Pack up the yellow umbrella kids: “How I Met Your Mother” says goodbye

Warning: If you haven’t watched the How I Met Your Mother finale, you probably should. Like now. We’ll wait.

The series finale in two paragraphs. Ready? Go!

The mother dies. She’s been dead for the entire series. There, it’s out there. Oh, and her name was Tracy. Barney and Robin get divorced, and Barney is randomly given a daughter after knocking up one of his floozies, apparently changing him forever.

Ted reveals that “the mother” gets sick, but doesn’t say from what. Then, his daughter suggests that the entire story — and hence, the entire 9-year series — was only told because Ted had the hots for Robin and wanted to ask her out. Ted then goes out, gets that blue french horn HIMYM fans know all too well, and shows up on Robin’s doorstep. The end.

Say it with me, fans: “Um…what?”

From an emotional standpoint, the finale is a definite tear-jerker, especially when Ted announces abruptly that he has to leave Barney and Robin’s wedding reception, leading to one-by-one, heart-wrenching goodbyes with each character. Ted was supposed to be leaving for Chicago in the morning, but when he meets Tracy at the train station, that plan gets abandoned because, well, it’s Ted.

Cute sentiment, but after that, the storyline veers off into a weird territory.

Robin and Barney’s marriage falls apart in three years, fueled by her insane workload and constant traveling. What’s disappointing is that, for many seasons, we saw Barney slowly transform from a disgusting, womanizing person to one who can commit to a relationship. And after all that (plus a vow to Robin saying he’ll never lie to her again), their romance gets derailed by Robin’s profession as an international news reporter?

For a divorce between two emotionally unstable, yet completely right-for-each-other people, their end was incredibly anti-climactic.

Marshall and Lily make plans to move into a bigger home now that they are expecting third child, and Marshall gets another call to become a judge, cementing the fact that their story throughout the entire series was the least depressing. This was probably the only part of the finale that made sense, much like their entire relationship over the course of the show.

What’s upsetting is that the entire series, which took millions of viewers on a journey of laughter and borderline emotional turmoil for nearly a decade, was essentially just a ploy to get Robin back. Ted meets the woman of his dreams, has children, and his beautiful wife dies, but he’s still hung up on Robin?

The disaster here is one of “character trueness,” which is a term I just made up five seconds ago: Mosby spent the entire series making us believe that he was a die-hard romantic who would do anything to find the perfect woman. Then he finds her. Then she dies. And after all that, he goes back to another woman who couldn’t keep her own marriage going? This is not the Ted Mosby we’ve all come to know and love.

The writers could have done so much more with the ending. For instance, when it’s revealed that Barney’s going to be a father, it would have been great for the mother to be Robin. And Ted could have been telling the story about their mother to his kids for a sweeter reason, rather than just getting their permission to chase Robin…again.

Make the series finale totally awesome? Seems like it was challenge not accepted.


Getting the Lakers from zeros back to heroes

The Los Angeles Lakers were once the powerhouse of the NBA. They were in the playoffs year after year, won 16 championships with the help of Hall-of-Fame players, and carried an aura with them whenever they stepped foot on the basketball court.

Now, with a record of 24-48, they are one of the laughing stocks in the league. For the past two years, they have been ridiculed for not being able to keep Dwight Howard. They recently suffered the worst defeat in franchise history to the Clippers in a 142-94 massacre. Even I, a die-hard Laker fan and apologist, look at games on the schedule and say, “Yeah, they’re losing by 25 tonight.”

If the season were to end today — and many fans of the purple and gold wish it would, already — the Lakers would get a top-six pick the upcoming draft. Teams with even worse records include the Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics (life isn’t all bad) Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers (who just broke their 26-game losing streak) and the Milwaukee Bucks.

So what went wrong? How can a team that epically won the 2010 title against their long-time rivals, the Celtics, have the proverbial pie thrown in their faces just four years later?

The quick answer: bad luck. No one could have predicted then-NBA Commissioner David Stern would rob the Lakers of Chris Paul in 2011, only for Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak to say, “Well screw you, Stern, I’ll get Dwight Howard,” then actually get Howard only to lose him to free agency for nothing one year later.

No one in their right minds thought Jim and Jerry Buss would pick Mike D’Antoni over Phil Jackson, arguably the best coach in the history professional sports, when the team fired Mike Brown last year after only five games. How is that possible? For those of you keeping score at home, Jackson has won 11 NBA championships. D’Antoni’s count? Negative 50 championships.

Did the Buss family forget who Jackson and D’Antoni were? I feel like the conversation over who to choose as the next Lakers coach went something like this:

Jim Buss: “Dad, Phil Jackson wants to coach the team.”

Jerry Buss: “What team?”

Jim Buss: “Our team.”

Jerry Buss: “Really?”

Jim Buss: “Yes. But Mike D’Antoni’s available too, and he’s very interested.”

Jerry Buss: “Isn’t that the guy who coached the Knicks the last few years but left because Carmelo Anthony hated him and he lost the team’s respect?”

Jim Buss: “Maybe…but his teams always score at least 110 points a game!”

Jerry Buss: “110?!?!?!”

Jim Buss: “Yes, daddy, 110!”

Jerry Buss: “It’ll be Show Time all over again!”

JIm Buss: “Exactly! So what do we do?”

Jerry Buss: “Well Phil has the resume. And he’s coached the team before. And Kobe thinks the world of him.”

Jim Buss: “But dad…..110 points…PER GAME.”


Also, no one thought this season’s Lakers would be hit with the worst injury bug since the Portland Trail Blazers were stung so badly, their coach got severely injured during a practice because the team didn’t have enough healthy players.

So instead of LA trotting around with the likes of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash, they are left with C-list players like Wesley Johnson, Chris Kaman, Kendall Marshall (who is actually a D-list player since he came from the D-League) and an occasional sighting of a fragile, paper-mache marionette dressed like Nash, which breaks after one or two games and doesn’t come back for a month. I need to lie down.

Bryant is in no mood to wait around during a rebuilding period, and recently said he expects to contend for a title next season. But with their current roster, they have a better chance of changing their names to the Washington Generals and beating the Harlem Globetrotters. Who am I kidding? They’d lose to the Globetrotters by 25, too.

But there’s hope. The Lakers have over $21 million in cap space next season, and only three of their current players are under contract after this year, which means they are in a great position to completely overhaul their roster and, thereby, their outlook for Kobe’s twilight years.

Here is what the Lakers need to do to give themselves the best chance to compete for the Larry O’Brien trophy in the next two years, barring major injuries to key players (possible due to age of Bryant and Gasol), California getting hit by an earthquake so big it separates from the United States (definitely possible) or the zombie apocalypse (might have already happened…you’ve seen Steve Nash).


1. Replace Mike D’Antoni

Sorry Mike. It’s not you…it’s…yeah, it’s you.

D’Antoni’s Lakers have been atrocious this year. They’ve lost two-thirds of their games and get blown out with regularity. Yes, a lot of it is due to injuries to Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and every other point guard, but that’s no excuse for a lack of effort — defensive effort to be exact.

The Lakers allow 108.9 points per game, which is the second-most in the NBA, according to This is not an anomaly. D’Antoni-led teams have been among the worst in points allowed ever since he started coaching, with one exception: the 2011-12 New York Knicks. That team ranked 11th in the league in defensive efficiency.

The irony: that was the year D’Antoni resigned in the middle of the season, and was subsequently replaced by Mike Woodson, who is all about defense. I will bet my cat, the incorrigible Johnny Stripes, that it was Woodson who made that team better on defense to end the year.

Coaches available right now that can fill this void include Lionel Hollins, Stan Van Gundy, Jeff Van Gundy and, my personal favorite, Nate McMillan.

All of these coaches play at a slower pace (perfect for an aging Kobe and Pau), have stressed defense with their teams, and always seem to put together winning seasons with deep playoff runs.

2. Keep Kobe and Pau Together

So many analysts are saying the Lakers should get rid of Gasol, that he needs a change of scenery, that he has a better chance of winning a title elsewhere.

But the fact is, Gasol doesn’t want to leave. He wants to be a Laker for life. Also, Kobe Bryant wants The Big Spaniard to stay put, and has said so multiple times publically and to Lakers management.

Kobe and Pau have history. They’ve won two back-to-back rings together. They communicate in Spanish on the court together. This bond should not, and cannot, be broken. If the Lakers want to really appease Kobe, keeping Pau at all costs should be at the top of their list.

3. Add a third difference-making player

It’s Kupchak Time.

As previously mentioned, the Lakers have a lottery pick this summer that could be as low as number six — or even lower if they get any worse. If they land one of the best players in what’s supposed to be a stacked draft class, the Lakers could be on their way to a title soon.

But there’s another way — a faster way — to get better, and that’s by trading their lottery pick and packaging it in a deal to acquire Kevin Love.

It’s been rumored that Love wants to play in Los Angeles and some other teams. He’s from the LA area and even attended UCLA. The Lakers seem like the perfect fit for him.

But if they Lakers use their cap space to acquire, say, Carmelo Anthony this offseason, they may not have enough room for him and Love. In fact, if the Lakers get Carmelo, Love is pretty much off the table. With the lottery pick as a bargaining piece, the Lakers could send that and some other pieces (Kent Bazemore, Marshon Brooks and the Laker Girls maybe?) to Minnesota in exchange for Love. The Timberwolves would certainly be tempted to consider, at the very least.

Or, Kupchak could go into his magical GM laboratory and somehow devise a way to keep his lottery pick and get Love in the summer of 2015. You mean to tell me you wouldn’t be surprised if this happened? This is the same Mitch Kupchak who got Pau Gasol for almost nothing in 2008 and won two titles in three years.

If this did happen, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kupchak held a press conference after the deal was finalized, brought up Minnesota President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders, kicked him into a giant abyss in the ground next to the podium, and yelled, “THIS. IS. KUPCHAAAAAAAK!!!”

4. Bring back current role players

As bad as the Lakers are, their roster has some surprisingly good players. Jordan Farmar is a solid, starting-caliber point guard who can shoot 3-pointers at a high clip and wants to play in LA. Nick Young scores at will and isn’t afraid of the big moment. Jodie Meeks has carved himself into a multi-dimensional player who also plays solid defense.

As for the big guys, every team needs a scrappy, rebounding, energy guy like Jordan Hill, and Kaman can still put up points and is an underrated rim protector.

And for a D-League guy, Kendall Marshall knows how to run an offense and distribute the ball.

The Lakers don’t need to pay these players much more than they’re making now, and a few of them will make solid additions to the bench unit. Keep these guys around and add a couple of superstars, and you’ve got yourself a contending team for at least the next two years.


$10 million cash gift donated to College of Business and Economics

A CSUN alumnus is giving a $10 million cash gift to the College of Business and Economics, which will be renamed after him, CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison announced at the California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday.

“On behalf of the entire Cal State Northridge community, first I would like to thank David Nazarian for his philanthropy and leadership,” Harrison said. “His leadership of a $25 million initiative launched with his personal gift of $10 million. The renaming of the college will have a transformative impact. His involvement will make a good college of business and economics great.”

David Nazarian, who graduated with a degree in business in 1982, is donating the money as part of a $25 million fundraising project, Harrison said.

The CSUN president said the money will be used for entrepreneurship, student mentoring, real estate and professional development to improve the college.

The college will be renamed to the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics. This marks the fourth occasion in which a college at CSUN has been renamed, the most recent being the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media and Communication in 2006 after a $10 million donation by Curb.

The amount given by Nazarian is the largest cash donation in the university’s history.

Whitney Shepard contributed to this story


Track and Field: Sharks come out on top in invitational

Malibu Sharks freshman Maverick Baglietto performs a long jump during the Marie Smith Malibu Invitational on Saturday, March 22, 2014 in Malibu, Calif.

Malibu Sharks freshman Maverick Baglietto performs a long jump during the Marie Smith Malibu Invitational on Saturday, March 22, 2014 in Malibu, Calif.

It was a record-setting day for the Malibu High School track team in the Marie Smith Malibu Invitational on Saturday, March 22.

Junior Caroline Pietrzyk finished with a time of 5 minutes and 2.93 seconds in the 1,600-meter run. The time not only eclipsed her personal best of about 5:11.00, but also set a new track record.

“I feel pretty good,” Pietrzyk said about her record-breaking time. “I wanted to go a little bit faster, but it’s good for an early-season race and I’m pretty proud of it.”

Head coach John Cary remembered three years ago when Pietrzyk first joined the cross country team.

“When I first saw her, she was a swimmer and she had no running ability,” Cary said of Pietrzyk. “I thought she would last maybe a week or two and then she would quit. And now we have her as one of the top 20 runners in the state in distance runs.”

Pietrzyk also achieved a second-place time of 2:24.11 in the 800-meter run.

The Sharks came away with several wins in Saturday’s meet. In the 100-meter hurdles, junior Michaela Cosentino and sophomore Madeleine Ward finished first and second, respectively. Cosentino clocked in a time of 16.97 seconds, while Ward crossed the finish line in 18.16 seconds.

Cosentino received first place for the varsity girls in the high jump with a height of four feet and 10 inches, and in the triple jump with a mark of 30-01.00.

For the boys, senior Dyer Pettijohn won two jumping events — the long jump with a trajectory of 21 feet and 8.5 inches and the triple jump with 40-09.00.

Freshman Jesse Nikora took top honors in the discus throw, launching 80 feet, 7.5 inches.

Jeff Nikora, coach of the throwing events, was pleased with the efforts of his entire team and feels they have a bright future.

“I’ve got two freshman who have been winning the frosh/soph in most meets in either the discus or the shot put,” Jeff Nikora said. “That tells me we’re going to have a really good team in two years.”

Malibu also had some high finishes in other running events. In the frosh/soph 300 meter hurdles, sophomore Eva Conrad earned second place with a time of 53.96 seconds, only narrowly losing to sophomore Kristen Doyan of Calabasas, who finished with a time of 53.92 seconds.

Freshman Abby Blackwood was less than two seconds shy of a win in the 400-meter dash, finishing with a second-pace time of 1:05.17. In the boys 400-meter relay, Malibu finished second with a time of 56.25 seconds.

Cary has been encouraged by his athletes so far in this young season.

“We are a Division IV school, so we don’t have the best athletes in the world, but we have good athletes,” Cary said. “We have athletes that really enjoy the sport. Right now, they are doing very well.”

Cary believes this year’s track team may be lacking in experience, but makes up for it with enthusiasm.

“We’re down as far as experienced track people, but we’ve got a lot of new people that are really excited about being on the team,” Cary said. “It’s making coaching this year really nice.”

Malibu Sharks junior Michaela Cosentina (left) and sophomore Madeleine Ward (right) run in the 100 meter race during the Marie Smith Malibu Invitational on Saturday, March 22, 2014 in Malibu, Calif.

Malibu Sharks junior Michaela Cosentina (left) and sophomore Madeleine Ward (right) run in the 100 meter race during the Marie Smith Malibu Invitational on Saturday, March 22, 2014 in Malibu, Calif.


Brief: Career Center to host CSUN spring job fair

More than 100 employers from various industries will line the Northridge Center of the University Student Union on Thursday for this semester’s job fair.

The event is hosted by the Career Center and will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Students will have the opportunity to meet with recruiters of companies such as AT&T, Dreamworks, New York Life, Enterprise and others, said Akriti Shrivastava, employee and relations and event coordinator assistant for the career center.

The companies offer part-time and full-time positions as well as internships, Shrivastava said.

“I think its a great opportunity for students because the positions are for a while they are attending school or after graduation,” Shrivastava said.

Students are encouraged to come to the job fair dressed in business attire, with resumes in tow.

Shrivastava said this semester’s job fair will set itself apart from previous fairs.

“This time, we have a variety of companies for a lot of different majors that we usually don’t have,” Shrivastava said.

All the companies represented in the job fair were recruited by the university’s Career Center.

“It’s a good networking opportunity, and I think that’s very important for students,” Shrivastava said. “I think it’s going to be a really good event.”