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August 23, 2009

The Cougar Lounge - Around The World In Eight Days




"You wait all your life to get into a college game and then it's the first goal of the season and you score, it's just amazing."

- Wazzu true freshman Brandi Vega, who scored the 21st-ranked Cougars' first goal against the Vandals in Wazzu's season opening 3-0 win over Idaho.




"To be disqualified is something that is hard for all of us to accept, but at this point, we can only use it as inspiration for our remaining three relays and as a lesson for future championships."

- USA Track & Field Chief of Sport Performance Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, who the Lounge suspects is checking for Jamaican voodoo dolls after the men's 100 meter team was disqualified from the semifinal at the World Track & Field Championships in Berlin for passing the baton out of the zone. The very next day, the women's 4x100 relay was also DQ'ed by a faulty baton pass attempt and then a hamstring injury to Muna Lee and the women's 4x400 relay ran a slug-like 3:29.31 to get into the final.




"There is no question that we underestimated the intensity of the reaction that we got from multiple constituents."

- U.S. Olympic Committee chairman Jeff Probst, backpedaling vigorously after NBC, International Olympic Committee and the chairman of Chicago's bid to host the Olympics in 2016 all got upset with him for announcing the USOC had made a deal with Comcast to have a dedicated all-Olympic channel last month.




"I felt that doing this show so many years later and having the TV show in between - people are going to ask 'Where's the talking chair?' So I've added characters from the TV series to the show."

- Comedian Paul Reubens - aka Pee Wee Herman, who is making a comeback as Herman in a stage show this autumn in Hollywood and has decided to include Chairry [the talking chair]. No word yet on whether Laurence Fishburne will return as Cowboy Curtis.








The curse is over. Finally, with the official start of the 2009 collegiate athletic season, the bad news has been mostly replaced by good news and strange news, and now we are free to concentrate on said news such as whether or not that was a man or a woman who won the women's 800 meters race at the World Track & Field Championships in Berlin last week [we coulda sworn she was shaving and having some milk with the boys in the alley before that final] and what the hell is that bear mascot on - meth? The eight-day party known as the World Champs has been a rollercoaster ride for the American team with glorious successes of Sanya Richards, Allyson Felix, Trey Hardee and Dwight Philips that went hand-in-hand with the spectacular flameouts of both the men's and women's 4x100 relay contingents. But that mascot - parading in front of the camera seemingly every chance he/she/it gets and continually - annoyingly - getting in the way of the athletes' celebration laps, even going so far as piggy back riding a Jamaican female sprinter straight into the hurdle scooping cart. But even that did not knock any sense into the bear. There is only one way to deal with this bear - we have the gun, who has the tranquilizer dart?


The first good news to hit the streets last week was the announcement that, yes, the United States Postal Service can do something right and not only did they do something right, they did something so incredibly good that it brought tears to our eyes. We are talking, of course, of their commemorative Early TV Memories stamps. First of all, not only did they include such classics as I Love Lucy, Dragnet, Lassie, The Ed Sullivan Show, Perry Mason, The Lone Ranger and The Twilight Zone but they also incorporated important visual elements on each stamp. For example - how could Perry Mason have gone 72-1 unless he was constantly matched up against DA Hamilton Burger, who is shown on the stamp? Who can forget the chocolate factory episode depicted on Lucy's stamp when Lucy and Ethel had to cram chocolates in every readily available opening? Then there are Lassie and Sergeant Friday in their classic poses of distress and redress. Only Tonto gets short end of the stick - as he usually did on the show - on the Lone Ranger's stamp. But can we just 'splain to everyone how cool these stamps are? Looooccceeeyyy, we're home!!!!

In fact, it makes us want to go out and shake everybody's hand and slap them on the butt and say "Good game!" Well, maybe not the slapping on the butt part - until we find out what gender is involved - but the American Football Coaches are not waiting around for gender testing, they went ahead with the handshakes when they determined that all the college football games during the first week of play should begin with handshakes to display, you know good sportsmanship. Kinda like what Wazzu broadcasting legend Bob Robertson has been saying for, oh, 53 million years or so - has anybody down there in Texas been paying attention!?

Unfortunately, not everybody is in a handshaking mood. Especially not Dave Luebke, who was so upset that the Archie Comics people had decided that Archie would wed Veronica instead of Betty that he sold his rare #1 edition in protest. Of course, the nuptials have not yet been officially nuptialized, so there is still a chance for Betty to crash the wedding or the $260 million Powerball winner in South Carolina to change the decision with a flick of his check-writing wrist, but the real question is - what will Jughead do to make a fool of himself at the wedding reception?

There are no fools, however, at Wazzu. Well, certainly no more than at Oregon and Oregon State anyway, according to the U.S. News & World Report. That is because the 2010 edition of the U.S. N&WR's "America's Best Colleges" report was released and it found Wazzu to be one of the best schools in the nation. WSU was ranked #106 in the national university rankings - placing Wazzu as the second-best [behind Washington at #42] in the Pacific Northwest and 15th-best on the West Coast.

"Was that considered a good showing by the Cougar contingent?" asks Dr. Bombay of the recent efforts from former Wazzu track and field stars Bernard Lagat, Diana Pickler and Ian Waltz at the World Track and Field Championships in Berlin.

Well, Doctor, our official diagnosis would be a solid "C". There were three Cougars in contention for medals at the World Champs and so a possibility of four medals overall. The Cougar contingent consisting of Lagat, Pickler and Waltz was able to pick up two medals - both courtesy of Lagat - a bronze in the men's 1500 meters and a silver in the men's 5000 meters. Lagat should have had a gold in the 1500 meters as he succumbed to the rookie mistake of allowing himself to get boxed on the final turn and only a superhuman effort to get around the roadblock and his patented finishing kick in the stretch earned him a bronze. The gold would have been tough to snatch away from Bekele in the 5000 meters but Lagat did give it his best shot and had a reasonable chance to grab that glitter as well. While Lagat is probably pleased with winning two medals, he is probably not pleased with his shortage of gold medallions - especially since he was less than a second away, combined, from winning gold in both events. Pickler, meanwhile, fared about as expected and perhaps a little better, with her 11th-place finish in her first world championship heptathlon. It would have taken several personal bests for her to get a bronze medal but only two poor showings in seven events kept her out of a possible top five finish. Waltz, by far, fared the worst, as he flamed out in the qualification round of the men's discus, continuing his poor showings from last year's Olympics to this year's world champs. But overall, the Lounge consensus awards an average grade to the three performers and will probably be seeing Jeshua Anderson join them in due time.

"That was a nice opening win, was it by the expected score?" asks the husband-and-wife team of Mr. and Mrs. Ernie Scrotem about the Wazzu soccer team and their 2009 season-opening thrashing of Idaho.

Well, Scrotems, the first rule of soccer is that nothing is expected! However, one can certainly say, objectively speaking, that Wazzu was expected to win this match by a relatively comfortable margin and they did just that - which is what the NCAA selection committee likes to see - teams beating teams they are supposed to beat. It is not likely that this will wind up being either a significant win nor a significant winning margin but the Cougars did what they had to do in their first match of the year if they are expecting to receive their second consecutive NCAA tournament berth. But perhaps the two best aspects for the team and head coach Matt Potter is the fact that youth was immediately served when true freshman Brandi Vega scored the first Wazzu goal of the year and 1007 were in attendance to witness the win. It is not quite Final Four-like figures, but four-digit crowds are exactly what Wazzu will need to both help them make it to the NCAA tourney again and eventually host a first round pod in the future.


Meanwhile, with all the happiness cavorting around the Lounge neighborhood this week, what enhances the cavorting better than a little Bacon Vodka? Okay, look, we had the first reaction that you did - but after our assorted stomach molecules settled down from the uproar, we said, why not give the bacon a chance before we condemn it to Jagermeister hell? After all, it is a local product surely inspired by recent collegiate football events.

It is better than drinking a green bomber. Green bombers are no relation to the legendary Benson Bombers of Palouse yore, rather, they are a flashy new species of worm that was recently discovered by the Lounge Scientists to be living off the coast of Oregon. The microscopic worms live at a depth of 9,000-11,000 feet in the Pacific Ocean and get their name because, when disturbed, they shoot off glowing green gobs of goo that the scientists think are designed to distract predators - hmmm…much like the behavior frequently exhibited by the University of Oregon and masquerading as marketing [billboards, uniforms, mascots, etc…]. Turns out, Oregon has a natural tendency to attract showy behavior.

"Oregon is the hotbed for these guys," says Lounge Scientist #9000, Karen Osborn, a researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California and who reputedly has been known to throw off green gobs of goo in the past.

International track and field officials are now determining whether or not the green gobs of goo are genetically linked to the winner of the women's 800 meter race while USA Track & Field officials are checking to see if the green gobs of goo can successfully pass a stick from one to another.




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