Wednesday, June 30, 2004


   Amazing, but America is now forced to make a choice. Choice A is some Midwest dude giving you his take from his new home in the big city. The other choice you have is an upstart voice from the Massachusetts suburbs. It isn't Gee Dub and Kerry,'s Stacey vs Wes.

   This will be a clash of styles. Man vs Woman isn't even the main point of debate here. Neither is at an East Coast/West Coast thing- Wes is from friggin' Iowa, and I was born in Rouen, France. I've been in Massachusetts since I was a baby, though. Throw in French parents, and I may have the silliest accent north of Tennessee. I sound like a non-smoking Carla.

   I also hesitate to use the classic: Good vs Evil. Wes seems like a nice guy, and I'm not so bad, either. I have a twisted sense of humor, and I write things like "start hurting Tony Parker" and "You can bet on earthquakes." Still, I'm not Pol Pot, or anything. Besides...evil is gonna win this one.

   I guess it comes down to the keyboards. Wes and I have a week to impress America. I read Wes' work, and he's solid. He knows his sports. Like myself, he tends to include a lot of himself in his work. That's what separates he and I from regular sports journalists. We can hop around on tangents that would be out of place in a Dr. Z article. I can talk about my daughter, and Wes can bring fame to whatever starlet he hooks up with.

   This is a new kind of journalism, and it is funny that AOL and their judges have put two journals in the finals that are almost nothing at all like contemporary sportswriting.

   When AOL contacted me to be in this contest, my first reaction was "do they actually read the journals of people they recruit?" My work is definitely out there. I fully expected to lose my AOL account through a TOS violation. Instead, I'm winning.

   Now, the vote goes to AOL users. Will people in Newark feel Wes? How will people from the Heartland view a female sports authority, who might be insane? Will a good-looking young actor beat the 5 foot school teacher? Who gets the Gay vote? Who takes the 18-35 demographic? Will the occasional Master Ace reference (brothers hear me hitting from like 50 blocks away) be enough to wrestle the O.G. vote from "Wes" Coast? Thinking about the permutations makes one's head spin. It should prove tough to writefor a crowd as diverse as this one.

   In Massachusetts, students have to pass a standardized test in order to graduate. Many teachers fall into the trap of "teaching to the test"...making all their tests look like an SAT, and eschewing non-traditional methods of educating. They end up with boring classes that many students loathe. They give up on All to reach Most. Sad, but efficient. I could write like that, but why bother?

   When I write, I see my Journal as an AK-47 fired randomly out of the window of a high rise building. A lot of my shots miss, but a precious few imbed themselves in the brains of a wonderfully random group of AOL users...and they become My People. 

   Many years ago in Mongolia, Genghis Khan called his generals to his side. It was obvious that he had something important to discuss, and many expected war to be imminent. Instead, he gathered them around a feast. He asked of them a simple question..."What is the greatest joy in life?"

   His generals gave answers like "a healthy family" and "falconry." The great Khan merely shook his head, and issued the quote that will be my Mantra for the remainder of this contest:

   "The greatest joy a man can know is to conquer his enemies and drive them before ride their horses and plunder their see the faces of those who were dear to them bedewed with clasp their wives and daughters into his ride from their burning villages to the lamentations of the dying."


Monday, June 28, 2004

The head, the tail...the whole damn thing

   I took a day off from my Journal to spend a little "family time" with my husband and daughter. This consisted of the 3 of us getting into our rowboat and fishing in the lake that is my namesake.

   I fish fairly well, for a person who refuses to handle any sort of bait. I grew up on a harbor, and have hung in the fisherman sub-culture. Every boyfriend I had for a few summers was involved in lobstering, tuna fishing, or fished- compulsively- as a hobby. I have caught a bluefish, a striper, a smallmouth bass and a pickerel. I have a tendency to name them, and then put them back.

   Scientists say that most fish lack the sensory receptors needed to feel pain. Still, I feel badly for the little SOBs when I get them to the boat/shore. "Fish out of water" is an evocative phrase- terror, disorientation, lack of breath- that doesn't do justice to the way they sort of flop around as I try to unhook them.

   The "family day" consisted of telling Gabby not to eat hooks, worms, life-jackets and whatever else she could get her little hands on. "Anything" would be good bait when fishing for a toddler. She repeatedly expressed surprise as she reeled in the plastic fish at the end of her Fisher-Price Fishing-Rod. It was the only fish pulled into our boat (The Lusitania II) that day.

   I sat for 3 hours in the pose of someone cooking marshmallows over a campfire. I managed to get the elusive inner-forearm sunburn, and fell on my butt in the surf as we brought our vessel ashore. As I sat in the water, my daughter attempted to "fish" me out- bonking me in the head with her plastic fish as she tried.

   Fishing is "fun" in the manner that sex is "profound" to a virgin. Eons of effort for a hurried, often anti-climatic act. The fun has to do with sensory deprivation. To truly fish, you have to go somewhere where absolutely nothing is happening. There is nothing to distract you- and after you soak in some nature, there is nothing to interest you. After a while, your senses demand invigoration. This leads to a heightened sense of interest when you think you feel a tug on your line. The catch- which is actually a hoot- is a mere commercial in a mini-series of anticipation.

   Still, we had a wonderful day in the sun as a family. Maybe Gabrielle will be drafted out of high school into the WNBA, make a million dollars, grow tired of her parents, divest herself of us, and be out of our lives- so we'd better cherish the time we all have together, while we can.

   To reel this back into sports, I will share a few stories. I always ask for comments, and I'm sure someone out there has a better version of the list I am about to put down. Please contribute to:

Fish Stories

- JL is fishing. He throws some mackerel on the hook and casts. He puts the rod in a holder, and waits. He runs up to his house to get beer, and he is back in maybe 2 minutes.

   His rod is gone. He looks all around, but the beach is empty. His wife, who was sunning near the rod, didn't see anyone go by it. He has had some police training, so he starts to look for footprints leading from where he had the rod. He instead follows a groove in the sand that leads straight to the ocean.

   He sees a faint wake, about 30 yards offshore. He stalks out after the rod, and gets it in neck-deep water. He then fights a striper for 5 minutes before finally getting it ashore. It was almost 4 feet long.

   If that striper had a friend who was a Mako Shark, they could have started a new kind of fishing.

- My husband was dozing in a canoe as I swam. I managed to sneak up on him, and got right beside the boat. I made just enough noise to wake him. As he looked over the side, I jumped up and pulled him into the water. I scared a letter out of his name.

   It looked just like the end of Friday the 13th, but with a younger, cuter Jason-ette.

-  We used to live on an ocean, and our yard was separated from the beach by a seawall. Fishermen there would surfcast from the seawall, which would add to the distance of a cast- much like a tower makes a good place to shoot arrows from.

   One night, my husband was fishing for striper- a type of sea bass, for all you inland people- as a Patriots pre-season game was starting. He decided that he could "have it all." He wanted to watch the Pats and keep fishing. He made a deep cast, then starts backing towards the house, without setting the line. He carries the rod- keeping slack in the line until he seated himself- in through a sliding door we had. It was a night game vs Tampa, and the beach was empty.

   He looked like a six and a half foot Beavis. We had just started to goof on him when he hooked up with a fish. He reeled from the couch for awhile, although he had to go to the wall in order to beach the beast. I never thought it could be done, and even the old salts were impressed.

   He caught a 36" striped bass, while drunkenly watching the football game on a couch. Had I been making love to him at the time, it would have been a Triple Play of Real Manhood. One rarely sees the TPORM. Only Ted Williams and Quint have done it, and they ain't around to share the secret. 


Friday, June 25, 2004

America Eats Its' Young

   A bunch of rich guys buying and trading young blacks and European peasants would generally bring the ACLU screaming into the fracas. Not last night. These young men were plucked from different levels of obscurity and fed into the maw of the American Entertainment Industry. They will be paid millions of dollars for their potential.

   These are the New Republicans, 30 or so young men who became guaranteed millionaires when they were selected in the NBA Draft. This isn't some Virginia slave auction, by any means. These are no Hessian mercenaries. This is Uncle Tom's Condo, or Gogol writing The Armani Overcoat.

   Check my old articles if you want my opinion on kids entering the NBA Draft. I'm all for it. College basketball can survive the loss of its' best talent, and Boston will have an 18 year old millionaire from Mississippi staring at his first lobster come training camp... "People eat that??"

   Harvard researcher Mike McCann- who, I should note, was hired by people representing Maurice Clarett- did a report where he showed that most of these kids enjoy some form of success in the NBA. A player who flops out of the league in 3 years still makes more money than he would make if he had played in college. More splendid recruits fail in college than in the NBA, and the kids who go pro were paid for it. A very small percentage of high school NBA draftees are currently unable to earn a living playing basketball.

   I just wonder how far we can push it. I'd look at Reggie Miller, Bill Walton, Rick Barry, Karl Malone, Caldwell Jones or Kobe Bryant as examples. Not only were they NBA stars, but they also have family members- fathers, sons, sisters, daughters or brothers- who have displayed high-level basketball talent. Where am I going here? Wait and see...

   As far as I can tell, the NBA is resisting efforts to ban a minimum age for draftees. There seems to be some rule banning teams from getting after kids until they finish their last year of HS ball. There are ways around that rule. The way is Genetics.

   In the 2009 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics shock the world by drafting 7 month old Phillip Jackson Bryant, the son of Laker star and acquitted rapist Kobe Bryant. P.J. Bryant's grandfather is NBA legend Joe "Jellybean" Bryant, and his mother was a dancer.

   The Genetic Era of NBA history has begun.

   GM Danny Ainge calmy deflects questions of morality as he speaks of "limitless potential" and "a few years of seasoning in Europe" when explaining his decision to draft a toddler. Bryant the Younger forfeits his worthless college eligibility when he hires the Poston Brothers to represent him. Bryant signs this agreement in Crayola. Carl Poston begins to refer to him as "Black Jesus." He signs a back-loaded rookie deal, and the Bryants move to a preschool/training facility in nearby Duxbury, Massachusetts.

   Throughout his childhood, Bryant is never more than 50 yards from Celtic consultants Dennis Johnson, Tiny Archibald, George Gervin,  Freddy Brown, Alonzo Mourning, Pete Newell, John Lucas, and Sidney Moncrief, who work in rotating shifts.

   European scholars are brought in to teach him Machiavelli, Nietzsche, Darwin, Freud, and anything else that might feed into his NBA training. He lives on a diet of raw meat and Mother's Milk, supplied by local female athletes- including the state's top-ranked gymnast, who came to be in a family way shortly after the Bryants' arrival.

   He plays basketball for the local high school, although no one in the 400 person school can ever recall seeing him on campus. Duxbury High School's basketball team goes 37-0 and wins two Massachusetts state championships before Bryant is called up to the Celtics in 2020.

  In 2010, the Denver Nuggets secure the rights to any sperm produced by all star guard LeBron James. It is stored in a cryogenic bioengineering facility near Boulder, and retired WNBA players are recruited as egg donors. The area around the facility is fenced in. Dark rumors of a People Farm begin to arise concerning heretofore unknown Jamestown, Colorado. Denver starts a run of 15 straight championships in 2030, and Denver G.M. Charles Barkley wins the Nobel Prize for Science.      

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Break Me Off Some...

   Much like betting, injury is something that you will be exposed to when you play sports. I played basketball and soccer, and I'd get busted up all the time. I had a concussion, I got kicked in the stomach, I broke my thumb, and I broke my leg...twice. The pain from the broken leg was far worse than childbirth. I still limp today from it, and can tell when rain is coming.

   Still, I got off easy. I'm not that old, but I have seen some things on TV that made me want to hurl like Pedro. Some of the nastiest injuries happened to people so obscure that they don't need a name- I saw some dude lose an arm wrestling match on Fox Sports Net when his arm broke with a sound not unlike a thick pencil snapping. I haven't had a chicken wing since....

   I'm counting on Audience Participation, I list the:

Worst Sports Injuries Ever

- Joe Theisman meets Lawerence Taylor. Break a leg, kid...I 'd bet that the wanton horror of that hit screwed up LT's coke buzz. I played Powderpuff football, and I always tried to LT one of those snooty b**ches on the other team when the opportunity presented itself. If there were a WNFL, I would have made a fine Free Safety.

- Frank Viola snaps his arm on a pitch. He turned, threw, and the arm just dangled. Viola- who always looked tough for someone named after a musical instrument- screamed like a baby...and I don't blame him.

- The Jayson "Shotgun" Williams leg breaking. He and Marbury fell together, and both got hurt. JW was unable to lift his leg off the back of the wounded Marbury, and could only scream in agony. It was the second most awful night of Jay Dub's life.

- Three local ones that I haven't seen, but that the old-timers assure me were smallpox-awful:

A) The Wayne Maki/Ted Green stickfight. Maki took a swing meant only for firewood, and caved in the side of "Terrible" Ted's terrible head. There's a photo of it, and you can see a dent in the man's domepiece. I'm told the two reconciled, and that Greene somehow outlived Maki.

B) Eddie Shore("Old Time Hockey!!!") comes up behind Ace Bailey and slams his head into the ice. Bailey needs several operations, is given the Last Rites, and never plays again. They eventually shake hands at the All Star Game. Boston police planned to press manslaughter charges against Shore if Bailey had died.

C) Tony Conigliaro takes high heat to the head. I never saw the play, but I did see a picture of Conigliaro's face afterwards: it looked like he had an 8 ball in his eye.

I'm always amazed that more batters don't throw bats at the pitcher after beanings. Also, how cool would it be if a pitcher- ordered by his manager to bean a defenseless batter- instead dropped his glove and fought him fair? Done on national TV, it could make the beanball a thing of the past- replaced with regular violence. That's how they settle it in hockey, and how often do you see rioting in Quebec?

- I can't remember the name, but the NHL goalie who got a skate across the throat. I believe he was 99.78% dead at one point, but lived.

- Rudy Tomjanovich comes at Kermit Washington, who turns and lands the Mother of All Haymakers in his face. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said it sounded like "a watermelon dropped on concrete from a third story window." Tomjanovich, who was an all-star forward, was never the same after.

- Sid Vicious breaks his leg AND his ankle trying a top-rope move. Eddie Guerrero dislocates his elbow missing a frog splash. NFL hopeful Brock Lesnar tries a flip, and lands on his head. The Undertaker throws Mick Foley off a 25 foot cage, through the Spanish announcers table. Afterwards, Foley's loose teeth fell out, got into his nasal passage, and he passed them out through his nose.

It is sort of a wrestling tradition to throw an opponent through the Spanish Announcers Table. All the great ones have been in the lap of Pedro Morales at one point.

- Robin Ventura catches his spikes on a home plate slide, and gets a bad case of Dangling Ankle.

- Daryl Stingley leaps to make a catch, and is speared in the back by Raider safety Jack Tatum. Stingley is paralyzed, and Tatum becomes an author.

- I don't know how it happened, but Chuck Bednarik can bend his thumb backwards, to the point where it touches his forearm.

- DP will know this one....the Red Sox pitcher(Bryce Florie?) who took a line drive to the face. I saw somebody vomit after watching that one.

- Tommy Hearns vs Marvin Hagler. It only went three rounds or so, but I never saw such intense violence in my life. My high school soccer coach showed us the tape once, to fire us up. That was before the game when my own teammate knocked me out.

- Garrison Hearst snapping his ankle, and Willie McGahee's leg breaker. Robert Edward's sand football injury. All floor the needle on the Yuckometer.

- Mike Tyson bites off half of Evander Holyfield's ear. When Tyson later threatened to eat Lennox Lewis' children, I took him at his word.

If you ever get lost in the jungle and have to resort to Cannibalism, be sure to avoid eating the brain. Brain contains some chemical which produces Laughing Sickness, a sort of human Mad Cow disease. You eventually hyperventilate to die laughing.

That's all I can think of....I'm sure some of you have seen worse. There is an "Add Comments" section here, and we accept any feedback offered.

Break a leg!

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

and then there were Four...

   Here we are...the Fearsome Foursome. The field has been narrowed. I'd like to give some love to 8s All Around and Rob's Ramblings. I thought both had an excellent shot at winning, and should be on the A List when AOL does their next Journal contest- sports themed or otherwise.

   Wes, Diecast, and Joc have joined your favorite Smurf in the Fatal Four Way of Blogging. I used to call a girl a tramp if she took on 3 men, but just look at the odds I face. It doesn't matter. Ye, although I walk in the Shadow, yet I fear no Evil...because I run the Valley.

   The fan in me is naturally inclined to handicap the field. AOL, by design or not, has an interesting Final Four. They have Diecast, who is a Specialist. The man knows his NASCAR. We have Wes, who covers a lot of ground, and seems like a really decent person. We have Jocular, who has his finger on the pulse of the frustrated sports fan- a huge demographic in this contest. All are splendid writers, and all will draw votes in blocs when the voting is turned over to the People.

   I see Diecast absolutely owning the Southern vote. He is a Voice To Be Heard when NASCAR is being discussed, and any voter south of Maryland will be a kindred spirit to him. If this were an election, he'd carry the Southern states, and draw in the rest of the US racing crowd as well. He's the George Wallace of the Journal a non-blocking-the-door-of-the-school sort of way. The fact that he's from Oakland makes no difference at all- he could walk into a Texas bar and people would listen.

   The best I could do regarding NASCAR was imagining if Richard Petty and the Intimidator had a sled race- a reference that few Georgians will be able to visualize. Joc and I are New Englanders (I refuse to refer to myself as a "Yankee"), and Wes seems a little Californish- although he may exude a Mid-Western charm that Northerners like myself just don't pick up on. If not, Diecast rolls over us all in 15 states.

   No one wants to face Diecast in the Finals, I can assure you.

   Wes touches a lot of topics. He may be the best technical writer of us all. His Journal is put together well. He has a pretty interesting life going, and he may end up famous one day.

   He's also a paradox. He comes off as being a rather decent person, but he has the Sports Fiend raging beneath the exterior. I'm kinda sorta sure he's felt guilty happiness as an opposing team's best player went on the IR before playing his favorite team....and then gone out and fed homeless people, or something.

   That's a Yin Yang thing, it's impossible to fake, and it should bring him a ton of votes from the Proletariat. 

   He also has an insightful name for his Journal, while:

A) mine is a tribute to a semi-obscure, parochial, long-dead radio personality, and a 4:20 reference.

B) Premature Jocularity sounds like something you leave a husband over.

C) I have absolutely no idea what Diecast refers to.

   Wes is also cute, in a non-threatening Sitcom sort of way, and he will carry the female vote.

   This leads us to DP. I like his Blog. It's where I get my Pawtucket fix. DP is obviously an expert. He's that dude you know who can speak at length about how the Red Sox' 20th round draft pick is doing at SW Idaho state. Like another Blog I enjoy- Sportz Assassin- DP is a guy that I wish I had a Batphone direct line to when I write my posts. Sports fans will pick up on this, and will vote in droves for him.

   DP and I are both New Englanders. While I can't say this for sure, I do feel that one of us won't make the Finals. Monponsett isn't far from Rhode Island, and the chances that the two best Sports Journals on AOL are both crafted within an hour of the Foxy Lady in Providence are very slim, indeed.

   I have a few advantages that the others lack. I can flirt with the judges. I can do a few posts in French and Portuguese and draw the European/Brazilian/Canadian vote. I can show leg in my photo. I also have a Machiavellian streak that comes in handy in any form of competition.

   I have a verbal agreement with the People Who Vote For The Girl bloc, as long as my photo hides my nose. I could also get my students involved, but I teach at a pretty rough school. I wouldn't want Diecast to turn up missing, if you know what I mean.

   I also have a writing style that turns a lot of people off. This will hurt me when the vote goes to the public. Diecast has a Bible quote in his profile. I have "profanity" in 3 or 4 (hundred)of my posts. DP used his forum to say "Happy Father's Day." I used my forum to finagle a free dinner out of the Sun Tavern in Duxbury. Wes posted links  to help inner-city kids learn baseball, while I posted a link to a site that lets you bet on the next Korean War. I almost deserve to lose.

  But I won't.

  I plan on rolling to Houston like Zachary Taylor. I will wrap my foes in a cocoon of horror. I am all about coming out of the scrap with the most scalps. This is but the first step on my path to world dominance. I plan on bringing the High Heat, and I own the inside of the plate.

Monday, June 21, 2004

For Bettor or for Worse

You know I'm born to lose

and Gambling's for fools

But that's the way I like it baby

I don't wanna live forever...


Betting is one of those Bad things that go with the fun of Sport. Like Mafioso dining at your favorite Italian cafe or like catching syphillis from a prostitute, it is simply something that comes with the territory. I'm sure the cavemen were betting as soon as they developed language, and probably before.

   The art of betting has come a long way since Urgg bet Oma a hardy piece of flint that he couldn't touch the nose of a sleeping saber-toothed tiger without being made into prehistoric feline Lunchables. These days, you can bet on just about anything, especially offshore.

   I stumbled into this morass while researching something for a class I was teaching. Most of my betting was football card-driven, and usually for small stakes. Still, I can remember briefly renouncing Christianity when some Method Man-lookin' gentleman from Texas dropped a spread-beating touchdown, costing me a $15,000 payoff on a one dollar bet.

   I forget the particulars, but it was mid-1990s, Texas was playing a team with red jerseys, and the QB- who threw a perfect pass that was dropped by a man I will castrate if Fate should cross our paths- was black. I had won 14 of the required 15 games on a one dollar football card, and this SOB nearly drove me to $15,000 worth of apoplexy. Next to Buckner, this mystery figure is the focus of my most irrational hatred- sports related or otherwise. But that is a story for another day.

   Not a lot of people know this, but one can log into certain sites and bet on where the next great (7.0 or more on the Richter Scale) earthquake will occur. It isn't as hard as it sounds- you only have to pick which Hemisphere it will happen in.   

   Is it wrong to rejoice as the shifting of the earth's tectonic plates causes the very ground to shake like an epileptic staring at a strobe light, killing thousands of Indonesians? Yes. But once you come to terms with the cruel nature of your personality, you can make some pretty good money. That monster quake that hit Iran last year would have made me $5000 had I been bold enough to put some money behind my belief that Central Asia is particularly prone to earthquakes. 

   I lost the link to this site, and if one of my readers can hook me up, I'll make it worth your while if the next Tsunami hits Japan instead of the Phillipines.

   For those of you who actually have morals, there are opportunities to make some money without 50,000 dead Armenians as a point spread.

   This fine site has the line on the following unusual betting events:

- John Kerry is a 1.83:1 bet in the 2004 Presidential election. Gee Dub has a 1.77:1 handicap. Ralph Nader will pay off $1001 for every dollar bet on him. The Warren Commission failed to take political betting into account when trying to determine Lee Harvey Oswald's motivation. I bet Jack Ruby had $10,000 on Kennedy in 1964.

- You can bet on whether Germany will win the World Cup before humans set foot on Mars. The Washington Redskins also have a bet in that area- and, I quote, "Bets are action regardless of team name change." I can't see someone arguing this point with the Mafia, but what can a betting service in Grenada use as leverage?

- You can bet on a human being setting foot on Mars before December 31st, 2020 AD. If George Bush II personally takes that small step for a man, you can make $9000 for every dollar you bet. Humans are a 7:1 favorite to land on Mars before Outer-Space visitors arrive here. This is more of a long-term bet, but a visionary can really cash in if he/she lives long enough- and if the betting service remains solvent.

- You can bet on the winner of American Idol, Big Brother, and Last Comic Standing. An AK-47, an ability to kill everyone you haven't bet on, and a $50,000 bet on Kathleen Madigan will make you well over a $600K.

- Perhaps you are into betting on betting itself. If so, log in and wager a quick hundred on Miami John Cernuto(NEVER play cards with someone named after a city) or Huck Seed in the World Poker Championships in Dublin. If you are prone to omens, bet on the splendidly-named Chris Moneymaker, a 41:1 longshot.

- If you like Basketball Drama, bet on whether Kobe will leave the Lakers or not. Bet on whether Shaq leaves and Kobe stays, Kobe leaves and Shaq stays, both Kobe and Shaq leave, or both Kobe and Shaq stay. Kobe returning to a Shaq-free LA is a 2:1 favorite. While I couldn't find a line on Kobe's trial, I'm sure there's one offshore somewhere.

   Other sites- that I can't find now that I need them- have lines on if/when North Korea invades South Korea, the Scott Peterson trial, when Bush will get caught lying again, and whether or not Osama bin Laden will be caught.

   Again, there are moral gymnastics that must be performed when trying to make money off a NKPA armored thrust across the 38th parallel. It takes a particularly sick person to think "$$$$" when Kim Jong Il refuses to discuss dismantling his nuclear weapons program. Money cures all that ails ye, though. Let the SCUDs fly...

   I myself am attempting a Trifecta- a failed North Korean invasion of the South as a Tsunami hits. If everything falls into place, I stand to make $40 per dead Korean.

   Don't look at me like that...


Sunday, June 20, 2004

The Fellowship of the Miserable, 10:16

   One of the great things about having a national platform is the opportunity to use it as a weapon against whatever has crossed my bad side. This is tempting when you live among the Fellowship of the Miserable, as the sports fans of New England are called after the hockey/basketball seasons have ended. Baseball can be maddening.

   We have the Red Sox, who have spent $120 million on their team this year, and who generally put on a pretty good show. For those of you who don't follow a Cursed franchise, I can assure you that there is a certain horror/wisdom that goes with it.

   The Horror is known to all- Grady, Buckner, Ruth, and the despicable Mr. Dent are names that are synonymous with a feeling not at all unlike evisceration. The Wisdom comes from knowing you will fall into the same trap next summer.

   Once you accept the Curse, you can sit back and see the pattern. There is beauty in it, and proof that Whoever really runs things has a fine sense of humor. Plenty of teams don't win the World Series. Boston just does it in such epic style.

  What other teams can boast of Karma Destroyers like these?

- some miscreant named Ed Armbrister drops a bunt and gets in the way of Carlton Fisk as he tries to field it. The Reds eventually win the game, and the series. On this day, October 16th, a nor'easter formed off the New England coast, causing a 3 day delay that helped the Big Red Machine rest their pitchers.

- the greatest player in team history spends the prime of his career in combat.

- Jim Rice and Tony Coligniaro- two powerhouse young sluggers- both get beaned during seasons(1967 and 1975) that the Red Sox go to the World Series and lose. Jim Ed breaks his hand, and the late Tony C gets his career ended.

- the Red Sox lose the 2003 ALCS to the Yankers on October 16th. October 16th is the date that Marie Antoinette was executed, as well as the date that Napoleon was exiled to St. Helena. It was also the date that Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer were burnt at the stake for Heresy. If you really research it, nothing good has happened on October 16th, and this pattern continued in the 2003 ALCS.

- Ted Williams made it to his only World Series in 1946. He faced Stan Musial (who, in an era of pretty tough guys, was known as "The Man") and the Cardinals.Ted responded with a .200 batting average, and the Red Sox lost in a seven game thriller.

Ironically, a poor relay throw by Johnny Pesky(the man the right field foul pole in Fenway is named after) allowed the winning run to score. Imagine a fielding error by a steady veteran infielder costing Boston a World Series...what are the chances of that happening again?

This game was played in St. Louis, and ended after midnight EDT, on- you guessed it- October 16th. This date also holds a 6-2, Red Sox loss in 1975, to the Big Red Machine, and was the night that the rains began off the New England coastline.

- In 1967, game 7 features a matchup of Jim Lonborg and Bob Gibson. Lonborg is throwing on 2 day's rest. Gibson out-duels him, and cursifies Boston by bashing a home run off Boston's ace. This series didn't make it to October 16th.

   The sad part here is that these events don't even make it into the discussion when Boston fans moan about the past. They weren't devastating enough to our collective psyches. Johnny Pesky is quite popular in Boston, although someone from the Red Sox will have to faint at the sight of a ground ball in a future World Series before Buckner can show his face around here again.

   Even then, he might want to disguise his appearance. I'd go for a nice Pesky look...

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Pasting Some Quotes

 You know the world is going crazy when the best rapper is a white guy, the best golfer is a black guy, the tallest guy in the NBA is Chinese, the Swiss hold the America's Cup, France is accusing the U.S. of arrogance, Germany doesn't want to go to war, and the three most powerful men in America are named 'Bush', 'Dick', and 'Colon'.
-Chris Rock

"Even God can't hit a one iron"   - Lee Trevino, after a lightning bolt split a tree in half next to him.

"I can dribble with my right hand and I can dribble with my left hand. I'm amphibious"

-Charles Shackleford, NC State basketball player

"I can't really remember the names of the clubs that we went to."
- Shaquille O'Neal on whether he had visited the Parthenon during his visit to Greece


"His idea of a balanced diet is a Big Mac in each hand"

- Pat Williams, on 300 pound center Stanley Roberts


"He wants Texas back."

-1981 Tommy Lasorda, Dodger manager, asked what terms Mexican-born pitching sensation Fernando Valenzuela might settle for in his upcoming contract negotiations


1991 Steve Spurrier, Florida football coach, telling Gator fans that a fire at Auburn's football dorm had destroyed 20 books......"But the real tragedy was that 15 hadn't been colored yet."


1996 Lincoln Kennedy, Oakland Raiders tackle, on his decision not to vote: "I was going to write myself in, but I was afraid I'd get shot."


1991 Frank Layden, Utah Jazz president, on a former player: "I told him, Son, what is it with you: Is it ignorance or apathy?'He said, " 'Coach, I don't know and I don't care.'"


Oiler coach Bum Phillips: When asked by Bob Costas why he takes his wife on all the road trips, Phillips responded, "Because she is too ugly to kiss goodbye."


Football combines the two worst things about America:  it is violence punctuated by committee meetings.  ~George F. Will


Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare.  They are consumed in twelve minutes.  Half-times take twelve minutes.  This is not coincidence. 

~Erma Bombeck


I like to believe that my best hits border on felonious assault.  ~Jack Tatum


Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.
--Mahatma Gandhi


Anyone with an ailment or who wears glasses or anyone slightly different suddenly wears a bull's eye. I think that dodgeball derailed an entire generation of Americans. It's the true red menace.
--Art Jones, Film director who directed Dodgeball


Oh, somewhere in this favoured land the sun is shining bright; The band is playing somewhere; and somewhere hearts are light; And somewhere men are laughing; and little children shout; But there is no joy in Mudville- great Casey has struck out.
--Ernest Lawrence Thayer, Casey at the Bat


To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music, no choreography and the dancers hit each other.
--Jack Handy


We won! We won! We won! Um, unfortunately, I bet on the other team, so we won't be going for pizza.
--Chief Clancy Wiggum

"There is no I in TEAM....but there is an 'M' and an 'E'..."

~ Rich Eisen

"Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."---- Satchel Paige

"Sports do not build character. They reveal it."
~Haywood Hale Broun

"What was the name of that dog on 'Rin Tin Tin?'"

-Mickey Rivers


Friday, June 18, 2004

We Didn't Want You, Anyhow...

   Engorged on Ricotta Ravioli- - I settle down to get High Above Courtside.

   I'm watching Boston/SF through a reflection in my office mirror- they hit the ball, and run to third. You get used to it in about 3 innings. It's worth it to see Barry Bonds get intentionally walked 3 times.

   Barry Bonds- who has had ample time in Octobers past to make his way to New England to catch the foliage- will probably not be coming here this year unless someone breaks an Urse-Cay. Barry did an interview in today's Boston Globe that basically said that Boston is too racist for him.

    Barry is a legend. He can look at Mark McGwire and say, "That boy hit almost as many homers as I did." He gets walked a lot. He has stated that he wants to pass Babe Ruth's home run record, but not Hammerin' Hank's. He also claims that as far as great hitters go, it's "Me, then Babe Ruth." He can make a sound argument- he has batting stats that few can match. Depending on how you define "great", BB may be one of the best.

   "Great" is a word with many faces. To a historian, this term is used for those who have had a profound influence on the world. Jesus, Columbus, Confucius, and people of that ilk. This includes enough wiggle room so that the despicable Hitler can be considered "great." Barry isn't this kind of great. Babe Ruth was, and this irks Mr. "Word is" Bonds.

   There is also aesthetic greatness, like when some guy gets a monster cut at a fastball that blows by him for a strike. Good-looking men with awful swings are also "great" in HDTV. I'm no technician, but Barry seems solid enough with the bat, and few men not named Jim Palmer look good in those silly pants baseball players wear. When Jim talks to Bonds, Barry Bonds, I'm sure he subconsciously makes a point to have the Ring Hand on the table.

   WIth the exception of starting a major religion, Barry has passed the Greatness test. When it comes time for the Greatest test, he can go get some Clam Chowdah in the North End- he always seems to have time in October. Babe Ruth used his bat to win multiple World Series. In Octobers past, Barry hasn't got the job done. Race doesn't enter into it. I'd use the same argument on Ted Williams, and I'm a white Bostonian. Note that Jim Palmer has passed this test, btw...

   Gretzky has skated with the Stanley Cup (I'm always disgusted when I read about the players taking that Cup to parties- you'll read about a guy drinking wine out of it, not a paragraph after you have read about a guy defecating in it). Jordan and Russell have more rings than J Lo. Bart Starr, Jerry Rice, and any other serious contenders have Gone To Disneyland.

   Barry had a 73 homer season that stands out in his stats like a Black Sabbath concert in Vatican City. He is the reason I know what BALCO is. He whines about the lack of statues dedicated to black athletes, while half of his steroid-powered homers land in McCovey Cove. I'm sure Ted Williams- an avid fisherman- would trade his Tunnel in Boston for his own Cove. Sadly, we may be able to awaken him from his cryogenic chamber and ask him.  

   Barry- who seems a little stocky- doesn't look like he has missed many meals worrying about the lack of Mike Tyson statues in New York. He has had 20 Octobers with which to use part of his 18 million dollar salary to have Dr. J's visage carved into the side of the Rocky Mountains. His interview in the Globe was arrogant, hateful and condescending.

   I hope Pedro drills him this weekend.  

What if?

Top Matchups That Never Happened:

- Jesse James vs Billy the Kid...high noon...10 paces...winner gets Doc Holliday

- George Bush II and John Kerry decide the 2004 US Presidency with an arm wrestling match.

- Saddam's Iraq invades Taliban-run Afghanistan

- Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, Hell in a Cell

- Satchell Paige pitching to Sandaharu Oh in the 9th inning of a tied 7th game.

- Kirstie Alley and Roseanne Barr delve into Sumo

- Robert E. Lee takes on George Patton in checkers

- Starve them for 3 days, feed them some speed, and have a pit fight between Lassie and Benji

- Warren Beatty gets one evening to seduce Martina Navratilova

- Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt...sledding down Mount McKinley

- Jason Kidd dumps his wife and marries Lalia Ali

- Knute Rockne and Vince Lombardi get a week to familiarize themselves with an XBox, and then play Madden 2004 for a cool million

- Columbus, Magellan, Drake, and Vasco de Gama race across the Gulf of Mexico in catamarans during hurricane season

- Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone get one calendar year to produce a Sasquatch carcass

- Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfigger, Timberland, Laura Ashley, Fubu, Kathie Lee Gifford, Armani, and DKNY design the new uniform for the US Navy, with a  national election deciding the winner.

- Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent vie to craft a teen-friendly Pledge of Allegiance

- Ted Washington and William Howard Taft sit down at an all-you-can-eat babyback ribs cafe...who has to leave the table first?

- Coach Larry Bird discusses potential free agents with GM Al Sharpton

- Scott Weiland and Robert Downey Jr. discover a poppy field abutting their properties....who dies first? 

- Johnny Carson starts a late-night show on ABC...who gets the higher ratings between him, Leno, and Letterman?

- Rocky Marciano and Roy Jones(moving up several weight classes) play Rock Em Sock Em Robots

- Miss Universe 2004 is decided by the ability to impress Hugh Hefner


Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Pillar of Salt

   Some dynasties last longer than others. The end is never pretty. Louis XVI was beheaded by a mob. Seinfeld turned into a mockery of itself, repeating the same tired theme(Kramer finds a dubious money-making scheme, George suffers some humiliating failure, and Jerry walks around doing weak standup jokes- What's with these paper clips? They aren't made of paper- all in a NYC that doesn't have any blacks) over and over again. The Soviet Union failed to last a century. Glory is a high perch, and the fall is always a long one.

   The Los Angeles Lakers just added themselves to the List. People with more credibility than myself predicted a 4 game sweep. Shaq would shoot 65%, Kobe wouldn't take No for an answer from Hamilton, Malone would lend class and wisdom, Payton would direct the offense, and Jackson would cement his status as the Greatest Coach Ever. 

   It didn't quite work out that way. Shaq was Shaq, but the rest of the team should consider seppuku. Kobe, who was being compared to Jordan before the series, shot 38%, and allowed himself to be repeatedly torched by the man he was supposed to ravage like a Vail hotel employee. Malone, who had played admirably against Tim Duncan, watched the end come from the bench. Payton will be lucky to get a job in the league next year. Phil Jackson should have been fired mid-game.

   This was a collapse, folks. An illusion-shattering collapse. The next Jordan was the 6th best player on the court for most of the series. Gary Payton, defensive guard extrordinaire, would have trouble guarding a WNBA point guard. Malone broke down physically, much like the 1985 work truck he spiritually resembles. Jackson...well, we'll get to him later.

   Detroit couldn't have been more inspirational. Dumars made a Jerry West-like leap from great player to great GM- even with the Darko nightmare. Rip Hamilton moves without the ball better than anyone since Havlicek. Chauncey scores, dishes, defends and dominates. Rasheed was a steady veteran presence. Larry Brown orchestrated his Austerlitz. They played together, and were greater than the sum of their parts.

  You gotta love Ben Wallace. This was a guy who didn't make it through the Celtic summer league. He's giving up inches to whoever he guards. He was unwanted by a team that was 19-63 this year. He simply ignored all this, and became an MVP candidate. Hard work pays, kids.

   Ben Wallace, and the Pistons in general, proved that hard work and self confidence can overcome any obstacle. Given no chance in Hell of winning this series, the Pistons simply went out and did the job. The fact that they blue-collared their way through a Hollywood all star team only made it more enjoyable.

   The Kobe/Shaq argument has been emphatically settled. Shaq shot 63% while scoring 26ppg. Kobe basically bricked his team into humiliation. Kobe, despite his game winner, choked like a baby who just ate an action figure. On the biggest stage available to him, Kobe went out like a sucker.

   Speaking of suckers, let's get to Coach Jackson. The Jock Rider was poised to become the best coach off all time. Instead, Larry Brown coached circles around him. If the coaching battle was a prize fight, it would have been stopped. If Jackson's reputation were a building, it would be condemned.  

   The Master of the Triangle coached his team to an 82ppg, 41% shooting ass whuppin'. The guy who taught Jordan how to play defense was defenseless against Chauncey Freakin' Billups. The Zen Master was mute as his team bickered, complained, and collapsed. He should have been ordered off the Laker bench in the 3rd quarter.

   Anyone who compares him to Red Auerbach should have their respectability revoked. Between last year's debacle in San Antonio and the nightmare that ended last night, Jackson has shown that he can't coach his way out of a jam. If Larry Brown (or Greg Popovich, or Pat Summit) had been coaching the Lakers the last few years, they would be sleeping off consecutive champagne hangovers as we speak.

   As someone on the Laker message board noted, Aretha Franklin's version of America the Beautiful was as ominous as that song could be. The Fat Lady was singing before the game. The Queen of Soul (Food) has a physical appearance that makes a defensive coordinator think "run stopper". Had she removed Jackson from the bench and coached the Lakers herself, the end result could not have been worse.


Tuesday, June 15, 2004


   I can feel for Phil Jackson. He is about to have his reputation besmirched. He has the horses, but he is being totally out-coached. If Jackson were 8 years old, Larry Brown would probably be getting a visit from a social worker- he has simply abused the Zen Master. Phil has Zenned his team away from giving the ball to Shaq 30 times a game, and he is being laughed at across the world because of it.

   When I was going 1-36 coaching a high school team, my friends tried to encourage me. Most efforts met with failure, but that was more a matter of my school having only 25 kids. Still, I did get one gem of a coaching strategy- act insane.

   The Boston Patriots had a lot of rough years. One year, they had a man named Clive Rush coach the team. Clive nearly electrocuted himself while doing a press conference, but that is a story for another post.

   Clive had a game against a legendary NFL coach- it was before my time, but I seem to think it was Paul Brown. Clive had no illusions of out-coaching Brown, so he decided to try to get into his head.

   Just before the game, he called a benchwarmer over to him. "Paul Brown is a genius. He has visualized this game, play by play, and has strategies to counter any possible moves I will make. Therefore, I will make moves that he couldn't possibly have forseen."

   What this move turned out to be was having the benchwarmer run out to the huddle, stay for 10 seconds, then get back off the field before the play started. Rush had to be talked out of punting on second down. It was sort of like Bizarro football, with Clive doing everything wrong, on purpose. This strategy is credited with turning the betting line of a 14 point loss into an actual 13 point loss.

  This benchwarmer later played for Paul Brown, and related the story to him. Brown recalled the game, and remarked, "I always wondered what the Hell he was doing over there." Rush, incidentally, was later institutionalized.

   Acting insane isn't always as crazy as it sounds. Many great historical figures were thought to be mad. Jesus was killed as a rabble-rouser. People laughed at the flying fantasies of the Wright Brothers. Imagine if Ahhhhhhnold had told you of his Gubernatorial aspirations in 1980- you'd have thought it was a steroid-induced fantasy.

   If you study enough Viking history, you will come across the story of Freydis. Freydis was a beautiful woman by Norse standards- meaning she was huge, and capable of bearing many children. The daughter of Eric the Red, she was a giantess who made a tour of pre-Columbus America.

   During her stay somewhere between Newfoundland and Rhode Island, her party was attacked by Skraelings- the Viking name for the aboriginal population of America, and the first European racial slur uttered in the future Land of the Free. The Skraelings had a tremendous numerical advantage, and were laying waste to the Vikings. Then, Freydis picked up a sword off a fallen Norseman.

   "Why do you run from these wretches?" she shouted. She then ripped off her top and entered the battle. The Skraelings- probably some sub-tribe of Algonquin- took one look at the crazed, nude giantess and split like two aces.

   Native Americans often viewed the mentally ill as the Chosen People of the Gods. The Wampanoag have a term for insanity that sounds sort of nothing like Owtulunch, and it means "those who walk the path of the Spirits". Obviously taking Freydis to be Owtulunch, the Skraeling fled from her in abject terror.

   Freydis would have power-bombed Joan of Arc, but Joan also benefitted by having her opponents think that she was insane. The English were sure she was a witch, eventually burning her as such. Before they did, the Maid whipped limey ass all over France. Joan had visions, dressed as a man, and basically intimidated her way to victory. She never killed a man- she didn't have to.  

   If Phil Jackson is allowed to return to the Laker bench next year, he should delve into history(Phil is an avid historian), and consider putting the Fear back into his opponents. As for now, he should be forced to kneel towards Auerbach and recite his Oath of Inferiority.

Monday, June 14, 2004


   Welcome to the All Star Blogger contest.

   I'm Stacey, the only girl in the contest. I felt like Malcolm X at an Army of Northern Virginia memorial breakfast when I saw the other contestants. It doesn't matter- I will bathe in their blood, and march on a road of bones to Houston.

   There are Pros and Cons to being the sole women in the contest. I have the cutest picture, by far. I'm sure no one will have to edit their comments section as much as I will. Having "schoolteacher" in one's profile tends to attract a lot of strange emails and IMs. I get a lot of offers to clear my desk off, so to speak.

   While I am quite used to the attention, I fear the other contestants will be thrown off their game by the sudden notoriety. They will meet wild women, and they will make brief, unimpressive Blogs as they try to squeeze in 3 hours of sleep between dates..."Bonds died on was sad...gotta get some sleep....zzzzzzzz".

   There are some people who don't hear a woman when she talks about sports, and that's another demographic I've dealt with before. I'm pretty sure that I was the only pregnant coach in Massachusetts high school basketball in 2002, so I've had enough "What are you doing here?" questioning to befuddle a white Globetrotter.

  Don't let the skirt fool you. I'm sure I've shot as many jumpers as any of my critics. I speared a girl in a Powderpuff football game. I got knocked ambulance-unconscious by a Ukranian exchange student on my own high school soccer team- in the same season that I got kicked in the stomach by a girl from Silver Lake High School who looked just like Serena Williams. If you've never thrown up on a field in front of 500 people(among them: your mother and your future ex-boyfriend), don't question my credentials.

   At least I'm not the only New Englander in here. Premature Ejocularity looks like a favorite to get the anti-Boston vote, especially with his resemblance to lite-rocker James Taylor. A well-placed F/4 takes care of the Oklahoma entrant. The Will and Grace-looking guy will be bothered by Jack and Karen all day, disturbing his writing. The Southern entrants will fall to my superior industrial capacity.

   I am above pandering to the judges, although I will say that:

- The Washington Capitols are a fine team. I always thought the uniforms were sort of retro-cool. I think that the NHL players have an inordinate share of the NHL's revenue, and that it must be lessened in order to keep the game afloat(they are on water...sort of).

- I was leaning towards Alternative Weddingsville before Jim Palmer's underwear ad came out. Old JP put a stop to my deviance pretty quick. What a virile mass of beefcake that guy is. I should also mention that my marriage vows have a celebrity escape clause, and that I look like a young Holly Hunter.

- Justice looks blacker on TV. I know someone who was hit in the head by a Justice home run ball at Fenway Park. She was taken to Brigham and Women's Hospital, where a brain scan "showed nothing".

   No, it wasn't me...


Rod Langway   All-Star Blogger Judge No. 2: Jim Palmer

Friday, June 11, 2004

NBA White Guys

     This game we love so much is a product, no different than peanut butter or extension cords. Products have one reason for being- sales. I'm sure that New Coke was a splendid drink, but poor sales brought it Iranian-mud-fort-in-an-8.5-earthquake doom.

     Likewise, the NBA has to put marketability over art. Forget argument, and take the superiority of the black NBA player as a given. Does this produce a better game? It doesn't matter. What matters is if you can sell it.

     I love advertising. It's intimidatingly creative. You have to force someone to do something they don't want to do- without the coercive power of violence. There are people who feed their families by making some guy get off the couch and go buy a chainsaw. Their weapons are psychological: fear, envy, sex, gender roles, common sense, humor, and other assorted goodies.

     Properly motivated, people will buy anything. One of the best examples of modern advertising I ever saw happened on the Howard Stern show, as a lark. Howard called his marketing team with an idea- acquire sponsorship for whenever he burps, sneezes, breaks wind or drains lil' Howie on the air. "This sneeze was brought to you by Verizon", and so forth.

     While Howard thought it was a prank call kind of skit, it actually turned into a marketing class. The Ad Guy immediately seized on the idea, thinking as he spoke, and began strategizing: "I can move a burp...let me check with the lawyers about urinating...I think I can sell the sneeze to the Allegra account....". For some reason, he felt that the E-commerce accounts might have interest in sponsoring Howard's trips to the bathroom. In short, he was confident that he could sell feces...literally.

     The NBA has a more palatable product. It also occupies a fairly unique place in marketing. It sells a black product to a white audience. Only rappers have this trick down, and they primarily market towards teeenagers. Black attraction/white crowd- sort of like a lynching, but without the evil. The NBA is a world-wide success.

     There was a White Guy NBA once. It was a new sport, and it was on the fringe of disappearance. The addition of the black athlete slowly brought the game to new heights, both financially and artistically. Football and baseball experienced similar upswings. With accompanying factors like Television and Mass Marketing, sports grew into a gargantuan industry. ARod just signed a deal that makes him more money than Senegal makes in a year.

     Rather than turning off the white fan, black athletes actually helped usher in a new era of sports enthusiasm. It paid social dividends. The black man was suddenly thrust into Hero stature, and people saw that they were just like everyone else.

     Many of these new black stars were perfectly intelligent, honorable, courageous, and inspirational- and they proved so on a national stage. Kids who had parents telling them that a black man was no better than an animal might watch a Dr. J interview and start to think otherwise. Society moved forward.

     I thought nothing of having a poster of Air Jordan in my bedroom as a young girl- something which would have got me sent to a convent in 1930s Alabama. I wasn't trying to batter down racial hatred- I just thought it was a sweet poster. To an innocent kid, Jordan wasn't black or white- he was just cool.

    Larry Bird- who was too ugly for a bedroom poster- should think about that before he tries to advance the cause of the white man. The NBA is a major sport today only with the addition of the black athlete. Imagine an NBA White Guy All Star Game?

     For the most part, the NBA is a Merit System. Be the man Black, White, Latino, Asian, or Mauve, he'll get his minutes if he can play. We were importing Russian talent while we had nuclear weapons aimed at them, because they could play the game. If some girl proves she can play with the men, she'll be in the NBA. If some alien lands on Earth possessing a 48" vertical leap, someone would sign him/her/it, trust me.

     This is a Good Thing. It's color-blindness. The motivation- making as much money as possible- is selfish, but the ends justify the means. While adding more white guys may increase revenue, it would hurt the product in the long haul by weakening the Merit System. They'd be waking the NBA up during the American Dream.

     I could put together a team whiter than a Seinfeld episode or an Olsen Twins movie, and I will go bankrupt- because nobody will want to see the home team get repeatedly posterized by the other teams with players who actually have skill. If I ignore color and draft by ability, I am more likely to put a successful product on the floor. If I end up with 12 white players, so be it- as long as I'm filling seats and winning. Same rule applies to 12 blacks, or any mix in between.

     Don't get me wrong- I love white guys. I married one. But to quote Big Daddy Kane, "Romance without finance is a goddamn nuisance". My backcourt of Mary-Kate and Ashley would be prone to agree.


Olsen Twins

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Skool is a waste of time...and money

     How the HELL does a kid lose an education by skipping college for the NBA??

     Granted, he misses 4 years of free education. It doesn't matter. If you really think about it, a kid is a FOOL if he turns down the NBA for college.

      Let's say one of my students decides to go pro. He rides bench for 3 years before he is released. He has blown his chance at free college...and collected a million dollars a year. He can BUY a friggin' college.

     What if LeBron said "I don't want to set a bad example for kids", and turned down the NBA to go to Duke or UNLV? In his first game as a Runnin' Rebel, LeBron tears his ACL. He never plays again. He is miserable, and flunks out of college the next year. No one from the NBA ever calls him. He fades into obscurity.

     LeBron immediately becomes argument #1 in the Turn Pro discussion. ESPN finds him in 2010, cleaning sewers in Akron. LeBron gives an interview telling how he turned down $90 million dollars from Nike to go study Phlebotomy for 2 semesters at Georgia Tech. He discusses the healthy salary of Carmello Anthony("I was better than effing Darko, man..."), and ends the interview by asking the reporter if he can borrow lunch money.

     Sticking with LeBron, let's draw up another scenario. While leaving an NBA game in Orlando, LeBron is attacked in the parking lot by a Burmese Python. Lebron has his legs mangled by the snake's startling crushing power. His career ends instantly.

     LeBron has made a fortune in the NBA. He may have insurance. He can sue somebody over allowing the python to get into the player parking lot. He may even stand to collect a buyout of his contract. He is then free to go to 4 colleges at once, if he so chooses. He can afford it.

     Trust me...LeBron would have been 5 minutes into is first Economics class when he'd have that moment of clarity alcoholics get. Instead, he is the topic of the economics class. He did the right thing. He's got Long Green. He knows Miles Thirst. He has a Sprite machine in his house, for God's sake.

     What about less heralded early entrants to the NBA, like Boston Celtics big man/boy Kendrick Perkins?  He has failed to impress thus far. Let's say he is out of the league by2008. Had he gone to college and developed his game, he may have commanded a $50 million shoe deal and a much more lucrative NBA contract when he graduated. Coming out early may, over the length of his first contract, cost KP millions of dollars.

     Nevertheless, it's hard to feel sorry for Mr. Perkins. Had he flopped as a pro, he still would have managed to amass a small fortune during his brief stay in the NBA. I will not say "poor Kendrick" about a guy who has made 3 lifetime teacher salaries.

    I'm a teacher, urging kids to drop out of school. How awful is that? Show 'em my motto...

Monday, June 7, 2004


   People think David Stern wants the Lakers to win. Some have gone so far as to say that he is intervening on their behalf. These people are wrong. In fact, Stern needs to have Los Angeles lose more. I'll explain in a minute, but know that this series is fixed like a lazy dog. 

   LA is far superior to Detroit. Stern can't get a Boston/LA-type series that people in Iowa get worked up over. His ratings show it, as does the word on the street. He has another problem, now: a potential rout.

   Played squarely, this one is over in 4 games. Low ratings for less time. 4 games produce farrrrrrrr less advertising revenue than 7 games. That equates to ABC laughing out loud the next time Stern goes to negotiate a TV deal.

   Remember when Mike Tyson was good? PPV lost a lot of money, because nobody is gonna pay $49.95 to watch Iron Mike go all OJ on some poor club fighter and finish him off in 1 round. That's like 75 cents a second, which is roughly the charge for a 1-900 call...or so I'm told.

   The NBA faces the same quandry. People are seeing a romp by an unlikable bunch of California millionaires, and they start tuning into NASCAR, hockey, the Belmont Stakes, UPN and WWE. This is a bad scene when you are in the Entertainment business, and Stern's momma didn't raise no fool.

   In the end, all it took was a simple phone call to Kobe Bryant. Kobe will be in the NBA for a long time, provided he wins his Cape Rase. Stern merely mentioned the revenue idea, and the sophisticated Bryant immediately understood the implications. After a quick call to Vegas, Kobe was ready to throw Game 1 of the 2004 NBA Finals.

   Sunday night comes, and Kobe was laying more bricks than a Nymphomasonac. 10-27, against the Artist Formerly Known as Prince. Kobe got off more shots than Jesse James, while the innocent Shaq made 85% of the 13 or so shots he managed to get off. Shaq looked like a guy who got in line behind Ruben Stoddard at a buffet.

   I wrestle my husband sometimes. He's 6'5", and I'm 5'1". If I jump off something onto him, I actually seem to be winning for a while...until he finally just picks me up and holds me over his head. Theoutcome is never in doubt for him. If he sells an ass-whuppin' for awhile, I tire enough so that he can go play XBox or fish without me nagging at him to fix this or get me that. He wins by losing...and he's only losing for a little while.

   Kobe, who knows a thing or two about taking women by force, is operating by this very principle. Expect LA to lose 3 games this series...3 games in which Bryant shoots a combined 27/108. In Game 7, Kobe will shoot 34/37 to clean up his FG%. He then leaves LA, and signs with New York.

   Sometimes, good things have bad beginnings. Malcolm X did jail time. Jennifer Aniston's first film was Leprechaun. The USA was built on slave labor, immigrant exploitation, and land-theft from the Aboriginals. The NBA has simply stooped to the level where it has to Play Dirty. They'll reward you with a heated East-West rivalry. You'll thank them later.

Smarty Jones Interview

Not a lot of people know this, but I am fluent in Horse. Very few sportswriters speak Horse, so AOL chose me to go down to Kentucky and chew the hay with the Double Crown winner, Smarty Jones.

Smarty Jones may have the Versailles of stables. The first shocker was his celebrity greeter- former Oscar winner Mira Sorvino. Mira led me to the opulent parlor, where she told me that Mr. Jones would be down in 5 minutes.

Smarty then came down the ramp(stairs are tough on 4 legged stars), and I swear I saw cocaine around his ample nostrils. Grabbing an apple from the fruit basket, Smarty munched away as we spoke for over an hour. Here's the transcript:

HAC: The first question everyone wants to know: What happened?

SJ: I threw the Belmont Stakes...and I'll tell you why. I went down to Vegas, and saw I was a 2:5 favorite. Birdstone was a 36-1 shot. I've been saving up for a while, and I recently had an aunt die that was related to Secretariat. I saw 36-1 odds, and I nearly filled my bag, if you know what I mean.

HAC: I thought this place looked a little Liberace for a horse that doesn't get the money after the race. Are you bitter about that?

SJ: God-damned right I am. Here I am, half naked, getting whipped by some sawed-off Ecuadorian midget...and I don't take home a bloody nickel. The fans don't love me...look at what happened to Timely Writer. BAM!! Right on the damn track.

HAC: What do you think of Birdstone?

SJ: I think "Thanks, babe". He's lucky I ran interference for him, or he'd be ALPO right now. While I hate to bring up the spectre of performance-enhancing drugs, Birdstone had a sort of Chinese Swimmer look in his eyes as I checked him out before the race.

HAC: What's next for Smarty Jones?

SJ: I've hired the Poston brothers to negotiate my deal with FOX to produce a new Mr. Ed show. To make it more 2004-ish, I'll have 5 hot roomates, and we'll hang out at a coffee shop. I have a handshake agreement with Jennifer Aniston and Jason Priestley.

HAC: The Postons? Yikes...

SJ: I was very impressed with the work they did on the Kellen Winslow negotiations. You can't let the System play you out. You haveto grab them by the feet and shake money out of them. The Postons will do this for, check out this video I obtained:       Here.

HAC: What about being put out to stud? There seem to be benefits to that.

SJ: (smiles) The Fillies will be well taken care of, I can assure you. I'm more interested in being a part of the first human/horse hybrid. As you might imagine, we'll need to find a fairly large woman to bear my legacy...and we're also looking for a unique mix of brains, health, and athletic ability. I was thinking Brooke Shields, but the scientists are insisting on Rebecca Lobo or Lisa Leslie. I do have Veto Power here, and will use it if necessary. BTW, ladies call me "Hoss".

HAC: Have any endorsement offers come around, yet?

SJ: I kind of blew the Belmont Springs deal, but that was apples and oats compared to the 36:1 killing I made Saturday. I am insisting on creative control for a series of Clydesdale spots Budweiser is interested in having me do. Nike is on hold till they kick up my offer to LeBron levels. Other than that, I am taking all calls.

HAC: Well, I have a Kangaroo Jack interview at 4PM....thanks for your time, and best of luck. Any advice for the kids?

SJ: Never play cards with someone named after a city...and never bet with someone named Smarty.


photo by Adam Coglianese

Friday, June 4, 2004


     Larry Brown faces a daunting task. He's taking on a team with 4 Hall of Famers. He needs to stop Wilt 2004. A guy named Chauncey(I wish the Celtics could get a guy like THAT) handles the ball. He has a best player who can't really score.

     A guy who is threatening the all-time scoring record is Option #3 on the other team. Option #2, btw, has bigger things on his mind than this game...but he'll drop 40 on you once this series, guaranteed. And you'd better hope Option #1 tears his knee up in Game 1.

     The Pistons are a splendid team. Chauncey is a scoring point guard, always a hoot to watch. Rip has been clutch through the whole postseason. Prince made a supernatural block on Miller that kids will strive to imitate. Rasheed has been...gasp...a steady veteran presence. Has he been ejected from a game as a Piston? Okur is a trip to watch- I thought he was black until I saw him.

     I'd love to see Darko get some minutes- if he can shoot at all, they'll need him. Let him play against George, or at least let him foul Shaq 6 times. He may get some heavy minutes if one of the games is a rout.

     How cool is Ben Wallace? A monster defensive presence, a rebounder extrordinaire...and big hair. The man throws his weight around, makes his presence felt, and leaves it all on the court. If that jumper keeps falling, he lures Shaq away from the basket. Defense first, rebounding, hustling, team-oriented, a nobody who succeeded- the kind of kid a coach likes to see his team marry.

     Still, they can't score with the Lakers, and are poorly equipped to stop Kobe and Shaq. This is Finals #1 for most of them. Like a cheating spouse, Larry Brown sometimes says "Carmello" when speaking to Milicic. Larry better get his Screw Face on, and he might want to delve into African history and read about Hannibal.

     I don't mean the insane guy after Jodie Foster...either of them. I also don't mean the guy fom the A Team, although he would be good to have in on the planning. I mean the general from Carthage, who marched his army over the Alps(with elephants, nonetheless) to attack Rome.

     Facing the Roman army in central Italy at a river bend called Cannae, Hannibal sent his 45,000 men after 55,000 Romans. He instructed his center to cave in, and then surrounded the advancing Romans. He allowed the stronger foe to exert his energy, fell on them from all sides, and chopped them to pieces. This double envelopement is still studied by generals today, and elements of it can be seen in the Schlieffen Plan(Germany's plan to invade France via Belgium) and  Operation Desert Storm. The entire Roman army was slaughtered.

     Now, Larry Brown doesn't have the option of having his Numidian light calvary attack the Lakers from the rear. What he needs to do is go to the drawing board and come away with a masterpiece. Knocking off a Dream Team would be the Cannae of basketball. I'd love to see it happen.

First season A-Team 

Auerbach vs Jackson

      With Phil Jackson closing in on NBA title #10, there will be talk that this will make him the greatest coach in NBA history. Disregard this talk.

     Red Auerbach does. When he is asked about the imminent fall of his record, he is quick to point out that he doesn't hold Jackson in high regard. 

     Red is a free speaker, and he is not above some sour grapes, it seems. He does have some points, though:

- Phil Jackson was handed the best player in the league- by far- twice. If PJ was the GM who drafted Jordan or Kobe, we could talk. If he manipulated the roster/salary cap to bring in O'Neal, then we'd be talking Auerbachian greatness. PJ's just a rich kid who had NASA scientists build his Soap Box Derby racer. Sure, he wins...but let's use our adjectives with restraint.

- Jackson has never rebuilt a team. He ran like a rat when the Bulls went into decline, and will bail on the Lakers before Shaq does...guar-an-teed. When Russell retired, Red built a winner around White, Havlicek and Cowens. When they got old, he built around Larry Bird. Red's semi-retirement has produced a 20 year drought.

- No one has ever trusted the "Greatest Coach" ever with GM duties. They won't let Phil shop for the groceries. Sure, Auerbach had great players. He selected them himself, and coached them into winners. He robbed other teams to get star players- Russell from St. Louis, Bird from LA, McHale and Parish from Golden State, and DJ from Phoenix. Those 5 dudes were acquired for Ed McCauley, Cliff Hagan, Charlie Scott, Joe Barry Carroll, Ricky Brown and Rick Robey. That's genius, folks.

- Jackson's signature offense- the triangle- is a joke. In Chicago, the triangle was 4 guys standing at the 3 point line while Jordan went one on one. Has Pippen ever scored outside of transition? Trust me...truly great offenses don't have one guy shooting 45 times- even if he is God's Other Son. "Triangle" must be Zen for "let one guy gun it all the time".
    In Los Angeles, the triangle just doesn't fit the players. PJ hangs with it anyway, even when the results are disastrous- see San Antonio last year, or games 1+2 of this year's series. Only when they abandoned the triangle for the pick and roll/post-up game did the Lakers assert themselves. It isn't that hard folks...feed the Daddy, every time down.

- Red's teams played together. There was no one recording a Shaq Diss rap CD during Red's time on the clock. Granted, in Red's time there were no CDs, rap, or Shaq, but still... in Red's day, those two would have been put into a room, and kept there till they were friends or until one had convinced the other to shut up.
    Red has almost double the rings Jackson has...and he earned them. His innovations (the fast break, the shot blocker) are still being mimicked today, rather than abandoned when exposed as the triangle. He kept order on his teams- he could even make Heinsohn shut up. The Kobe/Shaq debacle is a sign of a team that doesn't have a firm hand on the wheel. Phil rode Wilt 2004 to dominance- Red repeatedly whipped Chamberlain squads.

    Save the "how many titles did Jordan and Kobe win without PJ" questions. Anyone who thinks Jordan wouldn't have won without PJ should hand their credibility in at the door. Blaming Kobe for not winning a title before he could drink is just short-sighted, as is blaming Jordan for not winning by himself till Isiah, Magic, Kareem, Bird and Dr. J had retired or slowed. Once Jordan's time came, a monkey could have coached that team to a Dynasty. Since Jordan retired, whoever has Shaq has had the Upper Hand.

    The Laker fans need not think I'm bemoaning their team's accomplishments. LA has a kick-ass team, by far the best of this generation. They have(had) a guy who I would say is just about as good as Red, if not better. A guy who worked the system and got the Franchise(s) that started the Dynasty(ies).

    He has done everything positive that I listed above, in some form or another. He has won titles for the Lakers with his feet on the court AND in the front office. He manipulated the rules to bring the dominant player of his generation to his team. His team truly sucked for very few years during his decades-long association with the club, and were usually the class of the league. He has more rings than Elizabeth Taylor. He rebuilt an awful team, and got it into the playoffs, a la Miami or...ummm, the Grizzlies. His greatness makes me put aside the Celtic goggles I usually wear.

   Simply put, this Laker great equaled- and I might say surpassed- the Auerbach standard. This kid could play a bit, too. He deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Auerbach. It just isn't Phil Jackson.

   It's Jerry West.


Hockey fights and college/pro hoops

    Hockey is really hurting. I think 16 or so NHL clubs lost money last  year. They signed a bowser of a TV deal. They give far too much of the revenue back to the players. They just need one hockey fight to end in death, and they'll be a pariah.

    I love hockey fights, but I do think the NHL should move to stop them. Howe? Simple. Anytime 2 people fight, they should be sent to the penalty box- where they would be arrested, just like anyone else who assaults someone. They would also be suspended for the year, as would their coaches.

    This would result in a lot of sticks to the head, but the D.A. could look at the tapes after the game easily enough. This sounds like a bad scene, but a dead player being CPRd and defibrilated(I don't know the verb for that) is a bad scene that would ruin the sport for a generation.
GameBreaker Figurine
    Speaking of "lost for a generation", I always laugh when I hear people brag on college basketball. As far as talent goes, they have little/none. Anyone with real talent these days skips college and goes straight to the good league. If you have a draft pick other than #1, you probably won't even look at the colleges- you'll be off to Europe, or the high schools.

    While people might say the game is played better in college, I disagree. The brilliant college coaches usually flop when they get to the NBA, a la Tarkanian or Pitino. They say the college game is more fundamentally sound, but most teams barely have one guy who can score off the dribble, play man to man defense, or post up. Anyone who can score inside is triple-teamed, because the rest of the team is usually inept. Every important game ends in either stalling or free throw shooting. The fact that the US Olympic teams are made up of professionals should tell you all you need to know.

    The NBA's rating problem is simple. LA is a fine team, but every other team is mediocre. San Antonio, who won it all last year, is a one man gang. New Jersey has lost badly to both teams. LeBron, the most hyped rookie in some time, isn't in the playoffs. Indy and Detroit are simply Level B.

    Los Angeles fans will be happy in 4-5 games or so, but they won't really be rocking, like they did when the Celtics came to town 20 years ago. Those intense games were played between star-stocked teams, and there was an ancient(I'm 27) rivalry behind it. Any chance the Pistons have is dependent upon the injury/conviction of Shaq and Kobe- which will suck the fans away like a vacuum.

    The NBA needs to lose some teams, spread the talent around, and try to market a little better. With less teams, there will be less roster spots to put high school kids in, which will lead to more of them being/staying in college. This will produce more skilled draftees, which would help raise the level of play- in both the pros and in college.

    Until they do that, they should learn to enjoy #3 status. Hockey will never pass them, soccer has peaked(all those kids who PLAY soccer go home afterwards and watch football- I've been teaching in high school for some time now, and I have never seen a soccer shirt, let alone heard anyone speak of it), NASCAR is a joke to most anyone north of the Confederacy, and boxing is almost back in the bar rooms. The NBA can hold it's position, but it will have to innovate to challenge the Big Two.

Thursday, June 3, 2004

Guerrero Redefines Manhood

   Did you all see Guerrero on the TV? Was there a more Manly expression of proficiency ever displayed? Especially on national TV. Few men can put on a show like that. I would say that Guerrero is the best athlete working in any sport at the moment.

   There are some tremendous stories in the sports world these days. Smarty Jones taking the Preakness by a dozen lengths. Kobe Bryant playing with the pressure of a rape charge hanging over his head. LeBron James rising out of the Hang Time league to revitalize Cleveland. ARod making more money than Senegal. All of these men get shrinkage when Chavo Guerrero enters the room.

   Not only did Chavo Classic defend his title, but he set a standard that few men can match. After the match, at least 5 women from the crowd in Toronto couldn't control themselves, and charged the ring to marvel in his masculinity.

   The fact that Chavo Classic was seen paying these women on camera takes nothing from his accomplishment. He looked like a smaller, older, Hispanic Godfather.

   Chavo Classic having 5 women is a good enough gig to keep the title in his hands for a month or two, I hope. I'm often wrong when I try to anticipate pro wrestling storylines, which may or may not be a good thing. I try not to think too hard about these things, because Vince knows what's good for us.

Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Bust Out the Whuppin' Stick

   We now have our Finalists. The Detroit Pistons and the LA Lakers. Offense vs Defense. West Coast vs East Coast(of Lake Superior or something). Flash vs Bash. Rip vs Rape. The worst 7 foot rapper of all time vs an afro you could hide an Olsen Twin or two in.

   This one looks like a good old fashioned country ass whuppin'. LA has 4 guys who can get points easier than the best Detroit scorer. They have a huge height advantage inside. They have a guard no Piston can stop. They have guys with rings, a coach looking to knock off Auerbach's record, and old vets who have been through the wars before. The Pistons have 2 chances of winning this scrap:

A) Slim

B) None

...and as for old Slim...he just left town, Jack.

   Detroit is in the Finals because they play an intimidating style of D that is centered around the power of Ben Wallace in the middle. Wallace, who is the textbook definition of an East Coast center, will give up 4 inches and 50 pounds to Shaq, and won't be much quicker.

   Haq-a-Shaq will rob Detroit of the heart of its' defense, although Wallace will no doubt make fine use of his fouls. What has been a strength for Detroit all year- inside power- will suddenly become a startling deficiency when they meet the Daddy.

   Kobe just won't take no for an answer from the slender Hamilton. He'll ravage him like a Vail hostess. This is a guy who wants to leave LA after a statement-making series, and Detroit will be just another victim to the God of Both Courts. Unless Chauncey can light up Payton for 30 a game, the backcourt edge for LA will be almost comical. The Prince/George matchup really doesn't matter at all.

   Detroit can goon it up, injure Kobe, and force Shaq to shoot 20 free throws a game. Maybe they've been hiding Darko all year, and he will make his debut in the LA series to the tune of 30ppg, 55% shooting, 12 rpg and 20 blocks- all while throwing a blanket on Shaq in a 4 game rout.

   Enjoy it while it lasts, La La Land. Karl Malone went to HS with Kobe's grandaddy, GP wants out, and Kobe stands a chance of being on another team next year...or in jail. A major injury to Shaq puts this team at .500, and his retirement puts them in the Lottery.

   If Detroit wins this series, look for Larry Brown to ascend into Heaven as the final buzzer sounds.

Feeding Smarty Jones to Paris Hilton's dog...wrecking cars...and slapping Anna around

   A few thoughts, if I may...

- While I think horses are cute (Why the long face?), my husband thinks that all the losing horses in the Kentucky Derby should be made into high-end dog food ($5000 a can?) for celebrity pets. If the horses could somehow be made aware of the stakes, it would provide a more compelling race for both the spectator and participant.


- I feel badly for the people who drive the Indy 500 cars instead of the NASCARs. They seem to get less attention than their regular car driving cousins. I don't know if Indy cars wreck worse than NASCAR ones, but I would think they do. I'd love a few comments on this.



- Sportz Assassin has a good note in his journal(I'll include a link if I remember) regarding the lack of personality on the Tennis Scene. Damn straight. Tennis doesn't sell well these days, although it will always be a major sport.

   To make it a huge sport, they need to make changes.

   More /personality sex appeal is needed. Martina Hingis seems snooty, the Williams sisters have that awful father of theirs, Capriati smokes the cheeb, and the rest seem to be burly, silent Europeans.

   Thus, they are very difficult to relate to. We don't feel joy for the winner, and we don't pity the loser. They're both young, rich and will retire at 28 or so.

   They are usually heavily into the sport in their teens, and grow up in this insular world of travel and training. I'm surprised they aren't arrested more often.

   The best known tennis player in the world is Anna Kournikova, who isn't really that good. She was ranked 308th in 2003, and lost to a high school kid(Carly Gullickson, pictured below) in straight sets.

   It doesn't matter. She's mint. Hot, blonde, Russian, and as slinky as the day is long. She turns up in the news a lot, dating Derek Jeters and such. She fills seats, and draws people to the televison. If she could last a little longer in the tournaments, she'd attract a lot of attention to the girls who CAN play. Then, non-fans might actually develop an interest in the game, or the players that aren't on a MAXIM cover.

   If the proficient players looked more like her, they'd make piles o' cash. If I was taller and thinner, I'd be working on my game right now.

   The guys have a visual problem, too. They need a few guys who LOOK like they could play some football. Too many pretty boys who seem a bit delicate walking those courts.

   They also need a few colorful personalities. Surely, this generation has produced a few guys who know who to scream at a ref, remove their pants, and draw attention to themselves?

   Also, the rules should be changed so that we are treated to an occasional NHL-style fist fight. Imagine the entertainment if a judge had hopped off a chair and gone after McEnroe? Fights, however wrong they are, tend to be tremendous viewing, and should be incorporated into tennis as soon as possible. Then, people would be interested.

   I'll be honest with you regarding my dream of making it big in Pro Tennis. I was never any good at it. My thighs are too big for any sport that is played in a short skirt, especially if Anna was on the other side of the net....unless I could hop over the net and fight her. I'd step up and Power Bomb the tramp.