Thursday, December 27, 2007

Rubik and his damn cube

I think everyone at one point or another has tried their hand at the Rubik's cube. It is a devilish puzzle that I'm sure I've tried to solve before but quickly given up on. After the scene in "The Pursuit of Happiness" where Will Smith's character solves it during a cab ride, I've been meaning to give it another shot. My sister got one for christmas and i've been working on it on and off for a few days now. I'm thinking that without an unforeseen stroke of genius, I will soon be consulting google for some solutions... I could use some pointers. Wish me luck.

Doom in the Garden

The standard NBA framework of success, at least in David Stern’s eyes, is one of a star surrounded by subservient role players and peripheral characters. There is nothing ESPN or the NBA likes more than promoting a game is by headlining the star from one team against the star from the other. A game between the Hornets and the Jazz is ‘Paul vs Williams’ or Sonics vs Lakers is ‘Durant vs Bryant’.

Every commercial advertising a game follows this model. There is no special announcement to proclaim a contest the battle between the Lakers bench scoring vs the Sixers pressure D. There is no selling point in an advertising scheme like that. Who wants to think that they are going to see a game that has a pivotal match up of Chris Mihm and Sam Dalembert? Where is the fun in that? These stars represent the highest level of entertainment that these teams have to offer, but also their leaders and best players. In this way, when two teams are particularly star-centric, the contest between their squads can be oversimplified into a Mano-a-Mano boxing match in which whomever gets the best of the other will walk away victorious.

This is where I get back to my usual focus of attention, the New York Knicks. Not only are the Knicks one of the worst, most dysfunctional teams in the Association, but they are completely devoid of a star player in whom they can pit their fortunes on. Isiah has constructed a team both without marketable stars and without a clear focus on team chemistry/ how the pieces fit together. It seems as if he, not unlike myself, tends to focus on the positive, best-possible scenario, visions of the players he has decided to bring in, instead of having a more realistic, pragmatic approach.

Curry and Randolph are both talented scorers who don’t bring much else to the table. They both need the ball in their hands in the low block to have any positive impact on the court. Robinson, Marbury, and Crawford are all scoring guards first and foremost who have yet to consistently prove that they can direct an efficient offense. Jones, Richardson, and Jeffries all bring some good things to the table but are role players who are being put in spots where they just don’t have 'it'. (I'll give him Balkman and Lee, two great pieces who should both be getting more time than they have been so far this season.)

They do not have a single player that they can put on the floor who can dominate his match up nearly every time he steps on the floor. There are times that Marbury, Crawford, Randolph and Curry look like they are the best player on the floor and capable of performing at an all-star level, but it never lasts long enough to actually warrant the faith and belief that Isiah has placed in them. Perpetual immaturity has disabled this team’s chances of competing for a playoff berth. The cliche “Knowing what it takes to win” is fitting for this group.

They do not have the star that can light up a billboard or drag his team to the top of the standings. Of all people, you would think Isiah would be able to recognize the importance of having a leader or alpha dog to take the reins. This is where he fails the most in his job as GM (and subsequently as a coach), believing in the power of his own personality so much that he feels that he will be able to transform perennial losers and malcontents (Marbury, Randolph, Curry) into people that they obviously are not.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Fight the Power

Today while driving home from work as it was beginning to get dark out, an oncoming car flashed its high-beams at us. At first we thought that by mistake we had left ours on, but then when that was obviously not the case, we were mystified by the gesture, being that our headlights were almost comically weak. However, coming around the next curve we saw a police car hidden along the side of the road with a radar gun in a speed trap. Sons of bitches!

Luckily we were not speeding at the time and passed along unharmed. At first my thoughts were what a nice move it was by that guy to try to warn us that a pig was waiting for us up the road. It was a great feeling knowing that there could be this secret brotherhood of drivers and citizens looking out for one another against the evil forces of law enforcement agencies.

About three weeks ago I got a ticket for supposedly driving through a red light. Officer Lawless (his actual name) claimed my vehicle was still in the intersection as his (he was waiting on the perpendicular street to mine) light turned green. I have since plead not guilty to this bogus charge, not wanting to just lay down for the man, and was told that I would receive a court date in about 6 months to a year. Great system we have here people.

In my limited time as an adult, I have really come to despise a lot of what law enforcement stands for. I do realize that they do a lot of good things, like cracking down on drunk drivers (sorry babar), but the ones that I have come in contact with don't seem to be working in the direction of making our local communities better places. Rather they are eager to catch ordinary people committing inane offenses. They are cocky because of this position of power that they hold over everyone they see. Who else in our society can carry a gun on their belt and demand people obey their orders? Having someone I've never met help me to avoid some asshole with an inflated ego and a radar gun really sparked a thought about the place for police in our society. Like Dead Prez had Vassar College chanting at a concert my freshman year, "Fuck the Police!".

(side note, i think it would be interesting to see some data on the number of accidents that are caused by the traffic violations that are the most frequently ticketed. How often does just speeding result in an accident compared with how many speeding tickets are handed out?)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Heart and Courage

After the Knicks 119-92 home loss tonight to the Indiana Pacers, Head Coach Isiah Thomas repeatedly referenced the "heart and courage" that it takes to compete and win. After being tied at 64 in the third quarter, the Pacers pulled away behind 22 3rd quarter points from Mike Dunleavy(!), tough defense and generally playing liked they gave a shit. It has become a trend for this team to play evenly with a team for a while and then just decide that they've played hard for long enough and mail it in.

There is always one run that the other team makes that the Knicks just simply fold. It is always frustrating to watch because whenever this happens (usually in the late 2nd or early 3rd quarters) Isiah has no idea how to stop it. He continues to shuffle the same careless and uninspired players into the game. If a team is running you ragged on the break or killing you on the o-boards, you don't necessarily want to reinsert the same sluggish players that weren't boxing out or getting back on defense. Wouldn't you want to throw in some guys that are hungry as shit and want to play their asses off to stop the run and spark the team? When Dunleavy was lighting them up and tinsley was picking them apart on the break, why not put in chandler, balkman, jeffries, nate and lee? Sure, they might not break down the defense like jamal or steph, but they are will lock down on d and hustle.

My mom had an astute question, "how can these players who are payed millions of dollars to play this game give up in the middle of a game like this?". And she has point, what right do these people have, not even as basketball players but as entertainers, to just shut down and stop trying? After already being down by 20-something point and they give up a fast break layup to Shawne Williams who just simply out ran them down the floor after a Knicks basket, how do you not, as a coach, yank every single one of those players off the court and make a point that, no matter the score, that type of effort won't be tolerated? That this once proud franchise will never make it back to the playoffs if that level of focus is the acceptable.

Its one thing if you are playing a pickup game and your team is getting absolutely rocked, and you don't run back on d just to get the game over with. Its another if it is your job to look like a professional basketball player and are being paid enormous amounts of money to do so. Not only that, aren't pride, self-respect and integrity factors as well? Tens of thousands of people are watching you jog lazily back or refuse to close out on a shooter. I really want to love this team, but they are really trying their hardest to shake all of their loyal fans.

Is it the coach's fault for leaving these guys in the game or is it more on the players to man up and give it all to get a fucking win? I am not the biggest Zeke fan, but it gets to a point when the "fire Isiah" chants are starting up at the slightest problem and the question becomes, when is it not the guy in charge of the mess but the actual perpetrators on the court who should receive most of the blame?

Long Johns

Long underwear
. I'm going to come out and proclaim this wonderful invention as the most underrated article of clothing on the market today. Only recently have I come to appreciate the understated brilliance and sheer inner beauty of these seldom publicized garments. Sure, they aren't as flashy as a big down jacket or as eye catching as a good looking scarf, but in terms of utility on a cold winters day, there can be nothing more important than a quality set of long johns.

It was two months ago that my grandfather offered me two unopened packages from the depths of his closet under the guise that "he had no use for them anymore". I graciously excepted these two bundles wrapped in plastic with some skepticism, I mean, who really wears long underwear anymore in this day and age? With the new wave of lined pants and super insulated winter coats, long underwear seemed to have become obsolete. Boy, was I ever wrong.

The whole idea of long johns is to fit snugly against the skin so to maintain body heat by not letting any precious warmth escape. Sure, a nice coat is a great asset in the winter months, but does it trap your hard earned body heat in and never let it go? At best, it only prevents the cold from getting in while being so loose-fitting that it hardly does more than shield the elements. Having been working in the frigid climates of upstate New York, I can attest with complete honesty that nothing is more appreciated or valued in my daily wardrobe than my set of thermal underwear.

It's like a layer of armor that is donned before going into battle against the elements. Currently I only own the two-piece version of this essential garment. Convenient if I only want one or the other, but I imagine nothing beats a morning when you can slip into a full one-piece and know that you are set for the rest of a cold day. Not to discount all the other ingredients necessary to arm yourself against a windy 15 degree day, but all I'm asking for is to give these humble, hardworking pieces of clothing their due.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Johan Santana and a red light

So it seems the Yankees have bailed out of the Johan Santana sweepstakes, leaving only their arch-rivals, the Boston Red Sox as the main contenders for this former Cy Young award winner. Boston landing Santana would mean their starting rotation would consist of Josh Beckett (perhaps the best postseason player in all of baseball?), Santana, Dice-K, Curt Schilling and Tim Wakefield, with Jonathon Papelbon as their closer. I can't say I know that much about baseball history, but I would bet that those 5 players might make up the best starting rotation in the history of the game.

However, it is not a given this will even happen as Minnesota might still hang on to Johan (he still has one more year left on his contract) if they don't feel they are getting a good enough deal. Also, the yankees might change their minds and try to get back if only to prevent the sox from getting him. After they flip flopped on the A-Rod situation, I wouldn't be surprised if they changed their mind on this. The Twins wanted Melky, Hughes and Kennedy but the Yanks weren't willing to let go of all three. With Rodriguez, Posada, Mo, and Petite all coming back, the young guns only getting better and Roger Clemens leaving, they have all the pieces in place to make a serious run at a Boston team that looked nearly invincible at times in the playoffs. They are getting to be an old team, so it will be interesting to see whether the Steinbrenners are willing to mortgage a good chunk of their young talent for a sure fire ace in the hopes that he can lead them to a championship in 2008.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Loyal readers of Blog Attempt #1:

-I just moved back to Poughkeepsie, NY, into an apartment with my good pal Jer Isseks. We've got a nice little place downtown. It definitely feels weird to be back in town after I thought I was leaving for the last time in May. In the short time that I have been alive, I have found out that life does not always go as smoothly as you may plan, but it does in one way or another work out. Things evolve, people change, visions broaden, goals adjusted. This whole "life" thing is fascinating. There is always more to learn and to consider. We are going to be here for 6 months, until we set off west on our magnificent voyage in early June. Until then we are going to be having a great time in the beautiful Hudson Valley and doing all we can for our project.

-We are slowly moving forward with WBFF. We met with a lawyer last week to discuss different possibilities for forming, gaining support, and raising money. (If you ever need a good lawyer in the hudson valley, Brian Berlandi of Pawling, NY is a great man.) We are meeting with Peter Leonard of the Vassar Fieldwork Office tomorrow since he is a key figure in the greater Poughkeepsie community scene and has a lot of connections and insight into non-profit, charity and community organizations. Also we are going to start volunteering with Dutchess Outreach (one of the organizations that we are thinking about aligning ourselves with) tomorrow, to try to get a better feel for things.

-I am extremely happy for one thing in particular recently. I have started to realize more how much I love my family and how important all of them are to my life and me to theirs'. There are very few things that are dependable and that you can rely on, but I feel extremely fortunate that I have an incredible family made up of incredible people that I know are behind me 100%.

More updates and other thoughts to come soon.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Knicks make sweet, sweet music

Ahh the Knicks have finally strung together their first winning streak of the season, and it only took them about 4 weeks to do it. nice.

I take back all the mean things i said about this team in a previous post. I acted like a hothead, and for that I apologize. They are starting to look like the team that I wrote about last month in my preview. I don't want to

They were spectacular tonight as they dropped 113 points on the Jazz at MSG. Marbury was attacking the basket like it was an intern in his truck, Z-bo was gobbling up o-boards and generally acting as if he liked being a the Knick, and Nate, Q, Lee, Balkman and of course my man JC all had solid games. It was great seeing steph playing as well as he did against a pg many consider to be among the best in the league. I wish they could have gotten Curry some better looks and more touches against Okur but I felt that he was able to make his presence felt without scoring much, and coming up with a huge block late in the 4th.

Overall, a great night to be a Knick fan. When it comes down to it, this is why you are a fan of any particular team, the nights when they look like world-beaters and prove all of their critics wrong. As I see it, only one team can win the championship each year, so there is a very strong chance that your team will not come home with the trophy in any given season. Therefore, why not just enjoy every win that you can? As a fan, you should really appreciate all the little good things without being in the mindset that "If we don't win it all, the season was a failure". Every night the knicks win, I've got a smile on my face despite the number of games that they may have lost coming in. If you can't enjoy the victories for what they are (a single win) then what are you watching and rooting for?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


There are a number of different places I want to live in during my life. I'm probably forgetting a few.

-Live on a boat for an extended period of time, just traveling around, floating from place to place

-Live out in the desert, somewhere real isolated in the Southwest (New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Texas)

-Live in a little house in somewhere on the Scandinavian Peninsula. Overlooking a fjord preferably.

-Live in a cabana somewhere in the Caribbean, sipping margaritas and going fishing/ snorkeling.

-Live in New York City- get season tickets to the Yankees, Knicks, Giants

-Survive a plane crash with a number of other good looking strangers on a mysterious island

-Live for a month hitchhiking, camping and traveling the Western United States

-Live in a house right on the beach, coming home from a hard days work and jumping in the ocean

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ahhh the knicks...

With a 108-82 loss to the Golden State Warriors tonight at the Garden, the Knicks have fallen to 2-8 after losing 7 straight. The only positive to take away from tonight’s game is the fact that things could not possibly get any worse. After shooing 39% from the field and committing 29 turnovers while being unable to string together enough stops to mount any type of run. Any time you give away 29 possessions mostly with sloppy ball handling (the Warriors had 14 steals), run an offense where at any given time you have 2-3 players just standing around watching, and generally play like you don’t give a shit about the outcome of the game, your chances of winning aren’t too high.

It has only taken Zach Randolph 10 games to both prove that despite his seemingly gaudy numbers, he is a terrible fit for this team. At different points in this game he dribbled around in circles, forced shots over double teams, launched 20 yelled at David Lee as they ran down the court after he didn’t get the ball, and refused to cross half court letting his teammates play 5-4 in the half court. Maybe I should cut him some slack after losing his grandmother last week, but his negative energy seemed to spread throughout the team in their return to NY. He is terrible on the defensive end, bogs down the offense, and doesn’t complement his teammates at all.

Lee needs to play more than 24 minutes. Randolph isolating on the wing should not be the Knicks offense. Nate and Jamal need to get their confidence back. Balkman needs to get back on the floor. Shit, this is what I’m suggesting to turn around the season, Renaldo Balkman? It was hard to get any positive feelings from watching this game tonight. It has only taken about 2 weeks to turn a hopeful 2-1 start into finding myself dreading the final 72 games of the season.

There is a fine line between the not-giving-a-shit look where you are playing your ass off and don’t care what anyone has to say about your game and the same attitude when you are not bringing it on the court and don’t seem to care about your team or winning. Latrell Sprewell, perhaps my favorite Knick of all time, was a prime example of this. I always loved watching him play not only because he was so talented but because he always had a ‘fuck you’ look on his face whenever he stepped on the court. Say what you will about the Carlesimo incident or “having to feed his family”, but when he was on the court for the Knicks he played his ass off and spurred his team to win games. Isiah Thomas needs to figure things out with this talented team soon or the garden faithful might get what they were asking for tonight.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Evening News

So for the first time in years I watched the simpsons and family guy on fox after a long day of watching football (G-MEN!) and doing a lot of eating and lounging. For some reason I didn't jump up to turn the tv off before "Fox News" came on at 10. Now, whenever I watch the local news with another human being someone eventually says, "man, don't they have anything POSITIVE to tell us?"

This is a quick recap of the news stories that were presented in the first 15 minutes of Fox News at 10.

-One guy commiting suicide by jumping head first from a third story building
-A woman caught in cross fire and being shot in the eye in Irvington, NJ on her way home from church
-A man breaking a bottle and stabbing another man in Brooklyn
-A shooting supposedly occurring during a drug deal
-A biker died while crossing the brooklyn bridge after he was forced off the upper level of the bridge and fell to the lower level
-MTA trains held up at penn station for 2 hours today
-Broadway stage hands on strike
-A fire that damaged a church, BUT the congregation and church leaders are positive it will be rebuilt soon!!!
-Muggings are on the rise in the city and which neighborhoods in the city you are most likely to get mugged in
-New "killer cold" adenovirus takes 10 lives including a female military officer
-A teenage girl viciously attacked by another girl in an amateur video from Texas

My dad finally grabbed the remote and muttered "enough of this crap" and changed the channel. Thanks.

There are terrible things that happen in the world everyday but there are incredible, beautiful things as well. The extent to which the media has the power to influence thinking and the perspectives of its audience is really frightening. When a news channel or program consistently broadcasts nothing but overwhelmingly negative stories, its viewers might begin to believe in this picture that they are being force fed. The Fox News corporation has been criticized for presenting a strongly biased point of view and promoting a conservative, right-wing agenda that is far from its "Fair and Balanced" motto.

I came away from watching these 15 minutes considering the fact that the world is a cold, dangerous place where anyone could get shot or stabbed or mugged at anytime. What would be the benefit of emphasizing these types of stories? To scare viewers? To warn them? Or maybe there just aren't enough 'good' stories out there that are interesting? In a perfect world, the media would be obligated to simply present the facts with as little editorializing as possible. People should be allowed to come to their own conclusions without being influenced by a hidden (or partially hidden) agenda.

It is important for any news media outlet to inform its audience of the most important issues that occur. But who should be allowed to decide what should be shown or not shown? How would a purely objective news outlet work?

I just hope that this news broadcast is not an accurate portrayal of the only local news stories in the world around me. I'd like to think that there is still some good in the world, or in the greater NYC area.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Start snitching, Steph, and a dance party

- Sportcenter always has some of the funniest commercials, but this one definitely tops the list.

- I remember talking with my friend after the whole Michael Vick dog-fighting scandal, specifically about how his friends sold him up the river to save their own asses. He joked that Vick must have been pissed he wasn't friends with someone like Greg Anderson. Anderson repeatedly refused to testify against his buddy Barry Bonds over accusation of steroid use. He was willing to sit in a jail cell just to protect Bonds and give him a shot to set the all-time HR record this past year.

It was always assumed that there was some deal in place where he would take care of Anderson financially if Anderson refused to talk. It now seems as if Bonds didn't plan on holding up his end of the bargain somehow and Anderson agreed to snitch on his longtime friend when he finally realized what a dick Bonds is. Anderson gets released the same day as Bonds is indicted on perjury and obstruction of justice charges, coincidence? You would think Bonds would be willing to pay this guy almost any amount of money to keep quiet.

And somehow with all the coverage this obviously got today and will get in the near future, I really just want to see a special on the arrangement that these two had worked out. I don't care about what type of sentence Bonds might get or what this means for his HOF chances or any other topic they will discuss endlessly on ESPN. All I want to see is Anderson talking about how Bonds let him sit in jail and how he finally snapped and decided to cut a deal when Barry told him he wasn't going to pay up.

-Things aren't looking so good for my Knicks who are off to a 2-5 start. The only good news is that my man Steph is keeping up the good work. I don't really care so much anymore about the missed jumpshots or terrible passes, I'm just glad he is still holding it down as the craziest dude in the league. I think the Knicks are gonna turn it around pretty soon once they get used to playing together, but even if they don't, we still have Starbury around to keep us on our toes. (Watch that whole video, you won't be disappointed.) I love this guy.

Monday, November 5, 2007

If you think there is no God, You better be right

There is one of those replaceable-letters billboards at an intersection in my town and it always has some Christian faith based message up for drivers as they pass. This message has been up for the past week or so since I’ve been home and I can’t help but notice it every time I take that road.

This message is definitely frightening because it makes you question what really is out there after this life. If you are not a “believer” and live just for this life with no expectations for anything afterwards, you might be fucked if it turns out there is a god who is pissed that you lived the dream despite his/her/its warnings.

However much I agree with this statement, I feel it could also be written the opposite way, ‘If you think there is a God you better be right’. I think of all the people that try so hard to live their lives in accordance with how their religion tells them to in hopes of being rewarded in the next life. How pissed would they be that they gave up so much of their lives for this “after-life” that wasn’t at all what they had been promised.

Politics?: Krugman and Wobbly Kneed Democrats

Paul Krugman is an economist, professor at Princeton University, and a columnist for the New York Times. I first became familiar with him through my class with the legendary Tim Koechlin. Koechlin was a big fan of his, and it goes without saying a friend of Koechlin’s is a friend of mine. His work definitely leans to the left a good deal but it is always insightful, straightforward, and intelligent.

In his article today, “Wobbled by Wealth?” he debates whether the interests of a rich, powerful few will continue to prevail over the general welfare of America at large. He claims that America as a whole is 1) Unhappy with our current situation 2) More liberal now than it has been in over 45 years 3) Relying on a Democratic party that ‘has not yet found its voice as an agent of change’.

He challenges the Democratic candidates to not sell out to the pressures from lobbyists and Washington political agendas. However, in the current system there is a dangerous catch-22, in which it costs millions and millions of dollars to even be considered a top candidate but you would essentially have to sell your soul in order to get those millions in the first place. It really boils down to the American public getting to a point where they are sick and tired of dealing with all this bullshit in terms of campaign financing, media distortion and propaganda, and politicians lying through their teeth.

Obviously there is not an easy answer to all of these problems. As I see things, it is first and foremost on the American public to educate themselves and to vote accordingly. Easier said than done. It might just take a courageous, perhaps costly, move like John Edwards taking the Public campaign funding route and calling for his opponents to do the same. Calling out Washington for being corrupt and overrun with private interests is a bold strategy. Edwards definitely earned some points in my book with this move. It seems that all we can do is hope that someone can rise above this bullshit and open our eyes to what is really going on with the American political system and what needs to be done to start changing it.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Saturday's Thoughts

-Will Bike For Food (WBFF)
My good friend Jerald Isseks and I are starting an organization called "Will Bike For Food". We are planning a cross country bike trip with the intent of raising money for charities and organizations that are working on progressive and innovative ways to fight hunger and poverty in the US. We've been doing a lot of brainstorming and are really excited about the possibiliites for a movement like this. We have created a blog ( and are working on a website. Join our facebook group if you are interested in learning more and want to be in the loop. We have a lot of work to do and any help would be greatly appreciated!

-Call for help
Related to the previous bullet, we are looking to create a non-profit charity organization in order to offer potential donors and sponsors the ability to contribute tad-deductible gifts. We are looking for an attorney who is knowledgeable about this side of the law and would be willing to help us out as we get started. Let me know!!!!


A-Rod, under the guidance of his agent Scott Boras, has decided to opt out of his contract with the NY Yankees in order to cash in on an even bigger payday than his last $250mil contract with the Rangers. In doing so, he fucked the yankees by opting out so that his contract would not be subsidized by the Rangers for the remainder of the deal. Cashman stated that if he opted out that the Yankees, with their already bloated payroll, would not negotiate with him and his d-bag agent.

He is reportedly looking for a deal of around $350mil. There are very few teams that would be willing to take on that sort of a contract for Jesus Christ himself, never mind some weasel who has no loyalty and swings the bat like a 9 year old girl suffering from PTSD when October rolls around. In other news, the Toldeo Mudhens, a triple-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers (i think) offered A-Rod a deal to play for them.

-Architecture in Helsinki

Great band. I just started listening to them. Their album "Fingers Crossed" is incredible. Great sounds from start to finish. Anyone who likes quality indie-type music should check it out.

-On The Road

I'm just about to finish this classic book by Jack Kerouac. After traveling around the country this summer and having everyone I know say to me, "What, you think you are a young Jack Kerouac?", I figured I should read this book. Yass, yes ,yass!
I might give a review of what I thought about this novel at some point in the near future when I finish it. So far... I dig it.

-Into the Wild

I just picked up the book "Into the Wild" after seeing the movie two weeks ago and I'm really excited to start it. I won't give a complete run down, but its the story of a 23 year old college graduate who hitchhikes across the country after donating all his money to charity looking for adventure. The movie was great so I wanted to read the book. I think that it might be better to do things this way bc when you read a book and then watch the movie, its never as good. The way I did it this time, the movie fascinated me and made me want to learn more about Alexander Supertramp so I'm about to start the book, which will probably be better and more insightful than the movie. I've got it all figured out. You might notice a trend toward literature that focuses on traveling, discovery and a nomadic lifestyle. You'd be right.

-Google Reader
Google Reader is such a great idea. Everyone should get it.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Odyssey Years

David Brooks writes a piece entitled “The Odyssey Years” describing the phase of life between adolescence and adulthood. He refers to twenty-somethings as a decade of wandering. Being that I graduated from college five months ago and have no discernable plan for the near future, I felt like he was talking about someone like ME.

A decade of wandering doesn’t sound like the worst thing in the world. I guess wandering has a negative connotation of being directionless but I see it as having unlimited opportunity. I imagine the next 8, 10, 50 years of my life to be an Odyssey. I can’t see myself settling down in one place for an extended (2+ years) period of time unless something drastic occurs (find an incredible job, crash onto a mysterious island along with 49 other stranger and have to take charge as the only doctor on the flight, etc…) I am too scared of being stationary. I am too afraid of committing myself to something I won’t be able to get out of if I realize I want to do something else. I guess the big thing is that I don’t want to miss out on seeing the world and taking advantage of my freedom. From my perspective, the opportunity cost of doing any one thing is too high because there are so many other incredible experiences and places that I have to uncover.

Unlike many of my peers, I don’t have an overwhelming desire to follow any particular career path. I don’t want to limit myself to anything. I don’t have a career. I don’t have a religion. I don’t have a calling, yet...

Monday, October 22, 2007

NY Knicks Season Preview

The following will be both a complete run-down of the New York Knicks 2007-08 season and a devastatingly convincing argument as to why the Knicks will finally return to their rightful throne as the class Eastern Conference.

PG-Stephon Marbury, Nate Robinson, Jamal Crawford
Since Isiah Thomas arrived and brought Marbury over from Phoenix, the Knicks faithful has patiently waited for Thomas to inspire and enable Marbury to play as if he really was the "best point guard in the league". Going into his fifth season in NY, I suspect marbury will continue to provide the most entertaining interviews in the league as well as finally establish himself as a veteran leader of a contending team. At 30 years old he still has the physical skills to play the position and contribute a solid 14ppg and 7apg in about 32mpg. I see his numbers improving as he feels less pressure to do everything with more talent around him and not having to play close to 40mpg with Robinson as capable backup. Robinson, coming into this third season in the league, has made it a focus this preseason to work on pressuring the ball in the backcourt and harassing opposing pgs into mistakes with his quickness and athleticism. After being named the MVP of the NBA summer league this offseason, it appears Nate is finally figuring out how to play his game and provide high quality minutes off the bench. I see Nate averaging about 9ppg, 4apg, and 1.5spg in about 25mpg.

SG- Jamal Crawford, Fred Jones, Mardy Collins
Crawford has earned the honor of being my favorite Knick following in the footsteps of the legendary Latrell Sprewell. Both were/are exciting, inconceivably confident two-guards who had/have the ability and the reputation to get hot and carry their teams offensively at the end of games. Crawford has been the go-to guy in the clutch for the Knicks over the past couple season. A great ball handler, shooter and playmaker as well as an underrated defensive player, Crawford has supposedly added 20lbs of muscle over the offseason which can only help him over the course of a grueling NBA season. The prediction for JC's numbers is 17ppg and 4apg in about 36mpg. Fred Jones came over in the Randolph trade and I see him as a strong, athletic defender who can guard the 2/3 positions off the bench as well as run the floor and finish plays above the rim. I don't forsee Mardy Collins getting extended minutes unless their is a big injury, but he has the ability to play solid defense at the 2 and provoke bench clearing brawls with the best in the league.

SF-Quentin Richardson, Renaldo Balkman, Wilson Chandler/ Demetris Nichols
When healthy Q has the ability to be the knock down 3pt shooter the Knicks need to stretch the floor for their post game and their playmaking guards. A solid defender as well, Richardson can contribute about 11-13ppg as well as helping out the boards at about 5rbg in about 30mpg. Balkman will continue to develop as a lockdown defender with his length and athleticism. As long as he can return from his injury, run the floor, and provide hustle plays off the bench he will be able to be an important contributer to the Knicks return to glory. I see him getting 18-20mpg and giving the Knicks some extra possessions with his offensive rebounding and provide an energy boost off the pine. The duo of Chandler and Nichols(who I am pulling for as a former SU stud) should be able to provide solid defense and outside shooting, respectively, if any further injuries occur to the other small forwards, which isn't out of the question with the guys playing ahead of them.

PF- Zach Randolph, David Lee, Jared Jeffries
Randolph arrives in NY and instantly provides the Knicks with 18ppg and 9rpg in about 36mpg. An offensive force, Zach uses a soft shooting touch and clever angles to consistently abuse taller and more athletic players on a nightly basis. He should serve as a good offensive complement to Curry as he can strech the defense with his shooting and driving ability as well as dominate on the offensive boards. David Lee might well be the Knicks most efficient player and he is going to once again be one of the league leaders in rpg despite coming off the bench. A solid defender, rebounder and intelligent player provides a reliable backbone for this squad as he will most likely be in the hunt for 6th man of the year. As long as Isiah can figure out how to get enough minutes for both Lee and Randolph, the 4 should be one of the knicks strongest positions. Jeffries provides versatility along the front line as he can play the 3, 4 or 5 depending on matchups and is a good defender with length and energy.

C- Eddy Curry, Malik Rose
Curry is a beast in the paint offensively and as long as he can provide something resembling an effort on defense and on the boards, the Knicks will have one of the best frontcourts in the league. He consistently shoots a high percentage from the field and scores effectively against practically anyone that he comes up against. If he could only improve his passing and cut down on his turnovers, he would be one of the best centers in the league. He has all the physical skills to do it, hopefully with the pressure on Isiah to get both Lee and Randolph minutes and possibly turn to a smaller lineup, Curry will see this as a challenge to improve on his weaknesses so that he can stay on the court and give the business to opposing centers on a daily basis. I see 19ppg and 8rpg in about 34 min. Malik Rose is a great veteran presence on this team who can still play a little bit, grab a few boards, throw some elbows and make sure the big men keep their heads on straight.

Overall the Knicks have tremendous potential. Obviously the key is going to be Isiah instilling the toughness and relentlessness that he had as a player into this squad so they know what it takes to contend for a championship. Defense if obviously going to be a concern, especially with the big men, but the pressure for playing time should convince these guys that they are going to need to bring it on the defensive end if they want to be out there and get significant time.

Personally, I'm excited with the multitude of different lineups they can put out on the floor. They can go real small with robinson, crawford, jones, jeffries and lee and press the shit out of teams for a few minutes at a time or they could go big with marbury, crawford, lee, randolph, and curry and just dominate other teams in the paint. They have a ton of versatility and for the first time in a number of years, Knick fans are legitimately excited about the upcoming season. They are deep, athletic, and should be coming into their prime.

I see them fighting with Boston for the Atlantic Division crown and being within the top 4-5 seeds in the Eastern Conference. Their lack of experience obviously figures to be a concern but with Isiah, Rose, and Richardson having gone through deep playoff and championship runs, they should have the leadership to guide this group back into the promised land.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

why i couldn't fall asleep on wednesday night

I think the single greatest question to answer or to come to terms with in my own life is of whether we as human beings are on a determinist course, that is, everything that we do, think, feel, desire,etc... is preordained from the start or whether we as individuals have the ability to shape our lives depending on the choices and decisions that we make.

Fatalism or determinism is a scary concept to accept because there is always the option of copping out and saying "If it was meant to be it will be". This course of thought could lead to less stressful lives if one simply hands their life over to the whims of fate and absolves themself from any resposibility for the outcome of their lives and their actions.

On the other hand, it is also daunting to think about that we each have the power to do incredible things to shape our lives and the world around us. Each decision we make could have vast and enormous consequences on the course that our life takes.

Tossing and turning in bed as I do every night I can't help but think of how one simple decision I make has the power to transform my life in unimaginable ways. Something as simple as who I speak with tomorrow or what website I stumble across, could have a profound effect on how my life might be changed had such things not occurred.

It is terrifying to think of the unlimited potential lives I could be leading had I only made a different choice along the way. Where would I be and how would my life be different had I made these different choices? What if I had chose Wesleyan over Vassar? What if I had decided to play baseball instead of basketball? What if I had taken a different philosophy course with a different professor and actually enjoyed the study of philosophy instead of being completely turned off by in my freshman year? Who knows?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

the 2007 New York Yankees

The dream is over. No matter how much I wanted to believe that the bats were going to come alive once again and/or that the bullpen would finally figure out these jokers from cleveland, there was the inescapable feeling that after the tribe took a 6-1 lead in the top of the 4th, that the yankees season was all but over.

no matter how many times the commentators talked about how jeter "made a living" by taking pitches 314ft the other way to the short porch in right field at the stadium. no matter how many montages they showed of a-rod slamming homeruns in the regular season. no matter how much they talked about the incredible season posada put together. it wasn't their night and it wasn't their series.

sure, they have made some miraculous comebacks and have put together some spectacular rallies. Their 8-7 comeback victory over the red sox at Fenway with 6 runs in the eigth inning left me feeling that anything was possible for this team. However, time and time again throughout this series the yankees showed that they did not have what it takes to advance in october. they looked old. they looked thin. they looked slow.

Continually lambasted for having an exorbitant payroll ($50 million more than the next closest team), the yankees organization continues to overpay for underperforming, washed-up players like Jason Giambi, Roger Clemes, and Carl Pavano. However, they finally seem to be figuring out that trading away all of their promising talented prospects for has-beens might not be the best idea. They have a great core of young players (Cano, Melky, Wang, Jaba, Hughes, Kennedy) as well as a number of solid veterans (Petite, Jeter, Posada, Rivera, Abreu, Damon) who are still close to their prime. With their payroll, they will almost certainly be in the hunt for a playoff spot in september. However, it is going to take some serious efforts from Brian Cashman to a)Keep a muzzle on Steinbrenner b) Deal with Scott Boras over A-rod's contract demands and c)Fill out the roster with hungry, young talent to put through the fire for a serious run next year.

They should have a strong rotation for next year with Wang, Chamberlain(if they decide they would rather have him starting than locking down the 7th and 8th innings until Mo retires), Hughes, and either Kennedy or Moose. In the bullpen, assuming that they re-sign Rivera, I would try to take a look at whether they can transform any of the rookies that they trotted out this year (Desalvo, Clippard, Wright, Ramirez) or Andrew Brackman into reliable middle relievers.

At the plate, I hope that they have the sense to bring back Posada and Abreu. Other than that, I feel their lineup is solid considering that it was the best offense in baseball this year. Even if A-rod does not come back, they should be fine if they can find another third baseman with a better glove and an average bat. They have enough guys who put the ball in play and hit it hard that they don't necessarily need to rely on one player( with a $30 mil+ contract) to hit 40+ HRs in order to suceed.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


I came across this guy's work in a bookstore in San Francisco. Most of his artwork has been in the UK.I think this type of art is not widely appreciated since most people overlook it as vandalism or as some clown with a can of spray paint. The detail and skill that goes into these works is much more impressive and attractive to me than most art you are going to see hanging in frames that saps shell out thousands for. Check out the site

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Championship Hats

Watching the stunning extra innings comeback of the Colorado Rockies last night, I was reminded of a phenomenon that I have always found interesting. No more than 3 minutes after Matt Holliday missed the plate with his left hand and Trevor Hoffman went searching for the closest handgun, a dude with a bag full of Colorado Rockies National League WildCard Championship Hats appeared near home plate and started handing them out like candy to the players, coaches, and homeplate umpire to commerate their first playoff berth since 1995.

When I was younger I was always fascinated with how fast these hat manufacturers were able to churn out this championship memorobilia once the championship had been decided. It was only later that someone told me that hats, t-shirts, etc... were made for both teams so that vendors would be ready to cash in on the moment regardless of the outcome of the game.

This always made me wonder, what do they do with the hats and t-shirts for the losers, the 2007 Padres Wildcard Championship t-shirts, the John Kerry celebratory headbands, or the Vassar College Liberty League Championship shot glasses? I was once told that they get shipped off to the far corners of the world to be given away to those who just wanted a shirt and didn't care (or couldn't read) what they said or that they were endorsing a loser. I would love to see a pick-up soccer game somewhere in the South Pacific where the kids are wearing all kinds of never-was t-shirts celebrating the NY Knicks 1994 World Championship and the New York Mets 2007 Easter Division Title.

In addition, I am sure that there woud definitely be a strong market for this type of clothing among hipsters and sports fans celebrating the ironic nature of this gear. Hipsters love that kind of shit.