Staff Picks

<SPORTS>Wednesday, March 22Go C-A-R-D-S! It may be the No Interest Tournament everywhere else, but Louisville should draw another nice crowd tonight for its quarterfinal NIT game tonight against Missouri State, an angry team that got unfairly snubbed by the NCAA selection committee. A win sends the Cards back to Madison Square Garden, where they're 0-2 this season, for the semis. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased through TicketMaster (502-361-3100, www.ticketmaster.com or at various TM outlets, including statewide Kroger stores). U of L students can buy tickets for $5 through U of L ticket office locations. Game time is 9 p.m. —Cary Stemle

A Letter from Doug Johnson

Louisvillian Doug Johnson, a peace activist living in the West Bank and teaching English at the Arab American University in Jenin, was abducted Tuesday by Palestinian gunmen. He was released later the same day. The following is a letter Johnson sent out via email on Wednesday to assure those interested that he is OK. With the help of David Horvath and Pat Geier, LEO obtained permission from Johnson to post the letter in full.

Rumor & Innuendo: Rumblings From the World of Sports

Was it me, or was something missing on NCAA Selection Sunday? Oh, yeah, the sun. And any mention of the University of Louisville Cardinals. Hmmmmm!That schedule thang. U of L played only one non-conference team that is dancing. Can you spell UK? And the Cards only beat one NCAA team — Marquette. Pitiful.

Foaming in the gloaming

Competition consumes the Capitol under the twilight of every session as lawmakers, lobbyists and stakeholders plot to muscle bills beyond the legislative bottleneck that paralyzes, then suffocates, measures great and small. It’s been a strangely quiet yet quirky session in the Senate. A string of illnesses, deaths and surgeries among senators and their parents seemed to complete the maturation of a chamber rife with strife only a few sessions ago. The institution continues its plunge into adulthood by muting the partisan feuding and substituting a more bipartisan approach.

Doc Naismith’s best bets, and some OK Tourney News

by Bill DoolittleIf the Louisville Cardinals had to skip an NCAA basketball tournament, this was probably the one to miss. 2006 looks like a very big Blue Year. All four No. 1 seeds — Duke, Villanova, Connecticut and Memphis — wear blue. And Kentucky, too.

The American dream: cash for trash

When French artist Marcel Duchamp reasoned that his signed urinal was a piece of art, he had no idea how far the spirit of that piece would be taken. Today, nothing is so intimate or mundane as to be verboten. Particularly if there’s some manner of fame attached to it.

What a Week

OK, who sneezed on this rat?In a dramatic medical breakthrough, researchers at U of L used stem cells from human nasal passages to cure rats with spinal-cord injuries, giving hope for possible cures for multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and other nerve disorders in humans. The boogers-for-brains research holds promise not only for people with spinal-cord-related disabilities, but speaks volumes for the indomitable human spirit, which could motivate a talented, highly educated researcher to go, “Hey, let’s smear some snot on a rat and see what happens.”

It’s Welch, without a surprise

To a tenderfoot, the jovial mood in Metro Council chambers before the March 1 interview session for those hoping to fill Democrat Ron Weston’s vacant 13th district seat would’ve seemed unusual. Considering the business of the day, one might think all the smiling was, well, weird. The sun was out and it felt like spring that day, but otherwise, the Council was facing an important — if somewhat controversial — task.

Lofty challenge

Clifton Lofts were controversial, but they need love nowBy MICHAEL A. LINDENBERGER

A season late, a basket short

U of L can retire its dancin’ shoes for another yearSometimes writing assignments go awry.Imagine it’s Good Friday, April 1865. You’re an aspiring theater critic for some Washington gazette. Your assignment is to review a romantic comedy, “My American Cousin,” at Ford Theater. Curtain’s up, a shot rings out, some guy jumps from a balcony. All of a sudden the staging of romantic interludes gives way to entirely different reportage.