Basketball as a filibuster

April 30, 2009

Tonight, the Chicago Bulls and the Boston Celtics went to overtime for the fourth time in six games in the first round of the 2009 NBA playoffs. This game was particularly overtimish, reaching 3OT before the Bulls, who were down in the series 3-2, won by a point to force a decisive Game 7. This is ridiculous. It has come to the point where I’ve begun believing that the two teams have concocted some sort of outlandish agreement to play as many periods of basketball as they can before one team is sent home for the summer.

Let’s face it. Neither team wants to be knocked out of the playoffs. They both would like to continue playing basketball, but they know that that can’t happen. One team is going to lose. It’s a harsh reality. However, there have now been seven overtime periods, each equalling five minutes. That’s thirty-five minutes of extra basketball. If Game 7 goes into triple overtime to bring the grand total to fifty minutes, then the Bulls and Celtics will have managed to play a full extra game than they otherwise would have. Plus two minutes!

It really is a clever scheme these guys have created. I’m convinced that even in the two games that ended after regulation, the intent was to force overtime. But sometimes in basketball, things don’t work out the way you want, and you have to settle for normalcy.

To prove my theory that there’s some fishy business going on here, I urge you to take a look at Tyrus Thomas.

Thomas, completely devoid of effort and intensity

Thomas, completely devoid of effort and intensity

Look at this photograph from Game 1 and tell me something. Does that look like a man who is putting any effort into the game? Or does it look like a guy who is simply lollygagging on the court, waiting patiently for the clock to run out so that he may play some more basketball? Don’t even bother answering. It’s the latter. There just isn’t any heart. His face is riddled with boredom. Where’s the intensity? For all I know, Thomas would rather be knitting a sweater vest. You might notice that his body is dangerously close to the prone position. To me, that indicates that he’s practically sleeping! Is he wearing pajamas? I honestly can’t even tell. He might as well be. If only he would dive for that ball, sacrifice his body a little bit for the good of the team, then he could probably make a great play. But instead, the Boston/Chicago Accord of ’09 rears its ugly, selfish head.

This could have been one of the greatest playoff series in the history of the NBA, but instead it’s nothing more than an athletic tea party. And that’s a shame.

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Coffee vs. meth

April 29, 2009

They both get you going in the morning. They both are addicting. So what exactly is the difference between coffee and meth?

Social acceptability.

Coffee is looked down upon in all facets of society. People who want to use it have to burrow into a corner of the office (if they have a job, which they probably don’t, because coffee addicts are too busy hunting for their next fix to hold down a steady career) where they can’t be seen as they gobble down the steaming hot liquid. More likely, they’re in a box on some sidewalk under the highway overpass, or in a house with a shaky foundation and an interior that might have just been struck by a rat tornado. A typical coffee user will sell his body for more joe and within two weeks looks more like a leprosy-ridden Beetlejuice than any semblance of a human being. Withdrawal is severe and will induce quick insanity; those who go too long without a fix are in danger of grinding themselves up in order to make homemade coffee, or “razz” as it is commonly called in coffee jargon. The majority of users will be dead within forty days of their first sip. The rest will be dead within thirty days.

Fictional character, or typical coffee user?

Fictional character, or typical coffee user?

Meth, on the other hand, is just as addictive, but for some reason, it doesn’t have quite the same stigma. It’s served in restaurants, in kiosks in the mall, in push carts on city streets. There are even conglomerate chain meth shops like Methbucks that serve millions of customers a day (though generally the meth at these establishments is overpriced and less flavorful than stuff you can buy at family-owned, non-corporate stores). Oftentimes a company will have meth waiting in its kitchen for its employees to jump start their day as they arrive to work. Friends meet up for meth breaks in the afternoon and families enjoy a nice line of meth in the evenings after dinner. When students are studying ferociously for final exams at universities worldwide, they find that they can stay awake longer with nine or ten pipe bowls of meth.

Frankly, I don’t see why coffee is so taboo and meth is so whatever. It seems a bit off to me. If anything, I think it should be the other way around. But I’m a dreamer, and that’s just wishful thinking.


Taco Night’s superiority

April 28, 2009

Why, when people are making tacos for dinner, do they declare it to be “Taco Night”? What is it about making tacos that gets people so excited that they dedicate the entire night to that meal? This is rarely done with other entrees. You don’t hear much brouhaha about meat loaf or chicken. With those items it’s always “We’re having meat loaf tonight” or “We’re having chicken for dinner,” but never “It’s Chicken Night!”

Seriously, if you Google “Taco Night” you get pages and pages and pages of websites with webmasters who are excited about eating tacos. If you Google “Chicken Night” the first three hits are:

1. Chicken Night (2001); the IMDb page for a 13 minute film with the intriguing plot of: “A little girl narrates her experience with cooking with her single and very pregnant mother during a typical afternoon.”

2. Amazon.com: The Click List: Best in Short Film: Season 2, Episode 4 “Promtroversy / Chicken Night”: Video On Demand; a page which allows you to purchase for download a combination of two short films, one of which is very cleverly called “Promtroversy” and is about: “It’s prom season again in Sherman Valley, Ohio, prelude to the biggest night on the town’s social calendar. But this year, something’s different.” The other film is the aforementioned “Chicken Night.”

3. Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead; the official website for a film with this name, including scores of fellating reviews, one of which exclaims: “It is just about as perfect as a film predicated on the joys of projectile vomiting and explosive diarrhea can be!”

So to recap: Googling “Taco Night” will result in interesting taco recipes, information about restaurants that specialize in tacos, and people’s personal anecdotes about the success of Taco Night in their homes. Googling “Chicken Night,” on the other hand, results exclusively in plugs for chicken-centric films (some involving genuine human emotion and drama, others involving projectile vomit and explosive diarrhea).

Strange.


Blatant hypocrisy re: swine flu

April 27, 2009

Recently, the swine flu has been sweeping the globe and scaring/killing the inhabitants of this fine planet. What is not being reported is that the human flu has been killing swine for a number of decades. Why all the heartfelt concern for human life and yet the well-being of these hogs is continuously unaccounted for? I’ll tell you why. Pigism.

We hear all this talk about racism and sexism and other discriminating isms, but pigism is either ignored or mocked. These pigs are people, too, and it’s about time they get equal treatment. Aside from being eaten, of course. I mean, I’m always down for some pork chops, but I’m almost never down for human chops. Let’s get that straight; I’m not a cannibal anymore. Regardless, with the notable exception of our tendency to eat them, we should pay the pigs the respect that we seek in return from them.

Let me tell you a little story about a pig named Glen. He was born in Ohio in 1974. He contracted the human flu in 1983, and he died the day after diagnosis. Did anyone start panicking about a possible worldwide pandemic? No. Did anyone start looking into ways to prevent the disease from spreading to other pigs? No. Did anyone attend Glen’s funeral? No! He didn’t even have a funeral! He was just left to rot in a dirty field. And rot he did. Maggots infiltrated his innards and pretty soon, ol’ Glen was barely recognizable. And yet nobody cared.

Glen, still alive, pre-flu

Glen, still alive, pre-flu

Let me tell you another little story about a pig named Glen (a different pig named Glen than the aforementioned pig named Glen). He was born in Iowa in 1996. He was sent to a slaughterhouse in 1998 and subsequently packaged into a variety of hams, bacons, and ribs to be distributed at a supermarket in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. And he was delicious! I myself had two ham sandwiches thanks to Glen. And a ham and cheese sandwich. What a pig! What a guy!

Now let me tell you about a person named Glen. I don’t know when he was born, and I’m not even sure his name is Glen. It might be Luke. Who knows? Point is, he has the swine flu. And we’re all up in arms about it. “We have to put an end to it, we have to put an end to it!” Oh YEAH? Well tell that to the other Glen (1974-1983)! Why does his death have to be for nothing, while human Glen (who actually doesn’t even exist and is just a hypothetical Glen invented for this post) is some sort of tragedy?

I’ll tell you why. Pigism. It’s disgusting. I quit.


Dog in the bathroom

April 24, 2009

My dog’s days consist of a series of long naps in a rotating group of locations throughout the house. Around midday, she chooses to sleep in my bathroom. Which is okay with me. Except when I have to go to the bathroom. Then it becomes a little awkward.

I would feel weird peeing with my dog resting a few feet away, but I would feel bad waking her from her sweet slumber so that I may excrete. It’s a complex dilemma.

The dilemma, visualized

The dilemma, visualized

Not as complex if I have to shit. In that case, she’s outta there.

Then I think about what it’s like when my dog is peeing (or pooping). She goes outside in the front yard, and I’m right there with her, watching to make sure she does her business. She doesn’t seem to mind that I’m present for her bathroom escapades, scoping out her every move like a hawk. If she does, she doesn’t tell me. And that makes me feel a bit hypocritical.

Half of me attributes her lack of concern for being watched as she shits compared to my lack of lack of concern for the very same thing to the fact that she’s a dog and is significantly less intuitive than a human. The other half of me thinks that she’s just a laid back pup, who tackles life with a “If you want to watch me shit, be my guest” attitude. And if that’s the case, I have to commend her.


Burnside revisited

April 23, 2009

I know this topic has already been beaten to death twice over, but it’s time we revisit the subject of Ambrose Burnside’s sideburns.

Burnside

Burnside

These things are, there’s no other way to put it, damn impressive! I’m a facial hair enthusiast myself. I like having a beard. I like visiting beards.org. I think they’re manly and beautiful things. But I never, ever had or will have in the future the audacity to grow a pair of chops like those. Talk about ingenuity!

Not only are those things brave and bold, but they were the first of their kind to be showcased on a man’s face. You might notice that the word “sideburn” and the name “Burnside” are eerily similar. Eerily similar? Okay, I may have gone too far. The comparability of the two words is not really eerie. But similar, yes. Very similar. That’s because, as you might have already guessed, the term “sideburn” is derived from ol’ Ambrose himself. He created the style!

The American Civil War period is today known for being– among other things like the costliest American war in terms of lives (which makes sense, since both sides were American) and the inevitable (but highly misunderstood) march towards slavery’s abolition– a hilarious display of increasingly wilder facial hair arrangements. Literally everybody had some sort of beard or ‘stache that at the time was considered perfectly normal but today would turn heads. And then there was one man who created a pattern of hair so unique and innovative, that it defied the accepted practice of the day and made heads turn back then.

Who was this man? Clearly, I’m talking about Burnside. I like to think about what he must have been thinking at the time. “What can I grow on my face that will stand out in a world full of men who are constantly wondering what they can grow on their faces that will stand out among the other men who are wondering what they can grow on their faces?”

He must have experimented for a while. A long while. You don’t invent the sideburn overnight. But then one day, JACKPOT! “I’ll grow a beard and a mustache, but without the rest of the beard and with a little extra mustache.”

I can’t imagine the reaction, at first, was good. People probably sniggered as he walked by. “Look at that asshole Burnside, trying to invent a new style of facial hair. What an asshole! LOL!” They probably didn’t say “LOL,” because Internet lingo/acronyms had not yet been created, but they probably did laugh out loud, which is what LOL stands for, so I take it back, they did LOL.

But over time, it grew on them. (Pun????) And Burnside, instead of being known for such awful military blunders like The Crater (at Petersburg), is instead known as a hairtastic inspiration to future male generations.

Well done, Burny.

Burny with whiteburns

Burny with whiteburns


Right fielder Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse

April 22, 2009

I am sad today, because the Florida Marlins baseball team, of which I am a diehard fan, was swept in a three game series by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

I’m not necessarily surprised, because for some inexplicable reason, the Marlins have played pretty badly at PNC Park in recent years. I am, however, amused. Amused that while my baseball team played the Pirates of Pittsburgh, a pirate of Somalia cried in court in New York City.

A lot of people are asking what should be done about this pirate, who charged the Maersk Alabama at gunpoint and eventually took Richard Phillips captive. Should he be tried as an adult or a juvenile? It’s unclear whether he is actually 18. It’s unclear of whether he was forced into piracy to begin with. One defense is that the pirate is a victim himself. If convicted, what should happen to him? Should he spend the rest of his life in an American prison?

I’m in shock that the answer isn’t as apparent to everyone else as it is to me.

Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse is a pirate.

There is a baseball team in Pittsburgh called the Pirates.

That baseball team has not had a winning season since 1992. Playing for that team, in front of a daily attendance that’s even less than that of my beloved Marlins, is a punishment in itself.

My suggestion is that Muse play baseball for Pittsburgh. Sure, that might make the team worse, considering everyone on the team has played baseball their whole lives while all that Muse has done his whole life is pillage peaceful foreign vessels in the Indian Ocean. But who cares? Nobody actually likes that team. It would be a great way for Muse to understand and ultimately bond with Westerners. And if he strikes out a lot, or misjudges a fly ball in right field, or doesn’t run out a pop up, we can all just laugh and say, “Oh, that silly pirate!”

Muse, en route to Sports Authority

Muse en route to Sports Authority

Side note: This would make a good sitcom.