Archive for December, 2010

REMEMBERING A “VANILLA CHILD”

December 28, 2010

“It was Saturday nite, the moon was bright, Shining down, it’s harvest light.”

Actually, it was Tuesday night, January 29, 1991 when a group of us went to the supper club, The Strand (it’s a Bristol Farms supermarket now) in Redondo Beach, CA, to see the one and only Teena Marie in concert. I remember the date because it was the night after the American Music Awards and I was working for MC Hammer. I was in charge of the Los Angeles Bust-It Records office, based at the iconic Capitol Records tower in Hollywood, and to say that it was a good time to be in the music industry would be an understatement. Records were selling, we had come off two incredible North American tours in 1990, Hammer had opened the AMAs and won five awards and in a couple of months, we would embark on a tour that would take the Hammer posse to Australia, Japan and Europe. So, I decided to celebrate by treating some folks to a night out on the town, complete with a few of E. J. Jackson’s stretch limos. I’m not going to say what it cost but, American Express loved me that night.

Let me step back for a moment: I had met Teena on a few occasions when she first came out because at the time, her backing band was label mates Ozone, and I knew their drummer Paul Hines. Paul and I went to the same barber shop – I had hair back in the day – and we’d become friends. I’d hung out at a few of their rehearsals and heard most of her first album before it was released. To say that I was impressed by her talent and spirit is to say that Yao Ming is a tall Chinese guy.

Anyone who knows me , knows that I LOVE music and the people that are blessed with the gift of song. Before I met/heard Teena, the one question that stuck in my mind was, who or what inspired Carole King to write (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman. I mean, where does a young (25 at the time) Jewish woman from Brooklyn get that song? After hearing Teena sing for the first time, I had another question: where did a little-bitty white girl from Venice, CA get that voice? It had to come directly from God who decided that she and she alone could handle it and would know what to do with it. How right he was.

So, there we were at The Strand. The place was packed, the food was good, the liquor was flowing – this was when I still drank – and the mood was festive. Then, it happened. The lights dimmed, the band took their places, the announcer did his thing and right before Lady T hit the stage, I told my tablemates, “Just to warn you ahead of time, I’m not responsible for my behavior once she goes into Square Biz.” Only later on did they realize that I wasn’t joking.

What was that old Parliament/Funkadelic song? Oh yeah, Tear The Roof Off The Sucker. Well, that’s exactly what Teena Marie did that night. She tore the roof off The Strand. Every hit, every album cut, every lick and note were on the one! The audience knew every word and we sang along with her and the band. And yes, when at the end of the set, when the first note of Square Biz came out of the speakers, I lost my mind! I might have danced all the way back home if not for the limo in the parking lot. That night, Lady T threw down with the force of a Category 5 hurricane.

I saw her several other times both before and after that particular show and never left disappointed. The last time was February 2008 at the Nokia Theater at LA Live. Her co-headliner was Keith Sweat and he gave an opening set that covered all his hits. He was great and if the show had ended then, you would have had your money’s worth. BUT, this is LA and it was Teena Marie’s night from start to finish. All the hits and then some. Her beautiful daughter Alia Rose joined her onstage for a song and it was plain to see Teena’s love and pride shining through.

Like so many around the world, I was saddened to hear the shocking news of Teena’s passing at the relatively young age of 54. I feel for her family and close friends because of their personal loss. I also feel for her fans who have lost one of their favorite artists. But, I also feel happy for Teena because unlike so many of us, she got to live and fulfill her dreams.

God bless and keep you Mary Christine Brockert aka “Lady T”. You are in our hearts and souls forever and a day.

NBA REVIEW – WEEK 9

December 26, 2010

 PHOTO OF THE WEEK

Lakers put up a sorry effort against Heat

Kobe Bryant in the 4th quarter of Saturday’s loss to Miami 

PHOTO OF THE WEEK – NON-NBA DIVISION

Yes, that’s a Pittsburgh Steelers thong. And yes, you can buy it, or one just like it with your favorite NFL team’s logo, for the lady in your life or yourself. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to blow my brains out. 

QUOTES OF THE WEEK

“It’s like Christian holidays don’t mean to them anything anymore. Just go out and play and entertain the TV. It’s really weird, but it is what it is. We have to go to work and make the best of it. “I don’t think anybody should play on Christmas Day. I don’t understand it.” – Lakers coach Phil Jackson reiterating his opposition to NBA games on Christmas.

“I have no comments at all on Christmas Day games. My suggestion to my staff this morning was that I think the NBA is so important to Christmas that what we really need to do is increase from five games to 10, and we need to start them at midnight on what would have been Christmas Eve and play them all through the day so there’s not a minute of Christmas Day where there’s not an NBA game on TV. Because, it’s great.

The NBA is Christmas, to me, anyway. It’s what it’s all about.” – Magic coach Stan Van Gundy sarcastically talking about playing on Christmas Day. (Van Gundy has said the Magic were hit with a “hefty” fine for his critical comments last year about playing on the holiday.)

“That was embarrassing!” – Hall of Famer and ESPN analyst Earvin “Magic” Johnson after the Lakers were blown out at home by the Heat on Christmas Day.

THEY SAID IT

“I do the same game-day thing. Starting at 2:30 helps. Guys with young kids, they’re up at 5:30 in the morning, if you remember young kids’ Christmases. I have teenagers, we have to wake them up now on Christmas and remind them that there are gifts so that I can go to the arena. Afterward, we have a big family team dinner at the hotel, which is really nice. 

I agree with any player who says he wishes we didn’t play on Christmas. But we do and it’s just part of our business. I think we know that when we sign our contracts, and we all sign on, and the fact that you guys are going to be there too makes it that much better.” – Celtics coach Glenn “Doc” Rivers on the Celtics’ Christmas Day regimen for their 2:30 p.m. game at Orlando, where Rivers makes his offseason home with his family.

“It was only a matter of time before they figured things out.” – Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle on the Miami Heat’s recent 12 game winning streak which ended Monday in a loss to Dallas.

“It happened in the past, it happened in the present, it happened in the future. Not just for him. All players (get ejected). That happens a lot of times. You see guys get ejected. Rip Hamilton got ejected (recently) in Detroit. Bob Cousy got ejected … The only person who never got ejected was Jesus.” [Artest was asked if he had checked Jesus’ box scores.] “No ejections. He was 10 for 10s, a lot of 20 for 20s (in shooting). Perfect from the free-throw line. Infinity rebounding stats.” – Laker Ron Artest when asked what he thought about teammate Kobe Bryant’s ejection from Tuesday’s night loss to the Bucks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“This isn’t going to be easy. If it was easy to three-peat, you’d see a lot of teams do it in the past. That’s why so few teams have been able to do it. If we’re going to do it we’re going to need to get our butts in gear.

The game has to be the most important thing. You have to focus on it, you have to play every game like it’s your last, you have to be attentive to what’s going on. This is serious stuff. You don’t just have two rings and say we’re satisfied with what we got. I’m not rolling with that. I’m not going to let that slide.

I think these [Christmas Day] games mean more to our opponent than they do us. I think we need to get that straight. I think we need to play with more focus and put more importance on these games. I don’t like it.” – Laker Kobe Bryant after Saturday’s loss to the Heat at Staples Center.

THEY SAID IT – NON NBA DIVISION

“For we are not a nation that says, ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says, ‘Out of many, we are one.’  We are a nation that welcomes the service of every patriot.  We are a nation that believes that all men and women are created equal.  Those are the ideals that generations have fought for.  Those are the ideals that we uphold today.  And now, it is my honor to sign this bill into law.” – President Barack Obama to 500 guests at a packed signing ceremony for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” at the Interior Department on Wednesday morning.

“I’ve never been around anything like this in my life. It’s about as empty as you get to feel in this business, right there.” – New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin after Sunday’s stunning come-from-ahead loss to the Eagles.

“I think my stubbornness, hard-headedness and stupidity is what has allowed me to play for 20 years.” – Vikings QB Brett Favre after Monday’s night loss to the Bears that he left after suffering a concussion.

SAY WHAT?

“Rajon Rondo [Celtics] is the engine that stirs the drink.” – Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Charles Barkley. Ah, I love Sir Charles who continues to prove that while he may have played basketball at Auburn University, he sure as hell didn’t pass any of his English courses. If he had any.

THE “CHILE, PLEASE” AWARD GOES TO…

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, who said “I just don’t remember it as being that bad”, when asked about the tensions of the civil rights movement in his home state in a lengthy Weekly Standard profile of the potential 2012 GOP presidential candidate. Barbour went on to say that he also felt terrible when he heard the news that civil rights leader Medgar Evers had died after tripping and falling in his driveway one night. Okay, I might have made that last one up.

STORY OF THE WEEK 

Miami Heat is sports world's newest super-villain, and LeBron James is public enemy No. 1

 (L-R Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James

Miami Heat is sports world’s newest super-villain, and LeBron James is public enemy No. 1   

The Miami Heat, which played the Lakers at Staples Center on Saturday, has provoked sports fans’ ire in a way that few other professional teams do. 

AROUND THE ASSOCIATION

Lakers put up a sorry effort against Heat

Much-hyped game turns into a lopsided win for Miami, one that clearly showed that the Lakers better shape up or forget about retaining their NBA title.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A passing of the torch? Miami Heat grabs it – Israel Gutierrez  

Mark Heisler on the NBA: Lakers have bigger problems than the Heat  

Los Angeles Lakers in disarray after loss to Miami Heat – ESPN

Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant breaks his silence – ESPN Los Angeles

NBA Coast to Coast: Michael Jordan has work to do after departure of Larry Brown   

Kobe Bryant-LeBron James: The ups and downs of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James  

Bobcats show mark of Jordan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Well, now I know why ‘BET Bob’ was so eager to sell.”

 Arenas energized by trade to Magic

NBA Trade Rumors: What Should Every Team Do? Dump, Make a Move or Stay Put?  

LeBron undermines union with comments  

Los Angeles Lakers guard, NBPA president Derek Fisher responds to Miami Heat F LeBron James’ comments on NBA contraction  

THIS WEEK’S “WHAT THE HELL DID BLAKE GRIFFIN JUST DO” MOVE

Video: Blake Griffin with his head at the rim  

MOVE OF THE WEEK

Video: J.R. Smith joins Team 360-Degree Layup  (Again)

CHUCK’S CHALK TALK

Well, that was fun for somebody. You know, everybody NOT associated with the Lakers. 

Yesterday’s game is the reason why Phil Jackson will never, ever put any of his Laker teams above those he coached in Chicago. In their championship eras, the Bulls never came out and gave less than 100% effort each and every night. Michael Jordan simply wouldn’t allow it.

If someone from NBA headquarters in New York City had asked me, and to be 100% honest, they didn’t, I would have scheduled the Celtics to play the Lakers at Staples Center yesterday because a) it would have been a repeat of last season’s Finals, b) Shaq v Kobe; ‘nuff said and c) because it’s a real rivalry between the two greatest franchises in league history. I’m sure the ratings were great for the Lakers and the Heat but, you can’t convince me that they wouldn’t have been just as high if it had been a Celtics/Lakers battle royale on ABC.

I cannot tell a lie. I was dead set against the Clippers signing of Vinny Del Negro as head coach. I thought they could do better considering some of the other coaches available at the time. That said, I take back everything I said about Del Negro and the hire. He is the right coach for this young Clipper team. I just hope Donald T. Sterling gives him the time to grow with them. Wait a minute, did I just write the words “hope” and “Donald T. Sterling” in the same sentence? Forgive me Father, for I know not what I write.

Let’s say we were playing “NBA Trivia 2010” and I asked you to guess which NBA player’s father has been charged with trying to kill a police officer (or anyone for that matter). How long would it take you to say “O. J. Mayo”? Ten seconds? Fifteen? O. J. Mayo’s father faces charges in W.Va.

Something tells me that Larry Brown is probably coaching somewhere, right this minute, even if it’s in the kitchen at home: “Son, I want you to flash out to the left elbow, pick your sister with your right hip as I reverse curl, then go back door as your mother passes me the roast beef and I lay it down on the table.”

Kevin Hart seems to be stepping into the “Lil Penny” role for Dwyane Wade that Chris Rock filled for Penny Hardaway. And, Hart and Lil Penny are just about the same height.

Here are the current league leaders in technical fouls:

1. Dwight Howard, Orlando 11
2. Carmelo Anthony, Denver 9 (1 ejection)
T3. Richard Hamilton, Detroit 8 (3 ejections)
T3. Stephen Jackson, Charlotte 8 (1 ejection)
T3. Amar’e Stoudemire, New York 8
T6. Chauncey Billups, Denver 5
T6. Andray Blatche, Washington 4
T6. Joakim Noah, Chicago 5
T9. Jason Williams, Orlando 4 (2 ejections)
T9. Kobe Bryant, Lakers 4 (1 ejection)
T9. Gerald Wallace, Charlotte 4 (1 ejection)
T9. Kevin Garnett, Boston 4
T9. Blake Griffin, Clippers 4
T9. Nene, Denver 4
T9. Tyrus Thomas, Charlotte 4

10. Rasheed Wallace 3 

THE WEEK AHEAD

Lakers @ Spurs – Tuesday. Forget what happened yesterday at Staples Center. This is a game that truly matters to the Lakers playoff hopes this season.

MY TEN NON-NBA THOUGHTS OF THE WEEK

1. Mitch “Mr Toad” McConnell is anti-American.

2. John McCain has lost his mind.

3. I have a dream and that dream is a 2012 GOP ticket of Sarah Palin and Haley Barbour.

4. Apparently, only the loss of a limb or sweet death itself can end Brett Favre’s NFL career. Maybe.

5. Now that I know that Al Michaels is good friends with Rush Limbaugh – Limbaugh was Michaels’ guest last Saturday at a dinner hosted by Patriots owner Robert Kraft – I’ll never be able to listen to him broadcast a game again without feeling slightly ill.

6. I doubt that any other former professional athlete become as identified with another sport as a broadcaster like Ahmad Rashad, a former NFL wide receiver, has become with the NBA. I’m willing to bet dollars to donuts that many young NBA players watching last Monday’s Bears/Vikings game had to be absolutely stunned when they saw him being honored during the 50th anniversary celebration of the Vikings franchise because they had no idea he’d played football. Or that his birth name was Bobby Moore. Or that he was once married to Claire Huxtable. Or that he was Michael Jordan’s valet during the Bulls’ championship seasons. Ok, I made that last one up. Sort of.

7. For my money, and admittedly I don’t have a lot, there’s not a better tradition on late-night television than the annual David Letterman last show before Christmas that features Paul Shaffer’s impersonation of Cher singing “Oh Holy Night”, actor/DJ Jay Thomas’ great story about the Lone Ranger and he and Letterman trying to knock a meatball off the top of the on-set Christmas tree with a football and Darlene Love (just voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) belting out “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”.

8. Noah was the least-likely name of boys born in Southern California this past week.

9. Michael Vick’s life was saved by his going to prison.

10. I am blessed.

RANKINGS, WE’VE GOT RANKINGS! (my comments in italics)

Mark Heisler’s NBA rankings – A look at the contenders, pretenders and others.

December 25, 2010

Tribune Newspapers

Rk. TEAM (Record) Comment

ANYONE SEE THE LAKERS?

1. BOSTON (23-5) On 14-0 run, got to be Christmas warmup act for Heat-Lakers. (2) Sure, they lost to Orlando but, that was without both Rando and “Mushmouth” Perkins.

2. SAN ANTONIO (25-4) On 73-win pace, until losing in Orlando. (1) I predict they beat the Lakers by 15 Tuesday night.

3. DALLAS (23-5) So much for Eastie Boys: Won back-to-back in Miami, Orlando.(5) The Mavericks are better now than when they lost to the Heat in the ’06 Finals.

4. MIAMI (23-9) Ask the Lakers if they’re for real or can beat bigger teams. (3) I’ll take “Hell yeah for a thousand please Alex.”

5. OKLAHOMA CITY (21-10) Oops: Went 14-4 before giving up 113, 112 in losses to Suns, Knicks. (6) Baby steps.

6. UTAH (21-9) If Jefferson isn’t what he was, improved Millsap takes up slack. (7) I’m trying to remember the last time the Jazz were ranked above the Lakers. The second Clinton administration?

7. ORLANDO (18-12) Lost eight of nine before new guys help them beat Spurs, Celtics. (10) Need to get one more BIG and I’m sure GM Otis “Black Amish Goatee” Smith is working on it like Michael Jackson: “Night and Day”.

THERE YOU ARE!
8. LAKERS (21-9) If they get better from this point, it’ll be first time since Showtime. (4) I thought Magic Johnson was going to cry on ESPN.

9. CHICAGO (19-10) 2-2 since Noah left, with Knicks beating them on Christmas. (9) To be fair, he did have to supervise Ark operations in Southern California last week.

10. NEW ORLEANS (17-12) Remember when he just took open shots as Laker? Ariza at 36%. (9) It’s much easier being the 4th or 5th option on a championship team than it is to be the 2nd on a team like the Hornets.

11. DENVER (16-12) What kept you? Just won in San Antonio with KMart finally back. (8) Wal-Mart and Target expected back as soon as post-Christmas sales wrap up.

12. ATLANTA (19-12) Johnson, supposed to be out 3 more weeks, averages 18 in 3-1 run. (11) I could make a “Johnson” joke here but I won’t in honor of the holidays.

13. NEW YORK (18-12) After 0-3 swoon with loss to Cavs, came back to beat Thunder, Bulls. (13) Yeah, but what was up with those green uniforms on Christmas?

14. PORTLAND (15-15) Let’s see, who can they rebuild around: Aldridge, Matthews… (16) Is Jesus available?

15. HOUSTON (14-15) Like that Lakers series: 4-0 since losing Yao, three on the road. (17) I told you Yao was holding them back!

16. MILWAUKEE (12-16) No-names beat Lakers, Kings with Jennings out. Boykins gets 22-19. (20) Add those numbers together and you’ve got Earl Boykins’ real age.

17. INDIANA (13-14) Smallest Ball: Collison, Ford on floor at the end in upending Hornets. (15) I hope “Smallest Ball” wasn’t the name of a weird locker room contest.

18. PHOENIX (13-15) At least Sarver, who kept taking on money, finally knows it’s over. (14) Cue the Ohio Players as Steve Nash prepares to depart the Valley of the Sun.

19. MEMPHIS (12-17) GM Chris Wallace says if you want one of these guys, just call. (19) Chris Wallace only NBA GM with a 800 # on his nightstand phone at home.

HAPPY WE’LL BE, UNDER THE SEA

20. PHILADELPHIA (11-18) Collins getting over: Gave up 100 three times since Thanksgiving. (21) Yeah but it’s killing him a game at a time. I hope they’ve got the defibrillator close by.

21. GOLDEN STATE (11-18) Best player flying under radar: Ellis averaging 28 this month. (23) Can you say “Who Wants Monta Ellis In A Multi-Team Trade”?

22. CHARLOTTE (9-19) Good luck, Paul Silas: No one has picked up where Brown left off yet. (22) Honest to God, I had no idea Paul Silas was still alive.

23. TORONTO (10-19) If only USC guys just played Lakers: DeRozan gets 19 in one quarter. (24) If Toronto wasn’t such a great party city, the league would have moved this franchise to KC by now.

24. CLIPPERS (8-22) Larry Brown talk everywhere — and it will pick up if they don’t. (21) Oh yeah, like Larry Brown wants to coach again so bad that he’d come back to work for Donald T. Wait a minute, this is Larry Brown we’re talking about. OF COURSE, he’s crazy enough to do it! And, he still owns a home in Malibu. I’m getting all tingly again.

25. DETROIT (10-19) Accused of quitting after benching, Hamilton gets 35 vs. Raptors. (26) Then, quits again.

26. NEW JERSEY (9-21) Hurt or had his feelings hurt: Lopez averaging 6.2 rebounds. (25) It’s one thing for Omar Epps to co-star in “House” and coach the Steelers but, I think it’s more impressive for George Lopez to have a late-night talk show on TBS and play in the NBA at the same time.

27. WASHINGTON (7-20) Welcome, $118-Million Man: Lewis scores eight in Wizards debut. (27) Rashard is Swahili for “Ripping You Off on the 1st and 15th”.

28. CLEVELAND (8-21) Learning who’s who without LeBron: Once-hot prospect Hickson cools. (28) Has Byron Scott killed anyone with his bare hands yet?

29. MINNESOTA (6-24) Like Griffin, Love can be free in 2013, so they better pick it up. (29) Must be the money that’s keeping Kurt Rambis from performing a “Mark Madoff”.

30. SACRAMENTO (5-22) After 2-21 plummet, GM Petrie, who built power there, in trouble too. (30) I wonder what the odds are in Vegas of the Maloofs ever getting a new arena built in Sac-town. A Ga-zillion to one?

JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT

CIARA: Singer Talks New CD, Keri Hilson & 'Mama I Want To Sing'

Actress/Singer Ciara

THE REPEAL OF DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL

December 22, 2010

I was in the Air Force in the mid-1970s when career fields that previously had been closed to women, became open for them. There was a lot of grumbling from older male enlisted personnel – keep in mind, some of them had served in WWII, Korea and Viet Nam – about women needing to “stay in their place”. On the other hand, most of us younger males (I served from the ages of 17-21) had no problem accepting women in the workplace or in career fields that had been all-male. I say all of this to say that for many, this has been a generational issue and one that as the older personnel transition out of active duty, will become less and less important.

More and more, we are becoming a nation of tolerance. Unfortunately, there are still those who will continue to oppose anyone who is different. They will use several arguments – religion, “being gay isn’t the same as being black”, etc – to support their position and that’s their right. But, as I see it, civil rights are not exclusively about race and color; they’re about human rights for all of us. How can we as a nation who supposedly stands for justice, equality and freedom for all, discriminate against ANYONE because they don’t look, believe or act the same way we do?

As a disabled person who has walked with a cane for the last 6 & 1/2 years, I’ve felt the sting of insensitive people who look down on me for whatever reason. I’ve also been blessed to meet people who are compassionate, giving and respectful of my situation and for that, I am thankful.

I am proud of President Barack Obama. He has worked hard to keep his campaign promises and one by one, he is checking them off his list of “Things To Do”. I applaud and commend him for doing so and look forward to voting for him again in 2012.

BE THANKFUL FOR…

December 19, 2010

Be  Thankful   F or

. . .the “room-lighting” smile:

http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give100-2/
http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/obama-award/
*

For the mind that always think: 

http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give83/http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give72/ 
*

For preventing a second Great Depression:

http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/gdp/
*

For the humor:

http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give61/http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give64/
 *

For bringing the number of women in the Supreme Court to 3.:

http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give66/

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For making the White House the “people’s” house:

http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give77/
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For 1.1 million jobs created in 2010 alone, more than the entire 8 years of George W.Bush:

http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/fullscreen-capture-11252010-32711-pm-bmp/
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For The Penny Ice Creamery in Santa Cruz, California:

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For the love of people:

http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give55/http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give60/
http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give84/http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give82/
*

For the love of family:

http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/5166752673_f44f5c6b4a_b-2/
http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give86/
http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give65/
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For America’s First Lady:

http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give92/
http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give91-2/
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For Health Care reform:

http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give102/
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For leaving the past behind:

http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give98/
http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give106/
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For the world having respect for America, again:

http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give76/
http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give75/
http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give90/
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For quietly and calmly dealing with crisis after crisis, after crisis, after crisis, even if not being responsible for any of them:

http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give80/

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For being so “cool”:

http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give54/
http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give74/
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For being fierce – when need be:

http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give59/
http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give96/
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For having the intellect to be curious:

http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give97/
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For the capacity to know that you are, as we are, imperfect….

http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give67/
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For having the sense to not let it destroy you…

http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give99/
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For the capacity to be compassionate:

http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give50/
http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give107/
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For being an inspiration to so many:

http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give51/
http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give105/
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For saving the auto industry and at least 1.4 million jobs:

http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/us-president-barack-obama-tours-a-new-op/
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For loving the troops:

http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give73/
http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give101/
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For understanding the horrible price of war:

http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give104/
*

For bringing 100,000 men and women back from Iraq:

*

For facing the most difficult and loneliest job in the world with grace, dignity, honesty and guts in spite of so many “Haters”:

http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give52/
http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give58-2/
*

For being, in spite of, all the hate, pettiness, racism, corruption and immaturity around, the most progressive and ‘for the people’ president in decades:

*

And simply for this:

http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/im-greatful-2/give103/
For Being………………..“MR. PRESIDENT”!

NBA REVIEW – WEEK 8

December 19, 2010

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

Fabforum

The Lakers visited with President Obama at a local Boys and Girls Club in the Washington, DC area Monday — part of a ceremony for winning back-to-back championships. (Assistant coach Brian Shaw either didn’t receive or chose to ignore the “dark suit” memo.) 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“A coward, I was a coward. When you do coward stuff, you feel like a coward. I don’t care if it was done intentionally or by mistake, you’re still a coward. I don’t care how young I was. That’s not an excuse.” – Former Pacer Ron Artest talking about his troubled tenure with Indiana before Wednesday night’s game between the Lakers and the Pacers in Indianapolis. 

THEY SAID IT

“Absolutely not. What did they score? Like 70-something points. That’s 70-something reasons for him to complain.” – San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan when asked after Sunday’s game whether head coach Gregg Popovich would be satisfied that San Antonio’s defense held Portland to 78 points.

“There’s nothing I can say. I have no comment on that. You just get to this point where it’s a fight every day. It’s a fight. You’re fighting unnecessary battles. I’m fighting unnecessary battles. It’s frustrating because I know and my teammates know I’m capable of getting it done, even dudes on the other team. It’s frustrating.” – Los Angeles Clippers guard Baron Davis on reports that he’s been taunted during home games by team owner, Donald T. Sterling.

“All kinds of stuff. Some stuff like, ‘Oh, dunk the ball.’ He owns the team. What do you want me to say? He’s my boss. He signs the check. He owns me. Not really, but you know what I’m saying. My rights to my basketball skills for five years.” Clippers center Chris Kaman confirming that teammate Baron Davis isn’t the only one heckled by the team’s owner, Donald T. Sterling.

“It was great basketball. It was a great Eastside barnyard knockdown, backyard scuffle, if you will.” – Boston’s Kevin Garnett after the Celtics beat the Knicks 118-116 Wednesday night for Boston’s 11th straight win.

“We definitely earned our respect, I guarantee you right now Boston respects us. We’re no slouch. We’re ready to play every night. Boston knows it.” – Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire.

“Well John Doe could, the way we’re playing. We’re hoping that John Doe would be a big guy.” – – Lakers coach Phil Jackson when asked if newly acquired veteran big Joe Smith could be of service to the Los Angeles Lakers front court rotation.

“Every single one, it seemed – the 8-year-old, the 9-year-olds – go left and they go right. The older ones shoot the jump hook with the left, and they shoot the jump hook with the right. You’ve got bigger kids who can shoot from the outside, who can handle the ball and play. A lot of young players that look like [Pau] Gasol, who are just so skilled. And now, you’ve got kids here in the States, 20 years old, who can’t do those things. Damn, you’ve got max players who can’t do that.” – Laker Kobe Bryant talking to Yahoo! Sports recently about watching young kids play basketball in Barcelona during the team’s pre-season European trip and the differences in the development of too many players in the States.

“I wasn’t that slow until you put a guy who is kind of slow [ Andre Miller] next to me. … Not to be controversial, but I was slow my rookie year.” – Portland’s Brandon Roy, on being called slow while playing hurt.

THE “CHILE, PLEASE” AWARD GOES TO…

“A top 10 all-time player, no question. Nobody can shoot like he can. No one can get off a shot like he can.” – Mavericks owner Mark Cuban when asked by radio talk show host Dan Patrick on how we will judge Dirk Nowitzki when his career is over. Kobe Bryant – quite possibly but Dirk “No D/No Rings” Nowitzki? I think not!

STORY OF THE WEEK

Magic trade for Gilbert Arenas, Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson  

Do Magic’s big deals improve their lot?  

Until noon PST on Saturday, I was trying to decide between the Lakers meeting with the president, the return of Andrew Bynum or Bron Bron’s first game at Madison Square Garden since joining the Heat as the story of the week. Then, all hell broke loose with word of the monster 3-way trade between the Magic, Suns and Wizards that sent shudders through the Eastern Conference. After the smoke cleared, there was no further deliberation as to the week’s top story.

Now, If the Knicks can just add ‘Melo…Face it, they have to add him now.

AROUND THE ASSOCIATION

Lakers visit with President Obama, spend time with local Boys and Girls Club | Lakers Blog | Los Angeles Times

President Obama and the Lakers

(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images / December 13, 2010)

President Obama receives an autographed banner from the Lakers, who spent time with the president in Washington, DC, a day before their game with the Wizards.

NBA: Erik Spoelstra has Miami Heat on track  

Boston Celtics’ core leads group of title favorites for 2010-11  

Clippers Owner Heckles Baron Davis While Sitting Courtside

Bill Plaschke: Clippers owner Don Sterling really ought to be heckling himself

Game-Winner – Yahoo! Sports 

Paul Pierce scored 32 points in the Celtics' win over the Knicks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Thank you, thank you very much.”

Knicks don’t have best shot at ‘Melo  

Kravitz: Artest still regrets letting down Pacers  

Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant touched by high school gym dedication  

Amar’e Stoudemire upstages LeBron James at James’ own party  

King James rules New York’s Garden

The whole “Party with the King” thing is one bad incident away from being shut down by Pat Riley and the Heat. I mean, it’s his EIGHTH year in the league and he’s still having parties, other than on special occasions, during the season? Why?

ON THE NBA: Jeers all around for the Donald  (Sterling, not Trump

NBA coast to coast  

Video: Michael Vick Steals The Spotlight @ Sixers Vs Lakers Game

All things being equal (money), Vick would be absolutely INSANE to leave Philly!

Lakers visit with President Obama (Photo Gallery)

THIS WEEK’S “WHAT THE HELL DID BLAKE GRIFFIN JUST DO?” MOVE

YouTube – Blake Griffin amazing 360 layup vs Pistons (Dec. 17, 2010)

DUNK OF THE WEEK (HELL, MAYBE THE DECADE)

J.R. Smith Dunk Against Spurs Enters Pantheon Of Great 2010 Slams (VIDEO)

CHUCK’S CHALK TALK

Free at last, thank God Almighty, I’m free at last! Well, until the spring semester starts on February 7th. I’ll never, ever take 16 units again!

Funny how an 11-game winning streak can take an embattled young coach, let’s call him Erik Spoelstra just for the hell of it, and turn him into a wise leader of men in less than three weeks.

Well, we have an answer to the question I asked in Week  4 – “Who returns first: Andrew Bynum, Greg Oden or Jesus?” Anyone brave (or foolish) enough to bet on Oden before Jesus?

Steve Nash misses Amar’e Stoudemire more than Stoudemire misses Nash.

The Heat are getting hot at the right time as they prepare to roll into Staples Center for their Christmas Day showdown against the Lakers who got Andrew Bynum back just in the nick of time.

Speaking of Bron Bron, isn’t Spike Lee a little too old to be dressing like this

We get it, LeBron. Miami is nicer, you didn't want to play with Amar'e. Fair enough. Now we must break you. <br><br> King James has some words for No. 1 New York fan Spike Lee at half-time of Friday night's Knicks-Heats game at the Garden. Celebs are coming out in droves for the local NY teams, especially the resurgent Knicks. Check out the other big names cheering on the Big Apple's home teams ... <br><br> Follow our galleries on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/NYDNPhotos" target="_blank">@NYDNPhotos</a>

on any date other than October 31? 

Could the Bulls be looking at the retired Rasheed Wallace as a possible replacement for the injured Yoakim Noah (out for 8-10 weeks after thumb surgery this week)? I’m almost giddy with joy at the thought of ‘Sheed coming up against the association’s new “Zero-Tolerance” policy on whining about calls and any true NBA fan should be too.

Bad moment in announcing – the other day I heard a reporter say that Kobe Bryant is leading the “Western Conference and the entire NBA in All-Star balloting” and all I could think was, “Well, if he’s leading the ‘entire NBA’, doesn’t that include the Western Conference?”

THE WEEK AHEAD

Do I really have to remind anyone with the sense God gave a seedless grape that the Lakers are playing the Heat at Staples Center on Christmas Day? Here’s Mark Heisler’s take on the “Staples Showdown”, Saturday at 2 p.m. PST. TV: ABC – Good thing I mentioned it or you might have missed it, if you blasted into space or whatever it takes to get away from ESPN. There hasn’t been such hype since Shaquille O’Neal’s return as a member of the Heat on Christmas 2004, with the Lakers 14-11 — en route to 34-48 — so he and Kobe Bryant could hate on each other as a Yuletide treat. Showing how far the NBA has come, there’s actual basketball to hype. This matchup is looking better with Andrew Bynum back and Miami stomping on 11 opponents in a row. The Heat still figures to have problems with big elite teams like Boston and the Lakers. The Lakers don’t even know what their problems are, not having played any of the NBA’s top six teams, but it hasn’t been a duckwalk.

MY TEN NON-NBA THOUGHTS OF THE WEEK

1. President Obama pulled off a back-door second stimulus while no one was paying attention and got the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” before Christmas.

2. I’m having a hard time trying to decide which is more annoying: the incessant ringing of the Salvation Army bells or Sarah Palin.

3. Does Rex Ryan really expect us to believe that a mere strength and conditioning coach acted on his own, without anyone above him in the “chain-of-command” saying a word to him, in the lining up of five inactive players in the infamous “Tripping Nolan Carroll” incident? Since when does someone in that position on ANY team get involved in game strategy on his own?

4. Why do I get the feeling that Mike Shanahan is just f**king with Donovan McNabb now?

5. The bestest (yes Mrs Thornhill, I know that’s not a word) thing about this Sunday’s NFL games will be seeing the various cheerleading squads in their holiday attire. natalie10r14v011

6. As a life-long Dodger fan, whenever I read about another retread free-agent being signed by GM Ned Colletti this off-season, my mind wanders back to this scene from the 1989 classic, Major League:  Guy in Bar [Looking in the newspaper at the Indians’ starting lineup]: Ricky Vaughn? Willie Hays? I haven’t heard most of them. Mitchell Freidman? Construction Worker: Who are these f**kin’ guys?  Groundskeeper #1: [In Japanese] They’re sh**ty.

7. All jokes aside, what the hell happened to Dave Chappelle?

8. I swear on all that’s holy, if The Fighter doesn’t live up to its sterling reviews and recent award nominations when I see it next week, I’m going to find out where Mark Wahlberg lives and go there and kick his a**…Upon further review, I probably won’t.

9. There’s no way the “Two Johns” – Branca and McClain – squeeze out 10 decent new Michael Jackson albums.

10. Stay classy Bob Feller.

RANKINGS! WE’VE GOT RANKINGS! (my comments in italics)
Mark Heisler’s NBA rankings

December 18, 2010

Tribune Newpapers

Records and statistics through Friday (last week’s ranking)

1. Spurs 22-3 (2): If Lakers think they’re the same creaky Spurs, think again. Google “Flying Under The Radar” and the Spurs logo will pop up.

2. Celtics 21-4 (1): Rondo hurt again, starting to look like Kobe last season. And look how that turned out for him and the Lakers.

3. Heat 20-8 (4): Celtics escape Knicks. Heat toy with them for 11th win in row. Christmas Day looks a lot more interesting again.

4. Lakers 20-7 (10): Bynum’s return means Gasol’s minutes drop, scoring goes up. If Pau Gasol’s smile gets any bigger, he’s going to need an extra face.

5. Mavericks 21-5 (3): Lakers had enough trouble in West draw when they were best by far. Call me when/if they ever beat the Lakers when it truly matters.

6. Thunder 19-8 (6): Durant at 41 percent on Dec. 1, 50 percent since, and they’ve won 14 of 18. It’s about time they stopped reading last season’s press clippings and got back to business.

7. Jazz 18-8 (5): Okur back, but they need a big who blocks shots, not makes 3s. You mean like Carlos Boozer?

8. Magic 16-9 (7): Close to acquiring Arenas after averaging 88 in 1-5 swoon. See “Story of the Week” above.

9. Bulls 16-8 (8): Noah, right there with Rose in importance, out 8-10 weeks. First he broke the unicorns on the Ark and now his thumb.

10. Hornets 16-10 (11): Lost 9 of 13 before coming from 23 down to win in Sacramento. So?

11. Nuggets 15-10 (12): Trying to win ‘Melo back, last thing they need is Knicks rise. That very loud noise you just heard was the door slamming shut on ‘Melo’s Nuggets career.

12. Hawks 17-11 (13): Joe Johnson back early; now to raise shooting over 41 percent. I never knew he was gone.

13. Knicks 16-11 (9): Hold the rivalries: 14-1 run ends in home losses to Celtics, Heat. Don’t worry Knick fans, ‘Melo’s coming!

14. Suns 12-14 (15): There goes the neighborhood: Nash leaves game with neck injury. And soon he’ll be leaving for good.

15. Trail Blazers 13-14 (14): Hits keep coming: Roy’s knee forces him out again. EXACTLY what was the deal they made with Satan to beat the Sixers in 1977.

16. Bucks 10-14 (17): Back from injury, Gooden gets 20 off bench as they end Mavs streak. Dwight Gooden is playing basketball?

17. Pacers 12-13 (16): Collison averaged 19 as starter as rookie, 13.5 as sophomore. Maybe they should consider holding him back this spring. 

18. Rockets 11-15 (19): Devastating as it is, began post-Yao transition in ’09 Lakers series. Not to say that Yao’s been hurt a lot (even though he has), rumor has Portland giving serious consideration to retiring Yao’s number as an honorary Blazer.

19. 76ers 10-16 (21): Look who joined East playoff race after 3-13 start. Yeah, like it really matters after Saturday’s conference-altering trades.

20. Memphis (12-15) Something’s wrong when you go 3-0, then no-show in Houston. (18) Well, duh. 

BOOM BOOM, OUT GO THE LIGHTS – I want you to stop for a few minutes and think about this: Take the two best players from each team below and disperse them throughout the teams above. Now, THAT’S a league!

Ok, back to reality.

21. Charlotte (9-17) Who imagined this could happen? Oh yeah, everyone but MJ. (20) Like MJ’s ever around. Now, if this team were in Vegas or the Bahamas…

22. Toronto (10-17) Trouble is missing Bosh as a rebounder: Bargnani at 5.6. (22) I just don’t care anymore.

23. Golden State (9-16) With magic time over, will they break up Smurf Backcourt? (23) Why not?

24. New Jersey (7-20) Laker wannabes get Vujacic who at least brings celebrity fiancé. (27) Yeah, like Maria Sharapova’s actually going to show up in Newark.

25. Clippers (6-21) Inspired by tough love from owner, got elusive first road win. (28) Somewhere Joe Jackson is smiling.

26. Detroit (8-19) One for Kuester: Only Cavaliers may have less talent. (29) Not exactly a marketing slogan, is it?

27. Washington (6-18) Oh oh: Flip Saunders says Wall’s knee will never ‘be pain free.’ (26) Flip is a great first name for a comedian or the guy who shines your shoes in the lobby, not a legitimate NBA coach.

28. Cleveland (7-19) Now 0-10. On bright side, Gilbert didn’t post anything last week. (25) His wife took away his internet connection for a week.

29. Minnesota (6-21) Love, Beasley, Wes Johnson, Flynn–how do they lose so many? (24) Uh, because they usually score fewer points than the other team?

30. Sacramento (5-19) Almost got elusive sixth win. I almost got that elusive date with Pam Grier back in 1975, but you don’t see me bragging about it publicly. Oops. 

JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT

Actress Tatyana Ali

NBA REVIEW, WEEK 7

December 12, 2010

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

Derek Fisher

Lakers guard Derek Fisher, right, shoots over Clippers center DeAndre Jordan to score the game-winning basket in the Lakers’ 87-86 victory Wednesday. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press / December 8, 2010)

STORY OF THE WEEK

Hornets face long road to profitability  

New Orleans Hornets: Will NBA be salvation of New Orleans Hornets franchise?  

NEWS FROM AROUND THE ASSOCIATION

Inside the brain of Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest

A Day In The Life Of Ron Artest – ESPN Video  

Warning to kids: Don’t try being Ron Ron at home.

Boston Celtics’ Kevin Garnett seeks out Denver Nuggets coach George Karl to clarify cancer comments about Charlie Villanueva .

Some are saying that this was a “classy move” on KG’s part but, I’m not one of them. The truly “classy move” would have been to never make the statement in the first place.

A MILESTONE FOR DENVER COACH GEORGE KARL

Denver vs. Toronto – Recap – 10, 2010 – Basketball – NBA – SI.com 

TWO PLAYERS SEEKING REDEMPTION

Arenas nears troubling anniversary  

Walker’s comeback begins with minor step  

AND ONE SEEKING TO BE THE BEST HE CAN BE

Lakers’ Shannon Brown returns home to Chicago as a rising star  

THIS IS GETTING UGLIER BY THE DAY

Billy Hunter, NBA players union won’t budge on hard cap stance

Phil Jackson: Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson sorry he will miss Chicago Bulls championship ceremony  

Lakers’ offense might be Bermuda Triangle for Ron Artest

Amar’e’s opening in Apple reminiscent of some greats

Serby’s Sunday Q & A with… Raymond Felton  

 Nuggets hope trust can keep their star  

Blake Griffin’s Dunks Earn Online Views and On-Court Smiles

Top 10 Blake Griffin Dunks Of The Season (So Far)

I’m starting to believe that Blake Griffin very well may kill a rim before the All-Star break.

Lebron James’ Miami Mansion [PICS]  

TNT “Inside the NBA”

Mark Heisler on the NBA: Broadcaster Ralph Lawler is the most valuable Clipper  

QUOTES OF THE WEEK

“I just felt together with them, I felt connected with them. A lot of times during an NBA season, the coach and players aren’t really connected, they’re fighting a lot. This was a moment, not only on the court but in the locker room afterwards, there was a great connection.” – Denver Nuggets coach George Karl after winning his 1,000th career game on Wednesday.

“He’s one of the best coaches I’ve played for. He’s all about winning, he’s all about playing the right way and sharing the basketball and everybody having their opportunities out there. I believe that’s the way you win basketball games. Obviously, with 1,000 wins, he knows what he’s doing.” – Nuggets guard Chauncey Billups on coach George Karl.

“I really don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it, but yes, I anticipate this will be the last time I coach in this building.” – Lakers coach and former Bulls coach Phil Jackson at Friday’s shoot around in Chicago’s United Center.

“You know the key to their team? There’s too many keys. The opposing team comes in and says, we’re going to shut down [Rajon] Rondo and KG [Kevin Garnett] and then Paul Pierce and Ray Allen explode. Shaquille O’Neal is a great fit. [Glen] ‘Big Baby’ Davis is wonderful…. “The biggest thing is Kevin Garnett’s health has improved drastically and he’s back where he was two years ago.” – ESPN’s Chris Mullin, on the Boston Celtics.

“I never drank beer until I got to Vancouver, and we started losing. I would stay up after games until 2 in the morning. I was like, ‘I can’t deal with this. It helped me to understand the difference between losers and winners. There’s a big difference.” – Cavaliers Coach Byron Scott, on going from the Lakers to the expansion Grizzlies.

“Oh, Kareem. Oh, yes. Shaq can only score with power, but Kareem could score so many different ways. He had a hook shot and a bank shot and could hit his free throws and dominate late when games were hanging in the balance. I don’t think you will ever find a center in basketball more dominant on the offensive end than Kareem. The man was just incredible.” – Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson after being asked who was a more dominant center, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or Shaquille O’Neal by Vincent Mazolli of the NY Times.

CHUCK’S CHALK TALK

Psst. The Knicks are much better this season thanks to newcomers Amar’e Stoudemire (expected) and Raymond Felton (totally unexpected) who, under coach Mike D’Antoni’s “Just wave your hands in the air and act like you don’t care” system of go-go offense and just look interested on defense, is looking like the Raymond Felton who ran the point on Carolina’s 2005 national championship team. And, they’ll be even better when they finally add Carmelo Anthony to the mix. Yes, I said when, not if.

Is it just me or is there a legitimate chance of the Hornets, Kings, T-Wolves folding in the next year or so?

The thing I’ll remember most about the Lakers last second win over the Clippers Wednesday night was the haunted look on Blake Griffin’s face after the game as he suddenly realized just what it means to be a Clipper. It was sad and chilling to see.

Sad news – Venice Beach playground legend Sidney Deane reported to the Federal Correctional Institution McKean in Pennsylvania Thursday to begin serving a three-year bid for failure to file income tax forms. I guess not reporting those hustle wins with Billy Hoyle and off-the-books construction jobs was a mistake after all.

Am I the only one who finds it hard to believe that it’s already been 20 years since the Bulls’ first championship team? YouTube – Michael Jordan switches hands  

MY TEN NON-NBA THOUGHTS OF THE WEEK

  1. The president’s tax compromise – Is Barack Obama playing chess while his opponents are playing checkers?
  2. I’ve got grudging admiration for congressional GOPers. They’re against extended un-employment benefits but want tax breaks for millionaires, they’re against a healthcare law that allows more Americans access to the same level of care they receive as federal employees and yet, they’ve convinced many voters that they’re the party of middle-class Americans.
  3. The Bill Clinton Show never closes it for good, it just takes time off to retool the act.
  4. If Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton is telling the truth when he says he’s not “disappointed” in his dad Cecil who apparently tried to sell his son’s football services to Mississippi State before the junior college transfer enrolled at Auburn, I’d hate to see what Cecil would have to do for Cam to be disappointed.
  5. Anyone who cares about and loves Miley Cyrus must be afraid for her these days.
  6. Hank Steinbrenner must think that he, and not his late father George, is the one responsible for turning the Yankees into the powerhouse franchise it’s become in recent years. That’s the only possible explanation I can see for the public position he took against Derek Jeter during the Yankee captain’s recent free agent negotiations.
  7. I predict a long, bruising legal battle between the Washington Redskins and recently suspended defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth over the $21 million bonus the team paid him in April of this year.
  8. The Cowboys and Vikings should have changed head coaches earlier in the season.
  9. Speaking of the Vikings, I can’t understand why they’re still allowing Brett Favre to hold them hostage to his streak of starting games. It’s wayyyyy past time to turn the team over to Tavaris Jackson and find out what he really can do.
  10. Michael Strahan is having the post-NFL career – FOX pre-game show, commercials (Subway), talk-show appearances – that former Giants teammate Tiki Barber wanted to have.

THE WEEK AHEAD

Los Angeles Lakers to meet President Barack Obama next week

I’m glad that this year’s Lakers “Meet and Greet” with President Obama will take place at a Washington, DC Boys and Girls Club and not the White House. What a thrill it will be for these impressionable children to see two diverse symbols of achievement and excellence at the same time.

MIAMI AT NEW YORK: Friday, 4 p.m. PST. TV: ESPN – There are several intriguing matchups on national TV this week (Boston at New York on Wednesday, San Antonio at Denver on Thursday), but we’ll go with this Paparazzi Special. This one not only matches the coming Heat against the coming Knicks, it pits the ESPN task force covering the Heat against the mighty Gotham press corps, which was unchallenged before the rise of cable TV. The Heat’s recent rally is no surprise, except perhaps to LeBron James or whoever put out those distress signals pointing at Coach Erik Spoelstra. The Knicks’ rise is a huge surprise after their 2-8 start when the Gotham press said Raymond Felton couldn’t even run pick-and-rolls. With Felton and Amare Stoudemire on fire, running pick-and-rolls, there appear to be new developments in the story. Mark Heisler

I’ve got five, count ‘em, FIVE final exams, including THREE on Wednesday alone! Oy vey.

RANKINGS – WE’VE GOT RANKINGS! (my comments in italics)

By Mark Heisler, Tribune newspapers

Celtics stay on top, but Heat making move

December 11, 2010

Records and statistics through Friday (last week’s rank)

1. Celtics 18-4 (1): Dreaming of Lakers rematch — with Game 7 at their place. And wait until they get “Mushmouth” Perkins back.

2. Spurs 19-3 (2): West has two teams on pace to win 71-68 and neither is Lakers. Wellll…

3. Mavericks 18-4 (3): If Tyson Chandler stays healthy, these aren’t same old Mavericks. Chandler is the legitimate “5” that Dirk’s been praying/begging for ever since the ’06 Finals.

4. Heat 16-8 (7): 7-0 since LeBron James or whoever revealed doubts about Eric Spoelstra. And yet, until they get a “Big” to call their own, they’ll just be attractive also-rans in the East.

5. Jazz 17-7 (5): Still not ready for prime time: Heat blow them away at home. And it wasn’t even that close.

6. Thunder 16-8 (9): You will know they’re really back if they start holding teams under 100. Young guns of last season have finally stopped reading their press clippings.

7. Magic 15-8 (4): Oops: Just lost four in a row, averaging 87 points. Fat Van Gundy brother about to attack the team with the same vengeance he exhibits at an all-you-can-stuff-in-your face buffet.

8. Bulls 13-8 (12): Real good news is holding last three opponents to 90-83-84. R.O.S.E., first name Derrick.

9. Knicks 15-9 (13): On 13-1 roll with Raymond Felton averaging career-high 19, 37 percent on threes. Tar Heel!

10. Lakers 16-7 (6): Andrew Bynum better be ready, not returning because they’re short a big man. Andrew Bynum is more important  to the Lakers title hopes than most fans realize.

11. Hornets 14-8 (8): What kept you? Hornets are 3-7 since 11-1 start. Reality is a b*tch!

12. Nuggets 14-8 (10): Yahoo’s Marc Spears, who’s close to Carmelo Anthony, keeps talking Knicks trade. When, no if.

13. Hawks 15-9 (11): 4-2 without Joe Johnson, out till January. But it’s getting harder. I could make a really good dirty joke here but I won’t.

14. Trail Blazers 12-11 (16): Andre Miller, Marcus Camby ticketed to ride with this going nowhere. Both are gone before the All-Star break; you read it here first.

15. Suns 11-12 (14): Not doing so hot either: Lost twice to Blazers, rival for No. 8. Valley of the Sun, prepare to say farewell to Steve Nash.

16. Pacers 11-10 (15): Best part: Doing it in midst of crunch with seven of nine on road. Call me in February.

17. Bucks 9-13 (21): When Andrew Bogut is healthy, they’re someone: 3-1 since he returned. I’m assuming coach Scott “Crazy Eyes” Skiles threatened to kill everyone on the team if they didn’t start playing better.

18. Grizzlies 9-14 (17): Same players but not chemistry. Lionel Hollins blasts ‘different agendas.” The Clippers of the South.

19. Rockets 8-14 (18): Aaron Brooks misses targeted return, yet to be cleared to practice. Is Yao Ming still alive? Just asking.

20. Bobcats 8-14 (23): Bobcats grumble as ex-teammate Felton tears it up in N.Y. Aim that grumbling in Larry Brown’s direction.

21. 76ers 7-15 (26): Found: shooter: 4-2 with Jodie Meeks going 17-30 on 3s. Who the hell is Jodie Meeks and why is she playing in the NBA?

22. Raptors 8-15 (19): Whatever was working just stopped. It’s a hockey nation.

23. Warriors 8-15 (20): 2-13 since 6-2 start and Stephen Curry is out again with ankle injury. That noise you hear is Don Nelson laughing at his house in Maui.

24. Timberwolves 6-17 (27): Kevin Love isn’t all they need but he’s averaging 24-17 over last nine. Love auditioning for his next team.

25. Cavaliers 7-15 (22): Bottom drops out after 7-9 start losing by 19-28-34-10-20-5. Byron Scott happy two days a month; the 1st and the 15th.

26. Wizards 6-16 (24): John Wall sidelined again, has missed seven of 22 games. I guess we can hold up on his Hall of Fame bust for now.

27. Nets 6-17 (25): Avery Johnson rips Brook Lopez’s rebounding, benches Travis Outlaw for rookie Damion James. And he’s not too crazy about Newark either.

28. Clippers 5-18 (28): Best game of season vs. Lakers until Eric Bledsoe let Derek Fisher go left. This one hurt real badly. I mean, talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

29. Pistons 7-17 (29): Bulls, Ben Gordon rue day he came here for a few more bucks. All money ain’t good money.

30. Kings 5-15 (30): NBA version of “Lord of the Flies” actually won one last week. Too bad it was on X-box.  

JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Actress/Singer Christina Milian

 

Stay classy America.

 

 

NBA REVIEW, WEEK 6

December 5, 2010

Let’s see, what was the biggest story of Week 6 in the NBA? The Lakers had a four game losing streak for the first time since 2007? What about the Clippers beating the Spurs for the first time in 19 games or forward Blake Griffin being named “Rookie of the Month” for November? I know there must have been something else that happened that was bigger than both of those stories. Could it have been Clippers announcer Ralph Lawler missing the Clippers-Spurs game on Wednesday night because he was stuck in a massive traffic jam? Believe it or not, Lawler commutes from La Quinta to downtown Los Angeles for games, a 135-mile, two and a half hour drive each way.

Wait, wait, it’s coming to me! That’s right, Carmelo Anthony of the Nuggets got ejected from a game after getting two technical fouls. No?

Oh yeah, some guy named Le Bron James returned to play a game in Cleveland for the first time since “The Decision”.

 LeBRON GOES BACK TO CLEVELAND

LeBron James

LeBron James embraced all the negativity Cleveland could muster, scoring a season-high 38 points in 30 minutes.

LeBron James might have Dwyane Wade and Miami, but one day he’ll miss Cleveland – Michael Rosenberg – SI.com

LeBron’s Return To Cleveland – Photos – SI.com

LeBron James Postgame Interview – Video  

                 MIAMI THRICE  Miami Heat

(l-r) Wade, James and Bosh meet the press after Thursday’s game in Cleveland. “What? Us worry? Do you know how much we get on the 1st and 15th of every month?”

‘The Return’ – A Laugher for LeBron  

Miami Heat’s LeBron James gets his biggest victory yet: closure – Israel Gutierrez  

Cavs Assistant Coach Curses At LeBron James (VIDEO) Bron Bron must owe this guy some money or something!

Cavs didn’t appreciate LeBron’s words, actions  

Bill Simmons: LeBron James returns to Cleveland  

Source: NBA looking into buying New Orleans Hornets  This can’t be good news for a players’ union trying to stave off a 30% salary cut in the current CBA negotiations.

Lakers all smiles after ending four-game skid Laker fans cancel panic-alert; return to normal Defcon 4 Level. Or as Kevin Bacon so memorably shrieked towards the end of the classic Animal House, “All is well! All is Well!”

Lakers FYI: Lakers’ Ron Artest can’t stop being goofy  It’s not “if” Artest does something really strange that’s going to cause the Lakers to scratch their heads and say, “What the ‘F’”, but when (remember last Christmas night’s still-unexplained fall outside his house?) he does it.

Cuban continues to drive Mavericks  

Derek Fisher Juggles Duties for Lakers and Union  

Watching Charles Barkley banter  If there’s a former professional athlete more naturally gifted and suited for this type of post-playing career than Sir Charles, I don’t know who it is.

There’s more to this than just Lakers and Heat  Excerpt:  The Lakers’ recent struggles and the much-hyped (and much-hated) Heat’s tepid start have unexpectedly injected doubt into what was supposed to be a dream scenario for the league. It’s also removed some luster from that Christmas matchup.

NBA Coast to Coast: Too much Miami Heat  

Mav-in’ a blast  

THEY SAID IT

“Some things went on last night, that I didn’t like.” – Cavaliers guard Daniel “Boobie” Gibson talking about former teammate Le Bron James on Friday.

“That dunk was three-quarters man and only a quarter amazing.” – TNT’s Kevin McHale, on a dunk by Orlando’s Vince Carter, aka Half-Man, Half-Amazing.

“Good win for us again 2nite…gr8 not to have to play the 4th…crowds have been good but can be A LOT better, plz N.O. come out 4 us…7-0!” – New Orleans’ Chris Paul, tweeting after 12,479 saw the Hornets go 7-0 in a home win over the Clippers.

“Everybody has an opinion and obviously, he had one. I’m not entertaining nor addressing nobodies.” – Boston’s Kevin Garnett, on charges by Chicago’s Joakim Noah that he’s “ugly,” “mean” and a dirty player.

“It’s not just me, gentlemen. It’s a team effort. But it does help to have a marquee player.” – New York’s Amare Stoudemire, on the Knicks’ rally after a 2-8 start.

PHIL JACKSON QUOTE OF THE WEEK (brought to courtesy of  the good people at Zenmasters.com) “He’s moving along quickly. We hope it’s not so quick that he beats Andrew back . . . not that we hope it’s not, but it would be kind of ironic, wouldn’t it?” – Lakers coach Phil Jackson said of injured center Theo Ratliff’s recovery from recent arthroscopic knee surgery.

NON GAME PHOTO OF THE WEEKTony Parker Eva Longoria Photos

Future divorcees Tony Parker and Eva Longoria met for lunch Wednesday at a Santa Monica hotel. That night, Parker and the Spurs lost 90-85 to the lowly Clippers – yes I know that’s redundant – for the first time since March 7, 2006. Coincidence? You make the call.

THE WEEK AHEAD

Lakers at Chicago Bulls on Friday  

CHUCK’S CHALK TALK

It was easily the most anticipated game of the season so far – even though it turns out that TNT’s ratings for the pre-game studio show (on the road in Cleveland) were higher than those for the game itself – and yet, in many regards, it was a let-down.

Apparently, the Cleveland fans are/were more upset with Le Bron James’ decision to take his “talents to South Beach” than his former teammates were. And that’s the biggest difference between fans of a team and the players on a team; we take it personal, it’s just business to them. As Manny Ramirez calmly said during the 2007 ALCS playoffs when the Red Sox were on the verge of being eliminated by, ironically, the Cleveland Indians, when asked if he was feeling the pressure, “Hey man, it’s a game. If we lose  tomorrow, our season’s over and we go on vacation. If we win, we keep playing. Simple as that.” 

Now, was that what the rabid Red Sox faithful wanted to hear from one of the stars of their beloved team say facing a 1-3 deficit? Of course not. But, Ramirez was just telling the truth from the player’s point of view; this is business, this is our job.

I disagree with two things that TNT game analyst Reggie Miller said during the broadcast: 1) Heat president Pat Riley needs to make a public statement of support for embattled coach Eric Spoelstra and 2) that Riley should have been at the game.

First of all, who knows what Riley has said to Spoelstra (and the players) in private? He may have done just that without revealing it to the media. Plus, I guarantee you that if Riley did issue such a statement, the media, Miller included, would have written/said, “Well, now that Eric Spoelstra has received the dreaded ‘vote of confidence’ from Pat Riley, it’s just a matter of time before he’s fired.”

Secondly, by staying away from the game, Riley did show his support for his young coach. He empowered him to make his own decisions without TNT’s cameras constantly cutting to Riley in the stands.

What did we learn from Thursday night’s game? Well, we learned that the NBA and TNT, along with numerous other media outlets and bloggers, can hype a Thursday night game between two struggling teams into a “must-see” event. And, we’ve probably seen and heard the last of the Cavaliers until the next time the Heat play in Cleveland.

Next contrived NBA “must-see” event? Of course, it’s the Christmas Day battle between the Lakers and Heat. I’m sure the rankings will be good but guess what – they would probably be just as high or even higher had the league had Boston visit the Staples Center instead. Celtics-Lakers; now that’s a real rivalry that needs no hype whatsoever.

While a nation turned its lonely eyes to Cleveland, the Celtics and Spurs have quietly reeled off two very impressive streaks of their own. Friday night’s home win over the Bulls was Boston’s sixth in a row and the Spurs, who will play 11 of their remaining 14 games in 2010 at home, even with Wednesday’s inexplicable loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles, have won 8 out of their last 10 games and are off to a franchise best 16-3 start (through Friday night). And, don’t sleep on the 15-4 Mavericks who may have finally found the center in Tyson Chandler that they’ve been missing throughout the Dirk Nowitzki Era.

Baron Davis is still alive. Seriously. No, really. I’m not making this up.

RANKINGS! WE’VE GOT RANKINGS! (my comments in italics)

By Mark Heisler, Los Angeles Times

Records and statistics through Friday (last week’s ranking)

1. Celtics 15-4 (1): Legit top team: Led by double figures in 15 games. Shaq giving them exactly what they want/need from him until “Mushmouth” Perkins returns.

2. Spurs 16-3 (3): Manu looking like Kobe, Jefferson looking like Manu. S.O.S.=Same Old Spurs.

3. Mavericks 15-4 (5): 12-3 since 2-2 start with 12-point measuring-stick win at Utah. Tyson Chandler at center makes a big difference in the “Big D”.

4. Magic 15-4 (7): Usual deal: Start 5-3, drop off radar, 10-1 since. And yet, it won’t matter against the Celtics come playoff time.

5. Jazz 15-6 (6): 15-4 since 0-2 start with measuring-stick win vs. Lakers. They’re afraid of Jerry Sloan.

6. Lakers 14-6 (2): Gasol is staying out there until he drops or Phil gets a backup. With both Bynum and Ratliff out, why haven’t the defending back-to-back champs signed a “big” to eat up some minutes?

7. Heat 12-8 (10): Survived one of your more turbulent 3-0 weeks. That’s putting it mildly.

8. Hornets 13-6 (4): Attendance cratering. League about to take over franchise. Exhibit A for Owners Vs Players in current CBA talks.

9. Thunder 13-7 (8): Uh-oh: Durant lasts five games, leaves again with sore knee. Uh oh.

10. Nuggets 12-6 (9): That’s what you call an optimist: George Karl seeks extension. Yeah, but until ‘Melo signs his…

11. Hawks 13-7 (14): Something changed: Just went 5-0, last two after losing Joe Johnson. Maybe he’s like one of those “non-essential” government workers.

12. BULLS 9-8 (11): Not yet Thibodeau’s Boston “D”: Gave up 106 per game in last five. Bulls giving up more than the average Kardashian sister.

13. Knicks 11-9 (16): Just went 9-1. Last time they were this high, Riley was coaching. Where – LA, NYC or Miami?

14. Suns 10-9 (15): Seeking new level: Won’t fall apart, won’t move much higher. Are we talking about the Suns or the nation’s unemployment rate?

15. Pacers 9-9 (17): Behind Pacers’ push: No. 8 in defense vs. No. 23 last season. And?

16. Trail Blazers 8-11 (12): Wheels come off: 3-9 since Roy started having knee problems. Double uh oh.

17. Grizzlies 8-12 (13): Who knew Buckeye from 2006-07 team to break out would be Conley? That would be practically anyone who saw Greg Oden walking around at the draft. As one reporter put it, “He walks like an old man.”

18. Rockets 7-12 (25): Coming around after 3-10 start but better step it up. Which they did in beating the Lakers at home without Yao Ming and Aaron Brooks.

19. Raptors 8-11 (24): There’s something happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear. I can name that tune in 5 seconds! But seriously, not the team’s official marketing slogan, but pretty damn accurate.

20. Warriors 8-11 (18): As Smart said, we want to be a surprise in April: Just went 1-7. Taking this job is the dumbest thing Keith Smart has ever done.

21. Bucks 6-12 (19): Bogut due back after missing five games in which they went 1-4. Uh uh.

22. Cavaliers 7-11 (20): You know that ear-to-ear smile Mark Cuban said Dan Gilbert had? I swear there’s a gay joke just waiting to be inserted here but I’ll be damned if I know what it is.

23. Bobcats 7-12 (21): Jackson ejected, suspended, gets 25 in return as they end 1-4 skid. MJ this close to returning from wherever it is that he spends his time NOT improving his team.

24. Wizards 6-12 (22): Wall back looking shaky, or this would be rookie race of all time. Maybe he can “Dougie” his way to the ROY award.

25. Nets 6-14 (23): Farmar averages 20, eight assists with Harris hurt. They go 3-0 anyway. This cannot be the same Jordan Farmar who didn’t play well for the Lakers.

26. 76ers 5-14 (30): Might be least complementary duo ever. Igoudala returns, Turner sits. Well, to be fair, Ted Turner is 72 years old.

27. Timberwolves 4-15 (26): Clippers of the North: More good young players than wins. Now, THAT’S a marketing slogan! Sort of like the one for the Kardashian sisters: “Four out of five professional athletes say it’s the best Armenian ‘stuff’ they’ve ever had.”

28. Clippers 4-16 (27): If they mess it up with Griffin, Stern really should contract. IF? More like when.

29. Pistons 6-14 (28): Prince in contract year, gets 30 twice in salary drive for new team. I didn’t know the Purple One had given up music for his first love.

30. Kings 4-13 (29): Westphal: It’s not a crime to lose, but it is a crime not to work. Why the Aloof brothers signed washed-up Paul Westphal remains a mystery to NBA fans and observers.

 

THE RETURN OF THE KING!

December 2, 2010

If you’re an NBA fan, you have to be interested in Le Bron James’ first game in Cleveland since “The Decision”.

Here’s a few stories from the Cleveland Plain Dealer to whet your appetite LeBron James returns, and Cleveland Cavaliers fans face their own decision and an incredible one from ESPN (it’s long but well worth the read) ESPN – OTL: Believeland – E-ticket.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December 1, 2010

From this day forth, everything that goes wrong is Sarah Palin’s fault.

And because he unleashed her unto the Lower 48, by extension, John McCain’s at fault too.