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Tropical Storm Arlene

Friday
June 10, 2005

We're less than a half-month into hurricane season, and already there's a named storm in the Gulf of Mexico. After hearing how it would be a nothing storm, now I'm told that Tropical Storm Arlene could become a hurricane. Oh joy. Let the panic begin. It's not heading toward Tampa, but on ABC 28's news last night after the Pistons/Spurs game (more on that in a bit), they did full team coverage of the story. Unfortunately it was set up by meteorologist Denis Phillips saying that the storm was no big deal. That took the wind out of the "let's overhype this story" sails.

A deadly police involved shooting took place last night in Ybor City, not far from where I live. Here's the story from Tampa Bay Online. In case that link isn't working by the time you read this, here's the short version: four young adults and one teenager attempted to rob two guys at gunpoint in a parking lot on 8th Avenue around midnight. One of the victims attempted to grab the gun, and a shot was fired. Two undercover police officers who were on patrol passed by, saw what was happening, and stepped in.

Of course, if the cops had been in uniform and not undercover, maybe the hoodlums would've been less inclined to try robbing the two guys at gunpoint. But what's life in America these days without secret police, eh?

What gets me is when the police say they were out checking parking lots to be sure no cars were being stolen. Bullshit. I've seen, on multiple occasions, cops with flashlights looking into parked cars, apparently scouring for any contraband or something that they could "bust" someone with having. And you wonder why people are going to Ybor less frequently.

Meanwhile, the individual-rights demolishing "Patriot Act" (which is anything but Patriotic in my view) is up for renewal, and there are some who not only want it pushed through but want to see it expanded. I heard some big government type in a news segment this morning justifying why the FBI needs to be able to access people's library book records without needing a court order. This government spy game business is really beginning to border on Orwell-1984 areas in some ways. I hope I'm not the only person who finds it both frightening and disgusting.

(There is another choice: LP.org. No, it's not a Lou Pickney spin-off webpage, it's the Libertarian Party's website. You don't have to buy into Big Government Left or Big Government Right if you don't want to, you know...)

On the Howard Stern show yesterday morning they were talking about one of the new silly summer reality shows called Dancing With The Stars. They mentioned that one of the performers was someone named Kelly Monaco. That name struck a bell for some reason, and for a second I couldn't remember why. Then they mentioned that she was a former Playboy Playmate, and bingo, it hit me.

Kelly Monaco
Who would be against having more women like Kelly Monaco on TV?

Flash back to March 1997, spring break in Panama City, FL with my Phi Kappa Tau fraternity brothers. It was a crazy week, including a Wednesday night extravaganza at a bar called Ruthie T's that will go down in history among the all-time memorable evenings. There are so many stories from then that I could tell... But in this case, Playboy had a random event where their April 1997 Playmate was signing autographs at some convenience store (or something like that) which was real close to where we were staying. Camel was even out there giving out merchandise (this was before they changed the laws on that), though you had to be 21 to get the merchandise. It was yet another case of a discriminatory law against young adults, but I digress.

The deal was this: if you bought the magazine, you could get her to sign it and get your picture taken with her while she did. But one rule was that you could NOT touch her. They were incredibly adamant about that. I remember Herb getting his picture taken, and maybe a couple of the other guys did, too.

So, who was that Playmate? You guessed it, Kelly Monaco. I looked her up on imdb.com (which should be bookmarked on everyone's computer who cares one iota about TV or movies), she went on to land a role on Baywatch later that year. Monaco then parlayed that into the world of soap operas, first on Port Charles and then on General Hospital. Oh, and she got work in some movie classics like BASEketball (where she's listed as "uncredited: Pole-Dancing Cheerleader Sharon"). The movie stuff was fluff work at best, but the soap opera stuff is the real deal. Stern commented that she might be the most successful Playmate as far as someone who parlayed her shot in Playboy into an acting career.

Anyway, I found that all quite interesting. It's funny how things work out. Plus I'm all about a system that rewards gorgeous women for getting naked. Who's with me on that?

I watched the entirety of Game 1 of the Spurs/Pistons game. San Antonio looked rusty/nervous in the first quarter, and the Pistons outplayed them, opening up a 17-4 lead to start the game. Then it seemed like fatigue set in a bit for Detroit, and San Antonio was able to get back into the game. Manu Ginobli kicked it into another gear in the fourth quarter, which is what the Spurs are going to need from someone in every game. Because Detroit is so good at deflections, it hurts the Spurs' transition game, so they need guys who can step it up and take the jump shot. The way Tony Parker (the Spurs' point guard) is so unafraid to take it to the basket (unlike most point guards, who prefer avoiding that kind of physical contact against larger opponents) is admirable. He didn't have a great offensive night, but my point is that Parker disproves the whole "European players are soft" myth.

But make no mistake, the series is going to be a fight all the way through. The Spurs were up 17 with about 5 minutes to go... and suddenly Detroit ran off 10 unanswered in the blink of an eye to make it a 7 point game. Luckily Ginobli then retaliated with a dagger of a 3-pointer he hit as the shot clock neared zero to ice it. But as Miami learned the hard way, you can never ever count out Detroit. They're the defending champs for a reason.

Some people might say the game was boring because it wasn't something like 115-106, but this was the first matchup of the top two defensive teams in the league since the 1970 Finals. That was the Lakers/Knicks finals with the famous scene of an injured Willis Reed coming out from the locker room in Game 7 to a jubilant crowd at Madison Square Garden, giving New York the emotional lift it needed to win the game -- and the series.


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