Wednesday, August 31, 2011
One time Laker Javaris Crittenton was back in the news again this week, and again it was for something thuggish. He may have been little more than a footnote in Laker history as the guy who was traded for Pau Gasol along with Pau's brother Marc, if not for his love for guns. You might remember him as the other party involved in the Gilbert Arenas locker room mess a couple years back, and with this week's news it seems like he's not just into flashing steel to scare boo-ray playing team-mates but he knows how to use his weapon as well. Of course, here in America everyone is innocent until proven guilty and these are just alleged charges against Javaris, but there have been many athletes through out the years who are actual soulless, cold blooded killers. Let's take a look at a handful of homicidal professional athletes:
5) Rae Carruth
Rae was only convicted of conspiracy to murder his pregnant stripper girlfriend, but even though he didn't actually pull the trigger, hiring a mentally unstable goon to shoot at your girlfriend to avoid child support payments, then sitting in the drivers seat as he shot at her, and then hiding in a trunk for 3 days to evade police makes you a murderer in my book. That hiding in the trunk part is one of the dumber moves by a fugitive of the law of any kind, whether he played sports for a living or is just your run of the mill baby mother slayer.
4) Jayson Williams
For much of the 90s, Jayson Williams was a wise cracking, rebounding class clown for St.Johns and then the Nets. Just take a look at that Slam cover up there; if you had to guess which of those fools would eventually catch a murder charge he would be your fourth guess after the guy with the warped alien head, the Mormon making the tough wigger face at the camera, and Kerry Kittles (Kendall Gill doesn't look very murderous). Williams was the funniest of any of the guys named Jayson (or Jason) Williams to ever play in the NBA, and he was more like the funny Puerto Rican guy at your job that sometimes drinks too much at Christmas parties and tells dirty jokes that make people uncomfortable. Unfortunately for Jayson and his wife, his drunken party jokes got a little too wild at the "Who Knew?" Estate in New Jersey and he ended up killing his driver while doing TRICKS WITH A SHOTGUN. Who knew?
3) Robert Rozier
I wasn't really familiar with Rozier's story until M@d $cientist told me about him in my research for this post. He didn't have a long professional athletic career, but he might be the craziest and most dangerous person to ever play in the NFL (and that's saying something in a league that's employed Hershel Walker, Pacman Jones, Mark Gastineau, Lawrence Phillips, Lawrence Taylor as well as other homicidal maniacs who will appear later on this list). After an unremarkable six games in the league, Rozier messed his career up by using drugs and committing petty crimes before eventually joining a radical cult founded by Yahweh Ben Yahweh. Under the inappropriate name "Temple of Love", Rozier and the rest of the kooky followers promoted their silly agenda about the original black man and their higher level of knowledge and understanding of self by MURDERING AS MANY WHITE PEOPLE AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE. OJ doesn't have shit on this guy when it comes to murdering white people.
Yeah, I'd never heard of him either. But he belongs on this list as much as anyone despite his anonymity in America. Ogawa, a one time player and assistant coach for the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan's Pacific league seen above with Bobby Valentine, had some money problems later in life. In order to solve this issue he didn't call the Money Tree, or seek employment in the States like some of his counterparts. He attempted to rob a 67 year old woman, and then pushed her down a flight of stairs, put her in his trunk in a steel coffin and dumped the car into a river, earning him about 1.75 million yen and a spot on PTU's murderer's row.
1) OJ Simpson
The Babe Ruth of murderous athletes, no man has become more synonymous with murder than Orenthal James Simpson. The one time USC and Buffalo Bills star turned Hertz spokesman and actor (his role in Naked Gun is great, and his SNL hosting is available on Netflix if you like to see murderers act in sketches with Bill Murray) briefly became the most famous fugitive from the law and eventually became the most famous defendant in sports and maybe US history. The crime he was accused of was grisly, maybe not to the degree of the previous two guys on the list, but there's never been a sports figure who was as prominent a figure as OJ was who ended up being on trial for murder. We all know what happened from there, the country was obsessed with his trial for months, turning everyone involved into celebrities, from the lawyers on both sides (Johnny Cochran and Kim Kardashian's father amongst others) to goof ball witnesses like OJ's layabout stoner housemate Kato Kaelin and ex ballers like AC Cowlings, and eventually it all ended in a televised Not Guilty verdict resulting in outrage by most and celebrations by some. I remember a tv being wheeled into my 8th grade social studies class so we could all see this live. 35 8th graders were very happy that a man was found not guilty of slitting his ex wife and her lover's throat. Not sure why. No one's doing cartwheels in the street now as OJ sits in a jail cell for an unrelated incident involving some of his memorabilia and a hotel room, most likely contemplating karma or something.
Congratulations, Juice. The number one PTU murdering athlete.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Well Jets fans, you’ve all got one thing right. In his early career, Sanchez is very similar to his older Jets counterpart. Aside from loving booze and ladies (try and Google “Namath & Susie Kolber" followed by “Marc Sanchez freshman arrest”), both Sanchez and Joe Willy have a skill possessed by few athletes. They own the ability to distract everyone from the important stuff like a poor passer rating, completion percentage, yards per game, or even TD’s. Instead of focusing on those things, they force you to look at team results, earned by talented players, whose hard work got the team a win but barely got them the post game interview love they deserved. While his defense is licking its wounds from a hard hitting game, his running backs are icing knees that had to fight 8 men fronts all day, and his receivers are getting massages for the hits they took outreaching for yet another overthrown ball, Sanchez is front and center for the interview. Could you imagine a world where Trent Dilfer got some love for actually winning the Super Bowl and that Ravens “D” was a secondary story?
These are all similar positions Jets fans take with regards to the team’s Godfather. After guaranteeing a win in Super Bowl III, Joe Namath threw for exactly zero touchdowns and did not throw a single pass in the 4th Quarter. Despite all of that, Namath still won the Super Bowl MVP (the only guy to do so without throwing a TD) and is heralded by Jets fans as the savior of the AFC. All poor Matt Snell did was carry the ball 30 times for a 121 yards and a TD. Jet fans will also defend their hero’s status as a hall of famer despite his QB rating being lower than all HOF’ers aside from Bobby Layne, Bob Waterfield, George Blanda (a man who had diabetes and lost some toes), and Jim Finks. All of those guys had their first start between 1945 and 1949…not a very pass friendly league in those days. They will also ignore his losing record as a starter and the fact that he threw more picks than he did touchdowns.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Hurricane Irene came and went and the amount of damage caused is generally less severe than originally predicted. This, we should be grateful for. I have seen many people expressing their dismay over over the severity of the hurricane and the perceived overreaction by the local governments. The Bloomberg administration acted properly in exercising caution in the wake of an unprecedented storm. The two most criticized moves was the forced evacuation of residents of low lying areas and the shutdown of the transit system. The results of the hurricane proved their actions right. Many places were flooded although not specifically the ones that Bloomberg ordered evacuated. They took the areas most at risk of flooding and made a decision from there. Certain sections of the subway are also flooded. If the trains were running, at the very least you would have had a situation similar to the past snowstorm where commuters were stuck in a train for over 8 hours. The government's job is to protect the public, not worry about your weekend plans. People need to stop being so selfish and realize although you personally might not have been affected, many people were. Like the poor owner of the car underneath that humongous tree.
Friday, August 26, 2011
Earthquake hysteria is so 3 days ago. Added to the list of "scary things that you never thought about growing up in New York" is now Hurricanes. This bitch Irene has been on the lips of every man, woman and child in the tri-state since Thursday morning. Honestly, I'm already sick of this storm and we haven't had a drop of rain fall yet. Mayor Bloomberg has already declared a state of emergency, which sounds scary and apocalyptic, except I get the feeling that this is more like overcompensating for the post Christmas blizzard debacle on the part of hizzoner (I love when the Daily News calls him that). Nevertheless, most people seem to be as hysterical and nervous as a state of emergency and MTA shut down would figure to make people. Home Depots and Costcos are packed with nervous shoppers trying to stock their fallout shelters. By Sunday night, a bottle of Poland Spring will go for 50 dollars on the black market. Despite all this craziness, I'm holding out hope that this will just be a windy, rainy August day that screwed up our end of summer plans and not a cataclysmic Katrina type deal. If you see Sean Penn holding a shot gun in a canoe down Flatbush Avenue, then we have some issues.
Try not to panic and keep safe this weekend, everyone. WE WILL SURVIVE.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Today a few of us at PTU were arguing about the best childhood sugar drinks. Apparently these types of memories can conjure up some powerful emotions since we really got into it. With this in mind I decided to put together a championship bracket that will be decided by our faithful PTU family. Here is a brief overview of the match-ups:
Kool-Aid (#1) vs. Tropical Fantasy (#8):
Realistically many of you may not even know what Tropical Fantasy is but I ran out of crappy drinks. Everyone knows that Kool-Aid can't lose in the first round anyway.
Capri Sun (#2) vs. Tang (#7):
Capri Sun has a really strong line-up of flavors which make it a formidable foe. Outside shot of an upset due to nostalgia for Pat Morita (Mr. Miyagi from Karate Kid) making Tang commercials.
Hi-C (#3) vs. Misc Iced Tea (#6)
Hi-C comes in strong with a line-up that includes ecto-cooler. Hi-C also seems to have a lot of support among other PTU members. Misc Iced Tea is going to have a tough time unless you have good memories of drinking it at bottle's house as a kid.
Hawaiian Punch (#4) vs. Quarter Water (#5)
The closest battle of the bunch. Does Hawaiian punch win on the strength of that little red head guy that looks like Carrot Top, or does nostalgia for drinking the blue quarter drink all summer while playing handball win out...
It's time for you to comment on who you think should move forward to the next round to settle this once and for all.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Who doesn't love nostalgia? I, for one, can't get enough of it. Does my love of things of the past mean that I had a great childhood that I look upon fondly or am I just dissatisfied with my current life and need to constantly live in the simpler days of my youth? Let's try not to think about it and instead focus on something we can all get behind: cheesy 80s commercials. We all remember these from the Saturday morning lineup of Ninja Turtles (second straight Turtles mention for me) and Garfield and Friends, or the Disney Afternoon and GI Joe after school that you enjoyed with your Capri Sun and Social Studies homework. Most of these commercials flood your mind with good memories like Snoot's basement will be flooded with rain water this weekend. A couple of these haunted your nightmares as a child and will probably bring back those horrible memories that you tried to block out, just like Snoot will be trying to block the rushing rain water from ruining his carpet this weekend. This commercial is one of those:
Did you piss your pants yet? It looks a little goofy now, but the somewhat cheesy effects don't diminish the horror one bit in my opinion. This was made in the late eighties/early 90s when the crack epidemic in New York City was still fresh in everyone's mind. I've never actually used crack (I guess that part got through to me) but what the Snake Man up there is telling you seems accurate. Coke, crack and weed will have you
- Stealing from your mama
- cheating on your homeboys
Sounds about right. It all leads up to the big reveal at the end that he's some weird snake homeboy hybrid. There does seem to be an inconsistency with the premise of this PSA though. If he's such a snake, then wouldn't he be trying to lie to children and tell them that their lives would be perfect if they bought drugs from him? They would have an unlimited treasure chest of Transformers that were only released in Japan and life would be an endless day of nintendo and kool aid kool bursts times 1000 if they were to cop some dope from him? He's actually the most honest person I've ever met. Spells it right out for you. Not very snake like. Anyway, plot holes aside, this commercial went on to haunt me for years until I was eventually able to repress it with lots of weed! (Thanks drug dealers!)
Stay tuned to PTU for more awesome and sometimes disturbing commercials from our youth. Good luck, Snoot!
So, Bottle brought this story to our attention yesterday, while the rest of PTU were busy blabbering on about the latest happenings in Curb Your Enthusiasm and Breaking Bad. Apparently, there's a bit of a controversy surrounding this MLK memorial statue, chiefly due to the fact that the sculptor is a Chinaman and he has previously created huge, imposing statues of Mao. I think this is all much ado about nothing, but I suppose I could understand some people's beef with this.
I haven't heard Fox News company line on this, but I assume that a number of their personalities have taken issue with it; it seems like a certain brand of conservative's worst nightmare, the socialist black president that erects a giant, scary statue built by a Chinese communist. Coupled with the already existing anxiety over Chinese domination of our country and he might as well have added some paper mache raped white women at his feet. I don't share this criticism, though, since I think an artist's past shouldn't really have anything to do with what he does in the present. Even if this guy is a Commie, big deal. Aside from a murderer or child molester, I don't really care what the background is of the artist who creates national monuments. Aesthetically, though, I'm not too sure about the statue. Lei Yixin has, in the past, built immense, scary communist statues, and this MLK comes off as a little scary and communisty for sure. MLK is a symbol of peace and racial harmony yet his facial expression and folded arms make him look more like a humorless dictator. Or Tatsu from Ninja Turtles (Ninja, vanish!). Either way, frightening.
Still, despite the creepy look of the statue, and the somewhat questionable background of the sculptor, I don't have an issue with this. It's great that they're building a monument to MLK and how it gets there is besides the point. As Hater J pointed out, there's a big statue in New York that's kind of a symbol of America and all that which was built by a Frenchman. Imagine that. A stinking croissant eating frog built lady liberty. Besides, your sneakers, tv, even the computer or phone you're reading this on was probably made in Asia, so if you have a problem with the Chinese making our national monuments, get over it and be a little tolerant for once. Dr. King would have wanted it that way. But he might have asked for a touch up on his lips.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Did you all feel that? If you're in New York or the D.C. area, you probably did. It wasn't quite an earthquake, or at least stand in a doorway and pray to Christ that he will forget about your sins type quake, but enough to scare the crap out of most of us pussies on the East coast. It wasn't really all out disaster, but enough for us New Yorkers to do an Angel Pagan in our pants or at the very least, update our facebook status to something witty and topical like "EARTHQUAKE IN NYYYY????? DID YOU FEEL THAT???". No wonder those folks on the West coast stay smoking potent chronic. You have to worry about marauding gang bangers, stray bullets from Raiders games, and (as we have now tasted) the EARTHQUAKE. However, don't get too comfy in your east coast attitude. "What do we have to worry about? That's it?? Fugghedaboutit". This is only the beginning, there will be more quakes, plagues and other natural disasters of biblical proportions in the near future. So be prepared. What do you need to do to make sure that you're not caught with your proverbial pants down, or even worse literally with your pants down when the next quake brings our city to it's knees?
Like being face to face with a grizzly bear or sitting across from a pantless homeless person on the F train, the number one key to surviving an epic quake is not to panic. That means, suppress your inner desire to run around screaming like a woman and man up. You're stoic calm in the face of doom will put your co-workers at ease and we all know that nothing turns a woman on more than a man who can stay stone faced and composed despite the Earth's ripping apart. No ass like earthquake ass.
Have an Escape Route
One thing I realized after the little tremor was I have no idea what to do in case of an actual earthquake. Growing up the list of things that I was afraid of killing me were probably more like
- Being robbed
- Being stabbed
- Being stabbed and then robbed
- Getting hit by a train
- The comedian Earthquake
and then maybe number 75 on the list was an earthquake. Unfortunately, times have changed so it's important that you pay attention to that weird fire marshall who explains to your office building where the fire exits are, and not just focus on the free bagels that they provide.
Get yourself right with your enemies
Now that you know life is fragile, get yourself right with those who you've wronged through out your life. You probably thought you had all the time in the world to apologize to your former BFF turned mortal enemy. Well, get over it and apologize because your days are numbered. While you're at it, pick a religion because you'll want someone to pray to as the world crumbles around you.
Get Rid of All Contraband
If Curb Your Enthusiasm has taught us anything (and it has) it's that you need a trusted friend (maybe the one you just made up with after the last step) who will rid your home of all pornography and other contraband in case of emergency. Let's face it, you may think you have some forward thinking parents and friends who couldn't care less about your personal business but I wouldn't want to see the look on any mother's face when they see Black Rod, White Bod in their baby boy's sock drawer. That person should also be on call to get rid of all drug paraphernalia and other embarrassing/illegal items in your apartment in case you are seriously injured in the big one.
Wear clean underwear
Friday, August 19, 2011
The brawl that erupted between the Georgetown Hoyas and the Bayi Rockets produced some of the best fight photos of all time. Just take a look at that up there. Everyone lined up, throwing blows or preparing to inflict some damage (take a look at number 5 balling up his fist for a haymaker), and there's plenty more ridiculous photos where that one came from (when was the last time you saw a Chinese guy stomping out a black athlete? Game of Death?). This fight looks even better (or uglier) when compared to most sports fights. At best, you get a couple guys flailing away at each other while their teammates and coaches try to break it up. Most of the time, you can tell these guys don't really want to fight. They look like Marlon Wayans yelling "hold me back" while pushing his brother in front of him. They're athletes, not fighters. Occasionally though, tempers flare, everything falls into place and things get beautifully ugly. (I'm excluding the famous brawls we've already talked about before like the Knicks Heat fights and hockey because it sucks).
Kermit Washington Caves in Rudy T's Head
The brawl itself is pretty crazy (involving Kareem Abdul Jabaar and a few others), but it's mostly proof that a well placed punch can turn misdemeanors into murder cases and 10 game suspensions into life-long bans from the league. In Kermit Washington's case, the right hook that connected with Rudy Tomjanovich's temple followed him for life, resulting in his being banned for life from the NBA and a book called "The Punch". Rudy T. recovered to coach the Rockets to back to back titles in the 90s and Kermit's former team the Lakers for an unsuccessful post Phil Jackson season, but this punch almost killed him.
Armando Benitez vs. The Yankees
This one was fun. Far from the usual baseball scuffle, where the batter either runs out at the pitcher or just stares him down as both benches meander around the field, this was more in the vain of the last scene of Naked Gun. After Armando "Blown Save" Benitez lost his cool, yet again, and beaned Tino "Bay Ridge Toyota" Martinez, it was on and poppin'. The most memorable part of this brawl is, of course, wild Aussie Graeme Lloyd sprinting from the bullpen to cold cock Benitez (although both of those guys kind of punch like girls). Darryl gets the best shot in. Even the fights were better in the Yankee glory days of the 90s.
Derek Harper vs. Jojo English
The Knicks had a lot of heated rivalries during the Clinton administration (not that it was his fault). We've gone on at length already about the Miami brawls (PJ Brown flipping Charlie Ward, Van Gundy hanging on Alonzo's leg for dear life, etc.) but this one is sometimes forgotten. Even though the Knicks and Bulls rivalry was one of the fiercest at that time,(in Junior High and much of high school, you were either a Knicks or Bulls fan) it was mostly devoid of fisticuffs. PTU commenter Derek Harper made up for it, though, with this doozy of a sports fight. Jojo English was a very forgettable player if not for being the only NBA player to be body slammed during a game and his very stupid name. Harp was known as a pest (back when you could hand check players) and no doubt he got under Joey Jo Jo's skin. It gets broken up pretty fast but this video is still worth it to see Anthony Mason in the unlikely role of peacemaker (you ain't going nowhere, Scott Williams) John Starks being escorted away by about 5 security guards and the look on David Stern's face. This game would later become famous for Toni Kukoc's buzzer beater and Scottie Pippen's hissy fit.
The Bowe-Golata Riot in MSG
It's kind of redundant, I suppose, to talk about a fight breaking out during boxing, but when it's a brawl like this we can make an exception. Big Polish lug Andrew Golota had just landed his fourth (fourth!) low blow of the fight resulting in Bowe's agony and one of the wildest riots in the history of sports. Golota took a 2 way radio to the noggin from someone in Riddick's camp and there were chairs thrown from every direction. Total chaos that also involved some Polish mafia looking goons regulating in the ring. I strongly encourage you to watch this entire video. The Garden hasn't seen anything this ugly since Chris Dudley shot a free throw.
Andre Johnson vs. Cortland Finnegan
Football fights are usually pretty lame. There's been a couple of good ones (Deion throwing some blows in his return to ATL, and a few others) but for the most part, it's hard to get real riled up over dudes fighting in helmets and padding unless they have weapons. This one here was among the all time great fights since both guys are actually throwing punches and both of them lose their helmets. Finnegan seems to be the feisty sort, but Johnson totally makes him his half Irish bitch for a couple moments there, right about the 47 second mark. HOLD THAT, HALF BREED!
So, where does the Hoyas vs. China fight rank among the all time great brawls? It was a meaningless game, but it gets some points for the international vibe. Americans are already suspicious of the Chinese taking over in a few years, could this have been an example of the Georgetown players anxietys over future submission to the Yellow man? Probably not, but damn, it made for a great brawl.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
One of the hot topics these days (besides best uncles of all time) is the debate over NCAA athletes getting paid. Below is Hater J's perspective (he is working for THE MAN at the moment and can not break out of his shackles long enough to type this himself).
1 - If you take a percentage of the profit from TV rights, merchandising, etc.
that would create a huge imbalance in college sports with more players going to bigger schools with more lucrative contracts.
2 - How can you earmark what percentage of school merchandise is attributable to the said sport and the actual player's performance? At Michigan State for example (which has huge enrollment and alumni based on being a state university), unless a t-shirt says "MSU Football" or "MSU Basketball", any school merchandising sales can come from a number of places such as "I went there" or "My kid goes there" or "I just liked the colors because it matched my perp shoes" or "I don't care that the team is 3-9 and not making a bowl...they're still my team".
3 - If you are paying the athletes, do the 12th man on the basket ball team or the 3rd string/redshirt QB get paid the same as the starting QB or the double/double power forward?
4 - Schools claim that merchandising and TV revenue allow for them to put up better facilities such as libraries, dorm upgrades, etc. If a portion of these revenues are distributed to the athletes, then guess who's tuition goes up?
5 - Do track and field athletes get some love? How about the volley ball team? The baseball team? The softball team? Those all get some time on ESPN too. Shouldn't they get some joy also?
6 - Do these athletes still get a free scholarship that translates into about 150-170K with room, board, books, tutors, meals, supplies (like computers, and any other crap you need for your major), etc?
I think the most simple way of doing it is giving the students the same pay an RA gets. RA's, or whatever other shyt campus job, pays somewhere slightly above minimum wage and gives the student some walk around money. An athlete has to spend 20 hours (or something like
that) a week in practice. That's time they can't work or do anything to bring in any cash for at least a sandwich.
(Bagel's notes): I don't feel too strongly about this either way, but I agree these guys should see some of the huge profits that their athletic exploits generate. Not sure if any of these guys are hurting for sandwiches, especially at the major programs. Escalades, coke and strippers, maybe.
We do a lot of lists on here (mostly because Blacky loves them so much) but we're not the only ones. Sports fans are constantly keeping a running tally in their head of who's in the top tier of athletes at their sport. Ask any fan who's a little more than casual and he could tell you off the top of his head the top 5 or 10 players at any position, with a little variation depending on team allegiances or if the fan in question is trying to be a little show offy and throw out some obscure player, but there's a general sense of who belongs on the list. I know because I had the same conversation last Thursday while watching the first preseason game of the year at the Slob Den (preseason games leave a lot of time for conversation) and I've had this argument probably 700 times, or however many games that I've watched with people. Next to who's the hottest girl, what are we ordering to eat and who belongs in the Hall of Fame, it's what I talk about most with other dudes when watching sports. Unfortunately, Eli Manning never creeps into the top 5 during these debates.
He's taking a little heat in the papers and on local sports radio over his assertion that he's as good as Tom Brady and belongs in the top 5. I don't have a problem with him saying this, since he was just answering a reporter's question. It wasn't like he called a press conference to claim his greatness. And like he later told WFAN, what is he supposed to say? "Aw shucks, nah I suck, Tom Brady would kick my ass". I could actually hear him saying that, but I'm glad he stuck up for himself and showed some balls for once. Unfortunately, these types of leading questions get even the most modest country boy in trouble. And we all remember the flak that Stephon Marbury caught for saying he felt he was the best to a reporter's question a few years ago. However, by the unscientific findings of the Slob Den, Eli's number 7 or 8 when talking about top 10 QB's currently in the NFL (and we are all more or less Giants fans). The list that we came up with.
- His brother
Then we can put Eli at 7, and that's even a stretch. I'm not sure if we could put him ahead of Roethlisberger (despite what a douche he is) and Matt Ryan and Schaub are creeping up on Eli as well.Either way, lay off Eli. He's led a team to one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history, and despite his various screw-ups in recent seasons (that slide against Philly last season being one of the worst) and his somewhat high interception count last year (a good many of those were due to receiver butter fingers) he's still in the top tier of play callers, albeit not the very highest tier. Glad to see him showing a little life as the Giants have been kicked around by everyone before the season even starts. Top 10 isn't all that bad anyway.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
In this time of political strife, wide-spread financial turmoil and cataclysmic global change, it's important that we here at PTU stay on top of the beating pulse of what's current and topical. So, of course I'm going to return from a week long hiatus with what's on everyone's mind:
A list of the best uncles of all time!
Being an uncle is awesome. Whether you're a real uncle to one of your brother or sister's kids or your just such a close family friend you become an unofficial uncle, or you're just some creepy guy who hangs out at the mall with silly bands for all your "nieces and nephews", being an uncle is so much better than being an actual parent. You get the satisfaction of being a parent without all that messy responsibility and upbringing stuff. Just show up every other weekend with a new Xbox game and you're the coolest uncle of all time. Who made the definitive PTU lis of the top uncles of all time? If you think we've run out of ideas for worthy blog posts, you ain't seen nothing yet.
Uncle Leo (see above)
Jerry's annoying uncle who always seemed to turn up at the wrong time was the classic nebbishy old Jew who provided Seinfeld with grief whenever he came on screen. Sadly, the actor who played Leo died a few years ago.
Tony's uncle Corrado was probably my favorite character on The Sopranos for the first 3 seasons, he had that great old timey gangster dialogue (My nephew is a cunt hair away from being the boss of all of New Jersey and I am that cunt hair) that was delivered perfectly by veteran actor and New Yorker Dominic Chianese (Johnny Ola from Godfather 2, and he looked old back then). Unfortunately, his character eventually became a demented old bat, shuffling around in his slippers and generally being a sad, old man before eventually shooting Tony during one particularly demented episode. Realistic, I suppose, but a waste of a great character and uncle.
The late John Candy is another in the long line of overweight comedians who met an untimely death. While not as universally revered as John Belushi or even Chris Farley, the big guy had his fair share of classics. This might not be one of them, but I still laugh at the comment that my friend's brother once made during the GIANT PANCAKE eating sequence : "This wasn't even part of the script. They just filmed Candy eating breakfast". Looking back at that movie poster, and Jesus Christ that is scary! That looks like the original version of Funny Games. What's in that suitcase, Buck? Macaulay Culkin was in this movie too, just a year before he conquered the world with Home Alone.
Uncle Ralph McDaniels
Tri State area hip hop heads will remember Ralph McDaniels (better known as Uncle Ralph) as the host of late night (and sometimes afternoon) cable-access staple Video Music Box. Back when videos actually meant something to people, and not everyone had cable tv, (you could get it on channel 25 without cable), the Music Box was the go to place for the latest in rap videos, grainy live performances at the Tunnel and interviews with your favorite (and not so favorite) rappity rap rappers. Uncle Ralph has put it down on Hot 97 and various other NY radio stations for years as well. Middle finger to 106 and Park.
Hater J's Uncle Frank (photo not available)
You guys out there probably don't know him, but you probably wish you did. This guy is awesome. Although he's well past 40 (maybe 50) he still comes out to any big or not so big occasion and kicks it with the youngins. Beer pong, funnels, car bombs: you name it, and Uncle Frank will kick your ass in it. He also has a pool at his house and eats little blog reading punks like you for breakfast. That and fiber rich corn muffins. Salute!
If you like violent, misogynistic, police hating, godless rap (and who doesn't?), then OH HENRY, do we have the guy for you. Devoid of any redeeming value or social commentary, Brooklyn rapper Uncle Murda is about as self explanatory as that name. He raps about murder (as you can see by the tag line to that mixtape up there: Head shots for everyone!). You know how every family has that one uncle, who's kind of strange and maybe drinks too much Bud Lights at Christmas time and he likes to murder people who snitch to the police on him and run trains on project bitches? Yeah, he's like that guy. He's since changed his name to the slightly more marketable Uncle M but he'll always be Murda in our hearts.
Back before Will Smith was a Scientology leaning, Oscar winning, child exploiting douche bag he was a rapper turned actor. For much of the 90s you could see Will in all sorts of wacky colors and classic perp shoes as Will Smith, delinquent nephew to big, bougie Phillip Banks on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. After his mom got scared after one little fight (kind of an overreaction if you ask me) Will went to live with his auntie and uncle in Bel Air where he lived with hot valley girl Hillary, also hot Tatyana Ali, and another Uncle, uncle Tom, Carlton and his Polo sweaters. Uncle Phil was the man though, he might have moved out the hood with Aunt Viv but he was still gangsta, just ask DJ Jazzy Jeff, who was tossed out of the mansion almost every episode. Apparently, the actor who played the big judge is gay and confined to a wheelchair now.
Honorable mentions to those goofy uncles on Full House (Uncle Joey was such a dick), Uncle Fester and Peter Parker's Uncle Ben, who had to die in order for us to have Spiderman to enjoy.
I was gone for a while but I'm back, so stay tuned for more hard hitting and informative posts like this one.
Since moving out to the suburbs I always find the local crime blotter to be a good source of amusing reading. Maybe it's because this stuff wouldn't even get reported in Brooklyn (at least in keeping it real Brooklyn). All of this reminds me of the time when I lived in CT and three cop cars searched for me because I slammed a door at the drunk burger spot at 2am.
Anyway, here are some of my favorites, courtesy of he Nassau County Police Blotter:
- On July 7 around 10 p.m., a suspect in his mid-teens attempted to buy beer at the Fresh Break located at 2736 Merrick Road in Bellmore. When a worker refused, the suspect took a Slurpee on the way out of the store. When worker confronted the suspect, the suspect gave back the Slurpee. According to police, the suspect has stolen items in the past.
- On July 29 around 1:55 a.m., five unknown suspects stole beer from the Rite Stop on Newbridge Road.
- Sometime between July 22 and July 25, unknown suspect(s) spraying shaving cream on a 1993 Ford at Woodmont Sports Complex in Wantagh. The shaving cream was also sprayed inside the gas tank, causing the vehicle's engine to seize. (I'm thinking the engine seized because this was an 18 year old Ford).
- A flower pot at Napoli Marble and Granite on 3501 Merrick Rd., Seaford was reported damaged between July 30 and 31.
- On Aug. 3, a police officer observed two suspicious males on bicycles near a BP Gas Station on Central Avenue. During the interview, the suspects stated they stole the bicycles earlier that day. Suspects showed the officers what house they stole it from and the victim identified his property.
- On June 4, it was reported that damage was done to a brick light stanchion on Sally Court. (Try calling the NYPD to report damage to your light stanchion)
- On Argyle Road, a complainant observed a group of youths hanging out, then heard commotion outside his residence and saw a subject stepping onto and over his 2006 white Chevy causing damage. This happened on June 4.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Football is only in preseason mode and I'm a Mets fan so that only leaves politics and lists to talk about. Given recent events, I've started watching multiple episodes of Man vs. Wild so I can be prepared for the collapse of the modern economy and the end of our civilization as we know it. Until everything falls apart, it's still fun to look at some of the facts and figures about how our government wastes money.
Now to the interesting chart that is based on data from the non-partisan Tax Foundation. To be fair, this chart only includes data from 2005 since the foundation hasn't had the funds to update it (go figure).
This chart represents all the states for which there was a Senatorial election during 2010 AND the state in question gets back more federal money than they pay out in federal taxes. If we assume that a Republican victory was a statement regarding voters interest in a smaller federal government with less federal spending, isn't it interesting that voters in states with a net influx of cash from D.C. voted this way? Curiously, if we look at all the states that pay out more in federal taxes then they get back in spending, Republicans only won about 1/3 of the available seats in the Senate.
So what the hell does this mean? Do people in these states really want to stop getting back their "subsidy" from other states? A great example of this is Sarah Palin's state of Alaska. While it doesn't appear in this chart since there wasn't a Senatorial election in 2010, Alaska ranks number 3 in terms of taking in more money then they pay out to the federal government. In 2005, the federal government spent $1.84 in Alaska for every $1 dollar in federal taxes paid out. So when Palin talks about making government smaller, I'm guessing she is all for giving up this subsidy for her home state? In all seriousness, maybe that is a good idea, but I'm going to wager that most of the heated conservatives in these states don't understand the implications of what they are supporting.
I know this is only a small part of a very complex issue that I've oversimplified quite a bit. However, when you lay the data out this way, it may not be what you expect....
Johnny Bagels is missing. It’s been five days since his last post. The PTU faithful are stoically staring silently at everyone’s favorite blog about all things Sports, Politics, New York, Unemployment and Lists awaiting a new blog entry from PTU’s most prolific contributor and administrator. I myself am beginning to worry.
Bagels is known for publishing a new blog entry almost every weekday. With no new entries on Friday and Monday, PTU readers were clamoring for fresh commentary on sports and cutting edge lists on Tuesday morning. With nothing new to sate their appetite for lists, PTU readers are beginning to demand answers. Questions swirl around Bagel's disappearance. Where might he be? What might have happened to him? Who is responsible? Does he have any unpublished material? This PTU contributor suspects foul play, but not necessarily murder. Potential suspects abound and unfortunately include some PTU contributors who may have become jealous of Bagel’s penchant for plentiful and powerful prose.
PTU hopes for Bagels safe return and asks anyone with information concerning his whereabouts or in possession of unpublished blog posts to please contact PTU immediately. Blog contributors are standing by. Bottle and Apple are also reported missing.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
The temperatures are dropping to manageable 70something degree conditions, those annoying back to school sales commercials are beginning to air and the Mets are out of the playoff race. That can only mean one thing: the NFL is back! Yes, it was a little shaky there for a while, but all is right with the world again because the NFL players and owners settled their petty differences and we thankfully have at least one major sport to keep us busy this winter. And it all starts tonight with a preseason matchup between the Chargers and the Seahawks. Preseason games are usually pretty boring after the first half (sometimes even before that) but as starved as everyone is for football right now, it could be footage of Philip Rivers tossing a nerf ball around the driveway with his son and we'd cancel dinner plans tonight. After the long summer of heat waves and lockouts, we finally have some football to watch. Get that 12 pack of Milwaukee's Best from Duane Reade, a couple of Eggplant Parmesan heros (if you're M@d $cientist or myself) and enjoy until the 4th quarter when the third stringers are on the field and you can switch to Jersey Shore. Let's get it on!
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Another start another no win for A.J. Burnett. Although last night's start wasn't that bad statistically, it's a record Yankees fans are all too familiar with. Burnett keeps it close for about 5 innings while running his pitch count up in the process. He then implodes, walks a bunch of people and gives up a bunch of runs while muttering things to himself as he trots off the mound. Basically, last night's start is about the best you can expect from Burnett these days. The worse is when he can't qualify for a win when staked to a 13-1 lead.
The solution to me is simple. With 5 other quality starters, you send Burnett down to work on his issues in Triple A. Or you send him to the disabled list with a phantom injury. The two pitchers who are being mentioned as rotation cuts are Hughes and Nova because Burnett is the veteran with a huge contract. However, Girardi has shown once you outlived your usefulness he won't hesitate to bench you (see Jorge). And Burnett's record was never that good to begin with, especially with the Yankees. He's had a couple dominant April stretches, and that's it. I would take the promise and potential of the two young pitchers than the slop that A.J. is throwing. And lastly, Burnett should be demoted just for that awful new haircut.
Today is grocery worker turned Knicks hero/goat John Starks' 46th birthday. The majority of people in the world (outside of the tri-state) are probably indifferent to Starks, but only remember two things about him: his dunk against the Bulls and his terrible game 7 of the NBA Finals. That's really all you need to know about Starks, actually. That, and he was basically a loser who couldn't crack an NBA lineup to save his life, drifting from rinky dink basketball leagues like the CBA and various training camps to eventually the ever popular "grocery bagger" storyline. He was basically Kurt Warner without the talent, wife with the lesbian haircut and of course, the championship ring.
Most Knicks fans have a love/hate relationship with number 3 or they just hate him. A lot of New Yorkers, like my brother and M@d $cientist, listed John as their favorite Knicks for years. We always heard about how he embodied everything that New Yorkers stood for. He was tough, wouldn't back down from anyone (he fought with Jordan and literally butted heads with the hated Reggie Miller) and made up for what he lacked in talent with hard work and grit. Most New York area basketball people will tell you that the Knicks fans will put up with losing as long as you work hard doing it. Lazy bums like the Knicks pre Amare and Carmelo were examples of the opposite type of player; the guy who collected a huge check but didn't earn it on the court, and Knicks fans showed their anger. Starks never had anything handed to him and worked his way to eventually being an all-star one season, the year after his shining moment in game 2 against the Bulls (I still have the poster of "the Dunk" somewhere in my parents' house). But, at the same time, Starks was an example of the type of guy who could make you scream and hurl Snapple bottles at the tv screen. Hot headed and impulsive, he'd sometimes ruin games with his temper (check out Ewing and Oakley's reactions to the Miller head butt if you can find video of it) or his relentless three point gunning. If he felt shown up by another player or he made a couple threes, you knew that the ball was going up every time it touched his hands, for better or worse. He also fed off his own bottled up energy so much, that he would sometimes psych himself out of games. Case in point: the Game 6 against Miami in 1997 that took place after half of the Knicks team was suspended for wandering off the bench, John was so jacked up off the energy of the crowd and all the hoopla, he dribbled the ball off his foot the first two times he touched the ball. This is probably what happened in game 7, and frankly, the guy deserves some hate for it. Whatever being clutch means or if it exists, we can all agree that being calm under pressure is something that all great players needed and John just didn't have it. It's unfair to expect a guy from Oklahoma who worked at the local Safeway to be the Pippen to Ewing's Jordan, but most Knicks fans would have settled for a Steve Kerr at least.
So, if you clicked on PTU today and saw that ridiculous Slam cover (sorry if I overuse the Slam covers, but there just so god damn awesome) you either said "That son of a bitch Starks! I'll never forgive him!" or said "It's Starks birthday? Who cares?"...wait, let me start over. You probably don't care either way about Starks's birthday but you most likely feel one of two ways about the guy: he's the biggest asshole ever, who ruined your youth and if he could have shot 30% in the biggest game of his life, the Knicks would have a championship in your lifetime, or you remember him as a hero of your childhood who overcame the odds and provided a great memory and poster for your bedroom. Either way, the guy is now a Knicks lifer (he works some made-up job title for the Knicks now) and we wish him a happy 46th.
Seriously, though, 2 FOR 18?!?!?!?
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Jorge Posada was the back page story after another Yankees Red Sox game this past weekend. Earlier in the season, the cranky old Yankee overshadowed anemic Yankee offense as well as Snoot's brush with high society, when he threw a hissy fit over being dropped in the batting order (this despite his truly awful numbers at the time). Sunday, Jorge behaved himself, but his removal from the lineup entirely dominated the back pages, and once again got the heat off of a miserable Yankee loss (Eduardo Nunez should be particularly grateful). I defended Georgie back in the Spring, and I'm still a huge fan of the guy. Unfortunately, it appears that time has claimed another victim, kicking and screaming his way to mediocrity or worse.
Posada has always been a bit of the grumpy type. Even when things were going so well for the Yankees, there were stories about his occasional grumbling. Just ask A.J. Burnett about Jorge's temperament. But he's also been part of that core 4 (now 3 and soon to be 2) that is so legendary around here. He's a pretty classy guy, who goes about his business with little fanfare, never showing anyone up. Totally fits the mold of the 90s Yankee, the business like winner. But now it looks like his final season or 2 will be endless games of tug of war between Girardi and Posada. As I've mentioned before, the two have kind of a contentious relationship. Girardi still sees Posada as the snot nosed kid who took his job and Posada can't get past the fact that he's taking orders from a former equal (I'm speculating here, but it's probably true). So, instead of the glorious ride into the sunset that was the last seasons of Bernie Williams, Paul O'Neill, Andy Pettite and soon to be Derek Jeter (Mr. D not withstanding) and Mariano Rivera, we'll be treated to endless shots of the moping Posada on the bench while newcomers like Russell Martin and Eric Chavez replace him in nationally televised games against Boston. Frankly, it's a sad product of being a catcher that they don't usually age too gracefully. Even all time greats like Ivan Rodriguez and Mike Piazza were (or are) shells of their former selves, either barely batting above .200 or awkwardly playing first base. Posada's not being mistreated here (although Girardi has to be aware that scheduling his lineup changes around Red Sox series might draw a little attention) since he's been awful lately. It's a little sad, though, to see one of the important pieces of the Yankees dynasty reduced to an unproductive old man sitting on the bench, especially amidst the love fest that Jeter's experienced this season. Posada's always been a fairly dignified guy, and let's hope his last games as a player will see him retain a little of that dignity.
If you've had the privilege of taking the subway in New York city over the past 8 or 9 years then you're probably familiar with a particular storage company even though you've never stored a damn thing in one of their units. Manhattan Mini Storage has cornered the market on sometimes funny, often political, always everywhere subway ads. Even if you don't know exactly what they're selling, those familiar ads have burrowed their way into your subconscious. The BIG BLOCK LETTERS and an abstract picture of something related to whatever the theme of the ad is, and that now familiar logo alongside the 29$, free move. What truly sets MMS apart from other local ads on the trains and through out the city is the willingness to push their political agenda whenever they can. I'm pretty liberal (I guess) and I find most of these kind of annoying. While most companies try to stay as bipartisan as possible in order to not alienate any potential customers, MMS knows they can get away with it in liberal Manhattan, while at the same time portraying a hip, edgy quality. Let's take a look at a handful of the more memorable ads to grace the N train and piss off your conservative friends and family.
Probably the most striking of the MMS ads, this particular one wasn't confined to the iron horse, but was actually a giant billboard overlooking the West Side of Manhattan. Again, these guys really don't give a fuck about normal marketing strategies. Advertising 101 would tell you: "Illegal abortion involving coat hangers is not an image that will help sell your product" (unless you were selling illegal abortions I guess). It is a clever visual joke (the coat hanger works doubly for the closet space reference and the abortion thing) but on the annoyingly liberal meter this one still scores extremely high.
5 rusty coat hangers out of 5
Some of these seem like relics from an ancient civilization where government bashing was the norm for snarky hip types. This particular ad was pretty lame. For one thing, the opposite of narrow isn't liberal, and they're mixing metaphors like a motherfucker here.The I heart Halliburton button is also annoying. If you didn't understand who Cheney meant, then you probably won't get the allusion to that. One of the worst ads in the collection, as he was one of the worst Vice Presidents of all time (see what I did there?)
2 out of 5 Water Boarders
Another tenuous analogy involving the Bush administration and how shitty your closet space is. Not very creative, but as annoying to a conservative New Yorker as Rachel Maddow. The manila folder with "war secrets" is a nice douchey touch.
1 Michael Moore baseball cap out of 5
This one's very recent and topical. You may have heard that the gay types had wanted to get hitched but some fuddy duddies in Washington wanted to rain on their gay parades. This ad is kinda straightforward but not as controversial as some of the others. It conveys the message that I think most people agree with these days: Why is it anyone's business if someone wants to marry a dude? Gay marriage doesn't affect you. These are the new school MMS ads that shun the message related image in the background for plain block yellow letters over a blue background, so no two guys on a wedding cake or anything to really hammer home the point.
4 out of 5 Lady Gaga t-shirts
Another new school entry, this one's gotta hurt for any long suffering fan of New York's most shitted on team. Imagine the rage that something like this must inspire in the beleaguered Mets fan on his way home on the 7 train from another ugly loss against the Marlins or some other minor league team. The last thing you need is to be mocked by the subway advertisements that usually provide you with such joy and comfort. At least Dr Zizmore never makes fun of your crappy fashion sense.
3 out of 5 Ike Davis Bobblehead dolls.
And finally, maybe the least political of any of Manhattan Mini Storage's ad lineup, but the one that basically sums up their attitude. Nothing says obnoxious liberal hipster like a kickball trophy, except a joke about the kickball trophy falling on your baby. I'm no stranger to cruel humor, so the baby thing doesn't really bother me (yeah, I laugh at dead babies), but the kickball trophy really turns my stomach.
5 out of 5 vegan barbecue restaurants
Thursday, August 4, 2011
The tattoo is a funny thing. What was once considered either a sign of toughness or gang affiliation is now as common as a pair of blue jeans. But, for something so permanent, many people make some awful decisions on what to put on their body for life (or at least until very painful surgery). With fat blowhard Rex Ryan once again making the papers for something other than saying something stupid (although he did that too), we thought it was a good time to take a look at some of the most misguided decisions ever made in a tattoo parlor that didn't involve scoring crystal meth from an undercover agent posing as a tattoo artist.
The Game's Butterfly tat:
There are many things that are annoying about Compton rapper and one-time G-unit member turned G-unit enemy, The Game: He can't rap two lines without name-dropping another rapper or Dr. Dre, he's a proud member of the Bloods and never shuts up about it, he was on lame 90s dating show Change of Heart, and on and on. Possibly, the cheesiest thing he ever did, though, was tattoo a butterfly ON HIS FACE. Yeah, butterfly tattoos aren't gangsta, my mother could tell you that. To make matters worse, instead of owning up to it, and saying "screw it, I'm so tough I will walk around with a 15 year old girl's first ankle tattoo on my cheek, and what?", he almost immediately had it changed to a red 5 point star (a Blood symbol) and eventually the Dodgers logo. Nice try, asshole.
Richard Jefferson's RJ tattoo:
If you've ever heard the Spurs small forward speak, you know he's about as corny as Uncle Joey from Full House, but in case you haven't, just take a look at his left shoulder. Cut it out. It's bad enough that homeboy was so unimaginative, he just threw his own initials on his body, but it looks like he copied it off of a 5th grader's trapper keeper, complete with the basketball in the R and the super lame "explosion" lines around the letters. R.J. comes across as pillow soft (he was raised by missionaries) but the tattoo that looks like the cover to a Judy Blume novel only confirms things.
Gucci Mane's Ice Cream Cone face tat (see above):
Gucci ain't no sucker. He's in and out of jail more often than DMX and did time for murdering one of Young Jeezy's goons over a song. I guess with street cred like that, you can tattoo whatever the hell you want on yourself, but that ice cream cone could make even the most hardened southern thug seem as soft as Fudgie the Whale. Gucci's whole shtick involves cold stuff (his catchprase is BRRRRRR) so it kind of makes sense in a warped sort of way, in I guess the same way that this cover makes sense. GUCCI!
Deshawn Stevenson's Abe Lincoln:
When I first saw mediocre at best Mavs shooting guard DeShawn Stevenson's throat tattoo I thought it was mediocre at best. I figured he must hail from a rough city named Lincoln or his zip code had a 5 in it, or he's a civil war historian. Naaah, he just likes Lincoln because he freed the slaves. Black civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. or Malcolm X are so played out, after all. Never mind Abe probably gave two shits about black people, and probably secretly told monkey jokes behind their back (this is almost definitely true). I just can't wait until LeBron gets that John Wilkes Booth on his neck.
Less a tattoo than a branding on his arm from his put upon wife (that whole rape thing) Kobe's tattoo isn't really all that bad stylistically, but the meaning behind it is as bad as it gets. After that Colorado incident, Kobe pulled out all the stops to get his wife not to leave with half his fortune. He bought her a Lamborghini, which he paid extra to be automatic, he cried at press conferences and he got this big doofy tat on his arm of his wife's name with a crown. Yeah, you can tell most whipped guys by the fact that they're carrying their wife's purse or they're at a John Mayer concert with her, but nothing beats permanent ink on your arm of her name with a crown atop it to really stress the fact that your balls have been permanently put in a jar and placed on your woman's mantle. Damn you, Colorado hotel manager for being so enticing!
Tom Arnold's Roseanne:
Imagine sleeping with Roseanne Barr in the late 80s. Her big, sweaty rolls of fat rubbed up against you, the imprint from the stretch waist band on her acid wash mom jeans still visible, her nasally screech drilling a hole in your brain. Now, imagine you wanted to remember this occasion for eternity, and tattoo that fat face on your chest. Needless to say, Tom Arnold has admitted to a massive drug problem in the late 80s.
Mike Tyson's Tribal face tattoo:
Mike is a trendsetter. Before face tattoos were all the rage among rappers and basketball players, they were strictly the domain of the worst of society; crank addicts and gang bangers, you didn't want to run into someone with a face tattoo in broad daylight, never mind a dark alley somewhere. Mike's tattoo has opened the flood gates for awful tats, it's so iconic it's even been parodied in shitty movies that Mike made cameo appearances in and was basically the cherry on top of the shit show sundae that Tyson has become.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Certain things we take for granted as existing forever, even though obviously everything has some type of origin. Saying God Bless you after a sneeze, shaking hands upon meeting someone, or even the kiss on the cheek are all little social interactions that we don't even think twice about, but somebody had to be the first to do it. One such phenomenon is the high-five. From cool to corny to ironically cool to corny again to whatever it is now, you can't deny the high-five's presence. But you probably never thought for a second about who the hell was the first jerk to throw his hand up in the air for another jerk to give an open palm to as a sign of unbridled exuberance. Lord knows I haven't. Just seems like one of those things that's always been since the dawn of time. Imagine my shock when reading the newest issue of the otherwise waste of dead trees that is ESPN the Magazine (I was forced into a subscription after signing up for ESPN insider to read the second half of John Hollinger's stupid stats), and seeing this article investigating the pioneer of the high five. There seems to be a little bit of controversy; there's a good number of athletes who are trying to lay claim to being the originator of the five, ranging from nobodies on obscure college basketball teams from the 70s to greats like Magic Johnson (Magic may have helped popularize the high five with the Showtime Lakers teams, but most people doubt he was the first). The article eventually settles on the prevailing theory regarding the inventor of the high five (at least using Wiki research): Glenn Burke of the L.A. Dodgers.
I wasn't familiar with Burke's story before this article but I must say it's chock full of surprising tidbits, and since nobody in their right minds reads ESPN the magazine, I'll summarize. As the story goes, the Dodgers were on their way to becoming the first team to have 4 players with 30 home runs in a season. Burke, a light hitting outfielder(to put it mildly) was waiting on deck after teammate Dusty Baker jacked his 30th, and in the ensuing excitement, thrust his hand skyward for his teammate who (also caught up in the moment) did all he could think of and slapped Burke's palm as hard as he could; and thus began the high five. This story is surprising enough (I would have thought the high five dated back at least to the 50s or 60s), but becomes really crazy when you learn the back story of high fivin' Glenn Burke. Not only was he a celebration innovator, he was also the first out gay baseball player. Yeah, I didn't know there was ever one of those either. Supposedly, his somewhat open homosexual ways (it's implied that most of his teammates knew) were what forced the talented Burke out of baseball, to never be spoken of again outside of lame magazines and sports blogs. Not only did Burke lead a fairly open gay lifestyle (he is said to have frequented West Hollywood gay clubs in drag during his playing days) but he is also rumored to have carried on an affair with Tommy LaSorda Jr. of all people. This didn't sit well with the old paisan, who to this day denies that his son (who died of AIDS) was even a homosexual, let alone involved in gay trysts with one of his players. The ESPN article hints that it was Burke's lifestyle that forced him out of L.A. and eventually landed him in Billy Martin's doghouse in Oakland (Billy would address him as faggot on occasion, if he spoke to him at all). But, his lasting legacy will always be the high five.
So there you have it. The high five, that favorite expression of frat boy excitement during beer pong or any sporting event, the classic macho celebration and all around non threatening gesture of sportsmanship, and the national punchline for movies like Borat or Puddy on Seinfeld...was first practiced by a gay baseball player you never heard of in the late 70s. Now that I think of it, high fiving is pretty gay.