Wednesday, October 26, 2005

On the Road Again

by SonDog

To my loyal readers: I will be on vacation for the greater part of the next two weeks, primarily participating in the barbaric sport of deer hunting. Nothing says "man" more than shooting a defenseless animal, I find. Anyways, my posts may be a bit sporadic during this time, at best, but I will do my best to discuss at length the awesome synergy created when men gather at a cabin in the woods with rifles, whiskey, and beer. I... can't... wait.

For now, I leave you with a little parting gift, courtesy of my good friend in Sacramento, CA. I don't believe this is live concert footage, but you never know. Enjoy.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

I'm sorry, but more from McCarver

by BH

I watched the bottom of the ninth. As the inning starts, Tim tells us, and I'm paraphrasing, that Brad Lidge walked off the mound in game 5 against St. Louis to a silent stadium, and entered tonight's game in Chicago to a silent stadium, thanks to Vizcaino's hit in the top of the inning. Dude, Tim, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!! You have this retarded habit of trying to connect the dots, when there are no dots to connect. When Podsednik comes up, Joe Buck says something asinine about how there were some who wondered (Yeah, Joe Buck) if it would have been a good idea to have brought Lidge into game 6 against St. Louis to get the bad taste out of his mouth from the game before. McCarver responds, "There is no taste in his mouth." The next pitch is the Podsednik bomb. The next thing out of Tim's mouth is "There might be a taste now." Seriously dude. I'll do whatever you want if you'll just stop talking. I mean it. Do you want me to be your housekeeper? Do you want me to walk your dog? Do you want me to use my arm as your toilet snake in your bathroom? I'll do it if you stop.

Tim McCarver Sucks

by BH

To continue with my beating a dead horse theme, I'd like to further discuss the contempt I feel for FOX, the network that is single-handedly trying to destroy baseball. It's the middle of the seventh in game 2 of the World Series, and I've only been able to have the sound on for about two full innings over the course of games 1 and 2. It's still almost unbearable. How many shots did we need last night of A.J. Pierzynski? Yeah, I get it. He's a controversial figure. I mean, he was the first thing we saw after Jermaine Dye's home run in the first. We were also lucky enough to hear from a miked up Brandon Backe, the loud mouthed jackass that has become known for being miked up. He's kind of the George Hamilton of baseball. Tonight I turned on the sound in the bottom of the seventh and was reminded of why Tim McCarver is the worst color man in the game. He and the equally untalented Joe Buck were discussing the steps Phil Garner would take to get to Brad Lidge in the ninth, when McCarver said, "The bridge to Lidge will be a short span tonight." Seriously? You used that Tim? I know you're not smart. I know you wrote that prior to game 1 and have been looking for somewhere to slip it in. Later in the inning after a strikeout by a Houston pitcher, McCarver said, "I think that was a split-finger fastball. (Replay) Yep, that was either a splitter or a tailing fastball. (Replay) Yep, that was a tailing fastball." Nice try Tim. Those are two different pitches. Somehow, the guy threw two different pitches on the same pitch, and McCarver was right about them both.

More Buffoonery From Voters

by BH

I know I've made it clear that the voting process in college football is ridiculous and poorly thought out, but come on. USC, despite beating Washington 51-24 on Saturday, lost first-place votes to Texas, who beat #10 Texas Tech 52-17. USC, as the season has progressed, has slowly been leaking votes to the Longhorns. This is most likely due to USC's tougher than expected matchups with schools like #14 Arizona State, #24 Oregon, and #9 Notre Dame. Below are bolded excerpts from an article.

"I didn't move USC down as much as I moved Texas up," said Joe Giglio of The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C., one of two voters to switch Texas and USC this week.

This is a brilliant quote that is nothing but bullshit. He makes an attempt to make both USC and Texas fans happy by saying, in essence, it wasn't what USC didn't do, it was what Texas did. No dude, you did move USC down and Texas up. You did this because you think USC wasn't convincing in some of their wins, like their 45-13 win over Oregon in which the Trojans started slowly, or their 38-28 win over ASU, in which they again started slow. Or maybe USC's win over Notre Dame wasn't convincing enough. And maybe Texas' squeaker over an overrated Ohio State team was convincing , as was their dominating performance over a severely overrated Tech team.

"I feel [the Longhorns] have a more complete résumé and I'm really impressed with how they've handled their business."

Me too. The way the Longhorns rode roughshod over the likes of Rice, Louisiana Lafayette, Missouri and a down Oklahoma realy impressed me. More so than USC's victories over Hawaii, Arkansas, and Arizona. But let's examine this assertion that Texas has a more complete resume a little more closely, shall we? At this point, both USC and Texas have played three ranked teams and four unranked teams. USC's four unranked opponents have a combined record of 7-21, while Texas' opponents record is 11-17. Here, Texas gets the nod, but I mean we're fighting over scraps. We would be comparing USC's victory over Arizona, a team that plays legitimate conference teams, to Texas' victory over Louisiana Lafayette, who plays in the Sun Belt Conference. When one looks at ranked opponents, USC's have a record of 15-7, with ASU having plummeted following its loss to the Trojans. Texas' ranked opponents are 16-5, so again, the nod goes to Texas, barely. Of USC's victories over ranked teams, Oregon is currently #14 in both polls, and Notre Dame is #9 and #10, with ASU having fallen out of both polls. Meanwhile, OSU is #12 and 13, and Texas Tech has fallen to 17 and 16, with Colorado having dropped out of the polls. I guess the point of all this is to demonstrate that it is virtually impossible to demonstrate that Texas has a better resume or has done a better job than USC. A voter in a major poll, who basically shares a portion of the responsibility for determining who gets into the major bowl games at the end of the year and has demonstrated in his voting over the course of the season that he believes USC to be the best team in the country, has to come up with something better than, "I feel," and speculation.

The Alex Smith Experience

by SonDog

Ah, infants. They are so cute and cuddly. When they succeed, you feel so proud. When they fail, you just want to hug them to take away the pain.

Such is the feeling of rooting for a team who's starting QB just turned 21. Alex Smith is a baby in football terms. He is lost in an environment he is unfamiliar with. You can see the loneliness and confusion in his eyes. Poor, poor Alex.

Nevertheless, the 49ers made the right decision in trading away Tim Rattay and plugging Smith into the starting lineup, without needing to look over his shoulder. You see, infants can be insecure, and by getting rid of any legitimate competition, coach Mike Nolan has done his best to give him a cushy mattress without fear.

There was hope heading into Sunday that Smith would perform a little better during his second start. Midway through the second quarter of Sunday's game against Washington, Smith hit Brandon Lloyd on a 40-yard bomb. Indeed, it was better than anything he did during his first start. Sadly, it was the only highlight of the game.

Also notable was that Smith crapped his pants in the third quarter.

San Francisco lost the game against Washington 52-17, but it wasn't really as close as that score indicated. Since I have absolutely nothing good to say about the game, or about the absolute hopelessness that 49er Nation is feeling at the moment, I'm going to cut this post short. Now, if you will excuse me, I'm going to go chew on some fiberglass.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Midwest Division Preview

By SonDog

Denver Nuggets -- Is it politically incorrect to call this team the GHE-tow Nuggets? Don't get me wrong, I love their style of play. However, I don't think they will ever be mistaken with a team from Princeton. That is to say, they won't be winning any spelling bees anytime soon.

Despite being called a "Fugazi" by Tim Thomas two years ago (and despite the fact that I have NO idea what the hell "Fugazi" is supposed to mean), PF Kenyon Martin is simply one of the toughest inside players in the league. He may never be the 20-10 man that his contract warrants, but the man does so many other little things to help his team win. Like wear more bling than anybody in recent memory. Truly, he's one of the 5 best power forwards in the west.

Carmelo Anthony, you are now on the clock. If Anthony (who slipped below D-Wade last year as the second-best player in the 2004 draft class) ever wants to regain the prestige and reputation that he earned after helping Syracuse win the NCAA National Championship during his freshman campaign, he's going to have to put down the candy bars and push aside the junk food. Really, to say he's "ballooned" since college would be a ridiculous understatement. Nevertheless, it's all about shot selection with this guy. With his smooth jumper and powerful inside game, he should easily score 25 a night. Problem is, he's never seen a shot he didn't like. Thus, his 35-40% shooting percentage will remain the same until he wises up.

All that said, I don't think there is a team in the West that will want to play them in a seven-game series next spring (let alone meet up with them in a dark alley -- or a light alley, for that matter). They've had the greater part of two years to learn from one another and they have one of the deepest teams in the conference (Martin, Anthony, Marcus Camby, Nene, Andre Miller, Earl Boykins, Demaar Johnson, new guard Earl Watkins) This team is young. They are hungry. They are GHE-tow (which is to say, they're tough and they don't give a rip about what you or I say). And they have something to prove. I see them running away with the Midwest and gaining a top-4 seed in the West.

Denver's team shuttle...

Minnesota Timberwolves -- This is the year that we see the absolute monster in Kevin Garnett come out of hiding. LeseDog has always called him "Satan," simply because there is something behind his eyes that she doesn't like. Seriously, she gets frightened just watching him play. Well, this year, I think the internal demon will come out. Like The Exorcism of Emily Rose, we will see The Exorcism of The Big Ticket in theaters next spring.

The 2004/2005 season was an absolute anomaly for Garnett. He was surrounded by Latrell Sprewell and Sam Cassell, two of the league's biggest tumors. (By the way, I looked up the phrase "Poetic Justice" this afternoon, and next to it was a picture of Latrell Spreewell still out of work. I mean, the man turned down a 3 year, $21 million contract from Minnesota last year. He said it was insulting, and used the excuse, "I've got a family to feed." Now, as a free-agent, he can't even get the league minimum. Every fan in Minneapolis is still exhaling from the collective sigh of relief that Spree didn't accept that contract. Every fan throughout the rest of the country is still laughing.) At any rate, it was just so unimaginable that Garnett could miss the playoffs. Really, I don't think it will happen again in his career. When he's on, Garnett is the most dominating player in the game. The T-wolves will be back in the playoffs. They don't have much surrounding Garnett in terms of talent, so they won't necessarily make much noise, but they'll be back at the dance.

The demon inside KG...

Seattle Supersonics -- What do you do after posting your first winning campaign in years? You blow the whole damn thing up. You replace the young, upstart coach with the old-fart coach who most recently coached the Atlanta Hawks. Didn't go too well in Atlanta, did it? Then you let half of the team walk as free-agents. Good Call!!! Seattle's marketing slogan for the 2005/2006 season reads, "WHA??"

That's all I really have to say about Seattle, so let me ramble for a moment: Fantasy football is all the rage right now. Like kids with video games, everybody has a fantasy team. The popularity is such that often stories on fantasy scoring dominate the page 2 section of newspapers. It truly is the Playstation or XBox for the professional businessman.

While fantasy basketball isn't quite to that stage, I gotta tell you that it is as addictive as crack (not that I've tried crack, but everybody makes jokes about its addictive properties, so I think I'm safe drawing this analogy). I've been in a fantasy basketball league for two years with the same group of guys who all can be considered true NBA fans (and there aren't many of those out there, let me tell you). And while I'm proud to say that I finished second two years ago, and dominated the league last year, it's not the success that causes my enjoyment.

You see, I love the NBA. Absolutely love it. Really, I would like to have sex with it, if at all possible. Fantasy basketball, much like fantasy football, truly gives you a better understanding of the game. By watching games that seemingly don't matter in reality (like, say, Portland against Utah), you can really see why some teams simply suck. Rebounding, steals, assists, free-throw percentage, turnovers, blocked shots... these things all matter in fantasy basketball. Really, these things are even more important in reality basketball. With that in mind, let's look at the aforementioned teams that suck.

Portland Trailblazers-- "Anytime I wake up in the morning and Zach isn't in jail or dead, it's a really good day for me." That was an actual quote from Zach Randolph's high school coach. No, really, it was. Honest. Look it up, that was a serious quote.

This guy is the franchise player for the TrailBlazers.

(wait for it)

(think about it)


Other than that, everything is just peachy.

Portland hired Seattle's aforementioned young, upstart coach. They took him from Seattle by making him the third highest-paid coach in the league behind Phil Jackson and Larry Brown. Coach Nate McMillan hasn't really proven anything in his career outside of guiding Seattle into the playoffs last year. Yet, I repeat, he's now the third highest paid coach in the league. Do you really need any other information to discern why this is one of the worst teams in the NBA right now?

Well, here is some more: Their second best player is Darius Miles, who was recently voted a starter on the SportingNews' All-Poison First Team.

No truth to the rumors that they are going to retire the team bong this fall.

In all, the words "solid citizens" and "Portland Jailblazers" simply will not be found in the same sentence, ever again.

One notable incident not listed is the Qyntel Woods Dog-Fighting Ring. I can't make this stuff up.

Utah Jazz -- First of all, Carlos Boozer bamboozled a blind guy last year. Walking out on Gordon Gund's handshake agreement was just a despicable act. Maybe Boozer didn't offer his own hand, rather, it was a fake hand, and that's how he justified leaving Cleveland for Utah. But, this begs the question: Is it possible... Rather, is it necessary to stab a blind guy in the back? Do you really need to sneak up from behind? I'm just asking.

Andrei Kirilenko is back. Fantasy owners everywhere rejoice. AK-47 is the best moniker in basketball. The Russian Rifle is a joy to watch, and a joy to have on your fantasy team.

Coming Soon: The ridiculous Southwest Division. Home to San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Memphis, and New Orleans/Oklahoma City.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Self-help Lessons

By a frustrated SonDog

I find that one of the most mind-numbing experiences you can have in this playground called "life" is sitting through a four-hour seminar to discuss common-sense practices from a self-help guru. My favorite aspect is the immediate feeling you get while leaving the class. Some people call this sensation, relief. If I'm "energized" in the least, it's because I don't have to listen to Dr. Soandso another minute.

Why is it that a person needs to depend on somebody else to tell them how to live their life? I hate to ask such a rhetorical question, but this really boggles my mind, and just begs for said rhetorical question. I've gone nearly brain-dead pondering an answer.

For example: Women's magazines tell gals how they should act and dress under every circumstance imaginable. "If you are in the middle of an underwater basketweaving class, and you make eye-contact with the instructor (who just happens to be the man of your dreams), then by all means refrain from talking about your menstrual cycle on your first date."

Are you a great guy-reader? No? Let me tell you something: We're not that hard to figure out. Guess what? Guys like boobs.

Example II: Men's health magazines tell guys what they need to do if they want to become Batman, Superman, or Spiderman. To paraphrase a recent article in a men's fitness guide, "Be the man, act like the man, and ladies will succumb to the snap of your fingers simply from the aroma of your manliness. All you need to have is 1) A penis 2) A brain 3) The body of Michelangelo's sculpture, 'David'."

As Mark Twain once said, "Be careful about reading self-help books. You may die of a misprint."

Sadly, magazines are just one aspect of this quest for for-the-love-of-God-somebody-else-help-me-figure-this-out-improvement. We are bombarded on a daily basis by self-help doctors selling snake oil. In the class I attended, I swear I heard the instructor say, "Trust me, if you follow these simple steps, your life will be fulfilled and we as a society can move one step closer to a veritable utopia."

In theory, these self-help lessons are fantastic. In theory, so is communism.

The people of Russia didn't think the "theory" worked well in "practice"

Thus, in the interest of being as pretentious as possible while being an absolute hypocrite, I will help you, my loyal reader, by outlining the Important Seven Habits of Reasonable People:

Habit 1: You do not talk about Fight Club -- Oh, wait. Sorry. Wrong list.

Habit 1: Don't be an idiot -- This habit is all-encompassing of the habits below. That is to say, failure to adhere to any of the habits below will cause you to fail Habit 1. While this principle sounds pretty simple to follow, it is amazing how many people fall into the "idiot" category. After hours of extensive research, I found that 98% of the population on Earth can be classified as "idiot." It's just science. Most people don't even realize they are an idiot. The key to not falling into the "idiot" category is to simply not be stupid. If one is "stupid," it is not a stretch to believe that said person is also an "idiot." However, if you can overcome the temptation to be "stupid," then there is a strong chance that you won't become an "idiot." Do you follow where I'm going here?

This theory (Stupid + Any Form of Communicating= Idiot) was developed many years ago by Dutch scientist, Hiram P. Jackass. Coincidentally, the word "idiot" is Dutch for "Roaming Elephant's Butthole." The fact of the matter is that you really don't want to be an "idiot."

Habit 2: Shut your pie-hole until you know what's going to come out of it -- I must admit, I am guilty of not following this habit from time to time. We all have moments where we get a little verbal diahhrea. Usually, it comes after a couple of drinks. However, it's amazing how often this happens in a non-intoxicated state. There are a couple of levels to this condition.

First, is there anything more annoying than listening to a person who is rambling nonsensically? In the immortal words of Matt Foley, "Callete su grande yapper!" unless you know exactly what you are going to say. Think things through. If you don't have anything important to say, then don't say anything. Honestly, nobody will care. Remember, IT'S NOT IMPORTANT. If you don't shut it, you're at risk of looking like an idiot. That, of course, would be a violation of Habit 1. With two strikes against you, you're one strike away from being ostracized.

Second, I don't think there is anything more frustrating than when a person tells you something, then moments or days later they say to you, "Well, I didn't really mean that. It came out wrong. I don't want you to think that's really what I meant." Um, if you didn't mean it, then why did you say it? You meant it at the time, right? Well, it was a waste of air, and now you look like an idiot. Guess what? That's two strikes.

Habit 3: Do unto others as you would like to be done unto -- Especially in bed. Our society is much happier when this principle is followed. I try to work on this habit as much as is humanly possible.

Habit 4: You do not talk about... -- DAMNIT!

Habit 4: Be sortof good at doing grammar, and with people try and talk good too -- Really, it's not that difficult. Remember grammar school? Hello? It's right in the name... GRAMMAR. Unless you slept through the entire semester of fifth-grade English, you should have some basic principles that allow you to communicate coherently. If you are still concerned, then there are two things you can do: 1) Proof everything you write. 2) Speak above a third-grade level.

I cannot express enough the importance of this habit. If you feel you may be lacking in this area, then pick up a text book and give yourself a refresher course. Seriously. I'm not even close to kidding. Go, right now, and pick up a text book. DO IT!!!! I'll be here when you get back.

Habit 5: Be able to laugh at yourself -- Because if you can't, there is a good chance somebody else is laughing at you for being too serious. This has nothing to do with insecurities, nor is it to say that you should laugh uncontrollably like a fool. However, if you can't laugh at yourself, then you probably think you are infallible. Nice to meet you, Jesus. This, of course, leads us right to the next habit...

This douchebag has violated every... single... habit. Um, yeah, Tom? People aren't laughing "with" you, okay?

Habit 6: You're not perfect, so don't act like you are -- Pretty self-explanatory, but by calling right now, you get the following Habit 6 bonus rules:
1) It only looks good if you wear it well
2) Make sure you have mirrors in your house
3) Experience doesn't mean anything if you constantly violate habits 1 and 2
4) The world doesn't owe you anything. It was here first. (Thank you, Mark Twain)
5) If you dont' think youv'e ever made a mitsake, then yore making mistake by breathed in our air

Habit 7: Don't be's somebodi you aint -- For real, yo. I aint playin' wicha. I aint mad fool, 'cause I know it be part of the game 'n all, but you best regulate you's style. Word? Homeboy knows not to hate the playa', but to hate the game. But when you's shant be part of the game, then it be ova! Fo' shizzle? If you aint up wid it, then email dis balla at

Aight homies, I'm out. Peace up in V-town.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Pacific Division Preview

By SonDog, who wishes he could actually play basketball

We'll start our look around the NBA by discussing a division that is by far the most competitive and strongest in the league. The best five teams in the history of basketball reside in the Pacific Division that is home to the mighty Kings of Sacramento, the always powerful Los Angeles Lakers, and the fastest show on hardwood in the Phoenix Suns.

(Editors Note: The main problem I have with the mainstream sports media is the East Coast bias. BH and I have ranted about this on numerous occasions. I swear, if I hear one more glowing report on the collective group of yahoos that is the New York Knicks, I will literally spontaneously combust. I've always wanted to have a forum where I could transmit an unconditional West Coast bias. Be prepared over the coming weeks to hear nothing but glowing reports about West Coast teams, with limited to sporadic coverage of any East Coast teams. Oh sure, I'll talk about them, but it will be with a painfully clear underlying of contempt and disinterest. Don't get me wrong, I'll enjoy watching the Yankees and Red Sox in the World Series... er, wait.)

1) Sacramento Kings: Much, much more on this squad during my Kings Season Preview. It's coming. Oh, yes, it's coming.

2) Phoenix Suns: Remember the alien-coming-out-of-the-stomach scene in the first Alien? Fans of the Phoenix Suns literally felt this pain in unison when they heard that super-human power forward Amare Stoudemire would be out for four months from the dreaded micro-fracture surgery. And by literally, I mean every inhabitant of the greater-Phoenix area literally lost their mind when they heard this news. They literally died. All of them.

For at least four months, the fastest show on hardwood will have two blown tires. Phoenix brought in a slew of veteran players this summer with the additions of Brian Grant, Kurt Thomas, and Raja Bell. All can play defense, while all are not as fast as they used to be on offense (to be generous).

Out are Quentin Richardson, his fiancé, Brandy, and Joe Johnson. The Johnson loss could be the biggest, especially with Stoudamire's injury. Then again, the loss of Brandy will create a huge impact in the always-popular "Eye Candy Visual Game" that you play with your buddies when you're at the arena (LeseDog just dumped my Jameson over my head).

Nevertheless, MVP Steve Nash (I still can't believe I have to say that) returns, as does The Matrix, Shawn Marion, so the tempo is bound to be up and entertaining.

Out on a limb: Stoudamire's rehab will be the dominant theme through the fall. Phoenix will miss his presence more than anybody wants to admit. They'll fall to the bottom half of the powerful Western Conference.

3) Golden State Warriors: Yes, it's true, there is still a team in Oakland, and they still call themselves the Warriors. With the longest playoff drought in the league, it's easy to forget that this team is relevant, but this year they just may shock people with what promises to be a team that can threaten Phoenix for the title of THE fastest show on hardwood.

However, there are more if's surrounding this team than a week 17 episode of 24 (the most underrated show on television). IF Baron Davis stays healthy... IF Jason Richarson and Davis can share the ball enough... IF Mike Dunleavy becomes the shooter everybody believes he's capable of being... IF Troy Murphy becomes a modern-day Kevin McHale... IF rookie Ike Diogu proves to be the Elton Brand-clone that all the draft-day pundits claimed he could be... IF Mickeal Pietrus becomes the lock-down defender that he's capable of becoming... IF General Manager Chris Mullin doesn't start drinking again... you get the point.

Truly, this will be one of the most exciting teams in the Western Conference. IF coach Mike Montgomery steps back and takes the reigns off of Davis and Richardson, the W's stand a good chance of ending the playoff drought.

Out on a Limb: Golden State will finish no lower than seventh in the West, and will lead the league in scoring in 2005/2006.

IF Jack Bauer can find the terrorist leader, then the Warriors may stand a chance of making the playoffs.

4) L.A. Lakers: How do you think the conversation between new/old/returning coach Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant went this summer? You KNOW Kobe was consulted on that decision, so you KNOW the two HAD TO talk before Jackson's re-hiring became official.

"So, Kobe, I guess you needed me after all, you ignorant fool. Tell you what. Remember, I coached Michael Jordan, and whether you want to believe it or not, you couldn't carry his jock strap. This season, why don't you just shut the fu..."

MJ, giving Phil props for punching Kobe in the face.

That's about all I have to say about the Lakers. I hate that team, with a passion. I hate everything about them. I hate Kobe, I hate Phil, I hate those banana yellow uniforms, I hate their fans, I hate Jack Nicholson, and I hate the fact that they're the only West Coast team television guys talk about.

No, wait, I want to mention one other thing. Can you imagine how big Lamar Odom's bong has to be to be able to play alongside Kobe? Really, that sucker has got to be huge. And you KNOW he sucks it like a vacuum. Did you notice last year how Odom had to put Visine in his eyes during every timeout? There's a reason for this, and it's not an allergic reaction to pollen. If he has yet to take an insurance policy out on that bong, he's making a huge mistake. I mean, that has to be his crown jewel. Lamar's career was about to take off after his only season in Miami. He had just teamed with rookie Dwayne Wade to form a powerful duo that was capable of many things. He was so capable, that he was the centerpiece in the Miami/LA-Shaq trade. You thought Lamar was just about to get his life together. Then, he got teamed with Kobe. Poor fella.

Lamar, before, during and after games.

Out on a Limb: Lamar pulls a Spreewell on Kobe by game 25, and Kobe gets prosecuted in Aspen come January. I really, really hate this team.


Sorry, force of habit.


I feel sorry for Elgin Baylor. He's moments away from being the first true professional to join the cast of The Surreal Life. Really, the man simply cannot still be sane. Working for owner Donald Sterling for all of these years has absolutely driven the Hall of Famer off a cliff. I mean, how can you explain signing Cuttino Mobley to a HUGE deal AND trading for Sam Cassell in the same off-season? My best guess is that he's now INTENTIONALLY trying to sabotage this team's financial future. He's had enough, and in his own way, he was able to convince Sterling that, "You know, Mobley could be the best 2-guard in the league, and Cassell really is a stand-up guy when you peel back the layers of the onion and get to know him. Honestly, this could take us straight to the top of the Pacific Division." I really, really want to know how Baylor made this happen if he wasn't just trying to make a funny for the Surreal Life cameras.

Out on a Limb: Sam Cassell plays the entire season without causing any incidents. Really, this is an enormous stretch.

Coming Soon: The Northwest Division (Denver, Portland, Utah, Minny, Seattle).

If Only I Were A D-Backs Fan

Prior to tonight's game five of the NLCS between the Cardinals and Astros, I decided to keep a record of all the retarded things said by FOX broadcasters Thom Brenneman and Steve Lyons. It is now the top of the fourth, and I have a full page. Brenneman and Lyons are so bad, that I have turned the sound off on my television. I feel kind of bad, because tonight they have teamed up in the booth with ex-Giant Bob Brenley. Alas, Brenley cannot make up for the jackasses who insist on screwing up an important and otherwise enjoyable game. Some of the nuggets from Brenneman and Lyons follow. Keep in mind, this is a small sample and only covers 1 inning.

Bottom 2: After Chris Carpenter allows 1 run despite being in trouble early in the inning, Brenneman tells us that Carpenter did a great job getting out of the jam having allowed only the one run. Two things are wrong with this. He didn't actually get out of the jam. That would suggest that he hadn't given up a run. Secondly, I SAW THE FUCKING THING!! Why does this ass hole feel the need to tell viewers what we should feel about what happens on the field?

Bottom 2: After Yadier Molina tags a runner coming home from third on a sweet tag, all three of our beloved broadcasters go nuts over the way Molina made the play. Lyons weasels in the fact that Molina's brothers are both catchers (really, because I haven't heard that in every broadcast so far), and tells us that Molina knew he was going to get hit in the face by the runner. Really though, Steve doesn't know. it sounds good, and makes Molina look tougher, but Steve doesn't know. This is the guy that used to confuse Robb Nen's slider with a splitter.

Top 3: Brenneman tells us that the D-Backs/Yankees series of 2001, was one of the greatest series in the history of baseball. Yes Thom, it was a great series and I enjoyed watching it, but it was not one of the greatest in history. It went seven games, and it was won in a last at-bat. Few however are going to call it one of the greatest series in history, unless by "one of" you mean one of twenty.

Top 3: After taking a strike after showing bunt, Jim Edmonds turns around to talk to the home plate umpire. Brenneman, the diplomat, tells the fans that Edmonds is probably asking if it was a called strike, or if the pitch had been offered at. Really Thom, you don't know what the hell Edmonds is saying. You don't know what any major leaguer is saying when he turns around. You know as much as I do when I see Edmonds turn around.

Top 3:
Steve Lyons calls Albert Pujols the best hitter in the game. Um, I don't know. There's this Bonds guy in San Francisco who can hit allright. I know he missed most of the season, but you know Steve, he was still pretty good when he came back. There's also this Rodriguez guy in New York. I guess one could argue this point with you Steve, but since you've got a mike, well...hmmm.

Top 3: Brenneman is back at it again, telling viewers that the ALCS was, "very very, VERY impressive for the White Sox." I know Thom. I SAW THE FUCKING THING!! Thanks though.

Top 3 (seriously, still top of the 3rd): After Larry Walker takes a base on balls, Brenneman says, "What an at-bat by Larry Walker. A professional at-bat there by Larry Walker." In the professional at-bat by Walker, he looked terrible on two swing through strikes, and watched four balls go by that were not close. I guess he's a professional, and was at-bat. So I guess taht's not a completely erroneous statement.

Seriously, these guys suck.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

I don't get it, but neither do they

After #1 USC's victory over #9 Notre Dame on Saturday night, many people were calling it the greatest college football game in history. Two schools with amazing football backgrounds trading shots for three-and-a-half hours, with USC winning the game on a Matt Leinart sneak in the final seconds. Coming into the game, Notre Dame had lost only once this season and had regained some measure of respect under first year coach Charlie Weis. Few expected that the Irish, despite their position in the polls, would put forth much of a challenge against the two-time defending national champion Trojans. USC had faced tests against Oregon and Arizona State, and despite scares from both, had come into the game undefeated.
Notre Dame stood toe-to-toe with USC and, for much of the game, looked like the better team. In the end though, it was the Trojans that walked away with a victory and their number one ranking still intact. When I woke up this morning and got online to check the new college football rankings, I thought to myself that this is a chance for voters to get one right. The ranking system in college football makes little sense, and traditionally, if a team loses, it drops in the rankings. It seemed though, that Notre Dame, having almost pulled it out against USC, would and should retain their same #9 spot in the polls, if not rise a few spots. What we saw was that, in a game they weren't supposed to win, Notre Dame could hang with the best team in the country, something we probably couldn't say about six of the seven other teams ahead of the Irish in the rankings. I mean, even according to the pollsters, Notre Dame wasn't supposed to win this game. The AP poll kept the Irish as the #9 ranked team in the country, which one could argue is still to poor assessment of this team. At least the AP pollsters had the guts to go against conventional wisdom and vote with their brains. USA Today pollsters, on the other hand, took a giant crap all over their rankings, dropping the Irish to the #12 team in the country. These voters don't get it. The Irish weren't supposed to beat USC. The polls prior to the game told us this. So when the Irish played a great game and almost knocked off one of the greatest teams in college football history over the past three seasons, USA Today pollsters decided they hadn't lived up to their #9 ranking. It's insane. I love college football. I love watching legitimate passion in the stands from people who actually have a true interest in the welfare of a team. It's hard to watch a season being determined by voters who time after time demonstrate that they have no idea why they do what they do.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Quick Hits

By SonDog

This just in: 52 executives indeed jumped off the rooftops at ESPN and FOX after the Yankees and Red Sox lost in the first round.

And we're not about to mention how great the ratings are anywhere other than the East Coast: We're bound to hear loads over the next three weeks about the poor television ratings for Angels/White Sox & Astros/Cardinals. Through the fifth inning of game 1, it's already been mentioned 23 times as a foregone conclusion.

Come to think of it, maybe I'll stick it in the back of the closet with my breakdancing outfit: Yes, I can admit that I bought an Alex Smith jersey last week.

Yes! On second thought, No! Or, maybe, Yes!: 49ers coach Mike Nolan has shown an incredible lack of willingness to stick to his decisions this year. Remember the, "Tim Rattay is our starter for this entire season," quote from week 1? That lasted four weeks.

I'm betting Warren Sapp never chased down Randy Moss during the first day of training camp: An announcer during the Kings/Mavericks pre-season game used the line, "Oh, what an EXPLOSIVE move by Keith Van Horn to blow past Shareef Abdur-Rahim!" Anytime Van Horn is "exploding" past you, there's a good chance you're not doing your job defensively.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Not-so Secret 7 - Part 3

This is the last in a three-part installment of SonDog's professional analysis of the Sacramento Kings...

Question 6) How quickly can this team come together on the court?

Some Kings fans long for the Vlade Divac/Doug Christie days of all 12 players having pillow fights, professing love for one another, and jumping in the same cab after the game while pushing each other into the bushes along the way (ahem, Aaron). While this utopia of player happiness is a nice dream (and one that the Kings' of the early decade seemingly had mastered), it is irrelevant to the success of the team on the court. Court chemistry and off-court chemistry are two vastly different animals. While a team can not survive if it can't stand each other (Webber/Peja Kings of 04/05), it doesn't necessarily need to be one big love fest. That being said, all 12 players must buy into coach Rick Adelman's system in order for success on the court. With only three holdovers from last year's opening day roster (Bibby, Peja, Miller), Adelman has the unenviable challenge of trying to mold a team on the run. It's Adelman's responsibility to handle the additions of SAR and Wells, and handle the inevitable bickering for more playing time (ahem, Kenny Thomas). Offensively, the Kings have never had problems. This lineup should be able to put up 110 points a night, on paper. But, ball-movement, which is so critical to the Princeton offense, comes from on-court chemistry and trust. Once trust is found, the team can do something it has been more or less allergic too over the last seven years...

Question 7) Is Defense more than just a rumor?

The... Biggest... Question. (Wow, wasn't that powerful? Don't you love the inflection found with BOLD, Italicized statements that comfortably add... ellipses?) Seriously, the owners (Maloof brothers) said it best last year after the Kings' pitiful defensive display against Seattle in the first-round of the playoffs. To paraphrase, "We can't win anything if we're giving up 120 points per game in the playoffs. In fact, I'd like to order a Tom Emanski defensive skills, Basketball Edition for my team. Do they even make those? Is baseball superstar Fred McGriff still the sponsor, or would it be Kevin Willis in the basketball version? Is he wearing a trucker hat? Can somebody find this out for me while I sit in the hot-tub at MY Palms Casino in Vegas, sippin' on a Mai-Tai?" Truly, the Kings', without defense, remain what they have been for this decade: A fun, exciting team that has instant offense, and garbage defense. They will not be anything more than a 5-8 team in the Western Conference unless they learn to play tougher on the defensive end.

Lest anybody misunderstand my expertise, let me restate what I posted on Thursday: "I'm a 5'10", 180 lb mayonnaise-white guy with limited to no jumping ability. In addition, I don't have a jump shot. Really, not to use a cliché, but I don't think I could hit the ocean if I shot from a boat (wow, that was a serious cliché, wasn't it?). If that weren't enough, I have limited lateral quickness and my dribble-drive consists all of one move, which doesn't come close to involving my left hand. Defensively, I'm as active as a fence post. The words "blocking" or "out" exist nowhere in my vocabulary. The last time I grabbed a rebound was my freshman year of college, and I ended up dating her for about three years. Impressive, but it didn't involve a basketball. While I always considered myself "coachable," coaches never considered me "playable." With all that going for me, I have absolutely no right to critique the game of NBA players. However, since I've never trusted my better judgment before, why start now?"

With that in mind, it's time to enjoy the NBA season.

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Not-so Secret 7 - Part 2

To recap yesterday's post regarding Part 1 of the top-7 questions that need answers for the Sacramento Kings: 1) Peja needs to stop being a woman, 2) Bonzi needs to not get arrested, 3) Shareef needs to prove something... anything. Now, on to part 2.

4) Can Brad Miller stay healthy for an entire season?

Miller has developed a reputation as a guy who is an all-NBA center through the first 50 games of the season, and a guy who usually is in street clothes by the last 20. It's one of the primary reasons Indiana let him walk as a free-agent three years ago. Early in the season, he's a serious banger. But, by the playoffs, he gets injured on drives by Earl Boykins. Now, with the retired Vlade Divac and the departed Chris Webber, it is critical that Miller stays healthy through the entire campaign, as he will be the focus of coach Rick Adelman's high-post offense.

5) How quickly can the bench gel?

On paper, the second unit could be one of the best in the league. Too bad they don't play the games on paper. Kenny Thomas, Brian Skinner, Corliss Williamson, Jason Hart, and Kevin Martin look to be the early favorites for reserve playing time. Thomas is a given. The undersized power forward is instant offense and provides a toughness that is sorely lacking throughout the rest of the roster. But, make no mistake, Thomas doesn't want to go to the bench. He wants to start. Adelman has not stated that SAR will start at this point, but it seems almost a given. Thomas' attitude will be a big question, but attitude is also something the Kings haven't had in years. If Skinner has been anything in his career, he has been terribly inconsistent. Adelman may not know what he's getting from him night in and night out. Williamson is a champion. For all the knocks on his game, he has an NCAA ring and an NBA ring as a rebuttal. Hart has the potential to be one of the best backup guards in the league. He won't be Bobby Jackson, but then again, he won't be injured every year either. Martin is the wild-card. His development will be critical.

Questions 6 & 7 coming soon...

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Not-so Secret 7 - Part 1

Part-1 of SonDog's professional analysis of the Sacramento Kings:

It's here. No, really, it's here. I can hardly believe it myself. But, nevertheless, it's here.

The NBA is back. Training camp is underway, and millions of unskilled fans who wish they were 6'5", 200 pounds, are spending their nights awake, wondering what needs to go right in order to define the success of their respective teams.

With that in mind, this unskilled fan will provide the top-7 question list as to what will define the success of the 2005/2006 Sacramento Kings.

But, before doing so, let me get one thing straight. I'm a 5'10", 180 lb mayonnaise-white guy with limited to no jumping ability. In addition, I don't have a jump shot. Really, not to use a cliché, but I don't think I could hit the ocean if I shot from a boat (wow, that was a serious cliché, wasn't it?). If that weren't enough, I have limited lateral quickness and my dribble-drive consists all of one move, which doesn't come close to involving my left hand. Defensively, I'm as active as a fence post. The words "blocking" or "out" exist nowhere in my vocabulary. The last time I grabbed a rebound was my freshman year of college, and I ended up dating her for about three years. Impressive, but it didn't involve a basketball. While I always considered myself "coachable," coaches never considered me "playable." With all that going for me, I have absolutely no right to critique the game of NBA players. However, since I've never trusted my better judgment before, why start now?

1) Will the real Peja Stojakovic please stand up?

The Peja of 2003/2004 was considered an MVP candidate in some circles (not this circle, but then again, I'm the only MVP candidate in this circle, so that should tell you something). The 2004/2005 Peja was considered an incredible disappointment in some circles (this circle included. That being said, that's one-too-many circles.). The 03/04 Peja played sans Chris Webber. The 04/05 Peja... not so much. I'm sensing a theme. If the 05/06 Peja could play more like the 03/04 Peja, rather than the 04/05 Peja, then the 05/06 Kings stand a better than 50/50 chance of improving on their 50 wins. If that happens, and 7, 34, 52, 12, and 73 all hit in Powerball this week, I'll be the richest man in the universe (because I'm betting money in Vegas that Peja produces). Three things are going for him this year: 1) Contract year. 'Nough said. 2) No C-Webb. 'Nough said. 3) Lots of people are doubting him + thing 1 and thing 2. 'Nough said. Put all that together, and in the immortal words of Dave Chappelle, "I'm riach biatch!!!" Peja, you better not let me down.

2) Will Bonzi Wells stay out of trouble?

Since Sac acquired Bonzi from Memphis, I cannot get this fact out of my mind: Wells was told by Memphis Grizzlies' coach Mike Fratello in the playoffs last year that if he came anywhere near the arena during game 4, he would be arrested. Seriously, I'm not making this up. Therefore, my nickname for Bonzi, until he proves me otherwise, will remain, Bonzi "If You Come Anywhere Near the Arena During Game 4, I Will Have You Arrested" Wells. Bonzi, however, has a couple of things going for him: 1) Contract year. (Seriously, between Wells - starting shooting guard -, and Peja - starting small forward, I really hope there are enough balls to go around. Both are playing for a contract. Both want to score and prove doubters wrong). 2) No Mike Fratello. 3) Lots of people are doubting him + thing 1 and thing 2. Hang on one minute; I need to go put a bet down on Wells.

Bonzi Wells, before game 4 of the Grizzlies' first round playoff...

3) Can Shareef Abdur-Rahim contribute to a winning team?

This has to be the most hyped acquisition of Sacramento's off-season. Give him this: SAR has always been productive. He's one of the few men in the NBA that has averaged close to 20 points (well... almost) and 10 rebounds per game in his career (as point of fact, he's NEVER averaged 10 rebounds a game, but that's just splitting hairs). If that weren't enough, SAR has NEVER played for a team that finished .500 or above. The only time he came close was his first season in Portland, and he wasn't acquired until mid-February. He also is trying to replace arguably the most productive and popular player in Sacramento's history. (Personal Aside: It really burns me that people still use the phrase "arguably" to describe the Chris Webber reign in Sacramento. Simply put, Chris was the best player to EVER don a Sacramento Kings' jersey. in 2002/2003, Webber was one of the three best players in the game. Had he not screwed up his knee in the playoffs that season, there is a good chance the Kings could have run through the NBA for their first championship. Sadly, he was never the same after his operation. Without a doubt, Chris Webber was the best player to ever wear a Sacramento Kings jersey. The word "arguably," from this point forward, will never be used to describe anything about him in this blog again.) Personally, the SAR addition has been a little too over-hyped for my taste. Is he a solid player? Yes. Has he proven ANYTHING in his NBA career? No. I'm not saying he can't, but let's give him a shot to prove something this year. If he does, it will go down as one of the best signings of the Geoff Petrie era.

Questions 4-7 will be arriving shortly...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Crossing the Line

by a grumpy, pessimistic SonDog

News broke late tonight that San Francisco coach Mike Nolan has decided to start rookie (and #1 pick) Alex Smith at quarterback, over incumbent Tim Rattay. All I can say is that it's about freakin' time. This situation was becoming more comical than the Blue Oyster Cult, Will Ferrell, and Christopher Walken cowbell skit on SNL. Really, if you replaced Walken with Nolan, replaced Alex Smith and rookie running back Frank Gore with the Blue Oyster Cult, and replaced Ferrell with Tim Rattay and Kevan Barlow, you could adequately describe the 1-3 49ers. Picture Nolan during practice saying to Rattay and Barlow, "Baby, listen, I gotta have more cowbell." In the interim, Smith and Gore are standing around shocked, knowing that the band would be better without the cowbell. Nolan kept insisting, "Tim, don't be afraid to explore the space of the studio. I gotta have more cowbell! Tim, Kevan... look, I gotta fever, and the only prescription is more cowebell!" Fortunately, common sense reigned supreme, and Smith will start this week against Indy. Frank Gore, your time will come soon.

My fantasy football teams are killing me. I'm a collective 2-6 after three weeks. Between Jamal Lewis, Michael Clayton, Dominik Davis, Priest Holmes, Kerry Collins, Kevin Jones, and Jerry Porter, I've had more monumental busts than an "art" exhibit at the Playboy mansion.

The MLB playoffs are officially underway. From what I've seen on ESPN to this point, it looks like the only two teams that made the first round are the Yankees and Red Sox. Seriously, would ESPN and FOX executives jump from the roofs of their respective studios if these two teams both lost in the first round? Granted, this rivalry is good for the game. When fans hear Yankees/Red Sox, they know an exciting game is in store. However, if neither team advances, you can be sure there will be a plethora of stories bemoaning, "What is wrong with the game? Steroids are to blame!!" Somehow, it will all be Barry Bonds' fault.

If people don't think that the competitive imbalance is killing the game in small-markets like Pittsburgh and Kansas City, they are simply blind. It's not a coincidence that the four American League teams in the playoffs are from the four largest markets: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles (Anaheim), and Boston. In fact, there was word late tonight that the commissioner’s office requested that the Kansas City Royals go back on steroids, in order to make their team somewhat competitive.

My name is Earl is by far the best new comedy on TV. Seriously, I've heard commercials mentioning this over and over and over. I would say that it is an underrated show, but NBC will not allow that because they run an ad every three minutes to discuss its greatness. I truly enjoy Earl, but if they don't stop over-hyping the hype wagon, I may be forced to stop watching simply on principle.

If you didn't see Over There last week, try to catch a re-run on FX. If that episode doesn't make you want to rip your brain out and stomp on it from frustration, I don't know what will (don't let this mislead you; I do understand that this is a TV show and not a documentary). I don't want to go off on a rant here, but my aforementioned frustration with the war in Iraq is thicker than the plaque buildup on the lining of the arterial walls surrounding our VP's heart... okay, I'm going to sum this up quickly because if I don't, I will be up all night writing a column. No, I'm not a hippie. Yes, I support our troops. No, I don't have to unconditionally agree with a war that the current administration sells as "just." There, I said it. What makes me such an expert? Because I'm wearing them. And I just did (thank you, Randy Striegel, the cleverest guy I know).

Shame on Buckie!!

Members of the New York Yankees were upset on Sunday, when, during the Rangers game against the Angels, Buck Showalter removed some of his starters. The bold sections come from

Showalter removed starters Michael Young, Mark Teixeira and Hank Blalock for pinch-runners in the third inning against the Angels on Sunday. The Texas Rangers led 4-1 after three innings, but the Angels rallied for a 7-4 victory and earned home-field advantage for the first round against the Yankees with the victory.
-Evidently, Showalter wanted his boys to get ovations from the home crowd. Nothing wrong with this, except that he's taking his best players out of a game. So much for "every game counts." On the other hand, who gives a crap? It's the last game of the freaking season.

The Yankees had the ability to earn home-field advantage in this series with a win Sunday against Boston, as well as maybe eliminate their rivals.
-The Yankees had the ability to do this with a win against the Sox, regardless of the outcome of the Angels/Rangers game. Not only would they have secured home field, but they would have possibly put their rivals in a one game playoff against Cleveland.

Former Ranger Alex Rodriguez, who played for Showalter in Texas, was one of the Yankees who was peeved at the Rangers manager's decision. "There's a code of honor when so much is on the line," Rodriguez told the New York Daily News. "You hope people do the right thing. But you can't control what people do."
-This code that the Yankees unfailingly follow, meant that at the end of the Yanks/Sox game, New York had Phillips, Womack, Lawton, Escalona, Nieves, Bellhorn, and Crosby playing in place of starters.

Yankees manager Joe Torre was equally surprised.
"It's surprising," Torre told The New York Times. "If his team was in the playoffs, I could understand it a little bit more. It's just surprising he pulled them so soon."
-Thanks to the writer for clearing up that Torre was surprised. What was surprising Joe? The fact the Showalter doesn't manage the Yanks and didn't worry about what you and your team thinks? Was it the fact that he was more concerned with the team he actually manages? Did I mention that at the end of the Yanks/Sox game, New York had Phillips, Womack, Lawton, Escalona, Nieves, Bellhorn, and Crosby playing in place of starters.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told the New York Times that he didn't mind Showalter's decision, however.
"If we had won one more game, we wouldn't have to be worried about what anybody else did," Cashman told The Times.
-Thank God for Brian Cashman, the lone sane man in the Yankee organization. How this guy remains somewhat coherent in the face of the New York media, fans, and George Steinbrenner, is beyond me.

In other news, the Red Sox got bombed yesterday. Bartolo Colon did not pitch like a Cy Young winner, and the Pads made an ugly game look interesting. Boy, I can't get enough Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. Guh. Whyare these two guys still on the air?
In the middle of the Padre/Cardinal game yesterday, when asked what strategy Ozzie Guillen would take against the Red Sox, John Kruk told us in that Guillen would play the same way he played all year. No John, he won't. He will manage the same way he did all year. You are a fat, blubbering turd.

From Hero to Zero

The following is a weekend in the life of SonDog. October 1-3, 2005 will go down in history as three days that this douchebag will never forget...

Saturday morning: I awoke to the excitement that a 5-year-old experiences on Christmas Day. On October 1, 2005, I was going to experience the true feeling of being a man. Seriously, I was going to be one of those guys on the cover of romance novels (or so I'm told by "those who I know very well"). Women would want me; Men would want to be me. My neighbor and I were going to take a chainsaw, cut down some trees deep in the White River National Forest of Colorado, bring said wood home, then chop the hell out of it with an axe. Really, is there any other experience that could come close to defining ones-self as a member of the male sex?

Other men (those who myself and the Gubernator like to call "girlie men") choose to pay for their wood. Not myself and Bill. Bill and I were going to get our own wood. Damnit, if our forefathers could do it, so could we. Really, could you imagine Wyatt Earp saying, "Listen here my good man, I was wondering if I could purchase a cord of wood from you for somewhere around $75. Also, if you could deliver that load straight to my doorstep, that would be fantastic. In fact, if I could not lift a finger during this entire operation, I would be very pleased."

So, at approximately 8:00 AM on Saturday morning, Bill and I (along with our two manly dogs) took off in my truck, hell-bent on finding some trees to destroy (Technically, for good fire wood, you need to find trees that have already been dead for some time. I like to call this, a "technicality"). Somewhere around 9:30 AM we found a fantastic spot in the middle of nowhere that looked perfect for firewood. There were plenty of aspens and pine trees laying about, just begging to be ripped into (don't end a sentence with a preposition; don't end a sentence with a preposition). In fact, both of us swear that we heard one tree shout, "Please, cut me down, you hunka-burning men!" No doubt, this was our spot.

Bill, who for his anniversary had just received an incredible gift of a Skihl chainsaw (really, there was a movement in my pants just mentioning that), opened his mint-condition case, yanked out his beautiful piece of testosterone, ripped the accelerator cord, and fired up his incredible man-toy that is a V-10 powered, loud-as-hell chainsaw. We proceeded to find the tree with the largest girth imaginable, as no other tree would suffice. Five, six-foot cuts later, we had some firewood for the winter. We both thanked God for allowing us to provide for our family before the bitter-cold winter, then proceeded to find our next victim.

This pattern went on for a good two-hours. To hell with the fact that we may not be able to fit all of these ginormous logs into my truck. Nature needed us to clear some under-brush, and by God, we were going to do it. I mean, the US Forest Service should be thanking us with a written document. I'm not even close to kidding. In fact, I just completed writing a letter filled with compound sentences and hyperbole, addressed to our local Director of Colorado Department of Forestry, demanding some gratitude.

At any rate, somewhere around 2:00 PM, Bill and I returned to our condo complex with our truck-load of wood. Since neither of us had ever "cut" our own wood, or "chopped" our own wood, we had no idea what we were in for next. Earlier that morning, I purchased an indestructable axe (or so the label at Home Depot said), and an item known as a "wood grenade." (Note: A simple "wedge" was available, but when the word "grenade" is incorporated into a retail item, what would you choose? Seriously, "wedge," or "grenade"? That's what I thought. There's no contest, right? Men choose "grenades," "girlie-men" choose "wedges." It's just science.) It was about time we put these two toys to the test.

For the next three hours, Bill and I swung away with all the power of Zeus. Between the two of us, we plowed through a good four trees, shattering each log with the awesome lethality of the muscles in our backs, arms, chests and hands. The logs didn't stand a chance. Like Paul Bunyan, we ripped through enough wood to build a small duplex. With each swing, Bill and I received a burst of air into our respective egos. By God, there were no other men in the world doing what we were doing this day. If an author was there to write a book, he or she would be forced to put down his or her pen and take some pictures. This was a site to be seen, and never forgotten. For a good nine hours, Bill and I became legends in our own minds, and we still had all of our appendages.

Bill and I can't believe we already have our own figureene...

Originally, this was a one-day project. However, too much fun was had by all, and we each had another day "off" from the work world to re-live this day. Thus, we decided that Sunday morning, we were going out for more. You could almost hear the forest shivering with fear.

Sunday, October 2: 7:30 AM. It was time. There were trees to be cut down, damnit. Sleep is for weaklings. The sun is up, so I should be as well.

I thought Bill and I chopped up some huge trees on Saturday. But, that was just simple naiveté. Once we arrived at our "secret" wood-chopping spot on Sunday morning, it was clear that there were some bigger proverbial fish to proverbially catch. The mission for the day: Find something... no, anything... that was bigger than what we threw the chainsaw and our muscles at on Saturday.

Immediately, we found our victim.

Four feet wide and 300-feet tall, there sat the digger-pine of our dreams. I swear, we both thought we had taken a wrong turn past Wolcott and wound up in Northern California, where the Redwoods are the size of large-skyscrapers (as opposed to small-skyscrapers). This pine was a warrior. It was the pine that dared men to take a slice. For, if you tried, you would surely fail. Yes, this was the pine for Bill, myself, our manly dogs, and the chainsaw.

Three hours, two pines, and three aspens later, Bill and I had enough wood to last us the winter. Since football was on this day, we were planning on taking the wood home, dropping it in the garage, and waiting a week to chop away. However, once we returned and unloaded the wood, our boiling-over testosterone demanded we utilize the wood grenade and axe at least once. The first victim would be a two-foot section of the giant pine we slayed with our own manly hands. Several blasts into the wood grenade with the back end of the axe later, we had more firewood. Naturally, we decided that simply one section would not suffice on this day.

Two hours later, Bill and I had chopped through enough wood to construct the Panama Canal. By this point, our backs and hands felt like they were about to fall off. The word "backiotomy" was thrown about more than once. Between the two of us, we had taken roughly 732 swings with the axe. Of course, neither of us had ever felt better in our lives. The pain we were in was a sensation only felt by battle-scarred warriors. For God's sake, we were men, and as long as we were around, the world would be a safer place.

Monday, October 3: Huge Vail Valley Recreation District softball game today. As co-coach-manager of the team, it is my responsibility to make sure our team plays with the fire necessary to win. I mean, this is Vail Valley softball. Texas high-school football has nothing on this league. This day, we were set to play the best team in our elite-league (no, really, we play in the elite-league. Don't ask me why). We had to bring our A-game in order to win.

Somewhere around the second inning, something just felt wrong at shortstop. I just took a wicked hop off of my left wrist from a one-hop seed up the middle. I mean, this ball hit flush. But, I'll just shake it off and get the next one. Two batters later, I had just committed my first error, slightly pulling the 2B off the bag on a play in the hole. Something just didn't feel right, but I thought I could fight through it.

Um, two errors later (in the same inning), it was in my head. "For the love of all that is holy, don't hit the ball to me," was the line that I repeated internally more than "I've fallen and I can't get up!" I couldn't believe this. All season, I had played a solid shortstop. In softball, there isn't a more demanding position on the field. With every play, there is something that you should be doing. I mean, every ounce of my pride was at stake here. I HAD to get the next one. It was a given, this was just an anomaly. I've seen Jennie Finch get down for grounders for crying out loud. What's with this matador BS?

Jennie Finch, teaching me how to get down, not fall out of the way, of a softball...

By the fifth inning, I had committed two more errors. By this point, my entire genetalia had shriveled up inside my body like a scared turtle. I tried everything I could to keep thinking about Jennie Finch, but all of the manliness that I developed through the weekend had disappeared through a worm hole quicker than Jennie if I were to run into her in a bar. How could this be happening to me. What the hell is my problem? How can I go from all-Vail shortstop in one week, to all-bullethole shortstop the next? It's the soreness in my back... my hands... my arms... anything. I know that's it. I mean, I just chopped wood for two days for Christ's sake!!! Men don't make this many errors!

Jennie, laughing at one of my many errors...

Realizing you are contributing (check that... CAUSING!) the ghastly defeat of your team is a very humbling experience. After the game, I would receive a hug, I'd be told that I'm still loved, I'd be told that they've seen me play enough and this was just an incredibly "off" game, and I'd drink a couple of beers. However, the demoralizing feeling that comes from athletic inability/unaccomplishment is one that sticks with you like a bad rash.

(Class Exercise: Pretend your ego is your foot. Now, pretend you are looking at the weather-stripping on the door of your truck, and the weather-stripping on the chassis of your truck. Next, pretend you are sticking your foot in the middle of the two, and slamming the door on your foot as hard (and as many times) as possible. Do you see how your foot deflates? See how flat it is? Yeah, that's my ego about right now.)

While drinking whiskey that night, I would begin to wonder what caused this monumental letdown. Then suddenly, it hit me. I hadn't shaved my head in three entire days!! That's it! As a baseball fan/player (when I was much, much younger), I fully appreciate the superstitions that are part of the game. I can't remember completely, but I'm pretty sure that I had shaved my head the night before every game this year (as point of fact, I shave my head every morning, but that's beyond the point of fact).

To eliminate this feeling of self-pity from my brain, I had to shave my head THIS NIGHT! In fact, not only would I shave my head, but I would shave my entire face... WITH A BLADE! This is something I have not done since I was 16. Electric razors were the way of my life. But, not on this night. I was going to be a man again, and goddamnit, I was going to blade away everything from my chest up (with the exception of my goatee and eyebrows).

23 razor cuts and four patches of razor burn later, my ego had a little bit of life refilled. To assist, I walked outside, and stared at the enormous pile of fire-fuel that Bill and I created on Saturday and Sunday. Suddenly, I realize that there is much more to life than chopping wood and playing recreational league softball. Yes, it was time to re-evaluate things, and I would start by reading a book filled with Japanese proverbs and Ideals of the Samurai. This should help.

Proverb No. 1: He who does not fetch own fuel has no respect from other men.

Destiny, it seems, is not without a sense of humor.

It's decided. Bill and I are going out next weekend for more wood. Do we need it? No. At this point we won't run out of wood for 3 years. However, there's trees to cut, damnit, and we're going to find them. Plus, my ego needs a refill.

Monday, October 03, 2005

I'm Still A Niner Fan

In Mexico City last night, the Forty-Niners fell to the previously winless Arizona Cardinals. While the game started off well for the Niners, it quickly became evident that they were not going to be able to move the ball against the vaunted (cough), Dennis Green inspired defense. After jumping out to a 14-0 lead, the Niners watched as Arizona scored 31 unanswered points. Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the game was San Francisco's inability to mount any sort of sustained offensive drive. Niner drives were so continuously short that the defense had little time to rest. It puts the team at a disadvantage when the coaching staff has to call plays, not with getting the ball down the field in mind, but keeping its own defense on the bench so it can catch its breath. Last night, the Niners were hard to watch. At least last week against the Cowboys, it was entertaining. This game was boring, though not for Cardinal fans.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Muy comico! Dios freakin' mio!

I can tell you one thing for certain, my Spanish is horrible. Es no muy bueno, for suro. Four years of high-school classes taught me the Spanish vocabulary of a two-year-old with speaking difficulties.

That being said, I can't wait until Sunday evening to watch a battle of two juggernauts when the San Francisco 49ers visit the Arizona Cardinals. Now, when I say "visit," I mean this in the most relative term of all. This game is taking place in Mexico City, Mexico (as opposed to Mexico City, Croatia). Reports have indicated that residents of Mexico City are absolutely ecstatic to see a regular-season NFL game in their own backyard. In fact, this is the first ever international regular season NFL game. It's not confirmed yet, but various reports have indicated that the NFL is also thrilled to have the 49ers and Cardinals out of the states for a week.

During the 2004 season, the Pinto that was the 49ers team won a total of two games. Those two games were both against the Unicycle that was the Arizona Cardinals. As much as it pains me to say this as a die-hard 49er fan, this game has all the appeal of the Neiman Marcus 89-year-old "I'm Going to Slip into Something More Comfortable" collection.

How does one say "Ginormous Crapfest" in Spanish?

So, there are a couple of things in particular that I'm going to keep a keen eye on during this game:

1) How many politically incorrect one-liners will Paul Maguire and Joe Theisman come up with during the game? Really, I'm ready for just about anything with these two douchebags. I have a difficult time listening to them under normal circumstances. Now, you're going to pump them full of Tequila for a game between the doormats of the NFL, all while announcing the game in another country? I'm guessing that less than 20 minutes into the game, Maguire will turn to Theisman and say, "Joe, kindly shut your damn FLAN HOLE!! Seriously, anything is possible with this situation.

2) Will Jamie Winborn pull a Billy Cole? After his post-game meltdown with reporters last week (in which Niners coach Mike Nolan said, and I'm paraphrasing here, "I'm gonna fire everybody who doesn't kiss my ass!"), Nolan told Jamie Winborn thanks, but no thanks. Take a hike, meat. Winborn, who was regarded as one of the Niners ten best players (by everybody but Nolan, that is), is now sitting at home waiting for a trade. Billy Cole, of course, was the running back in The Last Boyscout. I really hope that at this point you get where I'm going with this.

3) How many enchiladas and tacos will Denny Green consume on the sidelines during this game? Wow, has Dennis Green put on some pounds. Granted, his weight has nothing to do with his ability to coach. Unless, that is, his weight causes him to sustain a massive heart attack during the third quarter. This, of course, would indeed limit his ability to coach. You could almost replace Chris Farley with Dennis Green at this point and nobody would notice.

4) That being said, "Hola ninos! Me llamo Matt Foley! Y yo soy un motivational speaker! Yo tengo treceta y cinco anos, yoy soy tres divorciano, y yo vivo en "VAN" CERCA DE UN RIO!! " Seriously, this HAS to be one of the top-5 SNL skits of all-time. At some point, it needs to be mentioned during this game.

5) What's the over/under on Mike Patrick asking the following question during the third quarter, "Josh McCown dropping back to pass, looking to his... okay, seriously, is anybody even watching this game? No? Joe, dame un favor, y callate su grande YAPPER! Al y Joe, yo comprendo que ustedes beben Tequila, Whoo! fumen marijuana, y bailan el flamenco! Pronto, ustedes flamenco en un "VAN" CERCA DE UN RIO!"

6) I'm looking forward to learning what the equivalent of the SAP button is on DirecTV Mexico. Really, I've lied awake at night thinking about this.

7) How many incredibly stupid things will the editors at ESPN make Chris Berman say during his halftime show? I'm guessing somewhere in the vicinity of 43.

Does a negative plus a negative equal a positive? Absolutely. And the positive to this game is that it is a certainty that I will be in a drunken fog by halftime. I don't know about you, but I can't wait. I fully intend to come up with at least 4 new drinking games during the telecast. That, in itself, will make it worth my three-hours of time.

These guys do realize that they're getting the Niners vs. Cardinals, right?

Predicting the outcome of this game is a challenge. The Niners have looked fantastic for all of four quarters this year (first-half versus Rams, and first-half versus Cowboys), and they have been an absolute eye-sore during the other eight. Nobody really knows what to expect from them. Arizona has had just about the same pattern, plus, they get the shaft of playing a "home" game at Estadio Azteca. That being said, I'm expecting the Niners to salir victorioso. Gracias para ustedes tiempo.