Friday, June 23, 2006


Larry Brown, Robert Altman, the Mets & the World Cup

Here are a few news stories that have caught my attention over the last few days:

Knicks can Larry Brown
It's really a shame that the 2nd-worst team in the NBA chose to blame their abominable 2005-2006 season (just 23 wins) on Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown rather than on Hall of Fame player Isiah Thomas, the team's GM. When Brown was hired last summer, he immediately started making noise about Thomas' roster, which consists of high-paid offensive players. Brown believes in defense and team play. So as the Knicks' season began to bottom out last November and December, Brown got into a highly-public feud with star guard Stephon Marbury, who Thomas had traded for 2 years earlier. Marbury's a shooter, not a defensive player. Brown and Marbury didn't get along when Brown coached him on the 2004 Olympic team, which failed to score a medal. The seeds were clearly sown early on that Brown's voice and wishes would not be heard when it came to recasting the team with role players he could work with. Brown lost the power struggle yesterday as the Knicks fired him after just one season - despite them owing him $30 million for the next 3 season he won't coach. Don't cry for Brown, I suppose. But Knick fans can't be too happy as Thomas takes over the coaching reins. Now it's his team to win or lose with. The Knicks can't be any worse than they were under Brown. PHOTO OF LARRY BROWN & ISIAH THOMAS COURTESY OF IT.SPORTS.YAHOO.COM

Robert Altman on weed
Moviedom's most prolific director loves marijuana. He's gone on record numerous times (though never in High Times) about his predilection for pot. The 81-year-old auteur, who's curent movie is A Prairie Home Companion, told the Daily News' Rush & Molloy gossip snarks that since having a heart transplant he's increased his marijuana use. "I even have a prescription for marijuana pills," he further acknowledged, referring to the FDA-approved synthetic THC elixir, Marinol. If Altman will attend, we'll gladly honor him with a Stony Achievement award at the 6th Annual High Times Stony Awards on September 19 at BB King's in New York. ILLUSTRATION BY ROY BLUMENTHAL

Mets split series with Reds
Pedro Martinez won his 7th game and David Wright belted 2 more HRs in yesterday's 6-2 Met victory over the pesky Reds. On Wednesday, Jose Reyes hit for the cycle (single, double, triple, HR), but Billy Wagner blew the save (his 4th) and lost the game (his 1st). Now the Mets (45-27) embark on an extended tour of AL East cities, starting tonight in Toronto, as Tom Glavine will attempt to become MLB's 1st 11-game winner. Then they travel to Boston and back to New York next weekend for 3 games at Yankee Stadium. Should be interesting...

US bows out of World Cup
Don't expect a boom in soccer interest with the US' early departure from the highly competitive World Cup. Yesterday's 2-1 loss to Ghana capped a disappointing 3-game opening round series which saw the US lose twice, tie once (to Italy) and score just two goals (one was kicked in by an opposing player). Now that the 64 teams have been reduced to 16, the front runners are clearer: Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands. One of those 6 teams should win it all. I'll leave it to soccer experts to make predictions, though Brazil looked rather formidible yesterday defeating Japan, 4-1. You have to love a team whose every player's last name ends with the letter "o" - as in superstar Ronaldinho. PHOTO OF RONALDINHO BY MAURISICO

Que viva Ecuador, cabron!

The rap on Ecuador has been that they're an Andean team and can't win at altitudes below 8,000 feet. That ignores the county's geography; many of the Ecuadorean players are from Esmeraldas Province, a coastal area populated mainly by the descendants of escaped slaves. (I have a tape of Esmeraldas drumming that sounds straight out of West Africa.)

OK, family loyalties aside, I don't know if there'll be joy on Roosevelt Avenue after Ecuador takes on England Sunday morning.

When I take a look at the brackets, I guess that the semis will probably be England-Argentina (maybe Holland-Argentina) and Brazil-Spain, leading to an Argentina-Brazil final.

So who will the Mano de Dios touch? I don't know.
Ah! Supergroovy of you to use my illustration of Robert Altman!

Blue skies
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