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Wednesday, June 05, 2013

That Kidd Could Play...


In the 5 minutes of Boston sports radio I forced myself to listen to this week, I heard A) A host go on a rant about how hockey players who wear visors are "soft", only to then be told by every caller and texter that the player he was trying to say was "hard" & "old school", actually wore a visor himself AND B) A separate host on a different station having to look up on air the definition of a high sticking penalty because he and his co-host could not come to anything remotely resembling a consensus. Oh, and neither of them were the former back up NFL tight end I heard discussing why the Penguins were going to be tough to stop...

Seriously. How any fan of anything can stand that shit continues to be beyond me. But, here we are. And since we are here, I'm going to use this time to discuss things I actually know about and genuinely like. Like my man, Jason Kidd. And like how hilarious radio hockey talk has...oh, right. I already did that. OK, so then let's get to Jason Kidd, already. Along with my usual smattering of my pop culture nonsense. OK, it's mostly just Mad Men and whatever happens to be on HBO. But, whatever. Shit's still the jump off. And you know THIS!...MAN!

Enjoy...




For someone that's admittedly too young to have really experienced Magic Johnson and Larry Bird at the height of their greatness, Grant Hill and Jason Kidd, who both have recently announced their retirements, served as my unofficial tour guides through my basketball youth. Represented well by the fact that both Kidd and Hill were the last remaining active players from the original NBA Jam...

I started watching them while they were still in college; Jason making no look passes at Cal (above) and Grant winning titles in epic fashion with Duke (not pictured because SYRACUSE SYRACUSE ACC AHHHHH!). Not only were they two of the best players of their time, but it was that you could tell from a very young age that both of these unique players were destined for super stardom.  And, oddly enough, I actually started to lose interest in the sport right around the time they each started to fall out of their primes. Coincidence?! Absolutely, seeing as all my beef with that league stems from David Stern's arrogant and inept leadership. But it's fun to think of things in ways in which you think your life played a factor OR was at least growing and living right alongside these much larger series of events. Ya know, like how I was born in March of 1983 and have inexplicably been the biggest college basketball fan I've known since I was 8? Was Jimmy V screaming at me through the womb? We'll never know (he totally was), but I always think it's neat when I can make those "connections"...


But, back to the players. While Grant Hill was undoubtedly the man when healthy, with a skill set on par with the best players I've ever seen, it was Kidd's game that really captivated me and made me look at basketball in ways in a different light. In a time when the dunk and the 3 pointer were the only things that made the highlight reels, Kidd was making them with no look passes, full court alley oops and threads of the needle that seemed to defy time and space. He was an innovator. And while he didn't have nearly the success or impact that Magic had, I'd say Kidd did a great job of at least carrying the torch for the creative point guards for another generation. Sure, he's proven time and again that he's not a model citizen off of the court, and could sometimes be a whiny bitch on it (Less so than your average NBA Ted, though. So it's cool.), but I still think a lot of today's players would be well served to study his game. His game gets guys involved that work to get open, run the floor and are aware at all times. Three traits that seem to be severely lacking in the players in both today's collegiate and professional game....

But I'm not hear to preach about how every player should play the game like Jason Kidd, or even fawn over an NBA that I know I'll likely never see again. I'm hear to recognize two of the best ever, and one in particular, who's served to help mold not just my very limited game, but the way I viewed the game and what was actually going on. To put in plainly, he turned my checkers into chess, and for that I'll be forever grateful...

Now, here's to hoping he doesn't go all Mookie Blaylock in retirement... #toosoon #stilltrue #allegedly

Good luck, Jason. And Grant. Yeah. LET'S GO ORANGE. Oh, and don't push your kids into sports. They're just going to be ridiculously gifted only to get hurt all the time. Trust me. I know this from those documentaries I watched about race horses. You know there was this one horse that was getting $500,000 just to bang a chick horse for 5-10 seconds? IT's a crazy world, man. Some one should sell tickets...

Moving on to the entertainment side of things...

Might be time to smoke 'em if you got 'em there, Petey...
Another epic episode of Mad Men, on Sunday. As those centered around Don's trips to California tend to be. And with both the 6th season, and the series as a whole, starting to wind down, it seems that more questions are abound than ever. Will Pete leave to start his own agency? Will Don and Betty reunite for good? Who the fuck is Bob Benson? Hell, apparently there's even a group out there that believes Megan will meet the same Manson-esque fate as Sharon Tate! Can't say I'm of that opinion, in regards to the last theory, but I do very much look forward to this show's continued evolution, even as the end draws near. That, and I've learned not to try and predict what will ultimately be an outrageous and surprising plot twist. If you're right? Whoop-dy freakin' do. You ruined it for yourself. And if you're wrong? Well, then you probably spent too much time focusing on all the "wrong" things. Like, the first time I watched The Sopranos? I wanted Paulie to get clipped for such a long time, that it wasn't until I watched it again that I realized how great of a character he actually was...

So, yeah. Don't try to jump to any conclusions. Or even better, don't get too wrapped up in any of the possible conclusions that should pop into your head. Especially when dealing with a writer/creator that had a hand in one of the greatest shows off all time ending on a very muddy cliffhanger while the screen went to black and Journey played in the background. I'm just saying. When the series ends with Bobby Draper shooting Joan with Roger's gun while Bob Benson laughs menacingly in the background, don't say I didn't warn ya. And while I doubt a Journey tune will be the last thing we hear, I've also noticed Weiner's tendency of late to have episodes ending on a strong musical note. Another thing he's more or less brought with him from his time with David Chase, and a tactic I happen to find especially effective if not just flat our more interesting...

"What's so handy about it?"
SEASON 7: BOBBY'S GOT A GUN

Oh, and Sally will definitely be giving that shady Glen kid (Weiner's real life son) an expert handy in the background while all that aforementioned shit is going down. What? You don't think so? Well, doubt me if you will, but there's no way that I'll ever 'stop believin''. Annnnnd cut to black. OH!

Now, onto the not so good...

Check out all our hipsters standing right behind our hipster couch!
HIPSTER HIPSTER HIPSTER
Since I frequently give HBO so much love, I only feel it's fair that I point out where I think they may be falling short. In this instance, I'm talking about their hispter-doc series, VICE, and the Julia Louis-Dreyfus White House comedy(?), VEEP. Here's my beef:

With VICE, it's that they go waaaaay too far out the way to let you know just how uber-hispster they actually are. Not only do they host the show from their Brooklyn studio, which appears to just be one room in an old brick building (how Brooklyn chic). But they frequently weave shots of the hipster haven in and around their feature presentation. Presumably to give the feel of "traveling", but whatever. I don't think it works. And their overtly hispter reporters? Again, we get it. BROOKLYN HIPSTER GRASS FED LOCAL LOCAL BIKE RIDING SOLAR ROOF GARDEN VEGAN VEGAN KNIT BEANIE IN THE SUMMER GREAT PLACE TO LIVE! Making Biggie Smalls spin in his grave, over there. With all that gentrification and the soy milk and the whatnot. Ya know, if were thin enough to actually spin in that thing...or actually even dead. Oooooooooo....

Just make the show more about the actual topics you're attempting to cover, and I think we'll all be better off. Because VICE has certainly had plenty of interesting topics, as evidenced by their very entertaining and informative Twitter feed. See, that's the thing. While I just rather harsh with my hipster hating, there actually is a lot of good info there. It's just I'm a little disappointed that it seems they're getting hung up on some imagery that I feel is only taking away from their bigger message...

So to recap. Too many hipsters (meaning more than 1) can ruin a good thing. And that's what's happened here...

Poor Biggie... #RIP


As for VEEP, there's still one thing I can't figure out. Is this a show that wants you to laugh with it, or laugh at it? And yes, that's a serious question, not just my snarky way of saying it sucks. Were this CBS, or something, I wouldn't even bother asking something like that. I'd just assume it were terrible, and move on. But since it's HBO, I can't help but wonder if this is some next level concept where the show is supposed to be funny because the people involved with it blatantly aren't. Sounds like an absurd premise, but that's really all I've been able to glean from the two full episodes I managed to watch without biting off and swallowing my own tongue...
yadda Yadda YADDA! 

It's like what I've often thought in regards to the fantasy "experts" over at Yahoo or ESPN. Either A) They're intentionally putting out "dis-information" in some elaborate conspiracy in an attempt to make money on their own OR B) they actually have little to no idea as to what they're doing, yet are still somehow, despite their results showing exactly that, getting paid to do it. AKA America...

So, yeah. Either this is a genius level show that I just don't get (say, like a Monty Python for chicks) OR this is just yet another failed vehicle for the once iconic Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Who I'd still do, by the way. So there's always that. Must be that always alluring "shiks-appeal". Mmmmmmm. That Elaine. She just had it going on, didn't she? Lord knows I'd do anything to save that friendship...

Except watch another episode of VEEP. Yeah, sorry Lainey. But it's just not "sponge-worthy". Unless, of course, they decide to alter their premise, and follow in the trailblazing path of another female Vice Presidential production, 'Who's Nailin' Paylin?'. Then, yeah. Then, I think I'll probably have to give it another try. Ya know, just for posterity's sake...


Finishing up in the sports world, a few quick baseball thoughts:


MLB appears ready to turn their latest Brian McNamee loose on the masses, according to a report released last night by ESPN. With drug dealer turned turncoat, Anthony Bosch, apparently set to name names and unleash the latest in a long line of steroid scandals for the sport. My reaction? Whatever. I mean, I'm not indifferent, by any means. But A) It's not obvious to me that they have nearly enough evidence to make these desired charges stick and B) I just don't trust that any MLB investigation is going to do anything other than stir up a bunch of dust and make guys that are most likely cheating look like they're actually victims of a witch hunt. I mean, look at Braun. He came out of that last time smelling like roses, and I doubt this time will be any different...

There was a great scene in Frost/Nixon, where either Sam Rockwell or Oliver Platt's character says something along the lines of, "You're making people that didn't vote for him (Nixon), wish they could go back and do it! And this is a guy that was kicked out of office for blatantly and illegally spying on other Americans!" Well, that's how most of these MLB deals tend to work out. They turn too many cheaters into Robin Hood-like figures, and simultaneously force fans to lose both faith in the league to govern itself, and the players for continuing to expose the holes in the system...

Admittedly, it's a tough time to be a disciplinarian in modern day sports in terms of steroid use. But given it's track record, I'm in no mood to give MLB the benefit of the doubt. They nail this down, and actually come through with a lot of meaningful suspensions here, then maybe I'll start to take them seriously. Decades of deceit can't be wiped away with a single act, no matter how far reaching. And while this would be a nice step in the right direction in terms of cleaning up the game, I won't be holding my breath expecting the fire to be nearly representative of the Cypress Hill concert sized smoke clouds they're currently billowing out...

JBJ is A-OK!
As for the Red Sox. They're in first place, 2 1/2 clear of the Yanks, and owners of something like the 3rd best record in baseball. Meaning mostly that their unlikely bandwagon will be ripe for the PinkPucks to pile on once the Bruins latest never ending run finally comes to a conclusion. Oh, and here's a free tip for when you do: That little black guy? That's not Ellis Burks. You racist bastards. And I'd get used to him, based on Jacoby Ellsbury's health of late. And by "of late", I mean throughout the majority of his career...

This team has been fun to watch, though. And all kidding aside, this should continue to be a very entertaining summer...

Speaking of, I'm going to head out myself and enjoy that aforementioned summer. Hope you;re able to do the same. Thanks for stoppin' by, friends. And I'll catch you next time...


Teddy Williams...
100...

#$>

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