What's Up!

Mar. 25, 2002


Random Radio Show
What would be the most random thing you could hear coming out of my mouth? Granted, that's a vague question and any number of things could jump to your mind, especially when it comes to me. But imagine, just for a second, that I'm being absolutely serious when I say...

Demosthenes is hosting his very own WEEKLY RADIO SHOW!

(dramatic pause)

No joke my friends. Yes, you heard correctly. Demosthenes is on the air. Ok, here's the skinny. Every Friday at 11:30 a.m. on KLAS 89.7 FM here in Los Angeles (2:30 p.m. on the east coast, 8:30 p.m. in Central Europe, 11:30 p.m. in Uzbekistan), I proudly present the Random Radio Show. Yes, that is the name of the show.

Unfortunately, in a crowded Los Angeles radio landscape, KLAS is tucked in between two high-powered NPR stations (KCRW & KPCC), so you may not be able to hear it clearly on your car radio unless you're right up on the transmitter. However, for those with faded signals in Los Angeles, and for everyone else around the world, you can punch up the Random Radio Show on klasfm.com and listen live on the web.

The first broadcast in my regular timeslot is Friday, March 29. For more information, punch up randomradioshow.com. Wake the kids and call the neighbors (they need to listen as well).

For all those who think I'm joking, dial it up and hear for yourself how Demosthenes is changing the face of radio. Well, not really, but you know what I mean.

One Random Photo
(Courtesy AP)
Seventeen years ago, an Afghan girl orphaned and living in a refugee camp appeared on the cover of National Geographic, her eyes big and green, a red scarf draped loosely over her hair.

Now, the magazine says it has tracked down the subject of that famous photo, a wife and mother living in a remote part of Afghanistan, and will once again feature her in its April issue focusing on the plight of refugees.

The girl, whose parents had been killed by bombing during the Soviet war in Afghanistan, was photographed in 1984 at the Nasir Bagh refugee camp in Pakistan by Steve McCurry.

She was believed to be about 13 at the time, said Geographic spokeswoman Ellen Siskind, which would make her 29 or 30 now.

Sharbat Gula married shortly after the 1984 picture was taken and has had four girls, one of whom died as an infant. A Pashtun, she had never seen her famous photo, the magazine said.

The original photograph also was on the cover of a best-selling special edition that National Geographic published last fall of its 100 best photographs over the years.

Random moment
Rumor has it, during a musical performance, President Bush (in the crowd) waved to Stevie Wonder (on stage). I love it when the jokes write themselves.

Random surprises (OK, not really)
Rosie O'Donnell finally announced that she was of the homosexual persuasion. I, too, would like to announce that I am a lesbian (trapped in a man's body).

Random Shameless Plug
Did I mention I was going to be on the radio? Punch up randomradioshow.com for the lowdown!

Feb. 25, 2002

UltraManiaMania CMXLIV

WrestleMania XVIII
On March 17, 2002, St. Patrick's Day to be exact, you'll have the chance to see one of the biggest matches in wrestling history. For the first time ever:

Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock @ WrestleMania.

Even though nothing is on the line, title-wise, this is huge as far as the history of wrestling is concerned. The man (Hogan) who put wrestling on the map against the man (Rock) who's carrying it into the future. The sheer gravity of this match is unreal. To put this in perspective, let me compare this to non-wrestling match-ups:
  • Babe Ruth vs. Mark McGwire in a Home Run Contest.
  • Jesse Owens vs. Michael Johnson in a 100m Dash.
  • Ali vs. Tyson in a 15-round fight.

    This match has even gotten mention on mainstream media outlets, most notably ESPN. This match alone should make for an interesting Pay-Per-View, but sadly, I already know what's going to happen. Rock's going to win, but will end up getting the stuffing kicked out of him by the nWo after the match. You heard it here first.

    WinterOlympicMania XIX
    So, have you watched the Olympics? I really haven't until the 2nd week of the Games. I miffed I can't get CBC's coverage of the Games this time around. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's coverage of the Olympics blows NBC's "coverage" out of the water. But recently, we've had some problems with our big-ass satellite dish and we can't pull in the CBC. So, I have to settle for tape-delay coverage. Things might be interesting if I had CNBC or MSNBC, but I, like most I know, don't have these sorry-ass channels. At least, I could have gotten some live coverage of hockey or something.

    So what's my opinions of what I've seen?
  • During the Opening Ceremonies, when they brought in the flag from the World Trade Center, the sudden silence was just creepy. A excited crowd came to a dead stop when the flag came in. That was just plain creepy.
  • Watched the Men's Freestyle Aerial Finals. Some exciting competition. That was the first time since the games began that I became enthralled and could not pull myself away. When the Czech pulled off the Double Full-Double Full-Full, I kinda knew the American couldn't win, and was all "Aaaaaah" when he couldn't stick the landing.
  • The finals of the 4x10km Cross-country skiing relay was just surreal, when during the end the Italian and the Norwegian almost came to a stop as they argued who would go first in the stadium (it was a drafting strategy). Didn't know that much gamesmenship went into this sport.
  • Before the Games began, I had a feeling that Canada would win the ice hockey gold. Just the thought that Canada's front line involving the words, "Lemieux, Sakic, & Kariya" probably strikes fear into any opponent. Each one is a great player, but collectively, they're just scary. That final game between the U.S. and Canada was a win-win situation for me. U.S. wins: I'm happy cause we got the gold. Canada wins: I'm happy because Mario got the gold. (which, by the way, gave me some good picture to add to the Mario Lemieux Project)
  • Dan Hicks should never, ever, announce a Closing Ceremony again.

    I'm really hoping that the Greeks pull it off and get everything ready for the Summer Games in Athens in 2004.

    VegasMania IX
    So once again, the Demosthenes enjoyed his annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas. This time we stayed in Treasure Island, one of all time favorite buildings. The hotel is a 4-Diamond winner for service and they really delivered. (see, I happen to be a Concierge at a 4-Diamond hotel myself, so I was testing them).

    The trip itself was a little different that other trips in that I was exceptionally disciplined with my money. Once I blew my daily alloted amount, I didn't play for the rest of the day. That inadvertantly led to me being bored after 5 p.m. for 3 days straight. This trip was strange in many other ways. Every day seemed like such a long day, but nothing was really accomplished. There was no satisfaction is saying that they were full days. I don't know. It's hard to explain.

    On the upside, we traveled with Valerie's brother and sister-in-law which was great fun, because we did a lot of touristy things. And lord knows I'm just a sucker for being a tourist. And added bonus, it seemed like me and Dean (Val's bro) had this instinctive comic timing between us. Honestly, there's comedy, there's high comedy, and then there's comedy so funny, you're laughing so hard and almost pass out because you can't breathe. Good times. Good times. And then there's the Bel-Air incident.... but that's a story for another time.

    I think the biggest disappointment of the Vegas trip was that I didn't have my groove at all. I wasn't mentally in the game. For a small glimpse in the trip, maybe all of 3 hours, I had it. I was working the blackjack tables and winning big, but alas, that was it. For the rest of the trip, I had nothing (which led to me blowing my money early in the day).

    As usual, the visit encouraged me to work on 4aces.net. I'd be interested to see how this inspiration manifests itself this time around.

    SuperBowl XXXVI Sidenote
    When the odds for the Game came out and Rams were favored 14, I told everyone who asked, "Put your money on the Pats." Most thought I was crazy. Most thought that the Rams would win in a runaway. According to Vegas oddsmakers, so many were picking the Rams, the spread went to 14 1/2 at game time. And the Patriots won. I thought for sure St. Louis would win but I knew they wouldn't cover the spread. Did I bet on the Pats? Nope. Why? First rule of sports gambling: Never, ever, bet against your favorite/home team.

    LEGOSoccerMania I
    This week, the LEGO Premier League officially started. A lot of preparation went into this so it'll be fun to see how it all plays out. Be sure to visit www.worldofdemosthenes.com/premiership. The first sets of games are already in the bag, and we already have some surprises.

    I just heard that the bad ass Punk-a-Rama program on KDOC-TV is merely on hiatus as it's being retooled. It hasn't been canceled as feared. According to KDOC, they're hoping for a March 2002 return for Punk-a-Rama. Yippee!

    For those who thought I was just messing around on UltraManiaMania CMXLIV and was just stringing together random letters, CMXLIV is the Roman Numeral representation for 944. (number is irrelevant, yet accurately depicted)

    MentalMania ???
    Now is a fun time in the World of Demosthenes. For the first time in a while, excitement looms around every corner. Unfortunately, I have way to much on my plate, which is resulting in an unrefined focus (no gambling groove, choppy dialogue, and general scatterbraininess), and there are two possible results from it. 1) I'm either going to step up and hammer everything out of the park, or 2) I'm going to snap and lose it.

    Jan. 22, 2002


    I like this guy. Not at first. But now, I like him more and more. I'm talking about Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks. He's a multi-billionaire who made his loot during the dot com era. He bought the Mavs 2 years and has stirred up the league constantly since his arrival. The reason I like him. He's a fan. He's a fan living the fan's Ultimate Dream.

    He sits courtside instead of in a luxury suite. He wears comfy clothes at the games, instead of a suit and tie. Needless to say, he's not your ordinary owner, and he's breathing a breath of fresh air into the suddenly uninteresting global conglomerate that is the NBA.

    Cuban has been a bane to the league in some senses. Usually, an outspoken individual on topics anywhere from preferential treatment of stars to shoddy officiating. He has been fined over $500,000 for his comments by the league, but that doesn't shut him up. He claims he doesn't say anything in public that he hasn't said to league officials behind closed doors.

    In his recent episode, Cuban was blasting the NBA refs, and went as far as to say that he wouldn't hire Ed Rush, the ref de jour at the game, to manage a Dairy Queen. That drew a lot of heat from the higher echelons of the NBA (David "It's my world, you all live in it" Stern slapped Cuban with a $500,000 fine, bring his fine total to over $1 Million), but also from Dairy Queen, who thought it was a personal insult to DQ. DQ saying that it takes a lot to manage a Dairy Queen. Cuban claimed that DQ just came to him because he loves their Blizzards. Dairy Queen offered Mark Cuban the chance to manage a DQ for a day... and Cuban accepted.

    Now tell me, what professional sports team owner would have the balls to accept that offer and actually do it? Although he only had a two-hour shift, he took it very seriously. He even came in early to be trained on everything from how to make a sundae to how to properly curl a soft serve cone. He even wore a DQ shirt with the name "Tony" embroidered on it because he thought it would be funny.

    Some don't like him. They think he's a spoiled billionaire brat or a man who's publicly airing his grievances when discretion should be the better part of valor. Others love him. I think I'm one of those people. Why? Because he's one of us. The fans. And maybe because we're sporting the same coiffure.

    Indiana University's Mascot (insert joke here)
    It has been revealed that Indiana University will finally develop a mascot for their athletic teams. But the mystery remains, what do you use for a mascot for Hoosiers? Indiana is the Hoosier State, and a Hoosier is defined as a person from Indiana. All the hick jokes aside, what do to for a mascot? In any event, I believe I have the perfect name for it. Whatever the mascot is, it should be called...

    "Hoosier Daddy!"

    Props to ESPN.com's Page 2 writer Dan Shanoff for that gem.

    Unrelated Story
    Doesn't the United States Coast Guard just kick ass? It seems that everyday, they do something ridiculously heroic, and for them, it's just an average day at the office. The Coast Guard rocks!

    Child's Play
    So, me and Val are starting the LEGO Premier League. Childish you say? Is this the actions of a 27-year-old man and his lady? In three words...

    Ya Damn Straight!

    See, LEGOs are one of my vices. Some people smoke, some drink, others smoke the wacky tabacky. Me, I blow my hard-earned money on toys. Lots and lots of toys. And LEGOs are actually quite constructive (literally; you have to build everything).

    I admit it. I'm a kid. A big, 6-foot-5, 300 pound kid with an IQ of 148. I like to play. Whether it's with my LEGOs or my new PlayStation 2, or whether it's me and Val playing some racquetball or smacking some golf balls at the driving range (and just when I think I've corrected my slice... SHANK!), I love to play. And the reason for this is quite simple. It keeps me sane.

    With all the woes and worries of the world bearing down on me, I probably would have snapped years ago, and been writing What's Up from the friendly confines of the Serenity Valley Asylum for the Whacked. But every so often, I pick up the clubs, or I slap together a new Bionicle, or I try and teach Mistress Valerie the fine art that is rugby, and suddenly, all the pressures of the universe slide away.

    Again, that's my vice. That's what works for me. If you don't feel adult enough playing with toys, then by all means, enjoy doing whatever it is that you do to kill time. But it probably won't be as fun.

    Jan. 4, 2002


    Miami cliamed the crown, but could have Oregon had a chance? Mere percentage points but Nebraska in the Big Game instead of the Ducks, but after all was said and done, Miami stayed undefeated, and proved (sort of) that the BCS works. If you believe that, I have some beachfront property in Afghanistan you may be interested in. However, I will not complain about a problem unless I can offer a solution. Oh yes....

    I have done it. I have unraveled the greatest mystery of all time. I have discovered how to properly determine college football's undisputed national champion!

    Right now, your two choices to determine a champion would be the current bowls/BCS method (which is far from perfect) and the highly sought-after playoff system (which is not all that easy to implement). So, how have I, Demosthenes, solved this mystery? Easy. Have both bowls and a playoff!

    Let me explain.

    Currently in effect, there are 25 bowls games this postseason. The big four (Rose, Orange, Fiesta, & Sugar), comprising the Bowl Championship Series, allegedly determine the national champion by using the polls, computers, and the like to elect the two teams who are supposed to be the top 2 teams in the country. Does it work? Depends who you ask. That in and of itself is a problem. Too much opinion and personal choice help determine the "top 2," so when the BCS benefits you or your school or your conference (see Nebraska), it's great. But when it doesn't benefit you, that's when the "we need to look at the BCS again" rhetoric flies (see Oregon).

    Many have said that a playoff series, much like that in effect in the rest of the sports universe, needs to select the champion. While this makes the most sense, it'll never see the light of day. Variations of the playoffs would involve using the different bowls as early-to-middle rounds of the playoffs. School presidents and conference commissioners argue that a playoff would take the fun out of the postseason, and make it look more big business oriented and money driven. (But they don't mind accepting that check for playing the in GalleryFurniture.com Bowl.) Opponents of the plan say that a playoff would eliminate the smaller bowls thus eliminating the chance for smaller schools or schools with less than perfect records to play in the Bowl-laden postseason.

    Now the solution.

    Keep the bowls. 25 bowls is plenty for everyone. I'm sure that Clemson and Louisiana Tech will cherish their blue turf experience at the Humanitarian Bowl in Idaho. But let's take the top 8 bowls and make that the first round of the new playoff system. That still leaves 17 bowls for the non-playoff bound. (Hey Pittsburgh and NC State. You kids have fun down at the Tangerine Bowl. Enjoy the Florida sun. See you next year.)

    So what teams go to the Big 8 Bowls? Well, 8 bowls require 16 teams. 11 of those 16 would be the champions from the 11 Division 1-A conferences around the nation. (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Big East, Conference USA, MAC, Mtn. West, Pac-10, SEC, Sun Belt & WAC) That would leave 5 of those wonderful "at-large" entries (that way Notre Dame can play but maintain that "we're too good for any conference" attitude).

    And as to who plays where, that's where we set down some history. As a UCLA alum, I know that if we win the Pac-10, we're going to Rose Bowl, nuff said. But not all the conferences have that stability; that kind of established goal. A school wins their conference and they may see the New Year in any one of a dozen locales. So let's set down established destinations for the Big 8 Bowls, utilizing the Pac-10/Big 10 Rose Bowl standard.

    Rose Bowl: Pac-10 Winner vs. Big 10 Winner
    Orange Bowl: ACC Winner vs. Big East Winner
    Fiesta Bowl: Mountain West Winner vs. #1 At Large
    Sugar Bowl: SEC Winner vs. #2 At Large
    Cotton Bowl: Big 12 Winner vs. Sun Belt Winner
    Motor City Bowl: MAC Winner vs. C-USA Winner
    Citrus Bowl: WAC Winner vs. #3 At Large
    Outback Bowl: Top Div 1-A Independent (or #4 At Large) vs. #5 At Large

    So come January 4, the Bowl Season is over. The 25 Bowls have been played, and 50 school teams have a story to tell the grandkids ("Gather 'round and let Uncle Leland tell you of how we beat Georgia Tech in the very first Seattle Bowl.") After the smoke has cleared and the dust has settled, 42 teams will be on the planes to their respective homes, but we'll have 8 teams left to vie for the undisputed national championship.

    Is everyone with me now? Of course, the bottom three bowls listed with arbitrarily picked and could change, but they should remain consistent once established. Now with the Bowl Season over, we enter the Playoff Season.

    We now have to 7 games played to determine the National Champion. The host of the National Championship Game, or Champions Bowl, would be rotated through the BCS Bowls like it is now. Using this year as an example, the Rose Bowl Game would be played on January 1, and the Champions Bowl would be played at the Rose Bowl 3 weeks later.

    The second round and the semifinals of the playoffs could be played either at: A) the home fields of the teams with the better overall record; or B) at a neutral site. The other three BCS Bowls that aren't hosting the Champions Bowl could host a pair of playoff games, one in the morning, and one in the evening. For example, the top half of the second round could be played at Tempe, the bottom half at New Orleans, and the semifinals at Miami.

    Once the Champions Bowl arrives, this scenario will have accomplished two things. It will present the two worthiest teams to compete for the crown, and it will have used the existing Bowl Season to determine the playoff contenders. And all this will have been finished by the Super Bowl.

    In conclusion...

    Will this system work? Yes. Will it unreasonable extend the season for college teams? Only for a select few (8), and their reward could be the National Championship. Is everyone, ideally, happy? Yes, for not only to you preserve the Bowl System and please their supporters, but you also satisfy the demand for a playoff system and an undisputed champion. Will we ever see this? Nope. It makes too much sense. And I've seen enough to know that something this sensible will never have the power or support to overthrow money and political maneuvering. But a man can dream, can't he?

    Dec. 14, 2001


    So, after viewing Punk-o-rama TV for a few weeks, I've got a case of the Hives. The Hives are a punk rock band out of Sweden and with their solid, catchy beats and quick and hearty melodies, what's not to like. So off I go to my local Virgin MegaStore; I throw down my $20 and out the door I went with my new CD "Veni Vidi Vicious." 12 Songs, total disc length: 28 minutes even. That's what I like about punk. Bam, bam, bam, you're in there, you're outta there. So, almost considering myself a Hives fan at this point, lady luck shines on me, and who just happens to be on tour and in the area? Howlin' Pelle and the boys. One setback, sorta. They are touring with The (International) Noise Conspiracy, a good band that's getting a nice chunk of press. Naturally, show is sold out at the Roxy.

    Unfortunately, this was at the tail end of the U.S. tour, so I can't even get the word out to my friends elsewhere, except those in Scandinavia, and the UK. Hey, Hives are coming to town. For all the latest and their tour schedule, check their website, www.hives.nu

    Since we got a case of the Hives, today's What's Up will be themed as such. (Hint: Every article will share it's title with tracks off the CD. Whether they have anything to do with each other remains to be seen)

    Die, all right!
    So, after getting to the point where Val had to start her car in 3rd gear, we traded in her car and got a '99 Saturn. Her old car was on its deathbed, and that was just the latest in a wide array of problems with the car. Luckily, they were generous and gave us $500 for trade-in value. Generous being the operative, especially since repairs to her old car was 4 times that amount, minimum. So, Val now has a shiny new green Saturn. How long it stays shiny remains to be seen. All in all, the whole experience was good for two reasons. 1) Val got a car that she doesn't have to worry about for another 5-7 years (and thus doesn't have to hear me bitch about getting a new car). And 2) I got a good look at my credit report. Since I was co-signing (which, of course to everyone I've told, is as good as a marriage proposal) they checked my credit. Every so often, I complain how much money I owe. Well, I think I am going to stop complaining, now because according to my credit report, I only owe, that's right ONLY owe, 16% on the total amount of credit I have at my disposal. Do you know what that means? I could up and buy Lichtenstein on a whim and still have credit left! Christmas shopping, here I come!

    After posting my worst football picks, EVER (only 3 picks right), I decide that I really have nothing to lose by letting Val make the picks last week, because obviously, the Oracle of Football doesn't live here anymore. Well, in her first outing as a football prediction expert, Mistress Valerie went and nailed 9 picks. I'm seriously considering letting her pick for the remainder of the season.

    Main Offender
    I still can't believe that out of the big WWF Vengence Pay-per-view on Sunday, Chris Jericho walked out the Undisputed Unified Champion of the World. I didn't think it would be Rock or Austin, because that would have been a little too obvious. I was thinking Kurt Angle, really. But not Jericho. Of all the other wrestlers that could have become the very first joint WWF/WCW Champion, at the same time, I can list a dozen wrestlers that would have been befitting of that history-making moment, and Jericho isn't in that dozen. Ok, so I not a big Jericho fan, I don't deny it.

    Supply and Demand
    I will be working on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Not happy. Of course, as they say, Disney works while others play. Not happy. In a related story, I'm not happy about this.

    Knock Knock
    In an exhibition soccer game in South Korea, the U.S. lost 1-0. Ok, for those keeping score at home, South Korea is one of the countries that the U.S. will face in its World Cup Group next year. And that game is after the U.S. plays Portugal, a top 10 team in the WORLD. Suddenly, the U.S. chances of advancing to second round seem to be in jeopardy.

    Nov. 21, 2001


    This time, I'm writing about various things that have the Surprise Factor (the amount of displacement you experience upon reciept of news or information). Whether the Surprise was good or bad, I've had my fair share of them recently, so I've decided to share.

    Pleasant Surprise
    Punk-o-rama TV. Every Saturday night, well technically Sunday morning, at 1 a.m. on KDOC-TV, Channel 56 here in southern California, they air a 30-minute program of nothing but punk rock videos, called Punk-o-rama TV. I would say that this is a pleasant surprise in a) they have a show like this, and b) I actually enjoy it. Either punk's going mainstream, or I'm adapting. So far, out of the 4 weeks I've seen, I like the Hives, DropKick Murphys, and Bouncing Souls. (I liked Bouncing Souls before this, but it just reinforced that belief). Although, the more I hear "Capitalism Stole my Virginity" by the International Noise Conspiracy, the more I like it, and one week, I was singing "Driod" by the Selby Tigers. Maybe I'm going punk after all.

    Un-Pleasant Surprise
    I talked to a Debt Management Program person, and after going through the whole shabang, the amount they could have saved me a month: $3.45 (that is of course, not including the voluntary $30/month donation to them, a non-profit org.) Well, I'll never get those 40 minutes of my life back. Kids, let this be a lesson to you. Beware of having too flamboyant a lifestyle early on, because it'll come back and bite you in the ass.

    Wouldn't be Surprised
    Tiger Woods has a new book entitled, "How I Play Golf." I fully expected every page to simply say, "Better than you!"

    Shouldn't have be Surprised, but was
    The modern-day Indianapolis Colts under quarterback Peyton Manning are becoming like the Dan Marino-led Dolphins of the 80's-90's. Great QB, but the team is missing something that'll stop them from winning the big one. Only reason I mention this, gambling. On a side note, every game Minnesota has been in this season, I have not been able to pick correctly. They win when I want them to lose, and lose when I want them to win. Bastards.

    Not surprised at all
    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone raked in over $93 million in the first three days. I stood in a line that started in the theatre, extended out a door and around the building. I haven't waited for a movie in this manner in a long time. Of course, back in the day, I would have been sneaky and found the theatre that would have shown the movie on Thursday night/Friday morning. I'm thinking, though, that I may wait a while for Lord of the Rings.

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