Where Did The Week Go…


— Ryan Beltram, EDN

When it comes to money right now, things are tight. More than a week ago, The European Union gave Greece $170 billion in extra bailout loans to save it from a potentially disastrous default in March.

This major event has affected the United States as demand for U.S. assets has risen. Interest rates are low and unlike many of the smaller European nations, the United States has the ability to create its own money.

Things are a little optimistic and consumer confidence is improving. Jobless claims are dropping. Unemployment here in Oregon dropped below 9 percent and for the nation, things have steadied. The housing market is even showing signs of bottoming.

This dog lives better than I do

So you would think after reading about these things, I would have become a little more optimistic about the United States financial situation. With an election coming at the end of the year, talk of debt and what can be done to reduce it will be a major talking point.

Obama wants to make the 1% pay more taxes and he is also looking to cut spending in Medicare, farm subsidies and other areas where he feels it is necessary to cut spending and reduce the deficit.

Having a plan in place to save money is great, but after reading an article the other day, I have a another area where Obama should somehow find a way to cut spending: Pet pampering.

It was reported that Americans spent $50.96 billion on their pets in 2011. Yes you read that right. Billion. With a B. That number represents an all-time high and the first time in history more than $50 billion has gone to our cats, dogs, hamsters and reptiles.

Now before you get really hot and bothered by that astronomical number as I did, realize that food and vet costs accounted for about 65 percent of that spending. That makes sense. These are necessary expenses to make sure our domesticated animals are healthy and happy.

But it was a service category — one that includes grooming, boarding, pet hotels, pet-sitting and day care — that grew more than any other, surging 7.9 percent from $3.51 billion in 2010 to $3.79 billion in 2011.

Now I understand that people love their pets and they want to do whatever they can to make them happy, but really people? $3.79 billion on pet hotels and day care? They’re animals. I’m pretty sure they’re happy just to have a home.

It’s a slippery slope telling people how to spend their money. We all have our extra curricular activities and hobbies. Taking care of our pets I would consider a necessity. But when does it become excessive? Where do we draw the line? I would consider more than $3 billion on pet pampering crossing the line.

According to the American Pet Products Association, that number is expected to cross $4 billion in 2012. Maybe we should cut back a little. One fewer trip to the pet groomer or perhaps skipping the pet hotel and letting a friend take care of your pet would be a good idea. Anyway to save a buck.

WWE comes to Eugene

Last Sunday, Matthew Knight Arena hosted the World Wrestling Entertainment. I was unable to attend the sold out event, but after hearing about it, the little kid in me got excited and it became a nostalgic trip down memory lane.

The good old days of wrestling

Every boy goes through phases growing up. There’s the dinosaur phase, the car phase and a wrestling phase. I was fortunate enough to follow wrestling at its greatest hight in the 90s. In the early 90s there was Hulk Hogan, Randy “Macho Man” Savage, the Undertaker and the Ultimate Warrior. In the mid to late 90s Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock and Triple H reigned supreme.

Every Monday night at 9 I would stay up to watch Monday Night Raw. The hour-long program eventually became two hours and despite it being a school night, I would have the volume up just enough to where I could hear it and my Mom couldn’t.

Wrestling was for me and still is for many guys the male equivalent of a Soap Opera. The main storyline used to be good vs. evil. The hero against the heel. But eventually it evolved to real life dramas like strained friendships, love affairs and power struggles. Every Monday night and eventually Thursdays I was glued to my television as the drama unfolded and the fake fighting ensued.

Eventually I grew out of my fascination with it and moved on to more traditional sports. The ones where the outcome isn’t predetermined. But while I’ll never go back to watching wrestling full-time, occasionally I’ll be flipping through channels and catch a moment or two of it. Some faces I remember are still there while others are new.

Seeing the WWE come to Eugene was exciting though. Somewhere there’s a kid who went to the show on Sunday and had the same reaction and experience I had when I was growing up.

Netflix Instant Pick: Sherlock

Sherlock like you've never seen him before

My pick this week in instant streaming is a television show rather than a movie. Not to be confused with the Robert Downey Jr. movies, Sherlock is the BBC’s modern-day interpretation of the famous sleuth and his doctor partner who solve crimes.

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch (My favorite name in show business) as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson, the series takes place in present-day London. Seeing Sherlock prefer texting over man-to-man communication and having Watson be a war doctor in Afghanistan are great modern-day interpretations of the characters originally created by Conan Doyle.

The first season is only three episodes long, but each episode plays out like more of a movie-of-the-week running at 90 minutes than a typical hour-long program. This extra time allows for a more balanced story that leaves open room for both the procedural aspects of the episode and the great chemistry between the two main characters.

There wouldn’t be a CSI or The Mentalist without Sherlock Holmes. The show is entertaining, smart and funny at all the right moments. In a time where American procedurals are starting get a little stale, Sherlock is a great alternative. The character may have been around for years, but this interpretation feels refreshingly new and original.

Hoping For A Little More ‘Resolve’ In 2012…


By Sam Finley, EDN Sports Editor

You hear the word ‘resolve’ a lot in the world of sports.  It’s mostly said by coaches hoping that their team will rebound after a tough game.  I suppose you could argue that some other words could be used instead, but maybe it is a good time for me to suggest some quick resolutions for some folks in the realm I cover.

First of all, I have a resolution for Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo.  After years of bravado, maybe it’s time for this signal caller to put up or shut up.  How do you keep Romo away from your festivites?  Tell him he’ll have to play a big game there.

Tony Romo had better start living up to his hype. (Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Seriously, I’m tired of hearing that this guy could be the next Brett Favre. (Though he does have the off-field drama queen role down pat).  Either he shows what he can do in a pressure situation (this weekend against the Giants is a great opportunity) or it is time to turn off the hype machine.

Next up, LeBron James.  We know what this so-called “King” can do in the NBA regular season. However, we’ve been told that LeBron just needed a better cast of characters around him before he could win the title.

That excuse floated out the window when he left Cleveland for Miami last year, and he started talking about the multiple championships that the Heat would acquire.  Funny thing is, in  the 2011 NBA Finals, the best player on the court was Dallas’ Dirk Nowitski (who let his game do the talking for him).

Therefore, until the Miami Heat win the big one, maybe it’s time all of us have this joint resolution:  We saw Michael Jordan play.  Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player of all time.  LeBron James, you’re no Michael Jordan.

LeBron James should never be compared to Michael Jordan until he delivers in a big game. (Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Now for a more local resolution.  For the Oregon football team, it’s pretty simple. The Ducks have had three marvelous seasons under head coach Chip Kelly.  Going to two Rose Bowls in the past three years (and playing in the BCS championship in the one between) is nothing to sneeze at.

But in early 2012, they need to do something to solidify their 2011 campaign as a step in an even higher direction.  They’re playing Wisconsin in Pasadena this Monday, and should probably borrow the mantra from the late Al Davis. Yep, they need to “just win, baby.”

You’ll find a an article written by myself an Mr. Don Smalley on what the Ducks (and Badgers) need to do to come out ahead on Monday.  What that article DOESN’T tell you is what will happen.

As I see it, it comes down to one factor I didn’t list: De’Anthony Thomas. The freshman phenom can do it all from lining up in the backfield, running a pass route, even returning kicks. Some have said Oregon hasn’t seen an offense like Wisconsin’s yet. (That’s bunk! They were called the Stanford Cardinal).

De'Anthony Thomas could be the difference in the Rose Bowl for the Ducks. (Photo Credit: Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

The truth is, I don’t think the Badgers (or any other Big-10 school) has seen an athlete quite like DAT this year.  I’m looking for him to have a big day in front of his Southern California relatives, and that’ll be a big reason why the Ducks will finally get that elusive Rose Bowl win.  Here’s my prediction:  Oregon 42, Wisconsin 31.

Let’s get to one or two of my resolutions before I wrap this one up.  First, I intend to keep my long standing resolution not to every play leap frog with a unicorn. (I’ve heard that can be painful). I’m also planning to try and be a little nicer…but we’ll see how that goes. It may take a little more ‘resolve’ on my part.

Triple H had better watch out for Sam Finley when the WWE comes to Eugene. (Photo Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Seriously, 2011 had it’s ups and downs for me. But this was a good year, and my resolution is to take the EDN sports section and continue to mold it into something worthy of your constant attention.  We’ve had some great articles in our first year, but we want to take what is good and make it even better.

We’re going to be starting some weekly reviews for both college and prep basketball that I know you’ll want to read.  You’ll also find even more profiles than ever before.  For that matter, you’ll probably find EDN in some places you didn’t necessarily think we’d go.  Here’s a perfect example:  The WWE is coming to Matt Knight Arena in February, and I intend to be there. (Look out Triple H, here I come). So check back here and watch the evolution happen.

Until next time, I’ll see you in the bleachers.