Tag Archives: the blowtorch

Taking stock of a herky-jerky, in-between-hop kind of week

It’s been a weird week here at the friendly confines of this is the city line., and I’m honestly not real sure what it all means.

I started out by trying to shake off illness with drugs and Welsh rock music, then got the surprise blessing of basketblog raconteur Tom Ziller selecting my dumb variant on a pretty common joke for inclusion in Monday’s NBA Essentials link roundup over at FanHouse.  Then the worksplosion started, which sidetracked me pretty significantly, pushing me into throwing up a placeholder post that actually generated a little bit of interest (at least among my friends).

Once safely past Tuesday, I learned that Dominant Team Pringles sucked it up against the Warriors, a team they’re theoretically better than (by the way, my Doomsday prediction of a winless February — click STOP after the link opens to read mine prophecy — remains intact), got sick wistful on the Eddy Curry tip and came late to the Deadbeat Plax party with a Wimpy GIMPoshop.  Then I decided I was going to get drunk while watching a shitload of sports on Wednesday night to get some blog fodder and scrub the detritus from my already-off week.

Except I didn’t.  I wound up watching a bunch of Eugene Mirman videos while drinking/unwinding from work, then going to a good sports bar/bad restaurant, drinking a couple more beers while watching the first half of Celtics/Hornets, during which I took the following notes:

  • Hilton Armstrong looks like he could be Ron Artest’s son;
  • Kendrick Perkins needs to read goathair‘s hook shot post, because his form is often abysmal;
  • Two fouls on Chris Paul four minutes into the game at home = shocking and not good for N.O.;
  • Much like former Providence College scrub Leland Anderson, who my friend Chris and I nicknamed “Trainwreck” for his ball-handling “skills” (and who is apparently an aspiring professional wrestler), Hilton Armstrong should never be allowed to trigger the offense from the high post, ever, under any circumstances.  This is why Chris Paul getting two fouls four minutes into the game is bad; it allows Hilton Armstrong to be in a position to make decisions, which will result in him throwing the ball out of bounds at roughly 201 miles per hour;
  • David West = David Banner? I couldn’t figure out who the Hornets’ power forward looks like, so I threw down a name with a question mark.  My memory was wrong; see here and here for proof.  But still, I’m vexed that I know David West looks like someone, yet I can’t figure out who.  I’ve Googled it, but can’t find a consensus; DimeMag.com commenter “LakeShow84” says he “looks like Columbus Short from Stomp The Yard,” which is false. Another commenter at DimeMag.com, which is apparently the home of  people who want to figure out who David West looks like (a.k.a. my new homepage 4 life), says he “looks like the persian general who gets his head cut off by the fat guy with knifes on his arms in the movie 300,” which may be true, but I’ve never seen 300, so that can’t be who I think he is.  And some commenter on http://www.moviesnaps-tv.net (which totally doesn’t sound like a real thing, which is why I’m not trying to link there) suggests that he looks like Master P, which, again, is false.  Any help in resolving this conundrum would be greatly appreciated.
  • Lando = Doom? The U.S. v. Mexico World Cup qualifier was on, and I kept thinking that Landon Donovan looks like Julian McMahon, the guy that played Dr. Doom in the Fantastic Four movies.  This may not be true, but it also may not be false.  I award me one point.
  • Marks = BSkts? This, of course, is Sean Marks = Big Skeets.  I think I win this.
  • Paul Pierce is electric early (he wound up being that good throughout, scoring 30 on 19 shots in an 89-77 Celtics win);
  • Rajon Rondo giving up his dribble while being guarded by Big Skeets at the three-point line so he can get Ray Allen a contested 21-footer = NO;
  • Big Skeets getting alley-oops will always surprise me;
  • Which is worse: Rondo’s Rondo-fake into a stepback J/airball or anything Anderson Varejao on offense?

And that’s it.  My fiancee met me out at the bar, we had a drink, I suddenly got very tired, she ordered loaded nachos to go, we went home.  I worked from home yesterday and decided not to write anything; I’m working on a few things now, but nothing’s ready, and I kind of more wanted to use this morning to try to work through why I felt so disconnected from the Internet/had so much trouble getting my head on straight to post over the past few days.

I think I felt weird inside my own skin because my immediate reaction to not getting something substantial up on Tuesday was, “Fuck, I didn’t capitalize on whatever look-in audience might have come from FanHouse.”  Which was weird, because it was the second time in less than a week that I’d had a thought like that (check out the second-to-last paragraph in last week’s “Week in Review” post).  My follow-up in the internal dialogue was, “What the fuck do you care?  You’re just doing this thing for fun, right?”  And the inevitable answer was,  “Because I want to get more readers,” and the inevitable corollary to that is “Because I want this thing to get big,” and that’s when I started to get a little sick inside.

Doing this thing has been remarkably fun and rewarding, and I don’t want to psych myself out of doing it by thinking about it like a small business that’s competing in some kind of depressed sports-joke economy.  The only thing that’ll do is shut this shitshow down on the quick and drive me nuts.  So let’s take this back a step:

Hey there.  I’m Devine.  This is a place where I write dumb shit.  Thanks for reading.  Here’s an unintentionally funny photograph of Jorge Garbajosa and Andrea Bargnani trying to look tough in front of what appears to be a junior prom backdrop. I might write some stuff this weekend; I will definitely write something on Monday.  One post a day, every week day, to distract me and you from our jobs.  Sound fair to you?

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Learning about sports via the Internet

I’ve been busy with work this week, but I’ve still been able to learn so much about sports on my computer.  What follows are some things I’ve learned.

Thanks to online, and specifically Trey Online, I can now diagram a hook shot far better than I ever could before.  Here is an example.  This one could be better, but still has a good chance of being effective:

millsap-hook-yes-crop

Paul Millsap has his shooting arm extended; though he has over-rotated a bit, his off-arm is extended to ward off the defender; and he is rapping the hook to "Make Em' Say Uhh!" B+, sir. :)

Here is another example.  This one is less good:

(

Renaldo Balkman is heaving the ball behind his head and over his shoulder in fear; he is refusing to ward against the swiping defender at all; he is being intimidated by Matt Bonner; he is making a Brian Skinner Face. Last place. :(

Millsap photo: Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE/Getty Images.  Balkman photo: AP, via Yahoo! Sports’ NBA Gallery.

I also learned that sports stadium food architecture is the new “comparing athletes to pop culture figures.”  See examples of how popular this new art form is here, here, here and here, and in a bunch of other places on the Internet.

snack-stadiums-matter

Thanks the the Internet, I am able to learn about how important/interesting/funny/relevant-in-some-way things are, even if they are things that I never have thought about, cannot conceive of when I ever would think about, and am pretty sure are dumb.  Thanks, online!

I also learned that the injuries that Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum has sustained over the past two seasons have not been as a result of unfortunate accidents, or of the inevitable decomposition of a giant whose daily routine involves repeatedly running, leaping and taxing muscles and tendons probably not naturally intended to bear such a strain.  I thought those things, but I am stupid.

Turns out the injuries are actually the result of God cursing the Lakers because Len Bias had a cocaine-induced heart attack and died in 1986.

See, in the all-inclusive-zero-sum universe of Boston v. L.A., all things are cyclical, and the amount of pain that Celtics fans felt after Bias’ death is now being visited on Lakers fans … well, on one in particular, really.  It’s a tough burden to bear, which is why it’s so heartening to see that he’s been able to maintain a healthy sense of perspective while shouldering the world’s pain (emph. mine):

Now, I don’t mean to de-value Bias’ tragic death by comparing it to a couple of season ending knee injuries, but I almost feel like some mystic power is revisiting the Celtics devastation on us Lakers fans all over again in a spiteful fit of vengence. This is the only explanation I can come up with. Either that, or Nietzsche was right and God does really hate us all. Whether this season or next, Bynum will return to the court. And once he does, every time he collides with an opposing player or goes up for a rebound and comes down hard, I will see the ghost of Len Bias hovering over.

How the hell does sports do this to me?!

It’s true — it takes the patience of Job to endure the righteous fury that God hath rained down upon the Staples Center since Bias’ death: five NBA championships (1987, 1988, 2000, 2001 and 2002); nine Western Conference titles; five MVP awards (Magic Johnson in ’87, ’89 and ’90, Shaquille O’Neal in 2000, Kobe Bryant in 2008); swinging trades that brought superstar talents like O’Neal, Bryant and Pau Gasol to L.A.; the best record in the Western Conference thus far this season; and so on.  Kudos for your courage, sir, and your restraint.  You’ve taught me that to really suck the marrow from the bone of sports analysis, one must look closer, beneath the surface and dig into the rich creamy nougat of counterintuitive mysticism.

bias-jersey

Photo courtesy of ChocolateCityWeb.com.

Feel free to leave me the things that you have learned about sports via the Internet in the comments.  If you leave things about sports that you learned via TV, radio or newsprint, you will be banned from this site forever.

A quick one while he’s away (wherein he = me)

Inspiration.

I feel you, Diddy; in my case, the overt guilt stems from the fact that I have nothing today.  Well, that’s technically not true — I have a shitload of work, a low-level champagne-and-Champagne-of-Beers hangover, a craving for chicken and dumplings (but not the chicken and dumplings soup that’s sitting at my desk) and a crippling fear of intimacy.  Those are all things that I have today (and in the case of the first and last things, most days).

What I don’t have today, however, is hilarious blog content.  There are reasons — my inability to figure out how to effectively navigate WordPress’ inability to handle certain kinds of video-embedding, for one, and spending at least half my weekend researching/traveling, for another — but they are immaterial.  I’m going to be pounding away at my keyboard until the wee small hours tonight and probably tomorrow, but unfortunately, it can’t be for this thing I’ve come to love.

In the meantime, here are several things:

I’ll be back when I can be.

Photo via Hello Friend, via davidcho.

A handful of things I’ve been pondering during a busy workday

    I’d always wondered what happened to Ron Lim, the sick-ass penciller behind some of my favorite comics of the ’90s.  Well, he’s here.  One less thing to think about, y’know? Here’s some more:

    • The New York Knicks are 16-24 heading into today’s game against the Big Nonconformist and his Arizona Fiery Hot Clusters of Gaseousplosion.  If Dominant Team Pringles can go 3-2 over its next five games, then this (click STOP on your browser once the page opens up) will have come partially true, and I will have accurately predicted the Knicks’ record through the first three-plus months of the season.  I will be insufferable.  And then, because my fivesight (one better than foresight, you see) is spectacular, the pain of a winless February will commence.  And I will be suffering.  In all things, balance.
    • Did anybody else find it a little weird that NBA.com dispatched a photographer to LeBron James’ hotel room to take pictures of him watching the inauguration with his kids?  There’s nothing wrong with the pictures per se (except maybe that they’re boring, but that’s to be expected, since the whole goal is to document a guy watching something on TV), and I understand that LeBron’s culturally important and famous and black, which means media outlets felt the need to pay attention to the way he responded to/consumed Barack Obama taking the oath of office, etc., etc.  It just seems sort of, well, dumb.  I mean, editorially, what was the endgame there?  Did they hope that as soon as John Roberts started spitting his game, LeBron would start freaking out, smiling wide, throwing chalk technology murdering rosin mixture up in the air and emitting unbridled seven-octave hosannas?  Seems unlikely, but hey, I don’t know the guy.  Then again, it’s possible I’m engaging in some inverse rationalization here; the project probably strikes me as dumb simply because of how uneventful and staid the photos are.  I’m still not 100 percent sure why it initially struck me as kind of creepy, though … may need to unpack that a bit more.  (Big hat tip to LeBron 2010.)
    • The adventurously titled New York Mets Online makes the argument that my favorite squadron should re-sign Pedro Martinez.  In a recent podcast, Bill Simmons made a similar point, suggesting the Mets bring Pedro back as a clubhouse guy (Kevin Millar with a Jheri curl on a diet of a little bit of mangu and an egg?) and an enticement/insurance policy in a run for Manny Ramirez.  But since Omar Minaya seems intent on killing my soul by saying the Mets aren’t looking at bats (despite a projected everyday lineup that features Brian Schneider, the rotting carcass of Luis Castillo, uber-unproven Daniel Murphy, and possibly both Ryan Church and Fernando Tatis), the Pedro handcuff wouldn’t seem to add anything.  More importantly, while I’m all for stockpiling arms (especially when, as is the case in Flushing, you’ve only got one reliably good one), it just seems karmically and psychologically unsound to expect Pedro Martinez to be cool with competing for a slot in the back-end of what will ultimately be a middling starting rotation.  Even if he doesn’t have it anymore — and let’s be clear: he doesn’t — Pedro just can’t be Tim Redding, or Claudio Vargas or even Bartolo Colon, a guy with a much more comparable resume who’s been forced into swing roles in each of the last two seasons.  He was a lightning bolt, a benevolent dictator … if he hangs it up now, fans can write off the last 2.5 seasons as an injury-riddled mess and remember him the way he should be remembered.  The longer he pitches, the harder it’ll be to do that.  Let another team participate in fading that memory; it shouldn’t be us.
    • A cool post over at Pounding the Rock lists the 21 “real, honest to goodness guys who matter” in the NBA.  Hard to argue with any of the selections; have a fun few minutes trying to make an argument for an omission, then hit their site to comment and complain.  (The only two so far that I feel I could argue for: Steve Nash and Chauncey Billups.)
    • I don’t like power rankings, but I do like the guys at Talkhoops.net and I have been reading their rankings today, so linking there is only fair.  However, disrespecting Dominant Team Pringles by devoting the comments on their team to Raptors talk … that’s a paddlin’.
    • After getting put on to sites like The Passion of the Weiss, Nah Right and 2dopeboyz by goatman, I’m starting to pay attention to hip-hop again, which has been very rewarding.  One conundrum, though: I’m having a lot of trouble with this Asher Roth kid. My introduction was the video of him performing “I Love College” on Carson Daly (who’s still alive, which is nice), which I did not like AT ALL.  Then I came across his “A Milli” freestyle, and I dug his lyricism and flow.  Which led me to download his mixtape, “The Greenhouse Effect,” and it’s more of the same … some great wordplay and inventive ways of jacking good beats mashed up with some horrendous winking joke tracks.  Hmm.  To help me resolve my internal conflict, I’d like very much if my half-dozens upon half-dozens of readers can weigh in and tell me how to feel about this: Should I like Asher Roth, or should I dislike him?

    Back, hopefully, with something more real tomorrow.