Monday, February 28, 2005

NBA Season Review

NBA Review: Eastern Conference


   I haven't taken a sweeping look at the NBA in some time, and that shall end today. It has been an interesting season. You've had a few new powers emerge, and some teams we expected to dominate went into the hamper like a well-thrown shirt.

   You also had a furious brawl that took a top 15 player out of the NBA for a year. You had an ugly breakup of a dynasty in LA, which involved an accusation of rape, a dry snitching, racism, infidelity, a book full of cheap shots, hitting on someone's wife, bad Zen, and a guy forced off a title team he built. That's just the starters and the coach...dumping a Miss America wife doesn't even get you a headline with the Lakers.

   The NBA, to a sports fan, is like some white trash cousin that you have to explain to your spouse at a wedding. "Sure, he wore a Boston College hockey shirt to a funeral, and he openly drank from a bottle of Johnny Walker Black for most of the ceremony today....but he's family." Once you get past the swamp, it's good property....and the swamp is pretty cool in its' own way.

   The NBA's best(?) player can't drink legally, one of the best big men is from China, the basketball gold medal is in Argentina, a guy who makes $14 million can't feed his family, there seems to be a black Bobby Knight coaching Skip To My Lou and the boys up there in Toronto...and if there aren't men named Jameer, Carmello, Zydrunas, Pau, Raef, Antawn, Mengke, Speedy and Baron at your local pub- you simply ain't fannntastic, Holmes.

   Basketball is the sport that I know best. I played it, coached it, watched it...I was weaned on it. My father was more French than I am, which is tough to do in Massachusetts. TV was difficult. Sitcoms made little sense to him, but sports hold a more universal appeal. His (and my) favorite team quickly became the Boston Celtics.

   Many a Sunday afternoon that should have been spent running around were instead spent listening to a man  snarling in French/English at Andrew Toney, World B. Free, Jeff Ruland, and whoever else imperiled our particular lifestyle.

   How deep were we into it? Check it.... The CBS NBA team ofthe 1980s (which consisted of former Red Sox broadcaster Dick Stockton and former Celtic coach Tommy Heinsohn) was too biased towards the Lakers to be broadcast in our home. So the TV volume went down, and we'd  listen to three hours of open hatred from Celtic radio voice Johnny Most (who authored the quote that is the title of this Journal).

   It wasn't long before I was as rabid as he the point where I was studying psychology, looking at a certain associative test, and thinking "I've been given this before."

   So, even though I'm young, I've been intense for a good 20-25 years. I should prognosticate better than I do. I did an NBA season preview in October or so, and there were several curves that I couldn't put a bat on. Here's a few calls I blew in my pre-season special:

- Seattle... "Coughlotterycough."

- Chicago..."will have to go beyond themselves to be awful."

- Milwaukee...."should make the dance."

- Phoenix..."they overpaid Steve Nash like he has pictures of the G.M. with a gerbil."

   Oh least I married well, and I can always teach somewhere. AOL lost no money and little prestige when my sources told me that Argentina's Emmanuel Ginobli had won an Olympic bet with Tim Duncan that resulted in Big Stoic having to wear pantyhose for the first exhibition game. While I wasn't able to verify the veracity of it, people I know in Texas tell me that Duncan did look rather smooth that evening.

   Basketball prognostication isn't for everyone. Everybody botches a few things. Even the great ones take a Mulligan once in their lives. George Washington lost battles before he won the War. Malcolm X was in jail before he ever delivered a speech. Air Jordan was cut from his high school team. Emeril burns a chicken now and then. To my credit, I did make some good calls, too:

- Washington...."should be interesting...they can put points on the board."

- New York...."will stink like Gin Baker's vomit."

- Orlando..."should slip into the playoffs if Grant Hill stays healthy."

   Enough progress is evident to warrant the mid-season review. It is actually past mid-season, but the trading deadline puts a nice divider on the regular heeeeeeeeeeere we go:



Miami (41-16)

Shaq and Wade have teamed well, and they are the class of the East at the moment. The question of Shaq's extension is very much on the table, and the Diesel took a scary turn of the knee last week. If he and Wade retain their health, you can almost pencil Miami into the Finals.


Detroit (34-19)

   They return the nucleus of a championship team. They've beaten a Shaq/All Star Guard combo before. They could hold either All Star team to 70 points a game for a series. They'd physically pound Seattle or Phoenix like a coastal storm. They can also be beat. Miami/Detroit conference final?


Boston (28-28)

   He He He....Boston has a good chance of sneaking into the third seed. Whoever wins the Atlantic plays untested Chicago in the playoffs. Whoever finishes second- even if it is a tie broken by conference record or points scored or a coin flip- either misses the playoffs, or goes down to Miami to deal with the Daddy. Antoine Walker is not a player you want to be paying $14 million...but if more than half a season's worth of that is paid, Antoine kind of pays for himself if he allows you to hold off Philly and host a playoff game or four.


Cleveland (31-22)

   "Speak not of the sophmore slump!" sayeth LeBron. He's quite possibly the best player in the NBA, yet he must continue to miss out on Safe Driver Premiums because he is under 25 years old. Scott Williams is kept on the squad simply to rent cars for LeBron in whatever city the team travels to.

   Drew Gooden has made no one miss Boozer, Jeff McInnis has solidified  the point, and Zydrunas Ilgauskakausksus has managed to not have a season ending injury ... something he managed to do 3 times in the last 82 games he actually played. This will be their first playoff test, and I would bet that no one wants to square off with them and watch LeBron rip them apart like Bernard King or Isiah.


Washington (31-23)

   Arenas, Hughes and Jamison simply out-gun pretty much 3/5 of whatever teams they meet. They could easily win a playoff series, or they could easily be dissed like a roach by a three game stretch of solid defense. It willbe fun to watch, and Washington fans sure do deserve it. If Washington were still in the Atlantic, I'd be calling my bookie before the first round game and saying "I gotta take a Wiz."


Chicago (29-24)

   These guys were awful,and many people were calling for Scott Skiles' blood. Then the Towers started playing well, they got the new Vinnie Johnson, they started working on D, and here we are. There are huge flaws here, but they seem to have climbed out of the Lottery. Much like Cleveland or Washington, they have waited a long time.


Orlando (28-26)

   Grant Hill has stayed healthy, which is exactly equal to the surprise a serious NBA fan would get if he woke up out of a year long coma and saw Orlando over .500. Stevie Franchise has been superb, Dwight Howard is a good defensive big man, and Johnny Davis deserves an extension.

   I must say that the Christie trade was awful, though....Cuttino must have crossed noted Orlando-area powerhouse Mickey Mouse at some point....poof, off to California, never to see Central Florida again.


Indiana (28-27)

   Note: Even with more time off than he asked for, Ron Artest has been unable to score success with his TruWarrier record label. Talk about a bad year...

   What if? There is no Western powerhouse. This team won 60+ games last year. They can score, but are built to defend. They have size, speed, shooters, stoppers....but then a big fight happens, and it all goes out the window.

   Jermaine and the boys are still dangerous, but they can be had. Pencil in 30 points a game for whoever has Austin Croshere or Reggie guarding him, and hope that Artest comes back in shape/in synch.


   Those are your top 8 seeds, if the season ended today. The Bubble got a lot more interesting Thursday.

Philadelphia (26-29)

   Look at it this way: They are a game and a half behind 3rd seed Boston...or two wins and three losses behind likely 8th seed Orlando. The Webber trade was huge, because it should push them past Boston into a favorable Chicago series. Sure, he's old,injured, and overpaid...but with the third seed just there for the taking, you can understand why Philly made the move.

   I've actually had a few chances to watch Phully play, and I have to choke down that "selfish gunner" quote I made about Allen Iverson. Sure he guns....but wouldn't you if you had his team? Watching he and Webber work together should be veddddddddy interesting.

New Jersey (24-32)

   Rather than pay K-Mart the maximum dollar, they sent him away for draft picks. Jason Kidd was angry and injured, and Richard Jefferson carried the team to an awful start. They managed to get Vince Carter for peanuts, and things started looking up...until Jefferson got a bad case of the Out For the Year's Virus. Not only would they have to go on a tear to make the playoffs...the bottom has to fall out of someone else.

Jeff takes acoolposter picture, though....


Toronto (23-32)

   And that's 23-32 in the Atlantic. This team has been as awful as we thought it would be. Skip To My Lou- who should be walking around smiling like a man with a guaranteed, long-term contract- is instead threatening to quit. His coach tries to fight the players. Good soldier Eric Williams is begging to leave. Jalen Rose has been slacking. They blew their 2004 draft.

 That's the bad news. The good news is that Chris Bosh is emerging as a superstar. Mo Peterson has equaled Vince Carter's stats, which means that they were basically given a few draft picks to buy out Mourning and upset Eric Williams. They will have a nice draft pick...and the sun will come out, tomorrrrrrrrrrow.


New York (23-33)

   Yikes. They spend like the Yankees, and lose like Wild E. Coyote. They have no one in the center, no one on the wings, and they are wasting a perfectly fine backcourt. They had a servicable center, but they traded him away to start the 6'8" power forward in the pivot.

   Isiah has one chance to save his reputation- a serious impact in the 2005 NBA Draft. Otherwise, he may win the Ted Stepien Award for Poor General Managership. New York would do better to find someone with a good fantasy basketball team to run the club.


Milwaukee (22-31)

   They cleared enough cap space to sign Micheal Redd, but would you want to stay here? Joe Smith is average at best. The team is hoping they didn't keep the wrong nondescript point guard. Mase is a good scorer, but his game is flawed like a submarine with a screen door.

Right now, they have 2 reasons for hope.

1) The number 6 pick in the draft will look mighty good playing with the Redd Mike.

2) Just kidding....there is no second reason. 


Charlotte (11-42)

   They knew they were going to stink, so this season will be easier to swallow. They have an absolute stud in Emeka Okafor, they have a fairly good center in Primo Brezec, and Brevin Knight will trade you some good passing in exchange for not being able to guard anyone.

   They will have a superb pick with which to put a star beside Okafor, and it just may be their most important draft pick for the next 10 years. They have a fine building block, and they need to add just the right piece to play with him. 2 good drafts puts this team on the map in 2008.


Atlanta (10-44)

   For a state with fairly serious laws on sodomy, this team sure has set itself up to get reamed for the next 4-5 years. Their best player is Al Harrington, who is more of a complementary player than a star. He's the fries, not the double cheesburger. Josh Childress is a fine player on a good team, but he will suffer as this one loses again and again. Josh Smith may or may not be able to play, but he sure can jump. When guys jump up and grab quarters off the top of backboards, Smith is the guy who put the quarter there in the first place.



Sunday, February 27, 2005

NBA Western Conference Review

Phoenix (43-13)

   The new royalty. They were First Round and Outers as the season started,...but then they started kicking the Holy Hell out of people. Soon, they were the class of the NBA. Nash and QRich have been spectacular pickups, with Nash becoming an MVP candidate. With the hockey strike ongoing, he just may be Canada's Greatest Athlete. Amare has been immense, appearantly upset by his Olympic benching. Marion has seized Top 20 status.

   We'll see how good they are in the playoffs, when they get into a seven game war somewhere.


San Antonio (42-13)

   They have been one of the NBA's rocks for a few years now, and are the smart money bet to take the whole enchilada. They have Tim Duncan, a fact which makes me think back on the day when the Lottery balls went wrong and I started to read with enjoyment of the brilliant military victory of General Santa Anna when he battered those rascally San Antonians. Sorry about the run-on sentence,  but I may still be a tad bitter about it.

   If they watched the Shaq/Kobe Lakers fall apart and don't go out and win a title this year.... Coach Pop will be so mad that he will go out into the street and beat Mexicans.


Seattle (38-15)

   They were the biggest shock to my system this year. They were awful the year before, made few changes, drafted a little-used rookie....and simply dominated the first half of the season.

   They win by a simple strategy....Allen and Lewis hang out on the perimeter and steady bomb. Danny Fortson mauls people ("He thinks of every missed shot as a pass to him." says Rick Pitino about Fortson). They can score on anyone, but they have yet to win a playoff series when a good team is making a solid defensive effort on them.


Dallas (37-17)

   They can put points on the board- they have a 20ppg scorer stuck on the bench. While the Diggler is the center of the effort, they have other players (Howard, Terry, Finley, Stackhouse, Van Horn) who can take over a game. The Dampier signing has failed to stiffen the team defense, and they will simply have to outshoot whoever plays them in June.


Sacramento (35-21)

   They chewed off their leg to get out of the trap. They were tied to Chris Webber's $60 million/4 year rape of a contract...but instead of working around it, they gave him away for some magic beans. You can find a worse team than one built around Bad Brad, Peja and Bibby, but they seem so Northern California.

   They also blew a chance, when dumping Webber, to get Van Horn or LaFrenz and have the elusive All White Frontcourt. They could have got Raef some of those Mikan glasses.


Houston (32-23)

   Yao and Tracey look like Rush Hour III, but the team is starting to gel around them. Bobby Sura has been a good pickup. The addition of Wesley couldn't hurt. Juwan is holding off Dwight for the NBA's best Howard title, and Mike James was a good pickup. They still look to be a player away, though.


Memphis (31-25)

   If poor Hubie had held up, he'd probably have had a heart attack trying to hold off Kobe or Garnett for the last playoff spot. They play smart ball, and Jason Williams actually playsblacker than most of the And One touring team. With a healthy Gasol, they have a chance of advancing in the playoffs...but they are a dark horse, at best.


Los Angles Lakers (28-26)

   It wasn't so long ago that they were the cream of the crop. Now they are Kobe's team, and they are a Garnett rampage away from becoming a Lottery Darling. Still, if I had to pick a number eight seed to knock off a number one...they're my money pick.


   Several of the Bubble teams could be a top East seed....or they just suck. Judge for yourself:


Minnesota (27-29)

   They may still hold some sort of Karma with the old Minneapolis Lakers, because they went into the tank as soon as LA did. KG has been playing hurt, and he can't carry the bunch of losers McHale has saddled him with. Olowokandi has been awful, although he at least got shot with a Tazer. Cassell hit the wall like a first wife. Spree's game fell off like he suddenly quit steroids or something. They just may have the NBA's best player...but they have to rebuild.


Denver (26-29)

   They were supposed to be in the mix. They had a good core, built around the impressive Carmello Anthony. They added Kenyon Martin, and they looked to be hunting big game. Instead, they have sucked all year, and can only hope that George Karl can turn it around.

   When Kobe has a better year in Colorado than a promising Nugg squad, it's time to roll some heads.

   If your fantasy league has a category for "threatening to kill police informants on a DVD," try to get Carmello inked early.


Portland (22-31)

   You could smell the trouble on this team. Too many bad apples. We've had dogfighting, black-on-black racial slurs(was one of them called high yellow?), drugs, angry outbursts, poor shot selection, a draft dictated by a shoe company, and enough bickering to make Melrose Place look like an Up With People halftime show.

   Portland needs to rip this team apart like a starving NFL team set loose at a salad bar.


Utah (17-37)

 They nearly made the dance last year. They made huge free agent scores. They drafted well. They might have the best European in the NBA. They looked to make a serious stand in the Rockies....instead, they suck like Heidi Fleiss- frequently, and for high dollars.





Los Angeles Clippers (24-31)

   Damn...we're still the worst team in LA.

   They should either learn to play NFL football, or they should move to some other city and break this lousy curse.


Golden State (16-38)

   This is a whole new team once the Baron gets healthy. For now, they are what the record says they are...they suck. Next year, with a Baron/JRich backcourt, they can make some noise. They need to have a SUPERB to Charlotte, theirs is the most important pick in the Lottery.


New Orleans (11-43)

   Once the Baron went into the tank, they sucksucksucked. Magliore's injury didn't help, and the Mash trade for a retiring player has assured the Big Easy of being a doormat for the next several years. They will have huge free agent money...but who in their right mind would sign on with this bunch?


Friday, February 25, 2005

Eyewitness to History

Weekend Assignment #12: Thanks to time travel and invisibility, you can be on the spot for any important event of the last 100 years (1905 onward). Which important historical event do you choose? As a twist, if you actually were at an important historical event, you can't pick that one. Why? Because you were there already. What, you want to be there twice? Think of the paradox!

Extra Credit: Think of a piece of now-dated slang that should be brought back into circulation. Make it reasonably clean slang, please.


I've been reading some of the other entries in this assignment, and there are some good/noble/cute ones:


 Materializing in the "Texas Book Suppository Building" to give Lee Harvey Oswald a little bump as he zoomed his scope in on the Presidential dome-piece.

   Right away, this brings up ugly images from "The Terminator." Ending/lengthening a life that ends up touching everyone. Imagine if JFK finished out his term? What would have become of the Cold War, Civil Rights, Vietnam? It would be a whole new world.

   Two things come to mind, though...neither being that pretty.

1) Bumping Oswald's arm means that bullet(s?) is going into the crowd. Maybe it hits Zapruder's camera, neatly tying up all the loose ends of the paradox. Maybe it hits the next Jesus, the next Jim Brown, the next who knows? The sad part- we'd never know what we lost.

2) Oswald's shot(s) plunk harmlessly into the walls of the buildings along the street, and Kennedy is whisked off to safety. This is ominous for two reasons:

   A) JFK is PISSED, and he wants blood. Cuba goes up in a poof of irradiated smoke about 3 hours later, and half of Europe is laid to waste in the ensuing World War. To keep it sports (as my journal professes to do), among the dead are famous future sports names such as Beckham, Tretiak, Nowitzki, Sabonis, Kournikova... 

   B) Presidents continue to ride in open limos until Nixon is waxed 8 years later. Vice President Agnew then ruins the country, or we get a Law And Order President who makes us all wear little yellow stars that note our political reliability


- Sitting beside Walt Disney at some seedy town fair as he gets the idea for Disneyland.

   -"Hey Walt,,,,put it somewhere that's 98 degrees all summer, with humidity so thick that you have to shove air aside as you walk."

   I've never been that into parks. A lot of it has to do with the squalid town fairs that so motivated Uncle Walt. Carnivals have several facets that turn me off:

A) I'm small, and I don't like crowds. Anytime I go for fried dough or cotton candy, I always lose whoever I'm with...and then spend the entire time standing on benches looking for them. Anyone who saw me crying at the 1986 Marshfield Fair would be not at all surprised to see that I grew up to marry a 6'6" guy.

B)  I would make a sad astronaut, because I have absolutely no ability to tolerate heights or centrifigual force. You know that ride, It's A Small World? Even that made me want to hurl. I've been overwhelmed by faster-than-average escalators.

   I no longer speak to the girl who bullied me onto Space Mountain as a kid....and if I saw her now, I'd drop the gloves and slowly skate a circle around her, like a hockey goon.

   Fairs are chock full of that business, and when my daughters get to be carnival-ride-age, I do hope that my sister has a lot of fun going on Superman: The Ride with them.

C) Shady dudes abound at any type of fair. Not only are they in your town, but they actually build and maintain rides one could easily be killed on.

   Few American children grow up saying "I want to clean vomit off Space Mountain." Most people sort of fall into that kind of job, after failing to be competent at other professions. MIT doesn't have "Roller Coaster Design And Maintenance 101." Until they do, I won't be confident riding on (or standing near) any carnival ride.

   While Disneyworld is tough to haul up and carry from town to town, I can't shake the association with that and those squalid travelling circus/fairs of my youth. Much like the Marshfield Fair, it is run by people who are either desperate for a job, or who could have been Senators but instead chose to run the Skee Ball game at the arcade.

   My students and I went to the Topsfield Fair, and I spent the entire day with a kid who comes to my school from a small farming town in central Massachusetts. We fed ducks for an hour, looked at bears, met the Massachusetts Honey Queen, and ate fried dough. I think he sensed my aversion to rides, and was enough of a gentleman as to not let a small woman get lost in a crowd by herself. I also had all the lunch money on me, but I like to think he was more noble than that.

   Every now and then we'd see other students stumbling off the Batman ride to vomit into a waste barrel, or we'd watch the Pitch-Til-You-Win guy take $20 off people who eventually won a small stuffed snake that you could block a window draft with.

   He was a dumb kid, and I only gave him an A for the term because he was a gentleman that day...and he and I thought alike.


- Sitting down with Truman and talking him out of using the atomic bomb to decide WWII.

   When FDR died, Harry Truman didn't say "Woo Hoooo, I'm the boss, now!!"  He did the proper thing....he sought out Elanor Roosevelt, asked if she was all right, and asked if there was anything he could do for her.

   Elanor sensed pity, and she responded with pity. " there anything I can do for you?" FDR told Elanor almost everything (save the Mistress), and Elanor knew that a whopper of a decision was about to fall into Harry's lap.

   America's Manhattan Project had yielded an atomic weapon. A bomb used to knock down the building it hit....this bomb knocked down the city it hit. When he decided to use it, he was essentially saying "Pick a city, and I'll kill everyone in it."

   There are several facts about WWII that would shock someone who doesn't study history. Everyone knows about the people who suffered more than anyone else in that war...but few know that it wasn't the Jews. 6-7 million Jews died in WWII....barely a third of the 20 million Russians who perished during Hitler's Drang Nacht Osten.

   Likewise, Hiroshima and Nagasaki weren't the worst bombings of the war. Tokyo, with it's old wooden buildings, went up like a drunken smoker's Christmas Tree when firebombed by American planes...with the loss of about 100,000 lives. Dresden in Germany also caught fire during a US/British raid, and the city burnt to the ground. This took another 30,000 lives....and if Germany won the war, FDR and Churchill would have answered War Crimes Trial questions  about it.

   Regardless, these things happen. Whenever wartime cruelty occurs, I always think back to General Sherman. In the US Civil War, he decided to abandon his supply wagons and let his army live off the land as he campaigned in the US South. This would also bring the war home to the Confederacy, and illustrate the inability of the Reb armies to stop a marauder on their home turf.

   It was all about destruction. Pure, brutal, Clausewitzian total war- waged on the innocents for maximum psychological effect. "I will make Georgia howl "  bragged Sherman in a letter to his bosses.

   So he made his move through Georgia, killing, burning, raping, eating, stealing....the whole 9 yards. Atlanta, the beautiful Southern city, was burnt to ashes. Scarlett O'Hara got dumped. The man simply cut a 60 mile swath of destruction through the Deep South, and although the war wasn't over when he finished, it kinda was.

   When beseeched to spare Atlanta, Sherman made people talk to the hand. "Warfare is cruelty, and there is no need to refine it. The more cruel it is, the sooner it will be over."

   Sure, we took an atomic bomb and turned 175,000 Sanyo employees into ashes. It had several positive effects.

- If Japan got out of a US invasion with less than 175,000 dead, they'd have won.

- Japan got good terms, and quickly became a world power after the war. Had we been forced to chase them from the bushes, we'd have been less generous at the peace table.

- Only a month stood between the time we bombed them, and the time it would have took Stalin to be all over Northern Japan. Hop across to Korea to see how that turned out.

- You know how many Americans died when we invaded Japan itself? None, because we didn't have to invade. We had lost 10,000 conquering places like Midway...which is the size of a rich person's back yard. How many would have died if we had to fight our way onto the home islands?


   Keeping it sports, I'd like to present the event that I wish I were present at.

The Jose Canseco/Madonna fling in NYC.

   A fortunate paparazzi is lying in wait outside of Madonna's New Yawk residence, and he snaps a great shot of Canseco leaving at like 4 AM.

   Why would I want to be there?

   A) Jose is a buff Latino baseball god, a member of the 40/40 club, and is so full of steroids that he occasionally stops and beats children and puppies.

   B) Madonna is a 1980s MTV icon, with a dancer body. If there was a Sex Queen of that era, it was the Vogue girl

   C) Had Jose sown his seed in America's Uterus, the child - in my humble opinion- would grow to rule this great land as a King. Hollywood meets Cooperstown, and the buff baby would march on a road of bones to world dominance.

   Outdoing the Magi, I would see history at it's very conception.  



Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Things NBA Stars Hear From Waitresses

Things NBA Stars Hear From Waitresses

1) "No one make any sudden moves while Mr. Iverson pays the check."

2) "If the bar doesn't have St. Ides, we'll have it by the time your buffalo wings are ready."

3) "They only have those brontosaurus ribs on The Flintstones, Mr. O'Neal."

4) "...and you especially can't smoke THAT in here!"

5)  "Ummm....that's definitely not on the menu, Mr. Bryant."

6) "I'm down here."

7 "I don't care if they call you 'Gin Baker'......we can't give you the whole bottle at once."

8) "You don't have to hit me, Mr Kidd....I'll have them make you another martini."

9) "Watch your head, Sir........Ceiling fan!!"

10) "Please let go of me, Mr. Albert.!"

11) "I'm not supposed to sit in your lap when I take orders...."

12) "And what will your husband be having for dinner, Mrs. Christie?"

13) "I'll ask my boss, but I think I have to keep my skirt on."

14) "I don't think it's still a screwdriver if I hold the orange juice, Mr. Barkley."

15) "I refuse to take a Visa card with the name Skip To My Lou."

16) "We don't accept rubles, Mr. Kirilenko."

17) "Well, I'll be damned, is bigger than my forearm!!""

18) "C'mon...tell the truth, Mr. Nash...You're like the owner's son, or something."

19) "Please put your shoe back on....Holy Mackerel, it's a phone!"

20) "Control yourself, Mr. Rodman....this is a Chuck E. Cheese."

21) "I don't think we have taller tables, Sir."


Monday, February 21, 2005

Repos Dans La Paix


"They came together on a hot afternoon in Los Angeles, howling and clawing each other like wild beasts in heat.

Under a brown California sky, the fierceness of their struggle brought tears to the eyes of 90,000 God-fearing fans.

They were 22 men who were somehow more than men, They were giants, idols, titans...


They stood for everything that was good and true and right in the American spirit.

Those who went early said the pregame tension was almost unbearable. By noon, many fans were weeping openly, for no appearant reason.Others wrung their hands or nervously gnawed on the necks of pop bottles, trying to stay calm. Many fist fights were reported in the public urinals.Nervous ushers roamed up and down the aisles, confiscating alcoholic beverages and occasionally grappling with drunkards. Gangs of Seconal-crazed teenagers prowled through the parking lot outside the stadium, beating the mortal sh*t out of luckless stragglers."

"Green grass, hot sun, sharp cleats in turf, thundering cheers from the crowd, the menacing scowl on the face of a $30,000 a year pulling guard as he turns the corner on a Lombardi-style power sweep and cracks a sharp plastic shoulder into the linebacker's groin."

"The entire Fort Walton Police Force is gripped in a state of fear this week; all leaves have been cancelled, and Chief Bloor is said to be drilling his men for an Emergency Alert situation on Friday night- because that is the night when 'Kazika, The Mad Jap,' a 440 pound sadist from the vile slums of Hiroshima, will be making his first (and no doubt his last) appearance at the Fish Head Arena. Every available officer will be on duty at ringside, because of The Mad Jap's legendary temper and invariably savage reaction to racial insults.Last week in Detroit, Kazika ran amok and tore the spleens out of three ringside spectators, one of whom had allegedly called him a 'yellow devil'...."


Sunday, February 20, 2005

My First Daytona 500

   I have managed to live nearly 30 years without ever watching an entire NASCAR race. That changes today. The fact is that I have nothing else to do, and I have 2 children to prevent me from doing much more than checking in on them as they nap.

   So, time to turn on Fox and watch the Country/Western Grammys. While this isn't the Super Bowl- whoever wins Daytona has a whole Viagra Cup series to win before he is truly the Main Man- it is the race you really have to win to be a true legend.

   If you're looking for an informed discussion of this race, I'd suggest that you find the Diecast Dude link in the Favorite Journals and check him out. He's the one who told me what NASCAR stood for, and he is capable of correcting any huge errors I make. I can name about 5 drivers- Dale Jr, Jeff Gordon, Rusty Wallace, Jimmie Johnson....OK, four drivers.

   Today is the day. Daytona is the bee's nuts, and I am looking forward to watching one of these suckers get run. I'm an interesting reporter on this event- I have little technical knowledge, and I could give a hoot in Hell about who wins. There are all sorts of angles and stories that go into this race, and I know of almost none of them.

Here's what I know about the Daytona 500:

- It's in Florida

- They make only left hand turns- thanks, Paul

- Dale Earnhardt's Gas Tank of Life came up empty here, but rather than view the track as a Tomb, his son is instead in it to win it.

- They do either 500 miles or 500 laps.

- Either Dale Jarrett has the pole (the best spot to start the race) and Jeff Jarrett is the wrestler, or vice versa.

- Having the pole is important, because you don't have to pass 50 cars to win it. You get the pole by posting the best speed in a preliminary race against the clock on an empty track.

- Ashton Kutcher and his mom- ooops, I mean Demi Moore- is the official starter...which is akin to dropping the ceremonial faceoff for all you hockey folks.

- NASCAR is a huge sport, and far removed from its' moonshine runnin' roots.

Here's what I've heard since I started asking:

- Jeff Gordon is a punk.

- Dale Jr. is as good as any of them, but he isn't his old man. He has a red car.

- A couple of guys would like to punch Kurt Busch in the face.

- Kevin Harvick is a dirty racer, and a good bet to smash into someone.

- Rusty Wallace is either retired, or just about to retire....which means that he'd be killed if this was a movie.

- Mario Andretti isn't in this race.

- If there's a huge crash, everyone has to slow down to 100 mph or so till they scrape the hillbilly off the pavement.

- If I'm willing to leave my husband...or at least break my vows...there are several men in the NASCAR chat rooms who will take me to the races in New Hampshire.

- There aren't a lot of brothers on the track.

- Richard Petty was the best ever, but he retired before the Wall got him.

   Jesus...this is the worst opening musical interlude I ever saw. Brian Wilson is trembling like a man on some bad schizophrenia medication. 5 For Fighting sounds as un-NHLish as a band could sound...and if they were lynched after the race, the crime would go uninvestigated. Vanessa Fox-Williams may be the only black in the stadium.

   OK...enough preliminaries....let's start this Bad Larry. I'm curious to see if I start rooting for a particular car once the race gets going. My sister thinks I'll end up rooting for whoever has the prettiest car.

   Gentlemen.....Start Your Engines!!

   I'll go Stream of Consciousness:

-  Dale Jr already bumped someone on purpose.

- Bobby LaBonte blew his engine...he's done........they should leave the wrecks on the track, and add a fun slalom aspect to the race.

- They should have this on I-95. New Hampshire to Florida, bystanders be damned.

- We missed an 8 car crash because of a Coke commercial.

- 13 laps in, and I still haven't found myself rooting for anyone. I am partial to the Mark Martin car's color scheme, but I don't want to root for the paint until all is lost. At that point, I should just go start a Mom journal.

- I like the close-ups when the cars make a millisecond zipzipzip sound.

- I just heard a professional announcer say "coop-er-a-tition"

- Matt Kenseth just blew his engine....let's see if HIS husband yells at him like mine does when I blow engines.

- Harvick actually taped his car back together when it wrecked.

- 2 of the 3 Wallaces are out already....only the old man remains....I can already hear the funeral march.

- Sideline NASCAR reporters call the drivers "Sir."

- I have to drive to the store for cheese after the race....if you live near Monponsett, stay out of my way.

- Much like flocks of geese, if you get behind someone, you can ride their just have to pick a spot to make a pass move.

- I won a  sportswriting contest, and I have no idea what "Boogity Boogity Boogity " means.

- All the "r" sounds Bostonians drop from words like "car" are sent to Georgia and put in words like "wash."

- It must be grand fun changing Junior's back tire when he left his tail end on a track where people are driving 170mph.

- Failure to jack a car up with one pump is the difference between 5th and 25th place.

- If some drunken Johnny Reb walked out onto the track and got hit by 21 cars, he'd be smashed to atoms.

- Some racer is wearing fire-proof underwear.

- The driver of the Viagra car can just take his hands off the wheel and drive with the ol' Jimmie Johnson.

- Daryl Waltrip's commentary makes J.R. of the WWE sound like Prince Charles.

- Rusty has moved up to 10th....start the Ironic Death paragraphs.

- Jimmy Johnson should really be driving the Viagra car...he's a natural

- Tony Stewart has been winning for a while.

- All the Cialis commercials during this race are making me reconsider my desire to move South when I retire.

- Gotta love an event where someone says, "Hey Dale," and 8 men answer.

- As I watch this.....Karma demands that some serious NASCAR fan somewhere is buying a 50 Cent CD on a lark.

- The Viagra car should have to do 275 laps.

- 33 laps to go, and I still don't really have a fave.

- No more pit more shuffling of the deck.

- The damn drivers wait for the commercials to wreck...grrrrr

- Some dude...#22...just flipped like 5 times....tremendous!

- Lots of shattered dreams....but a good crash sure does clear up the track.

- Quote from the chat room I'm in, concerning the possibility of advertising on a NASCAR: "Cleatus jo:  OK IF'N U SEE AGUSTA MILK PRODUCTS ON THE AZZ END O THAT CAR U WILL SAY DAYUMMM CLEATUS!"

- 23 drivers left....7 laps or so....very intense...I'm getting into it...7 Lap Shoot Out!

- The good part about the last laps....if someone is gonna wreck's the time

- Dale Jr is trying to go outside to get the lead...they trade spaces...Stewart gets the lead...white knuckle time!

- Dale has the lead now...crowd's going willllllllllllld!!!!!!!!

- Dale proves one thing...Big Balls are indeed hereditary. His old man's old man had a quote on it..."The only lap you have to lead is the last one."

- My daughter has watched me drive  and her father drive...and now she has watched Dale Jr. drive....yikes...she'll be a killer.

- Now Gordon has the lead...but Dale is on his ass.....2 laps left...boomboomboomboom goes the heart!

- Junior and Gordon are having an Alabama real man Busch is making his move....2nd place....

- Jeff takes it with a power move at the end...the people in the chat room are PISSED...but Jeff earned his Pepsi today. He won his third Daytona, and he has the early lead in whatever cup they're contesting.


- Boy....Tony Stewart choked at the end....then he starts bumping other cars after the issue is settled....I just may get to see a post-race fight after all.

   Well...that was a lot of fun, for a rookie like me. A little dull at first, but the end- 4 lead changes in 9 laps- was absolutely compelling. Gordon, Earnhardt and Stewart were all over each other at the end, and Jeff may have been in trouble if it were the Daytona 510.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Let's Get Big!!

   Mike's Sports Daily has a good article on steroids and baseball. Here's the link:

   I agree that steroids saved baseball. Whether they ruin it in the near future is a different question, but they initially had a major positive effect.

   Baseball was dying on the vine, and was a few months removed from an ugly strike. Air Jordan was the world's greatest athlete. People had abandoned the national pastime in droves. You could make a pretty good argument for baseball being the #3 sport in America. Then came Mark and Sammy.

   The big baseball event that brought back the fans was a home run derby between 2 guys who were playing better baseball through chemistry. They each bashed a record that had stood for decades, and America ate it up. Throw in a Red Sox miracle, and baseball was looking good again...until a few months ago.

   Personally, I like my players to be as big as possible. Had steroids existed in the Ted Williams age, I'd be interested to see if he lacked the courage to Get Big.

   While flying a fighter in a war kind of makes the courage charge a moot point, I wonder if Terrible Ted or The Yankee Clipper would have used the Clear and the Cream if they were avilable. Come to think of it, Mickey Mantle didn't seem afraid of exploring Inner Space. Would he have shied away from a quick shot (lol) and an hour in the gym if he could have bashed 74 homers a year or stole Marilyn Monroe from that Dimaggio SOB?

   Babe Ruth seemed like the kind of guy who would have dreaded the hour in the gym more than the hypodermic to the derriere. Those gyms were open in opposition to Happy Hour somewhere, and the Bambino didn't look like he missed many meals worrying about his bench press. Weightlifting wasn't that common until just recently, but now it's almost required. Has innocent weightlifting changed the game more than a few dozen guys with a some Added Incentive? A good question for another post...

   I believe that giving it 100% involves using whatever performance enhancing drugs are available. I try to juice up when I have a particularly important blog entry coming up. Some andro, some super-caffeinated tea, a brisk swim, a fat line of cocaine- whatever unblocks the dam.

   If I played baseball, I'd probably be in the stall with Jose. Sure, I may only live to 50, but 25 of those years would involve me spending the millions I made as a Home Run Machine. If they were absolutely harmless, and with the money regularly paid to today's great power hitters...I'd be a fool not to bring myself to deal with the Spike.

   Honestly, I feel that a bigger * should be next to Babe Ruth's name than Barry Bonds. Bonds was on drugs, and they certainly aided his performance. Ruth simply never once lifted a bat against a black opponent. Skipping out on 15-30% of the population- and filling their void with lesser white players- must have added a few Swats to the Sultan's totals.

   It wasn't his fault, but would Ruth have been as good if he took on ALL comers- black, white, Asian or Hispanic? Maybe he would, maybe he wouldn't....we'll never know. Likewise, even if we shave 45 pounds of muscle off Bonds, and he hits 17 dingers a year for the rest of his career....will we be able to deny his heyday, when the juice was in effect and the homers flowed like wine? 

   I'm no Bonds fan- in fact, I have thrown food at him before. Nor am I on some pro-black kick here...I'd put the same * next to Josh Gibson or Sandahurah(?) Oh, for the same reason. In this case, you have to call it how you see it.

   Will future societies so improve nutrition that everyone is walking around at a chiseled 245 pounds?  If steroids were developed that were totally safe, would it not make sense for a young ballplayer to use them? They may have supplements in 2025 that make today's steroids look like Pez, and people may hit 80 HRs a year frequently.

   Will they put the * next to everyone who played before they figured out the proper nutritional pyramid and added the safe Get-Me-Huge supplements? Will they look back at McGwire's 1999 Popeye forearms and see a harbinger of a New Age?

   Not as strange as it is almost 2 centuries old, and 2 more centuries look rerasonable at this point. 2 centuries ago, humans lived to 45 years old, and all but the rich showed some signs of malnutrition. Few got any kind of medical care at all. The bunks on the Mayflower were 5 feet long, and made for 2. Napoleon wasn't that short for his time- unless he was working a cannon  next to his giant artillerists, which is how he got the "Little Corporal" nickname. A few medical advances and  a bit of improved agriculture had a major effect in human size, power and stamina.

     But if we start tossing the * around, we'll be opening a fissure that could swallow everyone except Henry Aaron- who played clean against all comers, hit pitchers throwing off the older/higher mound, never swung at a juiced ball, and who may keep his record forever if Bonds suffers a Marion Jones-like drop in productivity.

   I now have just a little bit more respect for Hammerin' Hank. Once you really think about it, he's the only one you can root for with a clean conscience.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

A New Hampshire Standoff


Weekend Assignment #48: Recount an amusing tale of a pet attacking someone or something. By "amusing," I mean that a) no one was seriously injured, least of all the pet (pet humiliation is okay), b) you laughed about it at the time, or sometime shortly thereafter. You know: Funny! Okay, then.

   This could only be considered sports in the most indirect way.... but I don't have a Mom journal yet, so I'll tell the story here. There was some running involved, so I  suppose we're in the suburbs of sports talk.

   My husband, my sister and I were in New Hampshire scouting out a property we eventually bought. I was about 6 months pregnant at the time, which only adds to how stupid we ended up looking. We were in Canaan, NH...which is a pretty rural location.

   We're talking really  rural, here. There was a deli/gas station on the "main road" that had a sign which read "Eat Here And Get Gas." People there refer to a trip to Lebanon, NH (population: 11,000 or so) as "going in to the city." Canaan is so small, the 7-11 is called "8-5."

   Even in the country, a preggers Smurf gets hungry. As my sister and I drove around looking for the Flatulent Deli, we managed to go way off course, and we ended up near a nice lake. After a pleasant walk, we got back in the Jeep and started a search and destroy mission to get me some apples, or something.

   In the distance, we saw a farm stand. Very Rockwellian. New Hampster is farm country, and this place looked like Mecca to my pregnant appetite. Plenty of nice juicy apples were just ahead, maybe a hundred yards North of where we had suddenly parked.

   Why had we parked? The road was blocked. What was blocking it? A moose.

    Now, I realize that mooses(?) aren't usually the main players in a woodland animal horror story, but there was simply no way around the SOB.

   Mooses don't really have a lot to do. They basically eat, sleep, avoid bears, and make little mooses. This particular moose was apparently well-fed, well-rested, afraid of nothing, and had been laid recently. I can say this because he didn't move for several minutes as my sister and I stared at him.

   Now, I love a chance to watch nature in the habitat it occupies. I have sat on my porch watching heron sail gracefully over Monponsett Lake. I have paid to go on a  whale watch...which ended with me briefly seeing a half foot of a rare right whale for 3 seconds of a 4 hour boat ride. I have sat in a car and watched a coyote ravage my neighbor's garbage. But I was hungry for two, and ol' Bullwinkle here was blocking the path to the farm stand.

   Honking the horn merely made him look up. Gunning the Jeep at him did even less....I think he knew that I had no intention of killing him. Still, I also had absolutely no intention of backing down from someone who looked like he hung out with a flying we slowly got out of the Jeep.

   We inched to the front of the car, totally without any sort of plan. My cowardly sister used my excess mass to shield her from Das Moose. As the Elder, I decided to take the initiative. I tried whistling as I gestured to the side of the road. No response. Telling it to "sit" also got no response. I needed to take it to the next level.

   I fished in my purse and found a package of Pop Tarts. I carry Pop Tarts in my purse because it is impossible to get 15 minutes of shopping done with my husband without him trying to slink away to eat. If I give him (or even offer him) a Pop Tart, he shuts up long enough for me to properly apply myself to shopping. I have worked with a lot of students with special needs, and I have noticed similar Purse Stashes among the student parentage.


   These were good ones- vanilla chocolate fudge, or something. I figured the moose wasn't much smarter than my hub, and I fully expected the moose to skip to my lou. He did lift his massive head when I unwrapped them, although he didn't follow the pastry when I tossed it to the side of the road.

   I took out the second Pop Tart, and this time I took a bite out of it, in case old Moosey didn't recognize it as food. Unfortunately, he also failed to follow this one as I threw it to the side of the road.

   So I decided to reason with him. I took a few steps forward and lowered my voice, which generally makes my students shut up to better hear me. "Listen....I'm pregnant...I get hungry. All I want to do is drive down to that farm stand and get myself a few apples. If you allow us to pass, you can be sure that I'll toss you some apples when we drive home."

   I may have been imagining it, but the moose did seem to change his expression. He was thinking about it. Had he been able to communicate back to me, I bet he would have tried to up the ante...."Hell, throw in a few carrots, and I'll pose for some pictures." I say this because he didn't accept my offer. He stayed in the middle of the road, staring at me with that look mooses get when they stare at people.

   Being close to Canada, I tried the same offer in reply.

   This moose was starting to get on my nerves, and I have what my husband politely refers to as a "Gallic temper." Moose are not animals that inspire dread...I wouldn't have got out of the Jeep to confront a grizzly in this manner.

   Especially with Shea as backup. Shea, my younger sister, made a point of staying directly behind me during the whole confrontation. Keep in mind that I was pregnant, and also keep in mind that I essentially raised her from the time my parents died. While I was proud to see that she was a few inches smarter than me, I was less than pleased to see that she intended to shield herself from this monster with both me and her yet-unborn niece.

   Some situations call for psychology. Others call for violence. I considered using my Mace on him, but he looked a little big for that. Besides, when you are 5 feet tall, implied  violence is a better bet.

   I decided to go Old Army on that ass. "Listen here, Bullwinkle....enough is enough. Two things are about to happen. You're gonna move, and I'm gonna get my GD apples. So get to steppin'!!"

   The moose made a snorting sound, and took a few steps towards us. I was shocked at how fast he could move...but not as shocked as he must have been to see how fast I can move- even when I'm retaining a great deal of water. The only thing funnier than my speed waddling was Shea sliding across the hood of the Jeep and diving through the open window like Bo and Luke Duke. We were both in the car in a New Hampshire Minute, and I have never driven that far (or that fast) in reverse in my 12 years behind the wheel.

   As it turns out, one can drive around the lake and approach the farm stand from the north. The people there were not impressed with my confrontation, and I thought I heard one of them mumble "Silly city girl...we find dummies like you by the side of the road when the Spring Thaw happens." Native New Hampsters seem to have some way of dealing with roadblock mooses, and they also seem to want to keep that information far away from Boston flatlanders like myself.

   We went home by the road which the moose had been blocking. He was still there, although he had wandered off to the side of the road. My sister thought I was crazy when I stopped the Jeep again.

    I got out and rolled an apple over to the moose. He lowered his head and sniffed it....and as he did, I beaned him right between the eyes with the apple I had been palming in my throwing hand. I was in the Jeep and gone before he could have even begun to comprehend what had just happened to him.

   Nature is inexorable. Humans are merely guests on this planet. When we have a nuclear war and wipe ourselves out, old Mother Earth will still be here. Deer and moose were around before humans, and they will one day graze on the grass growingoff the grave of the Last Human (who I've assumed will bury himself).

   That said, we rule the planet at the moment. That moose made me drive around a lengthy lake, but I had the last laugh. I doubt he's blogging about taking an apple to the dome in HIS journal, and unless I am suddenly speared by antlers through my office window, I won the battle AND the war.

   I'll tell you this...if he gets in my way again, he'll be a trophy hanging over my fireplace. Homey don't play that. I'll let him rule the outskirts of Canaan, New Hampshire. I own the rest of the world... and he'd better recognize.


Things overheard from Denver during the NBA All Star Break


- "God damn it if this aint the Black Woodstock!!"

- "If you count the undercover detectives following me, I actually have a bigger posse than Nelly."

- "Is renting one room on the 25th floor better for one's status than renting the entire 20th floor?"

- "Thirty minutes after the Yao Ming party, I was hungry again."

- "Three guys died during the Old Timer's Game practice, so we invented the 3 on 3 Ladies Challenge."

- "I'm telling you, Mr. nuke here, and you'll destroy the entire hip hop'll go to Harlem, and they'll be listening to The Charlie Daniels what if we lose Denver"

- " avalanche could hit the suburbs of this town, and they'd get $25-30 in federal relief aid."

- "Hey Mr. Ming...I left my hat on Pike's Peak....wanna reach up there and grab it?"

- "I'll have the Kobe Bryant Suite, please."

- "Even my entourage travels with its' own entourage."

- "I don't care what hotel chain you represent....we sold out of nine foot long beds months ago."

- "The shooting of Tim Duncan shows the danger of large men trying to ski in fur parkas....once they get into the countryside, the hicks shoot them for the Sasquatch bounty."

- "Yo...why aint this beer guy holding no O.E. or some St. Ides?"

- "I would recommend a nice Schlitz Malt Liqour with the Cornish Game Hen, Sir."

- "My God! Dunk Contest participant Josh Smith seems to have hung himself off the rim with his own chain"

- "That Master P rendition of God Bless America made me cry so hard, my pimp hat fell off my head."

- "When the record label drops us, we should definitely come back here to burglarize."

- "Man...this crowd looks whiter than our floor at the Denver Hyatt-Regency."

- "I'll be comping anyone from South Park Regional High School who wishes to attend my after party."

- "What do you mean, Proper Dress Required ?  Do you have any idea how much a pair of kiwi/purple Throwback Jordan Nikes be costin'??"

- "When coach takes us out, we should run into the stands and attack Ron Artest."

- "Why, that IS an Olympic Bronze medal in my pocket.....and  I'm happy to see you."

- "I got bumped up to First Class pronto when I flew here from Daytona"

- "Man....if Frank Layden tripped up here, he'd roll straight to New Mexico."

- "They should have the game next year somewhere colder, with more snow."

- "So I'm at the ATM, and this dude in a ski mask comes up behind was long after I got my posse off him that I discovered he was actually the village minister."

- "A lot of great hip-hop acts came out of Denver....OK, I'm kidding, but the skiing can't be beat."

- Shaq has the shoe phone....but wait till the press sees my Jock Strap Phone..."

- "Nobody make any sudden moves until Mr. Iverson has removed his overcoat."

- "Monsieur this cafe, all customers go through a metal detector"

"I went to a basketball game,and the Black Oscars happened!"

- "I saw Marv Albert's dentition signature on my escort service girl"

= "Hey LeBron....we'd like you to do a quick 'Stay In School' ad for us"

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Why the Daytona 500 Rules

- A very narrow line exists between being The Coolest Man Alive Under Pressure and that mark on the wall at the Daytona Speedway.

- If you go to Daytona, you'll be 1500 miles away from the dumb French girl who knows nothing of the sport.

- Lots of people in the crowd drove their homes to the race track.

- Watching NASCAR is an outlet for our natural human urge to tailgate someone at 165 MPH.

- If a streaker runs out onto the field at Daytona, he'll get hit by like 17 cars.

- "The Daytona 500" was mentioned in over four hundred Cobb County divorce cases in 2004.

- R.E.M. are from Georgia, and they'd get beaten if they played before the Daytona 500 crowd.

- Your enjoyment of the race isn't disrupted by a lot of people in the crowd talking about abnormal psychology or nuclear physics.

- Races don't have halftime, so no women will be forcibly disrobed while singing.

- You can see what a guy named Jimmie Johnson looks like.

- NASCAR is the only sport besides hockey where the ratio of black guys to white guys is actually in line with the demographics of the audience.

- Those cars are very safe, and deaths are infrequent....meaning you can yell "SWEEEEET !!" when some guy's car explodes into shrapnel, and not feel like a ghoul.

- If an emergency arises that can only be resolved by chewing tobacco or belt buckles, you know that you can probably find these items in the crowd.

- Tiger Woods is worth a billion dollars, but if he wears a white blazer to the Daytona 500, people in the luxury boxes will mistakenly give him drink orders with "boy" mixed in somewhere.

- Try telling a State Trooper that the Daytona 500 is proof that it isn't that dangerous to drive 170 mph.

- If you lost your Johnny Cash tape, you can just walk around the parking lot and get a good five year fix of the legendary Man In Black.

- If Michelle Kwan slips up and crashes into the boards, a huge tire and a car hood aren't flung onto the terrified spectators.

- If  you drive home drunk through the Florida countryside, you can get arrested by one of those Buford T. Justice-style southern sherriffs.

- You can smoke a pack of Winstons a day, and still be in good enough shape to win the Daytona 500.

- I doubt that the Westminster Dog Show has roots in Moonshine Running.

- If you throw  a beer at a NASCAR driver, he spits tobacco back at you.

- If Maria Sharapova doesn't like how Martina Hingis is playing, she can't smash her into a wall at 185 MPH.

- Outside of a college football game, it is the only large gathering with groups of people who are happy to be from Alabama.

- Just about absolutely no hip-hop influence. Most of the drivers think of a "Philly" as a young horse.

- Very few Daytona 500s get snowed out, although it would be fun to watch Jeff Gordon and company working on black ice.

- You can't spit-roast a full pig in the Wimbledon parking lot.

- After the race, you can go to Daytona Beach....after the Stanley Cup, you're in Toronto or something.

- If you hold onto the hotel room for a month, you get first shot at the 2005 crop of Spring Break college booty.

- The track will never be in poor shape because an Ice Capades had been held there the week before.

- If gas stations operated in a Pit Crew manner, I wouldn't complain about paying $1.99 a gallon. We won those wars, for God's sake.

- Very few things burst into flame at Wimbledon.

- The crowd has more "Earls" than a House of Lords meeting.

- There's a driver named Geoffrey Bodine, and no one  thinks to call him "Jethro."

- If you drive to the event in a Volkswagen, you'll be assaulted for it.

- You know at least one of the drivers is flicking a Marlboro out the window at 175 MPH every 15 laps or so.

- In no other sport is the Lap so prominent. It's the driver's center of gravity. A Beer Gut actually provides a slight strategic advantage.

- If Don Henley or Sting tried to do a pre-Daytona concert, they'd be torn to shreds.

- Just like baseball, one of the bigger stars is actually proud to be called "Junior."

- If the beer stand is crowded, you don't have to walk by a sushi bar to get to the next beer stand.

- The guy who passes you on the right while clipping your fender- sending you into a fiery wreck- was actually driving well.

- There's a set of brother racers who still have issues about who had to sleep in the more Northern room of the house where they grew up.

- Has anyone ever made a "pit stop" during a pit stop?


Quotes from the Crowd:

- "Gotta love Daytona...There are very few social occasions left for me to rock my new Confederate flag shorts."

- "If the Civil War were fought after NASCAR's inception, cotton t-shirts would be ten for a dollar."

- "Forget about Ron Ar-test. When NASCAR guys go into the crowd, we kill by the dozen."

- "That Wimble Town tennis thang would be much better if they had a Merle Haggard concert beforehand."

- "Baseball cap? Just happen to have one right here."

- "Y'all should chew more tobacco....makes you a god-d*** sexual Tee-ran-o-saurus....just like me."

- "I sure as taxes wouldn't get into a car if I had to wait 500 miles to go to the bathroom."

- "You just watch that hot sauce, boy...'done got a kick to it"

- "You know, darlin'...The smell of burning rubber is considered to be an aphrodisiac in Southeast Asia."

- "That driver had an impressive rookie season....There could be a Miss Teen Missouri in his future."

- "If Dale Senior ran Gulf War I, there wouldn't have been a Gulf War II."

- "South Boston....Alabammy."


Thursday, February 10, 2005

Keeping Abreast Of Trends

   Generally, we keep it sports in here. This won't be an exception, although we'll be working on the fringes. Perhaps only I can write this article, and it is a subject that needs to be discussed.

    If you surf the Internet enough, you learn the important stuff. Even if you're not really looking for it, or so I'm told. A recent trend in advertising is building commercials around women with superb breasts.

   For starters, the ghost of Janet Jackson's right one loomed over the Super Bowl halftime show like a gargoyle. These shows will be so haunted for many years to come. Offhand, I'd say that Janet's was the first serious breast that 40 million American kids ever saw, and it will forever be a sort of Mammary Lane nightmare for any network producing a show.

   This year's entertainment was a guy doing the greatest hits of 1962. Though they still managed to have "bought some California grass" broadcast to 100 trillion children, Sir Paul didn't moon the crowd or tribadise Christina Aguilera. I can pretty much guarantee that no one got wood during this year's entertainment. America was safe.

   It was all offset by the girl, who has the god-given talent to never really sink that deep in quicksand, if you know what I'm saying. I don't really know what she was selling, as that topic was broached in the ad while every man in my house was going "Damn, look at the set on that girl." She stole the show at the Super Bowl Ad War by doing a stripper dance in a wife beater at a mock Senate hearing. This girl was a freak, and she could feed every infant in the Sudan if they required it of her.

   In a literal tit-for-tat gesture, secured the rights to advertise on Shaune Bagwell's chest. For a smooth $15K bid during an Ebay auction, Shaune will tattoo the logo of the company on the 36 part of her that isn't her I.Q. score. She has to wear it for a month, and if you see her at the Pro Bowl or the Daytona 500....Showtime.

   Shaune is a sports story only because she was previously known as the girl who took Houston slugger Jeff Bagwell to the cleaners in their Clinton-era divorce. While I forget the details, she was awarded a phenomenal settlement so comically huge that Gloria Steinem was outraged. Had the judge ordered Jeff to carry an electric eel in his pants for a least he'd still be rich when the decade was over.

   Jose Canseco is also in the news, and while his post-steroid man breasts haven't come up yet, he is (or was) married to a Hooter's girl. Arriba!!

   It seems that early February has become a time to pay homage to the Tig Ol' Bitties. Much like anarchists focus on April 19th for the Hitler/Waco/Oklahoma City/Lexington-Concord connection, breast aficionados will become more alert as Super Bowl week approaches.

   If you ever need to see something that you can't explain, try typing "Lexington/Concord" in an AOL chat room without the quote marks. To my knowledge, it can't be done....and I even nagged some AOL Live Help guy into going to the room and trying it. He could offer no explanation. It was before the Patriot Act that I discovered this, btw.


Top Lines Edited From Jose Canseco's New Book


- Let the record show that when the pants came off and the poking of the butt occurred, I was the one doing the poking.

- When you really look at the ass, Mark McGwire is in far better shape than Madonna

- Dave Stewart? Gay as a San Francisco parade.

- Let's get big!! Where's my hypodermic?

- As gay as injecting something into another man's ass sounds....I'd like to know who was putting the cream on Barry Bonds' tongue

- I'm still a few thousand murders from taking the Most Notorious Cuban title away from Castro and Tony Montana

- Removing those drugs from the street...even by taking them into my bloodstream...makes me sort of like a Cuban superhero

- Steroids don't make you angry....although I did attack a toaster once.

- I blame BALCO for 89% of my speeding tickets in the Porsche.

- When Madonna finished with me, she asked me to make sure the pool was clean

- I only live in Miami because the New England winters aggravate the needle marks on my posterior.

- "I didn't come to America to take this kind of nonsense, Judge."

- Girls like Madonna just need a big Cuban guy to make them feel small and submissive.

- Steroids are bad for you....sure, I hit more homers than Ty Cobb.... but a man with less muscle mass could have got my Ferrari up to 170mph.

- "Madonna blamed the roids, but lots of people punch girls in the face as they finish the sex"

- I give a lot of my time to charity, y'honor.....I do a lot of work with unwed mothers.

- Some girl named Monponsett Stacey is still calling 1-900-JOSE

- Texas cops get really mad at you when you give them your baseball card for ID when they pull you over.

- I'll be the first guy to enter the Hall of Fame wearing a "Miami Department of Public Works" jumpsuit.


Thursday, February 3, 2005

Prodigal Daughter

   High Above Courtside has been very good to me. It provides an outlet for my creativity that I've lacked since I gave up teaching full-time. It won me a trip to Houston, and got me seated close enough to Barry Bonds that I was able to throw popcorn at his roided up ass. It has made me many new friends. If I wasn't spoken for, I could even get laid with it.....and I'm not as cute as I was back when I was in playing shape.

   I like to think that there are people out there who enjoy it as much as I do. Make no mistake, I appreciate every single person who takes time out of their day to check out my column. That Cuban guy who chewed me a new one...I even appraciate him. He could have looked at a lot of other stuff when he opened HAC, and I'm glad he took the time to read what I put down....even if he ended up TOSing me over it. For everyone who stopped in since I started this- even if they are only killing time while the kiddie porn or hydroponics page loads- you have my thanks.

   This is no retirement/going away speech. I'm just letting you know the Dilly. I have been neglectful of my good friend HAC, and it is time to crack open an Add Entry and get busy.

   I may as well explain why HAC hasn't been updated since 1/7/05. I can chalk it up to these reasons:

- I had the flu from the week before Christmas through, well, just about now. I kind of bank on being funny- or at least perky- and neither works when you feel bad, look worse, and sound like you are trying to growl out everything you say.

- My phone went dead for a week, and Verizon takes some time finding out where Monponsett is. Monponsett is very rural, and when I mail stuff from here, they still hand it to a guy who takes off at a gallop on a horse. When I fax, a Wampanoag goes out behind the Post Office, builds a campfire, and sends out smoke signals to a Wampanoag at the Staples in Plymouth.

- When Verizon got my phone working, we got hit with the Blizzard of 2005. 50 inches of snow in a week, some nice hurricane-force winds, iced up lines, and a hum instead of a dial tone whenever your faithful author picked up a phone. When they fixed this, the original phone troubles returned.

Had I injured myself in the week after the blizzard, I'd get an ambulance faster by going out into the street and screaming than by going inside and trying to get a dial tone. I'm also a creative hairdo above 5 feet tall, and if I end up in a snowdrift, they might not find me till the spring I just try to be careful.

- Pats.

- What I mean above....The Patriots have been in the playoffs, and what little writing time I get goes to The Belly Check. TBC is my other journal, devoted entirely to the New England Patriots. There's a link to it on this page to the right, I think. If you've noticed a lack of football in High Above Courtside and suspected a vacuum here means a surplus were correct.

- Licensed teachers with degrees in psychology are in demand. When you are able to do that job in French, you can actually hammer out some fat bargains from desperate school districts who are compelled by law to meet every need mentioned in a student's Individual Education Plan. If I felt like going to New Hampshire once a week, I could make cute stripper money just to give a couple of math tests to a kid named Henri....and I hold no licensure in New Hampshire. I don't even know how they got my number, but the offer is on the table. Either way, I've been hopping around a lot.

   I may be the clumsiest woman alive, and it is not that unusual for me to put myself in the hospital. Once, when I was coaching, I decided to jump into a practice and earn some credibility from some of the newer players who didn't know that I played in college. My skills fade more and more every year, but I can still dribble and shoot. What I can't do is cut really well.

   I waited until a veteran student had the ball...I lollygagged at the top of the circle, lulling the kid defending me into thinking I wasn't in on the play. Then I made my move to the hoop for the pass. My first step broke my leg. I react poorly to pain (as my students starting center, a fearsome student/thug from Trinidad, held the EMT to a wall and said "You'd better fix my MFing teacher."), and I ended up in the hospital for an extra day.

   This was the day I normally shop for food. When I came home, I was amazed at how quickly my husband had descended into Bachelordom. There was a mess in the sink that I could only look at and think that the man had tried adding Hershey's Chocolate Syrup to rigatoni. There also seemed to be signs that- despite an entire dishwasher full of clean plates- the gentleman I have pledged myself to before God himself had been eating off a Frisbee.

   He defended the Frisbee plate when I questioned him about it. "Real plates should have this lip on them....a man needs to eat lying on the couch sometime...geez, you French people are funny about food " Had I asked him about the chocoalte pasta, he would have been sleeping on that very couch until I got old enough to forget how he answered.

   A little bit of neglect- even if it is no fault of your own- can lead to a mountain of trouble. My older sister had taken my daughter, and she got the younger sister/nanny in the process. I knew that Gabrielle was being tended to well. She was about 18 months old when I snapped the gam, but I doubt that- had she been left to her own devices- she could have fared much worse than the Captain did. She has my blood in her veins...I sort of won Stephen on the Open Market, and can't share any blame in his shortcomings.

   He is a wonderful man, who intended to simply pick me up and carry me everywhere I had to go until I started hitting him with my crutch, but he was lost without me. For those of you faithful who I have similarly neglected when I took my little unannounced sabbatical here, I will do my best to insure that none of you will have to eat chocoalte rigatoni off a Black Master frisbee again.