Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Morning Thoughts

I've been on board with MTV's The Real World for the better part of my life. Mostly because I just wanted to know what it was like when seven strangers were picked to live in a house and have their lives taped to find out what it's like when people stop being polite and start being real! (Sorry, had to do that.) In all honesty, it's a great show that has really transformed an entire generation and ultimately created the 'reality-television' genre. I'm not sure if that last sentence is a societal win, but we'll take it. Anyway, the most current installment of the series takes place in Portland, Oregon - not to sure why, but it does. Given that I haven't really been invested in the television show since the cast was in Cancun, Mexico back in 2009 and that I'm turning thirty-years old in less than a month, I figured I'd give The Real World: Portland a shot on my DVR. This most recent three-week binge I've taken to catch up on the entire show from this season has been just that, a binge. Watching about eight or nine episodes in a three week period has really got me messed up and left me with some real revelations;

1. What the f*ck?!? You've got to be a special kind of moron to move to Portland, Oregon where chances are you've got to be at least amongst the top five most exciting things going on, and immediately get into a serious relationship with anyone in the actual house. I just want to scream at this kid 'Johnny,' from my home state of Massachusetts to boot, Portland should be your oyster and the odds of you and this girl who resides in Arizona actually making it have got to be slim!

2. I might be a bit too old for this. Go back and read item one, in which I give relationship advice to a kid who is most likely at least six years younger than me and hammered at least five out of every seven days. But seriously, the cast has had at least a half dozen on-air discussions about such topics as race, sexual preference, religion, and how they were brought up. I'm twenty-nine years old and have never had a serious conversation about race, sexual preference, religion, and how I was brought up with any of my friends, let alone people I'd only known for the past three months. Maybe I didn't notice it when I was watching the show and the cast was the same age as me, but is this really what twenty-somethings discuss now? I'll tell you what my college roommates and I discussed; breasts, beer, breasts, and beer. In that order.

3. The employment factor has gone off the tracks. I don't expect the housemates to have a job where they're actually doing something productive for society, also I'd hate to see them have real jobs which actual participating members of society could have. That being said, Portland's cast pretty much does nothing. (2) Of the (7) member cast are fro-yo jockeys selling out of a canteen, and the other (5) are "working" at a pizza place doing tasks which amount to about two hours of work and five hours of sitting around drinking discussing some of their absurd arguments they've had that day. Why can't MTV put them together with a non-profit where they're not making money but are required to go and act appropriately or they get removed from the house.

(I've officially alienated every reader who was out on MTV's The Real World five years ago, my bad.)

Next Thought . . .

LeBron James. Odds are that the NBA's greatest player will will his Miami Heat to a second-straight NBA Championship. While the Indiana Pacers could push the Miami Heat to seven games, I still see a situation in which the Heat are hoisting the Larry O'Brien after San Antonio gives them a run. That being said, no one really likes LeBron. But why?!? He's a friendly guy, probably loves the kids, makes a ton of commercials for non-sneaker stuff, I'll help you out on this one. He took his talents to South Beach, period. Sure, he'll make a ton of moments that he'd hope would erase him sitting on that director's chair at a Boys & Girls club with Jim Gray, but he'll still be wearing that Heat jersey in all those 'new' moments. The Cavaliers, the franchise he left, are on the verge of having their second top pick overall since James left them, and we love them for that! Why? Because we dislike LeBron. Anyone else watch him storming around the court after he fouled out in the Heat vs. Pacers pivotal Game 4? Anyone else think he muttered this sentence, "How dare they call fouls on me, I'm LeBron, LeBron don't foul!" Anyone else think that 'King James' talks about himself in the third person, in fairness very similar to how Kobe calls himself by his nickname when he tweets?!? We'll never like LeBron, and not just in Boston where he squashed any hope that our aging superstars would bring us just one more banner in this run, we'll never like him because he's not likeable on South Beach, and if you don't think that bothers a guy like LeBron, you haven't been watching him! Did Michael ever do a commercial in 'The Barber Shop' with the motive to have us believe he was 'that-guy,' No, he did a commercial where he scored 50 points in wing-tips because he was in the board room moments before!

. . . more on the Spurs later this week!

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Morning Thoughts

Friday Morning Thoughts back at it!

Let's Get After it!

Thoughts and prayers to the people of Oklahoma and specifically Moore, OK. On the real though, it's just flat out sad. No person living in this country of freedom should have to live in constant fear of losing everything in a disaster such as this. Yes, in America we shouldn't be exempt from natural disaster, but this is just a scary way to live and it seems like it is happening more and more. It might be that in this age of social media and unlimited access that we just see the images and hear of the destruction for longer periods of time and in a much more saturated way, yet it still seems like natural disasters are happening much more often. Tornadoes are too scary, they're unforgiving, they're unrelenting, and they leave no real survivors because everyone is ultimately affected in a horrible way by just having the memory of the fear. Be that as it may, our heart really goes out to these people who didn't deserve to have their lives shattered and their faith tested.

Through May 23rd, Major League Baseball has been somewhat of a second thought. Even in baseball rabid New York and Boston, we have the Bruins, Rangers, and till last week the Knicks on our mind. That being said, I've watched a ton of baseball already and two players specifically jump out at me. (Insert your thought on an East Coast Bias.) Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz is having a fantastic Cy Young worthy season. Am I bias? Possibly. The Red Sox have had some success with right-handers from the Lone-Star State, Beckett, Clemens, and now Buchholz. In the ten-starts Buchholz has had this season, the Sox are 9-1 in those outings, with Buchholz recording a 7-0 start through Wednesday. He's allowed two-earned runs or fewer in nine of those ten starts. The more important thing to remember is this; with a 1.73 earned run average, it's going to be Buchholz' responsibility to stop losing streaks and help this short-on-power Red Sox offense get wins. . . . Second player, Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera. Last year the then 29-year old Cabrera became the first player in 45-years to win the elusive Batting Triple Crown. Even more impressive, he could do it again! Cabrera possesses that undeniable intelligence at the dish that we once reserved for hitters such as former superstar Manny Ramirez. His ability to hit for power, average, and pick-up 'ducks-on-the-pond' whenever possible. A month plus into the season and Cabrera is one home run shy of the American League lead while hitting .391 and has already driven in 55-runs, both good for the lead in either category. Could Miguel Cabrera be both the quietest and most dominant player in Major League Baseball at same time? We think so.

I'm really happy for the original honey badger, former Heisman finalist, defensive back Tyrann Mathieu. Sure, all of his problems and off the field issues are self inflicted and part of me still thinks that 'Badger isn't going to be able to stay out of his own way for the better part of his future NFL career. That being said, why can't we be excited that this young man is getting a shot at the next level, and a very good shot for that matter. The Arizona Cardinals went out and picked Mathieu up in the third-round of the April NFL Draft, without seeing him play in game competition in over a year. Mathieu just inked a $662,500 signing bonus (guaranteed money) on top of a his very carefully constructed 4-year deal. Arizona has put provisions in place to protect themselves in the event that the self-diagnosed marijuana addict is suspended by the NFL for drug related violations, well played. The fantastic part about this is what Arizona is doing to help him, they aren't paying him if he goes back to his old ways, they aren't bending over backwards for him, they're putting him in the same defensive backfield as another form LSU star, Patrick Peterson, who will play the mentor role. My point is, all of us loved watching Mathieu play football in college and while I don't actually think he was Heisman worth, he's a player in one way or another and it's good to see that he gets a shot at redemption as we all should at times!

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday Morning Thoughts

We back at it, pour your coffee and bone up on the thoughts inside my dome!

An Oakland Raiders top 10, first-round selection in the 2010 NFL Draft, former Alabama stand-out linebacker Rolando McClain, has made the rare decision to retire at the age of twenty-three (23). A month after signing with the Baltimore Ravens, McClain has made the decision that with court dates pending on one of his three arrests since December '11, he needs to remove himself from football, something he loves, in order to "get his personal life together." I'm choosing to look at this as a positive for this young man. Over the last twenty-four hours I've heard more than one 'talking-head,' mention that McClain was most likely going to get cut from the Ravens after his most recent arrest, as if that was the reason for his decision to quit, but why go there? I haven't heard anyone mention where McClain came from and his troubled youth which we read about in 2010 when he was an NFL draft prospect, why? McClain grew up in a housing project in Decatur, Alabama, the same city in which he's been arrested all three times in the past 18-months. His mother wasn't allowed near him after a restraining order was issued against her when he was 15-years old when she threatened to kill him with a kitchen knife! As a senior at Decatur High School, McClain's mother who had been diagnosed as having bipolar disorder, again made a threat but this time it was to kill everyone in his high-school causing the school to go on lock down. You thought you were embarrassed by your parents in high school when they dropped you off at a dance? None of this really excuses McClain's behavior with the police and his inability to keep his nose clean when he returns to his hometown, but it does help to explain why this young man so often makes poor choices. If in fact Rolando McClain is simply stepping away from the game with the intent on correcting his young life before something worse happens to him, then I'm happy for him. For some, football can be a way to get away from your personal life and really become a better person, but for McClain, it's a sort of catalyst for his bad behavior, I'm guessing. Success in football may have given McClain the feeling of invincibility, the money, the people that come around you, it might have all just been too much for him to control. For a person who has been let down by the people who are meant to be around him for support, his parents, is it really a surprise that McClain would search for that support in the wrong places off the field? For his sake, we really hope everything works out for the best for young Rolando McClain, and while we loved him at Alabama, I never want to see him play football again, because it's just not the best thing for him.

NBC's The Office has finished after nine seasons on air. I'm truly depressed about it. I watch a ton of television, and that has got to be an understatement. Every Thursday since 2005, I've been hooked on The Office, to the point where on multiple trips to NBC's "30-Rock" I've made it a point to stop into the NBC Store and make such ridiculous purchases as a Michael Scott bobble head doll. One-step further, the only argument my wife and I had over our guest list at our 2012 St. Patrick's Day wedding, was her refusal to invite John Krasinski (Jim) and Jenna Fischer (Pam). Side note: In my defense, if you're going to have a wedding start off on the right foot, why not invite the only other couple you've envied over the past ten years?!? To be blunt, this show, a brain child of Ricky Gervais and Ben Silverman, has literally been the best show on network television since Friends. Its entire concept, its methods, its humour, its story, the actors, the guests, everything has been nothing but perfect to me. Steve Carell as Michael Scott will make me laugh every single time I see him. Rainn Wilson is one of the funniest men on television and as Dwight Shrute has made me fall off the couch laughing for nine seasons. After the Heisman Trophy, the only other award I ever wanted to hold was a "Dundie." It's possible that in watching John Krasinski's character Jim, has at times reminded me of myself and my hatred for working for 'the-man' very early on in my career, and that his relationship with his on-screen wife Pam, would be my relationship with my wife, is that crazy?!? I will miss The Office so very much, I've seen every single episode, I've laughed and cried even, I've waited for seasons to come out on DVD just to watch them again. I didn't want the series finale to end last night, and when my wife went to bed as she so often does before me, I watched it all over again just to make sure I didn't miss one thing. If this show doesn't live in for generations, then I don't know what good television is.

Not a hockey fan, admittedly. However, you've got to hand it to overtime-playoff hockey, because it's done right! Edge of your seat, next person to slide the puck around the goalie who is too big for the goal, and the game is over in an instant! 90% of the time, I don't even know if someone scored! Seriously, take the crowd out of it, take the announcer out of it, ask the players not to raise their arms and jump around, and I wouldn't even know if someone scored or didn't. But that's the point! You can't take those things out of it, that's why playoff hockey does it better than anyone else! The fans are banging on the glass, they're on top of the rink! You want to bite your nails off, and I'm not even a 'bite my nails nervous' type of guy! (Seriously though, 'bite your nails' guy isn't getting any chicks!) I don't think my heart can take playoff hockey and that might play into why I'm not a hockey fan. I don't ever even know how a goalie makes a save with so many things going on around him. When the Boston Bruins won an epic game seven earlier this week after being down 4-2 with minutes remaining, I wasn't really impressed by them so much as I was unimpressed with the Toronto Maple Leafs goalie, who cares what his name is. Here's the thing, that guy let up a bunch of goals in like seconds, he turned into a puddle, but how would you do? I could get a major league baseball player to pop-up to the outfield, I even think I could hit a three-pointer in an NBA player's face, just once, but save a goal?!? Not a chance bro! Nevermind that it is coming at you incredibly fast, how about the fact that the puck is the size of a tic-tac and there is at least a half-dozen people in front of you blocking your vision. My thought this morning when I decided to include this little blurb was this, forget the first two and a half periods plus, turn the NHL games on when it's tied up and about to go into overtime, pick a team, then sit on the edge of your couch, it's pretty wild. . .

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday Morning Thoughts

Due to my paying employment requiring more and more of my time as of late, I needed to find a better way to stay more consistent with my postings. For some unknown reason, I'm pretty damn lucid on Friday mornings as well. These developments are what gave birth to: Friday Morning Thoughts. Also, as a precursor to our inaugural Friday Morning Thoughts, I should prepare you that I won't just be covering sports, gaming, and horse racing but also will inject some pop-culture so to speak, in these columns . . .

Let's get after it!

The Summer of Gatsby has officially begun. With today being the release of director Baz Luhrmann's theatrical interpretation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel, The Great Gatsby, who isn't thinking about Gatsby! A couple things jump out at me right away; (1) Did the youth of 1925 line-up outside bookstores all over the country awaiting this novel as did our youth for each of the J.K. Rowling Harry Potter books? I'm guessing no, depression and world wars most likely get in the way of that. (2) Are teacher's still assigning this novel on summer reading lists all over the country? If so, I highly advise the children of America to read the book and if you won't do that, at least rent the 1974 Francis Ford Coppola version starring Robert Redford as Gatsby and Law & Order legend Sam Waterston as Nick Carraway. Trust me on this one, Baz Luhrmann's last go at bringing story to the theater was Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet, and that wasn't exactly how Bill Shakespeare had hoped his most famous play would be brought to the silver screen. Lastly, this is literally my favorite book ever written and casting DiCaprio as Gatsby in this movie could possibly be the biggest success in cinema this year. Do you recall the last DiCaprio flop? I can't.

I don't see why Red Sox slugger David Ortiz is getting so hot under the collar about people questioning his hot April start in 2013. This is the price that baseball players should pay for having zero conscious when it came to juicing for twenty-five of the last thirty years. Ortiz has had to deal with these suggestions previously, and yes we should all question a man coming back from a serious foot injury who will turn 38-years old in November, that comes out of the shoot hitting 0.67 higher than his career batting average. Look, some things in major professional sports are just never going to pass the smell test and that's a fact. You can't watch pitchers and hitters alike smash every major statistical record of a game which is well over 100-years old for the better part of the last century and just clap your hands blindly. For Ortiz to make such a federal case out of the media questioning his hot start, it makes him look more guilty than ever! Here's the bottom line though, I love David Ortiz, I've loved everything he's done for the City of Boston, the people of New England, and the Boston Red Sox, but there is no way that I'm going to say that he should get a 'pass' because he's a sensitive guy at heart. Grow up Papi.

Do we have to move on from Tim Tebow so quickly? Aren't a couple things still true when it comes to Tebow? For instance, the man who drafted Tebow and believed in him - former Broncos head coach now Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels - he's still coaching in this league. Is he the only man in the league who thought that Tebow could win or at least contribute? What did the former Gator signal caller do that proved he couldn't be that player McDaniels thought he could be? Won a division, won a playoff game, now out of the league? The Jets moved on from Tebow after bringing him on board last year and never giving him a legit shot at the starting job. I'm sorry, but if you are trusting the opinion of Jets owner Woody Johnson, head coach Rex Ryan, and former general manager Mike Tannenbaum, well that's a you problem. Between the three of them, there isn't a sound football mind in the room. We've addressed in previous columns that we think that Jacksonville could most benefit from Tebow, and now their fans don't want him?!? The Jaguars are a terrible franchise, their fans don't even know what winning looks like, but somehow having Tebow under center is a bad thing? The guy wins. If you bring him on board, let him compete and play for the position and he doesn't win you games, you're back in the same position you would have been anyway?!?! I'll never understand the overwhelming criticism of Tebow, no one ever suggested he was a better option than Peyton, Tom, Aaron, or Drew but is he better than Mark Sanchez and Blaine Gabbert? We think so.

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