I'm back! Sorry I haven't written forever, but I've been taking a couple of vacations here and there (with another one, to Reno, possibly in the works for this weekend) and have written mainly just for the school paper at SDSU and nowhere else. This oppressive heat just has sucked the will to live out of my body.
Anyway, what's been going on in our world...
Well a bunch, actually, but I suppose I should start with our Spurs. Of course you know by now that Bruce was cut from the World Team. See I knew I was right to dislike Team USA from the beginning. Coach K or no, these guys will never learn. The Dream Team kind of opened up Pandora's Box with this concept of putting 12 All-Stars out there against the World, and I'm sure David Stern's marketing and globalization philosophies have something to do with it as well. Sure, Team USA could win a gold with a bunch of gritty Bruce Bowen types, but it just wouldn't be a product that Stern can sell. Or maybe I'm crazy and he had nothing to do with it.
All I know is that I think it's pretty risky handing the keys to BronBron, Flash, and Carmelo. Talented players all, and I'm actually a fan of the first two, but I happen to think the subtleties of FIBA will be lost on them, at least for a while. Also, there might be a few steals here and there that lead to breakaway windmills, but for the most part, I think this will be a crappy defensive club, and that a veteran squad like oh, I don't know, ARGENTINA maybe, will be able to repeatedly get to the cup with ease. Also, I'm still not convinced the Yanks can shoot it from outside or rebound the ball as well as they're going to need to. Shane Battier to check the Sickness? Puh-lease.
Anyway, deep down I think the WBC is just a warm up tournament for Colangelo and co. and they're just using it to experiment to see who works and who doesn't. I don't think it means a whole lot to them, really. The one they're going to be gunning for is the Olympics. Just one man's opinion.
Also, I see that Tony broke his finger and he's out for the whole tournament.
Kidding! Kidding I swear. It sucks for Tony but hey, what are you gonna do? I'd rather have it happen to him now than during the season. I want him 100% healthy when he tries a spin move in the lane surrounded by 21 feet of angry humanity.
As for the Spurs themselves, in somewhat of an upset, my boy Brent Barry (my 3rd favorite Spur, btw) is still on the roster. This makes me quite happy. I've said it before and I'll say it again: DO NOT trade him unless we actually get something decent in return. In other words, not a complete fucktard like JR Smith.
I guess the highlight of my summer was visiting New York for the first time. Well just Manhattan really. Went there for a few days in July to drop my sister off to the CIA (no, not that one, the respectable one, the Culinary Institute of America). Oddly she might work later for the FBI (the Food & Beverage Institute).
A few notes about my time in New York...
A. It was insanely hot there. Over a 100 degrees and with ludicrous humidity. My shirt was soaked through, just from walking a few blocks. Plus I think the collective body heat from so many people packed together in the streets makes it ever more stifling. I have no idea how people put up with it every day. But it does explain...
B. Everyone in New York is very rude. I mean VERY rude. Old ladies, cashiers, waiters, security guards, everybody. I suppose it didn't help any that I was wearing a t-shirt that read "If you can read this, your mother blew me" but still.
C. I may have never seen so many beautiful women in my life. Maybe it's just the sheer mathematics of it, more people = more attractive people, but New York is filled with gorgeous ladies. And not the fake blond, fake boob Cally types either, I'm talking au natural lovelies here.
D. We went to this NBC Studios tour, and I was blown away by how small the studio is for the Conan O'Brien show. They do tricks on TV to make it look bigger, but it's really quite cramped in there. On the tube it looks like his desk is like 60 feet away from Max Weinberg and the band, but it's really like 20 feet. That main stage wear Conan points to Max at the end of his monologue and then "walks" to his desk? He doesn't really walk far at all. It's like right next to him. Also, Conan's so tell and his desk is so tiny that he can't fit his legs under there, so he has to sit sideways the whole time. We also saw the studios for their various news shows and morning shows. Everything is very fake. Fake wood, fake furniture, etc. And the SNL set is weird. The tour guide says the live audience can't see half the skits, because they're shot underneath the bleachers where the people sit.
E. The Carnegie Deli is way overrated. First of all, I dislike the concept of a $23 sandwich, on principle, but the fuckers are humongous. It's literally a foot of meat stacked between two tiny pieces of stale rye bread. Anyway, I had the roast beef & turkey and it was totally dry and tasteless. I shoulda gone with the pastrami. The couple next to us ordered two gigantic sandwiches, took two bites each, spent their whole hour at the restaurant talking to each other, and wasted 95% of their food, easily enough to feed a family of eight for a weekend.
F. Speaking of food, not to go all Peter King on you, but the best thing I had in New York in six days was at this gelato place in some back alley. It was this spicy Thai chocolate thing. I've never had cold spicy food or spicy chocolate, so it was quite the experience.
G. I forgot to pack some T-shirts so we were looking for stuff for me to wear, and we got a tip from somebody that there was a place that sold funny Ts called, I shit you not, "The Sickness." Unfortunately, it was too good to be true. They didn't have much of a selection (their best shirt was "Fuck Yoga") and they were way too pricey ($30).
H. My cool, "I'm in New York" moment was in seeing a movie there that wasn't out anywhere but there and LA yet. It was "Little Miss Sunshine" with Steve Carrell and Greg Kinnear and so far it's my favorite comedy of the year (yes, better than "Talladega Nights.") I highly recommend it. I get upset living in San Diego because some movies don't play in that lame ass hick town that play in San Francisco, but I guess San Francisco is New York's San Diego, if that makes sense.
I. We also saw a comedy show there. Four of the five comedians, Colin Quinn, Jim Norton, Greg Giraldo, and Gary Gulman (from HBO's "Tourgasm") I knew, and the fifth guy I recognized when I saw him, but forgot his name. Anyway, everyone was quite good except for Quinn, surprisingly. His whole act was about how he's on the downside of his career and how he doesn't have it anymore, and I couldn't help but agree with the guy. I think Gulman may have been the best of them all actually, and I would have definitely lost that bet going in.
J. Speaking of betting, that was one let down about NY. No casinos. I guess everyone just goes to Atlantic City in Jersey. Anywho, J makes 10, so I'll stop right there.
I guess right now, my main interest is the Philadelphia Eagles and I can root for them passionately and guilt free now that the demon is gone. Not to toot my own horn, but I even wrote a cool article for the paper comparing the Democrats sacking Joe Lieberman to the Eagles and TO, and I'm quite proud of it.
As for the '06 squad, I'm trying to be realistic and to contain my enthusiasm, but through three preseason games, I see a lot more good signs than bad. For one, our starters have outscored other team's starters 20-3, and that's with Brian Westbrook only playing one series. Secondly, I think the addition of DE Darren Howard, who we picked up from the Saints, along with DT Broderick Bunkley, our 1st round pick from Florida St, is really going to make our defensive line a force this year. I think our defense will be REALLY good.
Unfortunately, it's going to have to be. We don't have much speed at receiver, and our RB is quite injury prone. Our offense will be average at best I think, and we'll have to dink and dunk down the field. However, this MO did enable to make three straight NFC Championship games from '01-'03, before TO was even on the team, and I like Reggie Brown more than any wideout we had in those years.
The whole NFC East figures to be a beast. On paper it looks like the best team will be 10-6 or 11-5, and the worst will be 7-9 and that it'd be foolish to give any of the four more than a 30% chance of winning the division or lower than a 20% chance of doing so. However, injuries and underachieving does happen, and one team figures to have a Murphy's Law year like we did in '05 and finish 5-11. If I had to guess, I'd bet on Washington, with gimpy 38 year old Mark Brunell, as being that team. Though TO and that awful O-Line in Dallas could nuke the Cowboys just as well. The Giants look quite solid actually and I'd be surprised if they el-foldo. Not unless the whole team mutinies on Coughlin.
For anyone who cares, here's my projected roster for the Eagles, after 3 preseason games:
QB 3) Donovan McNabb, Jeff Garcia, Timmy Chang
RB 4) Brian Westbrook, Ryan Moats, Correll Buckhalter, Reno Mahe
FB 1) Josh Parry
WR 5) Reggie Brown, Hank Baskett, Jabar Gaffney, Jason Avant, Darnerien McCants
TE 3) L.J. Smith, Matt Schoebel, Mike Bartrum
OT 3) William Thomas, Jon Runyan, Winston Justice
OG 4) Todd Harremans, Shawn Andrews, Scott Young, Max Jean-Gilles
C 2) Jamaal Jackson, Hank Fraley
DE 5) Javon Kearse, Darren Howard, Trent Cole, Jerome McDougle, Juqua Thomas
DT 5) Mike Patterson, Darwin Walker, Broderick Bunkley, Sam Rayburn, LaJuan Ramsey
MLB 2) Jeremiah Trotter, Omar Gaither
OLB 5) Dhani Jones, Matt McCoy, Shawn Barber, Mark Simoneau, Chris Gocong
CB 4) Sheldon Brown, Lito Sheppherd, Roderick Hood, Donald Strickland
FS 3) Brian Dawkins, J.R. Reed, Matt Ware
SS 2) Michael Lewis, Sean Considine
K David Akers, P Dirk Johnson
IR: OLB Greg Richmond, OG Adrien Clarke, WR Todd Pinkston, WR/KR Jeremy Bloom, FB Jason Davis...
Then there's my baseball team, the Giants. Just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in. They follow losing 13 of 16 with a five game winning streak. I can't even discuss them rationally anymore, so many things about this team aggravate me. I want to beat Armando Benitez to death with a little wooden stick. They traded for 1B Shea Hillenbrand, and so far the throw in guy in the deal, reliever Vinnie Chulk (a dead ringer for Manu, but not in this picture:
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/profile?statsId=7076) has been the better player.
For those of you keeping track, Chulk joins actor Adrian Brody and Yeah Yeah Yeah's drummer Brian Chase as people who I think look like Manu. Clearly I have a problem.
That's all I have for now. I'll try to write something after I watch Argentina and my homeboys tomorrow in a tape delayed doubleheader. I have a lot of writing to do for various sources, so we'll see. I need a newspaper article topic actually. Feel free to send in your suggestions. My last article called for solving problems in the Middle East by moving making Montana the new Israel and shipping 5,000 Paris Hilton wannabe sluts to Afghanistan in hopes of somebody ratting out the location of Osama. Very heady stuff obviously.