pop culture quick hits

hey guys, sorry again for the lack of real posting. i'm trying to change up the layout of my blog and i'm having some trouble. CSS is a bitch to figure out. anyways, here are some things i've seen in the past few days.

1) it turns out that aaron spelling's dramas were based on his own life. after his death on saturday, members of the family have been releasing press releases slamming each other. not that is news, as it was well known that no one in the family ever got along. i just find it amusing that a family would have the post-death-of-patriarch argument via press release. remind me to call my publicist next time my aunt asks me when i'm going to get married.

2) britney poses for naked photos, but it doesn't count for my britney will appear naked prediction, as she needs to pose in playboy with all her naughty bits showing to fulfill the prophecy. however, we should all be encouraged as her posing kinda naked in bazaar shows that she's getting more and more comfortable with the idea of being naked on camera. the britney spears playboy prediction is looking better than ever.

3) sleater-kinney break up and kevin richardson leaves the backstreet boys. i really don't have an opinion on either one of these things by themselves, but somehow there's some kind of beautiful cosmic symmetry about the fact that these things happened at about the same time.

4) leo di caprio's latest movie "blood diamonds" is getting some flak from diamond industry flaks who think that it makes the diamond industry look bad. the point of contention is centers around conflict diamonds, those diamonds that have been used to fund civil strife and genocide in politically unstable regions of africa. obviously, they fear that this may hurt diamond sales over the holiday. according to the diamond industry trade group, movie doesn't show how the industry has cleaned up its act and made it harder to buy and sell conflict diamonds. per their press release:
The WDC and its coalition are urging the studio and the filmmakers to present this story in the proper historical context so they can relate how conflict diamonds have improved since then.
as you might guess, i find it quite hypocritical that the diamond industry would ask for proper historical context. i'd doubt that they'd want the general public to understand the proper historical context in which diamonds became valuable. you can read a very excellend piece that appeared in the atlantic in 1982 here. basically, diamonds are not nearly as valuable or scarce as you would think. the diamond industry basically put on a blitz publicity campaign to make it seem like the diamond is the traditional symbol of love. in other words, the idea that the diamond is the symbol for love sine qua non is completely made up. and that is how the diamond industry cornered the engagement ring market. diamonds aren't rare, and they really aren't that useful, and it is impossible to sell them used. you may as well buy your fiancee a national secratries' day card, because they're both the same thing, something made up by corporate interests with the sole purpose of gouging you out of your money. seriously, click on the link, and read the story. afterwards, i suspect that like me, you'll resolve never ever to buy a diamond. i ain't nobody's sucka, especially debeers' sucka. don't you be either. in any case, i hope that leo and director ed zwick stick to their guns and don't change the movie.

(blog metanote - it's been a while since i've really commented on the world of pop culture. this was actually a conscious decision by me as it felt like there were already seventeen thousand other blogs that give similar opinions to the ones i do, so i didn't feel like replicating their work. however, with the end of the NBA playoffs, we are hitting the dry season as far as sports goings-ons, so the ragin pop culture blogger shall return.)


i'm back

hey kids, sorry it's been so long. the whole transition from spring quarter to summer vacation is always pretty busy. anyways, i've got plenty to blog about these days to expect me to step it up soon. in the meantime, i'll leave you with this fun link.


still MFFL

what can i say? the mavs lost and there's not a damn thing i can do about it. do i feel that the officiating was capricious, egregious and outrageous? of course, i'm a fan, how can i not feel that way. but at the same time, i recognize that dallas had several opportunities to win three of the games that they lost. dirk missed a whole lot of shots this series. so did josh howard. and dwayne wade made alot of them, albeit from the free throw line. anyways, this reminds me of why i prefer my teams to be dominant, so that i never have to really worry about losing the big one and having to sit with it for a whole freakin' year. even more so, why it's so hard to be a sports fan when part of that equation means being disappointed so greatly, and then realizing no matter how good of a fan you are, you have no material effect on the outcome of the game.

anyways, congrats to any heat fans out there. i can bitch all i want about how the mavs are a better team, and how this series turned on two calls that were probably really really bad calls, but at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that you have the trophy. as for the mavs and the future, i say keep this group together. maybe get keith van horn off the books and look for someone who can score in the paint, although truth be told there are only about four guys left in the NBA who can still do this. no no no, keep the core together. next year, josh howard is going to be better, devin harris is going to be better, desagana diop is going to be better, and most importantly, dirk is going to be better. he's only 28 you know. and don't forget that he's german. i fully expect this team to take it to the next level next year, win the division, and sweep their way to their first title.

and now for the bitching about the officiating part, which as a good fan, i am obliged to do. like i mentioned earlier, this series could have very well gone the other way had these two calls been made correctly. what's really frustrating for me is how the officiating style changed from the rest of the playoffs to this series. before we had a fast paced game where players were allowed to do the things that they are supposed to and those players who relied on poor basketball skills were punished. in other words, offenses flowed better, defense was more exciting, and games didn't devolve into rugby scrums. i don't think it is a coincidence that the finals were a much blander and not as entertaining brand of basketball. my main problem involves the two fouls involving dwyane wade or however the hell you spell his name. the phantom foul on dirk in game five was horrible. as fredo and i discussed, what basically happened was that wade had lost the handle and was flailing around completely out of control, and the officials bailed him out. some people say that devin harris had fouled him and there's even a picture floating around the internet that supposedly shows him fouling. however, in the picture, wade is already in the air, which means that harris got him after the whistle had already blown. even if there was any contact, we've seen a lot, and i mean a whole effin' lot worse not get called at the end of the game. how any ref calls it, also let's not forget that the ref that called it was at half court, and was much further away than the other officials, is a mystery to me. anyways, i've taken it upon myself to recreate the scene. erik, the white guy with the mavericks shirt on is dirk nowitzki. me, the ragin' asian with the headband on is dwyane wade. sorry i don't have a basketball and we needed at least one sports related prop in there. also, we reviewed the tapes for hours to ensure painstaking 110% complete absolute truthy accuracy. you can rest easy knowing that these photos are almost like being at the game and seeing it with your own eyes.

dirk was at least two feet away and wade flinging the toward the heat bench hoping that riley can hide the ball in his thinning hair lacquer. result: foul on nowitzki.

the second call that i'd like to talk about is in game six. mavs down by three, with a minute left, wade has the ball and penetrates, he clears nowitzki with his right arm. again, we'll recreate the scene for you here.

calling upon a move that he learned in pop warner football in chicago, wade uses his right arm to stiff arm an unsuspecting nowitzki. also note the blatant disrespect of the rev. dr. martin luther king, jr. result: foul on nowitzki.

the point is wade was getting calls that i'm not sure that jordan would've gotten in his prime. those calls go the other ways, there is no doubt in my mind that the mavs are sipping champagne right now instead of me taking hot sports action photos. anyways, there were a couple of other instances where i felt that wade blatantly got the benefit of the doubt. i'd like to remind you that these photos have been painstakingly recreated to ensure complete accuracy. you be the judge.

here we see wade making fist to jaw contact with nowitzki. it's a physical game, but this at least should have been called a jumpball. result: foul on nowtizki.

now here we see wade applying his patented sleeper hold on dirk. i could be wrong, but i'm pretty sure that martial arts based submission holds are grounds for a loose ball foul. result: foul on nowitzki

now this is just plain dirty. flagrant 1, dirk should be at the line shooting two, one for each testicle. result: foul on nowitzki.

what can i say, the photos don't lie. we'll see whoever the eastern conference can muster up next year. MFFL, bitch!


ebay fun

now this is just in bad taste. giggle.

more sports quick hits

1) seriously, what the hell is going on with duke? jj redick gets pulled over for a DUI. here's his most excellent douchebag mugshot.

what i like best is the half popped collar. do you think that it's written in the student code of conduct of hoity-toity schools that all white guys have to have their collars of their polos popped at all times? and do you think it is located after the section that says its ok to rape people?

on the one hand, redick is only a late lottery to middle round first round pick, and two he's done with school so it's not like duke can suspend him or anything, so the tepid reaction by the media is not that big a deal. but you have to wonder, what if rudy gay had been pulled over instead?

2) here's an interesting piece about how shoe companies operate may be in violation of title IX. the gist of the argument is that all these shoe companies are providing some boys high school basketball teams with shoes, but not the girls team. therefore, the schools are not providing equal access to sports for both genders. it's a tricky legal argument, cuz the letter of the law is that schools need to provide "equal benefit" to both boys and girls, so clearly, even though it is the shoe company providing the shoes, since the school is accepting the shoes, they need to provide the same benefit for the girls. however, the spirit of the law is that schools can't prevent girls from participating, which schools aren't doing.

anyways, this could all be avoided easily by the shoe companies need to do is provide shoes for the girls too. even though girls' sports aren't as popular overall as the boys' sports, it still exposing the youth to their name brand. a whole new market to sell to. it actually makes business sense. however, my hope is that someone sues for two reasons. first, it's the fair thing to do. if you can secure free shoes for the boys, you can do so for the boys as well. second, it will bring alot of attention to the scam of expensive shoes, as i'm pretty sure anyone can show that athletic preformance and winning are completely uncorrelated with shoe brand.

3) the NBA player's union is against blood testing for human growth hormone, so they're basically giving players the green light to keep using it. i'm starting to think that we're never ever going to be able to figure out a good way to deal with steroids.

4) shaq is close to losing complete interest in this series. since it's the finals, i expect the heat to be able to muster one win, but as i said before, this thing is over. MFFL in 5. yeah i know a prediction after the series has already started is stupid, but i just wanted to let you know that i've already started celebrating.

5) this one is for my roommate, who has the unfortunate happenstance of being a detroit pistons fan. fredo and i were talking about how effective the double team has been for the mavs. we decided that the main reason for this is two fold. first, shaq is slower than he used to be and his free throw shooting is so bad, that shaq can't still score against the double team like he used to. second and more importantly, when he does pass out of the double team, which he does extremely well (watch the game tape, he almost always hits the open guy), the open guys that he is passing to are antoine walker and jason williams, and occasionally gary payton. real quick i heard a good line on the radio about the reason why riles is trotting out gary payton is that the league generally frowns upon teams having only four players on the floor. anyways, we realized that the idea of double teaming is not really rocket science, yet the pistons insisted upon playing shaq straight up with ben wallace, where shaq promptly proceeded to eat ben wallace for lunch. i'm usually not a fan of the idea of psychological reasons why teams lose, but in this case, i think that the pistons' hubris got the best of them as they felt that they were the detroit effing pistons and they're defense was good enough as is. probably most of the blame should be directed at the coach, flip saunders, but at the same time, the pistons were really full of themselves after the all star break. no matter however, as i'm sure that the mavericks could have handled the pistons as well. seriously, MFFL!


sports quick hits

1) the pittsburgh steelers season is over before it began ben roethlisberger gets into a motorcycle accident. according to the news reports, big ben wasn't wearing a helmet. i've never understood the concept of not wearing a motorcycle helmet much less the concept of riding a motorcycle. in my lifetime, i've known about four guys who owned and rode motorcycles. all four of them walk with a limp from motorcycle accidents. now according to the story, ben supposedly only has a broken jaw and should be ready by the first preseason game, but if my anecdotal evidence is any indication, i'm not sure if a bad motorcycle accident is anything you ever fully recover from. just ask kellen winslow jr. and without rothlisberger, the steelers are cooked. go ahead and give me the under on the preseason over/under. geez motorcycles are so dangerous. i don't know how anyone can not be scared of killing themselves on those things. i'm not saying that big ben deserves to get in an accident but eff you if you expect me to feel bad for someone who is dumb enough not to wear a motorcycle helmet. go cowboys!

2) the US is still not any good at soccer! after losing to the czechs, they just gave me another reason to not care about the world's most popular sport. what's funny is a couple of weeks ago, landon donavan and a bunch of the US players were on the cover of sports illustrated. as usual, the story was how this was the squad that was going to be successful in world cup play and would command the respect of the world. landon donavan had this to say
There's still this reluctance around the world to admit that we're any good at soccer
ummmm....after all, i guess we did come in fifth last time out. i just think it's silly that soccer players expect americans to back them even though they have yet to even come remotely close to doing anything in the tournament. it seems to me that all soccer apologists want to blame soccer's wild unpopularity in the states on americans. that americans are too stupid or violent to appreciate the beauty of soccer. i hated that argument cuz i knew it wasn't true. i used to blame the game being inherently less exciting than other sports (which i still probably believe), but now i realize more than ever that it's not that the sport is not fun to watch, it's that watching crappy americans who can't play is not fun. i'd watch soccer if it meant being able to watch ronaldihno do his thing, but i'm not going to watch if it means watching landon donavan not score for ninety minutes. anyways, i find it funny that an american soccer player should whine about not getting any respect when the he's done absolutely nothing to deserve it. i wonder if it's any coincidence that the douchebags that play soccer in high school tend to be from this upper class whitey group? one word: entitlement.

3) more on soccer as trinidad and tobago battled sweden to a 0-0 tie. as if a 0-0 game wasn't bad enough, the reaction from everyone was that for trinidad and tobago this was a huge step and it was good as win. i'm sorry but i didn't know that not scoring and not winning was cause for celebration. last i checked, the goal of the world cup was to win matches, not tie them. this is an example of what i like to call "the celebration of mediocrity". i mean i guess it nice that t and t didn't lose, but the way everyone talked about it, you'd think they cured cancer or something. i just can't support a sport that would celebrate a team not losing. jesus i hate soccer.

4) speaking of not losing, let's segue into dallas mavericks talk. jinx schminx, the heat are done. actually, the dallas mavericks are the perfect antidote to soccer (which is why more amerians are watching basketball than the world cup). what i find very interesting about the mavs is that they have yet to play the respect card, and from what i can tell, they won't need to. for the past three years, we've had to deal with the teams in the finals claiming that no one is giving them any respect and how they are motivated to prove their critics wrong. it's such a tired argument and one that has absolutely no merit since basically everyone claims that nobody gives them respect. but the mavs don't really play this card at all. with the exception of maybe mark cuban on his blog, i haven't heard a single, "nobody thought we could do this" or "we want to prove to people that we're the best team". hell, pat riley said something to the effect that people were counting his team out when they were 3-1 up over the pitsons this year (which is completely ridiculous). my larger point is, the concept and the problem of not getting respect as employed by athletes and coaches is something that is completely fabricated by self-centered jerks who always think that when things don't go their way that it must be someone else's fault (i.e. some pistons fans that i know). so it's kinda weird and refreshing to see the mavs still saying all the right think but not making up crap about respect to motivate themselves. unlike the US soccer team, they seem to understand that if they win, that they will get respect. MFFL!


sports quick hits

1) roger clemens started his "comeback" in a minor league game yesterday. i just wanted to point out how farcical i think it is to consider this a comeback. when jordan took two years off to play minor league baseball, now that was a comeback. martina hingis playing again after not playing for two years, again a comeback. roger clemens missing the first two months of the season because he wanted to skip training camp...that's not a comeback.

2) jason grimsley got busted by the feds for human growth hormone. these steroid stories all have a tomkat/brangelina overkill to it. but if there's one thing that we probably know for sure now, is that people who we suspected of doing steroids but never got officially caught (giambi, bonds, lance armstrong) probably did human growth hormone.

3) robert lapchick released his annual minority hiring report card for sports and as usual, the NBA has lots of african-americans in front office and coaching spots, while the other sports do not. as usual, people write one story about it and then forget it. what someone needs to do is to do an analysis of the findings across time to see how things have progressed since the first time they did it. i suspect that i will be the one to do it once i get out of grad school.


MFFL update

surely by now, most of you have heard that my beloved dallas mavericks will be in the NBA finals against the miami heat. and while there's still one more series to be played, there is something to be said about just making it to the last round. you see, when you lose in the final round, there's really nothing to wonder about, whereas if you lose in the next to last round, you have to sit around all off season pondering if you could have beaten the other team that made the finals. for example, pistons fans, no doubt believe that ben wallace could have put the clamps on dirk, and easily beaten the mavs, while suns fans are almost sure that there small ball would have worked against a slow team with a bunch of bad decision makers like the heat.

anyways, back when i was a kid, the mavs made it to game 7 of the western conference finals and they lost to the lakers. i do remember distinctly not feeling that bad about it, because after all, these were the showtime lakers and there's just no way that a team like that could have lost to the mavs. now looking back on it now, i realize even more how silly it was of me to entertain the idea of ro blackman outdueling magic freakin' johnson.

i might say the same today about either shaq or dwayne wade, but as fredo and i have discussed, i look out at the heat and i see jason williams, gary payton, and antoine walker, all just gigantic defensive liabilities, and i feel pretty good about the mavs' chances. even more so however, is simply jason williams' decision making ability, and it's hard to win if you're point guard is actually not good enough to start on half of the teams in the NBA.

anyways, like i said before, i'm just in a haze of euphoria that my hometeam has made it to the end. if the mavs lose, i'm sure i'll be crushed and it will hurt, but like i said, it's been more than 10 years since the cowboys won their last superbowl. like most sports fans, i rooted for teams, like the lakers or the red sox. but this is truly my team, not one that i've adopted for the sake of rooting for someone. and i'm damn happy to be watching the finals of anything and have a real authentic rooting interest.

p.s. i dropped 20 in the offseason on the mavs to win it all at 18-1. vegas has dallas as a 4.5 point favorite for the first game, and it has dallas at -155 and miami at +135. in other words, gamblor seems to like the mavs chances as well.



pedophile gets punked!

if you missed the dateline from last week about the pedophiles...ugghhh, go here or here and watch someone's life effectively ended. i know that child molesting isn't really funny, but i can almost assure you that while simultaneously being disturbed and disgusted, you'll giggle a little bit when you hear the word, "towel" in the first clip. god bless youtube.