Monday, November 28, 2011

Bond, James Bond

There was a wide variety to choose from last night, all within a 14-channel range on the TV.

As an aside, a 14-channel range seems fairly small these days, whereas back when TigerBlog was watching "I Dream of Jeannie" on the old black-and-white TV a long time ago, there weren't even 14 total channels.

Anyway, last night had to pick from "The Music Man," "The Silence of the Lambs," an episode of "Criminal Minds" where the guide said "the BAU team searches for a deranged serial killer who ..." and then cut off because of space, "Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Live At Madison Square Garden" and "The Man With the Golden Gun."

TB had seen all of them before, so he flipped around between them. Mostly, he would settle on, somewhat surprisingly, "The Man With the Golden Gun."

For those who don't know, it's a James Bond movie, one of the ones from when Roger Moore played 007.

TigerBlog has seen every Bond movie that starred either Moore or Sean Connery and has never seen one that starred anyone else. This is a point of principle.

The Bond movies starring Moore and Connery are some of the best movies ever made. The ones that star others might be; TB will never know.

Of course, he's made up for not seeing any of the others by seeing the Moore/Connery ones a million times each. He ranks them in this order:
1) Live And Let Die - Best Bond song, plus Moore's first, by the way
2) The Spy Who Loved Me - second best song ("Nobody Does It Better," by Carly Simon), first appearance by "Jaws" and also the best opening sequence, where Bond skis away from the bad guys and eventually off the mountain, with a Union Jack on his parachute
3) Diamonds Are Forever - Great villain, Connery in total control
4) Goldfinger - MotherBlog's favorite, maybe the best villain
5) Octopussy - just for the scene where he stops the nuclear bomb from going off by itself

The movies all follow the same basic idea, that some superwealthy archvillain has figured out a way to basically end the world, only to have James Bond chip away at the plan little by little. Helped along, of course, by a beautiful sidekick and some great gadgets that Q has come up with, not to mention some great songs ("All-Time High," by Rita Coolidge, from Octopussy, is another great one).

And what would a Bond movie be without The Line, the one where he's asked his name and he replies, well, you know how he replies.

Bond movies are not for everyone, since you to have to suspend your sense of reality to think that 1) any of these plots could possibly happen and 2) that Bond wouldn't have been killed years and years ago.

If you can get by that, though, there's not much in the way of pure entertainment that's going to beat it.

"The Man With the Golden Gun" isn't in TB's top five, but it's another great one, with all the requisite Bond elements. The more TB flipped around last night, the more he kept coming back to it.

It was a pretty good weekend for sports on television as well, with some big college football games, a strong NFL offering (that continues tonight with the Giants at the Saints) and more college basketball than there should be for Thanksgiving.

In fact, on Thanksgiving Day alone, there were 14 Division I men's basketball game, followed by 68 the next day.

All of these games required players, coaches and of course support staff - athletic trainers, athletic communications, radio, administrators - to be away on the holiday.

As TB watched some of the bigger tournaments, he was stunned? amused? by the fact that there were so many empty seats at every venue.

One such venue was the tournament at Atlantis in the Bahamas, the one where Harvard defeated Utah, Florida State and Central Florida to win the championship. For the Crimson to come home with the championship of an event that included two ranked teams, including defending NCAA champion Connecticut, is a nice achievement, and the team is to be congratulated.

At the same time, Princeton was going 1-2 in its three games at Bucknell, falling to the host team (an NCAA team a year ago) and Morehead State (who beat Louisville in the opening round of the NCAA tournament a year ago) before defeating Division II West Alabama.

So what does it all mean as far as the Ivy League race is concerned?

Not much.

No more than it did in 1998-99, when Princeton won the Rainbow Classic by beating Florida State, Texas and UNC Charlotte on consecutive nights in Honolulu. TB, by the way, really enjoyed the location of that one, more so than, say, the Pepsi Oneida Nation's Classic that he attended in Green Bay.

That year, Texas went on to be a seventh seed in the NCAA tournament, while Charlotte was a fifth seed. No offense to the teams that Harvard beat, but they didn't look like they'd be wearing white uniforms in the NCAA tournament this March.

Harvard looked really good over the weekend, completely taking all three opponents out of their offenses. Even if Harvard itself struggled mightily against Florida State in a somewhat unwatchable game in the semifinal, its defense never let up.

Harvard has a lot of good pieces - experience, shooters, great foul shooters, defenders, rebounders. It's a lot like Princeton was in 1998-99.

So what happened that year?

Princeton got in the league after its non-conference season, which included a win over Alabama=Birmingham, another NCAA team, and went 11-3, losing to Harvard, Yale and Penn.

In short, it's not easy to breeze through the league. Even Cornell didn't do it the year it went to the Sweet 16, and in fact the Big Red lost to Penn and barely beat Princeton by three points twice.

Harvard is the clear favorite. Its run to the Ivy title will not be easy, and it's hardly a foregone conclusion.

Princeton, struggling to find its way in the early season, will get better. Its rotation will become clearer, and the adjustment to a new head coach will move along.

Remember, it's not even December yet, let alone February.

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