Tuesday, September 17, 2002

ZoNotes: This is What is Sounds Like, When Doves Cry...

Read your Pride tomorrow -- as Livy celebrates the Broncos' 2-0 start, Sean discusses the Jets' defeat to New England, and I break down both last weekend's Battle of the Fight Songs (ND-Michigan) and this week's Maroon Madness game -- Texas A&M-Virginia Tech.

As I am still trying to get my bearings with my new reporting job with Defense Daily, bear with the uneven and sporadic postings to ZoNotes. As soon as I get something approaching "regular," you guys will of course find out.

Hoya Perpetua
As Hoyas from near and far converge on the Hilltop for Homecoming '03 this weekend, I think it is time to render honors upn one of the University's great men. Patrick Ewing (C'85) announced his retirement, concluding what was a groundbreaking and tragically heroic career that began at Georgetown during the 1981-82 season. Ewing, the recruiting gem unearthed by Head Coach John Thompson, helped spark the most fortuitous period in the long history of modern Georgetown athletics.

Ah, those were the days -- the Men in Blue and Gray were young, brash, and fierce, playing in a hotshot new conference in the Big East with big tv coverage, a gregariously engaging and disciplinarian coach, and a budding hatefest with Syracuse, Villanova, and Providence. It was a special time -- the 80s.

Displaying freakish feats of talent, agility, power, and determination, Ewing grabbed the moment with a skill unforeseen in the college game. In 1982, the Hoyas marched down the long road of the then-youthful March Madness, advancing all the way to the NCAA Final in the Louisiana Superdome against "Mike" Jordan and the North Carolina Tar Heels. In 1984, the Hoyas grounded Hakeem Olajuwon and the acrobatic Phi Slamma Jamma of Houston to capture GU's only team national championship in athletics. In 1985, one of college basketball's finest teams stormed through the Big East and the NCAA Tournament only to fall 66-64 to the coke-snorting miracle of Villanova. Ewing figured prominently in all of these great showdowns, and it gives Hoyas a lament and a sigh that Ewing and the boys only won one title when they easily could have captured 3 in 4 years. Ewing's years with the New York Knicks were mixed affairs, as Jordan's Bulls remained a team too far in Ewing's prime. Ewing's two championship appearances in the NBA Finals spelled demise at the hands of Hakeem and the Houston Rockets in 1994, and the Twin Fortress of the Spurs' Tim Duncan and David Robinson in 1999.

Ewing's final years in Seattle and Orlando will fade into obscurity, marked by record books but unregistered to the many in the Hoya Nation who watched this hardcourt Atlas take the Hoyas upon his shoulders.

Ewing's departure and the unfortunate liver condition that ails Alonzo Mourning (C'92) leaves a precious few Hoyas in the NBA -- for example, the linguistically sound and proficient rebounder Dikembe Mutombo (SLL'91), the electric highwire ferocity of Jerome Williams (C'96), the workmanlike Othella Harrington (C'96), the muscular squatness of Jahidi White (C'98), the singluarly defensive Don Reid (C'95), and the firestarter all-world Allen "The Answer" Iverson (C'98 -- Did Not Graduate).

We Hoyas salute Ewing, a man who revolutionized the center position in the 1980s, serving as the prototype for his sucessors.

"Computers are worthless. They only give you answers."
--Pablo Picasso.

Sunday, September 15, 2002

ZoNotes: Smile

Happiness permeates throughout the realm! Dallas has beaten the OLD Houston team, overcoming the Tennessee Titans 21-13 down in Big D. God Bless Dexter Coakley, he of the swift hands and timely interception!

Sshhhhhhh, I'm Hunting Wabbits
For my 24th birthday ZoBro Ernesto Cortes sent me a copy of Tom Clancy's new thriller, the understated, nuanced thriller Red Rabbit. Instead of tackling a grand epic as Clancy has done in his most recent books, he writes a suspense-addled prequel thriller in the Jack Ryan series, involving Soviet Politburo chicanery, CIA spymasters plotting life-risking operations in the threads of the Iron Curtain, and international political intrigue by focusing on an attempt to murder Pope John Paul II. I'm really glad that Ernesto sent met this for my birthday.

Clancy, who many hailed as clairvoyant after 9.11 for the superterrorism plots of his villains, must not think that the current era is ripe for political technothrillers, instead sending us 20 years into the past to a time of nuclear freeze activism, Reaganite stridency against the Communist monolith, unruly Eastern European vassals, and one fast-moving CIA analyst, Mr. Jack Ryan. Set after the events of Patriot Games and before the innovative The Hunt for Red October, Ryan is merely an analyst trying to earn his keep in the cutthroat, slim-error world of the Central Intelligence Agency. His job in England earns an assignment debriefing a high-level Soviet defector, who claims to have pertinent information about the blackest of KGB operations.

The book has its high points, but sometimes drags into repetitive character exposition that serves as filler. Having cut his teeth in the world of high-octane action, Clancy moves this book moves at a slower pace. It is a weakness in that we expect more boom given Clancy's curriculum vitae, but also a strength in that it helps paint the grinding, intense pace of espionage and counterintelligence.

While certainly not his best literary achievement (Patriot Games) or his most precise technical endeavor (Red Storm Rising), the book is a solid addition to the Ryan mythos. I particularly enjoyed the realism of it, specifically in regards to Ryan's role. Playing the intelligence equivalent of a grunt infantryman, Ryan does a lot of work but isn't anywhere close to being President. I highly recommend this fine book.

Hey! I Know Her, Too!
The one thing you can rely on ZoNotes for is my uncanny ability to hover near celebrity and not even realize it! It makes great copy, so when I tell these stories, it won't be just me saying "I remember when.." all of us will!

During the tumultuous and infinitely busy 1996 Fall semester at Georgetown University, an aspiring singer would frequent my domicile at Village C West to occasionally visit my roommate and other Hoya freshmen. She expressed her interest in becoming a famous superstar. Amazing what 6 years can do for the ambitious, eh? Amerie (C'00) now has a major album out, and her career track definitely appears to be on the rise.

Wordplay picked up some new source material thanks to Uncle Fern and his family down in beautiful Memphis, TN. Thanks for the quote books!
This one is after my own heart, an unattributed quote from The 2,548 Best Things Anybody Ever Said, compiled by Robert Byrne:
"The relationship of editor to author is knife to throat."