Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's Gotta be the Shoes, Lebron

Let me start this post by clearly stating:

I pray to the Lord above that Lebron stays in Cleveland. I may actually cry (physical tears) if the day comes that most Clevelanders are dreading and LBJ decides to play somewhere else.
That being said, if the photos of his latest shoes circulating on the internet are in fact real, not some Photoshop gag, it just reiterates comments I've posted before... I just don't trust Lebron.

Why, oh why, would you (continue to) jerk around not only your home town, but your home town fans and your organization? The Yankees hat, the Yankee-NY shoes are one thing... different sports at least... but a shoe promoting another team in the same league you play in? Yeah, yeah, I know... it's a hardwood classic representing old-school Cavs.... wink, wink. That's what we've been told, and could believe seeing as thought the Cavs were orange and blue in the late '80s. But then you turn the shoe over to reveal an "I Love NY" button... a "secret" message like Ralphie from "A Christmas Story" uncovered with his Little Orphan Annie Secret Club Decoder. Ralphie's message was a cheap marketing plug telling him to "Drink more Ovaltine". Is this much different of Nike for the soon-to-be greatest free agent ever?

Who knows how much of this was Nike and just how much input LBJ had, but Nike needs Lebron more than Lebron needs Nike, so I'm sure he could've vetoed the "I Love NY" message, knowing how the Knick colors (oh yeah... the Knicks are also orange and blue) mixed with this cute little feature would come across, especially in Cleveland.

The worst of it is it just adds to the nonsensical talk (something Lebron denounced earlier this year). Like Collin Cowherd of ESPN who said (paraphrased):
"Why does it have to be New York? I mean, Cleveland isn't championship material, but why New York. The Lakers, the Celtics, they're championship material."
This less than a week after the Cavs THUMPED the Lakers in L.A., and just before that, beat the Suns in Phoenix, and just in the last two nights beat a good Hawks team, once in Atlanta where the Hawks had only lost twice prior. Not to mention beating Orlando, Phoenix at home, and Dallas earlier in the year... all good wins against good teams. Hell, the Cavs have the second best record in the league.

I understand having the opinion that the Cavs aren't going to win the championship. Or that L.A. is still the favorite, or even Boston... but to say the Cavs aren't even championship material?

Oh well, I regress... that's what happens when you mix an already paranoid Cleveland fan with a blatant marketing ploy linking our superstar with another team.

Whatever his decision, Lebron's going to piss off a lot of people for stringing them a long. Question is, will it be the people in his hometown... or the people of New York who are all but banking (arrogantly I might add) on LBJ in a Knicks uniform in 2010.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Should the Browns go after Troy Smith?

He's requested a trade, and the PD asks that question.

My heart says yes, my head not so sure. Shoot I'd be okay with giving Krenzel and Hoying a once-over.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Avatar - The Experience

(This review does not contain spoilers).

At first, I was a little leery of the new James Cameron sure-to-be mega hit "Avatar" when I first saw the previews and started reading about the ten year long project developed by the creator of Terminator, Titanic, and True Lies. "Another sci-fi blockbuster, over-saturated with special effects and cheesy morality themes," I thought. But as I started hearing the positive buzz about the film, I decided to give it a try... in 3D.

Cameron envisioned this movie ten years ago but didn't feel he could deliver it the way he wanted, so he developed a "technology" that supposedly will change movie making forever, similar to what George Lucas did several years ago. Holding back for ten years to make the movie right says something about Cameron. It wasn't just about fast money and cashing in on his momentum from Titanic and Terminator. Cameron has a vision he values - unlike many producers and directors today, he does not aimlessly churn out blockbuster gag-fests. Sure, there are in-your-face metaphors and over-the-top effects, but they do not detract from the story.

Cameron has always been ahead of his time, and Avatar is no different. Terminator - an apocalyptic story about machines, ironically created by mankind, taking over the world - was created in the mid-80s, long before the internet, GPS, iphones, etc. Really if you think about it, The Matrix triology, although well-done, was nothing more than a Terminator update. Not that the story Cameron tells here with Avatar is unique (one egotistical group - humans - attempting to drive out "savage" natives to capitalize on a valuable mineral.) Avatar is ahead of its time obviously because of its technology, but also in the fact that Cameron dreamed up this concept ten years ago.

While Cameron's films are typically filled with special effects and futuristic themes, he presents them in more "down-to-earth" (no pun intended) manner than your typical sci-fi movies like Star Trek, Star Wars, 2001/2010, etc. Somehow, Cameron manages to strip down his sci-fi movies. Sure, the fantasy of Darth Vader, Greedo, Han Solo, Mr. Spock, and Khan have their place. But Cameron's movies are edgier, darker, more human. Avatar is not necessarily dark, but it portrays the majority of humans as corrupt, broken, and amoral. And while there is advanced, futuristic technology, there are no cute Jawas or Ewoks, quick witted droids, elaborate space ships, or phaser guns. Avatar maintains a level of humanism by (and perhaps purposely) focuses on the stunning and fascinating alien world of Pandora - immersing the viewer into the environment and in the middle of a major theme of the movie - the aliens physical and mental connection to their world.

Like many of his past movies, Cameron pays close attention to detail. While Titanic suffered from sappy dialogue and a nauseating love story, it was saved by incredible detail and accuracy of its sets and effects. The effects, however, did not dominate the film. Whatever technology he created to better tell his tale, it works with Avatar without being a distraction. I highly recommend experiencing it in 3D. It is worth the extra $3.50 (matinee price). The effect is not your typical objects-flying-at-you 3D. Instead, it creates unbelievable depth, truly enhancing the viewing experience. By placing the viewer into the alien world, you better appreciate its beauty and the natives' connection to it. You are almost literally invested. You are part of the world.

Sure Avatar suffers a bit from "high horse" metaphors, preaching on things like tyranny, lack of appreciation for/destroying the natural world, science vs. nature, etc. The name "Pandora" itself is pretty blatant. I'd even argue there is a visual metaphor to the falling towers of the World Trade Center attack. But Avatar is different in its approach and story telling. It is absolutely amazing from a pure viewing experience (except for the choice of the Papyrus typeface - I mean come on, you spent ten years developing this and use some standard computer font?). Along with the 3D depth of field, color and light are combined in an indescribable, awe-inspiring way.

Avatar is not the perfect movie, but like I tell people about Las Vegas - even if you aren't a gambler, you have to see Vegas at least once because it's not like any other place you've experienced. That's Avatar. It's an experience.

4 out of 5 stars.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Best Cavs effort of the year

The Cavs looked great last night against the Suns. I was really impressed with Hickson all over the court. And the play (in this highlight) where LeBron James just picked up a loose ball at half court, drove to the rim and dunked on Amar'e Stoudamire's head was unreal. I watched it about 10 times last night, it was right out of nowhere.

Eddie Johnson is the Suns color commentator. I was watching NBA TV and the feed was from the Suns. Eddie was pretty good, wanted to give him a shout out. Actually the whole broadcast was pretty good. They didn't hesitate to comment on the (lack of) speed of Steve Nash and Amar'e, that's for sure.

Haiku of the Day

Early Christmas Gift /
Holmgren new #Browns President /
Please fire Mangini /

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Xmas from the Puppets

LeBron and Kobe puppets-- Dunkin' on a Reindeer.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Haiku of the Day

Kansas City Chiefs /
It's like Christmas with Holmgren /
The other #Browns' present.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

It has been 10 Years...

...Since the Final Browns Game at Cleveland Stadium.

Haiku of the Day

King James in Philly /
Halladay watching from suite /
Please bring back Cliff Lee

Cavs beat Philly 108-101. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Haiku of the Day

Sixteen, five, and three /
Nice little duplicate line /
For ol' Shaqgauskis.

Cavs beat the lousy Nets in an ugly effort. Gotta start dismissing
these teams like the City Wide Tweakers dismissed us in Ohio State

Monday, December 14, 2009

Haiku of the Day (bonus)

Xmas gift searching?
Follow "@" The_real_Shaq!
It's Shaq-a Claus time!

Half court shots? French fry
stealing from fans? Good day
Sunday for the Cavs.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Ohio State players singing Carmen Ohio

Who knew lineman Evan Blankenship had such a great voice!

Team sings Carmen Ohio at Ohio State football banquet

Haiku of the Day

The Browns beat Pittsburgh!
Mike Tomlin was right!  Sure was
A cold day in hell!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Haiku of Today

Browns' situation
Currently so pitiful
Close loss--fans happy.

God, what did Cleveland do to you?"

That's the question Bill Simmons posed in his latest power poll.

32. Cleveland
First, the Cavs choke in the 2009 playoffs. Second, the best two starters on the 2008 Indians start Game 1 of the 2009 World Series for two teams not named "Cleveland." Third, the Browns clean house and hire Eric Mangini, who takes that same house and sets it on fire with a flame thrower. Fourth, what could end up being LeBron's final Cavs season is distinguished early by Shaq looking like a bald Aretha Franklin and LeBron's body language occasionally lapsing into "I can't wait to find a new team; I am tired of playing with crap teammates" mode. And fifth, there are two nights of star-studded concerts to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame -- located in Cleveland, as you know -- and those concerts happen at Madison Square Garden.
Here's my question, God: What did Cleveland do to you?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dark match?

There hasn’t been a Browns game blacked out in Cleveland since 1995, but the last one I remember was probably around 1987. It was a matchup against Oakland, and since my family didn’t have cable (pay TV stimulated the tingly, bulbous parts, my father explained sternly), I squintingly tried to watch the game through the ant races of static on Channel 2 out of Toledo.

The broadcast came and went; I soon became frustrated and shut off the television. As annoyed and disappointed as I was about missing my beloved Browns that day, I can’t say I’m feeling those emotions this week as darkness hangs over the upcoming contest against San Diego. What I’m feeling, unfortunately, is nothing at all, and perhaps I’m not alone. I wonder if the looming blackout is the surest sign that people are as sick of this organization’s everlasting on-field struggles and tri-annual front-office upheavals as I am.

All is not lost for those who want to torture themselves for three hours this Sunday, however. Per Tony Grossi of The Plain Dealer.

The Browns were granted a 24-hour extension by the NFL to avert their first local television blackout for Sunday's game against the San Diego Chargers.

The Browns would not give a specific number of tickets that need to be sold for the blackout to be lifted. They reported "a few thousand tickets" remained. The NFL frequently will extend the 72-hour blackout deadline if the home team is close enough to realistically have a chance to sell out the game.

The remaining tickets must be sold by Friday at 4:05 p.m. for the blackout to be lifted. Otherwise, it would not be seen on TV within a 75-mile radius of Cleveland.

The Browns have not had a game blacked out on local TV since they returned to the NFL in 1999.

I’d guess that some beneficent soul will step forward and buy up the remaining seats. Even so, it seems that the Browns ongoing ineptitude, in combination with a slowly recovering economy, has taken the sheen out of Cleveland’s so-called “Teflon franchise.” Maybe after 11 years of this mess, people really are mad as hell, and they’re not gonna take it anymore.

It’s about time.

Did it follow me to Chicago?

I am doing some quick remembering, and since I moved to Chicago in January 2008, I've attended lots of games with "my" teams against Chicago teams.

And the record isn't too good.

If I'm not mistaken, except for last November 5, when the Cavs beat the Bulls, I've been to:

March AND April losses late in the 07-08 season for the Cavs in Chicago.
January 2009 Cavs v. Bulls where they got demolished, even in a season when they won 66 games.
A Wrigley Field trip for the Indians where they got swept and their season got flushed down the toilet.
A Browns blowout loss where the Bears felt they looked like crap, even as they won by 24 points.
And Tuesday night, a shootout loss by the Blue Jackets to the Blackhawks.

I know I've been to a couple Indians losses to the White Sox too.

I guess if the Cavs play the Bulls in the postseason, I'll just watch on television.