Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Start Spreading the Ooze

What up, what up!! Man, I know it’s been forever since I rapped at ya. How long has it been? Well, the last time I blogged, the belief that the NBA was run by corrupt officials was just a myth. So sorry about the lapse, but lately I’ve been busier than an HGH dispenser. And I figured that as long as my boys at The Basketball Jones—who seem to have no occupation other than hanging out in their basement and talking hoops*—weren’t doing any podcasts, then I could be excused as well. But then they started up their shows again last week, obviously inspired by the compelling FIBA tournament (which was more riveting than watching my grandfather look for his pack of smokes and then realizing they're in his pocket) so I guess I better get going too.

So what have I been doing in the interim? Well, I actually got a job! That pays! Last summer, I interned with this tiny little low-budget start-up company called American Express. Based on my performance (and, therefore, much to my shock and amazement), Amex actually offered me a full-time job. The catch was that I had to move north to this quaint little hamlet called New York City. But don’t worry, my heart still lies with the orange-and-blue-ish/purple in Charlotte. The way I see it, there’s also not really a conflict of interest in rooting for both the Knicks and the Bobcats. I mean, it’s not like they’re a threat to face each other in the Eastern Conference Finals or anything.

So since the job offer, I’ve been moving, which mainly has involved dealing with NYC apartment brokers, who’ve helped me rediscover my long-lost ability to hate. For anyone who’s never dealt with one of these guys, imagine the demon seed of corrupt politicians and used-car salesmen. They’re so horrible that I’ve begun thinking of them very much like I do the government, in that I can’t tell if they’re actively evil or simply grossly incompetent. Anyway, almost in spite of their “help,” I’m finally settled in the East Village. It’s quite a change of scenery. For instance, when I’m out jogging, instead of using various trees to mark my laps, I use things like drunks emptying bottles of urine into the sewer. My dog, Lincoln, has also suffered from transition pains. This is an animal who in NC used to go crazy at the sight of another canine, even if it was just a speck on the horizon. Now when we go out for walks, his poor little pea-brain is overloaded with stimulation.

But now that we’re all settled in, it’s time to get excited about hoops again! And what a bevy of exciting off-season moves the Cats have pulled. They’ve…let’s see…Actually, there’s only been one that I can think of, which is the re-signing of Jeff McInnis. I’m vaguely depressed by this one, as McInnis proved beyond a shadow of a doubt last year that he’s a marginal 3rd point guard at best, and now he’s muddled his way upward to become the second option. It reminds me of my senior year high school cross-country season, in which I was made captain by virtue of the fact that I was the only returning senior (for some reason, no one else seemed interested in the idea of running as hard as they could for three miles and then puking). It was great for me, because I got to put in “sports team captain” on my college applications, but I’ll be the first to admit that it was completely by default. Similarly for Jeff, he should be happy about his money, but let’s face it: the guy wheezed through his 5-minutes-a-night last season like Britney at the VMAs, so we better have someone else in mind behind Raymond Felton.

Thus, barring any other Bobcats news we need to discuss, here are my NFL Week 1 Thoughts:

Having left Carolina, I had to make a sports fan’s Sophie’s Choice: go with cable to get out-of-market NBA games, or go with DirecTV to get out-of-market NFL games. It can only be one or the other, and I’m sticking with my Bobcats and the NBA, crooked officials and all. And thanks to my cable providers, who were uninterested in hooking up my new apartment before the end of the fiscal year, I missed seeing my first week of football since my appendectomy in the 7th grade. However, I was able to tune into parts of the Jets-Patriots “contest” on this antiquated device called a “radio” as I continued to dig my apartment out of the avalanche of moving boxes, but the reception was spotty. The one repeated phrase that kept coming in over and over, clear as a bell, was, “Brady drops back, has ALL KINDS of time…” The unimaginative announcers said it so much I was starting to wonder if invading aliens had suddenly destroyed much of the planet, causing all broadcasts to loop the last few seconds of their transmissions endlessly. It even became a joke with me and my wife: “Brady has ALL KINDS of time! He’s got time in every color, every size, every shape, for EVERY occasion: weddings, birthdays, bat mitzvahs…”

And of course, now that I can no longer watch them, the Panthers go out and crush the Rams. For whatever the reason, the Panthers seem to have Steven Jackson’s number, holding him to just 58 yards and two fumbles and causing severe Fantasy Owner Sanity power outages across the country. I loved Mike Rucker’s quote afterward: “No matter what, we don’t let the ball get run on us.” If only everyone had that mentality. Maybe if General David Petraeus would testify that regardless of the challenges facing US forces in Iraq, “we don’t let IEDs get exploded on us,” or housing lenders made their agents post signs in their offices reading, “Remember: We don’t let risky sub-prime mortgages get defaulted on us,” the world would be a better place.

Offensive Player of the Week: Chris Brown, Titans. Running behind a dilapidated Kevin Mawae and four future dockworkers, Brown gained 175 yards in 18 carries against one of the best front-7 in the league.

Defensive Player of the Week: Nick Barnett, Packers. With 13 tackles and an interception to spur the Packers upset, Barnett demonstrated that winners don’t do drugs (although they do occasionally get taken into custody for battery after allegedly being involved in a physical altercation outside a nightclub).

All right, I’ve gotta get back to work, answering emails with titles like “Re: Fw: Fw:” but it’s good to be back!

*Between them, the guys in Knocked Up, and Sicko, this summer has left me with the impression that all Canadians do is hang out in basements and get free medical care.

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