It’s Out of the Question: Aw, Howard’s a wise guy, eh?


We had a dream last night where we were watching the Cartoon Network, and there was Moe, Curly and Dwight Howard slapping each other with rolled up sheets of paper – perhaps, pieces of an NBA contract – while in a Dodger Stadium luxury suite.

One of them — the real tall one — ended up on the video board smiling next to his girlfriend, supposedly as a guest of a Dodgers co-owner with some kind of ties to the Lakers.

Can we assume Dwight Howard isn’t such a stooge that he knows the Dodgers don’t play in his destination dream spot of Brooklyn anymore?

According to a website called, he’s going to sign a contract extension and come to L.A. any day now.

According to Howard’s agent, speaking to anyone still listening, that’s not happening.

Where is Jim Gray when you need a long-winded decision to finally reach some kind of closure?

The heart of the matter always seems to go back to where Howard’s heart lies here.

The only thing that makes sense anymore is a post Friday on the Wall Street Journal, of all sports websites, where a Mad Lib format was created: “The All-Star center recent went to a (blank) where the crowd (blank) and he felt (blank).”

This storyline isn’t a blank slate any more. The D-Ho-to-Hollywood drama will reach a climax. Some how. Some day.

We’re just waiting when we ask a real GM what’s going on. Meaning, where’s Jerry West when the Lakers need a Shaq-like deal closed?

Continue reading “It’s Out of the Question: Aw, Howard’s a wise guy, eh?” »

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A London dozen books: A real chace for gold, by an American cyclist known as ‘The Blade’


The book: “The Price of Gold: The Toll and the Triumph of One Man’s Olympic Dream”

The author: Marty Nothstein, with Ian Dille

The publishing info: Rodale, $25.99, 218 pages

Find it: At Powells or Barnes & Noble.

The background: “The Blade” won gold at the Sydney Olympics and silver in Atlanta in cycling. He lives today with his wife and two children in Trexlertown, Penn., executive director of the velodrome where he started his career.

Maybe you recall after he won in Sydney, he grabbed his 5-year-old son, Tyler, onto his bike for a victory lap.

How did he get there?

Chapter one, paragraph one: “I’m 25 years old when I arrived in Atlanta for the 1996 Olympic Games. I’m a world-class track cyclist at the peak of my physical prowess. I stand 6-foot-2 inches and weigh 225 pounds. My quads measure 30 inches around, the size of a normal cyclist’s waistline. My shoulders, biceps and chest appear Herculean in proportion to the svelte carbon-fiber bike I race. In the weight room, I squat more than 500 pounds. In training, my explosive sprint, which tops out near 50 miles per hour, frequently demolishes bicycle parts.

“I twist handlebars into pretzels and fold chain rings like pancakes. I turn wheels into tacos. I’ve taught the millions of muscle fibers in my legs to fire, so that I may ride a bike faster than any human on the planet. The event in which I specializes, matching sprinting, is the equivalent to the 100-meter dash, but on bikes. Two racers go head to head on the track over three laps, the last 200 meters of which is timed. The first across the line moves on to the next round of the sprint tournament. The loser goes home. The gold medalist in the Olympic match sprint is considered the fastest cyclist in the world.”

From the first sentence of Part 2, Chapter 8, page 117: “I didn’t go to Atlanta for the silver. I get home and am single-minded about getting back on track, back to number one.”

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A London dozen books: A ficticious chase for gold between English cyclists

UPDATED: 07.22.12


The book: “Gold”

The author: Chris Cleave

The publishing info: Simon & Shuster, 336 pages, $27

Find it: At Powells or Barnes & Noble

The background: We were enticed by a short review in a recent Sports Illustrated that ended: “Cleave’s fine novel will give you an appreciation for all that London’s Olympians have gone through as you watch them contort their bodies, leap for the heavens or pedal round and round and round.”

Cleave’s third novel, following up on the New York Times best-seller “Little Bee,” is focused on 32-year-old British cyclists Zoe Castle and Kate Meadows, who have been friends and rivals for 13 years and go into their final Olympics competition – but the IOC says only one will be eligible.

Kate is married to fellow racer, Jack Argall, and they have an 8-year-old daughter, Sophie, battling leukemia.

Sacrifices and determination are the underlying thread to how this reaches its poetic climax.

Other reviews of it we’ve come across have been mixed. Entertainment Weekly’s Lisa Schwarzbaum gave it a “C+” because “the drama . . . is so swollen, adn the writing so pumped up with ‘style,’ that the sentences tehmselves begin to get in the way of the story’s momentum — their showiness become an aerodynamic drag.’ Also, using a child’s bout with leukemia as a “tear-jerking distraction” didn’t go over well. (review linked here)

In Sunday’s Los Angeles Times’ book review section, Carolyn Kellogg wrote that part of the problem is that Cleave “doesn’t have enough characters to fill his stage . . . it’s unusual for a novel of this size to have such a scarcity of texture.” (review linked here).

Yet, if covers make a difference, Cleave’s books always make for some fine art posters.

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A London dozen: Rewind a couple of weeks ago, to Bryan Clay’s 12th place at the decathlon trials


The book: “Redemption: A Rebellious Spirit, A Praying Mother and the Unlikely Path to Olympic Gold”

The author: Bryan Clay with Joel Kilpatrick

The publishing info: Thomas Nelson Books, 249 pages, $24.99

Find it: At Powells or Barnes & Noble.

The background: Unfortunately, the Glendora resident and Azusa Pacific grad who won the decathlon by a huge margin at Beijing in 2008 and took silver in ’04 didn’t make it to the ’12 Games. He tripped over a barrier in the 110 meter hurdles the Olympic Trials in Oregon last month and thought he’d been DQ’d. Mentally out of it as he did his best event, the discus, he fouled on a throw and ended with a 12th-place finish.

But that hardly makes his life story any less relevant.

The son of an African-American dad who divorced his Japanese mom when he was five, Clay spent most of his youth in Hawaii, influenced by his Asian culture as well as Christian music. The born-again Christian focuses his book on how his faith turned him from an angry teenager who tried to pick fights and smoked pot into a Olympic champ.

The way he handled the disappointment at the ’12 Trials speaks to his character: “Anytime a decathlon goes bad, I think the athlete wants to pick up his stuff and walk off the track. It was everything I had to keep going. I’ve been working a long time to come out and put something together. There was a lot of hope and expectation there. When you see it all go out the window, it’s pretty disappointing, so it was important to finish. I didn’t want to finish. My coaches, thank goodness, made me finish. For my wife and kids, I had to finish. My kids were in the stands screaming. My nieces were here. . . .I want to be the best role model I can be. The last thing you want to do is quit at something. . . . We’ll come out next year. There’s always another team to be made.”

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A London dozen books: Rewind 40 years ago, and the messiness of Munich


The book: “Munich 1972: Tragedy, Terror and Triumph at the Olympic Games”

The author: David Clay Large

The publishing info: Rowman & Littlefield, $29.95, 372 pages

Find it: At Powells or Barnes & Noble

The background: Large is a professor of history at Montana State, author of several history books including “Nazi Games: The Olympics of 1936.” He draws on new sources to look back at the moment best remembered as the site where Israeli Olympians were abducted by Palestine terrorists and a botched rescue mission led to tragedy.

You really want to relive all this again? Only if there’s better perspective.

Page 246: “Not surprisingly, America’s Olga Connolly, the feisty political activist who had smuggled peace buttons into the Olympic Village, was appalled by the decision to play on (after the 11 deaths). In the wake of (IOC President Avery) Brundage’s announcement, she declared, ‘It seems incredible that after the terrible tragedy of the past few days, in which our brothers, 11 Olympic athletes, were killed, we are kept at the level of playing Ping-Pong.’

“For Connolly, Brundage’s ‘Games Must Go On’ dictum was just one more demonstration of the moral and political bankruptcy of the Olympic momentum. “Olympic officials speak the words of brotherhood and peace, but this I only political mouthwash,” she complained. ‘When you see it from the inside, you are disgusted to see that the Games, a kind of Circus Maximus, are not conducted for anything else but commercialism, medal counts and political profit.’ “

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