Saturday, May 18, 2013

Awesome Old Song of the Week: "Vineyard" by Jackopierce

I believe this is the newest "Awesome Old Song" that I've featured to date.  Jackopierce released the single "Vineyard" in 1997, just 16 years ago.  But since this is my first Martha's Vineyard weekend of the year, it seemed fitting.  Even though the band is from Texas, the song is somewhat autobiographical.  It tells the story of lead singer Cary Pierce spending a few days on the island and meeting a nice girl.

In the brief time period that "burning CD's" was the norm, I made a mix including this song that never left the 5 disc changer in the bar I worked at all summer. That and the Cocktail soundtrack.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Since when do weather forecasts go by hairstyles?

One day last week I turned on the TV in the midst of the local news, with the channel still set for NBC from whatever I'd been watching the night before.  I have an extreme dislike for local TV news, and I try to avoid it whenever I can.  But that's another blog for another day.  On this occasion the weather report happened to be going on, and this is what I saw:

Is this normal?  At first I thought it was a joke.  Can that graphic actually helpful to anyone?  It seems kind of insulting to me; as if women people with long hair are unable to determine themselves the difference between 30% humidity and 80% humidity.

On a random but related side note, I think I may be the only person in the world who likes humidity.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

I think I could be a clutch free throw shooter in the NBA

What is it that makes this so difficult?
On Wednesday night Zach Randolph stepped to the line with 11 seconds left in the game, and his team leading by 2 points.  He missed both free throws, giving the Thunder one final chance to tie, or even win with a three.  Luckily for Randolph and the Grizzlies OKC didn't score, Memphis won the game and the series, and his blown freebies will be forgotten.

For his career Randolph is a 76.5% foul shooter, so statistically speaking on any given occasion there is only a 5.5% chance that he'll ever miss two in a row.

Four day earlier Kevin Durant also missed a pair in the final minute of a close game, with his team trailing by 4 with 39 seconds remaining.  Durant is an 88.4% career FT shooter (one of the best in the league), and should only ever miss both 1.3% of the time.

You always hear stories about poor foul shooters like Shaq, Dwight Howard, and Rajon Rondo having no problem making them consistently in practice.  What is it about being in a game (and even more so in big situations) that makes it so much harder?

A couple weeks ago I was shooting on my old childhood hoop, and I hit 4 of 5 free throws.  A little while later I took 5 more, and again went 4-5.  Now I'm not saying I could go out and shoot 80% in a game, and obviously I can't compare my driveway to being on the court in an NBA arena full of screaming fans.  But I hadn't shot a single free in years, and was never that much of a basketball player to begin with.  Guys in the NBA are professionals that practice shooting those every day.  They should be much, much, much better at it than I am.  Every other aspect of the game I would get absolutely destroyed at if you put me on the floor with pros; but with free throws I think I could hold my own without being embarrassed.  That doesn't seem right.

Having said that, it's pretty clear a big part of foul shooting is mental.  Some players want to be at the line in pressure situations, and some don't.  Personally I think I would be a great late game free throw shooter.  The closest analogy I can make to regular life is beer pong.  Back in my playing days I always excelled at hitting the last rebuttal shot to keep a game going.  My shooting percentage increased when it mattered most.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Jason Kidd is setting NBA records for scoreless-ness

Somehow Kidd even missed this one.
I wrote about this for Celtics Life on Monday, and now Jason Kidd's streak has gotten even worse (or maybe better?).  The last time Kidd scored a point was in Game 2 of the New York-Boston series.  That was 8 games ago.

He's played a total of 177 minutes over those eight contests.  Kidd is averaging slightly more than 22 minutes per game during the stretch, and been on the floor for at least 15 minutes every night.  Spanning that time he's pulled down 31 rebounds, dished out 19 assists, had 6 steals, and even blocked 4 shots.  But he's also 0-16 from the field, with a grand total of zero points.

I have a pretty confident feeling that Kidd's streak of scoreless minutes is an all-time league record; but I can't figure it out, and nobody is mentioning it (I keep saying this, but I need a research department!  Or will somebody please create an all sports super-powered version of google that can automatically give me the correct answers to any questions I come up with about obscure records?).  I'm also 99.9% positive that Kidd is the first NBA player to ever attempt a shot and grab a rebound in 8 straight games without scoring. only goes back to 1985, but in that time nobody else has even done this more than 6 games in a row.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Why won't anybody call out LeBron for being a liar?

Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau accused LeBron James of flopping when he was "shoved to the ground" by Nazr Mohammed in Game 3.  LeBron said this in response:

"I don't need to flop. I play an aggressive game but I don't flop. I've never been one of those guys. I don't need to flop. I don't even know how to do it. So it doesn't mean much to me."

Really LeBron?  Really?  You don't even know how to do it?  There is a mountain of video evidence to the contrary.  Try searching "LeBron James flop" on youtube and see what happens.  But what blows my mind is that he can get away with these comments without criticism.  One ESPN guy, Ryen Russillo, called him out with this tweet:

Russillo also mentioned on his show yesterday that LeBron often acts as if he's "been shot with a poison blowdart" when somebody brushes the back of his head, something I've been saying for years.  However, for the most part LeBron's ridiculous statement was received without argument.

I'd like to see a major news outlet feature a story called "LeBron, that's just not true," and show a video montage of his many, many flops.  Or even better somebody should say to him straight up in an interview "LeBron, watch this clip and explain to me how that 6 foot tall point guard who weighs 100 pounds less than you sent you crashing to the floor."  Why can't this happen?  How can he just lie like that and get away with it?


Monday, May 13, 2013

Levels of losing

Before I went to Game 6 of the Celtics-Knicks series, I had a discussion with my dad about how painful it might be if they lost and were eliminated.  After coming halfway back from a 3-0 deficit, Boston had a chance to tie up the series at home.  I didn't really expect them to win, so I felt like the only way a loss could really hurt would be if they held a big lead all night, and let it slip away at the end.  Of course I never considered the possibility of getting blown out, then having a near miraculous comeback fall just short (both in the game and in the series).

Yesterday I wrote that because of their passion and history of defeat, I might actually feel bad for Maple Leafs fans if Toronto couldn't complete the comeback from 3-1 down and win Game 7.  But as with the Celtics, I never considered the possibility of them holding a 4-1 lead with under 11 minutes to go, giving up 2 goals in a 31 second span of the final minutes against an empty net, and then falling in overtime.  Wow.  Sorry Toronto, you win; as far as losing goes.

Note: Yes, I was rooting for the Bruins.  But since I haven't given them much attention, it didn't seem right to get all giddy and write about how awesome a game this was.   It was an amazing comeback though, and clearly too big a deal not to discuss, so I chose this angle. 


Sunday, May 12, 2013

If the Bruins still win this series I may feel a little bad for Toronto

Boston is on the verge of blowing a 3-1 series lead to the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Game 7 will be at the TD Garden Monday night (see "Hockey plays Game 7's on no days rest???" from two years ago).  The die hard B's fans will hate me for saying this, but I can't get that upset about the possibility of dropping this series to Toronto.  It's just a way bigger deal to them than it is to us.  I'm not talking about the teams and players themselves, I mean actual Torontonians.

Thousands of them stand outside their arena each night to watch the games (pictured).  For us hockey is the 4th major sport; for them it's the equivalent of football, baseball, and basketball all put together.  They have the Raptors, who've only won a single playoff series since the NBA decided to put a team there in 1995.  And they've got the Blue Jays, who did have some fans when Joe Carter won them the World Series 20 years ago, but now they routinely play in a mostly empty stadium.  Which brings us back to their beloved Leafs, who last won the Stanley Cup when there were only 6 teams playing for it.  Toronto's 44 year championship drought is the longest in the NHL.  They want this a lot more than we do.

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