April 24, 2013

usatodaysports:

J.R. Smith, ladies and gentlemen. (via @ErikMal)

Lots of NBA Playoffs happening at NBA.usatoday.com

J.R.’s air guitar … Spike’s boogie … John Starks’ praise the lord … Louis C.K.’s wow. SO MUCH CREAMY GIF GOODNESS.

March 5, 2013
Mila Kunis is lovely, but BBC Radio Guy deserves more credit

Meet the man he will heretofore be known to all as “THAT GUY FROM BBC WHO INTERVIEWED MILA KUNIS”:
image"BBC", for short.

Presumably, he’s been sent to conduct a routine press junket interview with Ms. Kunis for her upcoming movie, Oz The Great and Powerful. Get in, get the necessary intel about the film, get out. That’s the job. But that’s not what goes down because BBC, well …

0:02 "I'm petrified right now.”image

1. He’s petrified right now.

0:10  And, "I’ve never done this before so, so …"image 

2. He’s never done this before.

Ordinarily such a combination of nerves and inexperience might result in a devastatingly awkward six-minute train wreck. Ordinarily:image

Boom goes the dynamite!

But, BBC isn’t ordinary. First, he is the embodiment of an all together different Internet meme:image

Equally important –image

He’s Bri’ish.

0:14 But like … image 

image

Hugh Grant British, not Austin Powers British. (The charming silver screen version of Hugh Grant, not the Daily-Show-banned version.)

So instead of a Tosh.O Web Redemption-worthy performance, what transpires more closely resembles the plot of Notting Hill.  In the words of IMDB: “A leading American actress (Julia “Mila Kunis” Roberts) meets an attractive but unassuming British man (Hugh “BBC” Grant) and love immediately blossoms.”image

To wit, BBC’s first question for Mila:

Um, in the nicest possible way, did you enjoy being ugly for once? Because generally you’re like, you know, you’re hot. Um, so, it’s … being a witch … it’s a bit different.

He’s just a boy, standing in front of a girl, macking it instead of doing his job.

(Hold the phone: I just went to Wikipedia to refresh my “seen it a couple of times in bits in pieces on HBO a decade ago” memory of Notting Hill and there’s a scene where Hugh Grant, owner of an independent travel bookshop because of course, gets himself into a situation where he has to conduct an impromptu interview of Julia Roberts for her new movie?! One + one = too perfect.)

Ok, let’s check back in and see how BBC is doing:

0:32  BBC: "Am I doing alright so far?image

Mila: Fantastic. How you feeling? How do you feel you’re doing?

BBC: I’m a little less nervous than when I walked in.

Mila: Right. It’s not that bad. It’s not that scary.

BBC: [laying on the accent] Eye don’t know.

Oh come on, what’s the worst that could happen?image

Mila: What about this is frightening to you? Tell me.

THAT YOU’LL MAKE HIM SAY THE C-WORD RIGHT TO YOUR FACE.

BBC: Um, well. I’m talking right at you now. There’s like cameras everywhere. There’s a lot of people.

Or that. That’s reasonable too.

Mila: Ye.

BBC: They’re all smiling and that, so it’s fine. But it’s a bit of an unnatural environment. I’m used to being down at my local pub with the boys.

Mila: So this is the same.

No Mila, it’s not.

BBC: I can not wait to tell them about this later, because um, when I go back and say to them, You won’t– you know they all do sort of quite normal jobs– and I say, I interviewed Mila Kunis, it’s going to be hard to be believe.

Mila: Really?

BBC: Yeah.

Mila: REALLY?!

image

Yes Mila, really.

BBC: I’m going to get massive loud points for it.

Props to loud points.

Mila: Do you get like a free drink out of it?

BBC: I hope so.

This interview has already morphed into into a free-flowing conversation. Their connection is beginning to percolate. BBC is disarming her. 
image

Mila: I hope so too, buddy. You’re doing a fantastic job. I hope you get like a whole round of– what do you like? Whiskey?

BBC: Uhhhh, Yaegger Bombs.

My guess as to BBC’s age was just lowered from 26-27 to 23-24.

Mila: Yaegger bombs?! That is disgusting.

BBC: Not into them? Uh, we made this drink called– uh, I don’t know if we can say this, but … we’ve got these Loud Bombs …

Take note Study Abroaders, “loud” is the go to British slang. Anyway, go on …

BBC: … You know when like you put Yaegger into the Red Bull? …

Yaegger Bombs, sure. You already said that.image

BBC: …We do a shot of Yaegger, into a double Vodka Red Bull.

Oh my god. That sounds like the worst drink EH-ver.

image

MilaOh my god.

image

Mila: That sounds like the worst drink …

image

Mila:  EH-ver.

See. I think BBC is implying to Mila that he can guzzle down straight up poison that really should kill him without dying. From an evolutionary standpoint that kind of strength would be very desirable in a potential mate.

BBC: Would you like– I mean, you’re more than– you could come join us.

OFFICIAL TIME FROM INTRODUCTION TO ASKING HER OUT – 1:44.
Don’t hate the BBC, hate the game.

BBC then tells her she could come to his local pub, The Misty Moon, but that it isn’t very good and she would be better off coming to his hometown instead. Wooing her further, he proceeds to tell her more about his group of friends that she would meet if/when she accompanies him for a drink:image

BBC: The lads would love you. You’d really get on with one of my mates, Sir Dosser.

Mila: Sir Dosser? … His name is Sir Dosser? I love him already.

BBC: Yeah, there’s Sir Dosser, The Convict, Chango The Beast …

These are “the boys” from before with “sort of quite normal jobs”? Sir Dosser, we’re told, writes music which I suppose is on the spectrum of what qualifies as a normal job. The others, though, we’re left to wonder. My guesses: The Convict makes license plates and Chango, he’s a sword swallower with the traveling circus.  Never mind, though, because …imageIT’S WORKING.

Mila: You are awesome. Like these are your friends? I love it

Hai, Ashton.image

So, what’s the next move? BBC’s got momentum. Mila’s loving his schtick. She’s smiling, laughing, everything’s going gre–

BBC: I should get back to the questions.

And he slow plays it! Suddenly, I get the feeling BBC knows EXACTLY what he’s doing. I underestimated you, Grasshopper. Don’t look over eager. Let her come to you. Play it smooth. I feel like all the lessons from Neil Strauss’s The Game are being played out right in front of my eyes. 

Mila: Why? This is way more fun for me, I have to tell you. Please.

Uhhhhhhhh-huh.

BBC: Have you ever been to a futbol match?

Just know BBC never had any intention of getting back to the questions. Not for a second.

MilaI have never been to a futbol match, but I plan on going to Brazil next year.

For the 2014 World Cup. Even BBC has to admit, that’s the ideal place for a first soccer experience.

BBC: Well, here’s the other offer.

Or not. Or he could just tell Mila that her plan is f***ing stupid and that he has a much better one, one that involves him:image

BBC: I support a club called Watford Futbol Club and they’re like my local team, they don’t have many fans…

Keep in mind this is like telling someone to forget the Super Bowl for a Saturday afternoon ZogSports game. But BBC doesn’t care.

Look, if you had one shot, one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment would you capture it or let it slip? – Eminem, “Lose Yourself”, 2002 and what BBC is thinking at this very moment.

He’s in a groove. Why WOULDN’T Mila Kunis choose to watch Watford with him over the World Cup in Brazil with her celebrity friends?! He’s played the lead in numerous successful rom-coms. Nothing can stop him now. He is invinci–

Mila: Shouldn’t you give me like a jersey?

Oops.
image

A look of shear dread spreads across BCC’s face. For the first time, he’s at a loss. His boyish charm escapes him. He begins to stammer:

BBC: I would love t–

Helpless, red-faced, he looks offscreen for help:imageNothing. He’s on his own.

BBC: You don’t understand …

Mila: Where’s my jersey?

He forgets how to speak:

BBC: I ehthjkfgkjlsdflkjhsawpj

Things don’t get immediately better, either.  BBC finally gets out that he’ll send her a jersey to correct his gaffe, but Mila informs him that Watford’s color scheme, bright yellow, just doesn’t agree with her.

Mila:  Could you make it like, purple? I really like purple.

No, Mila, he can’t “make it like purple.” SOCCER TEAMS BEFORE CELEBRITY DREAMS. You can’t just change the jersey of your favorite club to suit the whims of your movie star future girlfriend. Despite her nonsense – or maybe in spite of it – BBC regains his composure like the Hugh Grant he is and refocuses the conversation around what has worked for him so far: HIS BOYS.image

BBC: "But the thing is, I go with the boys and we go see a Watford match, it’s a nice day out …

He’s back to describing their date together as if Jerseygate never happened, isn’t he?

BBC: … we could go for like a Nandos before …

Nandos?

Mila: What are Nandos?

BBC: It’s a chicken restaurant.

Mila: Gosh, you’re teaching me so much.

He’s teaching all of us so much right now, Mila.

BBC: I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing here at all.

I smell it. You smell it? Smells like bulllllsh*t.

Mila: This is the best interview I’ve had today. I’m begging you.

"Fine, since you asked":

BBC: Ok, here’s how I see the day panning out

And this is just off the top of my head. I’m just throwing this out there. I haven’t secretly thought about this a million times already.”

BBC: We go for chicken … it’ll be about midday, kickoff’s at 3, and then go on to the Watford game … it’s a Championship team so they’re alright, but they’re not great …

Mila, what do you think about this so far? How does this sound to you?image

BBC: This is ridiculous. Ok, if you wanted to come along …

image

Mila: I do. We’re having some chicken and we’re seeing a Championship League Game, and I’m going to wear a … yellow jersey.

OFFICIAL TIME FROM INTRODUCTION TO THE ACCEPTANCE OF A DATE – 3:47

BBC goes on for a bit, detailing the rest of his plans for their date. They’ll sing and cheer, as you do at soccer games. At halftime they’ll have some pies – meat pies, Mila, not apple pies like they have in the States – and “bosch” a couple of pints etcetera etcetera. The two love birds go on gabbing back and forth like little school children until a disembodied voice somewhere on set plays the role of responsible adult and tries to ruin all the fun:

Voice: … because you have a job to do.  This is– that’s not, you know you know– because he has to go work and he has to to–

Mila: Talk about this movie?  

But Mila’s not going to let some lady from the peanut gallery come in out of left field and interfere:

Mila: Let me just give you answers to questions I know you’re going ask…

And for the next fifty seconds Mila psychically rattles off detailed responses to questions she was never asked. If you’re curious about the movie, check out 4:52-5:40. If not, enjoy this reaction shot of BBC taken at the precise moment during Mila’s soliloquy when he realizes he’s in love/this video is soooo going to blowup on the Internet:imageSWOON/I’M GOING TO GET THE MOST LOUD POINTS.

Mila wraps up and it’s BBC’s turn to speak again. Naturally, he begins:

5:42  "My mate Dick-O…"imageProfession: condom tester?

Mila:There we go.

VOICE: [audible laughter] Oh my god.

Mila: [laughing]

image

BBC: My mate Dick-O is, um, he’s getting married soon.

Mila: Oh, good for him!

image

BBC: He did say I could get like a “Plus One” to his wedding…

image

Name: BBC
Loud Points: 3,893,721

BBC:  and now I think about it and I’m not going to get many more chances to– 

Mila: You wanna ask me to go with you to this wedding?

BBC: I’m just wondering.

Mila: Well, I’ve gone to Marine Ball, so what’s another–

Is that a “yes”? That kind of sounds like a “yes”?

BBC: Well, this is what I’ve heard, so I thought I–

So BBC DID know what he was doing!

Mila: Apparently I just say yes to everything when put on the spot. When’s the wedding?

BBC: I think, June?

Come on, no whammy no whammy no whammy no whammy no whammy and STOP:

image

Mila: I’m actually working. I’m not kidding.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. 

BBC, quickly, think of something to say:

BBC: Have you ever– I don’t know if I should as–

Oh, just go for it at this point! You’re all-in already.

BBC: Have you ever dropped trou at a wedding?

Did NOT see that coming.

Mila: Drop trout?

Amelia Bedelia Kunis: adorbes.

BBC: No, we drop trou. And what it is is, it’s just where– I don’t know if you do this in America it might just be a U.K. thing … but we put on Baywatch and we just take all our clothes off and dance around.

image

Yeah, prolly just a cultural thing, like you said.

image

♫ Some people stand in the darkness/Afraid to step into the light♫♫♫

"CONVICT! THE BEAST! COME ON, THAT’S OUR CUE! WHERE’S DICK-O? DICK-O! SIR DOSSER, GET DICK-O. OKAY! EVERYBODY READY? HERE IT COMES…NOW!!!"

♫♫♫ I’ll be ready (I’ll be ready)/Never you fear (no don’t you fear)♫♫♫

Mila: Did you know I was on Baywatch twice?

BBC: I didn’t know that.

Mila’s stalker didn’t even know that.

Mila: Once I played a young girl who runs to get help because her classmates are drowning. And the second time I played a blind girl who gets lost in the forest.

Baywatch was the best.

BBC: Is that? Am I done?

Voice: Yeah.

BBC: Mila, thank you so much.

No. Thank YOU, GUY FROM BBC WHO INTERVIEWED MILA KUNIS!

February 15, 2013
It’s Leonard’s world, we’re all just living in it

Entering the second and final day of the Jeopardy! 2013 Teen Tournament, my man Leonard was in a lot of rooney:
image

Nilai: $19,000
Barrett: $17,600
Leonard: $3,000

The numbers are revealing, but they don’t tell the whole story. Just how grim was it for Leonard?
imageShooter McGavin over here didn’t even bother to mentionhis name at the top of the show! All he said was:

"Nilai, obviously, is the young man to catch today. Barrett, not that far behind." 

As if Leonard was so poor as to be invisible to Trebek. Which is absurd for the single, simple, hella’ obvious reason that…


THIS
image
(the casual spread collar)


IS
image
(the dope nonchalant arm cross)


LEONARD.
image

(That. Hair.)

You had me at af-ro, Leonard. You had me at af-ro.

Let the record show that had I been slated to appear on Jeopardy! as a high-schooler, my mother would have made absolutey sure I had a tie properly knotted at my neck come taping time.

Let the record show further that if I had been growing out my hair at the time as well, mom dukes would’ve taken one look at me and said, “No way, Jose”, to which I would have replied, “My name’s not Jose, it’s Ben, soooo technically I don’t have to listen you”, because I was funny and sassy that way back then, and then, without my mom having to say another word, I would have promptly marched myself straight down to the barber to get my hair cropped just the way she liked it.

But Leonard Cooper is a much more amazing 17-year-old than I was, a fact his mother undoubtedly recognizes and which informed her eminently wise decision to allow L.C. Hammer to … DEW HIM.Well done, Mama Coop, because she knew you don’t mess with greatness.

You nurture it.

You encourage it.
You cultivate it.

But you don’t mess with it. And if you want it to stage an epic comeback on the final day of a nationally televised trivia competition you most certainly do not cramp its style.

Down sixteen LARGE Leonard understood he couldn’t play conventionally and win, so he did what any teen cheerleader worth her pom-poms would have told him to do and he got aggressive.

Got
Got
Aggressive

Recognizing that he needed to lock down the big money questions to have any chance at all Leonard buzzed in on a $1,000 clue ahead of Nilai and Barrett… imageeven though he hadn’t quite figured out the question yet.

Leonard knows he should know this. After all, what teen doesn’t have either (a) one always-out-of-control, reckless friend who broke his clavicle skiing or playing roller hockey or however; or (b) one spazzy, injury-prone classmate who broke it trying to get out of a playful full-nelson in gym class? But the correct response continues to escape him and time is running out, so he starts to pat down his own body in a desperate attempt to conjure up the answer.imageFinally, thankfully, it comes to him:

What is the, uh, like, the neck bone, uhh … COLLARBONE!

But was it in time?
imageHmmmm. Nilai, Barrett and their friends and family probably don’t think so, but the judges count it. $1,000 to Leonard.


Which makes him really, really, adorably happy:
image


Elsewhere, though, Tommy Lee Jones is still not amused:
image

Not enough TLC for you when you were younger TLJ?



Heading into Double Jeopardy! Leonard was still behind. To this point, he’d made it clear that he was in it to win it, that he was willing to take some chances to claw his way out of the hole he’d dug for himself on Day 1. But even if everybody knew he wouldn’t go down silently, nobody was prepared for his next big move:

imageStill down a hefty $11,400 overall when, with just seven clues remaining on the board, he uncovers the final Daily Double. Then, 

  • Leonard inhales deeply, puts down his buzzer and folds his arm.

  • Trebek announces there’s only about a minute left to go.

  • Turned to one side and looking away from Trebek, Leonard hesitates, pondering how much to wager.

  • "Uhhhhh…"

  • Taking another moment longer, Leonard finally turns back to Trebek and announces his bid –

image

"Eighteen thousand."

An audible gasp rips through the audience as if a shocking revelation has been revealed in a television courtroom drama. Perhaps a concerned few non-believers wonder whether the young boy meant to say $1,800.

Trebek calls the decision “gutsy”.

Leonard rips through the final vestiges of the Tanner Stages, becoming a grown ass man on the spot. You can even see it happen in real-time:

Step #1: Admit you’re afraid.
image


Step #2: Face your fear head on and dominate it:
image


Step #3: Turn your attention to task at hand:
image


Now all he has to do now is deliver the right ans–
image

Uh-oh. 

That does not look like the face of someone who knows the answer. Come on, Leonard, THINK. Wait! Is that…image

… a grin?

"What is a jury?"

Oooooo-weeeee.image


GAME CHANGER.
image

FINAL JEOPARDY
The scores:

Nilai: $14,400
Barret: $9,000
LL Cool L: $37,000 

The category:

Military Men

The clue:

WHAT IS A BADONKADONK?

The actual clue:

ON JUNE 6, 1944 HE SAID, “THE EYES OF THE WORLD ARE UPON YOU”


First up, B-Rizzle:
image

CORRECT.

Young Clark Kent wagered a very balleresque everything, bringing his two day total to…
image
Super, man. But is it enough?


NILAI:

image

Oof, so sorry.

image
Good job, good effort! But with a combined total of $26,400, Nilai is out of the running.


Which leaves only Leona–image


WHAAAAA?! NUH. UH.


image


MICROPHONE
. BUZZER. DROPPED.

image

GAME, AFROS.

Alex, in the words of Teddy KGB, “pay that mayn chis mo-ney.”

image

By the way, just how cray cray was Leonard’s move? Had Nilai given the correct answer he would’ve finsihed with $40,400, enough to defeat Leonard. And that, ladies and gentlemen and people of all ages, none of us are as awesome as Leonard…except maybe Elyse.

[Update: If you enjoyed this at all, please, please, please go read Rembert Browne’s version over at Grantland if you haven’t already. He may not be the pioneer of this style of storytelling, but he was probably the first person I saw do it, and is someone who I have tried to emulate when writing posts in this way, whether it be the one above or the one about the Heat fan who hit a half court shot and was tackled by LeBron or going to the Kanye concert in A.C. back in December. It just so happens, this time around, we wrote about the same 2:50 video. His version, of course, better.]

February 12, 2013
Why Pop Is The Best, a short play

At tonight’s performance the role of Tim Duncan, usually played by Time Duncan, will be played by Boris Diaw. Additionally, the role of Tony Parker, usually played by Tony Parker, will be played by Gary Neal.  Lastly, the role of Manu Ginobli, usually played by Manu Ginobli, will be played by Nando de Colo.

Thank you and enjoy the show.

image

February 1, 2013
Handicapping The Super Bowl, Exactly How The Professionals Do It.

image

What’s the spread?
My Popop, January 31st, 2013, 1:37 PM

To give that quote some context, seven selective biographical facts about my grandfather:

  1. Does he “love when it we call him Big Pop-op”? Excellent question. Unfortunately, we don’t really call him that to his face, but I imagine that if I ever took the time to sit down and explain the Notorious reference to him he’d calmly reply, “Ben, I don’t know the first thing about rap music or this Biggy fella, but if that’s what you want to call me, it doesn’t make a bit of difference to me.”

  2. Do we “throw our hands in the air, because he’s a true grandpa”? No. Again however, I wish we would.

  3. Is this the first time I’ve ever used this bit? Don’t be silly. I’ve been using it relentlessly around my family ever since I first thought it up at my grandfather’s 81st or 82nd birthday celebration.

  4. Popop’s is currently 91 years old. Ish. He has advanced for enough along in life where we’ve lost exact track of his age and now ballpark the number.

  5. With the exception of the Mets, he does not watch sports. He’ll be somewhat familiar with the biggest sports stories of the day because he constantly watches the news, but beyond what CNN touches on, if it doesn’t have to do with the Amazins’, he doesn’t know about it.

  6. He’s does not care for football.

  7. He doesn’t gamble, unless you count the stock market.

To summarize: my grandfather is 90 or so years old; he has only a passing interest in sports; and he couldn’t be less interested in wagering on their outcome.

Despite all this, less than 8 minutes into our phone call, Popop guided the conversation towards Sunday’s Super Bowl and wanted to know, not which teams were playing in the big game, nor merely who was favored, but specifically what the spread was.

Ahhhh, those Vegas lines. Aside from the constant, looming fear of witnessing a player die on the field, they are what separates the NFL from the boys and what enables the league to generate approximately $9 all the monies per-year in revenue.

"Niners by 3.5", I told my Popop, and then proceeded to dutifully take the old man’s action. Because of course I did. How could I not? I mean, even if his bet’s a winner, what’s he going to do if I don’t pay out? (A) I’m his grandson, and (B) he’s give or take a year, 92.

Fine, so maybe he didn’t really place a bet. But if Big Popop was so much as conscious to the line, it’s safe to assume that you too have an interest in placing a bet on the game. Perhaps you and a pal will risk the cost of a friendly steak dinner. Maybe you’re in Vegas at this very moment, eager to head to your hotel’s sports book; or possibly you’re sitting in front of your computer, about to log into an offshore website; or standing face-to-face with a shadowy figure you simply call “your bookie”, ready to fork over a fistful of cash. The point is, you’re betting, we know this because everyone’s betting, and I’m here to help you wager wisely.

Sure, there are plenty of traditional places you could go to read up on the game. Footballoutsiders, for instance, has published film breakdown evaluating how the Ravens’ offense matches up against San Francisco’s defense, and visa-versa. Real nuts and bolts type analysis, purportedly the inside edge you need to pick a winner. They’ve also written 2,000 words solely on line play and the run game, complete with pretty screen grabs diagraming what makes each teams’ ground attack tick. At some point today, the site’s creator, Aaron Schatz will release his definitive preview of the game, as will Bill Barnwell over at Grantland. It’s all excellent stuff, if you think that’s what’ll help you be in possession of an in the money ticket come Sunday night. 

But let’s be honest, any Joe Schmo with years of experience dissecting game film and a mathematician’s mind for advanced stats could do what those guys do. We’re dealing with the NFL here, where people will do anything to gain an advantage over the competition, see, e.g., “deer-antler velvet extract.” What I’m can offer is this: the Unconventional Guide To Choosing A Super Bowl Winner. I’ve broken down Sunday’s matchup along, let’s call them, “unusual” lines, the types of things the Football Gods take into consideration, to arrive at an infallible conclusion as to who will win cover in Super Bowl XLVII.

I’ve said enough, let’s get into it.



1. Better Harbaugh brother?

Baltimore: John
San Francisco: Jim

Incredibly, against all odds, the two opposing coaches in this year’s Super Bowl are brothers. Have you heard about this? Super Bowl 47 is the Harbowl, Baltimore John vs. San Francisco Jim. Truly amazing.

Now, I don’t consider myself a football historian, but to my knowledge something comparable has only ever happened once before in the sport’s storied existence: when Danny O’Shea and Kevin O’shea battled it out to see whose team would get to represent Urbania in the statewide Pee Wee football league. “One town, one team”. Likewise, “One Super Bowl, one winner.”

In the (all too relevant to predicting the outcome of Sunday’s game) movie, Kevin O’Shea, the coach of the vaunted Cowboys, is the older of the two brothers. Between the Harbaughs, John, the coach of the Ravens, is technically the eldest; he’s 50, while Jim is 49. However, for all practical brotherly purposes, Jim was the real first-born son. According to Sports Illustrated’s 2010 profile, Jim was always bigger and stronger than John, and the only one of the two that could clear the large tree in their front yard with a football pass. As a younger brother myself, I can tell you these facts are the only things that matter, much more important that actual age. What is an older brother but someone who has the superior physical strength to sit on you, take hold of your scrawny arms and cause you to punch yourself, all while gleefully yelling, “Stop hitting yourself. Why are you hitting yourself?” Clearly, in the Harbaugh house, John would have been the younger, smaller masochist, Jim his larger, concerned older counterpart.

Moving on: in Little Giants, Danny lives his entire life in the shadow of Kevin, a one-time Heisman Trophy winner and local hero. Similarly, Baltimore John spent much of his life unable to compete with the accomplishments of brother San Francisco Jim. Jim was always  the golden child, the quarterback who finished third in the Heisman voting and was selected in the first round of the draft by the Chicago Bears in 1987; the one who went on to have a fairly productive 14-year career, retiring with a 77 QB rating and falling one Hail Mary drop short of reaching the Super Bowl in 1995 with the Indianapolis Colts. On the other hand, John, trying to make it in college at Miami … of Ohio … as either a defensive back or receiver, blew out his knee twice by sophomore year and never made it to the pros.

His playing days over, John focused on making it in football the same way his dad had, as a coach. Here too, though, Jim ended up on the fast track while John languished behind. Jim retired from the NFL in 2001. Within a year he had his first coaching job as the quarterbacks coach for the Oakland Raiders. From there he secured a head coaching position with a D-IAA school, followed shortly thereafter by a gig with Stanford which quickly led to his current position as head coach of the 49ers in 2011. All told, Jim made the transition from NFL quarterback to NFL head coach in 9 years. It took brother John roughly 24 years to reach the same heights. After various coaching jobs in the college ranks between 1984 and 1997, he he put in 9 years as the special teams coach for the Eagles, followed by another year as the team’s defensive backs coach before finally getting the opportunity with Baltimore after Jason Garrett turned down the Ravens’ offer.

Jim’s Wikipedia entry has 87 references; John’s just 6. Clearly, John:Jim :: Danny:Kevin. Which means John’s Ravens have the edge over Jim’s Niners since in Little Giants – SPOILER ALERT – Danny’s Giants defeat Kevin’s Cowboys.

Fumblerooski! Fumblerooski! 

ADVANTAGE: JOHN HARBAUGH. One point for the Ravens.


2. Which city has the better iconic TV show?

BaltimoreThe Wire.
San FranciscoFull House.

Even if, in addition to Full House, on the basis of Jim Harbaugh’s one-episode guest appearance as Screech’s cousin,I were to graciously grant San Francisco Saved By The Bell (only the most important post-Ghostbusters and -Ninja Turtles television show of my pre-teens years) as well, The Wire still takes it. You may never have been honored with tan Emmy, The Wire, but don’t say you never won anything.

Nothing personal Kelly Kapowski, you’re still my #1 boo.

Cut. It. Out.

ADVANTAGE: The WireTwo points for the Ravens.


3. Which team’s players treat their fellow man better?
Remember when Kurt Warner improbably led the 9-7 Arizona Cardinals to the 2009 Super Bowl behind, as Bill Simmons called it at the time, the power of puppies and God? So do I. Karma, man, it matters.

On Baltimore’s side there is linebacker Brendan Ayanbadejo, who consciously exploited the Super Bowl’s magnified media attention to support the LGBT community and champion same-sex marriage. There is also quarterback Joe Flacco who, when asked his thoughts about the NFL’s decision to host next year’s Super Bowl in a cold weather city (New York) said the idea was “retarded”, quickly realized the potential insensitivity of using that particular word and immediately corrected himself. “Yeah, I think it’s retarded. I probably shouldn’t say that. I think it’s stupid.”

Somehow, Flacco has gotten flack(o) for his statement. I see it entirely the other way; Flacco should have been celebrated for catching himself instantaneously on the spot, almost as soon as the word had escaped his lips. The r-word is becoming the newest taboo term, like the n-word and the f-word for gays before it. Where it was once socially acceptable to throw around the word retard liberally anytime someone expressed an opinion you didn’t agree with, misspoke, or did something exceptionally dumb, recently a movement has developed to curb such willy-nilly usages of the expression. So Flacco slipped up, because for most of his life he never would have thought twice about using the word retarded to describe a decision he believed to be “stupid” and “crazy” – more politically correct words he would later use to describe the NFL’s idea. But, what better way to highlight the changing cultural attitude than to utter the word unthinkingly, hear yourself say in in real-time, recognize and acknowledge your mistake, and correct yourself? I say, job well done Flacco.

Fighting to undo the Ravens players efforts to promote equality and sensitivity is 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver who said on Wednesday that, “We ain’t got no gay people on the team. They gotta get up outta here if they do. Can’t be with that sweet stuff. Nah, can’t be in the locker room.” Asked to explain Culliver later said the statements reflected “thoughts in my head, but not how I feel in my heart”. That sound you hear is the Bay Area sighing in unison.

ADVANTAGE: AYANBADEJO & FLACCO. One point for the Ravens.

The only reason this category wasn’t a three-point blowout for the Ravens was because San Francisco Jim was on the cutting edge of treating female reporters equally when he was a player. In 1987 Jim, in his rookie year with the Bears, escorted Cheryl Raye-Stout into the locker room for their postgame interview even though in previous seasons she had been told by Chicago’s PR representative that she did not have access because she was a woman.

SCORE CHECK: Ravens 4, 49ers 0.


4. Wait, really? What about Ray Lewis?
Oh right, Ray Lewis went all Brick Tamland and killed a guy.

Ok, not quite. All Ray Lewis did was most likely try to cover up two murders committed by friends and entourage members of his. Yeah, that’s another reason the Ravens only carried the category by 1 point.

Upon further contemplation, my ruling on the blog is overturned. Involvement in the concealment of a double homicide is reason enough to decrease the Raven’s advantage here to zero.

Adjusted Score Check: Ravens 3, 49ers 0.

Do you know when a buddy of yours say, “Don’t say anything about the game, I’m DVR’ing it”, and then you look down at your phone and notice that said game is a blowout, and you’re not sure if you’re supposed to inform your friend so he doesn’t waste his time or if you should stay quiet like he asked? Well, I’m in the camp that I’d prefer to know, so I’m just going to come out and say it now: I’ve looked ahead, and the Niners aren’t going to make a comeback.

I’ll run through the remaining categories, but I’ll spare you the details:

5. Which veteran player in search of a ring would we rather see win one?

ADVANTAGE: Ed Reed edges out Randy Moss.

6. Better player name that doubles as a food reference?

ADVANTAGE: Dennis “Would You Like Some Hummus With That” Pitta beats out R. McDonald and Ted “Tonic And” Ginn because the “R.” stands for Ray, not Ronald.

7. Better phrase introduced into the lexicon?

ADVANTAGE: "Deer-antler velvet extract" narrowly edges out "Mosses", the term Michael Crabtree coined for big catches to pay homage to his teammate, because don’t over think things.

SCORE CHECK: Ravens 6, 49ers 0.

(Additional Note: For the sake of science, I think Ray Lewis owes it to the rest of us to come clean and tell us if he did or did not use this deer-antler substance. Who cares if he cheated? If spraying that stuff under his tongue twice a day was a contributing factor is enabling 37 year-old Ray Lewis to return from a completely torn tricep in only three months – and play well! – what could it do for the rest of us?! I demand answers!

As you can see, it’s getting pretty ugly for the Niners, and I’m as surprised as you are. I never saw this Ravens domination coming. Before calling it, though, there’s just one more category I’d like to explore, so I can say I was thorough:

8. What does Super Bowl history tell us?

Baltimore’s record in the Super Bowl: 1-0.

San Fran’s record in the Super Bowl: 6-0.

What can we learn from this? Absolutely nothing. Past performance never guarantees future results, and in this instance it’s even more meaningless than usual since the Ravens last Super Bowl appearance was over a decade ago and the 49ers haven’t made it this far since 1994. This whole paragraph is a not too elaborate ruse to mention the following statistic: only five NFL franchises are undefeated in the Super Bowl – San Francisco (6-0), Baltimore (1-0), Tampa Bay (1-0), New Orleans (1-0), and …. THE NEW YORK JETS (1-0).

ADVANTAGE: J-E-T-S Jets!Jets!Jets! Suck it Brady and Belichick. Two Super Bowl losses. Ha! Losers. All the points for the Jets.

FINAL SCORE CHECK: Ravens 6 , 49ers 0, Jets 

The Jets win.

Because the Jets never get to win.

Merry Super Bowl and Happy Wagering.

January 26, 2013
Miami Fan Hits Half Court Shot, Wins $75K, Makes LeBron Very Happy

Historically, prior to Friday night, there were only a few possible outcomes to the Random Fan Half-Court Shooting Contest:

1. The fan could make the shot.

2. The fan could miss the shot.

3. The fan could miss the shot but be tricked into thinking he made it.

4. The fan could technically miss the shot but be given credit as if he hit the shot because he defied the laws of reality along the way.

Now though, thanks to LeBron James, there’s a fifth possibility: the fan can make the shot, start to celebrate by himself and then be tackled to the floor by the best player on the planet who rushed the court in celebration.



image Word of advice for In-Game Stadium Entertainment Coordinators: there are three and only three types of games you ever need to put on during stoppages and half-times–

(1) Shooting contests of all kinds. If a random fan is throwing the ball towards the hoop, it’s perfect;

(2) Anything with children under the age of 12. Dress and dribbles, where the kids put on the players’ oversized uniform and race to make a layup…Fischer Price-hoop dunk competitions…full court five-on-fives…stuff like that;

(3) T-shirt tosses. Blast free t-shirts into the crowd, watch crowd go crazy. Too easy. Everything else is superfluous. Dancers, dunking trampolinists, unicycling plate spinners– all of it can go.

You keep it simple, you keep the masses happy.

Anyway: emceeing tonight’s event… imageimageimageBounce, DJ, bounce.

Our shooter for tonight’s contest, the man in Carmex yellow, Mike D: image
Shout out to shorts. The temperature in NYC has been hovering around 12 degrees for the past few days, but I remember shorts. Temperature in Miami Friday night, bee tee dubs: 72 degrees. Damn you, Miami’s tropical climate.


On a scale of 1 to Making-This-Half-Court-Shot, Mike D registers an In His Dreams:image 


Before we shoot, DJ Irie, put your hand on Mike D’s shoulder and remind him what he’s playing for: image


Ok, now, Mike D, you smile nervously because you’re about to take a half-court shot for $75K in front of 20,000 people: image


That’s perfect. DJ Irie, make sure he heard the stakes the first time so there’s no chance for a misunderstanding: image


Wait, DJ, how many did you say? image


So just the one? image


And how much is it worth again? image $75K. Great! We definitely all got it.


Mike, can you answer DJ Irie’s question, “Are you ready?”, in a shaky, monotone “yes" so we know for certain you really really got it? Go ahead, into the mic, so everyone in the arena can hear you… image Shout out to calf-high white socks with shorts. Missed those before. Downgrading Mike D’s chances from In His Dreams to No Way In Hell. (P.S. It’s ok to pick on Mike because he’s about to – spolier alert – win $75,000 doll hairs.)


Excellent. All systems are go. DJ, give the man of the hour the basketball and just get out of the way: image



No DJ, stop! We get it. $75,000 for sinking one shot from half court. You did your job already, back away from the shooter. image


Hereeeee goes… image


What up, hook shot.image Betting windows have closed. Final odds going off: When Pigs Fly.


It’s up… image


AN–TI–CI–PA–TION image (Between you and me: No way, right? I mean, even though I’ve already seen it go in, and I’ve already told you it’s going in, we can all agree, no way this goes in right? Right?)


Zippity doo dah. image 


Holy crap. image

(Love that one guy with his arms already raised. He knew before any of us.)


Holy crap! image


HOLY CRAP! image


Quick! DJ Irie: jump up and down and run around the court like a crazy person! imageimageimageimage


Robot Guy from Chappelle Show: do what you do!image


Great job you too! Now, CUE LEBRON. Remeber Bron Bron, this is the big finale. We’re looking for “Will Smith in Fresh Prince of Bel Air” levels of excitement. Don’t. Hold. Back. Heck, tackle the guy if you hafta. imageimageimageimage



BIIIIIIIIG SMILEimage



Go tell all your buddies how great this is…image



…go on, go!image

Just finished running the numbers: LeBron James – (“Taking My Talents To South Beach” x Losing To Dallas In The Finals) + (Becoming The Undisputed Best Player In The World x Winning A Ring) + Enthusiastically Celebrating A Random Fan’s Half-Court Shot = It’s ok to like LeBron again!


Oh, deez? 
imageJust a couple of novelty cheques. NBD.


Actually, on second thought … BD.
image


Very BD.
image


The next time you’re wondering what else LeBron James is better than you at, add CELEBRATING THE SIMCHAS OF OTHERS to the list. Lebron’s joy here is waking up to a snow day. It’s getting to the subway at the exact moment a train rolls up, finding a $10-bill crumpled up in your coat pocket, or having an empty middle seat next to you on a flight. It’s perfect cell phone service all the time, catching yourself before clicking on the semi-suspicious email link that would’ve given you a computer virus, and not having to set your alarm for the morning. His joy here is perfect. His joy here is everything.

January 18, 2013
Getting the flu and picking the Conference Championships games

On Tuesday, January 10th, 1997 Michael Jordan woke up in Utah with the flu. Told there was no way he would be able to suit up and play in Game 5 of the NBA Finals the next night, Jordan summoned all his strength, got his shit together and carried the Bulls to a victory over Jazz.

On Monday, January 14th, 2013 I woke up in New York with the flu. Telling myself there was no way I would be able to do anything that day, I summoned all my strength, got a blanket and pillow together and carried myself to the couch where I more or less stayed for the next four days.

In how each of us responded to an infectious RNA virus of the Orthomyxoviridae family, my haters finally had somewhere to point to to show a clear difference between M.J. and myself.

You can’t argue with the stats. The one AND ONLY ONE difference between me and Jordan – exposed.

Just damn it.

As to my picks for the Conference Championship games: keep in mind I haven’t been able to do any of my usual prep work this time around. I didn’t read the film breakdown columns or advanced stat matchup analyses on Football Outsiders. I didn’t read Bill Barnwell’s stuff on Grantland. I didn’t read Chad Millman’s piece about how and why the lines have moved. I didn’t even check out Odd Shark or Sportsbook Spy to see which sides the betting money has been coming in on. I’m operating blindly, relying entirely on gut instinct, what I’ve personally seen to this point in the playoffs and any hallucinatory visions I suffered during my illness, like when I looked out my window and thought I saw a gold miner successfully use his axe pick to protect his haul from a Falcon which had swooped down to steal it when his back was turned. Advantage: Niners … unless of course what I really saw was just a scraggily bearded hipster using his folded up Razor scooter to shoo a pigeon away.

Before you get too concerned about the picks I’m about to list below, consider that last week heading into halftime of the Seahawks-Falcons game I was 0-2 on the weekend, staring 0-3 in the face as Seattle was trailing 20-0, and looked like Tommy Lee Jones at the Golden Globes:


Ten feet away from your face, Mr. Lee Jones, Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell are improving like –


and


–and you look like just found out Dr. Richard Kimble survived the train crash? C’mon man! Don’t be too cool for school. Nobody likes the too cool for school guy.

ANYWAY: the point being that when it was business as usual I was lucky to escape 2-2, so just because I was sick this week and didn’t prepare as I normally might, maybe these picks will still do aaaaa’ite.

(Home team in capitals…)

San Francisco (-4.0) over ATLANTA
Normally I wouldn’t even consider betting on a team coming off a lights-out playoff game, the same way I wouldn’t even consider chasing a player coming off a historic year in a fantasy auction. In both instances you just know you’re paying a premium for an unrepeatable performance.

For example, prior to Adrian Peterson this past season, six running backs had rushed for 2,000 yards in a season. And six times those running backs suffered some kind of fall off the next year:

O.J. Simpson – 1973: 2,003 yards, 12 TDs. 1974: 1,125 yards, 3 TDs.
Eric Dickerson – 1984: 2,105 yards, 14 TDs. 1985: 1,234 yards, 12 TDs.
Barry Sanders – 1997: 2,053 yards, 14 TDs. 1998: 1,491 yards, 4 TDs.
Jamal Lewis – 2003: 2,066 yards, 14 TDs. 2004: 1,006 yards, 7 TDs.
Chris Johnson – 2009: 2,006 yards, 16 TDs. 2010: 1,306 yards, 12 TDs
If you spent first-running-back-off-the-board money the season after any of these guys had just run for 2,000 yards, by my count, you did absolutely terribly twice (‘74 O.J.; ‘03 Lewis), very poorly once (‘98 Sanders), and badly twice (‘85 Dickerson; ‘10 Johnson). It’s not any of those seasons in isolation is so horrible, it’s that none of those seasons is worth the cost of admission.

That’s the main concern with wagering on the Niners this week. When you consider that Vegas typically allots three points to the home team to account for home field advantage – meaning that if the Niners and Falcons are dead even and the two played a game in Atlanta, the Falcons as the home team would be 3-point favorites – the Niners are being viewed as 7.5-point favorites in this game. Is that a true representation of the difference between these two teams, or is that number skewed because Colin Kaepernick and San Francisco just played a pitch perfect game of football that in a million years they couldn’t replicate? As you ponder that, don’t forget that the 49ers were one muffed punt away from giving the ball back to Aaron Rodgers already down 14-7 last week.

And yet, even though I won’t be drafting Adrian Peterson next year, I’m picking the Niners here. Why? Well, because even when Atlanta was up 20-0 last week against Seattle, it didn’t ever feel like they were in control of that game. In fact, Seattle’s comeback felt less like a miracle and more like something was inevitable. Think about that for a second: a road dog was down twenty points in the playoffs and we all knew a comeback was on the way. That says something about the Falcons. Atlanta’s pass rush is nonexistent (and John Abraham, their best pass rusher is playing hurt this week), it’s pass defense pathetic. The only reason the game was close enough from the Falcons to be able to put together a last minute drive was because of some curious early play calling and clock management by the Seahawks, mistakes I don’t see Jim Harbaugh – who’s an infinitely better coach than Mike Smith – replicating.

Even though the 49ers will be able to move the ball and score, I don’t think this game is a blowout. Atlanta has plenty of weapons in Rowdy Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez to put up some points of its own, but on the Georgia Dome turf San Francisco’s fast defense will be even faster and it’ll be able to do enough for Niners to win…and cover.

Prediction: San Francisco 31, Atlanta 23

Baltimore (+9) over NEW ENGLAND
Last week I took Denver -9 over Baltimore in part because I thought the Ray Lewis Goodbye Tour had run its course already when the Ravens defeated the the Colts the week before. I miscalculated, badly. Just check out this building in downtown Baltimore:

The sentiment is not without good cause. Ray Lewis is only three months removed from tearing his triceps, an injury that would end the season of the normal man, and he has forty – FORTY! – tackles over the last two games. Unless his new, terrifying face mask delivers a pain-relieving agent the way Bain’s mask did for Bain in Batman, I have no idea how that’s possible.

I’m not making that mistake again. I won’t count Baltimore out of it because the team has already said it’s goodbyes to Ray Ray. Although I doubted the Ravens throughout the regular season, they seem to be the veteran team that was holding a bit back all year and is now turning it on for the run to the Super Bowl. What’s more, this particular Ravens team has always played Brady and The Hoodie tough. Per Mike Girardi, here are Brady’s stats over his last six games against the Ravens: 59.7 completion percentage, 7 TDs, 8 INTs, 75 QB rating, 15 sacks. In the last two matchups between Flacco and Brady, Flacco, who made me look as silly as Champ Bailey since I was hesitant to trust him against top tier competition, has been the better quarterback by almost any conventional measure (Flacco: 66.7%, 688 yards, 5 TDs, 2 INTs, 107 QB Rating. Brady: 64.9%, 574 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs, 80.8 QB Rating). Flacco and the Ravens have shown they can run with the Patriots, so 9 points seems a tad out of whack.

If you need more of a nudge to take the Ravens, Baltimore does have one more thing going for it, and I’m not talking about Gronkowski’s injury, although that certainly works in their favor. No, what I’m talking about is bigger than that. On Thursday, Baltimore native Robert F. Chew passed away. Who’s Robert F. Chew you ask? Maybe you’ll recognize him by the name of the character he played on The Wire, Prop Joe? That’s right. If you think I’m going to wager against Baltimore the week that Proposition Joe – Proposition is right there in his name! – died you must be crazy.

Prediction: New England 27, Baltimore 23

January 17, 2013

comedynerdsunited:

“Who’s On First?”: The Sequel (w/ Jimmy Fallon, Billy Crystal & Jerry Seinfeld)

Jimmy Fallon made everyone a little more of a comedy nerd by giving us the sequel we never knew we wanted. This is some sort of comedy milestone I’m sure.

January 15, 2013
Key & Peele Football Names (And Six That Are Real)

If you haven’t seen Key & Peele’s East/West College Bowl skit, go watch it. Like before reading on. For reals, go now. Here’s the link so it’s super easy. I know 3:32 in Internet video time is like three hours in movie time, but the skit is worth it because the only thing better than the names themselves is the characters Key and Peele lend to those names.

(Waiting for those who haven’t seen it yet…)

(Still waiting….)

(They’re probably cracking up by now…)

(Great, isn’t it?…)

Now that everyone is back here’s the complete list of the names Key and Peele came up with for the players … along with the names of six of the best real-life college football players mixed in for funsies.


D’Marcus Williums
T.J. Juckson
Khaseem Green*
T’variusness King
Tyroil Smoochie-Wallace
Damontre Moore*
D’squarius Green, Jr.
Ibrahim Moizoos
Jadeveon Clowney*
Jackmerius Tacktheritrix
D’Isiah T. Billings-Clyde
D’Jasper Probincrux III
Leoz Maxwell Jilliumz
Yawin Smallwood*
Javaris Jamar Javarison-Lamar
Davoin Shower-Handel
Hingle McCringleberry
L’Carpetron Dookmarriot
J’Dinkalage Morgoone
Xmus Jaxon Flaxon-Waxon
Saggitariutt Jefferspin
D’Glester Hardunkichud
Swirvithan L’Goodling-Splatt
Quatro Quatro
Star Lotulelei*
Ozmataz Buckshank
Beezer Twelve Washingbeard
Shakiraquan T.G.I.F. Carter
X-Wing @Aliciousness
Barkevious Mingo*!!!!
Sequester Grundelplith M.D.
Scoish Velociraptor Maloish
T.J. A.J. R.J. Backslashinfourth V
EEEEE EEEEEEEEE
Donkey Teeth
Torque [Construction Noise] Lewith
[The Player Formely Known As Mousecop]
Dan Smith

January 15, 2013
Pete Souza Is Taking Some Of The Best Pictures Of A President We Have Ever Seen


Like for serious.

THE BESTEST.




BAWSE.




PRESIDENT.




POPS.




COACH.




HEISMAN.




GOOSE!




PALS.




 : )




: )




Hai, Bill.




Hai, Jesus.




Picture Him Rollin’.




Stompin In His Air Force One.




Home Sweet Home.



For more pictures of the Prez, go to the White House’s official Flickr page.

For more of Pete Souza’s work, go to petesouza.com

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