Monday, December 24, 2007

Pre-Christmas Ponderings

And all through the Interwebs,
I'm the only one blogging,
all others are with family and friends.

Here's a few things going through my head as I watch the highlight of NORAD's year.

In Defense of Scrooge 1 and In Defense of Scrooge 2- Some interesting takes on how ol' Ebenezer got a bad rap. Personally, I think it's curious how people spend all year pinching every penny, touting big business, rooting for how great capitalism and social Darwinism is, bemoaning Scrooge, etc. but come Christmas time they temporarily put that aside, whip out their philanphropic side and make an effort to be the most giving souls on Earth. How about showing that all year round?

A note on Peace on Earth: If we really had Peace on Earth, do you have an idea how many people would be unemployed? We wouldn't need a military, military contractors, military lobbyists, supporters, etc. We wouldn't spend our money on weapons and radars and missles and the like. We would have countless more unemployed youthes wandering our streets, washing our windshields, begging on streetcorners, or resorting to a life of crime. Do we really want that? So next time you wish for Peace on Earth, think of the soldiers, airmen, sailors, or Marines whose very livelihood depends on a certain amount of unpeaceful chaos.

Speaking of conflict, William Loren Katz of remembers the Christmas Eve 1837 battle between the Seminole Indians and the U.S. military. It was one of the first victories for the Seminole Nation and an important milestone in their reputation as the "Unconquered Tribe". (Note: My esteemed alma mater makes a big deal of the whole "Unconquered" thing.)

Anyway, I'll be back tomorrow with a special toast and a big announcement, but in the meantime, hopefully Santa is good to one and all and here's hoping his little buddy Black Pete doesn't show up and kick your ass.

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hoops Gone Hollywood

I've also been peddling my wares and talking some hoops over at YaySports!. Throughout the year, the blogmaster of YaySports!, the Cavalier, has had both myself and fellow Epic Carnival mastermind Jack Cobra cameo while he completes the mother of all blogger-created basketball-themed movies, Who Shot Mamba? Tentatively scheduled for release in 2008, Who Shot Mamba? will tell the tale of the mysterious Mamba, who may or may not have been mysteriously murdered. Such details are mysterious indeed.

In eager anticipation of this momentous event, I've scoured the annals of cinema to put forth the ultimate competition: a team of actors attempting to be basketball stars versus a team of basketball stars attempting to be actors.

I'll admit this isn't an inclusive list, but these are the best all-round teams I could think of.

(Additional note: only one pick per movie. That was my rule.)

The Hollywood Hoopsters

PG - Calvin Cambridge (Like Mike) - Not too many actors like passing the rock, so by default Cambridge gets the call here.

- Scott Howard (Teen Wolf) - As a human, Howard was a mild-mannered pass-first, defensive-minded fundamental average white-guy guard. But as the wolf, Howard turned into an elusive scorer with a wicked first step.

SF - Jimmy Chitwood (Hoosiers) - One of the best pure shooters in basketball history, Chitwood was money from outside.

PF - Juwanna Mann (Juwanna Mann) - A tough position to fill. Not too many Hollywood stars willing to attack the boards and get garbage points.

C - Elliot Richards (Bedazzled) - The man broke Wilt Chamberlain's scoring record, had a quintuple-double, and played like a giant. Too bad he had the IQ of a door mouse.

Their opponents: the B-Movie Ballers

PG - Penny Hardaway (Blue Chips) - The movie that made Penny Hardaway an Orlando Magic guard. Not a bad NBA career, but never made another film. And for that we can thankful.

SG - Ray Allen (He Got Game) - I'll admit, I am like the only person in the world who hasn't seen this. But I heard it's one of the better actor-baller roles in movie history.

SF - Michael Jordan (Space Jam) - Before swatting Kevin Bacon and sharing his drawers with Cuba Gooding, Michael Jordan used to be a pretty good basketball player. Yeah, he is out of position here, but I couldn't leave Ray Allen off the roster.

PF - Dennis Rodman (Double Team) - In the rare basketball star in a non-basketball movie, Rodman kicks rear with the great Jean Claude Van Damme, not giving a van damme what David Stern thinks. And matches up well with opposing drag queen Juwanna Mann.

C - Shaquille O'Neal (Steele) - Sure Kazaam was a better movie, but I liked Steele, in a leave your brain at the concession stand and watch Shaq fight crime sort of way.

So who wins this epic battle of the silver screen? I'd favor the real athletes, but you can never underestimate the magic of Hollywood.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Notes from a Knicks Nation refugee

Nearly 1,000 days ago I became a refugee. In June 2005, I went into exile and left the Knicks Nation. The ill-conceived decisions of an incompetent regime drove me away. I could no longer endure the torment and the torture of rooting for the New York Knicks. So although I had over ten years of attachment, I said my farewells, packed up my memories, and walked away.

Whereas I considered myself a Knicks fan, I found myself wandering the NBA landscape in search of a place to call home. Unable to survive on my own, it wasn't long before I found myself in one of the many displaced fan camps throughout the nation. Within this refugee camp were many other displaced fans who had likewise boycotted association with their favorite team. I met numerous Clippers fans who couldn't stand Donald Sterling, Charlotte Hornets fans who couldn't find it in their hearts to follow the Hornets to New Orleans nor root for their new Bobcats franchise, and 76er fans who had enough of their organization's mismanagement. Recently, we have even had fans from the Timberwolves' and Sonics' Nations join our camp as a reaction towards the mismanagement of their respective franchises.

Although I still stayed in touch with other Knicks fans, both in New York and throughout the Knicks Nation diaspora, I grew to enjoy my new community. My fellow refugees taught me how to be a general NBA fan, to follow the league and watch the games, but not acknowledge the team of my home nation. Although there were times of despair where we would all miss our homeland, we were generally happy. We traded tales of former glory, bragged about our stars of yesteryear, and embraced the sheer joy of the game, all without the drama of attachment.

Despite the joy of living in a displaced fan camp, I secretly yearned to return to Knicks Nation. I dreamt of the day when I could watch Marbury, Randolph, Curry, and Balkman and cheer with my fellow Knicks fans. Alas, as long as the incompetent regime of Isiah Thomas maintained control, I would remain in the camp, left only with my hopes, dreams, and fleeting memories of days gone by.

Then, last week, a glimmer of hope. After the Knicks suffered one of the worst losses in franchise history, a 45-point shellacking by the Boston Celtics, I thought for sure I could begin planning my return. Gleefully, I packed my bags, rolled up my sleeping mat, and prepared for the long journey home. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Despite the protests of both the remnants of Knicks Nation and their supporting media channels, Isiah Thomas remained in power. Dejected, I returned to my spot in the camp, unrolled my sleeping mat and closed my eyes, dreaming of Walt Frazier, Bernard King, and Patrick Ewing.

I know there will be a day when I will return to the Knicks Nation. A time when I will have to say good-bye to the many friends I have made in the displaced fan refugee camp. Despite the sadness of farewell, however, the fall of the Thomas regime will be among the happiest events of my life. As I have planned for years, on that joyous day I will once again don my John Starks jersey, dust off my Knicks hat, find myself a seat at my local sports bar, and cheer loudly and boisterously for the Knickbockers of New York.