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January 13, 2008

The Cougar Lounge - The Brick House

"Mayo is a great, but did you see that other team?"

- Nameless NBA scout who was at the Wazzu-USC game to watch Trojan freshman O.J. Mayo but came away impressed by the Cougar team.



"We were watching clips of the game they played at Washington and man, they're disciplined. It looks like a European pro team out there."

- USC guard Daniel Hackett, confirming that the NBA scout was actually watching a European pro team.




"We had a diamond and one - only without the one."

- Arizona head women's hoop coach, Joan Bonvicini, describing her defense when the Wildcats, due to attrition from injury, academic ineligibility and fouls, got down to four players against Oregon State two weeks ago in a game they would eventually finish in overtime with two Wildcat players on the court.




"The F-word isn't what it used to be."

- Pennsylvania attorney, Keith Williams, claiming - in his best Perry Mason voice - that his client would have won a trial if he had not apologized for writing the F-word in the memo section of the check he used to pay for a parking ticket.






Look outside the window today and you might see the sun is still up in the sky. Yes, even though the Washington State University Cougar men's hoop team lost their first basketball game in almost a year, the bright orangy disk purported to be the sun, rose today. We say "might" because if you live in the Pacific Northwest in January, there are times where it is debatable whether or not the sun formally exists and people sometimes credit plants flowering in spring as products of an active imagination possibly enhanced by over-caffeination. The Lounge is almost sure we saw something resembling a large cosmic body - but it turned out to be Bill Gates doing a gig with Slash, a guitarist formerly of some band that has now lost all relevance.


Billy is beginning to grease the skids for his eventual departure as King of the World, uh, we mean, Microsoft, and what better way to begin that slide than a graceful duet called Slash 'n Burn with Billy Burn working that Guitar Star guitar to its electronic limits. While we mock the easily mockable duo, there can be no snickering about Billy's announcement last week at the Consumer and Electronics Show in Las Vegas [think of a combination of a Roman orgy with electronic gadgetry with Billy as Caligula and you will be in the neighborhood of getting a visual of this event] that his extremely large 800-pound gorilla company will be the exclusive technology partner of the official USA media company - NBC - for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing this summer.

Yes, yes, we know, you are saying "Wow! Really!? Let me go out to my favorite neighborhood store right this minute and purchase large quantities of discounted New Year's party favors so that I may recycle them in celebration of this momentous occasion!!" But just wait. You will see what this means in a few short months. Well, you can choose to wait that long or we can tell you right now - it means no more being forced to sit through hours of mindlessly melodramatic athlete features or taped day-old preliminary action in a lame effort to build suspense for a final in an event. It means there will be thousands of hours of coverage in both live and on-demand formats at NBCOlympics.com. This will include 2200 hours of what any sane Olympics viewer has always wanted - friggin' live-event coverage, fer cryin' in the mud! - and possibly more than 20 simultaneous live video streams. Additionally, there will be 3000 hours of on-demand content that will include full-event replays, so if you want to see a replay of a great athletic effort, a Cougar competing in or winning an event or that 400-meter quarterfinal when the guy from Ghana performs a tribal dance at the finish line - you can see that whenever you want. Even if you really only want to see the soapy interviews, well, you can see them too. Plus you can pull up stats, bios or rules while you are watching, to make sure you know everything there is to know and nobody is cheating [however, no word yet on whether or not there will be a "clean/not clean" drug usage category for athletes on the bios or stats].

With the mention of drug usage, it is fitting that we now bring comments of disgruntled University of Washington boosters into the discussion. Seems as though some Husky fans were not, ahem, particularly fond of the direction of the school's football program - one fellow was so delighted with the recent 4-9 finish that he even offered up twin $100,000 employment termination bounties each on the heads of athletic director Todd Turner and head football coach Tyrone Willingham. Another would not let offspring wear UW-promoting apparel - which, to the Lounge clientele, seems to be a perfectly reasonable policy at all times of the year. Washington president Mark Emmert did what presidents do when the majority of people are in disagreeable moods - ignores them - well, up to a point. He did fire Turner, partially for his mad scientist failures in the "competitive arena" [translation: "Dude, the villagers have pitchforks and torches - you so hired Willingham."]. Now, far be it from the Lounge or the clientele to crown Seattle as HypeTown when it comes to the crowing of voices about teams that rarely materialize - we will cede that duty to others - but we duly note that the Huskies had losing efforts in two of the three primary autumn sports [football and women's soccer] and look to be on their way to adding women's hoop to that pile in winter, with men's hoop not far behind. But if football is not winning [or cheating to win - illegitimus non carborundum, right, Mike?] then that is all that matters to the run-of-the-mill Husky fan, so never mind what anybody says about going to school and getting good grades - just win those football games, damn it, or no more Husky t-shirts for you!

"Well, two out of three ain't bad," says Norman S. Fairweather, who lived up to his name and just began paying attention to Cougar hoops this week.

Yeah, Norm, unless you happen to suddenly find yourself as a Husky in a parallel universe - and then two wins out of three on the road in the Pac-10 isn't enough - so you're fired Tony Bennett! [or vos es incendia as past Husky presidents using dead languages like to say]. Coming into the month of January and looking at their Pac-10 opening schedule with five of the first seven games on the road, yes, in an informal [highly informal, black ties were shunned - shuunnned] vote, the consensus of the Lounge clientele would have to agree with you Norm, two out of three really is not too bad. In fact, if the Cougars can hold that kind of winning percentage throughout the conference season and take care of business at home, they would be looking at a 15-3 conference record - which would be their best conference record ever since the Pac-10 formed. The only potential casualty of the loss to the Bruins is the #1 seed in the Big Dance - but that is only temporary. There are still 15 Pac-10 conference games to play [plus that silly conference tournament which the Lounge hopes the selection committee discounts since UCLA and USC have the clear advantage by being the only teams that never have to travel as long as it stays rooted in Los Angeles] for the Cougars and anything [and by "anything" we mean anything except Pac-10 officiating improving, of course] can happen between now and March 16.

"Is there any way to avoid playing games so close together?" asks Dirk McQuickly of the roughly 38-hour period the Cougars had between the USC and UCLA games last week.

Not bloody likely, mate - as long as money and television networks are involved in the process. Last week, the Cougars were the only Pac-10 team that had to deal with the dilemma of somehow trying to get two conference road wins against probable NCAA-bound teams within a span of roughly 38 hours. The odds of that happening - particularly with the second game being against the perennial powerhouse UCLA Bruins - were about the same as Fox Sports providing coverage more "sick" than lumpy oatmeal. Gee, can we see that week-old Russell Westbrook slam dunk one more time? We missed it the first 37,000 times it was replayed along with the 14,000 times it was mentioned afterward. Look, if we are going to YouTube to watch something, we are going to watch a guy jump his motorcycle over a football field in Las Vegas while scantily -clad Vegas showgirl referees mark the actual distance before we watch yet another basketball dunk worth two points. But no matter, the Cougars did the best they could under the circumstances and as they say in Latin - quis mos roto mos adveho inter ["what goes around comes around"].


They say things in English - about basketball too - and the Lounge has discovered a secret garden of basketball quotes at The Quote Garden, where we are partial to several [Weldon Drew and John Edgar Wideman] and Wazzu's former head men's hoop coach George Raveling gets a few zingers in.

Finally, the Lounge Scientists from Washington State University have been as busy as bunnies trying to save pygmy rabbits. WSU is the lead research institution to resurrect the endangered species which resides, isolated, in the Columbia River Basin. But a release of 20 bunnies last spring went awry as all but one were made into dinner by the neighborhood coyotes. Scientists are hoping the second release will go better and are hoping that the males will be able to, um, you know, do their bunny thing - preferably before being eaten.

"We're anxious to get them back to Sagebrush Flats to breed with the females," says Lounge Scientist #40, Becky Elias, a researcher at Wazzu who has no qualms about using the B-word.

We are all for breeding pygmy bunnies - as long as there is no Fox Sports commentary - but watch out for any potential Husky scientists in the study - they might be expecting many more bunnies and no coyotes.





+++++++sponsored by Clark's Restaurant+++++++++

Attention COUGAR fans and well-wishers! Winter is here and you have the hunger. How can you afford to go one day further without some tasty morsels from Clark's Restaurant in Grays Harbor - home of the Best Hamburger in Twin Harbors for eight consecutive years? Come in for the burger, fresh homemade fries and milkshakes concocted from homemade ice cream. Go ahead, we dare you to try and pass up more than 12 varieties of hamburgers to choose from, full dinners, lunch and full breakfast served daily. Clark's Restaurant 360.538.1487. Seven miles south of Aberdeen, Washington on Highway 101. Proud supporter of CougZone. Mention this ad for a free small ice cream.


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