Friday, June 29, 2007

2007 NBA Draft Thoughts

A few things ran through my mind as I watched ESPN’s Pre-Draft Show and the NBA Draft last night:

First and foremost was, what in the hell is Joakim Noah (F/C, Florida, below) wearing?

I guess IBM’s Lenovo platform is getting some decent exposure having their brand pasted in huge stickers across the top of laptops at the tables of each potential draft pick. Funny, since I just took a survey through the NBA Fan Forum asking what I knew about Lenovo and whether I thought the NBA was a good partner for them.

Greg Oden must be 45… and Kevin Durant is some freakish fifteen year-old. See above.

Oh, crap… It’s Stephen A. Smith. That guy has the biggest mouth and one of the smallest brains in sports journalism. AND Mark Jackson just got him going.

What’s with all the speculation about the Lakers, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Garnett? One, they’re not getting Kevin Garnett, 2) their backup plan of getting Jermaine O’Neal is the dumbest back-up plan ever, 3) it would be interesting to see how Kobe would react if they didn’t trade him, 4) screw all this talk… just trade everybody. I’d like to see Kobe and LeBron just say, “To hell with stardom, let’s just kick everybody’s ass,” and end up on the same team.

The way they keep talking about Jeff Green’s passing ability and the more clips they show of him, the more Jeff Green reminds me of an athletic… Luke Walton.

It’s 4:30 PM PST and the draft is starting… Do the Portland Trailblazers really need a countdown clock to make a final decision on who they’re drafting? They already were jumping around when ESPN threw up a shot of the Blazers’ draft room. Seeing the Blazers’ starting five and key reserves from last year, all I can say is, “Good-bye Zach Randolph, and Travis Outlaw – you’d better start working out, or you’re going to be out of a job.”

They need to build more suspense into the draft announcement for the lottery picks, at least. Just like in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?...

“With the first pick in the 2007 NBA Draft the Portland Trailblazers select… A) Kevin Durant, B) Steve Jobs, C) Greg Oden, or D) Sam Bowie.”

“Um… A… I mean, C… Yeah, C) Greg Oden.”

“Final answer?”


“You can use a lifeline, if you want… do you want to ask the audience?”

It’d be great.

Every time they showed Mike Conley, Sr., the former Olympic track star and gold-medal winner, all I could think was, “This dude is about to be freakin’ RICH.” He’s representing his son, Mike Conley, Jr. (PG, Ohio State) and Greg Oden, even though he has no experience as an agent.

Greg Oden was taken with the first pick. Shocker. Somehow, I don’t think my child will ever be the first pick in the NBA Draft… Oh, and ESPN just made mention of how Oden wanted to be a dentist. Can you imagine? Well, he’ll be able to afford dental school in a few years…

Kevin Durant going at number two? Another shocker. At least it was nice hearing him tell Stuart Scott how it was a tough decision to leave Texas. *chuckle* Even better was the mention of Durant’s 3.5 GPA his first semester. No mention of the 0.0 GPA he pulled in the spring. I do like the kid’s TV presence, though, and way more than Greg Oden’s.

Frickin’ Atlanta Hawks… they Al Horford (F, Florida) with the third pick overall. I really liked him two seasons ago, but felt like he didn’t develop enough during the past season… At least he was a solid pick. But if the rumors were true that they could’ve had Amare Stoudamire, they’re total idiots. Horford’s great and should be productive, but when you have a chance to get a FREAK like Stoudamire, you get him…

*Snore* Mike Conley, Jr. was drafted in the fourth slot by the Memphis Grizzlies. It’s not that I don’t like Conley – I really think he was the most talented college point guard out there this year – it’s just the lottery gets boring as you go along. It’s not until you get to the picks in the teens that things are interesting.

Jeff Green at #5, *snore*… Going to be traded to Seattle, anyway. His interview with Stu Scott was funny when Scott asked him how he was going to overcome the label that Green was too unselfish. Green just laughed and said that he wouldn’t have to prove himself a scorer in Seattle now that he could just pass to Durant so Durant could throw up a bunch of shots…

I think 1.3 billion Chinese people just had a collective, “Huh?” when 7-1 Yi Jianlian (above) was selected at the #6 slot by… the Milwaukee Bucks. I can just imagine it now: Where the hell is Mil-wau-keh? This is not going to go over well for the marketing people on either side… How do the Bucks market at Chinese guy in Milwaukee, and how does a Chinese guy market Milwaukee to the world? I say trade him to Los Angeles… The Staples Center will be the new Chinatown.

Corey Brewer at #7… Blah. Could be a good defender and showed he could score the NCAA Championship Game, but he’s a little overrated.

Holy cow… Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Bobcats just drafted another North Carolina product in 6-10 freshman Brandan Wright? Too bad he weighs 200 pounds. Total.

Okay, I like Joakim Noah’s ability to move and guard perimeter players somewhat, and the Chicago Bulls needed another big, but isn’t Joakim Noah kinda soft for the Bulls?

7-0 Spencer Hawes (C, Washington) might be skilled, but he’s a non-athlete. The Sacramento Kings used to be one of the most athletic teams in the West. Where are they going?

I loved Acie Law (PG, Texas A&M) in college, because he could score and run his team. Unfortunately, he’s a bit of a tweener at the pro level, and even though I’ve missed my share of lay-ups, the one he missed in the NCAA Tournament that ended Texas A&M’s season was a bad indicator. Especially for a guy who was supposed to be clutch.

Guess he was the real deal… Rodney Stuckey, who scored a bunch of points for Eastern Washington his first two years there, went at fifteen to the Detroit Pistons. They must thing he’s like Ben Gordon light. He’s only the second player in Big Sky Conference history to be drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft (the other was Michael Ray Richardson of Montana) and will be the first Eastern Washington player to play in the NBA. Too bad they basically wanted to kick him out of EW since he was such a pain in the ass. I heard they had separate rules for him – meaning he had very few.

Why is Nick Young (G, USC) being drafted by the Washington Wizards? Don’t they already have a guy who needs the ball in his hands in Gilbert Arenas? They couldn’t have drafted a big guy to help Antwain Jamison?

Vinny Del Negro! The former Spurs guard gets a mention as the Warriors pick Italy’s Marco Belinelli with the 18th pick. Judging from the footage, he kinda plays like… yup, confirmed by ESPN – current Spurs guard Brent Barry.

Okay, the Lakers select 6-4 freshman Javaris Crittendon (G, Georgia Tech). Not a bad choice, since he’s an athletic and strong mid-sized guard. Smush Parker’s on his way out, so they’ll be space for him and Jordan Farmar in the Laker backcourt.

Kudos to Spike Lee for naming Wilson Chandler (F, DePaul) as the Knicks’ first-round draft pick. Minus points to Lee for saying that Isiah Thomas knows what the hell he’s doing building a team…

Jared Dudley (F, Boston College) to the Charlotte Bobcats at number 22. Does MJ only draft kids out of the ACC? Dudley’s an interesting case, because he was overlooked coming out of high school (or maybe he was playing hard to get), as the only “name” schools to offer him a scholarship were San Diego State, Creighton, and Boston College. Then, he turns into the ACC Player of the Year and a first-round NBA pick. Go figure.

Aaron Afflalo (G, UCLA) to the Pistons… nice fit. He can’t shoot, but he can guard. Sort of. It’ll be interesting to see what the 6-4 Afflalo can do against NBA-caliber guards.

Man, did the rich get richer as the San Antonio Spurs picked up two nice picks in 6-11 Tiago Splitter (F, Brazil), who was supposed to be a lottery pick a couple years ago, and also 6-7 Marcus Williams (G, Arizona), who’s a very athletic guard and could replace Brent Barry. The Mavericks picked up 6-11 Nick Fazekas (F, Nevada), who’s like a poor man’s Dirk, and the Suns, who are still trying to acquire Kevin Garnett, picked up 6-5 Alando Tucker (G, Wisconsin), who’s a sort of Josh Howard jack-of-all-trades type.

Ooooo… With the 40th pick in the draft, the Lakers acquired 6-9 Sun Yue (G, China, above). As nice as this would be marketing-wise if he made the club, don’t they know it’s bad feng shui to pick a Chinese guy with any pick related to the number 4? He’s nicknamed “Q-Tip” because he’s rail-thin and has a Chinese ‘fro, played for a team in the ABA called the Aoshen Olympians, comprised of mostly Chinese players (I should mention that former UCSB guard, Crismen Oliver, played PG for them a couple years ago), and was featured in ESPN The Magazine. I get the feeling he’s sort of a poseur.

The Lakers also picked up 7-0 Marc Gasol (C, Spain), the brother of Memphis’ Pau Gasol, with the 50th pick. compares him to former Philadelphia 76er Todd MacCulloch and called him “a below-average athlete.” Mmm.

As far as trades went...

The Ray Allen trade is the dumbest move Danny Ainge has made so far, although I do agree with Stephen A. Smith on this one: if you’re not going to win, you’d better make some money, and Ray Allen might bring in some more bucks. Seattle is the winner on this one, getting the rights to Jeff Green, G Delonte West, and SF Wally Sczerbiak (who I think is one of the best wing shooters in the league… especially on the move).

You knew that the Blazers were going to move Zach Randolph, and they got decent return for him in the persons of Channing Frye and Steve Francis. Oden, Frye and LaMarcus Aldridge on the front line for the Blazers should make for a great group defending the interior, and Steve Francis will be a compliment to Brandon Roy and Jarrett Jack in the backcourt. Besides, Francis will be out when his contract expires this year, unless his attitude changes. As for the Knicks… Well, they’re getting a guy who can really score on the block, but who will probably get into some kind of trouble in the Big Apple.

Jason Richardson from Golden State to Charlotte for Brandan Wright? Hmm… maybe MJ does have a decent idea about what he’s doing. The Warriors get more athletic on the frontline and had already drafted a shooting guard (Marco Belinelli), and the Bobcats get a proven scorer who could be an All-Star in the East. Works for both teams.

Oh… I did just hear that there was a possibility of Golden State sending Andris Biedrins and Brandan Wright to Milwaukee for Yi Jianlian. If that happens, Chinatown is headed for Oakland.

I could write more, but you’ve stopped reading by this point.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Happy Cotton!

I’d be remiss (and dead) if I didn’t wish my wife a happy anniversary. We’ve been together now for six years, and married for the last two. It’s been all that I expected and nothing I expected, but “I like the rollercoaster” (see the movie Parenthood for that one). Kindra’s the best wife and mother anybody could ask for, and I, of course, am quite a catch.

So, happy second (cotton) anniversary to us.

The Future’s Not Quite Here Yet

Twenty-five years ago today, a film was released that was set in what is now a not-too-distant future and dealt with issues not too dissimilar from many of the issues we face today. It was a complex, powerful, and visually stunning early work from a director now known for producing works of similar magnitude. It starred a hero we associated with lighter, if not more classically heroic, roles. It dealt with life, death, rights of liberty, and self-knowledge.

The first time I saw it, I didn’t get it. It’s a tough movie to watch, because you have to put thought into it, even though you feel like it should be a popcorn flick. But, as I’ve taken the time to wander through it again and again, it’s grown on me, and it should be on everyone’s “Movies to Watch” list, and it does need to be seen more than once (in both its original theatrical release, as well as the director’s cut).

The film? Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.

Quick thought: Blade Runner is set in 2019, which is a scant twelve years away. It doesn’t seem like the future is that close, nor do we seem any closer to the things that Scott showed in the film… Hmm.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


This morning, I went to take Kindra’s car into the mechanic’s to have her oil and brake pads changed, and when I went to start the car, all the electronics died on me. The radio, the clock, the odometer, the power locks – everything. I just turned the key, and it was like somebody sucked the life out of it all. I then went to get my car to jump hers and proceeded to find that my jumper cables were not in my trunk… or hers. So I had to go to Target to pick up a new set, came back, jumped her car and took it to the shop.

Yay. Great Saturday so far. *sigh*

Friday, June 22, 2007

Match Game

Celebrating birthdays today (match them to their photos!):

Carson Daly (34)
Amy Brenneman (43)
Tracy Pollan (47)
Bruce Campbell (49)
Tim Russ (51)
Cynthia Ann Stephanie Lauper (54)
Meryl Streep (58)
Lindsay Wagner (58)
Ed Bradley (would have been 66)
Kris Kristofferson (71)
Billy Wilder (would have been 85)
Erich Maria Remarque (would have been 109)

Match them to their respective work (some have more than one credit here):

Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
All Quiet on the Western Front
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters
Army of Darkness
Big Top Pee-Wee
Family Ties
Judging Amy
Last Call with Carson Daly
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
Live Free or Die Hard
Old Spice commercials
Playboy After Dark
Private Practice
60 Minutes
Sleep Comfort commercials
Some Like It Hot
Spider-Man 3
Star Trek: Voyager
Stuck on You
The Bionic Woman
The Hours
The Devil Wears Prada
Total Request Live
WWF Rock and Wresting

I’ll give you links to who they are and the answers in a couple of days.


Two of the NBA’s all-time best were born on this date…

Happy 45th birthday to Clyde “The Glide” Drexler, the most fluid in-game dunker I’ve ever seen, and probably the reason why the Portland Trailblazers picked Sam Bowie with the second pick in the 1984 NBA Draft, over Michael Jordan. Check out his top 10 dunks below.

It would have also been “Pistol” Pete Maravich’s 60th birthday today, if he had not passed away of a heart attack while playing three-on-three on January 5, 1988. The most spectacular guard in the history of college basketball, he averaged 44.2 ppg over the course of his college career. Not one postseason, not one season, but over three years – 43.8 ppg his sophomore season, 44.2 ppg his junior season, and 44.5 as a senior (back then, college players were not allowed to play varsity as freshmen). He owns a majority of NCAA scoring records, including most career points (3,667), highest career scoring average, most field goals made and attempted (1,387 of 3,166), and most fifty-point games (28!). By the way, when he played, they didn’t have a three-point line.

Maravich’s NBA career was less lustrous, but still pretty good. He averaged 24.2 ppg over the course of his ten-year career with the Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Jazz, and Boston Celtics. He retired after the 1979-80 season, was elected to the Naismith Hall of Fame in 1987, and is a member of the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.

“Pistol” Pete was THE showman before there were showmen in the sport. He did so many things with the basketball, it was amazing. He had every pass, dribbling move, and shot in the book – because he wrote the damn thing. The son of a coach (he played for his father, Press, at Louisiana State University), Maravich practiced for hours and hours and hours. He made a cheesy series of instructional videos (one of which you can see here), but they are amazing illustrations of what he could do with a basketball and the incredible hands he had. He was AND1 before anybody knew what the hell that meant, and the closest thing that the NBA has seen in terms of his creativity and showmanship since is (~gulp~) the Miami Heat’s Jason Williams (well, when Williams started with the Sacramento Kings… keep in mind, I don’t think Williams is anywhere near Maravich, it’s just that his showmanship when he first came into the league was crazy). The Pistol was one of basketball’s greatest, so take some time to get the whole picture by watching the video.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Happy Summer!

Today is the Northern Solstice, commonly referred to as the Summer Solstice. For more information than you could possibly want about the solstice, head to Wikipedia.

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About the whole birthdays thing… I don’t think I care about it enough. So, you’ll get them whenever they’re interesting or I lack frivolous information to give you. But, I feel like it today, so…

Happy birthday to Prince William of Wales, who turns 25, and now has access to the interest from his mother’s trust, which is valued at roughly $500,000 a year. But they say he’s not going to touch it. Oh… okay, then.

Actress Juliette Lewis is 34 today. She started on the short-lived TV series (but one of my dad’s favorites) I Married Dora, and went onto movies such as National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (with Chevy Chase), Cape Fear (with Robert DeNiro - she also earned an Oscar nomination for her performance), What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? (with Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio), Kalifornia (with Brad Pitt), Natural Born Killers (with Woody Harrelson), Strange Days (with Ralph Fiennes), The Basketball Diaries (with Leo, again), Old School (with Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn, and Will Farrell) and Starsky & Hutch (with Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson). Yikes. I didn’t know that she’s worked with so many people… You could call it “Six Degrees of Juliette Lewis.”

Here’s a blast from the past: Derrick Coleman. He could’ve been one of the best, if he wasn’t so much of an idiot. He’s 40 today. And speaking of former NBA players, proof that white men CAN jump and owner of one of the most vicious dunks in NBA history, Tom Chambers is 48 today. What dunk? See here.

FYI, here is how not to do this:

Oddly enough, it’s both Meredith Baxter’s and Michael Gross’ 60th birthday. You might know them better as Elise and Steven Keaton, the parents from Family Ties. Bernie Kopell, who played Dr. Adam “Doc” Bricker on The Love Boat (but has a ridiculous number of guest appearances on other shows) turns 74 today.

Here’s what happens when I start writing this stuff: I feel compelled to go on. For instance, yesterday was Nicole Kidman’s 40th birthday. It was also singer Lionel Richie’s 57th, singer Ann Murray’s (“Snowbird”) 62nd, actor Danny Aiello’s 74th, and actress Olympia Dukakis and actor Martin Landau’s 76th birthdays…

Enough, already.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Da Dum… Da Dum… Da-da, Da-da, Da Dum…

Steven Spielberg’s Jaws was released on this date in 1975. Considered the first “summer movie blockbuster” in history, it was the highest-grossing film in movie history until it was eclipsed in 1977 by George Lucas’ Star Wars. So thank Spielberg, for better or worse, for the likes of Spider-Man 3, Transformers, Live Free or Die Hard, and the two movies I wrote about in my previous post.

Here He Comes…

Here comes Speed Racer
He’s a demon on wheels…

As much as I’m totally hyped to see Transformers in two weeks and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in three, the hype machine kicked into another gear the last couple of days, with pictures from the upcoming Speed Racer and Batman: The Dark Knight movies popping up on the web. Pics of the Mach 5 car had already been released by the Wachowski Brothers (writers/directors of Speed Racer and The Matrix movies), but a new one debuted from an industry convention (as seen below).

Speed Racer is based on the 1960’s Japanese manga and anime Mach Go Go Go, which was brought to the U.S. in 1967. It’s the story of title character Speed Racer and his fantastically tricked-out car, the Mach 5. Speed Racer was one of the first anime franchises (along with Astro Boy) to become wildly successful in the United States. Speed has gone on to appear in commercials for ESPN and Volkswagen.

The movie will star Emile Hirsch (The Girl Next Door) as Speed; Christina Ricci as his girlfriend, Trixie; John Goodman as Pops Racer; Susan Sarandon as Mom Racer; Matthew Fox (Lost, Party of Five) as Racer X; and Scott Porter (Jason Street on NBC’s Friday Night Lights) as Rex Racer. For more information, see or Warner Bros.’ movie website. The film is scheduled to open in May 2008.

The first shots from Batman: The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan’s sequel to Batman Begins, were also released, one featuring the new Bat-suit (kick ass) and a few featuring the Bat-cycle (also kick ass, and a.k.a. the "Batpod"). Batman: The Dark Knight stars Christian Bale in the title role, with Heath Ledger as the Joker, Aaron Eckhart as D.A. Harvey Dent (a character played by Billy Dee Williams, a.k.a. Lando Calrissian, in the 1989 Tim Burton Batman), and Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel Dawes (played by Katie Holmes in Batman Begins). Also involved in production are Morgan Freeman, Michael Gough, Gary Oldman, Anthony Michael Hall, and Eric Roberts. The movie is due to be released in July 2008. FYI, Batman: The Dark Knight is currently filming in Chicago, under the name Rory’s First Kiss.

I’m such a sucker for pop-culture media.

Pictures were found through Ain’t It Cool News.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

CWS - Update

Turn on ESPN2 on Wednesday, June 20 at 7 PM EST to watch UC Irvine play again in the College World Series. The ‘Eaters defeated Arizona State, a program with over fifty total CWS wins (to Irvine’s one) and the team that defeated the ‘Eaters last Saturday. They will face defending champion Oregon State and must defeat the Beavers twice to advance to the championship game.

It didn’t look good for UCI when Arizona State took a 7-3 lead in the top of the 8th, but Irvine stormed back to tie the game 7-7. After getting out of a bases-loaded, one out jam in the top of the 10th, the Anteaters’ Ollie Linton stepped up to the plate with one out and hit a game-winning single past the first baseman to score Matt Morris.

The Irvine Athletics Department is having a great spring. The men’s volleyball team won the NCAA National Championship earlier this year (UC Irvine’s second national championship overall – the 1989 men’s water polo team also won a national championship), and now the baseball team is in the CWS and has won their last three games on walk-off hits. Um, we won’t mention that the AD is resigning effective August 1, blasting the new chancellor and the people that head the campus for not backing the Athletics Department.

Man, I wish I was still at Irvine.

Oh yeah, speaking of the UCI Men’s Volleyball Team, they visited the White House on Monday, along with the UC Santa Barbara Men’s Soccer Team, who won the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship.

College World Series

Don’t forget to catch the College World Series today when UC Irvine takes on Arizona State. The Anteaters lost their first game, also against Arizona State, on Saturday, in a drop-from-ahead loss to Arizona State, 5-4. They defeated Cal State Fullerton 5-4 yesterday in the longest (by time) game in CWS history, a 5-hour, 45-minute, 13 inning affair.

This is UCI’s first time in the College World Series. They play today at 7:00 PM EST on ESPN2.

Tiger Cub

Tiger Woods and his wife, Elin, had their first child on Monday morning. Sam Alexis Woods is either going to be 1) hot (like her mother) or 2) a stud athlete (like her father).

Speaking of Tiger, I love how all the media is trying to figure out the ramifications of Tiger’s not winning the U.S. Open. “Did Angel Cabrera win? Or did Tiger lose?” “Do we expect too much of Tiger?” “Is Tiger too bulky [he’s gotten pretty muscular] for golf?” “Is Tiger losing his touch?”

Sheesh. The dude’s probably the best athlete playing golf, he works out, he’s 30 and has won 12 majors. The only thing he hasn’t done is come from behind on the last day. He’s the most dominant golfer of his generation, and nobody asked that of Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, etc. Nobody asked if they were too dominant. Tiger’s great for golf, and great for kids.

The only thing I don’t like about him is how he’s now “African American.” Not that he wasn’t before, but he is the product of an African-American father and Thai mother. He’s partially Asian-American, which he indicated when he was accepted to Stanford. Now he’s an African-American athlete, with no mention or regard to his Asian heritage. I find it sad, and there is thought that it has to do with marketing to African Americans, but it still would be great if he acknowledged both sides of his heritage. Asian-American kids and kids like Danica who are partially Asian-American need models out there to look up to and also to show the rest of America that Asian-Americans are as much a part of America as anybody else. They need more than Asian athletes like Yao Ming, Chien-Ming Wang, and Ichiro Suzuki to watch. They need more Michelle Kwans, more Dat Nguyens, and especially more Tiger Woods.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Celebration Day

Last Thursday, I was going to talk about Bruce Bowen’s birthday (36!), and how nice it would be for him if the Spurs won the NBA Championship that day. So… Last Thursday, June 14, was Bruce Bowen’s 36th birthday. His team, the San Antonio Spurs won the NBA Championship that night by defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 83-82 and sweeping the Cavs in four games. Cute look for Finals MVP Tony Parker (France) and Manu Ginobli (Argentina), above, wearing their respective countries’ flags.

How impressive are the Spurs? They won their fourth NBA title overall, joining the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, and Los Angeles Lakers as the only teams in NBA history to win four or more championships. They won their first in 1999. This was their fourth title in nine years, and third in the last five years. They’re studs. As much as I thought that Greg Popovich firing Bob Hill back in the day was b.s. (the Spurs had a horrible record, but were without star David Robinson for the year, AND they were about to draft Tim Duncan), “Pop” has done a great job assembling, coaching, and adjusting this team over the years.

Other congratulations go to Robert Horry, the Spurs forward, who became the first player NOT a Boston Celtic from the 60’s to earn SEVEN championship rings (2 with the Houston Rockets, 3 with the Los Angeles Lakers, and 2 with the San Antonio Spurs), and he is one of only nine players ever to do so. Also, good luck to actress Eva Longoria and Spurs’ point guard Tony Parker, who are getting married outside of Paris in a week or so… Hmm… Finals MVP and getting married? Tony’s going to be one tired dude in the fall.

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For those of you not interested in sports or pop culture, last Thursday was also Flag Day in the U.S. June 14, 1777 was the say the Second Continental Congress adopted the flag of the United States. Unfortunately, it is not an official federal holiday, but the state of Pennsylvania has recognized it as a state holiday since 1937 (it is the first and only state to do so). Here’s a shot of Flag Day at the Huntington Beach Pier:

Friday, June 15, 2007

NPH, CCA, etc.

I don’t feel like writing much today, but I’m sorta obsessive-compulsive about keeping up this birthday thing.

It’s NPH’s birthday today. For those of you who haven’t seen Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, that’s Neil Patrick Harris, a.k.a. Doogie Howser. How sad to be known the rest of your life as a character named Doogie. At least Mark Hammil is remembered as a lightsaber-wielding farmer boy from a desert planet. Oh, NPH is 34.

Happy birthday also to Courtney Cox-Arquette, who’s marriage to David Arquette seems a little unusual, but cute. Friends, blah-blah-blah… Bruce Springsteen, Dancing in the Dark, blah-blah… Family TiesAce Ventura: Pet DetectiveScream, Scream II, Scream III… episode of Seinfeld, yada-yada… the ones that everybody misses are her starring roles in Masters of the Universe (with Dolph Lundgren as He-Man and Frank Langella as Skeletor) and the short-lived, but fondly-remembered Misfits of Science. Mrs. Cox-Arquette is 43… WHAT?!?! Man, she was a thirty-something “Friend” for a long time…

Also, it’s rapper/actor Ice Cube’s 38th birthday (btw, I once met him in the Oakland airport – nice guy… wait, that was Ice T). Ice Cube is the funnier actor who makes stupid movies like Are We There Yet, Barbershop 2: Back in Business, and XXX: State of the Union. Ice T is the more serious actor who is on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. Okay, okay… they’ve both made crap, but have done some fun stuff, too. But the Cube did make the song "Black Korea."

Other birthdays include actress Helen Hunt’s 44th birthday (no offense, but is it just me, or does Helen Hunt seem light-years older than CCA?), former Boston Red Sox player Wade Boggs’ 49th, actor James Belushi’s 53rd, and country-music singer Waylon Jennings (who sang the theme song for The Dukes of Hazzard) would’ve been celebrating 70 if he hadn’t passed away in 2002.

History useless trivia:

On this date fifteen years ago (!) in 1992 (hell, it doesn’t really seem that long ago), Vice President Dan Quayle instructed a student to spell “potato” with an “e” at the end. The story was that he relied on a “faulty” flashcard. DO YOU REALLY NEED A FLASH CARD TO SPELL “POTATO?” Sheesh. Here’s a question for you: George W. Bush, or Dan Quayle? Scary, isn’t it?

Twelve years ago today, the glove did not fit, so I guess they must’ve had to acquit… O.J. Simpson. Thanks, Jonnie Cochran (R.I.P.)… As much as you wanted to do justice for a black man accused of killing two white people, you really screwed African-Americans over… But, speaking of that, how can the African-American community really think OJ’s innocent?

Hmm… whaddya know, I did write a bunch.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Goodbye, Mr. Wizard

Don Herbert, otherwise known as Mr. Wizard, passed away Tuesday of bone cancer at the age of 89. Though I first saw him on Nickelodeon’s Mr. Wizard’s World during the 1980’s, he first appeared from 1951-1964 in Watch Mr. Wizard. I loved that show, because it made science interesting and fun for younger kids. He did experiments you could duplicate at home, forcing you to make observations, formulate hypotheses, test them, and then think about what the results meant and what conclusions you could draw from them. Along with 3-2-1 Contact, Mr. Wizard’s World is one of my favorite non-fiction shows of all time. Here’s a testament to his fame: when Late Night with David Letterman debuted in 1982, Mr. Wizard was one of the first night’s guests.

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On the other side of the coin, we find actor Malcolm McDowell celebrating his 63rd birthday today. He’s pretty stereotyped now, but his filmography is filled with unbelievable roles. Best known for starring in A Clockwork Orange, McDowell’s career has expanded since the early 90’s, acting in Star Trek: Generations (though THAT was a piece of crap), the TV remake of Fantasy Island, and Entourage. He’s also done voices for a few Wing Commander games, the Star Trek: Generations video game, and if you’re a comic geek, he’s also been in Tank Girl (um, not his best work); was part of a live-action adaptation of Fist of the North Star; done voices for Batman: The Animated Series, Biker Mice from Mars, Justice League, an episode of South Park, the mid-90’s Spider-Man series, Superman: The Animated Series, and Teen Titans; and he’s most recently been seen in my favorite TV show, Heroes (too bad he had his brain squished).

Also celebrating birthdays today: actor Stellan Skarsgard of Good Will Hunting and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (56); comedian Tim Allen of Home Improvement fame (54 – and his best role was in Galaxy Quest); NBC and CNN sports journalist Hannah Storm (45); former NBA guard and one of the first European players to be a real stud on an NBA team, Sarunas Marciulionis (43); former U.S. gymnast and Des Moines native Lance Ringnald (37); and the Olsen Twins, Mary Kate and Ashley Fuller, are finally drinking legally at the age of 21.

You know you’d be devoid of useless trivia without me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Shaq's Big Challenge

Making its debut on Tuesday, June 25 on ABC is Shaquille O’Neal’s new reality show, Shaq’s Big Challenge. The show is devoted to helping tackle childhood obesity, as Shaq takes six Florida kids and tries to get them in shape while showing America things that can be done to battle obesity. Among Shaq’s team of professionals is celebrity chef Tyler Florence and his former coach at LSU, Dale Brown. Apparently, the goal for Shaq and the team is to develop programs for use in schools across Florida to help kids stay fit. Of course, Shaq’s big quote at the end of the commercial is, “It’s about saving their lives.”

Though it’s a tad bit dramatic, it’s nice to see a celebrity athlete try to do something constructive while making a buck on TV. It’s also about time that somebody brought up the issue of physical education in public schools, which, by the way, is no longer mandatory in many schools across the U.S. Physical education was a joke when I was in middle school and high school, and I’m sure it’s gotten worse since then. It’s ridiculous how out of shape and lacking in understanding of physical fitness kids are today.

On a different, but related note, this is another reason perhaps the Lakers made the wrong decision in the Shaq-Kobe debate. It’s an example of the best advice regarding team building: character first. Okay, so granted, Kobe’s character didn’t seem that ridiculously out of whack three years ago, but Shaq’s was unquestioned. He’s definitely a big kid who enjoys what he does and the people he gets to come into contact with, and his enthusiasm usually brings with it a good time. Oh well. It’s doubtful the Lakers would’ve won another championship with him. It just might’ve been a little less insane the last couple of years.

The Diaries of Two Young Girls

Today would have been Anne Frank’s 78th birthday. In interesting related news, Yad Vashem, the Israeli holocaust museum, released the diary of Rutka Laskier, who the media has dubbed “the Polish Anne Frank.” Laskier was fourteen in 1943 when she wrote the diary, depicting the horrors of the Nazi regime while juxtaposing the world’s reality with the growing desires and concerns of a young woman. Laskier was the same age as Frank and is believed to have perished at Auschwitz.

The diary was hidden away by Stanislawa Sapinska, a friend of Laskier’s, under the floorboards of Sapinska’s basement during the war. Sapinska retrieved the diary after the end of WWII, keeping it in her home library. Feeling that the diary was too private a memoir, Sapinska held the diary back until her nephew asked her to share it.

The book is available for purchase at the Yad Vashem website.

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Interesting historical tidbits:

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum was dedicated on this date in 1939 in Cooperstown, NY, one hundred years after the invention of the game… Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers was shot to death outside his home in Jackson, Mississippi in 1963… President Ronald Reagan publicly challenged Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbechev to tear down the Berlin Wall twenty years ago today in 1987… Thirteen years ago today, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were murdered outside her home in Los Angeles… And in Harry Potter history, on this date four years ago outside of London, a trailer containing copies of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was stolen; the empty trailer was found two days later.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Birthdays Aren’t the Only Thing…

But it would have been Vince Lombardi’s 94th birthday today. After becoming the head coach of the Green Bay Packers in 1959 at the age of 46, the Pack won five NFL championships and Super Bowls I and II (the first Super Bowl was played in 1967). Credited with the quote, “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing,” Lombardi didn’t originate the saying, he simply used it in his opening day talk to the Packers in 1959. Lombardi passed away on September 3, 1970 of intestinal cancer. He was posthumously inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971 and honored with a postage stamp by the USPS in 1997. The trophy for the NFL champion is named after him, and he was portrayed by comedian Jerry Stiller (Ben’s dad and George Costanza’s father on the Seinfeld TV show) in a series of commercials for Nike in 1997.

And since the main birthday boy is a football coach, I’ll also mention that one of the greatest QB’s ever, Joe Montana, also celebrates his birthday today. He’s 51.

The original Willie Wonka, Gene Wilder, is 72 (!) today. Eat chocolate in his honor. I think that Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, The Woman in Red, and See No Evil, Hear No Evil and the only films of his I’ve ever seen. But he was funny in them.

Okay, I’ll also mention that Joshua Jackson (The Mighty Ducks, Dawson’s Creek) is also celebrating his birthday today. The plucky little kid is 29.

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Yesterday, I missed model/actress Elizabeth Hurley’s 42nd birthday.

More importantly, I missed author/illustrator Maurice Sendak’s 79th birthday. The author of Where the Wild Things Are, his fascination with the nightmarish aspects of children’s literature make him somewhat controversial. In the Night Kitchen, published in 1970, which features a young boy prancing naked through the story has been subject to censorship in Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Texas, among other states. I’ll admit, I was a bit disturbed by the book when I first saw it… but I’ll get over it. A movie version of Where the Wild Things Are is currently in production. The movie is being directed by Spike Jonze, based on a script by Jonze and Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius), and starring the voice talents of Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland), Catherine Keener (The 40-Year Old Virgin), Michelle Williams (Dawson’s Creek), Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine), and Catherine O’Hara (Home Alone). It’s supposedly due out in late 2008.

Other missed birthdays:

Saturday, June 9

Natalie Portman (26) – always The Professional and Luke and Leia’s mother, Padme.
Johnny Depp (44) – Edward Scissorhands! Oh, and that pirate of the Caribbean.
Michael J. Fox (46) – Alex P. Keaton and Marty McFly.
Dick Vitale (67) – Dickie V, baby!

Friday, June 8

Keenan Ivory Wayans (49) – almost 50 and still In Living Color.
Jerry Stiller (80) – I already explained who he is.

Thursday, June 7

Allen Iverson (32) – A.I. is questionably The Answer.
Liam Neeson (55) – Obi-Wan’s master, Qui-Gon Jinn and Oskar Schindler.
Tom Jones (67) – “What’s New Pussycat?” whoa, whoa-whoa, whoa-o.
Dean Martin (would have been 90) – dude, was this guy ever sober on stage?

You'll Thank Me Later

All weekend, I had Amy Winehouse’s song, “Rehab,” stuck in my head since I watched her perform at the MTV Movie Awards. It goes like this:

They’re tryin’ to make me go to rehab
I said no, no, no
Yes I been black, but when I come back,
You wont know, know, know

I ain’t got the time,
And if my daddy thinks I’m fine
He’s trying to make me go to rehab
I wont go, go, go.

If you’re drawing a blank, you’ve probably heard it before on the radio. It’s pretty catchy. =) I got it out of my head this morning when another song popped it, but… CRAP! It’s stuck again.

Oh, and there was also a rumor that Winehouse was in consideration for the role of the next Bond girl. The more plausible rumor is that she’s up for consideration to sing the theme song of the next Bond film.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

If You’ve Been Re-incarnated, How Many Birthdays Do You Get?

Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth Dalai Lama, is 71 years young today. Proclaimed the rebirth of the thirteenth Dalai Lama at age two, he was enthroned as Tibet’s Head of State on November 17, 1950 at the age of fifteen. Living in exile in India since the collapse of the Tibetan resistance in 1959, he is the first Dalai Lama to visit the West. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

I’m a big fan of his, despite my aversion to organized religion. He’s charismatic, thoughtful, seems genuine, and has a good sense of humor. BTW, the picture at the top was from the Dalai Lama’s visit to UC Irvine a couple of years back. I was dumb enough NOT to get a ticket, even though he was speaking at the Bren Center, just 200 yards or so from my office at the time. IDIOT!

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FYI, today is also the 63rd anniversary of Operation Overlord, leading to what we now know as D-Day.

Also, the first drive-in movie theater opened in Pennsauken, New Jersey on this date in 1933. It was the brain child of Richard M. Hollingshead, Jr., a chemical company magnate. The Star-Vu drive-in just opened here in Orange County, at the Orange County Fairgrounds. It’s one of the only ones operating in California.

Bjorn Today

Just for Steph and my mom, both of whom are tennis fans…

It's Bjorn Borg’s 51st birthday today (pictured above, center, with Roger Federer, left, and Rafael Nadal, right). The Swede won Wimbledon five consecutive years from 1978-1981. He also won the French Open six times, was runner-up four times in the U.S. Open (never winning it) to Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe (twice each), and his total of 11 Grand Slam titles is third all-time behind Pete Sampras (14) and Roy Emerson (12).

Others with birthdays today that are all pop-culture relevant are:

Staci Keanan of My Two Dads fame (with Paul Reiser and Greg Evigan) and also Step by Step (with Patrick Duffy and Suzanne Sommers). Keanan is 32. Wow. I thought she was a lot older than me. I’ll confess that I used to have a crush on her when I was younger… at least until she played a bitchy character on Step by Step.

Max Casella, “Vinnie” of Doogie Howser, M.D. fame, is 40 today. For you video-game fans, he is also the voice of “Daxter” in the “Jax and Dexter” video game series. He’s recently been seen in The Sopranos and in Analyze This with Robert DiNiro and Billy Crystal.

Comedienne Sandra Bernhard is 52. She’s in one of my favorite movies, Hudson Hawk (with Bruce Willis). Catch it if you can… it’s hilarious and has the best in-movie singing sequence I’ve seen, for a non-musical.

Freddy Krueger himself, actor Robert Englund is 58.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Happy Hap Birthday

Sorry, the biggest birthday I could find today was Marky Mark, a.k.a. Mark Wahlberg. Coincidentally, I just caught my favorite movie of his, The Italian Job, on TV last night (no, I haven’t seen The Departed). I also enjoyed his movies Three Kings, The Big Hit, and Boogie Nights.

“Feel the vibration… That sweeeeeeeeet sen-say-shuuuuuunnn….” Heh.

If you don’t get that last line, don’t worry about it…

And for you jazz fans, it’s Kenny G’s birthday, too. He’s 51… just about getting to the point where he should be listening to his own muzak.
Ooooo… I found an NBA birthday today: The “Big Z,” Zydrunas Ilgauskas, of the Cleveland Cavaliers who, despite looking 45, is 32. Good luck to the Cavs on Thursday as they open Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs.

FYI, Spurs in 6. Can't wait for that Bruce Bowen-LeBron James matchup.

Monday, June 04, 2007

DArk Birthday

Happy birthday to my bud, Don, who turns 21 today. Err, I mean 31. I mean, 29. Yeah, that’s it… 29.

We’ve been friends since our eighth-grade year, which is more years ago than I care to remember. We grew older (if not necessarily “up”) together, played a lot of basketball, spent many nights driving around aimlessly in our late teens, put together some great videos over the years (choreographing some of the best amateur fight scenes you’ll ever see – all in the name of “education”), were each other’s best men at our weddings, and have seen each other go from questionably-dressed middle-schoolers (don’t deny the shorts… you know which ones I’m talking about) to questionably-dressed fathers over the course of… geez, more than half our lives. He’s the best friend anybody could ask for, a great guy, an honest man, and a devoted father and husband. I said it when he got married, and I still mean it today: if there were one person in the world I’d want to be, it’s Don Ark. *sniff*

If you haven’t had a chance to, get to know him, his wife Fiona, his son Jadon, and his twin girls, Natalie and Vanessa at his blog, which is listed to the right. Or see him in action with his family at his Flickr site.

By the way, Don, you share your birthday with the hottest woman on the planet (besides my wife), Angelina Jolie. She’s 33.

These people also share your birthday: former Angel Darin Erstad (33); former ER doc Noah Wyle (36); actor Scott Wolf (39) of Party of Five; former NBA player Xavier “X-Man” McDaniel (44); rocker El Debarge (46), who is partying “All Night Long”; actor Parker Stevenson (55) of The Hardy Boys, Baywatch, and does anybody remember the show Probe?; singer/actress Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas (63); and Dr. Ruth Westheimer (79).

As far as historical events go (beyond your birth), the 19th Amendment was passed on this day in, appropriately enough, 1919. If you don’t know what it is, go find out. It was kinda important.

Also, the Battle of Midway began today in 1942, Miracle on 34th Street premiered in 1947, and Martha Stewart was indicted on this date in 2003.
Oh… I was just reading this and realized that if there were one other person I’d want to be (besides Don), it would be Brad Pitt. Damn, he looks good. =)

Sunday, June 03, 2007

A 50-Greatest Birthday

It’s NBA great Billy “The Kangaroo Kid” Cunningham’s 64th birthday today. After playing at the University of North Carolina and averaging 24.8 ppg and 15.4 rpg as well as earning 1965 ACC Player of the Year, Cunningham was drafted in the first round of the 1965 NBA Draft. His second year in the league, the Philadelphia 76ers won the NBA title, with Cunningham coming off the bench to average 18.5 ppg and 7.3 rpg. Over the course of his playing career in both the NBA and the ABA, he was named to the 1966 NBA All-Rookie Team, was named MVP of the ABA for the 1971-72 season, and amassed a total of 16,310 points and 7981 rebounds.

His coaching career started in 1977 after a career-ending injury during the 1975-76 season. He built the 76ers into a powerhouse behind Bobby Jones, Maurice Cheeks, Andrew Toney, Moses Malone and Julius Erving, becoming the fastest coach in league history to reach 200, 300 and 400-win plateaus. In 1983, Cunningham won his second NBA title, this time as a coach.

Cunningham was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1986, and in 1996, he was named to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time team. He is currently a part-owner of the Miami Heat.

It’s also Bernard Schwartz’ 82nd birthday. You might better know him as Tony Curtis. I loved him in Spartacus.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


Happy birthday to actress Nikki Cox, who was just let go from NBC’s Las Vegas, and who started her career as a dancer, starring in the video for Michael Jackson’s “Moonwalker” and also Paula Abdul’s “Forever Your Girl.” The hottie redhead (who should’ve been Mary Jane in the Spider-Man films) turns 29 today. By the way, she was also on an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (“Pen Pals”). Too bad she’s married to Jay Mohr.

Also, comedian Dana Carvey is 52 (!) and actor Jerry “The Beaver” Mathers is 59. Composer Marvin Hamlisch (A Chorus Line) is 63, and actor Stacey Keatch (Prison Break) is 66.

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History trivia is plentiful today:

In 1851, Maine became the first state to enact a law prohibiting alcohol.

In 1883, the first baseball game under lights was played in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

1886 was the year Grover Cleveland became the first U.S. President to get married while in office.

The U.S. granted citizenship to all Native Americans in 1924 through the Indian Citizenship Act.

Chiang Kai-Shek and his Nationalist captured Beijing, Chine in 1928.

This day in 1935, baseball lost its first superstar when George Herman “Babe” Ruth announced his retirement. Just six years later on the same date, baseball lost one of its greats forever when Lou Gehrig passed away of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Queen Elizabeth II was crowned fifty-four years ago today in 1953.

U.S. space probe Surveyor 1 landed on the moon and started sending photographs back to Earth in 1966. It was the first soft landing on the moon.

In 1997, Timothy McVeigh was found guilty of bombing a federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, killing 168 people.

For you educators, 1998 marked the year that Californians passed Proposition 227, ending a 30-year old bilingual-education program by mandating that all children be taught in English.

This year, today, the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Detroit Pistons in Game 6 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals, advancing to the NBA Finals for the first time in their history.

Versus? What the Heck is Versus?

The other night, I had a hankerin’ to watch the Stanley Cup Finals, since the Anaheim (formerly Mighty) Ducks were playing the Ottawa Senators. The Ducks had won Game 1 of the Finals, and I wanted to watch them in Game 2. Now, the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals are on ESPN, so I figure that the Ducks-Senators game must be on NBC or FOX or something national, so I check both of those networks, ESPN2, the local TV stations that carries Ducks games, Fox Sports and Fox Sports 2, and nada. Now, I’m thinking to myself, “There’s no way that the NHL Finals wouldn’t be on some kind of national network, right?”

Naturally, I go to to see what channel the game is on (because it has to be on somewhere), and I see that it’s being televised only on the “Versus” network. What the heck is that? I remember hearing something about the NHL getting games on the Outdoor network or something, but the Finals couldn’t possibly be on a channel that 1) I’ve never heard of and 2) can’t be included on basic cable… could they? Yup. They can. Oh, and the Versus network used to be the Outdoor Life Network (OLN).

There is a link to find the Versus channel in your neighborhood on the NHL website, so I click on that, enter my area code and find that Time Warner Cable only carries it on their digital subscription package… which I don’t have. How is it possible that the championship games of one of the four major sports in the U.S. is carried on a channel that’s not included in basic cable? What the heck is that all about? I can see the games being carried on a TNT or ESPN/ESPN2, since those channels are established, but are you kidding me about the Versus network?

Oh well. The Ducks won Game 2 and have a 2-0 lead going into Game 3 in Ottawa tonight… In fact, the game’s on right now… on NBC. Oops… Game over. Ducks lost, 5-3. Nuts.

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Ascension

Okay… forget about it. Unless the Detroit Pistons can mount an incredible effort and somehow combine Tayshaun Prince, Chauncey Billups, and re-sign Ben Wallace by tomorrow and throw him in the mix, too, the Cleveland Cavaliers are going to the NBA Finals. Holy cow, did you see LeBron James just overpower the Pistons? They threw everybody at him, and he STILL scored Cleveland’s last TWENTY-FIVE points (and 29 out of their last 30). He’s still not quite there yet (witness the incredible fall-away jumper he hit with a minute to go in overtime, followed by a step-back airball the next time down), but ~whew~ he’s coming on strong (which is an understatement).

I’ve had my doubts about LeBron, forgetting that he’s only twenty-two. There are still questions about his competitiveness, or more accurately, his “killer instinct.” The end of Game 1, of course, is the example everybody points to, passing up an opportunity to tie the game up to kick out to Donyell Marshall for a missed three-point attempt. I thought he should’ve taken his own shot, especially considering that he was two feet from the rim, but his early-season no-show was the biggest blip on the radar. He did come a long way last night, because he looked forceful and decisive (except for that airball).

He’s so fast and quick and strong, he’s the Shaq of perimeter players – he’s a freak of nature. 6-8 and 235-240 lbs. means he’s bigger and stronger than Jordan and Kobe. He’s faster and more athletic than THE all-time big guard, Magic. He can get by almost anybody and those he can’t, he’ll jump over or go through. He’s ridiculous.

I still think the Pistons should’ve won the game. They should’ve doubled LeBron off of every ball screen and any time he started to penetrate. I still don’t know how LeBron went from twenty-seven feet at the top of the key to getting a layup for the winning shot. Detroit is a superior team, but don’t play nasty defense like the “Bad Boys” used to or even how they used to under Larry Brown. LeBron should’ve been knocked on his ass (of course, the Antonio McDyess ejection might’ve allayed anything like that) and forced to get the ball to his teammates (which is what happened in Games 1 and 2). His scoring streak to finish the game is the obvious answer to what his teammates can do, because even when they did get decent looks, they just couldn’t finish against the Pistons.

I’ll play devil’s advocate and also say that the Pistons don’t look like they can score if their life depended on it. I’m still not sure what the hell they were doing with 9.5 seconds to go at the end of regulation, and Chuancey Billups takes a fling at a three-pointer to win the game. And Tayshaun Prince getting the ball at nineteen feet and then either trying to back in or face up and drive (HELLO! Get a right hand and stop going left all the damn time) is a great situation, except for the fact that he’s not a great scorer (but that reverse slam he had was nasty!).

Regardless, the Eastern Conference Finals has become a little more interesting. It is sad though, that again, individual play is winning out over team play (or so it would seem). Tune in tomorrow for Game 6 in Cleveland… Should be a doozy.

P.S. – Does Chuancey Billups look tired and worn-out to anybody else?

A Day of Action!

Okay, so it’s technically a late story, but Action Comics #1 (which had a June 1938 cover date but was published in April 1938) marked the debut of the greatest superhero of them all: Superman. Considered the first true superhero comic, Action Comics #1 was originally an anthology built around Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s “Man of Tomorrow” and published by National Periodical Publications. It continues today as part of DC Comics’ line of books. The comic is the most valuable comic in the world (respective to grade) and roughly one hundred copies remain in existence (so if you see one at a garage sale, I’d be interested).

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In other interesting historical news, Dr. Jack “Dr. Death” Kevorkian was released from prison after eight years today. TV-news network CNN made its debut at 6:00 PM EST twenty-seven years ago on June 1, 1980, activist Hellen Keller died on this date in 1968, and The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released today in 1967. Finally, that rat-bastard, Benedict Arnold, was court-martialed today waaaaaay back in 1779.

Easy Birthday

It’s one of my favorite actor’s birthday today – Oscar-winner Morgan Freeman. Sure, he does a lot of crap (Evan Almighty, anyone?) and a lot of his characters are similar in the way he plays them, but he’s good at it. The Shawshank Redemption is my favorite movie that he’s done, but his filmography is littered with great movies: Million Dollar Baby, Se7en, Unforgiven, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Glory, Driving Miss Daisy, and Lean on Me. Okay, okay… Robin Hood is questionable, but I even liked him in his crap movies like Bruce Almighty, High Crimes, Nurse Betty, and Kiss the Girls. Of course, he also has the requisite comic-inspired movie, Batman Begins. And don’t forget that he really got started on The Electric Company, playing Easy Reader/Mel Mounds/Count Dracula. Freeman is 70 today.

By the way, it’s also Andy Griffith’s birthday (81!) and would have been Norma Jean Mortenson’s (a.k.a. Marilyn Monroe’s) 81st birthday as well.

For Benson fans, Rene Auberjonois turns 67, and he was also on some little show called Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

For you sports fans, it’s the second-greatest NHL defensemen’s birthday today: Paul Coffey is 46. FYI, he trails only Ray Borque among NHL defensemen in career goals, assists and points.

Oh yeah, “you oughta know” it’s Alanis Morrisette’s 32nd birthday. HAHA!