Tag Archives: perspective

Andre Dawson Explains Kings of Leon To Your Dad

You got to understand, Paul, it ain’t like when we were kids. Nowadays, you just yell some mess about flaming sexes, the girls start losing they minds, and the boys’re gonna go wherever the girls are, am I right? I’m not sayin’ these Leon fellas can play a lick, but they give your boys somethin’ they can have together, separate from you and Lucille, and that’s gotta count for somethin’, right?

Now, look here, Paul: Way I see it, we got two choices. On the one hand, we can keep on hammerin’ away at the kids, talkin’ ’bout how what they need to do is deep-six these young Nashvile fellas and how what they should be doin’ is soul-kissin’ to Al Green. Or, we can have ourselves a nice sit in these beautiful pleather chairs you got here, and you can tell me what’s really on your mind.

How’s you and Lucille, Paul?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Andre Dawson is not a licensed psychologist or trained counselor; he’s just seen a lot, is all. If you have relationship-, parenting- or cutoff-man-related questions for the Hawk, please send them here.

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OFF-TOPIC: The magnetic appeal of Colin Quinn bombing

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I haven’t felt all that interested in sports of late. Sure, there are a million reasons to love the NBA playoffs, there’s all sorts of anger-gold to be mined in rooting for a baseball team with a $147 million payroll that now has Alex Cora batting leadoff, it’s nice and schadenfreude-y to watch Brad Lidge’s inevitable crash-and-burn after a golden summer in the sun, etc. But nothing in the sports landscape has really grabbed my attention by its attention-throat and throttled it into idle weekend-afternoon submission.

In times like these, I eschew spending time with cherished family and dear friends in favor of watching video clips online.

The video above has nothing to do with sports, but it does have something to do with jokes — specifically, when jokes go awry, and how splendid an experience that can be. I think Colin Quinn is a fantastic stand-up comic and comedy writer; I am well aware that many people do not share that opinion, but we’ll just have to agree to disagree. That’s at least partially why these videos (which must be at least 13-15 years old) of Quinn flaming out on Comedy Central’s The A List are so fantastic — he is eminently aware of not only that he is bombing, but also how badly he is bombing, why it’s happening and that every grasping attempt to right the ship will be futile. What grows out of that self-awareness is a sort of director’s commentary on a set in shambles, one that I hope those of you who like jokes might find compelling.

A sincere plea to Darryl Strawberry

Dear Darryl:

Stop talkingForever.  Please?

Every word you say only serves to further ruin your already ravaged reputation.  Every time you open your mouth, you throw more dirt on the mnemomic casket containing the all-too-fleeting glimpses of the otherworldliness you displayed on the field.  You make it nigh on impossible to think of you as anything other than a complete cipher, a clueless cock and an utterly non-comprehending douchebag.  It’s painful, and I’d like you to stop it.

I was 4 years old when you, Doc, Mex, Nails, Ray, Kid and all the rest bestrode New York like gods.  I’m not 100 percent sure about this, but I think that the experience of watching you crash and burn, scorch the ground where the ashes fell and salt the earth underneath, is why my entire generation of Mets fans stays forever shook, never truly able to enjoy successes like 2000 and ’06.  You turned us into bitches, Darryl.

Because of you (and, perhaps even more tragically, because of Doc), we’ve seen visions of greatness dissipate before.  We’ve seen how the desire to fill the gap can lead to the Bobby Bonillas, Juan Samuels and Gregg Jefferies of the world; how those inevitable failures can lead to lengthy droughts without true cap-letter All-Star talent; how continually striking out in search of the Next Big Thing and watching the team you love play second fiddle to a loathsome juggernaut across the Triborough Bridge can spark an inferiority complex that we just can’t seem to shed.

Because of you, “Ya Gotta Believe” became “I’ll Believe It When I See It.”  And as we enter Year 23 since the tipping point of the dynasty that wasn’t, we ain’t seen nothing yet.

My head understands that it’s way too simple to pin this all on you, Darryl; management obviously bears the brunt of the blame, and I’m pretty sure the rest is Jeff Torborg’s fault.  But when it comes to the malformed emotional connection I have to the Mets, the inability to appreciate the good times and the gut-wrenching need to focus on the bad … well, I learned it by watching you, dude.

We’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop, because the last time we weren’t, it wrecked us something awful.  And yet, even though I know you’re a dyed-in-the-wool bad guy, it’s still surprisingly hurtful when you inevitably pop up, say/do/snort/drink/hurt something/someone you shouldn’t, then flash that $58,000 smile (deflation, you know) and say you’ll try to be good.  But you won’t.  You’re not a good dude, Darryl.  You were just drawn that way.

Now, please step away from the mic.  I’d like to read the Wiley SI piece in peace and pretend all this never happened.

Take care of yourself,

Devine
this is the city line.
https://thecityline.wordpress.com

NOTE: From a more removed perspective, MLB FanHouse’s John Walters writes: “… at least [Strawberry] takes stock in his addictive and competitive personality to make an honest assessment of himself. For those who have that kind of personality, the lure of the drug is much more powerful than the individual taking them.”  Which is a fair point.

Putting a bow on a semi-busy, hoops-filled week by revisiting Hogan v. Andre

put-a-bow-on-it

Lotta basketball talk this week, which I suppose was to be expected.  Football’s over, I haven’t really cared about hockey since before the end of the Clinton administration, March Madness isn’t here yet, spring training has only just begun … there really weren’t a whole lot of things more interesting to me than basketball this week.  (Except, of course, F My Life.  Seriously, if you haven’t subscribed to that site’s RSS feed or bookmarked it, you’re blowing it.  It’s a schadenfreude lover’s best friend.)

We kicked the week off with my incredibly optimistic take on Dominant Team Pringles’ prospects for the remainder of 2K9 and the forthcoming NBA Draft.  Of course, they ruined my Devinastradamus prediction of a winless February by besting a Manu-less Spurs squadron, but I think there’s just enough futility in the tank to disappoint us all come playoff time.  In a Tuesday “true or false” question, we used the first poll in this is the city line. history (boundaries breaking, new worlds exploding into view) to ask whether or not Hornets forward David West looks like the guy who played Gunn on Angel. (It was your position that he does.)

We also took a look at the inevitable fail that will be America’s Top Baller, went a long way to make a super-dated Freaks and Geeks reference vis-a-vis the Oklahoma City Thunder’s new mascot, and got way, way, way, way too into the Knicks’ (ultimately not-so-meaningful) trade deadline deals.  And to top things off, a salute to José Guillen for doing something I would never, ever, ever do.  Plus, hit the simple goal of a post a day, and got the fine people at BallHype to add my humble endeavor to their rolls, which is great.  (Can’t wait to see how far down the rankings I am and get a better sense of just how many of you people there are out there.)  All in all, I award this week a +0.5.

What might push things to a full +1.0?  Glad you asked, friend.  Howzabout some Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant videos?

Mil gracias to brother Big Dawg for reminding me earlier this week how important this was to me in 1987 (and 1997, though less so in 2007).  It was neon-highlighter headline news for a husky young Devo, every step of the way.  From the contract signing:

To the epic Wrestlemania III contest:

To the classic Survivor Series ’87 “Team Hogan vs. Team Andre” match, featuring a young, spry Bam Bam Bigelow (rest in peace, sir):

It was all epic, all gargantuan, all the time.  I think I can honestly trace the evolution of my perception of the good/bad ethical spectrum (swear to God, almost wrote “ethnical” — hard-boiled racist Freudian slip much?) from the simple Hogan-face/Andre-heel battle of 1987 (Devine: age 4-5) to the Hogan-face/Warrior-face/what-the-fuck-is-a-young-man-to-do conundrum of 1990 (Devine: age 7-8).  It was flat-out mean of Vince McMahon to make such a fresh-faced, innocent young lad make that decision, but ultimately, he was doing what needed to be done: Weaning me off the notion that decisions about who you back and where you cast your lots in life are going to be easy.

“Sometimes shit’s hard,” Vince said.  “Fucking deal with it, Devine.”

OK, I replied with a sigh, my ample child bosom heaving ‘neath the strain of the decision I faced.

I backed Hogan, who, as we all know, lost.  That sucked, and I’m pretty sure I was super upset.  But I learned something by taking that L: There’s strength to be found in making the choice.

As I revisited a similar dilemma between childlike fandom and cold adult math spurred by the shapeshifting demon Larry Hughes yesterday, I came to a similar decision: I actually came to prefer the notion of the Knicks dealing Robinson and/or Lee if it provided the opportunity to shed the contracts of Curry and/or Jeffries.  Now, neither came to pass, both players stayed, Nate dunked over Biff and Knicks fans breathed a sigh of relief, so it wound up not mattering … except that to me, in some small weird way, it did.  For whatever that’s worth.

Shutting down the office, heading home to shut down my head, heading south for a family party tomorrow. Enjoy your weekends, friends, and as always, thanks for reading.  Be safe out there.

As is his wont, Larry Hughes is causing me to have an existential crisis

HE IS THE MINDFREAK. (Photo courtesy of The Plain Dealers Early Edition blog)

HE IS THE MINDFREAK. (Photo courtesy of The Plain Dealer's Early Edition blog)

When I saw the headline to the Wednesday post on New York Daily News reporter Frank Isola’s “Knicks Knation” (ugh) blog, I felt a chill run down my spine:

“Knicks targeting Bulls’ Larry Hughes.”

For real?  I mean, I’d heard possible trades discussed that would maybe allow the Knicks to shed a contract or two, maybe bring back an expiring deal, maybe add a frontcourt asset, etc.  But “targeting”?  Larry Hughes?

Are they aware that this is the dude whose reputation for taking abysmal, low-percentage shots at inopportune times inspired someone actually started a Web site called “Hey Larry Hughes, Please Stop Taking So Many Bad Shots“?  That he has in the past worn an ungodly body armor undershirt contraption that would elicit derision from the hairiest, Rec-Spec-iest dudes in your Wednesday morning YMCA league?

That he has engendered such distaste among Bulls fans that Matt at Blog-a-Bull admitted he “may have snuck in a pump of the fist when [he] saw Larry Hughes crumple to the ground” during a pre-season game against the Timberwolves?  That goathair’s lone birthday wish for this trade deadline (BTW, happy birfday, broheim) was that his beloved Bulls ship out Hughes?

That math genius Tom Ziller wrote at The Sporting Blog that “Hughes + Basketball = Wincing pain“?  That spiritual sage Bethlehem Shoals at the same site once advised Bulls GM John Paxson that Hughes “will destroy this team if you let him shine, like a cult leader and corrupt guidance counselor rolled up in one“?

That, through a uniquely distasteful combination of poor play and selfishness, he earned this etherization by Eamonn Brennan, noted scribe of seemingly everywhere?

Larry. Real talk. You are not as good as you think you are. You’re that awkward, crappy guy at open gym who, for whatever reason, thinks he’s really good, and alienates an entire court of eager basketball players in the meantime. You are self-deluded. You don’t command minutes. You waste possessions. You don’t defend. Your arm sleeve-sweater-thing is utterly ridiculous. You take horrible shots. SOMEONE NAMED A WEB SITE AFTER YOUR BAD SHOTS. IT WAS QUITE POPULAR DESPITE ITS INCREDIBLY LONG URL.

Christ, Larry. Figure it out. You’re the only one that hasn’t.

(I knew there was a lot of Larry Hughes-centric venom on the Internet, but I never knew it was this widespread … and we haven’t even gotten to the Basketbawful retrospective.  More on that to come.)

And yet, here we are, with Isola reporting that team president Donnie Walsh is considering flipping the expiring contract of Malik Rose and at least one player asset — including, possibly, restricted-free-agent-to-be Nate Robinson, whose stock has jumped after a string of quality performances leading into the All-Star break and whose monster 38-minute-32/10-with-3-assists-and-zero-TO line in Tuesday’s surprise victory over the Spurs led Kelly Dwyer to write the following: “That’s a line, and I’m being serious, that we were used to seeing from Dirk Nowitzki during his MVP run” — to bring in Hughes, whose $13.65 million contract comes off the books heading into the much-ballyhooed Summer of 2010.

(LONGEST SENTENCE EVER.)

But hold the phone on the giant cap-space clearance.  Let’s see if we can’t handicap the odds of this sucker actually going down.

Over at ESPN.com, Chris Sheridan last night gave us the good ol’ “go fuck yourself, trade watchers!” coin flip:

I have one very plugged-in source telling me that the Knicks still have a “slim but possible” chance of landing Larry Hughes, while another source was equally emphatic in saying he expects the Bulls to keep Hughes in mothballs now that they’ve dropped some $200,000 under the luxury tax threshold via the Brad Miller/John Salmons deal.

Today’s Chicago Tribune reports that “a nearly completed deal sending Hughes to the Knicks for Malik Rose and Jerome James fell apart Wednesday.”  At the same time, however, today’s Chicago Sun-Times says that Hughes didn’t travel with the Bulls to Milwaukee for their game against the Bucks (intrigue!) and that the framework for a Hughes deal might involve David Lee going Midwest and Kirk Hinrich heading to the Big City of Dreams.  (NOTE: Newsday’s Alan Hahn says that deal’s not happening, and that Lee’s not going anywhere.)

That first trade would make some economic sense — the Bulls get Rose’s expiring $7.65 million deal to create some space this off-season, the Knicks shed the now-largely-symbolic albatross of Big Snacks and turn about $14.25 million in total expiring contracts (spread over two years) into one lump-sum $13.65 million goner next year, the overwhelmingly obvious and explicitly stated goal of everything they do.

On the other hand, the second proposal would make most Knicks fans cry, cry, cry for several reasons:

  1. Lee’s become the great white hope for many in the Apple;
  2. While Hinrich is a more gifted overall player than Chris Duhon and his 2009 per-36 numbers are about in line with his career marks (with at least a couple of his advanced stats/peripherals nosing up toward his ’06-’07 career bests) despite missing about two months to a thumb injury, he doesn’t appear to represent a monster upgrade over what the Knicks are getting from Duhon this year;
  3. Hinrich’s contract pays him through 2011-2012, meaning that even though the Knicks would shed Hughes’ $13.65 million, they’d still have Cap’n Kirk, who doesn’t seem to be too many people’s idea of an NBA championship-caliber starting point guard, on the books for two more seasons.

Added wrinkle: In his post yesterday, Isola claimed that Lee would only go to Chicago in a Hughes deal if the Bulls sent back Joakim Noah or Tyrus Thomas, a framework for which had also been discussed as a “trade that SHOULD happen” by ESPN.com’s Chad Ford (in a post that was summarily pooh-poohed by Tommy Dee at The Knicks Blog on Tuesday).

But what makes this all the more interesting is Isola’s suggestion that some in NY’s front offices are having doubts about whether Lee is talented or savvy enough to merit locking up long-term:

Lee has enjoyed a breakout season but some in the organization wonder if he has reached his ceiling. On Tuesday, Lee was no match for Tim Duncan, who scored 13 fourth quarter points. Lee also missed a crucial free throw in the final minute and then knowingly gave his sixth foul in the final three seconds while guarding Tony Parker, who finished the night shooting 5-for-20.

Although the Knicks won the game, Lee’s decision to give a foul – the Knicks had one to give – was a questionable move at best. If the Knicks were up one, Lee would have been smart to foul. But in a tied game, there is a strong chance that the game will go into overtime. Think of it this way, how many All-Stars (and Lee thinks he belongs in that group) would knowingly foul out of a tie game? The answer is none.

Now, there’s one patently ridiculous point in Isola’s post, as has been noted in various places: Name me all the teams that Duncan doesn’t go to town on, especially down the stretch, especially when opponents are trying to guard him with 6’9″ guys.

But as for the other stuff — the questions about how much more’s left untapped in Lee’s talent reservoir — well, hmm.

/takes himself out of fan mode and tries to think like a company man

If you believe Lee’s reached his ceiling and as a result you’re not really considering him in your long-term plans … and if you’re looking for a higher-potential athlete that might be totally unleashed in Mike D’Antoni’s system (I think we can all agree that Thomas has the chance to be that) … AND if you think teams are unlikely to ever have higher opinions of Lee and Robinson than they do right now …

Then doesn’t it make perfect sense to continue the job started by the Jamal Crawford and Zach Randolph deals and use these remaining valuable assets (in conjunction with Rose’s expiring contract) to try to shed the last remaining bad multiyear deals (Jared Jeffries and Eddy Curry) and keep cleaning up the company’s balance sheet?  Especially if said deals could return a chip (Thomas) that has the potential to be a higher-performing asset?

Even if it goes against all intuitive fan instincts to actively try to lose the two players who most make your team worth watching and fun to follow?  Even if it means taking on a millstone (Hughes) that is sure to inspire Silky Johnston-level hating from yours truly (which, come to think of it, might also be considered an upside)?

The man in me thinks the “sell high” principle should take hold and I should have the balls to stick with the same thought process that I maintained when Walsh dumped Crawford and Randolph — this year doesn’t matter, D’Antoni will find ways to be competitive and interesting this season regardless, building the foundation for the future and scouring the books is what counts, etc.

But the fan in me wants to boo the notion of moving Lee and NateRob until my throat is sore because of the life they’ve helped bring to the squad.  It’s causing the clash of head versus heart, intellect versus instinct, adult analysis versus childlike glee.  I honestly didn’t know I cared this much.

Wow.  That’s 1,500+ words I didn’t see coming.  Thanks, Larry Hughes, for making me feel like Dane McGowan after he smokes the blue mold in The Invisibles.  Trade deadline is doing my fucking head in, man.

Finding the silver lining when faced with a s–tcloud that endlessly rains down points

This list pretty neatly encapsulates the way I’ve been thinking about the Knicks since Isiah was powerstripped and D’ontonnie took over last spring.  It’s also why I can’t get really behind “LeBron or bust” (though God, it’s hard not to daydream after what he and Kobe have done on the Garden floor this week) or doing too much in the way of handicapping what five players will start in orange and blue on Opening Night 2010.

Things had to be different to have a chance at being better, and they are now (both better and different, though the Knicks are still a sub-.500 team headed toward the lottery).  Stylistically, intellectually, spiritually, physically, emotionally, mercifully, the game in the Garden has changed.  Knicks fans don’t have to be ashamed anymore; the last seven years are over, done, kaput, and I can’t think of any better illustration than the tenor of the national reactions that followed Kobe’s 61 and LeBron’s 52-10-11.

For Christ’s sake, the Knicks have been on the business end of titanic, historic, remarkable individual accomplishments on their home court in losses IN CONSECUTIVE GAMES — and the dominant topic of discussion isn’t, “Man, how awful is this woebegone franchise that’s getting served while their fans root for the bad guys?”  It is, as it should be, the two very different (yet equally jaw-dropping) forms of sharp-fanged athletic alchemy so ruthlessly unveiled by Messrs. Bryant and James against Dominant Team Pringles.

To the extent the Knicks have even been part of the national/league-wide conversation that has followed these two insane performances, the inclusion has mostly come in one of two forms:

  • a minor acknowledgment of the role that their lack of defense played in the two stars getting off so sick-like (a totally fair point, since the Knicks typically don’t play great team defense and don’t have any top-quality individual on-ball defenders, let alone someone who could hope to reasonably check Kobe or God forbid LeBron for more than a tenth of a second), or
  • a note of tacit amazement that New York didn’t get beat by 50, that they didn’t melt into a puddle of tears at the showcase of sheer masculinity they were witnessing … that they were, for large stretches at least, very much in both of these games against far superior individual and collective talents.

It would be absurd to qualify either loss as a net positive for D’Antoni, Walsh, et. al., but there’s something to be said for a coach being able to sell his team on the idea that the two best players in the world not only had to go supernova to beat them, but also that the outcome of each game wasn’t a foregone conclusion every step of the way.  Similarly, fans can find the honor in a team that doesn’t just roll over when they recognize the sword of God wearing a road uni.

But more important than anything else, not a single word of the preceding paragraphs could have been typed with a straight face (or even with a screw-face, really) at any point during the previous seven seasons, and certainly not during Isiah’s run.  The poison’s been purged, the demons exorcised.

Now, does that mean the Knicks’ next seven seasons will be better?  Maybe, maybe not.  But at least it’s not insane to believe that there’s a chance they can be.  Change has to start somewhere, and whatever starting five we end up with is the only one we could have.  Let Jesus take the wheel, Knicks fans, and for the first time this decade, try to enjoy your team as a choose-your-own-adventure story that actually doesn’t have to end with the secret agent you thought was your friend putting two in the base of your skull.  Things could be different; they already are.

Photo via FFFFOUND!

This site is now learning to turn its head to preferred positions when lying on its stomach or back

At least, that’s what Mama’s Health tells me it should be doing today.

one-month-crop

Of course, there’s only one REAL answer here: A healthy dollop of the hottest possible liniment applied directly to your special guy’s testicles.

Yep, today marks one month since I started this little shitshow.  Interestingly enough to no one but me, it also marks one year since I had my last cigarette, a decision I’m supposed to be proud of, but that actually infuriates me every day.  (I know I could have packed in another year or two of smoking enjoyment before anything real bad happened to my innards.)  So, hooray.  I am doubly following through on things.

If you’ll indulge me for a moment (and I’m assuming you will, considering you’re here), I just wanted to briefly thank everyone who told me I should try this and everyone who’s taken a second to read my inane ramblings (not to be confused with the fine site Inane Musings).  We’ve just passed the 4,000 visits mark, which is about 3,975 more than I anticipated receiving when I signed up for a WordPress account.

I especially want to thank those of you who’ve commented on posts, sent e-mails, gotten at me on Twitter, hyped my stuff on BallHype, or linked me in your blogrolls … remarkable enough as it is to have people read this stuff, it’s exponentially more so that someone would want to join in my conversation and suggest that others do the same.

I’ve been lucky enough to have gotten plugs and/or support from some pretty great people in this community, and I am very, very grateful for that.  I hope to validate their votes of confidence, and maybe even earn a few more while I’m at it.  And of course, if you’ve got any ideas for how I can improve the look/feel/content/smell/immune system of this is the city line., please feel free to throw some ideas in the comments or shoot me an e-mail — like most one-month-olds, this place is going to need some guidance (not to mention breast milk) before it can grow into an awkward, parent-resenting adolescent.

And now, without further ado, please stand for your municipal anthem.

Thanks for coming, and feel free to stick around a while — we’re just getting warmed up.