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5 things in no particular order

1) Not having a job doesn’t always mean you have nothing to do.

I would argue, even, that one has more to do: look for a job, file for unemployment, do all that stuff you’ve been meaning to do around the house but had been avoiding thanks to the ready-made excuse previously provided by your job. For me, the last two weeks without the paper have been crazier than I anticipated, which is nice in that I’m not just sitting at home playing the Wii in between fits of “what am I going to do with my life” while the cats look at me disaffectedly from their perch by the window. Busy is good. (Even if it means this blog gets neglected — again.)

I am stepping closer to what I think/hope will be my next career. I am helping other print journalists continue to do their work online. And I am moving, not cross-country this time, just across town. A ten minute drive from the shadow of Coors Field to the doorstep of the Mayan Theater. I suppose baseball for movies not a particularly good trade to make in the summer, but we will still get to a few Rockies games. And maybe next year we might have seen some of the Oscar nominees before they are announced. Hubby is busy too. So busy, in fact, his plans for creating an online media empire have limited our quality time even more than our old jobs used to. But we have to be optimistic about the future — how else can we look at this situation and not go crazy? — and optimists, apparently, have a lot to do and a lot of calls to make.

2) Audrey Tautou: the French Penelope Cruz?

I love the movie Amelie. It just makes me happy. That may be an odd way of describing a movie (and very, very, few movies I’ve seen fit that description), but it just works. The heart of the movie, of course, is Audrey Tautou. She was also wonderful in A Very Long Engagement (a lovely, if slightly long, World War I movie), but less so in Da Vinci Code (the not so lovely adaptation of the overwrought and overwritten novel of the same name about evil Catholics who — SPOILER ALERT! — are not actually evil). Her latest role is that of fashion legend Coco Chanel, which is in her native French. (It co-stars a mustachioed Alessandro Nivola! Sweet!)

Like Penelope Cruz, Tautou is a petite European woman with grandly expressive eyes and talent who shines in her mother tongue. Even if you don’t understand, her words, her voice, are moving. But like Cruz, Tautou’s performances falter in English. The translation, the extra layer of foreign-ness derails them. Cruz was able to overcome this with help from Woody Allen, who turned the language barrier, the change in demeanor from one culture to the next, into an asset in Vicki Cristina Barcelona. Could he give Tautou a job next?

3) On a no-good-very-bad feud or be careful what you wish for

First, the Broncos fire Mike Shanahan, which was exciting news in these here parts. The two-time Super Bowl-winning coach had taken a seat of the sofa of mediocrity and showed no signs of getting up. A shake up was necessary, but a few months removed, the Broncos seem to have gotten a little more than they bargained for.

After the hiring of young Josh McDaniels, formerly an offensive coordinator for the mighty New England Patriots, most Denver fans thought the team would be riding two young bucks (McDaniels and promising QB Jay Cutler) to long term success. McDaniels appears to have had other ideas. He quietly (but no quietly enough) inquired about getting former Tom Brady back-up and sudden flavor of the NFL trade talks QB Matt Cassel to follow him West. Cassel did — but stopped at Kansas City. This all got under Cutler’s skin, and understandably so. Why would a coach want to consider replacing who everyone recognizes is the best player on his team. Does McDaniels not think Cutler is worth the time it would take to teach him a new offense?

McDaniels has since tried to make nice with Cutler, who is not having it. Cutler put his Denver mansion on the market (good luck getting it sold, Jay). So have his parents. Sour grapes, much?

To be sure, McDaniels made a mistake in going after Cassel, but Cutler is starting to look like the brat in this situation. He may be a good quarterback. He may even have a stronger arm than John Elway, as he has famously claimed, but Elway is the one with the Super Bowl rings. Cutler, good as he may be, still hasn’t won much of anything. Sports pundits are starting to label him a diva and a whinner (and since even a stopped clock is right twice a day, you can’t help but think that the label might stick in some circles).

I don’t know what will happen. Maybe Cutler cut a secret deal with Shanahan to go wherever the ol’ coach plans to land. Either way, I really wish I didn’t have the jersey of a guy who suddenly doesn’t want to wear it.

4) You don’t know what you got, ’til it’s gone

March Madness is here! The Selection Show is mere hours away, and I wanted to reflect on a coach I’ll be rooting for in the tournament (until such time as he faces the Heels, of course). The coach is Tubby Smith, formerly of Kentucky and currently of Minnesota. Though his Golden Gophers are “on the bubble,” as they say, it’s more than likely that they are heading toward a birth in the Big Dance. The same cannot be said for his old team. Kentucky didn’t exactly fire Smith — you can’t fire a coach that has won you a national championship and made you a mainstay in the NCAA tournament for a decade — but they asked him in their best Southern drawl, to please get the hell out so we can get someone who will take us to the Final Four more times than you. Smith obliged and Minnesota was only too happy to welcome him.

Kentucky is one of those “storied” programs, the winningest in college basketball (though UNC could pass them if they win it all this year — fingers crossed!), so any fool would take an offer from them. That’s what Billy Gillespie of Texas A&M did after the Billy the Wildcats really wanted (Donovan of Florida, a former Kentucky assistant and two-time national champion) turned them down. To say that Gillespie has struggled is an understatement. He has recruited some good players, but his teams have underperformed, leading to a handful of embarrassing losses (Gardner-Webb, VMI, to name two) and a recent letter from the once proud program stating the Wildcats will, in fact, accept an offer to play in the lowly post-season NIT. Suddenly, Tubby is not looking so bad. And he beat Louisville this year.

I’m certain Kentucky will be back. UNC played an 8-20 season not so long ago, and here they are trying to win their second title in five years. But UNC had to drop kick a coach (Matt Doherty) prematurely (three years) and open their wallets wide (really wide) to get the next one (Roy Williams) in order to return to glory. When Kentucky bid Tubby a not so fond adieu, I had a feeling it would take them more than one try to get to where they wanted to go. Donovan is still a possibility — as long as Kentucky is willing to match the millions that Florida will throw at him to stay — but whoever the next heir to the throne of Rupp turns out to be, one thing is for sure: his name is not Gillespie.

5) There’s something about Idol

I’ve never watched full episode of American Idol, but I’ve (rather reluctantly) become a fan of a few of its participants over the years. There’s no denying that the people who make it on the show have talent, more talent, I would say, than some of the people who’ve managed to get significant face time on MTV over the years (Ashlee Simpson comes to mind). The show is obviously orchestrated to manufacture a non-offensive, not particularly creative, easy on the eyes and ears winner, and not all winners make it out of the box Idol puts them in. But Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, at least, have hung around in the pop culture consciousness long enough for me to know who they are and even download a song or two.

And yesterday, I saw a video of David Archuleta singing the Selena song “Como La Flor” on the fly in a concert in San Antonio (her home), and I have to say I was endeared. I loved that song and now find myself hoping he records it. I don’t even think he was the Idol winner, but he sounds a little like an English-speaking Luis Miguel and he has a nice smile.


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