Monday, March 10, 2008

Weekend of Upsets

There was no full moon, nor was it April Fool's Day, so it must have been the onset of daylight savings time in the U.S. that caused this weekend's trip into Bizarro-land.

To wit--

* In English soccer, current Premiership titleholders Manchester United were unceremoniously bounced out of the season-long FA (Football Association) Cup tournament on Saturday by Portsmouth, which won for the first time in 51 years at United's home ground, Old Trafford.

* Continuing on that side of the pond, English second-division club Barnsley -- which plays in the English Championship division, which is roughly the equivalent of Triple-A compared to Major League Baseball -- continued its amazing run of knocking off the big boys in the FA Cup. Barnsley followed up their shocking road defeat of Premier League stalwarts Liverpool at Anfield by claiming another Premier League scalp in defeating London giants Chelsea.

* Back in the U.S., the seventh-ranked Stanford men's basketball team lost by 13 points to the University of Southern California at the Galen Center in downtown Los Angeles.

* Across town, the UCLA Bruins narrowly escaped an epic upset of their own, rallying from four down with 20 seconds left to beat the California Bears in a thrilling -- and highly controversial -- ending.

* USC's wildly hyped freshman guard O.J. Mayo and UCLA frosh phenom Kevin Love both hinted that they might not leave school after one year, after all. My guess is they're both gone, but stay tuned.

* Setting the chutzpah bar pretty high, Hillary Clinton, currently running second in the race to become the Democratic party's nominee for president, found it appropriate to offer Barack Obama -- current leader of the popular vote, current leader in elected delegates and current leader in primary/caucus states won -- the number two spot (Vice President) on the Democratic ticket in November. Obama declined. Never let it be said that Hillary doesn't have balls, but the entitlement act is wearing thin.

* Actor Jason Statham has been in some good movies ("Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels," "Snatch," "The Transporter" and "The Italian Job," among others), but he's also been the only watchable thing in some real dogs, such as "Cellular," "Crank," "London" and others. His latest film, "The Bank Job," looked like another one of the misfires, but to my sheer delight, it was a crackling heist/gangster saga in the vein of "Sexy Beast" and "Layer Cake," coupled with the intrigue of the best spy movies. In the happy upset of the weekend, I fookin' luv'd it.

All of these unlikely events couldn't top today's head-scratchers, though.

* New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, the highly successful former prosecutor who rode to the statehouse after a career spent rooting out corruption, crushing organized crime and breaking up prostitution rings, is about to find the shoe on the other foot. Today, The New York Times broke the news that Spitzer was caught on a federal wiretap arranging for a hooker to visit him at a Washington, D.C. hotel last month while he was in the nation's capital for business. Nice.

* In more wholesome news, the men's hoops team at my brother's alma mater -- the University of San Diego -- won the West Coast Conference tournament championship on their home floor tonight, beating the number 22-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs and earning a trip to the NCAA tournament. March madness, indeed! Go Toreros!

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