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.