Friday, November 30, 2007

Flaming Doctor Pepper Shots

At Murphy's Downtown in Boca Raton last Saturday Night. The Bartender is Mike. You might want to lower the volume, the girl taking the video from her Treo 680 is a little loud.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Picks of the Day

I forget to post picks and of course go and have a pretty good week, including 6 of 7 NFL games, but who didnt get the SNF and MNF games. From the week before was down 895 hit the 3 team tease but lost the other 2 so down 1,015 Schrute Bucks. College Bball started a couple days ago, and Footballl is starting to be a regular occurrence (great CMU WMU game last night). I will try to get more frequent on picks of the day instead of the week.

Ohio -3 Akron

This is purely for fun. Gambling is illegal.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Not You Too

My disdain for is well known and documented, but I am not the only one. More and more lately I have gone to to get my sports news and scores. Especially on my iphone and the safari browser, it is just easier to navigate to get scores than espn, which sometimes usually doesnt even seem to realize games are going on.

But today, i kind of got sick to my stomach, right on the homepage of sportsline was a countdown to the Patriots vs Colts regular season game. This may have been there for a while, i dont know. Seriously, this is a regular season game, in week 9 of a 16 game season, its not the Superbowl, or even the AFC championship, its a regular season game. Vegas has the game with a 6 point spread, so not even that close of a game (that has more to do with people betting, but still).

Can someone please tell me a good place to get sports news and scores, please.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

8 Yrs since Walter Payton Passed Away

Thanks to the guys over at BearsHistory and their great blog to remind me that 8 yrs ago today "Sweetness" passed away. Growing up in Chicago, I was lucky to be in the same city as two of the most awe-inspiring athletes of mine or any generation, Walter Payton and Michael Jordan. I remember sitting in front of the TV watching Walter literally carry the Bears. The Bears of the Payton era were for the most part not good, but without Walter they would have been awful. The Bears offense consisted of 5 plays, Sweep to either side for Walter, Counter to either side with Walter or the occasional Halfback throw (8 career Passing TDS). The opponent knew what was happening, Walter was getting the ball 9 times out of 10 yet he still ran for an average of 4.36 yards per carry (16,726 yds on 3,838 carries). There is not a running back today or ever that is not influenced or inspired by what Walter did. Barry Sanders walked away from the game, so Walter's record could stand that much longer.

I could watch Walter Payton highlights all day long, especially taking off from the 3 or 4 yard line and go horizontal jumping over an entire offense and defensive line and landing a couple yds deep in the endzone. Unfortunately he played the days before sportscenter, the internet or the NFL ticket, living in Chicago I was blessed to have the opportunity to see him play every Sunday. The Youtube clips of his highlights would rival any other person in the history of sports.

He was a gentleman on and off the field, always with a kind word and soft heart. The words I or others have typed about him, will never do the man justice. I can't find the quote but at his public funeral at Soldier Field, the Reverend Jesse Jackson spoke, his eulogy went something like this, "On your tombstone, there is the date you are born, the date you die and a hyphen between them. Men are judged by what they do during that hyphen" Jesse Jackson then went on to describe the many humanitarian things Walter did and touching briefly on his on the field accomplishments. The NFL Man of the Year Award is named after Walter Payton and it "recognizes a player for his community service activities as well as his excellence on the field."

I could go on and on, but instead one more video, this one of just highlights, I have seen it dozens of times and will watch it dozens more.

RIP Sweetness

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

NBA Season Preview

Bears suck. Let's get the NBA season started. Just like BEP said. I know, the season started yesterday. I'm a busy man, get over it.

First, the Bulls.

The Bulls are at the center of the Kobe trade talks and, therefore, at the center of NBA news. In case you haven't been paying attention, here's a quick recap. Kobe wants out, his #1 choice appears to be Chicago, he has a no trade clause, Chicago won't include Luol Deng as part of the deal.

What does it all mean? It means the Lakers are screwed. The Bulls made some noise in the East last year. They're more experienced and improved this year. Without Kobe, most experts have them going to the Eastern Conference Finals. Why would they gut the team for Kobe? Answer: they won't and rightfully so. The Lakers are upset because Paxson is low-balling them. If I was Pax, I would be doing the same thing. Both Kobe and LA have created a terrible situation. Everyone knows Kobe wants to leave and the Lakers want to deal him. But Kobe has a no-trade clause. Thus, the Lakers are screwed. Allow me to state my bias now: I'm not a Kobe fan at all. Anyway, I would continue to low-ball trade offers for Kobe because the Lakers are the ones in a desperate situation, not the Bulls. In the end, I think Kobe doesn't get traded. But if so, it's not to Chicago. Paxson is a smart man.

OK, as a reminder, I know significantly less about the NBA than I do about the NFL. Nevertheless, here are my predictions:


Atlantic Division

1. New Jersey Nets
2. Boston Celtics
3. Toronto Raptors
4. New York Knicks
5. Philadelphia 76ers

Why am I not in love with Boston? No doubt, the Celtics are dramatically improved from where they were last year. KG, Ray Allen, and Pierce is nothing to sneeze at. But am I to expect what was arguably the worst team in the NBA last year to now win the East? That's a bit much. Plus, Boston's bench leaves much to be desired. The Nets are still solid and have their own big 3 with Kidd, RJ, and Vince.

Central Division
1. Chicago Bulls
2. Detroit Pistons
3. Cleveland Cavaliers
4. Indiana Pacers
5. Milwaukee Bucks.

The top 3 spots could go in just about any order. I think the Bulls look to be set up the best heading into the season. Detroit is old but still a good team. I don't have much faith in the Cavs outside of LeBron but I said the same thing last year. One or two injuries or key trades could make the difference here.

Southeast Division
1. Orlando Magic
2. Washington Wizards
3. Miami Heat
4. Atlanta Hawks
5. Charlotte Bobcats

The Magic are looking to build on last season's success with the "best big man in the East" Dwight Howard. The Wizards still have Arenas (for now) and a relatively solid squad to back him up. What is left of the Heat are old and fading and D-Wade can't save this sinking ship himself. I expect Shaq to be out at least 40% of the season with injuries as usual. The Hawks will be better and Horford will be awesome sooner rather than later. The "other" rookie Acie Law will contribute eventually as well. The Hawks look to have a promising future, it just isn't this season.


Southwest Division
1. San Antonio Spurs
2. Houston Rockets
3. Dallas Mavericks
4. New Orleans Hornets
5. Memphis Grizzlies

Never doubt the Spurs. This division is comparable to the Central in the East in that the top 3 could finish in just about any order. The Spurs know they don't have to finish in first place. They just need to get to the postseason. Then, the dominance will begin. I like Houston to improve this year with new coach Rick Adelman. McGrady is hungry and Yao Ming, well, agrees I guess. How much longer can the Mavs underachieve? Even if they win the division, are you picking them to go deep in the post-season?
Northwest Division
1. Utah Jazz
2. Denver Nuggets
3. Seattle Supersonics
4. Portland Trailblazers
5. Minnesota Timberwolves

The Jazz look like they can improve from last year and Deron Williams is a stud. Jerry Sloan is probably the best coach yet to win a championship. This team made waves in the playoffs last year and I expect them to do it again. The Nuggets have the tools in Iverson, Carmelo, and K-Mart and another great coach in George Karl. They still need to prove they can make it all work. There's a lot of room between these two teams and the other 3. The NBA wants you to care about the Sonics and Blazers because of Durant and Oden but, unfortunately, these are below-average teams in crappy markets and Oden isn't even playing this year.

Pacific Division
1. Phoenix Suns
2. LA Lakers
3. Golden State Warriors
4. LA Clippers
5. Sacramento Kings

OK, so the Suns are the obvious choice here. I'm not sure why I have the Lakers so high. The distractions are many, and a Kobe trade certainly changes things. For some reason, I think Kobe stays in LA this year. I think Phil can get a Kobe-led team to win games. Golden State was fun to watch last year but I'm not sure they can do it again. Jason Richardson was an emotional leader as well as a great player that will be sorely missed.


MVP: Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns
He deserves it every year and I think he'll prove it again this year.

Rookie of the Year: Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks
Everyone is picking Durant so I'm going elsewhere. My bet is on Horford and if he doesn't get the award, it might just be because of no supporting cast.

Coach of the Year: Rick Adelman, Rockets
Call it a hunch I guess. I think McGrady finally wins a playoff series this year.

Eastern Conference Playoffs
1. Chicago Bulls
2. Detroit Pistons
3. New Jersey Nets
4. Orlando Magic
5. Boston Celtics
6. Cleveland Cavaliers
7. Toronto Raptors
8. Washington Wizards

Eastern Conference Finals
Pistons over Bulls

Western Conference Playoffs
1. Phoenix Suns
2. San Antonio Spurs
3. Utah Jazz
4. Houston Rockets
5. Dallas Mavericks
6. Denver Nuggets
7. LA Lakers
8. Golden State Warriors

Western Conference Finals
Suns over Spurs

NBA Finals
Suns over Pistons

Of course, I could be completely wrong.

Friday, October 26, 2007

NCAA Picks

5 fumbles, 5 freaking fumbles, if there were only 4 fumbles or even less Air Force wins by 2 TDs plus, instead they lose. Was down 860, Matt Ryan came back to put him back in the lead of the Heisman race, so down 895.

Keeping with the Friday night Moneyline pick.

Fresno St ML BSU

Kent -14 Miss St Over 61

Kansas +3 Texas A&M, Duke +23.5 FSU and Troy +1 Ark St.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thursday Picks and Recap

Was down 640 schrute bucks, which is alot but when you consider how many Stanley nickels that is, well, don't get me started, it makes me sick to my stomach. UConn beat Louisville on a questionable fair catch (i'll take it), lost the other three so down 165 schrute bucks for college, in the pros, picked Buffalo at +145 lost the other two so down 55 schrute bucks for a total of down 860 schrute bucks.

There are two college games tonight, with #2 BC a 3 point dog against the Hokies, is this the 2nd week in a row the #2 in the nation loses on Thursday night, I don't think so, I'll take BC on the ML. Lets take Air Force at +200 as well. Good Luck this week.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

NFL Picks

Was down 640 schrute bucks, won on UConn (+135), lost on the other 3 to bring the total to down 805, which is really, really disappointing, especially considering the start. Lets turn it around with this weeks NFL games.

Buffalo +145 Ravens
Giants -9.5 SanFran, Under 39
Bucs +5 Lions, KC +3.5 Raiders, Dallas -3.5 Minnesota

Friday, October 19, 2007

Picks of the Week

My apologies for missing last weeks picks, although after the last couple weeks, a week off was necessary. Two weeks ago went 0-fer so now down 640 Schrute Bucks. Hope everyone has been betting on the Rockies as well as some other games, I should have blogged about, if nothing else for a quick Thursday night pick. I will try to be more frequent in picks as games are starting to be played almost every night.

College Picks-

UConn ML Louisville
Buffalo ML Syracuse Over 55.5
Cinci -3.5 Pitt, UNLV +3.5 CSU, ECar even NCSt

Since that first one is tonight (friday) heres a bonus game-
Ohio ML Toledo.

I'll get NFL picks up later today or tomorrow.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I'm Back with a Concert Review

I took some time off to do a few minor things like get married and get my new job going. Now that I have plenty of more important things I should be doing I thought I'd get back to posting.

This past Sunday was my first NYC concert unless you count the two outdoor ones from earlier this year. I'd prefer to forget one of them (Rock the Bells) and images of the headliner of the other still haunts my nightmares (LL Cool J). Anyway, the show was Common/Q-tip/Percee P/88 Keys. Here's how it went down.

88 Keys- Decent DJ, played some stuff off his new album which I thought wasn't bad. The rest of the crowd wasn't too into it but I think anyone that wrote a beat for the Black Star album gets an automatic pass in my book.

Percee P- On Stones Throw label so he gets Madlib beats. Even throwaway Madlib beats give me an eargasm. Still, his performance was pretty meh. No hypeman which I respect a whole lot but, to be honest, I think he maybe could have used one up there. Of course he did his part of Jurassic 5's "Day at the Races" which was cool. The guy is a well-above average lyricist but unfortunately his live act needs a lot of work.

Q-Tip- Straight up fucking awesome performance. Of course, Tribe is my favorite hip-hop group ever and will likely be for as long as I live. He did pretty much all the classics (Electric Relaxation, Check the Rhime, Scenario, Award Tour, etc.) He did stuff off "Amplified", a couple new joints. Everything was great and backed by a live band with DJ Scratch from EPMD as his DJ. I would have loved to see Busta or Phife up there but Phife is not doing well with his renal failure and dialysis and Busta was probably searching for a buffet (Christ, did anyone see his gut on VH1's HHH last Monday? Put down the chicken wings Trevor!) The only guest was Dres from Black Sheep when he and Tip did "The Choice is Yours". Interestingly, I think I've seen Dres perform that song with Q-Tip, De La, and Mos/Kweli but I've never been to a Black Sheep concert. Someone give that poor guy a record deal already. Anyway, Tip brought the house down.

Common- The typical Com show. He is always good live. I think what sets artists like Com and Q-Tip apart from so many other emcees is their ability to command a crowd and entertain without gimmicks or hype men. Com's band is awesome and he's had those guys like Omar and Kareem Riggins for years as well as DJ Dummy (Who thankfully retired that "It Takes Two" set he used to always do and now does an equally impressive one with Biggie's "Ten Crack Commandments".) It was definitely weird to see Common in a city other than Chicago. It was the same show just no discussion of home. The guest appearance of the night for Com was KRS-One (they likely hooked up from appearing together at HHH earlier that weekend.) While clearly the most unattractive man in hip-hop, KRS-One rules, BDP was the shit, and it was rad to hear him do "South Bronx" and "The Bridge is Over". Freestyle exchange between Com and KRS as well.

Overall great show by two of my top 5 emcees of all time. As a concluding thought I'd just like to say thanks to Common for doing Chi-city proud while Lupe continues to embarrass us! Get well Phife!

Friday, October 5, 2007

PIcks of the Week

Not a good week for picks, 0-fer in college and only the Browns Moneyline. After starting off strong, now down overall, only 40 schrute bucks, but still. Going to combine College and Pro this week into 1 post.

- Iowa ML Penn St
- Ok -12 Tex over 55
- Ind -8 Minn, Ohio +2 Buff, ASU -3 WSU

As for Pros.
- Det ML Was
- Houston -5 Mia Over 43.5
- SF +9.5 Balt, Zona +2.5 STL, Seat Pitt Over 33.5

Monday, October 1, 2007

Sports Guy

I swear to God, all that is holy, my mothers grave, what have you. I did not, I repeat did not read Bill Simmons column before I posted. I just know how he thinks, and i will not shoot myself. I like how he says every gambler will do the tease, but he really means himself and Stoner.

"And if that's not enough, everyone and their degenerate brother will be throwing the Chargers, Cowboys and Colts into a three-team teaser on Sunday. That's never good. Out of those three, the Colts seem like the shakiest link, don't they?"

Sunday, September 30, 2007

NFL Picks of the Week

Wow did it get cold in here or is it just me, 0-fer yesterday, you would now be up only 80 schrute bucks.

1. Cleveland ML Baltimore
2. Houston -3, Under 39.5
3. Dallas -6, Indy -4, SD -5. The Bill Simmons special. The SG loves the big favorite teased, so lets just do them all at once in a 3teamer.

No cheerleader if I go O-fer the picks before.

Friday, September 28, 2007

NCAA Picks of the Week

Wow, a horrible Sunday going 0-3 and picks and the Bears getting embarrassed on SNF (that just doesnt look right to me). Was up 680 Schrute Bucks, and an 0fer puts us at +380. Onto the picks of the week.

1. Bama +110 FSU
2. Ore -6 Cal and over 73
3. Lets go with a 4 team teaser, since I can not seem to eliminate one of these, all of which are big numbers. UCF -27.5 ULL, Duke +30 Mia, Rut -12.5 Md, UF -12 Aub

Good luck this week and remember this is for fun only. Gambling is illegal and bad.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

NFL Picks of the Week

Not a bad saturday, hit the Kentucky Moneyline for +240 (+240), the teaser lost (-100), and the parlay had a winner and a tie so the parlay is not a winner, but you would have gotten paid on the Cinci line (+90). All that equals a plus 230 for the week in Schrute bucks bringing your total to 680 schrute bucks. Now onto todays NFL games.

1. Arizona +280 Baltimore (lots of good moneyline picks)
2. Cleveland +145 over 41 Oakland (like I said)
3. Minnesota +8.5 KC, Detroit +12.5 Eagles, Arizona +14.5 Baltimore (all dogs getting more points)

Enjoy todays action and Go Bears this evening.

Friday, September 21, 2007

NCAA Picks of the Week

Wow, what an awful Monday night game, to watch and bet on. Tally is now up +450 schrute bucks.

As a recap every week, I will make 3 picks.

1st pick will be a moneyline wager
2nd pick will be a same game parlay
3rd pick will be the dreaded 3 team teaser.

1-Kentucky +240
2-Cinci -24 Marshall over 54
3- 3 team teaser is Tulsa +29 OK, SanJoseSt +9 Utah St, and Ohio +10 Wyoming Lets call this the Neighbor Special (which may deserve its own column)

Good luck all. I'll be back tomorrow with a NFL picks.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

FCU with Bill Murray

Bill Murray comedic genius.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Wagering Recap and MNF

Prior to this weekends results, if you "wagered" on my picks, you would have 510 schrute bucks. After this week, with 4 losers and 2 winner (Oregon -16.5 with the over of 63.5 Fresno State, and the 3 team NFL tease) you would still be up 550 schrute bucks (or a nice profit of 40 schrute bucks) which isn't really that bad. As a recap....

1. Minn ML Detroit (LOSER)
2. Houston +6 Under 39 Carolina (LOSER)
3. Dallas +2.5, Seattle +3.5, Pitt -3.5 (WINNER +180)

1. Wash U +165 Ohio St Team that has looked good at home vs a team that has looked bad on the road. (LOSER)
2. Oregon -16.5 Over 63.5 Fresno St (WINNER +260)
3. Syracuse Ill Under 49, ULMonroe +29.5 A&M, Colorado +9.5 FSU (LOSER)

For tonights MNF, lets wager 100 fictional schrute bucks on Philly -1 teased with the under of 44.5. A couple trends for tonights game, Wash is 3-7 last 10 MNF, Under is 5-1-1 in the last 7 meetings, Favorite is 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 meetings, Home team is 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 meetings. If I was cocky and riding a little bit better of a streak, I would normally parlay it, I like both lines, but i'll tease it and should be a lock by 3rd Quarter.

Friday, September 14, 2007

NFL Picks of Week 2

This weeks NFL games look good on paper, several good matchups, last week was a great week with the NFL picks, lets see if we can keep the momentum going. Status is up 510 schrute bucks with 300 of those spoken for on the NCAA picks. These picks are for fun only, no actual gambling should occur based on my prognostications. Past results do not guarantee future results.

As a recap every week, I will make 3 picks.

1st pick will be a moneyline wager
2nd pick will be a same game parlay
3rd pick will be the dreaded 3 team teaser.

1. Minn ML Detroit
2. Houston +6 Under 39 Carolina
3. Dallas +2.5, Seattle +3.5, Pitt -3.5

Thursday, September 13, 2007

NCAA Picks of the Week

Last week was a great week, if you would have followed my advice, you would be up 510 Schrute Bucks, even with my disastrous moneyline parlay on MNF. It was a shot in the dark for the big bucks, but lets face it, it was really close to paying out.

As a recap every week, I will make 3 picks.

1st pick will be a moneyline wager
2nd pick will be a same game parlay
3rd pick will be the dreaded 3 team teaser.

As always these are for fun and each wager is for 100 schrute bucks.

1. Wash U +165 Ohio St Team that has looked good at home vs a team that has looked bad on the road.
2. Oregon -16.5 Over 63.5 Fresno St
3. Syracuse Ill Under 49, ULMonroe +29.5 A&M, Colorado +9.5 FSU

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

ESPN is No Longer the WWL

I remember when i used to rely on for my sports information, then over the last couple years the former World Wide Leader has gone downhill (well documented everywhere so wont provide links). I did not think it could get worse after its "who's now" But, I think they may have taken the cake with this, after every week of the NFL, espn does their Power Rankings. Guess who #4 is, I will give you 8 guesses (assuming most people would take the teams that won first, then teams that lost in close games second, or the inherent fact that the AFC is better than the NFC) Go ahead make your guesses, now see the Top 10.

Right there Number 4, best team in the NFC the Bears, who looked pathetic on offense. The Bears who lost one of their best defenders, and a second defender. I understand if that was a preseason game and these were preseason rankings, but does espn really think the Bears are the 4th best team in the league. Almost as shocking is the Ravens at 7th despite a loss, 6 turnovers, and several key injuries. I am not sure why I even go to anymore. I wish would go the way of Page 3.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Gambling Summary and MNF

As a recap here are my picks for the week, for record keeping sake, lets say i risked 100 Schrute Bucks on each game.

1. Tulane +190 Mississippi St (-100)
2. Oklahoma -10.5 Miami Under 43 (-100)
3. UAB +41.5 FSU, LSU -5 VTech, LSU VTech over 32 (+300)


1. Green Bay +150 Eagles (+150)
2. Pats -6.5 Over 41 (+280)
3. Denver +3, Seattle even, Dallas even (+180)


My apologies on the 4th team in the tease, only put 3 in, so the payout was a little less. A good week, with my advice you would have been up 710 Schrute Bucks.

Lets ride this winning streak, into a big Monday Night Parlay.
Ravens ML (+125) and Buzzsaw (+155) 100 schrute bucks to win 470.

Friday, September 7, 2007

NFL Picks of the Week

Here are my NFL picks of the week. As a reminder, this is for recreational purposes only.

1st pick will be a moneyline wager
2nd pick will be a same game parlay
3rd pick will be the dreaded 3 team teaser.

Green Bay +150 Eagles (only good looking home dog)
Pats -6.5 Over 41
Denver +3, Seattle even, Dallas even

Picks of the Week

It is almost a cliche to have a blog and do NFL or NCAA picks each week, as I love cliches, this is the first of my weekly picks based blog post. As required by law, these picks are for recreational purposes only, as Judge Smails would say, "Gambling is illegal at Bushwood, and I never slice". To be a little different than the other blogs out there i am doing my picks a little different, I am going have 3 picks a week, but not your standard picks. If you don't know what these bets mean well you would have stopped reading this blog after the first sentence, so I won't insult either of you readers as to what the bets mean. These bets may or may not have reasons/stats to back them up. They may be college, pro, both or a combination thereof.

1st pick will be a moneyline wager
2nd pick will be a same game parlay
3rd pick will be the dreaded 3 team teaser.

Well, onto this weeks picks
1. Tulane +190 Mississippi St
2. Oklahoma -10.5 Miami Under 43
3. UAB +41.5 FSU, LSU -5 VTech, LSU VTech over 32

Pros to follow

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Bill Murray DUI (Sort of)

Bill Murray was pulled over in Sweden yesterday for suspected DUI in a golf cart. There are just so many things right with that statement, especially since he decided to take the golf cart into town to his hotel. I assume he was planning on valeting it once he got to the hotel. Before he got pulled over he reportedly stopped at a 7 eleven, I can only assume for a Big Bite and a slurpee.
This is just one more reason why Bill Murray would be one of the top people ever that I would like to follow around for a day/week/year or even an hour.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Japanese People will Watch Anything

I don't speak Japanese, so I don't know what they are saying, it makes me want to learn Japanese. I mean what could possibly be the point of this show. All I know is i would watch this twice before I watch half the reality shows on TV.

Thanks to dethroner for the link.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Baseball and Me

I figured now would be the appropriate time to do a post on my personal relationship with baseball. Let's get some of the facts out of the way. I'm from Chicago, a town with two MLB teams. Well, we once had the Chicago Chi-Feds/Whales but that was a few years before I was born. Interestingly, despite the collapse of the Federal League in 1915, they've won a championship more recently than the Cubs. The Cubs and White Sox (hereafter referred to as simply "Sox") have an intense rivalry between their fanbases. Not only do Chicagoans swear allegiance to one team or the other, they actually cheer for the other team to lose and revel in their failure as much as their own team's success (if not more).

I grew up in a household with a father who is a Sox fan and a mother who is a Cubs fan. My maternal grandfather used to take me to Cubs games as a kid. My dad took me to Sox games at the old Comiskey Park. We even used to go up to Milwaukee for Brewers games against the Sox back when the Brewers were still in the American League. A lot of fun? Yes, but confusing as hell for a kid to pick one team to swear allegiance to. So instead, I grew up being a fan of certain players, rather than choosing a team. When I think of my childhood baseball heroes I think of Carlton Fisk, Ryne Sandberg, Harold Baines, Lee Smith, Andre Dawson, and Jody Davis. To this day when people ask me if I'm a Cubs or Sox fan I simply reply "neither" since this is a much more acceptable answer than "both".

Being a Chicago baseball fan was viewed throughout most of my life as perennial disappointment. Both the White Sox and the Cubs having endured championship droughts not seen anywhere else in sports (except maybe the Red Sox). Then the White Sox won the Chamionship in 2005. I rooted hard for the Sox, I wanted to see them succeed for their long-suffering fans (including my father), more than anything else. I even went to game 2 of the World Series that year which was cold, rainy, but a lot of fun too. My companions at the game? Two Cubs fans and a Cardinals fan, all of them rooting for the Sox.

Which brings me to my point. I like baseball. I'll watch it on TV sometimes, rarely non-Chicago teams outside of the post-season. On the other hand, I love going to games. I've been to probably 40-50 Cubs games in my life (I used to live 2 blocks from Wrigley) and about 15 Sox games. But I just don't have one team I ride for. I want the Cubs to do well this year. I'd love for them to win a championship (although it's not going to happen this year). When the Cubs made their run in 2004 I went to 3 playoff games including Game 7 against the Marlins in the NLCS. It was a heartbreaker but incredibly fun. But I just can't get into baseball like I do the NFL. Is it the game itself, the fact that the sport is perfect for fantasy gaming, growing up with the 1985 Bears? It's probably all of that and more.

So to wrap this up what do I think of Bonds' record-breaking performance? I think it's a shame that performance-enhancing drugs have tainted ALL of sports. It's his record, no asterisk, until someone else breaks it or he is proven guilty. He deserves to be congratulated on a career that was impressive even before he may have taken steroids. Only he knows what he did and all of us can't be 100% sure of anything unless you actually physically witnessed him injecting. I'm sick of hearing about it all, I want it to go away. And it does absolutely NOTHING to affect how much I like professional baseball.

I laughed at how Bonds barely acknowledged his son at home plate after he hit #756. Records are over-emphasized anyway. Michael Jordan is viewed as one of the best, if not the best, to ever play in the NBA. Yet, how many significant records does he hold? It's time for all of us to move on. Well, except for Cubs fans, they have to still wallow in self-pity. At least for now.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Finding Forever Review

I also enjoying going on upnorth trips, it allows me to sit down, virtually uninterrupted and listen to an entire album. I went up to Boston for the weekend, and the long flight to the first layover in Newport News (no I didnt see any rape stands for sale at the airport), I thought that would be the perfect oppportunity to listen to Common's Finding Forever. I considered that I should link to Commons site or Amazon or something so that you can easily buy it online. Instead let me save you the effort, its Meh, not ehh, Meh.
The beats were uninspiring, the lyrics were ok, but during my entire listen there was not one track or line that made me stop and replay or even think about it a little bit after it happened. I could go track by track and critique the album, but I don't think Common or Kanye put that much effort into it. Maybe Kanye saved all the good beats for himself.
Here are a couple quotes from Common himself, both of these make me sick to my stomach.

"Finding Forever really means to find a place in music where you can exist forever. Music can be forever if you make it from the heart, if you make it from the soul and it’s good. And I look at music like Bob Marley's or Marvin Gaye's or Stevie Wonder's or A Tribe Called Quest's, that's forever music. And I’m continuing on the quest to make forever music."

Common said that on some tracks, Kanye tried to chop the samples in a similar way to Dilla as a way of honoring him. It has also been said that Kanye West attempted to bring back a really soulful feel to the album. "It's gonna be like College Dropout and Be and Illmatic all fusioned together"

Sunday, August 5, 2007

My "date" with Mr. Smith

Well, I decided to give the outdoor hip-hop festival another shot anyway because this time it was free. It was a show sponsored by Zune (read: Microsoft's MP3 player, therefore Microsoft). Zune's "Live at the BBQ" named, of course after the Main Source song which introduced the world to a man named Nasir Jones. You had to RSVP online early enough to get in but otherwise was free. They did this in LA and Chicago also where Common and Mos Def headlined, respectively. Anyway, despite other big names at those shows (UGK, Little Brother) the NYC lineup seemed a little less impressive. HOWEVER, the small "and special guests" at the bottom convinced me there would be more than what was listed.

What was listed? Joell Ortiz, Cham, MiMS ("this is why I'm hot" ugh), Clipse, Large Professor, Brand Nubian

I dig Brand Nubian and I figured Large Pro may have something to offer. Plus, the show was in Brooklyn and I hadn't been there yet so I figured it was reason enough to go, especially since it was free.

First of all, the area of Brooklyn I was in was ridiculously cool and nice and made me wish I lived there. Another thing about Brooklyn. The beautiful people of NYC apparently live here. Also, I saw a ton of people wearing shirts that just simply said "Brooklyn". People there are so proud of their borough (this will be relevant again later). It was a cool festival. Food, art, in a nice park on the water. You could play basketball or XBOX (not that I did any of these things). But very chill, people brought their kids.

I think I heard the performers shout "Where Brooklyn at?" or play the sample of Biggie saying it at least 60-70 times. People would go crazy. The first artist was Joell Ortiz. I'll save you the wikipedia search. He's a Puerto Rican rapper from Brooklyn signed to Dr. Dre's label. He was meh. Cham (reggae/dancehall artist) was a nice change of pace but was just okay. Thankfully MiMS was a no show.

Then it got good. Most of Boot Camp Clik showed up along with Special Ed and Masta Ace. It was a nice trip back to the old school. If this was the caliber of "special guests" I was in for a treat right? Of course with all these guys being from Brooklyn themselves, they were well received by the crowd.

Then came the Clipse. It was the Clipse, that's about all I can say. Neptunes beats and lots of yelling.

It was around this time that I saw Michael Rapaport walk past me with his kids. Makes sense I guess, a hip-hop show in Brooklyn you can bring your kids to. Rapaport would be there.

Large Pro came out. His beard was gray (Seriously was Main Source that long ago? I guess it was.) I figured this mofo owes me a free show for that crappy album of his I bought in 2002. What was interesting was that when he came out he took significant time talking about how he's from Queens but respects Brooklyn, "it's all love", etc. About a dozen people were into his set. The rest looked bored. More proof that Large Pro belongs behind the boards, not on the mic.

Then was another "special guest". It was the Lox. I was sorta excited. I mean, I own one Jadakiss album but this is a veritable mainstream hip-hop act in Brooklyn and it was cool to see. The crowd was nuts (but in a good way). I forgot how many songs of theirs were big hits.

Then Brand Nubian. They were decent. Lord Jamar was stuck in LA so it was just Puba and Sadat which was fine with me as they're the only two I care about anyway.

So they finished with 2 hours left in the show. You knew there had to be something big coming. One guy next to me said he heard Rakim was there. I had seen him at Rock the Bells which was just an okay performance but I was miles away. But this time I was 20 feet from the stage with a crowd that wasn't just there to punch people while Rage Against the Machine performed.

Well, no such luck. Instead, the special treat would barely resemble a hip-hop act and more closely represent a night at Chippendale's. The stage began to transform and out came a gold-plated mic stand from which protruded the letters "LL COOL J".

Girls started screaming and pushing. Two dozen long-stem roses were brought on a table to the center of the stage. I groaned as did just about every other guy in the audience. Again, I was only 20 feet away though so I had to stay for the spectacle.

So he begins his set with "paying respect to Brooklyn". Tons of the "where Brooklyn at?" and then he covers Biggie's "Hypnotize" which I thought was a really weird way to open a show. For the first few songs he would just point to women in the crowd and 4 security guards were in charge of lifting these girls over the barrier and into the space between the barrier and the stage. It was disgusting but also funny to me to see less attractive girls get turned away as they bum-rushed the stage. It was so sick and nasty. Other than the obligatory handing out of roses, his entire performance was mostly crotch grabs, lip-licking, stripping his clothes off, wiping sweat off with towels and handing them to girls, and other simulations of sex acts. The most peculiar one to me was sticking two fingers in his mouth and simulating fellatio. Is this supposed to be sexy/manly? All it does for me is stick the incredibly disturbing image of him giving another dude head which is still burning a hole in my soul. The women still screamed so I guess it works.

He did Radio, Rock the Bells, and Mama Said Knock You Out as the ONLY plus to this debacle. Although during Rock the Bells he roundhouse kicked his mic stand which was lame but overshadowed by the rest of his performance For his last song he did some song I had never heard before where he just shouted "Queens" a bunch of times. A lot of guys booed. I heard some guys next to me say aloud "you just don't do that in Brooklyn". And then Mr. Smith walked off stage.

Other lame things he did. Bring 30 women on stage for half the show and "two brothers" to show "I can't front on the dudes". Kissing each girl as they left the stage. Also "making it rain". He threw about 30 bills in the air and I figured it would be lame if they were $1 bills. Of course they were. I caught one, was annoyed, and proceeded to throw it back in the air. People looked at me like I was an ass. I figured there was a lady who wanted it more than I did.

But perhaps the king of lameness was bringing a 2 year old girl on stage, telling her she was beautiful and could do anything she put her mind to. Then he escorted her back off stage and told the crowd "we need to take care of our own". This comes from a man who grew up in modest circumstances in Queens and now lives in a Manhasset mansion rumored to be worth over 10 million, looks like he wears over 1/2 million in jewelry on stage, and is a card-carrying republican. I think he wins the title as "biggest douchebag" in hip-hop.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Simpsons Movie - Spider Pig

I went into this weekends premiere of the long awaited Simpsons Movie with mixed emotions. As someone who has watched the Simpsons for free for several years, you would think I would be hesitant to give fox $20 of my hard earned money (had to see it at the Premiere) but that wasn't my biggest concern. My concern would be how to make a movie funny for an hour and a half (basically 4 episodes without commercials) when the show has fallen off the last couple years.
Well the reason the show has fallen off is because they saved all of the good jokes for the movie. The plot fits well into the movie as it is too drawn out to be effective in an episode and if they would have done it over several "to be continued" episodes it would not have been effective. I don't want to get into too many specifics but there were some classic lines and scenes in the movie.
If I were to find a fault in the episode it was Simpsons Family heavy, almost all other characters (no Kang/Kodos and a couple others) were limited to only a couple lines or site gags (Stampy) Of course with hundreds of characters over the years its hard to focus on more than just the Nuclear Family, but some fan favorites could have had bigger parts (Ralph)
As great as the movie was, now I am anxiously awaiting the DVD release with extras, there has to be hours and hours of hysterical footage that just didn't fit in the movie.

Rock the Bells, NYC- July 29, 2007

Every time I go to a concert in a large venue I tell myself "this is the last time". When I saw the lineup for the 2007 Rock the Bells tour I decided I had to go. Wu-Tang, Cypress Hill, Rakim, Public Enemy, a reunited Rage Against the Machine, Pharoahe Monch all being artists I have never been able to see live for various reasons. Technically, at Lollapalooza '93 I heard Rage from the parking lot but traffic and weather kept me from witnessing their set at the festival that year. Also Mos, Kweli, and Erykah Badu were scheduled to appear so I figured it was a can't miss.
Wow, what a complete error in judgement. Let me start with the positives. Wu-Tang was much better than expected. Played mostly old joints, tons of energy especially Meth. Of course Ghostface was a no-show as usual which pissed me off. For no live band accompaniment they were overall satisfying. Cypress Hill was on a whole other level. Maybe it was the second-hand influence but they were amazing live. Muggs' beats are still great, the live percussion adds to it significantly. The crowd was really moving. I would pay to see another Cypress show for sure. Then there was Public Enemy. Hands down the best performers of the day. Live band, as much energy from Chuck as from Flav. Scott Ian from Anthrax came out and perfomed "Bring the Noise" with them. If I could make one complaint it would be that the set was too short because I could have listened to them all day. Well, that and the fact that I had to listen to Professor Griff occasionally rant about some b.s. in between songs.
Now for the complaints. The concert was on Randall's island, a small chunk of land sandwiched between where Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens all meet. The only way on and off the island was to drive (nightmare), ferry (not possible from Manhattan), or special express bus. We went with the bus option and waited in a line for the bus from Harlem for an hour and a half. Could have been worse you say? It was raining. And you weren't allowed to bring umbrellas.
In the meantime, the grounds of the concert were mostly dirt, which therefore meant mud. Wading through the mud with the smell from the Port-o-johns was reminiscent of the Bog of Eternal Stench (Labyrinth reference). Everyone just threw their trash everywhere so it was like being in a landfill. People were complete assholes (of course). I stuffed my face before the concert so I wouldn't have to eat there but my companion did not follow my advice. Thus, we waited in line for 2 HOURS for food. At the end of the line she paid $11 for cheese fries and a hamburger patty (they were out of buns and condiments). I watched the entire PE set and most of the Wu set from the line on smaller-than-expected screens.
Other than that, Erykah flaked and never showed up, Mos was late so Kweli performed solo, then Mos came out later, then they did a few songs together. Their show did not translate well in an outdoor festival but the rain was falling the hardest at that point so maybe that was part of it. I only caught the very end of Monch's set because of the 3 hour commute to the concert although he did have a live band with him and did "The Life" with Styles P on stage as well. We only stayed for 4 Rage songs because tales of getting back to Manhattan from the Saturday show sounded like nightmares and we were not willing to undergo any more disasters that day. They sounded good though. I heard "People of the Sun", "Bulls on Parade", "Guerilla Radio", and "Bombtrack". Once they played "Bombtrack" I was okay with leaving as I had heard one song off the first album which I still maintain stands out in their otherwise excellent catalogue.
Rock the Bells will be my last outdoor music festival. This time I really mean it.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Kige Ramsey picks Bears

Now if only we can get Chris Mortenson not to pick the Bears. I think we got a chance.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

GI Joe Movie

With the huge success of the Transformers Movie, I started to think about a movie for G.I. Joe, apparently for the last few years this has been in talks with Warner Bros, even with Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura being in talks, but thats not likely as he will probably do Transformers 2. The most recent news said it may be a buddy piece, but I think that sucks. I would much rather see an ensemble cast. I would make it into a comedy/action movie starring the Frat Pack, written/directed/produced by Wes Anderson/Adam McKay.

I think with this cast below the movie writes itself. G.I.Joe was disbanded in the late 90s as their action figures were not selling well. Cobra Commander has kept in touch with Duke playing golf together on the weekends (Cobra Commander in his mask)(Opening scene of the movie). But now in the present day there is a drug lord/terrorist who has kidnapped the head of the Secretary of Defense's Mistress (because of the delicate nature of this, conventional Special Forces can not be used) , so Cobra Commander and Duke have to get their teams together for one last mission, but this time as allies.

The first 1/4 of the movie could be tracking down every member of the group, then training to get back into shape and the infighting between the groups. Then the dramatic over the top fight scenes and dramatic takedown of the drug lord and the rescue of the Mistress of the Secretary of Defense Imagine a much less serious version of Uncommon Valor but for the most part a direct remake of it.

Duke- Will Ferrell
Flint-Vince Vaughn
Scarlett- Amy Adams
Cobra Commander- Will Ferrell
Destro- Jack Black
Snake Eyes- Steve Carrell
Gung Ho- David Koechner
Lady Jaye- Christine Taylor

Falcon- John C. Reilly
Tomax-Owen Wilson
Xamot- Luke Wilson
Storm Shadow-Steve Carell
Roadblock-Paul Rudd
Wild Bill- Ben Stiller
Rachel McAdams

Sunday, July 15, 2007

My first Broadway show (on Broadway)

I'm not much of a musical fan. I tolerate them okay but they always seemed just too fake and cheesy. Les Miserables bored the crap out of me. I thought Miss Saigon was decent but it had pimps, prostitutes and a giant helicopter. Lion King had great performances but was hokey. Spamalot was a disappointment and not that funny (IMO). I saw all of these in Chicago.

Since it was P's 30th birthday she wanted to go see a Broadway play, on Broadway. Wicked was sold out for weeks so I thought a show we would both enjoy would be The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. It's a musical but the emphasis is the comedy. It's done in a small theater that they converted to look just like a school gymnasium. There's crowd participation. The show uses the entire theater for the performance. It was outstanding. Darrell Hammond joined the cast as the Vice Principal and he was also excellent. Dead pan delivery of some great material. I'm a big fan of his and seeing him in action literally 3 feet from my face was worth the price of admission alone.

This play will go on to other theaters in the country as part of a tour and also is a regular show in Chicago. It really needs to be in a small theater designed to have the audience actually be part of the stage. I highly recommend it even if you hate musicals. In fact, it's a great choice if you don't like them but want to take someone who does. It will not disappoint.

The Hot Dog Post Part II

Well, we decided to give it another try. In Madison Square Park there is a place we found called the "Shake Shack". Their menu includes a "Chicago Dog" as well as a "Second City Chick-wurst". Let's start with the latter. They take a chicken and apple sausage and add chicago hot dog toppings to it. First of all, no self-respecting Chicago dog and burger joint would ever serve chicken and apple sausage. Second of all, you put those toppings on a hot dog and that's it. Other sausages get topped differently.

I didn't get one anyway so let's move on. I got a Chicago dog which cost $3.25, no fries included. To the credit of Shake Shack, the hot dog tasted decent. It was boiled (correct) and was kosher all-beef (advertised as Vienna) but was small in length and circumference. I am convinced that Vienna has special hot dogs that they only sell to Chicagoland hot dog places, some internet research supports this theory.

They had the correct toppings (cucumber, sport peppers, tomato, onion, relish, pickle, mustard, celery salt). However, it was a cucumber spear instead of slices, you had to search for the relish, and the pickle and tomatoes were sliced wrong as well. That being said, the sport peppers were excellent. Overall it was a 7/10 for a hot dog outside of Chicagoland. If you served it in Chicago you would get lynched.

BTW, in case you were wondering the fries were excellent and the shake was unbelievably good. Probably the best ever but cost $5.25 which is ridiculous. The line was very long which we thought could be attributed to the fact that it was a Saturday in the summer but it's apparently popular year-round. They even have a webcam to see how long the line is before you leave your apartment.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Slurpee Day

Tomorrow is officially the Birthday of Slurpee. In honor of this momentous event 7-Eleven is giving away free Slurpees. They actually do this every year on July 11th (7/11) it is while little mini 7.11 oz cups are available. While you are there remember that the Simpsons Movie comes out in a few short weeks and you actually are having a Squishee as part of a great tie in with movie. There are actually some 7-elevens that have been completely transformed into Kwik E Marts.
I have been having Slurpees for years and over the last couple months have again starting having them on a frequent basis, there is nothing quite like the refreshing Kosher beverage. I prefer to mix two or three flavors including Mountain Dew, Cherry and then whatever the best flavor otherwise is available (never Coke or Pepsi) lately its been Blue WOO-HOO Vanilla (Simpsons Movie tie in flavor).
Here are some interesting Slurpee facts. I don't feel like referencing them all but that can be done on a google search i am sure.
  • Ave Slurpee drinker is 29yrs old
  • Top 5 Slurpees cities are all in Canada
  • Slurpees served at 28F
  • Since Introduction 6 Billion have been sold
  • 11.6 million drinks consumed a month
  • ICEEs suck and are not acceptable as a substitute
  • Here is a link to Buy one Get one Free Coupon

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Hot Dog Post

Well, after a brief hiatus I'm back. Certainly, I wanted my first post to be about my new home in Manhattan. After a brief time here I knew that it would have to focus on food. While Chicago is certainly known for its food, NYC is generally regarded as the best of the best. While 2 weeks in the Big Apple is certainly not enough time to make a final judgement, I'd like to make a few early observances.

First of all, we moved to the Upper West Side which has rendered watching reruns of Seinfeld a whole new experience. So far, our cuinary experience has been less than satisfactory. Let's remove the whole price issue (not an easy aspect to ignore) because that would be unfair. Clearly, New York is super expensive, even in comparison to Chicago. It is hard to not get angry when you pay $20 for you and your fiancee to each get a sandwich and something to drink and the sandwich couldn't hold a Potbelly's Wreck's jock. I used to get a Wreck, chips, and a chocolate shake for $8. Surprisingly, for that same price in NYC you can get a really crappy panini and that's it.

Let's move on. Perhaps the problem is the restaurants that the UWS has to offer. That may be. We went to Taboon in Hell's Kitchen last Monday and each had an excellent Halibut (although expensive). So, again, way too early to make a final judgement on NY dining. But...

What's the ultimate test? Not the pricey, top of the line restaurants in my opinion. I'm sure Nobu is great as are all the famous super-expensive restaurants. But what about the ultimate average guy's meal? The hot dog? Well, we are "lucky" in that we live just a few blocks away from what the majority of New Yorkers vote as the "#1 hot dog in NYC". Gray's Papaya.

Today I had the "Recession Special" which is 2 dogs and a drink for $3.50. If you, like me, are from Chicago, you may want to make sure you're sitting down for this next part. Their hot dogs come topped with brown mustard (ok), sauerkraut (umm...), and cooked onions covered in BBQ sauce (WTF?)!!! Seriously, I know I'm biased but who are the ad wizards that came up with this campaign? The dog itself tasted okay. It was certainly edible, way better than an Oscar Mayer dog or the pork crap you get at a baseball game if you don't get them from the one Hebrew National stand in the corner. But compared to a real Chicago dog? Not even close.

I know there will be those that disagree. If you put ketchup on your hot dog then I am wasting your time anyway with this post as we clearly come from 2 different worlds, yours being the one where an opinion on food carries no merit.

So far, I have concluded that while New Yorkers may indeed have their finger on the pulse of fine dining, that when it comes to real food, the food of the common man, New Yorkers simply have no clue.

More to come...

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Transformers Movie Review

WOW, i mean wow, it more than lived up to the hype that I had put on it. The CGI was amazing, my little brother was concerned that the Transformer did not make the same sound as in the cartoon, but it was close in fact it was updated more modern and better. Transformers was summer blockbuster cheesiness at its finest. Great Action, again fantastic CGI, superficial characters, glaring plot holes, half ass attempt at a love story and some good one liners. It was one of the better movies I have seen in a long time and will definitely be seeing it again.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Good Cop, Baby Cop

Good Cop, Baby Cop

From the same geniuses that brought you "The Landlord" comes "Good Cop, Baby Cop" which according to the video is Pearl's last performance.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bulls Draft

Bulls just drafted Joakim Noah. Initial thoughts nice seersucker suit, better bow tie, wow he is ugly. Mom Hot. Pax again goes for proven winner from a good program. Not sure where he fits in the bulls lineup. Needed offensive low post player got a young Ben Wallace, rebounder and good defender with not much of an offensive game. Lets see who the Bulls get in the second round.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tiger Woods New Baby is Ugly

Who would have thought Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren would have an ugly baby. Elin was quite beautiful and Tiger not bad for a golfer. But then I was on today and under pictures of the day, I saw this photo and caption.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Think Twice about Drafting Kevin Durant

I was surfing the tubes today looking for some incite on who the Bulls were projected to pick in next weeks draft. When I happened upon Kevin Durant's (aka K-Smoove) Blog. All along I have been saying the Durant should have stayed in school for another year of experience and maturation, but when you are guaranteed top 2 there is not much upside potential for you. Even with that in mind, up until 5 minutes ago, I was confident that the first pick in the draft should be not Oden. Now after reading his blog I am not so sure.

Apparently K-Smoove is a 13yr girl from Ottumwa, IA. In the opening paragraph Durant uses "LOL JKJK" Its not his only use of overused internet slang, he also uses a ROFL, OMG, OMFG among others. There are entire sentences and paragraphs that he capitalizes FOR NO REASON WHATSOEVER.

He also says he wants 24 because he is one better than Jordan. He recommended changing the Sonics logo to look like Sonic the Hedgehog (he says joking but kind of think he was serious). He says he would like to team up with the Milfhunter (nsfw link) and look for Joakims mom.

He was looking forward to an east coast west coast rivalry with Oden because he confused Portland Oregon with Portland Maine.

Lastly he comments about a poop he took today. This is the kid the Trailblazers are resting their future on? I wonder if Kevin Pritchard has seen this blog. So much for the "New Jail Blazers"

Monday, June 18, 2007

Guilty Pleasure

This is the initial post in the recurring theme of Guilty Pleasures. This will be a song, tv show, movie, book, anything that I really like and have no reason to like. Whether its obviously bad or subtley bad. Frequently it will be a hip hop or pop song that I blast and know all the words to.
For instance this premiere post I am posting the Shop Boyz "Party like a Rock Star" The obvious reason is the spelling of Boyz with a Z which went out of style in my opinion with John Singleton. Its an obnoxious song with a way to simple chorus and cheesy call out "Totally Due." Despite these reasons and countless others whenever this song comes on Sirius I blast it and I bought the single on Itunes.
Another guilty pleasure from a month or so ago is MiMS "This is why I'm Hot Remix"

Thursday, June 14, 2007

MMA Steriods?

MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) is poised to be the sport of the future with all of the media coverage it has been getting in the last couple weeks. But now one of the new MMAers (is that the correct term) has tested positive for steroids. Now before everyone gets all crazy and out of hand its important to remember a couple things.

1. It was Johnnie Morton (former NFL Wide Receiver in first fight).
2. He got knocked out in 38 seconds

His $100,000 purse is being withheld (over $2,631 a second). If he wouldn't have taken steroids he may have lasted less than 30 seconds but probably still gotten knocked out. The lesson is of course, kids don't take steroids.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Mix-Up Preorder

Beastie Boys have a preorder for the Mix-up in their store. Usual preorder deal, cd delivered on or around the 26th and comes with a free tshirt that is the cover art for the Album. The dilemna is what if the CD does not come on the 26th do you buy it at Itunes as well, try to find it streaming someplace to hold you over, illegally download it (anyone got a link?)? That is for you to decide.
Full Album Review forthcoming.

Obama Chicago 08 Shirt

I am not one to be political but I saw this shirt and thought it was original. I am not formally endorsing Obama or anyone else, I am just pointing out if you are looking for an original shirt that supports Obama and not an officially licensed shirt (Copyright Infringement) except for the $30 price tag, its a good shirt.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Michael Strahan, the Hetero Rapper

So apparently everyone's favorite gap-toothed defensive end is not who we thought he was. Joining the list of many celebrities who have appeared onstage with the L.A. hair metal cover band Metal Skool, our boy Strahan decides to add his own spin on Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar On Me". After an awful rendition of the song with A-listers Ryan Cabrera and Pauly Shore, Strahan announces he is going to do the "Run DMC version". Apparently that translates to setting hip-hop back about 30 years with rapping that carries as much street cred as Ellen DeGeneres. It's a long video but entertaining nonetheless. If you want to skip to Strahan's mesmerizing lyrical display, it's around the 7 minute mark. At the end he takes his jacket off and throws it into the crowd. Ladies...?

The band makes a lot of comments at the start and end of the clip (dare I say "jokes") about being gay. Interestingly, Strahan didn't seem to mind.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Smoking Monkey

If I had a dollar for everytime someone asked about the origin of the name of the blog, I would have like 3 dollars, but thats not really the point. The point is, well there is no point. Smoking Monkey

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Black Music Month on ITunes

It may not just be for ITunes but June is Black Music Month. To honor the occassion, ITunes is spotlighting different genres of black music and advertising influential tracks and Classic Albums. The list was pretty standard within the Hip Hop Category, I thought I would give a quick summary and rundown of each. This is the order they were in from right to left and top to bottom, not sure if it is grouped this way intentionally.

The Chronic-Dr. Dre
Ready to Die-The Notorious BIG
Doggystyle-Snoop Dogg
All Eyez on Me-2Pac
Paid in Full-Eric B & Rakim
The Blueprint-Jay Z
Enter the WuTang-WuTang Clan
The Miseducation...-Lauryn Hill
It's Dark and Hell is Hot-DMX
Only Built for Cuban Linx-Raekwon
King of Rock-RunDMC
Whut the Album-Redman
By All Means Necessary-BDP
Death Certificate-Ice Cube
Radio-LL Cool J
The Infamous-Mobb Deep
It Takes A Nation of Millions-Public Enemy
Going Off-Biz Markie
Big Boi and Dre Present...-Outkast
Lyte as A Rock-MC Lyte
Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star-Black Star
Mecca & The Soul Brother- Pete Rock and CL Smooth
The Message- Grandmaster Flash

Not a bad list, proud to say I own all of them, or have owned all in the past. Some questionable picks in my opinion-Redman, MC Lyte, The Message, Big Boi and Dre...(Any of the other albums are just as good and not compilations-Southernplaya, Stankonia, and Aquemini should be in but probably limited to one per Artist. At the other end of 5 mic classics-Mecca, It Takes a Nation (same situation as Outkast though), Miseducation, Straightotta, King of Rock, Chronic, and Ready to Die.
The big question is what is missing off of the list, the obvious choices are College Dropout, Peoples Instinctive Travels, 3 Feet High, The Score, Things Fall Apart.

A couple bloggers out there have their lists as well. Check out NappyDiatribe for his list, or StraightBangin who may have started it amongst the bloggers. Feel free to Comment on what you think belongs or doesn't belong.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Simmons has Lost His Mind

I remember there used to be a time when i constantly refreshed espn page 2 around lunchtime in hopes of a new Sports Guy article, well since Blogs and Deadspin and others, those days are few and far between. Its not just Deadspins fault, Simmons has lost his edge, I am not sure if its that every other article is about the Red Sox, or that all of his articles seem like i have read them 3500 times and no thought is that original or that he tried to get involved in the Premiere league (for 2 articles) or involved in NCAA Basketball commenting on games in a blog 4 days after the game happened, or what. There are many other issues, no sports movie review in months, I could go on. Well yesterday was officially the end for me, no more Sports Guy for me, he was on his last legs anyway but now no more.
With all of the excess hype that went around Kobe's flipflopping of wanting to be traded, Bill put up an article about the 7 deals that make sense (never mind its the first timely Simmons post in well forever) but it kind of seems like he had the article partially written out for the Allen Iverson trade or the Ron Artest years ago or KG or more likely the possible upcoming Vince Carter situation. His second most likely trade scenario, in its entirety.

Deal No. 2: Chicago trades Luol Deng, Ben Gordon, Victor Khryapa and the No. 9 pick for Kobe.

Additional notes: This deal works as long as the Bulls renounce P.J. Brown's rights; also, it means the Lakers would receive a mammoth (and appealing) trade exception in the deal.

Comments: This seems like the most natural home for Kobe -- it's a big city; they're a contender in the East; there's enough talent left after the deal to make a run, and even the MJ-Kobe symmetry works nicely -- as well as the best possible haul for the Lakers. The deal could work in a variety of ways: Instead of renouncing Brown's rights, the Bulls could include Andres Nocioni as a sign-and-trade (starting at around $5 million per) and renounce Mike Sweetney's rights instead of Brown's. If they wanted to get even more creative, they could make it Deng, Gordon, P.J. Brown (sign and trade -- one year, $10 million) and the No. 9 for Kobe. They could try to substitute Ty Thomas and a future No. 1 for Deng. Etc., etc., etc.

Two big obstacles here:

(A) Would the Bulls ever give up Deng? The Lakers would have to get him back in a Kobe deal, right? I feel like he's become slightly overrated over the past season -- he's definitely a potential All-Star; he definitely could become the second-best player on a championship-caliber team, but I don't see him getting much better than he is right now. Do you ever see him scoring 27-28 a game? Do you ever see him being the crunch-time scorer on a great team? If you could land Kobe and keep Kirk Hinrich, Ben Wallace, Ty Thomas, Chris Duhon and Thabo Sefolosha, then sign one more veteran to help them out, that's a potential 2008 title team. Isn't the whole point to win a title?

(B) Would John Paxson ever roll the dice with a mega-deal for someone like Kobe? He seems to be happier stockpiling young assets and waiting for one of these other teams to offer him the likes of KG or Jermaine O'Neal for 30 cents on the dollar. By making a Kobe deal, Paxson would be shoving his chips to the middle of the table ... something he's been completely unwilling to do. We will see.

There are countless things that make no sense, here is a quick list of 9.
1. Paxson has shown no interest in blockbuster deals (see KG and Gasol)
2. Paxson is stockpiling a young team for a potential dynasty (he played in one a couple years ago, Bill must have forgotten)
3. Kobe the egomaniac that he is would never play in "the House that Mike Built" He didnt want to be in Shaq or the Zen Masters shadow, why would he even consider playing in a town where no matter what he does he will always be second to 23.
4. Luol Deng is not getting traded, just not happening, and deal doesn't happen without Deng.
5. If no Deng then its some combination of at least 3 or 4 of these Thomas/ Sefolosha/ Gordon/ Draft pick/ Nocioni/ Kryapa all of which seem like alot for 1 player
6. Who on the Bulls is Selfish player, Pax has stockpiled team players why throw it all away for 1 selfish player.
7. Simmons B) why overpay for a superstar when there is a chance to get a marquee player at pennies on the dollar.
8. Eastern Conference Round 2 after sweep of Defending Champs to Pax means tweaking is in order not overhauling his master plan.
9. As Bill likes to say "the lesson is of course, I'm an idiot" so why should this be any different.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

New Orleans

This weekend will be spent in New Orleans for the bachelor party of another contributing blogger to this site. Will try to post a couple photos in real time as well as maybe a story or two. Not quite Live blogging a bachelor party, but hopefully some updates. This is my first time to NOLA so I am not really sure what to expect. I know we will make it to Bourbon Street and the Harrahs Casino, but after that its a complete mystery. I would like to see the Ninth Ward, but that may be a little too depressing and dangerous.

Just in case here is a link to the local police station

Monday, May 21, 2007

Bulls Lottery Draft Preview

The Chicago Bulls currently have a 1.9% chance of getting the first pick in the NBA Draft tomorrow evening, and I may be the only one in the world who hopes we don't get the first pick. I know many of you are saying I am using the old reverse psychology to get the first pick, but I am not. I honestly don't want the first pick and either Kevin Durant or Greg Oden, well unless we trade the pick away for future picks or a center/post player with some offensive capabilities.
The Bulls were exposed by the Detroit Pistons because they had no offense beyond going small and relying on guard play. Not the best chances for victory especially when you are matched up with one of the better back courts in the league. You can not when many games when you are forced to shoot from the outside, only shoot 33% from the field and then get outrebounded.
So how does this relate to the draft lottery, well look at the first two picks, Kevin Durant or Greg Oden. Oden is a 37 yr old Freshman that the Florida Gators, the NCAA Tournament, the Big 10 Conference Tourney and the half of the season exposed as an underdeveloped big man with at best a minimal offensive presence. Just what the Bulls need another Big Man with limited offensive skills. Put him on the court with Ben Wallace and in effect the Bulls go 3 on 5 on offense. Who is going to teach Oden any offensive skills, PJ Brown (career playoff high of 20 pts?) the only thing PJ Brown will be able to teach him are the places in Chicago that give Senior Citizen Discounts.
Other option, Kevin Durant, a freshman small forward. Sure he can jump out of the gym and do it all, but where does he get his minutes in his first 2 yrs. The Bulls front court is already crowded with Deng, Wallace, and Nocioni (i project to start with PJ Brown gone), and then still trying to get minutes for Tyrus Thomas, Sefolosha and Durant. Thats 6 quality players for 2 spots (3 if go small).
I ran the WWL's mock draft lottery tool about 40 times and not once did the Bulls win the first pick, in fact about 38 of those times the Bulls ended up with Spencer Hawes, a 7 foot Center from UW. A good high post player and a highly developed offensive game who likes playing with his back to the basket. Sounds like a good fit for a young Bulls team. But thats just my opinion, what do I know.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Bulls vs. Pistons Game 6 Recap

Howard the Duck is a movie you may remember from way back in 1986. George Lucas' Industrial Light and Magic was coming into its own as THE institution for special effects. Howard the Duck was supposed to be an early foray into branching away from Star Wars.

To settle a bet between my sister and myself I forced myself to watch this movie. The major stars in this movie are Lea Thompson, Tim Robbins, and Jeffrey Jones. Lea actually looks decent despite her 80's hair and mammary deficiencies. Tim Robbins puts in possibly the lamest performance ever in the history of cinema as a dorky scientist. Jeffrey Jones also plays a scientist who becomes possessed by an evil space overlord which I guess isn't much of a stretch since he was probably already masturbating to pictures of Gary Coleman in his trailer.

What several people do not know is that this movie was actually derived from a comic book of the same name. This movie epitomizes everything that was wrong with comic book movies of the 80's and early 90's and why the formula of today actually works. If you want to make a good comic book movie, don't make it campy.

Fucking Bulls.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Beastie Boys - Off The Grid

Wow, I mean Wow. Words can not describe how excited I am for this release. Also the Beasties have a blog on their site, just random videos, and I mean random.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bulls vs. Pistons Game 5 Recap

I need to be honest, I missed most of the game due to a business dinner. I did run to the bar periodically to check the score and did cathch the Tyrus Thomas block followed by Ben Gordon 3-pointer which I understand was one of the highlight plays of the game.

As far as my dinner went, it was at a Churrascaria which I think is Portugese for "gluttonous meat engorgement". I ate bacon-wrapped filet, beef, chicken, pork, lamb. I had a Capirinha and a ton of Cabernet. I ate a piece of flourless chocolate-mocha cake followed by a single-malt scotch (don't ask me which kind, I was just following the others). That meal probably shortened my life for about a week.

Somehow, the Bulls are back in this. And my prediction of Pistons in 7 has now been given new life. Wish some of it went to my liver.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Bulls vs. Pistons Game 4 Recap

In case you didn't know, teams down 0-3 in the NBA playoffs are 0-81 to win the series. If you didn't know that, then that means you didn't watch any of Game 4 because I think they flashed that stat 81 times during the game.

So the Bulls pulled out a win which apparently is only prolonging the inevitable based on the stats. I don't remember seeing Thabo in at all. When Tyrus was in he made mistakes but was good overall. This all begs the question of what sort of strategy Skiles is planning for Game 5. Unfortunately I have a business dinner to attend so I may not be watching. Maybe one of you can tell me how many teams down 1-3 have won the series after that game. I'm sure TNT will proudly pound the stat in your head.

Return of the Magnificent Review

DJ Jazzy Jeff recently released, "The Return of the Magnificent" one of the best albums I have bought in a while. It features a wide variety of MCs including such well knowns as Method Man, Jean Grae, Pos, BDK and Peedi Peedi, ok the last one there was a stretch, but I have always liked Peedi Crack since his State Property days (joking but he was tight on "Long Time" on the Roots "Game Theory," so he gets my love). There are also several lesser known artists and new comers. Jeff takes an original approach to the album involving the introduction and the skits during the CD. Jeff says that he has to drive a rental car to the ATL and therefore has to listen to the radio, so the CD plays out as the soundtrack to his drive. Including a couple skits about being asked about the Fresh Prince in a drive through, and then a call to Big Willie's office, and the hilarity ensues.
Jeff is still heavily influenced by Funk, Jazz and Soul and the tracks are some of the best I have heard in a while, the diverse lineup of artists hold there own, but as expected sometimes the track is the best part of the album and the lyrics get lost. One track that stands out is "Practice" with Jay Live, the chorus is a bridge of AI's infamous Practice Press Conference. I have never been that big of a fan of BDK, but "The Garden" is also one of the better tracks, but that may be more because of the soulful beat. I haven't liked a Meth track since, maybe How High, and was't sure if Meth Jeff collabo would work, but their track together is one of the better on the album. Lastly, probably my favorite track is "All I Know" with CL Smooth. The two work so well together you would have thought it was 1994 and this was the lost track off of Mecca and the Soul Brother.
Look for more upcoming Reviews in the coming weeks, including the new Linkin Park album, the Mix Up, and maybe even some classic albums from back in the day.