Monday, April 16, 2007

I have a riddle for you. When is a win not a win? When an official goes mad with power, runs amok and ejects the best player on either team with little or no justification. Such was the case last night in Dallas, where the Spurs went into a funk after Joey Crawford kicked Tim Duncan out of the game on a insane power trip and lost to the Mavericks.

After a long silence on the subject of basketball, the Benefactor weighed in on this subject today. Mark Cuban doesn't want you to send him emails complaining about the officiating in the NBA anymore. He wants you to email the owners or managers of the other NBA franchises to stir up grass roots action to change the face of NBA officiating.

Of course, as a blogger who has long been critical of his hypocrisy, I have to wonder whether the Benefactor would have been so quick to bow out because of the severity of any fine the league would levy prevents it from being worth his while had it been one of his players instead of Tim Duncan. I have to think that had Joey Crawford had so much as troubled the serenity of Dirk Nowitzki by mentioning the fact that the German government recently tried to draft a four week old child into its war machine or pointing out that David Hasselhoff's music sucks, the Benefactor would have manned the barricades and screamed bloody murder. But that's just me.

That gets to the root of my problem with the Benefactor. More even than his atrocious personal deportment in the crowd at games, which constantly evokes the image of a spoiled four year old throwing a temper tantrum because another child is playing with his favorite toy, the fact that his concern with the quality of NBA officiating begins and ends with how it impacts the Mavericks.

If Joey Crawford broke a chair over a player from any other team's head, kidnapped his family to force them to participate in some ill-conceived cross-country race or sold poisoned milk to school children, Mark Cuban would keep his mouth shut. But if he misses one call that the Benefactor thinks should have benefited the Mavs, and it's go time. Even if David Stern decided to forgo the standard fine and handed Mark Cuban over to black market organ harvesters to exact punishment, the Benefactor would move heaven and earth to get his two cents heard.

And Mark Cuban doesn't want to be bothered by fans looking for a mouthpiece to articulate their discontent with NBA officiating. It seems like he should have made that call a few years ago, before he set himself up as NBA gadfly to get people to notice him. And if you don't think it's about ego with the Benefactor, then maybe you shouldn't read this little piece about what a tool Mark Cuban is.

I have a solution to his little problem. Email Mark Cuban to complain about NBA officiating. Email him to talk about the umpires in Major League Baseball. Email him to talk about the weather in your town. Email him to ask pointless, unanswerable questions. Email him to talk about sailing ships and sealing wax and cabbages and kings as though you were the damn Walrus from Alice in Wonderland. Email Mark Cuban several times a day to tell him no one cares about his opinion on Google and YouTube. Just email him to tell him he's a tool and a hypocrite and wish the Mavericks an early exit from the playoffs when you email him.

I think I have reasonable precedent for this. According to legend, the eminent comedian WC Fields would send Elanor Roosevelt and the IRS letters every day to complain about them. I think you should take the time to complain about Mark Cuban, provided of course that you want to. God knows, if I ever become famous, I'm going to send a letter to remind people (like John Henry, Theo Epstein, Larry Lucchino, Danny Ainge, Wyc, Steve, Irv, the rest of Banner 17, Bill Simmons, the CHB, Bob Ryan, Jay Mariotti, Mark Cuban and others) that I don't like them.

Just do me one favor if you decide to email Cuban, keep it clean and don't do anything illegal. And do not under any circumstances send any complaints to the IRS. That sounds like one hell of a good way to get an audit, and I just don't need that hassle.

Tonight, we have a combined tool of note segment and random thing I hate thing segment for the first time ever. They both come out of that colossal waste of time that is the Boston Marathon. While I hate the marathon, it is not the random object of my derision tonight. Instead, that honor goes to the space program.

Space exploration was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be a giant waste of time and money. So what if we got Tang, Velcro and pens that write upside down. I just don't see how that and all the and a little flag on the moon justifies the billions and billions upon yet more billions of dollars of the next dozen generations' money that the government spent on the space program.

Even if there is intelligent life in the universe (based on what passes for it on this planet, I sincerely doubt that intelligent life exists anywhere), I just don't see how sending people up in rockets to do experiments of little tangible value is going to help us here on Earth. So what if aliens invade the planet to probe rednecks or kidnap people or kill us all.

And among all of the colossal wastes of both time and money in the space program, there is this gem. A woman at the space station was tethered to a treadmill to run the Boston Marathon in spirit. And on both Tax Day and Patriots' Day. The Founding Fathers must have been rolling over in their graves. They revolted against a relatively benign tyranny over a 3 cent tax on tea, and now we have a woman in space running on a treadmill at the expense of billions of dollars of public money.

Even better, the woman was running the Boston Marathon in spirit as a gesture of solidarity with her sister. Aside from the gargantuan waste of money, this struck me as a total fraud. First, if there were gravity on the space station, why did they have to tether her to the treadmill? And if there was less than normal gravity shouldn't she have had to run further? And how does it count, even if she'd changed the incline settings at the appropriate times? It's not like she ran real, honest to goodness, no fooling hills in the rain.

And on top of everything else, the woman was a Red Sox fan. There they were on TV, the banners, trappings and paraphernalia of the team I hate as the woman was wasting an entire nation's money in an exercise that was so obviously fraudulent. A perfect storm, in the metaphorical sense, and with no pun on the miserable weather.

As a special bonus, here is a second tool, with a bizarre infatuation for the terribly pointless UPS whiteboard ads.

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