What's Up!

August 15, 2002


In the fast-paced world I live in, much of the past month has been a big blur. So much has happened that it's hard to believe what I think I've missed. So allow me to try and sort out the last 5 weeks. I don't intend anyone to try and get up with me. I've pretty fast.

Good Bye, Chicky Baby!
For the sports fan, Los Angeles is blessed to have three golden, Hall of Fame voices: Vin Scully for the Dodgers, Bob Miller for the Kings, and Chick Hearn for the Lakers. Last week saw the passing of Francis Dayle (Chick) Hearn, who was truly a Los Angeles icon. What can I say that hasn't been said by millions of other fans across southern California? He will be missed.

ATC Zero
This week in USA Today, there is a wonderful series on the nation's air traffic controllers and their actions on September 11th. The historic decision to land some 4000 planes, and the miraclously seamless operation that follows is a great read. I smell Pulitzer for the writers of this one. If you didn't have a copy of the paper, it's online at the USA Today website.

Hey Race Fans...
Lately on Sundays, I've been treated to a solid morning of some impressive auto racing. CBS starts with the CART race, ABC follows with the IRL race, and NBC ends with the NASCAR race. Last Sunday saw a trifecta of excellent races. Bonus. What series do I follow? While I have become a tad enamoured with NASCAR, deep down I'm really a CART man.

GPS Is For Quitters
This coming weekend, Lost Expeditions heads to Grand Canyon National Park. What is Lost Expeditions? Needless to say, I'm probably involved in it. Soon, the Lost Expeditions website will be finished, and you'll see what' up. (Also, it's probably my best designed site ever)

Again with My Big Fat Greek Wedding
If you look in the Top 10 movies of the weekend, you would have saw that "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" was sitting at #8. Not bad for a movie that has been in theatres SINCE APRIL!!! While some pictures last 4-5 weeks before heading to video, MBFGW has lasted 4 months and is gaining momentum. I know my word-of-month efforts have a helped a little, so I say again, see this movie! It really is the funniest thing you'll see this year.

Still Random. Still Radio.
Do yourself a favor and take some time out of your busy Friday and listen to the Random Radio Show. Remember, you can listen to it around the world through the internet at randomradioshow.com. (If the link on that page gives you issues, click on the ktstfm.com homepage). The most popular question I get asked is what do I talk about and what music do I play? The answer: Everything, that's why it's called the Random Radio Show!

And if you couldn't get enough of me...
I signed a one-year contract extension that will see me continue to be the spokesman for the City of Three Rivers' Chamber of Commerce. That means more TV commercials, more personal appearances, and I'm going to be the Grand Marshall during the Three Rivers Watermelon Festival and Parade in late September. (For those that are asking, no I don't live in Three Rivers, it's actually a 4 hour drive for me. The life of an international celebrity isn't easy my friends)

Ya, there was more to write about, but I can't remember it right now. I've probably forgotten it... oh, there is the shoe shopping saga, but I don't want to get into that right now. Only when I have resolution, then maybe I'll write about it. Hark, my big-footed brethren, we shall be heard! Anyway, I need to slap up a What's Up since I haven't written since July 1, and I've discovered that I have fans clammoring for more What's Up. (really, I've discovered a colleague's niece has me listed in her 5 Favorite People, and I don't even know her. I rule)

July 1, 2002


It's time for the Inaugural What's Up World Cup Wrap Up. It's going to be damn near impossible to cram a month's worth of games (64 in fact) in just a few paragraphs, but I'll try to touch on a few things of note.

Penta! Penta! Penta!
Hey kids, Brazil won their 5th World Cup. The only country to do so. In fact, they are to the only country to win 4. But believe it or not, the Brazilians were not exactly heavy favorites to win this tournament. Even though they played flawless football through the month of June, many had predicted that their neighbors to south, Argentina (yours truly included), would win the whole shabang.

I woke up at 3:30 a.m. Pacific Time to watch the Germany-Brazil final (I had predicted Germany would win, more on that later). Germany displayed some deft ball handling skills, but no one had the touch to finish, which is a recurring theme for this Cup. Brazil was able to take advantage of their chances, and deserved to win the game. In a tournament where questionable officiating and bad luck eliminated some teams, Brazil showed why they are now, the 5 time Champs.

"Hi, my name's Landon Donovan, and I'm only 20 years old!"
I can't give the United States enough props for a fabulous showing at this year's Cup. So much was said of the U.S.'s sorry performance at the France '98 tourney, but after the stunning 3-2 win over Portugal in the first game, those ghosts were exorcised and people were suddenly talking second round action for the Americans. A tie with South Korea filled U.S. fans with a warm, fuzzy, happy feeling.

And then the United States beat Mexico in the second round. Wake the kids, and call the neighbors! After being Mexico's bitch for the most of the 20th Century, the U.S. spanked, I repeat, SPANKED Mexico 2-0. For U.S. Soccer, the tournament could have ended right there. The United States had arrived, by beating our most bitter rivals no less.

In the quarterfinal match against Germany, the Germans escaped with a 1-0 win, but ask anyone, the United States was the better team that night. We know it. The Germans know it. Half a billion worldwide television viewers know it. It was a handball on the goal line, which wasn't called by the ref, that DID stop the tying U.S. goal from going in, that I personally believe took the wind out of the U.S. sails. Here is a picture of the infamous non-call...

Notice the keeper, Oliver Kahn (#1 - who looks a lot like Triple H), on the ground, and look at Frings (#22 - who looks a lot like Seth Green) with his hand... well, how should I say this, "impeding the progress of the ball."

After that, the U.S. didn't have that edge like they did in the first part of the game. (Although, it's probably karma for the incidental handball that wasn't called during the Mexico match). All in all, the United States can't hang their heads. In fact, they just put the rest of the world on notice...

Think of it this way. Landon Donovan is only 20 years old. That means he can still play and contribute in at least 3 MORE World Cups. This guy reminds me a lot of Michael Owen. Instant breakaway speed. Deadly accuracy. And the only way to slow him down (forgot about stopping him) is to grab a fistful of his shirt. Now, take Donovan, add in a little DeMarcus Beasley, a pinch of Brian McBride, and a dash of Pablo Mastroeni, and you have the most dangerous group of young guns on the planet. And then for laughs, repeat after me: Clint Mathis, Claudio Reyna, John O'Brien, Josh Wolff, Brad Friedel...

And how big was Brad Friedel? Well, there's Sizable; there's Huge; and then there's BIG ASS EXTRA EXTRA LARGE that's personified by Friedel in the World Cup! He stopped ball and ball and then stoned not 1, but 2, penalty kicks at key moments in a couple of games. Kasey Keller can bitch all he wants that he wasn't picked as the U.S. starter but I can guarantee that he won't find many supporters after Friedel's outing.

One last thing about the United States. I was pleased as punch to see Cobi Jones play in a couple of games in what was most likely his last Cup (although I think he can still make a go of it in Germany 2006). He's a player. He's all that's right about U.S. soccer. Cobi will go out and run full ridge for 90 minutes if you ask him to. At one point, he was brought in as a sub for the Mexico match. I'm sure Bruce Arena simply told him, "Cobi, go out there, keep the ball on your foot, get knocked around by the Mexicans, and kill time." And sure enough, Cobi became Mexico's personal tackling dummy, the ball was glued to his shoe, and he ate up precious time that even further crippled Mexico. Cobi simply rocks. I would gladly have him on my squad, any day.

Let me gaze into my Crystal Ball...
With the biggest sporting event in the world (some say the Olympics is the biggest, discuss amongst yourselves) right around the corner, everyone and their grandma was making their picks. My picks: Argentina, Germany, and England as my darkhorse if they stay healthy. When Argentina was eliminated in the first round, I kissed $50 goodbye a little earlier than I was anticipating.

When the Round of 16 was announced, I proclaimed to all that would listen that you would see a Brazil-Germany Final. In fact, I correctly predicted 3 out of the 4 semi-finalists (Sweden let me down). And lo and behold if Brazil and Germany didn't end up in the Final. And I was also flaunting my "If Argentina doesn't make it, Germany's the team" pre-Cup prediction. And then Germany lost, 2-0. Just like most teams in this tournament, I couldn't finish.

Final Random thoughts
  • Every time I look at Oliver Kahn, the German goalkeeper, I think to myself, "Man, I didn't know Triple H played for the Germans."

  • If the United States was able to beat the Germans, it would have set up a rematch with South Korea in the semis. That would have been the game of the tournament right there.

  • Sorry, but the greatest moment of the Cup was during the Russia-Tunisia match when the Russian player got knocked out by taking a shot to the face. It just keeps getting funnier and funnier. I just think back to my original outburst why I saw the guy fall, "Ooooooh! Oh, he's dead."

  • Senegal was everyone's feel-good team by making it to the quarterfinals on their very first trip to World Cup. Slowly but surely, African soccer is making strides in the right direction on the world stage.

  • J.P. Dellacamera is the most animated English-speaking commentator (which isn't saying much) in the ESPN family of networks. That's why I like him. Nothing on the scale of Univision, but nothing really is. During the Final, homey on Univision almost had a coronary when Ronaldo scored the first goal. Now that's soccer.

  • The only problem with Nike and Adidas supplying most of the team's jerseys in that half the teams have the same shirt design, but with different colors, which make for non-original designs. This tourney was looking like a AYSO youth soccer game at some points. I'm all for a simply jersey design, but it was just a little too bland. I think Slovenia's mountain outline design was one of the best of the bunch. Props to Nigeria for having the huevos to wear Key Lime Pie green at the biggest dance of them all. And Italy's skin tight blues are stylish, and probably reduce the ability of the defenders grabing a fistful of fabric.

    All in all, this tournament was all that was right about the game of soccer and all that was wrong (there was very shoddy officiating during several matches, but why should I beat a dead horse). This game probably ignited some much needed interest in the game in places like Africa, Asia, and here in the United States. Just think, it's only 4 more years till the next Cup in Germany in 2006. Guess I'll have to overdose on MLS to hold me over.

    May 2, 2002


    M is for MSU
    With great pride, I pleased to announce the my best bud Dave was hired on as an athletic trainer for Mississippi State University. He had accepted an interim position that was supposed to last for only 4 months, but they decided to keep him for another 2 years.

    He will be training the MSU Track & Field team which is currently ranked 5th in the nation. And with the SEC's Track Championships held at Miss State, Dave will play a huge role in staging that event.

    But you know what's funny about this whole thing. Dave had never even set foot in Mississippi until he had accepted that interim position. In case you're not familiar with it, Mississippi State is the largest university in Mississippi and is located in Starkville, Mississippi (about a 4 hour drive from civilization).

    M is for More Memory for My Mac
    I need more memory for my Mac. Haven't decided if I'm going to do what I usually do and just flat out by a new Mac or just get extra memory. My modern standards, my Power Mac is relatively old (not as primitive as my Mac LCIII which it replaced), but it still does the job. I leaning towards just adding memory, because I don't have to the time to break in a new computer, most of my peripheries are SCSI and honestly, a blueberry tower will just clash with it's beige surrondings. (See, my computer was purchased right before Apple rolled out the iMacs and G3s in a cornicopia of colors).

    It's amazing how quickly 2 Gigs of memory disappear. Especially considering that my machine was one of the first to have that kind of memory 4 years ago, and how I don't download music or files with similar size to store. Maybe if I deleted some of the porn on my computer, I could free up some space, D'OH!

    M is for My Big Fat Greek Wedding
    Of course, I saw My Big Fat Greek Wedding on opening night, in, believe it or not, a packed theatre. We had to sit in the third row. I hate sitting that close, but it was ok.

    It is a must see movie, and not only if you are Greek. I have Hellenically-Challenged (non-Greek) friends come up to me and tell me that they want to see the movie, or already have, and on all the reviews I've heard are all positive.

    The movie, simply put, is hilarious. Do yourself the favor and see the movie. From what I'm hearing from everyday folk is that many people are seeing it, and the movie might enjoy a wider release across the country soon.

    M is for Monastary
    There is this Greek Orthodox monastary somewhere in the Arizona desert, that my folks went to a few months ago. They decided to go again during Greek Holy Week, and as before they are taking my Aztek. It's the newest of the family vehicles and everything (most notably the air conditioning) works. This leaves me driving my mom's car (which, rumor has it, blows out 200 degree heat if you try to turn on the A/C. I'm not bold enough to check). I guess it payback for all the times back in the I took the Town Car to Vegas, because hey why wouldn't I want to take a Town Car to Vegas. The big irony, my mom's car I'm driving now is the Town Car we all used to drive on trips.

    M is for Michael Schumacher
    Can anybody beat Michael Schumacher. Honesty, in the 5 F-1 races run, he's won 4 of them. He could wrap up his record-equalling 5th F-1 Championship by June at this rate, and still have the 2nd half of the season to race. So it should come as no surprise that on EA Sports F1 Racing for the Playstation 2, Schumacher has the best car in the game.

    If you reading this within the confines of the United States, only 1% of you probably have a slim clue as to what I'm talking about. We all know how much open-wheeled racing thrives in this country, as evident by CART's and IRL's sellout crowds as race tracks across the country (in case you didn't know, that was sarcasm).

    M is for Moving
    So, just in case you didn't hear, the random radio show is moving to a new station and a new time: KTST 89.5 FM, Fridays at 6 p.m. Why the move? Better time slot, better on-air promotion, and most importantly, I'm on live. The KLAS version was taped delay (that's why I'm still broadcasting there until May 10th... sshhh!, don't tell anyone).

    Be sure to turn in to ktstfm.com or randomradioshow.com Fridays at 6 p.m. and listen to insanity that I have the privilege of orchestrating.

    Apr. 15, 2002


    My Big Fat Greek Wedding
    Back in the day, when I was active with the UCLA Greek Club (back when I was actually at UCLA), I received a call from Nia Vardalos. She was performing a one-women show entitled "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and invited us to a performance. It was playing at the Globe Theatre in West Hollywood. It was the funniest damn thing I've seen in ages. After the show, she was telling us how they were in the preliminary stages of possible making it into a movie. Well, that day has come.

    Opening Friday, April 19 in theaters in Los Angeles and New York..... MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING - Love Is Here To Stay...So Is Her Family.

    The movie is produced by Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson (Tom's wife, she's Greek) and stars Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Lanie, Kazan, Michael Constantine, Andrea Martin, Joey Fatone (The N'Sync kid), Gia Carides, and Louis Mandylor. It's a movie for everyone in America with a foot in another country. Which I guess would be all of us if you dig deep enough into your ancestry.

    If the movie is anything like the play, it'll be well worth the price of admission. I'll be taking Valerie on opening day. I'm just afraid she won't half the jokes.

    Visit the Movie's site at movies.yahoo.com/greekwedding

    Introducing your 2004 Olympic Mascots
    (Courtesy AP) When the Olympics return to Greece, Phevos and Athena will have the world at their swollen feet. The grinning mascots carry the nation's hopes that the 2004 Games will be a success. (For your enjoyment, I will have a running commentary throughout this piece. It'll be in blue)

    But since their launch on April 4, the ungainly duo have failed to warm the hearts of many people here, who view the creations as bland and even un-Greek.

    Celebrities from the arts world have criticized the brother-and-sister images, which were inspired by a Greek terra-cotta doll made some 2,700 years ago.(Interesting fact. Good to see Greece rely on its history for imagery.)

    With cone-shaped torsos, long necks and oversized, triangular feet, their names hail from the mythological god of music and light, Apollo, another name for Phevos, and Athena, the goddess of wisdom and protector of Athens.

    Their roots may be ancient, but their welcome has been far from warm.

    A cartoon in Athens' English-language Kathimerini newspaper on Monday showed a figure from Greece's traditional shadow theater likening the pair to mutants resulting from a nuclear accident.(A little harsh wouldn't you say?)

    "I expected something that would represent our culture, not some modern version of Mickey Mouse," actress Dina Konsta wrote in the Athens daily Ethnos. "No matter how much I tried to be positive, they seemed tasteless."

    Filmmaker Yiannis Smaragdis added: "What has this to do with Greece? If we see these things at the opening ceremony, it'll be a national catastrophe." (Well, if we can't get the venues finished in time, at least we have an excuse. Stress from the mascots.)

    Critics have targeted everything from the mascots' giant feet, their "oversimplified" design and, for one cartoonist, a passing resemblance to a part of the male anatomy. They've even been likened to The Simpsons. (My mother made the exact same statement. The one about the Simpsons, not the male anatomy.)

    An informal poll conducted over the weekend by Greece's private Star television channel found that about 75 percent of those who called the station disapproved of the designs. Star did not say how many people phoned in.

    Olympics organizers were quick to defend their choice.

    "The 2004 Olympic mascots are unique, have a long history as well as a modern face," said Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, the games' chief organizer. (Truth be told, they're growing on me)

    Many critics, however, complained that nobody can guess that Phevos and Athena are based on a 7th century B.C. figurine unless they are told so. (Very true, unfortunately)

    The mascot siblings were selected from 196 competition entries and go against a tradition of choosing animal representatives to symbolize the ultimate human competition. The last human figures were the mascots for the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer, Haakon and Kristin, which were based on 13th century historical figures. (And who doesn't remember Haakon and Kristen? Anyone?)

    Big-eyed owls, lanky raccoons, a stripy Dachshund and cowboy polar bears all have tried to make their mark, with cuddly icons such as Moscow's Misha the bear in 1980 and Cobi the "surreal dog" for Barcelona in 1992 winning gold in the popularity stakes. (Man, if the "dog" was a hit, we've got it made!)

    Exceptions to the animal or human rule have included Izzy, the abstract blue mascot of the Atlanta Games, which was among the most criticized of Olympic mascots. (I wasn't going to go there. But you had to bring it up...)

    Greek organizers have promised not to repeat the hypercommercial climate of Atlanta, saying they will present the world with a "noble competition on a human scale."

    But Phevos and Athena will have to earn their keep. Sales of T-shirts, mugs, toys, pins and other licensed Olympic products all help recover the billions of dollars spent on preparations.

    Athens' logo, a white olive wreath on a blue watercolor background, is fast becoming a ubiquitous feature of this city, seen on everything from beer cans to credit cards. (The Athens logo is one of the best logo for the Olympics in ages. And I'm not just saying that out of bias. It's a simple yet grand design that captures the essence of the games. Ok, maybe that last sentence was a little over the top, but still.)

    Phevos and Athena's designer, Spyros Gogos, thinks the hostility will wear off. "As soon as (they) become part of our everyday lives, I'm sure we'll look at them differently," he said. If some adults don't care for his creations, he insists, children will love them. (Valerie admits that they are very cute. And they kinda are.)

    Mascot defenders also point out that new designs and works of art are often criticized when unfamiliar, only to be admired later on. Cobi was not liked at the start but grew in popularity.(I'm telling you, if Cobi became a fan favorite as they are saying, we've got it made.)

    "We will need time to love them," Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said.

    Suddenly Bi-Weekly Goods
    I'm finding that the Weekly Goods are getting better exposure if I leave them up for 2 weeks instead of the normal 1. So, I'm continuing to test this and see if I'm going to leave it at 2 weeks, or change them every week like I used to. I'll probably run it like that through May. And of course, I'm getting a lot of mileage out of them by using the Weekly Goods on the radio show Good stuff. The Weekly Goods segment on the show is even sponsored by Visa. (ok, so this is a shameless plug. sue me)

    What's Up Archive
    November 2001 - March 2002

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