Monday, January 12, 2015

Four Horsemen of the Denver Broncos Apocalypse

Manning, Fox, Del Rio, and Elway.  These are the men who are just in the early stages of enduring an off-season full of skepticism and doubt from Denver Broncos Nation.  But once this week of fury wraps up, who should go and who should stay?

Peyton Manning arrived three years ago and delivered two number one playoff seeds and a number two seed.  The Broncos are coming off a Super Bowl season a year ago.  They have lost one game in three years of absolutely dominating the AFC West.  And yet, a massive chorus from fans in the Mile High City is calling for the quarterback to retire.  Of the Four Horsemen, Manning is by far the easiest to forgive.  Life without a quality QB in the NFL is poor, brutish, and short.  People are mad the Broncos didn't win a ring any of the last three years, so I can't imagine what they'll be like if Peyton is gone and we quickly drop to being the third best team in the Division without playoff appearances at all.  Many don't want to hear about Manning's quad injury citing it as a meaningless factoid or excuse which doesn't merit consideration.  In reality, it's likely to be the largest contributing factor in Peyton going from being considered one of the games elite and a fantasy football dynamo to being considered a washed up bust all in the matter of the Broncos final six games.  How about psychotic fans leave and Manning stays?

John Fox was so right when he was hired, if for no other reason, because he wasn't Josh McDaniels.  Josh wore a hoody with cut off sleaves like Belichick.  He showed a disregard for loyalty to veteran players just like Belichick has with everyone not named Tom Brady.  He cheated with film just like Belichick did.  And yet, he was no Bill Belichick.  The players like Fox and trust returned to the locker room and the front office.  Fox coolly survived the coming and going of Tebow-mania and greatly assisted in landing Mike McCoy his first head coaching job.  With Manning, Fox generated fantastic results right up until the Broncos three playoff ousters, but that's exactly where the good news ends.  In the Ravens game in January 2013, the Broncos should have taken Peyton back onto the field to attempt a post Rahim Moore brainfart drive to Prater's incredibly long field goal range.  That was strike one.  In the Super Bowl last year, the Broncos simply looked unprepared and while Peyton ate the "not a great playoff QB burritos" that everyone in the media was serving up, it was Fox who ultimately failed that team the most.  That was strike two.  And yesterday when the Broncos players, who seem to love Fox, just quit on the field, that was strike three.  This guy doesn't finish last.  He finishes sixth to last or second to last, and he finally has struck out.

Jack Del Rio has been a head coach in this league.  He was a long time tease to make a splash with tough nosed Jags teams that could never quite make a name for themselves in a Division with the Colts and Titans.  He was a head coach again when John Fox needed to temporarily leave the game for medical reasons.  His defenses in Denver haven't been perfect, but in most games they've been good enough.  In spite of the massive point total for Seattle in the Super Bowl, his unit was actually the highlight for Broncos fans as they gave the offense chance after chance to stay in the game during the first half.  Yesterday, the Broncos just needed two things.  The deep and talented secondary needed to lock down and underwhelming receiving core and the Broncos pass rush needed to get to Luck.  Neither of these things happened and Del Rio never dialed up more pressure.  And with that, Jack can go where the grass will never be greener in Oakland to get another head coaching chance.  Thanks for all you've done.  Now hit the road Jack.

John Elway is immortal in Denver as its greatest sports hero.  When he came into the Broncos front office, booted Tebow, and went to work on assembling the greatest free agents that capped money can buy, it was clear the Broncos had a chance at greatness.  The pickups of Manning, Rodgers-Cromartie, Sanders, Talib, and Ware were huge swings that have worked well overall.  The draft has generally been a mess.  Now the Broncos are entering a summer full of uncertainty with questions about Manning's return, a free agent Demaryius Thomas, a free agent Julius Thomas, and an offensive line that has often been offensive to watch this year.  The job that Elway has done has earned him a lot of good will and trust and he'll need to cash that in during 2015 to keep hope of this generation of Broncos bringing home a Lombardi Trophy alive.  The good news is that John is one of us, so giving him more time is a no brainer.  The bad news is that John is one of us, so if at some point he does need to go it will require an anesthesiologist to help everyone cope with the trauma.  Of course Johnny Ballgame stays.

This will be an off-season of change, as well it should be.  The disappointments of the recent playoff losses may seem like the end of the world to fans with lofty expectations, but it's silly to overlook the incredible joy of three straight seasons of general dominance.  In jest I call this fan reaction an apocalypse, but the sun will rise again and cast orange on our blue sky.  The next season is bright with some new coaching blood undoubtedly on the way and return of Manning who ages like a fine wine in spite of incessant whining and bellyaching of fans this past month.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Shame On the Game

When it comes to the steroid era in baseball, going after the players is fine and good, but only if they have actually violated league rules or state or federal law. Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod) appears to have taken steroids, but it was prior to league rules prohibiting such usage. The testing revealing A-Rod's usage was suppose to remain confidential and thus a horrible breach of player privacy has occurred as it has so often in the past. A-Rod has not been tried, not to mention charged, for any state or federal crimes. A similar situation exists with many of these players, with the big exception coming with players who lied in grand jury testimony and have subjected themselves to federal penalty.

Meanwhile, the MLB executives, most notably Commissioner Bud Selig, and team owners have come through all of this unscathed. They built back their sport after the players strike in 1995 using the longball. The revitalization of the Yankees, powered by several players appearing to have been bolstered by performance enhancing drugs, put together a dynasty that drew tons of fan attention. In short the owners and the league endorsed this drug usage if nothing else by passively allowing it and not pushing for drug testing to protect the health of the players and the integrity of the game.

There should be no striking players names from the record books, because we will never know which records have been tainted by drug usage. Why should Barry Bonds be outcast while the Yankees keep all their World Series victories during the last decade and a half. It's a slippery slope that could lead us to erase 30+ years of history in order to properly remove any taint from the record books. Frankly, that type of witch hunt is ridiculous and useless. Leave the record books as they are and people will always know that this era, and maybe on into the future, all records are subject to the use of enhancement products.

Shame on the players that did this and the league and owners that allowed it while everyone in the sport got rich in the process.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Pepsi Owns Diabetes

I completely abhor the mass consumption of soft drinks in this country and around the world, because it is such a major contributor to obesity and diabetes. But Coke and Pepsi hold a stranglehold on this juggernaut and if these two purveyors of "kiddie suds" were to be judged simply by their Super Bowl Ads I would have to crown Pepsi the King of Diabetes.

Coke tried to remake the famously touching "Mean Joe Green" ad and completely disrespected a classic piece of television and Troy Polamalu in the process.


2009 Abomination

On the other hand Pepsi released a sensational cross generational multimedia masterpiece with a remake of "Forever Young".

2009 Masterpiece

Did you see that? Will.I.Am and the new Pepsi logo with a striking similarity to the logo of our new president during his campaign. Pepsi is the Obama band wagon baby. Hop on and crack a cold one!

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, CAN'T LOSE!

Recently I became completely addicted to NBC's Friday Night Lights. The show tells the story of life at Dillon High School in fictional Dillon, Texas. The show focuses on the lives of the Dillon Panther football team and the career of Coach Eric Taylor. It's a program that flourishes due to it's extensive character development, high production value, and satisfying script writing.

The show completed its third season on Direct TV's channel 101, but is now re-airing those episodes appropriately enough on Friday nights. The entire first and second seasons are available at, which happens to be my favorite flash based video site yet and it's even all legal. The third season is being posted on Hulu after the episodes air on NBC the next few months. The sad thing is, despite all of the available options to watch this show I read that it has an uncertain future and may not be back for a fourth season. I have posted the pilot episode here and encourage you to give the show a try.

I could talk about why I like all of the characters and plot lines, but if you watch the show you will see soon enough. What really amazes me is how nostalgic the show makes me feel. I am kind of a sports nut, but that's not why I love the show. High School was the best time of my life. I had the best friends of my life there and I felt important and loved. I was kind of an obnoxious tool at times, but that's just part of being maturing adolescent. Friday Night Lights has all the drama of high school and captures all of the nervousness and neurotic activity of teens, but also the swagger, cockiness, and exuberance that young people have as well. When I watch the show it reminds me of how I want to remember high school. The rumor mill, the nosiness, the scandal of it all were titillating.

When I left A-West at 17, I thought we were the greatest and most impactful class the school had ever seen. I have hardly stepped foot in the school since the day I graduated and have since realized that life goes on and we were just one of many celebrated classes to move on from that high school's halls. Despite that realization that in reality I wasn't as great as I remember, high school was still great because my importance in the world was real to me then.

Friday Night Lights takes me back every time I watch it and all the wonder and excitement of my teens flood back into my mind.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Less Idle More Barrister

I PASSED! Okay, it was a week ago that Colorado finally let us exhale after two and a half months of waiting. I pass on my congratulations to all the other July 2008 passers and my best wishes go out to all bar test takers as they move onto their next step whatever it might be.

Things have gotten busier at the law offices all of the sudden and as such I have neglected the blog since last month. This is good however, because it has kept me busy and after the swearing in on the 27th I will be a real attorney with some work to do. Like I said, less idle more barrister.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Smart Cars Are Stupid

In the past month I have seen about a dozen Smart Cars zipping around the Denver Metro. While they look like little death traps next to the SUV's that still dominate the roadways, I thought that maybe the Smart Car would be perfect for someone worried about conservation and economy. But upon further investigation I was disappointed to find the Smart Car is neither a thrifty buy nor is it particularly impressive when it comes to conservation.

With new Smart Cars in the US selling for over $13,000 starting price, you are getting no real bargain when you can buy a new Corolla for about $2,000 more and actually own what has historically been the best compact ever made. Then there is the fuel economy of the smart car 33 mpg city and 41 mpg highway. Sure that mileage is fantastic if you are bumping up from the 11 miles per gallon you were getting driving your suburban around town, but compared to the Geo Metro's achievement of 38 mpg city and 45 mpg highway for nowhere near the equivalent of a $13,000 price tag back in the 1990's it really is not that impressive. The aforementioned Corolla boasts 27 mpg city and 35 mpg highway, which is a far cry from the Smart Car, but you can actually comfortably fit 4 people in the car with trunk space to boot.

For such a small vehicle, I would have hoped that modern engineering would allow the smart car to do more than simply match the highway gas mileage of a hybrid such as the Prius with its 48 mpg city and 45 mpg highway. The Smart Car came to America thanks to an investment by DaimlerChrysler. Why is it that when it comes to new car technologies American companies are more about gimmicks than they are actual progress in conservation and lessening the dependence on foreign oil? The first major hybrids for Ford and Chevrolet were the Ford Escape SUV and the hybrid Chevy Tahoe. You have to be fricken kidding me. You take the most heinous gas guzzlers on the road and develop them to the point of mediocrity. Meanwhile Japanese car makers took vehicles that were already more efficient and more reliable and were the first to market with hybrid vehicles in the US. It is not anti-American for me to say that Ford deserves to be getting its ass kicked. They would rather lobby to prevent higher fuel efficiency standards than to just build their future through progressive thought. Henry Ford should be turning in his grave.

The good news is that Smart Car is developing some really interesting new electric cars and hybrids. They will be very expensive when they hit market, but with some more staggering mpg's maybe then I will be impressed. For now the Smart Car is just a trendy overpriced micro-car and disappointment comes standard.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Public Indecency

For as long as there have been boobs there seems to have been public intrigue and outrage regarding female breasts, and yes the double entendre of boob meaning breast and boob meaning stupid person was intended. Did you think that seeing 90% of Janet Jackson's bared breast was outrageous? Well then you are a boob. It was only one breast and the nipple was covered by a star shaped nipple shield. You see more breast a thousand times over during a good day at water world or a bad night at a skanky dance club, and in those circumstances it is all socially acceptable because the nipple is not exposed. But the Janet Jackson nippleless "Nipplegate" controversy of 2004 can hardly compare to topic that has always freaked out men, breastfeeding.

Today the American people are outraged at the startling news that pictures of Jamie Lynn Spears breast feeding have made their way into the public. The reports are that this has triggered a federal child pornography investigation, because Jamie Lynn is only 17-years-old. Now I know that American men are finally coping with their male impotency problem as is evidenced by the constant barrage of Cialis and Viagra ads spamming the NFL football lineup, but men still appear to be on an Oedipus complex induced hangover dating back as far as the legend itself, which would probably be about the 5th century BC. Believe it or not guys, childhood nursing is not a sexual act, nursing in public is not indecent exposure, and while the release pictures of Jamie Lynn's bared breast during nursing may be a gross invasion of her privacy, it is no way child pornography.

So all you stodgy old perverts and gray haired judges who get so uncomfortable when you see breastfeeding in public, because seeing a bared breast makes you feel like you are being violated or that you are being forced to be a voyeur who cannot help but fantasize over exposed boob, get over it and do not project some conservative agenda on our whole society just because you are insecure. In most cases breastfeeding is the healthiest method to nurish an infant or young child. As a society we must stop oppressing breastfeeding women and start promoting this practice for the sake of our nations youth. Jamie Lynn Spears should be commended for choosing to breast feed, especially after the horrific example of parenting put on by her sister Britney who fed her infant sons junk food. When they catch the Wal-Mart employee who stole the photos he should be punished for invasion of privacy, but stop with all of the child pornography craziness already. Breastfeeding is not only NOT pornography, there is nothing indecent about the act whatsoever. The ludicrous oppression of healthful child rearing in America is the true public indecency.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Reporting With Class

Sarah Palin should not be the next Vice President of the United States, but it is not because she is soon to be the grandmother of her unwed high-school-aged daughters child. This is far from the first time that reporters and the people of this country have struggled to decide if the family members of public figures are public figures themselves. The answer to this question is that Britol Palin's personal life is off limits for any type of personal attack against Sarah Palin or her family.

In 2004, I discovered an article written by Sue O'Brien that addressed a similar situation concerning the daughter of then CU Buff head coach Bill McCartney. Unto Bill's daughter Kristyn was born a child fathered by none other than Colorado star quarterback Sal Aunese. As if this story was not juicy enough, Sal was dying of cancer. With a real life soap opera on their hands the Denver media sat on the story, as far as i can tell, out of sheer journalistic integrity. Eventually, the story came out and at Sal's memorial service McCartney made a public statement worthy of publication. I commend the journalists that decided the story was inappropriate for instant publication. There example should live on in instances such as the Britol Palin story of this week.

As for Sarah Palin, anyone who would sink low enough to decide their vote on the pregnancy of her daughter is clearly too stupid to realize she is running on the platform of being "hockey mom," who supports the war in Iraq as God's plan, and is prepared to drill oil from the ends of the earth no matter the environmental impact.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Buffs Pass the Rams

Since 1998, the first year CU played CSU at Mile High Stadium, the Buffs and the Rams have faced off ten times. Seven of those match-ups were decided by a touchdown or less. The Buffs were only 6-4 during that time period after seeing days gone by when the Buffs dominated for entire decades. Needless to say, it was high time the Buffs returned to dominance with their first double digit victory, 38-17, since 2001 when they rolled 41-14.

My prediction of a 34-21 Buffalo victory was fairly accurate and Ralphie V ran with power and perfection, which made that prediction completely accurate. Cody Hawkins impressed, particularly with his sharp out routes, and the running back core for CU looked strong with Darrell Scott having a solid debut going for nearly five yards per carry and a touchdown.

CSU fought hard, but just ran out of gas in the second half. Billy Farris and his offenisive line will have better days when they get to play the smaller defensive lines of non-BCS conference teams. Gartrell Johnson III, aka "Predator" by the fan behind me at the game, was impressive going for almost 8 yards per carry, but he seemed under utilized as the Buffs had a much easier time stopping the Rams when he did not touch the ball. I wish Steve Fairchild the best during the remainder of his first season at the helm, and whether the Buffs have really returned to dominance of this rivalry can only be determined if CSU gets a few years to rebuild the program and the pissing match between the CU and CSU athletic departments get resolved to extend the match-up in years to come.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Yes We Can Part 2

Tomorrow I will be making my second trip of the week to Invesco Field at Mile High.  This time, instead of watching Obama-mania, I will be cheering on my beloved Buffaloes as they face the Rams in this instate classic.  Despite CU's historic dominance of this match-up, in recent years the games have been close with several stunners and streaks on both sides.  In light of the parody of the last decade, a prediction is order.

While both sides have a lot of new faces, including the highly touted CU running back recruit, Darrell Scott, it is the Rams who have completely revamped their leadership with both a new head coach in Steve Fairchild and a new starting QB in Billy Faris.  The Buffs will have substantial advantage as coach Dan Hawkins has had three years to develop his program up in Boulder, while CSU will be starting a new chapter after the impressive 15-year tenure of Sonny Lubick.  In the end, I predict that, while both squads will struggle to stop the run, CU will defeat CSU 34-21 and Ralphie V will perform flawlessly in her official debut.


Friday, August 29, 2008

Yes We Can

After turning 18 on November 7, 2000, and having my first election experience occur on that birthday, I was extremely disappointed with the election of George Bush weeks later. Then as a senior again, this time in college, I again experienced the extreme disappointment of a George Bush win. These were not just defeats of Democratic Candidates, they were defeats of America's proud leadership and the esteem of our country. I was so disheartened by my experiences as a presidential voter that I feared no mater how dire the circumstances of our nation, voters would still vote for enlargement of the fortunes of the wealthy and perceived protection of the right to bear arms, keep gays single, and thump those bibles. Well tonight my mind may have been changed.

As the sun set on Denver and the DNC, the Democrats rocked Invesco Field at Mile High. I was fortunate to have avoided the mile long lines to get in the stadium, and when I arrived at the stadium after work at 5:15PM there were already tens of thousands in the stands. Sheryl Crow, Jill Biden, and Michelle Obama were all glamorous. Will.I.Am did not in fact try to adapt "I Got it From my Mama" into "I Got it From Obama," but instead performed "Yes We Can." (This video rocks! Scarlett Jo, Ashley from Fresh Prince, and Kareem are awesome.)

Invesco at Mile High

The political speakers were led by Susan Eisenhowser, Bill Richardson, and Al Gore. Mile High Stadium is first and foremost the home of the Denver Broncos, but before Obama made his appearance the stadium swelled to a near capacity crowd with over 80,000 attending; it was the largest group Invesco had ever seen. The wave surged around the stadium and pro Obama chants spontaneously burst out all evening.

Susan Eisenhowser

Bill Richardson

Al Gore

Finally, after the video introduction showing old family photos of Barack and his family, he appeared on stage and the crowd erupted. Flags waved and "Change" posters shook. The barrage of flashbulbs was blinding and never stopped throughout the entirety of Obama's speech. I sat in the South Stands, which any good Denverite will know is notorious for having the most die hard fans creating the most incredible raucous by stomping on the metal bleachers. The Obamaphiles did the South Stands proud as the noise was deafening during breaks in the speech and the ground was in constant motion.

Barack Obama

After Obama's final words, the crowd stood as one and then many were startled and elated as fireworks were launched around the stadium. Streamers streamed and confetti flew. It occurred to me for a moment that this celebration came to soon with so many months of hard work to come before the November election, but it was a wonderful week in Denver, with incredible political star power, and the Democrats deserved to celebrate and show their pride.

Firework Finale

I am an independent and have never participated in a caucus or primary, but I have long admired Barack Obama since he shockingly won the Illinois Senate seat, thanks in part to the sexual deviance of Jack Ryan. I worried that racial bias would hamper Barack's campaign, but so far I am encouraged by the massive support from people of seemingly all creeds. I think until tonight I had suffered an eight year political hangover as I have often wondered, can the Democrats snap this string of presidential disappointment?

Tonight I decided that this amazing dream ride of Obama may just come true and it is not because he is good enough. John Kerry and Al Gore were both great men and both had so much more potential than George Bush will ever have in terms of leadership, intelligence, and courage. But they lost because the question is not "can he do it?" As Obama said tonight in his speech: "... I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the naysayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me; it's about you."

The question really is "can we do it?" I did not realize until tonight just how infectious the Obama spirit of change truly is, but it moved 80,000+ people in that stadium tonight and probably millions more over the airwaves. Barack is worthy of the job but the question is "can we do it?" I have decided to believe once again "YES WE CAN!"

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I Got It From Obama

I am headed to Obama with political and musical guests. I hope that sings "I got it from Obama." Pictures later.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Red Scare and the Roads to Redemption

Red Scare

Last night marked the close of a spectacular Olympic Games. The competition saw the United States dominate in the pool, in large part thanks to Michael Phelps and Natalie Coughlin, the US showed guts in gymnastics against 14-year-old Chinese girls, and they crushed team sports in anything that required no more synchronization than volleyball. With China footing a bill totally more than $40 billion, the venues, opening and closing ceremonies, and Chinese athletic performances all met and exceeded expectations.

The world view seems to be that the gold medal count is all that matters, while the American view, in this case a self-serving one, is that overall medal count carries the day. My solution is to weight the medals to determine the most dominant Olympic nation. Gold would count three points, silver two, and bronze medals one. The Chinese won 51 gold medals, 21 silver, and 28 bronze for a total of 100 medals. The United States won 36 gold medals, 38 silver, and 36 bronze medals. Under my weighted point system China edged the United States in the medals by a count of 223 medal points for China to 220 medal points for the United States. While some might find weakness or fault adopting my point scheme, or the view of gold medal count carrying the day, the United States still made a proud showing in my opinion. The Chinese demonstrated they are willing to put virtually unlimited resources into Olympic athletics while having one fifth of the world's population to select athletes from. Whether the "Red Scare" of Chinese dominance arrived this year, or whether four years from now the Chinese will surge to the outright medal count, the United States has plenty of achievements to savor from Beijing.

Roads to Redemption

There were at least two fantastic American Tales of redemption that unfolded this August. First, there was Michael F. Phelps. There may never have been greater expectations for an athlete than to think that they could achieve 8 gold medals in a single Olympics. To perform under that kind of pressure is almost unthinkable and people may easily forget that Phelps has now had to endure it twice.

In 2004, it was speculated that Michael Phelps could possibly achieve 8 gold medals in Athens, but he came away with 6 gold and 2 bronze. That 6 gold medals could be a disappointment is truly a tribute to the awesomeness of Spitz's record, but it made Phelp's performance this year all the more miraculous. This year in the "Water Cube" Phelps was on a record breaking tear, but the two most incredible races had little to do with world record speeds and everything to do with out-touching opponents by hundredths of a second.

In just Phelp's second final of the Olympics, the men's 4x100 relay, Phelp's hopes for 8 golds were almost shattered as Alain Bernard held a substantial lead after the turn into the last 50-meters, but Jason Lezak anchored the fastest 100-meter split in history and edged the French by .08 of a second. At the time I thought the comeback was even more amazing than two Americans tying for the gold medal in the Sydney Olympic's 50-meter freestyle, but that was before I saw Phelps race the 100-meter butterfly.

Phelps may be the greatest swimmer ever, but he is not the greatest sprinter, which makes the 100-meter butterfly a risky race for him. In the Olympic final, Phelps trailed out of the flip turn with only 50-meters left to make up ground. While Serbia's
Milorad Čavić tried to coast to gold off of his last stroke, Michael Phelps took an extra half stroke that stung the wall less than .01 of a second before Čavić and shocked the entire aquatic center. Phelps' mom was in disbelief as she held up two fingers anticipating a second place finish for her son, the Serbians were outraged even after video review to the 1/10,000 demonstrated that Phelps in fact touched first, and the United States rejoiced as the win matched Spitz's 7 gold medals and paved the road to 8.

Now a heated debated rages as to whether Phelps is the greatest Olympian ever, which is such a complicated mess that I recommend taking the easy way out and say that quantitatively, by medals in a single Olympics, Phelps is the greatest Olympian beyond any contestation. For everyone that was convinced that Spitz's record of 7 gold medals in a single Olympics would ever be matched, let alone surpassed, and for anyone that doubted Phelps had the heart to achieve 8 gold medals after the 2004 failure, may Michael Phelps forever be redeemed in your eyes.

Then there was the squad so in need of a gold medal to silence its critics that the US Men's National Basketball team was known as the "Redeem Team" this year. These high expectations were started when in the 1992 Olympics the United States decided it was time to send professional players from the NBA. This decision was spurred on by the hugely controversial loss to the Soviets in 1972 and another close loss to the same opponent in 1988. The US defended its basketball honor in Barcelona with the most talented group of players ever to play on a single team. Jordan, Bird, Magic, Sir Charles, Pippen, Clyde the Glide, The Admiral David Robinson, Ewing Senior, the Mailman Karl Malone, Stockton, Mullin, and Laettner. The team won by an average of nearly 44 points a game and coach Daly never once took a time out.

The US teams continued to be called the "Dream Team" in subsequent Olympics and World Championships, but the aura of invincibility faded until the United States suffered an embarrassing loss in the 2002 World Championships that resulted in players fearing embarrassment in Athens which led to an underpowered Olympic effort and a bronze medal in 2004. The bottom line is that after nations around the globe watched the 1992 Dream Team in awe, there youth decided to play basketball and just one generation later national teams that had been playing together for years were ready to compete with the US. Putting together a quadrennial all-star team was simply not good enough to compete anymore. Thus, the United States made players buy in for a three year commitment to playing summers together and staked their claim for a return to dominance in Beijing.

As the "Redeem Team" took the floor, the large margins of victory of the 1990's returned and the high flying acts of King James, Kobe, Dwayne Wade, and Mello awed crowds. Paul, Kidd, Bosh, and the rest of the team played solidly in support. Anyone who did not watch the final game against Spain may think this team almost folded when the lead was cut to two points late in the game, but the truth is that it was one of the ugliest basketball games I have ever seen and yet the United States never relinquished control as it willed its way to victory. Early in the game officials blew the whistles constantly, destroying defensive continuity, inflating the score, and wreaking havoc on lineups with only 5 fouls to give per player. Then in the second half the whistles stopped and the Spanish physicality set in. With the ridiculous moving screens, which are really just elbows to the back of the head, and with Marc Gasol just clearing the lane by shoving people from the paint and knocking Bosh to the floor, the Spanish got back in the game. When Kobe converted a four-point play and put his finger to his lips to taunt silence, I would have usually, under normal circumstances, been annoyed by his gall, but the way the Spaniards aggressively attacked the US in the second half of that game, Kobe was completely vindicated.

This team not only won, they did it with class and style. They stepped atop the podium together, they all lent their medals to Coach K for a photo op, and they had the twelve brightest smiles I have ever seen from grown men. They were not the "Dream Team" as these players were still doubted by critics everywhere, they overcame adversity and doubt and they showed that even today's finest NBA players can fit into a team concept. The were the "Redeem Team", and they represented this great nation proudly.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Scotty Doesn't Know

I am in my mid 20's and maybe I should have matured beyond my enjoyment of risqué music, but I just cannot help but be amused by lewd and unsophisticated lyrics about sex and debauchery.

This week, while internet surfing to the myspace page of the local sports bar with my friend visiting from Chicago looking on, a new melody with these childish words hit our ears: "Scotty doesn't know that Fiona and me do it in my van every Sunday!" My friend and I were both thoroughly amused and listened to the song in its entirety and then replayed the lyrics about Fiona pseudo-cuckolding, without the nuptial relationship, poor Scotty.

My friend and I, upon hearing the song, immediately thought back to 2003 when I had first discovered the music video for Custom's song, Hey Mister, a minor pop rock sensation about the band leader defiling some poor bastards daughter while he "eats her like ice cream, maybe dip[s] her in chocolate." I had unwittingly downloaded the music video from a p2p client while trying to build up a computer collection of music videos. As I watched the scenes of the girl's body being scribbled on with marker, drawing the lyrics in the sand with a stick, pulling slow motion rewind doughnuts in a Ferrari, and seeing the white bikini bottoms with "Hey Mister !" written on with marker, I could not help but wonder who made this piece of crap video.

I immediately sent the video to my friend and simply asked, "Is this the official Custom video or was this piece of crap made by some film students just screwing around." We both set to the task of researching the custom video on the internet and decided that it was the official video after visiting Custom's website to find that bikini bottom panties with "Hey Mister !" written on them were actually for sale from the website. Further confirmation came when we discovered a college journalist's school newspaper review of the video condemning it for being such a considerable piece of shit. The song was obscene, the video was horrible, and my friend and I both totally dug it.

So naturally, after hearing Scotty Doesn't Know by Lustra, we both wanted to know if the song had a craptacular video to accompany it. We were far from disappointed. A visit to youtube yielded a scene from the movie Eurotrip for which the song had in fact been created. For some completely inexplicable reason, Matt Damon is the star of the scene as he appears with a shaved head, more piercings than a classroom at Naropa, and a large neck tattoo. Damon is the lead singer of the band, and also happens to be the one who has been banging Fiona for quite some time as he says "happy anniversary baby" when Fiona joins him on stage to sing Scotty Doesn't Know. Damon really gets into it with plenty of wild gestures and trills into the microphone, but it is obvious from the 3 minute 32 second video that Eurotrip is tremendous piece of garbage; which we of course immediately confirmed by watching Eurotrip in its entirety right then and there.

Despite the five year gap between discovering these two master pieces of music and film, I clearly have maintained my appetite for the vulgar. I could try to always act like the sophisticated grown up professional that I play on work days, but enjoying simple lyrics about promiscuity with a friend is just for fun and hopefully still somewhat age appropriate.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Obamanaut Heads to Denver

The Democratic National Convention rolls into Colorado next and tightwad conservatives all over the metro area are complaining. "The leftist media spurns McCain and only focuses on Obama." "Obama is an elitist." And my favorite complaint of all: "The traffic will be horrible let's head for the hills."

First off, complaining about media slants is like having an argument about if someone counted to six or half a dozen. If you like hearing Dan Rather do the news, listen to Rather. If you prefer Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh, then get news content from them. Sure people perceive political leanings, but news sources are in near infinite supply online, on television, on the radio, or even still in print, so get your news from whatever source you prefer and shut up about slants.

Secondly, some people may consider that Obama's prevalence in the media and current momentum to be because of a biased media frenzy, but those people should consider that it may actually be because Obama participated in a primary race. Obama had to run against the Clinton machine while McCain breezed through the joke that was the Republican primary with the major competition coming from the likes of Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. Somehow stories about McCain running against NO ONE did not have the appeal of reporting on actual campaigns, debates, and election results.

As for all this business about elitists, the presidency has been a position for privileged old white men for more than two-hundred years now. Our incumbent president comes from a wealthy oil family in Texas and was handed baseball teams and oil companies to manage before getting into politics, and yet Obama has been the one who gets nailed with the "elitist" catch phrase. If Obama speaking out against the voting habits of gun happy Americans, the bible belt, and rural America in general makes him an elitist then I guess I am one too. Of all of the American people who have not been earning an annual income over six figures in their household and voted red in 2004 and 2008 how many of them are really better off today than they were eight years ago?

Back to the local perspective, for those in the Denver metro that are crapping their pants over DNC traffic and making plans to spend the week visiting the Kobe Bryant suite in Eagle County, enjoy your time in the mountains, but know that events like National Conventions are part of being a world class city. Despite the persistent fight against decent public transit in Denver waged by all of the automobile lovers, light rail will be coming to the greater metro area over the next seven or eight years. Imagine if we had just started the project seven or eight years sooner. Public transit would be there to carry the burden of bringing large events to Denver and working class everywhere could hop on a light rail car instead of getting gouged at the $4 a gallon pump on a weekly basis. Maybe one day soon Denver will have decent mass transit and be able to host large events without Coloradans freaking and, like the Pinocchio of metropolises, Denver can declare "Now I'm a real city!"

Finally, I should not stop without saying that Obama's meteoric rise is inspiring. The undermining of the media, Obama's background, and the DNC itself is a tribute to the fear that Obama already inspires in the hearts of his opponents. I am only in my 20's and lack the perspective to appreciate the political climates of decades gone by, but I know that I feel a desperate need for change under the leadership of a transcendent figure. Is Obama the one? The DNC is the perfect opportunity for Denver to try to find out.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Whining Is Not An Olympic Sport

I have loved the Summer Olympic Games my entire life.  I can still remember watching Greg Louganis win gold twice in 1988 when I was just five years old. I remember the dominance of the Dream Team in Barcelona, as the US put forth as dominant a performance as the world has ever seen with the greatest collection of basketball players ever to grace a single team. In 1996, I was 13 and had a serious crush on the entire US women's gymnastic team, particularly the two Dominiques, as they gutted out victory. Four years later, I watched the the swimming competitions that were the trademark of the Sydney games. Australian Ian Thorpe dominated with his size 17 feet and American Amy Van Dyken showed longevity by following up four gold medals in Atlanta with two more in Sydney. However, the ultimate highlight came when Americans Gary Hall Jr. and Anthony Ervin tied for Gold in the Men's 50 freestyle, a race where the entire final field competes down to the tenths of a second. In 2004, while track and field bogged down in the midst of the ever present BALCO/performance enhancing drug freak out, my Olympic experience was saved by my discovery of the fairly new competition of women's beach volleyball. Not only were there beautiful athletes competing in bikinis, but the American teams of Kerri Walsh and Misty May and Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs kicked ass bringing home gold and bronze medals respectively. With so much drama, courage, international intrigue, and even plenty of sex appeal who would not look forward to this quadrennial event?

The answer appears to be that plenty of people are ready to rant, rave, and bitch about the Olympics. China has spared no efforts in preparing for a fantastic summer spectacle. The venues are incredible. With the "Water Cube" hosting indoor aquatics, and the "Bird's Nest" hosting ceremonies and track and field, China has constructed the greatest competitive facilities since the Roman's built the Colosseum. But negative press has plagued these games for years now with concerns of security, food safety, and pollution. Food safety! Really people, we have even had the Olympics in London before and the competition was not ruined by food issues then.

Then there are the boycotts over human rights issues in China. Are there complex, compelling, and important issues at work with situations such as the Chinese occupation of Tibet? Absolutely. Is China's Olympic coming out party the proper forum for the world nations to speak out? Absolutely not. Attacking young women with fire extinguishers to show support for Tibet is as bogus as calling the Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake Super Bowl performance a wardrobe malfunction. The Olympics are an opportunity to embrace the joining of nations in peaceful competition and the boycotts of the past and present are pissing wars that deprive worthy athletes of the opportunity to compete. Chose other channels to conduct diplomatic efforts and let China have its moment in the sun.

Finally, I am sick of the sports writers who whine about the Olympics. I am a frequent viewer of ESPN programming including their talk show circuit, and I am appalled to hear several sport writers, who are heading to Olympics, bemoan their journey to China and the games themselves. These writers have an amazing cultural opportunity to spend time in the orient while simultaneously watching the most massive spectacle in all of sports. Stop all the bitching. Whining is not an Olympic sport and journalists should show some dignity and perform their jobs with at least as much professionalism as the 16-year-olds on the gymnastics team.

The Olympics have been a measuring stick for my life. I have snap shots in my mind of what I was doing every four years in late summer and who I was spending time with to watch the Olympic games. It is a time for nationalism without war and the highest level of athletic achievement. My excitement for this years games cannot be extinguished by the controversy and journalistic uproar. Let the games begin and let's R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Consider Yourself Defiled

If you ask someone who has seen Californication, “What’s it about?” chances are they will tell it is about T and A and the sexual exploits of Hank Moody. And for some people, that is a bad thing. There are plenty of David Duchovny haters out there and there are plenty of other people that reject the parade of bare breasts and rolls in the sheets. This is a great show, and not just for lovers of breasts and fornication. I implore you to recognize Hank Moody as a 21st century antihero.

On August 13, 2007, Showtime premiered Californication in its primetime lineup. We meet Hank Moody in a dream sequence. Not the traditional crappy TV dream sequence where Cliff Huxtable dreams that he and the other Cosby Show men are pregnant or Pam dreams that Bobby gets run over by Katherine Wentworth. This is the kind of dream sequence where the protagonist walks into a church, puts out his cigarette in the holy water, and has a nun throw herself upon him. As the scene shifts back to reality, Hank finds himself in a stranger’s bed being awoken by the women who was the nun in his dream. As the woman explains her husband’s lack of prowess in the bedroom the angry spouse arrives home and we get the first of many great one-liners from Hank. “I’ll just hide under your clit. He’d never find me there.” Hank escapes in his defiled Porsche convertible as the husband breaks out a headlight with a baseball bat and the Rolling Stones blare as the opening soundtrack.

The dream sequence works so well, because the world of Hank Moody is far from reality. Hank is in a rut where he is a virtual spectator in his own life as the world around him swims and every unavailable woman in California seems to flock to him while the only women he really cares about are his common law ex, Karen, and daughter, Becca. The metaphor of the dream sets up a theme for the entire first season as we wait for Hank to wake up and rescue Karen and Becca.

While some consider Californication’s depiction of sex to verge on pornography, the truth is that casual sex on television is as commonplace today as the soufflé humor of the sitcoms of yesteryear and the intriguing part is more Hank’s casual laidback lifestyle than it is the sex. Any guy, manslut or not, has to admit a certain fascination with Hank’s sexual lifestyle, but it is his ability to just not give a damn that I truly envy. Hank does not work. He sleeps, drinks, and smokes all day long in between sessions of sex with beautiful women. He has a fancy foreign convertible that he constantly trashes. He loves the sound of records and hates modern art, blogs, and “dial-tones.” Hank is a badass who beats up jerks that answer their phone in the movie theater and puts out cigarettes on pedophilic teachers. His greatest weakness lies in his pants. He cannot resist the urge to “drown himself in a sea of pointless pussy” and punches or knees to the junk are his only kryptonite in a fight. While Hank is anything but altruistic, you cannot help but root for him as bizarre situations seem to come to him just as much if not more than he ever pursues them.

My favorite scene from the entire first season comes in episode nine. Hank is driving home frustrated after a spat with Karen where she tells him she will not read his new book. Hank stops for a woman in the road who asks for directions and, for once, instead of ending up sleeping with the woman Hank’s new Porsche gets carjacked by her boyfriend. As the boyfriend threatens Hank out of the car, he pleads just to get the sole transcript of his new book from the passenger seat but to no avail. Stunned for a moment Hank watches as they speed off. Then he shrugs it all off, lights up a cigarette, and walks home.

Every day the real world seems more uptight. Everything must be better, faster, and stronger. We have to protect the world from global warming, fix corporate fraud, and defend the world against terror. We are drones to alarm clocks and schedules. The 21st century hero may be ready to cope with all of these challenges, along with the perfect home with a wife and 2.5 kids, but when I watch Californication I think of a world where Hank's imperfection has its own perfection. Hank’s promiscuity contrasts his faithfulness to Karen before she left him. Hank’s hatred of blogs and internet chat language contrasts his fondness of good writing and timely quips. Hank does not rage or curse when his new car and book drive away because it would completely contradict his casual and unconcerned nature. It is perfectly dignified and I admire it.

For 30 minutes while I watch an episode of Californication I completely forget about trying to get ahead in the world. I want to be the antihero. I just sit there and wish that I would just shrug it all off, light up a cigarette, and walk home.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Malice in the Palace Part 2

It is less than 24 hours after the worst altercation in WNBA history, and I cannot help but be amazed that history has repeated itself at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit. Back in 2004 the NBA saw a brawl in Detroit that has since harmed the game, but optimistically I anticipate the WNBA will not fall victim to the same fate. Where the NBA suffered the consequences of being called a league of thugs and punks and instigated the David Stern revolution, the WNBA may actually attract publicity that will positively promote the league.

On November 19, 2004, I remember turning on Sports Center and finding to my great shock that there had been a massive melee between the Indiana Pacers, the Detroit Pistons, and the not so gracious fans in attendance at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

Ron Artest, at that time a Pacer, fouled the Pistons' Ben Wallace on a layup attempt, which was really the smart basketball move, with Wallace making fewer than 43% of his free throw attempts during the '04-'05 season, but lacked class in a 15 point blowout. Wallace completely went nuts, which surprisingly was met with Artest mocking Wallace with a calm satisfaction as he lay along the scorers table while tempers flared on the court. Reggie Miller, the wily Pacers veteran, expected the worst from Artest and tried to keep him calm and away from trouble as he quickly grabbed the microphone headset off of Artest's head when he pretended to do a radio interview. You cannot fault Reggie for trying, after all Artest is the guy who got a job at Circuit City in Chicago after signing a multi-million dollar deal with the Bulls; he is clearly nuts. Artest's sanity could only last so long.

Pistons fan, John Green, threw the girly softball pitch of his life, drilling Artest in the chest with a cup. Then, as the enraged Artest climbed into the stands, Green played the innocent while the four-eyed dope next to him was going crazy shouting and pointing at Artest. Naturally, Artest decked four-eyes and then Artest got a face full of soda from the fan behind four-eyes. Out of nowhere, Pacer teammate Stephen Jackson was on the spot to deck soda thrower and the brawl was on. Green, the pansy cup tosser and former convicted felon, starts to sucker punch Artest in the back of the head. The stands behind the scorers table swam with flailing arms and sucker punches as peacemaking players and coaches attempted to extract the players from the stands with eventual success.

Upon Artest's return to the court two Pistons fans came onto the court to menace Artest, and as one would expect Artest got in three or four punches on one of them before his fat friend fell on Artest knocking him back. Moments later the fat friend took the most vicious punch of the night from Jermaine O'Neal as he ran in sliding across the court. Next, a police officer threatens Artest with pepper spray while Reggie Miller rushes in pleading to just get Artest off the court. It makes you wonder where this officer was when punk fans where coming on the court to attack players. Eventually the Pacers players made it off the court showered with all the trash Pistons fans could muster with the classiest fan throwing a chair.

That week the suspensions were handed down in a way that completely crippled the Pacers, which at that time was one of the true championship contenders in the league. I was upset at the injustice of rewarding the Pistons and their fans for instigating the deplorable occurrences of that night. The aftermath of the past three and a half years has been even worse. The event sparked a new era of image consciousness on the part of NBA commissioner David Stern. Players have an appearance code to follow that includes business casual dress and no headphones or medallions. Penalties for players, coaches, and owners have been ramped up. The physicality of the league has been greatly reduced as was seen most dramatically with the Heats 2006 Championship behind Dwayne Wades NBA Finals parade to the free throw line averaging over 16 attempts per game. In short the the "Basketbrawl" of 2004 gave the league a black eye that has made the NBA less entertaining to watch.

Jumping forward to July 22, 2008, the Los Angeles Sparks were playing the Detroit Shock in a WNBA regular season game. The Sparks rookie phenom and former Tennessee standout, Candace Parker, was the recipient of several hard fouls down the stretch and tempers rose amongst the players. Then off of an inbound play, the Shock's Plenette Pierson was tangled up with Parker and both players fell to the ground. Pierson then rushed Parker, bumped and straddled her to prevent Parker from getting up, and then was pulled to the ground by Parker.

Next, Pierson's teammate, Deanna Nolan, dove on top of Parker. The benches cleared. Cheryl Ford injured her knee trying to restrain Pierson and she had to be carted off in a wheelchair. Lisa Leslie, Sparks center and one of the all-time greats in women's basketball, confronted Rick Mahorn, former Pistons Bad Boy of the 1980's and also a figure in the 2004 NBA brawl. Mahorn appeared to shove Leslie to the ground, and in retaliation DeLisha Milton-Jones struck Mahorn in the back of the head. While lacking the fan involvement and long lasting drama of its NBA counterpart, this episode of "Malice in the Palace" has likely already drawn as much national media attention for the WNBA as any other event ever.

While the WNBA has long been the punch-line to many a male chauvinist joke, the truth is that these women play basketball at a very high level. The average WNBA player is more fundamentally sound, a better mechanical shooter, and a better team player than the average NBA player. The US Women's Basketball Team that won gold in Atlanta in 1996 was just as impressive as the true Dream Team of the US Men who were so dominant in Barcelona in 1992. The women of that 1996 team founded the WNBA which right off the bat was a league of exceptional talent.

With the emergence of stars like Diana Taurasi and Candace Parker the WNBA has the star power to wow arenas and TV audiences if they only get a chance. Where NBA players fighting gave the perception of thuglike behavior, this WNBA melee shows the world that the women to play with passion, fire, and physicality. I hope that ESPN broadcasts this story like crazy and with no regular season meetings left, if the Sparks and Shock meet in the WNBA finals every game better be broadcast with live national coverage on ABC.