During my ten-minute drive from my house to the train station every morning, I usually listen to National Public Radio. This is because: (a) the music stations seem to think that people only want to hear 45-minute discussions about the latest celebrity engagement/marriage/divorce during the morning drive as opposed to, say, listening to music; (b) the sports stations have about a 2-to-1 commercial-to-program ratio in the morning; and (c) I like my news coverage to be more than reciting the latest Yahoo! News headlines.
So, since I only spend a few minutes in the car each day, NPR is perfect for that time. I know that I’m going to get a couple of in-depth news stories that I wouldn’t have found on my own. (By the way, do you know how you have that stomach turning moment in life where you realize that you have turned into your parents? For me, it was when I started to willingly listen to NPR. I used to complain to my father all of the time in the car when he listened to NPR instead of the mysogynist hip-hop music that I favored. Now look at what’s happened to me – I own a house in the suburbs and listen to NPR while driving a minivan. Once I start complaining about any hoodlums in neighborhood that keep partying with the bass too loud, my transformation will be complete.)
At the same time, I’m not going to be deluged with a bunch of commercials in the traditional sense. NPR does have sponsors for segments, which are usually refined entities that fit the tone and tenor of the station such as financial services companies, corporate law firms, museums, and fine arts festivals.
Considering all of this, I nearly urinated on myself in the car the other day when the NPR announcer non-chalantly stated, “Your Chicago Public Radio traffic and weather report has been brought to you by the WWE SummerSlam.” My goodness, the Hulkster is body slamming the Hezbollah!!! Who’s ready for the Garrison Keillor/Carl Kasell tag team??? The only thing that could have been funnier is if the announcer had capped it by informing the listeners that they could watch everything live this Sunday at the Rosemont Horizon. Vince McMahon must have sent in one helluva check during the spring pledge drive. Anyway, here are the links for the weekend:
2) 2006-07 Illinois Men’s Basketball Schedule (FightingIllini.com) – The nonconference schedule is definitely a step down from the last five or six seasons, although that’s appropriate since this is probably going to be a weaker transition year before the Illini ramp it up again for the monster freshman class starting in 2007-08 (assuming Indiana stops doing the devil’s work in trying to steal our recruit). I’m definitely looking forward to the Arizona game on December 2nd, which will be our first meeting with the Wildcats since the greatest sports event I have ever seen and probably ever will see. If for some reason you need a reminder of what occurred on March 26, 2005, bestill the power of YouTube here.
(Random Note #1: A couple of my buddies were playing pickup hoops in downtown Chicago last weekend when out of the blue, Dee Brown showed up along with an entourage of 5 other guys and joined the game. Quoting one of the players regarding Dee: “He broke my ankles, drained threes in my face, and trash talked…it was awesome. In one game, we were on the same team and he caught me on a backdoor move. The play was so smooth…it’s like we’ve been playing together for years.” That might be the most awesome story I have ever heard in my life.)
(Random Note #2: The picture above of Deron Williams posterizing Channing Frye has been the wallpaper on my computer since March 27, 2005. Just so you know.)
3) 5 Predictions for the Big Ten (ESPN.com) – Switching to football, I’ll gladly take “long-term optimism” and run with it.
4) The Barkers Meet MySpace (E! Online News) – Well, this is certainly one way to get your side of the story out to the public.
5) The Buerhle Bile File: Making History: Game 120 Thoughts (Chi-Sox Blog) – After what was supposed to be a break in the schedule against the Royals (the White Sox ended up barely splitting the 4-game series against the worst team in baseball), the Sox now have 10 straight games with the Twins and Tigers. I was really hoping that I could enjoy the next 6 weeks without having the worry about the Sox making the playoffs, but no dice here.
6) Snakes on Claire Danes (YouTube) – Heh-heh…
7) Australians Upset Over Loud Manilow Music (San Francisco Chronicle) – Sometimes, you’re better off just putting up with those punk kids because the solution is ten times worse.
(Image from FightingIllini.com)