8.25.2004

the ragin asian gets some culture

so yesterday was the free day at the art institute so i went to go lose myself amidst all the statues of naked greek women. when i got to michigan ave, i found out that they had done a major remodeling of grant park and it was actually pretty amazing. they now call the area between washington and randolph millenium park and it has all sorts of neat stuff there. most notably was an art exhibition by uwe ommer called "1000 families". basically this guy went around the world, went to public places, looked for families and then asked if he could take their picture. the result is surprisingly...well...moving. the most obvious thing that strikes someone when viewing these pictures is how different the families look in their clothing, size, appearance, etc. but after a while, i did notice how happy they all seemed. i mean it seems that everyone had a huge smile on their face, and not to get super sappy on you, but it was a little reassuring that despite any hardships that these families faced, they could take time to pose for some complete stranger. also, in some of the african family pictures, the women weren't wearing tops.

the art institute was as usual stellar. i have some thoughts about art that i'd like to blog about in general, but i'm a little too hung over to be coherent about it right now.

on a related note, i have been eating non stop since i've been here. last night i went to harold's chicken shack right off the washington stop on the brown line. i don't know what they do to their chicken, but it's f-in good.

8.24.2004

somebody please revoke the wayan's brothers' license to make movies

ughh.

erik love - gigantic asswhip

my roommate has finally gotten his blog up and running. you can find here. i actually think that i like his blogger template better than mine, but now that he's used it, i can't risk people thinking that i agree with him on anything. in any case, he's kinduva political junkie (or as i like to call them, gigantic nerds) so i'm sure he'll be blogging on lots of election stuff, and by all accounts, it ought to be pretty entertaining. i also imagine that every now and again he'll end up blogging about boyz II men, his favorite musical act in the whole world (i know, nobody here gets it either. also, really really gay.) but you can find the link on the right hand side.

t cruise - gigantic asswhip

i saw collateral a few days ago at one of my college haunts here in the windy city.

it seemed that everyone who i talked to or read said that it was a great movie until the ending. oddly enough, i found it to neither be a great movie nor did have that bad of an ending. one thing's for sure though, tom cruise, despite his already limited acting range, was on autopilot and provided some vintage t. cruise moments.

it was a nice little movie, but it was somewhat predictable. jamie foxx was really good though i thought, and i'm looking forward to seeing him in the ray charles biopic, which by all accounts should garner him an oscar nod. and there are a lot of things that just didn't make any sense in the movie.

i think i would only recommend this movie to michael mann fans. because it is definitely classic michael mann chicanery.

8.17.2004

michael jordan also walked five miles up hill in the snow to get to the stadium in 1992

so the men's olympic basketball team apparently just isn't any good. and if you believe the zillion of sports columnists out there, it's because the NBA players are simply just a bunch of lazy self serving egomaniacial a-holes. i've seen a little credit given to the international teams in terms of their effort and all of that, but for the most part, the typical stance is to excoriate the team usa. before i get into the main point of this entry, i'd also just like admit freely that i'm one of those people. as far as i'm concerned, even if the men end up winning the gold medal, i don't think that any of the players on the team should be let back into the country for embarrasing our great country like that. i would actually advocate that they be thrown into abu gharib prison so that they can learn to appreciate how good they have it.

anyways, that being said, i'm going to put out some good old day syndrome coupled with some shock value, but i'll tell you exactly why today's men's basketball team is nothing like the 92, 96, or 2000 team. very simply, the other teams are better at this particular sport. i'll let that sink in for a while before i explain. i'll admit, it's quite a shocking statement, but i really do think that it is undeniably true.

now when i say this, i don't mean that i think that joe butthead from greece is a better player than amare stoudemire or tim duncan. obviously, both americans are literally head and shoulders better than anyone else that resides outside the us. what i do mean is that international basketball does not even remotely resemble nba basketball. as my friend fredo astutely pointed out, the reliance on zone defenses, the jump shot, the rules that dictate contact, etc, make international basketball closer to soccer than basketball as we know it. we could argue on and on about why this has happened, but the fact is, the nba is about getting your own shot off, while international ball is about not being athletic. and if you think about it, it makes complete sense. of course the rules of international play do not favor the more athletic, otherwise, the international teams would have zero chance to beat the us. anyways, in years past, the us has been able to compensate with the gigantic gap in usual basketball ability, shooting, passing, jumping, playing defense, etc. however, the world has obviously caught up in the fundamentals so the international rules which favor these things over athleticism.

don't get me wrong, i don't think that there's an international conspiracy aimed at bringing down usa basketball. i'm also not saying that the committee did not do a terrible job of selecting the team. they did, we definitely need more shooters. lastly, i am most certainly not absolving those players who declined invitations to play in the olympics. next time you start to say that kevin garnett is all about winning and being a team player, just remember that the ultimate embodiment of the the true spirit of competition came knocking at his door and he told it to go to hell. same goes for shaq, mcgrady and ben wallace, who is supposed to be the ultimate team guy on the championship piston team. great rebounder and shot blocker, but no less of a me first guy than kobe.

what i am trying to say, is that all of the outrage directed towards the us team is not only misdirected, but it is also blatantly racist (big surprise coming from me huh?). why are we so outraged that the men's team would lose a sport where the competition clearly has all kinds of advantages over our team. are we outraged that the men's baseball team didn't even qualify for the olympics? are we outraged that the women's gymnastics team despite being heavily favored ended up winning the silver? why are we not indignant that michael phelps did not win every event he swam in. the obvious and only answer is race.

this case is a rare example where the failure of the us men's basketball teams not only plays into our worst stereotypes about black men being lazy, selfish, and unmotivated, but it also violates our most sacred stereotypes about black people, that they are the greatest athletes in the world which justifies the commodification and exploitation of black people in the world of american sports. in other words a very racist ideaology manifests itself as it sickens americans to think that black folks can't seem to do the only thing that they are supposedly good at. like i said before, this argument is wholly without merit in the same way the argument that shaq kobe and a bunch of guys who couldn't start on half the teams in the nba could beat a team of superior athletes and basketball players from detroit. remember kids, heart has almost nothing to do with the outcome of sports. the reason the us team is losing is because we don't know how to play international basketball which although bears a passing resemblance to the ball we play here in the states, is actually a completely different game.

proving this is actually pretty simple. if euros or puerto ricans or chinese people were really this good at basketball they'd be overrunning the nba, and despite the growing number of foreign born players in the nba, it is dominated by americans.

anyways, i have more to write, but i've been at starbucks long enough and i need to get the car back to my mom. for those of you who don't know, i'm in texas for the first leg of my "bob across america" tour. my mom's phone line is on the fritz, so i had to pay t mobile 30 bucks for internet access at any starbucks across the country for the next month. anyways, i'll try to blog as much as i can, but obviously, i'll be limited by my ability to get to a t mobile hotspot.

8.13.2004

gig em frogs

ladanian tomlinson is about to sign the biggest contract for a running back ever. the former TCU (bob ngo hometown college) horned frog also made some interesting remarks about his re-signing with the san diego chargers, perennial nfl doormat and other athlete's penchant for leaving an organization to play on a winning team.
"In my opinion, that is what losers [empahsis added by me] do. They bail out on a team. [They say] 'So this team is not winning, it's not going anywhere, I got to get out of here.' I've never been that way, so why change now?"
obviously, it could be your typical professional athlete grandstanding, and we'll see how he feels if the chargers go another four years of 5-11 seasons, but i must say i agree with the sentiment 100 percent. i've never been a fan of good players requesting trades to winning teams or signing with better teams just to have a better chance of winning a championship. the worst is when people say that an athlete "deserves" a championship. if the athlete deserves a championship then he would have already won one. so ray borque, your stanley cup with the avalanche doesn't count. karl malone and gary payton, you are both sorry sonsofbitches. and reggie white, you may have won a super bowl with the packers, but that vince lombardi belongs to brett farve and not you.

8.11.2004

voyeurism

it's not like cnn was going to surprise me witha gross photo of the world's most obese man ever. i mean, the headline was as plain as day, "half ton man drops 321 pounds and counting". there would surely be a photo that would deepen my hatred towards fat people. but what do i do? i click on the link anyways, and i see the official face of fat. i can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to weigh a thousand pounds. anyways, here's a quote from the fatass, "Until recently, I wasn't able to see any light at the end of the tunnel." hey buddy i got news for you, until recently, you couldn't see anything below your twelve double chins.

am i going straight to hell? probably.

8.10.2004

crazy flips

mental note to self: specify the vegetarian option on all future wedding invitations.

baseball minutiae

espn's page three has posted a list of the music that baseball players have played over the stadium p.a. when they are at bat or when the enter the game. it's pretty neat and interesting. here are a few that i thought were pretty good or pretty lame. as you can imagine, a lot of hip-hop anthems, a lot of heavy metal, a lot of latin music for the spanish speakers, and a little bit of country. anyways, i think that music can definitely add to an entrance, especially when one song becomes identified with a particular player, like the way trevor hoffman used to come into the game to "hell's bells" or the way gagne comes into a game to "welcome to the jungle." the last time i went to a dodger's game, i got to see the gagne thing first hand and it was pretty cool because the crowd went totally nuts. anyways, if i were a major leaguer, i'm pretty sure that i'd come walking into either "9 to 5" by dolly parton or "f*** da police" by NWA (seriously though, i'd probably use the third verse of the snoop dogg song, "from the chuuuch to the palace", you know, the one where he asks, "3 14-inch rims is running on the side"). anyways, here are some of the more notable entries:

most popular - "yeah" by usher

most popular rock bands - metallica, ac/dc

lamest - mike sweeney: 1b, kc - "jesus freak" by dc talk (honorable mention: several players use creed songs)

funniest - mike redmond: c, fla - "baby got back" by sir mix-a-lot

strangest - (tie) travis hafner: dh, cle - "du hast" by rammstein and barry bonds (perhaps you've heard of him) - theme from "phantom of the opera" by andrew lloyd weber

most unrelated, yet totally obvious - mark sweeny: of, col - "beautiful girls" by van halen

gayest - eric byrnes: of, oak - "disco inferno" by the tramps

cleverest - raul ibanez: of, sea - "werewolves of london" by warren zevon (get it?...a-wooooo...ra-uuuuuuuuul)

my favorite - kaz matsui: ss, nym - the bruce lee theme

8.06.2004

i...don't...want...your...life

bill simmons has been an up and comer in my list of good sports columnists for about six months now. and with this column, he's turned the corner and become probably my favorite writer these days.

i have longed extolled the greatness of the movie varsity blues. aside from starring the greatness of the beek, i really feel that this is the best "so bad it's good" movie of all time. simmons does a great job of crystallizing what makes the movie so great.

my only complaint about the column is that there is no mention of the genius use of the foo fighters song, "my hero" during the beginning of the final climatic scene. when i saw the movie, i already liked the song, but seeing it used in the mise-en-scene so perfectly vaulted that song to my top ten of the 1999.

anyways, bravo bill simmons on documenting the importance of varsity blues.

blog meta-note: i've abandoned trying to summarize what is in any of my outbound links. from what i've seen in the blogging world, that if bloggers want to comment on the content of an outbound link, they try to summarize the content for the casual reader. i'm guessing that this is supposed to prevent readers from stopping reading if they don't know what the blogger is talking about. that's a bunch of horsecrap if you ask me. i'll tell you what i told the kids in my stats class, i'm not interested in teaching people who aren't wiling to put in the time and effort it takes to learn.

8.03.2004

basketball jesus

i just got back from UCSB's famed thunderdome. michael jordan holds his youth basketball camp there. every night, the counselors, a group composed of college basketball stars and a few nba players have a scrimmage that is open to the public. of course, it's kinda neat to watch future nba stars screw around on the court, but on top of that michael jordan plays too. in other words, i got to see basketball jesus play ball.

i never got to see mj play when i lived in chicago, and even though he's over the hill and it was an exhibition, i have to rank it right up there with one of my great sports moments. i feel like a teenage girl when i gush over someone, but if there's anyone who ever deserves it, it is his airness. his playing style is so distinct, it was a real kick to be able to see it in person. the great thing was that he was actually kinda lazy. not hustling back on defense, missing badly on his jumpers, and not worried about winning or losing, that kind of thing. how many people can say they saw the greatest basketball player ever doggin' it on the court. anyways, the highlght for me was he had jared jack of georgia tech's final four squad one on one. he pulled that move where he palms the ball over his head like he's gonna shoot, then pulls it back and blows by the guy for an uncontested dunk. i'm still smiling about it now. anyways, i forgot to bring my camera, but rest assured i will be going again and i'll post the pictures when i get them in.