Polar Bear on the Loose

Chronicles of a polar bear's life in society.

Email: mercuryranch AT yahoo.com

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Moved to R&R of an Insane Writer

All future Polar Bear on the Loose posts will be on Rantings and Ravings of An Insane Writer . Posts are filed under the "PBOTL -- The Blog" category. See you there.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


The Playoffs weren't my favorite time. Dallas and San Antonio fought to the wire and San Antonio lost. Then Dallas couldn't bring home the bacon in the Finals. Oh, well. Next year is another year. Trading Rasho to Toronto was a good move. What will be next in the Spurs front office? I'm watching.

I've been compensating by watching women's golf, Indy car racing, and World Cup soccer. Yeah. I'm amazed, too. I'm not certain what has come over me, but I may be due for a check-up with my health or mental health professional.

I was drawn into women's golf from the moment I saw Pat Hurst. Not only is she a tremendous golfer, but she has a body type I can can relate to. I was cheering her on as a symbol of the non-anorexic look everywhere.

I confess I didn't give two hoots about Indy car racing until Danica Patrick showed up on the scene. She was doing darn fine until changing out that chassis, too.

And World Cup soccer? I have no explanation. I guess after most of a lifetime of not understanding a thing about the game, it's finally beginnning to make some sense to me.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

NBA Playoff Basketball So Far

As you might imagine, She and I have been watching the NBA Playoffs with intense interest. I'm not sure what She thinks--beyond the belief the Spurs will meet the Pistons in The Finals. Is there anyone on the planet who truly believes otherwise?

  • - I have no respect for Kobe Bryant. On the other hand, if he is able to grow up and play team basketball, the Lakers will be a force to be reckoned with. If Kobe figures out he can make his teammates better, and, as a result, he'll be better, most bets are off. The Lakers will be in the Finals again. I don't believe it will be this year, but next year will be a scary year.
  • - Rasho's first three pointer of the year came at a very opportune time last night. I loved it!
  • - Spurs-style basketball is spreading. This will be a good thing for the league. As Spurs players and front office folks move to other teams and bring what they've learned about success, we'll be seeing more character-based and team-playing basketball. I'm sure I'm missing something, but the Dallas Mavericks and first-year coach Avery Johnson are a key example. The Cleveland Cavaliers are coming along. LeBron has more maturing to do, and he's not as fortunate to have as experienced a coaching staff as Tony Parker and the Spurs are, so they'll have to learn things the hard way.
  • - The Miami Heat show all the signs of a team intent on imploding. They've been losing their cool way too often.
  • - Great move by George Karl to suspend Kenyon Martin indefinitely.
  • - Great finish by Sacramento last night. But several of their players have anger management issues. See Miami and losing your cool.
  • - Good work Clippers.
  • - Will Memphis get a playoff win? I hope so. The Mavs are still going to win that series.
Keep watching. This is a good Playoffs so far.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

USA Baseball

How much longer before USA Baseball realizes the rest of the world has embraced baseball and passed us by? As with USA Basketball, we need to realize we can no longer rest on our laurels, show up, and collect our win.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Wintering Over

I've been roaming the pack ice with my friends and family. She has been focused on work and Her other writing projects and hasn't had time for me. She also has the dog and cat, who take more of Her time. I'm still following the Spurs with my DirecTV hook-up. I get my Internet access via DirecTV and my satellite phone.

The Western Conference is highly competitive this year--especially between San Antonio and Dallas. Another advantage of the DirecTV is the availability of NBA League Pass. Her cable provider doesn't carry it. I can get all the games I want. She watches them on Yahoo! Sports GameChannel or listens to a fuzzy AM radio broadcast.

All this works well from the den I've been holed up in for the last several months.

Sunday, February 12, 2006


The Spurs are working to remain in first place in the conference. The Mavericks are giving them a run for their money. Bill Walton, commentating on today's game, emphasized how well Rasho Nesterovic has been playing this year.

When the Spurs re-signed Rasho this summer, I had my doubts, but Rasho has been having a tremendous year, and he's well-complemented by Nazr Mohammed. Depth. That's the Spurs' strength. They have exceptional depth at each position.

Congratulations to Tim Duncan and Tony Parker on their All-Star selections. Well-deserved.

Monday, December 05, 2005


It's hard to complain when your favorite team is 14-3. Even they admit they aren't playing up to par. How much of that is knowing it's a long, long season, and how much is sloppiness?

I'll get a chance to see how they are on Wednesday when they appear on ESPN. I haven't been traveling. I've been helping Her keep the peace in the house while orienting Natasha, the new kitty. Natasha spent most of tonight teasing Hershey through the baby gate, but I caught her sitting up close and personal, hissing her mistrust. Hershey just wants a hug--he was raised by Siamese cats, and he knows his kitties when he sees them.

I should have them snuggling together in no time.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Just a Little Seal with Wasabi, Please

While She's off to the great soon-to-be-white North, She's leaving me behind to watch the house. I'm groovin' on basketball still. The Spurs are hot--well hotter than they usually are at the beginning of the season. I'm watching them on Yahoo! Sports Game Channel now, because She found a way to move to the only place on the planet that doesn't seem to have a cable system that will play NBATV even if I were willing to pay for it.

Since She'll be gone, I can turn off the heat and let the house chill down a bit. Ahh. To be comfortable. I love it. I'll be making my own Thankgsiving Feast...see above.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The NBA Dress Code

For a rational, professional view on the The NBA Dress Code, please read Mark Cuban's comments on the dress code itself and on blog readers' comments on the dress code. Mark Cuban is the no-so-politically correct Dallas Mavericks owner. He blogs regularly about a variety of subjects, and I find he has a refreshing voice. I don't always agree with him or understand what on earth he's talking about (some of his businesses are foreign to me, and She can't explain them either).

My observations? Many business people who make far less money that NBA minimum wage players have to maintain a repertoire of business attire. They do it without getting a clothing stipend, and they don't complain. The NBA's dress code is not unreasonable, nor does it demand a player wear something different every time they appear in public. Hey, Guys. If you're not a clothes horse, get one suit custom-made (I understand off the rack just isn't an option--try being a polar bear sometime; I feel for ya'), get a couple good quality white shirts or maybe one or two in a complementary shade, and invest in a couple nice ties and a good pair of shoes. Don't forget a few pair of good quality dress socks. Mix and match as needed. That exceeds what's needed, but you'll be prepared for any public setting.

If that's too expensive, have a couple pair of khakis, a sport coat, and a couple contrasting turtlenecks to wear underneath it all. It's the business world. Other people do it everyday to make a living. If you don't want to, find another job. I hear the local car wash is a bit less restrictive. Forget about bagging groceries, though, they expect a little more.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The 2006 San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs just completed their pre-season schedule with a record of 2-7. From my disadvantaged point of only being able to see scores and read other writers' views, I'm not able to carry on an educated discussion. I will base my observations on a general impression that Coach Popovich doesn't always have winning as his only objective. The Spurs leadership and he hold a long-term vision and work toward achieving that. The Spurs also have a history of starting slow and peaking later in the year.

At the beginning of the pre-season, they signed a few players they must have wanted to look at. None of them are still with the team. The current roster looks very tight.

Brent Barry, Bruce Bowen, Tim Duncan, Michael Finley, Manu Ginobili, Robert Horry, Sean Marks, Nazr Mohammed, Rasho Nesterovic, Fabricio Oberto, Tony Parker, Beno Udrih, and Nick Van Exel. A solid, proven roster envied by many.

I believe the Spurs organization used pre-season games as a way to given lesser known players a chance to show their stuff. It should have provided a non-threatening way to see how different components of the team meshed together. The sense was supported when I read one newspaper account that Pop was playing deep bench players the entire 4th quarter. I equate deep bench and the worst point spread at the end of a game for pre-season was 12 points--most were closer to 4 as a good sign for the season to come. Of course, were other coaches playing their deep benches as well? Not living in San Antonio where I could have seen the games, I can't say.

The dearth of coverage for San Antonio continues, even though I'm seeing a bit more respect for them in written sports coverage. Yes, TNT is featuring them on opening week this year. I can catch them on TV for 20 games this year--TNT, ESPN, or ABC. All other games would cost me additional money. In San Antonio, of course, I could catch every game. In my NBA gear catalog that arrived this week, I would have expected to see San Antonio more prominently featured, but no. It's still all about the Lakers and the Bulls, and LBJ (LeBron James--once I figured that out, the fur-trimmed parka made sense: Cleveland), Melo (Carmelo Anthony), and Air Jordan.

How will the Spurs do this season? Hard to say. The team composition should be able to do the job, but will they? Last year's slogan was "One Team. One Goal." That sounds like they were focused on accomplishing what they did--not the best record in the NBA--they could have done that, probably at the expense of the championship, but the championship itself. This year's goal looks like it's "Get Ready. Get Loud." Doesn't sound so focused. San Antonio, a team which has developed into a perennial winning package under Pop's leadership, hasn't perfected the repeat yet. After 1999 and 2003, they couldn't quite pull it off. Might the third time be the charm? Let's watch.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Polar Bear Cam

The Polar Bear Cam goes live on October 21st. You know I'll be glued to it looking for friends and relatives. Why don't you check it out and see who'll be wandering around up in Manitoba? It's only operational for about a month, so don't miss the excitement. While you're waiting, the link brings up the opportunity to view 2003 Polar Bear Cam Highlights in either Windows Media Player or Quicktime. I like to check it out, because a couple of my pals are in some of the videos.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Sorry, Folks.

I post for the first time in several months, and within minutes, I get comment Spam. "Word" verification is turned on.

2005-2006 Spurs

No, you haven't heard much from me since the Spurs won the Championship. It's been too darn hot in Alabama, so I headed North. Way North. She seems to have been having trouble remembering to lock doors lately, so I had to come back to guard the house for Her while She's at work.

I've been watching the Spurs off-season moves. I'm wondering what will happen to their remaining free agents. Devin Brown, Mike Wilks, Tony Massenburg, and Glenn Robinson. I'd like to see Devin Brown and Glenn Robinson stay. Mike Wilks seems to have the support of the front office. I have mixed thoughts about Rasho Nesterovic. Tony Massenburg contributed when needed, but Nazr Mohammed may be able to pick up that role.

When Michael Finley signed, and they showed the picture of him with the Number 4 jersey, I thought Sean Marks' days were numbered. After all, Number 4 was Sean's number, but only days later, they resigned him, so I suspect some jersey number shuffling will take place.

Nick Van Exel signing caught me by surprise. The Spurs have enough guards to enable them to keep a revolving door at the scorer's table this year. They'll have the opportunity to have fresh legs in the back court all game every game and will be able to thoroughly confuse their opponents while running circles around them.

I read one comment by a reporter today speculating the Pop would most likely be happy to play the team he has now, and I believe it.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Spurs Take It All

Yes, this is old news, but I've been away from computers since they won. Naturally, I'm delighted. Manu came very close to earning MVP honors, but, really, how do you choose when there are so many good choices available? But, yes, Tim Duncan really came through, and he is a rock for the team. Not the kind that drags you down for the third time, but the kind that lifts you up and provides a solid foundation.

She speculated I was at Disneyland, but that's inaccurate. I spent some time visiting family in the Arctic. Everyone is fine.

I've found Her new place in Alabama. Sheesh. It sure is hot down here. Why can't She get assigned somewhere more temperate for my tastes? I'd even go to the Antarctic if I could get cooler weather. She's starting to get some boxes cleared out, so maybe there will be room for me after all. And She brought this small brown thing with Her. His name is Hershey, but I'm not supposed to eat him. Of course, I know him from visiting in Texas, but he stayed outside there. Here, he's spending more time inside. He's so darn small; I'm afraid I'll smoosh him.

She seemed to have some problems taking dictation on PBOTL, so I'll have to work with her on revisions. It certainly wouldn't be my storytelling ability, would it?

Monday, June 13, 2005

Game 2: 97-76

The Spurs jumped to a commanding 2-0 lead in the Finals series. I fully expect the Pistons to regain their footing when the series moves to Detroit on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. The Spurs made good use of their home court advantage.

Her house is empty, so I feel much more comfortable here now. The place seems much more spacious. I think she has room for me in the truck when we head out on Wednesday morning.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Western. Conference. Champions.

Congratulations, Spurs. Rest up. Heal the aches and pains. Stay loose and focused on the goal. Kick butt in the Finals.

Monday, May 30, 2005


John Lopez of the Houston Chronicle talks about Manu having San Antonio on a string. Manu Ginobili plays with abandon, and that makes watching him so very exciting. The practical side of me says the man is going to hurt himself someday, but the other side of me just watches in amazement and cheers. What a player!

A local radio station is offering T-shirts with "Got Manu?" emlazoned on them. That simple phrase says so much, because Manu brings an exuberance and a freshness to the game like nobody else.

Here's to your health and longevity, Manu.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Watching the Playoffs

So far, I've been happy with the way the playoffs have been going. There have been few surprises, but many of the games have been good to watch.

The Spurs, after their disappointing first game, have been doing very well. I'm watching their first game in Seattle now, and it started slowly. We're about half way through the first quarter as I type this, and San Antonio is warming up. They just tied the game at 15-all after a scoring surge. I dare not write this one off.

I've had plenty of time to watch, since Her hubby is here, so She spends no time with me.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Making Lemonade

If I didn't know better, I'd guess Coach Popovich was doing this on purpose. With Duncan, Nesterovic, Ginobili, and Devin Brown out of commission, the Spurs are now winning games. They're winning ugly, but they're winning. Last night's double overtime victory came with three of five starters on the injured list.

Earlier this season, did I hear someone saying the Spurs' bench wasn't that deep? Where on earth did they ever get that idea? They've been winning games with most of the second team starting. All year, I've thought the Spurs' bench was more solid than many teams' starting five, now they're getting a chance to prove it. And, they're getting valuable experience in clutch times when it doesn't really count. Sure, it does, but the Spurs will be in the playoffs no matter what, everything else is pride and bragging rights--important, but in the business of winning the championship, trivial. Well, your first round opponent and home court advantage aren't exactly trivial, but again, those are nice-to-haves. What Popovich is doing is taking advantage of this time to strengthen his team for what really matters--the Playoffs. If they lose a game here and there but are ultimately successful in achieving their goal, that's called "strategic retreat."

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Spurs Sans Duncan

Last week when we watched Tim Duncan sprain his ankle, we knew the Spurs would have a tough time. We were also confident they had enough depth to play well without Duncan in the lineup. After they lost to Detroit and then New York, I headed to Indianapolis to see if I could help. To no avail, as you all noticed. I'm back in Virginia. The Spurs are home. They pulled out victories over the Atlanta Hawks and the Houston Rockets. Today's Houston game was on ABC, so we got a chance to watch again.

Thankfully, there were no injuries like Duncan's today. Last week, I had to keep covering Her eyes on the replays of Duncan's ankle sprain. It was too close to home for how Her ankles feel when they give out on Her. If I didn't cover Her eyes, She'd sit there and shudder until the image could be cleared from Her mind.

Earlier this week, the Spurs had to put Devin Brown on the injured list. Devin's a local San Antonio guy who is just unbelievable to watch play. He, Ginobili, and Parker are poetry in motion to watch. They play with heart, finesse, and always give 100%. With Duncan and Brown out, the Spurs are challenged.

As I mentioned earlier, the Spurs have depth, and this is one of their strengths. They have a number of guys who can, and do, step up and make things happen. They aren't quite seamless about it, but they come darn close. I've been doubly pleased to see Rasho Nesterovic step up and start delivering. He made some beautiful moves today, and demonstrated a strong ability to contribute.

But for sheer fan power, Ginobili has it all over everyone. He was officially credited with five steals today, but I swear he had thirty. Every single time I looked up, he was taking the ball away from somebody. The most gorgeous play was when he blind-sided Yao Ming and took the ball right out of his hands.

Spurs basketball. It just doesn't get any better. Don't get me wrong, Duncan will be great to have back in the lineup, but the Spurs are not lost without him, either.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

The Sport of Business - Blog Maverick - www.blogmaverick.com

The Sport of Business - Blog Maverick - www.blogmaverick.com

Interesting view. I'm not saying I agree or disagree, but it's an interesting point of view.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

SI.com - Writers - Don Banks: Clarett's bad 40 hurts draft stock - Saturday February 26, 2005 9:19PM

SI.com - Writers - Don Banks: Clarett's bad 40 hurts draft stock - Saturday February 26, 2005 9:19PM

Mr. Clarett still fails to impress. He was a standout during his freshman year at Ohio State two years ago, but he's done little but "step on it" since. I'm sure he's had other things to distract him from maintaining health and fitness at pro competition levels since then. However, he continues to fail do the things he can do to help himself achieve his goal. He needs to get through this, but it's looking more and more like it's time for him to find some solid employment and eke out an existence like any other young adult.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

First Post-Rose Game

I'm in a funk. I still can't believe they traded Malik. Sure, they needed a big man. Sure, they needed salary cap room for this summer. I think I understand that. But did they mess up the team chemistry? I hope not.

No. No. No. They're professionals. They can overcome this. I understand that, but...but...but.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Spurs Traded Malik!

Say it isn't so! But I should have seen it coming. His minutes have been declining all year. Something didn't click right. I'm not as familiar with Nazr Mohammed and Jamison Brewer as perhaps I should be. As for Malik Rose, this could work out well for him as well--at least I hope so.

She will tell you I've been on the Spurs "groupie tour." Harrumph. In truth, She needs this time to learn and grow as a writer. I spoonfed Her the first draft, but now it's time for Her to do the work. I call it, "Tough Love." Why else would I maintain this travel schedule? Of course, She could authorize me to subscribe to NBA League Pass, and I'd be home more. Will She do that? Noooooo. See yah!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

USSR Lomonosov

For those of you who have been wondering since September just why I've claimed a photo of an obviously ceramic polar bear as my own, I'll attempt to answer.

I enjoy that likeness. This particular ceramic bear is known around this house as the "Sitting Lomonosov." There is also a "Walking Lomonosov" and a "Baby Lomonosov." All three were produced in the former Soviet Union and have USSR stamped on the bottom of them. The Lomonosov factory still exists and still produces these bears, but they, of course, no longer stamp USSR on the bottom of them.

She also has a pair of Royal Dux bears of a similar size. She has a plant shelf in the master bedroom, and they reside comfortably up there, watching over Her. She has another, larger bear (but obviously not as large as me) on the plant shelf in the living room, guarding the common areas of the house. Then there are the other bears, of little consequence to me, that litter this house and the one in Texas.

If you want to see the likeness of my twin brother, you may recall the picture from June 5, 2003. So far, nobody has ever taken a picture of me, and I intend for it to stay that way for awhile. But really, the Sitting Lomonosov captures my personality quite well.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Heading Back for Work

My visit in Georgia is over. I've had a great time, but She has recalled me. I'm ambling home via Seattle (check the map--that's a true amble). I figure the Spurs need me tonight to cheer them on as they begin their Rodeo Road Trip against the tough Seattle Supersonics. I say tough, because no matter what their record, the Spurs have not defeated them this year.

The Rodeo Road Trip is usually a good time for the Spurs to come together and improve their record. This year, they have a great record, so I'm looking for them to really do impressive things to solidify what should be a championship team. Their depth is nothing short of amazing, and they really seem like three or four teams in one, and that can only spell good things--especially when all those teams within a team are working together, as this year's Spurs appear to be doing. They make basketball right.

She's still reading through PBOTL, so I have a couple days to wind my way back to Virginia. In fact, I think it will be via Seattle, LA, Charlotte, DC, New Jersey, Miami, and New Orleans, putting me back in Virginia on the 15th. That's close to the first. And She'll be feeling a little better after Her knee surgery. I won't have to listen to Her whimper and whine.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Not Back to Work Yet

I thought I was going back to work, but She's not ready for me. So I'm on a personal errand for Her down here in Georgia. Clearly, the Spurs are doing just fine with me cheering them on from here. I should be back in Virginia in a couple weeks. Ta-ta, now!

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Heading Back to VA and Back to Work

She is ready for me to come back to work, so I'm taking a break from being a Spurs groupie and hitching a ride back to Virginia with Her. We'll begin editing PBOTL.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Looks Like I Was Wrong

Upon closer inspection, the Lakers wouldn't fare much better in the Eastern Conference. Sorry, Kobe. Best of luck.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Lakers to the Eastern Conference?

I don't believe I've heard anyone mention this yet, but Kobe Bryant should have demanded the Lakers move to the Eastern Conference along with all the other changes last year. In the Eastern Conference, "his" team would have a respectable record this year. In fact, they'd be in third or fourth place instead of their current seventh. Just a thought.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

The Price of Banning the Bear

I see She has done a perfectly fine job of finishing NaNoWriMo without me. Her word count was very good. However, I note She is singularly dissatisfied with the product. See. If She hadn't banned me to roaming the countryside (quite contrary to Her guardianship agreement, I assure you), I could, perhaps, have provided some plot assistance that just may have kept this novel a bit more on track.

Oh, well. I've been having a blast roaming the countryside as a Spurs groupie. And I certainly think it helps them do well. I hope they are on solid enough ground that when I return to Virginia in January for PBOTL edits they will continue their winning ways.