Tag:The Monday Hustle
Posted on: June 16, 2008 12:36 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2008 5:58 pm

Alpha Blog: Ice Road Truckers missing some zing

There's something missing from this season's Ice Road Truckers. Despite adding new dangers -- the Arctic Ocean, even colder temps, higher speeds -- the second season of the show is lacking the punch the first season possessed.

Eric DufresneLast night's episode featured as many scenes of truckers waiting around as it did actual loading, driving and unloading. There's also no real tension between drivers. Hugh "Polar Bear" Rowland used to be the boss of Drew Sherwood and Rick Yemm. No longer the case. Hugh, Drew and Rick all work for corporations with boring bosses (Reality TV meets real life, I suppose).

We also don't have a homebase feeling. Yellowknife, Canada, last season was a discernable city. It had a few tall buildings, bars, Days Inns and recognizable roads. The new homebase of Inuvik has 3,484 residents (Yellowknife has more than four times that). When the show's premise is about taking big machinery parts from civilization to a remote outpost, it doesn't work as well when you get the feeling you're just shuttling goods from one outpost to another.

And most importantly, there's no money meter, and hence, no way to value the work. we know Rick Yemm leaves "hundreds" of dollars on the table when he cracks his oil pan on the road, but we don't know exactly how much of a hole that puts him in and which end of the "hundreds" of dollars scale are talking. I want to know how much each load is worth.

Plus, there are only four main characters (or at least those from last season) and a bevy of people who just sort of show up like Eric Dufresne (pictured) and Bear Swensen. I do like the idea of the drivers going to a diverse set of locales, like Tuktoyaktuk, population 870 and most famous for hosting the the Molson Ice Beach Party in 1995. There's also the town of Mallik, where gas hydrate fields (gas hydrate is really condensed methane energy) need supplies and the ice-locked Wurmlinger barge, which houses scientists and engineers.

Not as sexy as diamond mines, but riding along the Arctic Ocean, and seeing frozen tugboats and barges along the way is an improvement. And the demise of Drew Sherwood -- from truck drive to forklift operator -- is humiliatingly good.

The oddest element of last night's show -- a turned-over abandoned truck -- led to speculation about drinking and driving on the Tuktoyaktuk Winter Road. I couldn't imagine somebody drinking on the job on the Northwestern of Deadliest Catch, which makes this a sober reminder that this job ain't too tough. Or at least, not that much more taxing than what the truckers deal with on I-95 daily.

On to the best blogs ... around

Zyrdunas Ilgauskas won't be allowed to play for Lithuania at the Olympics. The Downunder View sees this as unfair. The Cavaliers see it as a player whose contract is not insured.

Jorge Posada returns and the Yankees start to turn it on. Sports Girl looks at what exactly's going on in the Bronx.

Just when things started to go well for the Yankees, Chien-Ming Wang may have suffered a "lisfranc" injury. What's On Steve's Mind? examines the repercussions.

The Lakers won last night. That's the good. The bad is Michael Wilbon's critique of Kobe Bryant's steal. The Monday Hustle explains.

Klick of the Day  

I spent last week at our L.A. office, which also houses The Price is Right. Worst bid ever.

Posted on: May 7, 2008 12:04 pm
Edited on: May 7, 2008 2:49 pm

Alpha Blog: Why put down horses like Eight Belles

For the second time in three years, a horse had to be killed following a leg of the Triple Crown.

In 2006, Barbaro eventually was killed after trying to recover from a fractured hind leg.

And of course, we're now in the aftermath of Eight Belles' sad demise. Eight Belles before she is killed.

Lost in the conversation of whether horse racing is brutal, did the jockey ride the filly wrong and PETA's stance is exactly why Eight Belles was killed.

It usually has little to do with economic elements like an owner's pocket book or the horse's stud factor. It has more to do with the nature of the injury.

There is little blood circulation and muscle in the legs of horses. So a break in the leg could sever the few blood vessels that do provide flow. Without blood flow, gangrene could set in.

If the skin is broken, it's another, worse story. If the leg's soft tissue was exposed due to broken skin, not only would more blood vessels be likely to rupture, bacteria, and hence infection could occur.

And an infected horse is troublesome. Antibiotics are hard to administer due to the size of the animal, and because such large doses -- on top of the painkillers already administered -- are required, it wrecks havoc on the horse's gastrointestinal system.

If the bone is fractured, and without strong blood flow, the dead bone particles can become infected and contaminate the remaining healthy bones.

Also, because horses are horses, they don't rehab like humans. They can't sit still, they don't stay laying down and they'll favor the healthy legs, which can often lead to laminitis. Laminitis is a condition in which blood flow to the hoof is compromised, and results in an extremely painful condition for horses. Essentially, the hoof starts to separate from the bone and the soft tissue in the foot becomes the load bearer for the weight of the horse. It's one of the main reasons Barbaro was eventually killed, despite successful surgeries.

There are also the risks associated with surgery, notably anesthesia. Horses waking up post-surgery often get disoriented and flail about, which can lead to re-injury. Barbaro was awoken using a technique called water recovery, which involved awakening the Kentucky Derby winner in a tank, by use of sling. It worked, but it's not the norm.

Also, the science just isn't there. Most equine treatments are simply re-calibrated human procedures.

So while killing a horse with fractured or broken legs seems inhumane, the road to recovery can often lead to more harm -- and the same eventual result.

On to the best blogs ... around!      

When it comes to the Brewers, Doug Melvin and Ned Yost have to go, says How I See It. The blogger is mad Buzz Bissingeras hell, and not going to take it anymore.

You know who else is going all Howard Beale on us? In the Crease. The blog is picking up some momentum for its four-letter word boycott.

You know who was mad as hell, Buzz Bissinger on 'Costas Now.' You know who's chiming in, excellently I add -- The Monday Hustle. Our blog du jour looks at why traditional media views the blog with such hostility. I'd like to add Mark Cuban's voice to this conversation. The Mavs owner, and semi-often windbag, has this critique of the convergence of traditional media and blogs, and he makes some solid points.

Why is everybody so insolent today? (Smithers: Sir, it's Christmas. Mr. Burns: I say when it's Christmas!) What is it about Hump Day that brings out the rant in our bloggers? Killing time at work is up in arms about hockey, and how that four-letter word disregards and belittles it.

Klick of the Day       

What's the going rate for a teacher/bikini-fishing model turned fired teacher to pose in Playboy? How's 25K per photo sound?

Posted on: April 29, 2008 12:45 pm
Edited on: April 29, 2008 1:21 pm

Alpha Blog: Miami teams like their coaches young

Driving this morning I heard a news report about the latest fad in the subprime meltdown -- foreclosure tours in Lee County, Florida.

People get in a big green bus and spend the day looking at homes banks have repossessed, and are now flipping at reduced rates. Erik Spoelstra has less of a Skeletor feel to him than Pat Riley. Some houses go for half the value of the purchase price.

The real estate broker in charge of this claims he's peddling in market-correcting behavior ("hey, now teachers can buy these homes"), not capitalizing on market misfortune. And that had me thinking about the Heat, the Dolphins, the Marlins and even the Hurricanes. South Florida's real estate market isn't the only thing that went boom goes the dynamite over the past three years. Its sports teams all imploded, foreclosed, and are now working to get back into shape.

And the area is doing it with a coaching youth movement. Maybe we call it sports-market correction, head coaching style.

Randy Shannon, age 42, is hell bent on developing the Hurricanes program the right way, which means something along the lines of abandoning the Sidney Deane-Larry Coker methodology of losing, but looking good while doing it. 

Fredi Gonzalez, age 44, doing more with less in ways only a midget porn star could appreciate.

Tony Sparano, age 46, an offensive line coach. Coaches with backgrounds in the trenches tend to always supplant coaches who worked up in the booth calling plays.

(Of note: Like interest-only loans offered in a booming housing market, offensive coordinator hires are often the last hurrah of a crumbling franchise. For further proof, keep an eye on the San Diego Chargers this season.)

Erik Spoelstra, age 37, who cut his chops as the Joe Francis of the Miami Heat.

So if you're a foreclosure hunter helping the South Florida market correct itself, or if you're a Miami-area sports fan, things can only get better from this point. The foundations are in place for some long-term success. At the very least, they'll be some slashed ticket prices for any game you want to take in this sporting year.

On to the best blogs ... around!Caleb Campbell (13) is in an unusual situation.  

Speaking of the Miami Heat, Harst's View on Sports looks ahead to next season and sees a team with Derrick Rose ... or Kevin Love. If it's Kevin Love, the Heat have much, much bigger problems being that the guy is a late lottery pick -- not a top three selection.

The Lions' selection of Caleb Campbell has our own Gregg Doyel wondering what to say. The Monday Hustle is in the same boat regarding the Army grad's situation.

It was a rough weekend for AFC North teams according to The View From Above. No team receives a grade higher than a C for their work selecting players.

For most of the decade the Steelers' offensive line was built to run the ball. Now Russ Grimm is gone and Big Ben is flourishing. So In Love with the Game, Mom's View says a philosophic overhual is required in the trenches.

Klick of the Day  

Sticking with the Miami theme, it turns out we need a few driving-correction courses. (Miami Herald)

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com