Time For The Nut House To Rock The Schott!

Tomorrow the Buckeyes play the Michigan Wolverines at the Schott.  The winner will stay atop the Big Ten.  The loser is, well, the loser.

Michigan has a good team this year.  Tim Hardaway is one of the Big Ten’s best offensive players.  Jordan Morgan plays a tough inside game.  Trey Burke has been a huge help at point guard and has brought some scoring punch.  Zack Novak is the three-point specialist who is the heart and soul of the Wolverines.

This is a game with lots of intriguing matchups.  Who is going to guard Hardaway, and who is going to guard Deshaun Thomas?  Can Aaron Craft stop Burke?  Can Morgan play even up with Jared Sullinger?  Which William Buford will show up?  And is a Wolverine going to be unconscious from outside, like Brandon Paul was when the Buckeyes played Illinois earlier this year?

I went to last year’s OSU against Michigan, and it was a tremendous atmosphere.  The student section, called the Nut House, was ear-splitting all game and obviously made it tough for Michigan to communicate during timeouts.  I thought the crowd helped to pull the Buckeyes through to a win — and I’m hoping that tomorrow afternoon we see more of the same.  I know the Nut House has some new head cutouts — including Urban Meyer — that we’ll see during the game.

C’mon, Nut House!  Time to get loud and proud!

Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close

I wasn’t sure I was ready to see Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close.  Even though 10 years have passed, 9/11 still is a very raw and difficult memory.

The film is about a New York City family’s response to a 9/11 loss that leaves a gaping void in their lives — but it is about a lot more than that.  The story is told from the perspective of Oskar, a bright boy who suffers from obsessive/compulsive tendencies and related emotional problems.  His father tries to connect him to the world through games and challenges.  When 9/11 sweeps his father from his life, Oskar tries to make sense of his loss while at the same time keeping his father’s memory alive, and his mother tries to help Oskar as she struggles with her own, overwhelming grief.  Oskar decides to accept a new challenge that ends up also causing him to interact with his fellow New Yorkers — all of whom also are attempting to cope with their own issues.  The script manages to explore the emotions of 9/11 without being cheaply exploitative.

I thought Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close was a unique, intensely powerful movie.  Thomas Horn makes his acting debut as Oskar, and he turns in a stunning, riveting performance as Oskar wrestles with feelings of loss, curiosity, and guilt.  Tom Hanks plays Oskar’s father with customary deftness, and Sandra Bullock delivers a quietly moving performance as Oskar’s mother.  The film is filled with many fine performances, including John Goodman as the doorman of Oskar’s apartment building, Max von Sydow as the mute Renter, who communicates through notes, tattooed “yes” and “no” on his palms, and facial expressions and body language, and Viola Davis as Abby Black, one of the people Oskar encounters.

An event as momentous as 9/11 deserves appropriately powerful cinematic treatment.  Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close delivers.

Bolting The Volt

It hasn’t been easy for the Chevy Volt.  Announced with great fanfare as the electric hybrid, alternative energy car of the future, the Volt has had problems getting traction with consumers.

The most recent news is that some Chevrolet dealers don’t want to take their allotment of Volts.  The sales of the car have been disappointing — only 7,671 were sold last year — and there have been some concerns about the risk of fires in the Volt’s battery packs, which led to a government investigation that concluded the cars weren’t at a greater fire risk.  Whatever the reason, dealers are balking at accepting lots of Volts and devoting precious showroom and on-the-lot space to a car that most consumers apparently don’t want.

Some people hoped that the Volt would lead General Motors back to profitability.  The Volt hasn’t filled that role.  And dealers are pretty reliable barometers of consumer demand.  If hordes of potential buyers were flooding dealerships demanding a Volt, the dealers would be perfectly happy to sell them.  The fact that dealers don’t want even a modest allotment of the cars is a strong indication that America isn’t quite ready to be an electric car nation.