Wednesday, March 28, 2007

What will Carlos Mencia say next?

I don't know, actually. But whatever it is, chances are someone else said it first, and more than likely said it funnier.

Needless to say, I'm sure that Joe Rogan has caught wind of this.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Remembering The State

It has long been accepted that MTV no longer plays music videos, and in the future, generations will wonder if MTV ever played music videos -- that is, if they still know what music videos are by then. The music video is a dying medium. YouTube provided a beacon of hope a while ago, but, as a certified killer-of-time, I've noticed that it's becoming more and more difficult to find music videos on YouTube, what with everyone and their mothers filing lawsuits against them. It's almost as if ViaCom is grabbing YouTube by the collar and saying to 'em, "Look, if anyone is going to NOT show music videos, it's going to be US!"

Just like "video killed the radio star" circa 1984, mind-numbing programming is killing the video star circa now. [Granted, most music videos that actually get airplay are about as mind-numbing as the shows that have largely taken their place.] Take this "Engaged & Underage" filth that I saw on MTV the other day. So let me get this straight, sweetheart -- 21 years old and you have found the man that you want to spend "forever" with? Hey, that's fine by me, I won't even dig deep into the fact that about 80% of marriages that take place between people so young end up in divorce. Instead, here's my issue -- you claim to be so devoted to that person that you dropped out of college and got a shit job sticking price-tags on canned food at the local Safeway to save up money for your wedding. Well, by my estimation, "forever" is a pretty long time. In fact, about 5 years from now, we'll still be in the midst of "forever". So, how about you use that time to get your education, establish a long-term career for yourself, and then you can get married? That'd be the sensible thing to do in my eyes, but then again, MTV's programming hasn't been sensible in a long time.

That's not to say that I expect something intellectual from MTV -- far from it. But I still want to believe that there's more to their network's programming than following people around with cameras and waiting for them to do something. I miss the MTV shows that at least appeared like they were putting forth some effort to be entertaining. Jackass. The Tom Green Show. Buzzkill. The Jon Stewart Show. Motherfucking Remote Control, even.

But the show that I miss the most from MTV's past was The State, a sketch comedy show which ran from 1993 to 1995, starring the comedy troupe of the same name. If you don't remember The State, chances are that you've come across them in some way, shape or form, as members have since gone on to star in Comedy Central vehicles like Viva Variety (which was short-lived, but wasn't that funny), Stella (which was also short-lived, but pretty funny in a "downright silly" short of way), and Reno 911! (which is a mega success though it can be hit-or-miss at times). Most would agree, though, that their MTV show was their best work -- creatively written, absurd ideas, and the ridiculous transitions between sketches were flawlessly-executed.

Fortunately, MTV is making somewhat of an effort to stir up interest in The State again, releasing 1st season episodes on iTunes, with future releases (and possibly a DVD) if there appears to be demand for it. If you are a proud owner of a Video iPod (which I recently became), it's definitely worth the $1.99 per episode. And if you're not, or are cheap (which would be odd, considering that iPods themselves cost at least 100% more than a single episode), here are a few clips of the show I was able to scrounge. Check 'em out before YouTube gets sued again.

[Note: Below is what I hope to become one day.]

Friday, March 23, 2007

Rappers Who Suck: Fat Joe

First off, Fat Joe hasn't always sucked. I can't go as far as to say that I ever thought he was that good, but in the beginning, he wasn't bad. Back in the mid-'90s, as a member of the crew D.I.T.C. (Diggin' In The Crates), he worked with the likes of O.C., Lord Finesse, the late Big L, remixes by DJ Premier; times were good, respect was deserved. He put Big Pun on, and was smart enough to play the background and let Pun become a star, famously holding an umbrella for Pun while he himself stood in rain in the "Still Not A Player" video. Of course, Pun passed in 2000, sadly but not surprisingly -- hey, things like that happen when you hit 700 pounds before you're 30.

[NOTE: The above picture is to scale.]

Is it any coincidence that Fat Joe didn't have a major hit single until 2001? Now, I'm not blaming Joe for upping his star power in the wake of Pun's death, nor am I even accusing him of such. There are spots in the hierarchy of popular rap music for lots of people to be famous, and it's short-sighted to say that Joe "took" Pun's spot after he died. All I'm saying is this: if Pun had the reasonable foresight to take better care of himself, Fat Joe wouldn't be half as "hot" as he thinks he is right now, and as a result of Pun's inability to do that, a monster has been unleashed. We miss you, Pun, but seriously -- you know you done fucked up, right?

Post-2000 "superstar" Fat Joe (not to be confused with his former respectable self) has made a career out of copying trends. If I'm just severely out of touch, and Fat Joe really is "what's hot" right now, then it's only because he systematically seeks out what's hot and attaches himself like a leech -- basically, every trend that Joe has ever "contributed" to would exist just as well without him. Cam'ron started wearing pink, and Joe followed suit. Nelly made a song about Air Force 1s, and then Joe is all on MTV Cribs showing off crates of white-on-white Nikes, trying to prove that he hasn't worn 'em yet by licking the bottoms. [Personally, I wasn't convinced. Maybe he stepped on french fry the day before?] Ja Rule and LL Cool J each thought it would be a good idea to lend their "singing" voices to a Jennifer Lopez song, and wouldn't you know, there was big, shy Joey, emerging out of the corner, unable to lift his eyes off of the floor, delicately raising his voice... "Hey guys, you think I could try that?" Sure, Joey, go ahead. Matter of fact, you can have it.

Today, one of the more popular trends amongst people with more money than they know what to do with is just throwing it in the air and letting it fall as it may. "Making it rain," as the kids say. And sure enough, who else would take it upon themselves to write a song about it? Like to hear it? Here it go!

It's not so much Fat Joe's lyrical abilities which factor into his suckiness, as he at least comes off as competent enough to not embarrass himself with his raps. It has more with what he says rather than how he says it, and he says nothing quite as often as he says "crack!", as in the lyric "Crack crack crack crack crack!" It would appear that either Fat Joe is in the same vein as Mike Jones as far as repeating shit, or he has Tourette's syndrome (although those two may be one in the same). Considering how often he repeats the word "crack", and calls himself "Joey Crack", and talks about cocaine, you might be led to believe that Joe is some drug lord... that is, until you find out that the nickname was earned based on a young, portly Joe's inability to get up in front of class without revealing his ass-cleavage (true story). Quite a blatant confusion of words there, and worse yet, it may very well set off a dangerous precedent, if it hasn't already. I mean, if we can't trust rappers, who can we trust? Even your friendly neighborhood rabbi might be up to something when he says he's going down the block to "get some coke".

Look past the smile and the bushy beard -- do you see a soul?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Rappers Who Suck: Baby

I have a hard time looking at Puff Daddy as "Diddy". Scratch that -- I have a hard time looking at Puff Daddy, period. But I have an especially difficult time looking at him as "Diddy". It takes a certain level of pompousness to announce that you must be referred to by a name of your choosing which isn't on your driver's license (unless you choose to legally change your name, like the Ultimate Warrior did), but it takes an even greater level of pompousness to announce that you are changing your nickname. Plain and simple, nicknames are to be chosen by people other than the recipient of the nickname. The only person who gets a pass on this unwritten law is scrappy ex-NBAer Jerome Williams, who labelled himself "Junkyard Dog". But seriously, take a look at the dude...

If this guy doesn't deserve to be known as "Junkyard Dog", then no one deserves anything. Ever. Word to the feather boa.

Of course, rap names are different, because most rappers are expected to live within a persona, one that wouldn't normally come with a given name like Curtis Jackson or Shawn Carter. However, Diddy is not a rap name, because Puff Daddy -- by my definition, at least -- is not a rapper. That's because he uses ghostwriters (the proof is in the Wiki). In other genres of music, where one gets recognition based on their vocal abilities, having people write your songs is a bit more forgivable. But in rap music, you get recognition (for the most part) based on what you write -- if you don't write, you're not a rapper, and Puffy has alluded to/bragged about the fact that he doesn't write. "Don't worry if I write rhymes, I write checks". Remember that? [Due to this, sadly, Puff Daddy will never be the subject of one of these "Rappers Who Suck" posts. But let the record show that I still think he sucks.]

It's not a huge secret that a lot of so-called rappers who are more widely regarded for their contributions to hip hop music away from the microphone -- like Puffy, Dr. Dre and Jermaine Dupri (whose "contributions" don't really extend beyond Kriss Kross and Da Brat) -- employ ghostwriters. One such person who doesn't, however, is Baby, a.k.a. Birdman, the CEO and co-founder of Cash Money Records, and, if you believe everything you read in album titles, Lil' Wayne's "father". How can I tell that Baby, someone who came up largely on the business side of the music industry, doesn't use ghostwriters? Shit, have you ever heard him rap??

To Baby's credit, recording music with an always-improving Wayne has helped a little, and he can always be proud of the fact that he outshined The Clipse on "What Happened To That Boy?"; and though this isn't really related to actual "rapping", he also has the most brilliant album cover ever. But just like I can't see Puff Daddy as Diddy, I can't see Baby as anything above a rapper who sucks -- he's just sucked for too damn long. And with his verse on "Project Bitch", he dug a hole of suckiness FAR too deep for anyone to dig themselves out of. You may have heard the song in question in passing one day, and heard Baby's verse and thought, "Wow, this guy isn't very good." To you, I say this...

Try reading his lyrics (below) to yourself. If you're like me, then by the time you reach the sixth bar (where Baby cleverly rhymes "fuck" with "fuck"), you'll probably be questioning the purpose of Baby's existence, the purpose of your own existence, why rap music isn't as good as it used to be, the meaning of life, and other such things.

"A n***a could catch me re'd up/
Them white folks know the code so we G'd up/
And my Range Rover 4 door be D'd up/
Tattoos and new cars and these project cuts/
Got this n***a bitch I know been wantin' to fuck/
I deal with sluts, ladies, and bitches don't give a fuck/
Project bosses, Weezy say "Respect Us"/
Bitch n***a find me in a 4 door Lexus/
I got a bitch shoot dice, and a bitch that ain't right/
I got a bitch who will front ya work and take ya life/
I got a credit card hoe, a scam type hoe/
A fraud type hoe, like to snort that dope/
A dick suckin pro, a calico hoe/
A real solid bitch out Chicago/
I got a brat type bitch like to whine and shit/
I got a project bitch like to start some shit"

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Rappers Who Suck: Keith Murray

One of the lesser-recognized rap beefs of the '90s was between Keith Murray -- 1/3rd of Def Squad, along side rap legends Redman and Erick Sermon -- and Prodigy from Mobb Deep. Lesser-recognized not only because it wasn't related to the East vs. West/B.I.G. vs. 2Pac drama that dominated the news at the time, but more because, well, it just wasn't that interesting. Apparently, Prodigy had a lyric about rappers who talk about "smoking weed" and "space shit" -- although we'll never really know if Prodigy intended to go after Murray with these words, for Keith, the shoe not only fit, but it went well with his shirt, too. The situation, which had apparently been once resolved, came to a head on LL Cool J's "I Shot Ya (Remix)", which, oddly enough, featured both Murray and Prodigy, and contained an obvious lyric from P which was edited out of the final version ("Some (pussy) kids feelin' guilty about some (space shit)/But you first, baby girl, so just face it"). Murray would later confront Prodigy outside of a club in NY and the two apparently fought it out, both claiming to have held the upperhand (big surprise, I know). Hearing them talk about the altercation in interviews, though, Murray comes off as a more convincing victor; considering Prodigy's track record in rap beefs, this is not at all surprising either.

[As an aside about Prodigy, he has a mixtape due out later this month entitled Return Of The Mac, produced entirely by Alchemist, which -- judging by P's incredible lead video -- may be the most promising attempt to resurrect Mobb Deep out of their seemingly-never-ending slump. And even if it falls short of expectation, at least it brings to mind the Mark Morrison classic of the same name.]

Regardless of who came out on top in the beef, you can't fault Prodigy for speaking the truth -- pretty much all Keith Murray rapped about was, indeed, "some space shit". It's really too bad because he could've been so much more than that. He certainly had the tools at his availability -- a vicious voice that matched his demeanor, not to mention coming into the music biz on the shoulders of then-rap giants Redman and Sermon. I can't help but wonder why neither of the two didn't pull Keith aside one day and tell him, "You know the approach that you take to writing verses? Yeah, you know, just throwing around a bunch of big words that don't really go together but happen to rhyme? Um, well... it's not really doing anything for you. In fact, it's kind of shitty." Maybe Keith's take on the Prodigy issue really was actual fact, and Keith will just knock the fuck out anyone who criticizes his music -- that would shed some light as to why that teenager caught a bar stool to the face swung by Murray in '95.

If so, I'm glad that neither me nor any of my immediate family knows Keith Murray. And if you're reading this and know Keith Murray personally, and know me personally, please don't do him the favor of introducing us. For the love of God.

I first heard Keith Murray on Redman's '94 release, Dare Iz A Darkside, on the track "Cosmic Slop". His opening bars resemble much of what he's had to offer since:

"With amazing manifestations, I dictate to nations/
More Cosmic Funk innovations in my creation"

Lots of word end in "-ation", and I think that Keith's motivation (See! Told you!) here was to try to fit as many of them as possible into two bars. Keith Murray was like Canibus with an elementary school education level. When listening to a verse from him, there was always a sense of anticipation of that one ingenious line that would draw a reaction like, "Oh shit! I'd rewind that back if I weren't so fucking lazy!" Sadly, that line would never arrive. Instead, there'd just be a lot of big, easy-to-rhyme words delivered sloppily, sometimes so much so that you wondered if Keith himself even knew what he was saying. One example that always stood out to me was on Redman's '98 album, Doc's Da Name 2000 (yes, Redman has smoked a lot of weed, perhaps he forgot what year it was), where Keith had a lyric saying that his rhymes hit "with more power than a molecule enzyme". Now, just like that song from the movie Animal House, "I don't know much about science book" -- but I know enough to know that the power with which an enzyme hits is not really known (nor does it really matter to the overall study of science), not to mention that an enzyme's primary purpose is to catalyze chemical reactions involving molecules, so to say "molecule enzyme" is fairly redundant -- kind of like how in middle school, they'd serve "nachos and cheese". Nachos are, by definition, chips and cheese. No need to throw that second "cheese" in there, unless you're really trying to emphasize the fact that there's cheese on 'em.

As someone who (claims that he) knows a lot about hip hop, I can't think of another MC with such a rugged demeanor who went out of his way to put words like "planetarian", "organic compound", and "membrane" into his music. Though I admit to not being a fan of Keith Murray, I must commend him for his efforts in trying to blend such different styles, ending up with some hybrid, hardcore, super-scientifical rap shit which just never seemed that interesting. After all, the only way to really find out if two things can work together is to put 'em together and see what happens. Sometimes, it works out.

Sometimes, it doesn't.

And sometimes, it sucks.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Rappers Who Suck: Lil' Cease

A popular phrase often used by hip hop bloggers, such as XXL's Byron Crawford (who also runs his own fairly-entertaining site) and Noz (who also runs Cocaine Blunts, which is a great site for stirring up memories of times in hip hop that you never knew existed), is "weed carrier", which is meant to refer to a rapper whose entire existence is largely due to him being a crony of a more-famous rapper. This does not always mean that said rapper may not possess the talent and/or drive to have established himself on his own -- but simply put, for the modern weed carrier, that just wasn't the desired outcome.

Nowadays, weed carriers are almost as important for a platinum-selling rapper to have as expensive jewelry and mean mugs. T.I. has one. 50 Cent has a handful. The trend has even trickled down into the world of sports, as Denver Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony has a couple, literally. On a few rare occasions, there may even be a role reversal between the weed carrier and the rapper who brought said weed carrier into the limelight. Case in point...

... you tell me which is which?

One of hip hop's first weed carriers were the Junior Mafia, The Notorious B.I.G.'s crew. It's fair to say that Lil' Cease (or Lil' Ceaser, if you're cool like that) was the third most-recognizable face out of JM, after Biggie and the back-then-still-somewhat-attractive Lil' Kim, but I can't say I know exactly why -- either it was because he got the most time on the mic besides Biggie and Kim on JM's lone crew album, 1995's Conspiracy, or because he was so wack that it was hard to not notice him.

Today's usual weed carrier at least has the courtesy to come off a little differently than the rapper that brought them into the public eye. However, listening to Cease rap, you can't help but get the impression that Cease wanted to rap just like Biggie -- and furthermore, you can't help but get the impression that Cease was nowhere near Biggie's level. His attempts at matching Biggie's cleverness and intricate rhyme patterns often fell flat, and I can think of no better example of this than Cease's first bars to the opening verse of the (otherwise) classic JM track, "Player's Anthem".

"Now, who smoke more blunts than a little bit?/
What are you, a idiot?/
Listen to the lyrics I spit"

Yeah, Cease, we're the idiots. You're the one who claims to "smoke more blunts than a little bit" -- the fuck does that even mean? That's such a wide range to put on an amount of blunt smoking, it could practically mean anything. I'll cut myself off before I get into the even-worse "toss your clothes like a salad" line from "Crush On You".

Though rather short in stature (hence the "Lil'"), Cease's rap voice held an uncharacteristically deep tone to it, almost as if he was forcing himself to further sound like Biggie. It didn't help that he had a terrible rapping voice to begin with, sounding like he had food in his mouth throughout his verses -- mind you, not sounding like he was eating, but rather as if he took a big bite of a sandwich, recorded his verses, and then commenced to chewing and swallowing. Listening to a Cease verse was like witnessing a game of Chubby Bunny that had gone on for too long. Perhaps in Cease's daily schedule, his routine mouthwash gargle always overlapped with his recording sessions?

How you like that, gingivitis? What are you, a idiot?

Bad voice, bad lyrics, and a complete lack of rhythm -- all of these things add up to but one: suck. It has been 10 years to the month of Biggie's unfortunate murder, and the only relevance to hip hop that Lil' Cease holds are the references to him in some of Biggie's classic verses, be it visions of Cease playing Nintendo, or offering a ride home to a Biggie one-night-stand the morning after. To me, though, Cease will always be remembered as a victim in one of hip hop's most ambiguously gay lyrics in recent memory, courtesy of Jadakiss in "Knock Yourself Out":

"I'm like Big wit the murder mamis up in Belize/
But I'll still fuck a chickenhead like Lil' Cease"

A chickenhead like Lil' Cease, eh?

Oh, chin up, Jada. I won't tell anyone.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Number one in Afghanistan, G!

There's something funny about this Khalid Sheikh Mohammed dude, and I'm not referring to the fact that his middle name is apparently pronounced "shake", though I must admit that I find that fucking hilarious. But this whole things just reeks of "patsy" -- I mean, how coincidental is it that the one guy who the U.S. has most recently captured is claiming credit for organizing 9/11, and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, AND the beheading of American journalist Daniel Pearl? If I were to compare the Taliban to a corporation, then organizing such major deals like the two most historic attacks on U.S. soil in past 20 years seems like something that a guy in a Board of Directors, "I run shit"-type of position would handle. Meanwhile, chopping off a dude's head seems more along the lines of a middle-management, "trying to move up in the company"-type of task. I just can't see a "mastermind" like this Sheikh dude sporting the mask and gloves, stepping in front of the camera, and getting blood all over his Armani suit (hypothetically speaking, of course -- in Sheikh's case, a smelly white tee), before hopping into his Ferrari (dune buggy) and heading to the country club (deserted cave) to meet with Osama Bin Laden for a round of golf (comparison of facial hair) and a meal of caviar and champagne (sand and water).

Hmmm. "Mastermind" Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Mastermind Sheikh. Master... Shake?

BOOM! Suspense! Kind of puts a whole new twist on that whole ordeal in Boston earlier in the year. Marketing campaign, you say? I think "striking fear into an entire nation" is a more fitting definition! I think back to the good ol' days, when promotion was you telling something to someone, and telling that someone to tell someone else, who would in turn tell another person, and so on and so forth. That way, you could get your word out to, like, SIX people! Much more effective than some battery-operated board with blinking lights and a middle-finger-extending creature from the Moon, and fewer people shitting their pants because they think they see a bomb. I'll tell you, there's something wrong with the kids these days -- staying up later than 8 p.m., watching "stoner cartoons", funding terrorism with their dirty habits... oh, I'm sorry, you didn't know DRUG MONEY FUNDS TERRORISM? Open your eyes, people! It's a fact! Eff ay see tee!

[Boy, that Nick sure is a push over. You'd think he might ask Norm for some ee vee eye dee ee en see ee.]

I'm surprised, and a little disappointed, that no one in the media has picked up on this suspicious connection, but I'm confident that it'll be easier to pick up on once the U.S. captures Sheikh's co-conspirators, Aasim Freilaak Najar and Ali Faarooq Al-Meetwaad.

Monday, March 12, 2007

The End of Innocence

[The italics indicate that I'm stealing this from somewhere. You should be able to figure out from where, though.]

Now, this is when I know I'm in a bad neighborhood, you only see this in the worst neighborhoods. Remember, this was 3 o'clock in the morning. I looked out the window, and there was a fucking baby standing on the corner. And the baby didn't even look scared, he was just standing there. And it made me sad, you know, because I wanted to help the baby. I was like, "Mm mm, I don't trust you either. Click! The old baby-on-the-corner trick, eh? Not gonna fall for that shit."

As time goes by, I start feeling worse. I was like, "What the hell is wrong with me, I'm scared of a baby! But this baby could be in trouble, he may need my help. I gotta do something." But I wasn't gonna get out of the car. I'm serious, man. I just cranked the window open a little bit. "Hey baby! Baby, go home, man! It's 3 o'clock in the morning man, what the fuck are you doing up?"

The baby says, "I'm selling weed!"

"Hey, baby! Stop selling weed, all right, you've got your whole life ahead of you."

He goes, "Fuck you, I got kids to feed!"

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The NBA All-YouTube Team

And now, I present an all-time starting line-up of NBA players, past and present, who have benefitted the most from the invention of YouTube and its ever-growing collection of highlights and mixtapes, be it by casting light upon the previously unseen, or by emphasizing greatness that has already been confirmed. Credit is due to TrueHoop (the extraordinary basketball blog recently purchased by ESPN, which first presented to me most of what I'm about to present), as well as boredom, and having a day job which provides me with the lethal combination of internet access and copious amounts of down time. Enjoy. [And I must warn you, since I had nothing to do with the makings of these videos, the quality of the background music in each of them are completely beyond my control -- I fucks with Guns 'N' Roses "November Rain", but Creed? Not so much.]

PG - Pete Maravich

Considering how popular streetball has become in recent years (though I must admit that that popularity has been steadily declining), a player like "Pistol" Pete could've broken every jersey-selling record if he played in this day in age, just like he broke every NCAA scoring record at LSU. Unfortunately, his playing days ended before the '80s, and even more unfortunate, he died at age 40 of a heart attack (caused by a rare heart defect) after collapsing during a pick-up game. [And talk about "ironic", check out Pete's quote here -- what'cha think about that, Alanis Morrissette? Rain on your wedding day doesn't sound so bad now, does it?] Though Pete still holds numerous scoring records from his college days, it's the passes in this mixtape that are the most impressive. Even the equally-legendary, and equally-deceased, Red Auerbach can't contain his excitement while watching Pete demonstrate the "wrist pass" (about 3:10 from the beginning) -- hey, if Red tells you not to try something, don't fucking try it, alright!

SG - Michael Jordan

As if an All-Anything-Related-To-Basketball Team could exist without Jordan on it. The above clip -- footage of Jordan's 63 points against the Celtics in the '86 playoffs (a playoff record) following a regular season in which he played only 6 weeks due to a leg injury -- should leave no questions to be asked about MJ's legacy... other than, perhaps, why the FUCK he allowed Orlando Woolridge to take the last shot of this game (an air-balled 3-pointer, no less). The clip is brought to you by YouTube stud hoopsencyclopedia, whose collection of legendary Jordan games is second to none.

SF - Vince Carter

I think Vince Carter should owe some sort of royalties to YouTube, because the number of dunk clips of his on there are probably the best PR he could hope for. No matter how many reasons you may have for disliking Vince -- the exaggerated injuries, the lack of effort during Toronto's bad seasons, the trade demands, the whole "fooling a nation of children into thinking you deserve to start in every All-Star game based on your dunking ability" thing (fortunately that last one seems to be coming to an end) -- it can't outnumber the amount of highlight-reel dunks in the above video. That's 100, to be exact, ranging from his NBA days in Toronto and New Jersey, to UNC, to high school, and even a few as a member of Team USA (with the infamous Frederic Weis posterization high on the list). Sadly missing from the above mix is, perhaps, Vince's greatest "move" to date.

PF - Shawn Kemp

Hard to believe that in a 1996 Finals that starred Jordan, Pippen, and an in-his-prime Gary Payton, many considered Shawn Kemp to be the most impressive player on the court. Simply put, 6'10" dudes shouldn't be able to dunk the way the Reignman did -- taking it coast-to-coast, swinging on the rim, pumping the ball multiple times, catching alley-oops with one hand from whatever distance. As much as I loved watching Shawn play, I've said it before and I'll say it again -- the fact that all of his recent comeback attempts failed... it's probably all for the best.

C - Arvydas Sabonis

The original "30 year old rookie", Arvydas (as opposed to "your-vdyas") was originally drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers in 1986, but due to circumstances which no longer affect foreign-born players trying to jump to the NBA, he didn't actually play for them until 1995. Considering how solid of an NBA player he was despite being overweight and having feet of stone (due to knee injuries suffered while playing in Europe), one can only imagine if the addition of an in-his-prime Sabonis to the Blazers' 1990 and 1992 Western Conference Championship teams could've propelled them to being NBA champs as well (they lost both years), not to mention where it would've ranked him amongst the greatest NBA centers of all-time. According to Croatian-born ex-NBAer Dino Radja (whose quote appears at the beginning of this video), he would've been "better than David Robinson" -- however, considering how some Eastern Europeans go back on statements, it's quite possible Dino changed his mind the next day.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Important moments in French history

1755 - Menon's cookbook, Les soupers de la cour, includes a groundbreaking recipe for "fried potatoes".

1992 - Four-and-a-half year-old Jordy Lemoine's biting social commentary provides new details into the difficulties of being a baby. His conclusion: "It's tough".

2007 - San Antonio Spur Tony Parker's burgeoning/bludgeoning French rap career improves the English/French language barrier. Americans learn that the French word for "basketball" is basketball; the French word for "balance" is balance; the French word for "baby" is baby; and the French words for everything else is random gibberish.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

"It's not fooling anyone!"

So, as I'm departing from the jay-oh-bee the other day, taking my usual elevator ride down 22 stories (actually 21 when not counting the traditionally-absent 13th floor), I find myself sharing space with a middle-aged gentleman, one hand clutching a briefcase, the other a box of raisins. The briefcase and raisins are rather insignificant details, but I like to paint a picture when I tell a story -- call me Stevo Bucasso. Anyways, dude appears to be on the bad end of his 50s, yet he's sporting a mop-top haircut, a pretty uncommon combination. Considering that the sides of the hair seemingly growing out of the top of his scalp are not attached to the sides of his head, it gave off the impression that homeboy was rockin' a toupee. Now, I don't claim to be an expert in identifying toupee-wearers, but I'm not without some experience -- my orthodontist's hairpiece used to lift off at the sides, kind of like the hat Napoleon Bonaparte wore.

As time passes in the elevator, homeboy tilts his head downward for some unknown reason, perhaps to conceal the excitement he's getting from the anticipation of eating raisins. [And let this aside be a reminder of how shitty it must be to grow old -- when's the last time you looked forward to eating raisins?] As he does so, I notice a bald spot on the top of his head, and just like that, my "homeboy's rockin' a toupee" theory has had holes put through it like so much gunshot wounds. And that got me to thinking...

Older men wear toupees in an attempt to hide from the general eye-possessing public the fact that they're bald and/or balding. However, making one's toupee appear too obvious defeats the whole purpose of wearing it in the first place. A toupee, by definition, appears as if it were a perfect piece of hair -- and realistically, how many guys pushing 60 would you believe to have full, perfect heads of jet black hair? Basically, what I'm taking the long route to explain here is, I've come up with a genius brainstorm, which is...

Toupees with bald spots in them. [Patent pending!] Think about the benefits for the customer. The suspicion that passers-by used to have as they'd silently question whether or not one was a toupee-wearer -- GONE! And more importantly, it could do wonders for their self-confidence. Rather than feeling forced to make some improbable leap from having a dome that the sun reflects off of, to having a head of hair that the Gods themselves would envy, they'd be able to move back to a more believable "mid-balding" phase, and thus more fully embrace their imperfections. Granted, they'd still be lying to themselves, but just not as maliciously. They would now have the courage to stand up to the world and say, "Sure, I'm not perfect, but at least I'm not some bald LOSER! Now, if you'll excuse, I have to go somewhere to cry and eat raisins."

Of course, there is some risk involved in this idea. The success of the concept itself relies heavily on secrecy, and merely advertising the product could effectively let the cat out of the bag. [And what type of twisted freak would put a cat in a bag, anyway?] Furthermore, there is also potential for increased suspicion, as people who would simply otherwise be dealing with their continuing baldness might then be looked at by others as possible toupee-wearers. And trust me, the last thing that I'm trying to accomplish here is to alienate those truly great American heroes, who treat their bald heads not like a mentally-disabled sibling who's kept in the attic and fed fishheads, but rather, like a close companion for the all of the world to see.

As you can clearly see, this is still a work in progress. I'm open to assistance, so be sure to tell all your friends. And don't forget to also tell them this: "Patent pending!"

... and while we're on the topic of baldness, I couldn't resist throwing this in.