back into the past. I can only hope that the last movie does justice to the wealth of great action scenes.

Everyone loves the great characters of Harry, Ron, and Hermione. But the brilliance of the genius, yet far from flawless, Dumbledore plays a rather large role in a story in which he is dead (or is he!? You had to love innocent Ron throwing the idea out there every few chapters or so that maybe Dumbledore is not dead, only to be shot down by a frustrated Harry or Hermione). For better or for worse, the numerous soap opera relationships took a backseat to the main storyline, but you had to love the whole Ginny situation, especially how she boldly cuts short the awkward return of Cho. Rowling even manages to make the reader feel sympathetic towards the deep characters of the Malfoys and Severus Snape, perhaps the only figure more hated then Voldemort himself.

The emotions created by this book is second only to the Bible. Speaking of which, the parallels between Potter and Christianity should not go unnoticed. Although Rowling quietly omitted religious references during weddings, births, deaths, funerals, and the characters never thought about praying in all of their dangerous and near-death experiences, there are some subtle references to the Good Book that the average reader will not notice. When Harry visits his parents' graves, he reads: "The last enemy to be destroyed is death" on the headstone. Those words were originally written by the Apostle Paul in his first letter to the church of Corinth (15:26). If the Potter family being a Christian one is not enough, the tombstone of the Dumbledore family reads, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." These are the words of Jesus Christ during the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:21).

In his now widely spread article, Jeffrey Weiss points out how "Harry believes that only his demise will save his friends. Like his mother, Harry is willing to choose that death without fighting. The final battle includes death and resurrection, spiritual power carried by blood, and an apparent total loss followed by ultimate victory. Distinctly Christian? I'd say so."

As for all the press that the Harry Potter saga has gotten for its supposed immoral themes, such as blatant witchcraft and defiance of elders and authority figures, conservative Christians, including myself, need to relax and back off. There are actually quite a lot of good morals that children can learn from reading these books. Besides, there are tons of far worse entertainment venues out there that simply should not be.

Rowling has made it clear that this is the end for the Harry Potter saga. However, everyone knows that money makes the world go around, and with such an enormously profitable franchise, do not be surprised if Potter makes another triumphant return. Even if Rowling herself refuses to do it, think about the potential spinoffs that someone else could work up once they slither around legal barriers. The epilogue alone hinted at a whole another adventure for the next generation of Hogwarts teenagers. Imagine the possibilities of the appropriately named children building upon their parents' and grandparents' adventures going forward? Speaking of grandparents, the story could also steal an idea from the just as epic Star Wars franchise and go back into the past! The world loved learning how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader, so why not do the same for Tom Riddle and Lord Voldemort? Some of the books merely grazed upon the tip of icebergs such as the developments of the Riddle and Dumbledore families. I want to know how exactly did James and Lily end up together, and what role did Sirius Black and Severus Snape play during their years together at Hogwarts. There is an action-packed chick flick waiting to happen. Imagine the loads of books and movies that can be created from the Potter universe, just on a different point on its timeline.

Forgive me for sounding like a boasting Slytherin, but when something of the sort comes out decades from now, remember that I called it long ago.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Justin and Jessica(s)

Forget Jessica Biel, Justin Timberlake has just signed on with Mike Myers to join the cast of The Love Guru, in which the man who brought sexy back will play a LA Kings hockey (!?) player who falls for his team's owner, played by the lovely Jessica Alba (!), a woman who has proven to be scientifically hot.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


No, President Bush is not cheering about Iraq being compared to Vietnam, but rather his Texas Rangers putting up a football type score, routing the Baltimore Orioles in the first game of a doubleheader:

The 30 runs were the most in the Major Leagues since the 19th century and set a new American League record.

The most runs scored in a Major League game was 36 by the Chicago Colts (now the Cubs) against Louisville in the National League in 1897.

The Rangers completed the sweep in Game 2 with a 9-7 victory, and set a new American League record for most runs in a doubleheader with 39. The old record was 36 set by the Detroit Tigers against the St. Louis Browns on Aug. 14, 1937.

The 49 total bases on 21 singles, two doubles and six home runs was also another single-game club record.

Monday, August 20, 2007

NFL Jokes

So I finally put down the Xbox 360 controller to take a break from Madden, and stumbled upon this hilarious article on's timesucking entertainment section known as Page 2. Note that in order to understand most of the jokes, one needs to be quite well informed in regards to football news.

Among some of my favorites:

The first week of camp was spent convincing new head coach Cam Cameron that his playbook consisting of 450 pages of the words "Give the ball to LaDainian Tomlinson" would not work well for the Dolphins.

Cincinnati's defensive line will be harder to penetrate this season as all of them are shackled together.

Peyton Manning missed a day of camp to film an eBay commercial in which he attempts to sell his brother Eli to another family.

Vince Young just punched his agent for talking him into the Madden cover.

Coaches say new Broncos running back Travis Henry has all the tools necessary to thrive in Denver's system. He has legs. And also arms, a torso and a head.

Players who have finished reading Al Saunders' 700-page playbook were shocked to discover that Harry Potter dies at the end.

On the first day of camp, Lovie Smith became the first black coach to open a training camp after losing the Super Bowl.

Brett Favre and his receivers spent much of camp working on timing patterns in which Favre heaves the ball wildly down the field and his receivers try to pull it out of the air just before the defense intercepts it.

The Saints worked hard on a new ball-control, clock-eating offense, consisting mainly of one play in which Reggie Bush runs around and around in circles for two minutes, ultimately gaining just a single yard.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Women or Dogs?

“It’s really a sad day in this country when somehow Michael Vick would have been better off raping a woman if you look at the outcry of what happened. Had he done that, he probably would have been suspended for four games and he’d be back on the field.”

- Pittsburgh sports reporter Paul Zeise, who took a lot of heat, lost his job, apologized, but whose career (ironically like Vick's) is forever in the dumps because of the above comment.

Zeise's harsh comments and this MSNBC column got me thinking though, would Vick indeed have been better off committing other heinous crimes instead? Hundreds of professional athletes are consistently getting off on a wide variety of criminal charges, including rape and assault. The highest profile one, of course is Kobe Bryant, who has recovered to regain his status as one of the top icons in all of sports. Kobe's No.24 jersey was the top selling NBA jersey of this past 2006-07 season, topping Wade and Lebron.

While every situation is unique and different, media analyst Steve Adubato points out that "Unfortunately, women who are the victims of domestic violence are sometimes not seen as legitimate victims. Dogs have no free will and are brought into this sickening so-called “sport” and trained to kill and ultimately even be killed themselves if their owners no longer see value in them. For some people, the dogs Michael Vick allegedly tortured are seen more bona fide victims than a woman potentially beaten by a professional athlete. Sick but true.

"Let’s face it, many Americans may not have been overly shocked if Vick had been accused of beating up a woman he’s emotionally involved with. Not because it’s not a horrific act, but rather because we in the media, as well as the American public, have become somewhat desensitized to such a story."

There is no doubt that what Vick may have been involved in is definitely wrong. As a high-profile celebrity-athlete, the media circus surrounding Vick is completely understandable and expected. But let us not forget the countless acts of shameless men who have no respect for women.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Business in Seattle

Everyone keeps on grilling me on the situation in Seattle, namely the blowup of the Sonics' roster and clear intention to rebuild around Kevin Durant and Jeff Green (younger/cheaper/unknown potential) instead of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis (older/expensive/lack of defense).

I stumbled upon a column by Sam Smith with some great points about the understandable intentions of the new Sonics administration:

It's a franchise’s nuclear meltdown, which can only send one message to the people of Seattle: OK, you wouldn't build us an arena. Fine, we're blowing this thing up so when we move we're going to have a young attractive core of talent to sell to our new community.

In sports, it is easier to "save money and offer a stripped down product, which is the way the Clippers always made money" than spend a lot of money and contend for a championship to make large profits.

Remember, at the end of the day, the NBA is simply a business. Just like nearly every other aspect of life, it all comes down to the mighty dollar.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Monday, August 06, 2007

Who's Now

ESPN's SportsCenter feature finally came to an end this past weekend, as Lebron James lost out to Tiger Woods in the voting competition essentially set up for the golfing living legend to win:
  • earned an estimated $100 million in winning and endorsements just in the year 2006.
  • more wins on the PGA tour than any active golfer
  • held the number one position in the world rankings for the most consecutive weeks and greatest total number of weeks
  • credited with attracting a variety of races to the game of golf because of his multiethnic background
  • doubled golf's attendance and television ratings sparking a major surge of interest in the game

If that is not "now," then who knows what is?

Ten years ago, Michael Jordan would have easily won this. Ten years from now, it may very well be Lebron James. But right NOW, a debate such as this ends with Eldrick Tiger Woods.

Bonds vs Costas

As Barry Bonds ties Hank Aaron with home run number 755, his verbal feud throught the press with Bob Costas (he knows everything!) continues:

Costas on Bonds: "I think reasonable people conclude that while he'd be a near-unanimous first-ballot Hall of Famer, he wouldn't be approaching the lifetime record without something that is inauthentic in the mix."

Bonds on Costas: "a little midget man who absolutely knows [nothing] about baseball, who never played the game before."

Costas: "as anyone can plainly see I'm 5-6 ½ and a strapping 150. And unlike some people, I came by all of it naturally."

What a witty genius!

Press releases are rarely all that interesting, but take a look at the selection of words MLB commissioner Bud Selig used in regards to Bonds' tainted accomplishment:

"Congratulations to Barry Bonds as he ties Major League Baseball's home run record. No matter what anybody thinks of the controversy surrounding this event, Mr. Bonds' achievement is noteworthy and remarkable.

"As I said previously, out of respect for the tradition of the game, the magnitude of the record and the fact that all citizens in this country are innocent until proven guilty, either I or a representative of my office will attend the next few games and make every attempt to observe the breaking of the all-time home run record."

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Look at the Schedule!

As my main man Woody Paige loves to say, LOOK AT THE SCHEDULE! While the NBA's longer schedule pales in comparison to the significance of the NFL's, the placement of intriguing matchups on the calendar is certainly quite interesting, especially during the usually slow news days of summer.

Tuesday October 30 is the TNT's Tip-Off doubleheader, featuring the revamped Portland TrailBlazers at San Antonio for the Spurs' ring ceremony, followed by the Houston Rockets at the Los Angeles Lakers.

The NBA listened to my advice in booking D-Wade versus Lebron for ABC's Christmas Day annual debut. That will be followed by the Suns visiting the Lakers, and then we shall switch over to ESPN for Durant at Oden for the nightcap.

Other early notes that caught my eye on the initial glance at the schedule:
  • The first few games of Oden and Durant are all on national television, including three out their four meetings against each other. Seattle gets seven total appearances on ESPN and TNT combined, while Portland has eleven.
  • Not suprisingly, the Boston Celtics also made a big leap in national television appearances with ten.
  • It will be interesting to see how the Miami Heat open up after a horrific first round sweep. Does Shaq come in out of shape as usual or storm back pissed off with a statement to make? Big early tests when they open up against Detroit (11/1 on TNT) then visit San Antonio the next week (11/7 on ESPN)
  • Rashard Lewis returns to Seattle November 28 on NBATV.
  • Ray Allen returns to Seattle December 27 on TNT.
  • They each drop 50 on Durant, by the way.
  • Cleveland at Miami highlights a TNT triple header on Martin Luther King Day.
  • Dallas at Phoenix on Valentine's Day. Uh oh. Remember what a show these two high scoring clubs put on when on the same court? Hmm, decisions, decisions...
  • All-Star Weekend in New Orleans - February 15-17, 2008
  • As the NBA's longest tenured broadcast partner, TNT continues to get the best matchups as practically every Thursday night will feature a couple great matchups with a bunch of stars.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Boston Three Party

While they are calling for Kevin McHale's head in Minnesota, Boston has quickly reembraced their beloved Celtics. ESPN: To clinch his Tuesday trade to the Boston Celtics, Kevin Garnett agreed to a three-year contract extension worth just over $51 million. By extending his current contract and eliminating the early termination option that would have allowed him to be a free agent after next season, Garnett also earned $8.8 million in trade bonuses that will be spread out evenly over the next five seasons, taking the value of the extension to $60 million. Garnett, 31, was eligible for a three-year extension worth nearly $90 million including trade bonuses.

Meanwhile, the New York Daily News reports:
The NBA is fouling out with fans over a referee gambling scandal, a nationwide survey reveals. A stunning 61% of pro basketball fans suspect that ref Tim Donaghy, who is being investigated by the feds, isn't the only corrupt NBA official, the new Zogby Poll reveals. The online survey of 7,362 people conducted July 27-30 confirms NBA Commissioner David Stern's biggest fear that the sacred trust of the game has been sullied. One-third of the 4,806 self-described NBA fans responding to the poll said the scandal has dampened their interest in the league. Nearly 88% of respondents said they believe Donaghy hedged his bets by affecting the outcome of NBA games he worked and wagered on during his 13-year career.

Remember, perception is as good as reality.

Finally, Mike Holmgren checks in with an angry yet humorous remark when asked about the Seattle Seahawks' offensive line committing a false start:
"It's inexcusable and I think it's a lack of concentration. It can get you out of the starting lineup quickly. ... It's a little thing, but it's a big thing. It drives me to distraction. If I could think of something really horrible to do to someone who jumped offsides, I would do it. Then you'd write about it, and it would be horrible."