Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.
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It's raining in London. This is news only because of an amazing run of uncharacteristically spectacular weather.
Doesn't affect me. I just watched Brazil beat Australia, 75-71, and I'm waiting on US-France and, later, Russia-Great Britain. I'm here to watch three Wolves - Kevin Love, Alexey Schved and Andrei Kirilenko.
London is a great city, and one of my favorite aspects of this trip is the language. A few translations, with the British version first, followed by the American English translation:
1. Mind the gap/Watch your step
3. Spot of bother/annoyance
6. Black coffee/Espresso without milk or cream (Brewed coffee is not common here. The best coffee shops serve espresso drinks. A few have ``filtered coffee'' listed at the bottom of choices, as an afterthought)
11. Good bits/Most attractive portions of the opposite sex
12. Pint/Serving of beer or ale
In fact, I had porridge just before walking through the rain today, so I'm feeling very Bri'ish.
Also, the English love their adjectives. This is the home of the television series ``Absolutely Fabulous,'' after all.
You hear a lot of ``Brilliant,'' ``Fabulous'', ``Re-Markable,'' ``Absolutely.''
What's really cool is hearing a 3-year-old speaking like Sir John Gielgud. (Google him, youngsters.) This makes the tots sound very mature even when they're screaming for ice cream.
Love the White Sox's approach on Francisco Liriano: Beat him up, reduce his trade value, scare off other suitors, then trade for him at a reduced price. Brilliant!
Hearing that the Wolves were the only team willing to give Brandon Roy two years of guaranteed money. I love the addition of Roy to a team desperate for a quality shooting guard, but that's scary, that no other NBA team would give him a second year. Wolves fans have to hope this wasn't another example of David Kahn overreacting to the chance to be associated with a big NBA name.
I'll be calling in to 1500espn this morning between basketball games, probably at 11:35 or so. Please follow me on Twitter at @Souhanstrib.
I'm at women's basketball today, and just watched South Dakota native Becky Hammon make a driving, twisting layup and a pull-up jumper to lead Russia to a 58-53 victory over Canada.
Hammon scored 14 points. She went 0-for-5 from the three-point line, but ran the team well.
This afternoon (London time) I'll be watching the three Lynx play for the USA team against Croatia, and then I"ll be trying to make the hour-plus bus trip to the suburbs to watch the USA women's volleyball team, under the auspices of incoming Gophers coach Hugh McCutcheon.
Not to sound too much like Seinfeld, but what is up with that mascot? Have you seen the Olympic mascot? It looks like...well, my newspaper won't allow me to tell you what I think it looks like.
You're telling me London, with all of its history and culture, comes up with this as its Olympic representative?
I know it's difficult coming up with a new mascot that won't be ripping off another team's symbol, a mascot that will appeal to children and countries around the world.
I think Keith Richards should have been the Olympic mascot. Or Johnny Depp doing Keith Richards. Keef would remind the world that drugs, alcohol and tobacco will make you look like...him.
other cultures don't seem to value deod
Who would have imagined a few months ago that our most prominent winter sports teams would add Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Brandon Roy and Andrei Kirilenko?
The Wild, one of the most boring teams in the NHL the past two seasons, should now be entertaining, and should make the playoffs.
The Wolves now feature a starting lineup that, when the knees of Roy and Ricky Rubio are willing, will look something like this: Rubio, Roy, Kirilenko, Love, Pekovic. With a bench of Budinger, Ridnour, Barea, Stiemsma and Derrick Williams.
In short, the Wolves have added depth and talent without sacrificing Williams or trading away first-round draft picks. Kirilenko will add length to the Wolves' defense, and can score and get to the line without hogging the ball. He should mesh well in Adelman's offense.
The Wolves could have made a bigger splash, by trading for Pau Gasol or Nic Batum. But they would have had to sacrifice valuable assets to get those players. They may be better off, long-term, by adding Kirilenko as a free-agent and helping Williams develop into either a starter or a more valuable trade chip.
The Wolves will also be improved because they won't be relying on Wes Johnson, Mike Beasley, Anthony Randolph and Darko to play important minutes. This is the definition of addition by subtraction.
Could we see the Wolves and the Wild in the playoffs? I think so. Especially if Rubio recovers well and Roy can play valuable minutes.
I hope to watch the Russian team with Kirilenko and Alexey Schved on Sunday, and get Kirilenko's thoughts on playing for the Wolves.
Had a column idea. Kept hearing that the betting shops in London offered humorous and bizarre prop bets. Wanted to see if that was true.
So I asked the people at my hotel to point me toward a few betting shops. I'm staying in Euston; they recommended taking the bus to Angel.
It didn't look far on my map, and I prefer walking when possible, so I set off on foot.
A career of covering sports in America's major cities has taught me this: You don't know a city until you've gotten lost in it. You don't know New York until you set off the for the Upper East Side and instead find yourself in Harlem.
Inevitably, I got lost. I found myself on street after street of quaint shops and restaurants, and then I found myself on streets that made me frequently check my wallet.
Finally, after a few extra miles and a jaunt through a bunch of residential neighborhoods, I found a betting shop.
It was called Wiliam Hill, and it was small and sweltering. There were two employees behind what I assume is bulletproof plexiglass. One customer stared at a video screen, and one perused the racing forms. They didn't offer bets on the Olympics.
The woman behind the glass pointed me to a betting shop called ``Coral.'' It was bigger and marginally nicer, and did offer bets on Olympic events, but they were mundane. You could bet on who would win the gold in various events, but I was hoping for a shop that offered odds on how many Mary Poppinses would be in the Opening Ceremony. (I was going to be the over.)
No such luck. I found a larger William Hill with the same results. On my way back to Euston, I found a place called Betting Shop that did offer prop bets on the Olympics, like 6-to-4 on Usain Bolt winning both the 100 and 200. But no Mary Poppinses.
I wanted to bet on how many times Paul McCartney will utter the syllable ``Na.'' No such luck.
The Strib's Olympic team flew overnight on Monday and is now working in the London games Olympic media center for the second day.
I'll be writing columns and features, Rachel Blount will be leading our coverage and Brian Peterson, our venerable and gifted photographer, will be shooting for us.
We'd love for you to keep up with us on startribune.com, but I'd urge you to buy the paper if you're interested in the Olympics. I know the web serves readers well when they're seeking updates and news, but our paper pours a lot of resources into covering events like the Olympics, and I think it's a much more rewarding read if you get to see the way the paper is put together and the full scope of our coverage.
So far, I have to say I feel pretty privileged to be covering these games and the people about whom I've gotten to write. Lindsay Whalen, Hugh McCutcheon and Kara Goucher are all fascinating and driven people, and I'll have features about Kelci Bryant, Alise Post and Megan Kalmoe appearing in the coming days, and Rachel has done exhaustive work on many of our other locals.
Today I'm off to explore London with Brian, while Rachel leads our news coverage of the runup to the games.
This is my first time in London, and I love the city. I don't know if I've ever been in a city so big that is also so distinctive and quaint.
I'll be checking in periodically with this blog and on Twitter (I'm at @Souhanstrib), but our most extensive work will be in the paper and at startribune.com.
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