Gym: JOINED!

As promised I joined a gym this week.  Only got there once – stupid work, always in my way – but that’s better than zero.  The new gym has a pool and I thought for my cardio work I would swim.  I swam competitively as a kid and enjoyed it, so why not?  I’m certainly no Michael Phelps, so I thought I’ll do 100m freestyle and 100m breaststroke as those were my favorites as a kid (screw you backstroke and butterfly!).

It…uh…didn’t go as planned. Continue reading

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197

197.  That’s what the scale read today.  Argh.

You see, most of my life I’ve been a bit on the heavy side.  I’m 5’9″ so at 197 I’m by no means the person you see walking down the street and think “wow they could drop of a heart attack at any moment.”  However, I should weigh about 165 according to the BMI that doctors use.  My lifetime of pudge is due to being a junk food addict.  I love all things bad for me, but I don’t like the way that junk food makes me look and feel. Continue reading

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I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry Unless You’re Reading This In North Carolina

Hate.  Bigotry.  Sad.  North Carolina.  Unfortunately – especially since my sister lives there and I think it’s a beautiful state – those words are all synonymous now.  Amendment 1 has made that the truth.  I still can’t believe that here in 2012 we’re actually having debates like this.  I cannot fathom how I live in a world where in America, not in some tiny third world country run by a dictator or fascist regime, but the United States of America is oppressing citizens. Continue reading

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The Curious Case of Bruce Weber

Here I sit digesting another disappointing Illinois basketball loss.  Actually, I’m not really digesting it.  I was at work until 10 and missed the whole game.  However you can’t talk Illinois basketball anymore without debating whether or not Bruce Weber should be fired as the head coach.  I read an article today that summed up exactly what I’ve been saying for years now: if you’re going to do it, you better be damn sure the next guy is better than Bruce. Continue reading

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One Down, A Whole Lot More To Go

Bye JerBear.  It’s been…um…real.  I heard the hosts talking about what was his worst move as GM of the Bears.  There’s several to pick from, but I have to agree with one of the hosts that the Thomas Jones trade was brutal.  If you don’t recall the deal; the Bears sent Jones and their 2nd round pick (63rd overall) to the Jets for their 2nd rounder (37th overall).  Jones was a wildly popular guy in the locker room and, to anyone with functioning eyes, was clearly a better player than Cedric Benson – whom the Bears had drafted 4th overall in 2005 (more on this in a second).  Benson, being a high draft pick and all, apparently needed to be the starting back, thus Jones was expendable.  Ugh. Continue reading

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Bears Post Mortum

Hey look!  I finally got a new computer so it no longer takes 45 minutes just to boot the damn thing up.  Yay me!

So the NFL regular season is in the books and I’d love to give you a complete and detailed break down of each team that’s in the playoffs, but I really can’t.  Truthfully it was a busy, busy last few months so I haven’t seen nearly as much football as I normally would have.  What I do know is this: Continue reading

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One Man’s List…Revised

I went back through some of the old posts (and they’re all old aren’t they?) and I saw my list of comic book movies that I wrote shortly after seeing ‘The Dark Knight.’  First off, let me apologize to TDK because I don’t know what I was thinking saying something was holding me back from calling it better than ‘Batman Begins.’  Clearly I was on something.  Having watched that movie roughly 2,000 times on DVD, I’m ready to revisit the list factoring some newer films that I’ve seen. Continue reading

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Dr. Dumb

Who else thought I had quit posting huh???  Be honest….  Actually I just got buried the last two days at work and when I got home, all I really wanted to do was cry.  I mean, um, do manly stuff.  While crying.

Okay, so if you missed it (and you may have as this didn’t become a huge story), Dr. Laura (host of a nationally syndicated radio show) announced she will retire from her show later this year when her contract expires.  This came closely on the heels of her getting in a bit of trouble for dropping the N-bomb (or N-word if you prefer) repeatedly on her show.

Quick set up if you don’t know the whole story: a caller asked a question having to do with the word, Dr. Laura said it, caller said she probably shouldn’t have, Dr. Laura said to the caller “don’t NAACP me” and then dropped the N-bomb several more times.

Stupid.

So Dr. Laura then issues a pretty weak apology and tells Larry King she’s retiring because she wants her first amendment rights back.  If Dr. Laura wants to retire, far be it from me to tell her not to.  But that’s complete bull.  I’ve been in radio for over ten years and never once in that time has anyone ever come anywhere close to violating my first amendment rights.  There are only seven words you can’t say (find them here but note, they’re dirty…I’m told anyways).  Except now, maybe we can say those because the Supreme Court told the FCC that not allowing us to say those words violates our freedom of speech.  So maybe I have had my rights violated.  But that’s not the point.

If Dr. Laura’s rights were being threatened or trampled, she would have been fired or at the very least suspended.  Neither happened.  In fact, neither was even suggested by her employer.  Pundits suggested it, but never was Dr. Laura’s job in any real danger.  She didn’t even lose an affiliate!  What this really boils down to is that she stirred up a storm and decided to use it as an excuse to walk.  Maybe she has other plans (I’m calling it now, she pops up on FOX News), or maybe she’s just tired of doing the show and doesn’t need the money anymore.  Either way though, her rights are not being violated.  By telling the rest of us that we’re oppressing her, she is actually trying to take away our rights.  See, just like she is allowed to speak her mind freely, although hate speech is not protected by the first amendment and that very much is hate speech, I have the right to speak my mind as well.  So Dr. Laura, you are f-ing stupid.  You never should have thought you could say that word on a nationally syndicated show and expect nothing to happen.  You offended people and you don’t get to say you have a right to speak and they don’t because they’re mad at you.  If you believe any of that then seriously, you’re dumb.  I’m sure you did it on purpose, after all I guarantee you have a dump button that would have allowed you to make sure that didn’t make the air, but you didn’t use it.  I don’t  know what your end game is, and I don’t care.  You lost your relevancy over a decade ago, as evidenced by the lack of real attention.  I mean Don Imus got WAY more coverage than you did.  So good riddance, but please, do us one last favor.  Don’t “crusade to protect our rights” or any of that crap, just enjoy the obscurity you’ve already been living in.

New Year’s Resolution…in August

I have made a decision.  I just thought you should know that.

Oh you want to know what I decided?  No, of course you don’t.  Too bad, I’m telling you anyways.  I decided that I’m going to really work at writing regularly.  We’ll see how long it lasts.  Over/under is currently 2 weeks.  I’d take the under if I were you.

So let’s get to it.  Biggest story of the summer: The LeBacle (hands down my favorite name for the insanity that surrounded LeBron this summer).  Quick story: I used to LOVE basketball.  I’m a Bulls fan and I grew up in the 90’s otherwise known as the Jordan/Pippen Era.  It was a magical time.  I watched two hall of famers get coached by one of the best coaches ever in Phil Jackson (some would argue THE best).  Then, they left the Bulls and the league seemed to fall apart.  I’m not totally sure why.  I guess these things are just cyclical.  Anyways I gravitated to college ball as it was just a better product.  Maybe because the top high schoolers jumped straight to the pros and that forced the colleges to build stronger teams instead of just relying on a stud or two.  Then LeBron happened.  Suddenly this likable kid who just might be the real deal was on his way to the league.  He would save it.  Being one of the most ardent defenders of Jordan’s legacy, I refused to allow anyone to be mentioned in the same breath as him…until LeBron.  I believed.

Flash forward to 2010.  LeBron’s antics were starting to wear thin on me (the pregame stuff, acting like a general fool on the bench), but I let it go because hey, he’s 25.  He’s a kid.  He doesn’t really have any structure around him because Mike Brown isn’t about to stand up to his only star.  I could justify it.  When LeBron’s impending free agency was upon us, I thought he would either stay in Cleveland or go to Chicago.  That’s it.  Those were the only options.  The case for each was pretty simple:

Cleveland: stay at home with the franchise that you saved and finish what you started.  LeBron had all the leverage.  He could get whatever coach he wanted, whatever GM he wanted, and if he agreed to take less money they probably could’ve landed some crop along the lines of David Lee/Ray Allen/Kyle Korver/Ronnie Brewer/J.J. Redick and maybe Carlos Boozer.  Probably not Bosh because he made it pretty clear he was going to be Dwayne Wade’s lapdog.  Now, I admit that Lee/Allen/Korver/Brewer/Redick doesn’t make a championship automatic, but combine them with some of the pieces they already have (Hickson, Mo Williams, Varejao) and you’ve got something.  Especially with Boston making their way over the hill and Orlando lacking the ability to take that next step to elite status.

Chicago:  Easy choice if you want to win immediately.  Add LeBron to a team with Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, and Luol Deng?  Yeah, game over.  I mean, what else do you want me to say here?

Now, I don’t think anyone would have blamed LeBron for leaving Cleveland.  He killed himself the year they went to the Finals and promptly got handled by San Antonio because a good team will beat one great player every time.  Ask Michael Jordan about the Pistons before Scottie got there.  But the way LeBron left?  Pathetic.

You get ESPN to give you an uninterrupted hour of prime time and you use it to rip the heart out of your home?  Shame on you LeBron.  And shame on ESPN for facilitating it.  I was disappointed in his immaturity.  I was disappointed that he took the easy way out by going to Miami with Wade and Bosh.  I was really disappointed that he didn’t seem to care at all about what he just did.  He talked in the third person and he never really showed regret.

The backlash began.  Sport Illustrated ran a great piece that I thought accurately and fairly destroyed LeBron, Bosh, and Wade.  If I could find it, I would link to it.  Talk radio, blogs, even ESPN made fun of the “I’m taking my talents to South Beach” line.  One show I heard very astutely pointed out that the first photo would be telling.  Photo positioning is a big deal.  Your eyes will naturally go to the center and work out, so photographers will put the most important part of the picture in the center (hence: center of attention).  They thought that there would be three versions with each player in the middle, and maybe those other versions exist, but this is what SI ran…

Interesting...(Photographed by: Gregory Heisler / SI)

Quick side note: if you can find it online, read that piece by Ian Thomsen.  It is excellent.

Like I said, the middle is what matters and it’s Wade.  But note how small LeBron looks.  Where is his trademark ear-to-ear grin?  I think this picture is the beginning of LeBron realizes he may have messed up.  No matter what Wade will have one more ring than LeBron.  No matter what, LeBron ran to Wade’s team because he couldn’t handle being the man.  That will forever be his legacy.  Win a title in Cleveland, you enter the air with Michael, Magic, Bird, and Kobe.  But I guess that doesn’t matter to him.  And Lebron?  We don’t care how many tweets you send out telling us you’re taking mental notes about every single person who takes a shot at you.  An adult lives with the consequences of their decisions.  You want to be the man?  Act like one first.

So sad.

Let’s Pick ‘Em

Ok, I’ve reviewed the brackets and I’ve entered a few pools and I have come to one conclusion….

I’m clueless.

Now don’t get me wrong, I watch a lot of college basketball.  Probably more this year than usual since I usually watch whatever game is on ESPN while I’m on the treadmill at the gym.  All that viewing leads me to believe that there are at least 8 teams who could legitimately win the title.  Truthfully there’s probably more.  I would consider Georgetown or Villanova winning it all to be only a mild surprise.  Same for Pitt, Baylor, and Kansas St.  Ohio St., Kansas, Kentucky, West Virginia, Syracuse, and Duke are the really serious contenders for the title.  So, since everyone else is doing it, here’s my advice for your picks:

There’s ALWAYS a 5/12 upset in the first round.  I think there’s two this year.  UTEP over Butler and Cornell over Temple.  Butler historically doesn’t perform well as a 5 seed.  I think that’s an unfortunate side effect from being far and away the best team in their league.  They can coast through conference play every year and I think it leaves them a bit unprepared for the challenge you get in the tournament.  Not really their fault, it just is what it is.  Plus, I think UTEP’s a solid team that can win some games in the tourney.  Same for Cornell.  Solid, solid team.

NEVER trust the Big 10 unless the team is hands down the best team (see: Michigan State, 2000 and Illinois 2005).  My advice as a guy who watches a lot of Big 10 basketball is don’t take anyone other than OSU past the 2nd round.  I’m serious.  I think the Big 10 was the 2nd best league behind the Big East this year, but Ohio State was the ONLY team I saw that didn’t lay a complete stinker all year.  You catch Wisconsin, MSU, and Purdue on the right (or wrong depending on your rooting interests) and it’s over.  I like Siena over Purdue by the way.  I didn’t think losing Robbie Hummel would hurt them THAT much until Minnesota schlacked them.

Don’t put all four #1’s in the Final Four.  I think it’s only happened once.  Find a 2 and a 3 you like a lot and ride them.

Trust your gut.  Every year I over think and that’s where things fall apart on me.  This year, I’m just trusting my gut.  And my gut tells me this:

FINAL FOUR: Kansas, Syracuse, West Virginia, Baylor

TITLE GAME: Kansas/West Virginia

CHAMPION: Kansas

As I tried to figure out who I like, I just kept coming back to Kansas.  You can make excellent arguments for any of the teams I listed above, as well as a few others.  I get that.  But like I said, trust your gut and mine said go with the team that was never ranked lower than 3, that won’t be affected by the pressure of being the #1 overall seed and favorite to win it all, and a coach who has been there before.  I like Kentucky, but I think their youth will trip them up.  I like Syracuse, but if Onuaku isn’t healthy, they’re in trouble.  I like Duke, but I don’t think they have the talent to win it all.  I like West Virginia, but I think they’re a little nuts and that’s not good.  I like OSU, but they only play 6 or 7 guys so if they’re in foul trouble, they’re in flat out trouble.

Kansas just makes sense to me, so there you go.

As always, I will hope for the impossible of dream of going 32/32 in the opening rounds.  If the trend from the last few years holds, I’ll get 30 or 31, then lose it all in the second round.  In other words, sorry Kansas fans, I just ruined your season.