February 25, 2012 § Leave a comment
It didn’t seem that long ago when Chris Brown was just another teenage hip-hop artist following in the footsteps of adolescent performers such as Lil BowWow who were wildly popular and could have their pick among hundreds of thousands of women. It goes without saying that this kind of attention and fame can be dangerously intoxicating for anyone, especially for a teenager who grew up in a broken home and saw his mom get abused by his stepdad.
Chris Brown never had the chance to grow up in a normal setting. He started performing when he was 13 and turned into a star nearly overnight. His first album, Chris Brown, has sold more than 2 million copies since its release in 2005; his second, Exclusive, released in 2007, will hit the 2 million mark very soon. He had accumulated unimaginable wealth and fame before he was eligible to enter the U.S. Army. Think about that. I don’t know about you, but I would not have been even close to emotionally mature enough to deal with even $10,000 when I was in high school, and I grew up in a good home with two married parents, a good support system and a nice neighborhood.
Like 99% of teenagers out there, I needed to experience the growing pains of a normal childhood and adolescent experience before being ready to live on my own in college. My college years then shaped and molded me into a competent (at least I’ve tricked my bosses into thinking this for the time being) adult in the workforce. And there’s a reason that most of us need a good support system and structure in place for the first 20 to 22 years in our life. Our brains are not fully developed and matured until we’re in our mid-20s.
I’m often sympathetic to child celebrities who find themselves in constant trouble and especially those who are tragically never able to pull themselves from the troubled jaws of early fame and fortune. It’s easy to say, “Holy shit, Miley Cyrus already has made $100 million! Why does she fight with her dad and do drugs and get in trouble all the time? I would just sit back, take care of my family and live on a beach for the next 60 years.” That’s not reality for these young celebrities. They face constant pressure to support their sizable entourage. Not to mention their agents, publicists, PR folks and everyone else who receives any commission from them are always trying to squeeze the lemon till it’s dry.
I know I would struggle if I was in that position. Sometimes there’s only so much pressure a young person can handle.
However, Chris Brown deserves zero sympathy from us. Not after he did this.
This image literally makes me sick to my stomach. I can usually handle queasy pictures and videos, but this one fills me with rage. Chris Brown inflicted this damage upon Rihanna’s face more than 3 years ago. (I had no idea it was that long ago until I looked it up.) Since then, he’s offered only half-assed apologies on YouTube (the videos have since been taken down) and has repeatedly thrown tantrums on Twitter and even on the set of Good Morning America when anyone even hints at bringing up his major criminal offense.
Domestic violence is certainly nothing new. It’s not like Brown invented the crime or committed an especially heinous version of it. However, his case has easily been the most high-profile since at least Bobby Brown and Whitney and, even more importantly, has ignited a troubling outpouring of support for Brown among teenage women.
As recently as this year’s Grammy’s, in which he got way too much airtime, Brown elicited some truly fucked up reactions on Twitter from young girls and women.
This is important because Brown and Rihanna are now speaking to each other again and have even collaborated on a couple of songs recently. Maybe Brown is a changed man behind the scenes in his private life. But I’m extremely skeptical because of recent stories like this.
Brown turns 23 on May 5. Perhaps he’ll reach some sort of state of emotional maturity soon, as studies suggest he should. I certainly hope so. He’s a giant piece of shit, but I still think he’s salvageable. Much more importantly, I hope that he becomes mature enough to act like a real man. He needs to stop throwing hissy-fits all the time, and he needs to stop focusing on all the “haters.”
What he needs to do is treat Rihanna with the respect and adoration she deserves, should they (gulp) get back together, and then go on a public speaking circuit educating these ignorant teenagers about the danger and wrongness of domestic violence. And if he ever lays hands on Rihanna or any other woman ever again, I hope someone makes his face look a lot worse than that picture above.
(And you can bet the farm that I won’t get sick to my stomach if I see that picture.)
June 17, 2011 § Leave a comment
A couple of months ago at work*, the person who sat to the right of me, we’ll call him Jimmy, looked at me like I had just farted in his mom’s face when I took a cheap shot at Tiger Woods’s health. Woods had just dropped out of the Players Championship after playing just 9 holes. I asked how someone, aside from being hit in the teeth with a golf ball, could possibly get hurt playing golf considering it’s one of the least physical sports, and obnoxiously fat people can play it professionally.
*By the way, blame work for my alarming lack of blogging lately. You can also blame the warm weather, the fact that my brother’s home for the summer, TV (especially Game of Thrones and Workaholics) or all of my friends getting married. Just don’t blame me. I have nothing to do with it!
My comments were halfway facetious, as are two-thirds of the words that come out of my mouth, but Jimmy (who has since left the company) always seemed to have the sense of humor and overall demeanor of Eeyore, so he obviously didn’t take kindly to my comments. A four-year college golfer and a huge PGA fan, Jimmy is more one-dimensional in his love for golf than the most one-dimensional athletes/analysts (Tedy Bruschi and Mark Schlereth come to mind) who can’t go more than five minutes without somehow mentioning their favorite sport, no matter how inane the reference or metaphor.**
**e.g. if you asked Bruschi about his new SUV he bought, he would probably say, “You know, driving that thing really reminds me of football because your head constantly has to be on a swivel and you have to be ready to take a hit at any time!”
Anyway, Jimmy objected to my comments and claimed that golf, contrary to my statement, is actually quite physical. He claimed that each swing puts three times your body weight’s pressure on your back and that in turn puts extra pressure on the rest of a golfer’s body, especially a golfer’s knees, which happened to be what was, and still is, ailing Tiger. He also said that walking the whole golf course, which usually totals around four or five miles, saps golfers’ energy and that I should realize that golf is a difficult and demanding sport. I conceded that, yes, I’m sure swinging a golf club puts some pressure on your body and that walking the course would get tiresome.
But get fucking real! Golf is not a demanding sport! Soccer players run up to eight miles per game, much of it at a minimum of three-quarters speed. Basketball players run between three and five miles per game and constantly have to move in every direction imaginable. We all know the physical toll football players, boxers, wrestlers and hockey players face every time they play a game. Shit, even baseball players have to be in a lot better shape than golfers because (a.) they have to hit a ball that’s being thrown at them, not just sitting there waiting to be hit, and (b.) they have to run once in a while. When’s the last time a golfer had to run, or even lightly jog on the course?
At this point, Jimmy’s body language suggested that he might have gotten in my face and physically confronted me had we not been in the office. I would’ve kicked his ass of course because he’s a golfer, and I play real sports. But I digress.
Just to prove my point, here’s a story ESPN.com published a few years ago about the difficulty of pretty much any sport you can think of and where each sport ranks. They actually interviewed experts from multiple fields of science and sport and incorporated a lot of work into their research, which is a lot better than the arbitrary rankings based on nothing that I would’ve given you. Here are some of the rankings:
- Ice Hockey
And coming in at no. 51, just ahead of no. 52 CHEERLEADING, is, you guessed it, golf.
I’m not saying that I hate golf; in fact, like most people, I like golf the 40 percent of the time my shots travel the way I envision them. But it’s not a physical sport in the least bit. Jimmy, if you’re reading this, I hope this knocks you down a peg or two the next time you come into the office on a Monday morning and act like you completed a fucking Ironman Triathlon just because you played a few rounds of golf over the weekend.
May 1, 2011 § Leave a comment
This is why I should just sit down and finish a blog when I start writing it. I started writing this Sunday afternoon and had a whole intro written that made fun of all the stupid shit being covered in the news.
Then Osama bin Laden got shot in the head, which was totally fucking awesome, but a sad byproduct is that I had to rewrite my intro. What a tragedy!
So anyway, here are my thoughts, musings and predictions on the recent sports happenings.
I’m a big fan of the Rams draft.
- First of all, this Robert Quinn guy seems awesome. Yes, he got suspended for his senior year at UNC for getting caught up with a sketchy jewelry dealer, but honestly, who hasn’t? I bought a Jesus Chain out of a guy’s trunk near my work just last Wednesday.
- In all seriousness, I’m not worried about Quinn missing a year of football. He stuck around with the team and still probably worked out all the time. Plus, it’s not like a defensive end requires an IQ over 140. Quinn’s job will be to rush the QB, hit the QB and possibly pick up the ball and run in the correct direction if the QB fumbles.
- He also seems like a fantastic guy who will be great in the community. Read this story by Bryan Burwell, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
- His brain tumor is obviously a concern, but the doctors checked him out and said he’s good to go. I’ll take their word for it.
- I think Quinn is going to be the next Leonard Little, hopefully minus the whole killing a woman while driving drunk. He’s just as quick and tenacious, plus he’ll have a couple of great mentors in Chris Long and James Hall. Should be exciting.
Thoughts on the rest of the Rams draft.
- The second-round pick, TE Lance Kendricks, should provide Bradford a dangerous weapon. As the New England Patriots showed last year, athletic pass-catching TEs provide a ton of tangible and intangible value for offenses.
- I would’ve liked to see the Rams pick an RB in either the third or fourth round instead of back to back WRs, but both guys project as big, physical guys— something the Rams haven’t had in a while — who will likely make the team. But Billy Devaney better finally invest in a reliable backup RB. A Thomas Jones type would be desirable.
- As for the other four guys we drafted, you just hope one or two can stick — preferably one of the OLBs.
My overall feeling is that the Rams have improved on each of their drafts since the disastrous (and I mean DISASTROUS) drafts of 2006 and 2007 in which zero of the 18 players were on our 53-man roster at the end of last season. The ’08 draft certainly wasn’t spectacular, but it did provide us with a very good (and hopefully soon to be elite) DE in Chris Long, a couple of serviceable late-round LBs and special teams contributors in Chris Chamberlain and David Vobora and a decent WR in Donnie Avery. Sure it would be nice if we had drafted Desean Jackson in place of Avery, but we also could’ve done a lot worse, like Devin Thomas. The ’09 draft resulted in three starters in the first three rounds: OT Jason Smith, LB James Laurinitis and CB Bradley Fletcher. Can’t ask for much more than that except to hope Smith continues to improve and reach his potential. The ’10 draft certainly looks good so far with two future Pro-Bowlers selected with the first two picks: Bradford and OT Rodger Saffold as well as some good developmental guys, such as CB Jerome Murphy and DE George Selvie. So you’ve gotta hope Devaney and co. are continuing to get better at the draft and that the ’11 draft will be even better than last year’s. Right now, I’m a believer, but we’ll know for sure in a couple years if football ever starts up again.
NBA 2nd Round Playoff Picks
I posted these 2nd round predictions on Twitter yesterday just in case someone thought I was waiting to pick Memphis to win until the first game was complete. So I’ll repeat them here with some very quick thoughts on each series.
- Grizzlies over Thunder in 7: Memphis is a nightmare matchup and is much more formidable than the ’07 GS Warriors, the last no. 8 Cinderella seed to win in the first round. Marc Gasol is playing better than his brother Pau right now, and Zach Randolph is the best post player in the NBA right now. OKC is gonna struggle unless Russell Westbrook completely dominates Mike Conley, which didn’t happen in game 1, and if Kevin Durant has an MJ-like series, which will be tough with defensive superstar Tony Allen draping him.
- Celtics over Heat in 7: I don’t feel great about this pick, but I have to go with Boston because you have to believe they’ll win at least one of the four games in Miami. They’re too experienced and talented not to. And once LeBron gets back to Boston, it’s my belief that all of last year’s ugly playoff demons will rear their heads and torment him, which makes it likely that Boston will win all three at home.
- Lakers over Mavericks in 6: Do you realize that this is the first time Dirk and Kobe have matched up in the playoffs? Weird, right? Anyway, I have LA in 6, and I probably won’t watch a single game because I don’t really like either team. Kind of like Celts-Heat actually.
- Bulls over Hawks in 5: I can’t figure out if the Magic are that bad or if the Hawks actually played pretty well. Or maybe Atlanta just got lucky? Yep, they just got lucky. And Orlando’s not very good. Either way, Chicago should sweep them, but I’ll give Atlanta one game because of Boozer’s uncertain injury status.
- This team is entertaining as hell and might be the most talented Cards team since 2005. This team could legitimately be 22-6 and probably should be at least 20-8. But as I’ve written previously, we have a very noticeable fatal flaw. I think the only solution is to get rid of Ryan Franklin. Not that he’s a bad guy, but he’s pitching so poorly right now that he casts a black cloud over the whole team. So honestly, we should be rooting for Franklin to keep sucking so that the Cards’ hand will be forced and Franklin can be placed on waivers and fulfill his destiny as being a long-bearded lumberjack.
- Matt Holliday will win the NL MVP.
- Please don’t get used to this production from Lance Berkman. Just enjoy it for now.
- Don’t worry about Albert Pujols. His numbers always end up the same. No reason they won’t again.
Please for the love of God, don’t feel bad celebrating Osama bin Laden’s death. I’m very proud to be an American today. He’s a piece of shit who got what he had coming. And if you’re worried about some kind of karmic retribution for chanting U-S-A! after the announcement, then you’re an idiot. Even God is ashamed of bin Laden and will probably spit in his face when he shows up at heaven’s gates, then send him down to hell* and encourage Satan to have his way with him.
*I don’t really believe in the concept in hell, but for the worst mass-murderers (e.g. Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Osama, etc.), I’ve gotta believe there’s some kind of terrible fate awaiting them. At least I hope so.
April 17, 2011 § Leave a comment
Ladies and gentlemen,
It took me a few minutes to calm down after learning that Cardinals closer/worthless sack of shit Ryan Franklin blew yet another save.* However, an epiphanic moment of clarity arose from that cloud of rage. I came up with the most fitting comparison of all time.
*The reason I didn’t watch the game live is because AT&T Uverse sucks just as bad as Franklin and blacked out the game. That’s another story though.
Your 2011 Cardinals are the exact doppelganger of the 2010 San Diego Chargers. The Chargers ranked no. 1 in both team offense and defense for most of the season, yet they only won nine games and missed the playoffs despite a weak division. Why? Because their special teams were the worst unit in the league. Actually, according to Football Outsiders, the Chargers’ special teams unit was the worst they’d ever measured — and it wasn’t really close.
The Chargers should’ve won at least 13 games had their special teams unit been merely average. Instead, they ruined a great season by Philip Rivers and a strong defensive year.
The Cardinals are 8-8 right now because their dipshit closer has blown four saves in five opportunities in the first 16 games. We should be at least 11-5 if not 12-4, but because of one horrible flaw that has the potential to be historically bad, we are 8-8. Like the Chargers, our statistics tell a much different story that our record does. We lead or nearly lead the majors in runs, batting average, slugging percentage and on base percentage. We have scored 23 more runs than we’ve given up, an average of nearly 1.5 per game. Only Colorado, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Texas have a better run differential. And guess what? All five of those teams lead their respective divisions and have a combined record of 52-21. By comparison, the Chargers scored 119 points more than they gave up. The only teams with a higher difference were Pittsburgh, New England, Atlanta and Green Bay — combined record 49-15. Two of those teams matched up in the Super Bowl, and the other two led their respective conference in wins*.
*It goes without saying that both the Cardinals and Chargers performed absolutely awful in close games.
The good news here is that the Cardinals’ problem is less drastic than that of the Chargers. The Chargers’ special teams unit was a deep-seated problem that would’ve required a massive philosophical and personnel shift in the middle of the season, which isn’t realistic. They had to do the best with what they had and hope that their special teams got their shit together at some point. Well, they didn’t.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals’ problem isn’t quite as bad. Obviously the Wainwright injury has stretched our bullpen a little thin, with Kyle McClellan leaving to become the fifth starter (doing magnificently so far, by the way), so we can’t just get rid of Franklin right now (unfortunately). But we must demote him right now, not only for the sake of the team, but for Franklin’s own mental well-being. If he keeps getting thrown to the wolves, he could become a lost cause, and that would stretch our bullpen even thinner. If we move him into a setup role right now, we can potentially save whatever’s left of Franklin, and put somebody in the closer’s role and hope it works out. My personal choice is Eduardo Sanchez, who (with an admittedly very small sample size) looks like K-Rod circa 2002.
It’s not a perfect plan, but we have to act now and do something before we become an even more tortured version than the 2010 Chargers.
April 17, 2011 § Leave a comment
Welcome to a new series of blog posts titled “What’s Funnier?” I’m just going to compare two random situations, objects, types of people, etc. that I happen to find hilarious. They often will not directly relate to each other, actually the probably never will, but that’s the fun of it.
So here we go: What’s funnier? A really drunk guy failing to stand up straight when handing the bouncer his ID or Someone hitting a terrible golf shot?
Last night, I witnessed a guy stumble around and nearly pass out while the bouncer checked his ID. Because this was Main Street in St. Charles, I could tell the bouncer actually briefly considering whether or not to let the guy in. The guy trying to get in was about to pass out, and the bouncer actually thought “Well, we could just charge him extra for cover” before realizing how horrible of an idea it was to let an extremely blacked out off-balanced guy into a bar with multiple staircases and balconies.
Anyway, seeing this guy nearly fall over was hilarious.
But is it as funny as seeing someone chunk the shit out of a golf shot, or better yet completely whiff? I went golfing last Sunday with AJ, Ted and James, and was rolling the entire time because at least one of us would fuck up our shot every time we shot (we were playing a four-man scramble).
So which do you think is funnier?
April 15, 2011 § 2 Comments
I hope I haven’t lost too many of you readers due to my sporadic output over the past couple weeks (that pesky 40-hour-a-week job is cutting into my blog time!), but the good news is that there are very few of you lose. Always gotta look at the positive side of things.
Anyway, I’ve been asked by my editor to write an NBA playoffs preview. I tried arguing with him that most of my friends/readers wouldn’t be interested and would complain about my blog’s content next time they see me, most likely by saying the same old line: “I like your blog when it’s anything but sports.” And honestly, I’d like to cater more to that audience because non-sports subjects attract more readers and they tend to leave thoughtful comments, unlike the majority of my sports-reading audience, who (a.) think they’re too cool to comment (Brandon Green, Will Petersen, etc. The rest know who you are), (b.) leave the least intellectual comments possible (Ted) or (c.) hate me because I think their team is going to lose in the first round (Brandon and Will again).
BUT…my editor’s a dick. And so I’m stuck writing a blog about the NBA playoffs. While we’re here, let’s have fun and break down some basketball!
Eastern Conference 1st Round
1. Bulls vs. 8. Pacers: Bulls win 4-0.
The Pacers will lose by an average of 20 points per game. Danny Granger will officially become the second coming of Joe Johnson (not quite good enough to be the best player on a playoff contender, but will soon be paid like one).
2. Heat vs. 7. 76ers: Heat win 4-1.
I can act like I know a lot about both teams here, but the truth is that the 76ers were never on TV this year, so I never saw them play. And if they were on TV, I probably wouldn’t have watched them. However, from what I’ve heard they mesh pretty well, even with Evan Turner looking like a bust. That’ll be enough to win them game 3 and get people talking about a possible Miami chokejob, but honestly, Miami shouldn’t have a problem here, and if the do, they’re gonna be an even worse playoff team than I originally thought.
3. Celtics vs. 6. Knicks: Celtics win 4-2
The Knicks certainly seem like they’re better built for the playoffs than they are for the regular season because of their newfound half-court style, and the Celts have certainly struggled since the Kendrick Perkins trade. Hence, many “clever” sportswriters who think they’re “taking a unique angle” have picked the Knicks in an upset. No way in hell that happens. The Celts might be diminished and a little broken-spirited since unloading Perkins, but the core of Rondo-Allen-Pierce-Garnett are far too mentally tough to let that effect them against a Knicks team who they should beat 19 times out of 20 in a 7-game series. In later rounds, the Celts’ age, health and spirit are more likely to catch up, but against a team that gives Shawne Williams and Anthony Carter significant minutes, they should be fine.
4. Magic vs. 5. Hawks: Magic win 4-2
Has there ever been a worse 5-seed than the Hawks? Better yet, has a team’s sum of its parts ever been lower than that of the Hawks? Ideally, in basketball especially, you want your sum to be better than your parts. That’s what makes a sports team, or any business, run smoothly and turn a profit. However, the Hawks are like the anti-Bulls; they have a bunch of talented players who have no idea how to play cohesively. Very strange. Anyway, if the Hawks win this series, Dwight Howard should be tarred and feathered every subsequent time he calls himself Superman.
Second Round (No explanations for the later rounds until their respective starts.)
1. Bulls over 4. Magic in 6
3. Celtics over 2. Heat in 7
Eastern Conference Finals
3. Celtics over 1. Bulls in 7 (although I’d really like to pick the Bulls here, I can’t go against my original pick because then I’d be no better than Peter King.)
Western Conference 1st Round
1. Spurs over 8. Grizzlies: Spurs win 4-2
Probably a little tougher matchup than the Spurs would’ve liked, but they’ll survive. The Grizzlies are a tough team, and Zach Randolph will give them fits, but the Spurs’ experience will win out.
2. Lakers over 7. Hornets: Lakers win 4-1
Wow, the Lakers lucked out with this matchup. Give the Hornets credit for being scrappy and refusing to bow out of the playoffs after losing David West for the season. But the Lakers should have a field day versus them, provided that Andrew Bynum can play 30 strong minutes a game (not a given of course). Plus, I just can’t get this game out of my head when I think of the Hornets in the playoffs.
6. Blazers over 3. Mavericks: Blazers win 4-2
Our first upset of the playoffs! Ever since the Blazers acquired Gerald Wallace for $10 and a bag of poop, they’ve taken their play to a whole different level. I love this team, especially LaMarcus Aldridge, who I’m ashamed to admit I thought would be a bust when he was drafted in 2006. Also, Portland employs one of my favorite under-the-radar players that the average fan hasn’t heard of: Nicolas Batum, who resembles Dr. J on fast breaks. The only player who can save the Mavs is Dirk Nowitzki, who has been fantastic all season and has cemented himself as the best foreign NBA player of all time, but he’ll be smothered by Wallace all series. Dirk’s practically unguardable, but if anyone can keep him in check, Wallace can, and that will make all the difference.
4. Thunder over 5. Nuggets: Thunder win 4-3
As much as I hate hearing about all the Denver sports teams from Will and Brandon, I have to admit that the Nuggets are much more enjoyable post-Carmelo. Of course, the afterglow of removing the burden of Melo will inevitably wear off, probably sooner than later, but right now, the Nugs are playing great ball. Unfortunately, they had the terrible luck of drawing the Thunder instead of the Mavs, with whom they matched up really well. Too bad, because the Nugs deserve to win a playoff series. But the Thunder are tearing up the league and are poised to take a big step forward this season by winning their first playoff series and legitimately contending for a title. Durant’s in his fourth year; it’s time for him to make the leap and grab this series by the throat. I believe he will.
Western Conference 2nd Round
1. Spurs over 4. Thunder in 7
2. Lakers over 6. Blazers in 6
Western Conference Finals
2. Lakers over 1. Spurs in 6
Lakers over Celtics in 6
April 8, 2011 § Leave a comment
I was driving home after my indoor soccer game the other night and instead of getting angry and wishing our goalie was familiar with the subject of geometry, I decided to try to concentrate on anything but the fact that an ostrich would’ve been more competent in net. Somehow, through my clusterfuck of thoughts, I came across a question that fired off the brain cells.
What is the easiest way to draw a six-figure salary in our fine country?
Now, before you burp up an immediate answer (e.g. POLITICIAN!), you must consider all the consequences. Here are just some of the factors I considered, along with some professions that my parameters have ruled out.
- No commission-based jobs — I want only jobs that provide a consistent six-figure income.
- No business executive jobs — Because these jobs are difficult, require very long hours and often drain the men and women that occupy them. They also provide many great benefits, but they certainly aren’t easy.
- Trust-fund kids don’t count — This has to be a real job, not a dummy job like whatever the fuck Donald J. Trump Jr’s position is in daddy’s company.
- No high-level professional athletes — Despite what some people may think, being a professional athlete would be fucking hard. Constant travel, constant wear and tear on your body, constant grind during the season, constant fear of your job unless you’re in the top 10 percent of your league, etc. Not nearly as glamorous and fun as it looks.
As I said before, this has to be a legitimate six-figure job, paid consistently over a year, with benefits and all that good stuff. What do you guys think? My answer is tenured college professor. Obviously, it takes some work to get there, but once a professor actually makes tenure, there’s only two ways he can lose his tenure, and they both involve the chancellor’s daughter. (I heard this from a professor once. Not sure what the similar analogy is for women professors.) Sure, most professors face ever-changing challenges and do some very important research, but some tenured professors throw together hastily made Powerpoints, slog their way through lectures and spend no more than 20 hours a week on campus. Trust me, I was taught by a few of them at Mizzou.
So that’s my answer. It’s unfair to the many professors that work their ass off and contribute important research and published material to academia, but that’s how it goes. What’s your answer?