Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Limping (or DANCING?) into the New Year

In case you guys haven't noticed, I've been skimping a bit on the blog posts lately. I'm on vacation, and for whatever reason I find it hard to go to sleep before like 2am or to wake up before 11. In real life, I'm a boring old man, and I would find that routine horrifying. But the fact of the matter is I turn into a slug on vacation. The sheer amount of food I'm ingesting, for instance, is disgusting. It would make Rex Ryan blush, and he does foot fetish videos with his wife. It takes a lot to make the dude blush. All in all, I've become a complete waste of life. Hence the ten-point list blog posts.

Don't get me wrong; I enjoy vacation. There's a lot to be said for watching sports non-stop and doing mindless activities like playing with a yo-yo. (My yo-yo nickname, if I ever perform in schools, is Yo-Yo Pa. My music is "Your Love" by The Outfield.) And it's good to see family. But it won't break my heart to head home in a week or so and get my life back together. Sad truth of life: being lazy kinda sucks after a while.

Here's the good news: I'm getting an X-Box Kinect today. I haven't played video games in years, but I was at my friend Kyle's place last weekend and he introduced me to Dance Central. This is a game where a person on screen does all these dance moves, and you have to mimic them to score points. Somehow, a camera on the kinect can tell if you're doing it right or screwing up. You have practice sessions, and then you have to do an entire dance routine. I don't know how it sounds from that description; probably awful. But trust me, it is absolutely amazing.

Disclaimer: I'm an awful dancer. Which is sad, because I'm not one of those people who hates dancing. It looks like a lot of fun, and if I get pretty drunk I'll put my inhibitions aside and take a crack. But the minute I start moving, it's an immediate shot of awkward. I was at a party a couple weeks ago and started sort of bobbing to the music, and my "friend" Stephanie saw me. "Oh my God!" she said. "You are a terrible dancer." Then she turned everyone's attention to me and demanded that I dance so they could see how bad I was.

And then I did a dance so artistic, so beautiful, that it made them weep for pure joy.

No. I slinked over to the wall and said bad words to Stephanie. That little vignette gives you an idea of my dancing prowess. But for whatever reason, I'm pretty awesome at Dance Central. I scored like 8 times the points that Kyle and his friend managed (to be fair, they were really, really bad), and at the end everyone cheered the dancer on screen while she did backflips and pumped her fist. Those people respect me.

I still don't look good, mind you...if I ever pulled any of this crap in a club, I'd be a laughingstock. But I do have rhythm, and can execute the moves with, dare I say, a bit of flourish. It's entirely pathetic to watch, but intensely gratifying to me. THE HEART OF A DANCER LIVES WITHIN ME!

(That silent sound you hear is my family abandoning me for good.)

So that's on the docket for today. I imagine the rest of my vacation will be spent perfecting the moves to "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga. If I get really good, I might introduce a yo-yo into the act.

I don't know why I'm telling you all this. Just for context, I guess. And now it's back to your regularly-scheduled Ten Thangs.

1. Pitt looks pretty good. They're big and physical, as usual, and they're a holy terror at home. This puts the UConn wins over Michigan State and Kentucky into perspective, at least a little. They're certainly a top-25 team, but I think Pitt showed they don't belong in the top 10.

If Duke (sans Irving) played Pitt, I think it'd be a really excellent game. Pitt's weakness is their guard play, and Duke would turn them over a whole lot. But they'd murder us inside. It'd be a nice battle of opposite strengths.

2. New Orleans is awesome. To get a win in Atlanta, even after Brees' two interception mistakes, is pretty impressive. With the way their defense seems to be peaking, the Saints are my pick to make the Super Bowl out of the NFC. And I expect they'll face the Patriots, which would be an amazing game. Here's hoping.

By the way, I bet Brees is a sick basketball player. He had one weird wrap-around pass behind a defender's back when he was about to get sacked that could have been on an And-1 Mix Tape. You can see it at about the 1.40 mark of the highlights in the ESPN story linked above.

3. ESPN Headline: "Paterno Family Condemns Health Rumors as 'Lies'"

Is it me, or does that make him sound a lot like Fidel Castro? There's the same legendary quality, the same constant health issues that are denied by family and close friends, and the same endless speculation. In fact, here's the first couple paragraphs of that story, with certain nouns changed to be more Castro-centric.

Cuba President Fidel Castro's wife dismissed as "lies" speculation that her husband's health would serve as a reason for him to resign from the job he has held for 44 years.

"Who started the crazy rumors?" Dalia Castro said, as quoted by website VivaCuba.com. "He's fine. No one has to identify who starts it. We don't even know where it starts."

She was referring to Internet reports asserting that Castro's health is failing and that the Cuba President would step down after Saturday's El Dia de La Independencia speech in Havana.

She emphatically squelched speculation that his resignation is imminent, saying: "It's just lies."

"I mean, he's [supposedly] in the hospital when he's sitting at the table for dinner. He wasn't even near the hospital," she told VivaCuba.com on Monday at the Liga de Mujeres Cubanas Ladies Luncheon in Guantanamo.

Daughter Alexis Castro-Soto, for her part, also denied the rumors, firmly ruling out suggestions that her father might resign for health reasons.

Asked whether he planned to call it quits after El Dia de la Independencia, she said: "It is not his planned last speech."

The prosecution rests.

4. I liked this quote from Shaq's rant about a 'control freak' ref:

"They [fans] paid all that money to watch No. 26 play. If I was a fan, I would be pissed. You pay all that money for good seats, you have two of the best guys in the [NBA] sitting on the bench, out of the game. That is what happens when you have control freaks out there."

Errr, ummm...Shaq? Hey, it's me, the NBA PR guy. Bad news...you know how you said you and Dwight Howard were two of the best players in the game? Yeah, well...no, no, this isn't about Dwight. He's fine. We love Dwight. He's the best...it's just, uh...

5. This article is an absolute gem, as you can tell from the title: "Gov.: Eagles shift shows U.S. 'nation of wusses'"

It basically amounts to Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell going off about how Americans are a bunch of scaredy-cats because the Vikings-Eagles game was postponed when there wasn't that much snow on the ground. There's a lot of good stuff, but this is the money quote:

"We've become a nation of wusses. The Chinese are kicking our butt in everything," Rendell added. "If this was in China do you think the Chinese would have called off the game? People would have been marching down to the stadium, they would have walked and they would have been doing calculus on the way down."

When reached for reaction, the Chinese said, "come on, did you have to throw in the calculus bit at the end there?" Then Ed Rendell was like, "well what's that big lump in your pocket?" and the Chinese were like, "what are you talking about?" and Ed Rendell was like, "it's a graphing calculator, isn't it?" and the Chinese were all like, "no," and Ed Rendell was like, "then what is it?" and the Chinese were all, "it's a...cool...video game," and Ed Rendell was like, "oh nice, then I'm sure you don't mind showing us," and the Chinese were all like, "you know what, fuck you, dude," and they turned around and walked home through 9 feet of snow.

Seriously, though, nice job propagating stereotypes, Governor Rendell. But he's right about one thing; the Chinese government would not allow a postponement. These are the same people who can prevent rain and who do weird elaborate Olympic opening ceremonies that people get paralyzed training for and who take children away from their parents when they are very young so they can be experts at pistol shooting or synchronized diving. So yes, I agree that snowfall would not have delayed a sporting event there. But that's not necessarily a knock on us, Gov.

Okay, today's ten thangs are actually five thangs. Stop in tomorrow for the Hot Potato. As a reminder, here are the standings:

See you then!


  1. Despite what seems like a lot of big wins, that computer ratings I mentioned earlier (http://kenpom.com/) just really doesnt like Connecticut, even when they were undefeated, barely more respected than undefeated, little Jordan-led, UCF ... but basically they are predicted to lose against any of the good teams in the big east.

    Other fun stuff from that computer system is the computer national player of the year (which incorporates defensive stats somehow). It's predicted 2 of the last 6 player of the years, and hihglighted where press beat out production for some of the other years, but generally has teh consensus poy in the top 3 of the ratings. (http://kenpom.com/blog/)

    Interesting stuff from that, michael beasley and kevin love had easily the best years of any players in the last 5 years. And, Nolan Smith is more productive than Kyrie Irving.

    Another interesting thing Andre Dawkins is the most efficient offensive player in the country (an honor that belogned to Jon Scheyer for a good amount of the beginning of last year), although Dawkins doesn't get enough touches to matter (http://kenpom.com/team.php?team=Duke)

  2. I think you're officially a spokesman for kenpom.com, Sean, but I forgive you because I dig the site. Thanks for the links.


  3. Rendell's rant was awesome. I think he watched the South Park episode about Cartman's phobia of the Chinese taking over the world just prior to making that bold proclamation. Of all the nations that can be characterized as "not wusses" (my short list of non-wuss nations includes Chile, Russia, Congo, Bosnia, Australia and Uzbekistan), why did he choose the Chinese? Because their economy is growing so rapidly? Because the government crushes even minor rebellions more swiftly than the death star? Because they apparently score well on the math portion of the SATS? I just don't know what the Chinese have to do with six inches of snow in Eastern Pennsylvania. Congrats to Gov. Rendell for turning this into a U.S-China matter.

    -Craig J.

  4. He's ahead of the political curve, I think. The new big thing is going to be stirring up anti-Chinese sentiment. And Rendell knows the Dems have to get to it before the GOP does or they're screwed for ten more years.