Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Detroit in trouble

I was going to make a small comment on an Ezra Klein post as I shared it on Reader, but I felt like I might as well write it on COBFTNG since for months it has been cruelly ignored by its own creator and it deserves a little action.

Here is the link. As anyone who knows me realizes, I'm a big fan of Kleins writing on The American Prospect and am quick to share what I feel are interesting and thoughtful posts that he churns out over there.

Here he highlights one take on the automakers bailout/deal. I'm obviously no expert, but why would the auto industry need further incentive to make higher gas mileage standards/ further "green technologies" a priority? I understand why looking for a bailout to try to save millions of jobs is reasonable given the state of our economy, but why haven't these companies innovated and progressed to the point where they don't need the federal government to jump in and save their failing businesses?

I guess it is by and large more of a statement about the condition of the general economy than any one particular industry that these types of "bailouts" are deemed necessary and acceptable. Maybe its an overly simplistic view of the auto industry, but I wonder if its right to feel that these companies are getting what they deserve for not adapting to evolving demand for more fuel efficient vehicles and environmentally responsible transportation options.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Terrible New York

Sometimes I feel I never want to live in New York City ever again.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

2 days later

I am fully aware that this site has been doing nothing but collecting dust for some time now, but at some point I hope to revive it to where it once was (about 3-4 posts a month). Until that time, you will just have to bear with me and my laziness towards churning out blog posts. 

I read something this evening from Ezra Klein's blog at The American Prospect and it really sounded right to me. I know I am as guilty as anyone else for getting so amped up and hopeful just from hearing Obama speak that I forget about the harsh realities facing our country and our political system. I forget about all the very real obstacles in the way and get a glazed-over look in my eye dreaming about a land of milk and honey, brother/sisterhood and hugs, sharing and caring.  Very few things are able to consistently give me chills up my spine, but listening to Dylan's music (specifically "Masters of War") and Barack's inspired speeches make the list.

Anyways, I'm getting sidetracked. Here is the passage from Mr. Klein which I thought was an apt way to say that even if things might not be as hopeful as all the celebrating suggested, there is still reason to believe that there is some reason to get excited.  Comments are always welcomed here in this land of free speech.

My basic emotion is relief. The skill of an Obama administration has yet to be proven. The structure of our government will prove a more able opponent than John McCain. But for the first time in years, I have the basic sense that it's going to be okay. Not great, necessarily. And certainly not perfect. But okay. The country will be lead by decent, competent people who fret over the right thing and employ the tools of the state for recognizable ends. They may not fully succeed. But then, maybe they will. At the least, they will try. And if they fail in their most ambitious goals, maybe they will simply make things somewhat better. After the constant anxiety and uncertainty of the last eight years, maybe that's enough.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I ain't your damn friend John

John McCain's Debate Notes

-Address audience as "My friends"
-Mention the words "cronyism and corruption"
-Don't forget about EARMARKS!
-Try to get audience to believe Obama is going to raise taxes for the middle class

I've really had a hard time watching these debates. There is very little said that is more than generalities, vague statements that might come off as popular among the electorate and mentions of contradictions in the other candidate's voting record. The problem that I see with constantly bringing up voting records in the senate is that often times, as far as I understand it, Senators will vote on a plan that might be the lesser of two evils, and thus might be painted as being a die-hard supporter of such a plan when they were merely choosing the best realistic option. This is obviously applicable to both sides.

Like most other people who watch these debates, I can't claim to know the ins and outs of all the issues that are discussed. I try to educate myself as best I can about the topics that I feel are the most important for myself and others going forward (the state of the economy, health care, taxes, alternative energy initiatives, restructuring our approach to foreign policy, transportation issues), but I can't possibly know everything there is to know about them. Therefore, I inevitably feel like I can't always cut to the truth behind statements that are brandied about by both of these politicians, can't always decipher which statements are honest and sincere and which are fraught with mistruths and stray toward disingenuity.

Which is worse, this type of bullshit debate format or the speeches from the conventions where the audience cheers every single word?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pearly whites and corrosive elements

As a man who loves a good floss and teeth brushing, and also one that enjoys the occasional can of soda, I was taken aback when a coworker looked at me condescendingly at lunch the other day while I was sipping on a free can of pepsi and asked me, "Don't you know how bad that is for your teeth?"

She continued, "Haven't you heard that if you leave a tooth in a cup of soda overnight it will dissolve by the next morning?"

I had never heard of this ridiculous claim and steadfastly refused to accept it as reality, however a few other people had also heard it and believed it to be the honest-to-god truth. One co-worker claimed that leaving a dirty penny in pepsi/coke overnight could completely clean and shine a previously dirty penny. I know how much sugar soda, candy and other shit contains and realize that it isn't the best thing for your dental and physical health, but didn't think they had the ability to destroy body parts as if they were sulfuric acid.

So I went to the interweb and tried to get to the bottom of this. I present you with the results of a thorough scientific study on this topic that gets to the heart of the matter.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Amerocentrism and CHINA in big block letters

One thing that caught my eye while watching the ass-whomping that Team USA just laid on China in men's basketball was the writing on the uniforms. Why is it that the name of the country and player were written in English? Since the games are being held in Beijing, why isn't everything written in Mandarin? Is this done just because NBC has the rights to broadcast the games and somehow has a say in how things should look there?

Viewing NBC's coverage of the Olympic games and not noticing the slanted coverage toward American athletes and American dominated events is like reading Jolly Miserable's blog and finding something interesting, it just can't happen.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Lost in Iraq

I, not unlike many Americans, am not very knowledgeable about what is going on in Iraq. I try to follow the news coming out of there as much as I can but still don't understand a lot of the facts and opinions that surround this situation. From what I can tell, as unpopular as "the surge" was, it was successful in curbing violence in an extremely hostile and turbulent region of the world.

I know next to nothing about military strategy, dealing with an insurgency or rebuilding a country (and an economy) after a war. Obama has been for establishing a timetable for withdrawal of troops but has amended his position somewhat in light of the current state of affairs. Our invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq has been an extremely controversial and heated issue for a bevy of reasons (the cost of American lives, financial burden of the war on the U.S., disruption of Iraqi sovereignty, rising oil prices, being lied to about the reason for invading, etc...)

Tonight I came across this article that further confused me about Iraq and our country's role there. Apparently, Iraq is swimming in money from rising oil profits and racking up a huge surplus while the U.S. government has been adding to is already sizable deficit. While we are pouring money into the reconstruction of Iraq, they are gathering interest on their growing lump of cash. I would like to assume that our government is proceeding in the most rational and responsible manner possible given the circumstances, but when I read articles like this one I start to have my doubts. Really, who is in charge here? It just doesn't seem like a tight ship is being run over there. I realize that the situation on the ground isn't as simplified and generalized as the American public would like to see it, but I am underwhelmed by the sense that things are being handled in the best manner possible over yonder.

When are we going to decide if we really want to be propping up and holding Iraq's hand for the next 50 years? My main problem with coming to terms with Iraq is that I don't see a coherent plan in place that dictates our actions going forward. I am aware of the instability and tensions that exist there, but how are we ever going to move forward (and out!) if we don't have a clear (and shared) vision for the Iraq of the future and our relationship with them. Are we going to continue on this dangerous imperialistic foreign policy path or are we going to settle in to the role of a responsible world superpower?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tour de Westfield

After I got home from work I was debating what to do, lift weights? Try to play basketball on my still healing ankle? Go for a bike ride? Sit on my ass and watch tv?

Since it was around 7:30 and I was too lazy to lift and too uninspired to shoot some hoops, I hopped on my bike and went for a spin. I usually don't push myself too hard on my solitary rides. I'll bike around 10 miles or so at an easy pace. The goal is usually to bike for 5-7 miles or so in what ever direction the wind takes me and then somehow try to figure out how to get back to Cranford. I've become fairly familiar with the area and its been getting harder and harder to disorient and get myself legitimately lost.

Tonight, however, I had been casually riding around the seemingly endless grid between Cranford and Westfield when I come up to an intersection in time to see 6 dudes fly by in full road bike gear and on some nice rigs. I barely ever get the chance to ride with anyone so before I even really had a chance to make a decision, I pulled a sharp right and started trailing the pack as they started weaving in and out of traffic. These dudes were pretty serious riders and it was definitely going to take some concentration and will power to keep up with them in my amateur shape.

We eventually made our way to a less congested road where I was able to shout out to ask them if it was cool if I tagged along.

"Where are you guys headed?" I inquired.

"Up around the Watchung loop and back, only about 16 miles" (The Watchung Reservation is 5 minutes from where I grew up and consists of a bunch of winding roads snaking over hills and through the woods) Carlos replied.

Somehow I was able to keep up with these guys for most flat parts and the climbs, partly because I was about 10 years younger than about half of them. However, they toasted me on the descents. Like I said, the roads wind wickedly around the hills and you never know whats going to be around the next bend unless you are really familiar with the turf. So we would get to the top of a climb and then less than a minute later all the other guys would be completely out of sight. I was cruising along at a respectable 30-35mph and was being left in the dust. The fact that it was pushing 8-8:30 and was quickly getting darker didn't help matters as I sped down each descent while trying to keep up with these road warriors.

I'm sure I looked like a clown wearing sneakers, basketball shorts and jersey while all the other guys were decked out in the legit cycling apparel and accessories, but it was a great time nonetheless. I definitely got a new appreciation for what kind of athletes must be riding in the Tour de France and other professional races. I've been trying to follow and learn more about it, its really a fascinating spectacle with its unparalleled history and prestige. France never really struck my fancy as a travel destination until I started reading more about the Tour, but now it will most definitely be a must on my next (and first) European tour.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Leonhardt on market forces in the health care industry

David Leonhardt writes about how Congress is helping the continuing high costs of the health care industry. He argues that by not allowing the health care equipment prices to be set by market forces, the government is supporting artificially inflated prices. The effect of this subsidy is a bloated producer surplus which obviously ends up hurting the little people.

On the power of lobbying and money in Washington politics impacts this issue:
This little fight deserves more attention than it's been getting for two reasons. One, it's a great example of how a small group of constituents can potentially beat back a policy that's clearly in the public interest but has no similarly committed group of supporters. And, two, it shows just how difficult health care reform is going to be.

In the abstract, fixing the health care system sounds perfectly unobjectionable: it's about reducing costs (and then being able to cover the uninsured) by getting rid of inefficiency and waste. In reality, though, almost every bit of waste benefits someone.

Overall, I found this to be an intelligent article which looks to shed some light on how our elected officials are not always looking out for our best interests. Our entire health care system is undeniably flawed and in no way could be described as working to ensure the health and well-being of all American citizens. As he points out, there are more (and more powerful) people whose jobs are focused on maintaining the status quo in this industry than their are people who are working to fix this debacle. After watching a movie like SICKO (I know, I know its Michael Moore, but still) and thinking about all the failures in the system, it is so frustrating to think about how something that could do so much good is letting so many people down everyday.

Friday, July 4, 2008

An American Pastime

I just saw an ad for a gas company, followed by another commercial for a different gas company. The first one was for Mobil and the next one was for Valero. (Note: This commercial obviously was aired without the anti-Valero message scrolling across the screen)

Are commercials like these really going to change the driving habits of average Americans who have faced substantial increases in the price of gas over the past year? Even if driving is an American 'love affair' or Pastime (aren't evicting Native Americans from their homes and starting unpopular wars American Pastimes as well?), do these companies really think that by airing some corny ads during baseball games American consumers will go out and A) Drive more in general or B) Buy their gasoline over their competitors brands? I don't get it.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Spanning the masses

"Let me be as clear as I can be," he said. "I intend to end this war. My first day in office I will bring the Joint Chiefs of Staff in, and I will give them a new mission, and that is to end this war — responsibly, deliberately, but decisively.

-Barack Obama

There has been a lot of talk recently about Obama's stance on the war in Iraq. From the beginning he has been opposed to it and wants to bring out troops home. However, he is not an irrational peacenik who views bringing every last soldier back home to start planting flowers and holding hands as the number one priority. As much as I am against the war in Iraq, and without being an expert on the issue, I do believe that strictly calling for a withdrawal of troops without taking into consideration the current state of affairs there and consequences of our actions on the region would be a mistake.

People can criticize Obama from both sides, either calling him a flip-flopper or another run-of-the-mill politician who is only trying to win votes by working his way into the middle of the political spectrum. But, the fact of the matter is that one can find both value and fault in either
A) staying the course, being stubborn, and not willing to change your position on an issue simply because you are afraid people will say that you are a hypocrite or say that you are flip-flopping or
B) Being adaptable and open minded to changing your mind, taking into consideration new information and risk THEM saying that you aren't strong or tough minded.

Its a tough row to hoe. As with many things, I feel the truth and best option lies somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, no matter how the liberal/conservative media might want to portray it. I want a leader who is willing to do what is right despite how he/she might be painted by critics afterwards.

Happy Birthday Babe-raham Lincoln!

I just caught part of "Independence Day", one of the greatest epic movies of our time. One of the parts that always intrigued me, was the idea of Area 51. In the movie, the President was completely unaware of its existence. If you think about it, this makes sense that every Tom, Dick and Sally that is elected president of the United States of America cannot be told the deepest, darkest secrets that our government holds.

In the movie, the former head of the CIA is the only dude who knows about the existence and ongoings of the facility and he only brings it up after the aliens have struck and are within 36 hours of completely exterminating mankind as we know it! You think Bill Clinton knows about what kind of crazy shit THEY might be testing in the North Pole or the vast deserts of Nevada?

As much as these type of "science fiction" movies are deemed to be unrealistic or fantastical, there is something so cool in thinking that there might be so much out there that we are kept in the dark about. This got me thinking about the idea of the Sacred and the Profane. The day to day operations of our life get to be so mundane and ordinary, that when we encounter something above and beyond, it blows our minds and makes us realize that there could be more...

Religion is incredible in that it allows people to believe that there is something so much more powerful and otherworldly out there than their 9-5 jobs, mortgages and ho-hum existence. Maybe, just maybe, there is the something out there that could equal or exceed the furthest limits of our imagination.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Man, I love summer

Rank of seasons by order of awesomeness
1. Summer
2. Spring
3. Fall

9. Winter

Monday, June 23, 2008

Tour de Jersey

Despite the fact that Will Bike For Food didn't come together for this summer, I've still been trying to bike as much as possible. I've been getting out for 10-15 mile rides after works and some longer ones on the weekends. Looking back on it, trying to organize a 3,000+ mile ride without ever having gone on a trip longer than 30-40 miles might not have been the most reasonable idea, for whatever its worth.

This past weekend I took my longest ride yet, a 53 journey through the congested state of New Jersey from Cranford to Normandy Beach. From one Grandparent's house to the other. It was a beautiful day, 70degrees, sunny. Outside of a 10 mile stretch in and around Perth Amboy, the trip was fantastic and was pretty smooth sailing. I cruised into Normandy in about 3 and a half hours, averaging about 17mph while stopping twice to refuel. I figure if I can cover this type of ground in about half a day, with some more experience and strength, some more ambitious adventures are definitely going to be within reach.

New Jersey is a relatively flat state, not too many hills, and the ones I did encounter were more of the long, gradual type. I thought that the notorious traffic of NJ might put a damper on the ride, but for the most part, it really wasn't a factor at all. As long as there is a decent shoulder on the road (at least 5 feet), assholes flying by in cars don't really effect me too much.

Overall, I had a great time on the ride. There is something liberating in being able to move yourself from point A to point B without having to rely on something bigger than yourself (car, train, plane). I felt free in knowing that I was able to take on this excursion entirely by myself from start to finish. No matter whether its finishing a tough sudoku, running a 2mile, figuring out how to illegally split cable from your neighbors house, , or bike to the beach, the gratification in finding a way to accomplish a task and following through on it until completion is a great feeling.

I'm looking to take my next longer ride from Cranford,NJ to Central Valley, NY, most likely in late July. Its going to be about 61 miles, most likely more rural roads. In the mean time, I want to try to get into a little better shape. My legs actually didn't bother me at all until the last 5-10 miles, and even then it really didn't hinder the ride at all. My lower back started tightening up about halfway down from a combination of carrying my backpack and not having prepared myself for being in a riding position for 3-4 hours.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Blow it up

I just heard about this whole "terrorist fist jab" business. The Fox News Channel operates under the guise of "fair and balanced" reporting. However, anyone watching this channel should be able to recognize the slant and unmistakably biased reporting that goes on there. They hardly even try to conceal their objectives of promoting an extremely conservative and Republican-friendly agenda.

I found this while reading about this fist jab fiasco
For example, NBC anchor Andrea Mitchell apologized on Monday on MSNBC Live for describing Bristol, Virginia -- a place where Obama was campaigning -- as "real redneck, sort of, bordering on Appalachia country." In late May, Fox News contributor Liz Trotta apologized for joking that Obama should be assassinated, along with Osama Bin Laden. In February, conservative Fox talk show host Bill O'Reilly apologized for saying that he "didn't want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless there's hard evidence, hard facts that say this is how the woman really feels." And in January, MSNBC political pundit Chris Matthews apologized for charging that Hillary Clinton only managed to win office of any kind because she played the sympathy card as a victim of her husband's infidelities.
These Fox News personalities inject their little digs and cheap shots out of one side of their mouth while pretending to present the current events of the day. Even though all of the people mentioned above apologized for the comments on which they were called out, their sentiments and true feelings are easy to see.

I have no desire to get into the problems of media bias and the unsuspecting public who eats this kind of fear mongering, racist and inflammatory bullshit up with a spoon. I just wonder if there can be some way to officially label the Fox News channel as clearly nothing more than brainless entertainment for the ignorant masses, as opposed to a reputable news source which it parades itself as.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rise above

What initially drew me to Obama was his insistence on the need to change the political makeup and dealings in our government. No more "Politics as usual", which served to describe Hillary Clinton, the current administration, and pretty much the entire recent history of politics in our country.

Too much corruption, influence by special interests, irresponsibility and incompetence. Barack was going to be bringing something new, something fresh. There were going to be no attack ads, no negative campaigning, no divisiveness from this movement. He was going to conduct a campaign without stooping to the level of his opponents.

Surely this was a good thing right? It sounded great. Rise above the usual pettiness and bullshit that American politics has been known for. However, as much as Obama has tried to run a squeaky clean campaign, it was all but inevitable that there would be road bumps and different unexpected challenges. Reverend Wright. Michigan and Florida. Clowns on FOX news bringing up his middle name, Hussein, as if it should disqualify him from serving as President. Here for more media bullshit.

What I'm trying to get to is the fact that no matter how hard Barack tried to run a different campaign, there are going to be people who try to drag his name through the mud, dig up any dirt they can on him and find, however minuscule, chinks in his armor. The ideal way to face this type of garbage would be to ignore it, focus on policy, work to reach out to as many constituents as possible and just rise above the triviality of it all. However, if you try to do this and act in a dignified and classy way by not even addressing these things that have somehow passed for 'news'.

If you don't respond and attack back, you are considered weak. If you don't address these ridiculous statements that the media blows up, it makes you look as if you have something to hide. I am too young and inexperienced to proclaim myself as some expert of how government should be run, but it seems to me that if we had a chance to redesign an ideal political system, it would look significantly different than what we have today.

The focus needs to be on which candidate can best help our country and serve the most people. Who can best address the problems in our economy, health care system, education, environment, foreign policy and other areas that are in dire need of attention?

In our current culture of 24 hour news channels and people eating up and demanding the most sensational news stories, it seems to be tough to get every voter to focus on the key factors during this critical election year. Are American voters intelligent enough to recognize and understand how different policy choices effect our country and our citizens lives? Hope lies in the feeling that people are fed up enough with the current state of affairs to try to change things AND still somehow believe that we have the power to change things.

Monday, June 2, 2008

You just had to go and open your big mouth

Taking a nice long sip of iced tea after a coming in from a refreshing bike ride around Cranford, I switched on the TV to see what was going on with the Yankees game.

5-4 Yanks in the bottom of the 7th at Minnesota. Petite was still pitching and had only thrown 89 pitches thus far. The old man's still got it. He gets Casilla to ground out to Cano for the 2nd out of the inning. And then all of a sudden...

"Petite sure is looking good tonight. He's thrown 90 pitches and 60 of them for strikes, a good ratio...Maybe its not such a crazy idea to send him out there for the 8th with Joba pitching tomorrow, give their bullpen a break... Andy's had leads of 2-0, 4-1 and now 5-4 tonight, we'll see if he can hold on to this one now."

At this point I'm starting to get nervous. Color commentators have never really done it for me (with the obvious exception of the eloquent and always entertaining Walt 'Clyde' Frazier). They are usually lacking in genuine insight and are just plain dull. However, standing in the kitchen, watching the YES network, I start to get a bad feeling. As much as I might not like to admit it, I tend to be a little superstitious. Watching Super Bowl XLII, I held onto the same beer bottle long after I had emptied its contents simply because it had been in my hand when the Giants marched down the field earlier in the 4th quarter and scored on Tyree's catch. I do believe in jinxes. I do believe in a lucky pair of boxers. When something works, go with it until it doesn't anymore. Especially with something as fragile as the Yankees 2008 season. At this point, the franchise might careen into the abyss if someone sneezes at the wrong time.

So back to the story, I'm standing there, staring at the screen while topping myself off with another round of iced tea when I hear this,
"Andy Petite has yet to give up a home run to a left handed hitter so far this year... Incredibly Joe Mauer has yet to get in the HR column"

Not 15 seconds later Mauer rockets a pitch on the inside of the plate into the right field stands. Now, would this have happened if these numb nuts hadn't said anything? Who knows. Its as if there is some slumbering jinx monster in the room and by saying something as stupid as this, he is going to wake up and punish you by fucking over your team. This is exactly why no one talks to a pitcher in the late innings of a no-hitter or perfect game. Its why when your team has been perfect from the foul line all game, you don't say something like "Man...have we missed a foul shot tonight? We're on fire!". The universe is a fickle mistress, try not to upset her.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Stand clear of the closing doors

First things first, Yankees 13 Mariner 2. Beautiful day for a baseball game in the Bronx. Met up with Jolly Skartvedt and two middle aged friends of his at a restaurant outside the stadium where we ordered different variations of Jerk Chicken entrees as one of the guys, Lou, got visibly frustrated with the service. The waiter tried to remember our simple orders (Jerk Chicken wrap, Jerk Chicken dinner, etc..) and failed miserably. Needless to say, it was a great game. The Yanks just poured on run after run while lighting up Erik Bedard. Andy Petite was fantastic and Shelly Duncan hit a 3 run bomb to left to start the explosion. Jolly was being hit on all game by the girl across the aisle who seemed to be there with her boyfriend.

One thing that I truly hate about New York City is the abundance of people who walk around talking to themselves. I'm not talking about the ones who are singing to themselves listening to their iPods or muttering as they step in a puddle. Its the people who are standing at the corner having an obviously one-sided conversation with no one in particular. The guy in the park sitting on the bench snapping at someone invisible sitting next to him. The old woman with the grocery bag who stops in the middle of the cross walk to ask a question of someone when there is no one within 30 feet of her. I am aware that in all likelihood a majority of these individuals are clearly disturbed. My run ins with these people unnerve me more than anything else that I have encountered lately. Except for that time last week when I ran into a possum (sp?) outside the garage!

As I was walking through Penn station earlier tonight on my way home, a dude approached me and asked for 75 cents. I was a little taken aback by the request for such an exact and small amount of money. Having only one quarter in my pocket, I handed it to him and apologized for some reason. I hadn't taken 3 steps before I passed this young couple being propositioned by this one obviously down on his luck dude. I had heard the story before "I'm really sorry to have to bother you, but I lost my wallet and have no way of getting home, could I just borrow $10 to buy a train ticket?" or "I AM NOT A BUM, and I wouldn't be asking you this if I wasn't in such a bind, but could you help me out with such and such". This is the definition of a 'Boy who cried wolf' scene. Obviously there are people who get their wallets stolen, lose their cellphone, etc... and have to resort to asking complete strangers for a few bucks to get them going again. However, there also would seem to be people who, by impersonating the aforementioned individuals, could make a few quick bucks with this ploy. The later group is really ruining it for all those poor people who fall upon some bad luck away from home and nowhere to turn. I guess this isn't really a boy crying wolf, but one boy crying "wolf!" when there is no wolf around and another boy coming along and crying "wolf!" only to be ignored and eaten by the wolf.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Reason #453 that I hate the Spurs

I despise Robert Horry.

If the cheap shot he laid into David West's back tonight puts him out of commission for Game 7 on saturday(?) he will have effectively ruined the seasons of two of the most fascinating and enjoyable teams in the league in consecutive Western Conference semi-finals. The Nash hit last year was definitely worse and much more obviously malicious, but setting a blind side screen in middle of a man's already injured back is still a shitty and lowly thing to do. When Mark Jackson defended Horry's actions right afterwards, I felt relieved that Donnie Walsh didn't hire this stupid sonofabitch to be the coach. If you are going to win, win with class. Horry has none and obviously neither does Mark Jackson.

I hope West will be alright for the rest of the playoffs and that the Hornets kick the shit out of the Spurs in New Orleans.

Can't catch a break?

Think you've got it rough? A tornado tear through your house in Oklahoma? Are you about to lose your house due to the sub-prime mortgage fiasco? Lose your job?

Quit whining. There are people out there who got stuck in traffic on their way to their weekend homes and you're calling your misstep a tragedy? Come on people. Before you complain about the thousands of people whose lives were destroyed by Cyclone Nargis, recognize the real horror for the people stuck in there Benz's in gridlock traffic on their way to what was SUPPOSED to be a relaxing weekend away.

When we go away we always stop

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Life outside the magic kingdom

Wasn't it just 2 years ago that JJ Reddick was the poster boy of college basketball? Everyone was basically in agreement that he wasn't athletic or big enough to be as effective in the NBA as he had been at Duke, but that he was still a very talented scorer with one of the best jumpshots we had ever seen. He became Duke's all-time leading scorer despite the fact that every team's game plan revolved around stopping him first and foremost. He was taken in the lottery by the Magic and has yet to get any consistent burn.

The NBA is made up of stars and role players. These role players tend not to have the complete games of their more heralded teammates but still possess some skill set that allows them to help their team. Reggie Evans can't score for shit but still plays defense and rebounds enough to justify a spot for himself. Jacque Vaughn has inexplicably been in the league forever without knowing what it feels like to get in the stat sheet. Bruce Bowen is one of the worst people on the planet but is still lauded for his "defense and hustle". My point is that all of these players and plenty more don't have the all around game of LeBron or KG but are valuable components nonetheless because they bring to the table tools that a successful team needs.

How is it that no team can make use of a player who is all but automatic from anywhere in the gym if given an open look. Kapono just snagged a huge deal last summer for having no other discernible skills besides being able to knock down J's at a good clip and being a good looking guy. Sure JJ's not as big as Kaponovich but I would argue that he is just as good of a shooter. For the past 2-3 years all the announcers have talked about when the Cavs have gotten bumped from the playoffs is that he doesn't have a reliable shooter on the other wing who he can kick it to when the defense collapses. Sure, they've had Gibson, West, Sczerbiak, Pavlovic, etc... but none of them have been able to get it done consistently.

I was never the biggest Reddick fan, but it was impossible not to respect his game. The man worked his ass off, knew how to get open and play to his strengths, and filled it up like a motherfucker. You don't think he could be a good option coming off the bench for 20 minutes a night, open up the floor for LeBron while he does his thing? He's not going to be the first option for any team he plays for, but he should still be able to find a niche somewhere in the league because of what he does do well. If guys like Steve Kerr and Matt Carroll are able to carve out a spot for themselves with just their jump shots and not much else, why can't this guy?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

And may you live to be a thousand years old!

I was running a little late today and I had to hustle to catch the 6:03 train out of Penn station today. Much like all other trains at that time of day it was absolutely packed. To get to the train from the main station you have to take either the escalator or elevator down to the tracks. They only announce the track number that a train is on 10 minutes in advance of the departure so its always a free for all as everyone fights for positioning. There is just one tiny door leading to the escalator and hundreds of people pushing each other to get through this one opening. Try to imagine a human meat grinder. That's essentially what it looks like.

So, on the train I was one of the last people to get on and considered myself lucky that I found some room to stand where I could hold onto a handle nearby. Trying to stand on the train sans some sort of grounding is a difficult proposition, anchoring yourself somehow is obviously key here. Not two feet from me were two older women sitting down with sunglasses on. The one on the left, probably in her late 50's had a large rolling suitcase standing up against the side of the car right next to my legs. I happened to nudge the suitcase at one point which elicited a questionable look from its owner. Not wanting to seem too obvious, she waited about 5 seconds before moving it into the aisle, the main thoroughfare of the train, so it would be right at her side and not within the reach of this stranger's clumsy legs.

The feeling that someone is nervously eying you, making sure you don't try to pull anything funny, definitely borders on paranoia but is hard to put out of your mind. Like walking behind someone when every so often they steal anxious glances over their shoulder at you to make sure you're not creeping up on them. I received substantially more of these kinds of looks while I was growing my beard but it still happens occasionally.

This was one of those times. So this woman, put her huge piece of luggage right in the way of where everyone was trying to walk just to get it away from me. Had she had a bad experience somewhere in her past that would teach her to be overly careful with her things around strangers? What did she think I was going to do to her precious suitcase?

My mom had an experience at her store in NYC a long time ago where a group of robbers came in and stuck up the place, had her at gunpoint, and stole a ton of merchandise. Ever since that encounter she has become extremely protective and careful around anyone she feels could represent a similar threat to her. Should she really be blamed for exhibiting a mindset that could be described as xenophobic, since it was instilled in her by such a traumatic experience? As people grow older and have more life experiences, they are going to be exposed to

Could this be why as people grow older they tend to become more conservative? They feel that they have lived and learned, and thus know everything that they possibly need to know about how the world works? Its easy to be idealistic, open-minded and think the world could be a perfect and happy place if you haven't been confronted face to face with its harsh realities. If someone has fucked with your suitcase in the past, of course you're going to be extra careful that it doesn't happen again. If someone robs your store, of course you're going to take extra security measures and be careful about who you let in. However, by themselves, these acts could be construed as paranoid, racist or discriminatory.

So whats the bottom line here? Should someone who fears for his/her safety, with good reason or not, be hesitant to act cautiously just because they could possibly be seen as xenophobic or paranoid? I don't know the answer to this.

I saw a quote somewhere saying essentially, be kind because everyone is fighting a battle of some kind. I think this is a great way to approach encounters with others. Knowing that there are (usually) reasons for people to act the way they do, it is best not to make assumptions or hold it against people when they do not act the way that you think they should.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Happy Birthday Fox

I've been meaning to watch the newest ep of lost online for the past few days, but it doesnt look good for watching it tonight either. If they can make me wait 3 weeks between new episodes, I can put off watching it for a few days (although this just might be hurting myself on this one).... there are just too many playoff games that demand my undivided attention. there are a million thoughts racing through my head but nothing coherent enough to make into a viable statement or post so i might just spit it all out at once. i've been meaning to try to come to terms with why I want to write a blog. my friend Jolly Skartvedt made his blog private because he doesnt want to chance future employers knowing about his unhappiness with catholics. I don't know what the point of even having one is if you don't let other people read it. why not just write down your ideas into a word document that you keep tucked safely away in your computer?

I realize that this blog has no overriding direction, purpose or flow to it. I guess I never really intended to have one. My two primary inspirations to start a blog were my friend Andy's extremely entertaining and insightful page and FreeDarko. These are my top two blogs that I keep tabs on in my reader. Both are well written, and really make me wish I had more to say as a writer every time I read them. The thing is, they both have a relatively defined niche that they occupy well. CanOfBallsForTheNiceGuy ( I changed the name finally) might never be a post-a-day blog or have a consistent vision, but for right now, I'm not too worried about it.

At once i don't mind commuting bc i feel superior to every other zombie that i see along the way but scared that i could turn into them. ive narrowed it down to approximately a 70 min door-to-door journey which by all accounts isnt too terrible. the train is my favorite mass transit option because i can sit and read the paul krugman book im working my way through, which I couldn't do as well if I am standing up or sitting on a bus. Krugman is able to make himself sound like a honest-to-god seer in terms of the united states economic and political policy decisions that he suggests and the extremely intelligent, if not smarmy, way that he makes his case against the Bush administration's actions over the past 8 years.

The most depressing part of my day was cataloging interviews by the Kansas City Royals manager and 2 players done a few weeks ago. The beginning of any season gives hope to even the worst teams out there that if they work hard enough, only worry about the game directly in front of them, and a host of other tired cliches that they will have a chance. This type of world beating thinking happens at the start of any sports season and it is only through the grind of a full season that these teams become exposed to the truth about their place in the universe. I really do hope that the Royals can take all of the young talent that they have been developing/acquiring and do something with it, but logic dictates that it will only be a matter of time before they are sitting a pretty 20 games out of the playoffs.

I'm officially on the Hawks bandwagon despite having picked the Celtics to win it all a few posts ago. If they had given Salim Stoudamire more burn in place of bibby they would have taken care of those pesky celtics by now. The Warriors of 2008? Josh Smith is one of the top 5 most entertaining players in the league.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Last night I was watching the end of the New Orleans- Dallas game and that gatorade commercial with the heavy music and garnett sweating orange came on for about the 10th time in the half hour I had been tuning in. I was thinking at that moment how great it would be if I had TiVo or other DVR on that tv so I wouldn't have to deal with the same tired ads every break in the action. I realize that the proliferation of this type of technology is a huge issue in terms of the effectiveness of companies getting their message out through television commercials. Consequently this is obviously also an issue for the entire television industry since they are so dependent on advertising for revenue and if people have the ability to skip through commercial breaks the whole system would appear to be in jeopardy.

My thought here is that this could possibly serve as an impetus for companies to stop producing multitudes of shitty commercials. With the advent of YouTube, the best commercials are going to be seen millions of times though word of mouth, links, email, etc... The Kobe-Aston Martin spot for adidas has been seen at least 4 million times, if not more, just on Youtube. Viewers have the ability to watch what they want and weed out the rest. Will companies be forced to actually produce quality commercials or face getting pushed out by others who do?

I realize not every commercial can generate the interest that the Kobe one did, but I would think just as a general rule that companies would be much better served producing one or two really eye-catching, lovable commercials per year or quarter or whatever than pumping out tons of mediocre ones. I feel the Kobe spot and others like it are so successful particularly because it doesn't feel like it was all over the airwaves anytime an NBA game was on. There was this buzz that was generated without having to shove it down the throats of consumers. People were blogging, debating and watercoolering whether it was real or not and it had people talking while subconsciously having the three-stripes logo in the back of their mind.

What about the Frank Caliendo show? Sure his commercials were good at first, but having to see his face every half inning of the 2007 MLB playoffs completely turned me off to the idea of watching his show. I was much more apt to watch it a couple months earlier when there were just quick glimpses of his spot-on impersonations. I was just left over-saturated with that asshole and had no desire to watch anything else that he put out.

a) I have a hard time understanding how the television industry will operate with DVRs and YouTube gaining such ground in making our lives easier and better. I know online media and advertising are growing at phenomenal rates. I'm just not too proud to admit that I don't quite understand how it is all going to play out. Any help would be appreciated.
b)Viral marketing is where its at. Give me a taste of what you're selling but don't give me the whole thing. I think people in general are inquisitive and curious. A little mystery or intrigue is alright with me.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Walk the plank

I begin the first 'real' job of my life tomorrow. I've worked a number of other jobs( construction with my dad, temping at the Children's Home, internships, student employment, etc...) but this is going to be my first legit, 40 hour a week- permanent job. I'm going to be working at MLB Productions in Manhattan. I found out about it while reading an article about a number of Vassar alumni that work there. I started talking to one of them via email and was able to learn about what they do and it really seemed like a fun and interesting place to work.

I am going to be living with my wonderful grandparents in Cranford, NJ and taking the train into work for the foreseeable future. I am really excited for this step in my life to begin and am curious to see where it might take me. Part of me is definitely disappointed that the bike trip is not happening and I am going to be a working man instead of a cross country cyclist this summer, but this is where I'm at now and am going to embrace it. I can definitely think of worse things that I could be doing than getting to deal with MLB video footage for my living.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Playoffs Start Tomorrow!!

I don't think I've ever been this excited about the NBA Playoffs as a whole. There are just so many great matchups and such potential for classic 6-7 game series. What follows is first the opening matchups for both the West and the East followed by my humble predictions as well as my 11 year old brother William's picks. My gut feeling tells me that he will probably have more success here because he isn't hindered by an irrational belief that the Suns must make the finals at least once before the Steve Nash-era ends. There was much debate between William and myself as to whether Caron Butler could hold his own against Lebron and if Jason Kidd gave the Mavs a better chance in a loaded Western Conference. I'm disappointed G.S. isn't gonna be involved but I can't wait to see how it all plays out...

1 Lakers- 8 Nuggets
2- Hornets- 7 Mavs
3-Spurs- 6 Suns
4- Rockets- 5 Jazz

1 Celtics- 8 Hawks
2 Pistons- 7 Sixers
3 Magic- 6 Raptors
4 Wizards- 5 Cavs

Joe’s Picks

Lakers, Hornets, Suns, Jazz
Lakers, Suns

Celtics, Pistons, Magic, Cavs
Celtics, Pistons

Celtics over Suns

William’s Picks

Lakers, Mavs, Spurs, Rockets
Lakers, Mavs

Celtics, Pistons, Raptors, Wiz
Celtics, Pistons

Pistons over Lakers!!!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Ballplayer

Barack Obama has been linked numerous times to basketball. Earlier in the Primary contests he claimed he played pick-up the morning before the Iowa caucuses that he won and he did not play the morning of the New Hampshire primary which he lost. He joked later that he knew why he lost in New Hampshire and would definitely be playing every morning of a contest.

I remember reading a number of different articles earlier about his connection and love for the game. Having never actually seen him play, I was imagining today what sort of player the man is. Is he a real player or does he just have some lame, old-man politician game? When I think of a politician playing basketball, I immediately assume that they don't really know how to play the game but pretend they do. They probably hack the shit out of you and then call any bump on the other end. They would be super competitive, call for the ball to be checked every time down the court, and would try to lie about the score.

I want to give Barack the benefit of the doubt though. I I wondered what his jump shot looked like. Is it smooth to the point that you can immediately tell that even if he's a little rusty that its still legit? At 46, most athleticism usually has abandoned you so I'm not going to fault him if he does not impress in the respect. I guess what I really wanted to know was whether this Obama-Basketball story line is some sort of feel-good, connect-to-athletic-community-type or if he really is a basketball player in truth and form.

I found two videos of the big guy playing some ball.
The first is footage of him playing in high school. Supposedly he was on the state championship winning team in high school. Takes an outlet and goes the length of the floor for an uncontested lefty lay-up and then tries to poke away a steal, leading to one by a teammate. Misses a free throw with his team up 34 points but continues to play solid pressure defense on his man at the other end. Overall, he looks like a good player but you can't really make much out of this video. He did rock the #23 before Jordan made it happen, word.
The second is a stupid news clip of him shooting, and nailing, a single jumper in front of the cameras and on lookers. Not much to say about this one, kind of impressive that he made it with no warm up with all kinds of clowns watching him and wanting to talk about him playing basketball.

After some quick analysis and conferring with myself, I have decided that he is not some sap politician who suddenly decides he wants to likes basketball when he runs for office. He obviously has a lot of history with the game and is genuinely passionate about it. He obviously has some other commitments that he has to take care of before he can go look for a quick game, so he might not have as much time to play as he would like, which is understandable. You've got to do what you've got to do. I really believe that if you are a basketball player, the type of player you are conveys a lot about who you are in life. That being said, I would love to lace 'em up against Barack and see what he's like on the court.

While doing a quick search for some articles to reference here, I came across this one that has some fairly strong racial overtones in regards to white vs black players. It is interesting particularly because it comes from Obama's brother-in-law and current Head Men's Basketball Coach at Oregon State, Craig Robinson. Such binding archetypes serve to retard social understanding of the game of basketball as well as race relations more broadly. According to Obama himself, in order to move past the barriers of race we have to address them outright and without closed mindedness. The white slow shooter and the athletic black guy dunking can be just as damning as other overt generalizations on the basis of race, sex or otherwise.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Phoenix Stars

I as big a fan of the diesel as anyone. I love the man, I've loved watching him play ever since I started following the NBA. Shaq-attaq! I eat it up.

However, the acquisition of the big guy by the phoenix suns has really skewed my perception of my previous favorite team in the league to watch. Since they got Nash from Dallas, the suns have been an absolute joy to watch, with that first year with Joe Johnson and pre-Knick disaster Q-rich. Nash orchestrated the show brilliantly with the shooters spreading the floor and amare and marion sprinting straight lines up and down the court for easy dunks, the suns were easily the most enjoyable team to watch for years.

As much credit as Nash got with two straight NBA MVP awards and league-wide acclaim, there was always the feeling that without marion and amare playing out of position and being able to beat their men down the court on every play the whole dynamic of the team would be different. The suns were able to capture our attention because they didn't play like most other teams in the L, especially not like the spurs. They threw up shots quickly and played at a frantic pace because they had the pieces to do so.

I've been pulling for them every spring lately, I've wanted to believe that this type of style can win a championship in this era. You don't have to grind it down with a slow, boring an predictable offensive attack to win it all. However, with the Shaq trade, the Suns organization itself finally admitted that even they did not believe it could be done.

They conformed to the notion that a championship team is built around a steadier game plan. I will still be rooting for the suns based on how much I love Steve Nash go an entire game without making a single mistake on the basketball court and seeing Stoudemire roll to the basket and rise up on anyone in the league.

Announcers and critics have fallen in love with making claims about how the game slows down in the playoffs and defense wins championships and all that bullshit. They love pointing out in the waning seconds of the suns season that in the end their style couldn't take them all the way. Its a sad day when all the critics of a certain style get so loud that those who practice that style actually start to believe it.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I don't believe in role models, but you're mine!

-Great video of Spree and C-Webb in a barbershop back in the day (stole this link from TrueHoop, it was just too good)

-I'm watching a women's college basketball game for the first time in I don't know how long tonight. I'm not gonna lie, i really just want to see Candace Parker play.

-The beard that I have been carefully cultivating for the past 2+ months is on its way out. It's been a good run but now that we're finally seeing some warm spring weather, the whiskers have got to go. I'll post some pictures soon.


So, my brain child for the past few months, Will Bike For Food, has unfortunately been put on hiatus. I have been thinking about and planning this trip since I came up with the idea last November. I am extremely disappointed that something I put so much effort and time towards is not going to happen exactly as I would like, but this isn't the first time and likely won't be the last. What is something worth if there was no struggle to obtain it? In the end, it just wasn't meant to happen this summer for a number of reasons.

1) Not enough riders.
In the beginning, the idea was that there would be about 10-15 riders who would be willing to spend the summer biking across this beautiful country in order to raise money for the hungry and impoverished. However, despite working feverishly to recruit people to join, only 3 riders, myself included, were willing to bike all the way from Poughkeepsie to Portland. A group this small would have been extremely hard pressed to accomplish the goals that we had set out.

2) Not enough support.
From potential donors, potential sponsors, and potential riders. I felt for the most part that I was trying to prop up this idea and project I had despite all kinds of negative circumstances and situations. Businesses were not willing to financially back an endeavor that had such a small following and in such a short time frame. There was definitely something missing with the whole thing. It might have been the lack of ferocity that the original organizers, Jer and I, had towards raising money for the charity.
The initial notion was to organize a x-country bike trip that would benefit a worthy charitable cause. I look back on it and can't help but feel that it would have had a much better chance if the cause was truly something that we were extremely invested in. This is not to say that I don't care about helping those in need, but after hearing about other groups who rode to raise money for cancer or heart disease research, I feel that their impetus was stronger than ours in this regard.

3) No money.
In order for the trip to happen, we needed to have some sort of financial support in the form of corporate sponsorship. I don't have enough $ right now to fund something like this to the extent that I want to take it. This wasn't happening and I don't have the time in my days to devote the time that would be necessary to make it happen.

I am still thinking of scaling down the trip into a tour of Dutchess County that would help to raise money for Dutchess Outreach and their need for a vehicle to pick up donations and make deliveries of life sustaining resources (food, clothing, water, etc...). This type of project would require very little funding while also having the potential to attract support and resources from local businesses. More people would be able to take part in a weekend ride than a 9 week journey. Dutchess County is beautiful and has an active bicycling community. I think that this is a much more realistic project and am going to be exploring the possibilities of putting it together.

In closing, this type of trip is not impossible. It does however require a number of motivated people with free time working on making it a success. If nothing else, it was a great learning experience as I was forced to teach myself a lot about fund raising, long distance bicycle touring, corporate sponsorships, local charitable organizations, and a ton of other things. I met and spoke with some incredible people and had my eyes opened to parts of the world, and Poughkeepsie, that I did not know existed.

(completely unrelated, check out the above picture. its a photograph right?)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Title Bout

Memphis-Kansas. I think a fair way to pick this game is to look at the future NBA players suiting up for each squad.

Memphis has Rose, CDR, and possibly Dozier and Dorsey. Rose is looking like a future all-star while CDR will likely be a solid scorer off the bench for an NBA team. I can see both Dozier and Dorsey finding spots on a 15 man roster as athletic defensive-minded big men.

Kansas has Rush, Arthur and possibly Kaun and Chalmers (not to mention my boy Aldrich who looked like their best player at times on Saturday). Rush and Arthur will both definitely be rotation players in the league, but I think it might be a stretch to call either of them future all-stars. Kaun and Chalmers give themselves a chance because they can meet certain needs (fairly athletic and coordinated 7footer and defensive point guard) .

Considering the fact that both teams are deep and well coached, I am going to take Memphis because of this edge in NBA impact talent.

Monday, March 24, 2008

WBFF Article in Poughkeepsie Journal

Here is the link to the column written by Nancy Haggerty about Will Bike For Food. Check it out!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A white and soundless place

I'm reading this book, "Metal Cowboy", about this guy who tours on his bike all over the United States, Australia and New Zealand. He has all these incredible stories about his , people he met and wild situations he found himself in. Its a fun book to read, especially considering the x-country bike t that I am embarking on in a little more than two months.

There was one story where he references a work of fiction he read where a civilization of people had figured out how to live forever.
They had become immortal, suffered no pain or injury, and did not age. Free to build utopia, they lost the desire to do more than reach a certain level of comfort. They put off their dreams until tomorrow, because tomorrow was an unlimited resource. Then, for no apparent reason, one member of this world began to age normally, bleed and feel pain. Gradually, he became filled with passion, urgency, and the ability to see his dreams through. He also became the envy of the world. Because his time was limited, it held value.
The idea is that what makes life so special, so important, is the brevity of it, the implication that we only have so long and its all we have here. We do not have all the time in the world to do everything we might like to do, so choices must be made, some paths taken and others forgotten. If we were just allowed to live forever, the possibilities of what we could do would be endless, but the greatness of any one thing would be diminished by the fact that you wouldn't have to give up anything in order to do it.

I've really been thinking a lot about the idea of opportunity cost in life. When I learned about it in an economics class, I just shrugged it off as something academic and not really relevant to my life as I lived it. Now, the thought of having only so long to pursue all the things I dream of and wish to accomplish is frightening. I want to do and experience so many different things, and the realization that I am limited by sheer time is extremely frustrating. The scariest thing that I can imagine is doing just one thing for the rest of my life, not exploring all the opportunities, adventures and people that are out there for me to encounter.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Swimming in Orange

On the eve of the Big East Championship Tournament at MSG, I am anxiously anticipating the Cuse's game tomorrow against Pitt. After the epic meltdown 2 weeks ago at the Dome, the boys should be eager to prove that those scrubs from western Pennsylvania pulled off the fluke win of the year. The Orange are playing their best basketball of the year right now. The Belgian Blur, Kristof Ongenaet, is a one-man wrecking crew. Jimmy B's squad is finally rounding into form after incorporating 6 new players into a 7 man playing rotation this season. It is understandable that this team has taken some lumps over the course of a rugged Big East schedule, but the freshmen aren't playing like they are rookies anymore, and the rest of the league better be nervous about the prospect of facing the boys from upstate at the garden this week/ weekend. (I need to track down a tv at work tomorrow and steal away for 2 hours around noon.)

I now present to you the forecast for next year's squad written by my marvelous friend Loren Sutton. The man is an SU grad and the biggest SU fans I know. He rightly believes that if things pan out as they should, next years squad will be one for the story books. Note: this review of the squad was written a few weeks ago, before the emergence of the ongenaet turning into the new Stormin' Matt Gorman and Greene realizing he was indeed 6-11.

First.... I'm excited for this team to find some consistency. Perhaps with some luck they can work their way into one of the last spots. Next year's team will be unreal... every weakness of this year's team (lack of depth, experience) will be next year's strengths. The second team would be one of the better teams in the Big East on their own.
The Starters...

1) Jonny Flynn - will be one of the best PGs in the country, there's nothing on the basketball court that he can't do and if he's allowed to rest for a couple minutes a game he might be
even better
2) Eric Devendorf - will have two years left with 3 years experience, hopefully will be much more mature and will let Flynn create his opportunities for him and play well within the offense
if he spends some time perfecting his shot combined with his ability to get to the rim anytime he wants will be an unbelievable force playing off the ball
3) Paul Harris - lose a little bit by moving him off the 2 where he and Flynn are having so much success right now especially on defense...but with the depth can give Devo rest and
switch to defensive mode by putting Harris at the top of the zone...plus Devendorf is big enough where he might be able to play underneath on the zone
4) Donte Greene - if Bernie Fine can help him bulk up and develop a little inside game will be an unstoppable force
on the college level, too tall to stop the shot, too quick to stop underneath, needs to develop patience with his shot so he doesn't continue to jack up bad shots when he's off a little...but the confidence to keep shooting even when he is off is great
5) Arinze Onuaku - by next year could develop into one of the more dominant big men in the league...you know he's a hard worker and won't be satisfied with his results this year and
will come back next year even better...possibly a 15 and 10 guy if he gets the minutes and his presence alone is so intimidating and one of the sweetest jump baby hooks in the game
The Bench
6) Andy Rautins - healthy and lethal, ready to come in and light it up whenever he's needed and won't have the ego to be bitter about losing what would have been a starting role for
him...one of the more underrated weapons on the team last year, if Flynn, Devendorf, Greene and Rautins are on the floor together there is no way to stop it you can't cover 4 excellent shooters 7) Scoop Jardine - wasn't supposed to play very much this year but the injuries have allowed him to get time and he's developing nicely...still needs some patience and work on his shot but he's going to be solid in spelling Flynn for a little bit
8) Rick Jackson - also wasn't supposed to play much this year still very raw, you can see that he still gets nervous at times and makes some mistakes simply because he gets a
little timid...has shown some real brilliance at times though, especially at the end of the Georgetown game after Onuaku fouled out...not having the threat of coming out seemed to give him the confidence to play full tilt made some nice blocks and had some strong rebounds...shows great athleticism for a guy at 6'8" and
putting him on the floor with Scoop there is some real chemistry there
9) Kristof Ongennaut - scrappy and hard working...can come for 10 minutes a game and add an instant energy boost, plays great fundamental like a typical European and if he works
on getting a little bit of a shot going can be a real catalyst for the team
10) Kris Joseph - big, versatile small forward freshmen won't get much time but will be competent back up if needed and will learn a lot with all the great SFs in front of him

And none of this even includes Sean Williams the ridiculous, raw and maybe a little crazy 6'11" center with a 7'5" wingspan. it's going to be a great year...even if Greene does happen to leave they'll be unbelievable and I hope we can get 3 years out of Flynn...if he stays that long his name is going in the rafters next to Douglas and Washington without a doubt.

(UPDATE: Cuse played Nova, not Pitt, today at the garden and got absolutely smoked. I missed the game and i'm kind of glad I did...)