Thursday, March 29, 2012
Clyde Frazier gets a lot of love from everyone in New York City besides Mr. D and Blacky. Although he's from Atlanta originally and spends most of the off season in the islands, he's basically a New York lifer at this point. As arguably the best player on the only two Knicks championship teams, Clyde has a place in the big apple's sports hall of fame for eternity. For those of us not old enough to remember his playing career, he's been the eccentric voice of the Knicks on either the radio or TV for the past 20 years. While best known for his ridiculous vocabulary, and equally ridiculous wardrobe, Frazier is actually a very competent color commentator. With NBA League Pass I'm able to see a wide range of games from all over the country (and Canada) and let me just say that compared to 95% of the other NBA team's broadcast booths, John Sterling is the definition of impartiality. And while someone like Clyde might be forgiven for being a bit of a homer seeing as how he's spent over 40 years working in some capacity for the Knicks, you'd be hard pressed to find a clip of him openly rooting for the Knicks, saying "us" and "we" instead of "them" or imagining elaborate officiating conspiracies against the home team like Tommy Heinsohn or almost every other announcing team. The most you'll get out of him is an occasional "oh yeah" after a great Knicks play or his trademark "all the Knicks with the knack". There's also something nice about him sticking with the Knicks for all these years, almost every other high profile broadcaster moonlights on a national network, but Clyde can be heard only on MSG 3 or 4 nights a week. And yes, there's his way with words. "Swishing and dishing", "wheeling and dealing, "posting and toasting". And on and on it goes. A rookie is a "precocious neophyte", post players jockeying for position are "kung fu fighting", a player on a hot streak is "percolating". Coming from other less cool cats, it might come off as pretentious or obnoxious, but Clyde's the flyest dude in the room. He can get away with it (unless you're Mr. D). And more importantly, he knows basketball so there's substance behind the "effervescent personality" and "sartorial splendor". A Knicks game wouldn't be the same without him.
Clyde, we salute you.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Brooklyn 11223 premiered last night and predictably it was a train wreck, but maybe not for the reasons we hoped for. Ever since it was first announced that there would be a reality show set in Bay Ridge, the outcry from long time Ridge residents and Blacky has been slightly more vociferous than that over the Trayvon Martin shooting. The chief complaints were "they're going to make us look like buffoons like Jersey Shore does" and even worse "that's not even our zip code!". After spending a few minutes attempting to find the Oxygen network though - and apparently it doesn't even have an HD feed on Fios - I can tell you it's much worse than Jersey Shore. And not in a "train wreck you can't look away from" kind of good way.
The first thing you notice about Brooklyn 11223 is that the production values are really, really bad. Like bargain basement cheap. If MTV is like McDonalds for your brain - you know it's bad for you but it's still ok when you're half drunk at 2 am - then this show was the ham and cheese sandwich in a bag they serve to homeless people, criminals waiting for their appearance before the judge in central booking and New York city public high school students. I have no experience making television shows but I'm fairly certain Bottle and I could make a superior product on my iphone video camera. Jersey Shore at least looks like it's relatively cheaply made yet has competent people working on it. And while Jersey Shore is full of semi attractive people acting foolish, this show features some of the uglier, obese residents of Bay Ridge acting childish and not in a funny way. The entire series revolves around one incident that may have happened years ago (one of the girls might have slept with one of the other girls boyfriends) that would usually be one of many annoying plot points on another more interesting reality show, but instead is the focus of the show. Besides what looks like a huge brawl at Bay Ridge bar Bullshots (and the cameos of local bars and folk hero Bay Ridge Yeti dancing were the ONLY high points of the show), there doesn't seem much worth watching here.
So relax people of Bay Ridge. Yes, Brooklyn 11223 is not an entirely accurate portrayal of your sacred neighborhood, although there are definitely a good number of people living there who resemble the cast (don't believe me, just go to Salty Dog on a Friday night). And no, that's not the correct zip code. The producers have said that the show takes place all over Brooklyn, but other than a quick fight on a Coney Island beach and some scenes in a Coney Island auto shop where some of the cast works, the show is mostly set in Bay Ridge. But you shouldn't have to deal with this show for long, and I wouldn't worry about your hometown becoming synonymous with drunken, Italian stereotypes (well, anymore than it already is). This show is terrible in a way that I believe won't lead to a nationwide craze, like the millions who love the pathetic yet lovable Guido antics of Snookie and the Situation. It's just a shitty show that will lead to a quick cancellation. America might love shit, but at least we have the good taste to recognize when it's packaged nicely.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Happy belated to the Knicks' number one fan and maybe Brooklyn's most famous resident, Spike Lee. While perhaps most well known for his die hard through-thick and-thin love of the Knicks, few people ever bring up the fact that he's a huge frontrunner when it comes to every other sport. He roots for both the Jets and the Giants equally depending on who's winning, he grew up rooting for and rooted for the Mets in the 80s when they were good, but now is seen at Yankee games and wears that stupid cap with all the pennants on it all the time. He probably would be a huge Rangers fan now if they had any brothers on the team. But, despite that douchey quality, Spike has still made a few really good films (along with some not so good). I have some issues with his film making style, mostly with his heavy handed at times preachy style and his over use of musical score, but there's a lot to like about his movies too and you can't deny his impact. What were his top 5 best?
5) Inside Man
Spike's biggest box office hit by far thanks to the presence of white people and the fact that it's one of his only forays into the heist movie genre. While I think this one was a bit over rated, and they really lost me when they got into the weird neo Nazi subplot or whatever, Inside Man was probably Spike's most entertaining flick. Plus, he wasn't in it.
4) Jungle Fever
John Turturro is great in almost everything (Transformers sucked but a guy gotta pay the bills). This one also stars a young Michael Imperioli (Chris Moltisanti from the Sopranos) and Nick Turturro as Bensonhurst guidos hating on their little sister's choice of a boyfriend. And this wasn't just any old Moolinyan, but Wesley Snipes. The blackest brother in the world. Halle Berry also pops up as a crackhead and Sam Jackson is killed by his father. It's pretty great (although the last scene is kind of lame).
3) 25th Hour
I'm a little partial to this one since the main characters are a couple guys from Bay Ridge (there's even a scene at their father's bar where the patrons are drinking beer and chanting "Let's go Yankees") but it's also Spike's most consistent work to date, in my opinion, if not the best. It doesn't veer off into any weird subplots and features one of the best monologues in film history.
2) Malcolm X
A great flick, even if you're not black (like we aren't) or aren't big fans of brother Malcolm. Spike's one truly epic bio pic is without a doubt among the best of his movies. Many feel that Denzel was robbed by the Academy (and some think it was a racist conspiracy resulting in Denzel having to be crooked before he took it) and his performance is pretty good.
1) Do The Right Thing
This is a no brainer as the number one Spike Lee joint, and he never really reached these heights again. Deals with racial issues without being overly preachy, features great performances from Turturro, Danny Aiello and even Spike himself is pretty good. Also had a great soundtrack and Rosie Perez's tits (or a close facsimile). Tons of quotable lines in this one. Sums up the racial divide in the late 80s in the scene below. Great stuff, Spike.
Honorable Mentions: He Got Game, Clockers, Mo Better Blues, Crooklyn
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Even if it's only the Jets, Tim Tebow will still be awkwardly annoying and inspiring people in New York next season (or at least New Jersey). If you thought he got a lot of hype when he played in Denver, you ain't seen nothing yet. I suppose it's a good move, at least for PR purposes, but it's not like the Jets suffer in the ticket sales department. As far as football wise, it seems a little odd seeing as how the Jets recently proclaimed Mark Sanchez as their guy for the future, and as recently as this morning certain Jets players with lots of illegitimate kids expressed their displeasure with a possible Tebow trade. With Sparano running things though, we can expect to see that Dolphin style Wildcat offense, something the Jets ran a lot when Brad Smith was in green.
However it turns out for NY's other football team on the field, it's a big splashy story that will draw a ton of attention beginning today until the Jets inevitably are knocked out of the playoff race. Will Tebow take offense to Rex Ryan's salty language? Will he tell Santonio Holmes to leave the clubs and liquor alone? Will Hater J give up watching football? Linsanity will look like the local buzz over a cable access show compared to the type of rapturous hype that we'll see if Tebow does anything positive for the Jets. If anything, this now makes the Jets must see tv for a little while, a season after watching the Giants once again prove their domination of the NY football landscape, as well as ensures many pissed off and annoyed e-mails from Hater J. And to think, all these years I thought God hated the Jets.
Friday, March 16, 2012
There's been a lot of controversy circling the Knicks recently as you no doubt know if you read this blog or don't live under a rock, most of it centering on Carmelo Anthony. With Mike D'Antoni out of the picture, all of the scrutiny will be focused on the guy who many people think was the reason for his departure. Everything from his sluggish body language and thuggish attitude to his shot selection has already been picked apart by everyone, and I'll admit there's merit to most of the criticism. One favorite gripe of Melo haters that I don't necessarily agree with, however, is this one: Melo's isolation plays are what's wrong with the Knicks offense. Yes, it's true that he tends to hold on to the ball for too long when the call is for an iso, and he needs to make quicker moves and be a more willing passer. But there seems to be a large population of Knicks fans and Carmelo haters (two groups of which there is much overlap) who think of isolation as a dirty word. Like Carmelo Anthony invented this ugly ruffian, selfish style of basketball in order to get his points like the me-first thug he is. Truth is, the NBA has been dominated by isolation plays for years, like it or not (and many people choose to not like the NBA because of this). While Carmelo may tend to isolate more than other players, what he does is not out of line with much of what the rest of the league runs on a nightly basis. To further complicate matters, Jeremy Lin came out of nowhere and initiated a free flowing offense for 2 weeks, that was pretty God damn fun to watch. It's only natural that this will be viewed as the antithesis to the ugly Melo ball, the "right way to play" as opposed to that other way. It was nice to see everyone sharing the ball and multiple passes every trip down the floor, but the way many Knicks fans have lionized those two weeks of Linsanity is bordering on insanity. The average caller into NY sports talk radio (not that these are the examples of intelligent sports fans but I would say they are a good representation of the average ideas of most NY sports fans) has reimagined those two weeks in February vs the Raptors and Kings as the rebirth of Clyde Frazier to Monroe to Debuscchere. The holy grail of beautiful basketball in all it's glory. Sorry Vinnie in Manhasset, that's not NBA basketball. Melo standing on the wing trying to break down a defender is.
Take a look at the last 20 years of NBA championships, when I think isolation play took over the league just as the superstar did. Not one of the champion teams played a Phoenix Sun, D'Antoni style, every one of the team had a superstar who spent at least half of it's team's possessions isolated on offense (a post up also counts as an iso), and the one team that didn't have any superstars ( the 2004 Pistons) played a drag out half court offense that played to it's bruising strengths. That lovely style of basketball that's so adored by both media members as well as the bandwagon Knicks fans who hadn't watched a game since Ewing, the sweet passes that seemed to sail through the air pushed by the spirit of Bob Cousy, James Naismith and Ghandi. That hasn't won a title since before Magic had HIV. The NBA game is predicated on superstar play, and has been since Michael, Magic and Bird became big money makers. Some times it can bog down the offense and make NBA games boring, other times it can result in amazing singular performances. The best teams mix in a little of both, running at opportune times, moving the ball and also incorporating isolation plays for their stars at the right time. There's been an outpouring of love for teams like Philadelphia and Denver who have like 9 guys each that average 11 points and no one can name 4 players in their starting lineup (in particular Denver who has apparently reinvented basketball since ridding themselves of that black hole, Melo). But you know where those teams will be in June? Watching the games just like me and you. The Knicks have a lot of issues that need solving including how to consistently make shots and defend and rebound, etc. But isolation offenses aren't going anywhere. It's a fact of NBA life. Get over your dreams of a socialist basketball offense where everyone is treated equally, and the wealth is shared. Professional basketball is not like that. There's probably a reason you stopped watching a while ago.
As PTU predicted earlier this week, Kony-Sanity has come crashing down. NBC San Diego is reporting that the co-founder of Invisible Children, the group who created the Kony 2012 video, was arrested in San Diego. He was found running through the streets drunk and naked while masturbating and vandalizing cars. You can't make this stuff up kids.
In other signs Kony-Sanity is collapsing, a screening of a movie in Uganda received awful reviews. According to one angry viewer "We wanted to see how our local people were killed, but this is all white men!"
Too many white people, a crazy guy masturbating in public while breaking car windows, and nothing accomplished except a viral video....
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Hey, March Madness started already without us! Unfortunately, resident College sports expert Hater J (pictured above the last time we saw him) has been unable to do his usual break down of the NCAA tournament due to his obligations to his other job. What is that job you ask? No one knows for sure, but we know he disappears for weeks at a time, only to resurface at the occasional pub for burgers and pints of Guiness, wearing stubble like Hanks in Castaway and muttering about his hatred for "the man". If he can free himself of his shackles long enough to jot down a few ideas about this years bracket we'll pass it on to you.
In the meantime, let me just say I have the rudimentary knowledge of college basketball that most of the people in your office or the President of the United States has. I know Kentucky is really awesome, North Carolina is always good, some annoying team will come out of nowhere and be America's Jeremy Lin for a week and the team we least expect to win it probably will. Without a Kemba Walker involved this year, we won't have as much to say but believe me, we love March Madness as much as everyone else.
Stay tuned for hard hitting analysis from Hater J coming soon if we can ever break him out of his chains for an hour or so.
The 40th anniversary of the Godfather's release is today, marking the day that cinema was changed forever. Seriously now, I'm not just bullshitting like James Lipton or something, the Godfather changed everything. Similar to how Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy's DNA is found all over the comedy of every black comedian that's followed them or every songwriter owes something to Bob Dylan, Coppola's masterpiece birthed the style of a million good, not so good, and flat out awful gangster flicks. Even if you've never seen it,you know at least a line or two from the movie, and I don't think it's an exaggeration to say it changed how we view the mafia or even how the mafia itself acts. Most of what we know and how we think about La Cosa Nostra and even some of how they operate comes from the Godfather. They're big fans just like us. So it goes without saying that Godfather 1 and 2 are the 2 best gangster movies of all time (we'll pretend GF3 didn't "exist", much like the Mafia no longer "exists"). But there's still been a few truly great gangster movies since then, as well as the hundreds of straight to dvd wannabe's. What were the 5 best? I also included the most gangster scenes from each.
5) King of New York
Not a Mafia movie really (although there are one or two unlucky Italian gangsters in it), but the sheer gangsterness of this movie puts it in the top 5. Some of the scenes are a little hokey, and it's a real downer (even more so than director Abel Ferrara's other big movie The Funeral despite that film's title) but it features Christopher Walken at his weird, creepy best. It also inspired an entire generation of rappers and was the inspiration for Biggie's Frank White alias. White murdering David Caruso at his partner's funeral might be the most gangster scene in the history of movies.("Hey you"). Also, this was the original KONY.
This one is severely slept on, partly because people think it's exactly the same as Scorsese's other great gangster movie. While there are certainly similarities (DeNiro in a lead role, Pesci fuckin people up, Rolling Stones music), Casino on it's own is a great movie despite shrill overacting from Sharon Stone. Plus, Don Rickles!
3) Donnie Brasco
Remember when Johnny Depp played normal people? Not foppish takes on Keith Richards or Michael Jackson voiced children's story characters? Donnie Brasco was one of those ordinary guys (relatively at least) that we don't see Depp do as much since he's dissapeared into Tim Burton's brain. While not as flashy as some of Scorsese's best, this is still one of the best gangster flicks ever, and even introduced a couple of entries into the gangster lingo: Fugazi and taught us what "Fugheddaboutit" really means.
2) Reservoir Dogs
Ok, so technically Resevoir Dogs and King of NY aren't Mafia movies and I guess would be considered more like crime movies, but Quentin Tarantino's directorial debut holds up to this day. Watching it now, it almost seems cliche until you remember that all those thousands of other sraight to the 5 dollar bin at Best Buy movies were just rip offs of this. In 1992, it was actually new and fresh to hear people having conversations about pop culture and to see horrific violence incongruously matched up with breezy 70s pop songs. Now, every dweeb with a Netflix account and Mac thinks they're the next Tarantino but when this movie came out there was only one.
Was there any doubt? I go back and forth all the time about which is my favorite movie of all time, Goodfellas or the Godfather movies. While both dealing with similar subject matter, they share little else in common. Godfather is a nearly humorless, epic drenched in period seriousness while Goodfellas is just a nonstop, fastpaced tour of a gangster's life from the beginning to the end. Both are pretty much impossible to stop watching, but for different reasons, and depending on my mood I could list either as the greatest gangster movie ever. Take Godfather out of the picture though, and it's a no brainer that Goodfellas is the GOAT.
Honorable mentions: Scarface (blasphemous to some I'm sure that I left this off but these are my 5 favorites), City of God, Once Upon a Time in America.
I would like to introduce a new segment at PTU, we recently got a letter from a reader and they wrote.
"Dear Johnny Bagels, I am casual but busy fan of the Knickerbockers of New York, and I heard that our coach recently resigned, and I have no idea who our interim coach is. I know I can just Google the answer but, I would like some more analysis ,for example will this interim be a long term solution? Can any coach make this team respond besides Phil Jackson?
Thank you for your time in this response.
Signed (I left the person's e-mail address out for confidentiality )"
Well if you other readers would like to ask me, Johnny Bagels, or another PTU writer a question feel free to e-mail us at.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
And so the national nightmare is over. Mike D. has stepped down as head coach of the Knicks and we here at PTU are pretty happy about it. Our conversations via e-mail and in person and text have been dominated by the West Virginian with the goofy moustache for the last few weeks. He's of course not totally to blame for this fiasco of a season (everyone has underachieved aside from Lin, Chandler, Novak and yes, Jared Jeffries) but it is extremely unlikely that we would have been able to ship any of our other big name problems out of town. Who gets the axe then? Of course the head coach, and I am glad to see him go. We will no longer have to watch another post game press conference that goes like this: "Aw shucks, that other team was purty good, huh? We'll be fiiine, just need to keep the energy up, hyuk!". So ends a disastrous 3 and a half season era of Knicks basketball, marked by a few weeks of excitement, some high scores, putrid defense, lots of unhappy players and lots of losing. There's been talk of the team not respecting the coach for a couple days now, and D'Antoni butted heads with both his star players and his boss. It was only a matter of time before he had to go.
Whoever takes over now will have a tall order but hopefully it will be someone that can adapt their coaching philosophies to their expensive talent, motivate their players to work on the defensive end AS WELL as the offensive, hold players accountable and be respected in the locker room, and not have a moustache. Basically, everything that D'Antoni was not. Well, unless that one guy wants to grow a moustache again.....
Stay tuned, Knicks fans.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Recently, Johnny Bagels asked me "Snoot, can you explain for me really quickly, who the hell is Kony, why white people care about him and which side is on his side, the republicans or democrats?" After giving Bagels the 5 minute run-down, PTU as a group came to the realization that the Kony video is just the perfect example of a disturbing new trend; social media driven humanitarian causes that many people get really excited about and then completely forget about.
Don't get me wrong, there ARE people out there (admittedly more ethical and generous then myself) who really do care about these causes or who are involved in making things better. If you are in the Peace Core digging ditches for irrigation or part of the U.S. Armed Services covertly tracking down some bastards somewhere, I commend you. However, people need to realize that reposting a video on Facebook with comments like "OMG, this is so wrong" accomplishes nothing except making you feel better about your lack of real action. With that in mind, here are what we at PTU like to call "The Kony Top 5". These causes represent the quintessential "flavor of the minute" movements relegated to the social networking dustbin once people forget about them.
5. Haiti Earthquake:
Remember when Wyclef was on TV and twitter and there were TV specials about how everyone had to help Haiti? Two years later, the country remains in ruins and there is no time in-between Santorum praying and Obama pretending he gets along with the Prime Minister of Isreal to bring up the devastation that remains. According to the U.N., the U.S. has only dispersed about 1/3 of the promised relief funds. Oh well, the other side of the island is still nice for a vacation.
4.Making Homeless People into Wi-Fi HotSpots
Okay, I'm reaching here since the outrage isn't that great and there really isn't a movement against this in any major way. I needed to fill this spot in since you can't have a top 4 list...
3. Ethical iPhone
For a short time the techno-hipsters decided that they wanted to protest the unethical conditions in the Apple supply chain (as long as they didn't have to give up their iPhones). Then they announced the iPad 3 and everyone got so caught up blogging about that they temporarily got side-tracked. Don't worry, they will be back soon making 1080p videos of the guys jumping off the Foxconn dormitory balconies with their new iPads and posting it on Facebook.
1. Anti Anti-Kony
For our number one, things get really interesting. The only way to top your intellectual yuppie friends passing around an anti-Kony video is to PROTEST the anti-Kony movement. Wesleyan, one of many universities where people with money come to pretend they care about the world (and birthplace of the band MGMT), posted this article on Wesleying, the independent student blog. Essentially they say while the situation is complicated and they don't want to bash positive efforts, the group who produced the anti-Kony video is not using all the money the right way. They exploit the locals down there and there are much more efficient charities that you can donate to.
This is the pinnacle of supporting the cause of the moment, and runs away with our top spot.
Monday, March 12, 2012
As a Giants fan, as most of us writers here on PTU are, there is nothing we love to do more (save for winning the Superbowl) than watching the rest of the NFL East wallow in their own misery. Whether its Vick getting his ribs broken or Romo coming up short in fourth quarters or the Redskins just existing, we hate our rivals.
The NFL has determined that the Redskins and the Cowboys gamed the unwritten rules regarding uncapped 2010 year too much according to their standards. In effect, they front loaded a lot of money in the uncapped year to gain a competitive advantage over other teams. So the league punished them by allocating them a smaller cap number for the next two years. The Cowboys will lose 10 million in cap space and the Redskins will lose 36 million in cap space. They can spread out the cap hit over two years however they like. Each team in the NFL, with exception to the Saints and Raiders, will gain an additional 1.6 million in cap space.
This really hurts the Redskins more than the Cowboys even if you adjust for the cap amount they were docked. The Redskins just gave up a kings ransom to have the number 2 pick in the draft instead of their current number 6. They were banking on their 40 million under the cap space for this year to fill out their roster around RG3. Now, not so much.
I won't go into whether this is or isn't fair. All I know is that it puts a smile on my face. As Nelson would say, "Ha Ha".
There are only a few simple pleasures in this life that can divert us from the drudgery of our mundane existences on earth. One is women, one is sports, and the other is a nice, juicy steak. Yes, there's nothing that makes you feel more like a man than a slab of red meat and an aged scotch (if you're snooty like some of us at PTU). With the news that many of New York's finest steak houses are now charging the formerly taboo price of 50 bucks for a steak, as well as the ever present studies linking early death to red meat feeling manly is becoming ever more expensive and risky. But if you're one of those guys who doesn't eat red meat, you don't care. You're also barely a man.
Now I'm not saying that all men who refrain from digesting animals are less than a man. If you do so for dietary reasons, like you have already had a triple bypass surgery and now must eat boiled potatoes or your heart will explode, by all means say no to a ribeye at Lugers. But if you're a vegetarian or vegan for any other reason, such as you don't eat anything with a face or you find the treatment of animals appalling, go kill yourself. Lost one time PTU correspondent Blackie once wrote a pretty boring piece about how much he hated vegans, but even if he no longer exists to us, he had a point. Those preachy bastards place right below people who work at Cross fit and republican women as the most annoying beings in the universe. I love to eat things with faces. Everything I eat has a face. Even when I eat vegetables I draw faces on them, before I devour them. If you feel that badly for a cow, you should just stop living your life as a man. Have a steak, you twat.
Apparently some bullpen catcher for the Mets named Eric Langill was arrested for drunk driving, adding to the misery for the Mets. According to MSNBC.COM, after a wild night of bowling with his teammates he hit a fountain and flipped his car over.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
My inside sources have told me that Peyton Manning will sign with the Denver Broncos (These not the same inside sources that said the NBA lock out would last 2 years)
My source has told me Peyton is signing with Denver for the following reasons.
1. Denver has over 50 Million in Cap space,this will allow Peyton Manning to get paid, and bring in such players as Reggie Wayne, Jeff Saturday , and Dallas Clark. At the same time this extra cap space will allow Denver to go after free Agents like Mario Williams which will only bolster the good defense that Denver had in 2011.
2. The AFC west is Joke compared to every other Division and it would be a cake walk for Peyton and his new team.
3. Denver has a wealth of football experience with John Fox and John Elway making the majority of football decisions. Other teams in the mix can't offer that.
4.Tim Tebow, now becomes either juicy trade bait or one of the most dangerous end zone players in the game. The options this creates for Denver's new offense will have opposing defenses spinning for weeks.
Basically Denver will mortgage their future in order to get themselves closer to a Super Bowl, then they have been in the past few years.
Friday, March 9, 2012
Today is March 9th, a day that will live in infamy for most rap fans as it marks the anniversary of the untimely death of the one and only Notorious B.I.G. I couldn't tell you the date of Tupac's death, or even Martin Luther King Jr.'s or JFK's to be honest. But thanks to Canibus, we'll always remember that the "greatest rapper of all time died on March 9th". Was he really the greatest though? Let's turn back the clock to a year ago today and look at one of our most controversial posts.
What I'm going to say may hurt people, it might be seen as bordering on blasphemy (particularly coming from a Brooklyn guy).Let me preface what I'm about to say by first letting it be known that I love Biggie. I grew up listening to him, he was a ridiculously talented and charismatic dude, I love that he represented Brooklyn at all times, and he definitely cemented his place in music history as one of the greatest rappers of all time. But I wouldn't say he is THE greatest of all time.
Before you all x out PTU and go straight to ESPN.com or leave comments saying how I'm an idiot who knows nothing about rap, consider what it takes to be called the greatest at anything. Let's compare it to a sports career (as I do so often with music). A hall of fame career (never mind being called the greatest of all time) would require at least 9 or 10 years of sustained greatness coupled with dominance at your position in each season. This is probably my biggest issue with labeling the black Frank White as the greatest. His career only lasted 4 years (really) with only 2 albums. Great, classic albums but still, only 2. While my father would tell anyone who will listen that Drazen Petrovic could shoot better than 95% of the NBA today, no one else would say he is the greatest shooter of all time. There's just not enough of a career there to support that claim. Same for Big.
If we look at Biggie from a technical standpoint, the claim of greatest of all time is also suspect. Lyrically and flow wise he could go toe to toe with any rapper, but off the top of my head I could think of at least 3 rappers who were or are probably more skilled lyricists (Nas, Kool G Rap, Eminem, I could name more).
So why do most rap fans and critics immediately place Biggie at the top? For starters, there's always the risk of over rating the dead. James Dean was a great actor, but his talent is really overshadowed by his lifestyle and untimely death. Same goes for 2pac, River Phoenix and Heath Ledger. Maybe you could throw Jimi Hendrix in that conversation too. When you lose someone before they really reached their potential, people want to believe that their best work was yet to come. Who knows what would have happened had Biggie lived to 40? There was a huge backlash against the versace and jewelry flossing rappers in the late 90s and Biggie might have caught some of that had he lived to see it.
The real reason that we'll always love Big Poppa, and have crowned him king might be that he represents a time in most rap listeners' lives. The mid 90s when hip hop was in its prime (the golden age in my opinion) and it seemed like it would only get better. Biggie was this (as he said himself) fat, black and ugly dude who still got chicks and could rap circles around the competition. Then he was shot over who knows what by who knows. It doesn't seem fair. It doesn't matter that he only had 2 albums or he wasn't technically the best rapper. He did his thing for a couple years and then he was gone at the age that most of us were just moving out of our parents houses. It's not fair so we call him the greatest. And I guess if he means that much to people then he is their greatest and that's really all that counts. RIP B.I.G.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
In what is sure to become known as legendary post, our friend Captain Power put out a "Challenge to CrossFit Herbs". Captain Power and our other friend from Fitness From Ground Zero are staunchly Anti-CrossFit. While many other people have raised concerns about the potential pitfalls of a group that uses a clown on a dialysis machine as their mascot, they are not concerned about this workout being too intense. They simply come from a more old school workout mindset where CrossFit doesn't make any sense. As Captain Power points out in his elaborate thesis, among other things:
As I mentioned earlier, many other people have concerns about the serious medical issues some people have encountered as a result of ramping up to crazy crossfit workouts. This has been documented in recent articles, but to give you a sample here is a blog post that came up when googling "crossfit hospital"
"Hello everyone. I've been doing crossfit for about 6 weeks and loving it. It completely suits my style to push hard and improve. Lost 16lbs already. Unfortunately I've overdone it. Pretty sure it was the GH situps last week that got me. The trainer discussed how careful to be about damaging the soft tissue and scaled it back since I hadn't done that move before but still got in trouble. (followed the next day with FGB makeup day!)
Anyway, a couple days after that workout my urine looked like coffee and I was concerned something could be wrong with my kidneys."
Sounds like fun!
On the other side of things, I have friends like the one who responded to Captain Power's blog post who swear by the conditioning that Cross-Fit provides. Already an avid runner, he says that only two months of CrossFit have gotten him ripped and counters some of Captain Power's arguments by saying that you can always increase the weight used in the program. He also claims that it is "total body conditioning and flexibility". Bottle, another PTU contributor, also supports the idea of CrossFit saying it sounds like fun and would be a great full body workout. His only concern is that you put a lot of effort in and don't gain that much mass.
PTU, what do you think about CrossFit? I'll put up a poll shortly...
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Remember around this time last year when bad boy actor Charlie Sheen took over the world for about a month? His every ridiculous comment or self destructive move was blogged and tweeted about? We couldn't get enough, there was even a catchphrase and a comedy tour. Seems like a million years ago right? Eventually, the Sheen mania died down when we all realized he wasn't really going to die live on television, he went back to being a B level actor, and sobered up. Once the Sheen roast happened on Comedy Central, we all got back to caring about other stuff. I thought about this during the Knicks game the other day when they showed one of those Direct TV commercials where the narrator talks about the increasingly bizarre turns your life will take if you don't subscribe to Direct TV, this one ends with a guy reenacting scenes from Platoon with Charlie Sheen ("Don't reenact scenes from Platoon with Charlie Sheen. Get Direct TV"). Something that would have seemed dangerously insane and hilarious a year ago but now seemed like a reference as dated as the movie Platoon itself. And we're probably going to look back at that 3 week Linsanity stretch the same way a year from now. Whereas Sportscenter dedicated it's entire program to Lin before the Knicks 7th straight win against Sacramento exactly 3 weeks ago, now the Knicks Mavs highlights were relegated to the 15 minute mark after Peyton Manning news, the Big East tournament, the Saints bounty scandal and a Heat blowout over the Nets. The back page of the Daily News this morning was a Jets player saying they need to sign Manning. The Knicks game didn't even appear in the sports pages until after Manning, Mets and Yankees spring training recaps and even last night's St. John's loss of all things. To quote Prop Joe, Linsanity is officially a cadaverous motherfucker. How'd it die as fast as it came to life? Besides being the natural progression of wild phenomenons in the Twitter age, there are a few reasons.
First of all, the surprise factor has totally worn off. It's like meeting a new girl. In the beginning it's exciting and new, you can't get enough, but usually within a month you start looking at new prospects. The Asian kid from Harvard dominating games was shocking, but now he's just another guy in shorts. Secondly, the rest of the league has caught on to Lin's tricks. While in the first couple weeks, he was nearly unstoppable driving to the hoop, finishing at the basket with ease, recently when he makes a move towards the basket, teams either block his shot, knock the ball away from behind (as Mr. D pointed out, Lin has patented the lose the ball in the lane and then look at the ref for a foul move) or force him dead in his tracks where he's forced to pivot and shoot fadeaways or try a standstill layup (not a great shot in basketball). During Linsanity, every big shot he took seemed to go in, including the 3's over Dirk, vs. the Lakers, and the game winner against the Raptors that were probably his signature shots of the run, now he can't buy a basket in the clutch. It's gotten so bad that there's been talk of Baron Davis actually finishing games. Can you imagine Baron's name even being in the same sentence as Lin's two weeks ago unless it was "I can't believe we actually thought Baron Davis was going to be our savior before Jeremy Lin"? The third factor in Linsanity's untimely demise were factors beyond anyone's control, well, besides the NBA schedulemakers that is. The combination of the Knicks' brutal lineup of opponents over these past couple weeks and the long lay-off of the all star break has cooled Linsanity considerably. That feel good 7 game winning streak came against some of the worst teams in the league, a 500 Minnesota team, and the Lakers and Jazz who are two of the worst teams in the league on the road. Now they're playing the big boys and it's been ugly. Opposing point guards are obviously fed up with the hype and are putting up their best numbers of the season (in Jason Kidd's and Deron William's case) or Wilt Chamberlain numbers (in Rondo's case) If the Knicks had somehow won the game in Miami before the AS break, then the mania would have only grown for a week. Instead, Lin laid an egg and Linsanity was left to die a slow death. Subpar to awful games over the past week to mostly good competition have only been the nails in the coffin. And yes, all our worst fears about Carmelo and Amare meshing their talents with Lin seem to have come true. Lin's numbers were expected to drop with the return of the Knick's original stars as his attempts went down. But nobody expected his assists to also go down.
This isn't to say that Jeremy Lin's career or even his marketability are dead. He's hit the expected bumps in the road that any first or second year player would hit, never mind a guy who was undrafted and hadn't played practically at all his first season and a half in the league. And he'll still sell t-shirts, jerseys and whatever sneaker Nike is reportedly releasing, particularly to Asians, of which there are a lot of in the world if you didn't know. But the ridiculous hype and chaos that surrounded every little thing Lin did is over, and for that I guess we should be thankful. Now, he's not a symbol of the American dream, or a Hollywood story come to life or whatever, he's just a decent point guard on a mediocre, underachieving basketball team. And if the Knicks don't learn how to beat good teams on the road and develop some team chemistry soon, Linsanity will be looked back on as nothing more than a cruel tease that momentarily brightened another dark season at the Garden. RIP Linsanity.
In our continuing series here at PTU on "What if one guy were a different race than he actually is?", that was started with the photoshopriffic "What if Jeremy Lin were black?", today we will pose the question "What if Kevin Love were Black?". Bottle brought up the controversial theory that Kevin gets no love because of plain old racism. The mainstream sports media and casual NBA fans really don't pay too much attention to him, and despite his monstrous numbers (he puts up a double double in his sleep and routinely puts up 30/20 games. His last couple games he's averaging 40 points and 14 rebounds)Love is still seen as a second tier star in the NBA, with no sneaker deal and barely a commercial to his name. Is this because he's a Caucasian in the league that some people have nicknamed "Nothing but Africans"? (Not me but some people). I'd say- like I usually do- yes and no.
It's true that the attention Love draws is very disproportionate to his skills and stats. Part of that might be because he's White, but mostly it's a geographical and stylistic distinction that sets him apart. Love plays in Minnesota. Nobody cares about anything that happens in Minnesota, unless you're a dynamic, screaming douche bag like Kevin Garnett or an established superstar like Brett Favre. Just like Jeremy Lin benefits from playing in the world's largest market, Love suffers from playing in the middle of nowhere. Put Love on the Knicks or the Lakers and he would be a household name, if not a superstar. Another reason for his relative obscurity is he plays for the Timberwolves, an up and coming team in the league with a great young nucleus, but still a mediocre squad. If they were winning 50 games a year the past couple years or were tearing the league up this season (and not just treading water) his status would certainly see an uptick. There's a long history of great players (at least statistically) of all races who have languished on mediocre to bad teams in small markets for years that didn't receive much recognition. Think of Kevin Martin, Shareef Adur Rahim, Rudy Gay, guys like that. Granted, none of them put up numbers as good as Love, but they all have been or are solid players that no one has heard of thanks to where they play and their teams' mediocrity.
But what if a black guy named Kevin Love (and names don't get too much blacker than Kevin Love which sounds like a late night DJ on Kiss FM) played for Minnesota and averaged 23 and 14? I don't think it would make much of a difference unless he played with some more flash, dunked more and with more style, had some more swag and played more, well, Black. No one likes to admit it but Love plays kinda like a White guy. He shoots outside jumpers, does dirty work inside, and many games will not dunk at all. And while he might have, at one point in his career, rocked a Color Me Baddesque goatee, he now sports a grizzly, lumberjack, white man beard. He has no tattoos, doesn't talk a lot of trash or have a signature celebration move, and rarely, if ever, wears big ugly black rimmed glasses. His uncle was in the Beach Boys, for Christ's sakes. The guy is as White as Barkley's wife. Unfortunately for Kev, this means he gets the usual white guy descriptions from white guy media members: he works harder than everyone else, he's a gym rat, he's deceptively quick at times. Well, maybe not that one, he really is slow. So the fact that he's White isn't a detriment to his fame as much as the fact that he plays really White. Combine that with where he plays and the level of team he plays for, and no amount of three point contest wins (a White guy contest if ever there were one) will elevate him to LeBron and Kobe status without a change of scenery and maybe a little more swag in his game.
Stay tuned for more exciting race switching PTU articles such as: What if JR Smith were Korean? What if Rex Ryan were Muslim? What if Chris Paul were Dominican? What if Mike D'Antoni was gay? What if Ricky Rubio were Jamaican? And (this one will surely be controversial): What if Amare Stoudemire were a midget?
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Rumor has it that the Colts will release Peyton Manning tomorrow to avoid the 28 million dollar cap hit. Apparently Rob Lowe is a prophet. It makes sense from a purely business perspective as they can't rebuild with two quarterbacks taking up such a large portion of their salary cap. So where would Manning spend his golden years as a qb? Let's run down the list in no particular order.
1. Washington Redskins: They are desperate for a winning season. Shanahan has to show some improvement during his tenure and his qb situation is one of the worst in the league. Washington always like to make big splashes in free agency. Not likely for Manning though because the Redskins are too far away from contending for a SuperBowl.
2. NY Jets: Everyone is hating on Mark Sanchez right now and rightfully so. They have a playoff caliber defense and some decent skill players on offense but not much else. Manning automatically makes them a wild care favorite and real contenders to the Patriots in the East. I don't see this happening because I don't think Manning wants to be in NY under Eli's shadow.
3. Miami Dolphins: I think Miami makes a lot of sense on a couple of fronts. They have an Pro Bowl receiver in Edwards, a resurgent Reggie Bush and play makers on defense. Plus, they offer a home stadium that is the closest thing to a dome that Peyton enjoyed in Indy. Not to mention they don't have a qb as Henne is an unrestricted FA coming off an injury.
4. Cleveland Browns: Not enough talent and too cold. No way in hell.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars: They have a shitty rookie qb (Gabbert) and a disinterested fanbase. See #4.
6. Kansas City: Darkhorse option. They play in a crappy division. They have Bowe and hopefully a healthy Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry coming back next year.
7. The entire NFC West minus the Rams: Arizona can sell Manning on the Kurt Warner role. Tarvaris Jackson is the starting qb in Seattle, enough said. And does anyone really trust Alex Smith?
Monday, March 5, 2012
On my way in to work this morning I was listening to the sports update and got to enjoy the beginning of what will be a horrible season for the Mets. I'm a lifelong Mets fan resigned to suffer, but I can some enjoyment out of pointing out how terrible things are going. We haven't even played the first spring training game but already:
- David Wright is NOT PLAYING today due to sore ribs. WTF!! Did he get so out of shape over the off season that taking BP damaged him that much?
- Ike Davis, another fan favorite, has some type of rare tropical fungal infection. Who cares what the name is, more importantly how the hell do you get this right before spring training starts? At some point Ike never being healthy seems like some kind of weird joke. Maybe he has some other disease that simply hasn't been disclosed yet.
- Recently Wilpon said his family expects to control the team for a long time to come. No reason to explain why this is a huge fail.
All in all, a fitting start to a terrible season for a self-loathing Mets fan.
Thursday, March 1, 2012
The first spring training game hasn't even been played yet but the Yankees Red Sox shit talking is in full swing. This is thanks to a new face who has been introduced to the age old rivalry, none other than former Mets and Japanese league manager Bobby Valentine, who seems poised to become the next Rex Ryan. A buffoonish loudmouth who says clownish things to draw attention to his team. It's all great when you're winning (sexy Rexy is a refreshing honest sports figure!) but when the losses come, it's ugly. Same will go for Bobby V. He's replacing a fairly boring guy in Terry Francona who tended to shy away from the rivalry talk even though that's all the media and fans want to hear for the most part. But with the comments from Russell Martin last season and now Bobby V's dumb comments about Jeter being lucky to make his most famous play, things are heating up a little. Valentine's always been a guy who likes to provoke even going back to his playing days, and this is obviously a ploy to win over Red Sox Nation. Except to just say dumb things about Derek Jeter might endear Bobby to the hardcore Sawx fans in Quincy and South Bahston, but to everyone else it just looks like an annoying cry for attention (particularly us over here in New York). So if that's what he was trying to accomplish, then congratulations, Bobby V. You sound just as dumb as the dumbest of Red Sox fans and you have successfully annoyed New York city. Jeter had to explain that the Yankees actually practice that play, and he wasn't really out of position, and then Valentine came out and said the old "utmost respect" thing for DJ, but there's no point in arguing in Jeter's favor. The best thing to do with people like Valentine or Rex Ryan is ignore them or accept their dumb comments as theatre like professional wrestlers yelling at the camera. At least for now we're all paying attention.