Thursday, December 31, 2009

The End Of A Decade, A "Time To Pretend"

Ok, so within the last week this song has gone from non-existent to me, to the only song I want to listen to. It all started the day after Christmas when I re-watched a favorite movie of mine, Sex Drive. (Spoiler Alert!) So at the beginning of their road trip, as the 3 youths head off for Tennessee to get Ian laid in the '69 GTO, this beautiful synthesized riff first came on and began to capture my attention. As the words begin to play, and the characters embark on their journey, the apparent relativity of this song with adventurous youth comes into play. I knew enough about MGMT to realize that this was one of their songs, but outside of the movie I had never heard it, or really gave them a chance. Still after this brief revelation, I got over the song and continued laughing my way through the movie without giving the song a second thought. I didn't know the title of the song, and figured maybe if I got bored enough one day I would Google the song list from the movie, and perhaps download it.

But before I got a chance to get bored and go searching for this track, while laying in bed listening to the B.S. Report's decade retrospect, the song was referenced again. It must have been sometime after 4a.m, and Bill Simmons and Chris Connelly were talking about their favorite songs, albums, moments and teams from the past decade. That's when Simmons picked MGMT's "Time To Pretend" as the most culturally relevant song of the past decade, the one that most resembles youth culture, and the way society is headed. Now the second he mentioned this song I immediately got the feeling that it was the same song I had noticed and appreciated a mere hours earlier. Sure enough, after a quick YouTube search I had found the song, and began studying the lyrics, all the while listening to the 4 minute song on repeat.

From the first sentence on I was hooked.
"I'm feeling rough, I'm feeling raw, I'm in the prime of my life".
I'm not quit sure there is a better opening line to any song that depicts the feeling of a late-teenage/early 20's youth trying to find themselves with a I'll-do-whatever-the-fuck-I-want mentality. Once again it should be noted that the beat is what puts the song over the top. Sure John Mayer could turn this into a pop-acoustic hit with his name alone, but its the repetitive never-ending rifts that gives this song its life, and the catalyst for the anthem that it has become.

The second verse further establishes the mentality that youths live by.
"This is our decision, to live fast and die young. We've got the vision, now let's have some fun."
Its kind of crazy to me how true that last sentence really is. When you're young enough to do whatever you want there really is a type of beauty that comes with not knowing the consequences of your actions and it's the only time in life you truly can do anything you want. No responsibilities, nothing to hold you back, just that thought process that whatever you want to do is the most important thing in your life at that very moment.

As the song continues it talks about the things you will inevitably miss as life goes on.
"I'll miss the playgrounds and the animals and digging up worms,
I'll miss the comfort of my mother and the weight of the world,
I'll miss my sister, miss my father, miss my dog and my home, Yeah, I'll miss the boredom and the freedom and the time spent alone."
I interpret this as somewhat of a Holden Caulfield type way of looking at the world. Wanting to hold on to the past, combined with a lust for the present and a fear for the future. The last line of that verse is interesting because it takes two things that would normally seem negative (boredom and being alone) and reflects on them in ways that make you long for them. I found myself sitting up thinking that yes maybe there will be a time in the near future where I won't be able to lay on my couch and be bored for hours on end. Bills and mortgages are inevitable and soon enough I'll be working full time and will undoubtedly miss my boredom and time spent alone.

So as the decade comes to a close at midnight tonight, and I reflect back on my time, the memories play in my head with this song as the background music. I hope that 2010 brings all of you out there much happiness, excitement and a great many new experiences. I enter this decade young at heart and will continue to live with reckless abandon; but with a greater appreciation for all that I have, and all that life has to offer.
"We were fated to pretend"
-fresh (@danye33)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Jason Bay-Please Don't Suck.

The 2009 New York Mets put on an embarrassing display of baseball playing this past season. Marred by injuries, adjusting to a new stadium, poor coaching, etc... all lead to one of the worst seasons I have ever seen as a Met fan. In fact, it was so bad that when my room mate encouraged me to root for the Yankees, I became a fair weather fan for the season...and they won the World Series. Why this can't happen to a team I actually care about, in any sport (minus Giants 2007), is beyond me, but that's neither here nor there. However, the beauty of all sports is the old saying "there's always next year" and this is what keeps me coming back year after year.

After the Yankees won the World Series and effectively and thankfully, ended the 2009 baseball season, I was looking forward to the free agent signing period more so than in the past, hoping the Mets would make some sort of splash and pick up a key player. And what did they go out and do? Signed Kelvim Escobar. Just like many other baseball fans, my first reaction was, who the hell is Kelvim Escobar? So after doing so some research I learned that Kelvim Escobar has made one start in two seasons, so my second reaction was, why the hell did we sign Kelvim Escobar? It got me truly thinking that David Wright would be the last great white Mets player, and that Omar Minaya was truly turning the New York Mets into Los Mets, which is fine with me as long as they win, but Kelvim Escobar? C'MON MAN.

Anyway, I woke up today with a bangin hangover on an unfamiliar couch in an unfamiliar apartment. After recollecting my thoughts, and finding my pants, I made my way out of the room to see my boy Andrew, which is usually great. But today was a "Bad Look Tuesday", where everything was going wrong. Couldn't find the batteries for the controller, 360 was unplayable, and we were stuck watching Jaws II, which all would have been fine if we hadn't been drinking tequila all night (Continental on the Lower East Side, 5 shots for 10 bucks of anything you it out.) What does all this have to do with Mets and baseball you may ask? Well, while driving through midtown I checked and the very first thing I saw was a picture of Jason Bay superimposed with the New York Mets logo. I immediately let out an emphatic "HELL YEAH", nearly causing Andrew to crash, and got on the phone with my son, who really didn't sound all that excited to talk to me-what's good with that?

With Jason Bay, the Mets added one of the top-two available players in baseball, a tremendous hitter who just came off a year where he hit .267 with 36 home runs, 119 RBIs and 94 walks in the toughest division in baseball. I still have a looming fear that he will turn out like so many other stars who came to New York only to fold under the immense pressure of the New York media and fans (Randy Johnson, Jason Giambi, Pedro Martinez, plus countless others). But the optimist in me truly believes that Bay will be very productive for the Mets, and be a solid outfielder for years to come. Yes, the Mets undoubtedly need to do more work and sign more players, but if Jason Bay proves to be the player he is capable of I will forever remember "Bad Look Tuesday" as the day the Mets' luck turned for the better. So, Jason Bay in the unlikely event that you are reading this awesome blog, welcome to New York, please don't suck...or we will run your ass out of town.

This has nothing to do with this article, this is just an awesome song....

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

So yesterday was the worst Sunday I've had, in regards to football, in recent years. For starters, Week 16 is the final week for many (including my) Fantasy leagues. I had already been eliminated two weeks prior, but nonetheless I was still upset that my team "Go Raw Or Go Home" wasn't playing for a shot at the trophy (and $). I got over that anger when I learned Saturday that I would be going to the Giants game on Sunday vs. the Panthers with my friend Tim, in what was to be the Giants last game ever at their old stadium. We left for the Meadowlands at 9, and by 10:45 I was three beers, and two burgers deep. The tailgate was a huge success. More food and beer then I could ever consume, great music, footballs being thrown around, ice luges and funnels all in the mist of an endless sea of blue jersey's. The weather was surprisingly nice, and I just had the feeling that this was a day that I would talk to my son about in 20 years. "See that parking lot over there boy? Well that's where the Giants used to play, I remember being there for the last game..."
On my way into the game I successfully snuck in three beers (2 of which were bottles). My ability to sneak alcohol into sporting events has always been one of my greatest skills. This time I used a 3-spot combo in which I placed one can in the hood of my sweatshirt, a bottle securely tucked in my belt-line against my stomach, and another bottle in the left sleeve of my sweatshirt. As I approached the security guard I calmly lifted both arms (holding tightly the beer with my left hand through my sweatshirt) and sure enough made it in smoothly. We took the escalators up to the top tier where our seats were and got ready for the Giants to kick some ass and put some pressure on Dallas in their night game.
That's when the anal rape happened.
Seriously it was like the Giants had had it with their stadium, and wanted to to do everything in their power to disrespect their home, the fans and the organization in general. Carolina, who played without their #1 QB or RB, dominated New York in all aspects of the game. Stewart torched us for a team record 206 yards on the ground, and some guy named Moore threw 3 td's on our pathetic excuse for a defense. I say some guy because I honestly have no idea what his first name is, or where he came from , but either way he outplayed Eli (2 picks, 3 fumbles 1 of which was lost) and looked like a stud.
By the end of the third quarter the stadium looked like a ghost town and we booked it, sitting in an hour's worth of traffic to leave the stadium. Which not going to lie, was more enjoyable then watching team heartless get thrown around like rag dolls on the field.
I slept for the most of the car ride and was somewhat hungover when I arrived home at 6. I didn't feel like doing anything productive so I decided to do what I do best; lay down and watch more football. The Jets were playing the undefeated Colts, in a must win game to keep their playoff hopes alive, while the Colts (14-0) played in pursuit of an undefeated season. It was the third quarter when I turned it on and the Colts were up 15-10. This pleased me because A) it looked like the Jets were going to loose and B) I've always been a huge advocate for perfection in sports. In 2007 when the Patriots were chasing 19-0, I became a bandwagon fan, not because I liked the team, but because I liked the idea of a team in the modern age completely dominating every opponent and going through a season perfect. I rooted for the Patriots every game during that season up until the Super Bowl when my beloved Giants forever ruined their place as immortals in football history.
However this year had all the makings of perfection. Sure the Saints were the sexy pick to go undefeated, but deep down everyone knew that it was Peyton's Colts who had the best chance at winning out and re-writing the record books. We learned early on in the season that the Colts were never out of any game, and that no matter the time or scenario, as long as the ball was in Peyton's hands they would find a way to win the game. And what did Jim Caldwell do? He took the ball out of Peyton's hands, and by doing that, threw away a chance at perfection. Even as the Jets started to come back, and led 21-15 early on in the fourth, no one doubted that if Caldwell would just put the starters back in they would score in no time and cruise to 15-0. But nooo, Caldwell stuck with his decision to not play the best available players and inevitably went on to loose 29-15 to a completely under matched Jets team. Keeping the Jets undeserved playoff hopes alive, while simultaneously breaking my heart, as well as any true football fan out there.
What Caldwell did was not fair to anyone. It wasn't fair to the fans who payed money to see the teams stars play and mostly it wasn't fair to Peyton Manning's legacy. Sure he defended his coach by saying "Until any player in here is the head coach, you follow orders and you follow them with all of your heart," but do you think he really meant it? The man is the best quarterback to ever play the game, has won MVP's and a championship and has been a class act throughout his career. The only thing he didn't have, and now still won't have, is perfection.
Yes, in years past during the Tony Dungy regime players were benched in order to rest for the playoffs. They put regular season goals on hiatus, and focused on staying healthy for the playoffs but that was then, and this is now. Caldwell is a rookie coach who started out his career 14-0 before "forfeiting" a game to the Jets. Jim had a chance to write his own legacy, and he really dropped the ball. Bill Simmons tweeted earlier that if Caldwell only wanted his starters to play one half, why not play them in the second half? A reasonable question that I would love to know the answer to. Sure I'm probably slightly overreacting, and if the Colts go on to win the championship I'll eat my own words, but for now Jim Caldwell is the Grinch and I feel like Cindy Loo-Hoo.

Somewhere out there, Mercury Morris and the rest of those guys from that undefeated Dolphins team are poppin bottles and banging strippers like its 1972 again.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Classic Cuts


Rap and hip-hop (yes, there is a huge difference) are definitely my favorite types of music, but I’m sometimes embarrassed to admit this due to the terrible state of the music today. Believe it or not, rap music used to be good. Really good. Nas’ debut album has been consistently in my rotation since the first time I listened to it about 10 years ago. Not only is this arguably the best hip-hop album of all time, but one of the best albums of all time, regardless of genre. The influence this album has had on hip-hop music is unprecedented, and it’s a shame nothing of this caliber will ever be released again. Nas put the east-coast on the map with this album, and here’s a track by track synopsis.

The Genesis (album intro)- a lot of listeners usually skip over the intro, however, on this album the intro tells us everything we need to know about Nas. The album kicks off with the sound of an elevated train with dialouge from the film “Wild Style” over the train, which represents New York and hip-hop culture, then goes into Nas’ legendary verse from Main Source’s “Live at the BBQ” (“Streets Disciple my raps is trifle...) The rest of the intro is Nas and his crew bulshitting over a grimy, simple beat produced by Irv Gotti (yes, that Irv Gotti), that sets the tone for the rest of the album.

New York State of Mind- Arguably the best hip-hop song ever made, and one of my personal favorites. My favorite story about this song is told by DJ Premier, who produced the song. According to Premier, Nas had no idea how to start the song and was having trouble catching the beat and figuring out how to rhyme over it. Eventually he just went in, and did the whole song in one take, which is unbelievable considering the complex rhyme schemes and story telling taking place in the song. “New York State of Mind” offers a haunting view of New York through the eyes of a 20 year old ghetto kid during the early ‘90s. Nas raps about robberies, drug use, and shootouts with acute imagery, and makes them sound poetic.
“I never sleep ‘cuz sleep is the cousin of death. Beyond the walls of intelligence, life is defined, I think of crime when I’m in a New York state of mind.”

Life’s a Bitch- One of the realest songs on the album, featuring a very young and still underrated AZ. The song is extremely dark, and retraces their roots and struggles growing up in one of the many ghettoes of America. Nas and AZ have a chemistry that is unparalleled, and they still continue to rock it whenever they got on a track together. After dropping a verse each, that should be envied by every rapper to get on the mic, the song closes with a beautiful trumpet solo from Nas’ father. A very interesting song, and one that I find myself listening to with my jaw at the floor.
“I switched my motto, instead of saying fuck tomorrow, that buck that bought the bottle could’ve struck the lotto.”

The World is Yours- My favorite transition on the album, Nas goes from an extremely dark, somewhat depressing song in Life’s a Bitch to an uplifting, optimistic song with The World is Yours. Nas raps about the troubles facing him, but how he keeps attempting to overcome adversity and eventually making something of himself. He talks about his son and daughter, and how he finds strength in them when his back is against the wall, and his hope that they will lead a better life than the one he chose. A beautiful and uplifiting track, and one of my favorites of all time.
“Whether cruisin in a Sikh’s cab, or Montero Jeep, I can’t call it the beats make me fallin asleep. I keep fallin, but never fallin six feet deep. I’m out for presidents to represent me.”

Halftime- when a true lyricist absolutely kills a track, you know that your listening to something special. That’s exactly how I feel every time i hear Halftime, from the very get go (Nasty Nas in your area, about to cause mass hysteria) you know shit is about to get serious. He raps with great confidence, his ability to pick up women during the afternoon and hit the matinee at night, and his refusal to get a girl pregnant because it would force him to spend money on kids instead of Philly blunts and weed.
“In ya, stereo sets, Nas’ll catch wreck. I used to hustle- now all I do is relax and strive, when I was young I was a fan of the Jackson 5. I drop jewels, wear jewels, hope to never run it, with more kicks than a baby in a mother’s stomach.”

Memory Lane (Sittin’ in the Park)- a nostalgic track where Nas raps about his life growing up in the projects of Queensbridge. The song represents the changing face and landscape in Hip-Hop during the early ‘90s. It marks the transition from the party and dance songs from the late ‘80s to the grittiness, and realism of lyrics during the ‘90s. Nothing more to say here, the song speaks for itself.

One Love- one of the coolest songs I’ve ever heard. Nas raps letters he wrote to his incarcerated friend about everything that is going on in his life, and around his neighborhood. For fans of the movie Belly, the scene at the end of the movie when Nas is smoking a blunt with the little kid with the gun is taken straight from this song- which just goes to show few can tell a story like Nas can. “One Love” offers brilliant imagery, and can really put the listener right on the corner of his neighborhood seeing everything that he is seeing and living.
“Sometimes I sit back with a buddha sack mind’s in another world thinking how we can exist through the facts written in school text books, bibles, etcetera. Fuck a school lecture, the lies get me vexed. So I be ghost from my projects, I take my pen and pad for the week hittin L’s while I’m sleepin. A two day stay, you may say I need the time alone to relax my dome, no phone, left the 9 at home.”

One Time 4 Your Mind- I always have mixed feelings when it comes to this song; sometimes I absolutely love it, and sometimes it feels like my ears are being poisoned. But I feel like that’s exactly how he wanted the song to be like, to really flip people’s minds to show that he controls the album and knows exactly what he wants the listener to feel when he’s listening. Lyrically, the song is decent, but probably the weakest on the album with no real substance, but rather just braggadocio rhymes about how great a lyricist he is (but we already know that from listening to the rest of the album.)
“The parlayer, I’ll make ya heads bop Pah, I shine a light on perpetrators like a cop’s car. From day to night, I play the mic and you’ll thank God. I wreck shit so much, the microphone’ll need a paint job.”

Represent- the most aggressive song on the album. Nas raps about his transformation as a young child committing petty crimes, such as breaking into the candy store, to carrying a gun and committing robberies with his crew. “Represent” is a shout out to all the people living below the poverty line in New York City, who have to commit crimes just to get by.
“Cold be walkin with a bop and my hat turned back, love committin sins and my friends sell crack. This nigga raps with a razor, keep it under my tongue- the school dropout, never liked that shit from day one. ‘Cause life ain’t shit but stress, fake niggaz, and crab stunts, so I guzzle my Hennessy while pullin on mad blunts. The brutalizer, crew de-sizer, accelerator, the type of nigga who be pissin in your elevator.”

It Ain’t Hard to Tell- just when I thought Nas had already used up all his best lines on the previous 9 tracks, the album closes with a song so quotable that it almost puts the rest of the album to shame. Every time I listen to this song, my face gets completely blown away; in fact I’m listening to it right now and my ears, nose, eyes, and mouth are now scattered throughout the room. Few albums end on a better high note, and even though my favorite song changes almost daily, “It Ain’t Hard to Tell” will always hold a special place in my heart.
“I exhale the yellow smoke of buddha through righteous steps. Deep like the Shining, sparkle like a diamond, sneak a uzi on the island in my army jacket linin. HIt the Earth like a comet, invasion, Nas is like the Afrocentric Asian, Half-man, Half-amazing.”


Even though I have listened to his entire album thousands of times, I never get sick of it, and like a great movie, I notice something new every time I listen to it. It’s important to pass along this album to every one, before it gets forgotten in the shit storm that is auto-tune, Hip-Pop, and all the other horrific music coming out these days. So please, do yourself a favor, sit back, light something up, and listen to this album....often.

Toss Up! Hotter 90's babe, Jennifer Love Hewitt or Sarah Michelle Gellar?

Ah the age old question, one that goes back over 10 years in the making. Who was the hotter 90’s babe; Jennifer Love Hewitt or Sarah Michelle Gellar? For years, just like Magic vs. Bird, Science vs. Religion, and Cheetos Crunchy vs. Cheetos Puff, people have argued as to which heartthrob truly deserves the title of top barely legal beauty from the late 90’s, and I’m here to put that debate to rest. I will deliver a detailed background on both girls before ultimately deciding on a winner. Enjoy!

In the blue corner we have Jennifer Love Hewitt (also known as Jennifer Love Huge-Tits), a beautiful Texan girl with a stunning physique and "assets" that resemble speed-bags at the gym. J Love Hew was a child actress, appearing on various Disney shows and starring in countless commercials, but it wasn't until landing the role of Sarah on "Party of Five" that we as a nation truly started to appreciate the beauty that lay before us. Hewitt starred in her first feature film in 1997's (along-side a star studded cast of young talent in Gellar, Ryan Phillipe and Freddie Prinze Jr.) slasher-flick "I Know What You Did Last Summer". The film grossed over 125 million dollars world-wide, and if Jennifer Love Hewett had not captured your attention yet, after this movie she certinally did. The movie did so well that she starred in the sequel just one year later.

The ultimate role that proclaimed her hotness was 1998's romantic teen comedy "Can't Hardly Wait". Hewitt played Amanda Beckett, a high school senior who gets dumped by her long time boyfriend on the day of their graduation. Amanda gets hit on constantly at the big grad party (and rightfully so) before finally receiving a letter from Preston Myers (a boy who has lionized her for years, but has never actually spoken to her) and realizes that not all guys are assholes. She falls for Preston and everyone gets the happy ending that they had been waiting for. But enough about the shitty story line, and more on her drop dead looks throughout the film. Granted you have to take everything with a grain of salt in movies but still she was hands down 10x hotter than any other girl in that movie (which included a trashy, albeit sexy, Jamie Presley).

But as the 90's faded away, so did her movie career. Love starred in the Aubrey Hepburn Story, and since 2005 has sarred in the television series "Ghost Whisperer". Her reign at the top, although somewhat short, was ever lasting in my mind, and those who were lucky enough to watch her still remember J Love for the smokeshow that she was.

Side note, she also starred in "House Arrest" and in Enrique Iglesias's '01 hit video "Hero"

And in the red corner, from New York, New York, the lovely Sarah Michelle Geller. I still think there is a picture of her next to "wet dream" in the dictionary but I could be mistaken. This blond bombshell was the Brittney before Brittney. In 1995, after leaving "All My Children" she became an icon, acting as the lead on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (for those of you under 15 reading this, think "Twilight" but without the Jacob-Edward b.s. and with a lead that's actually hot) for 144 episodes. She became a household name, and a fan favorite for Maxim/Stuff readers around the globe. In '97 Gellar starred alongside J Love in "I Know What You Did Last Summer", and completely stole the movie (with her looks) from Hewitt. Think Eminem murdering Jay-Z on "Renagades" and that's about 1/2 as bad as Gellar made Love look in that movie. Her beauty queen pagent looks, mixed with the spunk of being "the dumb cheerleader" made her irresistible.

She would go to have a role in "Scream 2", "Simply Irresistable", and "Cruel Intentions" to finish out the 90's, bringing her "A" game and "C" cups each time. Her full-on liplock with co-star Selma Blaire in the aforementioned "Cruel Intentions", earned her "Best Kiss" at the 2000 MTV Movie Awards. Ironically enough, that's probably the only acting award Gellar has ever won, but it was still a huge moment in lesbian hookup movie history. As a 12 year old at the time, I remember being both utterly confused and greatly turned on simultaneously.

The 2000's brought Gellar great sucess. She starred in "Angel" (a spin-off of Buffy), "The Grudge" (her most sucsessful lead role) and the "Scooby Doo" movies, where she would end up falling for her future husband, co-star Freddie Prinze Jr. I find this turn of events to be both bizarre and symbolic at the same time. In I Know What You Did Last Summer, Prinze was the love intrest of Hewitt. Yet in real life, Prinze chooses Gellar to be his wife? I think that speaks dividends as to who truly deserves the title of ultimite 90's hottie. Not that Freddie Prinze Jr.'s taste in women reflect mine or the population in general, but in this case I feel he made the right choice. And even without that, Geller is a clear-cut winner just from the pic below.

So there you have it, Sarah Michelle Gellar; The Ultimate 90's Babe.

-fresh (@danye33)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Al Harrington Bet The Heat Money-Line, Correct?

Not going to lie, I was somewhat surprised (and always am) when I arrived downstairs Christmas morning and didn't find a lump of coal waiting for me. I figured I must have just slid by and made it onto the "nice" list in the nick of time. So after a couple hours of exchanging presents, eating breakfast with the family and setting up the house for this evening's guests, I decided it was finally time to sit back and enjoy my beloved Knicks, who were playing a nationally televised game on Christmas for the first time since 2001. That's when my coal arrived.
The Knicks, who donned forest green jerseys that resembled a cross between a leprechaun and a jack-o-lantern, shot miserably, especially from behind the arc where they were a piss poor 5 for 28. However, it was the play of Al Harrington that scrooged over my day. Within a 2 and a half minute span in the 3rd quarter, Harrington came off the bench and shot 0-5 (including 0-3 on a single possesion), had a unnecessary loose ball foul, and on one possesion passed the ball midair as the shot clock expired. Then midway through the 4th quarter he finally hits a lay up to cut the game to 7 (with a little contact), falls to the floor, doesn't get the and one call so he curses to the ref and gets T'd up. Doing everything in his power to stop the Knicks comeback. He finished the day 5 of 20 from the field and an embarrassing 0 for 7 from long range, however his never ending sense of entitlement kept him chucking away, long after it was apparent that today just wasn't his day. Sure if your Kobe or Carmelo and your shots aren't dropping at first you got to keep on trying, but for the mediocre chuckers out there like Harrington sometimes you need to know when enough is enough.

Anyway there isn't a negative thing I can write about the way Dwayne Wade played today. The guy straight up brought the fire and closed out the game in the 4th quarter the way the big timers are suppoused to do it. His 30 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists were more then enough to lead the Heat to a 93-87 victory. Michael Beasley beasted as well, scoring 13 of his 19 in the second half, including a stretch late in the third where he appeared unguardable.

The Knicks should be fine though as they continue their push for their first post-season birth in 9 seasons. They just need to be more consistent with their shooting, well yea that and hope Al Harrington doesn't bet against them.

-Fresh (@danye33)

Merry Christmas from The 2manweave


Happy Holidays from us to you and yours.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

"Home Alone" A Timeless Christmas Classic

As I sit on my couch, eagerly awaiting the Christmas Eve dinner that will be taking place at my cousins in a few hours, I can't help but be to be thankful for the one cinematic masterpiece that never fails to put me in full-on holiday mode, and that my friends, is "Home Alone". Nothing says Christmas more to me than a 9 year old Kevin eluding and abusing Harry and Marv, all the while his family tries to make it home in time to spend Christmas with him. The one liners are endless, from Uncle Franks "Look what you did you little jerk" to Kevin's proclamation of "Buzz your girlfriend, WOOF!". The whole premise of the movie is great- Kid gets in fight with brother over who gets to eat the cheese pizza (which btw never made ANY sense to me. They ordered 10 pizza pies for 15 people, yet somehow the entire stash of plain cheese gets consumed within the first 30 seconds of eating, leaving Buzz to mock-vomit up the "last slice"), kid tells his mother he never wants to see his family again, kid ends up getting his wish and gets left at home because douche bag neighbor messes up the head count while ransacking through the van for gifts, family goes to Europe (where we learn from Buzz that although France has nude beaches, not all French babes shave their pits), Kevin lives sucsessfully at home on his own for a couple of days, shaves, stages party with cut-out Michael Jordan poster dancing with a blowup doll to trick the two robbers, shoplifts from the grocery store, goes to church with the creepy Old Man Marley, overcomes his fear of fernaces, boobietraps his entire house, outwits two 40 year old men with a series of hillarious and equally unrealistic scenarios, gets them arrested by calling the police and referring to himself as a man named "Murphy" and somehow is reunited with his mother on Christmas morning. Of course this reunion happens after the mother sleeps in a European hotel, offers a shoebox full of earings to an elderly couple for their plain ticket ("I'm begging you.. From a mother to a monther") and hitches a ride with the "Kenosha Kickers", John Candy's polka band that is driving up to Milwakee for a show. A feel good movie that I can throw on and enjoy year round, but come Christmas time just gives me that little extra kick that I need to get into the holiday season.

Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals!

-fresh (@danye33)

Jimmy Cliff-Boss of all Bosses

Before Bob Marley became an iconic international superstar, reggae music was synonymous with one man: Jimmy Cliff. Cliff’s remarkable career has spawned decades; he has released twenty-eight studio albums, and was the central figure in one of the most significant events in the entire history of Jamaican music, the release of the movie The Harder They Come. Cliff was one of the first Jamaican artists become an international sensation, and has been one of the most successful, and iconoclastic reggae artists of all time. Although Cliff may have never reached the fame and influence of Bob Marley, he paved the way for Marley and other reggae superstars to spread their music and their message worldwide.

There have only been a handful of films that can truly say they have changed the world, and Perry Henzell’s The Harder They Come, can be lumped into this small company. The story was loosely based on the life of Ivanhoe “Rhygin” Martin, the quintessential rude boy whose 1940s escapades captured and thrilled the populace. Henzell took Martin’s story of his reign of terror around Kingston, updated it, set it to an infectious reggae soundtrack, and casted Jimmy Cliff as Ivan, an aspiring musician inextricably involved in both the Jamaica’s music world, as well as its dark underworld. According to authors Roger Steffens and Peter Simon, The Harder They Come, “…was a stark evocation of ghetto levity, documenting the political and social pressures of the drug trade and the mafia-like control of Jamaica’s music business, and would gradually prove to strike a universal chord.” The Harder They Come showcased the small island of Jamaica to the rest of the world, showing its unique culture as well as the music of the people.

The universal impact The Harder They Come had was unparalleled; it truly captured the country of Jamaica, reggae music, roots culture and should have taken Jimmy Cliff’s career to a whole new level. The film exposed the record industry of Jamaica, and showed the business’s internal politics of exploitation, and at the same time revealed the public’s interesting relationship with the record companies of Jamaica. Above all, The Harder They Come offered an intense insight into what ghetto living was really like, and provided insight into the realties of reggae music and its lyrics. Cliff recalled, “The Harder They Come had a great deal to do with the spread of Rasta and the roots music. It was seen all over the world, and more than just play you music it took you right into roots culture and how people lived in Jamaica at the time. It introduced people to the fact there was more to reggae than the happy stuff that had been hits, because it provided the pictures to go with the music…That movie was socio-…economic…political…religious- all the elements of Jamaican society…It told the tale with real depth, put it into context, which was probably a surprise to so many people but it was that that helped them understand it and appreciate reggae music for what it really is.”Henzell captured the gritty street life, and poverty that so many Jamaicans were dealing with at the time, and Jimmy Cliff played the part with such convincing that one could believe he wasn’t even acting, but just living his daily life.

The film was acted, scripted and directed with a blistering acuteness, and the film’s soundtrack took the same approach providing one of the highest selling, and recognizable reggae albums of all time. The soundtrack boasted some of reggae’s most notable names including, Cliff himself, Toots and the Maytals, the Melodian’s, the Slickers and Desmond Dekker. Cliff’s title track, in particular, appeared to sum up the aspirations, and the eventual fate, of every character in the film and, by extension, on the streets, which the film graphically depicted. The soundtrack had such an immense impact on Jamaican music and producers recognized the potential of roots music sales. By 1973, roots music became the most popular form of reggae music, all due to the success of The Harder They Come soundtrack. Until Bob Marley’s retrospective Legend was released in 1984, The Harder They Come Soundtrack was the best-selling reggae album of all time.

The Harder They Come truly opened up the international market for reggae music, and helped Jimmy Cliff become recognizable worldwide. Before the film’s release, roots music made little sense to people outside of Jamaica because they couldn’t put a visual to the lyrics. Now, people could put a face to reggae music; and Jimmy Cliff became iconoclastic. After the release of The Harder They Come, words like ‘sophisticated’ and ‘worldly’ were used to describe Jimmy Cliff and his career. New fans were impressed that he had lived abroad, toured all over the world with great acclaim, recorded with American producers and musicians, wasn’t scared to try different styles of music and was now an international movie star.

I can’t believe I slept on Jimmy Cliff and The Harder They Come for this long. Luckily I was exposed to him earlier this year, and his music, as well as the soundtrack from the film have been in heavy rotation.


Bonus Cuts:


In Defense of Allen Iverson

With the retirement, and now unretirement of AllenIverson, I've taken some time to look back at the career of one of my favorite basketball players of all time, and one of THE best to ever do it. Because of the media, and the talking heads over at ESPN people are going to remember Iverson as a team "Canswer" and not as a player who came out every night and gave it all for 48 minutes.

His career has been marred by controversy dating all the way back to his senior year of High School, when he was caught up in what has been described as a near race war at a bowling alley in his hometown of Hampton Virginia. Only Iverson and his fellow African-American friends were arrested, with Iverson facing a potential 20 year prison sentence. He spent four months at Newport News City Farm, a correctional facility in Virginia the case was overturned due to insufficient evidence.

However, this didn't stop Iverson from going on to Georgetown and having one of the illest, and highlight worthy two year careers of all time. Under legendary coach John Thompson, Iverson went on to destroy the Big East for two winters, winning two Big East Defensive Player of the Year awards, and was named to All Rookie Tournament 1st Team. However, his accolades don't do him necessary justice. At 6' and armed with a killer crossover and unparalleled athleticism, Iverson dominated the college game from the get go, and was the face of a new era of player. His grittiness, heart, and "you can't stop me" attitude was never seen from a player at his height. Peep these youtube videos for visual justice: href="">(the dunk at :32 is just disgusting). (Also, Iverson was part of one of the most underrated college rivalries with Ray Allen. The hype surrounding these two was unreal, especially when they were pit against each other; think Ali-Frazier on the hardcourt, every time they squared off it was a slugfest. Their'95 game at the Garden goes down as one of the best college basketball games of all time, with two of the best college players of the '90s going bucket for bucket.) More visual evidence:"> featuring Cameos from Travis Knight, Donyell Marshall, and Othella Harrington.

After two stellar years at Georgetown, Iverson was drafted first overall by the 76ers in 1996 Draft (incredible draft by the way featuring Steph Marbury, Ray Allen, Kobe, Nash, Marcus Camby, plus Knick picks John Wallace and Walter McCarty...and people only wanna blame Isiah.) Iverson was getting busy in the League from day one and was honored with Rookie of The Year. Iverson proved that a new athlete was entering the NBA, and made that point quickly by crossing the hell out of then reigning NBA king Michael Jordan. (rookie highlights.... ">peep the original Questions, so official.)

Iverson's first year was only a stepping stone, and during the 1998-99 season Iverson won his first scoring title, was named to the All-NBA First Team and his first playoff appearance as a 76er. And despite facing numerous injuries, he averaged over 44 minutes a game and put the team on his back carrying them to the 2nd round of the playoffs. Iverson was playing on a whole nother level than the rest of the league at this point, but was still under appreciated due to his media dubbed "thuggish" attitude.

(Few people realize the impact Iverson had on the league, both as a player and as a fashion icon. He was one of the first players to take his "urbanized" look and bring it to the suburbs. His whole clothing line and shoe market was aimed towards urban youth, everything Iverson donned; whether it was a headband, arm band, arm sleeve, tattoo etc.. became popular around America. Think Lebron would be rockin a headband plus tats without the influence of Iverson? Hellllllllllllllll no.)

The 2000-2001 season was hands down the best of his career, and arguably one of the best of all time. After being actively discussed in trade discussions during the offseason, Iverson came to play with an enormous chip on his shoulder. Iverson led his team to a 56-26 record and was named All-Star Game MVP, won the Scoring Title, Led the league in Steals, named to the All NBA First Team, and League MVP. Iverson led the Sixers to the NBA Finals, only to be met by the unstoppable tandem of Kobe and Shaq. (I think a lot of people underestimate how incredible this season was. Iverson took a team comprised of Dikembe Mutombo, Tyrone Hill, George Lynch, Raja Bell, Kevin Ollie, Jumaine Jones, Eric Snow, and Matt Geiger among others, and put them on his back to post the best record in the East and a Finals Appearance. And another thing, how the hell did Todd MaCCulloch play in 3 NBA Finals Series? Plus Iverson completely ruined Tyronn Lue's entire existence.... ">
Iverson continued to do his thing with the 76ers from 2002-2006, scoring around 30 ppg and wowing NBA fans with a killer crossover and insane athleticism. He had a falling out with the Sixers and was eventually traded to the Nuggets and then the Pistons. However, as much bad press and criticism Iverson endured during his career, he almostnever took a night off, and gave his body and soul to the game of Basketbal.To all the non believers, bow in the presence of greatness...Oh you mad?
Oh yea, think I would go through a whole Iverson digression without this...">

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Quick Thought On Episode 3 Jersey Shore

Now I'm sure I'm not the only person out here that would gladly trade in a Christmas present or two (or all of them) to not have to wait a week for the next episode of "Jersey Shore", but since that's not going to happen I've decided to make the best of it by re-watching episode 3 (the only one I was home from college in time to DVR) roughly 8 times in the last week. That being said, I found one of the events that happened during the show very peculiar. Midway through the episode we see Snookie (pre-KO) stumbling home from Karma with her new boytoy Russ. En rute to the house, Snookie proclaims that they are lost, and subsequently ends up on the beach where the two spend the remainder of the evening making-out on a blanket (that neither one of them brought with them) until sunrise. While this was going on, Pauley D and The Situation, while walking home with two girls, spot two more hotter girls in a Mercedes, leave the origional girls, and go home with the new ones. Hours (or minutes?) later, while "partying" on the roof with the Mercedes girls, Mike "The Situation" hears two females yell his name from inside the house. The Situation and Pauley D then go to the edge of the balcony, realize its "the gernade" and Mike's girl, and proceed to invite them up, all the while conning the Mercedes girls into thinking these new girls were their aggitated housemates. A very smooth manuver if I do say so myself, however my question remains: How is it that two drunk girls, that had never been to the Jersey Shore house before, find the house without directions, while Snookie, who had been living there for 2 weeks by now couldn't find it?

-fresh (@danye33)

NBA All-Decade Teams For The 2000's

Being that I am an big-time sports gamer, I recently found myself playing my housemate in NBA 2k9 in an 80's East vs. 80's West showdown. Which got me to thinking; who deserves this honor for the 2000's? With the decade winding down closer and closer each day, I hit the stat sheets (and common knowledge of the game) to decide which players are worthy of such recognition. As a quick background note, no player can be represented on both the East and West teams, so guys like A.I., Shaq and Garnett belong to whichever conference they played in longer, or had more memorable seasons with. I now present to you, The All-Decade Teams for the 2000's.

Eastern Conference Starters:
C- Dwight Howard
PF- Ben Wallace
SF- LeBron James
SG- Dwayne Wade
PG- Allen Iverson

Now I know some of you are probably shaking your head out there at the selection of Ben Wallace, but before you click your URL and leave this site for facebook, take into consideration Big Ben's resume: 4 time Defensive Player of the Year (tied most all time), has a ring, 4 time All-Star, 6 time All-NBA defensive team as well as 5 Time All-NBA in general. Throw in his 12.6 rebounds per game from 2000-2007 and there you have it for my starting PF in the East.

Selecting the bench players was a little more difficult, but after much deliberation I settled on Jermaine O'Neal, Jason Kidd, Paul Pierce, Big-Shot Billups, Rasheed Wallace and Vince Carter. The final spot on the team went to Chris Bosh. Hard decision to make between him, Michael Redd (20+ ppg for the decade) and Rip Hamilton (consistant scroing threat and proven winner), but in the end had to go with Bosh because of his all around skill and lifetime average of 19.8 ppg and 9+ rpg.

The Western Conference All-Decade Team was a little more clear cut for me choose, but still not an easy task.

Western Conference Starters:
C- Shaquielle O'Neal
PF- Tim Duncan
SF- Kevin Garnett
SG- Kobe Bryant
PG- Steve Nash

One of the most interesting conflicts I came up with during this was who starts at the 3, Garnett or Nowitzki? Both have had stellar careers, won MVP’s, been to the finals and been the heart and soul of any team each has ever played for. In the end it was Garnett’s ring and defensive P.O.Y. award that put him over the top in my book, but both are equally deserving.

With that being said the rest of the bench was made up by Dirk, Chris Webber, Yao, Ray Allen, Elton Brand (a quiet 20 ppg and 10+ rebounds for the decade, one of only 4 active players with such credentials) and T-Mac (26.6 ppg for the decade along with 7 All-Star Appearances). Once again, I found myself in a tough perdicament when it came to picking the final reserve, but in the end went with Chris Paul over Tony Parker. Although Parker has been a great compliment to Duncan troughout the years, and has 3 rings, his low career numbers for the decade (in relation to Paul) really hurt him. Not to mention Chris Paul single handedly put N.O. back on the basketball map, and his image is such an important part of the N.B.A. there's no doubt that he belongs.

So there you have it, my All-Decade Team's for the East and West.
Let us know how you feel by commenting on my selections, and who you would have picked instead.

-fresh (@danye33)

Welcome To The Big Show

Welcome to the big show. After months (but more like days) of preparation our blog is set up and ready to roll. So sit back, twist something up, and enjoy the show!

"And aloha means goodbye"