I'm off the Darvocet. I don't miss it. It was making me feel like Axl Rose at a Michael Buble concert. So to continue from my last entry...
The hamstring is much better thanks to Faye and the fine folks at Mercy Clinics Physical Therapy in Urbandale. I say this sincerely, but also in hopes that it will somehow make its way back to Faye and she'll take it easy on me for one session. It's always the small ones who inflict the most pain. I'm convinced one of the main benefits of physical therapy is they make you do things most of us couldn't do to ourselves. Hurts too much.
If you're a parent, you know there's nothing worse than one of your kids being in pain. Today on my way to work, I got a call from my mother that my five year old son, Cade, had just rammed his face into a table and was bleeding everywhere. Fortunately, it looked worse than it was. The little guy busted his lip and pushed one of his front teeth back a bit. My dentist, Dr. Clayton Linquist, saw him within 15 minutes of the accident. Only in Iowa. In Florida I'd still be waiting. Dr. Linquist says Cade could lose that front tooth a little sooner than intended, but that Jack O' Lantern look is always cute anyway. On a kid, not an adult. (This would be a jumping off point for Andy to start a rant on the State Fair.)
Other topics, in random order so you can skip the ones you couldn't care less about:
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. I laughed really hard. Funniest movie I've seen in a long time, although that's not saying much. I think it's harder to make a good comedy than a good drama. Most "comedies" aren't that funny. This one is as stupid as you'd expect, but it delivers laughs and a surprising touch of sentiment. I don't want to oversell it---our intern told me he was disappointed after my strong recommendation---but if you liked Anchorman and loved Wedding Crashers, don't miss Talladega Nights. The funniest lines may be the ridiculous endorsements that run during credits. Loved it. A- (note: Some of best bits from the commercials and trailers are not in the movie.)
World Trade Center: Other end of the movie spectrum. Oliver Stone can direct a great movie (Platoon), a good movie (JFK), or a bad movie (Alexander). I think this one looks like Stone at his best, and least political. The commercials give me goose bumps, especially with the bridge from the great Coldplay song, Fix You.
As mentioned before, I thought United 93 was one of the most brilliant works of art I've ever seen, but it was completely draining (as it should be). Once that plane door seals, you know those passengers are flying in a tomb. I cried several times. World Trade Center is a true story that ends with an against-all-odds rescue. Can't wait to see it. (update 8/12: saw World Trade Center today at my favorite theater, the Varsity. The movie astonishingly recreates parts of 9/11 but tells the story from the point of view of two survivors and their families. I got emotional in this one too, but it's ultimately uplifting and inspiring. Americans doing what they had to do simply "because it was the right thing". A- No politics and strongly recommended.)
Among the many memories I have of 9/11 is the debate we had whether to do SoundOFF the following Sunday. It was left up to me, and I decided we would do it, but not like usual. We muted all colors and sounds, had no co-host (it was Round Guy in those days), and took no calls about sports. We asked for our viewers to sound off about that terrible day. It was so moving. I've never been involved with anything on TV before or since that was more important. Viewer after viewer spoke with raw emotion. I struggled to keep my composure several times, but Andy Fales---who was behind the scenes that night---kept helping me by saying just the right thing during breaks. A lot of people don't know Andy has that side to him.
Another thing I remember about 9/11 is my shock that Iowa and Iowa State still wanted to play the football game that next Saturday. I spoke out strongly against it, and even debated the issue on air with my friend, Steve Deace. Supporters of playing gave the usual reasons that to not play means the terrorists win, and people need normalcy. I couldn't have disagreed more. Worrying about the terrorists winning or losing never comes before respect for the fallen, who were still being pulled out of the rubble. Iowa and ISU---and everybody else---eventually did the right thing. I think the way people still felt that Saturday caught many by surprise. To Deace's credit, he went on the air and said he was completely wrong, that there was no way he could have felt like a football game mattered. He also knew all the post game questions would not have been about football.
The irony is that although that dark time seemed to show us how little sport matters in the big picture, we all came to learn how much it does matter. Once enough time had passed, ballparks turned into makeshift churches and town meetings. It gave everyone a chance to show up in the same place, feel normal again, and heal.
I'm going on too long about this, which I guess shows how it's still an open wound for me and many others.
Maurice Clarett: A sad cautionary tale right out of the Pierre Pierce book of entitlement. Why don't adults realize all kids needs boundaries and rules, even when they're incredibly gifted at sports. Like Pierce, Clarett just thinks he's entitled to whatever he wants. Now he's finding out once he can't win games, there's no one to help keep him out of trouble.
East Wins State: Way to go girls! That was a perfect answer to all our discussion about Valley dominance. As one of the readers of this blog points out, it's been a great year for the Metro, and not just the Tigers: Roosevelt in girls basketball, Hoover in boys. I'd love to see a Des Moines school win state again in football, it would be great for city school pride, but it won't be easy. B-Ross tells me to keep an eye on Lincoln this year. I will, and he'll make sure I do, but no matter what happens with the Rails, we've seen Des Moines can bring home championships.
State Fair Parade: Lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng, but packed with so many nice people. I always feel like a complete tool when I'm riding in a car waving at people. I love my job but I'm less important that a whole bunch of people who aren't asked to sit on top of a convertible. I am very appreciative of all the kinds words and waves. Thank you.
Floyd Landis. Told you.
Kenny Iwebema: An Iowa source told me what Iwebema did to keep himself off the practice field. Don't worry Hawkeye fans, he'll be back soon. Count on it.
Drew Tate: Comes across like a different person this year. Props to Drew and Kirk Ferentz for getting him help with feeling more comfortable with the media. We can be a pain, and it often looked like it on Drew's face. This year he seems more relaxed, comfortable and happy. Look for that to make him a better leader.
Andy's vacation: Is he ever coming back? I'm on day 12. By the way, we hired a new sports guy, Shawn Terrell from KCRG in Cedar Rapids. I'm confident you're going to really like him. Plus, he's been working under John Campbell's leadership, so you can bet he knows what he's doing. Shawn joins us at the end of the month.
SoundOFF during the Sunday Night Football season on NBC: No, you won't have to stay up later to see SoundOFF. We will run an abbreviated newscast and weather forecast, and then go right into SoundOFF. We'll even have the days sports highlights for you as part of the show. My boss made this call, and it's a smart one. People watching that football game are our SoundOFF viewers, and they'll be more ready than ever to talk local sports and hear strong opinions. Look for us to start around 10:35 and go for an hour.
Footloose: Didn't get to go see the latest at the Des Moines Playhouse. I love that place, but got called into work. My mom & dad went. I'll let them handle the reviews. Mom: "Loved it! It was fun and happy. I'd go see it again." Dad: "I enjoyed it, but there was too much singing and dancing. No one breaks into a song in the middle of a conversation." Yes, I reminded him it was a MUSICAL! Hello.
I have to go home. I'll try to add more before vacation. (Now it's my turn) Thanks for reading. I welcome your feedback and appreciate your time. Sorry I got so windy.
p.s. Thank you to Kendra at Daly Happenings. The kids loved it!