Thursday, May 29, 2008

It's not the years,'s the mileage

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
2 ½ stars out of 4

It’s been a long time since Harrison Ford put on that fedora and started playing Indiana Jones. I remember watching “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in the theater and having to turn around and face the back of my chair during the scene when the Nazi’s faces melt off, because I was too young to be exposed to such gratuitous violence. I don’t know what my date thought at the time, but what did I care? She didn’t pay for the tickets.

Seriously, my biggest concern going into “Indy 4” was that Steven Spielberg and George Lucas would spend way too much time in nostalgia mode, making cute “old man” jokes and inside references, and leaving the fans with the action-adventure equivalent of “Blues Brothers 2000”. Or “Chips 2000”. Or “Weekend at Bernies II”. Obviously Ford wasn’t going to look the same as he did in the first three movies, but I didn’t want to be reminded of it unnecessarily. Don’t tell me he’s an old man; let me figure it out on my own.

As it turns out, I needn’t have worried. If there is one triumph in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”, it’s that the hero doesn’t come off as a fuddy-duddy. Chalk it up to plastic surgery, stuntmen, or a costume that doesn’t require rock-hard abs, but Harrison Ford pulls off his role just fine.

So do most of his peers. Along the way, the Ford Posse picks up his old girlfriend from the first movie, a sidekick son he never knew he had, and some old war buddy who was never in any of the first movies, and they all do a good job of playing their roles without being a distraction. Unfortunately, Denholm Elliot, who played Marcus Brody, died several years ago, so his character is reduced to campus memorials that Indy runs past when being chased by bad guys. Even more unfortunately, there’s no way to bring back the best supporting character in the first films—Belloch—because the Lost Ark of the Covenant made his head explode in the first movie.

As for the aforementioned bad guys, well, that’s where I start to have problems. Indy 4 is set in the mid-1950’s, so obviously Indy can’t fight the Nazi’s anymore. That’s too bad, because one of the big reasons “Temple of Doom” suffered was because Indy wasn’t fighting Hitler. Well, that and because they thought it would be cool to have a long banquet scene that came off like a “Fear Factor” segment. Indiana Jones just needs to be fighting Nazis. The Soviet Commies in “Crystal Skull” kind of look like Nazis, but they still don’t carry the same “ultimate bad guy” vibe that makes it feel morally justified to, say, throw them in front of speeding trucks.

Sadly, “Crystal Skull” resembles “Temple of Doom” a lot more than it does “Raiders” or “Last Crusade”, mostly in terms of action believability. Or rather, unbelievability. This may sound crazy, but one of the great things about “Raiders of the Lost Ark” was that as insane as all of its stunts were—even Indy climbing under the truck—they were still believable in their own crazy way. But Indy and the gang going on a mine car chase in “Temple of Doom” wasn’t believable at all. And the action in “Crystal Skull” leans towards “Temple of Doom” more often than it doesn’t. The irony of this is that the whole series was supposed to be a tribute to those over-the-top Saturday afternoon serials in the first place, but “Raiders” was so solid it raised the bar too high.

My biggest gripe has to do with the story itself. The basic premise is that Indy is in South America looking for a magic Crystal Skull. That’s the only way you can make the story sound simple. Because once you start adding in the other plot concepts, things get confusing fast. All the Indy movies have the same basic premise: Bad Guy is searching for ancient artifact X. If Bad Guy gets ancient artifact X, he or she conquers the world, so Indy must get ancient artifact X before Bad Guy, preferably while kicking Bad Guy’s trash along the way. This holds true with “Crystal Skull”, only when Indy starts talking about the archeological mumbo-jumbo, it’s not cool like in “Raiders”. It’s just confusing. You eventually start to tune it out like you’re watching an “Ocean’s Eleven” movie, just biding your time until it’s time to execute the plan.

All this leads up to the climactic third act, which is where most people get off the ride with this movie, including me. Without giving too much away, let me make a simple observation: every Indiana Jones movie deals with some element of the supernatural, but it is always an earth-bound supernatural. Old Testament supernatural. New Testament supernatural. Mysterious rocks that make plants grow supernatural. “Crystal Skull” tries to turn Indiana Jones from an action-adventure into science fiction, and I’m not sure I like the idea.

Don’t get me wrong—“Indy 4” is a lot of fun, and totally worth seeing. It could have been really bad, and it isn’t. But it could have been a lot better. If you want to put a positive spin on the experience, remember this: seeing this movie reminds you of how good the first one really is.

“Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull” is rated PG-13 for really violent punches that sound a lot louder than they should, some swearing bits, the disappointment of having a leading lady that’s in her 50’s, and action sequences that come from the “Post-CGI Era” George Lucas.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Office Reloaded

“It takes a big man to admit when he's wrong. I am NOT a big man.”
-Chevy Chase, "Fletch Lives"

Not too long ago, I posted a short review on this blog that explained why I was not a fan of NBC’s “The Office”. It was very sincere. At the time.

And now I have to rescind it.

Over the last few months, I have periodically wondered if I judged “The Office” too harshly, if maybe I should give the show another chance. There were a number of different reasons why:

1. I have a distinct tendency to reject things that are too popular, simply because they are too popular (“American Idol” does not fall in this category).
2. I respect the opinions of the people who continued to recommend the show.
3. I had only watched one episode.
4. The TV critic for the Deseret News ripped MY show after only watching one episode (our first).

In addition, the one episode I had seen of “The Office” just happened to be the finale of season two, when Jim finally busts a move on Pam. It was a moment that had been building for the entire run of the show, and without the full context of the situation, the stark seriousness of it threw me off.

So a few weeks ago I decided to rent one of the season two DVD’s over at Top Hat and give the show another chance.

…and now I’m a fan of “The Office”.

My initial concern was that the show was little more than an extension of every movie Christopher Guest makes, which wasn’t a good sign, because as fun as they are, the Guest movies get kind of tiresome after a while. But after watching several episodes, it’s easy to see that “Office” goes well beyond the “let’s make fun of the simple lives of insignificant people”. It actually develops those insignificant people with interesting plot lines and some very, very good writing.

My favorite character so far? Creed.

There are a ton of great characters on the show. Jim is easy to relate to. Kevin has a priceless wicked look. Darryl is fantastic. But Creed…Creed’s role is the best: he shows up once, maybe twice an episode, says or does something obscene, and exits. Awesome. He had me from the moment he turned the tables on Michael and abused him into firing someone else at the beginning of season two. He’s the comic doppelganger to “Lost’s” John Locke.

Ironically, the show I initially preferred over “Office” has gone in the tank. I thought “My Name is Earl” was the kind of show that could run forever. I still do. But for some reason, this season the writers decided to chuck everything that made the series cool in the first place to go off on enough wild conceptual tangents as to make the show jump the shark about four times in the first dozen episodes. Sad. It can still be a great show, but someone has to get the thing back on track.

So maybe this whole experience was meant to teach me something about second chances. That forgiveness is a real thing, and that you should never be too judgmental too early. Maybe it’s a metaphor for life, and how if we don’t slow down and take a good look at things, we will miss some great opportunities. Opportunities that could make the difference between a good life and a rich life.

Still, I’m going to miss being the only one of my peers who disliked the show.

At least I still have the Dave Matthews Band.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Catch of the Day, Part Deux

A few more classic clips we featured on "KJZZ Cafe", along with a bit of contextual commentary. When I look at these I'm reminded that there are at least a few aspects of my job I should be very grateful for...

The Norwegian Editor

For some reason this guy reminds me of Yahoo Serious, the Australian actor known for such legendary work as "Young Einstein" and "Reckless Ned". That reason is that this guy--Lasse Gjertsen--looks just like him. I don't know if it there is some kind of crazy hair rule when it comes to foreign guys...Lasse, Yahoo, Andrei Kirilenko...nevertheless, I think The Pride of Norway has Yahoo beat on sheer innovation for this round.

The Territorial Goose

This one had me rolling one morning. If you don't find it all that funny, keep in mind that when I say, "rolling one morning", I really mean, "I watched this by myself in a dark office at 2AM, so the concept of funny is at best a relative term." Please keep in mind that after the frustrated cameraman--who takes a video camera along on an early morning fishing trip with his dog?--gives up and finally flees the scene, if you look back in his wake, THE GOOSE IS STILL CHASING HIM.

The Problem Child

We didn't actually use this one for Catch of the was a package we found through our CNN feed. This punk seven-year-old decides to boost his grandma's SUV, cruise a mall parking lot and run into a few parked cars. Why? Because, "it's fun do do bad things". Really, what do you say to a kid like that? Nothing. You just go upside his head.

I'm going to be a great parent.

The Mama's Boy

Destiny led me to this one the Monday morning after Mother's Day this year. I'd have run the thing even without the holiday excuse, but the timing just made it sweeter. I'd actually seen this clip years before, on a self-esteem video Mr. T put out called--I kid you not--"Mr. T's Be Somebody or Be Somebody's Fool". It brought back memories of working at the Wherehouse music and video store before the mission, the constant quoting by my buddies Breto and Randy, and the ticket I got that summer while trying to race a Buick in my '83 Accord through Afton, Wyoming.

As for the video itself? Three words: Camo Nutters, Baby.

The Tuba Incident

I didn't run this because I got a kick out of the Tuba player dealing out a nasty bit of justice to a punk kid who didn't know how to behave during public performances. I didn't do it because tripping people is just plain funny, either. Nope...I ran this baby because the kid's face hits the pavement at the precise moment the cymbal crashes. I ran this thing because of the beauty of timing.

The Korean Drummer

To me this clip is a perfect storm of high comedy. So many elements combining to create a completely surreal have this Korean band, dressed in these white lounge-singer suits, playing on a set that looks like they should be on Lawrence Welk or something. The song they are playing is this quirky ballad that sounds like Quentin Tarantino could have used it in one of the "Kill Bill" movies.

And into this mix you throw Exhibit A, Mr. Drummer Boy, who for some reason completely ignores the morose pacing and mood of the song and plays as if he's trying out for the spot John Bonham vacated in Led Zeppelin when he took 40 shots of vodka and died of alcohol poisoning. Seriously...the headbangs, the stick twirls, the constant STANDING UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SONG??? This guy is seriously brilliant. One moment he's grinning like a madman, thrusting his stick triumphantly in the air, the next he's lip-synching the words and completely upstaging the poor lead singer. I just wonder whether this was a constant problem or if this was the one night this guy finally said, "screw this man...I deserve the spotlight, and I'm gonna take it."

Before he died, John Entwhistle was noted as the only guy in The Who who just stood and played his instrument while everyone else in the band went crazy twirling microphones, throwing drums or smashing guitars. This guy is just the opposite. Everyone else is playing like they're at a funeral. The drummer thinks he's at Woodstock. Pure, unadulterated brilliance.

The Towel

We ran this one a couple of months ago. Kind of an awkward clip, but the point still gets across. At the time I thought the joke was that this lady probably shells out top dollar for some courtside seats, or maybe she's thrilled because a friend scored her some sweet tickets, and she gets rewarded with a warm cup of sweaty-towel-in-yo-face, courtesy of Mr. 2007-08 NBA MVP himself. But now that I look back at it, I realize that this woman is a mere stand-in for the entire state of Utah.

Thanks a lot, Kobe. We'll get you next year.

Monday, May 12, 2008


I really love this whole retro thing Nike has been doing for the last few years. It’s been cool picking the classic basketball shoes I couldn’t afford in junior high. It’s got me thinking: there are a lot of things from my childhood I wish were still around. Things I think should be retro’ed.

Here are my top choices:

Mr. Salty Pretzels

In summers during the mid-80’s, my family spent a lot of Friday and Saturday nights out at the Redwood Drive-In off 33rd South and Redwood Road. The four of us would roll in in our ’83 Honda, packing an assortment of snacks and drinks, and kick back for a double-feature. Saw “Ghostbusters” this way…”Tron”, “Star Trek III”, “Back to the Future”. Lots of great stuff.

Without fail, there were always two critical items for a trip to the Drive-In. The first was red Twizzlers (sorry, not a Red-Vines guy; they taste like wax). The second was a big blue box of Mr. Salty Pretzel Twists. Mr. Salty, as you might imagine, was the total antithesis of today’s wave of low sodium, low fat pretzel. Which may be why Nabisco discontinued the line several years ago. Which is also why they should bring it back now. After all, the Redwood survived, why can’t Mr. Salty?

Girbaud X-Brand Shorts

Somewhere in the transition between elementary school and junior high it became important to wear clothing that didn’t have a direct connection to your favorite football player or basketball team. It also became completely acceptable to spend lots of money for said clothing. Guess jeans were the first “name” wave, with the cute little inverted triangle on the butt, but by the eighth grade Girbaud was the brand of choice at Centerville Junior High, to the tune of $74 a pair. I thought the jeans were cool (they had this strange side pocket along with their trademark X-brand front pockets that slanted up towards a logo patch on the fly), but my favorites were the shorts ($53), which still had the slanted pockets, but just felt a lot more comfortable.

(Editor’s Note: Girbaud X-Brand Shorts are hereby disqualified from the list. Why? Because YOU CAN STILL BUY THEM AT THIS SITE! Who knew? They still cost fifty bucks! Life is beautiful!)

1983 Honda Accord

Not only was our family Honda a fixture in my Drive-In memories, it also happened to be my first car when I turned 16. When my parents picked up a new ’92 Accord, I inherited our old maroon four door, quickly slung a Rolling Stones tongue air refreshener around the rear-view mirror, dubbed it "The Bluesmobile", and set about three years of cruising, dating and parading until I left for my mission to Chicago in the Fall of 1995. The ’83 Accord has no guts, but it was quick; it handled well, and it was fun to drive. Plus I put fluffy white tiger seat covers on it. After a couple of road trips to Yellowstone, a couple of traffic tickets, and about 30,000 miles, I returned the keys to my parents. They sold it three months into my mission for $1500.

Star Wars Death Star Playset

Around the time George Lucas started getting ready to release all the Star Wars prequels, old Star Wars toys like the Millenium Falcon and the X-Wing Fighter started showing up in toy stores. I was elated, of course. My idea at the time was that I would buy up an entire line of the toys, then save them for my own kids so they could grow up with the proper influence. Didn’t happen. But in spite of all the original toys that got the retro release, one that didn’t get the treatment was the original Death Star Playset.

The Death Star Playset was a four-level tower that featured elements of the Death Star scenes from “A New Hope”. There was a gun station on the top, a retracting bridge level to swing Luke and Leia across, and a regular floor below that that featured a trapdoor leading to the trash compactor (complete with foam garbage and a rubber trash monster). They even had a little post where Obi-Wan could go disable the tractor beam. I was the only kid I knew who ever had the Death Star Playset. I never even saw it for sale anywhere else. I don’t know why. I couldn’t keep the thing together—eventually all I had left was the tractor beam station and the gun from the top floor that I used as a blaster since my parent’s didn’t feel good about buying me toy guns. It would be cool to see one again now. Even looking at the set in pictures brings back a lot of memories.

Misfits of Science

I’m still holding out hope that one day “The Wonder Years” will be released on DVD; it’s just a matter of legal issues and all. Besides, you can pretty much get all the episodes in downgraded quality off the Net anyway. “Sledge Hammer” is already on DVD (both seasons!), and clips from “Spitting Image” are all over YouTube, but I fear that one of my childhood favorites is just too obscure to ever see the light of DV-Day: “Misfits of Science.”

“Misfits of Science” lasted about one season, from late ’85 to early ’86, and told the story of a group of “X-Men” types that had super-powers but no colorful tights. There was the really tall black guy that could shrink, the cool guy in the shades that could control electricity (not to mention play a mean guitar), and the super-cute brunette that could move stuff with her mind (she even redirected sprinklers one time, if my memory serves me). Best part? The brunette was none other than Courtney Cox.

GE Box Vacuum (circa 1970)

I hate expensive upright vacuums. They never work. At least they don’t with me. They’re like computer printers and windshield wipers; they have a pretty simple function, but they hate me, and conspire against me.

But there is one vacuum that has never let me down. It’s a little puke-green box GE my parents bought long before I was born. Actually, it looks old enough that builders may have unearthed it from the ground while pouring the foundation of my families’ house. Regardless, that little baby is the most consistent vacuum I’ve ever used, and at the risk of jinxing the whole thing, it still runs today.

Deseret Gym

Back before the construction of the LDS Conference Center on the northwest corner of Main Street and North Temple, there used to be an old gym that provided one of the only places in town you could go for a pickup basketball game without having to know someone with a church key. They also had weight rooms, pools, a lengthy running track, and lots of other stuff. I was so impressed with the place I took a date there. (Insert your own “that was obviously a good idea” joke here).

The way I figure it, I passed the swim test for my Sports Merit Badge somewhere around the little theater stage where they perform “Savior of the World” every holiday season. I dig the Conference Center and all, but I really do miss Deseret Gym. I miss it every time I open up the doors to a church social hall and see a Relief Society function going on.

My Hair

To be quite honest, there are a lot of advantages to not having hair. For one, it has been about five years since I had to get out of bed and worry about how I looked before I ran out the door. It’s been at least that long since I had to pay for a haircut. Plus people have told me on multiple occasions that I have a well-shaped skull, and thus can pull off the shaved head look. Granted, I realize that getting compliments like that is kind of weird, but since they are offered voluntarily, I assume they are sincere, and I also happen to agree: I have a well-shaped skull.

At the same time, if only for creative purposes, I would definitely like my hair back. Sometimes I want to grow my hair out long again like I did during a six-month window after the mission. Sometimes I want it back so I can cut it into a Mohawk and show everyone what one really looks like (the Faux-hawk trend makes me think about that scripture about being lukewarm). Other times I want it back so I don’t have to worry about sunburning the top of my dome in the summer. Because that really, really blows.

The Centre Theater

Another childhood landmark in Salt Lake is the old Centre Theater, which used to be on the corner of 300 South and State Street. It was a classic old-style one-screen theater that had a big wrap around marquee and lots of red velvet inside. I saw “Return of the Jedi” there a dozen times with my mom during the summer of 1983 (when the famous “State Street River” wasn’t running in front of it, that is—anyone else remember the ’83 floods?). Back in the late 80’s/early 90’s the place was torn down and replaced by a big office tower and multiplex, only it was before multiplexes had stadium seating and decent sound systems, so essentially what you have there now is a dollar theater that specializes in art house films (The Broadway Center). Yeech.

"Gidget"-Era Sally Field

I was about eight or nine years old when my family got cable. We were one of the only families on the block that had it, so I had the distinction of being the only kid who could watch the “M.A.S.K.” cartoon on WGN on weekdays after school, or see all those Canadian kids on “You Can’t Do That on Television” on Nickelodeon. Back then Nickelodeon also had a special lineup in the evenings—“Nick-at-Nite”—that featured re-runs of a lot of old classic TV shows from the 50’s and 60’s, like “My Three Sons” and “Mr. Ed”. I wasn’t all that interested in most of them, but that one about the perfect girl-next-door surfing brunette teenager that was always jabbering about her Moon-Doogie? Yeah, I dug that one.

The Grateful Dead

Back in the year before I left for Chicago, I had a friend at my ward who worked as an event manager for the Delta Center. Every once in a while he’d call me up and tell me to grab a friend or two, and we’d go set up chairs for a concert. We’d make about fifty bucks and get to see the concert for free. That’s how I saw ZZ Top and Phil Collins. (That’s also how I ran into the ZZ Top girls, which is a strange thing to do with a member of your bishopric).

In the spring of ’95, my friend called me up and told me the Grateful Dead were playing a pair of shows over the weekend, and wanted to have me come by. But I was working at a music store at the time, and was already booked. Besides, I wasn’t really a huge Dead fan anyway, and only appreciated them because my creative writing teacher had been a Deadhead for seven years before getting into his Master’s program at the University of Utah. So I passed.

That summer Jerry Garcia died.

Monday, May 05, 2008

I Hate LA

Last Sunday Brad Rock wrote a column for the Deseret News about the love/hate relationship Jazz fans have with the Los Angeles Lakers. Check that—he wrote about the pure, unadulterated hate-only relationship Jazz fans have with the Los Angeles Lakers. He broke down a number of potential reasons for said hatred, IE Kobe, Fisher and the Zen Master. He also suggested a kind of “Prom Queen Envy” dynamic that I think is a bit more on target. Obviously I have to weigh in on a topic like this.

As much as I resent Kobe and Mr. Zen, the two of them are more symptoms than causes. My hatred of the Lakers extends far beyond the two of them, long before Kobe was launching air balls against the Jazz in the Western Conference Semi's in ‘97, long before the Zen Master was even coasting to titles with MJ and the Bulls. I trace my Laker-Hatred back to the spring of 1988.

Longtime Jazz fans don’t need to be reminded about the spring of 1988. That was the year we turned the corner. After dispatching the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the playoffs, we ran headlong into the defending NBA champions. No one gave us a chance against the Lakers, even our coach, Frank Layden, who was in his last full year at the Jazz helm before Jerry Sloan took over. Most people figured we’d get eliminated in four games, five at best.

Instead, Stockton and Malone introduced themselves to the league courtesy of an epic grudge match that only subsided when the Jazz ran out of gas in Game 7 on the floor of the “Fabulous Forum”. The no-name Jazz became the no-name Jazz That Could. And die-hard Jazz fans became certified Laker-Haters.

That was the year I made my full transition between “Adolescent Han Solo” Josh and “Pre-pubescent Wanna-Be Jock” Josh. Transformers were exchanged for basketball shoes. Afternoon cartoons were replaced with pick-up football games. And Darth Vader was replaced with Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

Actually, it wasn’t Magic that I hated. It was what he represented. As a geeky kid who had the nerve to dabble in the world of jocks, the Jazz vs. the Lakers came to embody everything I felt and identified with in terms of life’s underdogs. The Jazz were the hometown team, the humble guys, the hard-working stiffs who didn’t get any respect. The Lakers were “Showtime”, the team many of my spineless peers got behind because it’s always easy to get behind a winner. They were the popular crowd, the team that had Hollywood celebrities show up on the sidelines at Forum games “to be seen”. At least Jack Nicholson kept his season tickets in the bad years. They were the only team in the NBA that didn’t wear white jerseys at home—which would have been cool if they hadn’t gone with that prissy yellow instead. They were the team that had the Fabulous Laker Girls, who were symbolic of the unattainable girls at school who wouldn’t give me the time of day. The Lakers were the elite, and the Jazz were the uncool.

I should admit here that later in junior high I became a pretty serious Bulls fan. I admit that freely. I admit it because even as I bought Michael Jordan T-Shirts and wore my black GRID knee brace just below my knee cap like he did, I never cheered for Chicago when they played the Jazz. I knew, even as an insecure pre-teen, where my true loyalties lay.

But I never had any conflict with the Lakers. I relished every opportunity we had to beat them. And that ‘88 series provided multiple opportunities. One of the first Jazz wins in that round happened on the same night as the annual Fathers-and-Sons Overnighter in Camp Zarahemla. My lingering memory of that excursion was being crammed in the back of a Chevy Van with ten other guys around a 10-inch TV, watching Stockton and Malone beat Magic and Kareem. Later I loved the slow pan of the Laker bench at the end of Game 6, when the Jazz had so totally obliterated Showtime that by the tail end of the fourth their starters were lined up on folding chairs looking like they were waiting for a firing squad. I loved seeing national announcers being forced to say nice things about the Jazz, even though you could tell they hated doing it. They still hate doing it.

Then Magic got AIDS, the Lakers went in the tank for a few years, and they weren’t that much fun to hate anymore. You can’t hate a loser for too long. After a while they just become Vince Carter. But a winner, well…let’s just say I’m glad that Kobe and Shaq wound up in Hollywood.

So Brad Rock is pretty close to right on when he suggests that Utahn’s hate the Lakers because of envy, but I think it goes deeper than that. If there is any community in the United States that has become accustomed to circling the wagons, it’s Utah. We’ve got a serious chip on our shoulder when it comes to being a second-fiddle town, whether people are bagging on our lack of nightlife or general weirdness. This whole place was settled by a group of people that were driven out of three previous states…you think we want to take crap from a bully from one of the coasts? When New York or LA comes to town, it’s a chance to punk one of the big guys.

You want to know why else we hate the Lakers? Because Californians keep moving here and telling us about how much better California is…even though THEY MOVED HERE. Then they come to Jazz-Laker games and cheer against our team IN OUR OWN BUILDING. You think we booed Derek Fisher because we think he scammed us? No, we booed Fisher for the same reason we booed the Mailman when he went to La-La Land. BECAUSE HE RETURNED A LAKER, AND WE HATE THE LAKERS. We just got lucky that Kobe and Phil wound up there.

I honestly don’t know how this year’s series is going to turn out. We already lost Game 1, so we can’t repeat the glorious Sweep of ’98, when the Jazz ran Shaq and Kobe out in four straight after one of their forgettable teammates predicted a Laker sweep. I do know one thing, though; when Kobe and Fisher and Zen Master and all the rest walk into Energy Solutions Arena this Friday, with big “Lakers” logos on their chests, they will be marked men. After all, we Utahn’s have nothing better to do.

Right, Mr. Bucher?