Thursday, June 30, 2011

Best Dad? This Dad. Worst Dad? Same Dad.

Not sure where to begin with this one. Let's just say this clip straddles the line between loving speed metal and blatantly disregarding your child's safety.

Conclusion: Metal > Baby (to this dad, at least)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Watch This Show!

Children's Hospital is a 15 minute program that airs on 11 PM on Thursday nights on The Cartoon Network. It was created by Rob Corddry, who you all may remember as an ex-Daily Show correspondent.

The show is very funny and ridiculous. It co-stars Corddry, Ken Marino (from The State) and Megan Mullally (Will & Grace), among others, and features a rotating door of guest stars you know. It used to be an on-line show only, but made the move to Adult Swim this season.

You can watch old episodes on YouTube. Search for silver5517, who posts the old episodes. A bunch of old episodes are up there now. They are about 10-15 minutes long, so you can chug through them pretty quickly.

Here is the first episode from Season 3, which just started a few weeks ago:

And episode 2 is below. Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Know Your Relegated Football Side

G:TB has long advocated a soccer-style relegation system for American sports leagues, if only because it makes us sound moderately worldly. We expect Grantland to appropriate the idea any moment now. We thought it might be cool if the Padres or Royals or Orioles faced the prospect of playing in the International League. We never imagined that the Yankees would feel relegation's cruel gutpunch.

Join us then to consider then the fate of River Plate, the most storied franchise in the history of Argentina's Primera in this installment of Know Your...

Team: Club Atletico River Plate
League: Nacional B (at that makes all the difference)
Nickname: Los Millonarios

Self-Absorbed East Coast Elitist Commentary: River Plate have won 33 Primera championships in their 110-year history, far more than any other Argentinian side. In the early 2000s, the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (sort of soccer's SABR) named Los Millonarios the 9th most prominent club in history. In addition to their numerous Primera crowns, Plate have won five international club crowns, and boasted such global luminaries as Caniggia, Crespo, Batistuta, Cambiasso, and Juan Pablo Angel.

And last week, they fell 3-1 on aggregate to Belgrano, dropping them into Nacional B for the first time ever. River Plate fans (some known as Los Borrachos del Tablon, or 'the drunks in the stands') rioted and called for the head of club president Daniel Passarella. It's as if CC Sabathia was outdueled by Dontrelle Willis to send the Yankees to AAA and elevating Louisville to the show.

A man can dream, anyway.

Top-flight clubs across the world are descending upon Buenos Aires in hopes of prying River Plate's high-priced talent from the suddenly cash-poor franchise. Meanwhile, the Plate's partisans would prefer a trajectory more like that of Juventus, dropped to Italy's Serie B after a match-fixing scandal in 2006. La Vecchia Signora followed that ignominy up by winning the second division in 2006-7 to get back to Serie A, where they've remained.

The Drunks can hope, anyway.

Monday, June 27, 2011

New Jersey Chainsaw Massacre

I broke my chainsaw cherry this weekend. It was an exhilerating experience, even if it took me ten minutes to start the thing and two minutes to fell every branch that needed felling and another two minutes to chop the branches down to manageable sizes. I'm not gonna lie. I popped a bit of a chubby while operating the thing.

I highly urge you all to get your hands on one. A chainsaw, that is.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Gheorghe: The Blog Would Like To Welcome The Newest Washington Wizard, Jan "Michael" Vesely

With the sixth pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Washington Wizards selected...Jan Vesely of the Czech Republic. I like to affectionately call him "Airwolf". I even made this pic to show my love:

I love this guy. Via Steinbog, check this quote out:
“I don’t know, I think Blake Griffin is American Jan Vesely.”

Thursday, June 23, 2011

G:TB's 2011 NBA Draft Preview

No matter who you are, this is the time of year where the sports world starts to slow down a bit. Even some of the old, baseball loving elitists who contribute to this fair blog would have to agree with me here. Yet, while some are excited about the game of baseball taking center stage all to itself for the next couple of months, I'm generally pretty annoyed by it. Whether you enjoy baseball or not, I think we can all agree that baseball highlights are, less than riveting. I truly dread this time of year. Starting at 10 pm, ESPN essentially runs baseball highlights for 2-3 hours straight. It's the same story every year for me. The NBA playoffs end and I quickly realize that my life is going to be filled with baseball highlights, talk and articles until mid-August. That is, of course, right after the NBA Draft concludes. I love the NBA Draft. First, because I love the NBA. Second, because I love televised drafts (I will admit this is also less than riveting television, for most) and finally, because it's my last "sporting event" that I can be excited about until football returns in the late summer/fall.

Its with that in mind that I sat down to put together my (kind of) annual NBA Draft post for Gheorghe: The Blog. Many are calling this the worst draft EVER. Which, is how we seemingly label everything in sports now. Everything is historic, whether it be bad or good. Well, I'm here to say that while this draft lacks great, marketable stars at the top, there's actually plenty of quality depth in this draft. If you're smart, there are plenty of rotation guys (and some starters) to be had on Thursday night. Only time will tell, but I'm still going with 2000 as the worst draft ever.

Don't believe me? Here are some names of guys who went in the lottery in 2000: Stromile Swift (2), Darius Miles (3), Marcus Fizer (4), DerMarr Johnson (6), Chris Mihm (7), Joel Pryzbilla (9), Keyon Dooling (10), Jerome Moiso (11), Etan Thomas (12), Courtney Alexander (13). I'm sorry folks, that is a historically terrible draft. And I didn't even mention the guys who went later in the first round that year. Guys like: Mateen Cleaves, Jason Collier, Jamaal Magloire, Donnell Harvey, Dalibor Bagaric, Jake Tsakalidis, Mamadou N'Diaye, Primoz Brezec & Mark Madsen. I mean, seriously, read through that list again. About half of the first round didn't last 8 years in the league. Do you know who won the Rookie of the Year out of this draft? Mike Miller. A nice player, but hardly anyone who should take home Rookie of the Year honors. How about the best player out of that first round? It's a toss up between Kenyon Martin and Hedo Turkoglu. I'll let you decide.

So, yes, this isn't the strongest draft in recent memory but it's hardly the only time in recent memory where the draft lacked star power. As I said earlier, there are plenty of good players in this draft. There are also plenty of potential busts. That's what makes this year's draft so interesting. The teams that are successful this year will be those that correctly identify their needs and (more importantly) the players that have skills that translate to the NBA game.

Here are some of the draft eligible players whom I find most noteworthy:

Like 'Em

Bismack Biyombo: I like him because his name is Bismack Biyombo. That's a given. I also saw him in the Nike Hoop Summit game this year. He's raw but he's a great athlete with fantastic defensive instincts near the rim. And he played good minutes in the ACB League in Spain which is arguably the best league in Europe. He has real NBA skills as a rebounder/shot blocker. He's probably closer to 22 than his listed 18 though.

Norris Cole: I like him just because of his completely awesome high top fade. He's also really, really good. He put up gaudy numbers at Cleveland State this year without being a complete chucker and he's gotten a lot of buzz in workouts. He'll go in the second round but he'll play minutes next year.

Chris Singleton: Already has a legit NBA skill. He can defend 2 through 4, and often 1 through 4 right now in the NBA. His offensive game is a work in progress but he's got size and is a decent enough spotup shooter that you could very easily see him becoming a very proficient shooter of the corner 3. Think a bigger, more athletic Bruce Bowen.

Kenneth Faried; He's a beast. Only about 6'8" but he'll leadthe league in rebounds before he's done. A really good athlete with a great motor. His offense is pretty raw too but he'll get enough points on sheer effort and strength that he'll be a valuable contributor.

Jonas Valnciunas: This is more about value. Apparently a ton of people in Cleveland like him at 4 but he's going to be in Europe for one more year because of his buyout so it looks like they're going to pass. And so are a bunch of other teams. Many of which are doing so for the same reason as Cleveland. Because they want the immediate splash of a new player, this year. Which begs the question. Wouldn't you want the better player? For the next 10 years? Plus, can you really go wrong with a Lithuanian Center?

Don't Like

Iman Shumpert: Workout warrior. He has every thing you could ask ever for physically in a point guard. 6'4". 40 inch vert

Marcus Morris: When I look at him I just see too many red flags. Closer to 6'8 than 6'10". Not a great athlete or overly strong. Has talked about how he has small forward skills in draft interviews. I can't see him being starting 4 on a good team in the league. Reminds me too much of Drew Gooden, except not as good a rebounder.

Travis Leslie: Possibly the best athlete in the draft. But he's a little undersized for the 2 and doesn't shoot with consistency or create well off the dribble. He's young and played the post in high school so there's room for growth but it just feels like a reach that's based solely on athletic potential. I'm hoping he at least goes to a team he can actually play for next year. Only because I want to see him shit himself when Tony Allen gets all over him, still fuming about Leslie's pre-draft comments denigrating Mr. Allen's game.

Brandon Knight: More than likely, the third pick in the draft. But, I just don't see it. As point guards go he's not especially quick or bouncy and I've never felt like he has some wonderful feel for the game and how to set up his teammates when I watch him. He shoots well and he hit some big shots for Kentucky in the tournament (he also had some 3-13 games) but that's not nearly enough for the third pick. Not for me at least. He's only 19 and a supposedly great kid (4.0 student, model citizen, etc.) so I'm willing to allow he's got a higher ceiling than most of the other guards in this draft but still...I just don't see it. Not as a point guard.

Either Way (guys I'm either not sure about or whose futures heavily depend on where they end up)

Josh Selby: Tons of athletic ability. Would've been a high 1st rounder had he entered the draft out of high school last year. But a bad fit at Kansas and injuries severely hurt his stock in this draft. He still has tons of potential, though he's much more of a 2 than a 1. Could be in the mold of Monta Ellis if he ends up in the right system. Or he could end buried on some teams bench for his entire rookie contract.

Enes Kanter: I first saw him at last year's Hoop Summit where he was absolutely dominant inside to the tune of 30 and 12 (or something close to that). And this was in 25 minutes while going head to head with Jared Sullinger. He looked like a beast. Unfortunately, he hasn't played a single game since. He played one year of prep school ball in the US and even that was at a pretty low level prep school in terms of competition (think where Geoff went, as opposed to an Oak Hill or Montrose Christian. So, essentially, nobody has seen him play extensively against good competition since he was 16 and living in Turkey. It's tough be sure about anybody with that little to go on. I think he's going to be a really good big man. I think. I don't know for sure. Nobody knows for sure.

Klay Thompson: Best shooter in the draft. That's the word from scouts. He's also got NBA size (6'7") and an NBA pedigree (son of Mychal Thompson). However, he lacks great athleticism and doesn't show a consistent ability to create shots off the dribble. Even more worrisome is the fact that his offensive numbers have dropped across the board each of the last two years once he entered PAC-10 play. That says, to me, that the better competition of conference play made him less effective. Though, the argument could be made that much of this was due to him being the only real offensive option at Wazzu. A lot of his success will depend on those around him and the system he ends up in. (Looks now like Thompson is going in the top 10...seems high to me)

Jordan Hamilton/MarshonBrooks: The two biggest gunners in this draft (which says something when Jimmer is involved in the same draft). One will succeed and one will flameout and be in Europe within 5 years. If pushed, I'd go with Hamilton to succeed. His shot selection improved dramatically between his freshman & sophomore years, he's played with much better talent during his career than Brooks and he's a bigger, sturdier athlete. This is really just a guess though. Like I said. One will succeed, one will flameout.

Kemba Walker: I don't know if you've noticed, but there's a bit of a Kemba backlash going on. He's too short, he's not a point guard, we're all binded by the tournament run he made with UConn. Some of this may be true. However, he measured at over 6'0" which is taller than guys like Ty Lawson, Darren Collison, Jameer Nelson & Kyle Lowry so he's not THAT short. He's played point guard every year until he moved off the ball (at times) to accommodate the best possible lineups for UCONN so that point is moot, in my opinion. Here's what I think: Walker is somewhere between Ty Lawson and Jonny Flynn. He's not as good a passer as Lawson and he's a better shooter than Flynn. His instincts are more scoring than passing, but not by a wide margin. It's all about fit for him. If he ends up in an uptempo system like Lawson he'll be successful. If he's stuck running the triangle, or some other rigid halfcourt offense, like Flynn then he's going to struggle.

Sleepers (late first round or second round picks)

Jeremy Tyler: You've heard of Tyler before, even if you don't remember. He was a high school kid from San Diego who decided to skip his senior year and sign a contract in Israel. Shockingly, things didn't work out and Tyler ended up leaving Israel mid-season after disappointing play and even more disappointingly immature behavior. Since then, he's had former Spurs (and Fordham) Head Coach Bob Hill working with him, and even coaching him in a pro league in Japan. He's just now 19 and has reportedly grown up significantly in the past 3 years. Add that to the fact that he's 6'11", very athletic and already has a great physique and you have a player with as much upside as any player in this draft. I'd be shocked if he lasted past the end of the first round.

Tyler Honeycutt: Honeycutt is a versatile, 6'8" small forward who led the PAC-10 in blocks this year. Read that last part again. Pretty impressive. And it says a lot about his athletic potential. Honeycutt is still fairly raw offensively but he's got great size, a good motor and he's just a sophomore. Combine that with the recent history of UCLA players being much better offensive players once they're out of Ben Howland's system and there's potential for Honeycutt to develop into a starting 3 in the NBA within a few years.

Jimmy Butler: He fits into my Tayshaun Prince/Josh Howard theory for athletic wings who played four years of college ball and were productive across all the offensive statistical categories. He also hails from Marquette, which has begun to develop a reputation for producing underrated wings who are great "glue guys" since Buzz Williams took over at Marquette (Wes Matthews, Lazar Hayward). The signs are there for Butler. At the very least, he'll prove to be a solid rotation wing player. I believe there's a shot he can become much more. Plus, read this story and tell me you wont root for this guy.

Norris Cole: See above. Cole's going to start at point for someone in the league. And sooner than you think.

Charles Jenkins: He's bigger than I thought at 6'2.5" and he has enough point guard skills that he can play both guard spots coming off the bench. If he can continue to improve his jumpshot, he could be a great third guard for a contender. A team like the Bulls could really use his offensive creativity and versatility in combination with Derrick Rose late in games.

Chandler Parsons: Another player who fits the Prince/Howard theory. He has 1st round talent but there are concerns about his toughness. While I wont dismiss these straight away, I will offer a differing opinion. For Parsons, it not about toughness as much as it is about confidence. Until this year, he was never the best player on any team he'd ever played on, going all the way back to junior high. He always played in the shadow of friend and former Mavericks draft pick Nick Calathes. It was that way in high school and during his first two years at Florida. After Calathes left, it took Parsons until nearly mid-season of his senior year to realize he was Florida's best player and his play would determine how far the Gators advanced. Once that clicked and Parson became more aggressive, Florida went from a team that lost to Jacksonville and UCF in the early season to a team that was one shot away from reaching the Final Four. According to scouts, he's been very impressive in workouts all throughout the draft process. I'm guessing he slides to the second round. I'm also guessing he'll end up as one of the top 15 players in this draft.

Note on the #1 & #2 picks:
Normally I don't talk about the first or second picks as they are considered near sure things. This year's draft is different though. Both Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams have their detractors and those that doubt they'll ever even become all-stars. Allow me to share my opinion(s).

Irving: He's not Chris Paul. Okay, Who else is? When healthy Chris Paul is the best point guard on the planet. Irving is good at everything, dominant at nothing. This doesn't make him a bad point guard. In fact, I'm willing to bet Irving makes 5-8 all-star teams. He's bigger than you think (6'3"), shoots it better than any elite PG outside of Deron Williams, defends his position extremely well and has shown a willingness to take and make big shots (Hoop Summit 2009). Even in a strong draft, Irving is worthy of a top 5 pick.

Williams: People keep calling him a tweener. I don't agree. The NBA has gotten smaller along the frontline. This is primarily a product of the way basketball has evolved. Its a more wide open, perimeter oriented game. It's a pick and roll/pick and pop game. Power forwards aren't built like Karl Malone or Derrick Coleman anymore(whoop-de-damn-do), and they don't play like them either. Williams is a legit 6'9" with a standing reach (which matters more than height) that's two inches longer than Blake Griffin. Williams should be very effective facing up and taking less mobile 4s to the basket. As he develops a better post game, he 'll be able to abuse spindly small forwards on the block. My biggest concern with Williams is that he "sees himself" as a 3, or at least that's what he keeps telling teams. If Williams is bent on proving he's a 3 who can shoot from distance and handle the ball in pick and roll situations, well, that's trouble and could adversely effect his NBA career. He's not a headcase like Michael Beasley though so any decent coach should be able to iron that out. We hope. If not, his career will look a lot more like Al Harrington than Blake Griffin. Also, Williams must become a more willing defender than he's shown in college. There are just too many prolific scorers at the 4 in today's NBA for him to succeed on a contender if he's unwilling, or unable, to be at least a solid defender.

So, anybody else excited? I thought so. See you in the comments for the Jay Bilas/NBADraft drinking game.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fashion is Dumb: Yep, Lady Gaga Is At It Again

Honestly, the entire "Fashion is Dumb" series could be devoted to Gaga. Here she is sporting a blue merkin at something called the "Much Music Awards".

Still has nothing on Lee Corso's merkin, though.

H/T The Superficial

Four Out Of Five Diners Prefer The Poop Burger To The Turd Sandwich

I can't actually speak to the validity of that statement, but before I ramble on too much and bury the lede, yeah, some jackalope created a poop burger. And how do I know it's specifically a poop burger? Because he was kind enough to label the plastic bag the "meat" resides in with a "shit burger" label. Thanks for the heads up, Dr. Nakatomi.

And, because I just can't resist a good clip, your requisite Turd Sandwich item:

Monday, June 20, 2011

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

One of the tenets that some of us – especially those who have lost people before their time – generally operate under is to live well, as life is all too short. Appreciate the good things while you have them, stop and smell Rose’s . . . those kinds of credos that most people say but far fewer employ.

Regrets . . . I’ve had a few, but most of them that stick in my memory are of paths not taken, events passed up on for reasons that seem silly in retrospect. Weddings, road trips, sporting events, and, quite frequently, concerts. The moment-in-time gatherings that you hear about later and wonder why on earth you missed it.

Case in point, the Primus / Fishbone show at the Boathouse circa 1991. I had an exam the next day. There’s no way I studied / didn’t drink / passed the test, right? From what the guys said, it was an all-timer.

On Saturday I got into an intoxicating (-ed) conversation about rock and roll icons I’m glad I got to see before they were gone. Jerry, Joey, Jimmy (before he went for the gold and started to suck), etc. Our friend Otis stands atop the heap, having seen Elvis as a young kid.

For me, the one that got away was Joe Strummer and/or The Clash. Word in the Strummerville circles was that a reunion was . . . well, if not imminent, then a distinct possibility. Joe and Mick had buried the hatchets of years past, Topper was cleaned up, and Paul was still hanging around the industry. Then Joe Strummer had a fatal heart attack right before Christmas nine years ago, and that was that. I couldn’t fall back on memories of The Clash at William & Mary Hall in 1982, because I wasn’t there. Too young back then, and by the time I was in high school, that was that for The Only Band That Matters. I should’ve sought out a Joe solo show but never did. Shoulda coulda woulda. That was that.

Which leads me to yesterday. Father’s Day, and I awoke to a newspaper story about the Big Man heading off to the promised land. Very sad stuff for those who knew him, and kind of a bummer for those who would have loved to see him stroll down the archway one more time. I’m just pleased I got to see the E Street ensemble a number of times.

In September of ’99, I missed the first couple of days of a family Maine trip to make my 3rd Springsteen show of the week. Took some heat. Worth it. Bruce had just reunited with the full band, and it was their first East Coast tour. Our friend Cricket had a ticket connection, and she generously got me tickets to a trio of shows at the MCI Center in DC.

The third night I was in the 13th row, and our late, great chum Evan rode his motorcycle up from Georgia to see the show with me. He remains the biggest Springsteen fan I’ve met, though I’m certain his equivalent exists in scores of towns in the Garden State, around Philly, and in states and countries everywhere. Anyway, if you aren’t the superfan of the band you’re seeing, it’s a close second to be with someone who is. Insights and Pabsts were shared all night, and it was another brilliant set from the greatest collection of showmen (and showwoman) I’ve witnessed.

Which leads me back to yesterday. My morning featured quick visits with my dad and then my stepdad, handing them some Johnnie Walker black and cards that included more heartfelt sentiments than I’ve offered them in the past. The recent spate of good friends losing their dads and my own two experiencing health issues certainly warranted it. Okay, it was warranted regardless, but sometimes dudes can be stubborn.

After that, I took my daughters to the beach. Can’t beat it.

Finally, we get to my point: I was pretty beat, had a few in me, and thought about blowing off nighttime plans in favor of an early bed. Nah . . .

Instead, I went to see Phish at Portsmouth, VA’s NTelos Pavilion. One of the best venues I know, for those looking at their favorite bands’ dockets. Intimate amphitheater on the river. Meanwhile, I’d never seen Phish before; I know a fair bit of their stuff but had missed out on the space landings at Hampton Coliseum in years past. Last night was worth the trip.

I thought the show was phenomenal. Sounded amazing, huge energy, and although they didn’t do any of the stage antics of their lore (e.g., descending to the stage in a large hot dog), they pulled one stunt: they brought their four fathers on stage for a little banter and appreciation, followed by their children. Winsome.

And here’s where it wraps up . . . in a modest, not showy way, they paid tribute. Middle of the first set, without ado, they started in on “Thunder Road.” They had no sax to perform “Jungleland” or something more Clarence’s style, nor would they want to even try. After the song:
“Thanks, you guys. Thanks for puttin’ up with a little shakiness. We learned that from a place of real love. That was for the great Clarence Clemons, who passed away yesterday.”
And then directly on to the next song. I was surprised and impressed. Mainly I’m just glad I went last night. Surrounded by a slew of friends, many beverages, and a rock and roll show I’d not seen before, I was living well, since life is all too short.

. . . and so is Rob. DAMMIT, I tried, little buddy, I just couldn't make my way through it.

Photo Taken at Stone Pony on Sunday June 19th

Many of you may have heard of the Stone Pony as the unofficial "hometown bar" of Bruce Springsteen. This was the scene at 1 PM on Sunday.

Gifts that keep on giving...

Last week my wife asked me what I wanted for Father's Day. I'm not sure why, she almost all gets me one of two things if she's stumped for gift ideas. A bottle of whiskey or a tattoo gift certificate. You are assured of a positive reaction from me if I'm receiving one of these two items. Anyway, my wife asked and I showed her a picture of some shoes I was looking at online. "These will work.", I said.

This led to a discussion about how many pairs of shoes I already own. I was told I own far too many shoes already. I responded that I'd just thrown out nearly 10 pairs a couple of months ago and, on top of that, there's really no such thing as having too many shoes. Of course, my wife responded that anytime a man owns more shoes than his wife, then it's a problem. That I agree with. But it's not my problem. After this, I decided to put all my (casual) shoes together and see if the amount of shoes was really as "ridiculous" as I was being told it was. Upon further examination, I actually don't think I have nearly enough shoes.

So, as expected. I received a tattoo gift certificate for Father's Day. Like I said, that's always a guaranteed winner with me. Oh yeah, I did end getting a new pair of shoes for Father's Day.

Happy Father's Day, indeed.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Sam Jackson gives all that I could ask for on my first Father's Day.


Here's Werner Herzog too.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

RIP, Big Man

Sad news this evening, as Clarence Clemons passed away from complications related to his recent stroke.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Another Mr. Beane Movie

It's summertime, and the livin' is easy. Baseball is in full swing . . . and the Mets are already out of contention, so summer movies about baseball will have to suffice.

Okay, fine, autumn movies about baseball. I'm curious to see if anyone thinks this film will entertain. A cinematic version seems generally implausible, but the trailer intrigues me just enough . . .

but it would have been a better Hollywood ending if Jeremy Giambi slid . . .

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Happy 40th Birthday Tupac

But for a previously unknown gunman's bullet, Tupac Shakur would turn 40 today. I say "previously unknown" because some guy named Dexter Isaac (who clearly did not go to law school, read any relevant criminal codes, or google "statute of limitations on murder in nevada") claims he shot Tupac:

But enough about Mr. Isaac and the shortcomings of his research skills. Today is Tupac's birthday which, in my opinion, calls for a party. A gangsta party.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Happy Flag Day

And God Bless America.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Why People Write Shitty Things About LeBron James, Alternatively Titled "LeBron James Will Never Clerk for the Supreme Court"

By popular demand, the first-ever re-post of a G:TB entry. Consider this G:TB Classic:

Getting a job in the NBA is an incredibly competitive task. Only 60 people get drafted each year, and perhaps a handful (I'll ballpark it at nine) of undrafted players make teams.

An even more competitive job market exists in DC. Each year, the Justices of the Supreme Court hire clerks for one term. Each Justice may hire up to four clerks, and the Chief may hire five (but apparently he typically takes only four). So only 36 or 37 people get taken in this legal draft.

Hear me out before you scoff at this comparison. Supreme Court clerks command signing bonuses in the neighborhood of $250,000 if they go to a big law firm after their clerkship. Many just go to a firm for a year or two for the bonus, then go on to whatever career they want to have until they die. Many take cushy jobs like professorships or 9-to-5 government work and resign themselves that in exchange for the easy lifestyle they will never make baller money. But if they choose to stay at a law firm they are all but guaranteed to become partners with seven-figure earning potential. And even if they choose to work a government gig for ten or twelve years, many can get a partnership at a firm and make seven figures due in no small part to their SCOTUS clerkship.

In short, getting drafted by Scalia is just as much of a golden ticket as getting drafted by the Bulls. Perhaps even more so, given the length of a career in law compared to one in the NBA.

Getting drafted by one of the Supremes (or "the Big House" as some law students call it) may be the tougher task. The majority are pulled from the holy trinity of Harvard, Yale, and Stanford, with a fair number from Columbia, Chicago, Virginia, and Berkeley. Before earning one of these golden tickets, applicants must first complete another clerkship, almost always with a federal appellate court judge. Getting an appellate clerkship is very hard too, and even then you have to clerk for one of the "feeder" judges.

Most SCOTUS clerks are put on a track to the Big House early on in law school by attracting attention from famous professors. For example, Laurence Tribe writes one clerkship recommendation per year, referred to as "The Larry Letter" by HLS students. Anyone who gets The Larry Letter has an inside track on a SCOTUS clerkship.

How, you ask, does one make this happen? I'll tell you. First, you have to be smart, born that way as Lady Gaga would say. Second, you have to work your ass off for at least the first 26-or-so years of your life. You have to do well in high school and on your SAT's so that you can go to a premiere undergraduate program. Then you must earn excellent grades for three years. Then you must place in the top percentile on the LSAT. Then you will hopefully be accepted to one of the HYS trinity schools, where you must continue to assault your schoolwork and graduate in the top 10 or so of your class. Not the top 10%, but in the top 10. While doing so you must attract the attention of professors by showing genuine interest in the subject matter of their classes, and by proposing creative viewpoints on how the law should be. Then you land a top clerkship with a feeder judge and dazzle him or her with your brilliance, work ethic, and scholarly mien.

While everything in the previous paragraph is happening you can never fuck up. You can't get a DUI, you can't get busted for smoking pot, you can't get in a fight and break a potted tree over some guy's head, you can't be the summer associate who jumped into the Hudson River, you can't be the featured baby daddy on "16 and Pregnant," and you can't get caught spray painting an "A" between the unit letters on the frat houses across the street from yours. In fact, you probably can't be in a frat. Scholars look down on them and so should you, if you want your name called in the biggest of legal drafts. And you certainly can't be a really smart guy who never studied in high school but still managed to do well enough to get into one of the country's best schools with a top-notch biological sciences program, who, despite his interest in biology, instead went to a very-good-but-not-outstanding public school with almost no national street cred because his guidance counselor, who, incidentally, wore a very bad toupe, suggested it was the wiser idea, and then proceeded to do absolutely no work whatsoever in college, somehow graduated in 4 years, putzed around for 7 years, went to a good-but-not-very-good law school despite his undergraduate shortcomings, applied himself, beat the snot out of law school, and got a good job. That guy has no chance of even sniffing the chambers of the Big House, outside of a guided tour.

The NBA draft seems somewhat similar, if not a bit more forgiving. First, you must be born with insane athleticism and, ideally, freakish size, speed, jumping ability, and hand-eye coordination. Then you must work your ass off at the high school level to attract the attention of scouts from premiere undergraduate basketball programs. You might be fast-tracked to the pros via some AAU league, but you must sign with the right school, one where you can start, learn the game, and get plenty of TV time. You must work your ass off to be a starter, and then you have to do all the things that are now terrible sportswriting cliches. Show heart. See the floor. Make your teammates better. Be clutch. Feel the moment. Raise your game. Swing momentum. Be a leader. Be coachable. Be a student-athlete. Be a student of the game. Do the little things. Have a feel for the game. Have a high basketball IQ. Know how to put your foot on their neck. And so on.

The big difference is that athletes are allowed to fuck up as much as they want. They can take money from scouts, they can get in fights, they can smoke pot, they can get drunk and piss on the Dean's door. They'll still get drafted.

No one ever got a Supreme Court clerkship just because they were smart, and no one ever got drafted in the NBA just because they were tall. It takes lots of effort and God-given talent and people teaching you, coaching you, generally giving a shit about you and your success.

Which (finally, you might say) brings me to the point of this post. LeBron James is by all accounts a good guy. No DUI's; drugs; gambling rings; serial animal cruelty; manslaughter, murder, attempted murder, murder-for-hire, or murder cover-ups and the associated obstruction of justice; womanizing, bastardizing, or using public funds to cover up same; rape; brawling; drunkenness in a public canal; defecating in a laundry hamper; gunfighting; making it rain and then gunfighting; or anything like that.

But people still dislike him. I can tell you why.

Remember that hypothetical smart guy I mentioned before? I bet he would have hypothetical friends from his hypothetical high school days who lambaste him about how lazy he was when he was a kid and how he "could have done something" beyond whatever it is he did or does, like "you could have clerked for the Supreme Court." Kind of like in "Good Will Hunting" when Ben Affleck tells Matt Damon "Fuck you, you don't owe it to yourself man, you owe it to me. Cuz tomorrow I'm gonna wake up and I'll be 50, and I'll still be doin' this shit. And that's all right. That's fine. I mean, you're sittin' on a winnin' lottery ticket. And you're too much of a pussy to cash it in, and that's bullshit. 'Cause I'd do fuckin' anything to have what you got. So would any of these fuckin' guys. It'd be an insult to us if you're still here in 20 years. Hangin' around here is a fuckin' waste of your time."

Not to say that this hypothetical guy is a genius, but his hypothetical friends hold his intelligence in pretty high regard. Hypothetically. Whether he truly could have been a Supreme Court clerk is irrelevant. That his friends think he could is key. His failure to live up to their perceived potential irritates them, no matter how much he redeems himself through hard work as an adult.

It's safe to say that people envy LeBron James. He has unbelievable physical gifts, and, despite being born to a 16-year-old single mom, he managed to get enough love, support, coaching, and direction to avoid all the pitfalls that typically ensnare kids born to 16-year-old single moms. So not only is he physically gifted, he was lucky enough to be surrounded by people that cared about him. This convergence of good fortune, this embarassment of biological and social riches, allowed him to become the best basketball player on the planet, to make millions of dollars, to have legions of fans, and to become ragingly disproportionately important in public discourse.

When a guy with that much good luck fails to give, or appears to fail to give, 110%, people get pissed off. Squandering such gifts makes the average person angry, perhaps irrationally, but that's how it works, especially when these squandered gifts are bestowed upon someone who makes hundreds of millions of dollars via his squandration.

And that's why people write shitty things about LeBron James.

We Had No Idea

We came here today to break wide open one of the most amusing and befuddling trends we've seen in some time. Then, in what is a significant departure from our usual editorial methodology, we did some research. And found that we're really late to the game.

Time magazine, Wired, Urban Dictionary, and dozens of other web curators already know about the rise of the Brony. Bronies, or men with an interest in all things My Little Pony, are out there, and they have been for some time, drawn by the highly refined production values of the new cartoon version of MLP. They've even got their own Brony Wiki, where one can display his own My Little Pony creation, like The Wastelander, or Atticus, or Scamper Lockstock. (As an aside, there's a better than even chance that Greg uses Scamper Lockstock as his courting name next time he heads out with lady-killing intent.)

It should come as no surprise to avid FoG:TB that we find this development awesome. And scary. But mostly awesome. We think that the similarities between the Brony nickname and King James' given moniker are coincidental, though Rainy Day sure bears more than a fleeting resemblance.

Stay gold, Ponyboys.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

An Important Topic That Requires Your Immediate Consideration

I would like everyone in the G:TB universe to take a moment to reflect on the fate of Lauren Failla-- a New Jersey native who was killed in India by a saltwater crocodile-- and I'm not asking you to feel sorry for her, she led a wonderful life until the moment of her death: she had recently graduated from the "prestigious Southeby's Art Institute in London" and was vacationing with her boyfriend in a lovely high-end tourist destination (the Andaman Islands). The crocodile attacked her while she was snorkeling. It's not that she had it coming to her or anything, but when you do adventure travel, there is always risk (and, coincidentally, and what makes the story more awful, is that her older sister died in a rock climbing accident in 2006).

The tragedy of her death isn't my concern here, nor do I wish to rail against the inherent dangers in extreme tourism . . . in fact, I love adventure travel and I've tried my best to get myself and my wife killed in many exotic locales, but the demise of Laura Failla makes me aware that I need to be better prepared when I travel. I need to be prepared that I might be eaten by a predator, and I need to consider what kind of predator I would like to be eaten by. Of course, a determination such as this can effect your vacation plans, because you can only travel to locations with the kinds of predators by which you wouldn't mind being eaten. I'm guessing you haven't reflected on this important topic much, so here are a few ideas to get you started.

As a bare minimum, it's got to be an animal that sounds good when people say the phrase: Did you hear about Dave? He got eaten by a ___________.

Let's try this with saltwater crocodile. "Did you hear about Dave? He got eaten by a saltwater crocodile."

That's not bad, but there are better.  Here are my top seven, in reverse order for dramatic effect.

7. Piranha. 

A shitload of piranha. "Did you hear about Dave? He was kayaking down the Amazon and he gotten eaten by a shitload of piranha."

That's got a nice ring to it.

6. Great White Shark. 

Good for a dramatic pause. Did you hear about Dave? He was surfing and he got eaten by a shark . . . a great white shark.

5. Mountain lion. 

Did you hear about Dave? He was biking and a mountain lion pounced on him and ate him.  I admit that the sentence is a little clunky, but I love mountain lions-- they are powerful, agile, and American-- and wouldn't mind providing a meal for one, even if the description of my death isn't as poetic sounding. That's how much I love those guys.

4. Polar Bear or Grizzly Bear. 

Either one sounds awesome, but their hybrid, the Pizzly Bear, is NOT acceptable. If people would promise to call it the much cooler sounding "grolar bear," then I wouldn't mind, but I don't want my name in this series of questions: "Did you hear about Dave? He got mauled and eaten by a pizzly bear? Is that some kind of stuffed toy? How did it kill him?"

3. Thylacine. 

If you're not familiar with the "Tasmanian Tiger," check out the footage below and read David Quammen's excellent book Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions.

Getting killed and eaten by a marsupial predator that is thought to be extinct is a sure-fire way to have a long celebrated death: "Did you hear about Dave? He got eaten by a thylacine!"

2. Yeti. 

Even better than being killed and eaten by something thought-to-be extinct, is to be killed and eaten by something that never existed at all. Who could forget this story?

"Did you hear about Dave? He was hiking in Nepal and he was abducted by a band of yeti. They ate him. The yeti ate him! And, even more fantastic, is that the word "yeti" is both singular and plural!"

1. Tiger.

Why? Because moments ago I asked my son Alex what animal he'd most like to be eaten by, and this was his answer. When I asked him why he would like to be eaten by a tiger, he simply said, "Big."
He's usually more garrulous than this, but he had just woken up moments before, and I could tell from his expression when I asked him the first question, that he had not reflected on this very important topic, and that's the point of this post.

You need to think about this now and choose your vacation spots wisely. You don't want to end up in a sentence like this: "Did you hear about Dave? He got eaten by wood lice. It's a real shame."

Yes it is a shame. Yes it is.

Friday, June 10, 2011

God Bless People Like This

It's reasons like this that I love New York. Challenging authority? Check. Blatant disregard for one's own physical well-being? Check. Humor? Check. Repeated use of rhetorical questions and "Check" as an answer in consecutive posts by same contributor? Check.

Happy Friday folks.

Friday's "Insert Music of YOUR Choice Into YOUR Rectum" Post (A Love Letter to

As most of you know, I like a good dose of metal every now and then (usually when I'm wailing on my pecs and bis at the gym, but at other times when the adrenaline and energy from the music beckons). But I recognize that many of you prefer other types of tunes. So I would like to take this opportunity to pimp a web site that has changed my day-to-day work life, at least on days when I'm chained to my desk: Not sure how far behind the curve I am on this one, but it blew me away about a month ago when a younger co-worker alerted me to it, so I wanted to turn you all on as well.

The site is very straightforward and very powerful. They have access to most music you've ever heard of - classic rock, Finnish death metal, reggae, classical, show tunes, comedy albums, jam bands, pop, new releases, big labels, small labels, you name it. There are some tracks, albums and/or bands they don't have rights for, but they have almost everything you could want. New Lady Gaga, Adele, Lonely Island Boys or My Morning Jacket? Check. Junior Kimbrough? Check. Mumford & Sons? Check. Duke Robbillard? Check. Duke Ellington? Check. Dukes of Hazzard comedy bit from Patton Oswalt? Check. Mexican Radio on Check. Radiohead on Check. Primitive Radio Gods on Check. TV on the Radio on Check. Radio Gaga on Check. Radio Gaga by Queen on No. Bummer.

And here's where it's good for you lazy, cheap skeptics out there - you can preview the web site for a week at no charge. If you decide to indulge, it's a measly $4.99/month to be able to play any tune in their library on command on your PC. You can pay more to stream from your smart phone or iPad as well, but i didn't do that. For my $4.99/month, I play tunes from my work PC or my laptop at home. I no longer need to spend money at the iTunes store for a track because I can pull it up in literally three seconds on Need a party play list? Tee it up on and plug your laptop into your stereo. And your party will rock. And you will get laid. Or, if you're like the Teej, you buy the newest Jock Jams CD and try to ignore the fact that you just put a few pennies in a pedophile's pocket.

For those of you who may be curious to hear some random new/old tunes I've been digging into recently, find my name here and look for "Rick's Awesome Mix." You'll be glad you did. Even if there is no metal.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Here We Are Now, Entertain Us

"A disaster of mammoth proportions."




These and dozens (if not thousands) of other words died in vain over the past two days, sent forth to battle from the tongues and pens of the warriors of the great chattering sportshype machine in response to LeBron James' subpar and oddly passive effort in the 4th quarter of Tuesday's NBA Finals Game 4. General Stephen A. Smith implied (hell, he asserted) on this morning's Mike and Mike Show that LeBron was facing personal issues that were impacting his performance. (In a stunning display of both cowardice and look-at-me yellow journalism, Smith also claimed to know all about the issues, but declined to elaborate.)

Let us stipulate that James, the most physically gifted player in the NBA indeed played badly and un-starlike in the quarter in question. Let us further stipulate that his self-aggrandizing "Decision" was badly conceived and terribly executed. But we come here today not to bury LeBron James, but to wonder what the fuck we as a sports society want from him?

While we all say championships are what matter and build shrines to winners, we have an oddly skewed perspective on LeBron. Instead of celebrating a player who has routinely sublimated his (fairly massive) ego in pursuit of a championship, we flay LeBron any chance we get. The man took less money to play with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. He was clearly the star of the Eastern Conference Finals with his two-way play against Derrick Rose and the Bulls. And now, four games later, he's a bum because Wade's outshone him against the Mavericks? Bullshit.

Sally Jenkins rode to the rescue in today's Washington Post, channeling no less a sage than Phil Jackson, the man who convinced both Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant that they needed to share the ball at least a little in order to win. Says Jenkins,
“The fact is, selflessness is the soul of teamwork,” Jackson said a few years ago to EnlightenNext magazine. “We have a practical rule in our game: When you stop the basketball — when it resides in your presence and you hold it for longer than two counts — you’ve destroyed our rhythm. When the ball is in your hands, you become the focal point. And when you become the focus, our system breaks down. It’s that simple.”

“It doesn’t matter how good individual players are — they can’t compete with a team that is awake and aware and trusts each other. People don’t understand that. Most of the time, everybody’s so concerned about not being disrespected. But you have to check that attitude at the door — that defensiveness, that protection of your own image and reputation. Everybody needs help in this game.”
It's not enough to win now, we need style points. We need our superstars to win the right way, to dominate, to see their enemies driven before them, to hear the lamentations of their women. And to do it selfishly, individually, alpha male-style. That seems a perversion of everything we teach our kids and claim to want from our colleagues.

For obvious reasons, I have a soft spot for LeBron
. I'm rooting for him to have a big game tonight and lead the Heat to a win. And then I want him to walk over to the nearest big-mouth media member and stab him to death with a pencil, exclaiming for all our blood-lusting benefit, ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?

Stephen A. would still call him a pussy.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Welcome to the Neighborhood

Taking a break from all our worries about what to get Rob for his birthday today (Teej has some Skymall selections for us), I thought I'd add to the anticipation . . .

In less than an hour, Bill Simmons (née Boston Sports Guy, suivi de Sports Guy) unveils his heavily – but perhaps appropriately – hyped new endeavor Grantland. It’s a website independent of, or at least adjacent to ESPN, but one ostensibly still steeped in sportswriting, as evidenced by the moniker; Grantland refers to Grantland Rice, the hallowed sportswriter of three generations ago. The press release indicates a broader scope, however, a “sports and pop culture web site” “with a mix of original columns, long-form features, blog posts, and podcasts.” Huh . . . sounds like a little website I know.

Okay, so it sounds like what 10,000 homegrown blogs and sites aspire to be, a forum for high-minded thought veiled in tongue-in-cheek humor that transcends sportswriting into limitless topics of interest. Somehow, though, the internet has become littered with pseudo-literati waxing indignant at the trifles within their reality (or in a reality show), tilting at windbags, and splashing together liberal arts alliteration and juvenile toilet humor like they were vinegar and water in mad railings against pop culture giants that reek of day-old hypocrisy doughnuts. Case in frickin’ point.

In truth, the only time you’ll find something truly original amid the html-ting pot these days is when some lunatic transcribes the insane, idle ideas that ricochet through his grey matter like Benoit balls in your mother’s attic, and we get Tourette’s-style renditions of chronicles of taco eating, updates on quests for salamanders, Cliffs Notes on acid, hilarious inside jokes from a NJ English department, cute tales of two precocious little boys, and recorded songs fixated on the anal sex scene from Deliverance. “Unique” is misapplied nearly often enough these days to warrant some blowhard dedicating a blog post to expressions like it, but there are still one-of-a-kind places out there in the ‘sphere. Grantland, however, is probably not one.

What it may possibly be, however, is the apex of its ilk. Some of you know by now that my obnoxious bloggings have tended to take the piss out of Bill Simmons and his online works (unbeknownst to him, of course); most of you can figure out that’s predominantly because I am thoroughly jealous of him and the job he has earned the right to do every day. I will probably continue to put too fine a point on it, calling him SportGuy for his limited breadth of interest and understanding in certain pockets of the sporting universe. I will probably continue to hear Wyatt from Weird Science every time he speaks. And I will probably continue to casually dismiss most of his new projects, even as I tout the 30 for 30 series as one of the most enthralling recurring segments on TV, the Know Your Minor League Mascot of cable television, if you will.

Not this time, Biff. Not this time. ESPN’s fondness for doling out enormous amounts of melodramatic pre-event build-up on a regular basis usually evokes my ambivalence; truly, they sound like the radio spots for my local furniture outlet before the Memorial Day sale, and they garner the same amount of enthusiasm from me. This time, however, it’s been a little bit different.

For one, there’s the name. No, it’s not an amalgam of where the Keaton kids went to college. When I first read about Grantland, I thought, “Grantland Rice?” Really, it’s true. As much as I’d like to claim a vast knowledge of the late Mr. Rice’s journalistic or literary accomplishments, I don’t think I’ve ever read a piece of his in its entirety. I don’t know very much about him. I only know one quote:
"For when the One Great Scorer comes
To write against your name,
He marks - not that you won or lost -
But how you played the Game."
I know this because I spent every summer from 1980-1989 deep in the Shenandoah Valley at a place called Camp Virginia. It’s an awesome boys’ camp steeped in tradition, and it’s where I learned everything from how to throw a curveball to how to get shot down by girls at the dance. In my time there I ate rattlesnake, I won the Malcolm U. Pitt Baseball Award (my proud mention of this flies directly in the face of the quote), and I learned that navigating the winding roads through the Goshen Pass after visiting a handful of Lexington bars is a terrible, terrible idea. More than just about anything else, I learned that Grantland Rice passage. It was (still is) painted on an old piece of wood hanging on the wall in the mess hall; our three squares were always accompanied by its message. A quick visit to the Camp VA website today reminded me that it’s still a big part of the lessons of gratitude, humility, and sportsmanship that permeate the summer. This graphic is from the main page (see the top right corner). has chosen not only to borrow its name from the man who gave us the quote, but – at least thus far, in “Coming Soon” status – to embed the quote in its main page logo. It will be interesting to see whether, and how, its message remains imbued in the offerings from Grantland. In a venture like this, there’s not a lot of winning and losing inherently incorporated. Seems like a different tagline might have been more appropriate . . . maybe . . . maybe, with the sports media world so aggressively self-important and non-ironic these days, something about taking ourselves less seriously would fit the bill?

The masthead impresses, with names like Klosterman and Gladwell, among many others, and with priors like the WSJ, NYT, GQ, and J’sW all over the staff’s collective curriculum vitae. How they play the game will dictate whether this is an instance of “we didn’t invent it, we just perfected it” or simply yet another road stop on the information superhighway where we can find insights and insults on SEC football, Mayer Hawthorne, news of the weird, Monty Python, feats of eating, LeBron James, vajazzling, Live Aid, political gaffes, baseball card collections, cereal mascots, crystal meth, Andre Agassi, Mike Love, state fairs, the Fighting Wrens, Alfonso Ribeiro shirtless, Gheorghe Muresan, and rapping muppets. Here’s looking forward to their regularly scheduled dipshittery.

Best of luck, Grantland, and don’t steal our stuff.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Today's NY Daily News Front Page Headline Could Be the Title of My Autobiography

Looks like Weiner lost the schmuckoff.

Got a better caption?

Don't Text at the Alamo Drafthouse!

Kenny Powers must have a daughter who goes to movie the-a-ters in Austin, TX.

Gawker has the full story here.

Monday, June 06, 2011

I Was Thinking (That You Were Thinking)

The Almight Yojo is proud to present another song by The Density . . . and this one explores the most awkward of moments: when you put yourself out there . . . when you tell someone you have groovy, special feelings for them . . .  when you finally work up the courage and go for it . . . and you are rejected.

The lyrics are below, but once again, they don't do justice to the song. And so I'd like to thank Whitney, my colleagues at work, Jim Carrey, The Farrelly Brothers, The Coen Brothers, Lauren Holly, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Frances McDormand, and Steve Park for providing some excellent content for me to mangle in my own particular style. I sincerely appreciate it.

I Was Thinking (That You Were Thinking) by The Density

I Was Thinking (That You Were Thinking)

I was thinking . . . that you were thinking
that we could be something good,

but you weren’t thinking what I was thinking
I guess that I misunderstood.

I thought that we were on the same page.
You thought that I was acting kind of strange.

Now I’m so humiliated by the thing I created
I can’t be around you no more
I look down at the floor.

I was talking and you were walking,
but I thought walking meant something more.

I was waiting, anticipating,
when you’d let me walk through that door.

And now I’m so embarrassed
I didn’t mean to make you stressed.

Why’d you have to go and be so nice . . .
tempt me to roll the dice.

I opened up and I regret it
and now I can’t forget it.

How could I get it so wrong?
How could I be so damned dumb?

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Fun With Math, Alternatively Titled "A Dunce's French Open Final Analysis"

There are 7 rounds in a Grand Slam tennis tournament and 4 Grand Slam events are played each year. Two hundred and nine (209) rounds of Gland Slam tennis have been played since 2004: 196 for 2004 through 2010, and 13 so far this year. Thus the most Grand Slam matches than anyone could play from 2003 through today is 210, including Sunday's French Open Final.

Roger Federer has played in an absolutely staggering 196 Grand Slam matches over this span, going 182-14. To highlight just how preposterous this is, Federer won more Slams (15) since 2004 than he failed to win (14). He went 27-1 in major play twice (twice!): in 2006 and again in 2007. To the best of my knowledge only Rod Laver, after whom my favorite sneakers are named, can lay claim to this same feat (Laver went 28-0 twice, in 1962 and 1969). To say that Federer is the most dominant athlete of his generation in any sport is not an overstatement, although I'm sure golf fans can make a legitimate argument in favor of Eldrick Woods.

Federer will face Rafael Nadal in Federer's 197th Grand Slam match. Nadal is also mathematically impressive.

There have been 48 rounds of French Open play since 2005, and Nadal is 43-1 over this span, good for 5 titles. Six of Federer's Grand Slam defeats were meted out by Nadal, five of them in finals play. By my count Nadal is 6-2 against Federer in major events. He holds the record for most consecutive clay court wins with 81; Guillermo Vilas is in second place with 53. To dispute Nadal's all-time supremacy on clay is to prove you are a dolt.

Perhaps the most compelling math in Nadal's favor on Sunday is his 4-0 record against Federer at Roland Garros. Three of these matches were the finals, including a straight-set win in 2008.

But I'm picking Federer to win. I dislike Nadal fan for reasons completely unrelated to his tennis. For example, Nadal wears capri pants and sleeveless shirts. He still lives, some might say oddly, at home with his mother. And I suspect that he gets is vitamin B12 shots from Miguel Tejada's pharmacist. His game is all power, spin, and footspeed, and he lacks the artistry of yesteryear that Federer has in spades and for which I pine wistfully.

I also think Federer's window for beating Nadal in this tournament is rapidly closing, and that it's tremendously important to Federer to go through Nadal to win a French Open. As it is, his lone French trophy has a massive asterisk dangling from it and I'm sure that pisses him off. This may in fact be his last opportunity to get an asterisk-free French championship and I expect him to play balls out. So I'm taking Federer. But I can't guarantee that he'll win.

I can, however, guarantee that Sunday's match will feature brilliant tennis because I will miss most if not all of it as I will be schlepping around New Jersey with the rest of the zteam looking for a new zhome before the imminent expiration of zlease. Hannibal had an easier time completing his elephantine Alpine episode than I do in getting zwoman out the door so I will have zero time to watch the match. But you, constant readers, should.

Friday, June 03, 2011

The Big Premier

Shaq's retirement leaves an enormous void, his mammoth physical presence matched by his outsized personality. Dwight Howard's got the athletic gifts, but try as he might, he's no Big Aristotle. Birdman is crazy, but he's got more of a cry for help vibe than Shaq's fun-loving Gheorgheness. The league needs someone new.

How's this: a left-hander who's head-and-shoulders taller than most opponents, who makes fans of all ages cheer his every move? A man who rocks high black socks in the old school way, who's unstoppable on both ends of the court, and is as comfortable in the boardroom as he is on the boards. Look no further, Mr. Stern, G:TB gives you Wen Jiabao, the Big Premier.

No Metal Up Your Ass or Anything Else Friday

I love this song. It makes me think fondly of the summers of my youth and the fruitless time spent with women therein. And it's right on point with the weather lately, making it an integral part of my walk-to-work soundtrack. TJ will carp that the video is too weird and will throw a "fashion is dumb" tag on this post but that's fine with me. "Summertime Clothes" makes me immune to grumpiness. Hopefully it will put you in a good mood for the weekend.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Fashion is Dumb: Futbol Edition

Just terrible:

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Just Like a Gheorghe Party

Another find from our keen-eyed roving reporters to kick things off today. If we keep this up, we'll pass I Can Haz Cheezburger's crowd-sourced volume in no time. Now if we can only figure out a similar revenue model.