Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Sad Sack Detroit Pistons

Their local scribes will forever be somewhere between apologists and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farmish, who could merrily find a silver lining in nuclear war, but this team pretty well reeks worse than Pepe Le Pew after a long day at a mushroom farm. Everything about it is totally screwed up.

Take the owner, Tom Gores. When he bought the team a few years back, he inherited a wonderful world-class facility -- the Palace of Auburn Hills. Then he dumped somewhere between 10-15 million bucks into sprucing it up even more. Chump change to a billionaire, but still serious money to us mere mortals.

Only to turn right around and move the team back to Detroit. The late Mike Ilitch, owner of the Detroit Red Wings, had decided the also still quite functional Joe Louis Arena wasn't good enough for him either anymore. Enter a new totally unnecessary bauble that will be called Little Caesar's Arena. And kiss several hundred million dollars good-bye. Mikey and Tommie decided to team up to put another "jewel" in the Fox District of Detroit. Along with extorting a few million tax-payer dollars along the way. And let's face it. The Fox District is to Detroit what Cancun is to Mexico. Lots of lights, luxurious surroundings, action galore, and security everywhere. But get maybe a half mile away from either, and one will quickly find themselves right back in the brier patch/ghetto/slums/blight/poverty that remains everywhere else around. It's an illusion. The proverbial lipstick on a pig, if you please.

So now the Palace will sit pretty much vacant. A colossal waste. And let's not forget, the former owner of the Pistons, one Bill Davidson, built it entirely out of money from his own pocket and put it in a place that was not only easily accessible, but didn't force even more people out of their homes either -- the dreaded "eminent domain" thing that is so wrongly applied when billionaires typically get involved in such projects. They don't care. It's only a few of the hoi-polloi -- sniff -- getting "inconvenienced".

As a team, the Pistons may be within shouting distance of qualifying for the playoffs this year in the mostly weak Eastern Conference, but what's the point? Just so they can get blasted in the first round by the likes of Cleveland or Boston? And BTW, by making the playoffs, they shoot themselves in the foot regarding the next draft. No lottery picks for you.

Their recent game against the Celtics was telling indeed. True, they only lost by 6 points. But look closer. During the contest, the Pistons shot a woeful 16 for 35 from the free throw line. Far less than .500. It's plagued them all year. The worst offender -- BY FAR -- is one Andre Drummond. During that same game, he went a pitiful 1 for 11 from the charity stripe.

Forget college, high school, or even grade school teams. They can all shoot much better than 1 out of 11 from the free throw line. Good grief, I, you, and your grandma Betsy can do better than that.

Quick question -- What did Helen Keller, Stevie Wonder, Roy Orbison, Ray Charles, and Ronnie Millsap all have in common?

If you answered they were all totally blind, you're partially correct. The other part is given a little practice and pointed in the right general direction, they could all shoot better than 10% from the free throw line. And Drummond has practiced this every day -- for years. This guy makes Shaq look like a dead-eye from the charity stripe. And most of us remember how gawd-awful he was. It's truly shameful a professional -- PROFESSIONAL!! -- basketball player isn't any better than that in a key facet of the game.

What is astounding is the Pistons are paying dear Andre max contract money when he's clearly so deficient in so many areas of the game. No outside shot. An oafish ball handler. He's OK on defense in as much as he's a big body around the rim. And he can surely dunk, Well gee, so can everybody else in the NBA. Oh wait, he grabs a lot of rebounds. Well, hell's bells, give that man $20 million bucks a year, but keep him out of the game if it's close in the fourth quarter. Otherwise, the other team will surely foul him, knowing he has about as much chance of converting free throws as I do of becoming a successful brain surgeon. Would you want a klutz like me cutting your head open to fix what's wrong inside? Probably not.

Let's get back to the basics of the Celtics game. The Pistons lost by 6 points. They missed 19 free throw attempts, and Drummond himself was responsible for 10 of those bricks. Clean that up a little bit to even the semi-respectable mark, and that 6 point loss becomes an easy win.

In every way, shape, and lack of form, this team appears to be heading nowhere fast, with little help likely coming anytime soon.

Perhaps those that used to go see them at the Palace, in the much safer environs of the northern suburbs -- like me -- and won't ever again -- have a reason to the thankful after all.

Want to go back to Detroit?

Fine, see ya, and good riddance.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Daytona 500. If it ain't broke.....

One is left to wonder about the brain trust, and I use that phrase very loosely, calling the shots at NASCAR.  They're messing with the Dayton 500 again.

Since 1959, the event has been an American "institution". The Super Bowl of stock car racing -- though why they begin the season with the biggest race has always been a sort of mystery. The "Great American Race" -- though the prevalence of Japanese automobiles and drive trains seems to be growing every year. Go figure.

1959 was a long time ago. To put that in perspective, a guy named Eisenhower occupied the White House. The ill-fated Ford Edsel was fairly new. Fidel Castro and his merry band of revolutionaries were just getting started in Cuba, and Leave It To Beaver was the rage on then current TV. In black and white, of course. The Andy Griffith Show with Barney Fife and Co. hadn't been born yet.

For most of the years since the race format was pretty simple.Go to Daytona with the best car you and your team can build, run 500 miles, and whoever finishes first -- wins.

But that wasn't good enough. They had to change the rules. This last 500 was run in three stages. Go for 60 laps (150 miles) and have a stage winner. Stop. Repeat for Stage 2. Stop again. Then run the remaining 200 miles in Stage 3. At the end, someone (this time Kurt Busch) was declared the champion. Good for him, but casual race fans don't know what the hell is going on anymore.

NASCAR will no doubt say they are weeding out the weaker competitors during the stages, so only competitive cars will be in it at the end to vie for such a prestigious title. Well OK, but if that's the case, what was the likes of Danica Patrick doing out there in the first place? She's never won squat in NASCAR, despite having a team (and sponsors) that have provided her with the best of equipment over the years. And how many $400,000 racing machines has she trashed over those years with nothing to show for it except hissy, foot-stomping fits and photo shoots for girly magazines? How'd you like to be the people footing THOSE bills over all her futile years? Go Daddy tried it for a while. Then Go Daddy -- finally went. Forget that, and who can blame them?

Not long ago, NASCAR tinkering with the cars led to them having to pair up in twos on the racetrack, like bugs humping, to be competitive. It was a joke.

Before that, they instituted "restrictor plates" on "superspeedways" such as Daytona and Talladega, which slowed the cars down and supposedly made the racing more safe. In reality, the drivers hated it and many more accidents occurred. Here's a clue. Listen to the drivers. Nobody knows more about racing at high speeds than the boys and girls behind the wheels piloting the darn things. If they want to go faster -- let them. But no, the restrictor plates bunched up all the cars where they had great difficulty passing each other -- which led to even more wrecks when they tried. This is safer? Dale Earnhart Sr. might be alive to this day if restrictor plates, which he railed against, hadn't been implemented.

They just can't seem to leave well enough alone. Three parts to the Daytona 500? Are you kidding me? How wimpy is that?

On a related note, there's probably a reason the once super popular sport of bowling is so rarely seen on TV anymore. Sure, those guys and gals are still as good or better than ever. But they've changed the scoring format. Nowadays, any "strike" count for 30 pins -- automatically. You don't have to get a couple more in a row like in the old days. A "spare" is treated the same, as is an "open frame".

Though the maximum attainable remains 300, this little gambit serves to enhance the scores. People familiar with bowling will remember the old term "Dutch 200". That was when a kegler alternated strikes and spares for the entire 10 frames of any particular game. Now, if one does the exact same thing -- that score becomes 250, for the extra 10 pins gained during the 5 frames one rolled a strike. And just what exactly are the powers that be trying to prove here? We already know these people are world class bowlers and have made it through the field of any particular tournament to advance to the top few towards the end -- or they wouldn't be on TV to start with. Does inflating their scores make them any better? Of course not. It's hogwash.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it -- dammit. What is the matter with these people?

Next thing you know, there won't be any short, bald, or fat people in the world. Just those that are altitudinally, follicly, and calorically "challenged".

But I suppose we already have that.


Stupid strikes again

News flash. Oklahoma quarterback is arrested after causing a scene, resisting arrest, having too much to drink, and generally being a public menace. So sayeth the cops.

Well, let's see. Baker Mayfield is 21 years old. Quite legal to ingest alcohol. He wasn't driving any sort of automobile. In fact, he was the guy trying to break up an altercation between a couple others. A peacemaker. But the boys in blue wanted him to hang around and make a "statement". He had every right not to. So he attempted to leave. Alas, his speech was allegedly slurred. So what? No harm done. But he had food on his presence. Is being a sloppy eater a crime these days? The thugs tackled him anyway. Enter handcuffs and being hauled off to the slammer. Now he's being portrayed as some sort of villain.

So who indeed were the stupid people here?

Speaking of clueless, Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors is up to his dirty tricks once again. No, this time it didn't involve another one of his thundering kicks to the groin area of an opponent -- but close. He tried a head shot with a flailing leg this time -- but missed. What is it with this guy? If that wasn't bad enough, with his team already far ahead of the LA Clippers, and a Clip on the free throw line -- Draymond started trash talking Paul Pierce -- who was sitting on the bench.

This is supposedly Pierce's last year in the league, and he's had a long and storied career to be sure. Quite likely a future Hall of Famer. So fans in different arenas have been giving him a sort of farewell tour as a show of their appreciation. What could be wrong with that?

But not good enough for Draymond. "You don't deserve this kind of love", he yapped. The man, if you want to call him that, is not only clueless -- but classless. A thug of the first order. His suspension from Game 5 of the NBA Finals last year -- with his team leading 3 games to 1 -- for even more of his goonish behavior -- was the catalyst that eventually saw the Cleveland Cavaliers come roaring back to take the title. But Draymond will never understand that. Did I mention stupid?

Deontay Wilder is generally regarded as a fearsome sort of heavyweight fighter. After all, he's had 38 fights and won 37 of them by knockout. And he's the champ -- at least one of them -- as boxing goes today. But he's only considered maybe the third or fourth best in the world. How can that be with such a record? Maybe because he's fought a lot of bums and old guys way past their prime.

To boot, in his most recent fight, the fix appeared to be in. With 35 year old Gerald Henderson apparently ahead on the scorecards -- who knows? -- Wilder caught him with a "questionable" punch and Henderson went down. He popped right back up and could be seen telling the ref he was just fine. So the fight went on. Wilder started throwing haymakers with both hands in an attempt to finish it. All well and good, except they struck nothing but gloves, arms, and air. No harm done to Henderson, if there was any in the first place. But the ref quickly jumped in and stopped the fight. Another TKO for Wilder.

And here's the kicker. After 37 fights, what was Wilder doing fighting in his home town of Birmingham, Alabama? Good grief, man. Champions are supposed to fight in much bigger venues at neutral sites. Like Las Vegas, or maybe Madison Square Garden. And not against 35 year old former football players like Henderson. But evidently the ref was just looking for a reason -- any reason -- to declare Wilder the victor. This was just stupid all the way around, and stunk of a fix as well.

Interesting that PGA golfer Pat Perez called out Tiger Woods as a washed up has-been. He's probably right, but getting after the pseudo-royalty that is Sir Eldrick in a public way probably isn't the smartest thing in the whole world to do. Like Trump feuding with the press, it's a fight he can't possibly win in the court of public opinion.


Then again, this guys drops f-bombs like a rapper on roids. What you see is what you get -- and it ain't pretty. Including his haircut.

For those that may think yours truly is nothing more than a trash talking fool, I have news for you. I can be nice sometimes. Just today, I bought my sweetie another dozen roses to replace the ones that were withering from Valentine's day. Plus I stopped at three local watering holes, had one beer at each and left each barmaid a $20 tip. Yep, I can be a regular super guy once in a while.

Either that, or just stupid. And hey, ramen noodles aren't so bad once you used to them.......

Friday, February 24, 2017

So you want to be an NBA star

Well, first you have to be tall. Unless your name is the current Isaiah Thomas of the Celtics, or Stockton, or Iverson, or maybe in a former life you were called Spud (Webb).

You definitely have to have a good outside shot. Unless your name is Shaq, Wilt, Worm, or maybe that Andre guy that plays for the Detroit Pistons.

No doubt you must be in good shape and fleet of foot. Unless your name is Barkley, Laimbeer, or you just got off the boat and play for the Nets.

One must be quite adept at passing to teammates. Sharing the ball, as it were. Unless your name is Kobe, Carmelo, or used to be called Chocolate Thunder and you broke a few backboards in your unbridled enthusiasm.

Playing tenacious defense is an absolute necessity. Unless your name is the above-mentioned Carmelo, or you once had the late and former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian as a mentor. Or -- you used to answer to the name Iceman, Dr. J, or Pistol Pete. Score 30 a game and maybe you can slide on the D.

You have to have some brains about you. Of course the bar is fairly low here. Put another way, if you can sign multi-million dollar checks and get a few tats, you probably pass the IQ test. A word of caution. Don't bother getting in touch with the MENSA folks. Chances are good you won't gain admittance to their club. But hey, even those guys/gals appreciate a good joke once in a while, so maybe try it once just for grins -- even if it's theirs.

For damn sure, any player that has made his way all the way up to the NBA -- MUST be able to shoot free-throws reliably. Unless your name is Shaq, Deandre, or that Andre guy from the Pistons again. Ignore them, because they are obviously laughable exceptions to the rule. Those guys couldn't throw a brick overboard in the Pacific ocean if their boat was GPS equipped halfway between California and Hawaii.

If you came from a big round ball factory school like Kentucky, Duke, Carolina, or maybe Michigan State, your chances are better to get a serious look by the pro teams. If you came from some little twerp school like Davidson, you're in big trouble. Unless your name happens to be Steph and you can shoot the lights out. And hey, take heart, ye that never even set foot on a college campus, let alone ever passing a class of higher education. Those Lebron and Kobe dudes seemed to wind up doing OK. Alas, these days they make you wait a year after high school until you're "mature" enough. Somehow the powers that be consider you a know-nothing boy at 18, but acknowledge you as a man ready to conquer the world at 19. Right.

Besides the above-mentioned qualities, though their are exceptions, it's really, REALLY helpful if one just happens to be 7 feet tall, can talk trash, and don't forget about the tats. Load up on those.

If you're an inked up behemoth with an attitude, it doesn't matter if you possess the intellect of your average green bean. Worry about that later, because cleaning that up to the ever-gullible public is what agents are for. Better yet, the always politically correct talking heads on sports channels will find a way, SOME way, to portray you as a superstar that can seemingly do no wrong. Everybody's a hero in their eyes. Might as well enjoy it, even if you're the last guy on the bench on a last place team. You da Man, according to them.

You might want to limit impregnating different women to a rather low number, say 4 or 5, lest those pesky child support payments come back to haunt you after you've bombed out of the league and are basically broke already, Yeah, the so-called fairer sex can cop an attitude like that sometimes. Go figure.

Try not to crash too many luxury automobiles and staying away from serious drugs is usually a good idea. But it's OK to do a line once in a while or smoke a bunch of weed in the off-season, as long as your agent is well enough connected to inform you well in advance when those dreaded drug testing nerds will be heading your way. Piece of cake.

All in all, it's a pretty decent gig, and you can have it if you act right -- at least to start off with. If you don't know anything when questioned, and those moments will come, just say "ya know", "uh", or "um" a lot, and smile. Smiling is good. Temperamental brooding is not, Unless your name happens to be Boogie, and he just got a ticket out of town from the lowliest of the low Sacramento Kings.

Confidence is good. Arrogance and cockiness -- not so much. Witness that Westbrook guy from the Oklahoma City Thunder that continues to spout off to other players while padding his own personal stats. See the Thunder get clobbered by good teams that are unselfish and function as a unit. Lots of money for Russell? Yes. Will he ever taste a championship? Not a chance.

So the bottom line is -- learn how to do something really, really good if you're not 7 feet tall. Maybe they'll find a spot for you. Even if not, there's worse things than working the midnight shift at IHOP.



Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Magic Johnson. Fox in the henhouse

So now it's come full circle. Earvin "Magic" Johnson has become the president of the Los Angeles Lakers. Once again the dude has landed feet first in mighty soft cotton. It's amazing how fortunate he's been over these many years.

Back when he was a college kid at Michigan State, he was lucky enough to have the likes of Greg Kelser and Jay Vincent, both future NBA players, on his team. In the NCAA Finals, they faced an Indiana State squad led by a guy named Larry Bird. While Bird was clearly the most talented player on the court, he didn't have much help. Thus Johnson and the Spartans were able to claim a championship.

After his sophomore year, Magic declared for the NBA draft. and the LA Lakers, who had somehow traded up for it, chose him with the first pick. Once again, he fell into a rose garden. Waiting for him were players like Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Michael Cooper, Norm Nixon, and Jamaal Wilkes. Not much later, the Lakers would acquire a future Hall of Famer in James Worthy. Johnson was surrounded by incredible talent. They would win some titles, while having wars with the Boston Celtics, and later the Detroit Pistons.

Somewhere along the way, Johnson became bosom buddies with Isiah Thomas of Detroit. They would even smooch at center court preceding a game. Back in those days, such an action was considered a bit strange, to say the least. There were those, yours truly among them, that thought -- hey, if you're gonna do that kind of stuff, go get a room and God bless. And spare us any videos -- please.

On a related note, his buddy "Zeke" turned out to be quite the player himself, as both were elected into the Hall as well. But Thomas was a spectacular disaster when it came to anything involving business.

After his playing days, he became a part owner and executive vice-president of the Toronto Raptors. The infighting began shortly thereafter and Thomas was forced out.

Undeterred, Isiah bought the entire Continental Basketball Association, a minor league for the NBA. Within a couple years the whole outfit went bankrupt and folded.

On to the New York Knicks in the front office. They had considerable talent, but Thomas so botched the salary cap overpaying his "pet" players, from which they've never recovered, and caused such dissension in the organization they hopelessly floundered on the court that he was fired as well.

All the while, Isiah had been raking in mega-bucks. So OK, he bombed out in Toronto and NY as a pro "suit", why not try college? So he did. Florida International hired him as their head coach. In two years, his teams would go an abysmal 12-44, and yep, he got run out of town -- again.

Incredibly, while still at FIU, the Knicks were willing to take him back, cha-ching, in some sort of "advisor" role. Right up until somebody noticed the obvious conflict of interest. You can't be on the payrolls of both a professional and college team at the same time. Duh.

Still, by all appearances, Isiah remains a happy guy. Well he should, given his spectacular failures since he played and how much money he made along the way.

But back to Magic.

In 1991, Johnson tested positive for the HIV virus. It appeared his wife wasn't the only Cookie he'd been fooling around with. Indeed, he would later admit to having mucho sexual partners, but denied any homosexual or hypodermic drug activity usually associated with contracting the disease. Well, of course he did. This was long before the "enlightened" age of the LGBT movement would come about. Whether he did or didn't will forever remain a matter of speculation. Yet one statistic would seem to stand alone. How has Magic avoided the HIV virus turning into full-blown AIDS for the last 25 years, like happens to most everybody else afflicted with the same? Actually, the answer is simple. He's got enough money to afford the outrageously expensive drug cocktail it takes to keep the demon at bay, a luxury 99% of people do not enjoy. Hence, he continues to survive while most others would have perished. Once again, he's extremely lucky.

Along his own way, Johnson teamed up with some other 1 percenters and purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers. While he likely knows little to nothing about Major League Baseball, the Dodgers have been an outstanding team featuring several All-Star talents as players. As such, and given the "market" they're in, the franchise is a virtual cash cow and the profits continue to roll in by the truckloads. Did I mention tall cotton?

So now here we have Earvin Johnson, of AARP eligible age, and he's returned to the LA Lakers as the Prez. Full circle.

And he couldn't possibly have landed in a better scenario. The once proud Lakers have not only fallen from being championship caliber, or even contenders, but have nosedived into the nether region somewhere south of atrocious.

There is no possible down-side, because they can't possibly get much worse. The only way is up. Johnson could sleep at his desk all day, or wander aimlessly around in a Pokemon stupor, and not do any further harm to the Lakers.

Despite the fact they are, by far, the second-class team in their own facility, dwarfed by the talent of the Clippers -- red-headed step-children if you please -- the Lakers continue to appeal to the glitterati, hence even more mega-bucks, and Johnson will share in those riches as well.

Yep, there's more than one reason he's called Magic. Or put another way -- some guys are just plain lucky....

Monday, February 20, 2017

You suspect they're on drugs when....

The NHL institutes a scoring system whereby a team like the Detroit Red Wings remains in the "hunt". At last look, out of 58 games played so far, the Wings have won a mere 13 of them in regulation. This equates to an abysmal .220 winning percentage, and they're rightfully in the basement of their entire conference. But due to the wacky way points are tallied, the winged-wheelers are likely only a 3 game mini-winning streak away from being right back in the thick of the playoff race.

A major TV sports network televises basketball games featuring schools like Quinnipiac, Fairfield and La Mon. Ever hear of them? Me neither, so why would we watch such tripe? Probably not even the alumni, assuming they have any, would waste their time when a thousand other channels are available. Wait a minute. La Mon? Did they name a school after that guy that used to race a bicycle over in France once a year for three weeks or so?

They expect any sort of ratings for women's college gymnastics. If you think ladies hoops has a hard time drawing fans to the arenas, this is downright shameful. Besides the stick-girl competitors, their coaches, and a couple of refs, is there anybody else in the whole building? No need to open the concession stands and what would they give to the super weight-conscious gymnasts anyway? Diet celery? One-cal tofu nachos? Does that even qualify as people food? Yuck. And some company somewhere has to step up and provide commercials for these telecasts (sponsors). So how do you think they like it when they find out later that maybe three people in the country were tuned into such a broadcast? And if it's in the wee hours, when many of these games are shown, probably two of them had fallen asleep and the other one's in an alcoholic stupor. Good luck selling products.

The announcers (and some players) go absolutely ballistic when an NBA player dunks. Hey, most everybody in the NBA can dunk. It's like making a 6 inch putt on a golf green. The player has to be a total klutz to miss it, and there's a lot of different ways to go about it, but it still counts as two points or one stroke, and we'll no doubt see a whole bunch more of them before the contest is over. Nothing special, so what is it with these guys that come unhinged with ecstasy every time it happens?

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Idle TV thoughts

At first I didn't know what to make of it, What, pray tell, is a Pornanong Phatlum? By the name, could it be an obese adult film star with a mean streak? Turns out, not. PP, no pun intended, is a Thai golfer on the LPGA circuit. And pretty good too. She was right up there in the lead at their latest event. Whew. That was a close one.

Another one is fairly confounding as well. The commercial Verizon is airing on TV. It shows their spokesman dropping a microphone, maybe on purpose. So he grabs another one and -- drops it too. Then a third -- same thing. Well then. Isn't a microphone a communication device? And isn't a cell phone used for communicating too? What exactly is the message here? That during the course of 30 seconds one can expect a call or calls to be dropped 3 times by this company? And they might be doing it on purpose? Well OK, maybe I'm an idiot but, to my feeble mind, this doesn't appear to be great advertising. I mean, would you go on TV and keep scratching at yourself if you were trying to sell some sort of soap or other hygiene product?

Speaking of close ones, maybe the UConn girls basketball team isn't unbeatable after all. Sure, we know they just rattled off a 100 game winning streak and have won the last four national titles in a row. And we also know they've been absolutely blistering most opponents this season, often to the tune of 40 or more points.

Further, the Green Wave of Tulane shouldn't have posed much of a problem. After all, they're a mere 7-7 in the same conference and 16-11 overall. To boot, last time they played, back on Jan. 22, the lady Huskies bombarded them 100-56, a 44 point thrashing.

So this game should have been a piece of cake -- right? Wrong. It was all UConn could do to hold off Tulane and escape with a very close 63-60 win. And yes, the game was as close as the score indicated.

The normally unflappable Geno Auriemma, head coach of the Huskies, looked stunned -- STUNNED. This wasn't supposed to happen. To the untrained eye, it appeared the usual dapper Geno had gone from clean-shaven at the start to a wolfmanish five o'clock shadow by the time the game concluded.

Thing is, Auriemma would likely admit that such a close call was a good thing for his team. After so many wins in a row, complacency is bound to set in on some level. What might have been even better is if his Bambinos actually -- gasp -- got beat. That would have been some wake up call. Because when the NCAA tournament starts, after likely a couple rather easy games, the competition is going to stiffen up substantially. One slip up or bad night and you're out. That just won't do after such a spectacular season. UConn and most others are no doubt expecting them roll to a five-peat. It would be quite the story/upset if they didn't.

Teams around the country had to take heart at seeing how close lowly Tulane could play UConn, probably thinking if THEY can hang, so can we. Maybe even knock them off if we play our best game.

They escaped by the peach fuzzies on their chinny-chin-chins this time.

But it showed they're not invincible after all.

Good news to all the others.

We'll see how it plays out.

Could get interesting indeed.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Bonehead Files

It seems we have a couple new members to bestow the not-so-honorable title of "Bonehead" upon.

Holy cow. Can that be right? AARP is considering issuing its own swimsuit edition of its magazine?

Well then. If it's anything like Sports Illustrated's, seniors will get to see a whole lot of pix of females in various stages of undress, up to and including nudity. Thing is, who might they be? Judge Judy? Hillary? Baba WaWa? A Supreme Court justice or two? Dang, who wouldn't be just tickled to see Ruth Bader Ginsberg frolicking on a beach stark naked? Brrr.

What they don't seem to realize is that by coming out with such an outrageous pictorial they might just lose a great deal of their membership -- see dues money. If people started leafing through that, they might keel over dead from utter shock.

Truly a bonehead idea.
Ixnay that -- please.

The ever-yappy Stephen A, Smith is back up to his boneheaded ways. As stated in this space before, his initials -- SAS --  are just about perfect, because nobody's sassier than that clown. And why does he always have to get wound up like Barney Fife on 'roids over the most mundane of topics?

The rumor has been floated that the Houston Texans and New England Patriots might consider swapping J.J. Watt for Rob Gronkowski even up. If true, interesting. Both are certainly dominant players -- when they can stay healthy -- which doesn't seem to be very often. Both would likely cost a fortune to sign long term. The Pats could use an edge rusher, and didn't they just march through most of the regular season, playoffs, and miraculously win another Super Bowl without Gronk? He likely wouldn't be too happy to leave, especially bound for a sub-par team like the Texans. Watt would be thrilled to finally get a chance at a ring. Lots of subplots on this trade possibility.

But then along came Stevie with his two cents worth. Watt's job is easy, he said. All he has to do is stop the run and get after the quarterback on pass plays. No prob, said the sass-meister.
Never mind that on every play, he gets into a virtual car wreck with a 300+ pound offensive lineman.

And right then, yours truly would have gladly ponied up a C-note if someone would have countered Smith with the following:

What about your job, Stephen A.? You spend a couple hours in make-up, have the majority of your future dialogue given to you by various off-screen stat geeks, then come out here and flap your clueless gums about sports you never played -- while raking in mega-bucks. How easy is THAT?

Yep, the SAS man most definitely deserves a plaque and immortal place is the most un-hallowed of halls.

Welcome to the Bonehead Files indeed.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Mayweather/McGregor folly

Could it actually happen? Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor squaring off in a bout?

Maybe, depending on which rumor one wishes to believe. But there's a lot of things wrong with this.

McGregor says Mayweather needs him more than the other way around. That's laughable. Mayweather has somewhere around $400 million in the bank, has an undefeated record as a pro boxer (49-0), and will turn 40 years old in a matter of days. The LAST things he needs are more money, risking his unblemished record, and getting in the ring with a crazy Irishman intent on doing him serious bodily harm at his age. Over the years, he's proven all he needs to prove. Sure, he fought a lot of bums, but so did every other champion along the way. Thing is, with Rocky Marciano, they're the only two that retired undefeated. Why would he want to do this?

But, if the bout does go on, McGregor himself is likely falling into a trap. Mayweather's smart enough to pick his opponents wisely. He fights them on his terms, where and when he gets good and ready to. Remember now long he put off the inevitable confrontation with Manny Pacquiao. The Philipine had by then become a member of his country's Congress and had other duties to tend to. No way could he devote his entire energies and focus to train and prepare for a fight with Mayweather. The result was predictable.

Then again, McGregor is absolutely right on one count. Mayweather is afraid of a real fight, and well he should be. If this event occurs, it will be a boxing match, fisticuffs only, with heavy padded gloves. A REAL fight is what goes on in the Octagon. Not only fists (with much less padding), but various kicks, grappling on the mat, chokes, arm bars, and other submission holds are all allowed. Unlike the genteel sport of boxing, kidney punches and spinning back fists are just fine. Blood is ignored. Most anything goes in a true cage match -- a FIGHT -- though oddly the groin area is off limits. One can smash an opponent's windpipe, but isn't allowed to kick or otherwise strike him in the "family jewels". Killing is OK, but leave the nads alone. Go figure.

So that's exactly why, if it does happen, it won't be under mixed martial arts conditions and rules. Mayweather wouldn't last 30 seconds against McGregor in such a scenario. Floyd may train hard and still be quite quick with his fists and defensive moves, but get him on the mat where anything goes, and the dude would be serious trouble. All Conor would have to do is tackle him, easily enough done. Mayweather would either tap out or wake up in a hospital somewhere, if he survived at all.

But heavily padded fisticuffs only would give Mayweather, even at his "advanced" age, a definite advantage. He might well remain too slick for even the lightning fast McGregor to handle under such limited conditions.

In that sense, it's a dumb idea for both of them. If Mayweather did lose, especially having fought under terms he dictated, his reputation would be shattered. If McGregor lost, he'd have to hang his head in shame for having asked for such a ridiculous bout to begin with. And one of them has to lose.

Yet maybe, just maybe, it's an ego thing for both of them. Alpha males trying to prove they're the baddest boys on the planet, at least in their weight division, which Mayweather will no doubt dictate as well, and willing to do something bizarre and out of character for both of them.

It's a ridiculous premise, but ya know what?

Like so many other suckers, yours truly would likely pony up the pay-per-view bucks to watch such a spectacle as well.

P.T. Barnum was right. There's one born every minute, and obviously I'm no exception.

Bring it on.

Why not? It ain't gonna be me in there getting his brains beat out, what little is left of them......

Monday, February 13, 2017

UConn's 100 in a row

Like them or not, what UConn's lady basketball team has accomplished is incredible. Winning a HUNDRED in a row? That's three entire seasons worth. And counting.

The late John Wooden's UCLA Bruins once held the mark of 88. Geno Auriemma's teams have surpassed it -- twice. And not just broken it -- shattered it.

Detractors could argue UConn plays in a weakish conference, the American Athletic Conference. Point noted. But it's not as if the Lady Huskies play nothing but patsies. While the conference schedule itself may not exactly present a murderer's row, Auriemma has long been open to taking on all comers during the non-conference portion of it, whether at home, on the road, or occasionally at a neutral site.

Consider the current/ongoing season alone. Along the way, Geno's Bambinos have taken on, and obviously defeated, two nationally ranked #2's, a #4, two #12's, a #14, #15, and a #20. They just got done playing #6 South Carolina. That's nine games against Top 20 competition, four in the Top 6. Has any other team, male or female, had to face more top-notch opponents this year?

All due credit to the South Carolina Gamecocks for hanging in there. (Though Gamecocks would appear to be a strange name for a female team. Gamehens?) They're certainly talented, have size, quickness, and can ball-handle, shoot and rebound. For quite a while in the first half, they stared the Lady Huskies down, often leading. Quite a feat in itself on UConn's home court.

Yet slowly the tide turned, as most thought it would. UConn would go on to win by 11, 66-55, which is about as close as it gets anymore. During their 100 game streak, they've routinely pounded many opponents by 40 or more points, often resting their starters for large portions of the latter parts of games.

Now at the century mark, UConn has 4 more games to play in the regular season. The first three will likely be of the blowout variety, versus Tulane, Temple, and Memphis, none ranked in the Top 25.

Only #22 South Florida remains before they gear up for the NCAA tournament, where they'll no doubt have the overall #1 seed.

Could South Florida give them a decent run for their money? Perhaps, but likely not. When the two teams met earlier this season on Jan. 10, UConn absolutely trashed them to the tune of 102-37, an eye-popping 65 point differential. So it's probably safe to say Auriemma and his Huskie express will roll into the tournament with 104 in a row. And counting.

The big news now isn't so much how high that number might get -- if they win the NCAA tourney, they'd be at 110 going into next year -- and then who knows how much longer it could go? No, the truly big news will come when somebody somewhere actually succeeds in finally knocking them off. It has to happen eventually -- right?

100 in a row is something we'll likely never see again, by any team in any sport. Nor by any individual. It just doesn't happen -- never has. It takes too long, injuries can happen, players come and go, and the competition keeps getting better. And EVERYBODY wants to beat #1 in the worst way, so they get the best of whatever the other teams have to offer, game in and game out. All it takes is a combination of any of that -- or a single bad outing -- it happens to the best of them -- and POW, the dreaded L. End of streak.

But for now, they should be appreciated for what they have done and continue doing, with no end apparently in sight.

Incredible indeed.


Sunday, February 12, 2017

More dumb rants

Idle thoughts: So how did it come to pass that his name wound up being Keith Urban (citified), when he would make his claim to fame with rural (countrified) music?

On that note, ever notice how country stars of the past had names that the average working stiff could relate to? Johnny CASH. Charlie PRIDE. Most definitely Johnny PAYCHECK. His real name was Donald Lytle, but Paycheck and Cash surely beat the heck out of, say, Credit or, heaven forbid, Debitcard.

What do you get when one TV station breeds and becomes a half dozen of them? Not sure, but one of the byproducts might be called SC 6. The SC is short for SportsCenter, a highlight show ESPN has long featured. But the "6" will offer up talking heads Jemele Hill and Michael Smith. They used to be on something called "His and Hers". Evidently, the powers that be are trying to repackage basically the same product and get a ratings boost. Hey, Jemele and Michael, Bud and Lou, Stan and Ollie -- whatever. They are what they are, or were, and there ain't no changing the spots on those leopards. But this is what happens when a network stretches itself too thin, while trying to report on the same amount of sports worth paying attention to. The "6"? Nobody seems to know for sure what that denotes, but put a "deep" in front of it, and it might just be what the network does to this show when the ratings inevitably plummet after a year or two.

See the amazing Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder. See Russell leading the league in scoring. See him put up 30, 40, maybe 50 points. See him and his teammates trash talk former teammate Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors when they came to visit OKC. See Russell and Co. lose the game by 20.

And that's the thing. While Westbrook is so busy putting on a one man show and racking up his personal stats, that necessarily means his teammates on the floor aren't contributing all that much. Worse, if they come to overly depend on him, it will be to the team's detriment. No one player, regardless of how super-talented he may be, is ever going to win a championship in a team sport. Michael Jordan wouldn't have won squat if not for Scottie Pippen and Co. pitching in. Nor would Magic of the showtime Lakers. He had Kareem and Worthy. Lebron couldn't win until he teamed up with D-Wade and Bosh. Even in Cleveland today, he's got a worthy cast of supporting characters. The GS Warriors have a 3-headed monster, with able role players as well. Westbrook can talk all the trash he wants, be he and his Thunder will continue to go down to superior team oriented squads like the Warriors and San Antonio Spurs until he gets the rest of his teammates more involved. So while he makes the highlight reels, he's also making a fool of himself in a larger sense. And let's face it. For whatever reason, the Thunder let guard James Hardin get away from them a couple years back. He's become an MVP candidate and certainly one of the top 5 players in the league. Then Durant took a hike. Maybe dear Russell should get the message good players don't want to be on the same team with him. Either that, or change deodorants. Something....

The once proud Detroit Red Wings have thudded into the basement of the NHL's Eastern Conference. Their long run of playoff appearances appears to finally be over. Know what's really strange? Out of the 16 teams in that conference, only one has a losing record. How the heck can that be, you say? Well, this is what happens when the league adapts a politically correct scoring system. Teams are given points for games they ultimately lose. Like so many other wimpy sports these days, EVERYBODY'S has to be a winner. No criticizing allowed and nobody stinks, although they really do. Like the Red Wings. And it doesn't look like they're going to get much better any year soon.

Their coach, Jeff Blashill, successful at the minor league level, finally got his chance at the big leagues. Only to inherit a team in serious decline. Poor devil. Meanwhile, former coach Mike Babcock, who enjoyed much success with the Wings, including hoisting Lord Stanley's cup, bailed to the Toronto Maple Leafs. And after being terrible for so long, the Leafs are on the rebound, while Babcock is back home in Canada, no doubt much more happy. So guess who got the best of that deal?

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The OJ Simpson debacle

Many moons ago, when yours truly was just beginning to try his hand at this on-line sports journalism gig (sometimes referred to as a "blog" by the heathen infidels), a supreme being (sometimes called an "editor") sat me down and laid out a few ground rules. Thou shalts and thou shalt nots. One never knows about editors. Like other all-present powers, they may or may not be checking up on you at any point in time. But it's usually a good idea to assume the all-seeing eye is looking over your shoulder -- always. Get out of line and -- WHAM -- off to the woodshed you go for a proper thrashing. Been there, done that, and no thanks, it's not much fun.

Besides the obvious, such as staying away from gross profanity, and most things ethnic, religious, or political, one of the biggies was to credit one's sources if and when one kinda sorta "borrowed" somebody else's work. That said, noted scribes Michael McCann and L. Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated recently penned an article regarding OJ Simpson's possible release from prison later this year. If any of the following just happens to overlap with their fine product, I indeed give credit to McCann and Wertheim for at the very least inspiration.

Take that, Boss, wherever you are. And you can put that dadburned switch away for another day, thank you very much.

Certainly we all remember the trial Mr. Simpson went through back in 1995. It was hard to miss. Though the majority of the public to this day likely feels he literally got away with murder, I know for at least a legal fact OJ was innocent. How do I know this? Because the jury said so. They heard all the evidence and testimony and rendered a verdict. If one is to believe in the old adage of "innocent until proven guilty", then it follows that a defendant not convicted must still be innocent. But we also know it doesn't quite work that way. One charged, a defendant is never innocent again. At best, they can get an "acquittal" and be considered "not-guilty". Such was the case with OJ. So like it or not -- he walked.

At that point, he pretty much had it made. He could live in sunny Florida, where state statutes protected his residence(s) from forfeiture due to the civil suit he would lose to the families of the victims, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, two years later. Also, his NFL pension, roughly $300,000 a year, couldn't be touched either. I don't know about you, but I dare say most could get by quite comfortably on that amount of money, and Florida's not exactly a bad place to be "grounded" to. Lots of things to do year round.

On the matter of the civil case, it defied logic in a way. How could a jury find him culpable of "wrongful death" when a previous jury had already declared he hadn't killed anybody? True, the burden of proof in a civil trial is lower than that of a criminal trial, but still......

And then he screwed up -- big time. Off to Las Vegas he went with some "friends" to repossess some paraphernalia he thought rightfully belonged to him. In the process, one of his cohorts brandished a gun, the cops were called, and just like that OJ was jammed up again. This time he wasn't so fortunate.

He was found guilty of conspiracy, burglary, robbery, kidnapping, and assault with a deadly weapon. Heavy duty stuff. To no one's great surprise, the sentencing judge "threw the book" at him, giving him a whopping 33 years in prison. Many perceived this as "payback" for his earlier "non-crime" and were fine with it.

Thing is, nobody was kidnapped and somebody besides OJ had the gun. But the powers that be were on a mission to slam dunk Simpson and they knew the court of public opinion would agree with them. And so it came to pass.

One should note that prior to this, OJ's record was essentially clean. Had another citizen without the pseudo-baggage of the previous high profile trial done the exact same thing at that room in Vegas, he/she likely would have received a much lesser sentence. Maybe a few years, but certainly not 33.

OJ will turn 70 before he goes before the parole board this time around, and will have served 9 years at that time.

It should also be noted that in a prior hearing in 2013, he was already paroled on all other charges but the burglary/robbery aspects. He's also been a model prisoner while on the inside. Nary a violation or "write-up".

From a strictly objective point of view, it could be argued that 9 years in prison is more than enough for a robbery/burglary, which is the only thing keeping him in.

While the parole board certainly possesses the power of discretion, and can pretty much do what it pleases with any prisoner, again, for an ordinary citizen this would seem to be a slam dunk hearing. Of course he should get out. The 33 years was ridiculous in the first place, given the nature of the actual offenses.

But obviously, OJ Simpson is no ordinary case. No doubt, the parole board is acutely aware that if they let him out, there will be a huge public outcry of protest. The media will zero in on it and scream foul. He got away with murder again, they and the masses will claim.

Yet that's not quite right, and never has been, for the factual reasons listed above.

It remains to be seen just what the board will do, but one can bet that as the time for a decision draws near, the drums will get louder and louder and the pressure immense on those poor devils that actually have to make the call.

Will they do what is logically the correct thing? Or will they cave to the outside forces that will be at a fever pitch in protest?

In concluding their article, McCann and Wertheim offered a truism that can not be denied. Even if Orenthal James Simpson is released from custody, he'll never be totally free.

Perhaps somewhere in there, proper justice will wind up being served after all.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Tiger Woods. Reality check

Eldrick Tont Woods has withdrawn from the tournament at Pebble Beach citing "back spasms". Again.

That could raise a few questions to an inquisitive and, hopefully, objective mind.

First, were they real or faked? In other words, did he actually experience an involuntary physical contraction of his back muscles which kept him from playing on -- or -- was it just a convenient method of saving face when he continues to play so poorly?

Only Tiger knows for sure. Thing is, like your garden variety headache, back spasms (particularly after they've abated) are undetectable to the finest of medical technology. No X-Ray or MRI is going to discover whether they ever existed in the first place. So we are left with his word only. Most wish to believe him, but this certainly wouldn't be the first time the good Mr. Woods has, shall we say, stretched the truth a tad. Ask Elin.

Another question would be thus: Why is it that Tiger could "gut it out" on a "broken leg" back in the day to win a major championship, but now something as minor as back spasms totally incapacitates him? And hey, nobody walks mile after mile on a truly broken leg, so that was a fishy story even back then.

It's hard to dispute the preferential treatment Woods continues to receive. No other professional athlete in any other sport would be afforded the same. For background, consider Woods hasn't won a tournament in about 3 years, nor a major in roughly a decade. Further, he can't even seem to make a cut these days. Not even close.

In an NFL player turned in the same performance, he would long have been cut from the team.

The same goes for an NHL player. Non-productive for too long means outta here.

In the NBA, such a woeful player, for whatever reasons, would either be dismissed or find himself in the development league or overseas hoping to catch on.

Major league baseball would send him down to the minors to hopefully get his act together.

But in all cases, such an athlete, regardless of how good he once was, would no longer be allowed to play with the "big boys", at least temporarily. So how and why is it that Woods gets to keep on competing in PGA tournaments? Shouldn't he be delegated to the lesser Nationwide Tour (minor leagues) until he can prove he's worthy of competing with the best players in the world?

For that matter, if this horrible slump he's in doesn't improve some time soon, it would seem reasonable to question his very credentials as a PGA player. Only so many are allowed "cards" which enable them to compete. The question then becomes -- how bad does he have to get before they yank his ticket and make him go back through qualifying school? Oh, that's right. He never had to slog his way through it in the first place. Unlike other American players, he was given a pass.

Being ranked so low, not even in the top 500, if Eldrick was a pro tennis player, he'd find himself served up as cannon fodder to a top seed in an early round of a tennis major.

Only Tiger, and only in golf, is allowed to keep getting away with this sham.

The truly amazing thing is his legions of loyal fans (the media) continue to bombard golf fans with every and any Tiger "update" they can dig up. See Tiger drive. See Tiger chip. See Tiger putt. See Tiger 15 strokes behind. And of course, there will inevitably be a Tiger interview. Reporters hang on his every word after yet another disastrous day on the course. Nowadays, pitifully, a cast of thousands consider a "tweet" from Tiger as having the same impact and importance as if Moses just came down from the mountain with another set of tablets. They can't wait for this stuff, no matter how trivial it is. Does anybody with a lick of self respect really care what he ate for breakfast or how his practice rounds went? If that's how dumb-downed and hero-worshiping so many people have become, mankind is in bigger trouble than we thought.

But I'll just bet you a nickel that, roughly a month from now, as the Masters approaches, the media will be circling their wagons to build the hype of Woods playing again at Augusta. Never mind he not only won't be a favorite, and the longest of long shots to win. Also never mind it would be miraculous if he even survived the cut after two rounds of play -- if he can even make it THAT far, without those pesky back spasms or some other mysterious malady forcing him off the course prematurely -- real or fabricated.

The trumpets will sound and the media will swarm all over Eldrick Tont Woods with their cameras and microphones.

Given his atrocious play (and what else should matter?) of late, it is absolutely confounding why so much attention continues to be payed to what appears to be a hopelessly washed up former great.

In that respect, he is one of a kind indeed.

But that doesn't make it right.......

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Brady's jersey and dumb ads

First, a word from our sponsors. They say -- You need life insurance.

My answer would be -- No, I don't. The people that stand to inherit it are the ones that really want me to get it. My question would be -- why should I pay into something for the rest of my life just so somebody else can get rich when I die? That's a dumb idea. No thanks. If they want money, get a job like I did.

So Tom Brady's Super Bowl jersey mysteriously came up missing, eh? Well, call in the FBI and put Homeland Security on red alert, this is major news. Oh wait, because the game was played in Houston, the Texas Rangers are already on it. You know it's a slow crime day in Texas when the Rangers have nothing better to do than look for something as trivial as a football jersey.

But who is the culprit indeed, and will they ever be apprehended? Sure, if they're dumb enough to put it on eBay any time soon. If they're smart, they'll sit on it for a while and keep quiet. At least until the statute of limitations runs out, however long that is. A few years maybe. By then it will likely have appreciated in value as well. But somebody will probably run his/her mouth (brag), the word will spread quickly (especially if a reward is offered -- and Brady can surely afford it), and presto, somebody will get busted. Maybe.

Interesting. Another ad apparently offers a sort of magical elixir that can do away with a double chin. Doing away with both of them probably wouldn't be such a good idea. NO chin would look pretty weird.

Of course, they offer the "before" and "after" photos of somebody who it has worked wonders for. In the on-screen scroll, we are told these photos have not been retouched. Stop right there.

RE-touched? In other words, they're in as much saying they've been photo-shopped once. And once is one time too many. So why would one believe any other claim they might make if they can't even be totally straight with the pix?

Monday, February 6, 2017

A decidedly un-PC rant

It seems these days people are no longer allowed to criticize much of anything or anyone. In the politically correct world, one may heap praise, even if it's not deserved, but it's taboo to speak ill of someone, even if they so very much have it coming.

Well, to hell with that. Time for some righteous ripping and tearing.

Dramon Green, he of the Golden State Warriors, has been seen getting up into teammate Kevin Durant's face lately, chewing him out for one thing or another. If one were to pen an open letter to the good Mr. Green, it might go something like this ---

Whattup with you dissing KD on the court? Yeah, you might be the alpha-male and all that, but a star you are not. The team already has three of those named Curry, Thompson, and your boy KD. Your job is to do the dirty work behind the scenes. Like rebounding, playing hard-nose defense, and getting the ball to the guys who can shoot a whole lot better than you can.
If you will remember, it's squarely your fault the Warriors missed out on a repeat championship last spring. How? Because you and they were ahead of Lebron and the Cavs 3-1 in the Finals, only to see it all get away from you. Why? Well, it has something to do with those thunderous kicks to the nether regions you kept giving white guys on the court. You can't keep booting opposing players in the nads and not expect to get penalized for it eventually. Poor Steven Adams of the Thunder is probably still looking for his. Due to your previous actions, you were on a short leash, bro. Didn't you get that? Then when you took a swipe at Lebron's (The KING, man) junk, even with your hand, and even if you missed, it was the last straw. So finally you did get punked and sat down for Game 5, which was in your own building. BECAUSE you weren't out there doing your part, your team got trashed, which gave the Cavs some momentum they wouldn't otherwise have had. Then you lost Game 6 in their building. Anything can happen in a Game 7, and it did. You and your boys went down. This, after a season where you set the all-time record for most wins. And then got chumped 3 games in a row, two of them in your own building when it mattered most? And all because you couldn't keep yourself from delivering seismic events to the groins of opposing players. So yeah, the whole thing's on YOU, fool. Whatchoo doing lipping off now to Kev? Shut up and know your place, or maybe you'll find yourself traded to some god-forsaken destination like Sacramento or Detroit. How would that feel? And don't tell me the team wouldn't do that because you're untradeable. Yours truly can recall when the Edmonton Oilers traded The Great One, Wayne Gretzky, once upon a time. If it could happen to him......  So get real and straighten up. Everybody's on the block if the price is right.
Best wishes
A fan, sorta

That's some kind of sorry commercial. You know, the one that shows His and Her talking heads Jemele Hill and Michael Smith doing a little boogeying. Tell ya what, Dancing With the Stars material they are definitely not. Unless, of course, they bill them as some sort of comic relief. Perhaps they could go by the name Taz and Spaz. Further, Smith sports a rather prominent ring on the fourth digit of his left hand. This typically tends to mean the man is married, and probably not to Jemele Hill, who doesn't wear a ring. Therefore, a wife is out there somewhere. Put yourself in her place. How much do you think she likes watching not only what is some sort of pitiful excuse for dancing, but Hill putting her hands all over her man and looking at him adoringly being shown coast to coast over and over again? Folks can get in serious trouble on the home front over stuff like this.

Yep, it was the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. All due praise to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

But it was also the worst collapse in Super Bowl history. Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons should hang their heads in shame. How in the hell did they let it get away from them? After a fast start, they stunk. Choked liked little dogs on chicken bones. Blew it. Or as the inimitable Charles Barkley might say -- Turrible. Just turrible. Almost as bad as his golf swing.

Well now. That felt good, being un-PC for a day. Maybe next time I'll go back to being my usual cheerful upbeat self.

Or maybe not.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The incredible Super Bowl

This wasn't supposed to happen. No way. But it did. The New England Patriots came roaring back to win Super Bowl LI. It will likely go down as one of the, if not THE best Super Bowl ever, the Atlanta Falcons and their fans notwithstanding.

For what seemed to be the longest time, the game had every appearance of a blow-out -- for Atlanta.

Rushing merely 4 guys with hardly a blitz in sight, the Falcons sacked Pats QB 5 times and knocked him down a dozen more.

New England couldn't run the ball against the Falcons.

Brady threw a "pick 6" and missed several wide open receivers along the way.

Good grief, New England's normally super-reliable place kicker, one Stephen Dostkowski, even missed an extra point.

And Atlanta seemed to have little trouble scoring after a sluggish start by both teams. They led 21-3 at one point and 28-9 at another. Up and down the field they marched -- for three quarters. Then WHAM, the door closed. They would not score again, and had to sit back and watch almost a sure victory slip away. Brutal.

Because somehow, some way, Brady, Bellichick and Co. found a way to come back and tie the game in regulation and win it on their first possession in overtime.

Once they got rolling, it was like the Pats were on a mission and wouldn't be denied. Either that, or the Falcons totally collapsed.

So then -- horrors!!! -- embattled NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had to do what he no doubt dreaded all year. Present the Vince Lombardi trophy to the "deflategate kid" and his fellow Patriots. Ouch.

Tom Brady now becomes the winningest Super Bowl quarterback ever with a total of five. And oh, BTW, another MVP award.

Life is good in New England.

Not so good in Atlanta.

Not so good here either. Yours truly was midway through a column ranting about how Atlanta had finally won something once again. The first time since way back in 1995 when one of their super-duper Atlanta Braves teams had finally managed to capture a World Series crown. Their NBA Atlanta Hawks have never won squat, and they lost their NHL team years ago. Finally, FINALLY, something to rejoice in Atlanta. The best thing since they brought back the original Coca-Cola after that disastrous experiment with "New Coke" that blew up in their faces. But all of that didn't work out so well either. Delete and start over time.

So with apologies to the Michigan Wolverines, hail, hail to the victors indeed. Love them or hate them, the New England Patriots have done it again.

And you have to admit, it was an astounding game.

An afterthought: Besides the Falcons and their supporters feeling crushed, there's another sizeable group of folks that might have it even worse. Consider those that placed wagers and bet on the Falcons to win. With the three point spread, they were ahead by 28 points at one time. No doubt, they were dancing, diddy-bopping, talking smack, and otherwise defecating in tall cotton. All was very cool and they likely couldn't wait to go collect from their bookies.

Then that pesky Tom Brady found his groove again and snatched it all away at the last second. Instead of having a C-note coming on a $100 bet and smiling at their book, they now owe him/her  $110 and have to eat crow again. How bad do THEY feel?

Ah well, as they say, ya pays yer nickel and ya takes yer chances. Or something like that. Close enough.

Super Bowl numbers and a bonehead

According to the wise guys in Vegas, the New England Patriots were 3 point favorites to beat the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl 51, and the over/under (total points scored) was set at 58.5.

Of course, that can never work out exactly because there's no such thing as half a point in NFL football. But just for grins, yours truly will attempt to remember the Jethro Bodine math lessons of years past and do a little ciphering to see what actual numbers the bookies desired as a final result.

If X = Patriot points, then X-3 must be Atlanta points. And they have to add up to 58 and a half. If I have all my naughts in order, that comes out to a final score of New England 30.75 -- Atlanta 27.75.
Or rounding to the closest whole numbers, 31-28.

It is now halftime and Atlanta leads 21-3. Hmmm. Tom Brady better get his act in order in the second half to the tune of four touchdowns, and the so-far porous Patriot defense better tighten up and only allow a couple field goals in the second half. Could happen. But probably not. This just might be Atlanta's year to finally win something.

In the bonehead department, I proudly give you one Terrell Owens, former wide receiver supreme and big mouth to the max. He just got snubbed again in Hall of Fame voting. So what did he do? Kind of like a certain President, he immediately lashed out at anybody and everybody that questioned his worthiness.

Yep, TO went a bit ballistic on social media. He called the Hall of Fame itself a joke, and pretty much dissed those who cast such ballots as idiots. It's like he thought the election was rigged or something? Sound familiar? But wait, that other guy wound up winning, didn't he?

But bonehead that TO apparently remains, he somehow thinks trashing the very people that may or may not vote for him in the future must be a good idea. Well, good luck with that logic. Nothing like pissing off the electorate to get a few more votes. Did I mention bonehead?

Further, his message included a thank you to all his fans and supporters. Well then, what we need here is, appropriately enough, a TO -- time out. Or put another way, the dear Mr. Owens needs a serious reality check.

First of all, the man needs to realize he no longer actually plays football -- therefore he has no fans. And when it comes to supporters, well, if he had had a few, make that a lot more of those, he would have got elected this time around. His career stats are worthy of the Hall, but most continue to think of him as a jerk -- including the very people that decide whether or not he'll ever get into the HOF. Many of them would likely rather have him embalmed than enshrined.

Just to make sure I didn't forget, the dude's a bonehead. Maybe they need a Hall of Fame for just those sort of folks.

Lord knows there's no shortage of potential inductees these days......

Back to the second half.

If Brady, Belichick and Co. can pull this one out of some kind of hat to win yet another Super Bowl, there will be no doubt they're the greatest tag-team of all time.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The idiot test

Why have we always called them redheads when their hair is actually orange?

And to steal an old line from Gallagher -- I loved that guy and his Sledge-o-matic, why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways? What genius came up with those definitions? Ah yes, the good old days. You want a cheeseburger to go? WHAM!! It's gone. Great stuff.

One is left to wonder about the current plight of Tiger Woods. Last week, he crashed, burned, and didn't come anyway near making the cut. This, at one of his favorite courses where he has enjoyed lots of success in years past. This week, he blew up to a 77 first round score in Abu Dhabi, or is that Kemo Sabe, who cares, another of his favorite haunts, and then withdrew citing "back spasms".

So here's some questions..... Was it live or was it Memorex? Remember those ads? Or put more properly, did Eldrick have a real physical ailment, or was he faking it to save himself further embarrassment? Thing is, does it even matter? His legions of die-hard groupies (and the media) can wish I may, wish I might all they want for a roaring comeback, but this guy's toast in the big league golf world. It's over. Get used to it. (See title of this post).

How -- somebody please tell me how -- can there be 32 NHL teams and well over halfway through the regular season, only 3 have below .500 records? Could it be the insane scoring system where teams get points for losses?

Perhaps this is the result of political correctness fever gone a bit too far. After all, nobody can be "losers" these days. It might hurt their precious feelings.

On that note, did you know you were a hero? Of course you are, because everybody's a hero any more. Certainly all personnel in the armed forces. It doesn't matter if some schmuck has been peeling potatoes at a base in Boonyville USA for the last few years. By gum, that dude's a hero and will probably get a medal for bravery. After all, he could have nicked one of his fingers in the line of duty -- right?

Medals and awards are given out like candy when it's Halloween every day, 365. Movie and TV personalities hand out accolades to each other left and right. So does the media, all for just doing their jobs. The former make a living pretending they're someone else, while the latter talks or writes about someone else. This is award worthy?

So here's another question? How come the likes of plumbers and electricians don't get some of that kind of love? If your toilet won't stop running or the lights keep flickering, who are you going to call?  Ben Affleck? Oprah? The NY Times or CNN? Good luck with that. If anybody deserves a medal, it's that dude or dudette that shows up at your door and charges you maybe a couple hundred bucks to bail you out when something went horribly wrong. Not some high-falootin egomaniac making millions every year spouting off in one way the other, while accomplishing nothing.

The Detroit Pistons continue to be underwhelming. In the pre-PC world, one might have said they suck, slugging it out for last place in their division. But the feel good people would have us know the Pistons are within reach of the playoffs. Well gee, that's great. Just one problem. Even if they make it there, they'll be a 7 or 8 seed. And for that, they'll get the dubious honor of being blown out 4 games in a row by the like of the Cleveland Cavs or Boston Celts in the first round.

Yet by making the playoffs, the Pistons eliminate themselves from getting a "lottery pick" in next year's draft -- someone who could possibly be a difference maker -- or at least a start.

This probably shouldn't be so surprising when one considers that the Pistons have a head coach, who supposedly reports to not one, but two general managers, who in turn report to the president, who is the same person as the head coach. If that's not the most idiotic management structure professional sports has ever seen, yours truly is hard pressed to think of one that tops it on the dumb-o-meter. And this is the same franchise whose new owner poured some $10 million into upgrading an already paid for and world class arena the team has long played in -- only to move them out of town and share a building with another team. Say what?

But when it comes to idiot tests, there can be but one clincher. The Detroit Lions will raise ticket prices again. Well, of COURSE they will. Why would they dare, one might ask, when they haven't won squat in over half a century?

That's because even the bumbling Ford family that has owned them all this time has enough sense to know the sappies will continue to believe next year will be THE year. For exactly what, none seem to quite know for sure, certainly not the Super Bowl -- cough, gag, guffaw -- but it sounds good, right?

Yep, P.T. Barnum nailed it. Not only is there one born every minute, but in Motown they pass it on from generation to generation.

And the hits, or is that twits, just keep on coming.