Thursday, May 28, 2009

No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed

Here's a little story for you. My friend JennyLynn was having trouble sleeping at night. Her neighbors next door were frequently making loud, creaking noises in their bed as late as 1:00 or even 2:00 in the morning. I don't think I have to tell you what her neighbors were doing (wink wink, nudge nudge, know what I mean?). She tried desparately to come up with a solution to this dilemma deciding that she would either: leave a note on the neighbors' door, bang on the wall, or meet up for a face-to-face explanation.

Our mutual friend, Jezeriah (no, not a made up name, and no, not from the Bible, but yes, he's an awesome guy), had a suggestion for jL that she decided to put into action. JennyLynn bought a copy of 5 Monkeys Jumping on the Bed and placed it in a hot pink and lime green gift bag, and then placed that bag outside of her neighbors' front door. Attached to the bag was a note emploring her neighbors to consider the perils of jumping on their bed so late in the evening. The book was placed outside of the door yesterday. Needless to say, there was no loud creaking disturbing her sleep last night. Now that's how you get stuff done!

I want to buy a monkey.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Blake Griffin to... the Clippers?

I just wanted to comment on the NBA Draft lottery drawing the other day (I guess that's what you would call it... it's basically like watching the Virginia lottery drawing, but more fun and you get to see the old & nerdy David Stern as opposed to the fat woman with the annoying voice). The team that finished with the worst record in 2009 has the highest probability of getting the first pick and each team's chances get smaller and smaller from there (teams in the playoffs have zero chance to get the first pick). So before the drawing started, the Sacramento Kings had the best chance of landing the first pick, which everybody agrees will be Oklahoma University's Blake Griffin, regardless of whether a team has needs at another position or not... he's just too special to pass up. Griffin is a massive power forward standing about 6'10" and weighing close to 260 lbs. He's a force down low and has a decent jumper that will get better with work. I think the optimal place for Blake Griffin to end up would have been the Oklahoma City Thunder considering that he went to college in OK and he grew up there as well. OK City had the third highest probability of landing the first pick.

However, it isn't going to work out that way. Much to commissioner David Stern's delight, the Los Angeles Clippers landed the first pick of the NBA draft (I say this because LA is a huge market compared to OK City and so there's more money for the NBA to make from the sale of Griffin jerseys and such). As any NBA fan will tell you, the Clippers are where players go to die. You can be one of the best young players in the league, but the Clippers will wear you out until you've got nothing left to give to anyone. Sort of like those kids that started smoking pot in sixth grade and were complete burnouts before they even got into high school. LA Junior will supply Blake Griffin with a completely incompetent head coach, much like their current stiff Mike Dunleavy, who will not help Griffin to get better. Elton Brand was an excellent player for the Clips when he was drafted out of college from Duke, but after a few seasons with LA Junior, he ended up with injury problems and an uncaring attitude that he has taken with him to Philadelphia. I'd hate to see that happen to Blake Griffin because the guy is just a monster, with potential to be the next great power forward in the mold of Karl Malone (they are very similar players). It's just a real shame he won't ever reach that potential now.

Monday, May 18, 2009

To the Vick-ter Go the Spoils?

Later this week, Michael Vick is set to be released from the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, KS where he will serve the rest of his 2 month sentence in his home in Hampton, VA. During that time, Vick will work a construction job for $10 an hour as he attempts to get himself back into playing shape for the coming NFL season. The big question on everyone's mind is, "How can you do that to a living creature you sicko!?" Oh wait, no that is PETA's question... most everyone else wants to know if Vick will get picked up by an NFL team at some point this summer.

The answer to that question is a resounding "YES". It's really not even a question... some team will absolutely take a chance on him because every team is pressured to win, and they will take just about any chance to do that.

Here are some simple truths that people just need to realize as fact:

- The sports-loving public doesn't care about the dogfighting anymore, and since Michael Vick has supposedly become a Christian while incarcerated, they are going to give him a chance to prove himself. I think Vick saying he is a Christian is about as truthful as me saying that I'm a helicopter, and it's exactly what his lawyers and agent would tell him to do, but I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt until he proves me wrong. Because this is still America, if memory serves me right.

- There are GMs and owners, particularly Al Davis, who see nothing but this guy's potential. Honestly, I think the Raiders are the front-runner for gaining Vick's services. Al Davis doesn't give two craps about a player serving time in prison... he just wants talent and wants to win (which is funny because it's that drive that usually has his team at the bottom of the AFC).

- At the time that Vick was arrested for dogfighting, do you really think he was the only NFL player doing that? He may have been the only one working as a facilitator for a whole dogfighting ring, but I guarantee that many others were participating in dogfighting competitions. You can take the thug away from streets, but you can't take the streets away from the thug... and we all know the NFL is riddled with wannabe thugs.

- As a dog-lover this is tough to say, but entirely true: this issue was only made big because of the person involved (an NFL pseudo-star) and the fact that the American public loves dogs and sees them as miniature people. If this were a shark-fighting ring, not only would it be acceptable in the eye of the public, but you'd have large pockets of the population thinking that this is the coolest thing imaginable. With that said, I could never do something like that to a dog because sometimes they wear sweaters and act like people.

Speaking from a Virginia Tech fan's point of view, this whole scandal is a huge zit on our university's otherwise pristine face, and it is treated very much like a huge zit... we try our best to ignore it despite the fact that everyone knows it is there. It makes me sad to think that Michael Vick, who was such a good representative of the Hokie Spirit when he attended VT, ended up pissing it all away when he got filthy rich. I think we all need to understand something about Michael... he is one of the most talented college football players of all time. That might be a "duh" statement since he was the first overall pick in an NFL draft, but he basically succeeded at Virginia Tech in spite of his offense. He had a decent running back in Shyrone Stith and a good wide receiver in Andre Davis, but the rest of the offense, especially our offensive line, was rather suspect. Well, I will throw Jake Grove in as another good player from that squad, but that's it. I've never seen any player break tackles the way Vick did, and I'm not sure I will ever see that again. But those memories of the great Michael Vick, the player who single-handedly turned Virginia Tech into the annual favorite to win the ACC, may be forever forgotten in conversation because of the dogfighting scandal. I think every Hokie is looking forward to the day when they can be a proud Michael Vick supporter once again, but that day is not today or tomorrow, and it's extremely possible that day might never come.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Has SNL Really Declined?

I watched Saturday Night Live this past week, and it was incredibly mediocre. It's always that way anymore. I laughed at various parts throughout different skits, and I laughed extra hard as Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake sang about doing each other's moms as a gift on Mother's Day, but in retrospect I only remember half of the skits, and only a few of the jokes. Considering that J. Timberlake is the show's best host these days, I was pretty disappointed. When I talk to my friends (mostly falling in the age range of 25-32), everybody seems to say that SNL isn't as funny as it used to be and the show has been going downhill ever since Will Ferrell left the cast. Or since Chris Farley passed away. Or since Mike Myers and Dana Carvey left the show. And so on.

What I'm really wondering is, are the skits now any less funny, or is the humor targeted at a different generation? Is the show aimed at teenagers and college students? Do they think we're in a golden age of SNL right now? I really don't know, but I wouldn't be surprised if that is the case. All I know is that I liked SNL the best when I was in middle school and high school, and that cast will always be my favorite. Everybody in their late 20's remembers Wayne's World, Matt Foley the motivational speaker, da Bears, and Lunch Lady Land. We remember the best hosts of that time, Alec Baldwin, Christopher Walken, John Goodman, etc. But there's a part of me that thinks that kids now will remember this era of SNL the same way.

Personally, I think the writing has gone to crap. The skits are completely ridiculous anymore, and they're entirely unimaginative. The jokes require the bleeping out of cuss words to be funny. What ever happened to the commercials like "Bad Idea Jeans" and "The Paradox". Those commercials were about normal products (pants, automobiles) presented in a humorous way. The commercials now are about feminine napkins and enemas and a slough of other things that are included for shock value.

"Oh my gosh, can you believe that last commercial for the sex jelly!? I can't believe they went there!"

Yeah, nobody is saying that. We're all just kind of grimacing. That's lazy writing and besides that, it makes me queasy. But hey, maybe I'm an old man now and the show has passed me by. I'll tell you what though, I definitely intend to get to the bottom of this. I want to know if middle school and high school students think the show is funny as it is, and whether or not they think the old skits that I love are funny. That's the true test of whether SNL has really declined.

And now, a message from our sponsers...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Chaney In; Thorns Out

I had a gut feeling that it was going to happen, but I orginally thought that Hank Thorns would be leaving the program to make room for Lamont "Momo" Jones. Well, Momo decided to pull his verbal commitment to Virginia Tech, but another guy who played for Florida last year decided that he likes the cut of Seth Greenberg's jib, as they say. That man (boy?) is Allan Chaney, a 6'8" center/power forward who averaged 3 points and 2 rebounds in 10 minutes per game last season.

I am not sure how much I like this move. I will admit that I have been as critical of Hank Thorns' play as anyone, and I still maintain that Hank Thorns is not an ACC-caliber player. However, the addition of Erick Green next season was supposed to ease our woes at the point guard position, where we only have two players who can handle the ball, and one of them, Malcolm Delaney, is possibly more useful as a 2-guard. From this article, it appears the decision to transfer out of VT was entirely Thorns' decision. "Little Hank" is sure that he is an incredible scoring option, but that Seth Greenberg has kept him on a leash. The truth of the matter, though, is that Little Hank can't drive the ball to the hoop because he gets blocked or throws up a wild shot every time. His only potential for scoring comes from behind the 3-point arc, where Thorns was a woeful 19%. Those stats aren't the kind of stats that are going to get your coach to green light your whole offensive package.

Little Hank has not decided where he will transfer to.

It seems to me that Dorenzo Hudson's play late in the season will help to ease the loss of one of our few ballhandlers, but it's not because Hudson can handle those responsibilities (he has absolutely no handle whatsoever). Hudson's improvement on the offensive end towards the end of last season will help keep him in the starting lineup, where Delaney will continue to claim the starting point guard role. However, if either Delaney or young Erick Green go down with an injury, the Hokies are toast. No one else on that roster can handle the rock.

We need to turn Jeff Allen into a point-forward, Lebron James style! Hey it could happen, right? I'm actually only half-kidding... I do think Allen might be our best ballhandler behind Delaney and Green. I haven't seen Ben Boggs handle the ball, but he might have some ability there.

Chaney will prove to be extremely helpful next season when he is able to join the Hokies. He has to sit out a season under NCAA transfer rules. By 2010, our stable of big men will be: Jeff Allen, Victor Davila, Cadarian Raines, and Chaney. So you can see that without the addition of Allan Chaney, Greenberg would have had to do some serious recruiting for a big man for next year's team. We are in good shape for the future, as long as Chaney's supposed attitude problems in Florida don't show up again while he plays for Virginia Tech.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Kirk Cameron is a Badass

Would it be too much to ask for a television show to have a character who is a Christian who doesn't annoy the crap out of you? I would love to see a show where a character is a strong Christian, but that isn't the focal point of the show or that character's place on the show. Do you know what I mean? Let me break it down to you like this... usually if there is a character who is openly a believer in Christ, they will fit into one of these boxes:

1) The Wet Blanket
This is the guy/girl who can't keep themselves from telling everyone else on the show that they are sinning and they'll go to hell if they keep up their evil ways. This person often exists as comic relief, where the main character will laugh at how silly the Christian is being, with the implied undertone being something like, "I'm having safe sex with someone I love, which is completely fine... quit being such a dork." The best example of this character that I can find is Clark Duke's character "Dale" on the ABC Family show, Greek. The funny thing is that I don't dislike Duke's character on that show... he's one of the best thing's Greek has going for it and I have met plenty of Christians like him in my life so he's not inaccurate... he's just really stereotypical and exactly what you'd expect him to be like as the show's resident Christian. Other good examples of this character are Angela on "The Office" and Anne Veal on "Arrested Development" (both of whom are pretty hilarious/ridiculous).

2) The Saint
This character is the angel on their friend's shoulder who never does wrong, never has any real fun, and always ends up doing the right thing. This character is truly a figment of the writers' imaginations because nobody like this really exists. Every Christian has moments where they are weak and make the wrong decision. It's inhuman not to do that. My example for this character is the father/minister on "7th Heaven". Now I'm not saying that he never makes a mistake in any show, but his mistakes are not necessarily sins and if they are, they are so rare that it makes you gasp. Total BS. The penultimate example of this category is Ned Flanders on the Simpsons. You know exactly what I'm talking about. Hidelly-Ho Neighborino!

3) God's Special Servant
This person usually seems to have a special tie to God, like "Joan" in that show "Joan of Arcadia" which lasted all of two seasons. They don't want to have the burden of being God's messenger placed on their shoulders, but they end up having to do it anyway. You could also look at Jim Carrey's character in "Bruce Almighty". This character eventually ends up accepting their role, but not without putting up a showy fight first. This idea is just tired, and I don't really care for it... most Christians don't hear God's voice in the literal sense or see him appear as a multitude of different people here on earth.

4) The Rebel
This is the Christian character who is going to take the world by storm and change it for God's glory using his/her coolness. This makes me think of Kirk Cameron in virtually every movie he does now, but specifically in Left Behind where he sees his need for God and then pushes everything to the max. Full on evangelism. Full on faith. No doubts, no mistakes, no downtime, and always so cool.

In none of these examples, and in virtually no TV shows or movies, do you see the regular Christian guy or girl who is trying to live out the gospel. I'd love to see a Christian character who you just find out is a Christian because they're headed to a Bible study one day or because they're praying for help in a scene. You know, nothing major... just everyday life. I'd love to see that character not singled out solely because of their faith in Christ... just another member of the cast who has their own personality and their own storylines that don't necessarily have to be centered on their Christian beliefs. I feel like it's a very large segment of the US population that gets completely ignored in screenwriting, and it's about time for a change.

I sound like I'm running for office. Is there an office I can run for? No? Well that sucks... that's the exciting new career I was hoping for.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Lord Stanley and His Cup

I have never been a huge hockey fan, but something is really driving me to pay attention to the Stanley Cup this year. Perhaps it's the fact that we have two opponents squaring off against each other who are going to go down as two of the best players of all time. I'm talking about Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby. If you're looking for a hockey analogy for these two guys, they're the Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux of this generation. No seriously, I have no doubt that these guys will be close to those two players in the history books when all is said and done. If you're looking for a basketball analogy, then let's talk about Magic Johnson v. Larry Bird. Are you starting to understand the implications here? It's hard to pass up watching a series that you can label as "history in the making." The only real tragedy is that they are forced to meet each other in a second round playoff series instead of in the finals, but since both guys play in the Eastern Division, that is just how it is.

The Johnson and Bird analogies go even further. Ovechkin's personality is comparable to Magic Johnson in that he's a flashy player who likes to run his mouth as he soaks up the limelight. Crosby is closer to Bird in personality and he rarely shows his emotions. He takes a workmanlike attitude onto the ice every time he competes, although he does allow Ovechkin to rile him up. The two players don't really like each other as has been evidenced by post-game interviews.

On the ice, the reverse can be said about the Johnson/Bird comparison... Ovechkin is more of a natural scorer (ala Bird) whereas Crosby is more of a playmaker (ala Johnson). It's possible that I'm way off in all of these assumptions as I admittedly haven't been watching either of them for very long, but those are my initial interpretations of their games/attitudes.

I've obviously adopted Ovechkin's Washington Capitals as I live only 2 hours from DC, and I hate every professional sports team that associates itself with Pittsburgh. Lousy steelworkers. I'm not sure what fuels my passion for this series more... my fondness of DC or my dislike of the Steel City, but whatever it is, it's going to lead to a lot of beers being drank, and that's not good for anybody (except me).

And hey, if you didn't like this hockey post, I can assure you it will probably be my last. I just don't know enough about the sport. So cool your jets, Maverick.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Obama, Get Out of the College Football!

If I were Barack Obama's mother, the title of this post is exactly what I would have yelled at Barack after seeing this article. Now let's not get confused about this... I am strongly in favor of at least a 4-team playoff for college football. Preferably I would like to see an 8 team playoff, which actually gives a team like Utah or Boise State a chance to win it all. However, I can't even begin to imagine what our president and congress are doing getting involved in the BCS's decisions. This isn't like the whole steroids controversy with baseball. After all, steroids are illegal whether the MLB decides to punish its athletes for steroid use or not. What we are talking about here is a business deciding how to package its product, and nothing more. The government has no business being involved here, particularly when the current economy is what should really be attracting their attention.

This whole issue was born out of an anti-trust lawsuit that the University of Utah is bringing against the BCS. The BCS owns the rights to the national championship game and the four historically significant bowl games, the Rose Bowl, the Orange Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl, and the Sugar Bowl. The BCS has its own ranking system to determine who will be playing in each of those bowl games. The BCS and the other bowl owners have their own ties with the different conferences to decide who will play in which game. It's very much a business as the NCAA doesn't control who plays where and they don't control the dispersal of revenues from the games. Teams are invited to play in the bowls... there is no obligation. This is exactly why the BCS can tell Notre Dame (who has a gigantic fan base) that if they achieve at least a certain record for the season, they will be included in a BCS bowl game. Personally I think that deal is lame and I'm surprised Notre Dame still has a huge following despite their many failures, but that's not up to me.

Lousy Irish. Oh wait a sec, I'm Irish. That kind of hurts...

But this whole situation reminds me of something that my friend's brother said when we were in high school. As Robby and I were playing a board game called Axis and Allies, a game with complex rules that we didn't fully understand, Robb's brother Ryan came in, saw our board, and exclaimed, "What the heck are the Brits doing in America??" Indeed Ryan, what the heck ARE the Brits doing in America? If you can't make the connection, Barack Obama and Congress can be equated to our friendly allies from "across the pond" and America is the BCS (that's a tough analogy to throw out there... it makes me squeamish). It's absurd to think that one should be associated with the other during these times of national crapulence due to the unmitigated flow of newer and more terrible kinds of mortgage loans, but hey here we are. I just can't keep my stomach from churning.