Monday, June 30, 2008

The Bucks GM

Whoa, so the the party line is that the Bucks GM is an idiot because he didn't draft Brian Butch? I hate to be the bad soldier here but, hwaaaa?

It's pretty clear that Larry Harris, the departed GM, was an idiot. That became painfully obvious when we miraculously won the lottery 3 years ago. Mr. Harris looked like he had cheated his way through med school and was now being asked to perform surgery on a real person. That was an awkward time for us Bucks fans. Then he drafted an Australian with the No. 1 pick instead of Chris Paul or Deron Williams. Whoops. He also ridiculously overpaid for Booby Simmons and then he drafted some dorky Chinese stiff last year.

The new GM? He unloads 2 stiffs, including the commie who acted like he was to good for WI. And not just unload, we got Richard "flying through the air" Jefferson in return. We got the Dollar for two quarters. It's true the Nets did this for Lebron cap money in 2010, but who gives a deerdropping? We got Richard Jefferson for 2 bums. Then Mr. Hammond, the guy sitting at the desk now, drafts a freakish white guy from WV who can score the ball. Good move there too.

Lastly, the Bucks were terrible at defense last year, and we know defense wins championships. So we bring in Skiles and need some defenders. That ain't Butch. M'bah can play defense and his dad is the king of some part of Africa. A part not awesome enough to want to stay as the crown prince, but a part nonethelesss. So I'm happy with this move as well.

The Bucks GM has my vote of confidence. Go Mr. Hammond. We now have a starting 5 of Bogut, Villanueva, Jefferson, Redd and Mo better. Then Alexander, the freakish white, DesMason and Charlie Bell rounding out our top 8? Not terrible. Well, not as terrible as last year.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Oh No! Not Marriage!

Did anyone else see this article and experience a feeling of dread? Not to besmirch or mock Mike McCarthy's personal happiness. But I really liked having a divorcee as a coach, one whose teenage daughter was several states and many degrees of latitude away. That way you knew that McCarthy had nothing else going on besides the Packers. You knew he was going to slave away, work all day, and then bolt out of bed in the middle of the night to jot down an original offensive-play call. Hell, last season verified this theory, as McCarthy rolled out a bunch of bizarre formations. Remember the five receiver shotgun spread, the two-fullback inverse wishbone formation, and the occasional tight end lining up in the backfield? It's these sort of unique ideas you're going to get when a guy's life is his job. Sure, he'd probably burn out in a few years, but no one coaches forever.

Alas, now McCarthy's happily married (uh oh), has two grade-school-age stepsons that will live with him (further trouble), and his new bride is preggers, expecting a baby in the middle of next season (Oh, crap). Distraction city, my friends. Beware, beware. This may be cold-hearted and cynical, but I would not be surprised to see McCarthy's "coaching performance," however that might be judged, drop off some this next season. Which is a shame, since with Favre gone, we'll need him even to be on top of his game more than ever.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Why is Butch not a Buck?

The Milwaukee Bucks have an idiot for a GM. If you're going to pick somebody as crappy as Luc-Richard Mbah a Moute, why don't you pick Brian Butch? He can score better than West African Guy with Way to Long of a Name, he is a homer, neither one would really be playing anyway. That pick just make no sense to me. I'm sure there were a ton of guys on the board better than Butch and L-R, so if you are going to draft somebody less talented, draft the guy from Wisconsin.

Oh, and what the hell are they going to do with another PF. Seriously, that guy needs to be fired.

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin--- In Memoriam

The world has lost a brilliant mind and a continual source of hilarity and honesty (two things that, surprisingly, are always compatible). George Carlin died last night in a Santa Monica hospital of heart problems. I was lucky enough to see Carlin perform once (at the Laugh Factory in LA), and had long thought he was easily the most brilliant stand-up comic of the last three decades. Oddly, I was planning on buying tickets for a show he was scheduled to have in Chicago this fall.
Carlin and George Orwell had a lot in common. Both were fascinated and horrified by the evolution, more appropriately the devolution, of language. Orwell's 1984 is renowned for its creation of "Newspeak" a language that continually shrinks, taking away people's abilities to express themselves, and thus their ability to rebel against totalitarianism. Carlin was repulsed by indirect language, terms that sought to camouflage reality. He adored direct language and thus, naturally, adored curse words. His tracing of the devolution of shell shock, from "battle fatigue" to "operational exhaustion" to "post-traumatic stress disorder," is a classic example. (If you're interested, it's on track 14 of his Explicit Lyrics album.) So it seems appropriate to commemorate his death with his following discourse . . . on death. Or rather, on the terminology of old age and death---

"And we have no more old people in this country. No more old people. We shipped them all away, and we brought in these senior citizens. Isn't that a typically American twentieth century phrase? Bloodless, lifeless, no pulse in one of them. A senior citizen. But I've accepted that one, I've come to terms with it. I know it's to stay. We'll never get rid of it. That's what they're going to be called, so I'll relax on that, but the one I do resist. The one I keep resisting is when they look at an old guy and they'll say, "Look at him Dan! He's ninety years young." Imagine the fear of aging that reveals. To not even be able to use the word "old" to describe somebody. To have to use an antonym. And fear of aging is natural. It's universal. Isn't it? We all have that. No one wants to get old. No one wants to die, but we do! So we bullshit ourselves. I started bullshitting myself when I got to my forties. As soon as I got into my forties I'd look in the mirror and I'd say, "well, I...I guess I'm getting...older." Older sounds a little better than old doesn't it? Sounds like it might even last a little longer. Bullshit, I'm getting old! And it's okay, because thanks to our fear of death in this country, I won't have to die...I'll pass away. Or I'll expire like a magazine subscription. If it happens in the hospital, they'll call it a terminal episode. The insurance company will refer to it as negative patient-care outcome. And if it's the result of malpractice, they'll say it was a therapeutic misadventure. I'm telling you, some of this language makes me want to vomit. Well, maybe not vomit. Makes me want to engage in an involuntary personal protein spill!"

3000 Yards

What's that distance conjure in your mind? A moderate swim workout? A three K fun run? Well, if you're Montee Ball, a young man from Wentzville, Missouri, that number's quite familiar-- it's the number of yards you gained in your last high school football season. Seriously here folks, Ball rushed for 3,077 yards and scored 32 touchdowns while playing for Timberland High School last fall. Total craziness. He also told the Wisconsin football staff recently that he'd like to accept their scholarship offer (choosing them over Kansas, Mizzou, Stanford and Northwestern), and is thus set to become a Badger in the Fall of '09. Awesome. Here's a highlight reel.

(I normally don't like to hosanna high schoolers, but that 3,000 yards factoid is just too damn impressive not to pass along.)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

What the Heck is Going with the UW Tennis Team?

A grades report came out on the various GPAs of UWs various athletic teams. (Summarized here.) As you'd expect, rowers are the big smarty pants, though the UW basketball team continues to redeem itself from the ignominy of the Spring of '06, and posted the second best GPA of all men's teams. And team with the lowest GPA was not a shocker. Ask yourself... which UW team produces the most professionals who leave school early and which team attracts young men who's intellectual abilities may be, um, a bit, um, lacking? Plus, which team gets hit in the head a lot? If you guess men's hockey, you were right. That team brings in loads of kids who are playing in semi-pro leagues and is constantly losing kids early to the NHL, so that's no surprise. Plus, the team is full of Canadians. I think they use a different alphabet up there.

And you'd think football would be next worse, for all the typical reasons, right? Big team, lots of kids from iffy school districts, lots of kids whose career dreams are focused on the pros, lots of pressure and attention. Negative. For some bizarre reason, the Tennis team has worse grades than the football team. Who could have guessed? The kids who played tennis at my high school were the kind of guys who took viola lessons on the side and enrolled in advanced science seminar physics second semester of senior year. They were a bit high-strung and very competitive-- not the type of guys to totally slough off in school. This makes you wonder-- what goes on over at Nielsen? Do they need an in-tennis-facility study center?

Friday, June 06, 2008

The WIAA-- Wisconsin's Party Pooper

Normally, I'm not one to complain about the government or other organizations over-regulating. In my book, the government has way bigger problems (like corruption, lack of will to enforce existing laws and general incompetence), plus most laws and rules come from good intentions, and if they don't work out, they can be changed later. Hell, that's why we have the federalist system-- so different states and municipalities can experiment with different laws.
But then you see ridiculous policies like this getting floated---the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association wants to ban kids from taking their shirts off at indoor sporting events.
I'm not joking. According to the WIAA's chief moron, excuse me, assistant director, Tom Shafranski --- "High school students can’t bare their chests in class, so there’s no reason for them to do it at indoor sporting events." Uh, what? The ridiculousness of that statement is on par with the quotes from despairing Hillary supporters who are now refusing to vote for Obama. (People-- their policies are virtually identical.)

Here are a few of the unimaginably large number of problems with that justification--
First, since when are you required to sit quietly and take notes at a sporting event? Only if you're the team statistician.
Second, classes are for learning. Sporting events are for enjoying yourself and supporting your friends, classmates, relatives and community. The rules of conduct are, and always will be, different.
Third, has this guy never played shirts and skins in gym class? Did he ever have to change in the locker room in gym class?
Fourth, has he not seen how kids dress these days? Many teenage girls are definitely baring most of their chests in class. If you really want to help teens, do something about that. (Such conspicuous clevage only exacerbates existing problems with premarital sex, social awkwardness, and heterosexual teenage boys generally acting like morons.)
Fifth, is he not aware that gym classes, like the ones at my high school, have swimming as an activity? Or that you can take lifeguard training as a class?
Sixth, has he ever been to a swim meet? Every swimmer is running around 80% naked. But spectators have to stay fully clothed?

And then another prissy busybody, Todd Clark, coordinator of the confederacy of prudes who proposed the rule, says "people find it offensive." Please, who? Hasidic Jews? Mormon fundamentalists? Octogenarians? Have these people ever been to the beach? A pool? A lake? Summerfest? (By the way, I fully support a topless ban at Summerfest. I would much rather see a bare-chested 16 year old with a "T" emblazoned on his chest than some of the half-naked beached whales you see waddling around the Marcus Amphitheater every July.)

Seriously now, do the guys on the WIAA sportsmanship committee (the wanks who've proposed this theory) all have three nipples? Were they the models for the kid in the Charles Atlas ads who gets sand kicked in his face? Do they all have outies intead of innies? Are they allergic to paint or fluorescent lighting? Has there been an outbreak of Goldfinger-esque body painting deaths among Wisconsin high schoolers? Seriously, what is their problem? Why, for the love of all that is good, are we wasting time on this crap? Please tell me these guys aren't on the public payroll. Hell, even the State Journal is with me.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Almost Too Obvious

Posting this story, about the Packers Xth string running back Noah Herron (Grant, Jackson, Wynn, Morency, then Herron? What's that? 5th?) seems almost like too much of a gimme. What'd he do? Oh, he unscrewed a post from his bed, and used it to attack a pair of guys that were breaking into his house. Obviously, that rules. Way to go, Noah. Rough justice on those fools.

What's funny is thinking about this from the criminals' perspective. Did they know that it was Herron's house they were breaking into? If so, what were they thinking? Who in their right mind would want to break into the home of any NFL running back? Those guys have got to be some of the strongest, fittest, physically tough gentlemen on the planet. Hell, former Packer running back Herbert "Whisper" Goodman is now a successful mixed martial arts "heavy weight gladiator" and he was barely able to earn any playing time. That's how bad ass these guys are. Plus, you know if you break into a Packer's house in Green Bay the heat is going to come down on you in a serious way. The community revers and protects those guys. Locals know that new players are nervous about living in a small, overwhelmingly white city. They want the players to feel comfortable and unthreatened, and thus local law enforcement must be very protective of Packers who are victims of crime. Finally, after the Sean Taylor home invasion/tragedy last season, you have to expect that NFL players will be especially vigilant about protecting their homes these days.

Given that, it's hard to think that these guys knew Herron lived there. So you can only imagine what their response was when a heavily tattooed, totally jacked African-American male jumped at out of the darkness and started wailing on them with a bed post--- utter panic. Hilarious. Kudos to Herron.