Happy New Year, Everyone!!!! Glad to be back after computer problems kept me offline for a few weeks. The issues haven't been resolved totally, but enough has been done for me to keep things moving here.
We have a lot to catch up on, so let me start by giving Converse a big "Fuck You" for their handling of the "Heaven is a Playground" exhibit in Lower Manhattan. When the dates were first posted on Heavenisaplayground.com, the times were inexplicably not listed. So I went on two separate occasions at two different times of the day and each time I found the place closed. I went back on the website and the days and hours of operation were finally posted, but way after the exhibit began.
So I marched over on Saturday, December 19th at 1 p.m. and again it was closed. There was a snowstorm forecast for that day, but it had just begun coming down when I got there. Nice of them to notify us in advance.
To this day I still have not seen it. There is no phone number to call and no signs posted at the spot. Just a storefront gate that remains slammed shut. You can't even tell if you're in the right place or not when you're walking along this particular block. I will say this-if you want to relive your glory days as a crack dealer in the projects from the late 80's-early 90's and are in the market for a shearling coat, a leather Eight-Ball jacket or a vintage triple fat goose, then Orchard Street is where you want to be.
And I love the hours the exhibit is open from-noon to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. Anyone with a job will have to go either between these hours or wait until Saturday, when it will more than likely be closed with no explanation whatsoever.
Now I understand why Converse could not capitalize on the sneaker wars of the early 1980's when they had the two biggest stars in the NBA, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, signed to endorsement deals.
Nike blew past them and Converse became truly irrelevant soon after signing Michael Jordan, who incidentally wore Converse throughout his 3 years at the University of North Carolina and was even born in Brooklyn no less!!! Converse was the shoe everyone wore on the playgrounds back in the day and have massive, old-school street cred because of it. But they became obsolete for a reason. As a company, if they can't get something like a photo exhibit right, it speaks volumes for their incompetence.
So Fuck You, Converse. How hard is it in this day and age to disseminate accurate information in a timely fashion about an event you're promoting ?
Gilbert Arenas of the Washington "Bullets"
It turns out Agent Zero was using his locker stall at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. as a weapons storage facility for the upcoming invasion of the nation's capital by Al-Quaida. This jackass is reported to have stored unloaded guns in his locker not registered in D.C., which have some of the most stringent gun control laws in the country. Seeing as D.C. has had the dubious distinction of being the murder capital of the states, I can see why such laws are on the books.
But wait...it gets better. Arenas and his teammate, 22 year-old Javaris Crittenton squared off and pointed guns at each other in the middle of the locker room after a dispute over a gambling debt. Arenas, a nine-year NBA veteran, who should of known better, used this moment to hold a seminar on Crittenton's behalf on anger management and dispute resolution by pulling out like Doc Holliday at the OK Corral.
Which leads me to ask, WTF? Arenas, apparently oblivious to the consequences of his actions, acted as if he knew nothing of the incidents when asked by reporters. It's good that he has the reputation of not sweating the small stuff, because he will need that psychotic, self-absorbed mental make-up to get him through the investigations that will be forthcoming. I don't expect anything to come of this because there is no way in Hell any of his teammates are going to throw him under the bus, but Agent Zero needs to be more discreet about packing heat in the gambling parlor that is the Washington Wizard's locker room.
Mike Leach and Adam James
There must have been something else going on besides a headstrong coach clashing with a pretty-boy receiver with entitlement issues for the powers that be at Texas Tech to fire the one man responsible for breathing life back into their moribund program.
Football in Texas is a religion, and there are shrines all over the state at every one of their Division-I schools. The stadium at Texas Tech has had to undergo expansion every year for the last couple of years due to the increasing popularity of the program. Mike Leach won, and he did so with an exciting blend of speed on both sides of the ball and a passing attack that played to the strengths of his recruits.
Texas Tech does not have the pedigree as other more esteemed blue-chip programs have, but they put themselves on the map and are exciting to watch. This will invariably change now that Leach has been bounced from the school for allegedly abusing one of his players. Leach sent wide receiver Adam James to go sit in a dark shed during a practice session in which James showed up wearing shades that supposedly were recommended by a doctor after he suffered a concussion. When coach Leach asked James about the shades, he responded that they were recommended to him because he was "sensitive to light". So the coach put him in a dark place, and then quickly soon after Leach found himself in a similarly dark place-the unemployment line.
Here is a photo of the shed in question-
One of the things I felt Leach did wrong was throw this player under the bus when he received his suspension. Instead of speaking directly to the incident, Leach had his attorney attack James and spoke of his obnoxious sense of entitlement, laziness at practices and how his father, a football analyst for ESPN, was always pestering the coaching staff over his son's development and playing time.
These things could all have been true, but a televised interview was not the venue to air those issues. To his credit, James' father, when interviewed about the incident and all that was said about him and his son, took the high road and did not stoop to the level of Leach's attorney. Then, to make matters worse, a few days later Leach came out and said the exact same things HIMSELF. He even tried to get a court order to coach his team for their bowl appearance, attempting to override the school's suspension. After all this, he was fired.
Here are the major points-
1) It may have been true that this player James was an asshole to coach. But we also know that football coaches, regardless of how smart and unconventional they may be, can also be assholes. What Leach should of done is cut James, plain and simple.
2) Secondly, Leach also should not have aired the contentious relationship he had with both James and his father, knowing this guy is a nationally known and respected college football analyst who has as big a microphone as he does.
3) Third, Leach should of kept the acrimonious relationship he had with university brass out of the headlines. The public airing of such grievances made it impossible for him to walk back through the door he just slammed on yourself.
It may have been true that the university was not happy with the influence Leach had at their school. They then should not have signed him to a contract extension last year. They apparently did not realize the type of influence resurrecting a bullshit football program in a state like Texas comes with. They cannot have it both ways. A coach like Mike Leach wields power. That is the trade-off for the success and revenue he brings in.
Unfortunately, no one at the university was on the same page and the Red Raiders will never be as fun to watch again. I guess Texas Tech needs to start tearing down all those extra seats they had put in their stadium, because they will be empty for a very long time.