In this week’s Tuesday edition of the News and Views, we celebrate the 58th birthday of Brooklyn-born actor Steve Buscemi. Until the hit HBO show Boardwalk Empire, Buscemi was just that guy with the funny looking eyes from Fargo and Armageddon. There is even a website where someone photoshops his eyes on famous female celebrities. It’s very entertaining. But now he’s Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, the treasurer of Atlantic City and the undisputed political boss of Atlantic County, who **Season Two Spoiler Alert, seriously, quit reading ** just put two bullets into the skull of his own man Jimmy Darmody in the season two finale. It was one of the best gangster scenes from any show or movie.
While many know him for his role as Nucky Thompson or the creepy guy with lipstick in Billy Madison, not many people know about his loyalty and support of New York City firefighters. Buscemi was an NYC firefighter himself from 1980 to 1984 with Engine Company #55 in Little Italy before pursuing an acting career. He showed up to his old firehouse the day after the September 11th tragedy in 2001 to volunteer, working twelve hours a day for a week, digging through the disaster searching for missing firefighters. He was arrested in 2003 along with eleven others while protesting the closing of his old firehouse. For a successful Hollywood actor to volunteer after the attacks and protest the firehouse closing says a lot about Buscemi’s character. You have our respect, sir. That’s why these News and Views are for you. Happy Birthday, Mr. Buscemi. Or should we call you Nucky? Don’t shoot us.
— Monday was the day we learned the fate of Kentucky in the new college basketball polls. In this week’s rankings, Kentucky dropped to No. 3 in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls. Syracuse claimed the top spot in the two polls, followed by Ohio State and then UK, Louisville, and Duke. 4 of the 65 AP voters put Kentucky first on their ballot. Thanks, Rick Bozich!
— Thanks to its first regular season win over a ranked opponent in 14 years, the Murray State Racers snuck into the top 25 at No. 24 in the AP. It marks the first time the Racers have been ranked since the end of the 1998 season when they entered the tournament at No. 25 under Mark Gottfried. Murray State’s 10-0 start is the best start for the program since the 1950-51 team and 1936-37 team each started 12-0. Go Racers.
— Louisville is lucky to be No. 4. Shut up and enjoy your spot, Card fans. You’re not better than UNC, Duke, or Baylor.
— We’re learning a little bit about the future of SEC basketball this season as Missouri and Texas A&M both cracked the top 25. Missouri is ranked No. 8/10 and Texas A&M is No. 22 in both polls. If you go ahead and count them as SEC schools, that would be seven ranked teams and the most from any conference. The SEC could be the premier league in both football and basketball next season.
— Enough with analyzing the new rankings, we have an arena to worry about. University of Kentucky President Eil Capilouto released a joint statement with Mitch Barnhart and John Calipari saying he does not support state funding for renovating or building a new Rupp Arena. Capilouto is focused on improving on-campus facilities like classroom buildings and dorms to enhance undergraduate education. He said he will continue to participate in discussions for a new arena but he believes that the new facility should be funded privately, not with state money. The University Senate voted unanimously in support of Capilouto’s joint statement with Calipari and Barnhart on Monday.
— It’s hard to imagine Mitch Barnhart and John Calipari signing off with Dr. Capilouto without a plan in place to keep the Rupp Arena project moving. I don’t know where the funding will come from but Barnhart and Cal aren’t moving forward without a new arena or a renovation. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray certainly feels that way and he issued a statement Monday evening saying the city will continue to pursue a new Arena, Arts and Entertainment District with Rupp Arena as its centerpiece. The city just has to find the money to do it and it won’t come from the state without Capilouto’s approval. I don’t know about you but following the entire Rupp Arena project makes my head hurt. Just get it done.
— While we’re on the subject of Rupp Arena, how ’bout this week’s ‘Interesting Rupp Arena Fact’, brought to you by Boone’s Butcher Shop. You ready?… One-sixth of Kentucky’s total losses in Rupp Arena came during the Billy Gillispie era. Kentucky has lost 60 games in Rupp and ten of those were in the two years under Billy Gillispie. He lost those ten in just 26 games. It took 35 years for Kentucky to lose the other 50. That’s pathetic. (Hat tip to WYVQ’s Alex Risen for digging that up)
— Let me give you a scenario: You and your buddy just won two free tickets in the front row at CenturyLink Field for Monday Night Football. What do you wear???
If you said a neon green suit and a Randall Cobb jersey, then you’re not alone. #BBN really is everywhere.
— 2013 five-star recruit Chris Thomas announced his top five schools and Kentucky is in the mix, along with Xavier, Florida, Missouri, and Iowa State. Thomas is the No. 2 shooting guard in the class behind Aaron Harrison and he’s the tenth-ranked prospect overall. He is not the KSR blogger that does the Game Faces and NFL recap posts. That would be cool, though.
— I started watching Homeland tonight on Showtime and I’m pretty impressed after the first three episodes. Has anyone else seen it? I need to know if I should finish the season because TV time is very valuable in the life of a KSR blogger. 22 hours of my day are spent gathering news, misspelling words, and photoshopping Alan Cutler’s face on supermodels so I don’t want to waste my free time if the show isn’t worth watching. Your Homeland opinion matters to me.
That’s all for tonight. I’m going to rush off to catch the tail-end of the Perrin Johnson Birthday Bash in Louisville.
See you in the morning for the debut of KSR U’s second contributor in the 9:00 a.m. time slot.