Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ten Things I Don't Understand

1. How can people have jobs yet not know how to use the tab button? Someone pays you to manually space things out about 8 spaces, just to have me have to go back and fix it for you? It’s almost 2009. If you have a job that requires you to use a computer, learn the tab button. It takes about 5 seconds to master. It’s easier than riding a bike.

2. Along those same lines, if you can’t type more than 10 words per minute, then it’s probably best not to have a job that requires a lot of computer usage. It’s really that simple. How much would it cost to take a typing class? $50? How hard would it be to teach yourself?

3. I read that Tony Romo (pronounced Wooo-Mo) and T.O. were upset with the play-calling in the Eagles 60-minute bitch slapping festival. When you lose 44 to 6, is there any reason to point the finger at anyone? Are these guys really saying that if the play-calls were different, they wouldn’t have been beaten by 38 points? What the hell is that? When the other team scores on a 73-yard fumble return and a 96-yard fumble return, how exactly is that the fault of the play-caller? What play was he supposed to call “Go try to score a touchdown and make sure not to fumble the ball.” I can’t wait for T.O. to become the new Mike Tyson and have him greet me at the Tunica Harrah’s in about 10 years.

4. Is it really that impressive that Domino’s subs are twice as popular as Subway? Does anyone other than Jared eat at Subway on a regular basis? You mean your sandwich isn’t made with week-old meat that’s smashed on top of soggy bread? It’s twice as good as that? Wow, sign me up!

5. Does ESPN really need to announce that Ricky Davis failed a drug test on the bottom ticker for 3 straight hours while they are broadcasting a football game? Is Ricky Davis failing a drug test even considered news? I simply consider it standard. At this rate, I’m going to have to read “Phillip Fulmer has done nothing but eat bacon since his resignation” updates in about 3 months.* Also, can we change the term “throwing money away” to “signing Ricky Davis”? Isn’t that really what people mean? For example, the other day, everything was closed but Subway so I got a sandwich. I might as well have signed Ricky Davis.

6. Who the hell is in charge of marketing these days? First off, I haven’t seen a truly funny beer commercial in over a year. Second, if I’m going to watch a football game for 3 hours, is it really necessary to show the same commercial 10 times during the game? Even if I was interested in your product, after 9 of the same commercial I’m ready to punch myself in the face. I wouldn’t go test drive your car to save my damn life once I’ve reached this point. And I’m going to go ahead and wager that the majority of the people watching the NFL on Sundays aren’t looking to give their wife a new Lexus for Christmas anyway.

7. I just read an ESPN.com headline that read, “Curry to stay on Knicks’ shelf few weeks longer.” How big does that shelf have to be for Eddy Curry to be on it? Did they build it from the scrap metal of the Twin Towers?

8. At what point does an NBA coach decide to double-team a player? If the answer for your team’s coach is, “Not until after the player has scored a season high and fouled out your starting center” then your team might be looking for a coach next year. If your team isn’t looking for a new coach, then you might want to look for a new team.

9. When does season 2 of Mad Men come out on DVD? Seriously, I just finished season 1 and want to catch season 2 before season 3 starts. You know why people download stuff illegally? Because the people in charge are idiots. How hard it is to have a critically acclaimed TV show on DVD for Christmas? I wanted a Sam Roberts Band CD a few months ago and found out it wasn’t available in the U.S. for months, but it was already out in Canada. So what did I do? It took me about 10 minutes to download it for free. I was perfectly willing to purchase the product, except the product wasn’t even f-ing available. If you make it, they will buy it. Dumbasses.

10. Sometimes, I don’t even understand myself. I don’t know how I forgot the following video from being on my Best of Youtube 2008.


Chris

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Happy Holidays...Here's a Rant

If our loyal readers (hey Jorge!) know anything about me, it’s that I always have something to complain about. This whole blog was built on a complaint: Chris and I were apoplectic when a New York Post trade rumor in the summer intimated that Jamaal Tinsley was going to be traded to Denver and we exchanged 15 e-mails about it even though neither of us cares much about the Nuggets. That led to the birth of this blog, which has yet to revolutionize the Internet the way we’d hoped.

(By the way, like most NY Post trade rumors, it was a complete fabrication).

At any rate, here’s a look at some of the stuff that I have to complain about right now:

-Kenny Mayne. Sweet Jesus, ESPN is pumping his stupid web show so much, even Frank Caliendo and TBS are embarrassed for them. Seriously, does he need to be on the goddamned front page twice a week? And the show sucks! Or at least I assume it does. I haven’t actually watched it. But I feel comfortable enough saying that because his Sportscenter segments made a broken fibula seem fun by comparison. And it’s not that I don’t “get” Kenny’s brand of dry humor. He’s just not funny.

-Hey, Lean Cuisine, listen up: you can’t put five pieces of ravioli in a package and call that a meal. That stupid portion wouldn’t have satisfied an anorexic gymnast. I had to down half a box of Triscuits afterwards just to begin feeling full, and you can imagine what happens after one consumes that much fiber. So thanks for a wasted afternoon. On the plus side, I managed to knock out most of SI’s Sportsman of the Year double issue.

-Am I the only one who watched the Federer-Nadal Wimbledon final? Because even though it may have been the single best sporting event of the year, it gets nothing more than a passing mention in most of the “Year in Sports” shows I’m seeing. It’s like the Bigfoot-Neil Diamond SNL sketch from a few years ago- completely mesmerizing, but no one but me seems to have seen it.

-These winter breaks tv shows seem to be taking. Tell me how this schedule makes any sense:
May-September: Reruns.
October- November: New episodes.
December-January: Reruns
February-April: New episodes

Did the networks learn nothing from the tragic demise of Jericho two years ago? You can’t yank a show off the air for two months right when it starts building momentum.

-Speaking of the incompetence of television networks, this deserves its own rant sometime, but their complete inability to grasp the idea that people use DVRs is mind-boggling. You can’t run a show a minute or two past its allotted time whenever you damn well feel like it. Whenever I tape Letterman for the sole purpose of seeing the musical act, I feel like going on a five-state killing spree when I get halfway through the song and the recording ends. The worst part is when you start to see it coming. You’re fast-forwarding through the ads and the Jon Cryer interview (Two and a Half Men, Mondays on CBS!), the bar is moving too far to the right, and you just know there’s no way the band can get the whole song in before the end. For God’s sake, DVR usage is only increasing. Get your heads out of your asses.

Graham

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

You're the best...Around...

There’s a Best of 2008 list for everything this time of year. The best moments, the best songs, albums, movies, taco bell runs, etc. Well, without further ado, here’s the Chris Avis Best of Youtube 2008. (Note, these videos aren’t all from the year 2008, but were watched by me for the first time during the year 2008.)

The award for best thud goes to:



The best performance by a table goes to:



The anti-Braylon Edwards award goes to:



The most amazing white dancer since Vanilla Ice award goes to:



The best Dad award goes to:



The best cello version of Final Countdown goes to:



The newcomer of the year is:



The best new pizza is:



The best trucker driver in America is:



The biggest chump is:



The best BMX jump into a swimming pool that elicits a “Holy Cow” award goes to:



The never getting any ever again award goes to:



The Ron Burgundy tribute award goes to:

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Return of Pau



I’m (Chris) not going to sugarcoat it. I’m not going to hide it. I like to jeer. I like to boo. It’s probably the thing I’ve yelled the most at sporting events, right up there with “Hey, beer man,” and “Pass the ball ____.” That blank is now filled by Tyreke, although it’s been occupied by Bobby, Chucky, Damon, Bonzi and Dajuan.

The boo is the universal method of fan disapproval. It’s simple, it’s easy, and everyone can do it. The boo is most utilized in the following scenarios: the ref makes a bad call or no-call, the home team (or coach) is sucking to a high degree, or if the opposing team has an especially unpoplular villain.

Tonight at FedExForum, scenario three will be in effect. With the introduction of Pau Gasol, a chorus of boos will great him. Welcome back to Memphis Pau, here’s what we think of you.

Now, some out there will get on their high horse and claim that Pau doesn’t deserve the boo, that it’s a low-class move that shouldn’t occur. Pau should be greeted with a few gulf claps instead, a retarded way of saying, “Thanks for playing here for a few years.” The people that make that claim are idiots. Screw that, they’re f’ing morons. (And why should we even listen to Graham’s opinion on what Grizz fans should do. The guy worked for the Grizzlies for like 10 years or something and then told me last week he wasn’t a fan for the past 6 years, and now he’s a Blazers fan. Can you really trust a guy like that?)

Why should Pau get anything other than the boo? Only two types of players get applause during the visiting team’s introduction: former University of Memphis players (see Rose, Derrick) and former Grizzlies fan favorites (see Battier, Shane) that have moved on. Does Pau fit either of those categories? Hell no, he doesn’t.

If Pau wanted to hear some cheers on Monday night, he should’ve done something to endear himself to the city to earn the fan favorite status. He should’ve played fearless, passionate, and ambitious instead of being a sulking, half-assed Euro baby. If the Grizz needed points in a big game, Pau shrunk. If they needed a key rebound, the “power” forward would come up short. If they needed defense, he gave up points. I saw the guy for multiple seasons, even defended him as well. But the truth of the matter is, Pau wasn’t good enough, didn’t try hard enough and ultimately, showed more passion in half a season with the Lakers (and every summer with Spain) than he did in more than 6 seasons with Memphis. If anyone needs a reminder of the Pau era in Memphis, fast forward to the 1:45 mark of the video below.



The Pau-defenders out there (aka Graham) will point to Gasol’s numbers in Memphis and say that he did all he could while surrounded by average talent. I’m sure he’ll say that Pau is providing the same services in LA, numbers wise, that he did in Memphis. I’m sure he’ll say that Memphis fans shouldn’t blame Pau for the organization’s failures. And to that, I say, boo.


I’m (Graham) really not looking forward to Tuesday morning. I’m really not looking forward to going onto the Commercial Appeal’s Web site and reading about the boos that rained down on Pau Gasol the night before. I’m not looking forward to critics blogging about how glorious it was that Pau got booed out of the building. And I’m not looking forward to my blogmate Chris reveling in it all.

Because quite simply, Pau shouldn’t booed.

Simply put, Pau Gasol is the best player in team history. He’s the all-time leader in points, rebounds, blocks and many other categories. He was the team’s first Rookie of the Year. The First All-Star. And he was remarkably consistent. He never averaged fewer than 17.6 points, 7.3 rebounds or 1.7 blocks in a full season.

So if Shane Battier comes back to a hero’s welcome and a poster night, doesn’t Pau at least deserve applause? I’m not saying he should get a standing ovation and a tear-jerking video tribute, but he at least deserves to be recognized for his contributions.

Instead, there's a chance he’ll get booed. And really, for no good reason. When people criticize Pau, they always state the same things:

-The Contract. Yeah, he got a max deal. Was he a max player? Probably not. But no one forced the Grizzlies to hand it over to him. Pau asked for it, they gave it to him. Was he supposed to say no? The Grizzlies could have negotiated, but they didn’t, and that’s on them. If you go to buy a car, say what the hell and ask for $10,000 off the sticker price and they give it to you, are you going to reject it? And if you were offered $86 million to do your job, wouldn’t you take it? Of course. He negotiated, and he won. You can’t hold that against him.

-The injury at the Worlds. I mean, come on, that was just dumb luck. Dozens and dozens of NBA players have played internationally in the last 20 years, and one got hurt. It was bound to happen. It was just unfortunate that it happened to him as he was about to start the first year of the aforementioned max deal. But to hold it against him is ridiculous.

-The alleged trade demand. Say what you will about it, but he handled that situation as well as can be possibly expected. He did it quietly, face to face with management. Even then, he never said anything bad about the organization. He shut up and played. Was he right to demand the trade in the first place? Probably not. But he took a bad situation and handled it well.

-His lack of clutch play. That’s a fair point. There weren’t too many times when he carried the team on his back. I’ll acknowledge that.

Ultimately though, his downfall was that he could never be what some fans wanted him to be. When some Memphis fans thought “power forward”, they thought Karl Malone- burly guys who elbow people out of the way. They couldn’t appreciate a different kind of power forward, one with superior court vision and passing skills. Pau wasn’t going to run anyone over, but he was equally as effective as those who did.

And despite his skills not lending themselves to traditional post play, more often than not that’s what he was asked to play. The Grizzlies at times did everything to turn him into that player- putting down in the block and forcing him to try to overpower people. For crying out loud, they played the guy at center, where he really had no business being.

But despite it all, he always produced, regardless of style. When Hubie Brown had the team running in the 50-win season of 2003-04 (before Mike D’Antoni in Phoenix, by the way), Pau averaged 17.7 points despite playing a career-low in minutes. When Fratello took over and went strictly to a halfcourt game, Pau averaged 20.4 points in the 2005-06 season, and added 4.6 assists, a career-high. It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective. He’d get the ball on the block or at the elbow, and if he was defended one-on-one he’d spin by for a layup or dunk. If he was doubled, he’d kick it out and let the shooters take open threes. Opponents knew what was coming, and he was effective anyway. Isn’t that what people want from a star player?

Maybe Pau was never an NBA A-list superstar. But he’s the best Memphis ever had. And he doesn’t deserve to be booed.

Graham

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Should this man have his jersey retired?



The Portland Trail Blazers are retiring two numbers this week. Actually, just one number, with two different players who wore it.

On Tuesday, Terry Porter had his number 30 raised to the rafters. Tonight, it's Bobby Gross’ turn to have his number 30 retired. Yes people, THE Bobby Gross. And it’s about damn time.

Wait- what do you mean you never heard of him? He played eight seasons in the NBA! Twice he averaged over 10 points per game! Shame on you!

I jest of course, because the fact is, when the team announced they were retiring his jersey, I was stunned- I’d never even heard of the guy. Understand, I spent almost 10 years working in the NBA. I have a pretty good handle on the league’s history and who its major players were. So it’s fair to say that if I’ve never even heard of someone, then they probably shouldn’t be getting their jersey retired.

Along with an election to the Hall of Fame, having one’s jersey retired is the highest individual honor a player can receive. And the Portland Trail Blazers seem to be doing everything in their power to completely cheapen the honor.

See, Gross’ main qualification is that he played on their 1977 championship team, and if you suited up for that team, then wait by the phone, because you’re getting your jersey hung at the Rose Garden.

Look, nothing personal against Bobby Gross, but the guy has career averages of 8.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. Those are Charlie Villanueva numbers. But for the Blazers, who continue to revel in the glory of a single championship won 30 years ago, that’s more than enough.

When Gross’ number goes up, that will make the 12th jersey retirement for this organization. By contrast, the Lakers have retired only seven jerseys, and they’ve won 15 damn titles.

Let’s look at the breakdown of retired Blazers jerseys, and see who really deserves it.

1- Larry Weinberg. He owned the team from its inception for 18 years. An owner with a retired number? Somewhere, Mark Cuban is rubbing his hands together with glee. Verdict: Undeserved.

13- Dave Twardzik. Played all of four years for the Blazers, and career-high with the team was 10.4 ppg, but of course, was on the title team. Oh, and has this quote attributed to him: “It’s a joke,” he says. “I’m grateful, but they shouldn’t have done it. My number is retired at my high school and my college. And that was fine. But not here. I just didn’t deserve it.” Verdict: I’m gonna agree with Dave himself, and call it a joke.

14- Lionel Hollins. Played four and a half years with Portland, but again, was on the title team. Topped out at 15.9 points per game in a season. Verdict: Undeserved.

15- Larry Steele. Despite the name, apparently he’s neither a 70s television detective or a porn star. He did, however, possess a career scoring average of 8.2 points per game. Oh, and take one guess as to whether he was on that ’77 team. Verdict: Undeserved.

20- Maurice Lucas. Played a total of four and a half years in Portland, one of which was a farewell tour at the end of his career. Did score over 20 points per game in two of those seasons, and averaged 21.2 points in the ’77 playoffs. But if two 20+ point scoring seasons are a jersey retirement threshold, then make room for a Ben Gordon jersey retirement in Chicago. Verdict: Undeserved.

22- Clyde Drexler. Won’t argue this one. He’s in.

30- Bob Gross. I think you know where I stand by now.

30- Terry Porter. In the late 80s, he was one of the premier point guards in the league. I’m cool with him getting it.

32- Bill Walton. Only played four years in Portland, but averaged a double-double the whole time, including the ridiculous stat line of 18.6 points, 14.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.2 blocks per game in the championship season. Vedict: He’s in.

36- Lloyd Neal. Career averages of 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds. Come on. Verdict: Undeserved.

45- Geoff Petrie. He deserves a retired number if for no other reason people still consider him a terrific GM despite driving the Sacramento Kings into the ground. Amazingly, Portland retired his number despite not being on the ’77 team. Only played six years in the league, all with Portland, but has a career average of 21.8 points per game. Verdict: I’ll be nice and give him the nod.

77- Jack Ramsay. You’ll never believe this, but he was the head coach for that ’77 team. Verdict: Nope.

So the final tally is 12 retired jerseys, only four of whom really deserve it. The irony is, of those four, only one was on that beloved ’77 team. I know it goes to the whole “the whole being greater than the sum of its part” idea, but only one player on that team truly deserved the individual number. If they wanted that ’77 team to be honored, they should have retired the number 77 and brought everyone back for one big ceremony.

Because now they’ve painted themselves into a corner. What do they do with the players from that late 90s team who didn’t win a title, and were universally hated, but who were great players? Will Damon Stoudamire, the team’s second best point guard of all-time behind Porter, get his number up there? What about Rasheed Wallace- certainly he was a much better number 30 than Bobby Gross.

Honestly, Portland’s obsession with that ’77 team is like an average guy who takes home a smoking hot chick, and spends the rest of his life reliving the night to his buddies. Enough is enough already.

Stay Classy, Andy Kennedy

Unintential comedy found itself a new member of the troupe. It’s Ole Miss basketball coach, Andy Kennedy. For starters, read this story.

The real gem of this situation can be found in the Clarion Ledger’s story about Kennedy and the Ole Miss-Louisville game tonight. Here’s the link.

My favorite parts are the following:

“For Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy, the first month of the basketball season has been about pushing, prodding, mixing and matching, trying to figure out what makes this excruciatingly young team perform at its best.”

Apparently, punching a cab driver and using racial slurs is the latest in Kennedy’s line of unorthodox tries at motivating his team.

“It's a real team and I think their coach (Rick Pitino) has won a couple," Kennedy said with a wry smile. "They'll have a pretty good game plan will be my guess.”

No word on whether the cab driver was part of Pitino’s plan to undermine the Ole Miss coach.

"I feel pretty confident every night with what Chris and David are going to give us," Kennedy said. "That doesn't mean I always like it. They've got some issues. But I feel pretty good about what they're going to give us. Everybody else on our roster - everybody - I don't have a clue."

I wonder what Coach Kennedy does when Chris and David do something that he doesn’t like. Do they get punched in the face as well, or is that simply reserved for the taxi driving profession? If Kennedy thinks that his players have issues, I’m scared.

My favorite is that Kennedy says that he doesn’t have a clue what the rest of the roster will give him. I guess he was including himself. If you read between the lines, Kennedy was really saying, “I have no idea what the rest of the roster will give us. Maybe they’ll go out and get drunk and assault a cab driver. Maybe they’ll make use some racial slurs and get arrested. I just don’t know, ok!”

"This is why you work so hard," Kennedy said. "This is why you come to an SEC school - for the games such as this. National television. A national stage. One of the most storied programs in all of college basketball."

Something tells me that this is the complete opposite of why the players would come to an SEC school. Then again, I don't assault cab drivers, so what do I know?

Chris

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

You're Not the Only One Taking Crazy Pills



I hate to harp on other people’s poor decisions and come across like a snarky know-it-all, but, well, I am, and there’s lot of stupid people out there.

I’ve tried to let the Georgetown-Memphis basketball game pass me by without a rant. Of course, immediately after the game was over I engaged in pissed off phone calls with a friend, my brother, and then, a face-to-face bitching session with my sister over Tyreke Evans. I thought those three conversations would let off enough steam to leave old Tyreke alone. But then, I read today that Evans was named the Conference USA co-Rookie of the Week for his performance in the Georgetown game. The reasoning was that he had 20 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Sure, that statline sounds good, but even Derek Zoolander could tell you that Evans sucked it up and ruined any Tigers chance of winning. If Evans gets an award for the Georgetown game, we might as well give George W. Bush the “Best President Ever” ribbon for the last 8 years.

Why am I pouring on Tyreke? Why doesn’t he deserve any recognition for putting up 20 and 7? I’ll start with the basics. While Evans had 20 points, he shot 8-24 from the field and 1-5 from deep. 33% from the field? Are you kidding me? Screw his stupid 7 rebounds, he’d of had to pull down 10 offensive rebounds just to make up for the 16 shots he missed. Three assists and 3 steals is fair for the starting shooting guard, but when you turn the ball over 5 times and spend the majority of the 2nd half in foul trouble, let’s just go ahead and say that you aren’t doing so hot.

To top all this off, the Tigers were still in the game until it came down to crunch time. Then, for some unbeknownst reason, we keep giving the ball to the chucker, and he throws up crappy shot after crappy shot. As a matter of fact, in the last 9 minutes of the game (4 minutes regulation, 5 minutes overtime), Evans shot 1-10 from the field and attempted 0 free throws. I hadn’t seen a worse performance from a freshman since Breckin Meyer in Road Trip. And you know what, the only saving grace from the loss was that at least people would be able to see that Evans is a chucker, a shooting guard without a shot, has a basketball IQ of absolute 0 and is making his draft stock slip faster than, well, any stock these days. But no, these things aren’t realized, the guy is winning awards. CBS named him player of the game, and C-USA gives him Rookie of the Week. Shoot me now.

Chris

Monday, December 15, 2008

Has-Been Deserves Chance to Play



Is this what Memphis Grizzlies beat writer Ron Tillery does, befriend the old veteran on the Grizz and then write articles each year saying that player deserves a chance to play?

Last year, how many Damon Stoudamire buyout articles did we have to read? It should’ve been one blurb: Stoudamire released by Grizzlies. That’s it. Instead, Grizz fans had to suffer through numerous Tillery articles detailing the veteran players desire to have more minutes, play for a contender, etc. It didn’t matter that Stoudamire was broken and was never able to contribute, that he’s out of the league as we speak.

So what do we get now? The Grizzlies should give Antoine Walker a buyout, give him a chance to play, etc. And why should the Grizz do that? They owe Walker something? Walker really thinks he’s got something left to offer a team?

Tillery says, “Why hold a capable and passionate player prisoner when the team has no use for him?"

I didn’t realize that Walker was being held prisoner. Which prison pays you $9 million again? And if he’s such a capable player, why aren’t teams making on offer for him? He’s just like Stoudamire, a player with too much pride to admit that his skills have declined, that the game has passed him by. Once again, I’ve wasted my time reading an article about how some grizzled old vet is owed a release and a chance to play. Walker can leave the Grizz anytime he likes, he’ll just have to forfeit a big chunk of his paycheck, which of course, he doesn’t want to do. If Walker wants to prove doubters wrong and show that he can still play, you can give up a few million for it. Otherwise, enjoy being one of the highest paid bench players in the league. There’s worse things in life, you know, like being a real prisoner.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Don't Get Mad at Us Pop, It's Your Fault



Last week I wrote an anti-Corey Maggette screed that ended with me claiming that “no smart front office would go near him”. Then the next day I saw an article on Hoopshype where Gregg Popovich was discussing their failed attempt to land Maggette during the offseason.

Never mind that Maggette choosing Golden State over San Antonio tells you all you need to know about him, the whole thing is mind-boggling- the Spurs went after Maggette?

Obviously I missed that little tidbit when I was moving across the country over the summer (along with the memo about it still being fashionable for women to wear those ridiculous oversized sunglasses), but initially I couldn’t believe the Spurs could be so dumb as to go after Maggette. Sure, he can fill it up, and the Spurs could use a consistent wing scorer, but he does so at the expense of his teammates. How could the Spurs, the class of the league, go after Maggette?

Then it occurred to me- are the Spurs really that smart? And the answer, well, it’s debatable.

Yeah, they struck it rich with Tim Duncan. And Manu Ginobili was a terrific choice. As was Tony Parker. But, uh, isn’t that about it?

And while people laud the Spurs for being patient with Parker, they really weren’t. Early in his career Popovich treated him like Oprah treats a buffet. And early on, the Spurs were ready to dump Parker to sign Jason Kidd for a max contract. While Kidd hadn’t yet deteriorated like he has now and could have maybe led the Spurs to their later titles, Parker has been the better fit. Kidd has nowhere near his speed, and Parker’s ability to penetrate is what opens up easy shots for Duncan and Ginobili. Not to mention that he has another 8-10 good years left. Dumping Parker for Kidd would have been like dumping Kristen Bell for Nicole Kidman. Yeah, Kidman’s got a few good years left, but Bell’s upside is much, much higher.

And while the Spurs deserve credit for their home-grown Big Three, they haven’t really done anything to build for their future.

Look, you can’t argue with the results, 4 titles in 10 years is a run anyone would kill for.

But sooner or later the wheels will come off, and there won’t be a plan in place to keep them at a high level. Instead of grooming young players into the system and letting them learn, their supporting casts have been veterans near the end of their careers- Robert Horry, Michael Finley, Brent Barry, etc. They’ve refused to go into the luxury tax, so draft picks have been sold off or spent on European players who never make the jump.

If you look at Detroit, while I’ve always considered Joe Dumars to be overrated, he’s done a good job of bringing in young players to learn the system, and guys like Rodney Stuckey, Amir Johnson and Jason Maxiell will be contributors when Iverson, Wallace and Hamilton are gone.

But the Spurs don’t think that way. Big men tend to go off a cliff, and while Duncan is a smart enough player to find ways to be effective as he gets older, pretty soon there’s bound to be a drop. Ginobili’s already shown wear and tear, and who can blame him? All that flopping onto a hard surface has to be hard on the back.

Once those guys start brining diminishing returns, where will that leave the Spurs? San Antonio isn’t the type of city marquee free agents will flock to, and they aren’t likely to land another Tim Duncan in the draft again.

The reality for the Spurs is that it’s going to be hard for this team to stay with the Lakers right now. It’s getting to a point where they need to plan ahead and stop relying on plucking guys like Roger Mason off the scrap heap to scrape by.

But they’ve shown no inclination, or ability, to do that.

Graham

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's That Time of Year

The Christmas season is upon us. It’s the perfect time to build a fire, drink some eggnog and watch movies. Here’s my top 5 Christmas movies.

5. Scrooged
It’s hard to go wrong with Bill Murray as the asshole anti-Christmas boss, plus it’s got such ‘80s movie all-stars as the chick from Raiders of the Lost Ark, the mom from License to Drive and the funny-talking guy from Police Academy. Also, I’d pay a lot of money to watch a movie called The Night the Reindeer Died that is referenced in this clip.



4. Bad Santa
An alcoholic, philandering thief doubling as Santa Claus. Sign me up. Could there be a worse Santa than Billy Bob Thornton? And by worse, I mean, more awesome. And his friend might be the best elf in history, topping even Will Ferrell. This clip says it all.



3. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Clark Griswold’s third movie and quite possibly, his finest. The inept Dad hopes to save Christmas despite an influx of in-laws and a work bonus replaced by a jelly of the month membership (the gift that keeps on giving the whole year). Every time Randy Quaid speaks, I crack up. (Bonus points for appearances by a pre-Elaine Julia Louis-Dreyfus).



2. Home Alone
A tried and true classic. I probably like this movie a bit more than the rest considering I was the target demographic (10-year-old boy, natch) when it came out. While the movie was popular, isn’t this Joe Pesci’s most surprising role? I mean, he’s whacking people in Goodfellas one minute, and he’s in a slapstick Christmas comedy the next. By the way, I was watching this the other day and noticed that there was a Bulls sticker and Michael Jordan poster in one of the rooms, and then on the other wall, there was an Isiah Thomas poster. They lived in Chicago. Did anyone in Chicago in 1990 claim to be both a Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas fan? How pathetic is it that I found this to be the most unrealistic aspect of the movie, as opposed to the 7,000 pranks that would never work in reality?



1. A Christmas Story
Ralphie and his red rider BB gun. The leg lamp. Oh fudge. Flick’s tounge. Randy showing everyone how little piggies eat. I can’t even begin to rationally discuss the hilarity. (By the way, did you know that the actor that played Flick went on to star in adult films? Talk about a family comedy gone awry. This would be like The Jonas Brothers starring in all-male films in 20 years. Let’s move on.) Here’s a decently funny remix.




Chris

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Are You Ready for Some Fishing?



I’m a fantasy addict. Everyone that knows me, or even reads this blog, can probably tell. I’ve managed to cut down to 5 fantasy football teams this year, which is my lowest total in years. I’ve got 2 fantasy basketball teams. I even play fake fantasy sports on whatifsports.com. I also competed in 2 college football pick’ems, which is pretty close to fantasy sports as well. It’s at least in the same ball park. I had a fantasy baseball team as well, even though I never watched a baseball game from start to finish. It’s safe to say, if there’s a fantasy sport out there, I’ll try it. At least, that’s what I thought. Then I came across this.

Fantasy Bass Fishing

Are you serious?

First off, I know that fishing is popular in the sense that people like to get in a boat, go out there with a buddy and kick back a few Pabst Blue Ribbon and enjoy the peace and quiet. I get that.

Second, I understand that sport fishing is cool if you live near the ocean, because what man doesn’t want to catch a shark? The same type that doesn’t like football and spends too much time reading comic books, I guess. (Zing, Adam!)

But fantasy bass fishing? Maybe I’m showing my ignorance, but I didn’t know there was a bass pro circuit. I guess I thought that maybe there were fishing tournaments from time to time, but I didn’t know there were actual professional fishermen. And even if there were professional fisherman, I didn’t know that this sport was so popular as to elicit a fantasy game on ESPN.com. I know there’s a ton of fantasy games out there, as I’ve competed in 2 Celebrity Death pools, but is fantasy bass fishing really popular enough to find itself on the Worldwide Leader in Sports?

ESPN.com’s advertisement for fantasy fishing says, “Play for prizes -- or just bragging rights.” I love to think about the bragging rights that come with fantasy fishing. I can just see the following message board post happening:

Hey Dave, my boy LeRoy Davidson just caught a 15 pound bass in the Natural Light Arkansas Bass Fishing Classic. I’m totally killing you in pounds. Way to go with Jimmy “the Jimmster” Clankston again this weekend. The only thing he’s caught is herpes. The only pounds in his boat are in his beer belly. Maybe next weekend you’ll get a real fisherman.

It gets even better. ESPN.com offers “Free Bassmaster text alerts to your phone! All the news – as it happens.” Is someone out there using this service? Are they sitting at home in the middle of a Rocky marathon and getting text updates for bass fishing as the breaking news happens? What breaking news is there, that some dude caught a fish? Is fishing such a fast-paced sport that you need text updates? How many updates would you get during a fishing tournament? 1? 2? Are there fishing injuries? Do you get updates for that? Do you get updates if your fantasy fisherman is too hungover to compete? Am I’m out of questions? Yes I am.

Chris

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tell Patrick Willis This Isn't Violent

I have a friend who started to complain when the conversation shifted to football at a party on Saturday night. He's not a sports fan and was lamenting that talking about sports is boring. As an MMA fan, I told him that he should, at the very least, like football as it's just as violent. He replied that it wasn't really that violent and that the hard hits didn't occur often enough. I submit this clip of a hit I saw yesterday as my rebuttal.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Let's Ram It

Thanks to my friend Jorge for sending this to me. This video brings about tons of questions and commentary.



1. Why don’t they make professional sports team music videos anymore? How come this was only done in the ‘80s? Seriously, with the viral industry out there now, couldn’t teams become instantly hilarious and famous with some mock videos like this?

2. Did anyone on the set think that it might be a bad idea to put a bunch of dudes in tights on a set and start singing, “Ram it!”?

3. I like how one of the players sings, “Nobody dresses sweeter” and then it shows him wearing the exact same Rams uniform as every other player. How exactly is his uniform sweeter than the rest? I’m confused.

4. Remember, the redneck from W.V.A. says, “You can ram it all day and ram it all night.” No question needed.

5. Were some of these players really into this and thought it was good, while others were immediately embarrassed? Who wrote the song? Did they drink themselves into a stupor afterwards because they were so ashamed, or did they use it as a pick up line, “Yeah, I’m a musician. I just got done on the set of ‘Let’s Ram It,’ with the L.A. Rams. It’s going to be huge. No big deal.”

6. At the 2:32 mark, the Carlton dance was invented. Talk about an epic moment.

7. One of the guys claims, “With shades on I can catch BBs in the dark.” Did they tried to film a scene of him doing this, only it ended badly. I want to watch one of the Rammers catch a BB in the dark. Wait, is that a euphemism? Let’s move on.

8. How come you can tell every white guy is reading a teleprompter? Oh yeah, cause we have no rhythm.

9. Remember, if you “Ram it just right, you can ram it all night.” Sounds like a perfect senior quote to me.

10. Number 21 is the worst dancer of all-time. I’m glad that’s settled.

I don’t think this song will ever get out of my head.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Screw You Mike and Chris, er, Drake and Josh

I have two Grizzlies season tickets and my fiancée has night class two nights a week and works two nights a week. Thus, if a Grizzlies game falls on one of these four nights, I usually ask a friend or my father to attend the game with me.

There’s a game coming up on Friday and I asked two of my friends to attend. My friend Mike simply told me he was busy. My friend Chris told me that he was attending a Drake and Josh watch party with Mike. I inquired, “What’s Drake and Josh?” I was told that it was a Nickelodeon show and that it was awesome.

Am I really 28 years old? I didn’t think that I’d ever get dumped for a Nickelodeon show, unless of course, I started hanging out with middle-schoolers. I have friends, in their twenties, that are going to spend their Friday night watching a show with the following premise (from Wikipedia):

“Drake & Josh focuses around the lives of Drake Parker and Josh Nichols, two teenagers who become stepbrothers when Drake's mother, Audrey Parker-Nichols and Josh's father, Walter Nichols, got married. Drake is portrayed as an easygoing, simple, lucky teenager, while Josh is a smart, unlucky and unpopular teenager. They are often irritated by Drake's pre-teen sister, Megan Parker, who is evil to Drake and Josh. She never gets in trouble because she acts innocent around her parents. Walter, Josh's father, can be described as unlucky and clumsy, like Josh, and an outdated meteorologist, and Audrey, Drake and Megan's mom, is more strict than Walter, and is lucky and easygoing, like Drake. She is the only person in the family unaware of the torture they go through with Megan, as Walter begins to realize Megan is truly evil in seasons 3 and 4. Throughout the series, Drake and Josh go through many conflicts, misadventures, and misfortunes. The conflicts are mainly social, others include school, work and Megan, their devious "evil" sister.”

If this above description wasn’t enough to help you choose a side in this fight, here’s a clip from the movie my friends plan on watching Friday night.



Seriously, I have friends that are planning a Friday night around this? I would’ve accepted the fact that my friends didn’t want to attend the game for a multitude of reasons, but this isn’t acceptable. Do I stop talking to them? Do we reject their man card? Their adult card? How has my life come to this? Did I do something wrong?

First off, even if my friends liked this show, which is beyond comprehension, couldn’t they just record it and watch it later? Would you ever tell someone you watched it? Second, I could understand if they were fond of this show because they grew up watching it, but it was on TV from 2004-2007. They were watching this show in their twenties, not their teens. Lastly, how much money would it take for you to watch this show? If someone offered me $50 to watch this on Friday night, I’d politely decline, saying that my dignity is worth at least $75.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Winter Classic

Now that winter it upon is, it's time to watch this classic youtube clip to get us into the holiday spirit.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

ESPN.com's Streaking Game

ESPN.com has a promotion called “Streak for the Cash.” If a person can correctly predict 25 straight sporting outcomes, they win $1 million. Most of the choices to pick from are the major sporting events of the day (baseball, basketball, football, hockey, soccer, etc.) with a few random things thrown in from time to time (Presidential election, MMA, which player will score more points, etc.).

Yesterday, one of the people had reached 24 straight correct predictions. One more correct prediction and he wins $1 million. He picked the Green Bay Packers to defeat the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football. Can you imagine having to sit around all day waiting for the game to start, knowing that you’re one victory away from being a millionaire? What special kind of torture is that? Did this guy go to work? Did he just sit at home and stare at his Packers prediction and debate changing it?

Last Christmas Eve I brought a certain lack of joy to our family gathering because my fantasy football stud Brandon Marshall was having a bad game and it was going to make me lose our Fantasy Football Championship, giving me the 2nd place winnings of $150 instead of $400. I was pissed and inconsolable over a difference of $250. I can’t imagine what I’d be doing when Aaron Rodgers was throwing interceptions last night and my $1 million was going down the drain.

I think ESPN.com should do a documentary on the next person to reach 24. I want them to follow the person around for the 24 hours leading up to his final prediction. I want cameras watching his every move during the game. Do you think he’d injure a cameraman midway through the game when his prediction was about to go up in flames? Would he even watch the game, or just go hide in a movie theater for a couple of hours? Is he watching by himself, or does he have a $1 million party with all his friends over? When exactly does that party end? Are friendships destroyed when he starts kicking his dog and punching his TV? Do you think last night’s loser is on his way to Aaron Rodgers house to kill him as we speak? I need to know these things. I need to know because I want to make sure I’m not the only lunatic out there.

Also, as a side note, Rocking the Suburbs might not be bringing the thunder as consistently over the next week or two. I’ll be in a turkey/football coma on Thursday and out of town after that. Also, Graham got a part-time job (as a male escort) so he’ll have to figure out how to prioritize the following: job, wife, child, Wii, watching sports, bathing, drinking, blogging. I think blogging will come before wife and child, but after Wii and drinking.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Rocking the Suburbs Upcoming Book Preview

Ever since Kramer came out with a coffee table book about coffee tables, I've had an idea of my own sitting in the back of my mind, right next to subconscious thoughts of Cheetos and my 7th birthday. When I saw the below book had come out, I knew it was time to unleash my own book idea.



Below is a pictorial preview of my upcoming book, "Homoerotic Sports."


This is before A-Rod met Madonna. I can't say he upgraded.


He dropped the soap.


I've missed your scent, Tim Duncan.


This is payback for Grossman raping Bears fans in the Super Bowl.


This isn't even homoerotic. It's just homo.


I think this pictures answers that question. Kapono is the S and Redick is the M.


Who said soccer didn't have enough scoring?


I can't say this one suprised me at all.


Now that's what I call man-to-man defense.

That's all for now. We'll have our second pictorial preview out before the book hits the shelves.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

From the Archives




I have a friend who just moved into a condo and is having trouble getting Comcast to install his cable. It reminded me of all the Comcast problems I had about a year ago. Below is what I wrote concerning Comcast last December.

I suppose I expect too much out of companies, and that’s why I get upset when my heightened expectations aren’t realized. Maybe my dealings with Comcast aren’t their fault, like I think they are. It’s my fault, for expecting them to provide unreal services that are too difficult to meet, such as:
• providing the service that I requested and am willing to pay for,
• having common sense trump bureaucratic policies,
• putting the customer first, or at the very least,
• making sure that they retain the customer so that they can make money.

Let me tell you about my dealings with Comcast over the past few weeks.

I’m in the process of moving, and was aware that it usually took about a week or two between when you ordered cable service and when it could be installed. Being a devout TV user, I called Comcast roughly two weeks ago and order both their cable TV service and high-speed Internet so that it could be installed as close to my move in date of December 15. While on the phone with the Comcast rep, who we’ll call “Clueless,” I told them I would need one High Definition Digital Video Recorder (HD-DVR) for the house. “Clueless” quotes me the prices, I write them down, we scheduled a time for the installation, and everything seemed to be on the up and up. With Comcast, things are obviously not what they seem.

Comcast appeared to want my business, and wanted me to be at home waiting on them, as they called me Saturday night to confirm that someone would be home for the installation on Monday. They also called twice on Monday, double and triple checking to make sure someone would be at home. I told them that someone would be there.

The Comcast installation guy, who I’ll call “No Help,” arrived at my house and my girlfriend answered the door. I was in the midst of washing wood finishing off my hands thanks to my girlfriend making me move a table that was still drying. Thanks! While washing my hands, I hear my girlfriend call me and say, “Chris, you deal with this. I can’t handle Comcast!” (She already had a previous bad experience with Comcast. By bad experience, I mean making 50+ phone calls over a 3 month span trying to get $150 back that was owed to her.)

I go and meet with “No Help” and ask what the dilemma is. He tells me that there were no more HD-DVRs in the warehouse. I ask him what he brought, and he tells me that he brought neither an HD-DVR nor a DVR, but merely a regular cable box. This simply would not do! TV without DVR isn’t TV, it’s the stone age as far as I’m concerned. He might as well have brought a stone tablet with some hieroglyphics (yes, I had to spell check that) for all I cared.

Me being the quick thinker, I told “No Help” not to worry, I had a solution. My brother recently moved and wanted me to turn in his HD-DVR for him when the Comcast rep (“No Help”) came to my house. I told “No Help” that, although inept, not all was lost. I told him to simply hook my brother’s HD-DVR to my TV and all would be forgiven. Problem solved, crisis averted, sweet precious cable would soon be flowing through my new house and all the starving kids in India would be fed. Did I mention that I was dealing with Comcast?

“No Help” informs me that he can’t hook up my brother’s HD-DVR to my TV because my brother’s account is still active. I quickly dial up my kin and tell him to cancel his Comcast account. He informs me that he tried to cancel in the a.m., and they told him that he had to turn in his HD-DVR in order to cancel the account. Not wanting to bother the good man at work, I asked for my brother’s social security number and decided to call Comcast on his behalf. I called Comcast, explained that I wanted to cancel the account and turn the HD-DVR into “No Help”, and then “No Help” would hook the HD-DVR up to the TV. The lady on the phone, who we’ll call “Stupid Face,” told me that the only way to cancel the account would be to turn the box into a Comcast store. I said to “Stupid Face,” “So I have to go and turn this HD-DVR into Comcast, and then they’ll simply hand it right back to me and I can then have it hooked up to my TV.” “Stupid Face” replied, “well, they won’t give you the same HD-DVR.” I asked her how they would be able to give me another HD-DVR when “No Help” said they were all out. “Stupid Face” informed me that she was unaware that they were out of HD-DVRs, that they must not have been told yet. Shocking!

So I put “Stupid Face” and all of Comcast to the test. The goal of any company is to make money. Sure, everyone likes to think that the customer is king and all that BS, but the goal is, and will always be, to make money. Since I, the customer, am the one giving Comcast, the devil, money, then they should accommodate me. I tell “Stupid Face” that she can either figure out a way to have the box that is SITTING IN MY LIVING ROOM attached to my TV for HD-DVR goodness, or she can cancel all of the services I’ve ordered and lose me as a customer forever. She said there was nothing she could do. I don’t know why I thought “Stupid Face” could accommodate and I hung up the phone.

I told “No Help” to cancel everything. He looked a bit scared after witnessing all of the drama, and of hearing of my girlfriend’s desire to blow up every Comcast location. I promptly drove to the Comcast location in Germantown, since I knew the one in East Memphis would be overflowing with customers and short on workers, and turned in my brother’s HD-DVR.

I’ve since ordered high-speed Internet through Bell South and have Direct TV coming on Saturday. Everyone I’ve talked to has had problems with Comcast and yet they continue to thrive in this market. Ultimately, the consumer has to decide to make the extra effort to get what is fair. Most people “settle” for Comcast and their sub par service because they assume that it’s easy to get everything in one package and because it’s the standard, or they had service with Time Warner and have continued to use Comcast because it’s already installed. While my revolution might not be on the same level as George Washington, I’ve taken my stand against Comcast and urge the dissatisfied Comcast customers out there to do the same.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Real Men of Genius




I’ve got a person to nominate for the Bud Light Real Men of Genius.

Here’s to you Coach Calling Timeouts When Your Team is Down Three Touchdowns Late In the 4th Quarter. Most coaches would just throw in the towel, admitting your team stinks and it’s time to hit the showers. But not you Coach, you’re in this for the long haul. It doesn’t matter that your team had gotten the shit kicked out them for last three hours. It’s time to make these last two minutes count.

Specifically, this goes to St. Louis Rams head coach Jim Haslett for almost giving me an aneurism yesterday afternoon. For the 2nd straight week, my fantasy football team was in a nail-biting affair. I was winning by 3 points and my opponent only had Donnie Avery of St. Louis left. The Rams throw a touchdown with 1:56 left in the game to make the score 35-16. You’d think that Haslett would simply kick off, let the 49ers run out the clock and everyone goes home.

Not good ole’ Jim, he uses all three of his timeouts just so his team can get the ball back with 1:38 left. What’s the f’ing point Jim? Do you have a secret 20-point passing play that will win you the game? For the next 1:38 I have to pray to the fantasy football gods that Donnie Avery doesn’t have 1 catch for 7 yards or else I’m toast. It was unbearable. Then, when Avery catches the ball 30 seconds left I know I’m screwed if not for some random 49er tackling him for no gain. I won my game by 3 points, no thanks to Jim.

Then again, my fantasy football team has been suffering ever since Steven Jackson was injured in the 4th quarter of a blowout win over Dallas because Haslett was too stupid to take out his star player to avoid him getting injured. My only theory is that Haslett doesn’t know how to read a scoreboard. To think he knows the score and does these moronic things is too much for me to handle.

Also, as a side note, congrats to Graham for losing his fantasy basketball matchup last week. Sorry I had to take your team down. I was cheering for John Salmons to save the day.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What Sucks Worse: The AFI or Lord of the Rings?

The American Film Institute updated their 100 Greatest Movies in 2007 without much fanfare. I say there wasn’t much fanfare simply because I didn’t hear about it.

I’ve got a bone to pick with this list. Actually, I could probably rant about 75 different things but I’m going to stick to the 5 major travesties that have occurred.

1. Where the hell is Cool Hand Luke? Seriously, this isn’t one of the 100 greatest films of all time? Snow White is ranked 34 and Cool Hand Luke isn’t even ranked. It’s not even the 100th best movie of all-time? It can’t even crack that number? I’d put it in the top 10. Then again, I’d have to sacrifice by moving Lawrence of Arabia. I think I’ll live.

2. The Lord of the Rings is ranked. The Lord of the Rings? I’d love to rant about how terrible this movie is and the fact that it shouldn’t even make the list of the Top 5 million movies ever made, but why repeat what’s already been said? Watch the first two minutes of this clip for the definitive Lord of the Rings summary. Also, Graham finally gets to watch two minutes of Clerks 2 even though he’s already slammed it.




3. The Shawshank Redemption is ranked 72. It wasn’t even ranked at all when the list originally came out. Shawshank should also be in the top 10. I’d put it number 1. Here’s a list of some of the movies that are ranked better than Shawshank: Nashville (unwatchable), Rocky (Adrianne!), Lord of the Rings (see above), E.T., and Star Wars. Anyone that says Lord of the Rings is better than Shawshank Redepemption should be shot. It’s that simple. I can’t even talk. And Graham hasn’t even seen Shawshank. WTF?

4. Where the hell is The Sting? No Cool Hand Luke and no The Sting? Do these guys just hate Paul Newman or something? Did he sleep with all of the voters’ wives and husbands? Do they hate his non-profit salad dressing? Do they know what good movies are? Titanic and Toy Story are better movies than this? What crack are these people smoking? I’d rather be stuck on the Titanic while it’s going down than watch that movie again.

5. Eighteen of the Top 50 movies were made before 1950. Other than movies and books, name another genre that praises the outdated more than the current. Oh wait, religion. I get it with books because timeless stories exist and the first person to write it goes down in history. I understand that movies like to view themselves the same way, but they aren’t. The technology used to make some of the great films just didn’t exist a long time ago. Now, I don’t want to pull a Graham here and badmouth movies that I’ve never seen, but I just can’t imagine that a movie made in 1916 is one of the greatest of all time. I just don’t see it. Maybe I should go rent Intolerance and give it a chance. Then again, the same people that ranked this movie 49th also made the above four mistakes, so why bother?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Blue Collar Fighter

As all of our readers (family members) know, I'm not a big fan of the Kid Rock song "Warrior" used by the National Guard. I saw this gem of a video last week prior to watching the delighful Zack and Miri.



Instead of breaking this video down like I did with "Warrior," I decided to become a songwriter instead. If the National Guard can use Kid Rock and 3 Doors Down for their videos, I think this song is right up their alley. If anyone out there has musical talents, I'm willing to sing lead on this song when we decide to lay it down. Without further ado, Rocking the Suburbs presents to you, "Blue Collar Fighter."

Blue Collar Fighter

They call on me to save the world from time to time
I do my duty proudly crossing enemy lines
When it’s all over I go back to work at the mill
Spend time with my wife, drink a beer and just chill

I’m a blue collar fighter, husband, provider
I watch the game on Sundays, kill insurgents on Mondays
Don’t ever mess with my family or nation
Cause I’ll be bringing the pain sensation

My boys and me are just regular guys
Who punch the clock and work the ole’ 9-5
But when Uncle Sam has a war to fight
We don’t bother asking whether it’s wrong or right

I’m a blue collar fighter, husband, provider
I watch the game on Sundays, kill insurgents on Mondays
Don’t ever mess with my family or nation
Cause I’ll be bringing the pain sensation

My DNA was installed with the Patriotic gene
Along with Skynnard, NASCAR and Jim Beam
If you don’t agree with me then it’s time you go
Back to Canada with all the draft-dodging hoes

I’m a blue collar fighter, husband, provider
I watch the game on Sundays, kill insurgents on Mondays
Don’t ever mess with my family or nation
Cause I’ll be bringing the pain sensation

Monday, November 10, 2008

The verdict is in: Kevin Smith sucks*



On Saturday my wife asked if I was going to accompany her and my son for some Christmas shopping. I said no, and went to a movie by myself. Cause that's just how I roll.

I decided I needed a laugh, and figured Zack and Miri Make a Porno would turn the trick. Get it? Turn the trick...porn...hello, this thing on?

-crickets chirping-

Anyway, my brief summary of the movie: on the plus side, it wasn't awful. In fact, I was actually engaged with it for the most part. On the down side, it just wasn't terribly funny.

Kevin Smith did do one thing right: hired three very likable actors for the lead roles: Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks and Craig Robinson, who kept the movie from going completely down the toilet. And there was nudity, so make that two things right. But that's about it.

Sitting there, cursing the loss of a much-needed eleven dollars, I began to ponder the question: is Kevin Smith still living off his rep from Clerks, and does he actually just suck as a writer/director?

I went to his imdb page and scanned his director's credits: obviously Clerks is beloved and shot him into the stratosphere. But then it gets iffy. Mallrats wasn't very good, but he bounced back with Chasing Amy. I didn't care much for Dogma, and have only seen half of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. It was amusing, but not great. Jersey Girl was terrible, and I didn't see Clerks 2, but don't remember it getting very good reviews. That's a pretty spotty record.

Yet for some reason, until now every time I heard Kevin Smith had a new movie coming out, I was intrigued and actively sought out the trailer online.

It always seems like I'm waiting for the risk-taking, manic energy in his movies that made Clerks what it was, but always come away disappointed.

The reason, I realize now, is simple: Clerks got a pass. When you judge Clerks, expectations are lower: they shot it on a shoestring budget and nobody knew what they were doing. And instead of being terrible, it was actually pretty good. But since "actually pretty good" was about 1000 times better than what most people expected of that movie, it got confused with actually being a great movie, when it's really not.

But now that Smith gets a decent budget and can land actors with name recognition, the bar is raised. Sadly, the quality hasn't gone up with it. Really, he peaked with Clerks and the lowered expectations, and just can't recapture that buzz.

Of course, luckily for Smith he's still going at a time when comedy in movies is on life support- if not for Judd Apatow, where would the genre be right now? Jim Carrey went off the deep end and has never made it back. Adam Sandler and Will Ferrell have made enough bad decisions between them to stall their careers.

The decline in the quality of comedy has gone down, but people still want to laugh. People will always want to laugh. So because of that, Kevin Smith will continue to make mediocre movies. I, however, won't be there for them.

-Graham

*This is not endorsed by Chris, whatsoever.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Either/Or Campaign




The Grizzlies are a mere 5 games into the season and possess a 2-3 record. The young team has surprised just about everyone with their strong defensive play and their ability to stay competitive and scrappy, even on the road.

However, there’s one item I’d like to see change. I stayed up late Wednesday night to watch the valiant Grizzlies fourth quarter comeback against the Kings but couldn’t help being frustrated watching the end the 3rd quarter. At the 7:35 mark of the 3rd quarter, Greg Buckner entered the game and joined Quinton Ross. For the rest of the quarter, as both defensive specialists were in the game, the Grizzlies shot a combined 4-12 from the floor and were outscored by 4 points. While being outscored by 4 points over the course of 7 minutes isn’t unheard of, it could prove to be the difference in the game. If the Grizz had outscored the Kings by 4 in this stretch of time, they would’ve entered the 4th quarter down a mere 5 points instead of 13. Now I know there’s a lot of ifs in the game of basketball and you can’t pinpoint the loss on one thing like this. However, the young Grizzlies margin for error on the road is especially small and any advantage that can be gained needs to be capitalized on.

For this reason, I’m starting the either/or campaign. The either/or campaign is quite simple. Play either Quinton Ross or Greg Buckner, but please, for the sake of offense, don’t play them at the same time. I have nothing against either player and fully understand the need for a defensive specialist to be in the game especially when a player like Kevin Martin is torching your starters. I just can’t see the need to have two defensive specialists in at the same time. I understand that both Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo were in foul trouble and needed to sit for most of the 3rd quarter. However, in situations like this, I think that either Marko Jaric or Javaris Crittenton should be the compliment to Ross rather than Buckner. Jaric is a better long distance shooter and Crittenton is a better slasher. Buckner and Ross combined to shoot 2-8 on Wednesday. For the season, they’re both shooting under 30%. Given the Grizzlies early season offensive struggles, it might be time to choose one either/or.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Remembering the Circus



I wish I had something profound to say about last night's election, but that isn't my thing. I deal mostly in anger and sarcasm. I'm just glad America got it right.

But in the midst of the election I almost didn't notice an intriguing NBA matchup tonight: Charlotte at New York. It marks Larry Brown's return to MSG for the first time since being dumped less than a year after signing a $40 million deal to coach the Knicks. In that one year the team tanked, and he feuded publicly with Stephon Marbury and Isiah Thomas.

The 2005-06 Knicks might have been my favorite NBA team in recent memory. Every day I'd come into work and check the New York Post's web site for that day's Knicks-trionics, and I was never disappointed. Brown bitching about Marbury. Marbury bitching about Brown. Brown bitching about Isiah. Isiah bitching about Brown. Marbury and Isiah standing strong to the bitter end.

Brown eventually got the boot, but the reality is he came out on top. Yeah, his reputation took a hit, but he got a nice buyout, a couple years off, and is back as a head coach again, even if it is with the Bobcats.

As shocking as the public hatred between all of them was, even after Brown left things somehow got even more bizarre.

James Dolan made Isiah the coach and announced during a live television interview that he was already on the hot seat, which judging by Isiah's facial expression was the first he'd heard of it.

Then Marbury went on live television, and gave a bizarre interview where it was thought he was drunk or high, took a phone call, and may have referred to his wife as a ho.

Amazingly, that wasn't even the worst part of their summer. Isiah and Marbury were sued for sexual harrassment by a former team executive, with the best part being her claim that Marbury pressured a team intern to sleep with him. The intern took the stand and said the sex took place in was consensual, and came after he asked her if she was getting in his truck (Not known is if Marbury called Kobe Bryant to get the name of his jeweler).

Things bombed on the court, and now both men are in shambles. Marbury is a healthy scratch every night, while Thomas got kicked to an invisible position in the front office, and may have attempted suicide and pinned it on his daughter (stay classy, Isiah).

It's hard to believe that Larry Brown, who is being asked to win NBA games with Adam Morrison and Sean May on his roster, is in the best shape of the three.

The sad thing is, we'll never see a team like that again.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

They Call Me Moron




It’s time for me to vent. And no, I don’t mean vent like the Coors Light commercial suggests. I’m at work so this venting doesn’t involve beer, sadly.

I could spend an eternity discussing how the downfall of society occurred when movie theaters decided to hire Screenvision and Bradford How. However, I don’t have an eternity, I have 45 minutes till my lunch break.

Today I have to rant about the worst possible advertisement/music video I’ve ever seen. It pains me when I have to sit through this in the 5 minutes leading up to the start of my movie. I’m talking about the Kid Rock video/National Guard advertisement that you can see below. (WARNING: You can’t unhear this song.)



Now it’s time to discuss.

My favorite concept of this video is that somehow Kid Rock, Dale Earnhardt Jr., the National Guard and firefighters all have something in common. It’s like a Nike commercial putting Michael Jordan, Gatorade and sweat shops together for their latest ad campaign.

I’m also a big fan of Kid Rock’s patriotic lyrics. And by patriotic, I mean, if you don’t support war, violence and bloodshed, then you’re un-American.

“So don’t tell me who's wrong and right when liberty starts slipping away and if you ain’t gonna fight get out of the way,” Kid Rock says.

I don’t think Kid Rock wants anyone to tell him who’s wrong and right, ever. I’m guessing he’d end up on the wrong side every time. And if I had to pinpoint when America’s “liberty starting slipping away,” I’d put money on the day the Patriot Act was signed. I don't think this is what Kid is talking about however. And yeah, I’m not going to fight. I’m not in the way either. I’m glad we got that settled.

Kid goes on to say, “I'm givin' all of myself cuz that’s what I do.” What the hell has Kid Rock given? He shot a music video for the National Guard? Way to go! Why don’t you volunteer and head over to Iraq? Don’t worry, I’m not going to get in your way. I think that might be giving a little bit more of yourself, but that’s just me.

My favorite part of the video occurs at the 1:30 mark. Here comes the big, bad National Guard cruising the streets of whatever foreign country we’ve decided to invade and a small child happens to run into the street to get his soccer ball. The two guys in the military look at each other and nod their head. These guys know how to handle this situation. It’s time to take off the sunglasses, get down from the armed car, walk over to the soccer ball with gun in hand and kick it back to the kids. Cause that’s what the National Guard does! Too bad they didn’t hand the kid a Big Mac. He’d be an American supporter for life if they had done that! Sarcasm! Loud noises!

Then the video cuts to some National Guardsmen helping out firefighters for about 15 seconds. That was all the time they had for this scene because they had to get to the Dale Earnhardt Jr. race. Because we all know how Dale Earnhardt Jr. winning a NASCAR race is another National Guard principle.

Don’t forget, you can download this song for free here.

Monday, November 3, 2008

RTS to Denver Nuggets: You're idiots




From my Eastern Conference preview a week ago, about the Detroit Pistons:

"So the Pistons lose in the Eastern Finals (again) and Joe Dumars promises big changes. And he does nothing, even though teams would line up for Rasheed Wallace's expiring contract...

...He could easily flip Wallace for a few decent players, add them to the Billups-Hamilton-Prince trio while working in promising youngsters like Rodney Stuckey, Amir Johnson and Jason Maxiell. The Pistons would still have a competitive team, while managing to build for the future at the same time. Instead, he's sticking with the same lineup, one that won't beat Boston, and may not beat Cleveland.

As a Pistons fan, it must be so frustrating. Yeah, you got the one title, but you were a few smart moves away from being a dynasty. Now the team is treading water with the status quo while other teams in the conference catch up fast. It's all going to fall apart soon there."

Hey Joe, uh, my bad.

I always thought Joe Dumars got a little too much credit. He completely blew the 2003 draft, and never did enough to turn his team in a potential dynasty.

But trading for Iverson today is an outstanding move. It works on two fronts: it shakes up a core that was in desperate need of a shakeup. Best case scenario is Iverson is the change they needed to make another title run. Worst case is it flops, the Pistons build around Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Rodney Stuckey, Jason Maxiell and around $36 million when Iverson and Rasheed Wallace's contracts come off the books at the end of the season.

But what really needs to be mentioned here is Denver. If I was a Nuggets season ticket holder, I'd be sending my kid's dirty diapers to their front office.

First they give away Camby in the offseason to save on the luxury tax, a move I could understand. I figured the thinking went like this: the Camby, Carmelo and Iverson core had taken that team as far as it had gone, which was first round playoff exits. So you give away Camby to avoid the tax, let Iverson's contract run out, and start again around Carmelo, or trade him for prospects. It was painful, but I could see a point.

But how does any of this make sense? Iverson was all set to come off the books at the end of the season, and they take on Antonio McDyess, who will be owed almost $7 million next season, and Chauncey Billups, who has three years and almost $40 million left on his deal. Congrats, Denver, you'll have a 35 year-old point guard making $14 million in three years. Ask Dallas how that's working out with Jason Kidd.

Even in the short term, how does this make Denver better? They weren't even close to the Lakers, New Orleans, Utah, Houston or any of the other Western contenders before the trade, and Billups and McDyess sure as hell don't change that.

So they blew whatever financial flexibility they had with the Camby trade on Chauncey Billups. It's mind-bogglingly dumb. Not only do they have less of a future than Francis Bean Cobain, but their short-term is still worse. Frankly, I'd rather take one more run with Camby, Carmelo and Iverson than Carmelo, Billups and McDyess.

The Nuggets managed the rare feat of making themselves worse in both the long and short term. No easy feat.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Point-Counterpoint: Edward Norton vs. Brad Pitt



One of the features we'll be doing regularly here at RTS is a point-counterpoint, where Chris and I debate two sides of an issue. It may include sports, music, or even personal hygiene habits (Graham: I shower every day; Chris: Daily bathing is overrated).

The first installment is trying to determine the finest actor of our generation: Brad Pitt or Edward Norton. Unfortunately, Christopher Mintz-Plasse didn't make the cut.

This won't exactly make for an incendiary intra-blog war, because the reality is you can't go wrong with either. Brad Pitt is a terrific actor. Se7en is one of my favorite movies. Ocean's 11 was a romp (sorry, had to channel my inner pretentious movie critic there), even if Ocean's 12 and 13 were annoying vanity projects. Hell, he was even funny on an episode of Friends, no small feat.

And while the volume of Pitt's body of work far outweighs Edward Norton's, I'm taking Norton.

I first saw him in Primal Fear. Actually, everybody first saw him in Primal Fear. Because according to his IMDB page that was only his second acting gig. No bit parts anywhere, no failed tv pilots, no working his way up the ladder. His second acting gig was a leading part in a very difficult role. Go back and watch the movie: his speech patterns, mannerisms, everything: it's phenomenal. And the way he handled the turn at the end was outstanding.

From there he had a nice part in the otherwise terrible People Vs. Larry Flynt, playing Flynt's put-upon attorney. But next came leading roles in one of the strongest three-movie stretches in any actor's career: Rounders, American History X, and Fight Club. All three are legitimate classics of that time period.

Sadly, the next few years things were kind of dry for him, but in 2002 he did what I'd previously considered impossible: he made a Spike Lee movie - The 25th Hour- enjoyable. It's an outstanding concept for a movie: drug dealer sentenced to jail, and the movie follows him around for the last 24 hours before he has to report to prison. The entire cast is terrific: Philip Seymour Hoffman (who might deserve his own entry in this finest actor debate just for his role in Capote), Barry Pepper (criminally underrated), Rosario Dawson (smokin' hot and a legitimately good actress), and Bryan Cox.

I love this movie. I love Norton in it. The scene where he reconciles with his father. How he interacts with his two best friends, who are polar opposites. How he's not sure if it was his girlfriend who turned him in. The recognition that he alone is responsible for his fate. It baffles me that no one ever talks about this movie, because it's one of the best of the last 10 years, and he's a major reason why.

Granted, since then, the well has run dry. Yeah, the Italian Job was fun, but that's been about it. Frankly, he needs to start making better decisions.

But here's the thing with Norton vs. Pitt: apart from roles where Pitt's looks play a major part, Norton could play Pitt's parts. Norton could have been the cop in Se7en. The tortured lawyer in Sleepers. Clooney's good buddy in Ocean's. On and on.

But I don't see Pitt doing Norton's Primal Fear role. I can't see Brad Pitt as a neo-nazi. And I don't think he could have pulled off 25th Hour. So I'm giving the edge to Norton.

Graham


I have to confess before that Edward Norton was my favorite actor for the longest time. As a matter of fact, he was probably my favorite actor until last Saturday. What happened last Saturday to change this? Pride and Glory with Colin Farrell happened. How could Edward lead me astray like this? What had I done to deserve this? I sat through Hulk just because Ed was in it and I told myself it wasn’t that bad, that he deserved a paycheck too. But this has been a reoccurring thing: I watch Edward Norton movies and become extremely disappointed. Down in the Valley wasn’t just the worst Edward Norton movie I’ve ever seen, it was unwatchable. By my count, Norton hasn’t made one good movie in the past five years. He had a nice run with Primal Fear, American History X, Rounders, Fight Club, Death to Smoochy, Red Dragon and The 25th Hour. Those days are gone my friend. I should’ve seen in coming back in Fight Club in ’99. The best actor of his generation was in that movie but it wasn’t Norton, it was Brad Pitt.

Pitt probably doesn’t get the credit he deserves because his devilishly good looks probably keep people from seeing that he’s actually a superb actor. Pitt’s best movies (and performances) stack up with Norton. Pitt’s legacy includes A River Runs Through It, Se7en, 12 Monkeys, Sleepers, Fight Club and Ocean’s 11. I’ve yet to see Burn After Reading but I assume not only will it be good, but that Pitt will be hilarious as well. He also has The Curious Case of Benjamin Button coming out later this year which looks fantastic. Here’s the trailer:



Even when Pitt makes a blockbuster, it’s better than Norton. I’d rather watch Mr. and Mrs. Smith than Hulk. I also give the Pitt the edge over Norton in range. Norton is at his best when he plays the seemingly normal guy that’s really hiding some deeper problem: see Primal Fear, Fight Club, The 25th Hour. Besides Death to Smoochy, Norton can’t really pull off a comedy. He’s not suited to do action movies either. Pitt, however, can do comedy (the Ocean’s movies), action (Mr. and Mrs. Smith), drama (Se7en, A River Runs Through It) and sci-fi (12 Monkeys).

Pitt isn’t immune to making a bad movie but at least he sprinkles them out between good ones. The only real stretch of time where he made some questionable movies was when he had the Snatch, The Mexican and Spy Game trio. And sadly, I’m in the minority on Snatch. Even the Pitt movies that I’m not a big fan of, most others seem to like (Snatch, Babel, Interview with the Vampire, etc.). Compare that to the 5-year stretch of crap that Norton has going on (Down in the Valley, The Illusionist, Hulk, Pride and Glory, etc.)

The bottom line is that both are great actors. But a great actor isn’t judged by just his method but by the roles he chooses as well. Unless Norton can start making some good-to-great films again, Pitt will continue to dominate.


Chris