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Tonight was just a sad, sad game for the Mavs. Dirk got three personals in the first seven minutes. There were eight Technicals called on the Mavs in just the first half. Del and Nellie both got thrown out of the game early on. The Spurs were almost perfect from the foul line. Raja's hand, Eddie's thigh, and Ade's back were all hurting (and will be). It was a 25 point Spurs lead at halftime. Oh, the Mavs made a small run near the end, but it was basically an ugly performance all around. Spurs showed they're the best tonight. Any hope of stealing the series by winning the next two in Dallas is gone. Mavs are still a very long shot to win it all. I'd put all my money on Duncan's Spurs.

--Got my grades: two As and three Bs. Oh well.

--MotoGP 2 for Xbox came out yesterday. This is my "most wanted" game right now. I know I've written about the first game and this one a couple times here. I loved the first one, and they've fixed every little thing that wasn't perfect about it for the 2002 iteration. Next year I'm sure they'll include the Ducatis, Protons, and Kawasakis that have made such a splash in 2003 so far, as well as riders like Troy Bayliss, Nicky Hayden, and Colin Edwards who are new to the series. But the 2002 season was the big change anyway, where the four strokes had their debut--Suzuki, Honda, Aprilia, Yamaha. And that was the only year the two strokes and four strokes raced against each other, which is reflected in the game.

What was so good about the original? Astounding graphics, the best sensation of speed of any video game ever (including PC, arcade, console, any game genre), excellent sound, groundbreaking control using the analog controls of the Xbox pad fully including separate analog front and rear brakes, most of the real life tracks faithfully reproduced, cool graphic filters, great unlockables, a nice multiplayer mode including online, all the riders from the 2001 season, intense AI and racing action, and unmatched realism. Mostly, it was tons of fun.

In addition to totally updating the game for the debut season of MotoGP (2002), they also improved the simulation aspects and career mode, made the bikes a lot more customizable, enhanced the replay system, added the six tracks that were missing before, improved the graphics (hard to believe), added more options and modes, and expanded the online game. You can now race online with fifteen other Xbox Live players. Sweet. And remember, the PS2 and Xbox games are totally different games by different developers and publishers.

--By the way, you can read my Enter the Matrix review HERE. After I submitted it I read some of the other reviews and realized I missed some parts, like the horrible driving AI (Niobe doesn't have a clue how to drive around pillars or away from walls), the painfully cheezy cinematics that show up sometimes (what the hell was that scene with the Italian chick coming on to Jorge?), and our reaction when we "beat" the game (it was such an anti-climax, we weren't sure at all that it was over).

--Got my Unbelievable Truth CD. Dang, it's good. I like having four or five brand new (to me) CDs to rotate through.

--I'm sure everyone knows about the Orange Terror Alert (from the Homeland Insecurity Agency). The DFW area is extra special--it gets orange pollution alerts AND the orange terror alerts. And you know what? Neither one makes a bit of difference to anyone. Nobody cares. They never tell us anything we can use to make decisions anyway. I'm CONVINCED it's a way to deflect accusations that they didn't tell us something was going to happen. The fact is, they don't have a clue what will happen or where, so they raise the orange alert flag as early as possible for the entire fifty state area. Don't be alarmed, folks. Does that mean I don't expect terrorism? Nope. I'm sure Al Qaeda and others are trying their mightiest to pull something off (although frankly I think they've bitten off more than they can chew). All I'm saying is "general alert" is an oxymoron that doesn't accomplish a damned thing. Other than some hassles at the airport, some hoopla from the government, and some crappy surveillance, tracking, and detainment laws, terrorism (post 9/11) isn't all that terrible for us. Is it? Eating too much, riding in a car, or smoking cigarettes are still far more dangerous than Al Qaeda ever will be. But if it scares ya and they can sensationalize it, it leads on the nightly glamour media.

--A new law has been passed in Texas regarding abortions. It mandates a one day waiting period, and also makes abortion hopefuls sign a paper stating that they've received and reviewed a series of information pamphlets on the medical and emotional realities of abortion and the alternatives to it. What on earth could be wrong with that? Yet pro-abortion folks are angry that there's an "obstacle" to getting a quick and easy abortion. Do we really want people to get quick and easy abortions? Remember, there's a FIVE day waiting period just to buy a gun; now those people are mad about a ONE day period? Remember, Scott Peterson is going on trial for the MURDER of his unborn child. I don't see anything wrong with this new law--let's just get more information into the hands of people, let's make sure everyone has access to the same information.

--My brother's girlfriend bought the Kia Rio. Silver, manual. Cheapest car sold in the US this year. Unfortunately, she doesn't love it. The suspension bottoms out easily. She mentioned hitting bots dots on the highway and it sounded and felt like the tires were popping. She says it's slow as hell. It looks outwardly similar to Q's Honda Civic, but in driving dynamics (engine, shifting, steering, suspension, brakes), interior design and materials, and build quality, they're light years apart. I will probably have to pick a different car than the Kia Rio or Hyundai Accent (basically the same car). I think the mid-size Korean offerings have managed substantial quality gains the last few years, but that doesn't extend to their bargain-basement cars.

--Tomorrow morning Anika Sorenstan begins her stint in the PGA in Fort Worth. She's the first woman to compete in the men's tournament. Nobody gives her much of a chance. And she says she's only doing it for the professional challenge. She's done everything she wanted to in the LPGA. She's a bit like Michael Jordan when he decided to try Baseball. She's not doing this for "women's rights" or "women's athletics"--in fact, I get the feeling she couldn't care less about being a figurehead or activist. Anyway, I've heard alot of talk about how men are just "better"--stronger, bigger, etc. And I'm sure that's true, in general, even in a sedate sport like golf.

On the other hand, I could make the case that black men are better than white men athletically--stronger, bigger, etc. I'd have a lot of evidence to back up my case. Yet we don't segregate white men's sports and black men's sports. I don't know... If Anika makes the cut and you're that one male golfer who got bumped out because of her success, I'd feel sorry for you. But she probably won't make the cut. But I hope she plays well.

--Charley Jones had to serve jury duty! Hehe. Actually, he had to sit through the jury selection process, where he (obviously, being a talk-show host) was dismissed. It's such a criminal system. They have this part down much better in the UK. They've tried to get my dad before. Just imagine what would happen if he got tied up with a sequestered jury trial lasting weeks or months. I'll tell you what would happen. It would crashingly destroy his life, Carla's life, and duo's life. The clinic would go bankrupt, they'd have to sell their house and the Vette, and they'd all be completely unemployed. Insurance doesn't cover jury duty. Anyway, Jones says the way to not get selected is to talk alot during the process. The people who just sat there got picked. They don't want people that think about things, or try to figure out the truth. They want people who'll sit there and accept everything at face value. Got it.

--American Airlines Center, home of the Mavs, will have a different name next year, as AMR tries to stop the bleeding by selling off the rights to name the building.
--Millions of Americans are eschewing retirement to work well into their 70s. The stock market's recent turns have killed retirement accounts, plus poor planning, lower SS benefits, and folks living well into their 80s and 90s have meant 60 or 65 just isn't feasible for most people as a retirement age. Trust me, you need MILLIONS to retire in your 60s. If you retire at 62 and live to 92, that's THIRTY YEARS!! Will you be able to support yourself for thirty years? With no income and with escalating health costs?
--There's a new injectable castration technique for pets called Neutersol. It's a cocktail injected into the testicles. Hmm, sounds good, sign me up. Seriously, though, everyone's trying to *increase* the "sex drive", I'd rather *decrease* it.
--There's a gas war going on in this country. Heck, I saw $1.20 the other day for regular gas. It may go below $1 for the cheap stuff before you know it.
--Some people like to talk about how electric cars are so clean. Where does the electricity come from? Coal-burning? Hydrogen-powered cars, tank to wheel, are relatively clean... but well to wheel it's quite a DIFFERENT story. Meanwhile, ULEV Hondas these days (those that meet the most stringent 2008 California emissions requirements by a good margin) are incredibly clean--in fact, you release more emissions at the gas station putting the gas in the car with the engine off than you do going down the road!
--They took a poll, and the environment is the ninth most important issue to voters for the upcoming presidential campaigns. Christine Whitman, head of the EPA, is stepping down. She hasn't been *that* bad. Any EPA pro is going to be annoying and shrill.
--For a while I've known that Texas has a very lax ticket/license system. You can do deferred adjudication once per year and defensive driving once per year per municipality (I once got out of four tickets in one year--costly, but since my tickets were from different cities, I was able to protect my insurance rates). And we have no "points" system, where you can eventually (very easily in fact) lose your license just from getting a certain amount of BS tickets. ALL THAT is about to change. Texas is adopting the systems that half the states in the country have used for a while now. It's a shitty system, although I guess I shouldn't complain since alot of folks have had to put up with it for years.
--The $1 cigarette tax is much closer to being passed now. Get ready, folks. Clear some room in your budget, but by all means, keep smoking. You're helping with the budget deficit. Sacrificing your health for the good of Texas' budget.
--Read about a victory AGAINST Affirmative Action right HERE. There is some good news sometimes...
--The Bush Administration has won a major diplomatic victory--France, Germany, and Russia (aka the Three Stooges) have approved a resolution to lift the decade-long economic sanctions against Iraq. They're basically saying "US, you were right". This gives Britain and the US control over Iraq during the rebuilding of its infrastructure and government and is phenomenol news for Iraq and the US.
--Deflation. We have deflation. Deflation is a terrible sign for the economy. It's a kick in the face to business. It can spiral out of control. It can cause stagnation on a grand scale, which can lead to severe unemployment. Which can cause even worse deflation. And interest rates are already at all time lows. This economy is sick, and you can't blame Clinton, Bush, Greenspan, or bin Laden for most of it. Bad times are ahead for all of us. Have a nice day.