Saturday, March 29, 2008

When You are Thrown Into A Street Fight

There are brief moments in life when we learn more about ourselves than we may learn in years of routine life. It is often these rare moments that can reveal the most inner workings of one's soul.

Now no event may be more telling than being thrown into a street fight--especially if you are brawling 16 year old punks who are hopped up on methamphetamines. Here is our tale.
It was a brisk night in late March, but a night that you could smell spring just around the corner. The sun was past the horizon and evening was setting in. Spirits were high as we walked back from our favorite saloon after enjoying delicious cheeseburgers, crabcake sandwiches and beers. The episode began when our Perfect Friend went down the block to grab some beers from his trunk and in turn was followed by three ruffians. When he reached his car the leader of the pack told Perfect Friend to 'get off MY street!' We were all a little taken back by this punks aggression considering we were older, bigger, and strangers to him. However, Perfect Friend fresh off a recent throw down in NYC was not taking any shit from these leprechauns and quickly retorted. After more heated words were exchanged and they realized they were out numbered and sized they quieted down. The beer was lifted from the car and the hoodlums were told to 'go do your homework!' by yours truly (I had been saving that gem of a line after another recent interaction with local ruffians).

After a few delicious, though slightly warm Miller lite plastic bottles, a UNC route, and a near UCLA upset it was time for us to go our separate ways. Perfect Friend left first joking that he would call for backup if the punks returned for more. Sure enough a minute later I get a call that they were back and we needed to come outside right away. We laughed to each other (I was still in my moccasin slippers and mesh) and rolled out of the house to find Perfect Friend out of his car in the middle of the street surrounded by these rowdies, loudly exchanging words. We rush up to the fracas and shove two of them off our buddy and away from his car. There was a lot of shouting and we were even repeatedly called the n-word, which was comical considering how white everyone on both sides was. It also showed how deranged these guys were. During the shoving, T.Rex was the punched (if you can call it that) in the side of the head by one of the little shits who in turn received a bloody nose from Schmo el the Maccabi, who had just tossed the littlest one under a parked car. "It felt like mush," Schmo el would say later of his fist hitting face.

Maybe the most questionable and in retrospect hilarious part of the melee ensued next when Perfect Friend grabbed a tire iron out of his car. This turned out to be a bad move as the biggest, baddest rebel rouser shouted, 'oh you got weapons!? we got weapons too!'

This is when I got a little nervous.

He ran behind a trashcan and pulled out two cement blocks. I was relieved to see cement blocks and not a knife or bat. He then lobbed one at me as he continued his mad ranting. I deftly side stepped his poor attempt as it crash into the side walk to my right. In his blinding madness he ran over and threatened to throw the other block at Bob the Pacifier. The Pacifier had grabbed the rascal the Maccabi had tossed under the car and had his face pinned under his Starbury sneaker. The weasel's death threats and squawking got the attention of his brother who ran over with his cement block held high above his head threatening to throw it. The Pacifier picked up the little brother and held him in between the rock throwing mad man and himself, calmly repeating to the crazy asshole to drop the rock and he would let his brother go.

At this point another interesting development ensued. The younger sister of the two brothers came running into the mess screaming for her brothers to stop because the cops were going to come. Now your average 16 year old doesn't have his little sister reminding him about the the cops coming with the familiarity that most young teens would attribute to emptying the dishwasher or picking up their room. These were clearly criminal minded youths we were dealing with.

After more shouting with the cement block stand-off the little brother was let go. He immediately pointed at the Maccabi screaming to his brother, 'Dats the one! Dats dah bitch who t'rew me down!' The older brother ripped a 2x4 out out of the ground with a nail conveniently sticking out of it and stormed after the Maccabi who dodged a few swipes while backing up down the street. Luckily a neighbor stepped out of his house whose familiarity with the swashbucklers ended the rumpus and sent them back to the hole they crawled out of. More neighbors then came out, asking us what the hell happened as the 3 thugs and their sister could be seen disappearing back to their part of the street.

So there is the story. In retrospect I learned a few things about myself.

All in all I realized I am not a fighter. Nope. I wouldn't call myself a pussy or a wimp because I had my boy's back right away, but I certainly am no Dalton or Kimbo Slice. I didn't run in throwing punches and stuck to grappling, trying to end the fight through strong words and common sense. In grappling the kids I found myself contemplating throwing a punch, but I quickly realized that I may never have thrown a punch in my life. I wouldn't even know how to throw a punch and it appeared to be difficult to connect the way this lunatic was jumping around. I have noticed myself replaying the scuffle in my head, imagining myself beating the crap out of these kids. Illusions of grandeur for sure. I probably should have taken this opportunity to get in some practice.

Some of us weren't afraid to hit a kid who had just cuffed our friend in the head. Others saw the situation clearly and realized beating the shit out of a 16 year old wasn't the way to go. Simple restraining and negotiating was a more appropriate road to take. And then others (who have probably watched too many John Wayne movies or MMA fights) saw this as their shining moment--a chance to kick ass and take names. We all had our approach and in many ways it reflected each of our own styles. How would you have reacted in this situation and what would it say about you?

All in all I am proud of our squad. We kept our cool and avoided any serious injury. When it comes down to it you just can't be a grown ass man beating up teenagers no matter how bad they deserve it-- and trust me, these little monsters deserved every beating that comes their way.

* * *

In talking to the neighbors later, two of these kids had just gotten out of juvie and were 'drug addicts.' From their hyper aggressive approach and violent inclinations they were certainly hopped up on something. In retrospect their lives probably suck, their parents can't control them, and they spend their days bored and looking for anything to get them excited. The other night it was starting a fight with five grown ass men, who lucky for them showed maturity, wisdom, and common sense in the midst of a heated street fight.

Friday, March 28, 2008


Weezer is releasing a new single that will be on the radio shortly. Rivers Cuomo would not reveal the name of the song, but he did offer us a hint: it is a single, twelve-letter word, that begins with T and ends with R. Or T _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ R

Here are my best guesses:


And some dark horses:

Telemarketer, transgressor, tabernacular, tenderometer

We will see.

Also, what's the deal with handkerchiefs? Are they the grossest thing in the world or am I just using them wrong.

Here is the music video for Right Hand on My Heart by The Whigs, they were in town last night opening for the Drive-by Truckers and the song is pretty rock and roll.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

When Threesomes Go Bad

So I'm watching a porno the other day...

Things are going great.

The girl is really hot, the lighting is good, and it has a can't miss plot (babysitter unable to pay for pizza she ordered).

All of a sudden, the front door opens and in walks the mom, or, I guess I should say, MILF.

She immediately joins the action with a line like, "the only person sucking that pizza boy's dick is gonna be me."

Actually, that's exactly what she said.

So the one-on-one action quickly turns into a threesome.

Even better, right?

Two heads are better than one, as they say, and four boobs are better than two.

It's like adding a pickle to a sandwich, or beers to a baseball game.

Except for one problem.

This "MILF" is nowhere near as hot as the babysitter.

Not only that, but she is much more aggressive and "in your face."

Basically, the babysitter gets relegated to background duty.

You can't see her, because the "MILF" is constantly in the way, and you can't hear her, because the "MILF" is screaming (unsexily) at the top of her lungs.

So I was faced with the rare situation where something that should have been an improvement turned out to be the exact opposite.

Now the reason I bring this up (other than the fact that I am now officially blogging about pornography and thus combining two great pasttimes), is that something similar is happening in the local Philadelphia sports radio scene.

For those that don't know, Sports Radio 950 is located a few notches up the dial from rival 610 WIP, and let me tell you, the air is much crisper up there.

In the mornings, when I still listened to 610, I used to be subject to Angelo Cataldi and his wackjob cronies that would call in. Now I am all for the Wing Bowl, but I don't need to hear about grown men eating three cartons of eggs and a tub of sour cream at 8 AM when I am trying to hold down some booze.

My drive home was subject to Howard Eskin, who certainly knew enough about the Eagles, but, as the saying goes, "he's not wrong, he's just an asshole."

So one day I heard about 950 and switched over.

Things were great!

I listened to Michael Bradley and Glenn Foley, or "G-Fols," in the morning. Bradley's straight up sports knowledge and Foley's outlook and insights as a former player were a nice combination, and we were having a great time.

On the drive home, I listened to Jody Mac, a legitimate sports talk host, who always had his ear to the ground about the latest buzz, specifically the Eagles.

So just when I think things can't get any better, I hear that SR 950 is now becoming 950 AM ESPN.

Alright! The worldwide leader coming to Philadelphia!

Can't miss, right?

Actually, just like adding a girl with a bad boob job and beat-up pussy to a previously great porno, it can.

Glenn Foley was fired and Bradley was taken off the air, while Jody Mac was moved to mid-day, which I will not be able to listen to.

ESPN went and plugged Mike and Mike in the morning slot. Great guys, but they are a nationally syndicated show, and there will be no local flavor.

Mike Missanelli will be taking over the drime home slot, which I personally think kind of sucks. He may hate Eskin as much as me, but he is not that much better.

So things went from great, to supposedly even better.

Except not at all.

The Philadelphia attitude is gone from the show, and they will sound like every other sports station in America.

So, to all those suits thinking "Hey, how can we make something great even better? Should we add a sixth blade to our razor? Chocolate milk to our booze? A third nipple to our porn stars?"

The answer, at least in my opinion, is sometimes its best to leave well enough alone.

Except for that third nipple idea...that's gold)

News On Mike "Big Mike" Zagurski

First, an Animal House quote:

Neidermeyer: The following charges are brought: First, that the Delta house did knowingly violate the rules governing pledge recruitment by serving alcohol to freshmen during pledge week and after established drinking hours. Second, that for the fifth consecutive semester, Delta has achieved a deficient aggregate grade point average. Third, that the Delta fraternity routinely provided dangerous narcotic diet pills to its members during midterm examination week. And most recently...that a Roman toga party was held from which we have received two dozen reports of individual acts of perversion so profound and disgusting that decorum prohibits listing them here.

Otter: Ladies and gentlemen, I'll be brief. The issue here is not whether we broke a few rules, or took a few liberties with our female party guests - we did.

I got a case of March Sadness reading on the Phillies website that rookie reliever Mike Zagurski will probably have to get that Tommy John surgery, and that if he does, he’ll miss the entire 2008 season. For those of you who remember, he left the team in August last year with a hamstring injury, for which he also had surgery. He was back for Spring Training this year, competing for a pitching spot with a few other guys, but after leaving an intrasquad game favoring his elbow, what was originally thought to be a strain turned out to be nerve damage. Now, I’m no M.D., in fact, other members of the 2-1-5 may remember I barely graduated high school, but from what I understand Tommy John surgery has something to do with replacing a ligament in your elbow, which sounds fucking serious.

Zagurski started out his professional baseball career much like Ryan Dunn in Summer Catch pitching for the Batavia Muckdogs. He started out the 2007 season in single-A, and quickly graduated through double-A and triple-A, and when Brett Myers went on the DL May 25th, Zagurski got called up to the Show. Although he was only in the bigs long enough for a cup of coffee, he recorded one win (against the NY Mets), no losses, 21 Ks in 21.1 innings pitched, and a devil-may-care, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants ERA of 5.9. On August 18, 2007, while attempting to field a ground ball off the bat of Ronny “Pauly” Paulino in Pittsburg, Zagurski tripped himself up and injured his hamstring, ending his ‘07 season.

Bottom line, I’m gonna miss him. Six-foot, 225, with an unkempt appearance, he was an unlikely hero. Which is why I mention Animal House…he was more of a Delta House member than a pro athlete, and all the members of the 2-1-5 enjoyed watching his blue-collar efforts on the mound last year. If he gets his surgery, I hope he recovers fully to play with the Fightins in 2009. Now, to end with another quote from Animal House

Greg: What do you intend to do sir? Delta's already on probation.

Dean Wormer: They are?

Greg: Yes, sir.

Dean Wormer: Oh. Then as of this moment, they're on DOUBLE SECRET PROBATION!

Greg: Double Secret Probation, Sir?

Dean Wormer: There is a little-known codicil in the Faber College constitution which gives the dean unlimited power to preserve order in time of campus emergency. Find me a way to revoke Delta's charter…the time has come for someone to put their foot down. And that foot is me.

Monday, March 24, 2008

March Sadness

It’s that time of year. 32 games in 96 hours. Bets are wagered. Cell phones are turned off. Friendships hinge on the performance of the eighth man on teams like Siena, Texas-Arlington, and Austin Peay. Yup, it’s March Madness. Or, in my case, it’s March Sadness.
Because I am not employed, or associated with folks who participate in meaningful pools, or have “friends” who “care about if I want to get in a bracket for money”, I was reduced to enter a 1 on 1 pool with my roommate with the big payout amounting to dinner up to $40 for the non-loser. As my hopes and dreams began to fade like the blowjob skills of a newly designated “girlfriend” with each Georgetown and Duke loss, I decided to put my thoughts on the first weekend of March Madness 2008 onto digital paper.
What kills me about March Sadness is the ratio of the time I invest during the season in terms of watching weird games like Washington St. (is Derrick Low the best stoner baller this side of Rod Strickland?) vs. Cal in relation to how smart I feel within hours of the first tip. Watching the Big East tourney, who would have ever guessed that ‘Nova plays on at this point while Dajuan Summers and LeVance Fields and Co. watch from their dorm rooms between bong and groupie hits? If I were the same prognosticator in life as I am in early-March, I think it’s safe to say that people would walk in on me masturbating at least twice a month.
The ‘Nova reference raises another important issue that makes Sadness such a bittersweet time of year. When else do you find yourself pulling for Paulus to drain just one more triple while rooting against an early Christmas present to the tune of 37 and 8 in an upset of the Spartans? We are slaves to our brackets. We are slaves to the rankings. We are slaves to our predictions which are inherently steeped more in TV exposure and recognizable coach and player names than educated guesses and well-researched hunches. Who else had teams like USC and Arizona advancing to the Sweet 16? The sex appeal of names like Mayo (well, Mayo, obviously, due to his ever-close relationship to sandwiches, dry-humping a not thin co-ed, and tuna salad), Budinger, and Bayless almost always pre-empt more logical conclusions like “Duke has been overrated all year and this guy Alexander on WVU can really play.” As a result, brackets can quickly turn to kindling. We turn on our home teams who we’ve cheered all faithfully season, root for teams that we have no connection to like Louisville or Norte Dame, and in the end feel and look like the cheerleaders from Cornell. And for what? Mere pride and infallible glory when presents you with the $10,000 winner’s check. Pssshh.
Don’t let me get ya down. So my bracket is already toast after just the first weekend. That’s ok, it was a great weekend. Exciting games, unpredictable outcomes (understatement), and mad face time for guys like Troy Walters. Pure exhilaration. This brings me to an ever-popular question: perhaps I should quit writing checks with my mouth that my butt can’t cash and actually start writing checks with my mouth that my butt can cash, i.e. I should gamble more! Whenever you put money on something and then either try to accomplish it yourself or watch as others try to accomplish something for you (preferable, for obvious reasons), that activity is always infinitely more intense than when money isn’t part of the equation. Think about it: how often do you find yourself saying, “maybe I shouldn’t drive, the sun is coming up and I can’t feel my drivin’ fingers” or “well I know it tastes like a leaky car battery with that strange metallic aftertaste and all, but all I have are these ultra-protection Lifestyles so I better just dip into the shallow end without my trunks before making up my mind.” Now, if you have a best buddy next to you wagering a cool two bits on the outcome of these potential performances (the second obviously being more common), that always beats just laying it all on the line for nothing with only yourself as the referee. So, before you go to sleep tonight, try this: bet on something for ten bucks. It could be something as exotic as who can find a parking spot first or as mundane as who can do the most jumping jacks after drinking a quart of sour cream. Either way- I guarantee you’ll both be winners. In fact, we’ll all be winners by basking in the periphery of your balls-to-the-wall Rowand-ness.

I’d like to conclude with several words that take on special meaning during Sadness:

Upset- really hits the nail on the head. After Georgetown inexplicably lost their game of horse to Dell Curry’s teenage son, I was visibly and emotionally upset during Easter brunch even though I received not one but two button-down striped short-sleeve shirts which are both just begging to be paired with a checkered tie.

Madness- again, pretty straight forward, with one exception. I usually equate “madness” with what happens when urban youth give officer Harper backtalk after a three-block foot pursuit while during the Tourney it simply articulates the universal state of mind among males 16-49: “everyone wants to know what I think”.

Cinderella- I associate every player on Western Kentucky’s team with riding in carriages, something about pumpkins, wearing dresses, and simply givin’ it up easy.


7 Days 'til the Fightins, But For Now...Predator Rap!

But for now, check out this awesomeness...

Stay tuned for Iverson's return...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

An Apology For My Actions on St. Patrick's Day

First, I need to apologize to my family, for the state in which I left the kitchen, the bathroom, the TV room, and most of the backyard. A lot of the items I broke are replaceable, and I'm gonna get right on that. The items which I cannot replace will be glued together, if possible. I will do my best to clean the toilet, but I may need to replace that as well. Furthermore, I am aware that I woke up the entire family with the sound of projectile vomiting. Again, I am truly, truly sorry. The clothes I was wearing yesterday are already in the trash, so hopefully if we keep the windows open that smell will go away in a couple of days. Dad, I will re-sod the tire tracks on the lawn as soon as I am not hungover anymore.

Next, I would like to apologize to my friends. Look, we all pretty drunk...things were said, offensive things I realize, but I don't even remember significant portions of the night. Also, you guys won't have to carry me out of Finnegan's Wake ever again, I have learned my lesson the hard way. To Perfect Friend...well, lets just say I wasn't a 'perfect friend' when I urinated on the door handle of your car. To BC, keep ice on that, the swelling should go down in a few hours. Your support of "Back to the Future 2" as the best in the trilogy did not deserve a bar stool to the eyeball, I realize that now. To the girls in my contacts, I am sure you all received text messages which were inappropriate, perhaps even offensive. Look, I was drunk, OK? Diane, I don't even remember seeing you...Matt told me what I did. Damn, I'm just so sorry. Fuck.

To the employees of Lorenzo's, looking back on it, my speech may have been slurred to the point of incoherence, and may gait may been unwieldy and unpredictable. I understand fully why I was asked to leave.

To the tattoo guy at Old City...I will be back to have the other half of that Notre Dame logo completed, and also to pay you, I assure you. Your work in the medium of blacklight tattoos is impressive, I am sorry if I eluded otherwise the other night.

To the man I hit with my car, I hope you are cool, and not seriously injured or dead. If I had realized I was driving on the sidewalk, I would have definitely tried to steer back onto the road.

All in all, my actions on St. Patty's next year will be more controlled. Fewer carbombs, fewer Guinesses, and I will travel by way of taxi and public transportation.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Blacklight Tattoos

File this one in the archives under: Great Idea #1,092:

Blacklight tattoos.

For all those tattoos that you wanted to know, like a cheesesteak on your face...FUCK YOU written across you forehead...maybe a giant pirate ship on your rib cage - all those great ideas you had for tattoos but were too scared to get can now be had as a blacklight tattoo.

It's the perfect invention for an indecisive age.

Can't decide on the President but want to show your support? Get a profile of Barack on your back and McCain on your chest (If you change your mind you can always get a nice color image of Hilary down by your good 'n plentys).

Into weed but don't think your boss will appreciate a pot leaf on the back of your hand?

Blacklight that shit.

Bam! Problem solved (unless your boss is real into blacklights himself).

Passionate about sports but do too much bandwagoning?

Blacklight blacklight blacklight.

You could have the Eagles on one bicep and the Cowboys on the other one. Just don't go flexing both arms at once.

You could even play a drinking game with it.

Everybody writes down a bunch of crazy tattoo ideas on paper and you all pick randomly.

In fact, I have a feeling that blacklight tattoo parlors would only be open from like midnight to 8 AM.

Imagine making a couple of late night blacklight tattoo parlor visits when you are blackout drunk.

The next time you get in front of a blacklight it will be, I am gay is written on my forearm....Steve's a jerk is written across my chest....Superfly is now tattooed on the shaft of my penis.

Okay, so greatest idea ever, right?

You're probably thinking: I am going to go out tonight and open a blacklight tattoo parlor. I'll be rich! Thanks Rob.

Or you're gonna do what I just did, which is: google blacklight tattoos.

I'll save you the effort and show you a blacklight tattoo here and another one here.

Also, this is a blacklight tattoo used to enhance a regular tattoo.

So it's already been invented, eh?

No big deal.

It could still be a pretty sweet band name.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Other Playoff Race

While the Sixers are playing inspired basketball and gaining momentum going into the playoffs, the Flyers are slumping their way out of the playoffs. If the regular season ended today the Flyers would be in as the 8th seed set to play the NJ Devils, who have owned the Flyers this year and many years before. However, Buffalo sits one point behind the Flyers with Washington and Florida only two back. The next nine games for the Flyers are going to be huge, especially after they were beat 7-1 today in a laugher in Pittsburgh, a team they place twice more this season. Thrown in two games against the Devils, the Rangers, and the Islanders, and Tuesday's game against Atlanta and thats the season. The Flyers pretty much have to beat the Thrashers, sweep the Islanders, and maybe the Rangers too (they have three more points than the Flyers and could be passed in the standings) in order to have a chance. If they can pull off a win against either the Devils or Pens it would be huge. If they can win six games they have a good shot to be in the postseason, maybe five if they can force some overtime games (1 point for an OT loss).

The Flyers have gone 5-6 since their terrible 10 game losing streak but have lost their last 4, two in overtime, giving up 2 and three goal leads each time. Just as the team seemed to be getting back to health, Mike Richards returned with a goal on Satuarday and Joffery Lupul is back, they lose Darien Hatcher for the rest of the season with a broken leg and RJ Umberger is reported to be out for a week or two after spraining a knee in todays game. Randy Jones is also out and of course, Simon Gagne is out with Eric Lindros-esque concussion symptoms. The defense is really thin right now.

Its tough to pinpoint what this team is or isn't doing now that it was when they were winning and once upon a time on top of the entire Eastern conference. Marty Biron hasn't looked good lately, yet Nitty has only had a handful of starts over the past ten or so games. The powerplay isn't what it was earlier in the season but the Flyers still rank 2nd in the league. Scott Hartnell has gone silent. Hopefully Richards' return will really help the lineup. Overall, the Flyers seem to lack consistent effort throughout games, having defensive lapses and allowing teams to get back into games. Is that on John Stevens as a coach? A lack of leadership in the locker room? I'm not sure.

The next three weeks will determine everything for the Flyers. Earlier this season they seemed like Philly's best shot at a championship while now they are fighting just to get in to the playoffs. I suggest tuning in to a game, particularly one of the Rangers or Penguins games (if you want to see a fight), even if hockey isn't really your thing. The Flyers are a good Philly team and they deserve the support of the City. Hopefully they make the playoffs and surprise somebody in the first round, but I am getting ahead of myself. One thing is for sure, the Flyers newest enforcer, Riley Cote, (seen in three pics here) is a great fighter and fun to watch, he used to wear my favorite number (33), and not a bad player to go with it. By the way, the man being punished by Mike Richards is NHL points leader Alex Ovechkin, not exactly a fighter.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Better than the Best Sex with Oshun, the AfroCarribean Godess of Sex

Everyone is familiar with the Macho Man Randy Savage from his days in the Square Circle. Savage was know for delivering the most serious smackdown in the storied history of sports entertainment. However never content with with being a one trick pony, Savage has entered into the rap game. With powerful and delicious results.

In perhaps the freshest debut disk to drop of all time, Savage delivers cut after classic cut of raw and powerful street verse. Directly from the corners, Savage's hypnotic and boastful rhymes tell it how it is. Backed by melodic and bumping beats courtesy of DJ Kool, who delivers on his name sake, the disk is a musical journey through the concrete jungle that is not to be believed by mere mortal men. Savage urges his listeners to "put their face in it" and they can only justly conclude that "they are not ready."

In the signature and cutting edge single "Be a Man," Savage delivers a full frontal blitzkrieg on Hulk Hogan. In verse after hard hitting verse, Savage unleashes the four horsemen on Hogan, belittling his manhood and Hulkamania. Hogan has yet to respond in kind. Truly Hogan is not real in street and as Savage points out Hogan's "acting and his movies are both trash." The Macho Man has no need to even make this powerful piece of prose rhyme, it's realness can be found in its poignant truth and the fierce street cred that Savage boasts. In deed, Savages' name is known through out the rough and rugged urban heart land where his CD will no doubt be an immediate chart topper.

Savage gets gutter and spews some of the sickest and most introspective verses of all time. In "Perfect Friend," Savages' powerful baritone laments the passing of fellow Face turned Heel Mr. Perfect. Savage is backed by a soulful and, most would agree, beautiful R&B hook; which swoons back and forth and makes even the most hardened member of the street team want to remember his dunns. He does have the Perfect Friend's back, buddy system style.

The passion and pride of the CD is apparent from the first fist pumping moment when Macho's producer introduces the newest playa in the game with the skill and ability of a young DJ Clue. The CD is simply too powerful for words and hence a star rating would not even do it justice.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wawa Food Market: A Local Staple

Philadelphia...1992...a young boy is riding in the car with his dad along Roosevelt Boulevard, and as they pass the Wawa at 60 mph the boy turns to his dad and asks, "Dad, what does Wawa mean?" The dad answers, "Wawa means 'goose' in Native American. Now hold my beer, I'm driving." A universal experience for every young Philadelphian, at some point you're going to wonder about the origin of the strange name of that particular convenience store. Wawa, in addition to meaning Goose in Apache, is also the name of the Pennsylvania town where the store was founded. And if you live in the 215 area code, chances are good that you visit the store frequently. I know I do, and I thought I would take a minute explain the reasons why it has been and remains the superior food market in the region.

1) Quality sandwich selection: All sandwiches are made new right in front of you with fresh ingredients, and to your specifications. Hoagies come in all styles, Italian, turkey, tuna, roast beef, you name it. They come in four sizes, junior, shorti, classic, and 2 foot. It can be toasted, and bacon can be added to any choice of sandwich. The option to add extra cheese and meat is always available. Condiments are plentiful and varied, including but not limited to Buffalo spread, Ranch spread, and Chipotle sauce. With this variety of choice, how do the makers of such delicious sandwiches keep your orders accurate? A high-tech, touch-screen computer system that is used for all orders. What a time to be alive.
2) Wawa brand drink items:
Wawa offers their own brand of milk, OJ, iced teas, chilled coffee drinks, etc., so you know that your beverage is fresh and shipped locally. One suggestion- try the peach iced tea, I grew up on it. A half-gallon sustains me for an entire day at work. Recently they switched from the box-shaped plastic container to a Turkey Hill-styled container with a handle. For me, this is a step backward. With these new iced tea containers that have handles, they no longer have 'Grasp Here' stamped to the side like they used to, which I liked.
3) New products: Wawa never rests on its laurels, they always are introducing new food items to keep you on your toes. Recently added items include the Panini sandwich, the classic Philly cheesesteak, Gatorade style Wawa brand flavored sports drink, as well as Hummus and Pita bread snack packs.
4) Priced for the working man: This is self-explanatory. Wawa offers rock-bottom prices for quality foods.
5) Everything you can get at 7-11 and more: In addition to the deli section and beverage section, you can get everything from a cup of coffee, the Inquirer and the Daily News, Easy Mac, batteries, Engine Oil, Charcoal Briquettes, hotdog and hamburger buns, and all varieties of tobacco products, including Skoal 'Bandits.' One thing you won't find at Wawa? Porno mags. C'mon, this is a family food market we're talking about here.

Wawa is open 24 hours, with the deli always operating, so after a hard night of championship-level boozing you know where quality food is available. Wawa has pretty-much proliferated itself over the city, whether you are at Rhawn and the Blvd., Bustleton and the Blvd., Ridge Ave in Roxborough, Germantown and Allens Ln, 21st and Hamilton, or 38th and Walnut, as well as Old City. No matter where you are, Wawa is easily accessible to any job site, and within walking distance to even the most stumbling of drunks. Philadelphians might be interested to know that there are now Wawas in New Jersey, Delaware, rural PA, and even as far south as Maryland and Virginia. In Maryland and other hick states, you can by beer at Wawa! Holy shit. Many Wawas outside the city also have Wawa brand gas pumps, so you can gas up and hit the road with a six pack of Miller Lite (refer to earlier post on the 2-1-5 "Drinking and Driving is Bad-Ass").

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Keith Van Horn Story (Pt. II)

I didn't want to keep you in suspense, so here is my solution:


Actually, just a minture before I get into it. I don't want to come across as a bitter sports fan. I don't care that a guy is making a hundred billion dollars, and I don't ever say things like "$500,000! He's lucky to be getting that much!" I don't necessarily think athletes are being paid too much, I just get pissed when one athlete is getting paid too much within the confines of the salary cap (or some arbitrary number the Phillies front office comes up with).

Like with Pat Burrell. We obviously overpaid him if he is making like 15% of the Phillies salary and that prevents us from signing a top-flight free agent. So he is getting paid too much and Hamels apparently is not getting paid enough. Take a look at the New York Jets - their veterans are complaining that the team went out and improved their roster through free agency because the new guys are getting paid too much. Something is obviously wrong here.

So here is my solution:

One year contracts.

Every single sport, every single team, every single player.

One year contracts all around.

It is so simple it just might work.

Players are rewarded for having a great seaon. Owners don't get stuck with a sulking superstar for the 5 years after he has blown out both his knees. Fans don't have to worry about players only trying hard in contract years.

There will still be a salary cap, so teams won't be able to buy a championship.

The key here is making the markets totally efficient. Whatever you pay for a player, that is what he is worth.

And if you think it is going to change everything, yeah it probably will.

But maybe not as much as you think.

In the NBA, you will still have teams like the Hawks signing small forwards left and right. Maybe they are the 12 best small forwards in the NBA, but they won't win a championship.

In terms of baseball, look at the Yankees. They don't win the World Series every year in a league without a salary cap, when they can spend as much as they want.

In the NFL, you don't think the Patriots will still be good? Football players will choose whichever organization is able to consistently field good teams, teams that focus on issues like chemistry and leadership as well as just overall talent. (Don't see: Redskins, Washington)

With a salary cap, good leadership and organization will still trump accumulation of talent. A salary cap will ensure that Kobe, Lebron, and KG don't all sign on the same team unless some of them take a pay cut a la the Lakers with Gary Payton and Karl Malone (who did not win a championship). And there would certainly be another team who signed Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, and Tracy McGrady to compete with so the competition will still be there.

Maybe you can even sign One player to a multi-year contract and make him the face of your franchise, but it couldn't be for anything over 4 years.

And all that money that is being spent on guys like Matt Geiger, Keith Van Horn and Aaron McKie?

Put it into some kind of retirement fund for players who suffer from concussions and what not.

Done and done.

Imagine the possibilities.

Contractual Obligations: The Keith Van Horn Story (Pt. I)

We're starting to get out of that lull on the Sports Calendar, also known as 'February,' where nothing seems to happen and reporters basically start and spread rumors just to keep their jobs.

The NHL and NBA are past their respective all-star weekends so the playoff push is starting to heat up, March Madness is just about here, spring training is under way for the upcoming MLB season, and the NFL, well the NFL is basically a year-long sport anyway, but this time of year provides us with Free Agency and getting ready (read: reporters starting and spreading rumors) for the draft.

Now here's the thing. The NBA and NHL are gearing up for the playoffs, and the NFL and MLB are in the after-season and the pre-season, respectively. Yet when I tune into Sports Radio 950 or flip to the Sports page of the Inquirrer, I am primarily looking for Eagles and Phillies news, and that is what I am primarily going to get.

With that being said, one of the main things that I am going to hear about this time of year is contracts.

Contracts, contracts, contracts.

Max deals. Signing Bonuses. No-trade clauses.

Restricted free agents. Salary Caps. Negotiations. Re-negotiations. Negotiation breakdowns. Arbitration.

It's all about contracts.

In order to be a somewhat knowledgeable fan, you have to have the training of an IRS agent.

What the hell is going on here?

The worst part is, with every single contract being signed this off-season, at some point in time, whether it is later that day or three years down the road, one of the two sides is going to regret signing the contract. If you're lucky, you might be able to follow a contract long enough to see both sides regret it at some point.

And that's the thing. Contracts kind of suck. Teams make bad decisions. Players make bad decisions. The sport as a whole makes bad decisions. And the fans have to pay. Because instead of saying something like "Chris Paul is a great point guard." You have to add "But I don't think the Hornets are going to be able to give him a max deal."

To prove my point, let's just take a look at the contract situation in baseball, basketball, and football. Stay tuned, because at the end you will get my grand solution to the entire problem.

The NBA is ridiculous. Players sign these max deals for like 7 years and $105 million dollars. They are actually motivated/healthy/happy for about 2.5 of those years, and then the team gets stuck with a $60 million dollar stiff. The only thing to do from there is trade that player using his expiring contract as trade bait. However, in order to make a trade in the NBA, you need to have the salaries match. So in order to trade said $60 Million Dollar Stiff, you will have to accept the contract of $10 Million Dollar Retired Stiff. (Go ahead and look at some of the trades that are being made. It's a vicious cycle. Bonus Points: look at how many former Sixers are a part of these trades. The number is frightening).

Baseball is not that much better. An interesting aspect of baseball's contract workings is the practice of arbitration. You may remember this with Ryan Howard. The Phils wanted to pay $7 million. He wanted $10 million. Fine, give him $8.5, right? Wrong. They couldn't agree to that so it went to arbitration, meaning an outside panel objectively picks either 7 or 10. They picked ten.
To add to the craziness of baseball's contract situation, I'm going to bring in two more players to the fold here, Cole Hamels and Adam Eaton.

Cole Hamels has the potential to be a true ace pitcher. He is young, talented, and extremely motivated to succeed. He has shown flashes of brilliance in his short time in the majors and also a steady level of consistently good pitching. A history of injuries seems like the only thing that is going to keep him from racking up a few 20 win seasons and possible a no-hitter someday.

Adam Eaton, to be concise, is none of the above.

Cole recently signed a 1 year, $500,000 contract.
Adam signed a 3 year $24 million contract.

Cole is complaining about being underpaid while Adam admits that he is probably being overpaid.

Looking at it from their points of view, yeah, they're both right. Now let's look at it from the Phillies front office: we are paying $8.5 million this year for the services of Cole Hamels and Adam Eaton.

The reason the Phils can sign Cole to such a cheap contract is because of his service time in the Bigs, a similar system to rookie contracts in the NBA. The reason Adam cost so much is because of Free Agency. There are only so many available free agent pitchers that they can command a high price on the open market, regardless of skill set.

There is really no reason to break the bank for Hamels just yet. Eventually he is going to get his pay day, just like Howard did.

It's an immutable law: some players are going to be underpaid and some are going to be overpaid.

There isn't too much "just right" in professional sports.

Looking towards football, the system is a little bit more efficient because the contracts are not guaranteed, which means a player can just be cut and he will not be owed any more money (other than the pro-rated signing bonus).

This is a great tool for the owners but not so great for the players.

There is a salary cap to contend with, so smart owners try to lock up their young talent before they get a chance to hit payday (see: Westbrook, Brian). The risk in signing a player while he is still young and slightly unproven is that maybe you get a bargain three years later, when you are paying an all-pro running back rookie money. It can come back to hurt you though, when signed players look around and see their peers getting huge signing bonuses (on account of salaries going up every year). They end up holding out, talking to the press, or just playing unmotivated football.

My solution?

Well, that's for another time.

Stay tuned for Part II.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Lets Go Sixers!!

My most memorable moment as a Philly sports fan was Game 1 of the 2001 NBA finals. We went to LA with Mutombo, Iverson stepped over Tyrone Lue (skip ahead to 5:45 for the step over and post game interview, unbelievable), E. Snow and Aaron Mckie were the best teammates ever to play, and the Sixers stole Game 1 in OT from a Lakers team that was 'til then undefeated in the playoffs that year. It was phenomenal. I remember high-fiving people hanging out of cars on South street minutes after the game and embracing strangers. We screamed 'Beat LA,' 'Fuck Kobe,' and my personal favorite 'WHO WANTS TO SEX MUTOMBOOOO!?' It was quite a moment--a telling and admittedly pathetic one for us Philadelphians who haven't won anything in 24 years and counting. But it was our moment even if the feeling lasted for only a few days. It still was the closest feeling I, and many my age have had to winning a championship.

Now Iverson is gone and us die-hard Iverson fans cheer on the Nuggets as our second team. We buy $100 tickets to get as close as we can to him once a year and we curse George Karl for not being able to get his team to play anything that remotely resembles defense. There were mixed feelings when The Answer left last year, but everyone seemed to have the sentiment that this was it for awhile for Sixers basketball. Attendance immediately plummeted and most people stopped tuning in to watch every night.

Well, Philadelphia the Sixers are back already. Yes, they are in the lowly East, which I agree with Perfect Friend (cool name bro...) isn't as bad as people like to say it is, but as of today they are the 7th seed in the playoffs and headed for the 6th seed. They have gone 13-5 (13-5!?!?!) since January 26th and there is no other way to say it except this squad play can play ball.

Check out these numbers. For the season they are ranked 6th in the league in opponent's PPG. They are second in the league in rebound differential and while struggling to score early on in the season they have turned it on recently ranking 10th in scoring in their last 10 games. On the season they are 12th in the league in forcing turnovers and 1st in the league in their last 10 games. Their pressure D and rebounding fuels their fast break offense which is perfect for our young gunners as well as great to watch. They are peaking at the right time and are now only 5 back from getting to .500. Who woulda thought? (Well me, but no one was listening in October).

That is what is happening on the court. Off the court they finally fired Billy King (have to give him props for drafting Thad Young, but thats all you get Billy) and have brought in a proven and homegrown GM, Ed Stefansky. They are about to dump $26 million from CWebb and McKie's contracts and have one of the youngest and most promising squads in the league. They are coachable, controversy free, and fired-up. They are poised for free agency, I only worry they act too quickly and sign someone like Elton Brand (he will surely take the $17 mill option on his contract and play for the Clipshow again) or Gilbert Arenas this off-season. I can only hope they continue to build through the draft and wait for the right free agents to sign in the few years.

The plan used to be we would be bad for a few years and get top draft picks, but our team is already better than that and this is a good thing not a bad thing. I wrote about this last year as the Sixers finished strong last year. Well it has already paid off and the squad has continued to mature and improve by playing good basketball and winning. Nothing is guaranteed in the draft. The Celtics got the 5th pick in the draft after tanking to the worst record and if it wasn't for McHale giving them KG where would they be now? Simply put, "YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME!" There is nothing better for a young team than learning how to win together, nothing.

As for this season, wake up Philadelphia! These boys can play and they are entertaining as hell. They are non-stop fast breaks and wild dunks. They rebound, they pass, they don't give up and they play hard every night. Sure they aren't going to win a championship this year, but this is all part of the journey as a fan. For all the Iverson haters out there this team is what you have been asking for. And for all of you who miss AI, the highlight of your season may just be beyond March 19th when he visits Philly. PLAYOFFS!? PLAYOFFS!?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

76ers Poor Playoff Position

I really hate when people say "hey the eastern conference sucks, we need to revamp the play off system." To me that argument forgets that the East used to dominate, we have won two of last four finals and everything is circular. (And by "we" I mean the conference, as Philly in general has won nothing.) It is much like the idea of Chinese food acquired from stores with bulletproof glass (normally called something along the lines of "#1 Chinese Food" or "China Garden" something creative you know.) and playoff college football, are things I can respect in theory, but not in practice. (Would women have played better there?)

Anyway, my opinion changed yesterday when I was reviewing a standard issue article about how a new playoff system was needed in the NBA. The author went through the usual reasons explaining why: there are two teams over .500 not making the playoffs in the west, two to four under .500 teams in east who will be making it, superstar movement through the conferences recently has benifited the west and the fact that the west has won all but two of the chips in the post Jordon era; you know lots of good reasons. Fucking great. I don't care; I won't be convinced I told myself. That was until I noticed that one of the teams not making the playoffs in the west was the Denver Nuggets.

The bottom line is we can not accept a situation where the team we traded Iverson to, for three first round picks ends up getting a comparable lottery pick to what we got, in addition to Iverson. Think about it that will mean the trade composed of:
To Sixers:
(g) Andre Miller- been great, but was originally brought in here to be showcase trade chip for us to get talented, athletic swingmen under B. King.
3 First Round Picks- which became
13 (f) T. Young- Great, doing great. Just what B. King had in mind
20 (f) Jason Smith- Also doing ok, smart player.
30 Pick traded to Utah who became this 7 foot monster European Guy, who stayed in Europe, but will definitely resurface and be the kind of guys announcers will call a "force."

To Nuggets:
(g) Allen Iverson- I intend on crying when he returns to the Wachovia Center.
Pick 14- Which is one pick below ours if you didn't catch that.

(I know there is Joe Smith, etc also, but is that doing anything for us?)

I know it is a different draft year and I am leaving a few things out, and dont think I wont root for the sixers to make the playoffs....all I am saying is it feels we traded Iverson to move up one spot in the draft essentially, while the nuggets get better and better. My thinking has changed, I now think the entire playoff system needs to be revamped, not now but right now. I have to go; I am spilling General Tso's Chicken from Super China Restaurant all over the keyboard.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Some Quick Hits On A Monday

Well, we made it to March here in the 2-1-5.

If we actually had a real winter, this is when the snow would start to melt and we would get to see grass for the first time in a while.

Instead, thanks to Al Gore, it's just another month where it's kinda nice out but still not that nice.

It's cool though, because March is a pretty solid month regardless.

We got Daylight Savings, St. Patrick's, March Madness, and Opening Day....not a bad deal.

All great opportunites to booze those beers, call in sick from work and/or play hookey.

Yeah, you heard me right. Play hookey. I don't know why that phrase isn't used more often.

My recommendations for this month include:

1. Watching any Spring Training baseball game that is on TV. Something about seeing baseball on TV really sets the whole spring/summer thing in motion...especially when these games are played in Florida or Arizona. (bonus points: watch for those sleek new Phils and their Skoal Bandits).

2. Doing something outside any chance you get. It gets you practice for when the weather finally turns, and it's important to dust off those cobwebs that come from months of sitting inside watching Law & Order while drinking Lager Bottles.

3. Taking off work for the first day in March Madness. Pretty much self-explanatory.

And finally,

4. Gin Buckets. Daylight Savings begins this Sunday. Which means longer days. Which means day drinking. Which means gin buckets. The recipe is pretty simple: A bottle of gin, a bottle of sprite, and 7 lemons and limes, all thrown together into a bucket with ice and 2 turkey basters used to get yourself a shot. Good times.

Oh, and this doesn't really count as a recommendation, because it's pretty much like spitting into the ocean, but go ahead and get drunk for St. Patty's Day, on Guinness preferably, because it's the day where everyone is Irish (except of course, the gays and the Italians).

I am going to leave you with 2 links.

One is a picture, one is a video, both kind of blew me away.

I've never seen Rachel Ray's husband, but I bet he has a name like Tariq or Terrell.

Umm...Our Philadelphia Eagles put your hands up? File this one under: Randall Cunningham is smoove.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Phils To Use Skoal 'Bandits'

Clearwater, FL- Having shored up their relief pitching by acquiring Brad Lidge and moving Brett Myers back into the rotation, Charlie Manuel is supremely confident in his young squad this season. But with the Mets having upped the ante by adding Johan Santana to their roster, Manuel and the coaches are looking for that ‘X-factor’ that could put the Phightin’ Phils over the edge in the NL East.

To that end, it was announced in a press conference late yesterday afternoon that all players will be required to make the switch to Skoal Bandits by Opening Day.

Ruben Amaro Jr. told the crowd of sports reporters, “We want our players to be able to enjoy the smooth and zesty flavor of dip, while still maintaining a sleek, athletic demeanor on the field. We feel that the pre-made pouches available from Skoal brand tobacco products are just what our boys need.”

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Skoal ‘Bandits,’ it is fine-cut dip, available in a variety of delicious flavors, that are apportioned into perfectly sized paper pouches, ready to be used right out of the tin. Originally marketed to the ‘businessman on the go,’ the advantages of the pouches are now being recognized by professional athletes.

“I can’t tell you how much time I’ve spent in the dugout continually packing my old tins of loose dip, only to have to run out onto the diamond with a lip in that was less than perfect,” Second-Baseman Chase Utley told reporters. “Either I would pinch too much dip, or too little, not to mention the stray bits of tobacco that can get stuck in your teeth, or get swallowed when you dive into second base stretching a single into a double.”

When the Bandits were introduced to the public back in 2004, there was some discussion in the Phillies head office on making the switch, but the suggestion was shot down by former G.M. Ed Wade. “I’m not sure about endorsing the use of a particular tobacco brand for my players. Frankly, I would rather my players not use tobacco products at all, especially while they are on the field.”

Pat Gillick said of Wade’s comments, “Wade lacked vision and foresight, and honestly, for me, his comments raise serious questions about his sexuality. Everyone knows dip makes you a better baseball player, and these new Bandits can only enhance that edge that dip already gives you.”

A few of the players had already switched to using Bandits last season or the season before, while some of the more tenured Phillies who use Redman or Beechnut are going to have a hard time getting used to the new product. Lenny Dykstra told the Daily News he thought that had Bandits been available in the early Nineties, Philadelphia may have brought home a World Series, while Darren Daulton was unable to be reached for comment.

So when you turn on CBS to watch the Phillies home-opener against the Nats, you may notice the Phils have a new bounce in their step, and a more professional and confident appearance. Hopefully the other teams in the league don’t catch on too quickly. (-;