Wednesday, March 31, 2010

KG = The Man

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So I flipped on the tv tonight to check if the Celtics game was still on, only to see that they’d just lost 109-104 to the Oklahoma City Thunder. I took a shower, checked a couple other channels, and was just surfing the web with the Celtics post-game show on in the background. That was, until I heard Kevin Garnett say something to the effect of, “I thought we were playing against Michael fucking Jordan with the way he (Kevin Durant) was getting calls tonight. He takes more free throws than our entire team … that’s the game right there.”

At that moment I realized, wow, I need to appreciate this while I still can:

a professional athlete who pours every ounce of himself into every game he plays in, and who genuinely cares about the outcome, almost to a point that’s unhealthy. Paul Pierce was appropriately somber, doling out typical post-loss clichés, and it was clear that he was pissed too. But KG was devastated. He wouldn’t look up and make eye contact with the reporters in front of him. He spoke only in short, mumbled sentences, and he got up and left as fast as he could.

And the thing is, he’s like this after every loss.

It’s not like they just lost a Finals game or even a playoff game. This was game number 74 of the regular season, against a team that’s not in their conference, and that they would most likely not meet in the NBA finals if they made it there. Garnett was just legitimately upset that the team he plays for lost to another team. He was upset enough that he didn’t bother censoring himself on live tv. In the era of exploding salaries and egos, we see fewer and fewer professional athletes that care about winning and losing just for the sake of winning and losing.

Which is why I stopped what I was doing and watched the rest of the post-game show. Appreciate the Kevin Garnett’s of the sports world while you still can.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Science Fiction: We Run Shit Now

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I like Dashboard Confessional and lots of other soft music. And karaoke. And computers. And xkcd. And video games. And math. And history. And blogs about technology and software and all other kinds of stuff. And I absolutely love science fiction.

I am quite definitely a science fiction guy. But I haven't always waved that banner with pride. I started out as a Star Wars guy. I read the entire Young Jedi Knights series between 4th grade and probably 8th. I went on to read The New Jedi Order Series, the X-Wing Series, and The Legacy of the Force series. I tell people I have read 100 Star Wars books, and I don't think that's an exaggeration. Really. And now that I feel *almost* grown up, I've graduated to all sorts of television shows, movies, and books that are the lifeblood of science fiction, whether classic or cutting edge. And I'm probably a dork for it all. But lately, it feels like it's something I can be proud of. Why? Let me show you.

So you all probably know of my complete obsession with Scrubs (at least the first 8 seasons). I think that obsession says a lot about me. You see, the main character is a certain John Dorian (Zach Braff), and at times he is the most typical guy, but at other times (the times that make him the character that all fans of the show love and adore) he is absolutely atypical. He is sensitive and girly and soft and so... un-macho. And people love it. For example (and there are a million), in one episode that I can't remember too much about, JD goes to a bar with Turk and Dr. Cox and they drink beer. It's a guys night out. And at some point JD refers to it as his night to pretend he likes beer. And after saying that, you watch him choke some beer down like it was his first time; he totally hates it. He'd much rather have a delicious appletini! And I think people love him, especially this atypical guy side, because of some larger shift in what is "cool" that has been going on in our culture. Maybe not from top to bottom, but it feels like the "edgy" groups in our society have stamped out trails that, in one way or another, show the rest of us that it's OK and even trendy to just own up to being un-macho, un-cool, un-popular, and just un- in general. Don't be the typical guy. Don't have the typical interests. Be yourself.

And I think me, and apparently lots of other people in the country, are getting that message. We're just being ourselves and owning up to our interests. We're reading dork comics and writing dork blogs and wearing dork tee-shirts. We're OK with that. And some girls seem to like that. I swear to God, I have told girls I have courted on first dates that I am a huge sci-fi fan and they have gone on to make out with me. Certainly not BECAUSE of that, but maybe IN SPITE of it? Either way, we made out, and they knew I was a dork.

But this isn't an article about bucking trends and being yourself. And it certainly is NOT an article about the Doctor getting with chicks. Let's save that for another time (like when you bring that sexy mother of yours around ;) ). It's about science fiction! Of all the dork things that people can buy into and obsess over, I think it's suffered a great deal in terms of general acceptance. It's a label that's been worn by the forerunners of the genre, a banner they've carried, that probably hasn't won them any popularity contests in times and decades when jocks and rock-and-roll and drugs ruled the scene. When high school was a death sentence for people that quoted Star Wars and had fake lightsaber battles (think the Geeks of Freaks and Geeks).

But it isn't that way anymore. Read this list before we go on:

Time travel
Super powers
Space travel
Seeing the future
Radiological mutants

Seen any movies or television shows with anything like that in them? Read any books, comics, cereal boxes? Science fiction is EVERYWHERE! Let's start with TV. Lost, V, Flash Forward, Heroes and Fringe are primetime TV shows on major networks! Dig a little deeper and you find Doctor Who, Dollhouse, Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, Star Trek, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Smallville, and Torchwood, all quality programs that have been on TV recently or are on now.

How about movies? I Am Legend, Hancock, Avatar, Spiderman, Iron Man, Push, Monsters vs. Aliens, The Road, Watchmen, District 9, Cloverfield, Wall-E, Transformers, and Jumper have all come out in the past 3 years! I'm sure we could list a hundred more that you've seen or want to see. And a hundred more you will see.

Books? Try Lord of the Rings. Harry Potter. Twilight. And many, many others that are just soaring with popularity.

The fact of the matter is that Science Fiction is enjoying a golden age right now, and I'm so psyched to be experiencing it. Not only is it awesome to see pop culture accessing these really awesome stories and universes and ideas, but it's also made it so much easier to find the classics. I've had no trouble whatsoever finding lists of Top X Classic Sci Fi authors I need to read. And I've read them. And Bradbury and Vonnegut and Wells and Verne and Asimov and Le Guin and Orwell and Dick and Huxley have started fires on my lap and made crinks in my neck as I've read almost constantly. And new and amazing science fiction keeps getting churned out! Cory Doctorow, Neal Stephenson, Ted Chiang to name a few. All beyond amazing.

Not to mention the films I've gotten a hold of. Akira. Being John Malkovich. Primer. Blade Runner. Logan's Run. Alien. The Abyss. Planet of the Apes. 2001: A Space Odyssey. A diverse list with many spots left to fill. And I still have classics to look forward to delving into, which is a treasure I cherish. But I also have cutting edge material to expect and enjoy, and I have no doubt that I will. And I think a lot of people will. I also hope they get to enjoy some of the classics at some point. Books and movies and television shows. There's such amazing work out there. And it's even more amazing in a time where it's not only acceptable, but it's cool. It's trendy. It's wanted. So let go of your preconceived notions and just dive in.

I guess I should leave off by wondering aloud the real question I've skirted: why? Why is science fiction catching on? Why is the population at large seemingly grabbing hold of it and loving it like a child? First of all, I think that as much as different entertainment media offer people escape, nothing gets us as far from ourselves as something that is entirely imagined but very believable. Second, as science digs so much deeper into the truths of the universe, the hypothesized futures laid out before us in the realm of science fiction become more palatable. We can see these things happening, and it's fun to imagine them before they are realized. It's also super interesting to imagine the problems that our advancements may cause, and it's useful to try to predict the hard questions and difficult problems that might arise. Third, there are some classics that paved the way. Star Wars. Back to the Future. Ghost Busters. The people liked it, and they got more of it. Fourth and final, it's just damn cool. Super powers. The force. Light sabers. Space travel. Time machines. It's so cool! We all wish for these breakthroughs in science to occur as quickly as possible. But until they do, we'll just have to imagine them. And we will. And we are. And it's amazing.

Science Fiction runs shit now. Get used to it.

Doctor Dozer

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Olympian Disaster?

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So I really like the Olympics. It feels really Sci Fi to me somehow. Sci Fi!? Come on, Doctor Dozer. You must be pulling my leg. Nay, I jest not. I feel like the whole "delegations from foreign lands competing in games of balls and wit" thing is done a LOT in science fiction. Harry Potter, anyone? How about Pod racing in Episode I? Mortal Kombat? OK, maybe I'm stretching now, but there ARE some good examples there, and I'm sure I haven't thought of many more.

But that isn't the point of the post. That just explains my inclination towards liking the Olympics. However, I am not at all fond of the current games, and I think I can explain that better than my "Olympic - Sci Fi" connection above.

So I used the word disaster, and I'm going to stick with that. Main point here? The weather. How terrible. It has delayed events, made for crappy venues, and generally made for an annoying news story. If someone says the words "Vancouver," "snow," and "Dallas, Washington DC, etc" in the same sentence, I will shave Bob Costas' eyebrows off. How will you like your Olympics, then?

But it's more than just that. The tragic luge accident has also put a damper on my enjoyment of the games. Not only did a man lose his life in what can only be defined as practice for a game, but I've tried to understand the appeal of the sled sports since the accident, and I cannot for the life of me grasp what's so cool about it. I don't understand what separates one competitor for another. And on top of my inability to understand, a part of me is furious that the course has been made LESS dangerous after the accident. I mean, logically, I totally applaud the move for safety in the Olympic games. The tragedy that occurred is something that hopefully never is repeated. At the same time, I have this unexplainable lust for spectacle that wishes that the 9 stories of height that they removed from the track be restored so that they can go dangerously fast. I am insane.

Finally, I heard someone funny say this a few nights ago: how many ways are there to watch people slide on snow or ice? At some point, it just becomes too much. I realized, after seeing these different forms of sliding, that my love of Olympics is limited to the Summer games. There are running, throwing, cycling, jumping... everything a guy can want. Not just... sliding...

So the verdict? The Winter Olympics, and especially these Winter Olympics in Vancouver 2010, suck. Power to the Summer Games. And to world class athlete females wearing bikinis and playing volleyball. Oh my...

Doctor Love

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Friday, January 8, 2010

The Sites I Frequent

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I'm sure you've been wondering about this for a while, and here is the answer to the question that keeps you up night after night: What websites do I, Doctor Dozer(himself), keep myself entertained with? What sites does he have to keep up with for fear of missing something hilarious, enlightening, or important? Well, click that little link... yeah, that one... and I'll tell you.

The first three are members of the Gawker Media universe. From Wikipedia, "Gawker Media is an online media company founded and owned by Nick Denton based in New York City. It is considered[1] to be one of the most visible and successful blog-oriented media companies. As of January 2009, it is the parent company for 10 different weblogs, including, Defamer, Fleshbot, Deadspin, Lifehacker, Gizmodo, io9, Kotaku, Jalopnik, and Jezebel." Basically, depending on what you are into, you can find a blog for you in one of those for sure. I happen to love three of them.

1. Lifehacker - Lifehacker is a polished site with fantastic posts each day about one thing and one thing only: streamlining your life, aka "hacking" your life. This can include tips about random things everyone might do (from making DIY outdoor lamps to wiring your apartment and turning your xbox into a media hub) to pieces of software or other applications that might somehow make things easier on you. Even if the tip doesn't apply directly to me, I learn a lot about random things, save some money on DIY projects or free software, and have a good time reading good writing.

2. Gizmodo - A very similar site, but this one focuses its attention on gadgetry and software almost exclusively. The latest news on the newest phones, cameras, computers, navigation devices, high tech pens, and whatever other gadgets your fingers desire. They also do a really good job giving open and honest opinions about cutting edge products (helped me decide to purchase an iPhone). They also do a great job keeping me up-to-date on the latest and greatest iPhone apps while also informing me when apps are being offered for free (my favorite).

3. io9 - io9 is a blog about Science Fiction. It covers popular Sci Fi, shows like Lost or Heroes or Avatar or Spiderman or other heroey stuff, and also classic Science Fiction texts and movies and things. Lastly, it cover science fiction ideas, like futuristic artwork or architecture, possibilities of planet colonization, or any other topics that come up in contemporary works of Science Fiction. Great site, and one that proudly waves the Science Fiction banner I march behind.

The next few will be sort of random. But they are great. We'll start with a classic, and end with, well, I'm not sure because I haven't gotten there yet. But if you'll just bear with me for a moment (this is a reference to a joke from the next site)...

4. xkcd - This is the holy grail of webcomics. No one even comes close. Self proclaimed as "a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language," which are more than a few of my favorite things. It's actually four of my favorite things. I literally weep for people when I am in my bed at night after I reference xkcd and they tell me they have never heard of it. Don't make nerds cry: experience a great comic today.

5. Conquer Club - Again, I'm starting to (starting to!?) come to grips with the fact that I am a huge dork. I like board games. Risk is one of my all time favorites. And this site does a really great job handling risk. You play in games with strangers on new and exciting maps of fictional or real places with the same goal - taking over the world. You simply take turns making your moves, and each player has 24 hours to take their turn. There are nuances, obviously, associated with playing the game online, but you'll learn them all. Best of luck, and you can't touch me.

6. Zero Punctuation - Man, I'm just a dork. Dammit. Anyway, this site absolutely kills me. It's a constantly growing collection of hilarious (beyond hilarious) video game reviews done by Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw. He is offensive in the best possible ways and is a tough critic on a genre of art that needs tough criticism. We've been throwing our money at video games for too long to just blindly purchase whatever the next "rage" is without someone we trust filtering out the crap for us. Thanks for being that guy, Ben. I, personally, purchased The Orange Box on your recommendation alone and never regretted it. PS - I am a full supporter of your movement to bring an end to the exclusive use of the brown on brown color scheme that ruins the current generation of video games. Thanks for being you,

7. Coming Soon - keeps you abreast (A BREAST!?!?!) of the latest movie news. This, for me, mainly consists of me checking their "most popular" list and scrolling down the list of "Most Craved this Week" movies and watching the latest trailers, reading the latest rumors, or finding out what some movie is actually about. A great site if your into movies at all. It singlehandedly kept me sane for the year and six months during which I waited for Avatar to come out. So worth it...

8. CastTV - My first destination when it comes to watching television shows online (which I do a lot of these days). Let's face it - TV has gotten a LOT better over the last few years. And that means there are a lot of shows to watch. And that might mean you miss some from time to time. Or you might miss them completely and want to go back and experience the show you never learned about until after its end (Jericho, Arrested Development, Battlestar Galactica, etc.). This site links you to places that host the shows you are interested in, both pay sites and free sites, and allows you to watch the shows you love and miss anytime you like. Great site.

9. Sporcle - Last but not least is Sporcle. Basically, this is a game site that challenges you with 4 or 5 new puzzles every day that ask you to generate some kind of list. Countries, sports stars, movies, you name it, there are quizzes for you. Lots of fun, and a great diversion/brain teaser when you need a break but want to keep a sharp mind.

That's all for now. That should keep you busy for, oh I don't know, nearly forever. Don't say I didn't warn you. But do thank me (and the creators/generators of all that fantastic content, but me first) for pointing you in the right direction when you do find something you happen to fall in love with. And marry. And bang out and reproduce with. You're welcome in advance.

Yours in Dorkhood,
Doctor "Spin Me Right Round" Dozer

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It's Always Sunny

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I think I'm going to start a series on converting you to followers of my favorite television programs. Yeah, I just started it (though, truth be told, I've done pieces on Breaking Bad and on Scrubs in the past with the intent of gaining converts...). But I think we shall start with the most ridiculous show on TV... It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Why is it good? What makes it worth your precious time? Jump it and learn.

It's Always Sunny is the most out of control sitcom on TV. I had to qualify that with "sitcom" as opposed to "TV show" because I recently watched an episode of Jersey Shore and wept for my nation. How sad it is that those people exist. But back to more pressing matters, why should you watch It's Always Sunny?

The truth is that this show is hit or miss. When they miss with an episode, you may not laugh one time, but when they hit, you literally could end up rolling across the floor. You might dribble urine into your undies. Seriously. I have.

If you watch and have any friends that watch, I'm sure you've spent time rehashing your favorite moments (and there are definitely a lot). You've spent time trying to do Charlie's "Freak Out" voice. You've been reminded of things you had to put out of your memory for fear that it would render you crippled with laughter at some important time.

If you don't watch, all that I just said should be an indicator that you should. If you need more, here it is: they are simply out of control. Whereas The Office and Scrubs (two comedies I've lobbied hard for in the past) take common situations and make them light and funny, It's Always Sunny takes absurd situations, places absurd characters into them, and has them say and do absurd things. Their viewpoints are dangerous, evil, but always hilarious, and their actions are the same. They are a bunch of losers trying to get ahead in the small world that they know, and they do a terrible job doing so.

But I love them, and you will, too. Go for it. Trust me...

I'm a Doctor.

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An Image Used to Represent You on Forums, You Mean?

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Hello folks. The Doctor has returned. Maybe you don't care. But it's nice to be writing again. I just wanted to give you a quick movie review on Avatar. Because I know there aren't any of THOSE out there. But maybe mine will be a little different and interesting to you. Or not. But hey, give it a read while you're here. After the jump...

Alright. So Avatar. I think I had been anticipating its release for at least 18 months. I spend a great deal of time perusing the big board they have there about what upcoming releases people are interested in. So every few weeks I go down and look through the top 50 and see what might be interesting. I stay abreast (*breast*!!! hahaha) of anything I find interesting. And I become obsessed with movies I think will be amazing. Avatar was one of those movies. From the first time I read that James Cameron had this film coming out until finally seeing late December, I was hooked.

So let's start with what I actually thought of the film. I think there is only one correct word to use: epic. I think that applies in two different senses. First, we'll go with the more complimentary of the two meanings. The movie was an epic undertaking and has paved the way for new and incredibly appealing uses of movie technology in the future. The 3D elements of the film were amazing. They weren't haughty or overdone. They gave depth not only to the screen, but to the characters. They made the world real and accessible and something you cared about. It was an experience I have not had too often. I'd say the closest thing to that was the Star Wars universe, but really this blew that out of the water.

The other way the word "epic" describes the film is through the story line. It's truly epic. Which is a good thing and a bad. It's a good thing insomuch as the storyline feels important and historically significant. The movie allows you to feel as though you are reliving the legendary times of the Na'vi's past while also painting the aggressively expansionary tendencies of the human race as evil and unacceptable. Even though they are fighting for their already established existence, the viewer almost feels as if he's watching the times that truly create the Na'vi as a people. Their origin tale, or something like that.

However, the outcome is almost too good, too squeaky clean to fall in love with. Which is sometimes how epic tales can be given their age-old or classic nature. You feel you already know the ending, so it lacks that literary element of surprise, making the reader miss out on that burning desire to see the story through to the end. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. But with James Cameron's classic Sci-Fi films (take Alien or The Abyss for example), there is something about the movies that make you HAVE to know what is going to happen, that makes you need it. And Avatar isn't that.

But it still is a great movie, more for the 3D and world-crafting elements than anything else. It lived up to and probably exceeded my expectations in a number of ways. I'm glad it was made, and I'm even more glad it was successful, because now more and more films will try and be just as... epic.

One last point before I get you out of here. It's been a successful appointment so far, so hopefully this doesn't take anything away from it. But I have this friend who I've written about before. He's in the army. Definitely a military type. And he had a tremendously different viewing experience than I think most people would. He was rooting for the humans and could not believe that Jake Sully would abandon his race to support a bunch of savages. I thought this through with him, trying to figure out if his viewpoint could be defended by any sort of human logic, and we decided it could not. The reason he admitted this was because the soldiers he identified with were not of the national variety - they were mercenaries who only did these things to make a buck. That is indefensible, and he is a douche for thinking to support them at all.

Consider yourself vaccinated from the Swine Flu.

PS - Apparently there is a Na'vi sex scene that was deleted from the movie to keep it PG-13. And it will be on the DVD. Something to look forward to there...

RX - More Big Budget Science Fiction Films

The Doctor

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Monday, September 21, 2009

College Football Power Rankings

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College football is a funny game. It's chaotic nature distinguishes it from every other major organized sports league in America. It's the only NCAA sport whose champion is not decided by a tournament-based system. Hell, the NCAA doesn't even officially declare a national champion of the "Division 1 Football Bowl Subdivision." The coaches/computer/media polls are certainly one of the nuttiest parts of this crazy sport that we love, and I'm not here to clarify the confusion. I'm here to add to it.

My power rankings order teams based strictly on what I believe to be the quality of each team, not desert. I believe USC is the sixth best team in the country, not that they deserve to go to the Rose Bowl before Washington or any other Pac 10 team with a better record. The basic test I used for the rankings is "Would team #1 usually beat team #2?" and so on. You'll notice that I only have one non-BCS conference team in the top 25, three fewer than most official polls. That's because I think these team generally suck and would usually lose to the teams I have ranked. (I think Boise State and Utah would be middling Pac 10 teams at best. Houston and TCU would be Big 12 bottom-feeders.)

One of the major flaws of the poll system is that it begins before the season does. Pollsters usually rank the teams based off of how many returning starters they have and how they did in the previous seasons bowl game. The drawback to having a preseason polls is that teams can only rise up the poll so fast and so far making the poll itself a determining factor in who finishes at the top. Those that start at the top have a clear advantage over those who don't. A major reason why the undefeated 2004 Auburn Tigers didn't play in the BCS national championship game was that they began the year ranked 17th in the AP Poll and 18th in the ESPN/USA Today Poll. This is why I believe polling shouldn't begin until after the third week of the season when we have at least a small sample size of performances to rank the teams based off of. (And why I'm starting mine now).

You can follow my rankings every week for the rest of the season here. Let me know how much you think they suck.

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Saturday, September 5, 2009

We Did Love Dinosaurs Once

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Well hello there.

So the resurgence I promised has failed. Did I make a valiant effort? Maybe. But probably not.

Life is a car in the fog on a mountain. Nothing you can do to see further ahead so you just take it as it comes. Carefully. Because it's pretty dangerous. To your left is a hard place; a rock, if you would. The side of the mountain wouldn't be so forgiving if you struck it, so you do your best to avoid it. But not by all that much. You hug its cold and honest face because to the right is the Cliff. You wouldn't make it. For sure. So you just try to hang on to the middle, whatever that means. You're a 2 ton mess of iron and you can do damage. To yourself and to the mountain. To the world. The mountain, the world, will heal over time no matter what you do, because despite your power, you are too small. You are a speck on a speck on a speck on a speck on a speck. Probably hundreds of specks smaller than that, too. But there is hope...

There is the sunset when the fog lifts. There is the other side of the mountain. There is the road you've climbed. The pebbles you've turned and kicked aside.

And there are people like Anis Mojgani. And poems like his. So take them. And run with them. And cling to their lines and use them as a guardrail when you think you may fall to the side. Or when you'll run into the mountain. Don't rush. Take it in.

Rock the fuck out.



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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

One Reader and Counting...

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Well, at least we know someone is reading.'s Ian Thomsen covers the NBA off-season:

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Monday, July 6, 2009

The Rich Get Richer

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After a season void of any significant personnel movement, the NBA's top teams are reloading for the 2009-10 season. The best teams of this decade (Lakers, Spurs, Pistons) and of late (Celtics, Cavs, Magic) have all made serious upgrades in the early stages of the off-season. If Bill Simmons' theory is correct, that the NBA enjoys its best seasons when the gap between the elite teams and the rest is widest, than we may be in for a great year.

Recent acquisitions:

Lakers - Ron Artest
Spurs - Richard Jefferson
Pistons - Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva
Celtics - Rasheed Wallace
Cavs - Shaquille O'Neal
Magic - Vince Carter

This is the rest of the post

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Difference Maker

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The LA Lakers championship this season can be attributed to many things, and there were many reasons they failed to win it the year before (namely, the Boston Celtics). But one factor that I think was not acknowledged in the Lakers failure two seasons ago, and that made the difference this season, was Trevor Ariza.

Ariza got his due this year (including his name in an SI article headline) and rightly so. But two years ago, after getting injured a quarter of the way through the season, no one talked about the difference he could have made to the Lakers in playoffs. Instead of Sasha Vujacic missing open threes and getting abused on defense again (Ray Allen in game four of the 2008 Finals anyone?), Ariza was making hustle plays and hitting clutch shots for the Lakers in the 2009 playoffs.

What came to my mind was that Ariza played the same role for the 2008-09 Lakers that Manu Ginobili did for the Spurs during their 2002-03 championship season. When you watched that Spurs team play they just had an extra spark that was missing the year before (which ended with an early exit from the playoffs) and Ginobili was that spark. Ariza was that guy for the Lakers this year. Take a look at their averages from the playoffs those two years.

Manu Ginobili 2003 playoffs: 27.5 min, 9.4 ppg, 3.8 reb, 2.9 assists. Trevor Ariza 2009 playoffs: 31.4 min, 11.3 ppg, 4.2 reb, 2.3 assists.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Race War!!!

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This post will be entirely related to the recent US Supreme Court decision that The Wall Street Journal so kindly outlines for us here. Basically, the decision ruled in favor of a group of white firefighters that sued the city of New Haven, CT for denying them promotions solely because of their race. Juicy enough for you? Let's talk it out...

OK, so Race War is something I'm familiar with. Just kidding. Actually the opposite is true. Being a recent alumnus of Reston College, the amount of diversity we experience puts the graduates of our fair institution probably in the top 1% of liberally-minded people when it comes to race. Boundaries simply should not exist because of color. People are just people!

But boundaries do exist. And color does matter. Just as it did for these firefighters. After taking a test to EARN a promotion (I will come back to the word EARN in a minute), they were told the test would be thrown out. The reason? Not enough minorities did well on the test, and the city wanted to avoid being sued by affirmative action supporters. The merit of the individual was disregarded because of the failure of a group, and that group happened to be made up of people that shared one similarity: they were minorities. Thus, personal performance and achievement were trumped by race. The race card once again acted as a net to save minorities that stumbled and a governor on the engines of advancement for the white individuals that worked hard to succeed and move forward.

Did the department intend for the test to hold minorities back? Decidedly not. They even testified that the reason they threw out the test was because it made them liable to suits by affirmative action supporters! In my mind, that means they did nothing wrong. They intended for the outcome of the test to act as a basis for promoting deserving individuals, and they even hoped that a significant number of these individuals would be minorities. So intent to make things fair was clearly their.

And that is all that matters. Or at least all that should matter. And the Supreme Court apparently agrees with me as their decision favors the white firefighters. And I thank them for entering the debate on race not on the side of white or black or any other color, but on the side of fairness.

I'll sum up now. For a long time race was used as a way to hold people back. Just as sex was. People feared difference, and fear turned to hatred and violence and simply evil. And good things have happened in the last fifty years to turn that around, thanks to heroes like Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others.

But we all know that. The question is where do we stand now? And I think the answer is that we have come nearly full circle. People see each other as equals, as people. We are now, finally, starting to look past race. No, not in every situation, but in both institutional and individual instances, and it's a noticeable change.

So we're down to the final question: where do we go from here? I fear that if things continue in the affirmative action vein, then race will begin to be used not as a reason to offer aid to minorities, but as a way to hold the majority back. And the Supreme Court seems to share my view in this manner. In this case it was clear that the city was holding white individuals back in order to allow for the group that did not do as well to succeed. And that group contained a substantial number of minorities, and it was clear that this was the SOLE reason that any action was taken at all. Situations like that cannot arise, and the Supreme Court was right to condemn this instance of it and all future instances as well.

EARN. I said it before, and I'm returning to it now. People, all people of all races, need to EARN their advancement. That is the American Dream. When people are held back or pushed forward without EARNING either treatment, the tenets of our great nation are put at risk, and that we simply cannot afford.

Given the same opportunities, race should not matter. Only what someone earns. However, people should be given the same opportunities, and the attempt to create equality, then, should come through balancing out the opportunities afforded to young people everywhere in terms of getting an education! If students are motivated to succeed, they should be given that opportunity. By the time they graduate from college, all students should have been given the same opportunities. What they chose to do with them, and what they choose to do after them, are entirely up to them.

Rx: Ignoring race completely

The Doctor

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Comedy Done Right (And in a Sterile Setting)

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Alright TV fans. It's showdown time. We're not going soft on anyone. No taking it easy. We are getting down to the nuts and bolts of two of my favorite comedy shows on television and letting them have at it. Think Celebrity Death Match from MTV but in real life. We're going to have ridiculously violent things happen to these shows in the octagon so that we can know once and for all which is best (and why).
Scrubs vs. The Office.
Lab Coats vs. Suits
Stethoscopes vs. Ties
JD's hair vs. Michael's hair
The Janitor's Creepiness vs. Creed's

OK, let me get this over with. I KNOW Scrubs is dead. It's finished. The series finale came at the end of the last season (number 8), and there will be no new episodes ever. However, I a) am not all the way finished with my frantic catching up yet and b) am a tremendous fan of anything I've ever seen on the show. So bear with me.

And we're off. I reviewed The Office in my last post and was as cruel as possible with them. But I want to say this: it's a great show. Those of us that watch know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is one of the few shows still on the air that is worthy of tuning in for week in and week out. The cast is great, the writing is great, and the laughs are great.

But as Flor says in one of my favorite movies Spanglish, "[If] this was small enough to be [summed up in one blog post], I would be a fool to bring it up. But I need to say, no matter what the result... I need to be impolite!" I need to go to town on The Office because we should demand the highest quality from our television shows, even if they are currently among the best in existence. To do so, I will compare it to one of my new favorite shows: Scrubs.

Scrubs is fantastic for many of the same reasons The Office is. The characters are both ridiculous to the point where they are slightly unbelievable (which is definitely a good thing as humor that hits too close to home can quickly become not funny) and deeply and carefully characterized. Yes, JD is beyond absurd, but we are past that and fans of the show love him for his oddity. We are at the point where we understand him (in ways that we are often unable to understand the stupidity of a certain Michael Scott). JD lives in a fantasy world, has odd daydreams about almost everything, loves appletinis, needs physical affection from friends and mentors to validate his existence, is often sexually inappropriate, and constantly falls short in the social side of his life, but we love all of that about him! Zach Braff makes it not only acceptable but endearing. And it is the same way with all the characters on the show.

Also, the story line centers around a work space that we all have some sort of familiarity with. It helps us in accepting the shortcomings of the places we know so well by allowing us to laugh at their expense. They somehow become less scary, though the danger and fear remains.

Finally, every storyline wraps itself up nicely. Despite having us laugh for a half hour straight, when time is up we have learned something. Whether it's that "there are more important things in life" or that "everything will be OK," we can take comfort in the lessons we come away with when we turn the TV off.

Despite all this, Scrubs does not fall short in any aspect whatsoever. Where The Office lacks a degree of cohesion between the episodes, Scrubs does not. The patients that live keep living and the stories surrounding them continue. The ones that are treated or pass on do so, and we take what we can from their situations and move forward. The relations between the doctors evolve, the running jokes don't lose their steam, and problems aren't always resolved in an episode or two. I know that the Jim and Pam saga has its development and setbacks and from time to time a solution, but barring Michael Scott's ever worsening idiocy, their relationship is really the only thing on the show that is not stagnant.

What's more, the characters we watch week in and week out (well the main ones, save The Janitor, The Todd, and Ted) are not necessarily fatally flawed in ways that cannot be ignored or forgiven. They often do what they can to earn our affection and admiration, even at their lowest points.

Those are my two major points: episode cohesion (and even season cohesion) and character respect. Even though he's a nerd, you want to be JD. He's a doctor. He has great friends. He seems to laugh a lot and love a lot, despite being hurt sometimes. He saves lives. The same is true for almost every character, even if they're overly feminine, overly macho, overly insecure, overly over-bearing, overly cynical, or overly anything. They still have those always redeemable base qualities. Jim Halpert, arguably the most admiration-worthy character on The Office, doesn't have that. Yes, he laughs in a crappy environment and has found love there, but do you really want to be him? Trapped in that office of hilarious nimrods? I for one would prefer to be JD. And maybe that's why I prefer to watch him.

So really what I'm asking for is improvement from The Office. I've said it before and I'll say it again: it's a great show. But it could be better, and all would be happier if it were. And there are two ways to do that. The first is to improve the cohesion between episodes. I keep thinking back to the stupid office picnic episode and barring the wonderful news at the end, can you tell me one thing that happened? Michael sees Holly, but nothing develops. Another branch closes, but it doesn't affect anyone from the viewers perspective. Basically, hilarious things go on over the course of the day and that's it. We see the characters in a new setting and see how they handle it. Yes, it's novel for the show, but not for the fans. We want things to happen! If you had missed the entire episode save for the last thirty seconds, would you really need to go back to "catch up?" I think not, and I think that's something we want in our shows.

And as for character respect (kind of an awful phrase for what I mean, but gimme a break), I think there are ways for The Office to improve that. There are certainly glimpses, like in the episode where Pam's parents get divorced, but please let me know if there has been any sizable personal growth that I have missed in the following flat-as-a-pancake characters: Andy, Dwight, Kevin, Oscar, Kelly, Michael, Ryan, Angela, Stanley, Phyllis, Creed, Toby. From day one to day now, has ANYTHING CHANGED FOR THEM? Maybe that's part of the humor for some of the characters, and that's fine, but all of them?! That's 90% of the show and I need to be OK with the fact that there is nothing new happening with any of them?! I demand more, and I think you can deliver, Office writers. I know you can.

I understand that I've tried to explain the shortcomings of The Office and the lack of any in Scrubs in this post, but it hasn't been easy. If I've fallen short, I hope the episodes will fill the gaps. I don't think I need to panhandle on The Office's behalf for viewership, but PLEASE WATCH SCRUBS! If you have, tell more people to watch. If you haven't, DO IT! Go to here and start with season 1 episode 1. And run with it. I don't think you'll find a better show to laugh at, learn from, or enjoy in your spare time.

Trust me. It's just what The Doctor ordered.

The Doctor

PS - Doctor Perry Cox. Nothing in the entertainment industry can even compare to the rants he makes so often on the show. They just never get old for me. He alone could tip the scales in favor of Scrubs, but thankfully there is an amazing show to go with him. Go watch.

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Cornell, I Feel Your Pain

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In true Quint Kessenich form, I'll try to make lacrosse intelligible by comparing it to a mainstream American sport. Anyone who watched Superbowl XLII (NY Giants 17 NE Patriots 14) can probably understand how the Cornell men's lacrosse team felt after losing to Syracuse 10-9 in overtime in the national championship. The roles of underdog and favorite in the two games may have been reversed, but the improbability of the game-saving plays was eerily similar. After trailing 9-6 with five minutes to go, Syracuse rallied and scored the game-tying goal with four seconds left on a spectacular/fucking absurd play (depending on who you were rooting for).

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Monday, June 8, 2009

Politics, why bother?

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I'm a Bostonian born and raised, but unlike most from my state I am a diehard conservative. It brings me so much joy to see Sal Dimasi go down in flames along with the past 3 speakers of the house for MA. On the national level you have completely incompetent people like Barney Frank attempting to get as much media coverage with his persecution of those he deemed "responsible" for the financial collapse when he attacked Edward Libby. And on the international level you have the joke that is the English parliament. Not only did Gordon Brown's party, the labour party, lose their elections last week but they fell from first to worst.

Politicians are a joke. Never are they acting in the best interest of our society. They are always trying to appeal to the mob in order to secure reelection. They will take whatever money they need to fatten their state's wallet (bridge to nowhere) and their own wallets (British elected officials writing off having their moats cleaned as an expense).

Sadly enough though this effects all parties and all countries throughout the world. The big they are, the more money they have to spend, the more falls through the cracks and the less of it we see actually helping where it’s needed. Give States their power back, force term limits on all public officials and for the love of god give us a reason to vote.

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

My Year In Television

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So it's been about a year since I've been writing as close to full time as a NYC internship would allow. And I'm back. But I've been over that with you already (Comeback? Bigfoot? Blurriness? Britney!? Yeah, you remember). Now we're on to actual content. The cutting edge stuff that made this blog what it still hasn't been. And for myself, my greatest contributions came in terms of television. When you come to me saying, "Doctor, I've been having symptoms of showlessness. What can you do for me?" Or, "Doctor, I needed a second opinion on what went down in [enter fantastic series here] the other day. Can you help me?" With questions like that, you've come to the right place. Jump it.

Thanks for jumping. Anyway, as I was saying, I am your man when it comes to television. Why is this? Well there are a number of reasons. First of all, I have way too much time on my hands, and keep up with a lot of television shows as a result. In addition, when I am caught up with my repertoire of shows, I don't just relax and play video games or drink my face off (OK, I do that, you're right). No. Instead, I find other shows to ADD to my lists, to try out and then dedicate myself to. I've done this a lot over the year, and the list of shows that I am dedicated to has grown substantially. In order of the first ones that pop into my head, my list now includes but is not limited to:
The Office
Breaking Bad
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Trust Me
My Name is Earl
Burn Notice
and even no longer new shows (especially that aired between classes last semester) like:
Just Shoot Me
Home Improvement
and many others

I don't really know where to go from here, but I'm going somewhere. I'll probably begin with focusing on some of my top shows (Lost, Heroes, The Office, Breaking Bad), detailing the emotional roller coaster ride they have taken me on since we last talked.

Maybe we'll start sort of light to round out this article: The Office.

A great show, some cutting edge humor, and lots of imitation being attempted around television. But nothing does it for me quite like The Office. As any habitual (or casual) watcher of the show knows, though there is humor in some of the running jokes or character relations, the greatest part of the show is the daily interaction between the employees, the monotonous hilarity that is their lives. And that has not suffered too greatly this season. The comedy was still very tight, interactions were kept hilarious (see Charles and Jim's relationship or Angela and Kelley competing for Charles's attention for examples), and from what I've seen I don't think they should be losing any fans.

However, that is not to say they are doing perfectly. Fans are happy, but they are not elated. And I say this for one reason: the overarching storyline used to have some real direction and continuity behind it, mostly led by the Jim and Pam storyline, but also with Michael's love life and the rise and fall of Ryan.

This season (5), a lot of that was missing. Yes, they had a fine story arc set up with Michael's quitting and his starting of a new paper company. However, they came full circle in the end, and I was left feeling like my time was wasted and other stuff should have been happening in The Office universe. Also, how many of the shows were simply one and done story lines that had to be explained in the beginning and were resolved by the end with little to know actual plot development having occurred by the episode's end? All I know is that it seemed like there were too many for me.

Despite anything bad I have to say about the show, it's one of the most hilarious on television and should be watched religiously by all. You're missing out if you haven't been. And finally, with the Pam pregnant cliff-hanger at the end, a lot of interesting things should go on next season without a doubt.

Rx: Watch the show like your life depends on it.
Consequence for not obeying: Death by crushing.


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Do I Know You From Somewhere?

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So it's been a while. I know that. We all do. But here at Bigfoot is Blurry, we believe in comebacks. We believed in Jordan when he came back after dabbling in an intergalactic basketball game to the prevent the enslavement of Bugs Bunny and friends (or we just believed he should quit the bull crap and stop making awful movies). We believed in Favre when he quit then came back then quit now is thinking of coming back (or we loathed him for bothering us the entire time. And for the record, I'm betting he does come back much to the disappointment of SoBDD). We believed in the Sox's miracle comeback when they were down 3-0 in that magical ALCS (I have refused to watch baseball ever since). So clearly we're strong believers in comebacks and big fans of those that attempt them...

Sorry, but we sort of had to go with Britney at some point. C'mon. We had to. Right? Thanks for understanding. Anyway...

OK, well maybe we don't believe in comebacks. And maybe we don't particularly love the individuals or teams that do comeback (or try to). That being said, we're rooting for ourselves. Maybe that sounds ridiculous, but given our nonexistent fan base, our preoccupations that keep us from our blogging dreams, and our graduation from the esteemed Reston College into a world of limited jobs and endless days on the couch, someone's got to root for us. Why not let it be us?

And thus it shall be. We will root for ourselves. And those of us that have way too much time on their hands will come back and will come back in a big way. In a Bigfoot way, even. Because the world just wouldn't be the same if anything happened to Bigfoot's famed blurriness. Whether he was discovered once and for all or just faded away and no one ever talked about him anymore, neither would be good for the world.

The same goes for BIBTTP. No, we may never make it; we may never be "discovered" by the world. But neither can we simply fade away and end our blogging, end our relationship with our tens of fans (that we threaten and force to visit the site). Nay. The world needs us just as we were: blurry as hell. And now that we have some more time on our hands, that's what we intend to give you: some really blurry Bigfootedness.

Come back soon. I know I will.

Rx: A whole lot of clicking around this beautiful blog once a day for the rest of your natural born (or artificially inseminated) lives.

Your Doctor,

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Weekly Draft 4: All-Time All-Basketball Selection-Off

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With the 08-09 NBA season beginning this week, Sons of Big Daddy Drew and I started talking hoop. We decided to each draft a team picking from the greatest basketball players of all time. When making our picks we weighted each player’s professional career more than their college performance and we weighted NBA seasons more strongly than any other professional experience. Our rosters consist of five starters and three subs. We limited subs to players that have never won a championship or never been the star player on a championship team.After the draft, we used to simulate a seven game series between our two teams. When creating a dream team on whatifsports you pick a specific season that a player played. For instance, if you draft Michael Jordan, you have to decide whether to add 93-94 Jordan, 97-98 Jordan, or any other season he played. Whatifsports places a dollar value on each season a player has played, to represent his value. In general, I assembled the teams based on each player’s highest rated season according to whatifsports. However for players that won an MVP award, I selected their highest rated season in which they won the award. The most significant impact this had was on Wilt Chamberlain – he did not win MVP in the 61-62 season in which he averaged 50 points and 25 rebounds per game. The other exception in addition to the MVPs was Julius Erving, whose top rated seasons were played with ABA teams the New York Nets and Virginia Squires. Whatifsports requires you to have a full 12 man roster so we used 00-01 Tyronn Lue, 00-01 Tariq Abdul-Wahad, 05-06 Lonny Baxter, and 04-05 Vitaly Potapenko to fill out both our rosters so they would have no effect on the outcome the games.

Sons of Big Daddy Drew picked first in a straight (alternating rather than serpentine) draft. SoBDD named his team the Duke Street Kings (picks are in red) and JuicyJuice named his team Walter’s Warriors. Here’s how it all went down.

The Draft

Draft Analysis

• Interestingly, the two players with the most points in NBA history, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone, were not selected in the draft.

• The dollar values of the two teams according to whatifsports:
o Walter’s Warriors - $69,555,850
o Duke Street Kings - $71,641,298

• 7 of the first 10 players selected played for either the Celtics or the Lakers.

• Tim Duncan and Allen Iverson were the only two players selected that are still playing today. Duncan is really the only player that should be considered in the “all-time greatest…” club as Iverson was selected as a sub.

• Bill Simmons’ “42.4 Club” can be used to point out a number of notable exclusions from our draft. This club is “for stars who averaged at least 42 per playoff game in combined points, rebounds.” Only 4 of the 16 players in the 42.4 Club were selected in the BIBTTP draft: Michael Jordan (8x), Larry Bird (4), Magic Johnson (2), Allen Iverson (2). Simmons club only includes season since the ABA-NBA merger in 1976, which explains why so many of our players are not part of this club. Of the twelve players in the club not selected but were legitimate candidates are: Shaquille O’Neal (4), Moses Malone (4), Kobe Bryant (3), Charles Barkley (3), and Karl Malone (3).

• If JJ were to re-do the draft, he probably would have altered his strategy slightly. JJ selected as though it was a real league in which many teams were drafting. All it really was though was SoBDD and JJ picking the two greatest players (in our opinions) at each position. So, the first five picks of the draft should all be different positions, presumably the best player at each position. There was no reason for JJ to take Chamberlain with the second pick because SoBDD certainly wasn’t going to take him after nabbing Russell. Despite how limited in scope this draft was, it provided for some interesting twists and turns. This draft is worthwhile however because if it were repeated a number of times by different people, I think you would get some real variation in the draft order and composition of the teams.

Draft Commentary

Sons of Big Daddy Drew: Okay. With the first pick in the All-Time All-Basketball Selection-Off I choose:

Winner of 2 national collegiate championships,
Winner of an Olympic gold medal,
Winner of 11 NBA championships,
A 12 time all star,
Elected NBA MVP 5 times,
Member of the NBA's 25th, 35th, and 50th anniversary teams,
Named "Athlete of the Decade" by the Sporting News for the 1960's,
Named "Greatest Player in the History of the Game" by the PBWAA in 1980,
Possessor of a 22-0 record in elimination games (that is, single elimination games, game 5 of a 5 game series and game 7 of a seven game series) across the collegiate, olympic, and professional levels,
The first black head coach in North American sports,
The toughest competitor, hardest worker, and greatest basketball mind the game has ever seen,

Bill Russell.

JuicyJuice: With the second pick, I select Wilt Chamberlain. Simple put, Chamberlain is the most dominant player to ever play the game. 7-1 250 lbs as a rookie, Chamberlain eventually bulked up to 300 lbs when he played with the Lakers. Chamberlain has a list of impressive accomplishments of his own: he is the only player to ever average more than 40 and more than 50 points in a season; only player to score 100 points in a game; he won seven scoring, nine field goal percentage, and eleven rebounding titles, and once even led the league in assists; he won two NBA titles, earned four regular-season MVPs, one Finals MVP, and was selected to 13 All-star and ten All-NBA First and Second teams. Over his fourteen seasons in the NBA, Wilt averaged 30 ppg, 22 rebounds, and 4.4 assists.

But the awards and stats don't measure how dominant Chamberlain actually was. Chamberlain was such an unstoppable force that his play forced the NBA to change the rules of the game. These rule changes included widening the lane and instituting offensive goaltending. You may think that old Dr. Naismith decided that players are not allowed to cross the free throw line when shooting a free throw. But you'd be wrong. The NBA instituted that rule because Chamberlain would leap from behind the line and throw down every one of his free throws! Leap from behind the line and throw it down! FROM BEHIND THE LINE!

Despite your first pick’s offensive ineptitude, I really can't say too much bad about him.

SoBDD: Wilt Chamberlain as "the most dominant player to ever play the game"? I guess Wilt has never met Bill Russell. Oh wait, he did. Eight times in the playoffs, in fact. Chamberlain's record in those series? 1-7. Sure, Wilt dominated with the ladies--20,000 according to him--but if he were so great on the hardcourt, why did Russell's teams consistently wipe the floor with him? Chamberlain was, to be certain, a giant presence, and his impact on the game is undeniable. He was also a giant douchenozzle. Teams generally don't decide to give away great players for the hell of it, and yet was traded twice in his career because no one could stand the bastard. And how dare you use Chamberlain leading the league in assists as evidence of his greatness? The reason he led the league in assists was not because it was the best for his team--it was because he didn't want to be considered selfish, and he figured the best way to show how unselfish he was to pass the ball all the time. Look, the man was on the great scorers ever--your rundown of his accomplishments showed that. And for such a great scorer to decline to shoot to prove a point-- to the detriment of the team--is about the most selfish thing anyone could do. (Is there a 'Kobe Bryant' in the audience? Hell, there's no one in the audience.) Listen, Chamberlain was a very good player, there's no denying that. But the goal here is to have a great team, and to put Wilt at the center, well, you're going to fall short.

Instead, give me Michael Jordan... As his biography states, "By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time." He scored more points per game than Chamberlain, and he did it in an era when scoring was down and physicality was up. He led his team to the best single-season record of all time, and he won six championships. His five MVP awards and 10 scoring titles lend evidence to his individual greatness, as do his nine selections to the All-NBA defensive team. Think about it: the best scorer in the league 10 times, he was one of the five best defenders another nine times! ESPN named Jordan the greatest athlete of the 20th Century, and he's sold millions more shoes than anyone in history. And really, isn't that what it's all about?
Your pick, m'liege.

JJ: and ESPN can suck my dick. Fuck Michael Jordan, I would have selected myself for this team before I took him.

I select Larry Bird. For many basketball purists, Larry Legend was the consummate basketball player: skilled in every facet of the game, played with hustle, had a tireless work ethic, and was the ultimate team player. His singular impact on a team is rivaled only by Tim Duncan’s, as Bird led the Celtics to what was at the time, the greatest single season record turn around in NBA history. Bird would win three championships with the Celtics and is the only player to win three consecutive league MVPs other than the first two picks in the draft. Bird was a 12 time all star and 9 time 1st team all-NBA selection, and his career statistics reflect how well rounded his game was (24-10-6). A three time selection to the NBA all-defense second team, Bird was no slouch on defense either. Maybe the most amazing statistic Bird owns is his career .496 shooting percentage which is just absurd for a non-post player. The legend of Larry Bird grew through epic clutch performances and plays and spectacular shooting expositions (once told a player how he was going to score after the ball was inbounded to him and proceeded to score the game winning basket in exactly that manner). Bird was everything you wouldn’t expect an unathletic white boy from French Lick, Indiana to be.

JJ: I select Bob Pettit. Although Pettit does not have the Q rating of Russell or Chamberlain, he was without a doubt the third most dominant post player of that era. Pettit played 11 seasons with the Milwaukee/ St. Louis Hawks after being a two time All-American at LSU. Pettit has the third highest rebounds/game average behind Russell and Chamberlain and the seventh highest scoring average ever (26-16). Pettit won two MVP awards and his only championship ring came at the expense of the Boston Celtics (Pettit poured in 50 points to seal a game 6, series-clinching, victory). Pettit's Hawks surely would have captured multiple titles had it not beenfor Red Auerbach's Celtics dynasty, who the Hawks lost to a number of times in the Finals. In his finest season, Pettit averaged 31-18. Pettit is generally credited with revolutionizing the power forward position, as he was the first dominant offensive player at his position. He will surely continue to dominate alongside his front court partner, the most dominant center to ever play the game.

JJ: I select Jerry West, yuh boi, Zeke from Cabin Creek. Yes, I know West led theLakers to the NBA Finals 9 times, all against the Celtics, and only won one once. But West is an icon, literally: the NBA logo? Yea, that's West dribbling the ball with his left hand. Mr. Clutch was a sharp-shooting guard that was as pure as they come. He averaged over 40 ppg over 11 games one post season and finished with career averages of 27-7 assists-6 reb. West also wore #44 which is sweet.

SoBDD: Fuck! The reason I took Hondo is because I figured I could still get West in the sixth, while there'd be no way you'd pass on Havlicek. What a stupid I am.

: With my sixth pick, I'm going with a man who didn't just dominate basketball: he revolutionized it. The NBA of the 1960's was a game built on defense and rebounding, a game dominated by Bill Russell's great Celtics teams. But the next decade saw myriad changes, and chief among them was the newfound competition that the ABA provided. The ABA, with its colorful ball and three-point line, ushered in a new era, one built on excitement and theatrics. And the most colorful personality, the one who scored the most points, and the most exciting and theatrical was the man himself: Doctor Julius Erving.

JJ: I select: Scottie Pippen


JJ: With my 7th pick, I select Nate Thurmond. Every team needs a banger, and no one was better at banging than Nate the Great (other than Wilt the Stilt off the court obviously). Thurmond was the first player to ever record a quadruple double and averaged over 20 ppg and 20 boards pg one season. His career avgs are 15 pts and 15 boards pg. Thurmond was just a bad dude that intimidated the shit out of great centers like Russell, Chamberlain, and Kareem. He was also probably the greatest player (along with Rick Barry) to wear arguably the greatest basketball uniform of all time.

The Series

For our home arenas Sons of Big Daddy Drew chose the Boston Garden and JuicyJuice chose the Great Western Forum. Iverson was the primary sub for Walter’s Warriors and Havlicek played almost as many minutes as any other starter for the Duke Street Kings.
After dropping the first two games on the road, Walter’s Warriors adjusted the lineup slightly, giving more playing time to Chamberlain and Bird. This helped the Warriors to a game three win but the Kings stole game four at the Forum behind a strong performance by Kevin McHale odd the bench, putting JuciyJuice’s team in a 3-1 hole. Back on the road, and with their backs against the wall, Walter’s Warriors pulled out a game 5 victory. But the Warriors weren’t able to extend the series any further as the Duke Street Kings clinched the series the very next game. Whatifsports awarded the series MVP to Tim Duncan.

Duke Street Kings over Walter’s Warriors - 4-2

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Monday, October 27, 2008

"Kerry Collins Doesn't Suck"

expr:id='"post-" +' >'s Paul Herskey posted an article previewing tonight's Colts-Titans game in which a few Titans talked about QB Kerry Collins. Albert Haynesworth sounded less than enthused with Collins' play thus far for the undefeated Titans. The Titans superstar DT had this to say:

"Peyton [Manning] is still a great quarterback and everyone would love to have him on their team," he said. "What Kerry has come in and done is not made mistakes for us, put us in good situations and let the defense do a lot of the work.

"Peyton has to carry [his] team and Kerry doesn't. He just needs to make plays and not make mistakes, that's all we ask of them ... There is not as much pressure on Kerry as Peyton. He's the face of that franchise. You know here, the face of the franchise is going to be Vince [Young]. So all Kerry has to do is go out there and basically not lose it, which he hasn't. He's played well for us."

By "play[ing] well," it sounds like Haynesworth means, "not sucking." Collins has thrown three touchdown passes in the six games so far and has a passer rating of 74.2. Even Collins himself isn't so sure how well he's playing, as he said, "Maybe my numbers don't jump out, but I think offensively as a whole, we've been fairly productive."

Most people wouldn't expect the offense of the NFL's only remaining undefeated team to be described as "fairly productive." So, are the Titans a group of honest and humble players in a league of egomaniacs? Or is there a little concern in Tennessee that their title hopes hinge on a quarterback that is only not sucking?

(Note: Collins' stat line vs. Colts in the first half tonight: 11/18 for 74 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs = not sucking!)

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Monday, September 15, 2008

The Psyche of Fantasy Football

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So I was sitting in my philosophy class at Reston today, thinking about fantasy football as I usually do. Only this time my I was actually thinking about fantasy football in relation to the topic of the class that day, the philosophy of making choices. We read an article by psychologist Barry Schwartz called the “The Tyranny of Choice,” in which he presents research showing that “increased choice and increased affluence have...been accompanied by decreased well-being in the U.S. and most other affluent societies.” His basic hypothesis is that some choice is better than none but too much choice can decrease happiness.

This struck me as the answer that I’ve been looking for

to the question of: why does fantasy football always leave me with an empty, unfulfilled feeling in my stomach? And no, the answer is not because I never win. I’ve won multiple leagues in the past and have a successful track recorded. Schwartz’s article made me realize, fantasy football is a game of choice. It’s not a game of choice and chance the way Yahtzee is because there is certainly some skill and knowledge required to successfully predict the performance of players. But fantasy football is also not like real sports in which you not only have to make decisions, (do I pass the basketball or shoot it?) but you have properly execute the play.
Fantasy football is fundamentally about making choices. From the beginning, you have to decide on a draft strategy (should I take a pair of top RBs in the first to rounds or a stud WR and QB?). During every round of the draft you are comparing players and have to decide between a few players which you’ll pick (do I take Reggie Williams or Reggie Brown in the 8th round?). Once the season has started, your job as manager is to pick which players on your roster to start and which to bench each week. In a tricked out league like the cash league I play in, the decisions that must be made are endless. How many points should I wager to pick up so-and-so off the waiver wire? Which players that I drafted after the 7th round should I keep on my team for next year? Hell, we even have a draft to pick which draft position each owner will pick their team from!

According to Schwartz, all of these choices do not make for a happy group of 10-12 nerdy football-crazed guys. Schwartz says that each choice we make carries with it opportunity cost, the potential for regret, and a phenomenon called adaptation (enthusiasm about positive experiences does not sustain itself). In fantasy football terms he means: “Fuck, I took Marshawn Lynch in the 2nd round and now I’m not going to get an elite receiver.” “Fuck, I can’t believe I took Steven Jackson in the first round.” “Fuck, my team is good but not as good as it should be after I spent two months researching to draft this team!” No matter how successful you are, you’re going to make incorrect decisions every week that are disappointing. For instance, my friend’s team was the highest scoring team in the league in week one, but he didn’t start Michael Turner, the highest scoring fantasy performer of week one. The key point of Schwartz’s theory is that the bad feelings from wrong choices outweigh and outlast the good feelings of correct choices. More choices to make, more times you want to punch yourself in the face.

So why do we play? Well, because fantasy football is really fun. The thrill of pretending that you’re a GM for an NFL team is fun. And making choices that are correct (all of you who drafted Eddie Royal) is really fun. Playing fantasy football enhances my experience as a fan and I am not going to stop playing. But if you’re like me, and sometimes wonder where that disappointed/frustrated feeling is coming from during fantasy football season, well, now you know.

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