Sunday, June 29, 2008

52 52 52 Week #19: Kansas

In which I examine crappy local sports journalism on a state-by-state basis, progressing through the states in terms of an alphabetical ordering of the heights of their tallest points. Because I can.

This week's highpoint and article really need no introduction. Wait, does that count as an introduction? Aw, I hate epistemological conundrums...

Kansas's highpoint is, essentially, the Kansas-Colorado border. Technically speaking, it's called Mount Sunflower, it stands at 4,039 feet, and here's three things vaguely worth knowing about it:

1. It's completely indistinguishable from the surrounding land. Also, it's really close to Colorado's lowest point. So yeah, hell of a summit.

2. If you'll remember Nebraska's entry in week six, you might recall a humorous account of climbing its distinctly non-mountainous highpoint. Well, that was only a sequel, a pale Bad Boys II to the original Bad Boys that is this harrowing tale of climbing Mount Sunflower.

3. The summit is on private property belonging to Mike and Rae Marie Jones, who apparently have a good sense of humor. According to Wikipedia, the summit is adorned by such items as "a picnic table, a sunflower sculpture made from railroad spikes, and a plaque that states 'nothing happened here in 1897.'" I'm sorry, but that last part is hilarious.

Today's article comes from The Leavenworth Times, which I pretty much checked out on the off-chance there would be a random allusion to local inmate Michael Vick. For once, I was not disappointed. Thanks middle America! Or, to be more precise, thanks Leavenworth Times sports editor Sara Mettlen!

You know, when you do a Google image search for "Sara Mettlen", this is the first result, for some awesome reason:

I don't know why, and, frankly, I don't want to know. Sadly, Ms. Mettlen's prose is much like what I imagine the Amazing Amazon's would be: pretty damn preachy. Let's just do this.

Today is Michael Vick’s birthday.

Happy birthday Michael! Oh, wait, this was written on June 27. Ah well. Better late than never, right? Well, except when it comes to being caught torturing dogs. Am I right, people? Man, I kill myself. So, um, Michael, no need to do that when you get out, right?

Just thought that was worth knowing since he’s practically a neighbor. Don’t worry, I’m also going to make it work into a point I hope to make later, so it’s not totally random knowledge.

Well, thank goodness. For a second there I thought you were just wishing happy birthday to a convicted felon. And if that were the case, as Bill Plaschke would say, "Shame on you!" (Seriously, if there's one thing I learned from Around the Horn - and I'm absolutely certain I didn't learn anything else - it's that that is America's next great catchphrase.)

For some unknown reason, the article divides itself into a "BETTER" section, a "WORSE" section, and an "ABOUT THE SAME" section. Man, I hate lame gimmickry. And be sure to check out next week's "Comics & Sports", not to mention the next installment of "52 52 52"! And whatever will I name my column next week?

Huh...don't know why all of that just occurred to me. Oh well.

Fresno State won the College World Series on Wednesday with a 6-1 win over Georgia. If you are a first time reader you’ve missed me writing about how much I love the CWS for a couple weeks now,

I'll try to survive. I'm not sure how I'll live without having read that stuff, but I'll try.

but if Fresno winning — the equivalent of a 13-16 seed winning the NCAA basketball tournament — didn’t make you smile for a least a little while, either you’re a Georgia fan or something is wrong with you.

Or maybe college baseball doesn't do that much for you? I mean, congratulations to Fresno State and all, but I just can't quite buy into the collegiate version of a sport with such a huge minor league system. Hell, I'm not even downplaying the enormity of their achievement. It's just that college baseball seems so irrelevant that I couldn't even be bothered to learn the context.

Now obviously, feel free to disagree. I have to admit, I'm just generally a pro sports kind of guy, and I've got tons of bizarre quirks and abnormalities when it comes to my sports fandom. Hell, this is probably one of them. But I know I'm not a Georgia fan, and I'd like to think nothing's wrong with, who am I kidding? There's definitely something wrong with me.

You see, Fresno’s win makes a statement, much like the one KU’s two first-round losses during March Madness did but with less emotional distress for me. The Bulldogs’ win shows that regardless of the how high or low a team is ranked or seeded you have to show up to play on game day. There’s a lot of athletic talent in this world and thinking you can get by just because some system gives you a better seed than your opponent is probably a sign you’ll lose.

Is it just me, or should there have been more than two commas in that whole mess of text? I admit I probably overuse the damn things, but that whole block felt like one long detour into run-on country.

Oh, I'm sorry, you want my thoughts on the content, not the grammar? Well, hey, I'm as big a fan of the underdog as anyone else, but I'm not the biggest fan of couching that sentiment in "you have to show up to play on game day." That seems a little gritty to me. I dunno, I think it's more down to random chance and a little luck than people overlooking their opponents. To be honest, that whole angle is probably a little overplayed.

In a nut shell: Respect your opponent.

I fully expect this to be the slogan for next year's NBA playoffs.


My dislike of Shaquille O’Neil aside (if you get paid that much money to play basketball you should be able to make a free throw)

Or, alternately, you can make up for your admittedly lousy free throw shooting by dominating pretty much every other aspect of the game for a decade. Also, it's O'Neal. Who the hell is editing this sports section? Hey, wait a moment...

Or, to be more precise, thanks Leavenworth Times sports editor Sara Mettlen!

Looks like somebody doesn't know how to self-edit. Of course, me make mistake? That's unpossible. Just so we're clear.

the video of him rapping about Kobe Bryant is a whole new low.

If by "low" you mean "proof of Shaq's comedic genius", then I'm totally on board. Of course, if you're using pretty much any of the "correct" definitions of the word "low", then I really will have to disagree.

So Kobe didn’t want to be on your team, feel free to not like the man, heck even hate him, but don’t publicly do something that mostly just makes you look like a moron to put him down.

I think it's a little more than "didn't want to be on your team." I believe it's "caused a massive rift and then pretty much forced Laker management to rebuild the team in his image, starting with trading Shaq." Look, I'm about as big a Kobe supporter as you're likely to find, but let's be honest. Shaq has legitimate beef here. Kobe beef, even.

(I swear that pun was not initially intended. But hey, when the opportunity arose, I fucking took it. That's why I'm a champion blogger.)

I think first of all someone should tell Shaq he really isn’t all too great of a rapper and secondly maybe throw out a reminder that not only do his own children look up to him but so do a lot of other children around the world.

This is just a crazy guess, but I doubt Sara Mettlen is the world's biggest hip-hop fan. Of course, Shaq is a terrible rapper, but only when you judge him against professionals. As a free-styling amateur? He's pretty decent, I'd say. And speaking of overplayed angles...

Look, the last thing anyone wants to hear from me is moral outrage in response to moral outrage, so I'll spare you that. Let's just be realistic. It's the 21st century. Not only do kids regularly hear worse than anything in Shaq's song, there's the simple fact that to ask athletes to constantly be on guard against letting children down is to basically ask them not to have a private life. Ten years ago, that rap would have been at best a rumor, a story repeated in select circles and then later related by somebody like the Sports Guy. Hell, that would probably have been true even three or four years ago. So let's be realistic here. Role model or no, Shaq has the right to act like an adult every once in awhile. Which, ironically, usually entails behaving unbelievably childishly, but whatever.

Here comes the tie back to Vick, professional athletes seem to be steadily making poorer and poorer decisions, which is particularly alarming consider nearly all professional sports are enjoying some of the best ratings they’ve had in years.

Wait...Shaq asking Kobe how his ass tastes in a freestyle rap is somehow even remotely comparable to what Michael Vick did? Come on, let's at least try to be sensible here. Oh, and this barely makes any sense. I mean, like, at all. Leaving aside the run-on vibe and the mechanical errors (that should be "considering" up there, and that's without even really looking at it), none of the points in that sentence even begin to logically connect. Michael Vick...poor decisions...still great ratings? What...the...fuck?

So for the rest of the population making a living off of their sport, please find a way to act with more decorum than Shaq. That shouldn’t be too hard.

Or, alternately, for those of us following sports, we could admit these are all real people with real lives, and decide either to enjoy this sort of off-screen stuff or ignore it. Seems only fair.


Although Michael Beasley was, in my opinion at least, the best player in the NBA draft, he didn’t go first. Brandon Rush went higher than expected, Darrell Arthur went lower and somehow Mario Chalmers slipped out of the first round. I’m sorry to break it to anyone who spent hours of their night watching the draft, but it doesn’t really matter. might matter if your team made a terrible selection. Or, if you prefer me to feign optimism, an awesome pick. It certainly matters to me who Chicago chose (although obviously it mattered even more than usual this year). Judging by all the Kansas-related players, I'm guessing Sara Mettlen is approaching this from a collegiate perspective, from which, yeah, it doesn't really matter who goes where as long as they get drafted. But from a professional perspective? It matters a huge fucking deal who goes where.

Until all the trades are finalized you don’t even really know where a guy is going to be playing next year.

Yeah...that's true, but it certainly narrows it down a little, right? I mean, I didn't really bother watching the draft because it's, you know, boring, but I certainly followed it.

A caveat to the it doesn’t matter remark, it does matter in monetary terms for the players themselves, but to fans not so much.

Again...I'd guess a good 85-90% of draftees end up playing (if they ever play at all) for the team that picked them. So yeah, it does matter to fans. Fans of the teams that picked them.

Trades aside, where a player goes in the draft doesn’t necessarily match up with how well he does once he’s in the league. After all, Michael Jordan went No. 3 and the current league MVP Kobe Bryant went No. 13.

Is it just me, or is she arguing two different things here? First that it doesn't matter where a player gets taken, and then also it doesn't matter who selects them. Because maybe I'll grant the first point, but the second one seems, well, kinda dumb.

Ah well, I guess it's all good. And once again, happy belated birthday Michael!

Congratulations to Spain...

...on winning the finals of Eurocup 2008.

I assume they now go on to the Ultra-Finals to play England, yes? I'm just going to assume that's how things work.

Stay tuned for 52 52 52.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Is this a post? A comment? Truly, only God can know for sure.

While I was furiously masturbating with cat faeces to pictures of your dead grand-aunt (am I right, guys? Hey? Hey?) this little establishment here became, like, a blog. Djmmm and Archie have done all sorts of new spicy things far from the realm of "Look! Jon Heyman thinks Schmo Bimbley and his .237 Eqa are valuable! Chortle." I'm not totally ready to make that full-blown leap, so consider this some sort of transition.

Catching up on Leitch's last day at Deadspin, I just read the back-and-forth with Bissinger. I thought the game of '"[Leitch] Don't you feel FOOLISH for how you acted?! Aren't you MORTIFIED?" "[Buzz] Well actually countless smart people agree with me so I'll be okay."' was kind of lame on both sides. I will narrowly avoid Archie's wrath by stating that, of course, Leitch came out ahead. One thing in particular bothered me from Bissinger's last reply:

We just disagree on a lot of fundamental things. Obviously, the biggest is that
sports should not be treated with seriousness. I think Friday Night Lights
proves the point of just how serious sports is in our culture.

You sure, Buzz? Are you sure it wasn't the overwhelming feeling of "Holy crap, look at how seriously those hicks take football!" that made the story compelling? If every reader of the book lived only to watch his favourite team, to the extent that people in west Texas did, the book wouldn't have mattered. It was interesting because high school football was all those people had, and that sort of rabid fanaticism isn't frequently seen. People don't take sports very seriously because, as Leitch said, it's just entertainment, really. What's more, that season was 20 years ago. As the epilogue to the version I read mentioned, people are a little less nuts about football now; Permian has a girls' soccer team and stuff. Even the craziest of the crazy have maybe come around a bit. So, no, Buzz, I don't think FNL showed how fucked up we all are over sports. Really, it emphasized how unimportant that stuff ultimately is to the large majority of people.

Anyway, I'm going to go brush my teeth with smegma and watch animal porn. Tits.

The New Original Column #1: How's about an introduction?

Finally making good on my promise of gimmicks as far as the eye can see, I am pleased to unveil that most original of premises, a column. It's just like what the MSM (not to mention Big Daddy Balls) do, but written by me. And since a random Spinal Tap reference was the best I could come up with for a title, you can rest assured that I'll be trying again next week. I just felt "It's a column, stupid!" was a little much.

Because the world in sports is so busy today, what with the blogosphere still reeling at the news of Mayo-for-Love Will Leitch's departure, I'll keep this pretty short. Hell, I'm not sure how much longer this will be than the italicized intro thingy up top, but what the hey?

Basically, I generally try my best to avoid discussing actual sports on this blog. This is because, if I can get my Socrates on for a second here, the only thing I know about sports is that I know nothing. I refuse to claim there are very many absolute truths in a sports world where...

1. In the last decade, an 83-win team won the World Series while a 116-win team couldn't even push the ALCS to game six.

2. The Boston Celtics had more of a challenge finishing off the Atlanta Hawks than the Los Angeles Lakers.

3. Eli Manning went from confused semi-bust to Super Bowl hero in less than a month.

4. Something weird about hockey, if only for symmetry's sake.

Now, obviously, the proper response here isn't to turn around and say "Sports is inexplicable, so let's start bullshitting!" That's the Way of the Plaschke, and I won't stand for it. There are no end of valid, interesting ways to interact with sports, and I probably don't need to bore you with a list delineating all of them. (And since I'm trying to actually follow my new "no navel-gazing" rule, I don't really want to get into what would essentially be plugs for a bunch of great sites that don't really need the Micklewhite Boost*.)

*The Micklewhite Boost is a proud rip-off of the Colbert Bump.

There's plenty of stuff to talk about in the world of sports and, frankly, I've got more than enough time on my hands to do it. I'll start in earnest next week, but right now I think I'm just going to make the most of Mr. Leitch's last day in the blogosphere. Well, until he comes back, anyway. Departures are never quite as final as they used to be, you know.

Credit where it's due...

And my increasingly semi-sycophantic (how's that for tortured verbiage?) Simmons watch continues. Obviously, his absolutely fantastic, complete-with-profanity Will Leitch roast today was nothing short of spectacular, and bodes well for the very possibly fast-approaching day when he cuts ties with ESPN. So that's cool.

But until that potentially glorious day, I'm going to give some props to Bill Simmons and Chad Ford for their mock draft. I know some people haven't much cared for Bill's analysis, but I think it's worth pointing out that the draft is such a crap-shoot anyway that aimless bluster and swagger aren't all that far from attempting real analysis. Actually, the bluster and swagger are firmly aimed at fellating Kevin Durant, but you get my point.

Besides, with Chad Ford around as the rational straight man, Bill's silliness is far more palatable. All in all, a rather entertaining piece. Honestly, if the two of them ran away together to start a basketball blog, I'd read it. Especially if there was cussing.

But really, the main reason I bothered with this post was this last rejoinder from Bill. Chad Ford went to some lengths to explain how cognitive dissonance was skewing Bill's perceptions of the draft, which Bill mostly shrugged off as intellectual hooey. Still, with an ending like this...

Yours in cognitive dissonance,


...I think I'm OK with that.

Man, it's a fun time to be a sports fan. More on this coming up soon in my first true column thingy.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Re-ranking the 2003 draft class the only way I know how...

The NBA draft is tonight, which hopefully can only mean one thing: the Stephen A. Smith Heckling Society of Gentlemen will be on the prowl. Oh, and both Djmmm and your humble author's basketball teams of choice will make potentially franchise-altering picks. So there's that. But let's focus on the bigger picture here. And that bigger picture is, of course, the tiny, tiny screen of YouTube. But more on that in a second. Let's go back to the draft...way back.

After all, hypothetically redoing the NBA draft has been column fodder since time immemorial. And those links just cover the 2003 draft, which admittedly has the advantage of probably being the most important draft of this decade, perhaps even until 2015 (especially if Jermaine O'Neal can step things up big time in Toronto and make Chris Bosh a legit contender).

So how's about we also redo the 2003 draft based on that most all-important of factors - acting ability. After all, what's the true measure of Michael Jordan's greatness: the six rings or his fearlessly homoerotic chemistry with Kevin Bacon in those Hanes commercials?

('s not the rings.)

For simplicity's sake (and also because no one has yet seen fit to have Chris Kaman shill for their used car dealership, which is really humanity's loss), we'll just stick with the top five of the 2003 draft. Oh, and because I willfully break my own rules whenever I feel like it, I think I'll go from 5 to 1. And why not?

#5 Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo takes a risk from the start by rejecting W.C. Fields's legendary advice: "Never drink water - fish fuck in it!" No, sorry, I mean, "Never work with children or animals." (And that one kid's buck tooth has to count as it own organism, so those are your animals.) Unfortunately, the definitive riff on little children picking professional athletes happened way back in The Simpsons classic "Homer at the Bat", anchored by the comedic genius of Wade Boggs.

I think I'm getting off-point. What my point is, I believe, is that Carmelo is merely adequate here, brings very little emotionality, and appears somewhat torn between playing it like an overgrown man-child or a "stop snitchin'!" hardass. Which is weird, because I believe he already is a combination of those two things in real life. So yeah, fifth it is.

#4 Dwyane Wade

Nothing wrong with the line reads here, but come on...this clip is pretty much all Sir Charles. All that Dwyane does is react and let the comedy happen around him, adding very little humor of his own. Which might admittedly make him suitable for the lead on Scrubs - hell, he'd almost certainly be a huge upgrade over the comedy black hole that is Zach Braff - but it can't really earn him higher than fourth in this insanely pointless (not to mention pointlessly insane) redraft I'm doing. Come on, let's see some passion!

#3 Darko Milicic

Ah, much better. Sure, some of you might cry foul here, claiming since that was, you know, real, that shouldn't count as proof of his acting prowess. Well, allow me to retort...

I am gonna come back and fuck your mothers to all of them. That is my massage to you. Pussies!

Seriously folks, the dude's a natural. (Even if he did, in the heat of the moment, somehow mix up "poruka", the Serbian word for "message", with "masaza", or "massage." Weird you'd mix up such different words, but I'm sure that can be coached so that, in time, it isn't a gigantic liability. Much like all other aspects of his game.)

Look, even if you won't grant me the obvious fact that he's the long-awaited heir to Al Pacino, you've got to admit his improv would put even mid-period Will Ferrell to shame...

I am gonna fuck their mother in her mouth!

[Swigs what I can only hope is Gatorade.]

I’m gonna fuck them all & if he has a daughter I’m gonna fuck her too!

That's just brilliant. I especially liked the part where he switched from singular to plural. That sort of thing just never occurs to me. Probably why I'm still toiling in the blog trenches.

#2 LeBron James

Sure, I could have gone with the timeless elegance of The LeBrons, but you know what? I just can't get over how legitimately good his acting is here. Not sure how huge his range is (although The LeBrons clearly showed him capable of such diverse emotions as "old" and "asshole"), but if nothing else, LeBron has got the part of "slick lawyer" down motherfucking pat. Can we get him a guest spot on Boston Legal? The thought of him arguing a case against a gleefully insane William Shatner and/or idealistically sleazy James Spader might just make for the most unbelievable television in recorded history.

#1 Chris Bosh

Hey, you guys remember Dr. Strangelove, where Peter Sellers played three different roles? Yeah...fuck that shit, because Chris Bosh just blew that dead British prick (at least if certain Geoffrey Rush TV movies are to be believed) out of the water.

Let me ask you this - did Peter Sellers ever put a basketball underneath his shirt to make himself look fat? No? I rest my case.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Comics & Sports #1: Dash Dartwell

As all geeks (looking at you, Djmmm) know, every Wednesday (and Thursdays when Monday was a holiday or something) is that most hallowed of days, new comic book day. In the spirit of that most beautiful of days, I present a new feature spotlighting the potentially awesome confluence of sports and comics.

I recently spent two weeks in scenic (no, really, it sort of is) East Lansing, Michigan, having somehow scammed my college of choice into funding my research into a little something called Centaur Comics. Ultra-quickly, they were a fifth-rate (much like this blog) comic book publisher back in the late thirties and early forties, during the so-called Golden Age of comics. They trotted out a variety of oddball heroes, including an honest-to-goodness centaur, a ventriloquist-turned-detective, and a giant flying eyeball that may or may not be God. So yeah, no lack of creativity over at Centaur. Sanity is a whole 'nother issue.

They also did a bunch of stories that mixed elements of the emerging superhero genre with the world of sports, producing predictably bizarre results. Today we spotlight a steroid parable written six decades before anyone even realized that was an issue. Of course, the whole thing is about the virtues of performance-enhancing substances and how people who use them are heroes. Start taking notes right now, disgraced major leaguers. The key to your redemption may well lie within these pages.

First of all, the set-up. From the comic:

Dashford (Dash) Dartwell is a student at Dravrah University and a member of the "scrub" track team. However, his interest in track is secondary to his new interest in the research of Dr. Drew Moss, Professor of Bio-Chemistry at Dravrah. An added attraction is Bettie Moss, Dr. Moss's lovely daughter.

Three things...

1. Dashford? I think I know what I'm calling my children. Yes, all of them.
2. Dravrah? I would make a crappy joke here about how I bet its rival is "Elay", but, um...that's actually the name of its rival. Oh, that crazy forties-style wordplay!
3. Bettie Moss? If I didn't know better, I'd call that a cheap knock-off of Hulk love interest Betty Ross. Just because it was made twenty years earlier doesn't prove anything!

OK, with that out of the way, let's take a look at the story itself. Professor Moss has just created "metabo-tablets", and he's the first to admit he doesn't have the faintest idea what they'll do...

Leaving the really questionable medical ethics aside for a moment (I mean, shouldn't he first force-feed a bunch of rats ten times the recommended dosage before he even thinks about human tests?), I'm pretty sure the "But I'm not even going to play anyway, so it's OK!" line later became the core of Alex Sanchez's defense.

Meanwhile, a bunch of mobsters with apparently nothing better to do than fix an Ivy League (sorry...Yvi Eugael) track meet kidnap all the top runners, forcing the coach to use the now-medicated Dash...

Frankly, I don't know what Dash was ever doing on the second team in the first place. I mean, his name is Dash Dartwell. For crying out loud, hasn't the coach ever heard of nominative determinism? Anyway, now that the performance-enhancers have kicked in, Dash does the only reasonable thing - demand to be in every single race. Of course, I'm sure he'll take things easy, using his amazing new powers to only just win. Right? Right!?

Because I've very legitimately got nothing better to do, here's a comparison of the modern records in those various events with Dash's marks...

100 Yard Dash: 9.72 seconds vs. 3.5 seconds (Dash)
High Jump: 8 feet vs. 19 feet
Broad Jump: 29.4 feet vs. 70+ feet

And that's without sixty years worth of improved conditioning. So, um, yeah, holy shit. Way to be inconspicuous, Dash. The best part, of course, is where there are no repercussions whatsoever. Hell, no one even vaguely questions whether these completely impossible results are on the level. His coach only gets concerned when the tablets start to wear off and he almost loses. OK, that last part is pretty believable, but still.

Well, OK, there is one repercussion. Those violent mobsters are going to try to kill him. But in terms of oversight from the governing athletic body? None. None whatsoever. And what's the press's reaction?

That's right, they're total suckers for the great story. Huh. Maybe this isn't that ridiculous after all.

Also, Dr. Moss? You're giving the credit for three world records to "you, with the help of my metabo-tablets"? With the help? Yes, in much the same way the Apollo astronauts reached escape velocity with the help of the Saturn V. Or, if you'd prefer sports-related, in much the same way Jud Buechler won three NBA championships with the help of Michael Jordan.

Well, anyway, Dash fights the angry mobsters and defeats them because he's, well, really fast. He also wears a suit the whole time while fighting crime, which is strangely badass. All of which leads to...

And so, because he uses his incredible drug-fueled powers to not only rewrite the record books but also to beat the crap out of some local gangsters, Dash Dartwell is a superhero. All I know is, if Barry Bonds starts busting skulls in the Bay Area, I think we'll know which comic book he started reading. Well, assuming those skulls belong to criminals. I could also see him as a super-villain. Either way, it really seems like his only logical career move. Other than Taiwan of course. You can't be extradited if the US doesn't recognize the country!

In any event, remember the timeless lesson of Dash Dartwell - drugs makes sports better! Yay for performance-enhancing substances!

Join us next Wednesday for another Comics & Sports entry where our friend Dash will use his tablets to hit more home runs. No, seriously. I swear that's actually going to happen.

Monday, June 23, 2008

RIP George Carlin 1937-2008


Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits.

You know, if Brian Williams reduced tonight's obituary to those seven* words, I'd probably forgive the mainstream media right then and there. Oh well.

*OK, technically eight, but let's not split hairs here, yes?

Leave it to the real world to just legitimately bum me out. Not much to say that hasn't already been said, but I thought I might pay tribute to an aspect of George Carlin's legacy that is being sadly pushed aside in favor of his admittedly iconic and absolutely essential work in the field of comedy. Still, to people of a certain age (this guy very much included), George Carlin will always first and foremost be the voice of Thomas the Tank Engine and friends, which pretty much has to remain the all-time unlikeliest casting decision ever. I even found a sports-related video to embed. (Cricket counts as a sport, right?)

In the words of Walter Sobchak (and maybe someone else before him), "Good night, sweet prince."

No more navel-gazing! (Well, just this one last time)...

Will Leitch has written a truly excellent (and uncharacteristically ornery) post over at Deadspin about an LA Times article that basically claimed, thanks to some choice quotes from The Big Lead's Jason MacIntyre, Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, and Deadspin's own A.J. Daulerio, that the wild days in the sports blogosphere are giving way to some newfound respectability. Leitch, in so many words, called this a pile of horseshit. He even used the word "fuck" and everything, which for him is relatively remarkable. And you know what?

Leitch's right. Psychotic...but absolutely right. We got to take these bastards. We could fight them with conventional weapons. That could take years, cost millions of lives. In this case, I think we have to go all out. I think this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part.

(Thanks Animal House!)

Unfortunately, since I can't come up with an appropriately futile and stupid gesture (fire-bombing is still technically illegal, right?), I'll just do this - from now on, fuck the whole MSM/blogosphere thing. It's done, it's played out, it always was played out, and I'm not touching it anymore. I believe Matt Ufford said it best in his usual elegant, non-inflammatory prose:

You people are fucking gay.

I believe that's actually a quote from Henry VI, but whatever. Point is, this self-indulgent self-dissection shit has to stop. And I'm just the sort of worthless peon to do it.

But just before I do that, I have to point out one thing from the article that amused me no end:

"It's almost like the difference between Eddie Murphy and Bill Cosby," Florio said. "Can you still be funny without cursing?"

I won't belabor the point too much, but if Eddie Murphy and Bill Cosby are Florio's barometer of "edgy" vs. "safe" comedy, what year must he be living in? 1986? Because if Eddie Murphy has proven one thing, it's that he can't be funny without cursing. Not at fucking all. Although that movie about the tranny was pretty funny.

Wait, what?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

52 52 52 Week #18: Georgia

In which I examine crappy local sports journalism on a state-by-state basis, progressing through the states in terms of an alphabetical ordering of the heights of their tallest points. Because I can.

Not the best of weeks here at Fire Everybody! A fun NBA finals has given way to the inevitable doldrums of mid-summer sports, and my recent self-indulgence has probably reflected the fact that, well, there isn't all that much to say. So, I'm tinkering with the notion of going to the following format for the foreseeable future (hey - alliteration!)...

Sunday: 52 52 52
Wednesday: A staggeringly brilliant new feature combining two of my greatest loves...more info to follow
Friday: A rambling piece on some general point of interest to me in the world of sports

We'll see whether this works, and if there's anything of interest that pops up otherwise, I'll certainly post, and of course Passive and Djmmm can do what they like. But still, if you're trying to figure out when to check the site, do know that new content should be appearing on those days.

OK, with that out of the way, let's talk about everybody's favorite 4,784 foot highpoint, Georgia's awesomely named Brasstown Bald. This may be the first highpoint that sounds like the name of a '30s pulp hero, which is something I'm definitely in favor of. Some other, more factual facts coming up...

1. The mountain is apparently most made up of soapstone and dunite. Don't know what dunite is? Well, it "is an igneous, plutonic rock, of ultramafic composition, with coarse-grained or phaneritic texture." Huh. That cleared that up. Let's just all agree soapstone is a stone made out of soap, yes?

2. Although this may not be terribly surprising, there isn't actually any brass in Brasstown Bald. Instead, it gets its name "was derived by a simple Cherokee translation error by white settlers. Sounding very similar, settlers confused the word "Itse'yĭ" (New Green Place or Place of Fresh Green) with "Ûňtsaiyĭ" (Brass). Itse'yĭ, New Green Place, was used to describe the top of the mountain, as it was grassy and devoid of trees." Doesn't Wikipedia just know everything?

3. Wikipedia tells us, "The U.S. Forest Service has webcams atop the Observation tower." Of course, gold members of the U.S. Forest Service can watch live shows with Brasstown Bald, and platinum members can even chat with it and make requests. Want to see some soil erosion? You bet your perverted ass you do. But you best pay up. All major credit cards accepted.

After the disaster that was last week's entry, I'm playing things safe and going with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Admittedly, this stretches the definition of "local" journalism to almost ridiculous proportions, as I'm pretty sure I'd have to consider the South "local" for this to count, but whatever. Terence Moore is your writer, and the Atlanta Braves are your topic. Well, that and the phantom panic. Why do I say phantom? All will be explained. All I say!

(Was that melodramatic enough? I'm going for huge here, you know.)

Young Braves must not panic

I have to admit, this is a premise that I pretty much immediately dislike. "Panic" is one of those things, like "team chemistry" or "grittiness" that gets invented to explain a team's failure or success, when really it's probably at most like .5% of the reason. But hell, I'm here now, so I might as well follow through.

Even though the baseball season will reach its midway point by the end of the week, the struggling and aching Braves aren’t panicking, and they shouldn’t.

I think this sentence might hold the whole key to the Atlanta Braves. After all, they might be struggling because they're aching, and any notion of panicking is just faulty causation. Maybe. But again, I'm jumping the gun here; I should at least wait for some evidence.

It’s still early. Not only that, the National League East isn’t a scary place. The division-leading Philadelphia Phillies and the surprising Florida Marlins are a collapse waiting to happen. You also have the New York Mets, the NL’s most dysfunctional team, and the Washington Nationals, as ghastly as advertised.

I dunno, PECOTA seems to agree with you on the Marlins, seeing as how they're currently pegged for an 81-81 final record (sorry Djmmm), but the Phillies? PECOTA has them at 89-73, and that's taking into consideration all the problems they've already had. At this point, the Phillies really figure to either stay about the same or get better, and either will likely be good enough to win the division. Of course, PECOTA is imperfect (and, by that, I really should say a Monte Carlo simulation run a million times every day is imperfect), but I can't get on board with the Phillies being "a collapse waiting to happen." The Braves are going to need to go on a bit of a tear at some point relatively soon to give themselves a good chance. You can't really count on the biggest collapse in baseball history happening yearly in the same division.

Oh, and "The...Phillies and the...Marlins are a collapse waiting to happen"? Tsk tsk on the number agreement there, Mr. Moore.

Plus, despite the Braves’ woes, which were interrupted Saturday night at Turner Field with a 5-4 thriller over the Seattle Mariners after scoring twice in the bottom of the ninth, they have as much talent as anybody. That’s why they’ve stayed among the league’s top two in hitting and pitching for weeks. They’ve also yet to hit their stride. Even so, they began Saturday night just six games out of first, and they have the pleasure of knowing that one or more of their wounded will return at various points to help them spurt.

That sounds like reasonable stuff. I'll readily admit I haven't been closely following the Braves (I'm saving most of my baseball energy for a certain team in the NL Central that PECOTA thinks is bound for a 99-63 record), but I can't really object too much. Indeed, it seems like a perfectly serviceable column could be built around the fact that, for a bunch of reasons, the Braves are due to bounce back (perhaps also acknowledging the same is true of the Mets, as evidenced by their near-identical PECOTA records). Unfortunately, the title really seems to promise some tripe on "panicking." Still, titles usually aren't made up by the writer, so maybe it's just an honest mistake and this article really is that perfectly serviceable (if mediocre) column I was envisioning. Could it be that, for once, I was wrong?

No, the Braves aren’t panicking, but will they, especially if that spurt doesn’t happen sooner rather than later?

Nope. Why must I be so cursed with always being right!?

Oh well. Let's consider the evidence.

“It’s hard not to expect them to [panic], because they’re young and they haven’t had the experience of winning as much as we have and did,” said Tom Glavine, the Braves’ future Hall of Fame pitcher, in his 21st season in the majors.

Exhibit A: A future Hall of Fame pitcher finds it hard not to expect [panic].

“You’re young, and you’re looking around at a team that doesn’t resemble the one that we thought we’d have coming out of spring training. You have all the injuries, especially to the pitching staff. It would be really easy to look at it and feel sorry for yourselves and say, ‘Well, geez. Look at all the stuff we have to deal with and how we’re going to win?’ But you can’t think that way.”

Exhibit B: Said future Hall of Fame pitcher notes injuries and changed expectations, expects fifties-style swearing (i.e. "geez") to break out any minute.

The Braves aren’t thinking that way.

Exhibit C: They're not panicking.

Then again, they are getting close.

Exhibit D: But they could!

After they dropped the opener of this series to a Mariners bunch so wretched that it fired its general manager and manager during the past few days, the Braves had lost 18 of the previous 28 games. They’ve had trouble winning on the road and grabbing one-run games. They’ve also had too many innings that resembled the first inning Saturday night that had the Mariners scoring thrice courtesy of two booted balls at shortstop and a wild pitch.

Exhibit E: They have, of late, been struggling.

(And if you read the word "struggling" like Tony Reali does on Around the Horn, well...want to join my support group? We meet regularly, and there are cookies!)

Come to think of it, maybe the Braves are panicking — you know, a little.

Exhibit F: Struggling leads to panicking. Or maybe panicking leads to struggling. Either way, Q motherfucking E motherfucking D.

“There are guys like Glav [Tom Glavine], and [John] Smoltz and Chipper [Jones] who have that not-panic attitude,” said Braves right fielder Jeff Francoeur of the trio that survived the peaks and valleys associated with most or all of the Braves’ record trip to 14 consecutive division titles through 2005.

Exhibit G: At least 12% of the 25-man roster has that not-panic attitude, conferring on them immunity to panic. If I can turn around a trusty old scientific aphorism, evidence of absence is evidence of panic. So there! Panic it is!

It’s just that the rest of the 25-man roster is a novice at such things.

Exhibit H: The rest of them, having not won most or all of 14 consecutive division titles, are still susceptible to panic. This is why part of astronaut training is to sign a ten-day contract with the 1997 Braves. You know, just to soak up that division-winning goodness and ward off panic attacks.

What? How else do you explain Greg Myers and Tim Spehr?

Which is why Francoeur said, “You have guys like myself, where, it’s not so much panic, but we want to get it done now and get back in it. So, we don’t want to say, ‘Hey, if we keep playing our butts off now, come August, we’ll be back in it.’ I don’t like to say that, because I like to say we need to win now.”

Exhibit I: Francoeur and the rest of the young Braves aren't really panicking, but they want to win. If that isn't conclusive evidence of panic, I don't know what is.

(I don't know what is.)

The Braves aren’t winning now, at least not consistently. “Still, even with our injuries, we’ve had guys come in here to show that they can carry the load, and that’s what your mind-set has to be,” said Glavine, who won’t pitch for a month or so after damaging his 42-year-old left elbow. In addition, Smoltz is out for the season after shoulder surgery. Then there is Jones, who reinjured a quadriceps that will keep him out of the Braves’ starting lineup for the next few days and that manager Bobby Cox said may never improve.

Exhibit J: They have injuries, but "guys [have] come in here to show that they can carry the load." Oh yeah, that'd be panic right there.

I'm sure, based on all that evidence, you can only agree with one inescapable conclusion:

That leaves those Braves not named Glavine, Smoltz or Jones to play and not panic through this mess. That’s the problem, and that’s a big one.

I can find no fault with that. Logic at its finest, yes sir!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bill Simmons: Non-It-Getter

Look, whatever problems I may have with the guy, one of his teams just won the championship, so I can't really argue he's not justified in another Celtics column. But this?

Note No. 1: "6/17"
If you're a numerology buff, then you'll enjoy this one: Game 6 was played on June 17 -- in other words, "6" (the number for June, as well as the number of games in the Finals) and "17" (the number of Boston championships if you include one for 2008). Two of the four greatest Celtics of all-time -- Bill Russell and John Havlicek -- wore "6" and "17," respectively. And if you add 6+1+7, you'd get "14," the number worn by Bob Cousy, another one of the four greatest Celtics ever. (If you want to really stretch it, 3 + 3 = 6, and "33" was worn by Larry Bird, the fourth in the "greatest Celtics ever" group.) If that's not enough, the area code for Boston is "617." And on a somber note, the 1986 draft happened June 17 -- really, the last day the Celtics felt like they were invincible.

Look, that's some pretty dumb stuff right there. It speaks to the complete and utter inanity of the exercise when Bill himself admits the Bird thing is a stretch, but still...whatever, no biggie. As long as nobody attaches any actual weight to it, it's just a somewhat silly parlor game. But then to end with this...

I don't know what all of this means, but it means something, right?

That...that's just painful to read. I mean, honestly...I'm not going to pile on too much here, but it's just disappointing to see someone trot out all this pointless, vaguely interesting crap and then somehow end up thinking there's something to it. I guess I could make a somewhat assholish point about the nature of faith here, but I'll hold back. Just...dammit, man, I thought Simmons was finally headed in the right direction.

Seriously, where the hell is skepticism when we need it most? Huh...turns out - and I had no idea this was the case before I looked it up - it returns this very day.

You know what? Have a taste. Be my guest.

Bring on "The War on Porn"! And no, I won't be writing an awkward sketch teaming up Penn & Teller with Willie Randolph or something like that. Although...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Jeff Van Gundy: It-Getter

Mike Breen lays down some 17-themed numerology, to which Mark Jackson quickly declares, "It means...NOTHING." Breen, clearly just going for some local color, tries to get Jackson and Van Gundy to admit they had some superstitions as player and coach, to which Jeff Van Gundy explains:

Good players and great players...that’s my superstition!

Dubious grammar aside, that's one of the most beautiful things I've ever read. Jeff Van Gundy is truly the anti-Joe-Morgan, swapping inane blandness for insane hilarity and replacing bizarre gut feelings with pragmatic rationality. And no, I don't think I'm overstating things. Not one bit.

I love this man. I'd say in a non-gay way, but, well...I'm not so sure anymore.



Marvin Finds A Solution

Though it's not our bread and butter, it's hard to deny the skit is one of the sports blogosphere's most versatile forms of comedy, and I'd be remiss if I didn't make as much of an ass out of myself trying to do that genre as I have with FJM-style deconstructions and Deadspin-esque "news" items.

Today's entry is fresh off the news that the Marvin Harrison case isn't quite going away just yet. Oh, and in case you have no idea what I'm referencing, look here for the short version. Anyway, enjoy.

[A bar in Philly. The bathroom door opens in a distinctly non-flying manner.]

Dennis: Dude, seriously...

Mac: What?

Dennis: You said you'd clean the toilet! It stinks like yesterday's urine in there.

Mac: Well, that's probably because it is...

Dennis: You know what I mean.

Mac: I do, I just think if you put more work into your quips we'd get more done around here.

Dennis: How does that even make sense?

Mac: Whatever dude, it does.

[Sips beer.]

Mac: Anyway, that's Marvin work.

Dennis: You know Marvin's not around anymore.

Mac: Goddamn cops. Used to be America around here. You can't bust up one little brawl anymore without Johnny and Jenny Law swooping in.

Dennis: And you know who suffers? Our toilet, that's who. I'm pissed.

[Sips beer.]

Dennis: You want to shoot the gun?

Mac: Yes, yes I do.

[Looks for the gun.]

Mac: Dude, it's not there...

Dennis: That's not possible, that's...

Together: Marvin!

[Marvin's apartment. The phone rings.]

Marvin: Yello?

Mac: Where the hell is the gun?

Marvin: The what now?

Mac: The gun, dude!

Marvin: Oh...that.

Mac: Where is it?

Marvin: It'

Mac: What the hell does that mean?

Marvin: It's...with me.

Mac: Dude, we want the gun. We need to blow off some steam.

Marvin: That's...valid.

Mac: Why do you even have the gun anyway? You know the cops are still on your ass.

Marvin: I know. I just...I needed it.

Mac: Marvin, listen to me - have you still got the gun fever?

Marvin: No...of course...

[Cocks gun. Sips beer. Uncocks gun.]

Marvin: ...not.

Mac: Look, we'll be right over.

Marvin: O...K.

[Hangs up. Someone knocks on the door.]

Marvin: That was fast.

[From outside.]

Voice: Dammit Harrison, open this door right now! We need to discuss certain matters.

Marvin: Be right there!

[Puts gun in pants.]

[Opens door.]

Roger: Thanks for agreeing to meet with me, Marvin.

Marvin: Of course. Anything I can do to help.

Roger: You know this whole ongoing investigation's reflecting poorly on the league, Marvin.

Marvin: I'm sorry to hear that.

Roger: Believe me, so am I. Look, if this isn't resolved soon, I'm going to have to suspend...

[Marvin stretches, revealing his midriff and the gun contained therein.]

Roger: What the hell is that?

Marvin: Hmm?

Roger: That!

Marvin: Oh...THAT! Right, well, look, Mr. Commish, let me break this down for you. I haven't straightened things out yet, OK? Could happen to anyone, you know? But I will, I will make this thing go away. Because I've got ways, Rog, I've got ways. Do, do you follow me?


Marvin: Roger, what is this, your silence impression? Come on, nice and loud with a big boy voice. me?


Marvin: Good enough. I'll see you for the Hall of Fame game, yes?


Marvin: Good. Now get going.

[Closes door. Exhales, clutching the beautiful, beautiful gun. Whispering.]

Marvin: Thank you thank you thank you...


Dennis: So everything's sorted out?

Marvin: Looks that way.

Dennis: Great.

Marvin: Pretty much.

[Sips beer.]

Dennis: So, can I have the gun?

Marvin: Oh...right. Yeah, let me get it for you.

Marvin: Wait, which one did you want?

Dennis: Huh.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Since when did I go on Simmons watch?

It might be because, after years (at least three) of not reading him at all, I've had time to forgive him some of his worst excesses and actually appreciate what quality there is in his writing. Or it could just be because I'm lazy and this is an easy way to churn out a quick nugget of content when I've got nothing else to say. Who knows? (Or dares to dream...)

Anyway, his latest column for ESPN The Magazine features only the most passing of references to Boston and none at all to random pop culture (read: The Karate motherfucking Kid, which I suspect he actually quietly retired a couple years ago), which is good, has an interesting topic, which is great, and is pretty much spot-on in its analysis, which is surprising.

The topic is why Roger Federer has not done for tennis what Tiger Woods has done for golf. The basic premise is...well, I'll just go ahead and quote him:

Unlike golf, another time-sucking sport that appeals to a specific audience, tennis lacks a Tiger to keep it relevant. When tennis develops its own version of Tiger—first Pete Sampras, then Roger Federer—the guys do almost more damage than good. We see the best tennis stars as the Ping-Pong player at a family gathering who destroys all the uncles and cousins, and eventually kills everyone's interest in playing Ping-Pong for the day. Golf is a sport that hinges on luck and timing, streaks and slumps, and the quirks of different courses. So it's almost inconceivable for a golfer to dominate as Tiger has. But for Federer to dominate, it's completely conceivable. And boring.

Yep, pretty much. There is a slight problem with this theory, in that for Federer to truly be like Tiger, he would have won every Major. Bill completely omits the whole Nadal-on-clay/Federer-on-grass thing, which is another reason tennis is having trouble. I mean, I would have called it a "rivalry", but that suggests the two are actually competitive against each other. Instead, one just kicks the other's ass on one surface, and vice versa on the other surface.

That might suggest tennis could return to greater relevance with the emergence on someone who was dominant on every surface - someone legitimately chasing the Grand Slam into the US Open would be huge in much the same way horses like Big Brown get people to momentarily care about horse-racing, but it's pretty much impossible with the whole Nadal/Federer thing still in effect - but even if that happened, I have my doubts. The other possibility I'd like to entertain is a Brit winning Wimbledon, as that would almost have to be by definition a massive underdog story due to Britain's crap training regimens, but I may just be indulging my redcoat fancy a little too much there by thinking Americans would care about that. Still, you look at soccer's ratings these days, and you never know.

I've got to think golf, niche sport though it is, derives some of its appeal from the fact that lots of people actually play golf, and the presence of a lot of random apparently out-of-shape dudes (Phil Mickelson and Rocco Mediate spring to mind) reinforces the delusional notion that literally anyone could have the round of their life and win a Major. Less so with tennis. And by "less so", I of course mean "not at fucking all." Anyway, that's my tuppence. Um, I mean "two cents." Yes, yes, that'll do. American!

All this talk of tennis and British currency is making me feel rather unpatriotic. Time to refuel with a little help from my new favorite show...

If that's not a mantra, I don't know what is. Somebody's congressman is about to get a letter requesting that be made our new national anthem. ('s mine!)

Anyway, there were only a couple of random parts of the column that didn't work for me. Since I don't want to be accused of going easy on Simmons (or too hard on him, for that matter), I'll deal with them quickly.

You can't have four "majors" when absolutely nobody cares about one of them. (I believe not even The Schwab could name the last 10 Australian Open winners.)

Maybe one of our readers (of which we have a few more than usual lately, thanks to some random links) can help me out here, as I must admit I'm not an expert, but can't pretty much the same argument be made for the PGA Championship? Isn't that sort of also a black sheep major? I dunno, it seems like golf does just fine with only three truly relevant majors, so he might be barking up the wrong tree there.

This final one is the title of the column, so it probably wasn't even written by Bill, but it's so damn weird I can't even work out what the hell it's supposed to mean.

Wimbledon? I wouldn't miss it. And I don't mean that in a good way.

Huh? Just...huh? If someone can explain what that means in the comments, you might well end up preventing me having a fatal aneurysm. Because I just know I'm going to blow a gasket working out the logic of that one.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I have never been so completely and absolutely nailed...(no, not like that)...

Another amazingly random Jeff Van Gundy rant to start off the second half:

That’s the problem with our country...too much TV-watching, too much time in front of the computer; it leads to childhood obesity, I just read about this...

I heard this as I sat on a couch playing FreeCell on my laptop while watching Game 5 (well, obviously) with a just finished large 10-piece McNugget meal from McDonald's by my side.

I, um, may be part of the problem he's talking about.

52 52 52 Week #17: Kentucky

In which I examine crappy local sports journalism on a state-by-state basis, progressing through the states in terms of an alphabetical ordering of the heights of their tallest points. Because I can.

Urgh. Slim pickings this week on the local journalism front. Kentucky, sad to say, doesn't have terribly much to offer. So, because Kentucky has failed me and, by extension, all of you, I will offer a little gift by way of compensation. Since I just wrote "slim pickings", enjoy this moment of iconic cinema from legendary thespian Slim Pickens:

Oh that's classic. Slightly less classic is Black Mountain, which stands at 4,145 feet. Not really a ton to work with here, but I'll try my best...

1. It's near an FAA radar dome. So, um, there's that.

2. A coal company owns the summit, and anyone want to climb to the top has to sign a waiver.

3. Wait, I'm getting something vaguely interesting coming in: "Coal companies have also alleged that mined coal veins converge underneath the summit of Black Mountain and that the summit itself is prone to collapse." I smell a disaster movie! Or at least a reordering of my highpoint list if the thing does collapse.

Yeah, I'm yawning too. Let's just push on.

I'm going to go real local today, because all of the bigger papers were either uninteresting or about racing (both of the horse and car variety), which also falls under the header of "uninteresting" as far as I'm concerned. During my desperate search through pretty much every newspaper in Kentucky, I couldn't help but be mildly amused by the inanity of the first sentence of an article in The Commonwealth Journal about high school softball. Since mild amusement at inanity is pretty much the best I'm going to do this week, I'm rolling with an article about high school softball. If nothing else, the author, one Steve Cornelius, has a pretty awesome name.

Hey, what's that I'm clutching at? Is it straws? Why yes, yes it is! Moving on...

Somerset — When people talk about Pulaski County High School softball, the names of K.K. Holman and Jessica Randolph inevitably come up.

Hey, don't just go assuming stuff like that, Stevie Corn (that's a nickname, you see). I was having a chinwag with a local shop owner just the other day about Andria Hill's key offensive production in the team's success this year, not to mention Samantha Solomon's excellent work at the top of the batting order. Didn't even mention those two so-called inevitable pieces of the Pulaski puzzle. So there!!!

Look, there really isn't anything to work with this week - I had to google random other players on that team for the purposes of that joke up there, which didn't serve to do much beyond make me feel a bit creepy - but I'll be a dick and press on.

“To have two players from the same team be selected as all-staters speaks volumes about their talent on the softball field,” Pulaski coach Scott Taylor said.

What's this "from the same team" business all about? Unless there's some weird Ozzie Guillen 2006 All-Star Game thing going on here, the team they play for should be irrelevant. Man, this is such a stretch.

Randolph holds almost every single-season and career hitting mark for the Lady Maroon program. This year alone, Randolph hit 10 homers, drove in 59 runs, batted an amazing .500 and had an on-base percentage of .583.

Wait, she batted .500 but only on-based .583? Look, high school softball player Jessica Randolph, it's called walking, and even Juan Pierre does it these days. Let's see some plate discipline!!!

This is why I will never coach a high school softball team. Well, that and certain laws.

“K.K. had an amazing offensive year considering she is only a sophomore from an offensive standpoint,” Taylor reasoned. “Basketball has always been K.K.’s first love and it probably always will, but the gap is closing between the two as far as her competitive level in each sport.”

I won't make a big deal out of this, but is "K.K." really that wise a nickname? I dunno, it just seems like that name has way too big a chance for excruciatingly awkward, Curb Your Enthusiasm style misunderstandings. She doesn't even pitch, for goodness sake, which seems like the preferred place for a softball player with the name "K.K."

When another spring rolls around a new group of young girls will take to the Pulaski County High School softball field, and inevitably the number 4 (Holman’s #) and 32 (Randolph’s #) will be donned by two other softball players wanting to emulate the two all-state softball players before them, who set the high standard of excellence for future generations of Lady Maroons to come.

Those numbers probably could have been set up earlier in the article. You know, so that paragraph was pithy instead of forced. Whatever.

Look, I'm going to quit while I'm far, far behind and call it a post. Here are my conclusions:

1. Kentucky sucks.
2. I suck.
3. Pulaski County High School softball rules!!!

Ah well, at least the streak lives. Hopefully next week will have a better crop to choose from (I honestly do not see how it couldn't). Here's to an enjoyable Game 5. Sussman will be live-blogging it over at Deadspin, so I recommend checking that out. I'll be back next week with better stuff.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Turns out you can take it with you...

...assuming "it" is a crappy writing style, and the place you're taking it to is ESPN. Hell, judging by the current state of the DotCom branch of the World Wide Leader, that appears to be pretty much required. Rick Reilly?

Rooting for Tiger Woods is like rooting for Justin Timberlake to get lucky, Exxon to hit a gusher, Bill Gates to find a twenty on the sidewalk. It takes no imagination.

It takes a certain amount of imagination to come up with rooting for Bill Gates to find a twenty. That's a pretty out-there example.

It takes no courage. What's the point? It's 1-to-5 he's going to win anyway, whether you cheer or not. Makes no difference to him. It's like rooting for erosion.

Little-known fact - erosion actually has terrible self-esteem and would probably do a lot better if we cheered him on every once in awhile (my first family vacation was a trip to yell encouragement at Lake Michigan). I mean, erosion has been working for, what, billions of years? And the Earth is still 1,083,207,300,000 cubic kilometers in volume. All the oxbow lakes in the world aren't going to make up for that sort of failure.

Huh. Oxbow lake reference. Looks like someone just justified their eighth grade science class.

Rooting for Phil Mickelson, on the other hand, is like rooting for the salmon to eat the bear.

Nah, rooting for Phil Mickelson is like rooting for a smaller bear to beat another bear. Admittedly, this bear is also fatter and pretty out-of-shape, but it's still very much in the family Ursidae. Point is, as freakishly brilliant and in his own class as Tiger may well be (he is), his closest competitor (which is Phil) is still a bear. Maybe a bear with a limp and a touch of hernia or something, but still a bear.

You'd have to root for somebody like, I don't know, Zach Johnson, if you really wanted to root for the salmon. I mean, the dude was only ranked 56th when he won the Masters in 2007. 56th is pretty salmon-esque. Admittedly, we're talking about a very Christian salmon here, which pretty much completely evens out the playing field against a bear, which as we all know is a godless killing machine.

It takes faith. It takes forgiveness. It takes Tums. Mickelson is a roller coaster in an earthquake. One shot will be so inspired you'll cover your mouth in astonishment. The next will be so Spam-brained you'll slap your forehead in disbelief. It's like watching a blind guy jaywalk across Hollywood and Vine. Your fist is in your mouth the whole way.

A blind guy...jaywalking...across Hollywood and Vine? That's so bizarre on so many levels I'm not even going to bother breaking it down.

Also, Reilly's fist is in his mouth the whole way? Did this dude have a career before sportswriting that he's kept under wraps? And by "career", I do of course mean gay porn.

(I know, I know...I assume everyone does gay porn. Well, prove me wrong folks. Prove me wrong. As a great sage once said, you can't send me photos of something you don't do.)

I bring all this up because Woods and Mickelson will play side-by-side Thursday and Friday at the U.S. Open. You must choose. You cannot root for both. It's un-American.

Can we root for neither? Is that an option?

Also, rooting for both may be un-American, but it's very Moroccan. I say that because Morocco was for some reason the country that came up when I googled "most bisexual country", and I wanted to make an immature and somewhat offensive joke. I think I succeeded.

Here's how to tell them apart: Woods has the Joe Weider body, the Iron Byron swing, the Green Beret mind. Mickelson's body leans toward Sara Lee. He's carried two drivers—one for hooks and one for slices—but none for straights. He can get it up and down out of an ice cream cart, which is a good thing, because he's there a lot. He might be the only athlete whose catch phrase is, "I'm such an idiot!"

Who exactly needs a field guide to tell the difference between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson? Well, other than that blind jaywalker, but I'm pretty sure he's still in intensive care.

I mean, those dudes wouldn't look anything alike even if their skin pigmentation happened to be the same (OK, that's not true - both Tiger and black Phil would be dead ringers for Martin Lawrence, as any Deadspin commenter would be glad to point out). Hell, one's a righty and the other's a lefty, which I deduced from Phil's nickname being "Lefty" and Tiger's nickname being "Tiger." Tiger means "Righty" in some language, right? I'm guessing Swedish, what with the whole Elin Nordegren thing.

By the way, as much as Djmmm has promised me he won't edit my posts anymore (my posts are like my deformed children, and I won't have him coming in here and plastic surgeoning them into something presentable), I'm pretty sure he'd just delete the entire post and replace it with three dozen Elin Nordegren photos if I didn't make with the sexy snaps.

It's the law of the sports blogs - you mention a sexy woman, you provide pictorial evidence. Sim-fucking-ple. This is why With Leather is pretty much the best blog around. Well, that and Matt Ufford's sexy, sexy rage.

I believe I've gotten slightly off point. Still good though.

For Woods, there's almost nothing at stake this week. It will be just another hunt for just another major, his third U.S. Open and his 14th major overall. It's Year 13 of his Scorched Earth Tour, which we all know will end up with The Coolest Guy in the World owning every golf record known to man, to say nothing of every T-bill. He'll finish with 25 majors, making Jack Nicklaus look like a guy with a rental set.

Yeah, probably, but you're telling me him getting dangerously close to Jack's total isn't interesting? Sure, the 18th and 19th Majors are going to be the really exciting chases, but it's not like he can skip right to those. I mean, there's nothing interesting about Hank Aaron's 715th home run if he doesn't hit the 714 before that necessary to get there. (I would've have gone with Bonds there, but he carries too much baggage at the moment for even an innocuous analogy). So yeah, in a long-term sense, there's definitely something at stake.

At stake for Mickelson? Just about everything. This is arguably the most important major of his life, the one in his hometown, on his home course of Torrey Pines, in front of all his family and friends, against the man who has caused him more heartburn than any other.

Come on, give a little credit to the guy who invented "lobster ravioli with tarragon cream sauce and garlic bread." That shit's got way too much stuff in it not to need an Alka-Seltzer afterward.

He's got hopes of finally winning his first U.S. Open after four catastrophic chokes, near misses, and should-have-been second-place finishes in this baby. I ask you, couldn't you switch to Phil just this once?

Wait, so you can't root for both, but you can randomly switch your allegiances from one very popular golfer to another very popular golfer? This is a little like, "I know you've been on the Lakers bandwagon since the threepeat, but don't you think, just this once, you can root for KG and his upstart 66-win team?" Well, not quite, because Phil probably won't win the US Open, but still.

Also, I don't know if there are really much by way of popularity rankings in golf, but I always thought Phil was the popular fan favorite, and most people more respected Tiger than actually liked him. Or have I underestimated the American penchant for front-running?

Besides, rooting for Phil is so much more interesting. Tiger's in the fairway. Phil's in a lady's Prada!

A joke as lame as that requires a comeback equal as lame. *AHEM*


Tiger's on the green. Phil is banking it off a pine, a boulder and a San-o-let! Tiger makes a 2-footer for a what-else-is-new 4. Phil makes a seagoing 30-footer for a did-you-see-that 4! It's the difference between watching Dow Jones and Indiana Jones.

That doesn't even begin to make sense. I mean, I'd try to parse it, but I wouldn't even know where to start. Fine, I'll give it a go...

1. Who actually watches the Dow Jones? You can monitor it, sure, and people work in its vicinity, and I'm sure some of the business channels sort of cover it, but it's a stock market index. That's basically an abstract concept.

2. Even if you grant that first thing, how the hell is Tiger like a leading stock market index? Especially when you consider our current economic situation, which makes Reilly's use of it in the simile as something steady and successful even more puzzling. Hmm. You know, between that and the random reference to Hollywood and Vine, I think Rick might be a little out-of-touch. Privileged even.

3. Phil Mickelson has, to the best of my knowledge, never made par by hiding in a fridge during a nuclear explosion.

And that's just off the top of my head. Equally off the top of my head (as is, well, everything else I write on this blog), here are some comparisons that would have made more sense. I'll even keep up the weird Jones-and-Jones scheme!

It's the difference between watching James Earl Jones and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

It's the difference between watching Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones.

It's the difference between watching Welsh crooner Tom Jones and crazy preacher Bob Jones.

It's the difference between watching Terry Jones the Monty Python member and Terry Jones the Christian rocker.

It's the difference between watching John Paul Jones the admiral and John Paul Jones the Zeppelin drummer.

It's the difference between listening to Billy Paul's "Me and Mrs. Jones" and "Mr. Jones" by Counting Crows.

It's the difference between watching British computer scientist Clifford "Cliff" Jones and Adam "Pac-Man" Jones.

Oh, and in terms of what I prefer, it's all the first stuff. I guess that makes me a Tiger fan, or maybe I just thought it made more sense to list that stuff first for joke purposes. Anyway, I'll take the former in all those examples. Except for Catherine Zeta-Jones and the other John Paul Jones; they too can live. Oh, and Pac-Man as well, but that's only because I believe it's impossible to kill him with conventional weaponry. If only my werewolf boomerang would hurry up and get here!

Look, Tiger needs this major like Yao needs stilts. There'll be a dozen more after this. He doesn't need to prove he's better than Phil. We know. Not counting Stableford or match-play tournaments, these two have entered 157 pro tournaments together. Tiger is 104-50-3 against him. That's not a rivalry. That's avalanche versus twig. That's more one-sided than a Venezuelan election.

Someone get Ed McMahon over here, because that zinger demanded a hearty "Hey-OH!!!"

You know, I know, Phil knows that Tiger is a god and Phil is but a serf. There's no argument. Yes, Mickelson is No. 2, but it's about as far as a 2 can get from a 1. Put it this way: Let's say Tiger's knee really bothers him this week—say it bothers him for the rest of the year—and he doesn't play the next three majors. And let's say Mickelson wins all three of these majors. That would still only get Mickelson even with Woods in the world golf ranking.

Man, that's insane. I now sort of get what Phil's up against.

Do you sort of get what Mickelson's up against?

Dude, I just said I did. We're never going to get anywhere if you don't learn to listen. Also learn to love, but there's time enough for that. That's what our trip to the lake house is for!

So you could do worse than rooting for him. After all, he has a few qualities Tiger doesn't have. He signs more autographs, smiles more, tips way better. He skis better. Flies a plane better. Bets better, despite all those Vegas rumors that never were true.

Yes, but does he bang Swedish supermodels better? Oh, he doesn't? Going with Tiger.

I have nothing against Tiger, of course. He's the most accomplished athlete I've ever covered.

Reilly's willing to reassess that if Sammy Sosa ever accomplishes the simple task of peeing in a cup. He's a reasonable man.

He's taken us to places in golf we never dreamed. When he said the Grand Slam this year was "easily within reason," we all agreed, because it was. But it's like watching a thresher go through wheat. All that blinding brilliance, all that chewing up and spitting out, can make you a little numb.

Lot of wheat threshers on Hollywood & Vine, I guess. C'mon, Reilly, don't try to pander to middle America. They're smarter than that!

(Well, I hope they're smarter than that. But not smart enough that they can challenge my northeastern elitism.)

So, while everybody feeds the big dog, couldn't you throw the little dog this one bone?

You know, I always remembered Rick Reilly as saccharine, emotionally manipulative, and boring, but I think I forgot his true defining characteristic: the weirdest motherfucking metaphors I've ever come across. This whole ESPN thing should be fun.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The greatest announcing team of all-time...

If you will forgive me a little Van Gundy hyperbole, I have never enjoyed an announcing team more than this Finals crew. After a fun (if irritatingly synergistic) Michele Tafoya interview with Will Smith, we're treated to this amazing example of awesomeness in broadcasting. The subject? Kevin James and the film Hitch...

Jeff Van Gundy: If there’s anyone funnier than Kevin James, I want names.

Mike Breen: [Vaguely exasperated, but clearly in a good way] These superlatives you put on mediocre movies.

Mark Jackson: [Surprisingly adamant] No, Hitch was an outstanding movie.

Also, I just saw a close-up of Kobe and a ref on the court. Larry David was in the background with a bizarre expression on his face. It almost looked like the Larry David equivalent of a grin, in that he still looked horrifically constipated, but the corners of his mouth were pointing upward. Huh. You don't really get that sort of thing at a Bobcats game. Of course, considering Michael Jordan's position as executive whatever, there's always the possibility of a massive last stand shootout between Charles Oakley and a horde of federal marshals. So they've got that going for them.

I'll be back tomorrow with a post with more, you know, content. For now, I think I'm just going to enjoy Game 4.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Burn the flip-flopper! Burn him I say!

At the risk of getting all political and shit, it looks like this election might not be quite so historic after all. From CNN...

Presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama back-tracked on one campaign trail prediction Tuesday, switching his pick in this year’s NBA Finals.

And here I thought Barack Obama was somehow different from John Kerry. I'm so ashamed to be loosely allied with the Democratic Party (I'm the Bassas da India to their France, or something like that...*). Just get it over with and tase me now. No, seriously bro, fucking tase me. Only way to wipe away the pain. You know, by adding more pain. Of the tased variety.

“I tell you what, I thought the Lakers were the better team,” he told NPR’s All Things Considered, according to a transcript of an interview scheduled to air Tuesday night. “But the Celtics have been tough. I might have to revise my prediction here. I assumed Lakers in six. I don’t think that’s realistic now at this point…It does not look like it. It may be Celtics in six.”

It may be Celtics in six, Mr. Obama? (Sorry to get all formal, but when I pretend to directly address presidential candidates I bust out the New York Times style guide.) Where's the insane certainty? This is why that rock solid opinion machine Skip Bayless is going to stomp your ass come November.

(Wait...Skip Bayless isn't the Republican nominee? Huh, my mistake; I guess all white people just look the same to me. Or perhaps I just really like the thought of Skip Bayless spending five years being tortured by the Viet Cong.)

The Illinois senator said that even though he had lived in Boston for several years as a student at Harvard Law School, “the truth is that I’ve got no dog in this hunt.”

“I’m a Bulls fan. We’ve gone through a drought for quite some time now. But we got the number-one draft pick, so our games may get a little bit better.”

Huh...Illinois connection, Boston residence, no rooting interest, Bulls fan, excitement about the top pick...that's eerily similar to my situation. What if...what if I'm really Barack Obama? Nah, that's ridiculous. I imagine for a fact that Obama hates Michael Caine and Cary Grant, so why would be create his deviously clever pseudonym from their real names? He wouldn't, that's why. Oh, and the whole all sports bloggers are white things. I just thought I'd spare you that hoary old cliche being the primary joke. Not that my replacement was much better; we all know it's pretty much impossible to hate Michael Caine, and I apologize for suggesting otherwise.

Finally, take a look at the picture and caption that accompanied the article. I've heard of bizarre juxtapositions, but this takes the cake:

Obama rooting for the Celtics.

Obama...rooting...for the Celtics? From that picture? In context with this article? Where he actually said "I've got no dog in this race"? Wow, it's like the caption guy over at CNN doesn't even care. You know CNN, I'd be happy to do it. CNN, how do you feel about random Highlander references captioning any photo of a Scotsman and/or person over ninety? Because for a mere eight-figure income, that could be yours.

*Did that simile work? You can be honest. Well, don't be too honest. OK, just tell me it worked.

Hey Peter

Could you please make a 34-year-old reference and have it come off as implying that some NFL QB is a white supremacist?


Great, thanks.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Boston-LA Game 3 Live Blog...and away we go...

8:30 - OK, so it looks like I'm still alive and, much more importantly, have internet access. Because I'm perfectly happy blogging as a zombie. Judging by the wild success of zombie-themed comics (which currently make up about 2,000% of the comics industry, assuming the stat I just made up is accurate), it might actually improve my standing.

Be honest: did you see that reference coming? Because I sure as hell didn't.

8:31 - Stu Scott is setting the scene with his usual shoutastic braggadocio. Could someone a little older than me help me out...was there ever a time when he was cool and/or funny? Or was he always a hack?

Random notes...I'm sort of regretting using the hyphen after the time-stamps. It means I have to use a colon or ellipsis whenever I want to randomly interrupt myself and start a new thought, which is pretty much every other sentence: see what I mean? OK, that was more of a semi-colon situation. Oh, and I'm shocked I spelled braggadocio correctly. This may be the first live-blog dominated by grammar and spelling commentary. You're welcome.

8:33 - Jerry West just said something about the front office being very happy the match-up is what it is. If Bill Simmons is watching the telecast (he's probably in the building), I guarantee some "You rigged the Pau thing from beyond!" thought is passing through his head. Just want to get that out there.

8:36 - Man, that was a snitty last comment. Why the hell did I make it? Oh, I can pat myself on the back if I happen to get it right. And by "pat myself on the back", I do of course mean "justify an unnecessary post."

8:39 - Mark Jackson is not up with Mike Breen quoting Walt Frazier. It was a little weird, I have to admit, but who would Jackson have preferred Breen quote? How about Walt Whitman?

That's beautiful: the hurrah game! well — it's our game: that's the chief fact in connection with it: America's game: has the snap, go fling, of the American atmosphere — belongs as much to our institutions, fits into them as significantly, as our constitutions, laws: is just as important in the sum total of our historic life.

Sure, he was technically talking about baseball, but that's just because basketball hadn't been invented yet. Can't really hold that against him. And don't tell me that quote isn't apropos - Kobe most definitely needs to get his "go fling" on if the Lakers are taking Game 3.

Yeah, I'm using dashes. A man can only fake it with colons and ellipses for so long. You need the real thing after awhile, you know?

8:42 - Wait, should I be doing these with the latest at the top? Crap, I better reorganize things. There we go.

8:44 - My love of Pixar just battled it out with my hatred of ESPN synergy. Synergy won out, unfortunately. Damn it Stu Scott, don't turn me off of Wall-E! He's just so damn cute in a cool eighties sort of way.

8:46 - In the Wipeout promo, a sultry voice just asked, "Does size matter?" You know ABC, asinine double entrendre or not, I really don't need you guys sowing seeds of doubt with regards to my sexual (in)adequacy. I've got my self-doubt to take care of that. Ah well, watching a bunch of basketball players for three hours should take care of any lingering confidence issues I might have.

This is probably inane of me to even say, but isn't Wall-E just the robot from that Disney ride? You know, Star Tours?

Ah crap, now I'm being synergistic.

8:50 - Wilbon said the Lakers weren't going to suddenly become "the '85 Chicago Bears" in terms of their defensive play. Even as a pseudo-Chicagoan, I found that a little unnecessarily homerish.

8:51 - This is from awhile ago, but Stu Scott said Ray Allen is a Hollywood guy because he was in He Got Game. He does realize that movie was shot nowhere near Hollywood, right? And that Spike Lee is pretty much the filmmaker most associated with New York, now that Woody Allen has decamped to Europe to shoot softcore lesbian celebrity porn. Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course. Hell, there's pretty much everything right about that.

8:53 - Those were some funky weird organ cues on the Celtic/Laker introductions. I'm pretty sure Clue had more dramatic scoring. I mean the movie, not the board game. Although now that I mention it...

8:54 - Pretty throaty national anthem from David Cook. I would have said "the American Idol dude", but the PA announcer said his name again. Ah well. You guys still know I'm hard and badass, right?

8:56 - Were they supposed to throw a spotlight on Doc Rivers? Dude seemed a little bemused at standing glumly in the darkness. Wait...can you stand "glumly"? I have no idea.

8:58 - I don't want to agree with Simmons on anything - thank goodness he doesn't appear to care for The Simpsons that much - but the boos and cheers seem a little half-hearted.

8:59 - Phil Jackson looked a little...grim. I'm going to go with grim. I was thinking maybe I could argue he seemed a little elsewhere, setting up a tremendous Jon Stewart/Half Baked reference. Eh, fuck it, I'm going to go there anywhere. *AHEM*...

"You ever coach an NBA Finals...ON WEED!?"

9:00 - Finals montage had that always nice Rudy Tomjonavich "Don't ever underestimate the heart of a champion" quote. Hey, you remember when Rudy coached the Lakers? Me neither.

9:02 - Jeff Van Gundy argued Game 3 is critical for the Celtics if they want to win this series. Well, in the sense that going up 3-0 would, historically speaking, clinch the series, then yeah, I guess. But honestly, isn't Game 3 when you're up 2-0 about as non-critical as a finals game can possibly be? Other than any games after you're up 3-0, of course.

9:05 - So we've gone from game shows to reality shows to Japanese game shows? That sounds about right, although nobody's surviving anything for reals until someone stares down a Komodo dragon. Those things are lethal, right?

9:06 - And the game is underway. Since LA won the tipoff, I assume they will cruise to a 200-0 victory. Instant history motherfucker!

9:08 - now I have to blog about the game. I didn't quite realize I'd have to do that. Give me a second.

9:09 - Wow...this is a sloppy game thus far. I'm hoping we get one of those "one dude tries to tip in his own shot repeatedly but to no avail" situations before too long. That was always my primary move when playing my younger brother in one-on-one.

9:11 - Paul Pierce crashes into the stands; Mike Breen says that's familiar territory. Because there are two parts of California: the Lakers court...and the rest. And all non-court parts of the Staple Center count as "the rest."

9:12 - This is the most dominating 6-2 lead I've ever seen. I can see why I don't usually do this.

9:16 - Fisher to Byrant? What is this, 2002? Nah, that's impossible. There hadn't even been one Hulk movie in 2002. Speaking of which, I should probably go ahead and say SPOILER ALERT!!! right now:

You know, I think I'm at the point where I'd pay to see any movie if it featured a brief cameo by Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. And yes, that might even include Sex & the City 2. I mean, wouldn't that be sort of awesome? Sort of!?

9:20 - Jeff Van Gundy didn't like that Mark Jackson "left him hanging" by not audibly agreeing with his point. To be fair, it is a little difficult to say anything when you're busy fellating Jeff Van Gundy. But only a little. He's not Ron Jeremy Stan Van Gundy, after all.

This better be the dirtiest entry in this live-blog.

9:23 - Kendrick Perkins almost did that thing I mentioned earlier. Sure it was only one tip-in and it was Paul Pierce who first shot it, but it was sloppy and pretty much depended on pure height, because there was zero talent on display there.

9:27 - Missed dunk, desperate out-of-bounds recovery, failed desperate out-of-bounds recovery. Oh for goodness sake.

9:29 - The new Hancock trailer used "Sabotage" as the music. What's that, "Sabotage" music video? You want me to embed you? But I'm in the middle of a live-blog...

Quoting The Simpsons and ripping off Kissing Suzy Kolber is never a bad way to go. Wait...that may have been redundant.

9:35 - I think Sam Cassell might like to shoot a little more often than he should. Just a theory. But then again, what the hell are they going to do? Cut his ass? Like that's not going to happen anyway. I'm pretty sure Sam Cassell has nothing left to play for except Sam Cassell. Whatever the hell that is.

9:37 - You know what I said about Sam Cassell? I mean, like, literally two minutes ago? Yeah, same goes for Sasha Vujacic. If he's got the ball when the whistle blows, he's shooting that shit. Not that that's anything surprising.

9:41 - "Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have yet to score. How can they be more productive?" By scoring, Michele. By scoring. And I don't mean Wilt-style.

9:43 - I feel like a Simmons-esque asshole for even asking this, but is Luke Walton more a Bill Walton or a Ben Affleck? Or maybe some form of unholy cross?

9:44 - Either they're really fouling Kobe, or else dude's getting his Manu Ginobili on. Which I am not OK with, considering I made it quite clear he needed to get his fling on. C'mon, Kobe - what Walt Whitman said makes sense! Stick with it!

9:46 - Mike Breen just impersonated Bill Walton so he could mockingly chastise Luke Walton. It's amazing how unprofessional this crew is willing to be. I mean, Jeff Van Gundy just declared something, "The best pass in Laker history!" to continue the Walton-age, and then Mark Jackson begged off his own attempt. Frankly, I'm a fan of such high-spirited inanity. I'd rather have that than Joe Buck asshattery.

Blogger doesn't think "asshattery" is a word. Blogger is an asshattery. You read that right.

9:50 - I can't believe ABC's new hospital reality series Hopkins (at least the film stock made me assume it's a reality show - damned if I'm looking it up) felt the need to actually write "passionate hospital drama" and "dramatically real" as the announcer said them. I honestly thought it was going to be some tastefully questionable parody, the captions were that inane.

9:54 - Garnett is 0-for-7. Pierce is on the bench. Kobe has 17 in the first half. Shouldn't the Lakers be up more than six? Maybe just a little?

9:56 - Again Sasha Vujacic shoots after the whistle, and then we cut straight to Phil Jackson with some choice words for everybody's favorite Slovenian. (Sasha is from Slovenia, people. It's in Europe. Borders Italy, matter of fact.) Coincidence? Oh I think not.

9:58 - Crazy Larry Bird's right side the side they should have gone with? His left side profile just seems a little off. Or is he one of those dudes who you have to see both sides in order to recognize them properly? Just another reason why that commercial is a whole 'nother category of creepy.

10:00 - Jeff Van Gundy shills for Wall-E with an insane exuberance that Stu Scott cannot even dream of matching. You sort of suspect he might start babbling about some other multinational media corporation's summer tentpole releases at any moment. I look forward to some bizarre Kung Fu Panda analogies in the near future.

10:02 - Sasha Vujacic has ten points in nine minutes. Hackneyed as the joke may be, I should point out he's actually scored about thirty points during that time. Yeah...not worth it.

10:06 - While we're talking Vujacic, Mark Jackson claims Vujacic said, "Got you!" after catching a defender out. Maybe Mark, but I believe he actually would have said, "Zaslužiti vi!" By the way, to our legion of Slovenian readers, I'll admit that wasn't even close to an accurate translation. Sorry 'bout that.

10:10 - Mark Jackson "questions the taste" of a boy with a life-threatening illness who, with complete access to both Finals teams and a slew of NBA legends, wanted nothing more than to meet Jon Barry. Jeff Van Gundy gives a not-at-all insanely exuberant, "Amen!" to this, adding only that, "I coached Barry!" I can see why people don't like Van Gundy's schtick. I get it...but thankfully, I don't agree with it. Dude's hysterical.

10:13 - Wow...what is up with the free throw woes? And yes, that's pretty much the extent of my basketball analysis.

10:16 - Kobe has shot more free throws by himself in the first half than the Lakers did in all of Game 2. Someone's getting his Leon Powe on.

10:18 - Wow...Kobe can be an awkward interview. Well, the Lakers are up, it's the half, and I'm taking a break to get some caffeine. See you at the start of the second half. Or whenever the hell I feel like resuming. Whichever is earlier. So keep furiously refreshing, hoping for more beautiful live-blog! Eh, who am I kidding? Nobody's reading. Still fun though.

10:29 - I may be gay (or, at the very least, Paul Rudd), because this Coldplay iTunes single is exciting the hell out of me. Or maybe it's just because I know behind that pretty voice and banging of Gwyneth Paltrow the dude is just like me - a soulless bastard...

10:32 - Stu Scott is breaking down the Tim Donaghy situation like he's a journalist or something. It's really bizarre that Jeff Van Gundy is involved in this situation while also being a commentator. Huh...they're just about getting away with a relatively massive conflict of interest.

10:38 - Hey...I've been misspelling Mark Jackson's name this whole time. I feel like such an ass. Ah well, time to get my 1984 on and correct that little mistake out of existence.

10:41 - The Happening looks like the dumbest fucking thing ever. Although the presence of Marky Mark is always appreciated. I just can't get over the trailers actually featuring the lines, "There seems to be an event happening!" and "How can this be happening?!"

10:43 - Four of the six top players in this series have utterly failed to show up. Whenever Garnett, Pierce, Odom, and Gasol want to start participating, that'd be great. I'm just saying is all.

10:44 - That was a bitchy thing to say. Sorry about that. I'm an ass and whatnot.

10:44 - Djmmm chiming in here. Dude, I was just gonna say that I thought The Happening looked like it'll be REALLY fucking creepy. In any event, can we agree that if the Celtics pull this series out, that will pretty much put the whole "COACHING IS REALLY IMPORTANT!!!" argument to bed?

10:48 - These Michael Jordan Hanes commercials seem to be lacking in clear motivation. I mean, I got the point of the old series - Hanes is so comfortable that it causes homoerotic interplay between Michael and Kevin Bacon. But Cuba Gooding Jr. wearing His Airness's underwear? How...odd.

10:52 - And yes, Djmmm, you shameless interloper you, I imagine a Doc Rivers defeats Phil Jackson scenario would certainly help make the case coaching is inconsequential. Although I think it still might be an argument that if the teams are evenly matched, coaching is a tie-breaker. Maybe. I dunno, one series doesn't really prove much of anything, does it?

10:56 - Not to hate on The Happening unnecessarily, I'd like to do some absolutely necessary hating on The Happening. Far be it for me to stop people enjoying what they want to enjoy, but this was pretty much game over for me. Well, that and the fact the only M. Night movie I even vaguely liked was Unbreakable.

11:01 - OK, back to the game. Hmm...Celtics are now leading. Crap. I should really watch this game. Eh, maybe not.

11:04 - Jeff Van Gundy is insane. His favorite celebrity here is Alyssa Milano, and "If I was Nick...Latch-EE, is it?...I wouldn't let her out of my sight. There are a lot of vultures in LA!" The man may well be clinically insane. I'm completely OK with that.

11:07 - More shameless interloping. I love how Spielberg just sort of smiled and shrugged sort of embarrassed at the camera. It was as if he was saying, "Djmmm, I'm really sorry about that whole Indiana Jones debacle. In fact, I don't doubt it had at least something to do with your failure to get to first base with that girl that night. It was terrible, and I'm sorry. But please, feel free to blame George. This was 90 percent his fault, man." Fuckin' Crystal Skull, man.

11:08 - Someone who has been actually paying attention might like to tally up just how many missed layups and dunks there have been. I'm guessing there have been...a lot. Yeah, I'm going to go with "a lot."

11:13 - Is Sasha Vujacic the Slovenian Marmalard? I may have to email Christmas Ape for a ruling. Eh...maybe not.

11:15 - Aren't the Lakers supposed to have more than 63 points with 10:37 left in the game? I mean...aren't they?
And Djmmm - your interloping almost deleted two of my entries! Two of them I say!

11:17 - Tough offensive foul on Lamar Odom. I refuse to say Bill Simmons told me so, however, in re the whole "Lamar will come up small" thing

11:19 - Kobe missed the free throw, then kinda kicked it back to the ref. Jeff Van Gundy just suggested a "Hack-a-Bryant" strategy. If the Lakers lose by less than Kobe's missed free throws, horrible things may happen in LA tonight. I mean more horrible than usual.

11:21 - I'm sure this point has been made elsewhere, but can Will Ferrell live out the rest of his career in two-minute increments? Because that might work.

11:22 - The shamelessness of this Honda Pilot commercial really spoke to me. It was sort of the "me emailing Will Leitch begging him to link me" of car commercials. Needless to say, I approve.

11:25 - Jeff Van Gundy apparently does not understand the cultural importance of the barbershop. He then makes a brilliant point that I'm sure Djmmm will heartily endorse: "Here's who I check in any coaching match-up...whoever has the best players!"

11:27 - Van Gundy doesn't like that he has to pay the same rate as a guy with a full head of hair at the boutique. He believes "this is wrong on so many levels" and claims "this has hurt his whole family." Keep in mind that it's the fourth quarter of Game 3 of the NBA Finals. If I was blind and thus could not actually seem the game action if I so chose, I could imagine myself getting really pissed off at Jeff Van Gundy.

11:30 - The crowd is chanting "M-V-P" to pump up Kobe. Why do I suspect something more along the lines of "Kill, Mamba...KILL!!!" would be more effective? Still, it worked.

11:33 - I hate to bust out a cliche, but Lamar Odom is doing pretty much everything other that scoring to help his team. Of course, scoring would be nice. Wait, was that too inane to be even a cliche? That may just have been a description of facts.

11:37 - As Djmmm very politely points out in the comments, I pretty much elided right over the whole Celtics leaving Kobe completely alone thing. As was pointed out, that's pretty much the most open Kobe Bryant has been in, well, forever really. I dunno, I can't really chalk it up to much beyond an odd defensive breakdown. Of course, judging by his free throws tonight, leaving Kobe open may actually be a valid defensive strategy. I immediately regret writing that.

11:39 - If I can just be a pure basketball fan for a second, I have to point out that I fucking love watching the Lakers pass. Just brilliant stuff. Of course, it can seem a little all for naught if they don't score, but it's still awful perdy. "Perdy" is rustic for "pretty", by the way. And of course "rustic" is euphemism for "redneck."

11:41 - Van Gundy: "It isn't illegal if they don't call it!" Good to hear Jeff and Homer Simpson agree on basic points of jurisprudence.

11:45 - Holy shit is this shit dramatic. It'd be even more dramatic if Kobe Bryant had touched the ball.

11:46 - Vujacic is clearly a massive douche. But since I'm vaguely rooting for the Lakers, that means he's vaguely my massive douche. So, um...go Sasha go!!!

11:48 - Off the top of my head, Bryant and Vujacic have been responsible for about 2/3 of the Lakers' scoring tonight. That's probably significant. Damned if I know why though.

11:50 - Jeff Van Gundy does not care for people pounding their hearts and apparently will "lose it" if it happens again. He also "can read lips" and claims the words between Bryant and Pierce "isn't as friendly as it appears." I should probably add jokes here, but I kinda just want to give Van Gundy room for his genius.

11:51 - Dueling threes? Wide open dunks? We may reach a 100 yet! No, no we won't, but still.

11:52 - Mark Jackson said "Ray Allen shutting down Kobe Bryant isn't happening in our lifetime." Lifetime you say? What about when Allen was 6 and Kobe was 3? Maybe? Wow...I'm still dubious that Ray could pull it off. Nothing against him either.

11:53 - Offensive foul against Garnett with 21.1 seconds left and a six-point lead. Never say never, but...

11:54 - Well, Doc Rivers agrees with me, apparently. No fouls (other than Lamar Odom's not-at-all inevitable offensive foul with six left) and the Lakers win. Paul Pierce finishes with 6 points. I'm guessing he may improve on that one in Game 4. Just a guess. Thank goodness this is actually going to be a series.

Hope you've enjoyed the live-blog. Now to shuffle everything again so that you can read it back in chronological order. Because we're all about the posterity around these parts.