Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Power of Indifference

What does pressure stem from? What is it that holds people back from achieving? This is not a "fear of failure" pep talk. Don't worry about the result of what you're doing, because it doesn't matter. It's easier said than done. As I sit here typing this I find I am thinking too hard about what to say. What the hell am I worried about? I'll just type and think later. When you don't care about a situation, it's amazing how relaxed you are. As much as I hate to say it, look at Manny Ramirez. His indifference may be his undoing at times, but the guy is freakishly relaxed at the plate. Nothing inhibits him. There is no fear of consequence or failure. Just get up there, trust yourself and let it happen. Tremendous confidence can be built upon indifference. I am only learning the true power of indifference. Not giving a shit about what other people think should not be expressed by wearing bizarre clothing, not shaving, and being overall unkempt. Being truly indifferent is about being an unapologetic son of a bitch that is confident in his own skin, and is not overly concerned with the outcome of his endeavors. Don't force anything, just let it happen. Don't pussyfoot through a situation. Nobody wants to deal with excessive apologies, unless you wipe a rogue loogie on someones shirt.

The power of indifference can be a powerful asset when talking to the opposite sex, clients, people you need to impress, or speaking in public. Nervousness stems directly from fear of failure, offending someone, or insecurity. Other examples of successful indifferent individuals include Bobby Knight, Ozzie Guillen, Chad Ochocinco, Clinton Portis, Charles Barkley, George Carlin, Chase Utley, Mike Tyson, John Daly, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Winston Churchill, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Gen. George S. Patton, Stanley Kubrick, Jack Nicholson, John Mayer (not a fan of his music so much), and Jim Carey.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Mike Mamula Olympics

Here's hoping you don't watch NFL Network this weekend, because if you do, you are going to be in for it. The otherwise great channel is once again dedicating this weekend to wall-to-wall coverage of the Scouting Combine. For a few days around this time each year, hundreds of the nation's top college football players descend upon Indianapolis to impress NFL decision-makers at (among other things) repping 225 on bench, cone drills, the vertical jump, and of course the 40 and the Wunderlic test. It's the world's largest group job interview, and we're all invited. Forgive me for remaining seated as I try to contain my ravenous excitement.

I've decided to bestow the Combine with the moniker "The Mike Mamula Olympics" in honor of one of the first in the long line of players whose draft statuses were grossly inflated by a head-turning performance in the dome. Back in 1995, Mamula was a respectable pro prospect, earning All-Big East honors as a defensive end for Boston College. He trained specifically for the Combine events and blew scouts away with his strength and mobility, impressing the Eagles so much that they traded the 12th overall pick and two 2nd round picks in the 1995 Draft to move up to take him 7th overall, ahead of players such as Warren Sapp, Ty Law, and Derrick Brooks.

Suffice it to say, Mamula's NFL career was relatively underwhelming. He wasn't a bad NFL player, but he rarely showed himself to be the game-changer that is expected out of a 7th overall pick. I don't want to say that the Combine is total garbage, because the drills are a very good snapshot of what a encompasses a player's skill set, and if a team is going to throw eight figures at a guy, it's only prudent to meet him face-to-face and see exactly what they may be investing in. Plenty of players have used a good Combine performance (Joe Flacco, for example) to compensate for a relative lack of exposure at the college level and parlay that into success on Sundays.

But let us all calm down on valuing football players based on what they can do in shorts in a controlled atmosphere. You know how you see kickers nail field goals from 55+ yards in pregame and then shank 28-yard gimmes once the crowd is roaring and the pressure is on? It's the same premise. Football is the hardest game to simulate among any of the major sports. It's great if my cornerback runs a 4.4 and has a 40 inch vert, but none of that will do me any good if his coverage instincts are bad and he bites on double moves all the time. It's true that the 18-yard-back-to-15-yard out is the most telling throw on whether a quarterback has an NFL arm or not, but can I see the guy throw that pass with shoulder pads on, outdoors, and while his back is killing him because he's been sacked 4 times already today? And is this guy someone who is going to quit on his teammates, or get rabbit ears anytime something negative is written or spoken about him? That's the kind of stuff I want to know. That's really where you separate Ryan Leaf from Peyton Manning.

What I don't understand is anyone who actually watches this thing. These guys aren't even on anyone's team yet and people set aside time for this? Plus, the same people that jump for joy when their team drafts a 4.3-40 receiver or a lineman that threw 225 up 38 times are the ones crooning over how they wasted a pick on a "workout warrior" when their guy is getting trucked come September. It's no coincidence that the teams who consistently make sound personnel decisions, i.e. Pittsburgh, are the ones who put less stock in the Combine than most others do. Call me old-fashioned, but I think 3-4 years of game tape are more substantial than a few jumps and shuttle runs.

I don't want to indict the millions of football fans out there, because as a nation we have come to thirst for all things NFL year-round. And that's why the Combine has become a monster of its own: in the sports desert of late winter, the Combine is a canteen of murky water, and many people will take a swig of it, out of what they feel is pure necessity. If it gets you by until come upon the beautiful unmuddied lake of baseball season in April, then fine. But just know that you can't live on the stuff, because it will leave you with a bad stomach lining - or a Vernon Gholston.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

No, That's As Light As It Gets

First it was MGD 64. As light as it gets.

Bud Select 55 Calories. Even lighter.

Introducing Coors Clear. Coors Clear has 0 calories and is truly as light as it gets. Comes straight from the Rockies. The mountains still turn blue when your beer is sold. if your on a diet or just looking for the safe way to drink and drive Coors clear is for you. Wake up without a hangover guaranteed and never make a bad decision again. Coors Clear!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Little Things That Annoy Me

Why do people feel it necessary to slow down to 15 mph below the speed limit when they see a police car? TOTALLY UNNECESSARY! I realize if you're doing 57 in a 35 you're gonna slow the hell down. However, I don't know how many times I have been driving at the standard 5-10 mph above the limit, moving along with the flow of traffic, and the shmucks in front of me brake suddenly because they see a cop on the side of the road writing a ticket. The cop isn't going to pull you over!!! He's occupied, dipshit! Why the fuck are you slowing down so drastically? It has a ripple effect on the traffic behind you. If you see a cop don't give him a reason to notice you because you are slowing down suddenly. Stop panicking at the site of a police car. It's a little thing that annoys me.

Say It Is So, Joe

I'm a proponent of free agency in all sports. Curt Flood didn't do it all for nothing. It gets dangerous in baseball due to the absence of a salary cap, where the rich teams wrestle away the lesser-heeled teams' homegrown stars, needing to use little more than the almighty extra zeroes on the contract. I root for a team that is hated for doing just that, over and over again. However, the Yankees and all of the other big-market teams are merely playing the game by the rules that are written. And in my mind, a team like the Pittsburgh Pirates, who consistently produce talent only to consistently trade it away for dimes on the dollar, have much more to answer for than a does a team that exhausts every resource it has in the name of winning.

Despite all that, I come to you this evening with this declaration: Minnesota needs to keep Joe Mauer. Baseball needs the Twins to keep Joe Mauer. I do not want to see him go to another team after his contract is up at the end of 2010. Yes, you are hearing this from a guy who roots for a team with the biggest checkbook in the game and happens to have an aging catcher that will be knocking at the door of "Full Time DH" come the end of the 2010 season. The bloodlust of a Yankee fan in me wants Joe Mauer in 2011 just like he wanted Mike Mussina, Jason Giambi, Johnny Damon, CC Sabathia, and Mark Teixeira in years prior. He wants to see him in pinstripes as much as he doesn't want to see him wearing a horrendous red or green Red Sox alternate uniform. But the rational baseball fan in me says he'll be happy to pass on the reigning AL MVP. In fact, he'll be happiest if he never even gets a shot at having him on his team.

Baseball has become top-heavy, and even worse, top-heavy in the markets that ESPN and mostly all other national media like to jump through hoops for. If I were a baseball fan in Texas or Florida or Michigan and had to listen to as much Yankees/Red Sox/Cubs/Mets/Phillies (albeit only more recently for the Phils) fodder as they produce over the course of 162 games, I'd develop a pretty strong disdain for those teams too. The game thrives on the everyman's hero who plays to an All-Star level, keeps his mouth shut, gets his uniform dirty, cares about his teammates, shakes hands, kisses babies, the whole bit. It makes you stop caring about how much money he's making or how much you paid for your ticket. It already has a few of them (Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols, and Chase Utley pop into mind immediately), but it needs a few more who play for the lower profile teams. The Kansas City feel good story of Zack Greinke can fit that mold with another solid year. Adrian Gonzalez would already fit that role if San Diego hadn't fallen so far off the baseball map that you'd think the Flat Earth Society were on to something after all.

Joe Mauer and Minnesota are just right together. He is a Minnesota native, the face of a franchise that has been to the postseason 5 times since it was under serious consideration for contraction in 2001. He is a 26-year-old, .327 career hitter at a position where 75% of teams would happily sign for .260, and has now developed his power stroke. The Twinkies are moving into a new ballpark this season (translation: REVENUE) and would surprise no one if they win the AL Central again. They consistently make the most of their talent despite looking like a 75-win team on paper most of the time. They could be on the tier of the Yankees and Phillies if they had been able to sign Johan Santana to a long term deal a few years back.

I hope that does not happen this time. Baseball can really use another consistently good team with a likable superstar. It helps people associate the game with bats and gloves and dirt again, rather than associate it with Scott Boras, salary arbitration, and the Mitchell Report. You get a generation that grows up being taught the many things there are to love about our national pastime and fewer of the things that are wrong with it. You get TV networks having no choice but to divide up the coverage more equally. To the Twins and to Joe Mauer: if you sign it, they will come.

On Notice

Ok so it's been there weeks since I last did one of these. I was going to wait a month but I'm fuming here. This may be entirely personal and not of interest to the readers. If you have a problem with the segment, let me hear about it.
Black History Month- Ok so it hasn't been as annoying this year, but its existence is unnecessary.
Paying for Food- This pertains to lunch at work. It sucks when you get a real job and mommy and daddy don't buy you meals.
Snow on Weekends- This SOB remains on the list due to the impending storm. My weekend begins Thursday night so I would be pissed.
Indian Givers- You know they make a promise or give you something and then renege and take it back. These people suck.
Jury Duty- Mine is impending. I have never been before but I anticipate a frivolous lawsuit. Here's to hoping I get striked by an attorney.
Mars- Can we live there eventually?
Danica Patrick- She's not hot and is somewhat mannish to me. Why is she appealing? She drives a car and is a woman. Not doing it for me. Please vacate the TV.

Why ESPN Sucks

Corporate Whores-ESPN has an advertisement in every section of Sportscenter. Coors Light Six Pack of Questions, Budweiser Hot Seat, Bud Light Freeze Frame, Gatorade Ultimate Highlight. All these segments are garbage anyways and are manipulated on what is supposed to be a news show for the sake of corporate sponsors.

Neil Everett- The guy has an irritating voice. 2-1 the troll still can't get any even though he's on TV.

Flavor in broadcasts- Yes, Dan Patrick and Keith Oberman did it very well. But show us a goal, TD, basket, point, or homer without a "SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND" once, and we will send you a shiny dollar in the mail. Everyone tries to be like the originals, but instead come off as jackasses. Hat tip Mgoblog

Sideline reporters - For some reason they have been deemed useful but rarely do they even add anything to the game. Sure Erin Andrews shes hot blah blah. I don't care. I prefer my sex appeal and sports separate. You know church and state.

Pam Ward- If there is someone who is a worse announcer on national TV, let me know. Otherwise the bashing continues. She should be doing WNBA games permanently.

Women's basketball doesn't equal men's basketball. I don't need Uconn women's basketball in primetime. I'm not watching ESPN to glory in the equality of women. Apparently ESPN doesn't realize that they don't have to adhere to Title IX.

Skip Bayless- The guy would yell at a toddler and accuse him of being lazy. He has been a mainstay on ESPN in the afternoon for talking louder than you.

ESPN Original Entertainment- Two minute drill was cool. Season on the Brink, Junction Boys, Beg, Barrow, and Deal, and so on suck.

Mike Golic-"I don't think he is qualified to read the morning announcements, let alone co-host a radio show"HT: EDSBS. It's amazing that Bob (Saved by the Bell College Years) and Mike Golic broke into the entertainment industry.

Synergy- Promo the games you have the rights to while barely mentioning the big games on in other places, no matter how important they might be. Push your product over THE GAME. Vile corporate entertainment thinking that yields little but viewer disgust. HT:EDSBS

Sportstainment! The concept of the idea that sports isn't entertainment all by itself. Consider them pieces of evidence in one long indictment of Disney's attempt to force ESPN into becoming the story, not the medium.

E! Television. See Tiger Woods. ESPN has become like every other crap gossip show.

ESPN the Magazine: Although I hear its in two ply now

ESPN Insider- I am curious to hear who actually pays for this. Is Merril Hodge's insight into the Bills-Jags game that important.

Experts- Everyone with a microphone is an expert. Experts pick. Let's here what the experts have to say. Fuck that.

PTI- Not for the show itself, but for its shambolic impact on ESPN programming, which now features argumentative elements in even the least confrontational formats. HT:

Mel Kiper Jr- His expert analysis on quarterbacks consists of saying he can throw the football. Gee Mel thanks that's dynamite. The guy is so arrogant and often infuriates me.

Mark Shapiro- He's currently running Six Flags into the ground as CEO. He previously derailed ESPN. He is largely responsible for the garbage TV you see today like Around the Horn.

ESPN Hollywood: Do we really care where the show is done? Does it add value to the broadcast?

Surely you can think of more but this is starting to take too long.

The John I "Ha" System

Give credit where credit is due, and hold it back like candy from a fat kid when there is no damn reason to give it out. Text messaging and instant messaging are now a large part of daily life. Non-verbal electronic communication has it's share of downfalls, but it is a way to communicate with friends and family without the intrusion of a phone call. Texting is particularly useful for communication that isn't urgent, as well as sending jokes and busting balls. You receive a humorous text message and you respond with a "ha", or "haha, or "hahaha, or "hahahaha, or "hahahahaha, or "hahahahahaha, or "hahahahahahaha". How many Has are enough? Is any thought going into typing these texts? Is something really that funny to warrant a response of 7 "ha's"? Possibly.

It is time that humor be measured in units. Energy is measured in Joules, power in Watts, temperature in Degrees, therefore I decree that humor be measured in Has. What is a Ha? It's a unit of humor. I am tired of the ambiguity of humor. Humor needs to be quantified so that things, people, and jokes that are not particularly funny can be branded as such and put in their place. The system is quite simple really. The Ha System entails measurements of 0 Has, 1 Ha, 2 Has, 3 Has, and 7 Has. I am leaving out 4, 5, and 6 because it is splitting hairs at that point. 0-3 Has are mostly run of the mill jokes and ballbusting. Some of it is funny stuff, the lower grade 0-1 Ha stuff is really not funny at all. The 2-3 Ha range has a lot more to offer. There are no Gigahas, Nanohas, Megahas, Decahas, Centihas, etc. Humor is measured in individual Has. The Greek letter eta can be used to denote Ha in humor calculation. No fractions. Hopefully, people will not be confused since eta is already used to denote metric tensor in Quantum Field Theory, not to mention pseudorapidity in the field of Experimental Particle Physics. In any event, I am sure the scientific community won't mind me using their Greek letter.

0 Ha: No humor at all. Simply not funny. Directly comparable to absolute zero thermodynamics. If you receive a text that isn't funny, do not respond with any Has. Don't feel pressured into an obligatory HaHa. You might be encouraging the sending party to continue the stream of uninetersting texts.

1 Ha: Maybe the sender was set up for a generic joke or wisecrack. Maybe you got a "thats what she said" text. Typically just a lame effort at humor.

2 Has: The text made you crack a smile or chuckle. You can show appreciation for the humor by giving a Haha response. A Haha rating is appropriate where there was clearly some thought out humor. The sender did indeed use wit and some creativity. You will definitely feel it necessary to respond with a genuine Haha. The key here is that it is okay for both parties to continue on with the joke or ball busting that is subject to the rating. However, the chuckle is still only a chuckle.

3 Has: Pretty damn funny. The joke is so close to the big show that it can almost taste the glory. Legitimate laughter or suppressed laughter are the Key qualifiers for a Hahaha response. If you get a 3 Ha response, pat yourself on the back. It's like getting a solid B on a hard test. You're so close, yet so far away from that hard to reach 7 Ha rating

7 Has: You literally laugh aloud. Call it belly laughter. You drop everything you are doing to respond to this text. It's the kind of text you save to your phone. Whatever is getting the 7 Ha rating is fucking hands down hilarious.

LOL needs to be done away with. Lots of laughs? Laughing out loud? How is that measured. Lol is a meaningless fucking text, as is lololololololol. You're telling that person you are laughing out loud laughing out loud laughing out loud laughing out loud laughing out loud. Lol is simply uncivilized and improper.

This system does not apply only to texting. While it is used to quantify the humor one feels towards a text, it can be applied to other things such as people, jokes, movies, t-shirts, and what have you. From this day forth let it be known this is the official system for measuring humor.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Boyfriend Rental

There is certain protocol in human decency that is not met week in and week out. A girl is approached by a guy in the bar and is hanging out with him for an hour. The guy is thinking that things are going well and maybe I can get this girls number or make out with her. He leans in for a kiss at the end of the night and she says "I have a boyfriend." You might want to smack a bitch but ultimately you feel you have been used. I played witness to this this weekend but its happened to me before. Why do girls think this is ok to do?

Perhaps the girl does have some interest in the guy and wants to see what he is about. Perhaps she is just unable to hang out at the bar without receiving attention. Either way she needs to give the guy some type of warning. Do not allow him to waste his entire night on you believing your single. You are being a selfish bitch. If you want to chat for a few minutes and have a dance that's one thing but if its closing time at the bar and you haven't said anything shame on you. Guys are not dancing with you because they like to dance. For us its a means to an end. If we are putting in work for an hour at the bar, we expect something out of it. A number, a hook up, something. Definitely not, "I have a boyfriend but I had a really nice time". This is a results based industry and guys are not satisfied with dancing and talking.

Small Talk

Engaging in polite meaningless obligatory conversation is something we all have to partake in. There is no way around it. You have to try to appear genuine and interested. You can't be like the people Ted Stryker tells his story to in Airplane. Many a small talk exchanges may cause you to want to stab yourself in the way of the samurai, but doing so is simply uncouthe. I am personally working on improving bringing more to my meaningless conversations. Having the ability to effectively carry meaningless conversation can get you far in life. The following are some pitfalls that need to be avoided.

1.) Talking about college. "So where did you go to school"? This subject leaves you nowhere to go after about 30 seconds. Try to avoid this at all costs, or at least save it for much later in the conversation, if the conversation does indeed progress that far. If the person went to a college located in an undesirable urban area, the typical shmuck response is "Oh man don't walk around there at night", "Don't venture too far in the wrong direction from campus",or "rough area".

If the school is obviously a second rate institution, don't counter with "Oh that's a great school". Avoid that response because it's obvious what is running through your mind. "Wow what a shitty half ass school that is. What kind of nitwit have I gotten stuck in conversation with? They clearly didn't have the grades to get into XYZ University. Now I need to make sure I don't speak in terms too advanced for this numbnuts. How can I dumb this conversation down"? Try asking them if they liked it there and so on. The same goes for if they say they went to Harvard or Princeton. Don't act overly impressed, they've heard all the generic "wow" responses.

2.) Do you know...? "Oh you live in Wherever, wow do you know Jimmy Whatshisface"? I hate this game. You have nothing better to say than to discuss people who have a marginal role in your life? It isn't interesting that we have a mutual acquaintance. Yet, people react like it's some astronomically unlikely phenomena. Come on. I realize the "do you know" (DYK) game is often unavoidable, but try to contain it. It's particularly irritating when people get overly excited (excessive excitement is always a bad thing) about a mutual acquaintance. Suppose you can't stand that third party? The mutual acquaintances will surface somehow later. If the DYK question is presented, you need to seriously question where the conversation is going, and take evasive action. Bring something to the table.

3.) Talking about how beautiful California, Florida, or whatever warm climate locale is. Women are particularly guilty of this, as they have an odd obsession with the beach (MUCH more on this another day). "Oh my god I loooove Key West. It's soooo beautiful and the people are so nice and laid back. The sand is perfect. I went there for spring break and seriously laid on the beach like 18 hours each day. Life is so much slower. I want to move there one day". I fucking got the memo. It's warm in Florida, the sand is nice, the water is blue and it's warm when it's cold in the northeast. Got it. Thank you for clearing that up for me, because I wasn't sure. I get it now. The only thing worse than talking about the weather is talking about the weather of a place you don't live.

4.) Talking about the economy/politics/shit people actually know nothing about. This is usually linked to the college discussion and how the soon-to-be or recent graduate has very little chance of quality employment. Boo fucking hoo (I used to edit out word "fuck" using asterisks like so: f***. I'm done with that). "This job market is terrible, might as well stay in school teeheeheeheehee". "We're never getting out of the middle east". "The price of gasoline is high because George W. Bush got C's at Yale". "It looks like a nasty high pressure system might be bringing in some snow". Everyone is an expert in their own mind.

5.) Talking to people you are merely acquainted with, only see every so often, or maybe you haven't seen in years. This is serious. You're at a local bar, reunion, or whatever and now you're caught in a painful predicament. It starts with eye contact. Neither one of you really acknowledges the other initially. Right away you play the conversation through in your head. If you're lucky you can evade that person all night. However, not always the case. You get careless, lose track of that person, let your guard down, and on the way to the bathroom you bump into that person. Close Encounter of the Vague Acquaintance Kind. Typically, the reason you haven't seen this person is because you really don't care to see the person. If you did, you would see them more often, and have topics of substance to discuss. These conversations typically occur with people you went to school with at some point, former coworkers, etc. "What are you doing now? Oh hows that going? Where are you living? Oh cool.....".

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Towel Off

I have been a Yankee fan since 1993, the first year that I was old enough to follow baseball day-in and day-out. Living in South Jersey, I still go to 4-5 Phillies games a year, and I've gone on the record multiple times to say I have the utmost respect for the Phillies organization and their ballclub. My sister and most of my friends are Phillies fans. I'd only root against them in the case of a series like this one, or even better, this one. But I must take one issue with the Fightins: the rally towels.

I thought the rally towel was a great touch back in 2007 when the team made the playoffs for the first time in 14 years, as well as in 2008 when they won their first World Series since 1980. I was at a game during the last weekend of the '07 regular season when the towels were first handed out at the gates, and I made it to a Phillies playoff game in both '08 and '09 as well - so I can say from experience that a rally-towel waving Citizens Bank Park was a great sight to behold in those days. To appease the pro-Phillies faction that may be cursing me already, enjoy this example of what I'm talking about.

But those days are over with. October is not a novelty to this team anymore, and it should not ask its fans to treat it as a novelty. Rally towels scream "thrilled to be here!" like a married guy who's allowed a night out with his single male friends without his wife. I thought it was especially curious that the rally towels were brought back out for the division-clinching game last year - even though the NL East had been pretty much a formality since the end of August (they won the division by a healthy 6 games).

Here's the deal. The Phillies are far and away the best team in the National League. It's very very hard to imagine them missing the playoffs this coming year as long as they stay healthy. Once you reach the point that they have now reached, the fans' "rooting aides" have to be left out. You don't see rally towels in New York or in Boston. You didn't see them in Cleveland when the Indians were in the playoffs every year in the Thome/Manny era, and that team had sucked for decades prior to that.

You know where you did see them? You saw them in San Diego in 1998, where the Padres were one of the most "just thrilled to be here!" teams in World Series history. You see a stupid Rally Monkey in Anaheim that has to tell fans when it's time to put their iPhones down and slap together their Thunderstix, because they're still largely oblivious to the baseball nuances and have to make noise with inflatable sticks so they can pretend to know what's going on in front of them. And in Tampa in '08, you had cowbells. Cowbells. Let that stew for a minute or so.

And all of that crap is great if you're a team or city that is new to seeing a modicum of success in baseball, or any sport for that matter. But franchises and fan bases should outgrow that phase after a certain amount of time. It's like when you first get your driver's license and you'll volunteer to do every monotonous errand imaginable just because the idea of driving a car by yourself is so new and cool. This is why sports fans in the Northeast have little respect for sports fans on the West Coast - because the West Coast fans never surpassed that "Oh, we need milk? I'll go! I'll run out and get milk! I don't even care that it's 11:30 on a Wednesday night and I just shut my light out to go to bed. I'll go get the milk!" phase.

So, I leave the Phillies and their fans tonight with this. You're already a hard nosed East Coast sports town with some edge. You want Philadelphia to become an honest-to-goodness baseball town? Show us you can make the place rock without the rally towels. Show us all you need on a chilly October evening is your two hands, your voice, 3 or 4 domestics in the parking lot, and your passion. That, and cease with the damn E-A-G-L-E-S chants when you're at a baseball game. But that is a topic for another day.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


This week we plunged deeper into the doldrums of winter with only the faux hope of "Pitchers and Catchers!" on our tray. Great, pitchers and catchers reported, that gets you excited for about 15 minutes before you realize it's still 25 degrees outside up here and the real season is still 6 weeks away. The Winter Olympics hold my attention for about 76 seconds a day. With nothing going on, there's nothing to talk about, which brings radio hosts, newspaper columnists, hood rats drinking MGD in a dive bar, and everyone else with an opinion and a forum back to the same tired, beaten-to-death-and-back topics that I just cannot take anymore.

I'm saturated. There is nothing more to absorb. Or I'm like those stain-defender Dockers where the grape juice just bounces right off the pants in the commercial. Either way, hearing or reading any discussion on these issues are an immediate trigger to the tune-out button.

(Speaking of which, how great would an actual tune-out button be in real life? You get buried in a boring conversation or pointless meeting at work, and you can just hit a button and in one ear you get to hear music from your iPod, or some George Carlin stand-up, or whatever you want to actually be listening to? When we all have computer chips in our brains someday I hope this gets invented pronto.)

I digress, but that's why parentheses exist. The following is a list of subjects more tired than Forrest Gump after running across the country 4 times.

-Tiger Woods
-Brett Favre
-Joba Chamberlain - starter or reliever? (Reliever. If you want 2,000 words on why, I do take individual requests)
-The annual "Donovan McNabb -trade him or keep him?" debate
-Sarah Palin
-Tim Tebow's draft status
-Which team "might offer Johnny Damon a contract this week" (EDIT: Enjoy Detroit, Johnny.)
-The price of gas
-Any and all celebrity couples
-The movie Avatar

And coming soon:
NCAA tournament bubble teams
-Stats and scores from spring training games
-The NFL's impending labor fiasco

The moral of the story is, just let these subjects play themselves out. Brain-piercing repetitive discussion has no impact on anything. But it does give me an excuse to channel Marlo Stanfield's first spoken line in The Wire - "Do it or don't. But I got someplace to be."

Friday, February 19, 2010

Jackson Pollock's Response to My Post

ldfksdj ajfo upehdfiasdfjdahflh uasufhj dfglhfjvbclvknvlfjhglarhg hadf gdfhghgb ksdlv rphgvkjdfnvkfdv hdsklfdgjk ghgljsdfbjdnv.,c,mdfngkhfdkljgdf;kvndjvhirug;dfnkjngkbfbdvnnvncfla gmfmfdmvjgnnbvbgnmbfx tghejmrfgbyhntyghhnwsdpcvlokjerfgbyhjnemdfvgbovikjnd c gbnmedfcv olkjnmdfgvcb bn sdcfgvb kjmndcvb bjmnsdfgvkjmbndfvcbolkjsdxfvlokjnsfxvjknvdsmvdsferjfrueglgkjfdkvdkuirtpoweiyr8treyytyueroeijdcmvbdfjjksjgthgkvdkffhwejgljrthigludslkakjfihjgkjdfn,dngkjnldsnfkefngkjeglevkfdnoiug;lfdvlndg.mng.khsdifhv.ewfbfkgdjhfbwdbdkv,smdgjfdfjkjfjfdsjfdkshfdhskfjdhfkjdhktiuwejbnmxcvbnm,edfghfghjklwertyuikrtyuiop[ertyuioplkjhgfdsvbnm,fghjmnibvuythjkloibvucjdkgoglkgfvllvkfdkjbfkgnbnmb,b,hkgffgbkfglhgflhghlkgjhklgfjhglkhfhlglkhlkgfhlgjhlkgjhlgfjhlkglhkgfkhjflmbmvvcv vbvmvmxdklkl,nfgnjmklfgudjkbyyslwowiiiihgjhbjcbbbbhfjekfhfhsdf,mdfjvyfgkjfbvmnvkjyueuywyeyu &%&^&^*(hfjkfdnfkd89&%^&GUIJHY&*Hifnjg0IDUgI&*Y(UIgiofjghuihjjkfshy&^*UY&*Y*&^*(TYUJH&*(*&^%$#$%^&*(*&^%$%^YdbhGVHDVSmv, jbmnxcvnhfvmxnc jckm,m ywuioqweirutygfbcnxmzksiuefhbvcnmxzkaosiuhnfmvbzvi jgufdlghvjdmcx lkdfyudshjklczxoisudshjzdlkvj,mzv nnmfdvbmbvf,bhfa mfnjurgjbhgravdcxzbnjwkiueyftcvbwnjerfgkkfkkioljighyefrxfnjuouy7eteddcjmkklkihgghjsmncnbrsyguwrhegkjrghdgdgsf gtvrhekjflkrhvlnpehlkjdflvnlbhslkgfjgb.m,dufdiklkdmnhsbdcnfvloiuytrewqsdcvbnmsdfghjklmoniuytryjfhbndfgdfgbhnghjmk,efgbujnm,gvcokijhgfoiuytfgjkivucydghfngbj hcbnfgmjbhnvvmb nmjbnmfdnjklvclmjff,,cxv,vnxcv,mcxvbcnxvmcxbvmf,gjfdkjv kbklgfkbgf bcv,bmvcbf.htjkrvbm,bnvhcbxvvbnm,ertyujmtrfvbnrtyhjnoiuytrrrghnmjnmkbnvchsvfh

-Jackson Pollock

So apparently Jackson Pollock writes the same way he paints. I am not artistically enlightened enough to even comprehend what he is trying to say here. Maybe if I look at it long enough it will make sense.

Things I Should Probably Do: It's a Bang House

Previously on Things I Should Probably Do: Gold and Move to Vegas

"Hey I have an apartment a block away, wanna check it out?"

How money is this line? and how effective is in the long run? It is hard to argue the short term and long term benefits of being able to say this. There are certainly girls that would say yes upfront while others who would like to stop over before they head to the bars or crash at your place. The problem is that is not really affordable or practical to have a place in Old City or Center City right now.

The plan: Split rent between friends on a one bedroom apartment to use for night life only. The cost would be roughly $1200. Whoever has things rolling at the end of the night gets dibs on the bedroom assuming that the is up to par or the guy is in a rut. Any scraps left over can have the couch. So top billing or buddy in a rut gets preference. Figuring you get 4 guys in on this its $300 a head per month. It's not cheap.

The Verdict: This would get old and ultimately we are better then this. However, if you think with only your dick its a great idea. Splitting a place or getting your own place to live in on a day in day out basis is a wiser investment.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The NBA's Biggest Star? It's Not Who You Think

Venture some guesses as to who is the biggest star in the NBA right now. LeBron James? Nope. Kobe Bryant? Nope. Dwyane Wade? Uh-uh. Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitki, or Steve Nash? No, no, no, and no (and no, it's not T-Mac either for those of you trying to take a hint from the picture. This isn't 2002.). Alas, my brothers, the biggest star in the NBA right now has neither a name nor a face. The biggest star in the NBA these days is The Expiring Contract.

Pay any attention to non-Olympic sports coverage this week and I'm sure you've been awash in Tracy McGrady trade talk. T-Mac used to be one of the best players in the Association despite never winning a playoff series. But these days McGrady is on the wrong side of 30, has not played close to a full season in three years, and this year has spent about 46 more minutes in an NBA game than yours truly has. Why, do you ask, has he become relevant again for purposes besides those of the tongue-in-cheek variety? Because his Texas-sized contract, which pays him about $22.8 million this year, will be up at season's end. In layman's terms, whichever team holds him at that point wakes up to find $22 million shiny new dollars of salary cap space under its pillow. And with an A+ free agent class coming this summer (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh are the headliners), teams are in a mad race to free up as much money under the cap as they can.

The Houston Rockets drew more suitors for T-Mac's contract than Elin Woods after depositing the alimony check. As events have turned out, the New York Knickerbockers have paid a handsome bounty of players and draft picks for the honor of saying bye-bye to T-Mac come April. The move has been so lauded by New York media and fans that you'd half expect playoff tickets to be printed up soon - for the 2010-2011 season. The Knicks couldn't care less what McGrady does for them on the court. It probably doesn't even matter to them if he shows up or not. His expiring contract now gives them the financial leeway to sign not just one, but two of the big three free agents. The Knicks have been targeting this coming offseason for over two years. July 1, 2010 will be LeBrondependence Day.

This scenario is Exhibit 1A of how FUBAR'd the NBA is presently. The combination of guaranteed contracts (with buyout clauses that vary on an individual basis, unlike in hockey) and the salary cap leave franchises zero room for error when it comes to signing players to long-term deals. The Knicks are still trying to dig themselves out of the hole of bad contracts 9 years after a ridiculous extension for Allan Houston set them on the wrong track. The Sixers are presently handcuffed by the garish Elton Brand pact signed before the 2008-2009 season. There are countless other examples. Too many things can go wrong - injury, subpar play, feuds with coaches or teammates, etc. - during a player's time with any team in any sport, which is why guaranteeing nearly every dime in a contract is a hefty liability. A big contract gone bad is not as crippling in the NFL (annual salaries are not guaranteed) and Major League Baseball (no salary cap) as it is in the NBA.

It gets worse. The draft is now littered with one-and-done college players and foreign-league imports, many of whom are supremely talented but woefully underpolished. Building through the draft is a crapshoot. Building a team through trades is equally tough, because there is just not enough league-wide talent to make for quality trades. That leaves free agency as the one timely savior of a floundering NBA franchise. Since we already know the risk with big free agent contracts, it puts even more of a premium on the sure-thing free agents of 2010, 2011 (Carmelo Anthony), and 2012 (Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose).

The end result is a cash-strapped league with about 10 teams good enough to actually warrant charging United States Dollars for tickets, and about 5-6 teams within that subset with a legitimate chance to win a championship. In two-thirds of NBA cities, you could give someone free tickets to a game and whether they'd go or not would depend largely on who the visiting team is that night. Oft-injured and underperforming players become hot trade commodities. My basketball fandom pales mightily in comparison to my following of baseball and football, but I can still remember many nights watching big NBA games in the Jordan era and even into the first half of this decade. I cared then. Everyone who watched cared then. The NBA Playoffs still get good TV ratings, so people still watch. But how many actually care?

There Is No Name On My Jersey

Tradition is a big part of what makes sports great. The jerseys of the Yankees and Penn State are classic. They have no name on the back of there jerseys because this is the way it has always been. This is perfectly acceptable. What is not acceptable and what is stupid, is when a new coach comes in and speaks about team unity. He then proceeds to take the names off the back of the jersey in the spirit of working as one. It's bullshit and it happens every year in college football. Turner Gill is the latest to apply the method.

When you step out of the prep ranks and into big time college football you earn the right to have the name on the back of your jersey. It's cool and it's a big deal. Players are not playing for the team anymore because you are doing this. The players that were about the team before will still be about the team, and those that were about themselves will stay the course. Coaches need to get off their high horses and build team unity in the weight room and on the practice field, not by stripping the name plate.

Though Shall Not Lay Down

This is a picture of the Wolverhampton Wanderers (better known as Wolves) of the Premier League. They have been suspended for laying down and not giving their team the best chance to win. Wolves were deemed to have violated rules E.20 and B.13.
"Rule E.20 states that clubs must field full-strength sides in every match, while B.13 states that each club must act in good faith towards one another."

"Wolves have been handed a suspended £25,000 fine after the Premier League decided the team fielded against Manchester United earlier this season was in breach of rules. Wolves changed all ten outfield players in the 3-0 defeat at Old Trafford on December 15 and Arsene Wenger was among those to criticise Mick McCarthy over the decision. "

Certainly this is something that happens all the time in pro sports in the United States. Wolves had two matches in one week and decided that they had to rest some players if they were going to win a match. Manchester United are the defending champs of the Premiership, so Wolves decided to rest their better players with no real hope of victory.

The New York Jets are likely not even in the playoffs had the Colts and Bengals not been resting their players for the postseason. Had the NFL had a rule such as this as has been kicked around, the Jets would almost certainly not beats the Colts and Bengals to make the playoffs and reach the AFC Championship Game. A potential rule would be difficult to enforce but certainly Peyton Manning sitting down would draw a fine. Any thoughts on the rule?

The Destruction of a Masterpiece

Steven Spielberg has directed many of my personal favorite movies. He then saw it fit to completely wreck one of his best works. I cannot for the life of me understand why this was done. Would Da Vinci go over the Mona Lisa with a magic marker? Hell no. So why are directors doing the same thing?

E.T., released in 1982, was made without the help of computer graphics. Using puppetry and costumes, the character E.T. was brought to life. In a subtle manner, E.T. is introduced to the audience through vague glimpses of him evading government officials in the opening scene, sound effects of heavy breathing, a glowing heart, point-of-view camerawork, and mysterious other-worldy fingers grabbing Reese's Pieces. The audience does not get a clear look at E.T. until about 30 minutes into the movie. That is, until the 2002 release shows E.T. at the edge of the cliff after running away from the government, we get a detailed look at a CGI E.T. This happens less than 5 minutes into the movie. So much for the audiences intrigue in the appearance of E.T., thats squashed in a hurry in the 2002 release.

Another scene that originally added to the audience's curiosity is the one in which Elliot is stalking E.T. outside his home. Elliot hears heavy breathing in some tall reeds, and has a face to face encounter with E.T. In the 1982 version, It is hard to see the detail in E.T.'s face. The viewer can't quite piece together what E.T. looks like. However, the 2002 version further diminishes the audience's intrigue by giving a detailed look at a computerized E.T. There is too much detail in E.T.'s face in my opinion.

Spielberg then added a deleted scene the 2002 cut. The bathtub scene is utterly stupid. E.T. looks horribly computerized. It doesn't look natural. At least a costume or puppet consists of actual matter. A computer animated being placed into a live action scene looks so out of place. It is more artificial than a puppet. The excessive detail of computer animation doesn't allow the viewer to complete the scene using thier own imagination. E.T.'s facial expressions don't meet what I am used to seeing in the 1982 version. This again is an issue in the scene where Elliot's sister Gertie first encounters E.T. She barges in on Mike, E.T. and Elliot and a lot of screaming ensues. E.T.'s face becomes contorted in all sorts of odd ways. Stop with the video game graphics in my movies.

To avoid redundancy, I am going to conclude this post. A scene by scene analysis is uneccesary, as I will be rehashing the same point over and over. My advice is instead of buying E.T. on DVD, look for the 1982 VHS on eBay. It's the one with the green spindles and film cover, if you grew up in the 80's you know what I'm talking about.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hating the Past: Adolescence

It was 6th grade in Mr.Houdart's class (he's an ass or maybe was) when I first realized I was losing my grip on some of my friends. Some kids were so afraid to tell each other who they liked. Everyone said Aimee Stahl as far as I can remember. Some kids started dressing differently while I still rocked sweat pants because I was more concerned about recess than anything else.
Needless to say middle school hit me like a ton of bricks. Despite awkward warnings issue by my dad when he had me isolated "you know boys and girls are going to start kissing," or this gem "girls are going to start to grow boobs". It was as hilarious then as it is now. I'm sure it was difficult for him to bring it up.

I entered middle school to find hundreds of new students and a ton of girls I couldn't talk to. Some girls that knew me before asked why I was so quiet all the sudden. IT WAS AWKWARD. I didn't know how to handle things. I didn't watch MTV, live on AIM, or shop at Aeropastle. As far as I was concerned wrestling was still cool and ESPN was the only channel that mattered. Shopping for clothes didn't sound like much fun. I was hesitant to change and didn't know what to do about the pimples on my face and back. A landmark victory in middle school was working up the courage to speak to Alyssa H*rn or sneaking a peak at Christina T*rtu's panties (locker next to me). I was always trying to find my traction in middle school but it came and went in two years and I had to start all over. It wasn't until my junior year in high school that I started to look normal and assemble any kind of idea of what was going on.

It's a Very Important Piece of Art!!!

We have all visited a museum, viddied a film, or slooshied some music that left us simply befuddled. Maybe I am just not that enlightened because I grew up in the suburbs, had parents who hugged me, played with toy guns when I was a kid, and was engrained with some sense of competition, but what in the hell is some of this crap? Is it really art? What is art? Above is a piece of "art" done by Jackson Pollock. That piece of what have you went for $50 million. $50,000,000.00. I am at a loss for words. How does this imitate life? Is there a statement being made? What attention to detail is there here? Does it take practice to learn how to paint like that? Give me a break.

I attach criteria to everything in life. It is my belief that that it is okay to formulate a set of criteria upon which to judge anything from art to people. So what the hell is art? Three things have to be in place for something to constitute art. They are quite simple really. 1) Demonstrate mastery of a skill 2) Impress me 3) Say something. It's really that simple. Demonstrating mastery of a skill is most important to me. Don't give me that abstract nonsense. This checklist applies to music, movies, theater, photography, and what have you.

There was once a time when singers had to have actual vocal talent. They didn't have the crutch of synthesizers and electronic sound effects. This music might have a beat, so what. How much skill is really involved? News flash, creating a beat isn't that hard. But I suppose it does appeal to those who enjoy shiny objects and loud noises. Why do I watch sports? Because I like to observe and admire professionals demonstrating mastery of a skill. The same thing applies to art.

I admire Martin Scorcese's work because there is incredible attention to detail. The time and effort that go into a project are evident. It is something to be appreciated. There is skill in putting together the right cast, giving direction, evoking believable performances, creating chemistry, camerawork, lighting, and editing. Don't give me this Avatar shit. I haven't seen the movie, so I am judging based on the previews and some feedback from people who have seen it. However, the CGI crap has gone too far. I am not impressed with guys sitting around a computer creating videogames and passing them off as movies. In the good old days, professional model makers had to create a scene by hand. The Death Star in the original Star Wars was not some computer generated illusion. It was created by an artist. Someone skilled at what they do. Even that mechanical shark in Jaws took time and skill to make. Maybe computer graphic imaging takes skill, fine. It doesn't feel real to me. Stick to creating websites, know your limited role in filmmaking. No sweat goes into it. Building an elaborate set for a scene impresses me. It's something created by hand, not by a motherboard.

CGI is to movies as makeup is to women. It can be a great thing if used in moderation with care and taste. Terminator 2 is perhaps the best example of how CGI should be used in a film. There wasn't nonstop excessive CGI, but computer graphics sure did cover up the seams. It was placed effectively throughout the movie with the T-1000. In fact, coupled with Robert Patrick's performance, it was too good. The poor guy has been forever typecasted as the T-1000. In any event, an excellent use of computer graphics. I think in Terminator 1, some minor computer graphics to cover up a few seams would be just fine. The scene where the terminator is in the motel room removing his eyeball is in need of a CGI touch up, the mechanized Arnold is laughable. However, don't do to the Terminator what Steven Spielberg did to E.T. That was a pity. An entire post on that is in production.

Nobody wants to look at a girl caked in makeup. Likewise, I don't care to watch a movie that is so smeared with CGI that it is the cinematic equivalent of one of those makeup ladies at the mall. Like an average girl, an average (or awful) movie will try to compensate by covering up with computer graphics. It's insulting to my intelligence when I am supposed to enjoy a movie simply because it is visibly pleasing. Where is the substance? I can see what is under all that CGI. Once again, I am not impressed.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It's the New Coke

For all those who took a flier on "sex addiction" as the next big Celebrity Cop-Out Affliction at handsome 12-1 odds, please report to the cashier with your bet ticket in hand to receive your winnings. At one point it was booze, later it was drugs of varying intensities, and in between you'd see dashes of gambling and the occasional kleptomania (how you doing over there, Winona Ryder?). Now it appears that sex addiction has taken its turn as the en-vogue thing for famous people to hide behind when they make bad decisions.

First, David Duchovny goes into rehab for sex addiction after portraying, of all things, a man unable to resist the deep urges on the show Californication. Then Tiger Woods' wife gives him a worse beating than Rocky in the first Clubber Lang fight, and he is spotted months later at a sex rehab clinic in BrettFavretown, Mississippi. Now it's on to our boy Steve Phillips, the much-maligned (or much-celebrated, depending on who you root for) ex-GM of the New York Mets, who this past fall was ushered out the door at ESPN after his affair with the creature above became public. and just recently gave an interview with Matt Lauer to tell his sex-addict tale.

So the Average Nobody can cheat on their spouse (note that I didn't say 'wife,' because not all you ladies out there are made of Teflon either) and they're labeled a dirtbag, a scoundrel, a selfish and devious animal. But if you're rich and famous and you cheat on your significant other, now you can just play the sex addiction card and it's just supposed to be okay? Let's get one thing straight. You can't claim "addiction" and all of a sudden be absolved. You're not born addicted. It's not hereditary. If you become an alcoholic, or you smoke until your lungs turn black, it's an addiction that you walked yourself into by not being able to say "that's enough." You get a charge out of getting away with something, and you do it again and again chasing that first high until you're out of control.

But that's just the way it goes. Money, fame, and power don't make problems go away, but they can deflect a substantial amount of attention away from the problem; and when that isn't enough, they can be used to forge your way into an exclusive and expensive rehab facility that will certainly make a sympathetic case out of you in due time. To offer an analogy, in the Uno game of life, the rich and famous have a lot more Draw-Four Wilds than any of us do.

On second thought, I may have to make an exception with Steve Phillips. You'd really have to be a sex addict to sleep with a mud-wallowing wildebeest like that.

New Years Resolutions Round 2

Lent is right around the corner. I have heard people say what they are giving up and it sounds and awful lot like New Years Eve.
Sugary Snacks
Candy bars
Masturbation (Good Luck)
I am admittedly somewhat out of touch with the practices of lent. However, to me it seems like you should give up something more meaningful. Something that won't necessarily benefit you but rather force you to sacrifice for 40 days in the spirit of the occasion. Let's see you give up something you actually might need instead of something that you consume daily because you lack discipline. Am I wrong?

Monday, February 15, 2010

$250 Million Sure Doesn't Buy What it Used To

I had another topic or two in the works for today, but those plans changed once I caught wind of this Oprah debacle where she thought Drew Brees' birthmark was lipstick on his face. If we really wanted to, NotAsGoodAsYouThink could write litanies for about a month straight regarding Oprah and why she sucks. But since I thought this was a fairly universal belief among those with a Y chromosome, I figured I'd hold back on making fun of Oprah and let the talking be done by the likes of Dave Chappelle and Jimmy Kimmel. Until now.

This was too good (or bad) to pass up. Not only does it tie in with my disdain for the Super Bowl crossing over into mainstream media , it lets me take a few shots at a howling windbag while going to bat for one of the most likable guys in the NFL and maybe in all of professional sports. So Oprah, you decide to have the Super Bowl MVP as a guest on your show. OK, that's understandable, since he was probably the biggest name in the news last week thanks to an historic 32-of-39 performance and the ensuing "awwwwwwwwww" moment during the celebration. You're telling me that you have not bothered to take a look at a picture of the guy, or do a little background research on his life? Brees' birthmark has been a well-documented piece of information for about a decade now, ever since he entered the spotlight while at Purdue. Maybe if you had spent 8-10 fewer minutes eating Twinkies and done just a little bit more preparation, you could have saved yourself that tidbit of embarrassment, Ms. Winfrey.

Maybe one day someone can sit me down and explain why so many people fawn over Oprah and make pilgrimages to see live tapings (oxymoron?) of her show. All I know is that she is the face of the mind-numbing entertainment that we like to call daytime television. I can't go three weeks without seeing her on the cover of some women's magazine in the checkout aisle of the food store, usually alternating between story lines of "Oprah: I'm Thin Again!" and "Oprah: I Can't Believe I Got Fat Again!" Now I'm sure she's produced plenty of quality programming in her day (mostly tear-jerking stories aimed at those with marginal control over their emotions, those times when she gives everyone in the studio a car, and Brownie of the Month Club meetings). But everyone's got to go at some point. So please Oprah, pack it in. Just think of all the extra free time you'd have to go restaurant-hopping with Kirstie Alley.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


As I am The Keeper of The Underappreciated, it is my duty to present Worst Party Productions.

The first film attached is Quantum Boggs, Episode I. The film starts with Wade Boggs enjoying his retirement playing beer league softball. After a teleconference conversation with Dan Marino, in which the former Dolphins quarterback admits his anguish with his personal battle with regret after his performance in Super Bowl XIX. Having never won a title in his otherwise illustrious career, Marino feels doomed to a life of wondering "what if". He didn't count on a little help from his friend Wade Boggs. Enjoy.


Below is one of my favorites, Baseball Cards. Lone warrior Agent Baseball Card, known simply as ABC, is on a mission to recover a long lost Roberto Clemente puzzle piece. It captures the zeal and passion of the baseball card hobby.

Baseball Cards

Who to watch a game with

One of the great joys of watching sport on television is doing so with others. Joining with the right friends to bust balls, throw a few back, and discuss the game at hand. Personally, I am rather selective in who I view a sporting event with. I don't claim to be Bill Parcells or Joe Torre, but my sports knowledge is greater than the average bear, and I keep myself informed of the latest in the sports world. All I ask of those around me is that they have their finger on the pulse of the sport, and the game we are viewing. It makes the viewing experience so much better when others contribute to what is going on.

On the other hand, watch a game with the wrong people and it will turn into an irritating experience. I follow the Phillies and Eagles fairly closely, and I keep my finger on the pulse of the Flyers until the spring when I really dive in for some playoff hockey. The Sixers, I just get all my info from a friend who has entered fan martyrdom and follows the Sixers religiously. With all that said, I can only bear to watch a Phillies game with certain people. Don't tell me pro sports isn't important. Does it affect my life? No. Does what happens in a movie affect my life? No. The actors don't know me either. But what they do interests me. It is something to admire and enjoy. Sport is true unscripted entertainment. It's the originial reality TV. I am interested in watching these professionals work towards excellence. Don't start with "they don't have the same heart" as college athletes. We typically only see the glorious side of a pro athletes life. The cars, money, clothes, women, attention and so on. We don't see the free loading families, invasions of thier privacy, and so on. Nobody writes a column about my job performance. Imagine that. Try to imagine the national media scrutinizing your every move. Didn't quite finish that balance sheet? Didn't call back that client with an answer to thier question? Send a few texts in your cubicle? Tune into talk radio, theyll be analyzing every little facet of it. Oh and by the way before you leave the office, face a throng of reporters asking you generic questions for 15 grueling minutes.

Do NOT give me the "why are you upset" line when I react to the TV. People who don't have the same emotional investment in a team as you are difficult to watch a game with. It's like playing blackjack with nonbetting onlookers hanging over your shoulder. GET THE F*** AWAY! Another post about that will follow.

The worst is when people have conversation about a team they know nothing of, or start referring to things that are historically inaccurate. But I may be stuck in a situation with some ignoramus fans and I have to bite my tongue to not constantly correct every little thing they say. They get simple dates and stats wrong, or say say shit that is just stupid. Typical uninformed fan banter gets under my skin. "That guy is a pussy", "He sucks", "THROW TO JACKSON", "Put in Kolb", "Fire Reid", "Bat him 7th", "SHOOT THE PUCK", "DROP THE GLOVES", and the list goes on. They exist in every city, for every team. Except the NY Islanders, no one cares about them.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

"I'll Text You" - The Appeal of Impersonal Communication

Ever find it funny that a phrase spoken thousands of times a day was probably hardly ever uttered as recently as 7-8 years ago? If you said "I'll text you" to someone back then, you'd have gotten an odd look in response. Same thing goes if you told someone "I'll IM you about that homework later" back in the mid-'90s or if you said "I'll email you those files you were asking for" back in the '80s. As technology continues to progress (and gain a stronger and stronger hold on our lives), our preferred methods of communication become less and less personal.

I got a new phone today, and after going over all the texting plan options, mobile internet packages, how to check your email and use the camera, etc. etc., I had to remind myself - "oh yeah, this thing actually calls people too." You have to admit, we love our phones in this generation. But what we love even more is using them for things other than phone calls. We hardly ever call people any more just to talk; we usually only call people or (gasp!) interact face-to-face if the situation explicitly demands it.

Between AIM, email, and texting, it's a fair estimate that we do as much non-personal communication in a given day as we do personal communication. People from our parents' generation do not comprehend why we text - after all, why not just speak to the other person directly? Well, let me take a stab at explaining why. Texting is ideal for non-urgent matters, or telling people things that they don't need to respond to. Telling someone "I'll meet you there in 10 minutes" does not require a phone call. It's also good for when you really don't have anything meaningful to say. For instance, I text funny movie or TV quotes to people all the time, just for them to read at their leisure. It's a little thing that can lighten your day up.

If it boils down to one thing, it's this - the techno-savvy generation will avoid confrontation every chance it gets. Texting avoids people being put on the spot - you can respond as quickly -or not as quickly- as you want. Emailing people at work instead of calling them keeps us from hearing an possibly agitated person on the other end (or keeps people from hearing our agitated selves on our end). Most of all, texting and emailing are a crutch. We don't have to think on our feet in texts or emails, and we don't have to worry about stumbling over our words or sounding like an idiot. Why? Because (and we ALL do this) you get to read over your texts and emails before they're sent, giving you a chance to finely tune your words like a surgeon.

We've seen countless "funny because we've all been there at some point" scenes in movies and TV shows where a guy is sitting next to the phone rehearsing his words before calling a girl to ask her out. Has it reached the point that these types of scenes are now obsolete? Would an equivalent scene now consist of a guy (or a group of girls) zeroed in on a phone screen nervously constructing the perfectly-worded text? I believe it has. And in the height of irony, we defer to impersonal communication to avoid looking stupid, but so often it renders us looking like drones attached to a tiny piece of machinery. I guess it's one battle lost and one battle won.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Pam Ward Interview: Sit On This Grenade

Today is an exciting day at notasgoodasyouthink. We landed our first interview today from famous ESPN announcer, Pam Ward. The opportunity was available for us to do an in person interview but we opted to do a phone interview for obvious reasons.

KG: Good Morning Mrs. Ward.

PW: Good Morning.

KG: Thank you for taking a few minutes from your busy schedule to answer some questions.

PW: Oh its really no big deal. I live with 6 cats its just nice to have some human contact even if its over the phone. You sure I can't drive to do the interview in person? Where do you live?

KG: NO. NO. This is for the best. Besides it sounds like your voice is a little hoarse. Are you sick?

PW: No I feel 100%.

KG: O...ok. Well let's just start the questions. How did you manage to get a play by play job at ESPN?

PW: Well I started out as a sideline reporter but was soon told I might be better suited for play by play and radio. These Erin Andrews types are ruining TV. I mean what does she have that I don't?
PW: Anyways I am better as a play by play announcer.

KG: Yesss. You previously partnered with Andre Ware on ESPN 2's Noon Big Ten Game. Many people were disappointed when you two were split up. What were your feelings with ESPN's decision to pair you with Ray Bentley instead?

PW: Andre and I were the best broadcast team in the business. We were a dynamic duo on the air but Andre blocked my phone number in the offseason. I decided to send him a Christmas card anyways in which I encouraged him to make a comeback at pro football. His biggest issue in the pros was playing under center so I offered to help him out. I also told him I would make an excellent wide receiver. I sent him the same nude photo as everyone else but for some reason he didn't respond. Ray Ray was also a tremendous partner as well but just my luck he decided to go sailing across the world in the offseason. He said he sent me a message in a bottle and that I should keep my eye out for it. The beaches are cold in the winter but I make sure to look everyday.

KG: Who can expect you to work with in the future?

PW: I applied for a job as a production assistant for the MLB Network to keep me busy in the offseason. I have always wanted to work with Peter Gammons because I respect him so much. Harold Reynolds works there as well and I hear he is quite friendly.

KG: Why not work with ESPN on Baseball Tonight?

PW: Well I had a potential contact on the show that was going to recommend me but unfortunately he was fired for having a sex addiction. Having heard this I'm very unhappy I never got a chance to meet him, and now hes in rehab. Story of my life.

KG: I heard he checked out of rehab.

Phone Clicks....

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow Days Are Not The Same

When you work a full time job and live aways from your friends its tough to truly enjoy a snow day. First of all they come less frequently because its your responsibility to get yourself to work and not the bus driver or shuttle. Inclement may leave you stranded in a hotel room with fellow employees because your company wants to make sure you show up to work tomorrow.

When you do happen to get off from work its exciting at first. You celebrate a little bit, until you realize all the snow shoveling that most be done and that you can't really go anywhere. You get cabin fever and a glipse into what its like to be unemployed. Snow days breed laziness whether you are working from home or trying to find something to do. You can watch a movie, play some video games, and jump off your roof into the snow. Ultimately, you will be wishing you could do more with your day off.

Things and People That Don't Impress Me

The time is now 1:38 AM on Wednesday night. I can't sleep, and I need to contribute my part to this blog. Right now is not the time for deep thought, so I'm going to compile a list of things and people that I don't find particularly special, impressive, or exciting.

Wedding Crashers
Ultimate Fighting
Abercrombie and Fitch
Lord and Taylor
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts
Geno's and Pat's cheesesteaks
Running up the art museum steps
People wearing throwback jerseys of players before their lifetime
American Idol
Barack Obama
Most politicians
Grady Sizemore
The movie "Crash"
The Real World
Reality TV
Bruce Springsteen
Shia Labeouf(no idea how the f*** to spell his last name)
Fast cars
March Madness (its good basketball, but I have no emotional attachment to any college sports program)

I will indeed think of more when I am refreshed with quality sleep.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Flick the Wrist

"Yea I will definitely be there"
"We will hang out this weekend for sure"
"I will call you"

I would imagine most of us have said these things or variations of and not followed through. This is not acceptable. Some of us, myself included are guilty of this on occasion. For others it is a habit. If it is done often enough, you can't take their word for a damn. People commit to things they have no intention of doing. They think its ok because they do not want to hurt peoples feelings by saying no or turning them down. They fail to realize that the impact of agreeing to doing something and not actually doing the act hurts more than initially saying No. It is ok if you are unsure or wavering if a guy or girl wants to go out, or if your sorta friend is having a bday party. This is what you can say.

"I'm supposed to do X, but well see"
"I'll try to stop by"
"I'll let u know"

These things don't even have to be true but they at least don't let people get their hopes up or have them pencil you in only to have you renege in the 11th hour.

If you find yourself committed to something that you regret, you should still go anyways to keep your word. The only excuse you really have is an emergency, but make sure to not use the same excuse on the same friend twice.

Things/People That Are Not That Funny

Network TV- Seriously is there anything on ABC, NBC, CBS, or FOX that is worth watching for laughs? Maybe Two and a Half Men? I'll still pass due to 9 minutes of commercials. I find the laugh tracks themselves annoying enough as it is. Let me decide what is funny please. If I laughed every time the laugh track played I would die of a heart attack.

Preston and Steve- This is the highest rated radio show in the Philadelphia area. It tries to appeal to the masses and is not really edgy or humorous. It is a generic show at this point. Steve in particular brings little to the table. The show was better on Y100 before it became commercialized and generic. At this time the bizarre files were funny.

Super Bowl Commercials- This one even the masses would have to agree are not funny. You are not missing anything if you get up during the commercials of the game. It's been a few years since Budweiser brought anything to the table.

Dane Cook- I won't go as far to say that he has never done anything humorous but what about him is appealing. He certainly has not earned his success and I don't understand why he is in movies. The things the ultimately gets me is that he was forced down my throat for 4 years of college by people who had no clue who George Carlin was.
"Hat tip to the entire readership"

Jon Stewart- I find Steven Colbert to be the superior of the fake news shows to the point where I don't even bother with the Daily Show at this point. Least be the fact that Jon Stewart is overwhelmingly a Democrat far beyond the point where its a act. Colbert is humorous when he plays the Republican role.

Trans Fat Free

Its amazing how little people know about nutrition. People will look for an lame excuse to eat garbage. They hear things like "whole grain", "reduced fat", "less salt", "trans fat free", and "light" and automatically assume they are compiling the diet of champions. This is not Muscle Fitness so I'm not going to write the New Testament of nutrition here. All I am saying is do a bit of homework and buyer beware of the duplicitous diet terms mentioned above. What annoys me to no end is how certain junk food companies have the nerve to label their products as "trans fat free", trying to pass of their cheap snack food as healthy. But I can't blame them as there are plenty of idiots out there dumb enough to fall for it. Here is a nice list of nutritional trans fat free products:

Hard liquor
Circus Peanuts
Hershey's Chocolate Bar
White bread
Lucky Charms
McDonalds Fries
McDonaldland cookies
Chewing Tobacco

This will be an ongoing series as I will be visiting several local foodstores compiling the ultimate trans fat free diet. Good luck reducing your waist line on these products.

Monday, February 8, 2010

"It's Good Exercise"

If you live in the Northeast, you get pelted with snow this weekend are about to get pelted with snow again inside of 24 hours from now. Chances are also that you spent a fair amount of time shoveling snow this past weekend. The inevitable by-product of a snowy weekend is everyone talking on Monday at work about how much snow they got and how much time they spent outside clearing their driveways/sidewalks and how much it sucks, etc. And it is never long before that nails-on-a-chalkboard phrase comes out, "but at least it's good exercise!"

Let's make this clear. Shoveling snow is not good exercise. Yes, you get your heart pumping a bit and burn a very good deal of calories, but that does not make it good exercise. Soreness is good; waking up feeling like your back is broken is not good. A half hour on a stairmaster or elliptical that leaves you sweat-soaked? That's good exercise. Benching 100 lbs more than your weight for multiple reps? That's good exercise. The only people who consider shoveling to be "good exercise" are those who don't exercise to begin with, so for them just getting off the couch is a monumental accomplishment.

I laugh when people treat the smallest amount of physical activity as a.) an absolution from further physical activity in the near future, and b.) an excuse to go apeshit with the junk food. How many people would you bet said this weekend, "Oh, it's ok, I spent an hour shoveling snow, I can have 9 slices of pizza during the Super Bowl. And I was going to get back to the gym this week, but since I'm so sore I'll just push that to next week."

These are the same people who consider it okay to get that cheesecake after lunch because they parked 100 feet away from the restaurant as opposed to 50 feet away - "yeah, it's fine, I'll walk it off going back out to the car." Mmm-hmm. You go and tell yourself that. The truth is you'd have to walk at a breakneck pace for about 40 minutes to burn off a small slice of cheesecake. But I guess we can let that one slide - after all, it's going to snow again soon, so you'll get some more good exercise on Wednesday!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Blah, Part II - "Hottest Ticket in Town?"

KG threw me the alley-oop on this topic about a week and a half ago, so allow me to speak from experience about attending the Super Bowl. I had the extreme fortune of going to Super Bowl XL (that's 40 for those not versed in Roman numerals) in Detroit a few years back. Despite pretty sweet seats (lower level, halfway up, on one of the goal lines) and a fairly decent game (Pittsburgh beat Seattle 21-10, Willie Parker broke Marcus Allen's record for longest run in a Super Bowl), I left convinced that being in the building for the Super Bowl is an overrated experience.

Because so many of the tickets go to corporations or are given away to contest winners, about 60% of the people in the stands do not care who wins the game. That alone waters down the game experience, despite how good of a game it turns out to be. My hand is raised; being a Dallas fan, my only rooting interest in the game was to not see Pittsburgh tie the Cowboys and 49ers with a 5th Super Bowl. (Side note: congratulations Pittsburgh, you're one of three teams that would ever leave me in the position of actually rooting for Seattle) And even though I was very much into the game, if it's not your team in the game or you don't have a sizable bet out there, you're very much liable to care more about your next beer than about the big 3rd-and-4 coming up.

That's the major difference between being at the Super Bowl versus being at a World Series game or an earlier round NFL playoff game. Part of the enjoyment of being in the stadium is sitting in a section of people who are all your friends for 3 hours simply because they're rooting for the same uniforms as you are; after a big play being able to high-five and hug the same guy that you're probably going to end up cutting off and beeping at in the parking lot on the way home. That's why tickets cost good money - spending the day at the stadium and seeing the game happen in front of you should add value to experience, otherwise it's wasted money. And with the astronomical cost of Super Bowl tickets, the Super Bowl may be the biggest waste of money out there.

There are reasons for this beyond the "sterile corporate crowd" argument. First, being at an NFL game is less of an upgrade over watching on TV than being at a game of any of the other three major sports. Unless you have seats between the 40 yard lines, you have to roll the dice that a fair amount of the meaningful action will take place on your end of the field, and if not, you won't see any of the big plays too well. Also, at the Super Bowl, you get one replay of each play, usually not from a great angle, and they play it only once on the Jumbotron. Watching the Super Bowl on TV, you get every possible look at all the borderline plays, complete and super slow motion and zooms and anything else you'd want. This may not have been such a big issue 15-20 years ago, but now that instant replay has as much of a hold on the game as it does, being in the stadium leaves you with less of a "grip" on the game than watching from home.

For instance, fast forward to :53 on the video I linked to above, where Ben Roethlisberger scores a very questionable touchdown. I had a direct view of the play from my seat (I was on the side of the field that he rolled toward) and still had to text my friend back home to see if it looked like the play would be overturned. I'll still go to my grave saying Big Ben did not get in, but that's a different story.

And what about those terribly long TV timeouts during the Super Bowl? When watching on TV you can go to the bathroom or try to enjoy the commercials. If you're at the game? Nothing. Don't try going to the bathroom because you'll miss an entire series. And while everyone at home is laughing their ass off at the newest Geico or Miller Lite commercials, those in the seats get to watch all the players stand with their hands on their hips waiting for the whistle to blow again.

In conclusion, if you can go to the Super Bowl by winning a radio contest or a raffle or something, I'd say to absolutely go and have a ball, because at the very least it is a paid 3-4 day vacation in February. But if you're looking to bend over backwards financially or logistically, there are much better returns on investment than the Super Bowl.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Super Blah, Part I - "The Maria Menounos Factor"

Yes, that is a picture of Dwight Freeney's ankle. There was a memo sent out by CBS, ESPN, and NFL Network this week to anyone writing about the Super Bowl stating that it was mandatory to mention Dwight Freeney's ankle at least once. So now that that's out of the way....

I love the Super Bowl. Love love love it. I read every Super Bowl book I could get a hand on as a kid and have seen almost all of NFL Network's America's Game documentaries. I can name for you, on command, the winner, loser, score, starting quarterbacks, head coaches, MVP, and host city/stadium of EVERY single Super Bowl. I have always been in awe of it for what it is - the ultimate game of football played by 106 men who have earned the right to be referred to as the two best football teams on the face of the earth for that year.

But what I can't take is the bastardization of it all. The onslaught of Super Bowl hype is legalized torture. It's just too much. It was too much 10 years ago. I wince at the thought of what it will be 10 years from now. However, the actual football-related overload is not what gets to me; hell, in three days we won't even have a football game to overanalyze for another 7 months. It's the mass-media blitz that takes place, a storm that occurs when those without sufficient knowledge or interest in the game try to descend upon it as if their last name is Unitas or Parcells.

I call it "The Maria Menounos Factor." When you have a major sporting event and the likes of Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, The Insider, etc. send people to cover it, the event itself has officially been exploited beyond its true meaning. The Super Bowl has been more commercialized than Christmas, and sadly, the World Series is not far behind. Why do I name this after Maria Menounos? If you don't know who she is, she's a nice looking little number who corresponds for Access Hollywood and The Today Show and every so often tries to act like a big sports fan because she's from Massachusetts and someone told her that Boston teams have had a fair amount of success recently. So you get her prancing around in Red Sox attire at the All Star Celebrity Softball Game or tossing the ball around in Patriots gear at Gillette Stadium (sweet Steve Grogan throwback, no way she knows who he is).

All that would be well and good if she or any of her colleagues actually knew what the hell was going on. At the World Series last year, our self-proclaimed huge Red Sox fan was overheard before interviewing Mariano Rivera, "is he a pitcher?" Excuse me? My mom knows who Mariano Rivera is and she watches about 20 minutes of baseball a year. You say you're a huge sports fan and that question comes out of your mouth? If it were me running the show, I'd have Maria stand in the batter's box against one of Mariano's cut fastballs - guaranteed she'd remember he's a pitcher after that.

What I'm getting at is this: the Super Bowl has become such a hype machine that it commands the attention of those in the media who are much better suited talking about what size latté Paris Hilton got from Starbucks yesterday than trying to talk about Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. No one is saying that you have to be able to explain a zone blitz, a Cover 2, or a West Coast Offense in order to get a media credential for the Super Bowl, but please understand your setting. Your groundbreaking stories about whether Reggie Bush is going to propose to Kim Kardashian, or your questions about what brand of chewing tobacco Jeremy Shockey prefers are a colossal waste of time. There is a time and place for such talk, but not now nor here.

You are dragging down the enjoyment level of those who treat sports as a priceless hobby or pastime. Real football fans on Super Bowl week are like devout Christians on Easter, annoyed at the clutter and inconvenience caused by the throngs that only show up once a year. It should be one of the biggest days of the year, but you can't embrace it because someone's sitting in your seat.