Monday, May 31, 2004

Confederate Widow

Sometimes, you run across a headline that is just too amazing to not check out. I saw one today:

"Last Civil War Widow Dies"

Jesus wept! This girl must be at least 160 years old! I followed the link, and found out she was born in 1908. Alberta Martin grew up in a sharecropping family in Danley's Crossroads, Alabammy. She had a normal marriage in 1924, but that fellow ended up taking a dirt nap in 1926. She was poor and desperate.

She soon met William Jasper Martin, a Confederate vet living off his $50 a month Reb pension(I wonder what other pensions are out there for criminals. Manson Family Pension? Sons of the Unabomber?). She married him, basically for a place to live. He was 81, she was 21...gotta love the South.

The best part? He had a child by her! A guy who could have babysat Woodrow Wilson had a kid in his 80s. No wonder the South fought so well...sheer, wanton vitality. Remember, this was 75 years before Viagra. Momma didn't raise no punks...

He went to that great Land of Cotton in the sky around 1931 or so, and she collected that pension until her death today- despite the fact that William Martin may have been a deserter. She was a living symbol of times past, and was often trotted out for rallies and parades. She outlived the last Union widow- a lady who had married a runaway slave who had joined the Union Army. When William Martin died, she married his grandson- which, I believe, makes Alberta her own grand-daughter. Gotta love the South...

To tie this in to the world of Sport, I can only mention the quote offered by some college football coach.  I hope someone here can offer some information on this. He was asked if he was confident bout the upcoming season. His reply:

"I'm as confident as an 80 year old man who marries a 18 year old girl, and buys a 4 bedroom house next to the high school".

Keep this in mind if you are ever in Danley's Crossraod, Alabama and see a gentleman with 11 toes and front teeth that protrude like those of a camel. It just might be some guy who is his own grandfather.

"Come here, puddin'....Poppa needs some sugar"

Memorial Day

I could talk about football or wrestling, but there are higher callings today. It's Memorial Day, and it should be used to honor a vet.

My husband was in the Military, and I played The Maid in a high school production of  "Joan of Arc: 1994". The best part was when I bungee-jumped out of an Apache gunship(Duxbury High School was wealthy, and could afford ostentatious stage props) and decapitated Saddam Hussein with my V-14 Tactical Nail File. He went down like a Ho, and the world was made safe for Haliburton. Therefore, I feel that I can comment on military matters.

Now, I won't waste your time with conjecture. I know you come here to get away from the violent depression that is today's news. Still, if it weren't for the sacrifices made by our soldiers, we wouldn't have the right to whine about the DH or that silly puck the Fox hockey broadcasts featured. With that in mind, I will use the rest of this column to honor a truly great American....General George S. Patton.

To keep it in the sports world, I'll start off with a fact few know- Patton represented the US at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, competing in the Modern Pentathalon. He also studied swordfighting in France. He was a West Point graduate, and served with distinction in WWI and the Mexican Pancho Villa chase. He was huge in convincing the US to adopt tank tactics, and his efforts in Africa, Italy and NW Europe made him a US icon.

Enough history. Today's treat is a 95% reproduction of the speech Patton gave to his troops before the Normandy invasion. Americans have had great speakers in our era. GP's there with MLK and Ric Flair as perhaps the greatest men to ever address a crowd.

"With malice towards none", "I have seen the mountaintop", and "We're gonna win in New  Hampshire..AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!" All were fine speeches, by great Americans such as Lincoln, King and Dean.

Still, one wouldn't go and try to rip someone's lungs out for those words. Abe was making his speech post-battle, Martin was a man of Peace, and Dean got smoked like a Fatty. Patton, on the other hand....this man was in the Ass Kicking business. He was the President and the Client.

Keep in mind, we were at war when this speech was made. It is violent and profane enough to make Dice Clay cover his kids' ears. Still, it sums up what it means to be an American better than any of that Alan Jackson crap. I tried to take out most of the swearing, but the message still carries, I think

General Patton arose and strode swiftly to the microphone. The men snapped to their feet and stood silently. Patton surveyed the sea of brown with a grim look. "Be seated", he said. The words were not a request, but a command. The General's voice rose high and clear.

"Men, this stuff that some sources sling around about America wanting out of this war, not wanting to fight, is a crock of bull.... Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle. You are here today for three reasons.

First, because you are here to defend your homes and your loved ones.

Second, you are here for your own self respect, because you would not want to be anywhere else.

Third, you are here because you are real men and all real men like to fight.

When you, here, everyone of you, were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the toughest boxer, the big league ball players, and the All-American football players. Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American.

"The General paused and looked over the crowd. "You are not all going to die," he said slowly. "Only two percent of you right here today would die in a major battle. Death must not be feared. Death, in time, comes to all men. Yes, every man is scared in his first battle. If he says he's not, he's a liar. Some men are cowards but they fight the same as the brave men or they get the hell slammed out of them watching men fight who are just as scared as they are.

The real hero is the man who fights even though he is scared. Some men get over their fright in a minute under fire. For some, it takes an hour. For some, it takes days. But a real man will never let his fear of death overpower his honor, his sense of duty to his country, and his innate manhood.

Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best and it removes all that isbase. Americans pride themselves on being He Men and they ARE He Men. Remember that the enemy is just as frightened as you are, and probably more so. They are not supermen."

"All through your Army careers, you men have b*tched about what you call "chicken.... drilling". That, like everything else in this Army, has a definite purpose. That purpose is alertness. Alertness must be bred into every soldier. I don't give a ____ for a man who's not always on his toes. You men are veterans or you wouldn't be here. You are ready for what's to come. A man must be alert at all times if he expects to stay alive. If you're not alert, sometime, a German son-of-an------______ is going to sneak up behind you and beat you to death with a sockful of ____!" The men roared in agreement.

Patton's grim expression did not change. "There are four hundred neatly marked graves somewhere in Sicily", he roared into the microphone, "All because one man went to sleep on the job". He paused and the men grew silent. "But they are German graves, because we caught the bastard asleep before they did".

The General clutched the microphone tightly, his jaw out-thrust, and he continued, "An Army is a team. It lives, sleeps, eats, and fights as a team. This individual heroic stuff is pure horse____. The bilious bastards who write that kind of stuff for the Saturday Evening Post don't know any more about real fighting under fire than they know about ______!"

The men slapped their legs and rolled in glee. This was Patton as the men had imagined him to be, and in rare form, too. He hadn't let them down. He was all that he was cracked up to be, and more. He had IT!

"We have the finest food, the finest equipment, the best spirit, and the best men in the world", Patton bellowed. He lowered his head and shook it pensively. Suddenly he snapped erect, faced the men belligerently and thundered, "Why, by God, I actually pity those poor sons-of-_______ we're going up against. By God, I do". The men clapped and howled delightedly.

There would be many a barracks tale about the "Old Man's" choice phrases. They would become part and parcel of Third Army's history and they would become the bible of their slang.

"My men don't surrender", Patton continued, "I don't want to hear of any soldier under my command being captured unless he has been hit. Even if you are hit, you can still fight back. That's not just bull shi* either. The kind of man that I want in mycommand is just like the lieutenant in Libya, who, with a Luger against his chest, jerked off his helmet, swept the gun aside with one hand, and busted the hell out of the Kraut with his helmet. Then he jumped on the gun and went out and killed another German before they knew what the hell was coming off. And, all of that time, this man had a bullet through a lung. There was a real man!"

Patton stopped and the crowd waited. He continued more quietly, "All of the real heroes are not storybook combat fighters, either. Every single man in this Army plays a vital role. Don't ever let up. Don't ever think that your job is unimportant. Every man has a job to do and he must do it. Every man is a vital link in the great chain.

What if every truck driver suddenly decided that he didn't like the whine of those shells overhead, turned yellow, and jumped headlong into a ditch? The cowardly bastard could say, "Hell, they won't miss me, just one man in thousands". But, what if every man thought that way? Where in the hell would we be now? What would our country, our loved ones, our homes, even the world, be like?

No, Goddamnit, Americans don't think like that. Every man does his job. Every man serves the whole. Every department, every unit, is important in the vast scheme of this war. The ordnance men are needed to supply the guns and machinery of war to keep us rolling. The Quartermaster is needed to bring up food and clothes because where we are going there isn't a hell of a lot to steal. Every last man on K.P. has a job to do, even the one who heats our water to keep us from getting the 'G.I. Sits'.

"Patton paused, took a deep breath, and continued, "Each man must not think only of himself, but also of his buddy fighting beside him. We don't want yellow cowards in this Army. They should be killed off like rats. If not, they will go home after this war and breed more cowards. The brave men will breed more brave men. Kill off the Goddamned cowards and we will have a nation of brave men.

One of the bravest men that I ever saw was a fellow on top of a telegraph pole in the midst of a furious fire fight in Tunisia. I stopped and asked what the hell he was doing up there at a time like that. He answered, "Fixing the wire, Sir". I asked, "Isn't that a little unhealthy right about now?" He answered, "Yes Sir, but the Goddamned wire has to be fixed". I asked, "Don't those planes strafing the road bother you?" And he answered, "No, Sir,but you sure as hell do!"

Now, there was a real man. A real soldier. There was a man who devoted all he had to his duty, no matter how seemingly insignificant his duty might appear at the time, no matter how great the odds.

And you should have seen those trucks on the rode to Tunisia. Those drivers were magnificent. All day and all night they rolled over those son-of-a-bit*hing roads, never stopping, never faltering from their course, with shells bursting all around them all of the time. We got through on good old American guts. Many of those men drove for over forty consecutive hours. These men weren't combat men, but they were soldiers with a job to do. They did it, and in one hell of a way they did it. They were part of a team. Without team effort, without them, the fight would have been lost. All of the links in the chain pulled together and the chain became unbreakable."

The General paused and stared challengingly over the silent ocean of men. One could have heard a pin drop anywhere on that vast hillside. The only sound was the stirring of the breeze in the leaves of the bordering trees and the busy chirping of the birds in the branches of the trees at the General's left.

"Don't forget," Patton barked, "you men don't know that I'm here. No mention of that fact is to be made in any letters. The world is not supposed to know what the hell happened to me. I'm not supposed to be commanding this Army. I'm not even supposed to be here in England. Let the first bastards to find out be the Goddamned Germans. Some day I want to see them raise up on their urine-soaked hind legs and howl, 'Jesus Christ, it's the Goddamned Third Army again and that son-of-a-'gun' Patton'."

"We want to get the hell over there", Patton continued, "The quicker we clean up this Goddamned mess, the quicker we can take a little jaunt against the ___________ Japs and clean out their nest, too. Before the Goddamned Marines get all of the credit."

Patton continued quietly, "Sure, we want to go home. We want this war over with. The quickest way to get it over with is to go get the bastards who started it. The quicker they are whipped, thequickerwe can go home. The shortest way home is through Berlin and Tokyo. And when we get to Berlin", he yelled, "I am personally going to shoot that paper hanging son-of-a-b*tch Hitler. Just like I'd shoot a snake!"

"When a man is lying in a shell hole, if he just stays thereall day, a German will get to him eventually. The hell with that idea. The hell with taking it. My men don't dig foxholes. I don't want them to. Foxholes only slow up an offensive. Keep moving. And don't give the enemy time to dig one either. We'll win this war, but we'll win it only by fighting and by showing the Germans that we've got more guts than they have; or ever will have. We're not going to just shoot the sons-of-bi*ches, we're going to rip out their living Goddamned guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks. We're going to murder those lousy Hun c*cksuckers by the bushel-___-basket.

War is a bloody, killing business. You've got to spill their blood, or they will spill yours. Rip them up the belly. Shoot them in the guts. When shells are hitting all around you and you wipe the dirt off your face and realize that instead of dirt it's the blood and guts of what once was your best friend beside you, you'll know what to do!"

"I don't want to get any messages saying, "I am holding my position." We are not holding a Goddamned thing. Let the Germans do that. We are advancing constantly and we are not interested in holding onto anything, except the enemy's ____. We are going to twist his b*lls and kick the living ___ out of him all of the time. Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on advancing regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or through the enemy. We are going to go through him like crap through a goose; like ___ through a tin horn!"

"From time to time there will be some complaints that we are pushing our people too hard. I don't give a good Goddamn about such complaints. I believe in the old and sound rule that an ounce of sweat will save a gallon of blood. The harder WE push, the more Germans we will kill. The more Germans we kill, the fewer of our men will be killed. Pushing means fewer casualties. I want you all to remember that."

The General paused. His eagle like eyes swept over the hillside. He said with pride, "There is one great thing that you men will all be able to say after this war is over and you are home once again. You may be thankful that twenty years from now when you are sittingby the fireplace with your grandson on your knee and he asks you what you did in the great World War II, you WON'T have to cough, shift him to the other knee and say, "Well, your Granddaddy shoveled ___ in Louisiana." No, Sir, you can look him straight in the eye and say, "Son, your Granddaddy rode with the Great Third Army and a Son-of-a-Goddamned-Bi*ch named Georgie Patton!"

General George S. Patton, Jr. Photos






Saturday, May 29, 2004

Silly Olympic Sports

Here come the Summer Olympics. I always get a kick out of them. Athletics are truly a common language, and fewer things are more enjoyable than seeing simple people on a world-wide stage. Heroics, team play, brotherhood, pride, grace, courage, skill, power, agility- you can have it all here, in big slices. 

These Olympics will bear watching. Tensions are high across the whole world. Sadly, there could be a terrorist attack. There could also be things you'd like to see, too. Someone could set a record. Something inspiring could happen. You also may see some snobby European guy break his leg.

One thing that I like about the Olympics is when they trot out some of those truly bizarre sports that you just don't see anywhere else. Some of my favorites:


Rhythmic Gymnastics-

I love this sport. I'll confess right up front, I have no idea WTF they are doing. As near as I can tell, they sort of slink around and throw a ball, ribbon, or rope all over themselves. It is almost preternaturally graceful, and possesses an elegance I'm sure I'd appreciate if I knew just WTF they were doing.

I'm probably understanding 35% of what happens when I watch it, sort of like when I watch soap operas on Telemundo- sure, I don't know things like the plot or the language they speak, but when you see Maria making that face, you know the fur is gonna fly.

RG combines all the wrong aspects of Gymnastics, Ballet, BDSM, Contortionism and Mat Wrestling into a visual package that checks in right between Freak Show and Heaven itself in Viewership Appeal. I think you have to be Slavic to do it, or maybe they just recruit from the BEAUTIFUL RUSSIAN MAIL ORDER BRIDES offered so frequently in my email spam. 


Wheelchair Rugby-

General action during the men’s Wheelchair Rugby Gold Medal Match during the 2000 Paralympic Games. © Jamie Squire/ALLSPORT Jamie Squire/ALLSPORT

You might think I'm about to make fun of this sport, but nooooooo.

These are some Bad Larrys. A wheelchair rugger is a guy who lost use of his legs, then went out and found the most violent sport he could play with his arms alone. Even regular rugby is weaker than this. Rugby players with legs play on grass. These boys/girls play on hardwood. I imagine many a hand is crushed between wheelchairs as the ball is chased- no small feat when you are already down 2 limbs. I wouldn't cross one of these dudes anywhere without a retreat route that goes up a 75 degree incline.

While looking for pictures of this sport, I noticed that most of the dudes who play this sport are some pretty burly fothermuckers, and I'm sure they pretty much floor the needle on the Ballsyometer.


Modern Pentathalon

Modern Pentathlon athletes competing during the Modern Pentathlon World Cup Finals which took place in Goudi Olympic Complex on Sunday 14 December 2003. © ATHOC/ANA/A.VLACHOS Magnify Clayton Miller of Canada in action on his way to winning the Men's Skeet Singles Final during the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Bisley, England on August 3, 2002.  © Craig Prentis/Getty Images

Modern Pentathlon athletes competing during the Modern Pentathlon World Cup Finals which took place in Goudi Olympic Complex on Saturday 13 December 2003. © ATHOC/ANA/A.VLACHOS Magnify Modern Pentathlon athletes competing during the Modern Pentathlon World Cup Finals which took place in Goudi Olympic Complex on Saturday 13 December 2003. © ATHOC/ANA/A.VLACHOS Modern Pentathlon athletes competing during the Modern Pentathlon World Cup Finals which took place in Goudi Olympic Complex on Sunday 14 December 2003. © ATHOC/ANA/A.VLACHOS

First...notice how I set up the pictures so that the runners look like they are running from the shooter. If that alone were a sport, they could charge $50000000 a commercial.

For those of you that don't know, the Modern Pentathalon is a combo platter of Shooting, Fencing, Swimming, Riding, and Cross-country running. Whoever wins is the world's best Napoleonic soldier, and if you cross him/her, there will be nowhere to run, swim, ride, or hide- the Pentathlete will get you.

Many Olympic games are sort of Militaristic. Wrestling, archery, shooting, bi-athletes(snicker), horses- all were basically a means of preparing youth for battle. Had our forefathers merely settled things by Wheelchair Basketball, all that Arms Race money could have been spent on more useful pursuits.



Picture of women judokas competing. Photo: AllsportPhoto of the Taekwondo Sport Event Faliro 2004, which takes place at the Sports Pavilion of the Faliro Coastal Zone Olympic Complex on 13-14 March 2004. © ATHOC/ANA/ INTIME  Magnify  

For most of us, the only chance we get to see someone get mailiciously ucked fup is with Boxing, WWE, or Springer. The Olympics bring us ass-kicking in its' oldest, noblest forms. Judo was being practiced long before Christ, and Taekwondo is more effective than Christianity or Buddhism when someone is trying to forget that Thou Shalt Not Kill stuff.

I saw a French girl get kicked so hard by some Korean that she lifted into the air, arms by her sides, and spun twice before hitting the ground. She got right up...a few minutes later. Even Ike Turner wanted the fight stopped.

So, skip a few of the 162 baseball games your team plays this summer. Choose a night when the #4 starter is pitching, and go watch someone get kicked in the groin, trampled by a horse, or- better yet- watch some Estonian girl pull her leg behind her head and balance a ball on her nose. You'll thank me later.

BTW, that's not her her arm down there...

Alina Kabaeva of Russia on her way to bronze in the women’s Rhythmic Gymnastics Final at the 2000 Olympic Games. © Mike Powell /Allsport Magnify  

Friday, May 28, 2004


What a precarious perch a great boxer occupies....

Roy Jones is the best boxer of his generation. He has titles at multiple weight classes. He has schooled some big names. He made James Toney look like a ham n' egger. He beat the heavyweight champ. He has trouble finding fights that interest him.

Then he zigs when he should have zagged, and he gets smacked up like a recalcitrant serf. Roy was left crawling, dazed, and no longer untouchable. He was just another victim.

No matter how good you are, the human head can only take so much inflicted force. A boxer's fist is dense bone, and scientifically applied so as to land with maximum mass and acceleration. Properly thrown, it can smash your brain into your skull wall. When this happens, it's sleepy time- no matter who you are.

That Roy was able to avoid this blow for so many years is a testament to the tremendous skill he brings to the ring. This KO may have been more of a matter of his attention span relaxing than anything else. He may decpitate Tarver in the rematch.

Still, there isn't a picture of someone standing over a poleaxed Rocky Marciano. Ali took many haymakers from many better men, but he never crawled on camera like Jones. Even fighters who lost a few fights, like Hagler and Leonard, were never seen staggering across a ring like a 12 hour drunk. One lucky punch by Antonio Tarver may have just destroyed Jones' re-sale value.

He may be on that lower tier of Greats, now. Tyson looked like one for the ages, but a Buster Douglas beatdown led to a collapse. Tyson will be remembered as a fearsome champion, but he isn't in that Upper Class. Tommy Hearns won some big fights over a lengthy career, but a detractor could easily find pictures of him laying at his opponent's feet.  

Roy isn't done. He should try to avenge this loss, and do so in as brutal a way as possible. He may then get some more  big fights, but he is no spring chicken. He may have already suffered the loss that signals the commencement of the decline of his reputation.




Wednesday, May 26, 2004


    Has anyone EVER come out of Europe and done some serious NBA rebounding? Gasol, Nowitzki, Ilgauskas, Dino Radja?- good but not great. Sabonis? A bull, but he had legs as fragile as a Middle East truce.

    Our Vidas did provide me with one of the funniest things I ever saw. While he was playing in Europe, he got into a fight with 2 nameless black guys(Slavs are a lot like Italians and Irish- they don't fear American blacks). I forget what started it, but one guy came right at him.

    Arvydas grabbed him by both ears and hit him with a headbutt so hard, MY ears are still ringing. Instant, unquestionable KO. The other guy decided that discretion is the better part of valor, and he hid behind the basket support when the big Lithuanian came after him. Sabonis went right, he went left....a few times. Sabonis looked a lot like Bumbles, when he was chasing Yukon Cornelius and Rudolph around in that Christmas Special. I expected him to shove his face into a brook and come out with a salmon.

    If Rasheed had seen that tape, he would have not only not thrown that towel in Our Vidas' face, but he would have gently wiped the sweat from him. He's crazy and frequently high, but he ain't stupid.

   Lithuania, which is a Connecticut-sized country in Eastern Europe, seems to produce spectacular per-capita basketball talent. The Soviet team that knocked off the Admiral, MitchRich and company in the 1988 Olympics was led by 2 Lithuanians, Sabonis and Marcuilonis(?). They also nearly knocked off the Dreamy Teamy at the last Olympics. 

    Makes me wonder if the Moors didn't send a few raiding parties up the Baltic Sea. There seems to be a lot of blue-eyed soul in that country.


   Lithuania <IMGHEIGHT=5 border="0" width="450" src="" alt="">
Click to enlarge



Sunday, May 23, 2004

Indianapolis Colts

     I always felt a kinship to Indiana. We both have snow. We fought on the same side in the Civil War, and I know that there were Indiana folk in the Iron Brigade. When the deal went down at Gettysburg, the Hoosiers held their ground. We both love our basketball- hell, you gave us Larry Bird, as well as Bobby Knight, John Wooden, James Dean, Karl Malden, David Letterman and Jane Pauley. We have our Rockwell winter villages, and you have your Steinbeck wholesome farm scene that most of us would be happy to call home. People from Indiana will always be well met on my porch. Y'all's good people.

    Always the fan, I thought I'd share my thoughts on the Colts with you. I always liked the basic layout of the Colts. Here's why:

- Peyton, despite his Best Supporting Actress name, may be the best QB in the NFL- although he'd have an argument from Brady's people about how much more difficult it is to throw with 2 Super Bowl rings on. His kid brother is a punk, but so are ALL kid brothers.

    Peyton is so Americana, he sweats milk. Peyton's also a young guy who gets bewitched by the nefarious defensive schemes of Coach Belly and his gluttonous coordinators. Experience will change that....or Seymour hits him so much, he gets concussed and starts thinking he's Archie- screaming at Edith and Meathead while his contract cripples the team.

- Edge looks whiter when he plays with U2, but he has a frightening combination of power and speed. He's got that whole Big Jim Slade thing going, too- I'll bet that Mrs. James is a very happy woman. Until he can punch it in at Gillette Stadium, though, he'll always be the "Razor's" Edge. If you say "McGinest" near him, he falls to the ground and quivers.

- Harrison has been the coolest Marvin in America since Gaye died, and since Messy sank from prominence. However, if he and Ty Law were in prison, Marvin would be earning Newports for Ty. When his contract runs out and you don't give him Manning money, he'll be fleeing to whatever conference Belichick and Ty aren't in.

    Still, those are three boys you could ride to a title. A high powered offense that few could match. They are perfectly capable of throwing 35 points up on a Super Bowl team. Hasn't happened yet, though. Probably isn't going to.  Why?

    Indy managed to get the #1 and #2 pick in the draft a few years ago. A huge DL, and a monster LB. They both flopped. On Draft Day, you had a D that was potentially evil. Fate drove both men from the NFL- and as surely as the Red Sox traded Babe Ruth and sucked for 90 years, the Indy defense has never recovered. They were Cursed.

    This malicious Quentemtman Curse has doomed Indy to be the Easy Whore of Mister Touchdown for all eternity. A bottlecap on the lawn defends more turf. Dungy- who has proven himself to be a terrific defensive coach in his prior jobs- will be helpless against it. It isn't his fault- this Curse would make Patton cry like like a sissy. If you draft players for defense, they'll flop. If you sign proven talent, they'll get injured. You will rage against the dying of the light, but darkness will enfold you as surely as Curses must be fed. I'm from Salem...I understand these things.

    This may seem hard to fathom, but it is easy to see from here. People in Salem have a keen understanding of Curses. Giles Corey cursed Salem before he died from pressing- and sheriffs have died here ever since. Corey was no wimp, either. His last words were "More weight".

    We New Englanders have our own Sports Curse, and can attest to the validity of the phenomena. Pedro will tire, Dent will clear the Monster, and Buckner will falter- all with a little help from the cruel hand of Providence. It hits other teams, as well. Ever notice how the Los Angeles Clippers never get the #1 pick whenever someone good is available? Someone crossed Miss Karma out there. Ever see Buffalo blow field goals? Same thing. Once the Curse is proclaimed, the damage does itself. Ask the Cubs- they are being held back by a billy goat Curse.

    Indiana is no stranger to Curses. They laid a great one on the country. The Battle of Tippecanoe was fought there. From this sprang the Curse of Tecumseh, which struck down men such as Lincoln, JFK and FDR. Reagan's surgeon managed to stop this Curse, but that merely created a Vacuum- one which could only be filled by the Quentemtman Curse.

    The people in charge tried, and are still trying. They hired a top notch defensive coach. They used their top pick on a safety who is shorter than Julia Roberts, and they may have signed someone good- it doesn't matter. The Curse makes its' own rules, and it cares not for who it ruins.

    I'd love to see a likable bunch of kids from the Heartland rise up and smash the wicked chain of Destiny. It's hard not to like Indy. Offense is charismatic. Still, they face a daunting task. You can put 34 points up on a good team, but it will do you no good if they get 38 on you. The Curse works in many a strange and wonderful way.

    Maybe some day they will win in the snow, not throw to Ty Law, and not get stuffed like a November Turkey on fourth and one with seconds left. When they can do that, they will be championship caliber. They will have beaten the Quentemtman Curse.

An Ear For The Game

         I read about a popular sport in Afghanistan while studying for a military history class I was in.

    Two villagers would tether a goat in a valley between a pair of mountain ridges. They would each scale one of the ridges. They would then take turns shooting at each other. The object was to be the guy who came closest to the other guy's ear with a shot. Eventually, one guy would chicken out, wave off the other, and a goat dinner would be won.

    Very few contests are won by having one's opponent lack faith in one's skill at the primary objective of the game. The author noted that the village he learned this sport in had a disproportionate amount of people who were missing ears- sort of an Asiatic Van Goghsville. A good goat dinner may be worth a lobe or two, especially when the Russians occupy your capital.


Taking it to the Woodshed

    Life is cruel, in that success and morality are often on different roads. While fair play is nice, the NBA system allows some wiggle room for unilateral interpretation of just what exactly is "fair". This is why you get 6 fouls. Selective Morality, my Californian friends. The ends justify the means.

    Given that the Lakers know the penalty for bashing Duncan and Parker, the decision becomes one of how to spend those fouls. Slapping TP's arm is only going to put him on the line to score more points. Putting him on the floor will make a point.

    I can tell LA isn't a hockey town. Hockey fans instinctively know when to abandon the exercise of skill in favor of some USDA-quality Ass Kicking. Right now, Parker beats the Glove off the dribble, and he's thinking "easy basket". If Luke Walton is properly utilized, TP will instead be thinking "I'm gonna get creamed". At this point, he's back to the 14ppg guy we thought he was, and it's 2-2.

    If you all plan on signing Kobe back up, this will be a valuable lesson for him. While I bring this up a lot, I really feel that the Lakers need to introduce the Rambis/McHale aspect to this series.

    I can recall an NBA Finals series...Boston and LA, in the 80s...I think it was 1984. In game 1, the Lakers simply beat us like government mules. They may have threw 140 points up on us, and most of the highlight reels you see of Lakers clowning Celtics come from that game. It looked like a 4 game sweep was imminent.

    Then McHale simply assaulted Rambis on a layup attempt. Nearly took his fool head off. To his credit as a hard-nosed player, Rambis got right up in McHale's face- but it was too late. The message had been sent. I really thought that the still-young Magic was cowed by that play, and you could tell he was remembering it almost every time down the court.

Cedric Maxwell, on the McHale play..."Before Kevin McHale hit Kurt Rambis, the Lakers were just running across the street whenever they wanted," he said. "Now they stop at the corner, push the button, wait for the light, and look both ways." 

    Boston won that series, and the Lakers eventually brought in Maurice Lucas to kick a little ass for the Lake, and Robert Parish was being Big Manned into the crowd in a LA rout a few years later. You also saw a far more physical Magic afterwards. Detroit- a hockey town- learned that lesson from the TV, and bullied their way to a couple of 1980s NBA titles with Mahorn and Laimbeer. Hell, look at how Riley built the Knicks when he left LA. McHale taught him a valuable lesson with one well-timed flagrant foul on a bit player. 

    Every action has a reaction, and certain consequences must be weighed and accepted against whatever benefits the action may procure. Ask Kobe.

    LA has a whole new set of people now, and it seems that this wisdom has fallen past your younger Lakers. Blame free agency, which shuffles players around, and has robbed Kobe and Shaq of an old vet on the bench who has seen this kind of play before. Jackson, who has rode the Chuck Wagon of Jordan, Shaq and Kobe's simple pre-eminence to a great reputation, seems truly befuddled about how to win without a decided talent advantage. If LA loses, Jackson should be fired before the final game is over.

    Malone, who should know better, will also be of no help here. He played for a team that let Jordan skip like a schoolgirl around them in the Finals, and failed to use somebody named Ostertag to introduce MJ to the cruel realities of Selective Morality.


Niccolo Machiavelli

High Above Courtside...

Feed the Daddy

I think Kobe is a superb player. Utterly magnificent. I just think that every time down, the Laker offense should be geared towards bringing it in to the Daddy.

    This isn't a diss on Kobe. Kobe simply has a greater ability to create his own offense, and to get to the hoop from anywhere on the court. He's a slasher extrordinaire. He has a good outside shot. This makes him a splendid Option #2.

    Let Shaq hit 55% of 20-25 shots per game, and let Kobe free-lance and go to the ball when the Daddy is doubled. Run plays for Kobe just to keep defenses honest, and to free Shaq to raid the offensive boards. Let GP bring the ball down, dish it to Kobe, and set up Shaq. Do this every time you don't fast break. When Shaq comes out, let Malone and Kobe do that two-man game. When it's just Kobe and no Shaq/Karl, let Kobe go all Gatorade on the poor foe.

    The lead poster here made a good point about "rhythym of the flow". The gentle, lapping ocean wave won't knock over a sand castle....but enough of them will erode stone. Shaq is a lot like a human, hip-hop, Sasquatchian, wealthier version of the Chinese Water Torture. A drop of water to to the forehead...again and again and again and again and again and ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It would make Genghis Khan cry like Nancy Kerrigan. All things have a breaking point, even interior defense.

    Kobe is a 6'7" guy scoring 25 a game. As good as that is, there are men like Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Tracey McGrady(when my grandmother got reallllllllllly old, she insisted he was Irish), Vince Carter and others who can get that done for you.

    Look around the NBA. Is there anyone else who can score 25 a game on 55% shooting? Shaq posts Chamberlainesque numbers, and he does it through raw power- very little strategy can stop him. If he made free throws(late game is another time to go to Kobe more), LA would have a more current dynasty.

    Frontal assaults are brutal, risky, and often effective. Pickett's Charge, though repulsed, was an overhand right by an outmatched boxer. Still, Bobby Lee was no fool. Had that charge succeeded, the Rebels could have marched on Washington.

    Cities far greater than Gettysburg- Constantinople, Rome, Jerusalem, and so forth- fell to simple brute force. No team has an answer to the Daddy. Every time down, go to the Daddy. Kobe will understand, when he gets older. Every time down, go to the Daddy.



High Above Courtside...

Don't hate the player, hate the town.

How long have you hated (or disliked) the Lakers?

What triggered your hate/dislike?

What would it take for you to become a fan or non-hater, or a fan again? 

I was born in France, raised in Boston, and can honestly say that neither French or English have the proper term to describe how I feel about the Lakers. "Hate" isn't the right word. The best way I could describe it is to go back to when I was trying to pick up English and would get the wording all wrong..."I not do enjoy them, no?"....

    I don't know how it is in other towns, but anyone who is someone other than the Celtics is no one. This childish attitude is offset by the miraculous transformation that previously nefarious athletes go through when Boston trades for them. Johnny Most was good at this, but the hockey fans have it down better. Ken Linseman was having beers thrown at him on Sunday, and having beers bought for him when he was traded here Monday.

    I could never root for the Lakers, unless the Taliban got a team together. I feel the same way about the Sixers, Knicks and Bulls. If they were to play each other, I would root for Chicago to beat Philly, Philly to beat New York, New Yawk to beat the Lakers, and the Lakers to beat the Taliban. Most Bostonians would fall in line with that order. I would probably get into NASCAR or something if a NY/LA series happened.

    For a Hater, the Lakers have several things working against them. They personify stereotypical California- stars, sunshine, and flash. They have 4 superstars when most teams have one at best. Jack Nicholson goes to their games. You can leave a game in February and go surfing. Even your natural disasters have a disproportionate chance of shaking a Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Tom Cruise into your lap. Meanwhile, I did high school cheerleading in mittens.

    Shaq- who has never been in legal trouble, respects the older players(he never did that silly post-dunk staredown thing to Robert  Parish), works with charities, was raised in a strict military family, and who seems a rather humble and respectable person- somehow makes a tremendous Goliath. He is huge, talented and agile, and is the dominant feature in any game he is in. It is impossible not to sympathize with whoever has to play him.

    Speaking of which, Kobe is not unlike many men one comes across in Renaissance paintings. He is an Adonis in baggy shorts. He most likely didn't need college, may not need Shaq, and certainly doesn't need you or me. He was as good as it gets at 19. He speaks fluid Italian. He has a silly name, and is able to cheat on a girl who could seduce a gay Pope. He grew up travelling the world with his NBA dad. Then he got the Chape Rarge, and he was somehow even less likable. Maybe 5 people on Earth could actually relate to this man. He's a 6'8" black Kennedy, with a Ghetto Pass.

    If Payton or Malone actually had a pair, they'd have gone East to stock up a team that might challenge the Lakers. The NBA has been pretty good to GP and Karl, and it seems that the least they could do in return was to see that Boston goes into the playoffs over .500 or so. Instead, they work cheap to ride Shaq's jock. LA and Boston needed a point guard and a power forward last summer- we got Gin Baker and Mike James. Life's fair.

    Despite all this, I would miss the Fakers if they weren't around. There were some damn good games played between them and my boys, and I hope to see a few more before my time here passes.

Kobe Bryant

High Above Courtside...


People in LA recently had the chance to hear Tommy Heinsohn broadcast. The message boards were filled with insults after. I disagreed.

Remember, Heinsohn had rings before Los Angeles even had a basketball team. No one in LA is worthy of judging him. Arrivistes...

The funny part of this is that Heinsohn was unusually restrained on that broadcast. This is a guy who has more rings than Shaq and Magic combined- and a guy who has watched his once-proud franchise sputter through the last 15 years. You should see him when we lose to the Atlanta Hawks...he's a one-man Watts riot. And if you think Heinsohn is bad, you should have seen Cousy call games before the Alzheimer's kicked in...

So he mentioned the fact that pounding on Kobe might be an effective strategy. Every coach in the league is telling his team the exact same thing. Basketball is a rough game, and an injury to an opponent is something to be taken advantage of. Be glad that you had a basketball expert to explain these things to you- it seems fans expect that silly "Yesssss" that Marv Albert used to do when Jordan scored more than actual insight into the game.

This is why you have an ex-coach on the mic- he understands how the game is actually played. Otherwise, you throw some Chick on the mic and give your fans commentary from a guy who has to guess what is going on in a huddle. Not to disparage the good name of Mr. Hearn, but he was never a player or a coach.

Speaking of which, if Johnny Most worked Lakers games, you would venerate the man. Johnny Most, who lit his own pants on fire in the middle of a broadcast. Johnny, who said "he hit the f**king post!" while doing radio commentary on a hockey game. Johnny, who once got so upset at a call that he spit his false teeth onto a spectator seated below him. The same Johnny who asked Mrs. Ruland to please turn off her radio, and who described Kurt Rambis- who seemed like a nice enough guy to me- as "something that crawled out of a sewer." All this in a voice that only Marlboros can give you.

Johnny had that gift of putting a listener right there in the game, and he was definitely a homer. Remember, Boston is a town that saw former Red Sox broadcaster Dick Stockton- with his purple and yellow ties- as a Laker shill. I was personally in a crowd that attempted to tip over Stockton's limo after the 1986 finals, and DS only escaped when Most came out of the Garden and beat the thugs away with a whiskey bottle. Johnny could have cared less about what some halfhearted Laker fan thought about his style- he was too busy calling championship games.

Still, lacking the Jello-jiggling catchphrases of men like Hearn and Albert, he may have had less success in a town that was more concerned with flash than substance.


Magic vs Kareem

    I don't think that Magic sucked, or anything. I just think that without Kareem, he'd have about 5 less assists a game, a .410 shooting percentage, and maybe one ring. Hell, if he got no rings, a Jason Kidd comparison wouldn't be that far off...and keep in mind that Kidd doesn't have 3-9 inches on whoever he is trying to shoot over.

    Kareem would have been retired in/before 1985 without Magic playing alongside him. I remember John Havlicek saying "I'd have never retired if I knew I could have played with HIM", meaning Larry Bird. I bet Kareem would have said the same thing.

    Let's not overrate Showtime. Magic ran some pretty breaks, but so did Portland and the Clippers. The Lakers real magic was bringing the ball down and passing it to 3(sort of) 20 points a game guys. Worthy, impossibly quick at 6'9". Wilkes, with that screwy set shot. Nixon, who could throw it in when he had to. Scott, who may or may not have scored 20ppg on a team with less skyhooking Muslim giants. Put me on that court with Kareem and Worthy, and I'd have 10 assists a game...and I ain't that tall.

    One thing I forgot to mention in my analysis of Magic's shooting was that the Lakers were rarely in position to need 3 pointers, and I'm sure that half of Magic's 3 point attempts were full court heaves as the half ran out. Still, before the Lakers got Rambis(McHale's clothesline of him was the best visual expression of the difference between Eastern and Western Conference play I ever saw), you just KNEW where the double team on Kareem was going to come from. Magic's learning to cut to the hoop when said double arrived probably won them a title.

    Simply put, I believe the Lakers entire offense was built around Kareem, and the Showtime fast breaking was the benefit of pressing guards and forwards who knew there was a 7 foot 3 roadblock standing in the lane. Once Worthy came along, Magic was option #3 at best- a testament to the Laker's remarkable offensive abilities rather than a dig on the Magic man. Still, in a game predicated on outscoring the other team, the best scorer is the straw that stirs the drink.

    Kareem had won nothing with the Lakers before Magic came to town (and eventually they got Worthy, on a pick acquired for Don Ford, believe it or not- after that, the league actually refused to let Cleveland trade for a few years, I think). Would Kareem have won nothing if the Lakers had traded a useless white guy for some other top-notch guard- especially with Jerry West making the deals? Mark Price leading Showtime? Would Magic have turned the Cleveland Cavaliers into a dynasty? Good questions.

    Magic won nothing after Kareem left. Magic's Finals MVP trophies were more of a testament to his media appeal than his superiority to Kareem. While Kareem only won one title without Magic, he did win a title- with a supporting cast(an aging Oscar Robertson and a bunch of 8th men) far less stellar than Magic's 1990/1991 teams. Magic can not make the same claim- a fact I'm sure he's aware of.

    Was Magic average? Of course not. Would he be considered an all-time great had he not played with Kareem? Probably/definitely. Would he have won 5 titles? No. Take away Magic, add in a servicable point guard and, say, a healthy Bernard King- I think Kareem would have took another title or two- including one over the Muslim giant-less, Magic Johnson-led Cleveland Cavaliers.

    Again, I could be off on this call. Most people tell me I am. I was a kid during Magic's time, and maybe I was seeing those games wrong- but I can still put forth a damn good argument, though. I can only hope that things go well enough here that I can be arguing about who was the real force behind the Celtic's dynasty in the 2000s.

Credit, where credit is due

Magic was a great, clutch player, but I still think he should have named his children/pets Kareem, Abdul, Jabbar, Lew or Alcindor. He should also provide scholarships to students from Power Memorial High School in NY. Why? He would have had a much different career without Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

    Remember Kareem? Remember his spectacular penetration moves? His furious dunks? His crossover dribble? You don't? Good, because his game didn't have those facets. Kareem had a Money Shot that fed a magical 7-10 assists a game to whoever was passing him the ball- the Sky Hook. The single most effective shot in the history of the game. Indefensible. Almost effortless. And, goody for Magic, no dribble before it- passing the ball to Kareem anywhere within 15 feet of the basket was a guaranteed assist.

    This changed the whole defensive scheme the Lakers faced. Any team playing the Lakers had to deal with not only Magic and Kareem, but Worthy, Wilkes, Nixon, Scott, and a score of other worker bees. Very difficult to cover all 5, especially when the PG would already be doubling Kareem. This led to a lot of easy baskets- especially when the team did any fast-breaking. Notice that anytime the team wasn't fast breaking, they'd set up for the skyhook(once Kareem made it downcourt). The Lakers were a superb team, greater than the sum of their parts. I was shocked when the Celtics beat them.

    The Skyhook also covered up the Achilles Heel in Magic's game- he was a so-so shooter. Magic's regular season 3 point shot totals were 7, 3, 6, 0, 6, 7, 10, 8, and 11 in the years he played with an effective Kareem. Magic did improve his outside shooting as time went by and the line was moved in- a trend also seen in the championship season resumes of Jordan and Dr. J- but teams always sagged off him to double Kareem. That the greater part of Magic's game was team oriented- passing, leading the fast break, rebounding, firing up the fellow Lakes- shouldn't detract from his amazing individual accomplishments, but it also means that his success was dependent upon the team...and based off Kareem's offensive ability.

    Kareem was also a treemendous shot-blocker. This allows one's point guard to press wildly, and get extra steals. It also allows a 6'9" guy to play a quick point guard on defense- I do seem to recall a steady stream of Isiahs, KJs, Lucases, Cheeks(how does one pluralize Cheeks?) and the like getting right by Mr Johnson, before running into a 7'3" Muslim roadblock. The last time people were screaming for help to a Muslim that much,  Saladin was chasing Crusaders in the Holy Land.

    Now don't get me wrong. Magic rocked. He ran Showtime. He posed problems that at least 5 championship-caliber teams were unable to answer. He hit the shot that won the 1985 title, and was a one man gang in the last game of 1980. Still, Magic was less of the Laker's "main player" than he was the Laker's "media darling". People loved the flashy and gregarious Magic- they despised the sullen Muslim giant who was really carrying the team. This- and the Bird/Magic rivalry that was television gold- led to the media focusing on Magic, and it led to people thinking he was the main reason for the Laker success.

    The Lakers also played out West. For those of you that don't remember, no other Western team won a title from the time Seattle won it to the time the Rockets rode Olajuwon to the title. In fact, the only teams to get by the Lakers in that stretch were the Moses Malone and the Olajuwon/Sampson Rockets(though I think Portland may have gotten in there at one point). These were 2 teams that found ways to neutralize or at least answer Kareem, and 2 teams which forced Magic to beat them.

    The Western Conference of the 1980s was very much like the Eastern Conference of  today- a weak sister. If Magic had to go through Pat Ewing, Bernard King, Ruland/Mahorn, Isiah, Dr J, Moses, Barkley and company, how many times do you think they would have been eliminated earlier? How do you think Magic's stats would have differed?

    While debating quality of opponents, keep in mind that a certain rookie named Jordan arrived in the Eastern Conference during Larry's tenure...and he didn't make it to the Finals for quite some time. It wasn't like he needed seasoning- he put in 63 on the Celtics in one playoff game in a losing effort. The Eastern Conference was just so good, it took Jordan a few years to earn his stripes. Had the Lakers played out here, or had that talent been in the West- we might be talking 1-2 rings, at best.

    Finally, remember that Magic won nothing after Kareem left, despite replacing him with Mychal Thompson, and Vlade Divac- who, whatever you may think about him, rarely has been a center on a team that didn't have a pretty good shot at winning it all. Those guys are good...but they're no Kareem. Kareem won a title with an aging(before my time, but he must have been older) Oscar Robertson, and he adapted his game and won 5 more later...something Mr Johnson sadly never had a chance to do.

    Magic revitalized the Lakers, and especially Kareem. Magic's center play vs Daryl Dawkins in the 1980s finals- for the one game 1980 NBA MVP Kareem didn't play- was astounding. He waxed the Celtics like a bikini line with his own hook shot in the 1985 finals. I'd put him in the top five players of all time- just ahead of Larry and the historically-unappreciated Julius/Oscar/West troika.

    But if Kareem/Worthy played in Boston and McHale/Parish played in LA, Magic would have stood a very good chance of being the Ray Bourque of basketball- an all-time great who couldn't get the brass ring with the team he played his whole career for. Or he might have 6 rings- who knows? Meanwhile, we'd have about 18 championship banners hanging in the Boston Gard..., ummm, Fleet Center before the wheels started falling off Bird and especially Kareem in 1987 or so....but I digress.

    I apologize for the long post, and I respect the opinions of those who differ with me. I have had very few people agree when I state this opinion of mine. I just think that Kareem gets the shaft when credit is handed out for the success of the great 1980s Laker teams. I think Kareem should be involved in the best-ever discussions with Russell, Jordan(imagine a Jordan/Abdul-Jabbar pairing?) and Wilt, rather than this debate.

    Vive la Kareem!


State of the Celtics

Here we are, back to Celtics lottery talk.

    Once, when men named Bird and Parish walked these streets, things were different. Then came the Bad Times. ML Carr's "championship driven" teams managed to produce an unexpected bonus- 2 lottery picks. We'd be getting our next Russell, and maybe a Cousy to feed him the ball.

    Then, God abandoned us for some wretched Upper Mexicans from San Antonio. We were left with incumbent Antoine Walker, a power forward who can't post up, box out, or guard anyone taller than 6'8"- and who wets himself and screams "Nooooo,,,don't dunk on me againnnnnnnn..." whenever he drives by a K-Mart.

    We also got the "backcourt of the future", athletic Ron Mercer and Chauncey Billups, who turns into a 17ppg, 5 apg contributor....for Detroit. Trader Rick turned Chauncey and David Wesley into Kenny Anderson, who ends up backing up the guy who used to be Gary Payton's backup, because we turned Kenny(and Vitaly Potapenko- acquired for the draft pick that became Andre Bleepin Miller) into Seattle power forward...well, we'll get to that in a minute.

    Pierce fell into our laps. This must have been some Karma payback for the Duncan thing. Sort of like when some Down's Syndrome guy gets a Tommy Lee-sized unit, if you know what I'm saying. Still, the team flops. Pitino loses his mind, seeing Celtic ghosts walking through the door, then flees like Noah before the flood.

    Lo and behold, the team actually starts to gel. Mistakes are erased- we actually find someone dumber than Pitino, and turn Travis Knight into Tony Battie. Pierce asserts himself, and can't even be stabbed out of stardom. Walker, for all his faults, plays like an ironman and learns the joy of passing. We trade for some veterans. We promote Pitino's understudy, and Coach OB stops the bleeding. The team makes some noise in the playoffs.

    But the noise is "Nooooooooooo". While able to sneak up on Indiana, the Celtics wilt like Chamberlain when faced with the league's iron. New Jersey beats the Leprechauns like a rental car, with Walker in particular having his flaws exposed. Even if the Mean Green had slipped by New Jersey, regular season encounters with San Antonio and LA resulted in 40 point Shaq nights and bitter Texican reminders of What Could Have Been.

    The Celtics then are in a strange position. They are young and mediocre. This is like when a date tells you that he/she thinks you're "nice". They will get no more Lottery picks, and they will not be able to afford free agents.

    They get desperate. They make moves. Moves made of desperation. Vin Baker is brought in. He signs a 7 year deal and starts some serious, Guns n Roses-style drinking. He is eventually waived. This is the LESS disastrous move we make.

    Danny Ainge is brought in to take over the GM spot. In no time at all, he:

- trades Walker and Delk for LaFrenz, Welsch, and a #25 draft pick who will get 3 years, guaranteed. We also get an expiring Chris Mills contract (I wonder what idiots gave HIM all that money, long term???), which Ainge is presently trying to squander.

- makes 2 multi-player trades with last year's 19-63 Cleveland team, getting NONE of their good players in return.

-  In a little-known charitable move, Coach OB let 31 different black people sit on the bench at home games and pretend to be Jumaine Jones. Each ersatz JJ made $5000 donations to the Reggie Lewis Foundation. A cleverly-disguised Serena Williams actually got 6 rebounds in the Chicago game.

-despite his philanthropy, OB crosses Danny Boy and is firedconvincedtoresign. He is replaced by a man named I.M. Interim, and the team stinks like the steam rising from Vin Baker's vomit.

- faces 3 days in February which may or may not destroy this team. He has a commodity in Ricky Davis. He has a "get out of cap free" card in Mills. He has a good 7th player in Jiri Welsch, and an injured Raef LaFrenz. He has a rookie PG, and 2 character actor big men. He has 2 draft picks, one of which is looking better every day. He also has a flat-out ace in Paul Pierce. How he trades, reorders, keeps and uses these assets will determine if I have to start watching hockey again.

    God help him if he screws this up and bails, like he did in Phoenix. He will be captured, stuffed, and displayed in the New England Museum of Failure, between the "Dukakis in '88" exhibit and the Arc de Buckner


Celtic draft history

>The real reason for the Celtics downfall is poor draft picks.  Forte, Kedrick
>Brown, Jerome Moiso, Marcus Banks, Kendrick Perkins, etc.  Need I say more?

I'll say more.

: John Barry over potential Pitino strangler Latrell Sprewell(Oh, what might have been...).

: Acie Earl ahead of Sam Cassell.

: Eric Montross ahead of Jalen Rose and Eddie Jones. At least Montross was good enough to convince Dallas to swap picks with us, bringing us Walker....for Walker.

: Eric Williams ahead of Theo Ratliff and Michael Finley.

: Antoine Walker ahead of Kobe Bryant, Jermaine O'Neal, Predrag Stoyakovic and  Steve Nash. You could also say "An injured Raef LaFrenz and the #25 pick in the 2004 NBA Draft for Kobe, Jermaine or Peja"....and not be wrong.

: Chauncey Billups and/or Ron Mercer over Tracey McGrady.

: Pierce falls into their laps as they prepared to skip over Matt Harpring, Ricky Davis and Al Harrington.

: The draft pick that could have become Andre Miler, Shawn Marion, Jason Terry, Corey Maggette, Ron Artest or Andre Kirilenko is traded away for Vitaly Potapenko.

: Jerome Moiso ahead of Quentin Richardson, Jamaal Magliore and Michael Redd.

: Joe Johnson and Kedrick Brown ahead of Richard Jefferson and Zach Randolph. Joseph Forte ahead of Gilbert Arenas, Tony Parker and Mehmet Okur.

: This pick was part of the package that brought Rogers and Delk to Boston. Nothing of either draft remains, being traded away for New Jersey's Rogers, Dallas' Delk(a throw in on the Walker trade), and Budweiser's Vin Baker. We did manage to snatch Darius Songalia with the 50th pick.

: Kendrick Perkins and Marcus Banks have the benefit of a few years before we start saying "We took that SOB over Luke Ridnour or Josh Howard!!"

There are several bones of contention here. Would you want Theo Ratliff instead of Eric Williams? Nash instead of Walker? Shawn Marion instead of Potapenko? Giggles...

There's also the HS factor. Nobody knew Kobe would be as good as he is now. Same with McGrady and O'Neal. Well..almost nobody knew.

By the way, Larry Bird could have been playing with Reggie Theus(best Northern California quote ever: after his trade to the pre-Webber Kings, Theus was asked how he liked California- he replied "Sacramento is not California"..... we passed on him to take Freeman Williams), Mo Cheeks, Bill Laimbeer, Frank Brickowski(we took Ainge...oh, what might have been II....), Derek Smith, Jerome Kersey, Roy Tarpley(a man who could handle his cocaine), Chuck Person, and many more- had we paid a little bit better attention to the end of the first round in the 1980s. 

In 1989, we drafted Michael Smith over Tim Hardaway, Shawn Kemp, Vlade Divac, Dana Barros, and Clifford Robinson....that's right, we took a 6'10" finesse Mormon over an entire starting 5.

Drafting is anything but an exact science. It's a lot like dating- some guy who seemed like a winner at the bar turns out to be a slobbering, brachiating moron when you finally end up dating him. I can see why they trade for veterans so much.

Throw in the draft lottery, and you can turn Tim Duncan and Tracey McGrady's Boston careers into Vin Baker's salary cap space. Don't laugh, people- it's happened before, right here.

Chris Wallace

Banners and Nicknames for the NE Pats

         If they ever do move the Patriots to Southie, they should call them the Boston Massacre....or maybe the Boston Stranglers.

    Brady's nickname? Touchdown Tommy? Champagne Tom? I like The Lord Of The Rings, too. If Mr. Brady reads this, I do have a Celebrity Escape Clause in my marriage vows, and look sort of like a young Holly Hunter.

    I do think that the right banners would add an element of Intimidation to a team visiting Foxboro. We'd probably have to rent a plane for our "Rip Out Their Hearts And Show It To Them Before They Die" banner.

Other Banners You Won't Be Seeing

"Bring Back Mount Washington"

If Ty escapes prosecution...
"Ty Fought The Law, and, Ty Law Won".

"Rollin' on E, and he's still shutting down your WR"

"Our Coach Should Be Running The Iraq War"

"The People Sitting Behind Me Can't See"

"Bring your kids to sit with 60,000 drunks"

"My friends are still on Route One"

"Visit Foxboro...then leave, afterwards"

"Actually, that Is my Cousin's suitcase"

"Our Nose Tackle scored "Cro-Magnon" on the Wonderlich"

"With a name like Asante, he'd better be fast"

"Behold the Patriot Missile"

"He's 'Koppen' an Attitude"

"Bring Back The Woody"

sign held by a bunch a frozen, screaming, shirtless drunks..."Belly-Check!"

"Team? 65% black. Town? 96% white"

"Don't see Lee Johnson? Charlie Weis ate him"

"Romeo, Romeo..."

"17 Beers, 4 Hour Ride in an RV Back To Maine"

"Rodney 3:16...Thou Just Got Thy Arse Handed To Thee"

"Lawyer Who?"

"Don't Blame Canada...Blame Yourself"

"Our Kicker Took Down Herschel"

"Our Coach Can Beat Up Your Coach"



the Wonderlic

    Sean Taylor was outscored on the NFL IQ test by plants, but that tells a little less than one would think it would. I'm sure he is a fine prospect.

    The UMiami average for NFL players is a 15, with Vince Wilfork also getting a 10. DJ Williams led the Miami prospects with a 21, which is roughly equivalent to a 100 score on an IQ test. Gotta love Football U. The Valedictorian Address at UMiami this year is called "How To Properly Cut Heroin".

    Keep in mind that these gentlemen are often struck in the head in the course of their day, and that few IQ tests outside of the NFL are taken in front of 300 drooling scouts and media. In a different setting, they might perform better. Although- unlike an office manager- Mr. Taylor's job will indeed be performed in front of media and scouts...and 70,000 maniacal, blood-thirsty fans.

    Someone in his draft class who has a name that may or may not rhyme with Issac Sopoaga got an 8, which is the equivalent of a 40 IQ- if he scored any lower, you'd have to water him. I can recall reading that former Patriot Big House Moore scored realllllllllllllllllly poorly, and that, when filling out his paperwork, he listed "Doctor" as his "in case of emergency, contact " number.

The record, btw, is that punter from Cincy a few years ago, the Ivy League guy, who got a 50 on the test. Not only did he ace the test, he probably went to the testers after and made several good suggestions about the test's format. I'll share out the other scores at the end of this letter, if I remember. BTW, if I revealed the IQ scores of my students, I would be fired and sued.

    Before attempting any real assessment of his intelligence, keep in mind that Sean probably didn't try that hard on the test. Much like what appears to be the rest of his college career, Mr. Taylor probably didn't care too much about all that Book Learnin'... and beyond having his accountant steal from him, this is probably the last time that his 3 R's skill will hurt him.

    Very few NFL teams are going to have him graph a series of numbers, or ask him to discriminate between synonym and antonym. He knows this, and was probably told so by his agent. He may very well have wrote "MEGADETH" in the test's answer sheet ovals, like Beavis.

    It doesn't matter. He's a linebacker who runs like a cornerback. You may even WANT him to be a little slow,,,une feuille blanche, no? Coach BB's defensive schemes are complicated- can't have him thinking about the Battle of Hattin and stuff like that. Memory is finite, and mental clutter slows processing speed. - Page2 - So, how do you score?

Senior Writer

    The Wonderlic is a simple intelligence test, about 30 years behind most common psychological tests. The NFL has been using it for about the same length of time. There are many NFL players who scored lower than Rain Man, and went on to have fine NFL careers.

    As an educator, I hold hope for the kid in a theory known as Multiple Intelligence. In a nutshell, this theory states that not all people have pen/paper intelligence. I had a student- a Wampanoag- who got a 20 or so when asked to write about her tribe's history. She writes like old people dance- shook and off beat, with a lot of errors. So, I had her get up and just tell her story, and she was interesting and compelling. I just chose the wrong means by which to have this young lady express her knowledge. Once the problem was dealt with, I was better able to truly measure her intellectual capacity on the subject.

    Van Gogh was an earless slacker who couldn't keep a post office job- but give him paint and a canvas, and he created little miracles. Dan Quayle became VP- a heart attack from leading this country- without being able to spell "potato". Paris Hilton thinks Wal-Mart sells walls, but throw in her sex tape, and she performs like a concert pianist- in a certain sense.

    Speaking of that, imagine if there was a Sexual Performance Combine test? "Wow, Sean Taylor has 8" length and can make 120 hip thrusts a minute for 35 minutes- he's a Keeper". Forget the XFL- imagine if the NFL starts losing prospects to porn?

    Sean may not be good at English or geography, but he can run 20 yards across a field and hit you so hard that your children will be born with names like "Unnhhh" and "Ouch". This will be Mr. Taylor's primary responsibility, and few intelligence tests have the capacity to measure that ability.

    I'm not a football player- I'm actually a 100 pound French-born female school teacher- but if Mr. Taylor hit me, he has the speed/strength combo to scramble my DNA to the point where I get off the ground looking a lot like David Wells. That is the ability they should be measuring Mr. Taylor on.

Here's those scores...

Larry Fitzgerald, Pittsburgh - 18
Roy Williams, Texas - 17
Rashaun Woods, Oklahoma State - 21
Reggie Williams, Washington - 17
Drew Henson, Michigan - 42
Eli Manning, Mississippi - 39
Ben Roethlisberger, Miami (OH) - 25
Craig Krenzel, Ohio State - 38
Philip Rivers, North Carolina State - 30
J.P. Losman, Tulane - 31
Kellen Winslow, Miami - 12
Ben Troupe, Florida - not listed...hmmmmmm     
Steven Jackson, Oregon State - 28
Kevin Jones, Virginia Tech - 15
Chris Perry, Michigan - 20
Greg Jones, Florida State - 25
Maurice Clarett, Ohio State - 20
Fred Russell, Iowa - 9
Vernon Carey, Miami (FL) - 18
Chris Snee, Boston College - 19
Steve Peterman, LSU - 20
Justin Smiley, Alabama - 21
Robert Gallery, Iowa - 23
Shawns Andrews, Arkansas - 20
Kelly Butler, Purdue - 29
Nat Dorsey, Georgia Tech - 35
D.J. Williams Miami (FL) - 21
Karlso Dansby, Auburn - 15
Michael Boulware, Florida State - 24
Kendyll Pope, Florida State - 18
Keyaron Fox, Georgia Tech - 16
Demorrio Williams, Nebraska - 12
Jonathan Vilma, Miami (FL) - 23
DeAngelo Hall, Virginia Tech - 23
Chris Gamble, Ohio State - 9 (lol)
Dunta Robinson, South Carolina - 13
Will Poole, Southern Cal -14
Ahmad Carroll, Arkansas - 17
Derrick Strait, Oklahoma - 15
Sean Taylor, Miami (FL) - 10
Sean Jones, Georgia - 18
Will Allen, Ohio State - 13
Will Smith, Ohio State - 23
Kenechi Udeze, Southern Cal - 18
Marquise Hill, LSU - 13
Antwan Odom, Alabama - 10
Tommie Harris, Oklahoma - 11
Vince Wilfork, Miami (FL) - 10
Marcus Tubbs, Texas - 21
Randy Starks, Maryland - 20
Darnell Dockett, Florida State - 17
Donnell Washington, Clemson - 8
Chad Lavalais, Big Dumb Guy State - 10
Igor Olshansky, Oregon - 29 


Betting on high school games

     As a schoolteacher, I would like to remind you bloodthirtsy shut-ins that there is probably some good baseball/lacrosse/tennis/whatever being played every day down at the local high school in the very towns you live in.

    Kids like crowds at their games, and if you sit in the back of the bleachers, there is some betting going on. The bigger money stakes are in the wealthier suburbs. I nearly spit hot cider down onto 20 rows of fans below me when I saw 2 older gentlemen at Duxbury High School's Thanksgiving game bet $15,000 on a field goal attempt- right in front of a cop and a priest, who slapped the loser on the back and said "That's what you get, fool".


Nate Newton

    Maybe we can get Nate Newton on work release.

    Mr. Newton may have been the coolest man ever. Forgiving his love of the hippy lettuce and his poor business skills, NN was one of a kind. I'm sure he's running whatever jail he's in.

    There's a great Newton story that I hope someone can tag in on here. Nate went to Florida A+M with someone who became fairly prominent on TV- I want to say Deborah Norville, but she didn't go to Florida A+M. Anyway, someone asked the celebrity about going to school with Nate Newton.

    Upon hearing his name, she immediately looked for somewhere to hide. When convinced NN wasn't around, she spoke of her time marticulating with Sir Issac Newton.

    Nate used to walk around campus in the same outfit every day. Black shorts, black golf shirt, black socks, and black shoes- no doubt tight-fitting on his 330 pound body. He was memorable for things outside of sport. One was shutting down parties he wasn't invited to. He'd just walk in, unplug the stereo, and throw everyone out- of a house that wasn't his. I presume he then ate any stragglers.

    His other stage was the cafeteria. Nate used to walk in, get a plate of food that you could build a ski lodge on, and sit by the one door out of the place. Once Nate was seated, no one would dare pass him to exit the place. If they did, they would become the focus of his attention, usually to their dismay.

    Nate wasn't particularly opposed to pulling a few screaming teen girls into his lap, or pimp-slapping some poor kid who was trying to make his 1 PM Calculus class. Few students were brazen enough to attempt the one option- a frontal-assault sprint for the door, timed to begin as NN hunched over his food, hopefully distracted enough to provide that half-second window of opportunity by which to gain egress.

    Some actually made it through the doors. Many more were shoulder blocked over tables full of leftover taco, pizza and tater tots. The force ratio of these hits were the equivalent of being hit by a F-150 at 35mph. The more clear-minded students simply stayed where they were until Nate finished his Aspen-sized lunch.

    Class schedules were altered to avoid Nate's feeding times, although many professors were also trapped by Mr. Newton's powerful personality- a sort of Maginot Line in a cafeteria. As a star athlete, he had no consequence to fear from the school he was filling stadiums for.

    Nate then went on to the glorious pro career, and was almost hooked up at ESPN Radio when he tried to get a bit of the chronic for medicinal use....twice. Nothing like getting busted with 213 pounds when you already were out on bail for being arrested with 175 pounds. That's half a million if he wholesales it, and about 900K if the weed is superb....or so I'm told.

    Generally, 40 year old smugglers aren't the guys you want showing Vin Wilfork around Florida on road trips. Still, there would be many intangible benefits to working out a deal with the Texican prison system to secure the release of Nathaniel(named for Civil War cavalry leader Nathaniel Bedford Forrest) Newton:

- police would be drawn to him, taking attention away from Ty Law.

- marijuana prices would drop, resulting in a healthier New England economy, especially in the important Hep demographic.

- if Nate had been eating lunch in Foxboro, there is no way ARod would have gone from Boston to New York.

- Nate would provide a ballast effect on airplanes shared with offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. In order to keep the plane level, there must be an equal distribution of weight. If this wasn't done, the plane would tip sideways once it got over 2000 feet.

    Last year, Patriot Airlines would offset Weis' immense weight by filling a seat(usually occupied by defensive tackle Ted "Mount" Washington) on the opposite aisle from him with a six foot brick of depleted uranium. Rookie cornerback Asante Samuel actually tested positive for radioactivity after the flight home from the Falcons game, although his health was restored by massive and repeated dosages of potassium chloride.

- Where would a wealthy man live if he worked in eastern Massachusetts? I can think of no better place then the lovely town of (Nate) Newton, Massachusetts. They'd love him there- a long-lost Son of a different mother.

- He can get the Kind.


High Above Courtside...