The Cougar Lounge - A Brief Period Of Lunacy
"We have asked these players to play for 40 minutes as hard as they can rather than playing the scoreboard. I thought they did that tonight."
- Wazzu head women's hoop coach June Daugherty, who captured her first Pac-10 victory of the season against Oregon State last week.
"Me and Coach Erickson have a great relationship. He wouldn't lie to me."
- Arizona State signee Jarrell Barbour talking about his head football coach and noted pillar of the community, Dennis Erickson.
"For our athletes to be told that they may not make any comment makes a mockery of our country's belief in free speech."
- British human rights activist Lord David Alton commenting on the contract British athletes must sign to compete at this summer's Beijing Olympics which precludes them from criticizing China.
"We don't know where the chickens came from or who they belong to."
- Philadelphia high school spokesman, Fernando Gallard, who came to school last Monday morning and found 50 chickens running around without hall passes or wing dipping sauce.
The Lounge clientele persistently asks when they are going to be allowed to go mad as they would like to get a jump on matters before March rolls around and everybody leaps out of the cake, er, uh, woodwork and claims to be mad. In fact, this big rush to madness has already spiraled out of control, Proof of that pudding came last week when CBS, the extremely large media company that shares all the billions of dollars with the NCAA when March Madness officially takes place next month, made an announcement. Now, the more savvy among the collegiate sporting universe may have recalled previously from their media guides that CBS was, for many moons, behind CSTV, the college sports network that was initially trying to make it look like they were this cool, little anti-Fox Sports, anti-ESPN network. At first, the charade worked – a little – because CSTV hired a disgraced Trev Alberts as one of their on-air personalities and covered Conference USA athletic contests and big companies with lots of money lying around just do not do either of those things and expect to continue being big companies with lots of money lying around even if most of it is being funneled to the NCAA basketball tournament
But people were wary when CSTV got their own cable outlet [that does not happen clipping coupons] and then starting doing strange things online like the "Gametracker" a real-time tracking of basketball games. That costs a lot of coupons. At first, all of them were free but then they started charging for stuff that used to be free and giving people free Gametrackers of Prairie View A&M games. That's when the sour cream went bad. The jig was up and first they decided to keep the name "CSTV" to save on stationery costs and see if anybody in Kansas really noticed, but finally they gave up on that and they went ahead and just said – "Screw it – everybody knows anyway!" and officially changed their name from CSTV to the much-better not-at-all-corporate sounding CBS College Net. Doesn't that sound much better? Isn't that creative? Doesn't that just roll out of the brain like a memory of a good friend? Right. The change is effective in March. Gee, what else is it that happens in March? Oh right, ides.
A few months after March comes another event that CBS has nothing to do with – summer. Mother Nature handles that nicely, with no meddling from corporate types, thank you very much. In summer this year, there will be something called the Olympics over in Beijing, China. We know what you are saying – how is it that a country which does not allow its citizens to speak their minds and produces toys coated and/or embedded in lead can still be awarded something like the Olympics? Well, see, that's where that word "billions" comes in again. As in the "billions" of people in China [technically, we refer to the term "people" here although Chinese rulers would more likely use the terms "cattle" or "lemmings"] and the manifestation of greed that those "billions" of people represent to NBC - which is the giant faceless corporation handling the broadcasting duties here.
Okay, so far, so good. We got a large dictatorial country hosting the planet's premier sporting event [check] and we got a large greedy corporate company broadcasting said event [check] – all we need now is either a giant, marauding, robotic Easter Bunny to wade over from Monster Island [a la Godzilla] bringing his friends Rodan and Mothra or assurances that we all think nice and happy thoughts about China for three weeks out of the year. It appears to be the latter as British athletes are being forced to sign contracts to compete in Beijing that will not allow them to criticize China. Athletes not signing the contracts will not be allowed to compete and an athlete who signs but says something like "China sucks eggs and so does their human rights record!" whilst in Beijing, will be promptly sent home on the next airplane with notes to their mothers.
So far, the only good news coming from the Lounge's Olympics news gnomes this month is the heartening programming news that NBC will officially give two hours of nightly gymnastics [and – yes! - synchronized swimming] coverage over to the Oxygen cable channel which it owns. This move frees up NBC to cover the real sports on its other channels without being dragged down with the inevitable teenage "drama" of a glorified international beauty pageant masquerading as a sporting event.
In breaking non-Olympic over-confident sports fan news – all you Patriots fans out there can get your winning Super Bowl t-shirts in Nicaragua – that's where the pre-printed shirts proclaiming the Patriots winning the Super Bowl were shipped.
"Now is definitely the time! The Cougs have really taken that to heart!," says Marcus O'Realius, who admits to being skeptical about Wazzu a mere two weeks ago.
The Lounge clientele was down in the dumps two weeks ago, it's true, Marcus. The consensus was that Wazzu was going to take care of the necessary business at home against California and Stanford, then have a better showing against UCLA than their first game against the Bruins and finally finish off the Trojans for a shiny four-game homestand. Almost none of that happened and instead, the Cougars had to salvage the finale against the boys of Troy to even give teeth to the contention that they had not fallen off the face of the Earth. They went from being a legitimate Top10 team to almost being shoved completely out of the Top 25 rankings this week – dropping all the way to 21st in one poll. But with four simple little words – "now is the time" – head men's hoop coach Tony Bennett pulled a motivational speaking bunny out of his top hat before that win over the Trojans and the Cougars have responded with three consecutive wins – including one of gigantic proportions over their personal Oregon demons in their Eugene den of iniquity. The team, nearly given up for dead, has rebounded and is now in sole possession of third place in the Pac-10 – only two games behind Stanford, who still has to play at UCLA and against Wazzu in the final weeks. The conference title is a slim – but not impossible – hope and second-place is a very attainable goal with five games remaining in the regular season.
"How does that seeding for the NCAA garden look now?," asks Bootney Farnesworth the 3rd, of the NCAA big Dance picture after this weekend.
Well Bootney, glad you asked. It looks mighty fine at the moment. It is the consensus of the Lounge clientele that Wazzu has clinched a spot in the Big Dance with their road sweep of the Oregon schools this past weekend. If they were to lose all their remaining games and first game of that ridiculous Pac-10 tournament, they would finish 20-11 and 8-10 in conference play and although the Pac-10 has never put a sub .500 conference record team in the Big Dance, this year is no ordinary Pac-10 year. But those numerals would represent an extreme disappointment for the Cougars, who still have a chance at a #1 seed if they can run the conference table in both the regular season and that silly conference tournament. Such a feat would get them to 28-5 and make them the conference's automatic bid and we see it as unlikely that they would not be a #1 seed in that scenario. Barring either of those extreme scenarios, the Cougars need to win as many of their remaining games as possible and will likely increase their seeding with each win they get. At the moment, they are probably no worse than a 5-6 seed, so they will need to continue to win to get closer to that top seed and with the Arizona schools coming into Pullman this week, the challenge becomes that much greater as the Wildcats bring their one-man wrecking ball and the Sun Devils bring a rather large sun chip on their shoulder.
We have entered a brief lull before the madness of March engulfs every living creature on the planet and threatens to make them were fez hats ["because people are not wearing enough hats" as the famous saying goes] and so we take you away from basketball for one week to visit Bob's Yer Uncle. We picked a week when cancer is a top concern – and that reminds us, the Wazzu women's hoop team kicked cancer's butt – and Oregon State – for their first win last week. But we also picked a week when everybody could see what they call "eating" in other parts of the world and while the Lounge likes our cheese as much as the next guy, we have to say we were stunned to see the Skyline cheese conies. We thought the Awful-Awful in Reno was, well, over the top, but these took our breath away.
Finally, the Lounge Scientists, with this officially being the Year of the Rat, and the incredibly lame, manufactured holiday called Valentine's Day now, thankfully, in the rear view mirror, decided to conduct a little rat love study and discovered that rats, surprise, surprise, are a lot like humans in that the female rats tend to gravitate and be attracted to the male rats with all the money. Well, at least the rat equivalent of money which, in this case, was sex. Female rats tended to use their senses of smell to migrate toward male rats that they had detected had engaged in rat sex recently and not those recently celibate rats which were frustrated and probably came from a rat monastery and presumably were home watching late night movies.
"It's highly likely that the female rats are attracted by the smell of the sexually active male rather than repelled by the stench of desperation from the sex-starved one," says Lounge Scientist #64, Bennett Galef, a researcher at McMaster University of Ontario, Canada, who found no need to invest in rat blow-up dolls for the "sex-starved ones".
What about China? How do rats feel about the smell of China? Never mind, the Chinese rats won't allow them to say anything about that.
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