Day four of “Eastern Standard Time”. I fell asleep before kick-off Monday night, waking when it was already 10-0 Miami. I’m struggling with the concept of being an hour ahead of most of my coworkers (why aren’t they in the office at 6:30 in KC when I turn the laptop on?). Also, finishing my workday around 5:00 local time and still getting calls for an hour is odd. I’m sure my West Coast clients appreciate the voice mails I leave them at 5:00 AM their time. The rest of the world changes their clocks. In Indiana, you have to change your life.

Anyone catch the NBC Nightly News last night? Some outstanding publicity for the state of Kansas. Our favorite wacko minister from Topeka (name purposely not used here, but we’ll call him FP. E-mail me if you don’t know whom I’m referring to.) and his followers are back in Casper, WY trying to place a monument in a public park saying that Matthew Shepard “entered hell” the day he died. “We’re not preaching human hate, we’re preaching God’s hate. And God hates those who live lives of sin,” a group member said. Casper is having trouble stopping them because, get this, they have a monument to the Ten Commandments in the same park. City lawyers say allowing that to stay put opens the doors to anyone else who wants to put a monument in the park. Ironic, isn’t it? You might think to yourself, “Let’s see how Mr. First Amendment feels about this one.” I think FP and his phollowers are all mentally ill, harboring more issues than we can ever imagine, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t spew their hatred. In fact, in this case, I think it’s made a lot of people who wouldn’t normally be protective of a gay man’s legacy realize that it deserves preservation. Sometimes it takes people like FP, the Klan, and Louis Farrakhan to get the general public to understand that a fringe issue really isn’t that fringe. I don’t feel as strongly about religious monuments in parks, etc. as opposed to court rooms (Come on, it’s a park. Your kid can still run around and play if the Ten Commandments are posted and you’re an Atheist. Get over yourself.) but this is exactly the can of worms I was talking about. You can’t selectively open the door to certain religious views and keep others out. FP may be living in a world that hasn’t evolved in thousands of year, but he’s still sharing what he believes to be his religious truth. The most horrible thing is Shepard’s family has to relive his death again through all this.

Tom Brokaw’s reaction to the report was classic. Leading into a commercial, Tom said, “We’ll be back in a moment,” then let out a long, heavy sigh. Fair and balanced indeed!

The Shaq-Kobe drama is absolutely awesome! I’m loving every minute of it. I’m not totally convinced it’s all real. I have a hard time believing Phil Jackson would let it get to this point if it was 100% true. Two of the most media savvy players in the game today, a big off-court distraction, and I’m supposed to believe they aren’t somehow playing us? Fake or not, it’s been fantastic to read/watch. Two NBA superstars, and teammates no less, ripping each other up and down in the media. This is how people get killed in the hip-hop world (Another reason I’m not convinced it’s real. They sat next to each other on the bench last night.). In a time when loyalty is to contract and agent rather than team and city, when pre- and post-game get-togethers by opponents are commonplace, and where everyone tries to avoid bulletin board material, these exchanges are a throwback to the glory days of the 1970s when everyone hated everyone else. On TNT’s always-brilliant studio show last night, Charles Barkley looked at his cohosts and said, “If any of you all ever call me fat, I’m kicking all your asses.” I want to see Shaq go after Kobe. Maybe toss him around the gym a little. Exclusive footage by a local reporter that just happened to still be in what was supposed to be a closed workout. Grainy, out-of-focus footage of Kobe slamming into some chairs as Karl Malone attempts to stop the Diesel from closing in to finish the job. Of course, we’ll never actually see a punch or any other contact, so we’ll never know what really happened. This needs to happen, and sooner rather than later.

Boo to everyone who gave Kobe standing ovations during the preseason. Innocent until proven guilty, yes. But there was nothing good that has come out of the early testimony, even if we ultimately learn it was a consensual encounter. I don’t expect much out of anyone in the public eye, certainly not fidelity. But Kobe has held himself up to be different, better, more committed than others his entire career. He’s benefited greatly from that image. I don’t think you applaud the man for being just like everyone else. Worse than everyone else, really. I wonder how many of the people that applauded him had their kids next to them but were whining about, “What will I tell my kids?” during the Clinton impeachment. I finally have a tangible reason to dislike Kobe. I was never sure why I didn’t like him, but now I am.