Monday, December 17, 2012

NBA Quarterly Report: Big Surprises


We're now two months into the NBA season and it's been...how can I put this delicately? Not so fantastic. Yeah, if you live in New York it's been pretty cool so far. The Knicks are off to their best start since Biggie was still alive, and Brooklyn's new team has proven to be a solid (albeit boring) squad, and have already done their best to create a heated rivalry with both the Knicks and Celtics. But the cold, vast League Pass landscape is littered with nearly unwatchable teams stocked with players that only Rick Kamla has heard of or cares to know about. These teams range from merely dull to suicide inducing. Take it from gamblers such as me and Hater J. I've spent more time the past 4 weeks watching the Wizards and Blazers than any man should, just so I can keep an eye on my under. They should use footage of Lamarcus Aldridge flat footed "jump" shots in Gamblers Anonymous meetings. People wouldn't even buy scratch off tickets after a couple hours of that. But anyway, now that we've got a large enough sample size to pretty much see who's going to be a winner this year and who's going to be catching up on The Walking Dead reruns in May. What have been the biggest surprises thus far?

Surprises

Golden State:

 It's a shame that GSW has been so bad for so long. Miserable Knicks fans like to lament our patheticness to whoever has the misfortune of sitting next to us at the bar but the Knicks are the UCLA Bruins compared to the Warriors. This century the Warriors have exactly one playoff appearance (the miracle BELIEVE team of Baron Davis) and no all stars. They've been such a terrible franchise that the RUN TMC days of Mullin, Richmond and Hardaway are looked at as some kind of a dynasty when that team never made a conference finals. This is especially sad since the Warriors have maybe the best fanbase in all of sports. Knicks fans are often credited with being the most knowledgeable fan base in hoops, but Warriors fans might be the most blindingly loyal. Despite the years of losing, you will never once hear Warriors fans booing their home team. On the contrary, the Oracle is packed with rabid fans every game, it's more like a college atmosphere than anything else. Even after some bone headed moves in recent years (such as trading fan favorite Monta Ellis for, gulp, Andrew Bogut) Warriors home games remain the most exciting league pass watch. So, I'm happy that they're leading the division for the first time since...ever? I can't remember them ever being good enough to do that this deep into the season. Of course, the reason that they're near the top of the division is due in large part to the awful start by....

The Lakers:

That's right. The team that was supposed to storm through the regular season, breaking records and leaving battered opponents in their wake. The team that had some NBA fans ready to quit the sport since another super team had bought their way to a ring, the Lakers winning again. That team is under .500 and looks completely lost. Yes, we can look towards the 2010-11 Heat who started off around .500 before eventually righting the ship, making the Finals and then winning a title the next year. And Steve Nash has only played a game and a half so far (When Chris Duhon is logging big minutes for you, you're screwed), but even with that factored in, the Lakers should have at least 18 or 19 wins at this point. They were gifted a ridiculously easy schedule by David Stern and his schedule making "computer" (haha) but have done nothing but fall all over each other and mope around as they trudge through disheartening losses to the Pacers, Kings, Blazers, Cavs and (maybe worst of all) Dwight's old mates from Orlando. After an overreaction to a 1-4 start, the Lakers are now left with Mike "Aw Shucks those other guys are pretty good" D'Antoni and his moustache and Kobe screaming at officials and rolling his eyes at Jordan Hill. Top this all off with Pau Gasol looking like he's 102 years old and it's legitimately panic time in Hollywood. I'm sure they'll get it together somewhat by the end of the season and finish somewhere towards the top of the Western Conference, but right now it's downright ugly.

The Knicks:

Well, isn't this a pleasant surprise though? As I touched on earlier, we Knicks fans love to bellyache. And it's mostly justified. Our team has outright sucked for the better part of the past, oh, 40 years. This is despite the fact that the Knicks have more disposable income than this guy. We all know the horror that has been the Knicks decade of failure, so we won't dwell on that here. The good news is the Knicks are actually good this year. Really, not even like over reacting New york fans good (you know the people who thought Joba Chamberlain and Landry Fields would be perennial all stars.). They are an honest to goodness playoff team. In the east they're without a doubt a top 4 seed if not higher. That means they could be beginning the playoffs at MSG for the first time since they had guys on the team like Sprewell, Houston, Camby and Thomas but when Camby and Thomas were still solid NBA players. Knicks fans have, admittedly, gone a little nuts, but forgive us for being a little giddy. No one except for M@d $cientist saw this coming (he's actually disappointed that they didn't meet his pre season prediction of 12-3 through the first 15). I would've been happy with a 9-6 record and ecstatic with a 10-5 tally. So for the team to start out 11-4 (and then 12-4), well I'm as happy as Eddy Curry with a bag of donuts. Being a fan of an orange and blue team from New York, I'm conditioned to expect the worst. Beaten down Knicks fans feel like Wile E. Coyote right now, so close to catching that elusive road runner that is a successful team yet knowing that anvil is about to drop on our heads at any moment. In the meantime, though, please bear with us as we collectively lose our shit after every face meltingly awesome game. It's not just that the Knicks are winning games that they would have lost in previous years, but seemingly every week brings another win that is "the best Knicks win in years". The 20 point blow out against Miami (derided by some as a Sandy hangover game for, uh, the team who plays in Miami) was great, but the comeback in San Antonio was even more awesome. If that weren't enough, how about back to back buzzer beater win and 20 point blow out in Miami without Carmelo? It's enough to make even the most pessimistic of orange and blue diehards start clearing their schedules for June. Of course, as Linsanity has illustrated, even the most exciting stretches of basketball are temporary, and we might soon be complaining about the return of Amar'e messing up chemistry, and wistfully looking back on this first 6 weeks of the season similarly to how we look at that 6 weeks in February and March. But, for now, the Knickerbockers are absolutely killing it, and it feels good for a change to be a Knicks fan. Check back at the second quarter mark to see if it still feels so good.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

What Makes Someone a "True" Laker or Yankee?



Kobe Bryant achieved another milestone in his long, illustrious career last night, entering the 30,000 club, an exclusive group of one name guys like Michael, Wilt, Kareem and, uh, Karl (Mailman sounds better). Besides proving that guys whose names start with K are really good at scoring (watch out for Kris Humphries), the other bond that most of this group shares is Lakers purple and gold. 4 out of the top 5 scorers in NBA history at some point wore purple and gold (Malone had his one forgettable year chasing a ring but it still counts). This fact inevitably brings up the top 5 all time Laker discussions. Trying to pick a top 5 for a franchise that has arguably had more talent in their uniforms than Hooters is tough goings though. And since we love to argue almost as much as we love top 5 lists here at PTU, this is a prime opportunity for an argument about top 5 lists. Both franchises are literally embarrassments of riches. Both have dominated their respective leagues for decades, and both attract both front running fans and ardent haters in equal amounts.  But what exactly makes a player a "great Yankee" or a "great Laker"? Can we call someone a "great blank" if they only played a few years for that team, or if they arrived as a player for hire out to get a ring? I say "yes" to both of those questions.

First off, let's get to the top 5s. For the Lakers, my top 5 in no particular order is Kobe, Magic, Kareem, Shaq and Jerry West.  Getting narrowly edged out is Wilt, Elgin Baylor and George Mikan (sorry, guys). My Yankee top 5 would be Mantle, Gehrig, Ruth, Dimaggio and Jeter. My apologies to Whitey Ford, Yogi, Scooter, Mariano, and Reggie Jackson. I didn't include Mr. October but our own Hater J left him off his list due to the fact that he doesn't consider him a "true Yankee". But what makes one player a "true Yankee" or Laker and one not? The way I see it, if a player had his best years wearing your jersey, he can be classified as a great for your organization regardless if he forced a trade to somewhere else or arrived via free agency. Most Los Angelinos won't remember Shaq rapping about how his ass tastes (thankfully), or an aging Shaq struggling to dunk in Boston or Cleveland. They'll remember him catching the lob from Kobe in game 7 against Portland, or scoring 60 on his birthday against the Clippers, or absolutely dominating three straight Finals from 00-02. You can't leave Shaq off the list of top Lakers just because it's impossible to name 5 guys who had as dominant a 5 year span in purple and gold as he did. Unlike say Kevin Garnett, who came to the Celtics after his prime, or A-Rod who has won MVP's in pinstripes but has mostly been hated by Yankee fans, Shaq played his prime years for the Lakers and won three titles (winning MVP each year). He is as much a true Laker as there ever will be.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Breaking News: Short White Guy Shoots over 100 Times



Last night a Division III guard by the name of Jack Taylor who plays for a school you've most likely never heard of made headlines by pouring in a ridiculous 138 points. Yes, that is a ridiculous number, but not as crazy as how he got to those points. He took 108 SHOTS!!! Let that sink in for a minute. The average NBA team as a whole shoots in the mid 80s for a game. That's a 48 minute nba game, as opposed to the standard 40 minute NCAA contest. The Mike D'antoni "7 seconds or less teams" wowed the NBA world by shooting over 100 shots a game. They played really fast, and were unconscious gunners. Can you even imagine one guy shooting that many times? All of the articles I've read say that Taylor had a rough shooting weekend so his coaches decided to give him the green light in order to, I guess, make him feel better about himself? Does he have some kind of terminal disease? Did his grandfather die at 108 years old yesterday? What kind of a sick world does Divison III hoops inhabit in which some clown can hoist up almost 3 shots a minute and not get beaten with soap in the locker room like he's Vincent D'Onofrio in Full Metal Jacket? Taylor also seems to be a delusional asshole judging by his post game comments (and I can imagine this was the first time Jack Taylor or anyone who has ever played for Grinell college has been approached for an interview so I suppose we can forgive him for trotting out the usual cliches but c'mon). ""There was a point during the second half where I hit a number of threes in a row -- maybe seven or eight -- I felt like anything I threw up was going in," Seriously, dude? You missed 56 times. You're accuracy last night was only slightly better than Mark Sanchez's completion percentage. You really felt like MJ in the 92 finals against the Blazers? I'm pretty sure anyone reading this could shoot 26 of 71 from 3 as well. This record is equivalent to Miguel Cabrera hitting 90 home runs this season, but he got 15 at bats a game. Adrian Peterson scored 20 TD's in one game, but the team never ran another play except running the ball, and instead of running clock they kept going for the end zone. I haven't seen many quotes from the opposing team but they couldn't have been happy with Grinnell and Taylor making a mockery of the game at their expense. When you're up by 70 maybe you can take the foot off the gas a little. He couldn't have stopped at 100? I've seen Kobe's 81 point game a few times. It seemed like Kobe shot the ball every time down court, after the game, Toronto players were criticized for not knocking him on his ass. Kobe shot 46 46 times. Taylor took 52 shots IN THE SECOND HALF. Much of the blame for this can go to the coach of Grinnell, a man who is essentially Mike D'Antoni on meth. He requires that the team shoot over 90 times a game, something that is pretty ridiculous in a 40 minute game.

Obviously, last night's debacle was designed to attract attention since one guy himself shot 108 times and it has just as obviously been successful (I just wrote two paragraphs about a Division 3 basketball game). . Detractors will brand people like me and other critics as cynical haters. "Why can't we be happy for the kid? It's not like he's some spoiled millionaire athletes padding his stats." But running up the score is poor sportsmanship in the pros, in D1, D2, D3 or D whatever. More than that though, it's just lame. Grinell has a history of attention seeking B.S. like this. It's ok to be happy for the kid, I guess, but let's not try to paint this kid as some kind of hero or superstar athlete. It's not a great athletic achievement, it's a side show.There's no joy in rigging a game in order to make a dumb record. By the way, another kid for the opposing team scored 70 points. He must be pissed.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Good Riddance, Mike Brown


The Mike Brown era is over, and while the future of the Lakers' super team is uncertain, one thing that is very certain is the Brown era will not be beloved in purple and gold history. From the beginning, it seemed like a bad idea, especially when you take into account the reports that Kobe wasn't consulted on the choice of the former Cavs' coach to fill Phil Jackson's gigantic Birkenstocks. Everyone knows at this point that Kobe is (to put it lightly) a tough guy to please, and not the easiest dude to get along with. Actually, he might be the toughest person in the world to get along with this side of Ann Coulter or 50 Cent. Nobody likes him, but coaches especially seem to have the types of relationships with him that people usually have with their proctologists. So since the Lakers are Kobe's team (and were even more so before last season) you probably want to run a couple resumes by him first before you go hiring anyone. Still, the Lakers ended up winning 50+ games, and getting a game off the eventual Western Conference champs in the playoffs under the Al Roker lookalike. This season, though, expectations are much different. After picking up a 2 time former MVP and some people's idea of the 2nd best player in the league, nothing short of a parade down Figueroa is acceptable. This isn't the job for a guy who rode the coat tails of LeBron to a coach of the year award. If a team that boasted that kind of star power played their home games in Newark, you'd need a high profile coach to lead them, never mind in Hollywood (not that a team in Newark could ever land those types of players, but you know what I mean). So today the inevitable happened, and the ax came down on the head coach, since you can't fire Antawn Jamison (although who wouldn't want to do that?). The Lakers have been bad by any standards thus far this season. Sure, you can talk about giving them time to gel, and repeat the fact that their big 4 have played about 5 quarters together this year, but the fact of the matter is the Lakers have won a grand, whopping total of 1 game since May. ONE GAME. That includes, regular season, preseason, postseason, pick up games in Metta World Peace's back yard, NBA 2k13 on Xbox, everything. This would be a slow start for the Bobcats, let a lone a team who some giddy analysts thought could win 70 games this season. Naysayers who point to the fact that Eric Spoelstra heard similar rumors of being fired a couple seasons ago before eventually turning things around should remember that this team doesn't have a couple seasons to turn things around. Bron, Wade and Bosh were and are still all in their 20s, while Nash and Kobe played their first games during the Clinton administration. This team was built to win now. And not with any goofy Princeton offense, and offense that was created so unathletic White political science majors could outsmart more athletic teams. Even if it was actually Kobe's idea to implement it, it has so far turned out to be a disaster and unsurprisingly so. Steve Nash is perhaps the greatest pick and roll point guard of all time, Pau Gasol is a gifted high post player, and Kobe is perhaps the greatest isolation scorer in history. Dwight Howard is a beast wherever he is on the court. Trying to force those guys into a gimmicky offense is insane. The NBA game isn't that complicated, you run a few pick and rolls, a few iso plays, toss in a couple other set plays and call it a night. The Princeton O worked in Sacramento because that team ran first and then used it as a secondary offense if the fast break didn't work, or the other team got back on defense. Also, the best Kings teams featured Vlade Divac and Chris Webber, two of the best passing big man in league history. Gasol and Dwight are decent passers (especially Gasol) but that's not their strong suits.

And the spotlight might burn bright in Miami but not as bright as it does in LA. As I mentioned earlier, a team like this needs a Riley, or Phil Jackson. Not Mike Brown. All signs point towards Mike D'Antoni coming in to pick up the pieces, much like he was intended to do after Isiah Thomas was finally relieved of his duties in New York. We know how that turned out, but at least for now, the situation seems to be a little different in LA. While Mike D. and Carmelo Anthony never got along, we know that Kobe respects him, even to the point of idolizing D'antoni as a youth growing up in Italy. D'Antoni (as hard as it is to believe) was like Jordan over there because of his smooth game and Italian last name. Kobe even chose to wear number 8 in honor of D'Antoni and whenever a D'antoni coached team would play the Lakers, they'd engage in some good natured Italian trash talk. And we already know about his history with Nash. This is far from a done deal, with Phil Jackson rumors flying, and everyone from Coach K to Jeff Van Gundy's name being thrown about. However the new coaching saga plays out here though, we can be sure of one thing. Firing Mike Brown was the right decision. It might seem like bad timing, but he never should have been hired in the first place.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

M@D's Bi-Weekly "What The hell is my team up to" Week 8




AFC EAST


New England:
 The Pats are pulling away from everyone else in the AFC East expect this trend to continue.

New Jets:
Just Play Tebow more, see if he is truly the chosen one. But regardless they won't be making the playoffs

Bills:
They play Houston this weekend, for some reason they will play them tough, but they will miss the playoffs as well.

Miami Dolphins:
Don't even know why they suit up on Sundays, mistakes keep going back all the way to the Marino days.
AFC NORTH

Baltimore Ravens:
They are playoff bound they either win the division or get the best wildcard spot.

Cincinnati Bengals:
Bengals keep being fun to watch, but they don't have a complete team to make any real news this year.
Pittsburgh Steelers:
Same info as the Ravens, They are playoff bound they either win the division or get the best wildcard spot.

Cleveland Browns:
Browns are my most improved team in the past few weeks, they play hard and are staying in games, Can't clown on them too much this week


AFC SOUTH

Houston Texas:
6-1 the Ravens should have played them tougher but, they just beat them up. Super Bowl bound at this point.

Indianapolis Colts:
They should beat up the Fish this weekend, this team could sneak into the playoffs.

Jacksonville Jaguars & Tennessee Titans
 Two teams still not worthy of their own blip. Titans are worse in the NFL in net points with -95 and Jags are  3rd worst with -85

AFC West

San Diego Chargers
Don't like this team fool you please! Don't like this team fool you please! Don't like this team fool you please! Don't like this team fool you please! Don't like this team fool you please! Don't like this team fool you please!
This team will break your heart every time.(Not change from last entry) Please people Norv Turner is not a coach that knows what winning football is.

Denver Broncos
The Division is theirs for the taking, no one in their division should stop them. P Manning is playing like an MVP. At this point, depending how they play against PITT and Ravens in playoffs will depend on how far they go,

Oakland Raiders
Raiders won two in a row. This team is not playoff bound but they have more games against Kansas City and San Diego to get more wins.

Kansas City Chiefs:
1-6 record,  second worst with -89 Net points, time to start scouting college players.



NFC WEST

San Francisco  49ers
Still my Pick to be in the Super Bowl, if they don't face the Giants. When this team is clicking you can't stop them. (No change from two weeks ago)

Arizona Cardinals
Win 4 in a row , lose 4 in a row, What was once a bright season , seems to be fading away quickly. They need to win 4 in a row if they want to win the second wild card.

Seattle Seahawks:
Same situation as the Cardinals, they need to win games in bunches if they plan on making the playoffs.

St. Louis Rams:
 Steven Jackson ,not being traded that sucks , but this should be his last season with St. Louis and possibility with an NFL team. He needs to show teams that he won't get old over night. 

NFC SOUTH

Atlanta Falcons:
No one but the Falcons matter in the NFC south. 


NFC NORTH
Its all about the Chicago Bears and Packers no other team matter in the NFC North.

NFC EAST

NEW YORK GIANTS:
Its all about the Giants in this division , only other player that matters is RG3 , but lets see what the rest of the season brings. 

Its a great season. See you in two weeks.





Rock Me Like a Hurricane


I have to say this was bigger than I expected. In New York, it's become a semi-annual tradition to shit on weather men, and scoff at over dramatic media warnings as just typical media fear mongering. Hurricane? Yeah, whatever, I'm planning a barbecue at the exact time that you said we're going to have to evacuate our homes. Screw you, media! Usually, this type of attitude is rewarded by a dud of a storm, but this time it seems Sam Champion, Mr. G and your aunt were all right. This storm was freaking nuts. It's so bad that I've almost reached hurricane fatigue. There's only so many photos of submerged cars, fallen trees and long lines at places that don't normally have long lines that anyone can take. Of course, this being a fatal natural disaster there's no way you can say things like that without sounding like an insensitive clod. For people in Brooklyn, we haven't really had much to complain about. I, personally, only lost power for a few hours (even if it was in the middle of an episode of Homeland), and aside from a few downed trees here and there, my neighborhood escaped largely unscathed. This is not true of many, many other New York neighborhoods though. The majority of my post Sandy conversations with Manhattan and New Jersey residents have gone as follows:

Me: This storm is such a nightmare. I lost power for a couple hours the other night, and had to just go to bed since the tv didn't work. I missed the Lakers game! Then I had to take an express bus for 2 hours, and stood the whole way! My life sucks so hard right now.

Manhattan person: I slept next to a hobo last night. I still haven't found my husband, and I think this gash on my arm is infected.

Me: Gotta go.

With the little effects the storm had for some of us, it's easy to dismiss other people's bellyaching as more annoying complaining. Sometimes it is just that. People who refused to evacuate their homes when they were repeatedly told to, or those who chose to ignore commands to stock up on supplies have no right to whine about no one helping them. But as more and more stories come out of deaths, and the days go by for people without heat or power, it's important to remember that this shit was real. Now, with the lack of gasoline, and public transportation problems, alongside the eerie photos of a destroyed Jersey shore, this storm has taken on the characteristics of an apocalypse. Walking around the city, though, I've noticed people aren't as ornery as you'd expect. Most people are willing to help others, and are even going out of their way to in certain cases. The hurricane porn might be getting old for most of us (if I never see another photo of a tree on the ground it will be too soon) but it's a reminder that mother nature doesn't play, no matter how jaded we are in New York. Now I'm going to go complain about the Knicks game not being on tonight to someone.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Negro Please.


Loudmouth gasbag Stephen A. Smith, the human equivalent of a root canal, set off a minor Twitter controversy this morning when he let an "n word" slip on  air during a "debate" on televised train wreck First Take. This is not a big deal. At all. However, some self-righteous media analysts such as Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead and fat piece of crap Jason Whitlock are trying to turn this into an example of ESPN protecting one of their most popular (albeit inexplicably popular) employees. McIntyre (and others) have compared this to ESPN's handling of the Jeremy Lin "chink in the armor" controversy during the last NBA season. The stark difference between that instance and what Stephen A. said is the possibility of racism. There's no way in a million years that you could suggest Smith saying "nigga please" to another black man while talking about Kobe Bryant could be construed as racist. If Skip Bayless had said to this same guy "nigga please" or "I'm sorry, nigger, you don't know what you're talking about", this would be both unsurprising and grounds for firing. I have no doubt that Bayless refers to LeBron as "that N word" as soon as the cameras are off. Stephen A. is not Skip Bayless. He's a black man who often speaks in colloquial terms on the radio and television. That a "nigga please" might slip while he's on television is neither surprising nor offensive. If the word "nigga" (note the lack of an "er") is that offensive to you, you have definitely not spent any time around actual black or hispanic people. As much as White people and conservative critics like to complain about this being a double standard, I'm sorry but that's just one thing you will have to deal with. The "Chink in the armor" headline, while easily explained away as an innocuous turn of phrase that has been used hundreds of times in ESPN headlines, can also without a doubt be construed as racist. Especially when taking into account the fact that nearly every ESPN headline deals in double entendre or pun. Those headlines aren't just taken out of thin air. An ESPN intern doesn't go into the "headline" folder in the database and choose the most appropriate one. Someone sat there, thought about the different aspects of that Knicks Hornets game in February at the height (or I guess peak) of Linsanity and decided to use the most popular racial slur for Chinese people. Let's take a look at today's front page ESPN.com headlines (and unlike some other times, I did not make these up):

Cardinals ink David Frees to a new contract: FREESE FRAME
A look back at David Stern's tenure as NBA commisioner: STERN REVIEW
Patriots Tight Ends Hernandez and Patrick Chung will miss Sunday's game: IN A TIGHT SPOT

See what I mean? Like most newspapers,  blogs and websites, puns and double meaning are common in headlines. Maybe the poor sap who got canned because of his poor choice of words really didn't mean anything by it (he was really sorry, and eventually went to lunch with Lin who forgave him), but the point is there's a chance that those words could've been construed as hateful. There is no chance at all that Stephen A. was trying to be hateful. If you think what he said is in itself offensive, that's fine, but it's equivalent to an anchor letting "fuck" slip on the air. Words are only as hurtful as their interpretations and intentions. If Jason Whitlock is that offended by this word, I wonder how he somehow got through the 5 times that he watched the Wire in it's enitrety without sobbing. (The man's Twitter avatar has been Omar for a while). This is the same guy who once blamed Soulja Boy in a roundabout way for an NFL player's murder. In a quest to seem unbiased against his own race (an anti Al Sharpton) he instead uses every chance he gets to criticize black people and their way of speaking. I'm the last person to ever defend Stephen A. Smith, ESPN or especially First Take, but people need to get off their high horses this time. If you want to talk about racism, let's not try to find some where there isn't any. Jason Whitlock? There's never been a more appropriate time to say "nigga, please".

Thursday, October 18, 2012

M@D's Bi-Weekly "What hell is my team up to" Week 6



AFC EAST

Every team is in first, every team is in last.

New England:
 is doing some amazing things on offense, but if they can't hold leads it won't matter what they do.

New Jets:
Tebow is lining up at running back during practice, this will happen during their next game, TIMsanity will follow.

Bills:
Pipe dream

Miami Dolphins:
Come on don't be kidding your self.
AFC NORTH

Baltimore Ravens:
Old dudes are getting hurt left and right, Ray Lewis is hurt, its like losing a starting QB expect the AFC north to be more competitive

Cincinnati Bengals:
Bengal ball is not winning football, A.J. Green might be the best WR in the league in terms of potential
Pittsburgh Steelers:
Steelers are getting healthy , Ben is balling with a Hurting Ravens , expect them to catch up.

Cleveland Browns:
They might be getting a good college coach. Not much more to talk about the Browns


AFC SOUTH

Houston Texas:
5-1 they ran into an Angry Arron Rodgers , if your team has an elite QB you can beat them. Baltimore thinks they have one so lets what happens when they face the Ravens.

Indianapolis Colts:
If you lose to the Jets you can't make the playoffs

Jacksonville Jaguars & Tennessee Titans
 Tennessee has good music, Jacksonville has good weather. Not much to say on the football front.

AFC West

San Diego Chargers
Don't like this team fool you please! Don't like this team fool you please! Don't like this team fool you please! Don't like this team fool you please! Don't like this team fool you please! Don't like this team fool you please!
This team will break your heart every time.

Denver Broncos
Manning knows how to play football and more importantly QB they will win the division.

Oakland Raiders
What is Raider football? Does it involve winning? Somebody let me know.(No Change from Last week)

Kansas City Chiefs:
Kansas City Still has great Ribs. In fact here is a recipe for them.
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/neelys/kansas-city-style-pork-ribs-recipe/index.html



NFC WEST

San Francisco  49ers
Still my Pick to be in the Super Bowl, if they don't face the Giants. When this team is clicking you can't stop them. 

Arizona Cardinals
Smoke and Mirrors. QB getting smashed, I wonder who the 3rd string is? Cus you will see him before the season is done.

Seattle Seahawks:
Their defense is good, but they still have a rookie at QB. He is will make mistakes so they have an outside shot at a wild card.

St. Louis Rams:
 Steven Jackson , hes playing better, hes playing not hurt, but no body beats father time. Enjoy him while you can , it will be the last year he is in St. Louis 

NFC SOUTH

Atlanta Falcons:
Your the only un-defeated team left , so I can't bash you too much. Win a playoff game, then I will believe 

Tampa Bay Bucs:
The Ship is sinking.....

Carolina Panthers:
Nothing exciting about this team.

New Orleans Saints:
Saints are still on track to win 4 games in my opinion 

NFC NORTH
Its all about the Chicago Bears and Packers, Lions and Vikings are pretenders .

NFC EAST

Philadelphia Eagles:
Trouble in paradise, Vick might not get hurt this season because he might be riding the bench

Dallas Cowboys:
 Romo, Jerry, its a circus, no need to see whats under the big top.

Washington Redskins
RGIII looks scary lets see how he handles the Giants.

NEW YORK GIANTS:
The NFC is for the Giants to take

Its a great season. See you in two weeks.




Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What To Watch Instead of The Yankees



What's that smell? Did someone leave that egg salad out? Did the dog get a turd caught in his fur again? Are we near Staten Island? In fact, it's none of those things (unless you're in Staten Island right now). That rancid stench that you can almost taste is the New York Yankees. Yes, the Bronx Bombers have been dropping bombs all right this postseason. Stink bombs, that is. I'm trying to say the Yankees have stunk up the joint this October. Putrid,  wet dog, broccoli fart, D train during rush hour in July stink. Unfortunately, there's still at least 2 more games to be played in this toilet bowl of a playoff run that you might feel like you have to watch, out of morbid curiosity if nothing else. Thankfully in this era of round the clock entertainment, there's some other options for you to watch Tuesday night instead.

Everybody Loves Raymond reruns on...pick a channel

If you've been to your parents' house in the past couple years you've no doubt noticed that the hijinks of Ray Romano, his kind of hot wife, and freakish looking cop brother are on the tv all the time. I mean, it's always on. The reruns are simultaneously shown on TBS (except for tonight), My 9, TV Land, Univision, MTV, and every other channel on your local cable provider. Sick of watching Curtis Granderson swing at balls in the dirt? Why not watch Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts as the wisecracking in-laws who you love to hate?


Watch Paint Dry

The best method of watching paint dry, I find, is to get a neutral color at your local Home Depot (a tope or beige works best). Get a nice coat on a blank wall you may have in your home (if not contact a friend who has a blank wall that you can borrow). Using clean, broad strokes paint a rectangular box on the aforementioned wall. Pull up a comfortable chair and watch until the paint is sufficiently dry. In the span of 7 runners left on base and 2 A-rod strikeouts you should have a dry, freshly painted tope wall.

Stare at a homeless man at the Port Authority

There's a lot of great things to be found in New York City, but nothing is in greater supply and more fun than homeless people. And their unofficial headquarters is the Port Authority in Times Square. It's also a common misconception that they don't like to be stared at for long periods of time. Instead of suffering through another smiling Nick Swisher fuck up in the outfield, grab a snack and head to the Port Authority and stare at a homeless guy. Get a really good glare, and if you feel extra adventurous walk up to him and poke him in the face. You should try to find the dirtiest homeless dude you can, preferably one who is not wearing pants.

The Second Presidential Debate

Fuck that shit.

So there you have it, you may feel like you have no other options but to watch the Yankees flail away at pitches out of the strike zone and bumble their way to another loss, but you actually have many options at your finger tips. I'm on my way to the Port Authority now, enjoy your Tuesdays.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Weekend Parlay and Teaser Time (Week 6)

Our Terrible Thursday Teaser came in yesterday…barely.  But a win is a win.  I like these games for a tease and a parlay this weekend.

Giants +6 (+16 in a teaser)
The 49ers are a good football team.  They take care of business at home, they beat up on teams they’re supposed to beat up, and they don’t shoot themselves in the foot.  I’m just not ready to label them the class of the NFC just yet. 

They’ve beaten the Packers by 8, the Lions by 8, the Jets by 34, and Buffalo by 42. None of those teams are playing very good football at the moment and having big time struggles on the offensive side of the ball.  Their lone loss comes from the hands of the Vikings who have a competent pass rush and have an offensive identity.  I’m sure San Fran will be up for the game, but the Giants will be too, and they are no push overs in these types of spots.  San Fran May get the win, but the Giants keep it close.


Falcons -9 (+1 in a teaser)
Anytime you get a chance to pick a good home team against Carson Palmer, don’t bother thinking twice about it.  This may be the game McFadden decides to go off.   However, the Raiders will have to deal with Palmer continuously over throwing one of the faster receiving corps in football.  The Raiders will also have to contend with White and Jones torching their miserable secondary.  I can’t see how the Falcons blow this one in the Dome.

Pats -3 (+7 in a teaser)
Anytime you get a chance to pick a competent coach against Pete Carroll, don’t bother thinking twice about it. Mike McCarthy, Juan Rivera, and Jason Garrett are not my idea of very good head coaches and the only wins on the Seattle schedule.  I understand the Hags play good defense and have a great home crowd.  But don’t be fooled.  This is a team that has a 4/4, 5/3, and 4/4 record at home in the past three seasons with the bad Cards and bad Rams factoring into those wins (those two teams look better this year).  The Pats are firing on all cylinders and love to pad the stats against lesser teams, and lesser coaches.  This is an easy win for the Brady/Belichick clan.

Side Note: I know McCarthy has a ring, but bad clock management, bad use of challenges, and bad play calling are all part of his game.  For example, it took him 2 quarters, an Aaron Rodgers pummeling, and 7 sacks before he decided to run the ball a little that Monday night.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hater Jay’s Terrible Thursday Three Team Teaser


The NFL and NCAA have decided that Thursday nights provide a nice undercard to the weekend slate.  The bosses of these leagues sell it to the fans by saying it allows us to see teams and matchups we wouldn’t normally see in our local TV markets.  What the NFL and NCAA don’t seem to acknowledge is that the weekly lead ins are mostly one sided affairs and matchups the national market could care less about.

This Thursday, the NFL gives us Tennessee at Pittsburgh.  The NCAA sees that matchup and raises Arizona State at Colorado, UTEP at Tulsa, Western Kentucky at Troy, and a ton of shots of hot cheerleaders.  Aside from the latter, there isn't much of interest there.

Fortunately, there is gambling.  It’s the one thing that can make any sporting event bearable.   A way to really have some fun with this is the three team ten point teaser.  For those of you unfamiliar, in a three team teaser, you pick 3 lines and get 10 extra points.  The bet is 120 for 100, and you must win all three games to win your bet. For the purposes of a crap night of football, I'll play 30 for 25.

These always sound easy and seem like no brainers, but usually end up with a terrible loss on some crap garbage time TD or garbage time interception (that's my disclaimer).  My Terrible Tease for this Thursday is:

Steelers +4.5 – The current line is Steelers -5.5.  In a teaser you get 10, moving this line to Steelers +4.5.  The Steelers haven’t been sharp, but the Titans have been worse.   I get Tennessee is at home, but do you think they can steal a win, after a bad loss, and traveling (from Minnesota) on a short week, with an offense and defense that is a total mess?  Me neither.

Steelers/Titans Under 52.5 – The current line 42.5.  In a teaser it moves to 52.5.  The Titans are struggling on offense, they’re struggling on defense, and they have no time to fix any of these things.  I see the Steelers going up early and eating clock with Mendenhall and Redman getting a combined 30 plus touches.

Arizona St -12.5 The current line 22.5.  In a teaser it moves to 12.5.  Colorado is just terrible.  The Sun Devils aren’t known to be road warriors, but it doesn’t matter when you’re playing a team that loses at home to the likes of Sacramento State and Colorado State and takes a 28 point beat down from UCLA that included 3 TD drives of over 80 yards.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Jay-z In Brooklyn: A Review

We're only a few weeks away from the NBA season, a season that will see the first professional basketball game played in Brooklyn. Before we can get to that, though, the shiny new arena in downtown BK has to be christened by hometown boy done good (and Nets minority owner) Jay-Z. I've seen Hov perform 4 times now and he usually follows a similar pattern. Opens up with a few of his hits, slows down with some of his early stuff and lesser known tracks, does a quick montage of a slew of his other hits and then closes with a few more hits. Basically, this guy has a lot of hits. So many that he usually doesn't even perform some of his biggest songs during a 90 minute concert yet nobody really notices. For example, last night he didn't do Niggas in Paris, Can I get A or Ain't No Nigga, arguably three of his most popular songs ever, but the setlist was still pretty stacked. This all speaks to Hov's longevity, something unheard of in the youth obsessed hip hop world, where a rap career is usually about half as long as a starting running back in the NFL's career. Just like Jeter is moving up on all types of lists by virtue of sticking around long enough and producing at a solid level, Jay's hung around long enough to become the elder statesman of rap. He's defiinitely lost a little off his fastball (to mix my baseball metaphors) and that point is only hammered home when he gets to the "Classics" portion of the show. Hearing Dead Presidents II and Can I Live right after his verse from Clique off Kanye's Cruel Summer album, you really see the rust on his flow. Nevertheless, this was an above average Jay-z show even if it could have benefitted from a guest appearance or two (Big Daddy Kane came out during Friday's opening show but was back at the retired rapper's home on this night I guess). As always, the best moment for me is the last 30 or so seconds of You Don't Know off The Blueprint where Jay holds up the Roc symbol as Just Blaze's screaming sample blasts away. Usually flames and other such pyrotechnics accompany this moment, but this was a mostly special effects free evening, aside from the occasional lasers. Contrast this to last year's Watch The Throne tour which featured (among other spectacles) a 30 foot pillar with sharks superimposed on it, giant images of snarling dogs, smoke, lasers, flames and Kanye in a leather skirt. That's definitely more Kanye's lane, Jay's far less flamboyant, and is really the only rapper (one of the few performing artists in pop music at all, really) who can hold down a full 90 minute set by himself (not even Memphis Bleek made a cameo).

As for the arena itself it's largely what I expected. It's a sleek, hip new-school arena full of the finest foods and amenities. Basically the polar opposite of the Nets last homes in East Rutherford and Newark. The Nets are doing their darndest to erase any existence of their past life from the books. It's kind of like Rick Ross's pre-rap Corrections officer career. The Smoking Gun should be posting pics of Derrick Coleman and Yinka Dare any day now, "STARTLING PHOTOS OF BK NETS' UN-HIP YEARS IN NEW JERSEY". You can't really blame them, no one likes to dwell on their ugly past, especially when it's as butt ugly as the Nets' is. And the Barclay's Center is step one in their rehabilitation from the Knicks ugly step sister to kinda hot new girl on the block that no one is too sure about yet. Everything from the weird rusty exterior to the many hipster favorite restaurants inside is carefully calculated to shed that loser image. And the food choices are the best I've seen in a sports venue of any kind. It's a veritable who's who of "places people take their visiting relatives to eat when they visit Brooklyn". There's Bottle's favorite Mexican joint in Park Slope Calexico, Bensonhurst Guido mainstay L&B's pizza and even hipster haven Fatty Cue. Of course most of these places aren't that hip anymore, simply by virtue of being in a giant corporate arena, but it's still a big step up from shitty chicken fingers at Continental Airlines Arena or even anything served up at MSG. One surprise is the paltry snooty beer selection. I've heard that Six Point and BK brewery brewed beer is available somewhere but all I could find was Bud and Coors Light (which is fine with me, I don't go to a ball game to be a beer snob but it's still a little odd). Overall, though, Barclay's Center seems to be what it set out to be, a cool place to watch an event. And although I might not be able to root for any team still called the Nets, I felt a little bit of borough pride walking around the arena, seeing people wearing team merchandise with BROOKLYN in big letters across it.

M@D's Bi-Weekly "What hell is my team up to"

If I had a power ranking system, you can guess who I think is the best team in the league right now.




AFC EAST

NY Jets:
"WE BLOW WE BLOW" Wait that's not what they are chanting in the stadium? They want Tebow? Well surprise, surprise. They have done nothing to improve themselves and they lost KEY CB and KEY WR . Unless Tebow is truly the son of some deity , expect the Jets to have a top 3 pick, which they will use to draft a tight end lol.

New England Pats:
Use to be a "lock" Team now you have to ride the Brady coaster every week, Brady use to make any receiver look like a top 10 talent, now its beginning to be like a circus, expect ring leader Bill to shake things up and fix the course.

Miami Dolphins:
This team still stinks and I still question Reggie Bushes ability to finish the season. Nothing has been done to change my opinion.

Buffalo Bills:
Bills have issues at Running Back, no one ca hold onto the ball or stay healthy. The success of the Bills passing attack is based on you respecting the run, "No Run? No FUN!"

AFC NORTH

Baltimore Ravens:
No changes from last week, Flaco is magic at INTs and the defense is still good, they can win the division.

Cincinnati Bengals:
Bengal ball is a fun thing to watch, A.J. Green knows how to play.
Pittsburgh Steelers:
Ben and the Steelers are coming off a bye week, I expect them to defeat philly easy.

Cleveland Browns:
Browns are approaching Kansas City levels of being bad, but they are not known for their ribs. Their young QB showed flashes of maybe getting it done, but his receivers don't hold onto the ball.

AFC SOUTH

Houston Texas:
4-0 they beat up on bad teams not really rested yet, other then beating up on the Broncos. Expect them to beat the NY Jets easily

Indianapolis Colts:
Andrew Luck not so bad, keeps the team in the game, not too many rookie mistakes, with some weapons around him could be playoff bound in two years.

Jacksonville Jaguars & Tennessee Titans
 No playoffs no hopes for these teams at the moment. Titans should be 0-4 is not from miscues by the Lions

AFC West

San Diego Chargers
Don't like this team fool you please. The Saints will show how bad this team is Sunday Night.

Denver Broncos
Manning and the Broncos have really started to figure each other out. They will surpass SD Chargers.

Oakland Raiders
What is Raider football? Does it involve winning? Somebody let me know.

Kansas City Chiefs:
Kansas City Still has great Ribs


NFC WEST

San Francisco  49ers
Still my Pick to be in the Super Bowl, when they are motivated you see what they can do. 

Arizona Cardinals
Less Smoke & Mirrors and more better QB and Defensive play is what has made this team un-defeated, believe it or not tonight's game against the Rams is a test.

Seattle Seahawks:
Hey this team brought the refs back.

St. Louis Rams:
I wish someone would loop back Steven Jackson , I miss you. You use to be given the rock 30 times a game and just run wild. Now every shot of you is on the sideline with a ice pack on some part of your body. 

NFC SOUTH

Atlanta Falcons:
Good at home, so so on the road, sucky in the playoffs, finish how ever you want, no real future here.(Not changing this from last week)

Tampa Bay Bucs:
The Ship is sinking.....

Carolina Panthers:
Hey Cam Newton plays on this team, YAWN!!!! He is no longer Special, yes he is part the mold of young , fast, expanding the pocket QBS, but this type of QB will be hard pressed to win anything other then a division in the next few years, as other personal has not caught to their abilities. Another high first round pick for the Panthers coming up(Not changing this from last week)

New Orleans Saints:
I told you two weeks ago, this team needs his head coach more then you thought, but I know football and you will too if you keep reading my articles. ;) By the way, Drew has a chance to break a record that basically stood forever and against the SD Chargers its a lock. Read more about Johnny Unitas here http://www.johnnyunitas.com/about-unitas

NFC NORTH
Its all about the Chicago Bears, that defense is finally fully healthy and good.

NFC EAST

Philadelphia Eagles:
M. Vick is due for an injury, they should get blown out by Pittsburgh this week.

Dallas Cowboys:
 Romo, HA HA HA, HA, HA,(one for every INT thrown last Monday night) 

Washington Redskins
Guys hurt everywhere, RGIII still exciting.

NEW YORK GIANTS:
If the Giants lose the browns, you know what that means? Nothing! When they fail to make the playoffs, then I'll worry.

Its a great season. See you in two weeks.





Thursday, September 20, 2012

M@Ds Quick What The Hell is my NFL team doing biweekly review

Well here it is, I tell it to you quick and dirty what heck your team is doing.



AFC EAST

NY Jets:
They still have issues on both sides of the field but expect them to finish how they started at .500

New England Pats:
This is what it's like when your whole team gets old over night. They can still beat up on the AFC east so still expect them to win the Division

Miami Dolphins:
Come on this team stinks who care that Reggie Bush is #2 in rushing, lets see him finish the season first.

Buffalo Bills:
No one has skills like the Buffalo Bills, but the skill they are best at is signing free agents and not having them pan out.  They will fight the Dolphins for last in the Division

AFC NORTH

Baltimore Ravens:
Defense is still good, QB is still mediocre, perfect recipe for winning the division and making the playoffs

Cincinnati Bengals:
Too young , plays well but doesn't know how to start or finish games no playoffs

Pittsburgh Steelers:
Ben is Ben , he is always going to play out of his mind, but I don't see the weapons around him making him better, I see Ben making the weapons around him be better, not a good recipe , Playoffs in danger of being missed.

Cleveland Browns:
Just a bunch of guys who get together and play tough on Sundays, good to watch, but not making the playoffs

AFC SOUTH

Houston Texas:
No P. Manning, 2-0, what else could go wrong? Well so far they beat up on bad teams which is good, but they have not been tested yet, will their core 3 finish a season? If so possible Super Bowl bound.

Indianapolis Colts:
Just have fun watching Andrew Luck grow, if you have high expectations of this team you will be disappointed. No Playoffs

Jacksonville Jaguars & Tennessee Titans
Two teams so bad they don't even deserve their own little blight in my blog post. QB play is terrible instead of watching these teams play just mow your lawn or something. No playoffs no hopes for these teams at the moment

AFC West

San Diego Chargers
Like Houston they have beat up on bad teams, but come on ! How many times can this team fool you? Finish 14-2?, 11-5? Doesn't matter they are not built for the playoffs , no real running game at the moment, P Rivers can't win every game on his own, They so are going to miss the playoffs

Denver Broncos
They are the dark horse at the moment to win the division, if the Broncos can figure out how to play P. Manning football. Expect a few more bumpy moments, then they will kick it into high gear. Playoffs very possible

Oakland Raiders
No matter how much this team sucks they always entertain. Thank you Raiders for existing but once again your 10 years away from making the playoffs

Kansas City Chiefs:
Go to KC and eat ribs, no other reason to go to KC, if you have to watch this team , go work on your BBQing instead. No Playoffs , no way no how.



NFC WEST

San Francisco  49ers
Pictured above is a serious Vernon Davis, and his team is a serious super bowl contender, if they go undefeated I wouldn't be surprised.

Arizona Cardinals
Smoke and Mirrors my friend, Winning record possible, but not an easy road, Playoffs will be tough to obtain which this crew.

Seattle Seahawks:
Great Fans, this is basically NFL and professional sports Siberia, but they have key players at key positions that become a wild card team.

St. Louis Rams:
Like KC they have good ribs there, but unlike KC they have a better team and product on the field , will be entertaining to watch. No Playoffs but fun football

NFC SOUTH

Atlanta Falcons:
Good at home, so so on the road, sucky in the playoffs, finish how ever you want, no real future here.

Tampa Bay Bucs:
Freeman is improving, their coach has a chip on his shoulder , its showing with his new team, Wild Card here

Carolina Panthers:
Hey Cam Newton plays on this team, YAWN!!!! He is no longer Special, yes he is part the mold of young , fast, expanding the pocket QBS, but this type of QB will be hard pressed to win anything other then a division in the next few years, as other personal has not caught to their abilities. Another high first round pick for the Panthers coming up

New Orleans Saints:
I saw the writing , its on the wall, Their suspended head coach was a huge part of their success, scary part of this is , when they go 4-12 and get the first, second , or 3rd pick in the draft, their coach will be back next season and have some new insane offensive weapon.

NFC NORTH
All teams in this Division are 1-1 and I really don't see any clear favorite to win it at this point. So this division can be won by anybody. but in order of having a chance to win it I put it as Packers, Lions, Bears, and Vikings.

NFC EAST

Philadelphia Eagles:
They can't keep winning close games, M Vick is one idiot move away from being out 6-8 games, look for them to finish near the bottom of this division

Dallas Cowboys:
HA HA HA, Romo, HA HA HA, come on this is another team that keeps fooling people, win a big games, lose to a team you should beat. They just are not prepared week in and week out, Dallas has a huge tv screen in their new stadium, I heard Jerry Jones got it just so he could watch playoffs games on it. NO playoffs for them.

Washington Redskins
One of the reasons Cam Newton is not special any more. RGIII is a younger, better, Cam Newton, but unlike Cam he will win more games then Cam did in his first year. As for the team they will fight for a wild card spot , that's about it.

NEW YORK GIANTS:
They should win the division, but NY Giant team has ever one back to back super bowls, but then again we never had a QB like Eli: Once he gets in the playoffs all bets are off.

Should be a great season. See ya in two weeks




Friday, September 14, 2012

Happy Birfday, Nas: Top 5 Nas Songs Not On Illmatic


Jay-z once rapped that people in Brooklyn "argue all day about who's the best M.C., Biggie, Jay-z or Nas". It's a debate that will never end for rap fans. Not counting Biggie, who most people revere in Brooklyn like he invented pizza by the slice, it's really a 2 man race. Most people who know what "the purple tape" is will rate Nas and Jay-z 1 and 2 in varying order depending on their personal tastes. Being proud Brooklynites, most of PTU will probably rank Jigga slightly ahead of Esco, despite those silly nicknames, but the debate will never end. Personally, I think Nas is a more skilled rapper than Jay, but Jay's had a better career. Kind of like LeBron is more skilled than Kobe, but that doesn't mean he's a better player (at least not yet). Nas might be the best lyricist EVER, but for whatever reason he hasn't been able to put everything together consistently. His beat selection is a little off, and he can come off at best preachy and worst corny. This isn't to say he hasn't put out classic songs throughout his 20 year career. If we were to honestly put out a top 10 Nas list it would just be "Illmatic" but he's had some other gems aside from his epic debut. In honor of the little homies 39th birthday (good God, we're getting old) here's a few of my favorites post Illmatic:

5) Locomotive ft. Large Professor (Life is Good)

Yes, one of Nas's five best ever songs was on his most recent album. Part of my obsession with this track might be nostalgia for classic era hip hop (Nas even shouts out his "trapped in the 90s niggas" a couple times at the end), and another part is my lowered expectations for anything Nas has released for the past, oh, 15 years. But that doesn't take away from the fact that this is just a really, really good song.

4) Undying Love (I Am)

Remember how I said Nas might be the best lyricist in rap history? One aspect of his lyrical ablities that's a little under rated is his story telling, which is really, really good. Case in point the last track on the otherwise dissapointing I Am (the one with Nas looking like a Sphinx on the cover). Maybe the most vivid story I've heard on a rap song (even more than Story to Tell), Undying Love finds Nas coming home from Vegas to propose to his girl, only to find that he's been cuckolded by some poor fool. The last verse finds Nas and his Braveheart buddies (the subtle detail of Horse getting his foot stuck in the door is great) shooting it out with the cops before accidentally shooting his girlfriend and turning the gun on himself. "Now unto God we elope" is something you'll never hear in a 2 Chainz song. The racist cop finding their bodies at the very end is also a nice subtle touch. Great song.

3) I Gave You Power (It Was Written)

Another example of Nas's fine storytelling abilities. The whole "inanimate object personification" thing has been done to death in hip hop, usually involving someone rapping about a gun or weed as their woman (see Me and My Girlfriend by Tupac or Mary Jane by Scarface or a million other fucking songs). In 1996, though, this was still a pretty radical concept. Supposedly Nas didn't really want to do this, thinking it was a little too artsy for the mid 90s rap crowd that didn't listen to Organized Konfusion, but he eventually did it, and it's a classic track. Also featuring one of the least DJ Premierish DJ Premier beats (no scratched chorus for starters), this is a standout track on Nas's sophomore album.

2) Phone Tap (The Firm)

Nas, AZ, Foxy Brown and a couple other Queens and Brooklyn rappers joined forces with Dr Dre to create The Firm. They made an album in the late 90s that is widely considered a flop, mostly because Dr. Dre himself famously rapped that it was on a song most likely written by Eminem. Also, it was a bit dissapointing commercially and critically. As always, blame for a rap album flopping falls squarely and unfairly on the record label's shoulders. They probably shouldn't have released the awful Firm Biz as the first single and instead went with Phone Tap, which is a classic. The Dre beat on this is so great that it was a hit song for Carl Thomas about a year later.

1) The Message (It Was Written)

As previously mentioned, Illmatic is worshipped by rap fans, and even some people who aren't that into rap. A follow up was bound to fail, or at least come as somewhat of a dissapointment. However, the first real track on this destined to fail sophomore album starts out very promisingly. Built around a Sting sample, Nas spits quotable after quotable. "A thug changes, and love changes, and best friends become strangers" will probably be on the tombstone of millions of people over this next century and if not then it should be.

Honorable Mention: Affirmative Action ft. The Firm (It Was Written)

I have trouble even calling this one a Nas song since it's a posse cut in the truest sense of the term but I'd hate myself if I didn't mention Affirmative Action. "Life's a bitch but God forbid the bitch divorce me, I'll be flooded with ice so hell fire can't scorch me". C'mon now, Nas.

Other Honorable Mentions: A Favor for A Favor ft. Scarface (I Am) (Motown Marxist's Favorite), Ether (Stillmatic), Street's Disciple (Street's Disciple), The World Is An Addiction (Life Is Good), Nas is Like (I Am), You're the Man (Stillmatic)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

SNL Breaks The Fat Chick Barrier


Meet Aidy Bryant the Jackie Robinson of fat comediennes. Saturday Night Live is a New York institution and has long reflected the diversity of it's home city through it's cast, with the exception of Hispanics, Asians and overweight women. Well, some of that is about to change when the 2012-13 cast takes the stage this Saturday for the season premiere. SNL has employed quite a few fat dudes throughout the years, from John Belushi to Chris Farley to Kenan Thompson (fat and black, a double whammy). But, somewhat surprisingly, this is the first time an overweight woman will grace the stage at 30 Rock as a cast member. In fact, this is the first time a non-skinny woman will be part of the not quite ready for prime time players. By and large, the show has always hired above average looking women (with the exception of a few like Gilda Radner or Molly Shannon)and left the fat guy shtick to the men. It's a double standard, for sure, but most overweight women are kind of seen as one-trick ponys to many people still. The majority of SNL sketches involve half of the cast playing the straight man (or woman) role and I'd wager that the prevailing notion for Lorne Michaels and the other decision makers is having a fat girl in a sketch would be distracting. In other words, you couldn't see a fat girl as anything other than "the fat girl". However, these are changing times, and Melissa McCarthy was probably the best host of the past few years. The writers on SNL are sophisticated enough to avoid simply utilizing Aidy as the female Chris Farley. Can you imagine the uproar if she was made to look like a pig or if there were a Patrick Swayze Chippendales type sketch built around her, where the punch line was just "look at the fat girl try to be sexy"? Even so, I anticipate Jezebel will have a 3000 word article about the sexist pigs at SNL making fun of the poor fat girl by October. At the very least, this casting should ease the load for Bobby Moynihan having to play every chubby White woman. Lena Dunham, you've been warned.

9/11 Conspiracy Theorists Are Insane


Today is as close to a national day of mourning that we have in this country. It's been 11 years since the attacks on 9/11 but it's still somewhat fresh in the minds of many Americans, particularly those of us who lived in or near New York at the time. Of course, with time the impact of these attacks begins to lessen, and America's other national past time takes over: Wack a doo conspiracy theories. To be fair, a lot of these nutjobs were throwing around conspiracies since the day it all went down. Things have only gotten crazier though, especially since the kookie messages previously only transmitted to the true believers through decoded messages in their X-Box headsets, have now become if not widely accepted, at least tolerated by a small portion of society. I'd say the majority of rappers probably believe that 9/11 was an inside job ("Why did Bush knock down the towers") as do about 80% of CUNY professors. These people even have a name: Truthers! See, they're the yang to the "birther" movement's yin because as we all know, radical zealots on both sides need cute names to make themselves feel like they matter to anyone besides their world of warcraft team members or PCP dealers. And like any group of fringe lunatics they have a Bible of sorts, in the Truthers' case it's the low budget film Loose Change, a delightful romp that details how the US government didn't just mishandle the knowledge of the terrorist attacks in 2001, or even allow them to happen. No, that would be almost believable in a paranoid, delusional sort of way. These films go into great detail to prove that the U.S. government, spearheaded by those evil geniuses George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, blew the damn buildings up themselves. That whole plane flying into the building thing you might've seen? Hollywood level flim flam effects, all orchestrated by the US government so they could start a war in the name of oil. A little far fetched? Don't tell a truther that, or feel the wrath of their highly advanced brains, able to recite bullshit they read off a Wordpress site like it's actually not laughably stupid. If you do encounter one of these deep thinkers, wish them well and back off. There's that old saying about not arguing with a fool because from a distance you can't tell who is who, and that definitely applies here. Also, they're liable to stab you in the face with a screwdriver. Never forget that these people are idiots who you are much, much better than.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Nicki Minaj Is Not Voting For Romney so Shut Up


Motown Marxist's math student, Nicki Minaj recently caused a little bit of controversy with a line she rapped on Lil Wayne's underwhelming Dedication 4 mixtape that was released on Labor Day. Nicki rapped "I'm a republican voting for Mitt Romney, you lazy bitches are ruining the economy". This is a fairly benign line, especially when compared to the rest of the mixtape that (as usual) deals with pussy, guns, and more pussy (Wayne raps about pussy a LOT. Me thinks the man who has kissed men on tape and spent most of his late 20s in prison doth protest too much). It's actually a smarter line than you might think at first glance. As a punchline of sorts, it at least assumes that the listener knows a) lazy people are a danger to an economy's well-being and b) Romney is the alleged economy candidate. Doesn't seem like much to get worked up over. But apparently, hip hop fans are dumber than you thought. A lot of people lost their shit over this, and numerous media outlets (including the New York Daily News) reported Nicki's endorsement of Romney as if she held a press conference and formally announced her support like she's an ex-President or something. There's so much that is stupid about this I don't know where to start, but how about....

it's a rap song you idiots???? Do you believe everything you hear a rapper say in song as gospel? Next week's breaking story will be that Pablo Escobar owes Rick Ross a hundred favors. Cam'Ron has a cocaine buffet in his house and a fountain that sprays out Mountain Dew. DMX kills people and then has sex with their bodies. Eminem not only murdered his ex-wife, he also killed her new husband and son, as well as murdered Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears and Dakota Fanning. Obama might think twice about telling every young voter who will listen that he loves Jay-z because he might not know that Jay admitted to about 374 murders and robberies in his lyrics. Drake sits at home and cries because his girlfriend forgot his birthday, oh wait, that one's true. I know it's a stretch to think that the majority of people who listen to nicki Minaj might understand things like metaphor or poetic license, but a rapper comparing themselves to Republicans is nothing new (Jay-z and Nas, two guys you would never confuse for right wingers, had a song together called Black Republicans), and it's a very standard slick way of saying "I'm rich, and you bitches aren't" which most fans of Nicki should know is her m.o. (I'm not even a fan, and have probably heard less than 15 verses by her in my life yet am well aware of this). This doesn't even factor into account that Miss Minaj was born in Trinidad and might not even be a registered voter or American citizen.

Even if she were voting for Romney, though, who cares? Aside from free speech and all that, would it really make a difference in the election? Despite her massive Twitter following and "barbies" who do everything she says, I doubt Nicki Minaj fans will be moved to vote for Romney just because of one throwaway line on a mixtape. The idea that this makes her a bad influence is also ridiculous. After all, she starts that same verse with "Drop it to the floor, make that dick shake" which isn't a tremendously positive role model for children. She also has rapped in the past about "eating people's brains". I am not absolutely positive of her position on brain eating, but again who actually listens to lyrics anyway?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

This Day in PTU History: Jim Abbott's No-hitter


If you're under the age of 18, it might be hard to believe that there was ever a time that no-hitters were a really big deal. Now a days they happen about as often as Joe Biden saying something dumb, (shit, even the Mets got one recently) but back in the day it was a truly huge accomplishment. And in the 90s it was especially difficult seeing as how everyone was on steroids and all. However, all those juiced up batters didn't prevent the Yankees from having 4 no-hitters during that decade. None was more impressive than Jim Abbot's, 19 years ago today. There might have been more dominating performances, and no-hitters in bigger circumstances (the Yankees didn't even make the playoffs this year), but consider this: HE HAD ONE FUCKING HAND. That's right, Jim Abbott not only pitched in the major leagues for years. He did it all with one less hand than I am currently using to type this meaningless blog post. And he threw a no hitter!!! It's a big enough deal that he even made his high school team in his predicament, but a no hitter for the Yankees? If Mitch Albom wrote that in a novel, we'd all laugh at how full of shit and Mitch Albomish that idea was. It's the type of stuff Christian movie directors put in their movies that we all think is so hokey, or Disney movies starring washed up sitcom actors and Eugene Levy portray. "Couldn't you end the movie with him just making the majors and maybe throwing a strikeout or two? Nobody over the age of 6 will buy this clown tossing a no-no". But he did.

How lazy does that make all of us feel? With our perfectly good two hands we can't even throw a no hitter on Playstation yet Abbott did it in Yankee Stadium. The Mets couldn't do it for 50 years. And even though Cleveland finished 10 games under .500 that season, it wasn't like Abbott was going up against the 2012 Astros or some other rinky dink lineup. This was an Indians team that included Kenny Lofton (when he was still really good) Carlos Baerga, Albert Belle and Manny Ramirez, and Jim Thome. You would think one of those guys would've got a hit by accident. But aside from 5 measly walks, Abbott got every one of those guys out. Imagine if Twitter or Facebook or even blogs like this existed while this was happening. Jim and the coverage his one hand would have gotten would have made Linsanity look like a one paragraph article in the Bay Ridge Home Reporter. Today, Abbott is mostly forgotten along with most of the early 90s Yankees not currently managing the Dodgers. You rarely see him at Yankee old timer events or throwing out the first pitch, and there's a generation of baseball fans who probably have no idea who he is. But he should be acknowledged for one of the all time "holy shit" moments in sports, the most unbelievable no-hitter in history.

PTU salutes you, Jim Abbott.