The Cougar Lounge - Non-Obvious Lobsters

"Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is – never try."
- Homer Simpson with some legendary advice for the Washington Huskies men's hoop team after this season.
"It's really exciting because I'm involved with two peripheral arterial disease studies. One deals with nitric oxide and the other with genetic determinants."
- On the verge of March Madness, what really gets senior Carlton Weatherby excited. Weatherby, of course, goes to Stanford.
"Some people say, 'oh, you should go on stage and play every show like it's your last' and that's just a little too morbid. I like to play every show like there's a really nice cheese tray."
- Singer John Mayer, who obviously knows his priorities.
March Madness is officially here today – they tried to change the clocks on us but we were too smart for that ruse, we know it's still today - and the Lounge is putting out our best tablecloth – the one with the fancy arabesque design that they loved in San Diego when the Patron got spilled on it – of course, that might have been the Patron speaking but that Patron has pretty good taste. But we have all the elements necessary for March Madness – let's see, there's joy, money and orangy goodness, then more joy, maybe a little more money and definitely some more orangy goodness. After that? All orangy goodness.
For the Cougars, it has been all orangy goodness for awhile now. They have known they were going to be a participant in today's festivities since way back in February [some of the more optimistic of the Lounge clientele felt warm and fuzzy in January – but we attributed that to another source at the time…] so everything has been gravy since then, including the mandatory naming of head coach Tony Bennett as the Pac-10 Coach of the Year. Shortly before that announcement was made, Wazzu athletic director Jim Sterk, in an effort to shake every bit of money from the Cougars' couch cushions that he could, created an "AD's fund for Basketball Excellence" otherwise known as the "Moolah For Tony" campaign, but we like how they gave it an academic sounding title and really like the capitalization choices.
Some of the other choices we were fond of, were the ones made on the University of Washington's official web site, where a simple question was posed – Who has more pride – Huskies or Cougars?" The clientele were all hot and heavy about this last week as Cougar fans and well-wishers thoroughly routed their Husky counterparts even though the poll was based on the school's own web site. That was funny, naturally, but not as funny as racism. Now that's USC football player humor territory. When linebacker Clay Matthews created the group "White Nation" on the social site Facebook, he thought his inside joke with the rest of his Trojan buddies [not exactly a collection of rocket scientists, if you know what we mean…] would get lots of yuks because, you know, racism is soooo funny! Why, how could you not bust a gut laughing whenever you see the phrase "protecting the Arian [sic] brotherhood"? Hilarious.
That is about as funny as Stanford head swimming coach Skip Kenney thought it was when one of his swimmers decided that taking a summer internship was more important than a "voluntary" summer training program – so Kenney intentionally had that swimmer's marks erased from the Cardinal swimming media guide – then was suspended for his actions. Let's see, what's more important – an internship with a company while in pursuit of a Stanford degree or voluntary summer swim training regimen run by an ex-Marine who already owns the last 26 Pac-10 swim titles. That's a toughie…but, citing the rough waters of the professional swimming market… the consensus of the clientele is going with the internship.
Another no-brainer is ABC deciding to schedule a comedy pilot for the Geico spokes-cavemen. Purportedly, the cavemen – who the Lounge clientele have already determined have missing links to both the Lopez twins of Stanford, UCLA's Lorenzo Mata and half the Husky team - will be "struggling with prejudice on a daily basis as they strive to live the lives of normal thirty-somethings in 2007 Atlanta." Not exactly a recipe for comedy success if you ask us, but we presume a lot of roast duck with mango salsa will be ordered in the pilot episode.
"The Pac-10 tournament is like the Paris Hilton of tournaments!" blurts out Unrecognizable Johnson after hearing the excuses for why they it won't be rotating the tournament any time soon.
No argument here, UJ. The clientele has been strongly for rotation of the tourney to increase interest in what is really a fancy display of irrelevance. Oregon won the conference tournament this year and guess what their prize was – a trip to the Big Dance, where they were going anyway. That's like having a freezer full of 17 gallons of chocolate ice cream and getting a $2 off coupon for Baskin Robbins. Not only is the conference tournament irrelevant from a common sense competition standpoint [what is the regular season played for?], but it is also irrelevant from the NCAA tournament selection committee's standpoint – at least according to what they said last year. So, unless Oregon's victory results in them receiving a #1 or #2 seed, one can presume that the committee considers them to be irrelevant again this year. We already know the fans consider the tourney to be irrelevant because of all the empty seats we saw masquerading as fans in the games that didn't involve USC or UCLA. The fact that Oregon won this year is also not a good sign – four out of the previous five times the Pac-10 tourney has been won by a non-UCLA team and all four times, that winner was unable to get past the Sweet 16. But those are facts, what Fox Sports operates on is perception – pay no attention to the man behind the curtain – they want to sell the bill of goods that Los Angeles and the Stales [as a USC football player might spell it…] Center is all that when it is not about the venue at all – it's about the participants and the energy and atmosphere of college basketball and you just cannot get that in downtown Los Angeles, no matter how much you want to hit people over the head with a sledgehammer in trying. The Pac-10 and Fox Sports just don't get it and if they don't get it, they're gonna pretend like they do with a lot of pomp and circumstance – just watch what happens in coming years. The Paris Hilton of tournaments will be throwing themselves their own party and get even more irrelevant than their namesake.
"Should I book a flight to Sacramento now?" asks a hesitant Kent Renton.
Well, not quite yet, Kent. The NCAA selection committee are some over-stressed people and you never know what over-stressed people are going to do. The Lounge consensus is that Wazzu will be a 4 seed in Sacto, but….we would not bet our enchiladas on it. The Lounge is convinced that the selection committee uses voodoo dolls in their process. The only thing we would bet our enchiladas on would be the expectation that the Big Dance is, yes, going to be big again. Already, CBS reports that they are doubling their bandwidth to accommodate the expected demand [which they are guessing to be about 350,000 simultaneous users] for streaming video, online ad revenue has already more than doubled from $4 mil last year to $9.5 mil so far this year but perhaps the best addition is the inclusion of a "boss button" on the streaming pages which will mute audio and replace the screen with a fake spreadsheet image. Now, clearly, these are people that get it.
Now that March Madness is here, we can all sleep easy for the next three nights, knowing that we will be awake and in a constant state of hoop alert beginning on Thursday morning. But we have heard that there may be other things on TV this week, we are not sure what they are nor why on Earth people would be interested in them in the midst of March Madness but we count on the TV Squad for all of our breaking news – and that includes the fact that the Three Stooges are funny and that Banacek, the insurance investigator [perhaps for the university of Oregon in the 2007 pilot] is finally coming to DVD. How did we ever survive without it?
Finally, with March Madness upon us and breathing heavily down our necks, the Lounge Scientists have chosen this week to announce their important findings for all bracket monkeys out there. Namely, that brain scans can detect the covert intentions of a person. So let's say Jenny in accounting says she likes Albany but in reality, it's all a trick so she can get Memphis – how will you know? By running a brain scan on her medial prefrontal cortex, that's how! Poor Jenny can't hide the fact that she's frontin' when scientists have discovered that CT scans of that particular area of the brain have shown – with 70% accuracy so far – that all devious behavior originates there.
"It's important to see if we can further increase the accuracy," says Lounge Scientist #43, John-Dylan Haynes, a scientist at the…take a deep breath now…Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Germany, who would reputedly also like to see if it can be used for politicians and NCAA selection committee members.
Next up - the Lounge Scientists run CT scans on Fox Sports executives in charge of the Pac-10 tournament..
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