Tuesday, January 13, 2009

On Moving

Moved and remodeled @ www.wescooper.wordpress.com.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

On My Icy Half Birthday

News and thoughts for today:

-Good new and bad news for fans of The Office. Good news is there will be six new episodes this season. Bad news is we have to wait another month and a half until they air on April 10. It's well worth the wait, though.

Other return dates of interest to myself:

CSI:Miami- March 24
Law & Order: SVU- April 15
Criminal Minds- April 2
Without A Trace- April 3

-Today's weather forcast is Lexington, KY: ICE STORM WARNING. Or, as Bill Meck likes to call it, FROZEN DEATH RAINING FROM THE SKY WARNING. So, looking back at the past month we have experienced in the Bluegrass area:

1) severe thunderstorms
2) tornadoes
3) temperatures above 70 degrees
4) 3 inches of snow
5) 1/4 inch of ice


-A funny explanation of politics.

-Also cool is how the US military shot a satellite out of the sky on the first try.

-Did anyone watch the UK-Georgia game the other night? Did anyone hear how the commentators talked about the upcoming game between Memphis and Tennessee THE ENTIRE NIGHT? If you were watching you might have heard somehting like "Patterson grabs the rebound and lays it up for an easy two points. Speaking of lay-ups, how about that game between Memphis and Tennessee this weekend? That oughta be a doozy huh? Let's break out the analysis chart and break down that game right now."

I mean I know they are ranked 1 and 2 respectively, but when I tune in to watch a UK game, I want to hear them talk about THAT game, especially when it is close. It's not like one team was up by 25 points. One of the commentators actually broke out the Memphis-Tennessee comparison chart during the game; they didn't even do that for the game at hand. No surprise that this rediculous amount of over-promotion occurred on ESPN, the same network that has brought us "Super Tuesday", "ACC Wednesday", "Throwdown Thrursday", "Rivalry Week", "Championship Week", and of course, my personal favorite, "Judgement Week".

-Today is my half birthday. I am 23 1/2 today. Be sure to send me a gift.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

On The Strike Being Over

It's official: the Hollywood Writer's Guild strike is over. Will this mean new episodes of "The Office" soon? We can only hope so. Until then, a little Dwight and Jim to whet your appetite...

Monday, February 11, 2008

On Monday

Tidbits on a chilly Monday:

-Today's/tonight's weather calls for snow/freezing rain. This means Bill Meck and his MaxTrack dopplar radar will be in full effect. I would recommend tuning in to Bill's up-to-the-minute weather updates, because honestly, is there really anyhting better on TV these days?

-Speaking of TV, rumor has it that the Hollywood writer's strike could end this week. That would be great news for me, cause I'm gonna need some new episodes of The Office here real soon or I might go crazy.

-A month or so ago Morgan and I went to see Juno at the Kentucky Theater. I would strongly recommend that you see this movie for two reasons. First, it is a great movie. It is clever, well-written, and Ellen Page is a star in the making. Plus, two cast members from Arrested Development are in it, so you know it must be good. Second, it conveys a great message to parents who might be dealing with their teenager becoming pregnant. By no means are the parents in the movie Christians, nor do they claim to be, but instead of chastising and alienating their child when they find out that their 16-year old is pregnant, they handle the situation in a loving and caring way that is quite refreshing. I also deals with such issues as abortion in a way that I think is interesting to watch. Go see it or rent it on DVD when it comes out.

-Question: Can you believe in Creationism and Evolution? This was the question that I presented to my 6th grade discipleship class yesterday afternoon. We are going through a book called The Top 13 Questions About God, which deals with many questions such as this. Of course, the 6th graders emphatically answered no at first, but then when we talked about what evolution really meant, and what the difference was between evolution and adaptation, they seemed to change their minds. Kids that age are funny because they still categorize everything as black or white. Most, I would assume, have been taught that evolution is bad/wrong, but they have never actually been taught what evolution is really all about, causing them to overgeneralize subjects such as this, or science as a whole. The reason I bring this up is that it's important that children be educated on both sides of the story, in any subject. It will only allow them to be more prepared for the future. Hiding them from things such as evolution doesn't make those things go away; they will have to confront them sometime. Wouldn't you rather them be prepared for it so that they will be more likely to handle the situation better?

-Prediction for tomorrow night's game: Cats 71, 'Dores67.

Monday, November 26, 2007

On Bear and the Geat American Hoax

Well I am currently flipping through the channels and upon stopping on the Discovery Channel I see the Man vs. Wild, previously one of my favorite shows is still on. Why previously, you ask? Well my greatest fear about the show came to fruition a few months ago: I found out the whole thing is rigged. At first I didn't want to believe it. I wanted to believe that host and former British military man Bear Grylls was really toughing out it out in the Australian Outback, eating bugs and drinking his own urine to stay alive. The truth is, a helicopter was picking Bear up every night and was taking him to the other Outback, where he could order a juicy steak and a Bloomin' Onion, and then on to the Sydney Holiday Inn Express for a good nights sleep. I can't tell you how disappointed I was to find out the truth.

Bear, how could you lie to me? I watched you climb down waterfalls with your bare hands, ride a log down the Amazon river, and even roast a sheep eye in a hot geyser and then eat it. How many times did I sit on my living room couch on a Friday night and watch you as you would tell me how deadly it was to get caught in quicksand, only to have my heart jump out of my chest when you jumped in anyway? Oh Bear, how could you toy with my heart so?

The thing is, Bear, you hid the whole charade so well. On certain nights you would film some shots of something waking you up in the middle of the night.....rigged. Clever, but rigged. Remember that time that "black bear" chased you through the Colorado Rocky Mountains? Well we never saw the bear, Bear. It was a hoax. A HOAX. Remember that time that you were in Alaska and you kept talking about how much easier things would be if you had a boat, and then you just happened to stumble across a deserted cabin with an old rowboat in the yard, and then you stole the boat and used it to float down the river? That was awesome, except for the fact that The Discovery Channel put that boat there for you. Either that, or some guy in Alaska just got back to his cabin only to find that his boat has been stolen...by you. That's a felony in my book. And hey Bear, remember that time that you took a wooden stick and chucked it at that rabbit and killed it in one shot? That was awesome too, except that I bet it took you 50 tries, they just didn't show them.

Look Bear, I'm not questioning you manhood. I've seen you do some crazy things that couldn't have been staged (i.e. when you jumped off the 30 foot cliff into the river). You are one tough, crazy dude. But I resent the face that you led me to believe that you were really being dropped off in the woods alone with virtually no supplies, where you would find your way out with relative ease. Granted you did have your cameraman with you, and I'm sure he had some emergency supplies just in case you were on the brink of death. But still, staying at hotels? Eating real meals in between segments? I must say, you've left me bitter and longing for naivety.

Yet amidst all the lies, I did learn one valuable lesson from you, Bear: If you ever get lost in the wilderness, try to find a river, then follow it downstream until you reach civilization. I'll always keep that in my heart.

Even as I write this, Bear is free falling 50 feet from a helicopter into shark-infested waters. Impressive Bear, but I have to ask.. are the sharks real, or are they mechanical? I wonder.....

Monday, November 19, 2007

On New Thoughts

One of my favorite bands, Sanctus Real, just released the first single from a new album coming out in February 08. The song is titled We Need Each Other, and I absolutely love it. I just wanted to share the lyrics briefly:

I think I caught a glimpse of Life without friends
Bitter, empty, hollow, dark and lonely
We never meant to hurt each other
So Can`t we trust again
And take it as a chance
To keep on growing

I don`t know why it doesn`t come easy
But I know that we could be happy
If we`d only learn to love

Oh oh we need each other
So what`s the fighting for?
Oh oh we need each other
Please don`t close the door
Oh oh we need each other
Through all the highs and lows
Oh oh we need each other
Cause no one`s meant to live alone

Life revolves around the need
Of having someone
Causing every complicated feeling
Oh and I don`t want to loose you

And there is nothing wrong with
Telling me what you need
To keep our love strong

It`s just a part of being a family
Taking the good with the bad and the ugly
If we could only learn to love

Oh oh we need each other
So what`s the fighting for
Oh oh we need each other
Please don`t close the door
Oh oh we need each other
Through all the highs and lows
Oh oh we need each other
Cause I don`t want to be alone

Oh Oh we need each other
Fathers and Mothers
Oh oh we need each other
All your sisters and brothers
Oh oh we need each other
We need friends and lovers
Oh Oh we need each other

Well I need you
You need me
Cause that`s the way
It`s meant to be
I need you
We need each other(I don`t want to be alone)

In a way these are cheesy lyrics, and when I first saw the title I was skeptical. Yet this song is perceptive in that it reveals something we all struggle with: trying to make it on our own. Many times have I fallen into the arrogant trap of believing I was to strong and to proud to need others, but it's just not true. I need others. Other need me. And, as the song says, that's the way it's meant to be. Striking, isn't it? God created us to interact, to share, to help, to befriend. How often do we get to lazy in this or just forget about it? Little indifferences mean nothing and can be overcome, don't let them detract you from being a friend to someone who needs a friend. We are all hard to get along with in some capacity, don't use that excuse. It's lame.

Moral of the Story: Make new friends. Call me a hypocrite, but I don't think God wants us to make 10 friends and then call it a life. Talk to lost people at work. Talk to saved people at work. Talk to your lost classmates. Talk to your saved classmates. Show interest in their lives. Genuine interest. And then back it up. You may think "But Wes, they might think I'm weird". Who freakin cares. You'd be surprised what people are willing to share with others they don't even know that well. Ever seen those Kleenex commercials? Be the guy with Kleenex box, handing out tissues and lending an ear to complete strangers. People are searching for friends. Just let them find you.

P.S. The song is available on iTunes. Just buy the single, it's a dollar.

Monday, February 26, 2007

On Why I Want Chuck Hayes Back

This year's UK basketball team is ruining March for me. I usually relish the thought of watching Selection Sunday, eagerly awaiting the announcement of the seeds and brackets, but the past two years have brought me no such satisfaction. Just knowing that my team will most likely be making an early exit is quite disheartening these days. I would like to think that may be there will be some magic turnaround, but that seems unlikely. It has actually gotten to the point where I enjoy listening to disgruntled fans on post-game call-in shows after a loss more than actually watching the game. There is something wrong with that, and that is why I have to say something.

I don't feel the need to complain about this team...I probably do enough of that already. Instead, I have decided to offer my own analysis of why this team (and this program) has become what it is. It's easy to blame the players. It's easier to blame the coach. But the best way to fix the problem is to look at the whole.

Let's start with the players. The common belief is that this team lacks the talent that it once had. I agree. We need an athletic power forward. We need a reliable point guard. We need more athleticism as a whole. Yet I think the talent argument is a bit overrated. There is talent on this team. Morris has talent. Crawford has talent. Meeks has talent. Even Bradley has talent. Sure, these guys are no Greg Oden or Kevin Durant, but that is beside the point. I can live without the one-year superstars that merely use college as their springboard to the NBA. What I want is a team, and this is not what we have. And this is why I have to place much of the blame on the players.

There is one play from this past Sunday's Vanderbilt game that sums up my point here. About midway through the second half, Joe Crawford came up with a loose ball near the sideline at center court. At the same time, freshman Jodie Meeks came streaking towards the basket, wide open for a layup with no one within 20 feet of him. Joe looks up, but decides not to pass the ball for the easy bucket. Instead, he raced towards the basket for a dunk, narrowly beating a Vandy defender to the hole.

Perhaps Joe didn't see Jodie. But I think he was more concerned about his stat sheet than getting the easy points. Why else would he not have passed the ball? Problem 1: THE PLAYER EGO. We saw it last year when Morris entered the draft. We've seen it a half dozen times this year when Bradley tries to be the late game hero and instead turns the ball over. And how many times has Crawford taken the shot when he should have made the extra pass?

Teams who play as teams win games. Take the 2002-2003 team for example. That team was not extremely talented. In fact, the talent was mediocre. Cliff Hawkins, Gerald Fitch, Chuck Hayes, Keith Bogans. These guys were role players. They did their jobs without worrying about their PPG average. They bought into the team concept, as well as Tubby's system.

This ego problem further manifests itself in UK's lack of a "go-to guy". Morris is about the closest thing we have to that. Unfortunately, we have others that want to be that guy. How many times has Ramel Bradley tried to make a game-winning shot in the last seconds instead of trying to find the open man? How many times has Joe Crawford lowered his head and driven to the basket when other guys were open? The problem is that no one on this team knows their role.

I'm not hating on any of the aforementioned players. I have seen them play as good as most players in the country when they play within the roles that the system demands. Bradley is a great defender and was a spark coming off the bench his first two years. But I think the starting role has gone to his head a bit. At the beginning of the season he called this "his team". That's fine, I have no problem with that. But that makes you responsible for what happened on Sunday. Or what happened when you let Georgia off the hook. Or when you had Florida beat but couldn't hit a single three point shot to save your own life. Crawford is a good shooter and can get to the basket. But his selfishness results in bad decisions. It results in ignoring open teammates. It results in bad shots. It results in pouting when those shots don't go in.

So self seems to be tripping this team up. But that is not the only problem. PROBLEM 2: THE LACK OF INTENSITY. This team is just lazy sometimes. I see standing around on offense. I see lack of hustle in transition. These are fundamentals folks. It is one thing to play bad, but it is absolutely unacceptable for this team not to play hard for 40 (and I mean 40) minutes of every game. Morris seems to be the main culprit here. It seems that when he doesn't get the ball early, he just gives up on both offense and defense. That is inexcusable. Bradley loses focus towards the end of game, thus the flurry of turnovers we see with 2 minutes left night in and night out. That is inexcusable.

But not all the blame can be placed on the players. The coach is responsible as well. Don't get me wrong, I think Tubby is a good coach. He has proven that his system works. But I do have two criticisms of the man, two problems that seem to have gotten worse this year.

Problem 3: THE BAD RECRUITING. This is no secret, Tubby's recruiting has been borderline pathetic in certain years. This years senior class is a prime example. We have Sheray Thomas, Bobby Perry, and Lukasz Orbzut. Both Thomas and Perry were 3-star players coming out of high school, Woo was a two-star recruit. All have contributed very little to the program in their four years at UK. All are unathletic for their positions. Tubby missed the ball on these guys.

Tubby likes "projects": guys he can build up over time. Unfortunately none of these projects panned out. This is Kentucky, not Georgia. We should be aiming for the best players, the ones that combine talent with a team mentality. These players are tough to find, but that is what makes a good coach.

I'm not saying that I want every Kevin Durant or Greg Oden playing at UK. But there are excellent players who are willing to stay 3 or 4 years who aren't among the nation's top 25 recruits. Look at Florida for example. Of the starting 5, there are NO 5-star players. Brewer, Noah, and Horford were all 4-star players. Green and Humphrey were 3-star players. But the difference between them and UK is that they play as a team. Each player knows their role and uses their talent to execute their role to the best of their ability.

I have to defend Tubby for a minute because some unexpected things came about 2 years ago. Last year Morris ignorantly left early for the NBA. No one expected that. Even more unexpected was Azibuike's departure to the NBA, which many suspect was related to his father being put in jail. Tubby expected Kelenna and Randolph both last year. He got neither untill Morris was reinstated. That's about 25 PPG gone, with no one to replace them. It's a wonder we won as many games as we did. However, Tubby should be ready for these things. He needs to have the talent to replace these guys year in and year out. There is no reason why there should be years where Bobby Perry is our most significant recruit.

But enough about the recruiting. PROBLEM 4: THE STUBBORN COACH. Tubby seems to never give up on some players (i.e. Sheray Thomas) and to never give some players a chance (i.e. Perry Stevenson). It boggles my mind why Sheray plays as much as he does. I ask, what more does he bring to the table than Stevenson? Sure, Stevenson makes mistakes. And he is no superstar by any stretch of the imagination. But look at it this way: Sheray makes the same amount of mistakes (if not more), while being less athletic and contributing less as Stevenson. At what point do you go with the younger guy?

Perhaps even more frustrating is how Tubby will slow the game down when UK has a decent lead. This contributes to the players not playing as hard towards the end of the game. How many games might the Cats have won this year had they not let off the gas peddle when they had a comfortable lead?

So should Barnhart fire Tubby? There are two possibilities here. If Tubby goes, you most likely lose high profile recruiting target Patrick Patterson. Patterson is a must-have for UK next year. But Patterson has openly said that Tubby is a big part of his interest in UK, and if Tubby goes I think Patterson looks elsewhere. Plus UK could lose a commitment they already have from power forward A.J. Stewart, an athletic player with potential, as well as one of the top point guards in Jai Lucas who seems to want to commit to Tubby soon. However, bringing in a new coach may be able to attract some players who have committed to other programs, and UK may end up with a better class even without Lucas, Patterson, and Stewart.

But say Barnhart gives Tubby another chance. The chances seem likely that Patterson will commit to UK seeing as how both Florida and Duke (his other two schools of interest) have already signed big-time power forwards. Patterson will probably sit his freshman year at either of those schools, but by coming to UK it is all but certain that he will play immediately. And this year's freshman are promising as well. Meeks reminds me of Chuck Hayes in his toughness and leadership. Jasper has been impressive for much of the season. Stevenson has shown signs of being a force on defense. Even Michael Porter has looked promising.

Who knows how this season will play itself out. Maybe Kentucky will get hot and make a run, and this argument will be a moot point. Stranger things have happened. But Tubby has got to prove that he can still get a hold of his players. He has to prove that he can still motivate his players to play hard all game long. He has to prove that he can coach like he did between 2003 and 2005. But most importantly he has to prove that he can adapt his own coaching styles if he expects to win.