Friday, February 29, 2008

More on the absurdity below

Claps abound for the man in the article who took preventative measures to protect his two daughters. Claps abound for the daughters for having the smarts and composure to call someone who they knew who take preventative measures to protect his daughters. Claps abound for the call to the police by the male who took preventative measures to protect his daughters.

Common denominator in those three sentences: preventative measures, something the law doesn't have in its policy of self-defense. Now granted, we don't know for sure if the daughters were telling the truth about being followed. For all we know, they could have known the dude all along and set him up to get shot. If that is the case, then that is just downright despicable. Time and investigation will tell what really happened.

But if the tone of the article is correct, that the man did take - here's that phrase again - preventative measures to protect his seeds, then I totally sympathize. Why is it that something has to happen for the self-defense law to be enacted? I'm not for unwarranted killings, as I again sympathize with the deceased' family. But you can't play in dirt, and not expect to get dirty. When you infringe onto somebody else's life, you leave your life in their hands. You don't know what others are capable of, so why get entangled with that?

This happens all the time. Helpless women falling prey to vulturous men. Only this time, a father - something that seems to be missing in the black community - comes to the rescue. This stuff makes me beam and cringe, because I know I would have probably done the same thing. Maybe. Who knows? But I don't blame him one iota.

Now of course, this is assuming that everything that the daughters and father said was true. If there is a complete reversal, then disregard everything I wrote and go about your business in having a blessed weekend.


Check this absurdity out

One of many you have heard in your lifetime.

My thoughts will follow later. Let this marinate for now.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Perhaps the last bruhaha of a great season...

As I am currently sitting on my plush leather couch watching the Senators Barack and Hilary go at it for the 13,456th (seriously, the 20th) time in the last few months, a few quick things stick out like outliers:

1) The desperation on Hilary's countenance and in her voice is as palpable as a crater on a 14 year old's face on prom night. She knows that if she doesn't win Texas AND Ohio, her campaign is clinically effed. The cutoffs of the moderators, the chime-ins on questions directed towards Barack, and the over-emphasizing of her experience as First Lady all indicates a woman who is on the verge of going fishin'.

2) Barack, for the first time since I have seen him, looked slightly flapped. When the query of whether he will keep his word on the acquisition of funds from the general public, there was a glimpse of panic in his eye before he recovered with his answer (for complete analysis of the debate, hit up the New York Times. They have been magnificent in covering this debate.)

3) The inevitable Louis Farrakhan question came up. Great job by Barack in deflecting and distancing himself from Farrakhan without cheapening Farrakhan's endorsement.

4) How can you stop the effect and power of special interest groups if you are using their money to fund your campaign? Riddle me that Hil...

5) Great questions by the moderators Brian Williams and Tim Russert. They gave the tough inquiries, and pressed both candidates on the major linchpins of their respective campaigns. The mods could have been a little harder on Barack's drug history and how he plans on counteracting attacks from the GOP nominee, and on Hil's failed health plan in 1993. But who's tripping?

6) Barack didn't directly address the question of his pastor's affiliation to Louis Farrakhan. He's going to have to do that eventually.


Friday, February 22, 2008

The other side of the equation

I purposely left out the Eastern Conference in yesterday's analysis, waiting - and hoping - that they would perform a juke that would provide some sort of balance to a trading scene that has otherwise been dominated by the left region of the U.S. But Cleveland, Chicago, and Seattle engaged in a three-way trade right before the deadline to close things out. So again without further ado, let's get out the synthesizer for the Eastern Conference:

Well this is almost by default, but the unqualified winner is the Cleveland Cavaliers. They may not have acquired the biggest name - the Atlanta Hawks did - but they received the most helpful appliances without giving up a lot of production. In summary, they obtained Ben Wallace (who is declining, but has championship experience), Joe Smith (who is playing somewhat rejuvenated, averaging 17 points, 7 rebounds per while shooting 50% from the field this month), Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak. Oh yeah, not to mention a 2nd round pick to boot.

All they had to give up was a dilapidated Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Donyell Marshall, Ira Newble, and Cedric Simmons. More dependable scorers and more rebounding comes in, bad contracts and injured players go out. Not bad. Not bad at all.

The overrated "winner" trade:
Miami Heat and their acquisition of Shawn Marion. As stated in the last blog, this trade baffled me at first in a major way, from Phoenix end. So one would assume that I felt that Miami got the better end of the trade. Not true. True, the Heat snatched from the Suns (ironic that the two teams involved in this trade are the Suns and Heat, the two elements seen and felt by the planets in their revolving in the solar system. Clearly the NBA doesn't revolve around these two teams. They have a combined one championship in their existence in the NBA) a player of athletic marvel, who will drop 17-19 points a night with 10-15 rebounds to go with it, who is still in his twenties.

But that's where it stops. Marion has a knack for disappearing in big games. His contempt for his role on the team was palpable, to the point that he would take every chance he got - it seems - to point out his worth. He was the highest paid player on the team, yet, he didn't see that as a placation for his insecurity. And all this while he was playing on a team with Steve Nash and Amare Stoudamire and on a team that utilized his greatest gifts - running and jumping.

It's likely that the Heat will see a different Marion, in the behavioral sense, as it is likely that those numbers will continue to sustain without Nash. But will it translate to a different win-loss record for the Heat? Yours truly is not convinced.

There wasn't any losers, not in the direct sense anyway. Most sat idly and watched while the top 8 teams in the West made moves. Does that make them losers? Well Boston is good...I digress. Chicago traded big-time talent within their division, always a no-no. For years, they could have used pieces to receive a big-name talent (Kobe and Pau, ironically the most notable names). But they dropped that beach ball. Thereby, this writer is declaring Chi-Town as the luckless guns this go around.

The Wait-and-See trade:
The Hawks procured the biggest name in the Eastern Conference, a name that was on the trading block for a couple of years. In Mike Bibby, the Birds now have a point who can run, shoot, pass, and step up when needed, something that they didn't have prior to last Saturday. But I am left feeling a bit incomplete, wholly because an already permissive middle has become more doughy. The Hawks need a viable big man to complete this deal and create the synergy needed to make the Billy Knight project work.

And on top of that, Bibby for all his skills, has a few glaring weaknesses of his own.
1) Not an Alpha dog, something the top teams have and need
2) Not a defensive stalwart himself
3) Injury prone over last few years
4) More of a shoot-first guard

Perhaps that is me nit-picking, but hey, somebody got to do it. Quality management is what it is called, and Six-Sigma standards are bred from nit-picking. The Hawks aren't there yet people. Sorry to burst it. But time will tell if you should take my word for it. That's why this is in the waiting room for the time being...


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Yes, yes, it is overdue...

With the deadline to player swap winding down within the next three hours, I am going to go out on the limb and say that the major trading is done for the season. Everybody is all up in arms about the marquee names migrating from the Eastern part of the country to the Western part, and it's not just the fans. Coaches are taking swipes and general managers are taking heed too, most notably Steve Kerr's panic-riddled hand pressing the proverbial red button and acquiring Shaquille O'Neal for Shawn Marion.

So without further ado, let's synthesize the "new-look" Western Conference:

Biggest winners:
Los Angeles Lakers
We all have heard the reasons as to why the Lakers got away like a fat rabbit. Giving away no production for a lot of production is what they did. Kobe Bryant wanted Jerry West to come to the Lakers. He wanted him back. Well, he got him. Jerry West still works for the Lakers. If there was any case that warranted a collusion question, this is one. So come May, the Lakers will be looking at a starting line-up of Derek Fisher, Kobe, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum. Now riddle me this, who is going to score in the paint against those fellows? Factor in the perimeter defense of Fish and Kobe, and Kobe's mindset of a cobra and you have a Western Conference finalist. At least.

New Orleans Hornets
Why the Hornets, you say? Because they didn't panic. They realized what they had was working and did not give away any talent in a fit of keeping up with the Joneses mentality. Also, it was on the wire today that they are acquiring Mike James and Bonzi Wells for Bobby Jackson and change. And forget what you heard, if the season ended today, the two MVP candidates are Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant. It's not even close after that. CP3 gets my vote.

San Antonio Spurs
SAS solidified an already solid frontcourt by getting rid of Francisco "I let KG punch me in the nuts" Elson and Brent Barry for a bona fide blue collar Greg Popovich style player in Kurt Thomas. There's nothing more to say about this other than the cliche' "the rich gets richer."

Most overrated "winner" move:
Dallas Mavericks
OK, quick, tell me how in any significant way is Jason Kidd an upgrade over Devin Harris? I'll answer that for you: leadership and court vision and rebounding. But when I delve further, I ask myself, is Jason Kidd really a leader? Is he the Alpha dog that the Mavericks need and think that they now have? When you factor in the point that Kidd a) can't shoot to save his life b) was quite turnover prone in the East, which figures to get worse now that he's dealing with lightning hands guards in the West c) will find it hard to contend with the quick point guards of the West, more so in a way that Devin Harris, most evidently noted by Paul's nine steal game last night. These are too many questions for me to be totally convinced that Kidd is that much of an upgrade, other than name recognition alone.

Most overrated "loser" move:
Phoenix Suns
This may come as a slight surprise to those that know me, because I was as befuddled with this trade as anybody with a brain. Why Shaq, for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks? It wasn't for contractual/financial reasons, for Shaq is due another two years. Marion was the Suns best defensive player, best rebounder, and the main recipient of Steve Nash's lobs. Then once I thought about it - though this may be a sign that I am losing some brain cells at the ripe old age of 22 - it made more sense.

Phoenix has been to the WCF two of the last three years. So you could look at it two ways: that they either are missing something to get over that proverbial hump, or that they are close and just need to stick with what they got. I mean after all, Detroit in the 1980's did bang their heads against the wall for years against the Celtics and Lakers before they could win it all. But with the Lakers making their play for Gasol, Kerr felt the need to beef up on the inside. And boy, did he. Shaq is Shaq, banged up or not. He is not 2000-2003 Shaq, or even 2006 Shaq. But he is better than what Phoenix had in the middle. Marion was a stat-stuffer, a do-everything player. But he was unhappy, and that can play on team chemistry.

Chemistry and change. Those are the two factors that Phoenix are banking on. At worse, they end up at the same predicament at they have in the past three seasons: an early dismissal from the playoffs. At best, they could have obtained the one piece that can contend with Duncan or Gasol & Bynum, and provide some balance in Phoenix's lineup and send them to their first championship ever.

So in reality they lose nothing, and have everything to gain.

A foolish gamble maybe, but one that I, at gunpoint would make.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

9.8 meters per seconds squared

Throw a ball as hard as you can and at some point, it will fall. Achieve any sort of flight in your life, and plight will happen. Just as a 25-year-old professional baseball player will throw a ball harder – and keep the ball in the air longer - than a 15-year-old baseball player, a more talented and experienced person will sustain their success more than the inept and youthful.

Gravity is what they call it. The inevitable law of nature that people tend to take for granted, gravity is that force that is the implicit bane of our existence. Without gravity, we wouldn’t die after airplane crashes because, there would be no crash. Bridges wouldn’t collapse because there would be no collapse in gravity’s absence. For that matter, busting our hips on a fall, curveballs, and jumpshots would be nonexistent sans gravity.

What are we as humans more afraid of, ascension or plummeting? Without a doubt, it is the fall that we dread. Gravity.

Pay attention to the laws of nature. They offer stark parallels to our day-to-day goings. Everybody wants success, the money the glitter, the recognition, whatever. Everybody wants it. But who wants to fall? The answer to that question aids in our understanding of the psychology of the dormant in our society. You know, the individuals who sit idly waiting for something to happen. Lack of moxie, they call it.

People need encouragement, true. But most of all, people need toughness. When buildings are built, a solid foundation is set before a level is added. That stability provides the toughness if you will, that sturdiness that keeps the building afloat amidst the external forces that comes to test its mettle.

Weak bricks and structure erodes from the constant pressure of precipitable forces. Weak people whittle away from similar forces. What does this have to do with gravity, you say?

We are all forced to adjust to gravity because we know that there is no way around that. Either you recognize it, or you will fall prey to its adverse effects. But we have no problem doing that. When is the last time you heard somebody say, “I wish that we didn’t have this damn gravity here, otherwise, I wouldn’t have dropped that table on my toe”?

But how many complaints have you heard about the weather, or any other factor that we cannot control? They have even figured out a formula for gravity and made laws for its understanding. But becoming tougher and less irritable about other immutable forces eludes us.

Take a lesson from Sir Isaac, and apply it to the bigger point: learn the laws and adapt, instead of trying to change the unchangeable. Acknowledge the laws of gravity. It will make you stronger…in more ways than naught.