Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Bloated Bureaucrats Strike Again...

FIFA has finally decided to address the issue of what has to be the biggest piece of shit soccer ball ever to be introduced in international play. Adidas, a company I happen to thoroughly endorse otherwise, busted out with the "Jalubani", the equivalent of what has been sarcastically compared to a supermarket ball-we've all seen them, the ones in the metal bins that make annoying kids even more annoying when given one to play with.

Ever try kicking one of these plastic pieces of shit at your local toy store? It heads in the exact opposite direction you aim for. The harder you kick it, the slower it takes off, picking up steam exactly at the point where any other normal object hurled through the air begins to slow down and fall to the ground-a marvel whose defiance of the laws of physics would drive Albert Einstein straight to the crack pipe. Yes, this is the template Adidas used for their "Jalubani" ball, which is a direct translation of some obscure African dialect meaning "Garbage".

But hey, the boys at FIFA aren't stupid. They wouldn't just toss out a ball like this during the most important and popular sporting event in the world, would they? Yes they would!!! But they hear the complaints loud and clear, as clear as the incessant droning of those idiotic vuvuzelas.

Here's a quote-

"We're not deaf," FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said Saturday. "FIFA is not unreceptive about what has been said about the ball."

These assholes may not be deaf, but they certainly are dumb. One of the most infuriating aspects of any governing body is their failure to act with any type of speed for the good of the sport. They'd rather do what they always do-form committees, take their sweet-ass time making decisions and coming to conclusions that are guaranteed to piss everyone off. This is another prime example of institutional rigor mortis that must end for our beloved game to move forward.

FIFA will definitely look into the issue with this horrendous ball-after the World Cup is over. The easiest thing in the world to do, as we have not had any controversies regarding the ball being a major hindrance to one team over another, is to collect them all and burn them. Use another fucking ball, like whatever brand is used during European Premier League matches.

But nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo....not THESE motherfuckers. Why would they do anything as stupid as this? It will improve the quality of the matches going forward, now that the more bogus teams have been summarily dismissed in the early rounds of play. We are now heading to "The Sweet 16", where the play will get that much more intense. But the ball remains the same. Guaranteed there will be a team that will get knocked out of the World Cup because of the use of this ball.

FIFA doesn't care because if they took immediate action, what would they have to convene about afterwards? They wouldn't have an excuse to meet at some exotic locale, spending a fortune of FIFA's money on accommodations, first-class airfare, food and all the prostitutes these decrepit, porcine little rodents can muster to gang-fuck while hopped up on Russian vodka, caviar, Viagra and cocaine.

(under construction)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The State of the NBA...

Here are four things that are bringing down the quality of play in the NBA-

1) Guaranteed Contracts-

2) The Salary Cap-

3) Expansion, and last but not least-

4) Entrenched, Dysfunctional, Incompetent Ownership.

1) Let's take this step by step. Guaranteed contracts only benefit the players. They are a colossal hindrance to the advancement of a franchise looking to upgrade from doormat to playoff team to (hopefully) perennial championship contender. Now there are many facets at play here. You have to have stability in the front office and really smart people who know the game of basketball and a coaching staff who know how to get the best out of their players. But nothing can ruin a teams' chances more than having to sign a player to a long-term deal for guaranteed money.

The problem is threefoldfold-

1) More often than not the player in question is getting paid for past accomplishments. Rarely does a player play as well or better than he did before signing his max contract.

2) With colossal assholes like Gilbert Arenas and Stephon Marbury, even if you have a player in his physical prime that is no guarantee of future success. Marbury loved quoting the very misleading stat that the only other player to average 20 points and 8 assists during his career was Oscar Robertson. Marbury belongs in the same sentence with Oscar Robertson as most guys belong in the same sentence with Ron Jeremy-it just doesn't measure up. There is a fundamental flaw in his reasoning that discounts the reality of his negative impact on almost every team he played for.

Another example is Zack Randolph. Here's a player who can AND WILL score 20 points and snag 10 rebounds a night, which is much more than the vast majority of big men in the NBA can get you on a nightly basis. Is he worth a max contract? Hell fucking no. Only a GM who smokes more crack than Flavor Flav would even entertain such lunacy.

And again, in the case of players like Marbury and Arenas, teams are stuck with them once they've signed. If the situation goes south, a team either have to settle for a buyout so the disgruntled player can go sign for another team to potentially come back and haunt them in the playoffs or sit them on the bench. Either way they've just wasted millions of dollars for absolutely no return on their investment. There has to be a way to cut these clowns in situations like this.

3) Some cats don't deserve a max contract. Look at Amare Stoudemire. He is about as one-dimensional as they come. He more than any other player owes his stats to his point guard, Steve Nash. He has no go-to offensive move in the low post, cannot and will not play any defense and has fucked-up knees. When he physically falls apart (which will be in the next two years), his game will go with it. That will leave you with 4 more years at max-level money to pay a bum who can't hack it any more. Don't do it to yourself, Phoenix-move on without him.

One of the biggest examples of overpaying a player whose best days are behind him has been Rashard Lewis of the Orlando Magic. The Magic were basically bidding against themselves for this one-dimensional offensive player who has no moves going to the basket and can disappear during the course of a game faster than a tourists' wallet in Thailand. He was brought in for one reason and one reason only-to be their big offensive threat from the outside during the playoffs. He has no other responsibilities, no other job. This year he averaged 14 points in the playoffs and was AWOL during the most important stretches of the Boston series, the one that eventually knocked the Magic out when they were favored to go to the Finals.

The cost of this? Six Years, $118 million dollars, every penny of it guaranteed. All for one player. Orlando can do nothing about this. This contract is an albatross around their neck for the next three years at a point (he is going to be 31 in August) in every baller's career where their performance begins to deteriorate. His decline has already begun-if you don't believe me just watch how he performed the last two years in the playoffs. The one thing that went through my mind as I watched him was, "someone in their right mind gave this guy 118 million? For what?"

$118 million can buy you this...

And get you some of this...

...but it won't buy you one of THEEZ, SON!!! 'Cause this bitch right here you have to earn.

2) The salary cap-how many times this year have we heard about teams clearing out cap space for the free agent bonanza of the summer of 2010? Newsflash-many teams will come away empty-handed. If Dwayne Wade and Lebron James stay where they are, that pretty much puts paid to many of the ambitions held by GM's all over the league.

Yes, clear that cap space with nothing to show for it. This is where things will get dangerous. Now teams will get desperate and offer max money to second-tier players like Bosh, Stoudemire, Boozer and Joe Johnson. Yes, I said it. These guys are second-tier because they do not have the requisite star power and overall commanding presence to fill arenas by themselves and also do not have the talent to be a teams' major offensive focus. These guys are great complimentary players if you already have a stacked squad. We have seen what these players have done on their own teams-put them on another that is focused on rebuilding or just looking to crack the playoffs and you will be overpaying for not much in return.

As a season ticket holder, do you really want to hear about your team clearing cap space in hopes of luring free agents that will never come, all the while being subjected to a terrible product on the court? Don't blame the recession on lagging ticket sales-if a franchise is dedicated to putting quality out on the floor, there is no such thing as a small market team. Just ask Oklahoma.

Here is an arena full of fans who decided to wait for the free agent class of 2010 at home-

3) There are certain small markets that cannot support an NBA franchise. Others just aren't cut out to have one. Let's be real-no NBA player wants to live and party in Minnesota, one of the whitest and coldest states in the Union. Time to give it up and toss this franchise into the trash heap.

New Orleans has just announced they would be willing to "entertain" trade talks involving their linchpin point guard Chris Paul. Good for him and even better for New Orleans. The owner is in the process of trying to sell the team, and cutting payroll is a priority. Even though the alleged new owner coming in has deep pockets, right now there is no guarantee he will get the franchise. Even so, he would be an idiot to make this purchase.

The city of New Orleans was practically gutted after Hurricane Katrina of many of it's long-time residents, but let's face it-there just isn't enough money in that town to support basketball AND pro football. The town loves the Saints, the Hornets? There just isn't the support, for a myriad of reasons. And it will get worse once peoples' livelihoods become severely affected by that gigantic oil spill.

The Clippers-see reason number 4.

4) For every Jerry West you will have at least 5-10 idiots like Minnesota Timberwolves GM David Kahn. Any jackass who drafts 3 point guards in the first round like he did last year, one being foreign player Ricky Rubio who had stated unequivocally prior to being drafted that he would NOT play in Minnesota ought to have at least two of those draft picks confiscated after the fact.

It's bad enough this franchise continually puts a substandard product on the floor night in and night out. But because of such decisions they will suck and be mired in mediocrity for years to come.

This is why the L.A. Clippers should be shut down. Not sold to another owner, not moved to another city, just eliminated, as if they were never in the league. They have an owner, Donald Serling, who no one wants to play for, who is a devout racist (if racism was a religion he would be appointed it's West Coast Cardinal). They have gotten more sweet players via the draft than any other team over the last 20-25 or so years due to their consistently dreadful performances during the regular season.

As as soon as these players can get out of their initial contracts they all bolt. I wonder why that is? Serling has made no bones about the fact that, despite being a multi-millionaire he is dreadfully cheap. Meaning, if he has a great player he won't pay him what he's worth. The Clippers are also rumored to have the worst locker room amenities in the NBA-Mark Cuban this guy is not.

This isn't fair to other teams just as mediocre who need to catch just one damn break and could have used one of those draft picks to make improvements. Minnesota is another franchise that needs to give up the ghost. For years they had one of the best defensive low post players the league has ever seen in Kevin Garnett and they could never figure out a way to put decent pieces around him to make that one burst into the Finals.

You can blame mediocrity and nepotism. A mediocre white man can stay at his job forever as long as he gets along with the higher-ups. Kevin McHale is an egregious example of this type of cultural inbreeding that has been the ruin of what was never a good franchise.

And last but not least, we have the New York Knicks. It's one thing to call an owner or GM a crackhead. It's quite another to actually BE one. This guy has the unholy trifecta all rolled into one-entrenched nepotism, dysfunctional management style and an incompetence for running a team that would have either gotten him fired from any other job. Or, in the case of George Bush, would have gotten him elected President of the United States.

No man has been at the helm at more disastrous decision-making since the captain of the Titanic. But unlike that hapless overgrown tugboat, the Knicks are kept afloat by a revenue stream that would make George Steinbrenner blush from Cablevision.

(under construction)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Babe of the Week for June 18th, 2010 is...



Anyone who saw the concert commemorating the 2010 FIFA World Cup being held in South Africa this year must admit that it was off the chain. Every act went out there and did their thing. From the African artists not well-known here in the states to the international superstars, it was a great event. My favorites were Juanes who sang his chart-topping smash "La Camisa Negra", Alicia Keys (a former "Babe of the Week") and of course, the awesomeness that is Shakira.

She was a lip-syncing marvel, but who cares? Her beauty is sublime. She could make an unrepentant heathen change his wicked ways. She could make Rasheed Wallace give up his side job of collecting technical fouls (well, let's not get carried away here). She is truly a marvel, a wonderfully talented entertainer and a breathtaking beauty of a woman. Her turn on the World Cup stage was nothing short of magnificent, and if you missed it you need to check it out. I'm sure her performance is somewhere floating around on cyberspace, so it shouldn't be too hard to find.

Not only does she loook mahvelous, dahling-absolutely mahvelous!!! but she's a humanitarian too!!! Here she is comforting the victims of the recent cyclones in Bangladesh-

Funny how a country that brought us the cocksuckers of the Medellín drug cartel (including the King Dick himself, Pablo Escobar, hero to street thugs the world over) could also produce a goddess like Shakira. Just goes to show you the crazy world we live in. But I digress-here are some more shots of this unspeakably, unimaginably beautiful and amazing woman-

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Death of the 'Bro Hug...

Tom Izzo recently held a press conference where he is congratulated for doing what he's supposed to do, which is stay at Michigan State University and honor the contract he signed instead of bolting for the pros.

For some reason I've yet to fathom his team trots onto the podium to stand behind him, each giving Izzo the obligatory 'Bro Hug as they pass. This to me signifies the death of this oft-overused and disingenuous display of manly, contrived solidarity. But that's another story.

The main thing is this-Tom Izzo is a great college coach, but even he knows his decision to stay at Michigan state has nothing to do with Lebron James. His style suits his work environment. At the pro level all that yelling and screaming goes in one ear and out the other. He can't intimidate grown men who have more money than he does. And his job is not to wind his players up and motivate them for that "big game". Big games don't mean anything in the NBA until you get to the playoffs.

Guys like him love screaming their heads off and getting intense. That works in college basketball, where every win or loss has immense pressure attached to it. Izzo will never get accustomed to how content most players are about phoning it in, hoping their natural talent will get them over the hump and not really showing much concern if it doesn't. Losing to Minnesota in a mid-January game is no big whoop for guys who immediately after leaving the floor are on their cell phones lining up their prostitute girlfriends for dinner and a night of extremely casual Caligula-esque type group sex.

In college, it's one thing to take a bunch of overachievers and mold them into a Final Four team. It's another to get pros to listen to you when you've never won anything on their level. Just look at how some of the most talented teams did in the NBA playoffs this year, with Denver and Atlanta being the most egregious examples of All-Star calibre teams just not giving enough of a fuck to even compete with dignity. A pro player doesn't give a shit about getting humiliated on the court. Their sense of pride revolves around fancy cars, nice clothes and the endless stream of hoochies at their beck and call 24 hours a day.

But it certainly didn't help that Lebron James wasn't going to commit to staying in Cleveland. If he leaves, what do they have left? They just fired their coach (who won over 60 games for the last two years) and the general manager isn't coming back. It is very difficult to put the pieces to a championship team together with the salary cap restrictions being what they are. Lebron has to know that. So firing everyone isn't going to do the trick.

Besides, the way James played during the playoffs against the Celtics it's clear that he doesn't have the stomach to be "The Man", regardless of all the hoopla surrounding his game. Not only did he play terribly, but he lacked the intestinal fortitude to put his team on his back and carry them past the second round for two ears running. These early playoff exits also illustrated the fact that Cleveland are a glorified expansion team without the talent to take on the likes of Boston or The Orlando Magic. Firing everyone isn't going to change the make-up of the team, which is average at best.

So Izzo trots out the usual 'It's about family" nonsense when the truth is at Cleveland he probably would have been fired after only two seasons. Then what? He couldn't go back to Michigan State-he would have to start all over at another college. He has a home right where he is, where he is revered and has job stability not on offer in the NBA. The college game is set up so that the coach is the big cheese, and no player is bigger than the program. In the NBA it's the other way around. A player can get the coach fired no problem because it's a players' league.

So why leave for Cleveland? Izzo made the right choice to stay where he is. But that press conference announcing his staying was a bit much. It became a mutual circle-jerk involving the athletic director, the players and the press. Next time Tom, don't act like you're doing anyone a favor by staying and honoring your current contract. It just looks smarmy, and it makes you look egotistical and small.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Babe of the Week for June 11, 2010 is...

Scarlett Johansson!!!

I can't tell if she's a real blonde or not, but she certainly has a very erotic and sultry look about her. Woody Allen definitely brought out the loveliness she possesses in the two films he featured her in, "Match Point" and one of my all-time favorites "Vicky Cristina Barcelona".

Here she is on location in Spain with The Woodman himself-

I love her as an actress. She has the ability to quietly bring out great performances from the other actors she works with. This is what makes her stand out in my opinion. Not only does she look loook mahvelous, dahling , but she is great at what she does. We know Hollywood loves blonde white girls with big tits, but this is not the only reason she gets work. She can actually act.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Fania Lives!!!

The Fania catalogue is known all over the world as the definitive treasure trove of Afro-Caribbean music-a library of epic proportions that includes hundreds of timeless albums. What many people don't know, however, is that the vaults of Fania also contain dozens of rare recordings that have yet to see the light of day.

Beginning a long standing effort to finally make the entire contents of its catalogue available, Fania is releasing a stunning recording of Rubén Blades and Willie Colón in concert, taped in 1980 at New Jersey's Capitol Theatre.

At the time, Blades and Colón were touring to promote Siembra - considered by many as Blades' magnum opus. The sonics of the original tapes are clear and warm, making this release one of the most exciting live albums in the annals of salsa.

The majority of the Siembra album was performed during that evening - including a raucous extended version of "Buscando Guayaba," and a superb reading of the mega-hit "Pedro Navaja." Fans of the leaner, highly atmospheric Metiendo Mano will be delighted to know that Blades and Colón chose to include two tracks off that LP: "Plantación Adentro," as well as the socially aware anthem "Pablo Pueblo."


Above is a copy of the newsletter I just received via email announcing the release of the live recording of what is hands down the most influential Salsa album ever recorded. World-wide it has sold over 25 million copies since it's release date in 1978.

This is a must-have for any fan of Salsa music, and I must give the new owners of the Fania label huge credit for promoting and issuing this great music. It is rare that Latino culture gets celebrated in mainstream media aside from the usual stereotypical buffoonery of hot Latin lovers and all that other minstrel-type bullshit not even worth mentioning.

Here is a brief synopsis of what happened to the label and it's music. Jerry Masucci, who together with Bandleader Johnny Pacheco founded the label in 1964 and heralded the rise of Salsa from it's home base in New York City, found his power and influence waning as artists began to leave for more lucrative offers elsewhere. After Masucci retired and left the music business in the early 80's, the Fania catalog floundered, with the master tapes languishing in a warehouse in Upstate New York.

The Fania All-Stars in all their glory-

In 2005 a Miami-based company called EMusica purchased the rights to the back catalog and began releasing many of the old titles. Around 300 were released before EMusica sold it's interests to another company. All of the titles that were released during this time were remastered and released with new liner notes in both English and Spanish. Unfortunately those titles were available for a very short time and are currently out-of-print. The current company has stated that these titles will be replenished, but as of yet it is only selling CD's in downloadable form.

Salsa, though it was primarily dance music played in small clubs, took off and the major acts of the label, dubbed the "Fania All-Stars", soon began filling stadiums all over the world. This was due to the fact that the musicians themselves were some of the best in the world. As an avid fan of the music, I am hoping that the catalog gets released again in CD form. I only managed to collect around 70 of the 300 or so remastered CD's before EMusica went busto. Let's hope the new company holds true to their word.

Many of these legends of Latin music are no longer with us, but it's up to us to keep their legacy alive-

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Jim Joyce, the well-respected professional baseball umpire of 22 years, fucked up one of the most obvious calls I've ever seen in my life. The play wasn't even close. That's why Armando Galarraga should file a protest against this call. He has gotten one of THEE most difficult sporting feats taken from him in the ninth inning when he was only two outs away from the third perfect game thrown this year. Just take a look at these photos-

Joyce was right on top of this call, and it's beyond anyone how he could have gotten it so wrong. I began screaming at the TV and was convinced he blew the call because he had placed a bet on the game, but that doesn't make sense. No one could have predicted Galarraga was going to pitch a perfect game, so this was not at stake. Besides, the umps never leave the field so there was no way Joyce could have stepped away to make a phone call to his bookie.

GM was kind enough to give Galarraga a free Corvette and the fans were definitely behind him for his efforts-

For his part, Joyce apologized to the pitcher and admitted he did blow the call. Galerraga exhibited plenty of class even as the play happened. If it were Roger Clemens at the mound when this play transpired there would have been a brawl. I've seen fights occur over plays much closer than this in local softball tournaments. We don't often see such collective grace by both parties involved, and there was hope that Bud Selig would do the right thing without blinking. I hope you're still not blinking, because Bud Selig has shown yet again that all he is is a bureaucratic buffoon.

Not only has Selig denied this young man his place in history, but he also stated that he will be dragging his feet on instant replay and will not implement it until next season AT THE EARLIEST. I wonder what this dribbling baboon of a commissioner has on his administrative plate that is more important than the issue of instant replay in baseball. Every other sport has it, it is one of the features of modern-day sport in the 21st. century. What baseball needs to do is take a meeting with Selig and send him a message-PROGRESS IS GOOD. We need instant replay in baseball, it's only right. Human error is not something we have to live with anymore. We have technology to aid us in getting things right. But Selig won't budge, because he is happy collecting those fat paychecks from MLB and sitting on his ass. Which is why instead of offering him a contract extension, the baseball owners should have gotten together and sent him out the door the Sicilian Way-

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Film Recommendation of the Week...

Release date March 17, 1995.
Running time 1 hour 45 minutes.

Very controversial movie when it came out, and just as timely today as when it was initially released 15 years ago. Many intertwining issues going on that have challenged the Catholic Church for the last 30 or so years. Here is the synopsis from Wikipedia-

"Father Greg Pilkington, newly assigned to St. Mary's parish in inner-city Liverpool, is startled to discover Father Matthew Thomas is engaged in a sexual relationship with rectory housekeeper Maria Kerrigan. Moreover, Father Thomas is a left-wing radical and an outspoken proponent of Liberation Theology, leading his to constant clashes and bickering with the Bishop—who nevertheless appreciates his abilities.

While the young protagonist's personal traditional conservatism and religious beliefs are offended by the older priest's blatant disregard for his vow of celibacy, he struggles with his own homosexual urges, especially after he meets Graham at a local gay hangout and the two embark on a physical relationship.

Meanwhile, student Lisa Unsworth has confided she is the victim of sexual abuse by her father, who confirms her story, but both have revealed their secret in the confessional, and Father Greg is required to honor the sanctity of the Sacrament of Penance and not reveal what he has been told, despite the fact the girl is suffering emotionally and physically. He tries to warn her mother to keep a close watch on her, but the naive woman believes her daughter is safe while in the care of her husband.

When Mrs. Unsworth discovers her husband molesting Lisa and realizes the priest knew what was happening, she verbally lashes out at him. Adding to his torment is his arrest for engaging in sexual activity with Graham in a parked car. When he pleads guilty to the charge, the story is headlined on the front page of the local newspaper and, unable to face his parishioners,

Father Greg relocates to a remote rural parish headed by a disapproving and unforgiving priest. Father Matthew convinces him to return to St. Mary's, and the two preside over a Mass that is disrupted by the loud protests of those opposed to Father Greg's presence on the altar. Father Matthew demands they leave the chapel.

The two priests then begin to distribute the Eucharist, but the remaining parishioners ignore Father Greg and line up to receive communion from Father Matthew. Lisa finally approaches the younger priest, and the two fall into each other's arms sobbing."