Friday, August 31, 2007

Tre Made Me Do It

The dopest writer I know tagged me on her myspace blog and now I'm supposed to write 10 weird, random, little known facts about myself or habits I'm prone to.

So, here goes:

1) I don't eat green peppers. Ever.

2) I regularly listen to Washington Journal on C-SPAN Radio.

3) When I eat cereal, I pour almond milk in it.

4) I have not seen Rage Against the Machine in concert. Yet.

5) My body fat is currently 13%.

6) Somewhere in Oklahoma at a rest stop on Rt. 44, there is a Hieroglyphic logo drawn on the underside of a table. I know who did it.

7) I am uncomfortable when people claim to be good judges of character and declare that I am a stand-up dude.

8) The license plate on my car reads "SQNDRD."

9) I woke up on the morning of my 29th birthday on an Indian Reservation in Montana.

10) I don't like to obligate people to do anything.

With that last one in mind, I have to pass on the second part of this job. Which is to tag 10 people to draft a similar list on their blogs. Sorry, Tre. But if I'm really Jesus, then I'm allowed to play by my own rules, right?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Big Difference

There are writers.

And there are people who write.

The latter might also be called communicators.

A communicator can help a writer better communicate.

But a writer will never be able to help a communicator write better.

And that, in no way, is the writer's fault.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Bill Walton Is My Homeboy

When I was in college, I made a list. It consisted of famous people I pledged to punch if I ever saw them in person. Three people occupied that list:

Jim Gray.

Joan and Melissa Rivers (they counted as one person to me.)

And Bill Walton.

Back then, I thought Jim Gray was a dick for the leading, invasive and look-at-me-get-the-scoop-live-on-tv style in which he prodded athletes and detracted from the game I was trying to watch by pursuing gossipy story angles. I still think he does that. And I'd still take a lot of pleasure from knocking him the eff out. But enough people have boarded the bandwagon of Jim Gray hate, that I see no need to maintain my own personal vendetta.

Speaking of gossip...I truly loathed the way that the Riverses scratched out a place in our cultural iconography by gagging and cackling about other celebrities' fashion choices. For me, they redefined obnoxious. And sadly, they helped create a new strain of "journalism." For that fantastic contribution, I think there is a special ring of Hell reserved for them. I have faith in that fate and I no longer care to bitch-slap either of them. Besides, I'd be deep in a very long line of people eager to do that.

Then, there was Bill Walton.

Walton, from his perch in the NBC Studio back when the Peacock still broadcast NBA games, dared to challenge the greatness of Jalen Rose, Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson. The Fab Five.

Nevermind that Bill Walton's college career ranks as one of the greatest in all of sports. He called my guys "underachievers." And he did so with with the unapologetic zeal of Orenthal Adolf Bush. He was evil. Plain and simple. And he deserved to have his two front teeth removed by my right fist.

That was then.

After I moved to LA, I watched a lot of Clipper games. From Lamar Odom's rookie year on. And with the steady voice of Ralph Lawler to accompany him, I learned to appreciate Bill Walton's uniquely histrionic and hyperbolic brand of sports broadcasting music. He has become one of my favorite voices to hear call a game.

Bill Walton, you might say, became my homeboy.

I've talked to a lot of people about Team USA during the past week and the word I hear most often is "boring." As in: the Tournament of the Americas games are so lopsided that they're fundamentally un-entertaining.

But wait, I ask them, have you been paying attention to Bill Walton? Over four games in five days, Walton has:

* Provided his own personal wikis for Venezuela, the Virgin Islands, Canada and Brazil.

* Cracked jokes about Hugo Chavez.

* Traveled into the mind of Tim Duncan.

* Pleaded with the U.S. Government to sign the Treaty of the Sea.

* Shamelessly plugged Festival Express.

* Delivered an oral biography of Oscar Schmidt.

* And, most importantly, he resisted the urge to strangle Mark Jones.

That last one, BTW, is no small feat.

(Side note: Is everyone cool with using the phrase "markjonesing" like a bastard version of "uncletomming" to describe a person of color trying way too hard to act "Black"? We are? Good. Let's get back to Walton.)

Even if you have found the last 34 minutes of each of the Pool games to be patently uninteresting, you'd be a fool to have turned the games off before the ends of the first quarters. 'Cause you never know what Bill Walton is gonna say next.


Ten years ago, I would have said, yeah, that's true, the blasphemy and ignorance is never ending from that guy and we need to cut out his tongue or at least install a giant off switch in his left cheek.

Today, I think the games are better for having his proud hippie patois to underscore them. Bill Walton is my homeboy. Now I just need to find a t-shirt emblazoned with his iconoclastic set of jowels.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

dumbsmart

Lately, I've been asking myself this question:

Am I getting dumber or smarter?

What about both at the same time?

Albert Einstein is reported to have said:
"Never memorize what you can look up."

For several months now, I've been living by that axiom. Which makes this all the more paradoxical. But that's not the point.

If I'm emailing or instant messaging someone, I am consistently brilliant. No question. I have everything that any human being could possibly want to know right on the tip of my tongue. And I never need to strain my taste buds searching for it, 'cause I can google it and get the answer in two minutes. 10 tops.

But if I'm trying to have a conversation face-to-face...forget it. I'm a complete dimwit. I know what I'm trying to say. And maybe the other person does, too. But wise words are rarely spoken by me.

I think I am the dumbest smart person on the planet. Or am I the smartest dumb person alive?

Hold on...lemme pull up google.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Time Keeps on Slipping


This might sound...well...sick. But I've decided that my favorite people to work with are the ones who email me after 7 PM.

And I really like the ones who email me on the weekend.

Seriously. I kid you not.

I figure that means they're accessible and interested in getting shit done. Time on the clock notwithstanding.

Which is pretty much how I operate.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Take It Back

Not sure if this has always been the case or not, but so much of contemporary rhetoric seems to be about who can hijack the debate and back the other side into a corner they can't talk their way out of--regardless of the legitimacy of their principle. As if the thing you're arguing for takes a fundamentally secondary role to the way in which you argue. Think: Thank You For Smoking.

Most of this hijacking seems to occur as a result of fearmongering or shame tactics. Case in point: the debate about the legal status of abortion.

Some would say the phrase "pro-choice" was the first instance of a hijacking. At the peak of the feminist movement, can you imagine trying to tell a group of women invigorated by such a powerful shift in cultural identity norms that they don't have control over their own bodies?

Others would say "abortion rights" swung the rhetorical pendulum in the other direction. The moral majority claimed to have God on their side and how do you tell someone that "God" is wrong?

With the video above ^^^, I'd say the debate is about to be swung back to those who think a woman should have the right to choose whether to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term or not. Anna Quindlen from Newsweek certainly seems to think so.

But, I wonder, for how long? Surely, talking points from the other side are already being drafted. And when "God" is on your side, then surely you have the certainty of position to lay down a punishment for behaviour you seek to criminalize.

Don't you?


Monday, August 06, 2007

Jermaine O'Neal Is Not Kevin Garnett

Period. Point blank. End of story.

But I'll take him.

And I think Larry Bird should make this deal.

Two shooters. One free agent to be. And possibly the next great NBA center not named Greg Oden.

Forget Lamar Odom, Legend. He's not in your best interest. Seriously. Take that deal. Send Danny Granger and Shawne Williams to Memphis for Mike Conley. And then trim your roster accordingly.

When you get pared down to 15, you'll be 4 moves--including draft picks--away from contending in the East. Which puts you in the play-offs in 2008-09. After that, who knows?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The People

Common made a song about 'em.

And there's a big group of 'em in Seattle who are fighting to make Clay Bennett and the new ownership of the Supersonics honor the contract the previous owners signed with the Jet City.

This is necessary, apparently, because Bennett and Co., who bought the team in the fall of 2006, have been trying to move them to Oklahoma City since the NBA Board of Governors approved the sale.

So the rumors go, anyway.

There have been plenty of stories of NBA, NFL and MLB owners holding cities hostage or pitting municipalities against each other while they seek the best deal on a new stadium, arena, whatever.

Generally, no elected official has the nuts to stand up and speak on behalf of the people who end up paying the taxes that finance the playing facilities they will one day have the pleasure of not being able to afford season tickets to attend games at.

Call me cynical, but that's why I stand with the people of the Greater Puget Sound.

I say: Honor the Lease! Keep the Supersonics in Seattle!

And, um, hold a couple of season tickets for me while I get ready to move across the country to the Emerald City. 'Cause I don't wanna miss a second of Kevin Durant's NBA career.

Ford Goes Up, Ford Goes Down

Technically, GM is leading these headlines:

A FIRST: Detroit automakers get less than half of U.S. sales
GM's July drop is steepest among domestics; Ford's volume falls below Toyota's; Chrysler group's monthly decline comes on eve of sale

Getting Revved Up Overseas
GM, Ford Foreign Profits Offset Lagging U.S. Performance

But I hope the irony is not lost on you.

If we weren't sure before these quarterly sales reports were released, then I'd guess that the devil is rocking his bubble goose over top of his extra heavy winter leather today. With his hand-knit mittens and scarf, too.

And I'll bet he poured a lot of Bailey's into his hot cocoa.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

KG Is Gone


I feel bad for Minnesota sports fans. Slightly worse for desperate Laker fans like myself.

But you have to be happy for Kevin Garnett. He got what he wanted. Now he can go get that ring. Hopefully. And everyone who jumped on the Red Sox bandwagon back in '04 should now call themselves "fans" of the Celtics.

Why? 'Cause KG deserves to win. And he deserves that level of support and adoration.

If you weren't convinced by his body of work to date on the court and off it, then all you had to do was watch the first 90 seconds of the press conference to announce his arrival in Boston.

Green Celtic jerseys were handed to #34, #5 and #20. Both Pierce and Allen initially turned their jerseys so the name on the back faced the eager cadre of cameras. KG instinctively showed 'em the name on the front of the jersey.

And that, dear Celtic-fans-in-training, tells you everything you need to know about Kevin Garnett.