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Throw dunks, not tantrums

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 Maybe he feared something elicit was going on:

"You would think the news of constructive discussions between [the Department of Human Services] and Legislative Audit staff would please the chairman rather than illicit a tantrum."

The Super Bowl just behind us, what the TV announcers call "March Madness" looms before us. We can count on seeing a lot of slam dunks in this period. And a lot of beer commercials.

It may sound strange to young fans, or even middle-aged ones, but the dunk wasn't always a part of big-time basketball. I can vouch for the fact that as recently as the early 1960s, nobody on the Arkansas Razorbacks was dunking the basketball, and the Razorbacks were not unique in this regard. The old Southwest Conference was full of confirmed non-dunkers. The game was played below the rim in those days, by players all the same pinkish color.

As the players grew taller and faster and darker, able to leap high above the rim in a single bound, the modern dunk was born. This is Stuart Berg Flexner in "Listening to America":

"Though to dunk had meant to shoot the ball through the basket in any way since the 1930s, tall, agile offensive players developed the modern dunk shot in the mid-1960s and the slam dunk in the early 1970s, leaping above the basket to stuff or slam the ball down through it. The dunk was banned from college play for eight years, beginning in 1968, after UCLA's 7-foot-2-inch Lew Alcindor (who became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1971) dominated the game with it in his first year of college play." It seems to me the first real dunkmeister for the Razorbacks was Dean Tolson. Or was it Slam Duncan?

"Vice President Joe Biden, speaking to the U.S. Conference of Mayors on Thursday in Washington, said he has no illusions that the gun-control fight will be tough." Just the opposite is true. He has no illusion that the gun-control fight will not be tough. Biden is a likeable sort, with or without illusions. It's nice to have a vice president that you're not afraid of. 

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