Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Music is better live too, at least for some bands or genres. I never sit down and listen to classical music at home, but I used to take advantage of free tickets to the Boston Symphony Orchestra with some regularity.
Sex is better live too. As opposed to a magazine or movie. I mean with a live woman. I never did it with a dead woman. And I mean being the person having the sex with the live woman. Not watching someone else be the person. I never did that either.
I guess I just really appreciate being there experiencing someone do their thing at a very high level, regardless of what their thing is.
Another conclusion: New York City is a preposterous place to live. Taxes are insane. Housing is offensively expensive. Groceries are stupidly dear. I can't find a decent barber. Getting east-west is nearly impossible. But the food is fantastic. And there are plenty of opportunities to watch live sports and live music.
You may have reached some of these conclusions on your own. But you likely haven't synthesized them into one idea for a weekend outing. I have. Combine NYC with an interest in live entertainment, and a live-in ladyfriend, and blammo: Broadway. It turns out that watching really good actors live is better than watching them on your TV or a movie screen.
I'm sure you'll say this is corny, cheesey, or some other pejorative food analogy. I even expect a ghey call or two. I don't care. The Z-woman and I go every other month or so and it's fun. I saw "A Behanding in Spokane" this weekend. It features Sam Rockwell, the guy Morgan Freeman beat up in "Million Dollar Baby," and some little blonde girl with disarmingly big feet. It's a dark comedy about a guy who had his hand cut off and who now wanders the country looking for it.
Christopher Walken plays the lead. He is hands down (get it?) the eeriest guy in the world. He was 100 feet away from me and I was still skeeved out by him. I knew it was a comedy going in, so I laughed at a lot of his creepy shit. Remember his maniacally funny soliloquies from "Pulp Fiction" and "True Romance"? He had about five of those. And his insulting repartees from "Biloxie Blues"? He had two or three of those too. No one can be as simultaneously funny and discomforting as Walken. But if you walked in off the street and didn't know it was a comedy, you'd find his character scary as hell, like Nick at the end of "The Deer Hunter." Dude's a freak. An incredibly gifted actor, but a freak nonetheless.
I encourage you to get out and watch people do something that they are really good at and that's fun and impressive to behold: go check out some live theater. I don't like musicals, but if you went to one you could combine live acting and live music, and your lady will probably dig it so you might end up making real live love. The trifecta! Or roll like me, avoid the troika and look for actors you like in regular plays with no singing and dancing. And then on the ride home when your lady says "That was really great, I had no idea you were so cultured" you can say "Babygirl, my shit is deeper than Atlantis" and then turn up the volume on your Whitefield Brothers CD, and unless she reads this blog she'll think she has herself a true man of the world.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
The fates of these three teams will be determined in large part by the events this Saturday. At 7:45 AM, you can point your rabbit ears over to ESPN2 to watch Man U host Chelsea at Old Trafford. A Man U win should make them almost impossible to beat, as they will have only five games left, most against weaker EPL opponents. A Chelsea win puts them in the driver's seat with a two-point lead, while a tie opens up the door for Arsenal, who should be able to dispatch a shaky Wolverhampton squad. In the event of a Man U-Chelsea tie and an Arsenal win, Man U would have 73 points, Chelsea would have 72 and Arsenal would have 71. In this event, look for the fourth-place Tottenham Hotspurs to be a spoiler. They play Arsenal, Chelsea and Man U in three consecutive weeks in mid-April.
But this weekend's slate of matches is merely a portion of the red hot footie action over the next eight days. In addition to EPL matches, Man U and Arsenal both remain active in Champions League play, although Chelsea spit the bit against Inter Milan early last week and was eliminated. We've got a flurry of big Champions League matches starting today. Man U starts a brutal eight-day stretch. The team travels to Germany to face Bayern Munich in the Champions League today, in the first of a two-match series. The team then returns home to Old Trafford for the Chelsea tilt in four days and remains at home to host Bayern Munich three days later. That's three very difficult matches in two countries in eight days. Not an easy task for any squad, let alone a veteran team.
There are three reasons for Red Devils fans to be optimistic. First, Bayern has lost two straight Bundesliga matches and has gone 1-2-1 in its last four to fall out of first place. Second, Man U was able to rest a lot of its firepower in last week's romp over the official team of The Teej, the (Michael) Bolton Wanderers, as Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Paul Scholes, Michael Carrick and Ji-Sung Park all sat out in the win. Third, last week's win saw the return of injured young striker Federico Macheda, who shows flashes of both Cristiano Ronaldo's artful footwork and John Terry's legendary libido. Macheda, pictured above, was born in August 1991. Commence feeling old now.
There are additional quarterfinal Champions League games today and tomorrow. The Bayern-Man U game is being shown on delay on Fox Soccer Channel tonight, but those of us with work colleagues on the road will be darting raindrops en route to a pub for the 2:45 PM ET start.
Monday, March 29, 2010
*Wow, nice Larry "Bud" Melman cameo...
Friday, March 26, 2010
Sadly, fifteen years ago today Eric Lynn Wright, better known as rapper Eazy-E, passed away. I figured we had enough of the Tauntaun sleeping bag and instead could use some Eazy-E (and friends) prior to tonight's hoops action. Enjoy...but as you might recall, Mr. Wright and Co. use some "colorful" language, so try not to get fired listening to this.
I was already quite excited for this item, then I read this: This high-quality sleeping bag looks just like a Tauntaun, complete with saddle, printed internal intestines, and a plush lightsaber zipper pull.
Maybe you should buy me more than one.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
- I've said it in the comments before, but take a look at Tennessee PG Bobby Maze when he's at the foul line tonight. I've never, ever seen a high level athlete who wanted to be another athlete so badly (save for Kobe Bryant). Maze dribbles like Allen Iverson, wears his hair like Iverson. He even has multiple tattoos that are identical to Iverson. It's kind of creepy.
- It’s no secret that I’m in the bag for Ali Farokmanesh, but just in case you aren’t, here’s something you might not know about him that should (repeat, should) make you love him more: He used to babysit Idaho Football Coach Rob Akey's kids in Washington. G:TB obtained a copy of the list of requirements to submit an application to babysit Rob Akey’s kids. There was only one requirement: BIG BALLS.
- While we’re on the subject of juevos, there is something that’s really bothered me since Saturday night. The notion that the shot by Farokmanesh that effectively sealed the Kansas game, was a terrible shot. Ummm, no. It wasn’t. I understand why people are saying that (time and score), but ask yourself this question: If Farokmanesh pulls the ball out and Northern Iowa sets up their offense, are they getting a better and/or more wide open shot than what Farokmanesh had? I say no. In fact, with the way Kansas had turned up the heat defensively (and the way Northern Iowa’s poise seemed to be melting away), there’s a very real chance that Northern Iowa wouldn’t have gotten a shot off at all. Was it a ballsy shot? For sure. A bad shot? Nope.
(One more thing: The shot that Farokmanesh hit to beat UNLV was a tougher, more pressure packed shot than the clincher versus Kansas. The shot against UNLV came with under 6 seconds left, the scored tied and UNLV’s defense set. The shot against Kansas looks better/tougher because of who it helped beat.)
- Speaking of NCAA Tourney stars whose names most people can’t correctly pronounce, maybe it’s time for all those people who killed Joakim Noah’s game during Florida’s second tournament championship run to acknowledge how unbelievably, totally and completely wrong they were about him. If you re-did that draft today he definitely goes in the top 5 and probably the top 3. Say what you want about him personally but the guy is already one of the league’s top rebounders, plays hard every night, does all the little things and is a proven winner. There was a point when people compared his game to Anderson Varejao (and it wasn’t really that far off). Other than hairstyle, I don’t think we can make those comparisons anymore. Noah could be a starter on a championship team. Shit, Noah may even make an All-Star game or two before it's all said and done. Neither of those are ever happening for Varejao, certainly not without LeBron involved.
- This has been a great tourney. One of the best that I can remember. But TJ’s right, a few more nut punches would really put it over the top.
- You know what’s going to be a great game? When Greivis Vasquez and Sherron Collins’ teams face off in the Spanish League Playoffs next year.
- With all the upsets during the first two rounds, there’s been a lot of talk about how the NBA’s age limit rule has changed the college game and the dynamics of the tournament. This is true. However, the effect of this rule that I find more interesting is the long term effect its had on a number of so-called mid-major programs(Butler, Xavier, Gonzaga...even Vanderbilt (technically not a mid-major but definitely not your typical power conference school). What we are starting to see with many of these mid-majors is a run of continued excellence, not only in their conference but also out of conference and in the tournament that establishes them nationally.
These teams are building sustainable programs by using their national success to gain greater exposure to recruits (where before they could only recruit regionally, at best) which allows them access to a wider range and higher level of recruit than in ever before. And while these recruits are higher level recruits than these schools once attracted, they are still the kinds of kids who are going to be in school for 4 years. This allows coaches to mesh young talent with experienced talent and (in the cases of Butler and Xavier) while incorporating their systems which only serves to further raise the profile of their program through consistent tournament success. This sustained success then leads to the ability to create a brand for their programs in much the same way high-major schools like Duke, Kansas and North Carolina have created brands for their programs. Gonzaga built their brand prior to the age limit rule but both Butler and Xavier have seen a significant boost to their programs in the 3 years since the NBA's age limit was instituted. This model is obviously still in its infancy but we could eventually see a school like Butler, Xavier or even a CAA school use this model to build their program past the level of high-mid major (I need a better name for these programs) and up to the point where their program joins the nation's elite. While this will take many years, and some luck, its a real possibility in basketball due to the relatively small amount of money needed to run a successful, high level program as well the low number of players involved.
One potential offshoot of this model: With the current model in place, one could make the case that's its best for a mid-major coach to stay at his school for the long term (10+ years) and build a brand for his program before (maybe) taking a high profile job at an established basketball power, as opposed to taking the first high major job that comes along because, as we've seen with Dan Monson (Gonzaga to Minnesota) and Todd Lickliter (Butler to Iowa), if they end up at a school that struggles to meet the administration's expectations then the coach will end up fired and working back at a mid-major school with 4-5 years. Only now, they've downgraded to a downtrodden mid-major school and are left with an even bigger rebuilding project then they ever had at their original school.
- Now, that The Wire has been off the air for so long, it’s just nice to have a guy named Omar back in my life.
- Did you see Hoop Dreams? If you did, you no doubt remember William Gates’ prick of a high school coach, Gene Pingatore. Yeah, well, he’s still coaching. In fact, he coached Evan Turner (and Demetri McCamey) in high school. Is it just me or did that guy look like he was in his 60s during Hoop Dreams (which was filmed almost 15 years ago)? Does he prowl the sidelines with a walker now? Or is it just his cryogenically frozen head propped on the scorer’s table?
- Is Ekpe really any more of a name than LaceDarius? And while I'm talking about Baylor, how can you not root for a team whose backcourt consists of a Tweedy and a LaceDarius?
- There's a popular sentiment that the Carrier Dome is going to be overrun with Cornell fans tonight due to the close proximity of Syracuse and Ithaca, therefore giving Cornell a huge homecourt advantage over Kentucky. I couldn't disagree more. Kentucky fans travel. I mean really, really travel. Like midwestern College Football fans travel to warm weather bowl games. Additionally, I don't get the feeling that the majority of Cornell alums still reside in upstate New York. Certainly not enough to paint the Carrier Dome red tonight. I think you're going to see more blue in the crowd tonight and, at least in the early going, are going to see the Kentucky faithful make their presence felt in a very real way. Listen, I hate Kentucky's irrational, mouth breathing, hillbilly fanbase as much as anybody, but I also respect their irrationality and dedication. The only way that Cornell's going to gain a homecourt advantage tonight is if Big Red can keep it close late and get the neutral fans to get behind them down the stretch.
- Obviously, I love the first weekend of the tournament. Everybody does. It's a basketball orgy. However, if I'm being truly honest with myself I'd have to admit that the second weekend of the tournament is better. The teams are better, the stakes are higher and, ultimately, the games are more memorable. Sure, there are memorable moments during the first two rounds but the truly memorable games (Nova-Pitt last year, UConn-Washington '96, Duke-Kentucky '92 and many, many more) come from the Regional Semifinals and Finals. In fact, during Florida's back-to-back title runs the moment I remember most comes from the regional semifinals during their first title chase.
(I couldn't find just the clip of the shot so you're getting a 2006 NCAA Tournament/Florida highlight video. The shot appears at about the 1:19 mark. Well, not the shot but the aftermath of the shot...Noah's reaction to the shot. You'll have take my word for it, it was a great game changing shot. TJ and I looked everywhere for it with no luck. We did find a bag of farokmanesh I thought my dog ate though.)
- Finally, we finish off in the only appropriate way I could think of. With the All G:TB Team, of course.
G: Jacob Pullen, Kansas State - Awesome beard (not as good as mine) and he looks just like the guy having a picnic with his girlfriend from the Miller Lite commercial that's been running all tournament long.
G: Ali Farokmanesh, Northern Iowa - Big balls, fun name, breakout star of the tourney so far.
G: Joe Mazzulla, West Virginia - Murdered Duke two years ago in the tourney, suddenly thrust into the spotlight with the injury to Daryl Bryant and (this is important) he's basically got the same last name (save for one vowel) as my fiancee which allows me to make any number of inappropriate jokes about her and her Italian ancestry.
F: Chris Kramer, Purdue - Because he told me he'd kick my ass if I didn't put him on the All G:TB team.
C: Omar Samham, St. Mary's - He's half Egyptian and half Irish. He used to be a fat kid and he plays basketball in low tops just like me. Need I say more?
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
We've been one of the internet's leaders in tracking the menace lurking in the Swiss countryside. Frankly, we're concerned that not enough of you are listening. Hear me when I tell you that the large hadron collider is still lurking, and this week it announced its intent in clear terms.
The Large Hadron Collider set a new record for the creation of energetic particle beams this morning. The particle accelerator, which surpassed Fermilab’s Tevatron in December as the baddest atom smasher of them all, smashed its own record, charging particles to 3.48 trillion electron volts."Energetic particle beams", people. "The baddest atom smasher of them all." This makes Sarah Palin's death panels look like a frolic in the local wolf-shooting helicopter park. How the nutbag right and Dennis Kucinich haven't been whipped into a righteous froth about this issue completely blows my mind.
Remain calm, ladies and gentlemen, but remain diligent. Our very survival may depend upon it.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Also, this video is so much more G:TB than the good one.
If you have and judging by the numbers, quite a few people have, then the question is: what is the effect of the overt State Farm Insurance product placement? Though I loved the video, this question was gnawing at my brain while I watched it (which is probably just what State Farm wants).
Am I supposed to wondering: what if this happens to my house? And then go buy some insurance? Or am I supposed to believe, that like a good neighbor, State Farm is there when a pop band needs some bank so they can make a concept video? What is their angle? It's got to be the idea of things going wrong, though the video is all about things going right, but perhaps it is just the threat of things going wrong that pleases State Farm. Anyway, it is safe for work and quite impressive.
Monday, March 22, 2010
So, to paraphrase one of Bob Knight's more neanderthal public pronouncements, if it's going to happen, we might as well enjoy the benefits a 96-team tourney will bring us.
Michael Litos at CAA: Life as a Mid-Major estimates that the increased revenue will allow mid-majors to increase their basketball budgets by a significantly greater percentage than their high-major counterparts. Sure, the big guys will enjoy more incremental revenue, but as Litos opines, "...I personally have no problem with a major conference school’s budget going from $60 million to $70 million if the budgets of CAA schools move from $1.5 million to $3 million."
Finally, this weekend's wall-to-wall thrill ride makes an even better argument for a 96-team event. 32 more games bring 32 more chances for Oh My God! moments. (32 more chances for Duke/Pine Bluff bludgeonings, too, but nobody remembers those games a week later, while we'll all be able to spell Farokhmanesh for the rest of our lives.) If you capital-l Love college basketball, more games that count mean more games to watch without guilt.
So bring on the field of 96. That, to abuse once again a catchphrase, is change we can believe in, even if it means tradition gets punted.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
Special thanks to ODU, Murray State, Ohio, BYU AND Florida, Robert Morris, Wake and St. Mary's for making yesterday the best Day 1 of a NCAA Tournament that I can ever remember.
Now if we can only get Day 2 to be half as exciting we're golden...
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
- Mark tells a story about his parents' child-rearing style that explains quite a bit
- We agree that John Wall seems like kind of a dick, though we also agree that he's a phenomenal player
- Whitney gets caught by his mother doing something alone in his room
- We prepare for face painting
- Rob admits to crying - which makes him more rather than less of a man
Consider this an aural appetizer (get your mind out of the gutter, KQ) in advance of the greatest four days in the sports calendar.
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet; i.e., "Rhymenocerous" begat "TR," and all indications are that he still smells the same.
As life moves on, there are times when it suits individuals to become anonymous. Our old chum Darren use to proclaim it as one of the three guiding principles of his life in college:
1. Remain anonymous at all costs.
2. Ignore your problems until they go away.
3. If they don't go away, they were too big to handle in the first place.
For others, it's a "time and place" sort of issue, usually precipitated by parents, employers, or psychotic ex-girlfriends. As such, now is the time when one of your favorite Gheorghe contributors is poised to adopt a pen name. Though you may claim he's more George Evans than Mark Twain, he's eager to shed the constraints of his given name and take on a clever cloak of mystery.
To that end, please let the comments of this post serve as a communal Suggestion Box for clever blogonyms from which to select the best moniker as deep cover ensues.
Thank you kindly for your participation.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
The perspective theme has been explored here at some length as it relates to W&M's season in the sun. That doesn't change this simple truth: if we were told in November that the Tribe would be playing the defending champion Tar Heels in the first round of a postseason tournament in March, every single W&M fan would've been ecstatic. We wouldn't have believed it, but we would have been ecstatic. It was telling that my first, second, and third reactions after seeing the W&M/UNC matchup were all some form of glee - that the Tribe got shafted honestly didn't occur to me until I started looking around the interwebs to gauge public reaction.
Monday, March 15, 2010
The first thing to remember about time travel is that you are doing it right now . . . just rather slowly. You are a time machine. The best way to illustrate your time traveling power is to fuck over your future self. An easy way to do this? Take a trip to the tattoo parlor and get a ridiculous tattoo. A tequila worm or Garfield giving the finger or the name of an obscure band or, if you are particularly daring, the name of your college girlfriend. Then step inside your skin and wait. Eventually, your future self will be pissed off by what you did in the past. But fortunately, your future self can't hop into a time machine and go back in time and punch you in the face. Other ways to fuck your future self: start smoking, spend all your money on exotic pets, or pierce your testicles. Or get a REALLY bad tattoo.
For an in depth look at time travel, read Chuck Klosterman's new book Eating the Dinosaur. He has an essay devoted to the topic.
The best time travel movie ever made is Primer. I won't even attempt to explain the plot, but this chart helps. Ha!
Here the six runner-ups to Primer: 12 Monkeys, Time Bandits, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Terminator 2, and Memento.
The best time travel scene is from the original Planet of the Apes.
And the best song about time travel is by Greasetruck. The competition is one of the most annoying songs ever: "The Time Warp" from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
The song is called "Past Me," and it reverses the old adage, "if I only knew then what I know now." In this song, Past Dave comes to see what his future self is like and he is disgusted, but what can he do? This is how his life turns out. And it was based on Past Dave's choices. So how can he complain? Past Dave is lucky he's got a future self at all, and though he may be disgusted by what he's turned into, it's not really his decision any more. And he has to assume some responsibility for how things turned out. Imagine if your past selves had input into your life now? Those past selves are idiots! They got you into this mess in the first place!
Click above on the widget to hear the song. It's SFW (as long as you don't care if you appear to be retarded). The lyrics are below. I'm proud of the opening, I think it sonically captures what it's like to travel through time. I pretty much yelled the lyrics in one take and ran them through an amp simulation . . . I'm sick of trying to sing. Maybe someday Random Idiots will make another song. In the meantime, Greasetruck would like to thank all the fans for putting up with these recondite topics, and Greasetruck promises that the next song will something everyone can appreciate. Seriously. The next Greasetruck song is going to be about food. Everybody likes food, right? Almost as much as William and Mary basketball.
If you knew then what I know now—so what?
But if I knew now, what you knew then . . . well.
If the Past Me, if he could see,
what I’ve become, the things I’ve done--
He’d build a time machine, in order to perceive
What had become of him, but he would not believe
He’d want to laugh at me, he’d want to torture me
He’d want to put me down, out of my misery.
You’d think I’d be surprised, but I’ve been expecting him.
Hell, the idea was mine . . . I ask Me, "How you been?"
So sad to disappoint, Past Me would want a joint.
But my kids would smell the smoke, and my wife can’t take a joke.
But look at my counter top! It’s made of solid rock!
I can come home and cook, got friends on the Facebook.
I’ve got a little phone . . . equity for a loan.
Past Me is not impressed. Past Me is past depressed
I am his future self. I built a nice book shelf
Past me he doesn’t care. Past me looks at my hair.
I see a tear drop fall, his future’s bleak and bald.
I talk about our kids, how they look, the things they did.
Past Me, he doesn’t care, he interested in knowing where
I keep the fishing gear, my new snowboard and all the beer.
I say, "I'm sorry Me, I don’t have what you need."
And then he stubs his toe on a loose Lego,
and so he starts to swear. I say, "Hey think of where
you are, there’s kids around." He looks at me and frowns,
gets in our time machine, heads back to where we’ve been
I yell before I go,"Please Buy Google’s IPO!"
But it’s too late he’s gone, back to where he thinks it’s fun.
And to get back at me, he knows just what to do.
He’ll get really stoned and go and get a bad tattoo.
And Future Dave, well I'll have to live with it,
rest of my days spent showing off a giant squid.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
But, come on, all that being said, I think we still realize it would take an honest to god miracle to get William and Mary into the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.
*It probably also wouldn't hurt to get some Mike and the Mechanics on your music player of choice.
*Father Guido Sarducci represented himself as an expert on miracles...he's got to be looking for work. (Must say though I was never a huge fan of the schtick)
*Perhaps we can get Jerry Koosman and Mike Eruzione to team up in some sort of Miracle Wonder Twins duo. "Form of...a NCAA bid!"
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Until then, dig on Mumford and Sons, an indie band from London who've been described as the British Avett Brothers. In G:TBLand, that's high praise, indeed. This song's been stuck in my head for the past two weeks. (There's a NSFW word in the chorus, so turn the sound down if you'd prefer not to be admonished by HR.)
Thursday, March 11, 2010
WICHITA, Kan., March 9 (UPI) -- Kansas authorities said an injured man pulled over during a traffic stop told officers he was beaten for using Monopoly money to purchase drugs.
The Wichita Police Department said the 33-year-old man, whose name was not released, was bleeding from the head when he was pulled over Thursday and told officers he had recently used Monopoly money to purchase several hundred dollars worth of crack cocaine, KSDK-TV, St. Louis, Mo., reported Tuesday.
"The man from whom he had bought the drugs was upset and invited him over to his house and upon arrival struck him in the head several times with a handgun and other people jumped into the fray," police spokesman Gordon Bassham said.
Police said the victim's injuries were not life threatening and he has stopped cooperating with the investigation. However, officers said they are still searching for the man's attackers.
"That was not a get-out-of-jail-free card," Bassham said.Oh yeah, last thing - we here at G:TB were able to obtain a photo of the culprit:
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
The Milwaukee Bucks - They are 5 games over .500 and currently hold the 5th spot in the Eastern Conference. Andrew Bogut is having an exceptional year, averaging 16/10, shooting 53% from the field and blocking 2.5 blocks per game. He's only 25 years old, his stats have improved every year, and he still may have enough upside to justify the hefty contract he signed a couple years ago. And Brandon Jennings' retro hair experiments are just fantastic. I sincerely hope he starts a trend of NBA athletes bringing back the looks of the past. But not the short-shorts-over-spandex look. Sorry, Kenny.
LeBron versus Durant - One sweet side-plot to the end of the season is the race for the scoring title. LBJ currently leads, but the Mathematics Dept. at Gheorghe: The University tells us that Durant needs 52 in his next game, or 41 in each of his next two, to tie for the lead. Seems plausible. No charge for the long division.
The Nets Fail to Fail Well - It is somewhat enjoyable and depressing to watch the Nets continue to flounder at such an epic rate. Local viewers get to hear Marv Albert, Mike Fratello and Ian Eagle try to come up with positives in what has been a disaster of a season. However, the Nets are likely to continue winning just enough to avoid being the worst team ever. After a horrendous 4-43 start, the team has caught fire, winning 3 of its next 15 to raise its winning percentage from .085 to .113. That's a 33% increase. Let's see the Lakers do that. Alas, the team lost a squeaker to the Grizzlies the other night to start a new losing streak. The Nets need to finish 1-18 in their last 19 games to secure the worst record ever. And they have games against Philly, Sacramento, Detroit, Washington and Indiana. For the record, the Nets split the season series with the Knicks, two games apiece. Naturally.
The Charlotte Bobcats - Currently locked into the 7th or 8th place in the East. Say what you want about the emergence of Wallace and Felton and Stephen Jackson's Tommy Davidson nostrils, but nobody wants to watch this team in a playoff series. And by nobody, I mean me. Derrick Rose, please.
Battle of the Griffins - Taylor is clearly outplaying Blake this year. Taylor is averaging 1 ppg and 0.2 rpg more than his brother. Blake, however, is at least outperforming Eddie. And Eddie.
Battle of the Michael Jackson fans - In another sibling rivalry, Brook continues to outplay Robin, although Robin's hair is so damn awesome that I'm calling this one a draw.
Joe Smith - He is with his 11th team (singly counting his two T-Wolves stints) in his 15-year career. It's really amazing what a quasi-valuable lump of mush he's turned out to be, although you have to think he's a good locker room guy to have hung on so long. Chris Wilcox has big shoes to fill if he wants to be the greatest journeyman power forward from the University of Maryland. Meanwhile, Jerrod Mustaf is quietly crying into his Auntie Anne's pretzel on his lunch-break from the Rockville, Maryland Foot Locker where he works. And where Lonnie Baxter recently submitted an application.
Anthony Johnson - It's one thing to be a former #1 pick who settles into a long career as a role player. It's another when you're the 40th pick in the 1997 draft and you're still hanging around, despite peaking as an average back-up PG over five years ago. It shows you how valuable it is to have a PG who does things by the book. He is clearly the best player in the NBA who looks a lot like Beetlejuice. And I believe he is earning $2MM this year. Not bad. Some gems drafted ahead of him in the '97 Draft include Antonio Daniels (4), Ron Mercer (6), Brevin Knight (16), Chris Anstey (18), Paul Grant (20), Rodrick Rhodes (24), Serge Zwikker (30) and Charles O' Bannon (32).
Thankfully for me, and for many of my colleagues on the G:TB masthead, the world has MC Happiness.
Here's a snippet for you too lazy (or too liberal) to mind-graze on their web site. It references a bill passed about a decade ago that determines pensions for many public employees:
The bill refigured the compensation formula for pension benefits of all public-safety employees who retired on or after January 1, 2000. It let firefighters retire at age 50 and receive 3% of their final year's compensation times the number of years they worked. If a firefighter started working at the age of 20, he could retire at 50 and earn 90% of his final salary, in perpetuity. One San Ramon Valley fire chief's yearly pension amounted to $284,000—more than his $221,000 annual salary.
In 2002, the state legislature further extended benefits to many nonsafety classifications, such as milk and billboard inspectors. More than 15,000 public employees have retired with annual pensions greater than $100,000. Who needs college when you can get a state job and make out like that?
The article broadly references why the state schools are squeezing kids in California - to pay the bloated pension obligations the state signed into law years ago. Makes you wonder if bankruptcy might be the best bet for the state. I read this article the same morning that I received a New Jersey Transit notification that fares will increase 25% and the number of trains in service will decline, in response to the state finally atoning for its own fiscal sins and closing its budget shortfall. It makes a man re-think his mission in life. And then return to attempting to pick his nose at his desk without getting caught.
Brutal juice for many to drink. Not this brutal juice, but brutal juice nonetheless. Happy hump day.
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
In a Danny Sumner drive and dunk over a bigger opponent, contested three-point baskets, and one-man effort to bring the Tribe back from a 15-point second-half deficit.
In David Schneider’s all-akimbo three-point shot, and full-court intuition, instinct, and drive.
In Quinn McDowell’s gritting his teeth through the pain of an ankle injury to limp to the line and drain a pair of free throws.
In the increasingly urgent back-and-forth roars of two engaged fanbases.
In Marcus Kitts and Steven Hess taking everything Gerald Lee dished out in the paint (and I hope your small children weren’t watching, because Lee did unspeakable things with his knees, elbows, and hips) and giving as well as they got.
In Tony Shaver’s unceasing optimism, patience, and perspective.
And finally, in realizing that William & Mary – picked to finish 11th in the 12-team CAA – proved yet again that they belonged on that stage. ODU was bigger, stronger, and better. But the Tribe scared 'em, and if that Sumner three had dropped to cut the deficit to 4 in the final minutes, who knows what might have happened.
Damn, but that team doesn’t have an ounce of quit in it. Even if we as fans wavered in our belief.
The fact that this isn’t the valedictory for what may go down as the best team in W&M history is victory in some sense. We’re almost certain to be previewing an NIT game here in a week or so. To paraphrase FOG:TB Michael Litos (who, once again, was awesome in his coverage of the CAA Tourney and in his generosity to us in Richmond), if I told you before the season that the Wrens would be going to the NIT, would you take it?
Hell, yeah, I would.
Monday, March 08, 2010
We'll forgive those first 8 misses.
After Manny Adako's layup gave the Huskies a very hard-earned 45-44 lead, Schneider stepped into a three-pointer from the right wing, and yet another awkward-looking, sideways-spinning longball from the second-team All-CAA guard found bottom. Northeastern had no fewer than 8 attempts at the basket in the game's final 30 seconds, but when none of them dropped, W&M found itself headed to the school's second CAA title game in three years.
Ugly never looked quite so good.
The Wrens raced out to a 31-17 halftime lead on the strength of a balanced scoring attack and terrific defensive rebounding. As has been their modus operandi all season, W&M and prosperity did their oil and water thing in the second half. Northeastern stepped up their defensive intensity and W&M went nearly 7 minutes without a field goal. The Tribe's defense was good enough to keep the game close, but when Matt Janning's throws gave the Huskies a 43-42 lead at the 3:02 mark, it felt for all the world like the Tribe's terrific season was destined to end.
Somewhere deep in the Richmond Coliseum's aging bowels (note to editor: please change this language before publishing this. Because, ewwww.) a game group of Northeastern players are still trying to figure out how their own season is over. Seniors Matt Janning, Manny Adako, Baptiste Bataille, and Nkem Ojougboh fell short tonight, but their contributions to the resurgence of the Northeastern program will last a great deal beyond this season. It's cliche to claim disappointment that both teams couldn't win (and really, it's not true - I'm really damn glad that the Tribe's seniors will play tomorrow instead of Northeastern's), but I'd have rather beaten anyone else in the league than Bill Coen's group.
W&M followed Janning's freebies with a wild tip-in by Marcus Kitts to set up the late-game drama. (And if you're a fan of nail-biting college basketball action, how about the last two days of the CAA tournament?) In a game where 8 W&M players tallied, but none of them scored more than 8 points, it seems somehow fitting that their all-court senior leader willed his final shot into the bucket.
Regardless of what happens next, seniors David Schneider, Danny Sumner, and Steven Hess (and junior Marcus Kitts) have taken William & Mary to 2 CAA title games in 3 years. The language needs a word stronger than unprecedented to capture that. This one might be slightly less a bolt out of the blue than 2008's 'That Just Happened' thrill ride. But it's every bit as edge-of-our-seat, pump-of-our-fist exhilarating.
The Tribe faces a mentally and physically tough ODU team that handled them fairly easily twice this season. The Monarchs won the league's regular season championship, and beat Big East heavy Georgetown on the road. ODU's big, they rebound well, and they play suffocating half-court defense. The hill, she is steep.
We wouldn't have it any other way.
Saturday, March 06, 2010
Sat Feb 27, 4:32 PM
KATHMANDU (AFP) - Each year, Nepalese youth in two villages in the south of the Himalayan country save up their choicest insults for a 10-day "cursing festival" that reaches its climax Sunday.
The youngsters in the neighbouring villages of Parsawa and Laxmipur hurl insults at each other, their neighbours, villagers and passers-by -- and then laugh.
They gather in parks and other areas around straw heaped in the shape of a phallus to launch into the insults.
Insults like, "Monkey face, I hope your sons are as ugly as frogs," and "I hope your buffaloes die of diarrhea," ring out along with more obscene curses.
Village elders say the annual festival, which is just for youngsters, has been going on for as long as they can remember.
"I know of this tradition from long ago and took part during my youth," 78-year-old Ram Kumar Mishra told AFP by telephone from the region.
"The best thing about this tradition is after the festival is over, everyone feels good about each other. There are no bad feelings," Mishra, who lives in Parsawa, said.
On the last day of the festival -- this year on Sunday -- they set the heaps of straw ablaze and celebrate the Hindu festival Holi, which is marked by raucous fights using powdered coloured paints and water.
"We don't get to curse at any other time. But during the festival we're allowed to -- even in front of our parents and we all have a jolly good time," 16-year-old Raju Raut said after cursing his best school friend.
"Everyone gets cheered up," he said.
Friday, March 05, 2010
Smithsonian turns down suit worn by OJ Simpson
LOS ANGELES – What O.J. Simpson wore when he was acquitted in 1995 of murdering his ex-wife and her friend was the suit seen around the world during one of the most watched televised moments in history.
But the Smithsonian Institution, America's repository of historical artifacts, rejected it Tuesday as inappropriate for their collection.
Announcement of the museum's snub came the morning after a California judge approved the donation as the solution to a 13-year court battle over the carefully tailored tan suit, white shirt and yellow and tan tie. The ensemble has been held by Simpson's former sports agent, Mike Gilbert...
...The Smithsonian announced its decision with a terse announcement on its Web site.
"The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History will not be collecting O.J. Simpson's suit," it said. "The decision was made by the museum's curators together with the director."
Gilbert, who has the suit in storage, said he was disappointed with the decision. "Whether we like it or not, it's part of American history," he said. "I'm disappointed that they didn't wait to hear from me and consider my vision of how it should be displayed."
Attorney Ronald P. Slates, who represents Simpson, said he's keeping his client informed about the donation effort. Superior Court Judge Joseph S. Biderman consulted Simpson by phone Monday, then approved Gilbert's plan after Simpson said he would agree as long as no one made any money.
"I'm saddened by the fact that the foremost museum in America has refused this very important item in the history of American jurisprudence," Slates said. "Regardless of one's feelings about Mr. Simpson, his acquittal by a jury of his peers on Oct. 3, 1995 was of great significance and is widely talked about to this day."
Well said, Mr. Slates. We admire your sense of perspective and tenacity in pursuit of justice for O.J.'s suit. We know you won't rest until it joins Monica Lewinski's blue dress in history's walk-in closet.
Thursday, March 04, 2010
You were probably too busy recovering from your Olympic hockey hangover to notice that yesterday, when the clock struck 3pm, the NHL trade deadline passed. As usual there were winners and losers but mostly losers. Anaheim and Calgary swapped backup goaltenders - that’s awful.
While most of the deals were a waste of time a few teams showed a sense of purpose at the deadline and made good deals. Of course, just because you get better doesn’t mean you will have more success. The teams below made the best deals of the day so we will loosely call them the “winners.”
Winners – Sort of
Pittsburgh Penguins – they gave up Martin Skoula and prospect Luca Caputi but the Pens are a young team so maybe that makes Caputi expendable to acquire Alexei Pnokarovsky. This gives Pittsburgh an upgrade in their top 6 forwards making a scary team scarier. The obvious question is did Pittsburgh really need to upgrade its offense? Sorry Caps fans but the Eastern Conference still goes through Pittsburgh.
Buffalo Sabres – acquired Raffe Torres from Columbus for Nathan Paestch. It’s probably better that Paestch got traded because he never really cracked the starting lineup. Buffalo’s front six forwards are soft so Torres brings toughness and 20+ goals so it was a good trade. That leaves four forwards and two defensemen that could or should have been dealt. Even with Torres the Sabres are still far behind the likes of Pittsburgh, Washington, New Jersey.
Washington Capitals – picked up defenseman Joe Corvo, which the team sorely needs, but gave up a lot to get him. Particularly Oskar Osala. Sure, Hershey is stacked but Osala has quite an upside. Let’s not also forget that G is still an issue for Washington. Their current roster is good enough for repeat visits to the Conference Finals but they don’t have the necessary skills between the pipes to compete with top quality goaltending. They certainly don’t have enough to bring home the Cup. Frankly, the Detroit Redwings were the only team to win a Cup with average G when they relied on Chris Osgood.
Edmonton Oilers – the Oilers were busy leading up to the deadline but it’s their last deal that helps them most. Acquiring Ray Whitney from Anaheim for Lubomir Visnovsky may be one of those rare trades that helps all parties. Whitney is a good defenseman who struggled in Anahiem so a change of scenery might do him well. Let’s not discount the trouble Edmonton has in attracting quality players. Free agents shun the city so acquiring Whitney, who has a lot of upside, could be a long-term winner for the team. Oh, and Visnovsky is an obvious upgrade for Anaheim.
West Coast teams – because nobody pays attention to them anyway. Actually, you could say most of the Western Conference.
Washington Capitals Announcers – please stop coming up with clever new names for hockey terms. It is bad enough we lost the unique division names (Adams, Norris, etc). Every time we try to watch the Caps it’s the sin bin (penalty box) or the cage (goal) or a twig (hockey stick). Sin bin is almost offensive and nobody uses wood sticks anymore.
"We talked to a lot of people about lots of things, not necessarily about that, but just nothing made sense. It takes two to tango. Sometimes you want to do something and they don't, and sometimes they want too much and that's why deals don't get made.
- Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman to ESPN.com on Wednesday evening.
This is a classic line for GMs who didn’t bother to make a quality trade to improve a team that is just a player or two short of greatness. In fact, as a Sabres fan we would appreciate it if Mr. Bowman acknowledges that this quote was practically invented by Darcy Regier.
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Then we woke up on January 2, 2010 to find William & Mary ranked #2 in the NCAA's Ratings Percentage Index. ESPN's Andy Katz praised the Tribe and touted them as an at-large candidate to make the NCAA Tournament. Dick Vitale mentioned W&M in a national broadcast. They started showing up in mock brackets. Dogs and cats, living in sin.
G:TB readers know the rest of the story - the Tribe faded a bit down the stretch, going from 14-3 (and winners of 14 of 15) to 20-9. In-conference opponents had a opportunity to scout Tony Shaver's revamped offense, senior leader David Schneider went into a prolonged shooting slump, and the emotional highs of the early season proved impossible to sustain over the long slog of an 18-game conference slate. It would be entirely natural in the cold reality of the present to focus on W&M's 6-6 finish and feel just a little disappointed.
Entirely natural and completely insane at the same time. William & Mary, picked to finish 11th in the 12-team CAA did the following in 2009-10:
- Won 20 games for just the third time in the school's entire 317-year history. Thomas Jefferson's teams never won 20.
- Beat a pair of ACC teams on the road, something that had never before been done in a single season by any CAA team. Maryland is clearly the second-best team in the ACC, and the Tribe legitimately whipped 'em in College Park. Wake Forest is in top 30 of the RPI, and W&M's win in Winston-Salem was just as solid.
- Topped in-state archrival Richmond, now ranked in the top 25.
- Finished the regular season with a better RPI (60) than UNC (86), Memphis (66), Virginia (114 - and boy, did W&M have a better athletic year than our friends in Charlottesville), and UCLA (134), among a great many other traditionally strong programs.
- Finished third in a very competitive CAA.
The Tribe gets an entirely unexpected day of rest this weekend, sitting out their customary first-round CAA Tournament game. W&M gets the winner of Drexel/JMU at 8:30 on Saturday night. The team that lived a charmed life during a thoroughly enjoyable regular season gets one more break from the hardwood deities: the Wrens are 6-1 against the 5 other teams in their half of the tournament, 6-5 versus the top portion of the bracket. The Tribe swept Drexel, their likely quarterfinal opponent.
As I've written before, yes we can. Keep hope alive. Pleasegodletusmakeittothebigdanceonceinmylife.