Posts Tagged 'new york jets'

The Worst Sports Losses of My Life (And More!)

I write this because sadly, I believe the reign of consistent, multiple, championship-caliber Boston sports teams is coming to an end. From 2000-2010, we were lucky enough to see our teams win 6 championships in 3 different sports, reach the finals of 2 more and have at least 3 of the 4 major sports teams in playoff contention almost every year. I don’t have the research in front of me, but I’d be willing to bet that’s the best decade-long run any city in America has ever enjoyed. In short, we’ve been kind of a big deal. Though there were several missed opportunities along the way, Boston sports fans like me have had little to complain about in the big picture, and need to thank the sports gods that we were alive and young when all of this unfolded. I certainly don’t expect anything like it to happen again in whatever time I have left on this earth. I for one haven’t taken this for granted for a moment. We all know the highlights; the Patriots won Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII and XXXIX, the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 & 2007, and the Celtics won the NBA title (over the Lakers!) in 2008, but this post is about the terrible lows we also had to endure. Because I just can’t get over the fact that this decade could have been (and I’d argue should have been) even better.

These are the worst losses that I personally have experienced, that I was able to watch live. This is not meant to be a definitive list of the worst losses in Boston sports history, although I think at least 3 of these would make that list as well. I didn’t become a big pro sports fan until the late 90’s, so I can’t recount the glory days of Red Sox failure, nor can I recall the joys of the 80’s Celtics.

I’m going to rank these from least epically painful to most epically painful. Anybody who hates Boston sports will be able to take great pleasure in recalling these games, but I think as our teams begin to look to the future, it’s cathartic to reflect on the worst of times as well as the best of times. Let’s face it, prior to 2001 and 2004, we were the preeminent experts in sports misery.

First, a little history about my ‘career’ as a sports fan, because everything on my list happened in the last 10 years, which may seem odd to anyone who’s been a sports fan their whole life. I grew up mostly in a single-parent home with my mom, my brother and sister. I always loved playing sports and being athletic, but other than the one organized sport I played (soccer, for almost 10 years), I didn’t understand or care about college or pro sports. I was never taught early on that I should be a fan of Boston teams, and it never occurred to me since I rarely went to any games. Even though I was a kid during some of the most important moments in the history of the Red Sox and the Celtics, I was largely unaware of any of those events because it wasn’t a big deal in my house. If my dad had been around and taught me about pro sports in my formative years, I wonder how different things would be now. Then again, as best as I can tell, my dad wasn’t then or now a huge sports fan, so it may not have been very different at all.

I sometimes wonder what would have become of me if I grew up a jock instead of a geek. I tend to think my personality would’ve gotten in the way of being a jock regardless, but given what I think of most jocks now, I’m just fine with not having gone that route. Though it’s funny now, because I do remember specific moments in high school where that door was open to me. The only thing I’m really curious about is how it would have altered my lifestyle, my career plans, etc. Hell, I might be normal, and be married with kids by now. Yeah, maybe not. Anyone who’s known me long enough knows ‘normal’ isn’t in my DNA. In the end, it was Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg who had the biggest influence on me as a kid, not Larry Bird, Roger Clemens (thank god!) or Jim Rice.

I didn’t really become a fan of professional sports until I was 14 or 15, and even then, the first team I was a fan of was not a Boston team. It was the Orlando Magic. The first pro sport I got into was the NBA, and as I began watching and learning about pro basketball, Shaquille O’Neal quickly became my favorite player. Naturally, that meant I was rooting for the Magic whenever they were on TV. Then, the Magic got Penny Hardaway in one of the most significant draft day trades ever, and that dynamic, entertaining as hell one-two punch was all I cared about for a few years. I didn’t get into the NFL until 2000 (I was just never interested in football as a kid), and oddly enough, I hated baseball until I watched one of the games listed below.

With that said, let’s get into it:

#4 – Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees, ALCS Game 7 (October 16, 2003) – Also known as “the game that made me a Red Sox fan.” Like I said, prior to this, I’d always ignorantly hated baseball. I would throw out all the clichéd reasons people that hate baseball still do now – it was boring, nothing ever happened, it was too long, etc. etc. At the same time, I always knew about the Red Sox’s tormented history, 1918, and all that. I was also keenly aware that Red Sox-Yankees was one of the biggest rivalries in all of sports. I hadn’t been following the Sox in 2003, but as they made this memorable playoff run, I became interested in what would happen to them. Was this the year? I thought that would be cool, but I still didn’t really care a whole lot. Actually, I remember to this day being in line outside waiting to get into Avalon Boston (may she rest in peace) on Lansdowne Street behind Fenway on Saturday, October 4 when Trot Nixon hit an 11th inning walk-off homerun in Game 3 of the ALDS against the A’s. I was standing there in line talking to my buddies when Fenway suddenly exploded into joy. It was quite an experience fucking awesome just being in the vicinity. As happy fans filed out of the park, I went about my business into the club to drink and dance to some electronic music, like I’d done so many nights before. I’d wager to say the night was even better because of the mood in the city that night. I’m willing to bet that brief moment primed me for what was to come.

As the Red Sox advanced to the ALCS, I still wasn’t motivated enough to watch, but I did keep track of the results. On the night of Game 7, I didn’t have anything else going on, so, with a chance for the Sox to advance to the World Series, I decided I’d give it a go and watch what transpired at Yankee Stadium. I didn’t know shit about the intricacies of baseball, but a Game 7 is a Game 7. We all know what happened during the game. We all remember Grady Little “allowing” Pedro Martinez to pitch into the 8th, and just how swell that turned out. It was during the game, watching Yankees fans, that I began to understand why this rivalry was such a big deal, and I slowly felt myself getting into it, and more importantly, I began hating those arrogant fucks in New York. Their presumptuousness irritated me. They expected to win and advance to the World Series, and you could read that through the TV. It seemed offensive to them that they even had to go through with the ALCS. To me, it seemed like Yankees fans expected once the regular season ended, their team should just be given the AL’s spot in the World Series. It pissed me off.

When Tim Wakefield threw that sad knuckleball to Aaron Boone, who then took it upon himself to instantly end the Red Sox season and send the Yankees to the World Series once again, something ignited inside me, like a phoenix. I realized I had just experienced one of those classic miserable Red Sox moments live. I instantly got it. The only way I can describe it is to say that there’d been a diehard Red Sox fan lying dormant inside me my whole life, and that one homerun, and seeing the Yankees celebrate, and seeing the Red Sox players’ shocked dismay in the dugout all mixed together, released that fan, woke it from its 23-year coma. I’ve been following baseball, and despising the Yankees, ever since.

Going into 2004, I certainly had no expectation the Sox would end the curse. In fact, I quite relished the opportunity to live through more of that Sox misery, except this time I’d get to experience it with friends instead of alone in my bedroom. I assumed, like everyone else, that it would be a long time to come before the Sox won the World Series, and like I’d heard so many Sox fans say before, I just hoped it would happen once during my lifetime. Would I have become a Red Sox fan if I hadn’t watched this particular game live? I suspect so, only it would have happened one year later instead. But I’m glad I became a fan after the worst of times than after the best of times in ’04. I’m glad I got to experience that pain once before the incomparable joy of October, 2004. Still, at the time, it was extremely painful. At the time, the only satisfaction I was able to get was seeing those same Yankees lose to Josh Beckett and the Marlins.

I still can’t watch Boone on ESPN’s baseball coverage today without thinking at least once…Aaron Fuck’n Boone.

I’m sorry, guys:

#3 – New England Patriots vs. New York Jets, AFC Divisional Round (January 16, 2011) – This one is still fresh in most of our minds, and it hurts because of what an incredible season the Pats had just finished going into this game. A 14-2 regular season that had seen some of the most interesting roster moves in the Belichick-Brady era. It was Belichick’s best coaching performance (done without an offensive OR defensive coordinator), and Brady, who would become the first-ever unanimous NFL MVP, had put up the most spectacularly efficient stats of his career (his 36:4 TD:INT ratio (9:1) was by far the best in NFL history). They did it with a young team (featuring a fantastic draft class playing key roles, most notably Devin McCourty, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and the punter with the comic book name, Zoltan Mesko), with breakout players nobody else wanted (BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead) who could only have done what they did on this team. And of course, there was Brady’s epic hair.

In probably the most anticipated game of the season to that point, they’d beaten the hated Jets 45-3 at home on Monday Night Football in what I repeatedly called the single most satisfying football game I’ve ever watched, embarrassing Rex Ryan and shutting up some of their mouthy, douchebag players like Bart Scott, LaDanian Tomlinson and Antonio Cromartie. There was that awesome win in the snow in Chicago, another Monday Night blowout in Miami, a win against the Colts, and a sweep of the NFC North (including a W over Randy Moss and the Vikings that saw Brett Favre carted off the field after being smashed in the jaw). It was an amazing regular season, and the Patriots had set themselves up perfectly for the playoffs, getting the number 1 seed and a bye. This was a likable, ego-free team that Pats fans were immensely proud of, one that deserved win a championship.

Then the Jets came in and fucked up our hopes and dreams. It was a miserable game, one that you never felt good about as it unfolded. Even though it was close throughout, I never felt like the Pats were going to pull it together. They weren’t successful in doing anything they’d done so well the entire season. They couldn’t complete a long pass (because without Moss, they had no legit deep threats), and they could barely complete anything short, which had become their bread and butter. Tom Brady threw his first INT in 8 WEEKS (great timing) on the opening drive. There was the Patrick Chung fake punt. It was just a fucking disaster; a pathetic end to a brilliant season. Having the friggin Jets knock us out of the playoffs AT HOME like this was, how shall I put it lightly…difficult to accept. It was yet another early playoff loss (they’d been obliterated at home by the Ravens just one year earlier), and had every Patriots fan scratching their heads in bewilderment or pulling their hair out in disgust.

The reason this was so painful is because I hate wasted opportunities, and this was about as great an opportunity as we are ever gonna see for another Super Bowl. Again, this was a team that Patriots fans adored. Seeing this group of players go all the way would probably have been even more satisfying than any of the previous 3 Super Bowl wins. They’d beaten almost every team in the playoffs already during the regular season (including the Jets, Bears, Steelers and Packers). I personally was very excited to see this team play in the Super Bowl at Jerry JonesCowboys Stadium football Death Star in Dallas.

The Patriots were better than that fucking Jets team, yet they got outcoached and outplayed when it mattered most. I hate that, and like I said at the time, it made me reevaluate how passionate I should get about sports going forward, because I felt like I’d just wasted 3 months of my life being emotionally invested in this team. If THIS group can’t even win their first playoff game (at home!) – if a near-perfect regular season means NOTHING – why am I getting so excited for these games? If they’d gone 10-6, it wouldn’t have bothered me so much. But they were 14-2, an elite team, and still were barely able to put up a fight. It was goddamn depressing. I didn’t watch SportsCenter or look at ESPN.com (or any other sports site) for a week after this game, and to be honest, I’m still not fully over it. The only consolation Pats fans got was seeing THIS the next week as the Jets lost to the Steelers. Meanwhile, the Patriots have not won a playoff game since they were 18-0 in early 2008. More on THAT a bit later. Yes, it’s coming.


Oddly enough, he’d have made the same face had they won the Super Bowl.


Go literally have sex with your own mother, Bart Scott.

#2 – Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers, NBA Finals Game 7 (June 17, 2010) – As incredible as watching the Celtics beat the Lakers in the 2008 Finals was, seeing those same Celtics LOSE to the Lakers in the Finals 2 years later was doubly worse. On top of that, anytime you lose a Game 7, it’s that much more difficult to accept. This new incarnation of the Celtics’ “Big Three” understood fell well that the perception is that in order to truly be remembered amongst the Celtics greats, you had to deliver multiple championships. It now appears as though one is all we’ll get from the Pierce-Garnett-Allen tandem. I’m not among those who insist on that standard of excellence, but it sure as hell would’ve been nice, wouldn’t it? And it was certainly possible. If Kevin Garnett hadn’t suffered that season-ending knee injury in February of ’09, we may have been talking about a Celtics three-peat heading into this series last summer. And if Kendrick Perkins hadn’t blown out his knee in Game 6, most of us have no doubt that the Celtics would have again defeated the Lakers to bring home Banner 18. It’s sad that shitty luck with injuries may be what prevented this group of Celtics from winning multiple championships, but I would argue that’s exactly the case. The primary reason the Lakers won this Game 7 is because they butchered us on the boards with their size in Gasol and Bynum, something that would almost certainly have been negated with a healthy Perkins on the court.

The sad fact is even without Perkins, the Celtics should have won this game. Rasheed Wallace finally showed up, playing probably his best game in a Celtic uniform, and the Celtics were up by as many as 13 points in the third quarter (goddammit!!!). However, foul trouble, a lack of scoring and a lack of rebounding became their undoing, and we all had to watch Kobe Bryant dance around the court as time ran out. We had to watch that stupid llama Pau Gasol pumping his fists and screaming like an idiot, and we had to see purple and gold confetti falling from the ceiling as the dejected, exhausted Celtics walked off the court. It just sucked.

In particular, I hated seeing Kobe’s pride in that title, because he knew how it important it was to beat the Celtics in the Finals, especially after being embarrassed just two years earlier losing a closeout game by 39 in Boston. The title also put the Lakers just one behind Boston in all-time championships, 16 to 17. I was dreading the idea of seeing them potentially tie the Celtics this season, but thankfully, the Dallas Mavericks put a quick end to that possibility, and likely ended the Lakers’ chances at a title for the foreseeable future, with Phil Jackson likely retiring, Kobe only getting older, and big roster moves seemingly on the horizon.

The final vomit-inducing moment occurred with the horror of having to see Bill Russell on the podium during the postgame ceremonies, being forced to hand the Finals MVP trophy to Kobe in L.A. (which happened only because that trophy was recently named after Russell), surrounded by the rest of the team, with those a-hole fans having a circle jerk in the stands. This is the very definition of being kicked while you’re down. I’m surprised they didn’t bring Larry Bird out at gunpoint and have him kiss Magic Johnson‘s shoes, and then have Kareem Abdul-Jabbar curb stomp Kevin McHale American History X style on the street outside Staples Center. Was that too much?

If ALL of that wasn’t enough, Ron Artest got a championship ring. And that’s just wrong.


My reaction to this image is simple:

Surely, it doesn’t get worse than a Game 7 Finals loss to the Lakers, does it? Unfortunately, yes it does. Brace yourselves, New England sports fans. You know what’s coming.

#1 – New England Patriots vs. New York Giants, SUPER BOWL XLII (February 3, 2008)


YES!!! Oh, wait…

This wasn’t even close. It’s the worst sports loss of my life, and probably in the lives of everyone in New England who’s ever been a football fan. I hate even writing ‘Super Bowl XLII’. I typically refer to this game as “the events of February 3, 2008”. For my sake, and the sake of every other Boston sports fan reading this, little needs to be said in the way of a setup. We all remember the 2007 season. Spygate. Blowout wins early, nail-biting wins late. 50 touchdowns. 16-0. Just about everyone in the media openly despising our team.

Losing in the Super Bowl is already crushing enough. But this was a chance to go 19-0, to secure the perfect season- something most people rightly thought was impossible in today’s NFL. It was a chance to put the 1972 Dolphins’ record (and Mercury Morris‘ mouth) into obscurity once and for all. That’s something EVERY NFL fan should’ve been rooting for, by the way. It was gonna be one final EFF YOU to all the haters (fans, media people and players on opposing teams) who’d been bitching about the Patriots’ “running up the score” and about Spygate since the beginning of the season.

I don’t need to rehash why the Pats lost this game. We all know why. But here’s why it was especially devastating to me. The fact that I wasn’t living in New England made it a lot worse. At least back home, I’d have people around me who were sympathetic. You guys don’t know how lucky you were to have that support network in place. Here, I’d been arguing with Steelers fans, Cowboys fans, Redskins fans, and Eagles fans all season long, sometimes teasing them because their teams were inferior (the Patriots beat all of those teams that year), other times being openly boastful about how great the Patriots were. I know maybe 3 other Patriots fans down here, and none of them were as serious about this game as I was. I had to work that following Monday, and I seriously wanted to call out. You wanna talk about a walk of shame? That’s me walking into Best Buy on February 4th. And good GOD did I hear about it. All day long for days on end. Pointing, laughing, taunting, sarcasm. I got it all, and I took it as best I could. It was adult bullying. I was the toilet water absorbing everyone’s defecation. In other words, I got shit on. And this lasted probably a week. Had I still been in New England, this would not have been an issue. Were I the religious type, I’d have asked for your prayers.

Add on to this the fact that we lost to a New York team, and above THAT it was a New York team we’d already beaten in the regular season, and the volcano of pain is now fully erupting. Again we also have Bill Belichick and Tom Brady winning Coach of the Year and MVP (as they did in 2010). Unfortunately, it seems when that happens, it’s a bad omen for the Pats’ Super Bowl chances. The simple fact is the Brady-Belichick Patriots should have FIVE Super Bowl wins right now, not 3. Instead, this era is fizzling out with disappointing playoff loss after disappointing playoff loss, and the time we have left with this historic coach-quarterback combo continues to get shorter and shorter as the gap between our last Super Bowl win (now at 6 years) gets longer and longer. Again, opportunities for greatness wasted. It drives me nuts. This one season made the Patriots one of the most hated teams in the NFL, and I don’t necessarily mind that, but if that’s gonna be the case, I’d have been much more comfortable with it with a 19-0 perfect season to hold over the haters’ heads.

And of course, just in case ending the 2007 season on this apocalyptic note wasn’t torture enhanced interrogation technique enough, the Patriots opened 2008 by losing Tom Brady for the entire season to a fucking kneeplosion, thanks to the Chiefs’ Bernard Pollard. Then, despite a breakout season by Brady’s backup Matt Cassel, they became the first 11-5 team to miss the playoffs. Life was grand.

I won’t torture you or myself with video from this atrocity, but…


One of the 18.5 BILLION times Brady was hit as he threw during the game.
Great time for the previously superb Patriots o-line to EPIC FAIL.


Catch the fuckin ball!!!
The game would’ve been OVER!!!
You FUCK!!!


Literally the only significant thing David Tyree ever did on an NFL field.

Conveniently lost in the media’s jizzing over this catch is the horrible officiating that allowed Eli Manning to even throw the pass, as his offensive line held the SHIT out of the Pats’ d-line prior to him getting the pass off. FUCK YOU!


The superstitious fans like to point out that he hadn’t worn a goddamn red hoodie the entire season prior to this game. What the F were you thinking, brah?


Well, at least he dressed well after the game. That’s a relief.


Then there were the oh-so-clever t-shirt designs.

There you have it. The worst of the worst in my 15 or so years of watching sports. I’m hopeful these rankings stand forever, as I hope to never see anything like them again. If sports truly were religion (I know college football fans here in the South would argue it is), there would be two numbers representing Heaven and Hell on the spectrum of my Boston Sports Fan lifetime: “18-1” is on one end representing Hell, and “2004” is on the other, representing Heaven. I suspect I’m not alone in that belief system.

I had originally titled this post “The Five Worst Sports Losses of My Life”, but I couldn’t come up with a fifth one that came even close to resonating as powerfully as these four. One of the other options that came to mind was last year’s Bruins collapse against the Flyers (where Philly became one of only 5 teams in the history of American pro sports to come back from an 0-3 hole to win a playoff series), but I’m not a true hockey fan, and though it pissed me off, I was more embarrassed as a Boston sports fan than I was emotionally devastated. Also, if you recall, the New York Yankees swept a 5-game series AT Fenway from August 18-21, 2006 in a horrific turn of events that is sometimes referred to as the Boston Massacre. THAT fuckin sucked, but because it wasn’t in the playoffs (though it pretty much killed the Red Sox’ hopes of making the playoffs that year), that too was more embarrassing than anything else.

Let this serve as a reminder to both haters and supporters of Boston sports; though we had a magical decade of championship glory, for every moment of jubilation and success there were equally powerful moments of heartbreaking failure that few other cities can match.

As promised…here’s MORE!

-I thought my Thor review turned out pretty well last week, but then I read A.O. Scott‘s blistering review in the New York Times. I didn’t hate the movie like he did, but nothing inspires hilarity better than when a well-spoken critic truly despises a big Hollywood movie. This stuff is so much more interesting to read than glowing praise. Here’s a quick sample, “Mr. Branagh has not failed to make an interesting, lively, emotionally satisfying superhero movie, because there is no evidence that he (or the gaggle of credited screenwriters, or Paramount, the sponsoring studio) ever intended to make any such thing.” I implore you check out the whole review [HERE].

-AMUSING: The Chicago-area house that was the setting for much of Home Alone is on sale! For $2.4 million, you can own (and live in!) a piece of movie history. [THR]

-On the trailer reel to Bridesmaids was the newest clip for the second of this year’s casual sex/fuckbuddy comedies, the Justin Timberlake/Mila Kunis flick that’s aptly titled Friends with Benefits. But this isn’t about that trailer or that movie. I’m concerned about Justin Timberlake’s VOICE. If you didn’t know it, would you have guessed that Timberlake turned 30 this January? Don’t get me wrong, I like the guy. I’m a fan of his music (where’s the next album, brah?) and I think he’s improving as an actor. That said, the dude still sounds like he’s 19 or 20. And that’s not even an exaggeration. If you listen to him now, and then listen to him in the NSYNC heyday, there’s maybe a 15% difference, if that. This guy has dated some of the hottest women in Hollywood, but apparently still hasn’t hit puberty. He’s starting to play adults now (he’ll also be seen in Bad Teacher this summer playing a grade school teacher opposite Cameron Diaz), and I’m having a very hard time taking him seriously in those adult roles. Fear not! I have a solution. Where most Hollywood stars get plastic surgery to maintain their looks, I propose Justin Timberlake undergo voice surgery or a voice transplant. Surely, this technology exists, some kind of voice-deepening procedure. They can install a miniature subwoofer in his throat to give him some bass. Right? SOMETHING has to be done. If I’m gonna be forced to watch him play adults in high-profile movies, I, as a paying audience member, insist that the man sound like an adult. And get rid of the curly hair, dude. You look 10 years younger with that shit.

-ABC has just cancelled V. For the most part, the show was average at best, but it was good enough that I DVR’d and watched every episode. I was introduced to some new actors, and was glad to see the underrated Scott Wolf featured prominently (seriously, get this guy some more work!). I also enjoyed V because I prefer good serialized TV to good episodic TV. I had originally thought the show was set up to be just one season, but then it ended on a cliffhanger, and of course that final episode was the first truly great episode of the series thus far (it had solid acting, solid action, unexpected character deaths and solid drama). What a fuckin bummer. Now I feel like I wasted 22 hours, now that I’m not gonna find out what was intended to happen next. Fuck you, ABC. And fuck Dancing with the Stars while you’re at it.

-I’ve been flip-flopping on whether or not to do a reaction post to the news of Osama bin Laden‘s death (and the myriad issues branching out as a result of it), but I found interesting the news that mere days after the raid, Disney applied for a trademark to the term “Seal Team 6.” Huh? DISNEY!? The same studio that openly doesn’t make R-rated movies anymore? The most bland, least creatively brave studio in Hollywood is gonna make a movie about this? I can understand that this story will eventually become a movie (there will likely be several movies made about it), but what does fucking Disney intend to do with it? Make a Jerry Bruckheimer-produced PG-13 action-fantasy about it? Is that gonna be the subtitle of Pirates 5? Pirates of the Caribbean: Seal Team 6? In which Jack Sparrow ventures into Pakistan seeking out terrorists so he can collect the $25 million reward the U.S. government had on bin Laden’s head? And since when can a company trademark the official name of a military special ops unit? This is baffling to me. Regardless, I’m sure it’ll be absolutely thrilling watching Osama bin Laden take a double tap to the head in 3D one day.

Mike Huckabee just announced he will NOT be running for President again in 2012. And the world rejoiced!!! I don’t have anything personal against the guy (other than the fact that it’s unfathomable to imagine a “President Huckabee”), but one can make the argument that it was his run in 2008 that handed John McCain the Republican nomination, and thus Barack Obama the presidency. In the GOP primaries, Huckabee’s nagging presence split the vote between him and Mitt Romney (their best candidate then and probably now) in several key states, so given the choice between Huckabee and McCain, the weak-minded Republicans instead were basically forced to nominate the safe choice in McCain. And look how that turned out. I’m so not ready to start talking about the 2012 election, but this was good news if you’re not a fan of Mr. Obama’s policies. [POLITICO]

-Finally, I wanted to give a quick shoutout to Bill Simmons‘ new column, which focuses on Phil Jackson as his storied coaching career appears to draw to a close. As I’ve said before, I don’t always love Simmons’ stuff (I could do without his constant reality TV show references, and his opinions on movies are painfully ignorant), but he’s passionate about the NBA, and his NBA-centric columns are always great as a result. I learned some stuff about Jackson that I didn’t know, and he even manages to make a good case against the “he only won so many titles because he had Jordan and Kobe” argument. I own Jackson’s fantastic book The Last Season (which I read on my 2-day bus trip across the country from L.A. to Myrtle Beach) and I’ve always found him interesting beyond the fact that he’s a great coach. [ESPN]

Today’s Recommended Listening is some Massive Attack for yo’ ass. This track, “Paradise Circus” can currently be heard on those new Lincoln car commercials that star my boy John Slattery. Love it. 

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SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY #1

I’m tired of coming up with semi-clever titles for my Sunday posts, so from now on anytime I do an entry on Sunday that covers a wide range of subjects, it’ll just be put in the new Sunday, Sunday Sunday series. If you don’t get the triple Sunday reference, this kind of ad should refresh your memory:


EPIC!!!

Here are the random things that I dwelled on this week:

-So another Middle Eastern country (Libya) is in a state of unrest, and of course the oil companies (or whoever the fuck is responsible) has used it as an excuse to once again ass rape us at the pumps. I could do a 1,000-word, expletive filled rant on the price of oil, but I’ll spare you, and I’ll spare myself the brain hemorrhage that would result from thinking about it for too long. Suffice to say, when it comes to the news or politics or however you want to categorize it, the asinine reasons the price of oil goes up and down is #1 on the list of things that can piss me off the fastest. Some motherfucker sneezes in the Iranian desert, and somehow that means I should pay more for gas in South Carolina. Go figure.

But that’s not what I’m getting at this time. I saw THIS article linked on Drudge on Thursday and could do nothing but shake my head and clench my fists. The headline reads, “Obama Says Pentagon exploring Libya options.” My initial reaction was, “Why?” Why are we exploring ANY military options with regards to civil unrest in Libya? Why should one American life be put in harm’s way to stop Libyans from harming each other? Hello? Bueller? I simply do not understand this thinking. We have no money to spare at home, but to help mediate and ease tensions abroad, we’ll not only put our manpower in harm’s way, but we’ll continue paying for it all with our Monopoly money, because if it’s military spending, there is apparently no limit to what we should be willing to borrow.

What good can come from trying to solve Libya’s problems? The world will be thankful? Bullshit. The majority of the world holds a negative opinion of us, most of the time for doing exactly this kind of thing. Why can’t we mind our own fucking business? Why are all of the world’s woes OUR duty to resolve? If the countries in the surrounding area don’t care enough to do anything about it when it may affect THEM, why should we? These are very simple questions, but our leaders refuse to answer them. We should initiate airstrikes on Gaddafi‘s forces? WHY? Then we’re responsible for cleaning up the mess. We should give weapons to the rebels? Look how well THAT idea has turned out in the past. Just stay. The fuck. Out of it. We owe nothing to the Libyan people. NOTHING. You guys gonna give us exclusive rights to your oil, and at a discount? No? Then what else do you have to offer us? What else makes this worth our time?

If the only reason anyone can come up with for us to spend one penny or one minute of our time over there is “those people need our help”, then I’m sorry, that’s not enough. Ya know who needs our help? The people of Detroit. The Border Patrol needs our help. We need to help ourselves in countless ways before we help anyone else on this ungrateful, godforsaken planet. How about trying this, people of Libya…if starting a revolution is worth it, take the risk and HELP YOURSELVES. The United States of America is not the custodian of the globe.

I also love the part in the piece where it essentially says, “China and Russia ain’t doin shit.” See, THIS is the problem, people. The evil nations of the world, who are power hungry, corrupt, and envious of America’s “superpower” status (whatever that means), sit by and wait, while we continually waste money and spread our resources across the world to intervene in matters that have nothing to do with U.S. interests. Why can’t China fix Libya’s mess? And the best part for these scumbag countries? The world doesn’t come down harshly on them, because doing nothing is expected of them.

The sad part is, I believe President Obama doesn’t actually want to intervene over there (at least not in any major capacity), but this is how powerful the military lobby is inside the government. For Obama, his opposition may exist for nothing other than political reasons, because the more the rest of the world requires his attention, the less time he gets to spend trying to accomplish anything at home, something which would surely be used against him by his opponents next year. He needs to remember something; his title is President of the United States, not Police Commissioner of the World.

And to those conservatives who say we should do something because, “America needs to set a moral example for the world”, I have two responses; 1) What good has that done us so far?, and 2) We can’t even set a good moral example amongst ourselves, so first things first.

By the way, in the same article, it mentions that Libya produces 1.8% of the world’s oil supply. ONE POINT EIGHT MOTHERFUCKING PERCENT, and because production has slowed there, I’ve had my gas prices go up more than 30 cents in a week?!?!

WHY?!!!!?!!!!?

I fucking digress…

-I sort of referenced this in a Facebook post, but I wanted to elaborate. I’m wondering when this huge reversal happened in Hollywood. It used to be you had a talent, became an entertainer, and you became famous through the entertainment you provided. Now, because of stupidass reality TV (and sex tapes of all things), people like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian become famous, and THEN try to become entertainers, too. Paris Hilton stupidly tried her hand at both music and acting, and Kardashian used her sex tape fame to do a reality TV show (which I gleefully have never seen) and now is apparently attempting music. The result is this:

Like I said on Facebook, that is quite literally one of the worst (maybe THE worst) pieces of “music” I’ve ever heard. It’s so bad that I demand to know who is responsible. Did someone in the music industry actually think she might be able to sing? If so, WHO? Did she insist on giving it a shot because she’s so famous now and felt she could branch out? And what producer, once this became a reality, actually said, “Yes, I’ll be the one to try and make this happen!” On a disaster of this scale, we need to find those who are responsible, and if possible, bring them to justice. I wouldn’t equate this to, say, the federal government’s response time to Hurricane Katrina, but don’t you have to put it CLOSE?

All things being equal, I still find Kim Kardashian mildly attractive. But let’s be honest, she’s not famous because of who her father was, or because she grew up already having a talent. No, she became famous because of video that showed up online of her having sex. After that, she started showing up on every Hollywood gossip website because the paparazzi took pictures of her at every party or nightclub or Hollywood event she ever attended. People saw that pictures of her were popular, so someone (AHEM, Ryan Seacrest, ahem) thought it should be taken to the next level, gave her and her family a reality show, and all of this climaxed with reports last month that the Kardashians supposedly made $65 million in 2010. THIS is what being a random attractive girl with some connections in Hollywood can lead to if you’re willing to have sex on camera and then have it “leak” onto the internet. Welcome to America…I guess? In a way I almost respect it. They have shown just what can be accomplished simply by being famous. The American public has shown that having a talent, or ANY value to society whatsoever, is not a requirement if you’re seeking to become a household name. One has to wonder what the deceased Robert Kardashian (a successful lawyer best known for being on the O.J. Simpson defense team) is thinking of all of this. Is he proud, or has be been spinning in his grave so hard and so fast that his body melted when it drilled its way to the earth’s core? I think the latter is a distinct possibility.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If Snooki ever releases an album, I’ll know it’s time to put a gun in my mouth.

EDITOR’S NOTE 2: Let it be known that I don’t mind admitting I find Kim Kardashian attractive, but I never asked to hear her singing voice, nor do I care to know if she can act. Really, I’d prefer if she was seen and never heard.


Now, if you didn’t know who she was, and
I asked you, “Porn star or mainstream
celebrity?” you’d at least have to pause,
right?

For more on the subject of the rise of talentless celebrities, I refer you to the Wikipedia page famous for being famous, which also lists other notable useless celebs.

-My evisceration of last week’s Oscar show got me to thinking of who I would want to see host the Oscars in the future. Because when I complain about something, I try to also offer solutions.

One thing that’s hard to figure is exactly what audience the Academy wants to reach. Do they even know? Everybody wants to go “young”, but what does that really mean? They want 18-22 year olds to watch? The only people that watch the show consistently at that age are nerds like me. That’s not the audience they should be after. I would argue that the show doesn’t have to be “young & hip.” It simply has to be good. And by its very nature, awards shows like this are more appropriate for adults. The host and presenters should be funny, with a little bit of edge to them, and they need be willing to try new things to make the show interesting. But really, when you think about what “young & hip” is in 2011, it’s nothing that intelligent Academy members (or intelligent people who watch the show) should be aspiring to. I never hear any so-called media critic saying any of this. They all just want to call the Oscars “long and boring.” It’s a fucking awards show, not a Broadway musical, not a Jay-Z concert.

Anyway, I pondered it, and based on what I think the Oscars should be trying to do, here are 11 people I wouldn’t mind seeing as host for the first time, and a few previous hosts I’d like back for another go.

Will Smith (It’s funny that in all these years I don’t think he’s ever done any big hosting gig. But if you want a ratings spike, hiring the biggest movie star you’ve got certainly couldn’t hurt. I’m not sure how good he’d be at the monologues, but he could do any kind of skit or stage performance.)

Robert Downey Jr. (Like I said previously, he’s great every time he presents, so it’s time to hand him the keys. He’s also the second or third biggest star we have right now, and I think people would want to see him try it.)

Tom Hanks (He’s almost always a presenter, so I think it’s time for Mr. Charming to take the next step.)

Kevin Spacey (It just seems like he’d be very good. He can be funny and witty, and he understands stage presence.)

Matt Damon (I’m not 100% certain he’d be good, but he can be damn funny when he wants to be. I’m just not sure how good he’d be live in front of a huge crowd. But he’s almost universally liked and respected, and I think audiences would tune in.)

Jane Lynch (Come on, this would HAVE to be good, wouldn’t it?)

Conan O’Brien (How has this not happened already? I’m pretty sure he’s been asked a bunch of times but just hasn’t been willing for whatever reason.)

Jerry Seinfeld (Maybe just because I miss his standup comedy. I don’t know if it’d work, but I’d love to see him try it.)

Justin Timberlake (He’s the guy a lot of media people point to as a logical choice, and I’d certainly be interested in seeing him try it. His SNL hosting was excellent, but can he hold and sway the huge crowd inside the Kodak Theatre?)

Bill Maher (If you wanted to go the edgy route, I think he’s a good option. Yes, there’d be a lot of left wing political references that would drive me nuts, but he’s fearless, and most importantly, he’s funny!)

Russell Brand or Ricky Gervais (I think you’d get a similar type of show from both, and it would sure as hell be funny. I might ask Gervais to tone down the meanness a bit, but I think he’d be awesome.)

and, of course…

Billy Crystal (Yeah, he’s the safe, classical choice, but damn he knows what he’s doing.)

-I also wouldn’t complain if Steve Martin and/or Alec Baldwin were asked to do it again. Or Maybe Baldwin & Tina Fey together.

RANDOMNESS

Chad Johnson wouldn’t mind playing for the Jets and Jets players would love to have him. Let them have each other. [PFT]

-I find it entirely appropriate that the new Mike Tyson reality show is airing on Animal Planet.

-This is excellent. Fake ads for items representing movie clichés. [Cracked]

-I’ve had a genius idea. I’m coming up with a dream cast for a remake of The Room. It’s not done yet, but when it is, I’ll share it here. Let’s just say this, is there anyone else who could play Johnny in a Room remake better than Nicolas Cage? No, there isn’t. Feel free to share any of your casting ideas with me.

I must see The Room live.

-How cool is this?

-This one’s for Gnarly Gnarlingtons only:

Recommended Listening: “Shelter”, by The XX

Have a super duper week.

Rex Ryan Rage Quits!

As you get older…(feat. Drake)

Editor’s Note: This post does not actually feature Drake. But if the false advertising attracted a few more readers, I win.

I’ve noticed in the last couple of years how I’ve changed as a person in certain areas as I’ve gotten older. Part of it is your natural maturation process, but the second big factor for me has been watching younger people making the mistakes that I’m not making anymore (and some that I never made in the first place). I’ve always known the person I wanted to be, but as you get older you are better able to make your actions back up your intentions, in large part because your priorities shift. I often notice now the differences in behavior between people in their early 20’s and people my age, and it makes me thankful not to be older, but to have the wisdom now to be able to control myself and make better decisions.

I find that wisdom manifesting itself now as a much better ability to control my emotions. The key to this is to simply follow your own good advice. In this case, it’s “control your emotions, do not let your emotions control you.” And that’s such a common, simple expression, but it’s true! The problem is that most people don’t have the discipline to put it into practice. With a few exceptions, anything that pisses you off in this life can be overcome with just a bit of patience. Almost all emotions dissolve over time. It’s just a matter of what emotion you’re trying to get rid of. For instance, it obviously takes longer to get over a longtime love than it does to get over one of your sports teams losing a big game. Anger is not something that you need to get rid of immediately, be it through a vengeful act that may harm others, or a reactionary act that may cause you to harm yourself. For example, when I get really pissed, 9 times out 10 (okay, maybe 8 times out of 10) I don’t kick or punch or throw anything anymore; for two reasons, 1) whatever I’m pissed at isn’t worth the potential of breaking your bones (and the time it will take for your body to heal), and 2) it’s not worth breaking yours or somebody else’s property (and the cost it will take to fix or replace it). Not that controlling my anger was ever a serious issue, but now it’s pretty much a non-factor. You will simply not feel as bad about most things that piss you off just a few hours or days later. At the very least, if you take a step back and wait, you’ll have a clear head, and the raw emotional desire you have for immediate satisfaction will have worn off, or at least subsided to the point where you can make a rational decision about how best to respond. When you’re pissed off, you rarely think, you just DO something in response. Right? Well, I prefer to think, both about the best course of action and the consequences something I do will have on everyone and everything around it. Let the other person be the one to do something stupid.

A perfect example of rationality besting emotion was this past Sunday. Following the Patriots devastating loss to the Jets, I had a bunch of immediate reactions that I wanted to spew into the world. I was emotional, and that emotion was desperate to manifest itself with hateful words and drastic action. But I knew better. I knew that even a couple days later, that emotion would subside and I could speak rationally on the subject. Truth is though, I don’t want to talk about the game. There’s no point anymore. I know why they lost, and don’t feel the need to make myself feel worse by discussing it further with anyone else. I’ve read some stuff online and listened to some Boston sports radio discussion on it, but I haven’t watched a minute of ESPN all week. If I watch even half of the AFC Championship Game tomorrow, I’ll be surprised. There will be only two people on that field that I like; Troy Polamalu and Mike Tomlin. The only Super Bowl result that will even mildly please me is if the Packers win it. I don’t want the Steelers winning their 7th. I don’t want Roethlisberger tying Brady for rings, and the thought of the Jets winning after talking all that shit all year rots my skin. What kind of world do we live in if scumbags like Ben Roethlisberger and pretty much everyone on the Jets are rewarded with a championship after being such bad people and poor sportsmen? It’s not a world I want to live in.

However, out of the Patriots loss I did learn one lesson, and putting it into action, I will be less excited about success in the regular season going forward, because when all of that joy and confidence can be taken from you in one 3-hour period in January, you feel pretty damn stupid about wasting September thru December being so hyped up about the possibilities and the chances of another Super Bowl appearance or win. I will be less emotionally invested in the games next year, because I’m tired of being let down. It’s simply not worth it. It’s not because I love the game, the players or the team any less. I just refuse to get that emotionally involved over something I have no control over. It’s not logical. It’s not sane. My policy for next season will be, Wake me when they’ve won a playoff game. Going 16-0, 15-1, or 14-2 is obviously irrelevant. I don’t care if they’re 10-6, so long as they go undefeated in the playoffs. I love dominant teams, but these guys haven’t turned regular season dominance into playoff success in 6 fucking years. The Patriots have not won a playoff game in 3 years, and the last time they did, the game after was the worst sports loss of my life (the tragic events of February 3, 2008). In my view, Patriots fans should be celebrating our 5th Super Bowl win this year, but instead (as I said on Facebook last week), the Patriots seem to be evolving into the pre-2004 Red Sox; purveyors of constant heartbreak. Moving on…

There are still a lot of things I want (and need) to change about myself, but it’s always good when you realize that some things have improved.

Anyway, enough psychobabble, and here’s some other random stuff on my mind this week:

*Great news this week out of Hollywood. Warner Bros. made some official casting announcements with regards to Christopher Nolan‘s final Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises. It had previously been reported that Tom Hardy (a Nolan veteran from Inception) had been cast, but we didn’t know who he was playing. Well, as was expected, he will be one of the two villains in the film, and we now know that will be Bane. Equally as exciting is the news that the beautiful and talented Anne Hathaway will be playing Selina Kyle/Catwoman. I believe Hathaway is one of the 2 or 3 most talented actresses in her age range, and I love that she will now be a major part of a series of films I adore. She’s proven she’s a great actress, and she’s also proven she can be damn sexy (Get Smart). Needless to say, I greatly anticipate the first official shot of her in costume. I fully expect her to eclipse even the wonderful job Michelle Pfeiffer did in Batman Returns, much like Heath Ledger eclipsed Jack Nicholson‘s classic Joker from the 1989 Batman. And it’s a no-brainer that Tom Hardy’s Bane will shit all over that stupid thing we got in Batman & Robin. I have no idea how these two villains will be used in Nolan’s Batworld, I don’t know a damn thing about their backstories from the comics, and I’ll probably avoid any and all internet speculation along those lines. The film comes out July 20 next year, and that right now that 18 months seems like 50 years.

*There’s a new, full-length trailer for Scream 4 (or Scre4m as they’re frequently peddling it), and I just need to warn you that if you intend to see the movie, you need to avoid this trailer at all costs. I wish I had. It is the single most spoiler-filled trailer I have ever seen. It’s basically a highlight reel of all the jump scares and death scenes in the entire movie. Again, if you are even remotely interested in seeing Scream 4, do NOT watch the new trailer. It comes out in April, and I would advise avoiding all trailers and TV spots until you see it, if you’re at all interested in being surprised by anything that happens. Meanwhile, Dimension Films needs to find new marketing people.

*God help me, but I need to praise an actor for their humanitarian efforts. Mr. George Clooney, one of Hollywood’s biggest “join the cause” blabbermouths, has actually been backing up his talk recently with actions. He’s been one of those “Save Darfur/Rwanda” guys for a long time, and has actually spent a lot of time in Sudan this winter as part of the development of a program between Google and the UN to try and monitor the country via satellite imagery in order to prevent future acts of genocide. Turns out Clooney actually contracted malaria while he was he was over there (twice! as a matter of fact). All is well of course, but credit to him for not immediately running back to L.A. after getting sick. He’s certainly not faking his concern over these issues. Now, I don’t know if what he’s doing will actually make a lick of difference in the long run, but if he’s getting malaria, he’s obviously getting his hands dirty, and for that I commend him. Too bad Sudan’s population aren’t all multimillionaire celebrities who can afford to get immediate priority medical care. I for one would prefer to see Mr. Clooney and his ilk get involved with some domestic issues, but to each his own I suppose. As long as his trips over there aren’t taxpayer funded he can do what he pleases. [NY Daily News] [Clooney wrote THIS for the Huffington Post on the issue in December]

Actor Future Sudanese dictator George Clooney.

*OH, HAI, January Jones! I never thought of her as hot, but she looked goddamnedfantastic at the Golden Globes on Sunday. So kudos Ms. Jones. I’ve got my eye on you. This must be her month! (BA DUM BUM!) Who’s got two thumbs and lame puns? This guy!

 

*I want to add something to my “Things I Find Disturbing” list. I was reminded of it early this week when Apple released their massive earnings statements, which saw them bring in $26.7 billion in revenue and $6 billion in profits (both record highs for the company) over the holiday season. And goodie for them. I don’t have a problem with that. I have a problem with something else. I find it disturbing that no one will point out or openly accuse Apple of having a monopoly on the  mp3 player market. I’ve thought this for a long time. The iPod has no true competitor. Sure, you can pick from a limited amount of other devices that can play digital music on them. However, if you want any accessories, or any capability to use your mp3 player with external brands and products, you have only one option. As far as I know, the Zune is the second most popular mp3 player (which is kind of like saying Boston, New York is the second most popular Boston in America).

Other than basic things like a protective sleeve and a portable charger, there are next to no options for Zune accessories, nothing to compares with what you can do with any iPod. And no, Apple whores (who can smell from thousands of miles away whenever I criticize Apple products or practices), that’s not because the Zune isn’t worthy of accessorizing. I have an 80GB Zune, which I LOVE, and which I’ve had for more than 2 years now. I will keep it as long as it functions. But god forbid I want to use it outside of just in my ears, and I’m fucked. Try searching “Zune sound dock” and see what comes up. Next to nothing. Nothing of any quality, anyway. Meanwhile, every high-end audio company on Earth makes multiple iPod docks. You can connect an iPod to pretty much anything. I can unplug one from my computer, go to the bathroom, plug it into my shower, get out and plug it into my toothbrush, finish that and plug it into my fucking refrigerator while I eat breakfast, and then take it out to any new car, which are now all built with iPod connectivity. I would love a Bose sound dock for my Zune, but I ain’t gettin one anytime soon, am I? I’m pretty sure you can buy an iPod Nano for your dog, and dog collar makers are putting Nano docks in the collars. I believe Apple has a monopoly on mp3 player accessories and portability, which as a result forces new buyers to favor iPods above anything else. It’s just common sense. If you want to do something with an mp3 player other than walk around with headphones in your ears, you better buy an iPod. I’ve been holding out, but eventually, I will have to turn into a consumer zombie, buy an iPod and use the iTunes software as base camp for my music collection. I am not looking forward to this day.

Note to Apple whores: nowhere in the above did I say Apple makes an inferior product, or that the iPod isn’t worth buying. So spare me your defenses of the Once-Bitten Fruit Logo.

I’ve thought the same thing about ESPN for years. ESPN has a monopoly on nationalized sports coverage. Sure, Fox has local sports networks in most major markets, networks like NESN and YES can succeed in their one market, and all the major networks have sports divisions, but does anyone seriously believe someone could start up another national sports-only network on cable right now and succeed? Fuck no they couldn’t. It’d be impossible, because ESPN has been allowed to buy up the rights to cover pretty much EVERYTHING sports-related you could possibly think of. As such, how does ESPN not have a monopoly? If I want to watch a daily wrap-up of national sports news, what are my options other than SportsCenter? None. Nil. They don’t exist. If you’re an anti-trust lawyer, please explain to me where I’m going wrong. I must be in error somewhere, because I’ve literally heard NO ONE else bring this up, even media people who are often critical of ESPN. So I’m either way ahead of the curve or I’m totally out of the loop.

*And because I love posting these and have fun making them, here’s a couple more Black Ops Theater videos of my gameplay: First is 2 angles of an awesome Valkyrie rocket triple kill, followed by a sweet single kill. I may have to start using this as a killstreak more often.

Next is one of me putting a hot double sticky grenade kill on some campers on Havana. I particularly enjoy the first angle where the guy I stick the grenade to gets launched up against the table. LOLZ.

P.S. If you read my “Things I Find Disturbing” post, you saw at the end where I posted that ridiculous Lil’ Wayne lyric. Remember? I posted it intending to show just how UNinsightful these rappers are. I had just clicked on a random song from his newest album and found a stupid, insulting lyric (it didn’t take long). Well, two people (both girls) posted that exact quote on their Facebook pages this week, and it didn’t seem to be in jest. I don’t know how to react to this. Should it sadden me, or should I be laughing?


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