Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Finish Line


Well, here we are: the last day of May. There have been 40 posts on Psychedelic Kimchi this month, 33 of them by yours truly -- most of them fairly lengthy, too. It might not appear so to the casual reader, but writing those posts and making sure (most of the time, anyway) one was put up every single day was HARD. I work long hours -- and watch a lot of basketball -- so getting home late at night to write a blog entry wasn't always fun.

I hope it didn't show, though. I love writing, had fun MOST of the time, and sincerely hope the feeling on my readers' behalf was mutual; but, to quote Gangstarr's Guru, it ain't easy, motherfuckers .

And as mentioned earlier this month, I'm probably going to post less frequently from here on out. Starting now.






Punching out,

Eoin

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Pinch Me

I tell you love, sister, it's just a kiss away
It's just a kiss away
It's just a kiss away

The Rolling Stones, Gimme Shelter


This wasn't supposed to happen. The Miami Heat weren't even supposed to make the conference finals. Their weaknesses as a unit were supposed to prove Pat Riley's many critics right; they were supposed to get knocked out by New Jersey. Hell, after the Bulls tied their opening round series at 2 games apiece, many believed this Heat team (I wish I could write these Heat, but I can't; them's the breaks when you you name a team an uncountable noun) was headed for a first round exit.

Didn't happen that way, did it?

Instead, Shaq stopped playing like a runaway bull, restrained himself, stayed out of foul trouble, and voila!, the Heat brought the Bulls and MJ's fist pumping back down to earth.

But the Bulls were lucky to even make it to the post season; the Nets were, according to sportswriters who do a lot of coke, possibly the best team in the East. No way Miami could have as much success against New Jerz, right?

Correct. They had more. They dispatched the Nets in one game fewer than their series with the Bulls took. Call it the Vince Carter Factor, or call it a beautiful tableau of transcendental unity. Seriously, I don't mind either.

But the Pistons, man. The DEE-troit fucking Pistons? No way. No fuckin' way. They couldn't do it last year with a team with a better regular season record; no way they were going to beat this year's 64-and-18 bunch.

But, in keeping with the theme of this post season, a funny thing happened: just around the time the Heat were finding that unity they sorely needed, the Pistons were coming undone. After Lebron and Co. pushed them to the limit, they looked more like Cain Marko with his helmet off than The Juggernaut; more like Christopher Reeve after he gave up his powers in Superman II. Suddenly, at least to people actively watching the playoffs, instead of those coke-snorting sportswriters living on Planet Sleep, the Heat looked like they could withstand any opponent, conquer any adversity.

This surely wasn't supposed to happen.

And now Pistons players are criticizing Flip Saunders. Color me surprised. Not the same guy who pulled a reverse Stan Van Gundy and bizarrely started giving serious PT to guys such as Carlos Delfino, Tony Delk and Maurice Evans this deep into the playoffs!? Impossible! Zut Alors!

But it would be too convenient to attribute Miami's success in this series to the Pistons running out of gas. Yes, Detroit has played like shit this series; yes, their vaunted defence has been pretty much a joke; and, yes, Flip Saunders probably couldn't coach them to an NCAA title at this point; but give credit where it's due. Save for their awful free throw percentage, the Heat have been the most solid team during these playoffs. No, they haven't had any nail-biting finishes (unless you include their near-comeback against the Pistons in game 2), nor have they had the most exciting games -- not hardly. What they have been, though, is simply the best team in these playoffs. Bar none.

This wasn't supposed to happen. What once seemed impossible will -- barring an epic planet and the stars and the moons collapse -- very soon become reality.

The Miami Heat are one win away from making their first trip to the NBA Finals.

And to whom should we bow at the alter for this impending miracle? Shaq? D-Wade? Antoine "why didn't you play this smart your entire career" Walker?

Disciples.

Our messiah is none other than Pat Riley.

After the uber-trade was executed last summer, I was as big a critic of Riley's as anyone. I liked Joneses Damon and Eddie; I despised Antoine Walker for his selfish play, Jason Williams for his poor shot selection. And when Riley signed Gary Payton, who turns 38 soon, instead of a younger back-up point guard, I was borderline furious. These were moves more attributable to someone such as Isaiah Thomas than Pat Riley.

Read that last sentence again. I did, and it's made me want to point out another of my unfair and incorrect criticisms, namely that I was doubly furious when Riles supplanted Stan Van Gundy as Heat coach early in the season. I like Stan Van, and for a while believed that Riley made him step down -- please, let's not fool ourselves into buying Stan's claim that he wanted to spend more time with his family* -- because Riles, having been out of the coaching game a few years, was again hungry for the spotlight.

Never that. Riles's real motive to coach again was because he knew he had to take responsibility for the off-season moves he masterminded should they appear, early, to have failed. If he was going to live with himself for making that blockbuster trade, he had to step to the fore and call the shots, to make sure his vision of a championship contender unfolded as he had planned. In a way, he did Senior Hedgehog a favor, saving him from the awful criticism which would have resulted had Van Gundy continued to coach this Heat team. In hindsight, the personnel changes definitely weren't Isaiah-type moves, because Riley wouldn't allow them to be.

Riley taking the reigns, however, wasn't a quick fix. Not by a longshot.

The drama lasted the duration of the regular season, and continued into the start of the playoffs: it appeared not a damn thing had changed save the weather, and big helpings of schadenfreude were being consumed all around.

Me, I was hiding in a cupboard, hands clasped, praying with white knuckles that the Heat keep winning, that a change soon come.

And hallelujah! it did, the change building slowly and with care (and love; let us not forget love), slowly simmering before coming to a boil, like the perfect sauce cooked by a virtuoso chef. And everybody knows the best chefs make their ingredients adhere to the sauce, not vice-versa.

When Miami took out Chicago I was relieved, ecstatic when they bitch-slapped the Nets; but always the prospect of a showdown with the Pistons loomed, and that I feared like Donald Pleasance feared Mike Myers.

I had hopes of a Lebron/Wade series, but in the end I was only fooling myself. No, it had to be this way: it had to be against Detroit. No excuses.

I was thrilled -- and, truth be told, more than a little surprised at the ease in which it occurred -- that Miami took game 1. I was relieved that the series was shifting back to Miami after the Pistons reasserted themselves in game 2. In game 3 I was again overjoyed when the Heat won; but I knew that everything rested on the outcome of game 4. If the Pistons won, they would take a split back to the D, and that thought was palpably frightening.

The Miami Heat absolutely had to win today's game. And they did. There were a few bumps in the road (the end of the 2nd quarter and the beginning of the 3rd), but the Heat prevailed, not only beating the Pistons, but demoralizing them as well.

The series shifts to Detroit for game 5 on Wednesday (Thursday for me). And if the Heat should win, that cry of triumph you hear in the distance will be mine.

But it will be somewhat restrained, because one further step still remains (Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes did 'Money Train'/Dave Grohl misses Kurt Cobain): the NBA title.

I'm anticipating Riley will prepare another marvelous dish to get my mouth watered for that occasion, these conference finals merely an apetizer for the main course.

Let's Go Heat!

* As I read somewhere, when he returns to coaching will he give wanting to spend less time with his family as a reason?

Monday, May 29, 2006

Psychedelic Kimchi: Year Two

With all the excitement of the Miami Heat destroying the Pistons yesterday, I completely forgot that it was Psychedelic Ketchup's one-year anniversary. My bad. Anyway, to commemorate my outstanding commitment to...something, I hereby give you a hand-picked collection of my favorite blog posts of the past year. And, no, none of them are about basketball.




I Have a Poor Diet

Billy Mitchell, Pac-Man Champion

Taking Care of the 18th Letter

Good Samaritan

The Sins of the Father...

Haircut Horror

Baby Face

Green Meat

The 18th Letter's B-Day

Aqua Boogie

Trippin'

Overrated?

The New, Improved Immigration

Chloe Sevigny Sucks (I get a ton of viewers to the site from that one)

Potatoes: The Silent Killer (ditto, oddly)

Constantine

Lethargy (unfortunately for my wife, it wouldn't last)

We Wish You a Merry Chuseok

Diplomacy

Memory Lane I

Samsung's All-Seeing Eye

Why I Love Jaws

Memory Lane II

H.P. Pukecraft

Memory Lane 3

The Warriors

The Other, Other David Copperfield

Memory Lane IV

Christmas In Bundang

Hell, aka E-Mart

Psychedelic Kimochi 1

Psychedelic Kimochi 2

Mr. Mom 2

Memory Lane V

Things That Smell Like...Daffodils (I promise never to get any cruder than this)

Solicitation

Random

Movies for the Sick

Psychedelic Kimochi 3

The Korean Drama Drinking Game

Hot Dogs

Memory Lane VI

Nice Shirt, Flag

Top Hip-Hop Albums (100-75)

Top Hip-Hop Albums (74-50)

Top Hip-Hop Albums (49-25)

Top Hip-Hop Albums (24-1)

Not Psychedelic Kimochi

Trio

More Random Stuff

Anatomy of a Hoax

Mr Mom 3 (my favorite post)

Total Eclipse of the Kubrick

Annoying TV People

April Fool's

Memory Lane VII

Psychedelic Kimochi 4

I Keep Holden On

The Pandora Experiment, pt. 1

The Pandora Experiment, pt. 2

The Pandora Experiment, pt. 3

Even More Random Stuff

I Just Caulfield To Say I love You

The Resurrection

May

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Galbijim Interview

Comprehensive website for all things Korea-related, Galbijim, recently conducted an interview with yours truly. Check it out

And be sure to peep their kickass forums here.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Top Hip-Hop Songs

In high school, the best hip-hop radio show in my area (the only hip-hop radio show in my area, actually) was The Power Move Show , hosted by DJ X, on Ryerson University's CKLN 88.1 FM. Every Saturday afternoon, from 1 to 4, I'd tune in -- or try to; in the early days it was sometimes impossible to catch the signal -- to hear the latest in hip-hop.

One Saturday afternoon I was listening to the show at a friends' house, and X was doing a segment called "Figure the Flav" where he'd play a snippet of a record and listeners would call in to guess which song it was from. The song he played that day was Words I Manifest by Gangstarr, and I hurried to the phone, calling the station repeatedly until I managed to get through.

Once I did, I told whoever it was who picked up the phone that I knew the answer.

"We're through with that," he told me. "Someone already got it. We're looking for someone to do this new thing we have called 'Freestyle the Flav'."

I told him I could do that too, and he put me on hold.

Perhaps I should explain. If you're not familiar with freestyling, I'm not really sure why you're reading a hip-hop related post, but just to ensure no one feels alienated, freestyling is the sacred art of ad-libbed rapping (or at least it was, until the mid-90's when it became commonplace for MCs to routinely kick written raps in so-called freestyles), and in high school it was no small hobby of mine. Hey, I can't help it; anything I take an interest in, whether it be basketball, hip-hop, literature or pornography, I have to actively participate in. Anyway, I was no stranger to freestyling -- was pretty good at it, to tell the truth -- and that's why I volunteered to be the first contestant on Freestyle the Flav.

The rules were simple: I was given one minute to freestyle, the topic for which, to prevent cheating, was to be selected by DJ X. I then learned that the prize, should I win, was two tickets to see the legendary DJ Red Alert in concert that night.

"The topic," X said "is your favorite sport."

For anyone who has taken even a cursory glance at this blog, It's not hard to guess what sport I chose.

Now, I wish I could remember the freestyle exactly, but the only parts I recall are referencing John Starks and John Paxson; and unfortunately (and maybe purposefully, the fucker), before I got a chance to listen to the recording my friend had made, he taped over it.

But whatever. As soon as I was done, X opened the lines to callers, who would give their opinion on my freestyle.

There were probably close to two dozen callers, their opinions unanimous.

Dope.

Obviously this was the greatest thing that had ever happened in my young life (yes, at the time I was still a virgin; in fact, it was probably the pursuit of booty which ultimately led me to lose interest in freestyling). I was so chuffed, as the Brits say, that I hung up the phone before getting the information on where and when to pick up my Red Alert tickets. "My man, if you're listening, call back," said X. I did, and the guy who answered asked for my phone number. Stupidly, I gave him my home phone number rather than my friends'. So I didn't see Red Alert that night.

But I didn't really care. I've always been more concerned with the glory than the spoils.

And even though it's been over 10 years since I last freestyled, I'm pretty sure the sword is still fairly sharp, pretty sure I could take out any one of you sucka MCs.

Wanna battle?

***

Needle to the Groove by Mantronix

Mention MC Tee to even the most hardcore hip-hop fan and "Who?" is a likely response. And it has nothing to do with a lack of talent; it's just that Kurtis Mantronik was so talented, he managed to upstage his MC. No mean feat.

I'm Bad by LL Cool J

I've always had a love/hate relationship with Mr. Smith. On one hand you have the guy who did Radio, I'm Bad, To the Break of Dawn, Mama Said Knock You Out, and a bunch of other dope stuff; on the other there's the LL who has helped create some of the absolute worst garbage hip-hop has ever witnessed. Is there another MC quite like LL in that regard? Kane, maybe. A Taste of Chocolate, anyone? Prince of Darkness?

PS - On Thursday, for the first time in my life, I saw a girl sitting at a bus stop, sucking on a lollipop. Warrants mentioning.

PPS - I was having trouble downloading the song, so I hit up Pandora and created an "I'm Bad" station. Coincidentally, the 2nd song played (the first was Mr. Goodbar) was I Got It Made.

The Freaks Come Out At Night by Whodini

In my work, it's been my experience that the freaks come out once they arrive in Korea.

I Got It Made by Special Ed

I don't think Ed was trying to be anything other than sarcastic with his ridiculous rhymes about how much money he has and how luxurious a life he leads, but sometimes I wonder. That short guitar sample is what makes this so memorable.

Liquid Swords by GZA/Genius

The best lyrics of GZA's career. RZA's sparse sonic arrangement and the fun vibe of the record make this an old school throwback with new school appeal.

Hip Hop Junkies (remix) by Nice & Smooth

Nice and Smooth are funky, also hip-hop junkies/all we wanna do is uh-uh in you. Loved that. I'm a sucker for the remix's horns. Let me know where I can download this and I'll clean your apartment for you. Seriously.

Raw by Big Daddy Kane

Kane would never quite be the MC Rakim was (he was Daredevil to Ra's Batman, let's say), but he was close, and this, his debut single, is a perfect showcase for his next-level lyricism.

It's Funky Enough by The D.O.C.

It's unfortunate that D.O.C.'s career as a performer didn't stretch much further than his debut album, because he was the perfect west coast answer to the lyrical giants of the east.

South Bronx by Boogie Down Productions

Many people tell me my style is terrific/it is kind of different, but let's be specific. Boy, I know how that is. In his feud with MC Shan and The Juice Crew, Kris would save the personal attacks for The Bridge Is Over (this song's follow-up), instead wisely choosing to respond to Shan's The Bridge -- which claims hip-hop started out in Queens -- with a detailed history lesson. Did you expect anything less from The Teacha? The result is a classic dis record (peep the way Kris mimics Shan's style) , a geography lesson, and the epitome of boom bap all in one.

Catch the Beat by T-Ski Valley

Before De La -- before anyone, and it's been used A LOT -- used Seduction's Heartbeat, uh, beat, there was T-Ski Valley.

Synergy

I realize that ABC is looking to boost ratings for the upcoming NBA Finals, but placing actors from their hit series Lost on the rosters of championship contenders is going a bit far.

Here's Harold Perrineau, who plays Michael:


And here he is playing for the Dallas Mavericks:





Here we have Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (say that 5 times fast) as Mr. Eko:


And here he is starting at center for the Detroit Pistons:


In the end, ABC's cheap ploy will backfire on them, because it's pretty clear that neither the Mavs nor the Pistons will make it to the Finals.


Noinch.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Robocop boy he's down with us

I'm feeling good on a Thursday night, and I want to send some shoutouts to my homiez:

- Big shoutout to Boris "you the man now" Diawg. Show 'em what you got, Frenchie! I want to call that the game of the year, but hesitate to because there was absolutely no semblance of defence.

- Nuff respect to E-Mart for stocking Pepperidge Farm's Goldfish. I fucking love those things.

- Props to Pat Riley for playing mindgames with Ben Wallace in game 1. You think Stan Van 3000 would have done something like that?

- A shoutout to TMH and his wife. Sorry we couldn't get together before the two of you depart. Keep at the writing, brother. PS - my wife says get to some baby makin' already.

- One love to the 18th Letter and her willingness to chant "Let's go Heat!" every morning during breakfast. Yeah, maybe it's not the soundest idea to indoctrinate her, at such an early age, with an unhealthy obsession for basketball, but it beats having to listen to her and my wife shout "Dae Han Min Guk!" over and over again. Fight fire with fire, you know?

- Much respect to Gorillamask.com for this, which I totally missed during Mavs/Spurs, Game 7. If you will recall, I wrote Marv Albert says the Mavs have come out extremely agressive. Does this mean we're in store for more nut punches? Let's hope so. Turns out we were.

- Big (and long overdue) shoutout to the Internet for allowing me to easily get a myriad opinions on current music, DVDs and books that I'm considering purchasing. (And for allowing me to easily share files with like-minded individuals who share my same interests. *cough*) Saves me a hell of a lot of frustration and cash. What did people do before? Go broke, that's what.

- Major dap to the NBA playoffs. You know what, fuck it. This IS the best playoffs ever. I don't even care that there are still 2 rounds to go. I don't remember being this enthralled by a sport since my friends and I watched Annabel Chong's video World's Biggest Gang Bang.

- Props to soju for not taking itself too seriously and acting all frou-frou like a lot of other spirits. Keep It Simple, Soju.

- Props to my loving wife for putting up with my somewhat obsessive behavior this month, due to my goal to have a post up every day in May. Props again to my partners in rhyme, TMH and denz, for having my back on the few days this month I missed; and props again to my wife for giving me the green light on the top-secret Psychedelic Kimchi article I will, god willing, be fortunate enough to write. It may not come in May as advertised, but it's coming.

[crosses fingers]

- And finally, a super shoutout to every single person who reads Psychedelic Kimchi, even the weirdos who try to rile me with insulting comments. As I made mention last week (though it was in a -- sigh -- basketball related post, so most of you probably missed it), I'm (probably) going to take it easier in June. However, and you non-basketball fans are going to love this, the NBA post season wraps in a under a month, which means little or no b-ball stuff again until November.

I'll have to find another obsession to bore you with, I suppose.

I know: horticulture!

E

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Top Hip-Hop Songs

As many of you probably know, some controversy erupted when Brtitney Spears's people sued Korean singer Lee Hyori's record company over the song Get Ya, which they claim is a virtual copy of Spears's Do Somethin.

Now why am I writing about this? Because I'm all Bob Woodward and shit. It just occurred to me this afternoon that Do Somethin is a direct rip-off of Parliament Funkadelic's Erotic City. If you've never heard the song, give it a listen and try to tell me I'm wrong.

And if you think I'm above forwarding this info to Hyori's label, you don't know me very well.

Similarly, if you think the Korean media wouldn't make a big deal out of this new revelation, you don't know them very well, either.

***

The What? By Notorious B.I.G., featuring Method Man

Probably the most quotable Biggie joint, but that's no surprise when you pair the guy with the Ticallion Stallion.

Shook Ones Pt. II by Mobb Deep

Part one was a great song. Part two would forever change the face of New York street hip-hop.

So Wat Cha Sayin' by EPMD

With all due respect to You Gots To Chill (and Do the Steve Martin), this is the best EPMD song.

Music Man by Masta Ace

If you had told me in the late 80's that Masta Ace would be the most consistent Juice Crew member and have the longest career, I would have called you a lunatic. And then sprayed you with mace and run away screaming like a little girl.

Straight Outta Compton by N.W.A.

You are now about to witness the strength of street knowledge. Indeed. Hit conservative America like a gun butt to the teeth.

Passin' Me By by The Pharcyde

That backwards Hendrix sample! Do you think Fatlip turned to drugs because he was fed up being stuck with a bunch of MCs who were way behind him lyrically?

Ain't No Future In Your Frontin' by MC Breed and DFC

Part of the reason I started doing these posts is because it gives me a chance to highlight songs from artists that no way would have cracked the top 500, let alone the top 100, albums. Flint Michigan's MC Breed is a veteran to hip-hop, but he would never have another song with as much of an impact as this, which sadly didn't really make much of an impression at the time of its release, at least not commercially, because in the early 90's, if it wasn't from New York or LA, didn't no one want to hear it.

Take It Personal by Gangstarr

Guru's monotone flow is perfect for this narrative of cold revenge. Awesome drum track, piano, and that dial tone sample in the chorus is off the hook (pun acknowledged).

T.R.O.Y by Pete Rock and CL Smooth

In my first Top Hip-Hop Songs post I mentioned that The Message is probably the greatest hip-hop song ever recorded, but T.R.O.Y. definitely gives it a run for its money. Before Dear Mama and every other heartfelt hip-hop song that would come later, Pete and CL crafted a beautiful tribute to the late Trouble T Roy, one which is wisely more about affirming life than mourning, more about happy memories than regrets.

Fresh, Wild, Fly and Bold by the Cold Crush Brothers

Yeah, it sounds a little corny now, but the give-and-go rhymes of the brothers Crush paved the way for groups such as Jurassic 5 and the Wu-Tang Clan. Respect the architects.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Go Time

Teacher: What do you want to do with your life?!
Fat Kid Student: I wanna rock!

-Twisted Sister, "I Wanna Rock"

I think the smokes say it all, kids, time for me and the Better Half to take that big freedom bird and rotate back to the world.

Spark, I'm really sorry but all I can say about the 18th Letter and her present that I was supposed to bring on Sunday is:

But seriously, man, we be flying on Sunday so dinner is out. Nobody's more disappointed than me, but we got some opportunities there we can't say "no" to. Are you guys ballin' in the 'Dang on Saturday? Maybe I could stop by for that. I haven't touched a ball in two and a half years, so I wouldn't score at all, but I can still defend and board. That's like riding a bike. Plus we won't take any shit. I'll be McSorley to your Gretzky.

All you other crazy kids, keep your peckers hard and your powder dry. I'll try to get on here and post from time to time but I don't see us being able to afford a personal internet connection in Smalltownville, Central Washington for a while so they may be few and far between.

Tap 'er light.

Hope (NBA Playoffs: Conference Finals)


Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things. And a good thing never dies.

-- Andy Dufresne, The Shawshank Redemption


The second game today was a bit of a letdown excitement-wise, but no way the same can be said for the playoffs as a whole. We still have 2 rounds to play, so it's still too early to call these the Best Ever, but every day that passes it's looking more and more like that might be the case.

You've probably heard that, this post season, we've already seen more overtime games than any other playoffs in NBA history. Throw in the number of close games, and what we've had so far has been nothing short of a gift from the basketball gods.

More prayers were answered when Dallas knocked out the defending champs, meaning that a new champion will be crowned this June. If you're talking about a favorite, all signs point to the motor city, but you can't discount the strength of the Mavericks--

Stop the music, as Jeff Jarrett used to say. It seems the prevailing opinion is that a Mavs/Pistons Finals is inevitable, these conference finals merely a formality. I might remind anyone harboring thoughts of that nature that the Pistons were stretched to the limit by a poor defensive team, and the Mavs nearly allowed a worn and tired Spurs team to come back and win the series, which would have led to sports writers the world over calling Dirk one of the biggest choke artists the game has ever seen.

No, the teams bound for the Finals are far from decided. The Mavs and Pistons may very well end up meeting each other in two weeks' time, but getting there will be far from a cakewalk. Please remember that the Miami Heat are by far a better offensive and defensive team than the Cavaliers, and the Phoenix Suns are...

Nevermind. Let's roll out the predictions:

Eastern Conference Finals





vs.





Here's what I've been hoping and waiting for all year. If you had asked me -- and I've written as much -- two months ago how this series would go, I would have told you a sweep for the D. But the Heat have come together since then. This is not the pseudo-gelling we witnessed shortly after the All-Star break, but the fully-functioning unit Riles hoped for when he assembled this team last summer. No bullshit. I don't know if it took the GP and Wade shouting match to do it, but sometime prior to game 2 against the Nets, the Heat formed like Voltron. I've been as big a critic of Antoine Walker as anyone, but I think (pray to the core of my very being is probably more honest, but whatever; see the quote which opens this post) he's finally got it, something earlier in the season I went on record stating he would never do.

The game tomorrow is going to be hard fought, and I honestly think the Heat will have a near-impossible time getting the W, but this team has some surprises yet, I think.

As for the Pistons, the D they showed on Sunday was completely ridiculoid. They played like they were on dust! Why it took a game seven for them to break out of their lackadaisical stupor is anyone's guess, but there's no way they come out tomorrow with a lesser effort.

The Heat should be prepared for them, though. You can bet Riles has a strategy, and, although he's a very competent coach, Flip Saunders is no Pat Riley. Riley picks up steam as his teams advance in the playoffs; Saunders's teams run out of gas.

Prediction: Miami wins series 4-3



Western Conference Finals





vs.





First the Suns were favored against Kobe and the his not-so-merry men, then, when they fell behind 3-1, every Tom, Dick and Hank made an about-face and wrote how the Suns are only built for the regular season. Against the Clippers, they were the underdogs at first, but those same critics again pulled a changeabout, and the Suns' standing in the mind of Joe Sportswriter returned to where it originally stood. (Welcome back; did you pick me up anything during your trip?) Now, they're going to be huge underdogs against the Mavs. Dallas after all actually has the defensive prowess to stop the Suns' run-and-gun offense, or at least slow it down a little; and Phoenix's own lack of D (read: they play D about as well as I speak Aramaic) is going to be fully exposed; but let us please remember one thing: the Mavs were able to outlast the defending champs because they adopted a similar style of play to that of Phoenix; and let us also remember how last year's series between these two teams went. Sure, the Suns, much like the Heat in the East, are basically a new team, and the Mavs have only gotten better, stronger; but if anything, save for the loss of Amare Stoudamire, Phoenix has similarly improved.

This is going to be a lot harder fought, I believe, than most people think.

And like Miami, I believe this is Phoenix's year. Sounds crazy, right?

Sure. And I am the basketball gods' fool.

Prediction: Phoenix wins series 4-3

Monday, May 22, 2006

Do or Die, Squared (Mavs/Spurs and Clippers/Suns, Game 7)

Besides obvious things such as winning the lottery (not that I would know anything about that), getting married, having children, and discovering money in between sofa cushions, is there anything better than a game seven?

Yes: two game sevens*.

Even though I don't care much either way who wins the Mavs/Spurs game, it would be something to witness two 3-1 comebacks in the same post season, and I have a feeling that's where we're headed. And Suns/Clippers has all the makings of a classic.

So without further adieu, let's go to the games:

Mavs vs. Spurs

If Mark Cuban whines, and there's nobody around to hear him or care, does he make a sound?...By the way, does Cuban ever do any work? Between attending games, updating his blog, and generally making his incorrigible presence felt anywhere and everywhere, it's a wonder he's as successful as he is. I suppose the same is true for someone else we know, but for the life of me I can't pinpoint whom...No way San Antonio loses this game. I've got a good feeling for these types of situations. I had the same feeling after the Suns went down 3-1 to the Lakers, and the reverse feeling after the Pistons won in Cleveland to force a game 7. And of course I'm never wrong about these things...Nowitzki opens scoring with a dunk...Marv Albert says the Mavs have come out extremely agressive. Does this mean we're in store for more nut punches? Let's hope so...Bruce Bowen gets the first basket for the Spurs...Josh Howard, whose attempt to make braces on grown men look cool isn't working, hits a 3 at the other end...Dallas is definitely controlling the tempo early...After the Mavs get out to a 9-2 lead, Pop smartly takes a 20-second time out. The Spurs have started this game as lethargic as Leonardo DiCaprio and his teammates in The Basketball Diaries...Lots of Mavs fans in the house. Or maybe it's Cuban making all that noise. Yeah, that's probably it...What is this Dirk/Hasselhoff thing all about?...I have to take the 18th Letter to her bus...it's 19-12 Mavs when I return...Time for breakfast. Today's menu: curry and rice, 4 pickled hot chili peppers, and a tall glass of flat Pepsi. Because I'm not that hungry...Tim Duncan has been fouled like 20 times already. Incredibly, Keith Van Horn has 3 fouls with just under 4 minutes remaining in the 1st...I'm praying that this doesn't suck like the final Cavs/Pistons game...Kerr calls Nowitzki an MVP candidate. He knows they already gave the award to Steve Nash, right?...I'll bet you 100 bucks Bill Simmons is also doing a running diary of these games. Here, I'll give you the gist: he's eating Sour Patch Kids, drinking Starbucks (and I ask, how can that compete with hot dogs and cereal?), his dog Dooze is doing stuff, his wife is threatening to divorce him, his baby is crying, the refs are doing a terrible job, and someone reminds him of a character from The Karate Kid, 24, Road House, Point Break, or The Warriors (no, the irony isn't lost on me). Yawn. The pupil has become the master, Billy...Steve, I like you, so here's a plea: don't quote Doug Collins. Not ever, you hear me?...The Mavs are threatening to run the Spurs out of their own building. I'll refrain from making any bad horse puns. For now...The Mavs have hit 15 of their 17 1st quarter field goals (!)...After 1 it's Dallas 37, San Antonio 27...Marv: "Eva Longoria, fresh off her season finale for Desperate Houswives, is hoping this isn't the season finale for Tony Parker." A chalkboard scraped with a thousand fingernails wouldn't have made me cringe more...Wait, Avery Johnson was cut on Christmas Eve? Figuratively or literally? Cut by whom? Needless to say, I'm confused...Kerr says the Mavs are getting too much penetration to the rim. That never gets old...The Admiral is in the house...This game is getting uglier than the love child of Gregg Popovich and PJ Carlesimo...Bowen has hit his last 2 three-point attempts...Jason Terry answers at the other end. He's 5-for-5 with 14 points...Terry hits another 3. He's en fuego!...Dick Bavetta--I mean the Spurs really need to start asserting themselves...San Antonio is making a late run as we near the end of the second quarter...At the half it's Dallas 64, San Antonio 50...Know what Jason Terry has in common with Andrew Golota, besides a penchant for punching people in the balls? In interviews he sounds like a boxer rather than a ball player. God, I never realized how annoying he is...I still think San Antonio wins this...They certainly begin the second half in the right direction. Parker gets a layup, followed by an offensive foul on the Mavs at the other end...Jason Terry hits Manu Ginobli with a forearm. Non call...The Spurs are within 10...Duncan makes a sweet off-balance shot while double teamed, and he gets the foul (misses the freebie, though)...Marv tells Kerr that he wants to dress him in women's underwear and bite him. Sorry, just checking whether or not you're paying attention...TD just got his first rebound of the night. No, you didn't read that incorrectly...Van Horn with an airball. Clutch...Avery Johnson--I mean the lead has been cut to single digits (8)...Jerry Stackhouse hits a big shot with Bowen draped -- where else? -- all over him...Dirk with a runner that increases the Mavs' lead to 12...Ginobli, doing his best Reggie Miller impersonation, is "fouled" beyond the arc by Josh Howard...The Spurs are within 7, and this crowd is going apeshit...Duncan is showing some emotion for a change. Besides his whining after every foul called against him, I mean...The Spurs are within 4...Van Horn, aka Foul-O-Matic, with a big 3...And another! The Mavs are back to a 10-point lead...It's Mavs 84, Spurs 78 after 3...If I have to watch Kyra Sedgewick shine a fucking flashlight at the bottom of my screen one more time, I'm going to lose my shit. And no, I'm not on acid; TNT is cramming their stupid drama, The Closer, down viewers' throats...Now Saved, that's a show I might watch. They've similarly been promoting the shit out of it, but at least some of the promos have been funny...The Spurs are within 2...Can we put a ban on the phrase "one of the league's premier free throw shooters", or at least a moratorium?...Sonic serves bacon, egg and cheese breakfast burritos? Yeah, I'm definitely emigrating to the US...According to Marv, "a wet spot on the floor is being taken care of by one of the ball boys." Definitely makes the list...Duncan is 16-for-21 at the free throw line...The Spurs are in the penalty with 7:38 remaining...Spurs within 3 with 6:25 to go...Bruce Bowen will never make that 3 with both hands around his throat...Van Horn has fouled out...Duncan's doing his "I didn't do anything!" routine again. Give it a rest, dude...The Spurs are within 2 with 2:38 remaining...Make that within 1 after a clutch tre from Michael "Willy Loman" Finley...Eric Dampier has fouled out...Duncan at the line for 2 huge free throws: he misses the first, hits the second. Jesus, he has 39 points, a season high...Tie game!...Ginobli with a tre to give San Antonio a 3-point lead! Take a look at Mark Cuban's face. Are you kidding me?...Nowitzki drives to the hoop and is fouled, giving the Mavs a chance to tie. How/why do you foul a guy in a situation like that?...Dirk makes the free throw...Has Marquis Daniels played at all this game?...We're going to overtime...Due to OT, Suns/Clips is going to start on TBS, effectively pissing off anyone who was watching Beastmaster...Josh Howard starts off OT with a bucket...Then he fouls out...Jerry Stackhouse puts Dallas up by 6 with a mini-dagger...Duncan with 2 at the other end...Jason Terry misses a shot, which Marv calls a "rainbow". I really wish he'd stop saying that...Duncan with a huge miss...Diop (isn't there a perfume named after him?) extends Dallas' lead to 5 with 22 seconds left...Devin Harris commits a boneheaded delay of game, leading to a technical free throw by Michael Finley...Phoenix is up 18-10, by the way...Finley misses a 3...This game is ova...Final score: Dallas 119, San Antonio 111...Player of the Game: Dirk Nowitzki.

Clippers vs. Suns

It's 26-20 for the Suns. We're joined by Kevin Harlan and some guy who knows Michael Jordan personally...I'm hype for a Suns/Mavs Western Conference finals, so don't blow it, Phoenix...James Jones for 3. Yes!...Vlad Radmanovic looks like Hans Klopek from The 'burbs (a choco pie if you get that)...That's gotta be a flagrant foul on Raja Bell for sideswiping Shaun Livingston. No!?...Corey Magette ties the game at 28...Collins calls Leandro Barbosa "a special kid". Is he trying to say Barbosa's retarded?...Here's the strangest, most random moment of the day: country western music is blasting through my neighborhood right now...TNT finally airs an ad for KFC's Classic Bowls. They have to be trying to appeal to people who are up late, stoned, and with a case of the munchies. Brilliant marketing strategy, I must say...Phoenix is on a 9-0 run (and if you think I typed "Phoenix" because I can't come up with any more words that rhyme with Suns and run, you're right)...Elton Brand is heating up...If the Suns advance, is D'Antoni going to use Kurt Thomas? I wonder...Steve Nash with a tre. He was 2 of 18 from 3-point territory the past 2 games. Ugh...What's this Midnight Spank on G4 all about? Sounds erotic...I guess the Suns have proven that, even without Amare, they're more than simply a great regular season team...There are more fouls early in this game than a Kentucky barnyard (your guess is as good as mine)...The Clips are within 3 with 5 minutes remaining in the half...Boris Diaw hits a jumper. Another good thing about the Spurs getting eliminated? We won't have to endure endless comments about how much Diaw and Tony Parker love each other. Then again, we will have to hear endlessly about Nash and The Big German. I guess it's sort of a lose-lose scenario in that regard. And you're kidding yourself if don't think a Brokeback Mountain parody starring the two is being put together as I type this...Haven't noticed Shawn Marion much...Nash is a great point guard and everything, but there are certain moments when he inexplicably turns into Jason Williams and hoists up ill-advised shots, what my high school gym teacher would have called "trying to be the hero"...What a pass!...Sam Cassell steamrolls Raja Bell, who, unbelievably, is called for the foul. Is it just me, or has refereeing in major sports always been this bad, and it's only these past ten years that we've taken complaining about it to such Olympian heights?...At the half it's Phoenix 65, LA 57. The Suns have already scored more points this half than the Cavs scored during THE ENTIRE GAME yesterday. Just saying...By the way, if the Suns keep things up and send the Clips packing, can we set up a series with the Sparks to complete the LA trifecta? Please?...I adamantly believe that athletes shouldn't be interviewed before a game is over. Except in hockey, and that's only because of all the hilarious ums and ahs...Boy, Pop doesn't look too comfortable at that post game press conference...Well this is dandy: Stream TV is down. You get what you paid for, I guess. Can't blame me for trying...Scratch that; it's my Internet connection that's down...OK, we're back with 7:42 remaining in the 3rd. The Suns are up 82-71. Some awesome defense in this one, huh?...Hey! It's Chris Kaman. One of my favorite Barkley quotes, in reference to Kaman: "I hope he has a pretty wife, or else he's gonna have some ugly kids." Classic...The Clips are within 7...Barbosa hits a big 3...As for the Clippers, they have hit exactly zero 3-pointers all game. Unbelievable...Collins calls Quentin Ross "a good-looking player". Uncomfortable silence ensues...Cutino Mobley just got T'd up...The Suns are now up by 12 and threatening to run away with this...Barbosa gives the Suns their biggest lead of the game (13)... Can we put a ban on Doug Collins saying the phrase "feast or famine," or, better yet, a moratorium on him speaking altogether?...Collins again: "[Barbosa] is speed on speed". Wait, is he trying to say Leandro's on amphetamines?...94-79 after 3. Not hard to guess which team has what...When do the protests against Nacho Libre start?...Phoenix, whose alternate orange jerseys always make me think of Vietnamese noodles [Edit: I'm tripping; the orange jerseys of course read PHX, and not PHO], is up by 18...Yup, we are into full-on blowout mode with 9 minutes remaining...Just to show you what a nail-biting game we've got going here, Paul Mokeski, quite possibly the ugliest player the L has ever seen, is being interviewed. Let's just say his voice doesn't exactly compensate for his freakish looks, either...Final score: Phoenix 127, LA 107...Player of the Game: Steve Nash...Well, ladies and gents, it's Mavs vs. Suns in the West finals, and let me just say this:

Fuck the Dallas Mavericks.

* And 3 game sevens are better than 2, and so on and so forth, but you get the idea.

Psychedelic Kimochi -- Underwater Boogie

How deep is your love?

I think Han Chae-Young's new drama is going to be a hit with the series' 15-68 male demographic.

Just a hunch.

You may remember that a few months ago I lamented Ms. Han's ample bust being a national security threat to horny Korean teenagers.


And, now, not only do we have the delight of the first link, but anyone who watches Korean TV regularly -- which I don't recommend, lest you become bellicose and wind up smashing some of your more valued earthly possessions -- has no doubt seen Ms. Han's most recent Rush-N-Cash spot.

Two words: Cleav. Age.

And again I am reminded that I have a voice, and that I can make a difference.

And I do it all for you, asking nothing in return.

Wanna know another guy who selfleshly gave of Himself and asked for nothing in return?



That's right.

PS - If the above wasn't enough confirmation, have you seen Hyori's recent TV ad?

We are heading for hard times, my friends. Hard, joyous times.

The Top Hip-Hop Songs

First off, if you're a fan of Outkast and haven't already heard their phenomenal new song, The Mighty O, get thee to Limewire -- or whatever program it is that you steal music from -- and check it out. It's amazing.

The biggest surprise is that Andre raps the first verse. I'm probably as big a fan of The Love Below as there is, but when he mentioned in an interview after that album's release that he was considering giving up rapping and sticking solely to singing, I was very sorry to hear it. But just like those rumors of a breakup, it appears I worried unnecessarily.

Dude still has game like Parker Brothers.

Big Boi also nails his verse, and the song is a throwback to the groups early days as recording artists. In fact, if Big Boi didn't mention his daughter's name, I would have sworn it was an early demo.

Here's hoping their sixth studio album, Idlewild, to be released sometime in August (I'll believe that when I have the CD in my hands; it was originally slated for Dec. 11, 2005), is another classic. The Mighty O is definitely a step in the right direction towards that laudable feat.

***

La Di Da Di by Doug E. Fresh, featuring MC Ricky D (Slick Rick)

The art of storytelling, indeed. One of the rare classic hip-hop songs with a beatbox (from the legendary Mr. E. Fresh) as the sole accompaniment to The Ruler's gift of gab.

Rockin' It by The Fearless Four

The song's lyrics are actually pretty weak, even for its time, but it's the beat that makes this one of the best party joints ever recorded.

Just Hangin' Out by Main Source

And I like to hang out and hustle with my friends. Possibly Large Professor's best lyrical outing, and a classic song with such a simple premise: Extra P name drops his friends and acquaintances, and provides commentary on a trip through the neighborhood. Yields dope results. It's that simple, just like the title suggests.

Nitty Gritty by KMD (w/Brand Nubian)

Criminally underrated posse joint from the two 5% Nation crews. When was it that rappers forgot the cardinal rule of the posse cut: keep the beat at a fast tempo?

Run's House by Run-D.M.C.

Speaking of up-tempo tracks. Doesn't slow down from beginning to end, and the cuts by the lamentably departed Jam Master Jay are as frenetic and memorable as you'll likely hear on a hip-hop song. Remains a classic despite this fey bit from Rev. Run's first verse: make ya dance and prance. Um, let's move on.

Soul by the Pound (remix) by Common Sense

To this day I'm pissed that this wasn't included on Ressurection as a bonus track. It's my favorite Common song of all time. Even though the original from Can I Borrow a Dollar? has the topical line got Seoul like South Korea , the lyrics of the remix blow the original's away. And I am about to explo-o-o-ode!

My Melody by Eric B and Rakim

Honestly, I'm not really sure why Ra's 7 MCs part gets so much hype, because, while it's great and all, the guy has a ton better dope lines, even on the very same song which announced His coming. Not your typical MC, huh? The guy flows for five verses! Praise the God.

The Breaks by Kurtis Blow

How come knuckleheads these days can't come up with a similar concept this unique and accessible? These are the breaks, I guess.

(break it up, break it up, break it up!)

How I Could Just Kill a Man by Cypress Hill

I used to believe DJ Muggs would last forever on his dusty production and variations of the Prince wail. I was wrong. But, man, who doesn't love this song? And why can't groups or MCs today make "gangsta rap" like this that still possesses some level of humor and doesn't take itself too seriously? Sen Dog's occasional constipated shouts of emphasis is one of my favorite MCing gimmicks of all time, by the way. Just behind Das EFX's iggities, which of course will never be topped.

California Love by 2Pac

Here is why Dre is a genius, even while some doubt remains as to whether or not he is in fact an actual doctor: that Joe Cocker sample was sitting there for like a billion years, yet no one used it, likely because not many hip-hop producers listen to Joe Cocker, but also because 99 out of 100 producers probably wouldn't have recognized its potential even if they had heard it. California Love is one of the few hip-hop songs released in the 90s that can be called both street and pop (Flava In Ya Ear comes to mind as another, and no doubt I'll make room for it in the future).

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Fuck You, Bitch

You may recall this post from last November. Since then we've had a minor ant problem; nothing too bad, but occasionally I'll see the little fuckers running around on our floor or walls.

But no more. Today while looking in the cupboard, coincidentally, for a pack of instant curry, I discovered the queen.

I am not a vengeful man, but, crushing that bitch between my thumb and index finger, I experienced a sensation almost akin to ecstasy.

5 AM

It’s almost light again. 5 A.M. Pete pointed out the sun to me as we were walking up the front stairs. I’ve asked him not to do that before. He so rarely complies with my requests.

I turn on the shower and crack open the bottle of water I bought on the way home. You cannot drink the tap water here; it is counter to your own health. I crack open the 1.3 liter bottle, I drink off half of it in three long gulps. I pause, catch my breath, take another long drink. I replace the cap, drop my boxer shorts, get under the cool water. I fade in and out of consciousness. I wonder how hung over I’ll be in the morning. I wonder if I’ll remember showering in the morning. Usually being cognizant of blackout as a possibility is a good sign it won’t happen, but who can say? Maybe I’ve had premonitions of memory loss every time it’s happened and now just don’t remember them. Not recalling premonitions of memory loss, there’s got to be a word for that but it’s not irony. Is it?

I turn off the shower and stand there. I’m cold. I make sure to lift my foot up high enough when I step out of the tub. True alcoholism requires greater precision than most might think. Movements taken for granted become less automatic. Distances are easily misjudged. You have to be sure.

I dry quickly and incompletely, beads of water still on my head and chest. I sneak under the covers. I am still cold. I wait for my body heat and the blanket to create a pocket of warmth so that I can sleep. It’s now 5.37AM on a Saturday. I wasn’t going to let this happen again. I was going to come here and stop doing this, but there’s little point now. I’ve already fallen back into bad habits and it’s way too much of second nature for me to stop now. I run daily but can’t shake the beer weight. The nice part of being drunk, though, is that none of it matters. I just want to sleep, that is all. The rest of you can fuck off.

Lyle Lovett plays. “As I lay sick and broken: Viva Mexico! My eyes just won’t stay open, and I dream a dream of home.” I must have left it on last night; I’ll try to turn it off in a minute. Just need to get warm. Just need to sleep for ten hours. Ten and a half maybe, but I won’t; I can’t anymore. I was out looking for you, of course, but I didn’t find you. I don’t know why I’m surprised. I always check the same places. I feel like I have to drink because bars are where they hide the women. Not the good women of course, not you. I don’t know where they hide you, if I did I’d be there. Besides, if I’m not the life of the party, who am I? I need this to hang my hat on. I need this for me. I need this to be someone. I need an identity and this is the one I’ve had so long I think I’ll just stick with it, even if it doesn’t make me happy. I know how to do it; I’m well drilled.

I could have gone to the Goose, I guess, but at this point I’d just as soon sleep. I’m not in the mood for that type of company. I just want to sleep for ten and a half hours.

I drink more of the water. I’ll thank myself in the morning. Hopefully I’ll sleep through the morning.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Top Hip-Hop Songs

A few months ago I rocked the world of music by compiling my Top 100 Hip-Hop Albums list. That was such a colossal success that I was faced with a question, namely "How do I top myself?" The short answer is "I can't," but from that my idea for a list of the top hip-hop songs was born. Surely it would be both foolish and near impossible to pick only 100 songs, so instead what I'll do is, from time to time, post 10 classic hip-hop songs, along with a brief comment or two on each. And who knows, maybe after a year or so I'll take a look at things and narrow the lists down to a comprehensive 100. Or maybe I'll move my family out of civilization like Harrison Ford in The Mosquito Coast, and you'll never hear from me again. It's really anyone's guess.

That said, here's our first installment:

Rhymin' and Stealin' by the Beastie Boys

That Led Zeppelin sample was pure brilliance. I still think one of the worst decisions in music history was R&S being left off the Beasties' The Sounds of Science greatest hits CD.

The Message by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five

Until Rakim came along, Melle Mel's incredibly poetic lyrics were the zenith of lyricism in hip-hop. And the beat still can't be touched. If I had to rank these songs, The Message would probably be at no. 1.

Come Clean by Jeru the Damaja

And this would probably be number 2.

Public Enemy No. 1 by Public Enemy

The Bomb Squad would craft a better album in It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, and they would produce many more classic songs, but they would never best the dopeness of that beat. And Chuck telling a sucker MC that his mother fixes old dryers is about the strangest and funniest moment in hip-hop music save "lemonade is a popular drink and it still is."

Slow Down by Brand Nubian

No. 3. By the way, can you imagine a popular hip-hop MC or group today sampling Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians?

Top Billin' by Audio Two

Not a day goes by that I don't hear that drum beat in my head (usually while in the shower). In fact, as I type this I'm clicking my teeth to it. I only hope you are, too.

Planet Rock by Afrika Bambaataa and The Soul Sonic Force

The number one hip-hop party record.

The Gas Face by 3rd Bass

Again, the drum beat is what seals the deal, but that piano sample doesn't exactly hurt matters none, either.

Ego Trippin' pt. 2 by De La Soul

Denz is probably going to hate me for not citing the original, but this is the better song. Before every single MC started coming out with tributes and referencing classic lines in their songs, De La wrote the book on how to do it right.

What's Golden by Jurassic 5

The album this is from was, surprisingly, mediocre as fuck; but this song is a classic, and quite possibly the no. 1 song to play b-ball to.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Bunkadelic

From the year I was born until the year I began high school, my family spent our summer vacations in the Maritimes, spending two weeks at my maternal grandparents' in Cape Breton, and then another two at my paternal grandparents' in southern Nova Scotia. Or vice-versa. Jesus, those were great times.

My wife and I were married in autumn, 2002, and the preceding summer I returned to Nova Scotia. It was my first trip back in over 10 years. My mother's parents were gone; my father's, to me, looked just as they did in my youth. I remember then wishing that I could live there forever; something -- I'm not sure what -- about Eastern Canada (and New England, where we'd biennially visit on our way to NS) captivates me.

And not a summer goes by that I don't wish to be back.

When I was still in elementary school, my brother and I once begged my grandfather to let us sleep in the camper he'd bought that particular year. Because nothing beats sleeping outdoors (or semi-outdoors in this case). The wise patriarch gave his consent, and that night I rested my head in the camper.

Or tried to, at least; I awoke in the night with a stomach as agreeable as Louis Farrakhan at a KKK rally, and went inside to tell my folks. I was gonna barf. I hate throwing up more than anything (to illustrate this point, I would rather receive a bullet wound somewhere non-life threatening), and asked my mother for some "sick medicine". My grandparents were awake, and Grammy F got me a tablet of Gravol (perhaps more familiarly know as Dramamine) from the cupboard.

Mom used to grind the stuff up in between two spoons and put it in a dollop of strawberry jam, but since my grandmother simply handed me the pill, I popped it in my mouth and chewed.

Not a pleasant taste, to say the least.

What I'll always remember is what my grandfather said afterward: "if that didn't purge his demons, I think it's safe to say he's in the clear."

For some reason that was the funniest thing I'd ever heard, and it still makes me smile when I think of it.

***

One year when I was four, a month before we took our annual pilgramige to the Maritimes, our family took a camping trip in northern Ontario. I was very young, but I remember it vividly: the horrible port-o-johns, the mosquitoes, some guy playing Kumbaya on an acoustic guitar so much that it tried even my young nerves; the hot dogs and marshmallows cooked over -- but in my case usually dropped into -- a campfire; and the smell of smoke that permeated everything.

I learned quickly that I hated camping in the woods, even though we stayed in a cabin instead of a tent. Actually, likely because we stayed in a cabin instead of a tent.

That cabin was scary, man. There was no light save for the Coleman lanterns we brought, and it was the definition of the word musty. It was like the moon: covered in dust since time immemorial.

What really fucked my shit up (or, in layman's terms, freaked me out) however were the beds. Bunk beds aren't inherently scary, I don't think, but the ones in that cabin were taller than California Redwoods.

At least that's how they appeared to me then. Under no circumstance did I wish to sleep in the top bunk of the room which my brother and I shared, lest I during the night roll out of bed to my death. Lucky for me, my brother was feeling adventurous and eagerly volunteered to take the top bunk. Even then was he a daredevil.

I was safe, or so I thought. I awoke later to discover my covers and pillow absent, and above me was nothing but blackness. I stretched out my arms, but they didn't extend very far.

It was clear to me then that the bunk bed had collapsed, pinning me underneath.

Boy did I wail. Mom, Mom! Dad, Dad! Help! I'm trapped!

I heard my mother enter the room. "E___, where are you?" she asked.

"I'm here! Over here!" I shouted, praying she would Kumbaya and save my helpless ass.

And then I heard a laugh. Not a small one, either.

The bunk bed hadn't collapsed on me, and my brother was still sleeping peacefully up at canopy-level.

In case you haven't already figured it out, in my sleep I had rolled out of bed, onto the floor, and then under the bottom bunk.

***

Why am I telling you this? Partly because I made a resolution to have a new post on Psychedelic Kit-Kat every day for the month of May and couldn't come up with anything better, but also because I think it helps show how a weird sense of humor can be formed at an early age.

Furthermore, I believe a sense of humor is just as important to human beings as a heart and a brain are. Unlike the brain or heart, one can survive without a sense of humor, sure. But would you really want to?

The next time you encounter a person who is overly serious or uptight, someone who looks to be in need of a good belly laugh, don't hate or despise him or her, much in the same way you wouldn't hate or despise someone with a terminal illness.

Instead, pity the person. Maybe he or she didn't roll under enough bunk beds as a child.

Or maybe he or she rolled beneath too many.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Catcher in the Lye -- Chapter Three

3


I wasn't dead of course, but I sort of wished I was, because this goddam comedy of errors appeared far from over. I just knew things would go from worse to worst. I have a pretty good sense of things like that, I really do.

After a minute or so I guess the guy also knew that I wasn't dead, because his expletives of "oh shit," "oh fuck" and "oh shitfuck" stopped, and finally he said "I'm going out for a smoke."

My eyes were closed, but as soon as he left the room I sort of opened them a little. Not too much that you could tell, though. That's one of my many talents. It's really not that hard if you make sure not to squint and instead make it look as though you're having a some sort of mild fit, like your eyes are rolling up into your head. What I had intended to do was give the girl a shock, sort of make her feel bad and realize what a colossal jerk her boyfreind was, but when I saw her I felt kind of bad for my duplicitous intent. In fact, for a brief moment I actually considered apologizing to her. Boy, I am certifiable sometimes.

She was dressed in a yellow T-shirt that extended mid-thigh. For all I knew that was it as far as her attire was concerned. In fact, I imagined that was the case, and wished for a moment that she was standing a few feet closer so I could be sure. I can be real perverty, real sexy sometimes, if you want to know the truth.

She had small bruises the sizes of thumbprints all over her leg. I'm not entirely sure how they got there, but like I said, people are into some strange stuff, and I had my suspicions. My imagination ran rampant trying to envision just how those bruises had occurred. Then I really started feeling sexy, so I tried to think of something very unsexy: a border collie eating a rancid sandwich that had fallen out of a garbage can. It was the only way to keep me from blowing my cover. I'd really have to apologize if that happened, if you know what I mean.

She was Korean, or at least she was Oriental. I was looking at her covertly for so long that I was afraid she would notice, but just as I was about to open my eyes and whisper I don't know what to her, her boyfriend came back and immediately spoke to me.

"So what's the deal, gramps? What are you doing here and how did you get in?"

Like I said, I can be sly as a fox sometimes, but when someone catches you off-guard like that it's pretty goddam hard. I tried not to, but my eyes snapped open and, feeling like a helpless animal, I looked up at the guy.

I told him my story. I tried to sound all nonchalant, but I'm sure the bastard saw right through me. He knew I was frightened, and the more I spoke the more menacing his look grew. There are people who will exploit your every weakness, and this was one such guy. God, I hated his guts at that moment. If I had eaten dinner I probably would have had more guile, wouldn't have laid all my cards out like that, but as I was I shook like a leaf in a stiff wind, inwardly hating myself, the heathen before me, and goddam Mr. Kim and his restaurant selection.

"We'll work this out at the school tomorrow," he told me, all the while scratching his ass and flaring his nostrils. "Too fucking tired now to go upstairs and bitch out that cocksucker Mr. Kim."

That final castigation almost made me forgive his heretofore vulgar language and demeanor. Almost.

According to Greg -- whose name I only came to know because his girlfriend kept saying "Greg, calm down" and "Greg, maybe I'm go" -- he was never told that he was to have a roommate, and in fact he was promised by Mr. Seo, the school's owner, a place of his own. Certainly there weren't any other bedrooms in the apartment; it consisted of the room in which I lied and a larger room which he called the main room. I couldn't picture that being the case -- Mr. Seo sounded so genuine and sincere the few times I spoke to him on the phone -- and imagined that Greg was just being a troublemaker. Anyone with a mouth that foul (and I should know, having been kicked out of my fair share of schools due to my abhorrent language) is bound to be a pain in the ass. Yes, even in Korea there are phonies. Maybe more than back home, if you can believe it.

Greg wasn't from the U.S.; he was from Canada. I visited Canada once with Phoebe and her kids. This was shortly after our mother passed away (emphysema). D.B. was on the set of some movie they were making in Toronto, because it's really goddam cheap to make movies up there, and I promised to tag along on condition that D.B. not mention the movies or try to introduce me to his phony actress wife.

I was curious to visit the place, actually, because I knew very little about Canada and Canadians. If you ever plan to visit there, don't make the same mistake I did and admit that to one of them, though. Rest assured, they'll fill you in and then some, and it can be really goddam trying on the old nerves. But I suppose that's to be expected when traveling in a communist nation.

Greg's girlfriend was kind enough to get some blankets and a pillow from the small wardrobe at the end of the room opposite the bed, and she made a pretty goddam comfortable setup for me on the floor of the main room. Her being Oriental, and no doubt used to fixing up comfortable sleeping arrangements on the floor, it probably wasn't very hard, but I appreciated it nontheless. In fact, she tried to convince Greg to give me his bed and for him to take the floor of the main room, but he didn't dignify her insubordination with a response. He looked angrier than when I first set eyes upon him, actually, and because I correctly imagined him the kind of guy to hold a grudge, what I did was quietly walk out of the room and into the bed on the main room's floor. I thought I'd closed the door, but after turning off the light I saw a thin yellow vertical line at the bedroom doorway, and I could distictly hear the couple's conversation: he wanted her to stay, she wanted to leave.

"What will he think about me, young girl spending night?" she asked.

"He won't think anything. You worry too much. Who fucking cares?"

But it was apparent that the young lady, whose real name I never quite caught (I doubt her given name was Lisa), was intent to go. When she exited the front door, the glass sliding door next to my ad hoc bed shook as though hit by a gale.

I looked at my wristwatch. It was 10:53 p.m.

I never saw her again, and I doubt that Greg did either.

I woke up at 4 a.m. with a headache as big as Long Island. And I was freezing cold. With nothing do do but wait for the sun to rise, for a while I pretended I was the sole surviving meteorological scientist of a 6-man party camping on the tundra, and to survive I had eaten the icy flesh of my dead colleagues. I imagined that I had a thick beard and that I had to continually wipe away the frost which formed around my mouth each time I exhaled air. When that stopped being fun I tried to picture faces and images on the wallpaper's print. Once I vividly made out a lion, but I soon lost my goddam concentration and wasn't able to relocate the beast.

Around 7 or 8 Greg awoke, and as he marched toward the bathroom with a towel draped over his shoulder I said "good morning!" as cheerful as a kindergarten teacher. My jubilation was manufactured, but after such an unpleasant first encounter I thought I'd amiably try to start things off anew.

He didn't reciprocate, slamming the bathroom door closed behind him.

And if I didn't meet Mr. Seo the very same day, only a few hours later, Greg would unequivocally have been the biggest bastard I've met in my life.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Ultimatum

It's not often I feel the need to comment on womens' fashion, but this has got to stop posthaste:
Look, I understand that maybe you're feeling fat or are self-conscious about your legs, but what this look says is I'm not even going to bother. It's the feminine equivalent of a guy wearing a long sleeve shirt under a T, which, unless you're a professional baseball player or a guitarist in a band, pretty much tells the world you have given up on living.

So, ladies, you have one of two choices: ditch either the pants or the dress.

Choose wisely. (Pick the latter, pick the latter!)

Psychedelic Kimochi


Ah
If theres a cure for this
I dont want it
Dont want it
If theres a remedy
Ill run from it
From it

Think about it all the time
Never let it out of my mind
cause I love you

Ive got the sweetest hangover
I dont wanna get over
Sweetest hangover

Yeah, I dont wanna get over
I dont wanna get
I dont wanna get...over

Ooh, I dont need no cure
I dont need no cure
I dont need no cure

Sweet lovin
Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet love
Sweet, sweet love
Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet love

Dont call a doctor
Dont call her momma
Dont call her preacher

No, I dont need it
I dont want it

Sweet love, I love you
Sweet love, need love

If theres a cure for this
I dont want it
I dont want it no
If theres a cure for this
I dont need it
Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet love
Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet love
Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet love
Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet love

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

End-to-End Burners, Pt. II (Spurs vs. Mavs, Game 4)

In today's first matchup, we had an unbelievable game that now has me and just about everyone else who had been nodding off to sleep suddenly caring about that series. Can this matchup between the Spurs and Mavs, a series referred to as "the real Western Conference finals," spark my interest, too? Only one way to find out:

I don't train for sprints, I train for marathons...Tony Parker opens up scoring...Although I hate them, I'm rooting for San Antonio. I think. Is that because I predicted them to win the series and hate being wrong? Yes. But it's also because I hate it when a series I'm casually following goes 3-0 or 3-1...Devin Harris answers at the other end with a basket...Michael Finley is getting booed. What's up with that?...This game is close captioned. In what language is what I want to know...Dirk's looking good. In a basketball sense, I mean. Otherwise, he looks like a complete douchebag, and that's being nice...Parker's hot. Again, in a basketball sense...Steve Kerr: "You don't want Tony Parker attacking the rim." Eva Longoria might disagree (watch out, now!)...Remember the dark days of NBA announcing when Marv Albert was charged with sexual assault and Bob Costas and Doug "That Reminds Me of the Time Michael Jordan..." Collins used to call the Finals? Just thinking about those years makes me shudder...How far from Dallas is San Antonio, anyway? You'd think that in a state series the crowd would be a little more bipartisan...Parker already has 16 points...Kerr tells us that Gregg Popovich is happy to see Tony Parker getting going early, which is complete bullshit because no one can tell how Pop is feeling; he has only one facial expression...After 1 it's the Spurs 26, the Mavs 19...Kerr calls it a catastrophe that these two teams are meeting in the 2nd round. Yeah, because I was really hoping for two of the L's most boring teams to watch to meet in the conference finals...Marv and Steve tell us it's easy to see that Dirk is hurting. Which is true. Unless you're blind, I suppose, and then it's really fucking hard...The Spurs hit a pair of 3-pointers, courtesy of Messrs Ginobli and Barry...San Antonio has a 9-point lead, but they're allowing the Mavs to get to the basket like it's an Arby's drive-thru window or something...The Spurs already have 4 traveling violations. Someone tell them it won't increase their frequent flyer miles (*rimshot*)...Were Dirk Nowitzki and Jake Busey separated at birth?...Speaking of look-alikes, the past 2 Fridays I've played ball with the Asian Manu Ginobli. The guy looks just like him, I'm serious. He even has the same moves! Next time we play I'll be sure to check for a bald spot...Nick Van Exel is hit with his 3rd foul...Duncan is called for a foul on a whistle that came later than help to The Alamo (see how topical I can be?)...Isn't it fun to say plantar fasciitis?...Michael Finley gets T'd up for shoving Dirk. Is this real, or made up like a wrestling angle?...David Stern is in the house. Apparently he attended a D-League came a few nights ago. Um, Mr. Stern, have you ever visited Thunder Bay?...Jason Terry hits a 3 to tie the game with 3:23 remaining in the 2nd...TNT is playing Franz Ferdinand's Take Me Out while showing video footage of how Bruce Bowen guards/fouls the shit out of the league's top scorers...Ernie Johnson just said "Cavalier attitude." If you'll recall, I wrote this at the beginning of the post season: if I check out ESPN.com and have to endure reading "All That Glitters..." in reference to the Nuggets, "No Bull" in reference to the Heat, or "Cavalier Attitude" in reference to Lebron and Co., I will seriously lose my shit. Fuck you, EJ...Devin Harris has a lot of confidence. Shades of Tony Parker in his rookie year, as you're going to be reminded ad nauseam...After 2, we're all tied up at 53...Hold on, Kobe Bryant is going to be a studio guest on Inside the NBA on Wednesday (Thursday morning, if you're in Korea)! This I gotta see, because there's a very small chance he'll pull out a Tec-9 and gun down Charles Barkley. For your Emmy consideration...Tim Duncan is as erratic at the free throw line as a chimpanzee on a Kawasaki...Marv mentions that Gregg Popovich is featured in this month's Wine Spectator magazine. Then Steve tells us that Pop is very interested in current events such as the recent immigration issue. Of course he is; half of the immigrants living in the US play for the Spurs!...If I'm jealous of Tony Parker -- TP, as I affectionately call him -- it's for one thing: his boss running jumper. Why, is there another reason I or anyone should be jealous of the guy?...Spurs/Pistons has been a foregone conclusion since the Finals wrapped up last June. Is this still the case? To me, at least...San Antonio is up by 7 with just under 7 minutes left in the 3rd...Jerry Stackhouse is nailing 3-pointers like they're airline stewardesses. Mars Blackmon says it's gotta be the tights...This game is getting wild and physical like spring break in Cancun...The Mavs take a 1-point lead...Manu strips his man and goes for a breakaway dunk. I ask, is there another sport with more possible sexual innuendo than basketball? Ball handling. Attacking the rim. Stripping one's man. Sometimes, as a b-ball fan, I forget just how lucky I am...Now Manu and Dirk are jawing one another. Actually, for a second there it looked as though The Big German was going to lean in for a passionate kiss...After 3, it's the Mavs 84, the Spurs 80...Harris gives the Mavs a chance to go ahead by 7 after a bucket and a foul. He hits the freebie...Marquis Daniels, who bears more than a passing resemblance to model Iman, gets another and-one for the Mavs...Manu Ginobli has hit consecutive 3-pointers to bring the Spurs to within 2...And now we have a tie game. Sometimes life makes lemonade out of lemons without you even trying...Devin Harris with yet another and-one. He can't make the free throw this time, though...With 6:37 remaining, Manu is tagged with his 5th personal foul...San Antonio turns the ball over on a 24-second violation, but it's ruled that the ball hit the rim. The replay clearly shows that it didn't. Gotta love those NBA refs, man...The Spurs good fortune (aka Dick Bavetta) is nulled by an offensive foul a few seconds later...Ginobli fouls out with 2:38 remaining. "That's a big blow," says Kerr. Big blow. Another worthy addition to an already impressive list...And we are tied with 1:30 to play...Duncan with a hook shot. I used to be really scared of that and his once-formidable bank shot. Not any more. The end of an era...Duncan is fouled. He misses his first free throw attempt and hits the second to give the Spurs a 3-point advantage...Jason Terry is fouled driving to the basket at the other end. He hits both free throws and we have a 1-point game...That Gatorade Big Heads commercial is beyond awesome...San Antonio, doing their best New York Knicks impression, loses the ball after throwing it away on the inbounds pass. Atypical to say the least. I'm not sure who it was who threw the ball inbounds (and, subsequently, out of bounds) because I was thinking about that KFC chicken/mashed potatoes/cheese thingy. Did I mention that there's gravy, too? I'm emigrating to the States...Nowitzki, at the other end, misses a fadeaway, but Dallas gets the rebound and Jason Terry knocks down a 12-footer, putting the Mavs up by 1...With 15.4 seconds on the clock, Michael Finley hits a big 3-pointer to put the Spurs up 2...Nowitzki is fouled at the other end with 8 seconds left...And, inexplicably, Stream TV cuts away from the game to bring us Around the Rim, or whatever the fuck the ESPN show with BJ Armstrong -- who has me beat by a longshot as far as older guys who look like teenagers is concerned -- is called. By the time I figure out which channel the game was switched to without warning, we're already a minute and a half into the overtime period. So I guess Dirk hit both those free throws....Dallas is up by 4...They make 2 stupid turnovers, but the Spurs can't capitalize...San Antonio is within 2...Jason Terry steals the ball and misses a dunk, but Stackhouse gets the putback...Bruce "All Over You Like a Fat Kid on an M&M" Bowen hits a 3 to make it a 1-point game...Jason Terry with a fadeaway...Duncan misses at the other end...Harris with a bucket to put Dallas up by 5...Lasagne Diop fouls out for Dallas, and Michael "Why the Hate?" Finley makes both free throws...At the other end, Jason Terry, who has become quite the clutch player this year, hits an impossible rainbow shot to put the Mavs up 5...TP is fouled and then misses both free throws. Eva's totally going to dump his French ass for that...Dallas wins!...I guess I was wrong about them...Final score: Mavs 123, Spurs 118...Player of the Game: Jason Terry...What a day for NBA basketball...Things done just got real interesting.

Monday, May 15, 2006

End-to-End Burners, Pt. I (Pistons vs. Cavs, Game 4)


I'm not sure if you enjoy reading these scattershot game logs, but I definitely have a lot of fun writing them, and since I haven't done one in a while, I figured I'd keep a running diary of game 4 of the Pistons/Cavs series. Hell, if I get in a rhythm I might tackle Spurs/Mavs game 4, as well.

It'll be tough for the Cavs to win this one, but I'm openly rooting for them -- because I tend to cheer for the underdog, but also because, with Miami up 3-1 to the Nets, a tough series for the Pistons is what the Heat need. Let's not fool ourselves, the Cavs can't win this series; but they can wear the Pistons down, and that would be a big advantage to the Heat.

Before I jinx Miami further, let's go to the game:

Thank god the league is making sure that these playoff games begin no later than 5 minutes after their scheduled start times, as opposed to the regular season, where they sometimes start 17 minutes late...'Sheed misses his first shot, which, because he promised a win, the crowd absolutely loves...Gooden gets the ball and is called for the travel...Ben Wallace throws up an airball...Drew Gooden opens up scoring with a putback, then 'Sheed scores at the other end...Our announcers this evening (morning, for me) are Dick Stockton and Reggie Miller. Let's hope Reggie will bless us with another gem such as his "beehive line to the basket" remark from a game last week...Can I please get a ruling on the pronunciation of Anderson Varejao's name?. Is it "Varejon" or "Varejow"?. And how in hell can it be "Varejon" when there's no 'n' in the guy's name?...Seriously, somebody pass Tayshaun Prince a Whopper and fries...Since 'Sheed guaranteed a Pistons win, I've decided to make a few guarantees of my own: 1) I am going to finish the unopened carton of milk in our fridge before it expires tomorrow. 2) I'm going start reading more and blogging less after this month. 3) Vince Carter is going to reveal that he has a fake injury. And a vagina...One more: Lebron is going to have another triple double...Has anyone seen Zydrunas Ilgauskas?...Dick Stockton pronounces Carlito's name "Varejow"...Detroit's blanketing D is forcing Lebron to settle for outside jumpers early...This game is brought to you in part by the city of Las Vegas. I love this idea. Other cities should get in on the action. Can you imagine the possibilities? "Brought to you in part by Bumpass, Virginia: whatever happens in Bumpass stays in Bumpass."...Larry Hughes is still not back following the death of his younger brother. Our heartfelt condolences, LH...Rip Hamilton just got blocked and stripped like Mel Gibson in Braveheart...This crowd is ignited...Early on, it doesn't appear as though we're going to be treated to an offensive clinic...TNT airs a promo for their upcoming Stephen King-inspired series, Nightmares and Dreamscapes, which leads me to wonder: why can't they get The Twilight Zone going again?...My daughter starts a "let's go Heat!" chant, and when I tell her the Heat aren't playing this morning she asks who's playing, then. "The Cavs," I say. "The Lakers?" "No, dear," I tell her "the Lakers were eliminated. They're finished." To which she whines "Awww! Lakers!!!" I'm disowning her...Dick Stockton informs us that Anderson Varejao himself wants his name pronounced "Varejow." How it started getting pronounced "Varejon" in the first place is what I wanna know...Lebron has no assists...After 1 it's Pistons 19, Cavs 16...Remember the Name continues to be played to the point where it's lost for me any listenability it once had. By the way, I think it's dedicated in this case to Anderson Varejao...The Closer was last season's number 1 new drama? Really?...Time for a CNN/Heineken Sports Update. Nice to see CNN's continuing dedication to journalistic integrity...The next ad is for KFC's new Cheese and Chicken Mashed Potato Bowl, which is exactly what it sounds like. Some might bemoan this as a new low in American fast food cuisine, but not me. Besides porn, I consider this to be the best invention ever...In Reggie Miller's keys to the game, he says the Pistons' bench has to step up. The Pistons have a bench now?...The Cavs take the lead with a 3-pointer by Flip Murray, but Chauncey Billups answers at the other end with a 3 of his own...Lebron is heating up...'Sheed hurts his ankle. The fans cheer boisterously, and Reggie admonishes them for it. Then Stockton chimes in, saying he thinks the fans are more cheering for Lebron's dunk on the play. Stockton's spinning faster than a dradle..."[Rasheed Wallace] didn't come down on no one's foot." Love those double negatives, Reg...Man, this crowd is hype. The series has sucked thus far, but I'm really getting into this game...Kevin Bacon is in a Hanes underwear commercial with Michael Jordan. You read that correctly. In the ad, Bacon is shooting something (maybe underwear) into a basket when out of nowhere Jordan appears and rejects his shot. Total goaltending...Those Man Hall spots are dope. My favorite line, courtesy of Burt Reynolds: "I don't want your stinky finger in my beer!"...'Sheed is fine. Of course he is. The Pistons are indestructible...Reggie Miller on a disputed foul call: "That looked like all ball." Wait, is he talking about Koko the gorilla's pet kitten?...My wife asks me if her outfit looks okay. I tell her it does, but remind her that pants would probably be a smart addition before she leaves the house...Maurice Evans is checking in for the Pistons. Wait, who?...Ilgauskas is absolutely killing his team. Here he's called for a clear path foul...Lebron James nails an amazing 3-pointer at the buzzer...After 2 it's the Pistons 38, the Cavs 36...Halftime, just in time for me to take the little girl to her bus...And time enough for me to whip up this nifty breakfast: Frosted Flakes (which my wife bought despite my protestation; I love bad food, but I'm a fundamentalist when it comes to cereal. Give me Corn Flakes or give me death), 2 slices of imitation SPAM, some eggs I found in the back of the fridge and which look a little green (not green enough that they look inedible, however), 2 big cookies (one peanut butter, the other oatmeal), a 350ml bottle of lemonade, and lots of milk...Eric Snow ties the game to begin the 3rd quarter...'Sheed is quickly hit with his 3rd personal foul...TNT is having trouble keeping score. The Cavs were up by 3, but then the apparent mistake was fixed and now they're up by 1...There's 4 minutes, 38 seconds remaining in the 3rd, and LBJ has yet to score in the half...Dick Stockton: "The and-one [for the Cavs] is not in the...books." I think "cards" was the word you were looking for, Dick...During a break, Yahoo! tells me that Naomi Watts has been named a U.N. AIDS envoy. I didn't know Naomi Watts has AIDS...A big 3 from Donyell Marshall. His first basket of the game. Good thing he made that; I was going to start referring to him as Penny Marshall if he didn't...The Pistons have opened up a 6-point lead, their biggest of the game...After 3 it's the Pistons 59, the Cavs 53...I'm confused, Macy Gray used to work at McDonald's, or is she working there now?...Lebron throws up a horrible airball from beyond the arc. I think it landed in Lake Erie...Usher is cheering on the Cavs. And wearing a really ucking fugly jacket. It's not up there with Kareem's, but it's close...'Sheed misses a 3 and the crowd loses it...Marshall with another huge 3. The Cavs are within 2...Reggie Miller indirectly disses Donyell Marshall by saying "there's one thing he can do, and that's shoot the 3."...Lebron James finally makes a basket. They needed that, and now have the lead...The Pistons have missed 9 in a row, and they've just picked up their 4th team foul...Marshall with a steal (see, Reggie? He can do other things than shoot the 3), and then to Eric Snow for a fast break layup...Detroit picks up their 5th team foul. The crowd is going bonkers...The Cavs have a 5-point lead, their biggest of the game...Rip Hamilton scores for the Pistons, who hadn't made a basket in over 8 minutes...Reggie calls James "21 Jump Street." Um, Reggie, you do know that James's jersey number is 23, right?...This crowd is electric!...Tayshaun Prince with a big 3 that cuts the Cavs' lead to 1...This game is great and all, but it feels as though it's missing something. Wait, I know what it is: the McDonald's "Samantha wanted hors d'oeuvres" ad. Where'd it go?...Since I directed the first 2 films, I feel I possess enough authority to speak out against X III: The Last Stand, which from the clip I saw online last week looks fucking terrible. Of course I didn't expect any less from Brent Rattner. What's up now, Marvel/Fox?...Snow with a flagrant 1 foul on Maurice "Who?" Evans...We are tied with 2:30 remaining...James with a huge layup...Billups misses a 3...Why the hell is Maurice Evans playing so late in such a close game? Is this the Flip Saunders touch?...'Sheed isn't on the floor, by the way...Detroit's defense is smothering the Cavs...James with another airball. He's like me playing last Sunday, a travesty which I won't refer to save for this: the next time some snotty high school kid guards me and wraps his arms around me every time I drive the lane, and no one calls a foul because they're all friends of this kid, I'm going to indiscriminately start punching people. Fa real...Rip Hamilton has quietly picked up 30 points...Damon Jones mauls Ben Wallace, hoping for the foul because Ben's such an awful foul shooter, but the refs call a jumpball. NBA refs, man...Offensive foul on Billups!...Lebron misses a shot. He's 2-for-12 in the 2nd half...The Pistons, down by 1, have the ball with 8 seconds remaining...Wait, there's a New Super Mario Bros.? I may have to buy a Ninendo DS. And quit my job...Hamilton misses a layup! It's the Cavs ball with 2 seconds to go...Lebron is immediately fouled...He misses the first free throw! He's 4-for-9 from the line so far...He hits the second...The Pistons' inbounds pass is stolen...Cavs win! Cavs win!...Final Score: Cavs 74, Pistons 72...Player of the Game: James, though for the life of me I cannot justify why, even though he did nearly get that triple double I predicted...What a game!...Rasheed Wallace is a liar.