Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Does Keith realize he's supposed to blog about SPORTS?!

Thank you to the Stout family, Alan, Jen and all the other people who sent nice comments about this stream of consciousness. I appreciate you stopping by here now and again.

Can you believe Lance Armstrong will ride in RAGBRAI?! The same week a little something called the Tour de France is going on. Unbelievable. What a circus that will be as Armstrong rides across Iowa on his bike. Nice to see he'll try to plan his visit around the big party in Newton. That town has had some bad breaks and deserves some cool news, like this---and the Iowa Speedway. Plus, Newton has the only drive-in movie theater around anymore. If you haven't been in awhile, check it out. It's a bargain and you feel like you're going back a few decades to a simpler time. This week they're playing "Click" and "RV", two movies perfect for a drive-in because the plots are so simple the kids playing Wiffle Ball in front of the screen won't bother you.

Staying with movies, AMC got into the original film business and started strong with Broken Trail. It's a two-part western starring Robert Duvall. It's no Lonesome Dove---what is---but it's very good. I'm sure AMC will repeat it more than TNT shows the "Shawshank Redemption", and much to my relief, AMC showed limited commercial interruption, which is a drastic change for that network. A- for Broken Trail. Takes its time, but well worth the journey.

I was disappointed in "Nacho Libre". I love Jack Black. Who can forget him in "High Fidelity" when the middle aged dad shows up to buy a copy of "I just called to say I love you" for his daughter: "There's no way she likes that song... oops, is she in a coma?"... priceless. And Black was brilliant in "School of Rock", a movie parents love as much as their kids. Heck, he even makes a bad movie like "Saving Silverman" seem funny, which leads me back to Nacho Libre. It just tries too hard. It's missing the effortless humor of the director's previous movie, "Napoleon Dynamite". I saw a review in Cityview calling Nacho Libre a comedy classic and one in Juice rating it a complete dud. I'd say somewhere in the middle. I'll rate it "C" because Black has his moments, and he sure is trying hard to make it funnier than it is.

I haven't seen "Superman" but I'm already rooting for Brandon Routh. He did a great thing by holding a premier in Des Moines for kids who could use a superhero. The showing also helped out the Variety Club, and Routh signed autographs for hours. Norwalk should be proud of Brandon just for being a good guy, good looking movie star is a bonus.

It's rerun season, for the most part, but FX brings it strong with "Rescue Me". Should be rated "R", but what a show.

10:15... need to run and do the sports. I'll continue later.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Back from vacation in Wisconsin, and not a moment too soon. I need some rest and relaxation.

Nothing beats camping with the kids, but it's about as laid back as Tom Arnold on Red Bull. I wouldn't trade it. Well, I might trade the neighbor in the next cabin who started each sentence with a snot rocket. And I could do without the mosquitoes wearing saddles. I'm okay if I never share another "comfort station" with people who don't see the need to flush, but that's the small stuff. The big picture: great lifetime memories.

Didn't have a TV on vacation, and the only newspaper available was some local deal that had fishing on the front and the NBA finals on page 3. Somehow there was still an article on Steve Alford waiting for his contract extension. 350 miles isn't enough for me to get away from that one.

In between soggy swim diapers and visits from Yogi Bear and Boo Boo, I was able to read a book: Love Me, Hate Me. A SoundOFF viewer, and Barry Bonds fan, recommended the Bonds biography to me when I was wandering around Barnes & Noble a couple of weeks ago. What a page turner. Just an absolutely fascinating read. Author Jeff Pearlman goes out of his way to present a balanced look at this supremely talented baseball legend and lightning rod for controversy. Pearlman interviewed 524 people from Bonds' past and present. After reading the book, I need to revise my statement that Bonds is the biggest jerk in all of baseball... He's the biggest jerk in all of sports. He's also one of the greatest players of all time pre-steroids. He never needed that crap for anything except home run records, which this book makes painfully clear he wanted in the worst way. Yes, Bonds occasionally does something nice, but for the most part he's treated people like dirt his entire life. Teammates, coaches, relatives, employees, you name it. Sharing the blame are all the adults who never made Bonds follow the rules because he was so talented. It's a chilling portrait of entitlement gone amuck, and nobody benefits. Bonds comes across as an insecure person who wants to be loved in the worst way.

As I write this, Carolina just won the Stanley Cup. Does anyone care? Did anybody notice? The NHL playoffs are riveting drama, and nothing beats a game 7, but the ratings on NBC are lower than Joey reruns. Much lower. In fact, I suspect its the fewest viewers the network has ever had in prime time. And that's saying something these days.

You know where hockey gets it right? In the final minutes. It's SO exciting and non-stop. Meantime, the NBA slows to a crawl. Pass the ball in, timeout. Commercial. Pass it in again, timeout. Commercial. Dribble, shoot, foul. Timeout. Commercial. Shoot a foul shot. Timeout. Commercial... They need to fix this.

Dan McCarney now makes more than a million a season. Wow. As I've said many times, coaching salaries are WAY out of control, but Mac is now in the middle of the Big 12, and there's no doubt he belongs there. This should also put an end to any speculation Jamie Pollard will soon fire Mac. Pollard thinks McCarney has done an incredible job, all things considered.

Time for sports... back with more soon.


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Answer to reader's U2 World Cup question:

Yes, "City of Blinding Lights"---another great U2 song, thanks in no small part to The Edge---is featured on many of the World Cup promos, but so is "Where the Streets Have No Name". Both are awesome---or maybe I'd think a promo on knitting featuring U2 songs was great. Anyway, sorry I didn't answer sooner. Just got back from vacation. More to come...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Is Ferentz worth the money? Is McCarney underrated? What's in Keith's CD player?

Is Kirk Ferentz worth $2.7 million a season? Of course he is, or Iowa wouldn't pay it. Ferentz creates a lot more money than he makes. It's smart of him to give some to charity. Should take the edge off some of the resentment and jealousy.

Athlon Sports names Dan McCarney one of the five most UNDERrated college football coaches. Something for Mac's critics to think about. Remember, before McCarney, no bowl games in memory and no wins over Iowa. Since McCarney, five bowls in six years, 6 wins over Iowa in 8 years. ISU needs to finish games, and not get so conservative, but Mac's in no danger. Shouldn't be either.

If you're a Cyclone fan concerned about Greg McDermott's ability to pull big recruits, worry about something else. Craig Brackins is just the beginning. McDermott will succeed at ISU.

Give Steve Alford credit. If he'd rather be at Indiana, he's not acting like it. He's having his best off-season at Iowa. Alford and his new staff have put together Iowa's best recruiting class in memory.

Of course, both the above paragraphs mean very little. If there's one thing I've learned, it's don't count on any recruits until you see them in uniform playing, and even then, the player often doesn't match the hype (e.g. Shawn Taggart).

We still can't believe our eyes when it comes to MLB. Jason Grimsley reportedly told federal investigators he switched from steroids to human growth hormone (or HGH) because baseball still doesn't test for it. HGH works much like a steroid, and allows all kinds of competitive advantages. The D-Backs promptly cut Grimsley, but reports say he's ready to name a "boatload" of current players using HGH. Why didn't baseball do the right thing the first time, and test for this too? Bottom line, I'm suspicious of everybody and that SUCKS.

I can't believe I'm about to write this, but I think I'll watch a few World Cup games. Those promos with by boy, Bono, must be getting to me. Just play "Where the Streets Have No Name" and I'm hooked.

There are passionate World Cup fans in Des Moines. We found one. Southside Gino. He'll be our viewer correspondent throughout the Cup. He did the same things four years ago. Gino was born in Italy but he's "USA all the way!" (read that with an Italian accent for authenticity).

I have another must see TV show, but unfortunately it's not on channel 13. "Rescue Me" on FX is phenomenal. It's raw, but real. Denis Leary is so good in this, you can't see him acting.

Another winner at the Des Moines Playhouse: The Foreigner. Very funny. If you haven't thought of the Playhouse lately, please do. It's a great way to spend an evening, and better entertainment than most of the movies we're now paying 8 bucks to see. Plus, it's LIVE.

Answers to recent e-mail questions:
I have a 6-CD changer in the car, so I have six albums going, not one. I wish the question was my favorite albums, but here's what's actually in:

The Legend of Johnny Cash. The voice of my early childhood. I love this album. It spans Cash's entire career and shows why he's a legend (hence the title).

Guns N' Roses Greatest Hits. My girlfriend, Jenny, loves these guys, and although this isn't typically my thing, I've got to admit it's great. No wonder they self-destructed. Too much energy.

Coldplay: X & Y. I can't help it. "Fix You" is a great song. Sounds like something my favorite band, U2, would have writtend and recorded, which leads me to...

U2: Rattle & Hum. This is my most played U2 album. It's U2 at their most self-indulgent and bombastic, which to me is U2 at their best. Critics strongly disagree. The only minus is that the highlight of the movie, U2 performing the song "Bad", is inexplicably not included on the soundtrack. I suppose it's because it's already on "Wide Awake in America". Big plus: B.B. King and Bono on "When Love Comes to Town".

Loverboy Classics. Okay, now you know I'm telling the truth. Yes, it's a guilty pleasure. About every other time I'm on with Deace, he bumps in on a Loverboy song, and that rush of feelings from college frat parties made me buy the Classics. I'm not disappointed either. "Lovin' Every Minute of It" still rocks.

Kanye West: Late Registration. This guy may be as good as he thinks he is. Even if you're tired of the overplayed "Gold Digger", there's plenty here. Songs with beats this fierce shouldn't make you think too, but these do.

Alright, next answer: Erin Kiernan is really nice and a lot of fun. I'm happy to have the chance to work with her. Sounds like the PR department wrote that, but I mean every word.

To Craig in Ames, thanks for remembering my "fat year" at channel 5. Like many men, I reached my late twenties---and 20 extra pounds---before realizing I could no longer eat whatever I wanted while exercising less than John Kruk. I still eat as much as I want, but now I eat healthier foods and make better bad choices.

Exercising remains a chore, and when you're as busy as I am, it seems there's never enough time in the day. Being a single dad raising four kids removes any chance of going to the gym every day, so I have to work out at home, and I want to get it over with as quickly as possible. I'm not one of those people---like Erin Kiernan---who loves to exercise. Therefore, I highly recommend the Quatro Fitness program (www.quatrofitness.com) . You exercise as little as 4 minutes, and at most 12 minutes, and that takes care of your strength training and fat melting cardio, but it is an intense four minutes of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. It helps me because it takes away the no time excuse, and I'd rather go hard for 12 minutes, than soft for 60. Highly respected fitness trainer Ryan Lee runs the Quatro Fitness site, and he's always personally answered my questions. I use the dumbbell and body weight DVDs, but I'll let you in on a little secret. If you join the members only club on the web site ($9.95 a month), all the workouts on the DVDs are included for free, along with many additional workouts and a lot of other cool stuff. I get nothing for mentioning this, but from time to time---to my surprise---some of you ask how I've stayed in shape over the years, especially those of you who remember the "fat year". Well, I have to work at it, but I've never found a more efficient way than Quatro Fitness. It really works.

Here's how you know you have kids, when your summer vacation is at Jellystone Park. And I can't wait! I'll be gone for a while. Please keep Andy on his toes, and send me an e-mail if you have any thoughts or questions. I'll try to answer them.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

ISU on The Bus, Remembering Rob, Lost in the Maze.

The Cyclones jump on The Bus. This is great news for Iowa State fans, particularly those in Central Iowa. When you go from 5,000 watts on KXNO to a 100,000 watts on 100.3 FM, that's a big boost. AD Jamie Pollard wants to expand the brand, and having the football and basketball games on a station that doesn't require the listener to wrap himself in tin foil and point a wire hanger toward the AM tower is a HUGE plus. I don't understand why some fans are complaining. What did they expect? XM satellite radio? Actually, that wouldn't be as good as The Bus.

Steve Deace always had a lot more on his mind than sports. Some listeners didn't like that, but the guess is here they're going to miss Deace on KXNO. He's headed over to WHO radio to provide a long overdue conservative voice (kidding). Best of luck to Steve in his new gig. He's earned it.

The tough part of the business is for someone to move up, someone else often gets moved aside. Hard to see Jerry Reno and Sue Danielson lose their spot after 15 years at WHO, but the two pros handled it with class.

I'm honored and humbled that Rob Borsellino's wife, Rekha, asked me to host the memorial service for Rob Saturday at Principal Park. It's remarkable how many people were touched in some way by one of Rob's columns or a brief meeting. He was in Des Moines for just 15 years but he left quite an impression. Rob had such a gift for never making his opinions seem personal. I know several people who didn't agree with Rob's politics, but loved his spirit. Sadly, that doesn't happen very often these days.

I received an e-mail from Rob just a few days before he died. I had sent a very sentimental letter, and he returned a good one-liner. To the end, he wanted smiles, not tears. We're going to honor that Saturday with a respectful roast.

My partner Andy Fales ranks #1 in Juice's first year anniversay poll for the best quote of the year. Here it is. Andy on why he hangs out at Taki Steakhouse, "The place is crawling with hot women looking for cultured, wordly men, and I have perfected the art of posturing as such."
That's my boy.

Went up to Clear Lake this weekend with my girlfriend, our kids and our parents. What a great time we had. Except for Fort Custer. Have you been to this nightmare on Earth? It's a maze right off I-35. The kids finished in 30 minutes. After an hour an a half, I was still stuck and finally had to crawl under a wall. If not for heat stroke and dehydration I would have finished. The maze ruins lives.

Saw X-Men 3. Liked it a lot. B+
Only saw half of Over the Hedge. The 2 year old, Colin, wasn't quite ready, but a B+ for what I did see.
The Sentinel was a major disappointment and colossal waste of talent. Any two hours of 24 was better than this mess. C- just because Kiefer Sutherland almost plays Jack Bauer.