Thursday, June 30, 2011

Top 5 Premature Nicknames

It's no secret that the golden age of the nickname is far, far behind us. Back in the day, when Hater J was but a glimmer of hate in his father's eye, most rosters were full of classic nicknames like "High Pockets" and "Scooter". Now, we just call a guy by his first initial and first 3 letters of his surname and that's your new nickname. Boringggg. Nicknames aren't always fun and games though. In the wrong hands, they can curse an otherwise average athlete with high expectations and leave them open for ridicule from wiseacre bloggers with too much time on their hands as well as fans all over the world for years after their modest careers have gone by the wayside. What were the five most egregiously premature athlete nicknames? LIST TIME!

5) Gerald Wilkens AKA "The Jordan Stopper"

Poor Gerald Wilkens. Not only did he have to play ball in the shadow of an older brother who had a very appropriate nickname, but he was also labelled with an oxymoronic nickname himself, if ever there was one. First of all, nobody could stop Jordan in the early '90s and if anyone could come close, it wasn't Nique's little brother who was a decent finisher (he represented the Knicks in the dunk contest one season) and an above average defender but this is "Come Fly with Me" era Michael we're talking about here. Predictably, his Airness made a mockery of whatever Knick was thrown his way, and Gerald was the other guy in the poster for two different teams. He played Frederic Weis to Michael's other buzzer beater in Cleveland (not as popular as the Ehlo shot but still noteworthy) and repeatedly got shitted on by Mike as a Knick. From Gerald's Wiki page: "He was even labeled as "the Jordan stopper," although he had trouble guarding Jordan". Seems like an odd choice for a nickname unless they were being sarcastic.

4)Ruben Patterson AKA "The Kobe Stopper"

Maybe worse than the Jordan stopper label since the Portland forward and accused rapist gave himself this name before repeatedly getting bitch slapped by the then number 8. This may be the greatest match up between two players accused of sexual assault in sports history (unless LT comes out of retirement and sacks Roethlisberger), and we all know who got the best of the matchups on the basketball court as well as criminal court. Portland never played the Lakers during the Jail blazer era of which Ruben was the poster boy, and they pretty much owned LA at the Rose Garden for the past decade, but those 2 shots above are enough to pretty much refute any sort of "stopper" claims. The lesson learned by these first 2 guys is never nickname yourself a stopper of anyone, especially if they're these two guys.

3)Harold Miner aka "Baby Jordan"

Harold Miner was hyped as the next great one, a high flying show stopper who could throw it down with the best of them earning him the nickname (along with his bald head) of Baby Jordan. That's a lot of pressure to live up to, and as we all know, premature Jordan comparisons are nothing new. They have been wrongfully attached to Grant Hill, Jerry Stackhouse, Vince Carter, Kobe Bryant (maybe the closest), LeBron James and a few others, and those guys aren't even close, so you can imagine how a offensively limited tiny guard from USC fared. His one shining moment was a dunk contest win, but he soon disappeared from the league never to be heard from again aside from strange rumors and the occasional "worst nickname" blog post.

2)LeBron James AKA "King James"

Bron has been getting tons of grief from every corner of the Earth. People who I don't think ever watched basketball did so in order to hate on the man. Babe Ruth might not be revolutionary but King James changed the hating game. I know people who never watched basketball, let alone care enough to actively root against a player or team, who this season watched every minute of the Finals just to hate. In that way, I guess LeBron is the king of something: being hated. And the nickname is a big part of it. It's just a play on the Biblical King James name that made some sense as he rose to stardom from high school, but now is just another annoying aspect of his personality that we all love to hate. It's not good to be the King when you haven't earned anything.

1) John Franklin "Home Run" Baker

Imagine being Philadelphia Athletics and Yankees third baseman John Franklin Baker, nicknamed Home Run because of your long ball prowess. You think your hot stuff, you even led the league in dingers 4 straight seasons with out of this world numbers. You hit the ball out of the park (not off the wall or onto the grass like the rest of the weakling contemporary players), you actually hit the ball over the fence not once or twice but 9 times and one season 11 times. Then a guy like Babe Ruth comes along and thanks to the timing of his career and the changing games and ball parks (according to some) your nickname now seems like a cruel joke. It's like saying Slam Dunk Charles Oakley or Jared "The Marksman" Jeffries. Sucks to be you, Home Run Baker.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Gillette Curse

The sports world is rife with superstitions. From Wade Boggs daily ritual of eating chicken prior to every game to every non sensical fan who thinks they have a lucky ______ (insert item here) that they think has an effect on the game. There are also some well publicized curses. The Curse of the Bambino, the Madden Cover curse (watch those knees Peyton Hillis) and the Sports Illustrated Cover curse. Well, now I'm going to add another curse to the long list.

If you want to remain a successful athlete, do not endorse Gillette razors. Let's take a look at what has happened to each of these three athletes since endorsing Gillette.

Federer: Lost his number 1 ranking to his long time rival, Nadal. He has won only one major in the last 18 months and has fallen to number 3 in world rankings. Most recently lost to a scrub named Jo Wilfred Tsonga after having a 2 sets to none lead in Wimbledon. Also lost to Nadal once again in the French final.

Woods: Got divorced and had to recover from a major knee injury. He hasn't won a major in 3 years and is currently injured again forcing him to miss the US Open and likely the British Open as well. Also, he got outed as a sexual deviant (if you ask the ladies) or if you ask the guys, just a normal dude.

Jeter: Had the worst season of his career in 2010 and has followed up that performance with an even worse half season thus far. He is currently on the disabled list for the first time since 2003 and is struggling to get back.

Babe Ruth: Revolutionary My Ass

The conventional school of thought is that Babe Ruth was a larger than life character that completely revolutionized the game of baseball. Was he really revolutionary or just a very talented yet over rated opportunist?

Babe was the best home run hitter in a league that had changed the rules when he began his shift from pitcher to every day outfielder. The league was in transition with rules changes that included banning the spit ball, more frequent changing of used/scuffed balls, the change of the "foul ball on two strikes = an out" to the modern "foul ball on two strikes = another pitch", along with new and smaller ballparks sprouting up around the league.

The Fat Man even got his own stadium. "The House That Ruth Built" was really built for Ruth's strengths and to mask his weaknesses (mostly defensive). No one has ever had that advantage, ever, let alone for the entire prime of their career. It's no secret why old Yankees Stadium had such a short right field porch and such little space between the stands and the foul line in right field. The Big Boy loved to pull balls into right field and they didn't want to allow down the line singles to turn into triples. It would be the equivalent of the Yankees building New Yankees Stadium with less foul territory between home and third and shortening left field to speed up the "A-Rod race to the Home Run Crown".

When you have a rules shift that benefits offense and a change in the approach towards the game, the most direct benefactors are the young players who were never conditioned to play in the old fashioned (in this case "small ball") way. He was the best of the first wave and the best prepared to take over playing in a league that had shifted its focus to becoming more fan friendly, home run friendly, and offense friendly.

Bottle will have you think he revolutionized the game and that he hit 60 home runs when the next closest player hit 8 forcing everyone in the league to change what they were doing. The truth is that by time Ruth hit 60, Rogers Hornsby had hit 42 and the players in the game were fully entrenched in the less offensively inept game. A look at league total stats starting at 1918 through 1922 shows the following:

1918 - 7,382 Runs, 235 HR, 254 Batting Average
1919 - 8,668 Runs, 447 HR, 263 Batting Average
1920 - 10,761 Runs, 630 HR, 276 Batting Average
1921 - 11,928 Runs, 937 HR, 291 Batting Average
1922 - 12,057 Runs, 1,055 HR, 288 Batting Average

To me...looks like that's the way the league was trending and the talented and powerful Babe Ruth, was the best of that trend...not the innovator.

Now, in no way am I saying he wasn't great. The fact that his single season home run record was beaten out by a guy who had a fluke home run hitting year (Maris) and his career total was beaten by possibly the most consistent hitter in baseball history (Aaron), are testament to how great of a power hitter he was.

Note - I don't count any of the obvious juice seasons and neither should you.

All I'm saying is he wasn't a player who changed the game. He was a great player who was prepared to and took full advantage of the game's changes.

So to all old white men and Bottle, Babe Ruth was great, but he revolutionized nothing, and stop trying to tell me otherwise.

As told by Hater J

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Top 5 Local New York Commercials

In conjunction with their new series about kooky local commercials, the IFC channel is running a local commercial contest celebrating the best and cheesiest in local cable commercials that we all simultaneously love and hate. You know the type of ad that runs incessantly during any Knicks or Mets game or the kind of commercial that you're forced to watch ad nauseum if you want to see what the girls on Beer Money are wearing that day. Usually filmed on a budget of what appears to be the price of a bagel (without cream cheese), and a cast seemingly made up of family members and office receptionists, these commercials work themselves into your brain with their cheesy charm, until you would probably hug Dr Zizmore if you saw him on the street. These are my 5 favorite commercials that can only be seen in the tri-state area or if you have NBA League Pass:

5) The Grand Prospect Hall

So this place isn't really a bad place for a wedding reception (I've been there) but the seriously wooden "We will make your dreams come true" makes this a classic cheesy Brooklyn commercial. A nominee in the IFC contest, as well.

4) Dial 7 Car and Limo

Oh, how this commercial has haunted my dreams on many a cold winter Brooklyn night. Maybe I'll be in the other room grabbing a beer or sandwich while Mike D'Antoni calls another rally killing timeout, and then I hear it: "Taxi, taxi, TAXIIIIIIII!". Despite the fact that no one in any city anywhere has ever hailed a taxi by repeatedly yelling "TAXI" like a lunatic, this commercial somehow made it past Dial 7 car and Limo's usually strict advertising standards. The zoom into the guy's mouth is pretty horrifying too.

3) Keith Hernandez for Coin Galleries of Oyster Bay

On any given day, the mustachioed first base man can be seen on Mets broadcasts, TBS MLB broadcasts and the Seinfeld reruns that run on about 15 other cable channels, but if you can't get enough Keith, he's also prominently featured in these shoe string budget Long Island jewelry ads. I figure he either owed a favor to someone, is a coin enthusiast or doesn't know how to turn any television offers down. It's probably a combination of all three of those.

2)Gary's Gutters

Not much to say about this one except I think Gary is trying to be funny here (at least I hope he is). There's a lot of stuff going on here that even the whitest, least hip hop savvy person can have a laugh at, like the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air font or the goofy chain that he's wearing that one of the youtube commenters rightly points out looks like copper paper clips. It sounds like a bootleg version of Rapper's Delight but Gary obviously can't afford to pay the Sugarhill Gang for the actual song so instead it was probably a beat redone by a 13 year old in Kansas with frooty loops. R-0-0-F...Moving on...

1)Hillside Honda
The epic saga of the Hillside Honda couple has captured the hearts and minds of New York cable subscribers for the past few years, or at least has had thousands of dudes googling Hillside Honda girl. Somewhat of a cult figure in New York and at PTU, what I can imagine began as a one time commercial featuring the cheapest actors Honda money can buy has turned into a full on romance serial. To break it down: First, the guido guy meets super hot girl and then instead of asking for her phone number he just wants to log on to Hillside (loser), the coy approach must have worked because in subsequent commercials, they're shacked up, laying on a bear skin rug or something and the most recent edition finds the two back in that Honda chatting it up like an old married couple. The Before Sunrise of cheesy local commercials, and the introduction of America's sweetheart, the Hillside Honda girl. Hondas are still shitty cars, though.

Have any other favorite lame-o commercials that you have seen or are in? Let it be known.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Quick History of Jean Shorts

Even though PTU commenter Shank's new favorite player, Shumpert, got most of the attention last week, the Knicks did pick up another player in the draft. Josh Harrellson, a big lumbering white center from Kentucky who they threw a couple bucks to the Hornets for. From what I understand, he's a good rebounder who can take up some space under the basket but more importantly, the man's nickname is "Jorts". The team gave him the name because he happened to wear some rather short denim shorts to a team meeting early in his college career and I guess it stuck, but that automatically gives him the best nickname on the team (sorry STAT).

Yes, jean shorts have made a comeback this year (mostly on women) but there is a long dynamic history of jean shorts. Let's take a stroll down jorts lane:

200 B.C.:
While drawing on walls in caves, prehistoric man also stumbled upon an alarming fashion trend: jeans that are also shorts. Many of the more snooty cave-men think the jean short wearers are trying to be black.

James Dean starts a fashion craze with his iconic leather jacket and jeans look, instantly making the denim look a sign of cool rebellion. His jean shorts look didn't make as much of an impact.


Daisy Duke wears jean shorts on the "Dukes of Hazzard" and creates a frenzy of horny jean short enthusiasts.


By this point, jean shorts have officially become the signature outfit for any wigger or actual black person, or simply anyone who wants to appear as if they hang out at Friendly's on a friday night and take vicodin recreationally. Jean shorts are available in every color in the rainbow. Eventually, hipsters in Brooklyn and the Lower East Side and crack heads begin cutting their shorts to create makeshift jean shorts. Usually spotted at McCarren Park kicking ass in their Sunday kickball league or smoking crack, respectively. In either situation, jean shorts are the preferred look.


John Cena becomes the unofficial jean shorts ambassador. Also releases a rap album and does whatever else he can to keep the wigger nation alive while simultaneously killing it until Detective Holder on The Killing revived it.

Mid 2000's:
Derrick Coleman dons a pair of jean shorts in the NBA Street video game, originally known as NBA Perps.


The era of the jean shorts has returned. Not only are they now fashionable as everyone from rail-thin runway models to abusive shit-bag Chris Brown have thrown on a pair recently, but the Knicks now finally have their very own jean shorts wearing center. Ewing had the bathrobe, but Harrellson (seen above wearing what I can only assume is jorts) will lead this new generation of Knicks in a slightly different choice of attire. The future of basketball is here, and it's wearing jean shorts.

PTU Book Club: Those Guys Have All The Fun

With the NBA season now in the rear view, and baseball approaching the slow, dog days of summer, I've resorted to other forms of entertainment to keep me from flipping out and hurling a Snapple bottle at someone, such as reading books. I'm not a huge reader, but the types of books that interest me usually involve people getting drunk or sports, especially those that are biographical. Thankfully for the rest of the people in New York that don't like Snapple bottles to the head as well as my own sanity, this summer saw the release of the much ballyhooed ESPN biography "Those Guys Have All The Fun" which is a biography of ESPN that has many stories involving drinking and sports. Win!

I was a big fan of authors James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales' Saturday Night Live oral history "Live From New York" that I received as a Christmas gift at some point this century and promptly finished while there was still tinsel sticking to my socks, and this ESPN tome follows the same formula of a history told entirely through quotes from the people who lived it. The book has received a considerable amount of both criticism and attention for it's more titillating content, and there is definitely some of that sprinkled through out, like the shocking story (revealed kind of matter of factly making it all the more shocking) that the New York ESPN offices in the early 80s were prostituting their secretaries. An executive from that time is quoted as saying that a couple of the girls were blowing Fed Ex delivery men after hours and becoming strung out on coke. The Hell??? Besides that crazy tidbit though, most of the fun is derived from listening to ESPN anchors and executives talking about each other in ways that aren't all that exceptional besides the fact that we don't get to hear people like Linda Cohn rank on Chris Berman or Tony Kornheiser throw jabs at Mike Tirico anywhere else in public, and that's fun for a little while (the married Tirico should probably be most embarrassed by the details revealed in the book, since he comes off as a lecherous, pompous asshole). Written conversations are always more forthcoming and controversial than the spoken word even if the people know that whoever they're talking about will eventually read what is said (same reason it's easier to tell someone off or talk junk in an e-mail or text than face to face).

Other than the gossip factor though, 90% of the more than 700 page epic is dedicated to boardroom stories involving financial mergers and acquisitions. The one knock I have on the book is that the constant business talk tends to get a little redundant after a while. There's only so many ways someone can tell a pithy anecdote about a huge corporation buying another slightly less huge corporation or how heated a meeting of shareholders was. Still, that doesn't take away from it being an enjoyable and informative read for the most part. For people like me who are a few years younger than the network itself, it's kind of cool to see how there was a time that ESPN didn't exist and there were numerous doubters who thought that no one would sit and watch sports or jerks talking about sports for 24 hours, 7 days a week. Salacious details and corporate jockeying aside, it's a little thrilling to see a media powerhouse develop from it's inception, even to a cynic like me.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 Bagels. Check it out, but maybe get a digital copy if you have a Kindle or Ipad or other hi-tech doo hickey. It's freakin' huge.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lamest Sneakers Of All Time: Reebok Shaq Kamikazes

Shaquille O'Neal was as dominant and influential an athlete that the NBA has ever seen and was more than worthy of all the accolades and praise he received since his recent retirement announcement. But while Shaq Diesel (seen above dunking on PTU hero and jean short enthusiast Derrick Coleman) dipped his size 22 toes into non-basketball related endeavors such as music and movies with mixed results, one world that the Big Marketer couldn't conquer was the sneaker world. Despite being perhaps the second most famous basketball player of all time (and arguably the most physically recognizable), Shaq never had a truly popular sneaker.

Most of the designs of Shaq kicks ranged from boring and clunky looking to just plain disgusting. These Reeboks (one of the last pairs that he wore before jumping ship to form his own brand of unwearable footwear) most definitely fall into the latter category. I mean, look at these abominations, but not for too long since they literally will make you sick. Who was in the Reebok offices in the mid-90s that thought the best way to compete with the dominance of the sleek and cool looking late 90s Nikes worn by Barkley and Jordan would be to produce a pair of sneakers that will literally make you dizzy if you stare at them for more than 5 seconds? I guess the idea was they needed to have a pattern that could match the maverick, outside the box thinker that Shaq was (and I guess he kind of was compared to most boring pro athletes), and I'm all for different and unique designs on sneakers but this is ridiculous. They look like the signs that doofus fans seated behind the backboard would hold up when players were shooting free throws so maybe it was an inside joke poking fun at Shaq's notorious foul shooting troubles. Whatever the thinking behind these truly horrible, vertigo inducing sneakers, the Kamikazes belong in the PTU Lamest Sneakers Of All Time closet next to the Catapults, never to be worn or thought about again.

Get your pair

Weapon of the Week: Made from The Best Stuff On Earth

Disclaimer: PTU, Johnny Bagels or any of PTU's contributors or advertisers do not condone violence but do love the great taste of Snapple products.

We've all been in this situation before: The inconsiderate perp driving the Acura to the right of you decides to cut you off without once thinking about your rightful place as the alpha dog of the street. You can:

A) Swallow your pride and anger like a spineless pussy, not say anything and take it out later on your child, spouse or dog.

B) Honk your horn at this jerk, drive up alongside and flip the bird at him then drive off muttering to yourself how lucky he is that he's in that car and you're not within ass whipping distance of each other.

C) Grab the nearest weapon and make him wish he would've used that Metrocard that morning.

All the real G's know the correct answer is C. You won't be able to look at yourself in the mirror if this guy isn't taught some manners, but driving with a real weapon like a gun, boxcutter or nunchukas is frowned upon by the boys in blue. What to do? Grab that empty kiwi strawberry bottle in the cup holder next to your change and make like Randy Johnson is what you do, tough guy. That fat lady might have seemed jovial and friendly enough on TV but, believe me, she was no joke. What might seem like a tasty, refreshing alternative to Arizona or Lipton is actually a sweet and sometimes sour tool of destruction with a whimsical, ambiguously truthful trivia fact on each cap about penguins or Zamboni machines.

The violent uses of Wendy's favorite beverage are as plentiful as the real fruit flavors in every sip. If your enemy is silly enough to get out of the safety of his vehicle, simply run up to him and smack him across the face like the tangy flavors of Mango Madness smack your taste buds. Or, break the bottle in half and get all stabby. Your mark isn't budging from his vehicle or your simply a fan of the old reliable drive-by? Not a problem, the Diet Plum-a-granate will save you some calories along with providing you a quick make-shift projectile that will break the windshield or window of any poor sap's car speeding frantically away. You think Billy Bad-ass in the next lane might think twice about passing you the next time? You can bet your Snapple-loving ass. The old fashioned type? Grab a classic Lemon Iced Tea (Peach is for women), and quench your thirst for revenge. You'll be glad you did.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Metta World Peace Keeping It Real HOF (Formerly the Ron Artest Keeping it Real HOF)

In case you haven't been paying attention, or your life is full of more important, show offy things like work and family and relationships, Ron Artest did something crazy again. This time, he's decided to have his name legally changed to Metta World Peace. World Peace because, of course, he's an advocate for peace between all nations and the abolishment of the cyclical violent mentality that plagues this planet and Metta because he's fucking nuts (that's the reason for the last name too). Thank you, Ron..I mean Metta, for giving us another reason to write about you. Changing your name to something like World Peace is not all that keeping it real, but we'll give you a pass for everything else that's on your resume. Keep on keeping it real, Metta.

Worst Knicks Draft Misses

Last night saw another controversial (to say the least) draft pick by our Knickerbockers that will surely be second guessed and ridiculed for years to come, depending on how this mysterious Iman Shumpert character turns out. The funny thing about drafts (particularly NBA drafts) is that it's so easy to look back at picks in hindsight as horrible moves. It's a total crap shoot but some picks (like arguably Shumpert) are indefensible no matter how you look at them, especially when compared to who could have been picked in their place. Let's start second guessing some professional picks that went horribly, horribly wrong.

2009- Jordan Hill over Brandon Jennings, Dejaun Blair (8th pick)
Donnie Walsh's one huge blunder (before last night's pick) was picking LLoyd Banks impersonator and all around useless Arizona Forward Hill with the 8th pick. This misguided decision will always be remembered for the guy who was picked next: Brandon Jennings. The pick would look even worse after Jennings scored 50 in his first month in the league while Jordan averaged 4 points and 2 rebounds in hardly any minutes for the hapless Knicks. Sigh. To be fair, many teams had doubts about Jennings, who spent the previous season overseas instead of college, and no one but the always sneaky Spurs knew Dejuan Blair would be as good as he was. Hill was eventually shipped out alongside fellow talentless waste of life Jared Jeffries. Curse you, Jordan Hill. Personal note: I was lucky enough to go to a draft party that season where I got to meet future legends Jordan Hill and Hasheem Thabeet. I'll tell my grandchildren that one day. They will laugh at me and then have me committed.

2002-Nene Hilario (traded along with Marcus Camby for Antonio McDyess) over Amare Stoudemire and Caron Butler (9th pick)
This is just one giant clusterfuck of awful draft day shenanigans on the Knicks' parts. Firstly, the Knicks overlooked the guy who turned their season around 8 years later (who knows how things would have turned out if Amare started his career here instead of finishing it) as well as Caron "Tough Juice" Butler (who's 10 times better and tougher than anyone on their roster for the next 8 years) and then in an equally terrible move, they turn around and trade the player formerly known as Hilario (before the Brazilian got all soccer starish) who would turn out to be a serviceable center for years to come along with their other best center not named Patrick in Camby, for (get this) Antonio McDyess and his one good knee. Predictably, McDyess would injure himself in his very first preseason game (I had the pleasure of witnessing this first hand) and then continued to limp around the Knicks for a couple more years before thankfully being shipped off to fulfill his rightful role as old wily vet on championship teams like the Spurs and Pistons. Kind of sums up the Knicks in the 2000s; draft a guy who could have helped them ahead of guys who could have helped them more and then immediately trade him and your fan favorite center for a washed up old cripple. Go New York Go!

1978-Michael Ray Richardson over Larry Bird (5th pick)
Sam Bowie and Portland get a lot of grief from everyone but Bottle for committing the ultimate draft day screw-up (Jay-z even had a memorable line referencing this) but almost everyone (including me) forget that Jordan wasn't the only 80s NBA savior who was overlooked by a couple of teams. None other than Larry Legend himself was passed over by no less than 5 NBA teams in '78 including (of course) our Knicks who decided to go with Sugar Ray ahead of the Hick from French Lick (Phil Ford and Rick Robey, you weren't so hot either). We all know what happened once Bird finally joined the Celtics after finishing his senior year at Indiana State: he would go on to become one of the greatest and most clutch players who ever touched a basketball, win championships, and 3 point contests, and make the entire planet fall in love with professional basketball again along side Magic Johnson and Jordan. Michael Ray Richardson got himself banned for life from the NBA because of a severe cocaine addiction and is most famous for saying of the Knicks collapsing season: "The ship be sinkin'". Yes, it be sinkin' indeed.

1999- Frederic Weis over Ron Artest (15th pick)
If this were one of Blacky's favorite lists, then it would be real tight between this choice and the Bird choice. Of course Bird was better than Ron-Ron by a million miles, but in '99, the Knicks took one of the easiest no-brainer lay-ups of a pick, and totally botched it. Queensbridge's own Ron Artest was somehow still available when the Knicks picked at 15 (they weren't always in the lottery back in the '90s). Everyone knew what was coming next: The Knicks would take the St. John's product and homeboy Artest; the perfect type of NY player that the fans would love post Oakley and Mason, who was a hard nosed and defensive minded beast. It's all coming together for these Knicks. And then David Stern announced the words that will forever haunt Knicks fans and would basically signal the beginning of the darkest period in New York basketball history: "With the 15th pick in the 1999 NBA draft, the New York Knicks select Frederic Weis from somewhere in France". After the dust settled from that atomic bomb of stupidity, insult was added to injury as our boy Weis became the victim of the most humiliating dunk in basketball history. What's French for "this negro's scrotum is in my mouth?". After that emasculating moment, he was never to be seen or heard from again and Metta would become a champion and complex genius (or insane person, but still a champion). Sacre Bleu!

2006 and 2007- Nobody
That's right. Nobody was drafted for 2 years by the Knicks because we traded our draft picks for such superstars as Jamal Crawford and Eddy Curry. Not only were draft picks thrown around like candy for unproven and out of shape losers, but they weren't (most importantly) lottery protected. This was because the scumbag in charge, Isiah Thomas, (who actually was not bad at drafting when he didn't trade the picks) assumed that the Knicks would be such a power house of a team with these new players now dominating the games, that those picks would be worth next to nothing and probably be in the late second round if anything. Except the Knicks would be instead be unbelievably (and predictably) putrid, and end up with the 2nd pick in 2006 and the 6th in 2007 (which would both end up in Chicago). Although he was no longer with the team, his reign of terror extended all the way to last season when the Knicks were denied another lottery pick (ultimately ending up in Utah) thanks to the genius of Zeke. Thank you, Isiah Thomas, for teaching us that even worse than a draft pick misused is one that you never had to begin with. You miserable snake.

Where will last night's pick end up in the pantheon of Knicks idiocy? Only time will tell. If Shumpert doesn't pan out, like we all expect, rest assured that we will be here to ridicule him.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Iman Shumpert Welcome to the New York Knicks

Welcome to NY! I am sure you enjoyed your time at Georgia Tech. I would like to let you know that we as a basketball city are hungry for a championship, but worry not, we're not expecting that from you. You are merely a piece of the puzzle. What we expect from you is dishing, swishing, and defense. Now that we got that out of the way; We at PTU want to be one of the many media outlets to offer you a chance to reach out to your new fans. Please have your press agent reach us at to set up an interview.

Thank you

Taxi Cab Confusions

There's been some controversy in our home town of New York lately involving the yellow cab drivers and the livery cab drivers (or as people in Brooklyn refer to them, Car Services, or if you're driving behind one of them simply "asshole"). While illegal, it's a long standing practice of car service drivers in the outer boroughs to stop and pick up customers on the street just like their more formal yellow brothers do, which of course infuriates the hacks to no end. What's really got them pissed is a proposed bill that would legalize these street pickups. They feel this eats into their business, that is the business of picking up every 5th person who hails a cab as long as they live within 2 miles of where they pick you up and aren't black or hispanic. This is what I don't understand about the Yellow Taxi driver's beef: you're more likely to see a unicorn than a yellow cab picking people up in an outer borough. What do they care what the liveries do in some foreign land that they would never pass through? If you open a pizzeria that only delivers to Flushing, why would you get mad when Papa John's opens in Harlem? The livery cabs are satisfying a need that yellow cabs have neglected since Andy Kaufman worked in the garage.

Attempting to hail a cab to Brooklyn on most evenings in Manhattan is like trying to hitchhike naked holding a shotgun. There must be hundreds of off duty taxi cabs on any given night and they all travel in the same area (usually wherever I happen to be coming from that night). Ask most drivers to take you to Brooklyn and you would think you invited them to a sleepover at the Marlboro Projects. They peel off like Indian Dukes of Hazards. And this is if you're white. As I alluded to earlier, most car service drivers are a pain in the ass to drive behind, and they definitely employ their fair share of sketchy characters, but I'm on their side all the way here. Not only are they more efficient and cheaper than the yellow cabs, but they also have a tendency of DYING ON DUTY. Livery cab driver is only slight less dangerous than Alaskan crab fisherman and New York Mets infielder. They don't have the bulletproof glass to protect them either. NYS Taxi Federation president Fernando Mateo invoked the danger aspect in his impassioned speech yesterday, and it's pretty sad that he's right when he says every year they bury a great number of drivers. This isn't police or firefighters we're talking about here, it's a car service driver. But, if they want to risk their lives by picking up any old schmo off the streets, I say more power to 'em. If the yellow cab drivers feel like they'll be left out in the cold if the bill becomes a law, maybe then they'll know how the rest of us feel.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The 2011 Kemba Walker NBA Draft

With the NBA Draft going down this Thursday, I wanted to give PTU readers a little preview of what is GUARANTEED to happen.

Kyrie Irving will be going #1 to the Cavs. His college career - including injuries, limited playing time, and unearned potential that comes from playing for Duke - should be a red flag for any team looking to draft him. Instead, the Cavs will pick him up, couple him with a big guy at #4, and hope that this 1-2 combo will lead them back to respectability. Derick Williams and Kanter - going #2 and #3 - will both have better careers than Irving.

Kemba the Great will probably go at #8 to Detroit, the home of the Motown Marxist - whom will probably be reading some weird science magazine at the time and who seems to prefer hockey anyways. Wizards could steal him at #6 (if they're smart).

Jimmer, the Great White Hope, will go at #12 to the Jazz and proceed to have a very underwhelming NBA career. Look for him as a 7th man with limited NBA minutes.

As for the Knicks: if they do not make a trade, they will end up with Marshon Brooks, some boring asshole out of Providence. If they decide to step up and make a big move (which they should), they'll trade up a few spots and get Bismack Biyombo - the athletic African with the 86'' vertical. Most likely, the Knicks will trade Toney D for Flynn, then get some scrub in the draft that won't do anything - thus leaving them with Fields (overrated), Flynn (kinda sucks), and 90 year old Billups in their backcourt, with Jared Jeffries (scum of the earth) to provide defense/rebounding. Knicks fans: pray for BiYAMbo.

Biggest trade of the draft: Dwight Howard? Pau Gasol? Not quite. The T'Wolves, looking to trade Beasley while his stock is high (after having the best statistical season of his career), will ship out the underachieving perp to the Wizards for the #18 pick. This way, the T'Wolves will use the #2 pick to fill B-Easy's void with Derick Williams, and then they can use (or trade away)picks #18 and #20. The Wizards, on the other hand, will combine Beasley, McGree, and Wall to form a young group of perpy players. Then, they will still have other picks in the draft - including the #6 - to build around them.

This Thursday: stay tuned.....

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Neighborhood Bar: We Love to Hate You

There's a bar in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn that is PTU's favorite bar. Maybe I won't go as far as saying it's our favorite, but most of us are there more than any other place in the world save for our own apartments (and even that is close).

It's nobody's favorite bar, I don't think, but somehow we end up there at least 3 times a week (work and family schedules allowing). It's not that the food is great (it's mediocre) or the crowd is so great (it's pretty terrible), but we can't resist parking our asses down on one of the stools or benches yet again and ask ourselves "Why are we here?". Not in a philosophical or existensial way, but literally why are we sitting in this bar again? It's New York City, there must be tons of bars that have the combination of vibrant crowd, delicious food and top notch beer selection that this bar lacks. I'm always hearing from other people who have more exciting lives than I do, about these magical bars that exist outside of the 3 block radius surrounding my apartment and The Slob Den. These supposed bars that the others go to serve an assortment of food that isn't named after streets in Bay Ridge and there are sometimes women at these establishments. These people take photos (most likely doctored. Technology these days) smiling alongside their reveling friends, drinks in hand, and carefree looks across their faces. No one has smiled in this bar in nearly 5 years (and that grinning clown was quickly shown the door). The people at these other bars dance to cool music supplied by hip, coke addicted d.j.'s. The soundtrack to this bar is a collective under breath murmur about the negative effects of legalized gay marriage and shrinking police pensions only slightly drowned out by Bruce Springsteen's greatest hits and Cee-Lo's "Fuck You" (that song gets played everywhere). Sometimes there's live music sung by a 42 year old drifter who sings Pearl Jam in a perfect Eddie Vedder voice and the Beatles in a perfect Eddie Vedder voice when he's not insulting the chinese man selling bootleg copies of X-Men First Class. The smiling people enjoy the finest cuisine at these other bars. Cutting edge fusion type stuff; sushi sliders or cotton candy ice cream sandwiches. The neighborhood bar serves burgers named after the surrounding streets and Calamari that tastes like rubber. Those other bars have every beer you could imagine on tap, as well as hundreds of others you never knew existed. This bar has a beer of the month that's 50 cents cheaper than the usual price and is usually something you never heard of, but after drinking it, wish you hadn't.

Yes, this bar has nothing that you'd want out of your local drinking establishment. It's across the street though (it's name rhymes with Jello Crook). Come by any day this week or next and say hello to PTU. We'll be there.

M@D @ the Movies

Over the weekend I saw Green Lantern despite every critic basically saying that this would be as bad as water-world. The main knock was before I saw it was that it looked terrible special effects wise, but upon doing more research most of those shots were done before the entire movie was done being edited.

Now for my review, the movie has amazing imagery in my opinion during the space scenes, the plot is a little flimsy, but the action makes up for it. If your a big comic book fan of the DC universe you will enjoy it. Other wise it won't entertain everybody

Overall I give Green Lantern 2 rings out of five.

Friday, June 17, 2011

What's The Definition of Crazy?

You may remember this joker from last October. Grim LeRogue, the fanatical Cameron Diaz stalker who supposedly had a deathwish for A-Rod and ran on the field during game 3 of the ALCS at Yankee Stadium. At the time, it was a slight distraction from the Yankees unravelling playoff hopes, but when you really think about it, this was an awesome story. Not only did this guy legally change his name from (yawn) John Rogan, (who sounds like a 1960s soap opera actor) to Grim LeRogue, (who sounds like an idiot), but he apparently had pics of A-Rod with his face crossed out and other wacky things that would make you think that this guy was your textbook nutjob. Except a Bronx Supreme court found him to be as normal as you or I last week. Just an unorthodox self promoter. How come you squares at Madison Avenue don't have the balls to do what he did?

I guess this begs the question what exactly is crazy then if LeRogue up there isn't? Even if he claims he had no intentions of actually hurting A-Rod or Cameron, isn't it crazy enough just to pretend like you might? Supposedly, he's a big Yankee and A-Rod fan, and the John Hinckley routine was just a scheme he cooked up to drum up hype for his book entitled (and I'm not making this up) "Children's Edition: The Illuminati Code Cracked". Oh, well in that case, he's the picture of mental stability. I'd say the fact that he jumped onto the Yankee Stadium field during a nationally televised baseball playoff game with heavy police presence, changed his name to a bad comic book character, and wrote a book about the Illuminati is enough evidence that he is bat-shit, balls to the wall, nuts. Just the fact that he believes in the Illuminati is enough reason for me to believe he's not only bonkers, but a dick. He might fancy himself some type of free thinking, marketing genius, but if I were to change my name to Creepy McSpooky, and ran up to the White House lawn with a diary strapped to my ass professing my love for Michelle Obama, I would expect to be promptly locked up under the jail for the rest of my days. This isn't to say that A-Rod is on the same level as the President, but if you're crazy enough to do that for attention, who's to say you're not crazy enough to follow through with your "pretend" threats? After all, there's no greater promotion than actually murdering someone.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The New York City Subway: Still Grimy

Ah, New York City. The Big Apple, home to everyone from everywhere who's trying to chase their dream. It's a well known fact, bemoaned by us native NYers to the point of exhaustion to anyone who does or doesn't want to listen, that our home town ain't what it used to be. Johnny and Jilly Hipsterpants have taken over the outer boroughs to the point that the person whining about gentrification is starting to sound like those gay marriage opponents: It's a fact of life that you just have to accept at some point, even if you find it personally offensive. The invasion began a long, long time ago when most of us were still in jean shorts and Catapults. By now, a whole generation has grown up knowing Brooklyn (and other parts of the city) as artist and yuppie havens. As I've mentioned before, this has it's pros and cons (safety vs character basically) but for all those lovers of all things old and crappy, New York still has one remnant of the dangerous old days:


Sure, it's not as dangerous as the 70s or 80s when you were as likely to get knifed in the gut as you are unlikely to get a seat on the 6 train during rush hour today, but every day for us commuting straphangers is another race against the clock to escape death or at the very least, a homeless person shitting themselves. Even if Times Square now looks like something Michael Eisner would hallucinate after a Salvia binge, the subway station is still a hot, muggy, grimy cesspool of diseased homeless people and pissed off commuters just like it's always been. And by muggy I mean there are a lot of people down there who want to mug you. There might be less graffiti down there, and there aren't as many marauding gangs looking for thrill kills or initiation beat downs, but everyone who's lived here for at least a year or two has a story about a close encounter with a naked crack fiend or screaming lunatic racist (who is probably also naked). Every girl that I know has numerous stories of homeless dudes (or even pervs who have homes) jerking off in front of them. If that is not an incentive to stay in Wisconsin and enjoy the lower cost of living, I don't know what is. And then there's the rats. This video may or may not be staged, but it combines the two key elements of subway travel in New York: sleeping homeless people and giant brown rats. That might as well be the MTA's slogan.

All this might make it sound like I hate the New York city subway system (and I do) but one aspect of the subways that's kind of cool is it might be the last real example of the New York City "melting pot". While most neighborhoods in and around the city are either homogeneously ethnic or are that common mix of new school out of town hip folks and original residents who are either left behind or refuse to go anywhere, the average subway station crams hundreds of different people together like sardines spanning every race, tax bracket, shape, size and color. A Benetton ad of people who hate their lives and each other, avoiding eye contact and trying to read Junot Diaz or Sistah Souljah (depending on their race) with a 300 pound Guatemalan's elbow lodged in their stomach and praying to Allah or Christ that there aren't "station delays" and that the guy in the bike shorts in his bare feet during a snow storm is just harmless crazy and not "stab you in the brain" crazy . Sinatra couldn't have said it better.

A Serious Examination of Weiner

The media has predictably had a field day with the last name of Brooklyn and Queens councilman Anthony Weiner and his recent issues, and frankly it's just immature and lazy to look at a situation like that. The never ending jokes and silliness have kept most of us from really getting a grip on Weiner; you might even say the press has blocked us from the real Weiner. Sure, we had pictures in the paper that can be used as rock hard evidence, but would any Weiner pictures stand up in court? I doubt it. The fact that we're looking this closely at Weiner might mean that we are actually the ones with the problem. For 3 straight weeks, Weiner has been at the tip of the tongue of everyone in New York City.

Where does Weiner go from here? For years, democrats have stroked Weiner's ego; he was the next big thing in politics. Where do the Weiner lovers go from here for some satisfaction? It's a well known fact that councilwoman Christine Quinn does not like Weiner (for a few years in college she may have been a fan of Weiner but that soon changed), but there are so many big names who have fallen in love with Weiner. Alec Baldwin has been obsessed with Weiner getting off since this whole thing started. Weiner pulling out at the last minute right before the coming election has opened up many new possibilities though. Queens Councilman (his hometown, Queens, has always loved Weiner) John Liu has been ready to lick Weiner in the primaries since he first saw those underwear pictures. He's primed and ready to go, and now that there's a void in the political landscape, Liu could now find himself the next Weiner to fill that hole. It would have been a close race to the finish before the scandal, but Weiner had shown himself able to squeeze through tight openings in the past. Now that he has decided to step down though, I'm afraid New York city will be starved for Weiner. I might even say the mayoral race will suffer from the lack of Weiner and you may even see some people switch sides. Whoever fills his shoes though, shouldn't try to be what he was; he was great at what he did (while most Democrats shriveled at the sight of Republicans, Weiner stood up) but the people of New York can't take two Weiners at the same time, no matter how hard he tries to fit himself in.

We here at PTU don't want to come off as Weiner lovers though, far from it. Far, far, far from it. What he did was wrong, and Weiner deserves the shafting. Maybe now we can all be adults and stop looking at Weiner as an escape from the real problems in politics. We all wanted to look elsewhere rather than facing the real issues; the formerly larger than life Weiner came at just the right moment and now he's shrunk to half the size of his former self. The job of a city councilman is tough though and means a lot of responsibility; It may be a relief for Weiner to finally let go of his load. Whatever he chooses to do, let's all leave Weiner alone for a while and focus on the real issues, like the New York penal system that's sucking us dry financially. Let's move on, no matter how good it feels to beat on Weiner.

Da Canucks Lose to Boston, EY!

I don't know what accent I least prefer listening to: Canadian or Boston.

Turns out that the Vancouver Canucks lost the Stanley Cup Finals to the Boston Bruins. It may be my New York City bias speaking, but I really feel for the Canucks. Imagine that: I care less for the American Bruins than I do for the Canadian Canucks (Is that redundant?). Let's face it, despite Boston's long sporting tradition, losing to any Boston based professional team is like losing to you're pre-adolescent younger brother at any sport. It should be no surprise then that a riot resulted in Vancouver from the Bruin win.

The Assosciated Press reports that as soon as the final buzzer sounded, a hail of beer bottles rained down - empty of course, these are Canadians we're talking about here. "Autos" were flipped, "rubbish" littered the streets that eventually became rivers of alcohol, and fireworks were thrown around like it was May 2-4. Vancouver had to deploy its whole police force to try and sequester the carnage. But alas, the 10 Member Riot Team deployed was quickly overwhelmed by a crowd of seven-thousand.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Roberstson (never trust a man with two Canadian first names) described the scenes as "embarrassing and shameful". 

"The vast majority of people who were downtown were there to enjoy the game in a peaceful and respectful manner," he said. 

"...Apparently not," I said.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


If such a thing interests you, you're at the wrong website.

What's Blood Got To Do With It?

Today was blood donation day. Despite the good deed, I left the needle poking room with a lack of accomplishment. There’s this one point right before they stab you that they have you answer a bunch of questions about your lifestyle and try and gauge if you are unexciting enough to donate blood. I passed.

Here’s what a typical survey/test looks like:

  • In the past 3 years have you traveled to a foreign country other than Mississippi or Alabama? No.
  • In the past 12 months have you accessed the back door of your partner? No.
  • In the past 6 months have you yammed questionable women in questionable locales? No.
  • In the past 3 months have you shed blood for your hood? No.

After answering about 200 questions of this nature, a nurse usually comes by to console the broken man that you are because of the lack of adventure that pervades your life. She congratulates you on being a loser. You are now ready to donate blood...

They bring you over to a cot to lay on to make you feel comfortable during the donation process. The thing is that the cot they offer you to lay on is a Vietnam Era relic that has had its fair share of run-ins with sweaty backs. These cots are not for the O.C.D. of heart. If you’re willing to look past this small detail, you still have to contend with a nurse that has the bed-side manner of either Tammy Faye or Daria all-the-while being treated like a horror movie victim.

At the end of it all, to congratulate you for your service, you’re handed some O.J., a cookie, and a letter warning you of the dangers of donating blood. It goes something like this:

“Thanks for your donation. While donating blood is usually a safe and harmless process, you may experience abnormal bruising or AIDs. If you suspect something’s wrong, contact our automated operator so that we can direct you to a facility that will properly take care of you (yeah right).”

That letter’s great. It even goes on to say that after the humiliation and torture you’ve just endured, you blood may be useless… but don’t stop trying!

Running: Only For Skinny Africans and Women?

The title question refers to specifically competitive events, such as those sponsored by the New York Roadrunners Club, and not the activity as a general exercise. Last event that I took part in, which was a half-marathon about three years ago, about five thousand runners got in my way while I was running in a straight line, which made me think "why the hell am I doing this?" I woke up extra early (like 6 in the morning on A SATURDAY), paid $30, and all for the satisfaction of running a crowded race in which I had no chance of winning, considering that a skinny African guy finished when I was on my second mile.

Maybe I just don't get the appeal. Runners: please explain. What am I missing here?

I still run by myself twice a week, which I enjoy. I am not a yuppie chick who wants to prove to her friends that she can run a marathon. I am not a skinny African or Mexican guy with a realistic shot at winning. In other words, I can't see why these races would appeal to me in any way.

What happened to drinking beer and lifting weights? MAN UP.

Please vote on the poll.

Beef Song: The Original Beef Song

Sweet Home Alabama (1974)-Lynrd Skynrd dissing Neil Young

This is probably the first real beef song ever recorded (a quick google search yields some "response" songs that predate Sweet Home Alabama but they weren't really saying anything). It doesn't get much more direct than "I hope Neil Young will remember a Southern man don't need him around anyhow". Even the big, bad rappers don't mention their targets too often, hiding behind the subliminal disses, but these country boys really don't give a mess about no Neil Young (granted, the Canadian folk rocker is a much less imposing target than, say, Tupac but it's still ballsy).

Written as a response to Young's songs critiquing the South's racist resistance to the Civil Rights movements in "Southern Man" and "Alabama", the song has become an anthem for rednecks everywhere, but it's also been an inspiration for your Aunt's favorite Reese Witherspoon movie and a soundtrack for a KFC commercial as well as sampled by that Southern good ol' boy, Detroit's own Kid Rock. The irony of the song is that none of the original members of Skynrd were actually from Alabama and none of them were actually racists or Neil Young haters. While it's been hailed by conservatives and confederate flag waving hillbillies as an indictment of liberal whiners, the song itself isn't really reflective of the band's politics (although performing in front of a confederate flag doesn't help). The mention of segregation loving George Wallace actually was actually not in support (as it is sometimes misinterpreted). If you listen closely you can hear "Boo, Boo, Boo" after his name. Ok, that sounds like a cop out, but we'll take the deceased song writers word for it.

No matter how much of the song is meant to be taken literally or whether or not Neil Young should have feared for his life every time he saw a biker gang driving by (he reportedly loves the song), Sweet Home Alabama still goes down in history as the original Beef Song. They just reacted to what they felt were cheap shots taken by an outsider that made the entire region look bad. Something that I think many rappers today can relate to.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The PTU Glossary

Hello. If you've clicked on our blog these past few months you may have said to yourself "the hell? This isn't the Punjabi Technical Institute! Tomorrow's orientation, God damn it!". But if you're not an Indian engineering student and you stuck around long enough to actually read something that one of us wrote, then you may have said to yourself "What's with these guys and their funny lingo? What are they talking about?". Well, you're in luck, today we'll shed a little light on some of the words that may have had you scratching your head, if not clicking your mouse in disgust.

Perp: a common word for criminal used by police friends of the PTU staff that is also used to describe any person that dresses in a hiphop style or may resemble a criminal of some sort.

Perp Shoes: Sneakers

Yam (also yamming, yammable
): To have sex, or be worthy of sex.

Turkey Nest: A keeping it real bar in Williamsburg.

Keep it Real: Lacking pretension or snootiness.

Snooty: Anything that is beloved by hipsters or pretentious. Also the name of a PTU original.

Creeper: One who cheats on his wife or girlfriend

Yeeeeeeah: I agree with you or am excited about what you are talking about, or can be a substitute for any word, really..

THE BOMB: Primarily used by Bottle but means something is the best.

Fun Boy: a gay person or someone who acts less than manly.

UN: an expression for anything that is very bad.

Slob Den: Home to M@d $cientist and Captain Power and another guy.

Hop Devil Grill: A bar on the Lower East Side of Manhattan frequented by the PTU staff and home of Taco Tuesdays (where M@d had his shining moment).

Derek Harper: Former NBA player for the Mavericks, Knicks and Lakers and frequent PTU commenter.

Bay Ridge: Formerly great neighborhood in Brooklyn where most of PTU has lived at some point in their lives (and some still do).

Back Room: Place of childhood memories, teenage parties, and adult PTU meetings

Snoot's Ass: Known as one of the largest asses in history. The only competition is J.Lo, Rick Mahorn and Kim Kardashian. Has been blamed for lunar eclipses. Was featured in the magazine Blogger Butts. Last seen in Johannesberg.

Cookie Puss: One time commenter who engaged in battle with Blacky over Derek Jeter's legacy or something.

Dickhole: Hater J's favorite insult, currently insult of the year.

: A british and PTU term for being really drunk. Usually said like this: twasteddddddd.

Bottle: Local term for weed. Also a PTU original.

You got no moves: One of Bottle's favorite insults. Usually means that the person he is insulting lacks moves.

I'll bust you, son: Also a Bottle favorite.

If any of the other PTU contributors have words that I missed, let me know. Will update every year like Webster's.

Johnny Bagel's Lamest Sneakers of All Time: LA Gear Catapult

In the 80s and early 90s the sneaker landscape (particularly basketball sneakers) was dominated by three companies, Nike, Adidas and Reebok, and those three giants of the industry have been at the top ever since. And then there were those other sneaker companies. If your mother couldn't afford a pair of Jordans for you to wear on the first day of school, or you wanted to stand out in the crowd a bit, there was always the big 3's competitors to choose from. Of all of these lesser known companies, maybe none was as lame as LA Gear. Probably best known for their sneakers that pointlessly lit up when you walked, these corny kicks (not by any means perp shoes) were primarily worn in 1989 by 10 year old Asian girls and Karl Malone. In an effort to keep up with the big boys, LA Gear attempted to join the modern basketball shoe world with their LA Tech line, in particular the Catapult. The name itself was kind of cool, as you picture putting them on and being immediately propelled 10 feet in the air to ram the ball down the throats of all those kids that laughed at you for trying to wear Paula Abduls to third period gym class (It's not a shoe it's a machine!). Unfortunately, they didn't help your leaping ability anymore than they helped the Mailman's street cred.

An obvious rip off of Nike Air and Air Max as well as the Reebok Pump, the Catapult was worn by approximately 3 people during gym class in 1991 before being pulled from the market. Karl Malone went on to a hall of fame career yet not one championship. Is it the shoes? Probably.

Was Tyson Really That Great?

Nostalgia has a way of coloring our opinions of people and events, be they historical figures or athletes who dominated our childhoods. Mike Tyson is an example of a public figure who, through time and hype, gradually become mythical and no one can really have a logical conversation about them. I wrote a while back about how Biggie wasn't really the greatest rapper of all time and you would have thought I had said Mother Teresa was a whore. I suppose a lot of Tyson fans have similar feelings about Iron Mike, and the argument for both of these childhood heroes is kind of similar as well.

Both were from Brooklyn and overcame physical traits that were unusual for their profession and would cause them to be picked on when they were younger (Biggie being fat, Tyson and his girlish voice), both achieved fame at a young age and were fairly dominant in their fields and both careers were cut short before they could totally realize their potentials leaving experts and fans to argue about them forever. The real huge difference here is that Biggie's career was cut short at 24 because of a senseless killing, and Tyson's boxing career never made it as far as it could because of his own doing. And there's always the argument that he wasn't that good to begin with and was the product of weak competition. But both benefit from nostalgia, Tyson even more so than Biggie (since BIG actually was great for a number of years).

With Tyson's recent induction into the Boxing Hall of Fame, there's been a lot of his old highlights shown all over the place, and no matter the competition, his knockouts are fun to watch. Tyson was so ferocious in his early years, knocking washed up or never was "tomato cans" (to use Hater J's favorite term), that it's easy to gloss over the fact that those guys were mostly bums that he was demolishing. One reason I'm glad that I was born in the 80s and not a decade earlier is I probably would have wasted a lot of time and money on 5 minute pay per view fights. Still, Mike was a phenomenon who tore into other fighters in a way that isn't seen too often, and he's probably the second most famous boxer in history. That's what makes it so hard to argue about him though, his public persona is so huge and he's become such a brand name (his Punch Out game is a classic for anyone born during the Reagan years) that arguing against him with a fan is pointless, despite the evidence.

When all is said and done, even if he never reached his full potential, or if you argue he wasn't that great to begin with and just dominated weak competition like the James Tilleses and Marvis Fraziers of the world, his impact can't be denied. Even now as he's basically a parody of himself, he's still an icon that inspires debate unlike any other boxer, as hard as Mayweather or some of the other new jacks might try to draw attention to themselves. He might not have been the greatest fighter who ever lived, but don't try telling a Tyson fan that.

Monday, June 13, 2011

PTU Retirement: LeBron James and The Miami Heat

The Finals ended last night in a sort of anticlimactic way, at least compared to the first 5 games of the series. Dirk bounced back from a terrible first half to hit his usual clutch shots and the Heat looked lost on offense for long stretches of the third and fourth quarters. Worst of all, LeBron wasn't great or terrible but pretty much just had a blah, mediocre game. And with that, let's say goodbye to the NBA for 4 months (unless something crazy happens like Kevin Love dies in a hang gliding accident) and most importantly of all, let's say goodbye forever to PTU's unofficial mascot and whipping boy: LeBron James.

Over our 4 months of existence, we here at PTU have written approximately 638 posts about either LeBron James or the Miami Heat (or at least that's what it seems like). Whatever the number, there's only so many ways you can theorize about hating a basketball team or a player. And with that, I now raise to the PTU rafters, the most hated jersey in the world (outside of New Jersey): LeBron James and the Heat. I will not make another snide remark about the so-called King, call him by another demeaning nickname (LeBum, LeBrick, LePerp, LeBum, Peppino, etc) or write phony interviews with the man discussing his sexual organs or lack thereof. I will not write one more post about haters, hating or whether or not we should hate him and his team. And most of all, I will not post another pic of LeBron James' face crying, screaming, yawning, looking sad, confused, happy, cocky, or whatever. LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Spoelstra, even Joel Anthony and the rest of the Heat are now dead to me. It's been a good run, you've provided us and our readers hours of enjoyment and agony, but now it's time to find a new villain.

So long, LeBron. Even if we no longer say it, please believe that you will always be hated deep down in our hearts.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

PTU Movie Review: Return to Oz

Return to Oz, released in 1985, entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest time between original and sequel - totaling 46 years (1939 - 1985). After Frank Baum, the author of the Oz books (of which there are 40 in total, with 14 actually written by him) passed away, the Oz stories became part of the public domain and so Disney took this opportunity to buy the rights in order to create a sequel. Return to Oz is based on the second and third books in the Oz series, and it's set 30 days after Dorothy has returned to Kansas from her original adventures in Oz.

While made by Disney and apparently targeting young children, the movie is incredibly dark and twisted. Dorothy cannot stop speaking about her adventures in Oz (which no one believes), so her family decides to get her psychiatric help and sends her off to a mental institution. When she is strapped down to a gurney and entered into a dark room to receive shock therapy, she is somehow able to escape, and a series of events occur that finalize with her waking up on the shores of the Dead Desert, on the outskirts of Oz, with her new companion - a talking chicken.

There are all sorts of strange characters: for instance, she befriends Jack Pumpkinhead, who has all sorts of mommy issues, and insists on calling Dorothy "mom", to which she accepts. Eventually, with a couple of new friends by her side, Dorothy makes it to the mountains surrounding the Land of Oz, where she faces the evil Gnome King (who wears the ruby slippers like a real fruity pants).

The movie has has big flaws - such as terrible special effects and awfully redone customs for the scarecrow, lion, and tinman - but overall it is definitely worth watching just for the strange approach that Disney took towards making a dark and twisted sequel to such a beloved movie. Fairuza Balk, who most PTU readers probably wont know by name even though she was in about twelve 90's movies that you've seen, stars as Dorothy, in her first role as an actress. Fairuza (as an adult) falls just short of Brittany Murphy in the category of yammable, cracked-out, crazy white actresses - which I admit to being into.

Since this post is already way too long, I will finish it here and recommend that PTU readers check out the on-line documentary about the movie: The Joy That Got Away.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Coughgate: Another Reason not to Like The Miami Heat

Has it ever been one wild season for Miami. Way back in November there was bumpgate, then crygate, missed clutch shotsgate, Retardedgate, gategate (LeBron and Wade jumped over a gate), and now the most annoying scandal of the season: Coughgate (or as some outlets are reporting it, snifflegate). By now, everyone's seen video of the two superfriends yukking it up on their way out of practice as D Wade made light of Dirk Nowitzki's much hyped coughing fits from game 4. Most people are classifying this as just another example of the unwarranted arrogance and all around dick headedness of the Heat, including Dirk himself, who called their antics "childish" and "ignorant". I'd have to agree with Dirk that this was very childish behavior on their part, and I also agree that it's time to move past this horrible affront to humanity and focus on what is the biggest game for at least 20 player's careers tomorrow night. Coaches' and player's careers are on the line here. But Wade (who's been the good one for most of the season) and LeBron and whatever supporters they have left shouldn't act like they're shocked that people are making any kind of deal out of this (or that douche-bags like me are writing 500 word blog posts about it).

For most players, a triple double on 45% shooting would be seen as a career night in the finals, except everything that LeBron has stood for over his career has singled him out as more than an average player or average mortal, for that matter. The chosen one, King or whatever other crap you want to call him, are not labels that are forced on him. He never said, "cool it guys, I'm just one of the guys". His decisions, and his Decision, were all marketing schemes to separate him from the pack. He wasn't built in a Nike factory in Korea in order to put up Lamar Odom numbers. There weren't ESPN cameras at Jason Terry's high school games. If LeBron doesn't do the spectacular, the Heat season will be over and so will the myth of the Chosen King (something even I bought into a couple weeks ago). Now, Wade has joined the pity party, basically claiming that everything they do is taken the wrong way because of who they are, and claiming that what he was mocking with the cough routine was actually the overblown media coverage that him and Bron knew it would cause. Like he's some type of satirist now; Oscar Wilde Wade.

Anyway, Wade's beef (and Bottle's) that he and LeBron are unfairly targeted or that the Heat's every move is wrongly magnified all the way down to the intent of their coughs, is way off base. The reason that we all make a big deal out of seemingly small things with Miami, is they wanted things that way. If you exaggerate your own personas and accomplishments to ridiculous heights, then you can't be upset when your criticisms are equally outrageous and petty. Same goes for LeBron's seeming bewilderment at the ridicule that's being tossed his way over his failures in crunch time this series. Now he wants to point out how all he cares about is winning and how we fans and those in the media don't understand that basketball has a defensive side too. Well, boo hoo, Bron, you can't have it both ways. It's similar to the girl who wears a see through dress and then acts like she's shocked when everyone stares at her nipples all night. If you throw a celebration for signing a contract, have a primetime special dedicated to you, and make fun of the one guy who's kicking your ass for 2 weeks, then you have to deal with the repercussions: all eyes are on you.

Friday, June 10, 2011

PTU EXCLUSIVE: LeBron James Interview

We're all pretty excited around here. In only our 4th month in existence and with not one press credential among us, we were able to score an exclusive post game interview with the most polarizing figure in sports after yet another late game meltdown.

PTU: LeBron, thanks for taking some time out of your busy schedule to sit down with us for a couple minutes. I know the media's been pretty harsh towards you lately.

LeBron: Thanks for having me, I love reading you guys, especially Bottle. He cracks me up and has supported me since day one.

PTU: Yeah, he's great. Now down to brass tacks. So, LeBron, what is it exactly that has been holding you back during the big moments in the Finals? You seemed to have everything going for you just a few weeks ago. Me and Bottle had already said you were now the closer and King. What gives?

LeBron: Well, uh, this is kind of hard to say...My vagina has been bothering me.

PTU: I'm sorry, I thought you said your vagina. Your what was bothering you? Shoulder?

LeBron: My vagina.

PTU: vagina?

LeBron: yes, my vagina. I've kept it a secret for a while. Even adopted a couple of kids to cover it up but I have a vagina. A big, sloppy, sometimes irritable vagina.

PTU: Well, this is big news.

LeBron: I wanted to break it here first. Plus, Oprah just retired so...

PTU: Thanks, LeBron. So, let's get down to business. Do you wear a jock strap?

LeBron: i have a specially made vagina strap.

PTU: Interesting. Do you have any issues with the menstrual cycle? Is this a normally functioning vagina?

LeBron: It's as normal as any other. To be honest, I've had a pretty heavy flow lately. I can't believe I'm telling you guys this.

PTU: it's ok, we're known for getting transgenders through tough times.

LeBron: No homo though.

PTU: Of course. Now, have you had any issues with yeast infections?

LeBron: All the time. In fact, remember when I bricked that 3 last night in the last 2 minutes?

Yeast infection?

LeBron: Bingo. It can be really irritating. Throws off my jump shot. Not making any excuses or anything though. I feel like I'm a two way player. I think I can help my team defensively even when my shot's not really falling. That and I have extraordinarily large female genitalia.

PTU: Do you sit down to use the bathroom?

LeBron: Well, I have a functioning vagina so yes.

PTU: Right, of course. How has having this vagina affected your relationship with team mates?

LeBron: Well, at first I think it took some of the guys by surprise, but now I think they've learned to embrace my vagina.

PTU: Well, this has truly been eye-opening, LeBron, and we want to thank you for shedding some light on a topic that is all too often ignored: professional athletes who have lady parts.

LeBron: Hey, what can I say? I got a huge pussy.

PTU: Love to talk more but I know you're busy. Thanks, and good luck in game 6, Bron.

LeBron: Appreciate it, man.