November 30, 2007

This Could Happen to You

For as long I can remember, I've always told people that my greatest fear in the world is going to prison. And I think we can all agree for obvious reasons that being locked up in the big house is a very frightening prospect.

However, I was thinking about it recently and it dawned on me that I can conceive of a far more terrifying scenario:

being mistaken for a

Think about it: If people thought you were a
piñata, their primary objective would be to grab the largest nearby blunt object they could find and beat you unmercifully until candy started pouring out of your belly. And since you're not actually a piñata, there will be no candy, and the sugar-crazed masses won't stop swinging away until your guts and internal organs are mashed up like a partially-blended smoothie.

Friend of the blog Frank G. Yak has raised the point that you could potentially defend against the
piñata destroyers of the world by carrying around loads of candy in your pockets, and when they started to club away, you could fling the candy onto the ground as though it had just been extracted from your brightly colored cardboard stomach. But frankly I think such a smokescreen would only serve to anger the piñata smashers, who are a very savvy and irritable sort.

In any case, there's obviously no cause for panic at this point. But should you wake up one day and find that you're shaped like a small horse or goat and you have a string on your back and brightly-colored skin that looks vaguely like papier mache, you really have only one option: leave town immediately.

But don't relax when you get out to the countryside. They really like to smash
piñatas out there. And they have lots of scary farm implements with which to do so.

November 28, 2007

Where Buzzkill Happens

Aside from the somewhat cruddy shooting percentage, very little has been disappointing about the Kevin Durant experience thus far in 2007-08.

But there is something rather disappointing about this Kevin Durant commercial.

Make no mistake, for about 23 of the 30 seconds it runs, this ad is great. The music gets you hyped up and as Durant walks down the tunnel shedding jersey after jersey (going from his high school jerseys to his Texas jersey), the tension gradually builds. You know the Sonics jersey is coming next, and somehow that's exciting even though the Sonics may currently be the most dirt-awful team in the entire NBA.

And just as Durant is turning to head out of the tunnel -- Sonics jersey fully revealed -- and you're anticipating how this ad might end, the tag line comes up on the screen, and suddenly your virtual woodrow goes 100 percent limp.

"Where wearing the dream happens," says the graphic on the screen.

That's the big payoff? Honestly, if that's the phrase they're gonna go with, the ad would be better if it didn't say anything at all -- just flash the NBA logo and be done with it. Never mind that "where wearing" is a decidedly unpleasant slice of cacophony; more so, it's just a wasted phrase that really doesn't pay off how good the rest of the ad is.

There is an alternate version that says "Where the next chapter happens," but even that's a little disappointing. Frankly I think I'd be happier with "Where shit happens" than the current choices. That, or I'd rather see Durant walk out of the tunnel and promptly get plowed over by a golf cart. At least that would be unexpected in a good way, and it would essentially have the same effect of completely sabotaging an otherwise enjoyable ad.

Thank you for your time. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some other entirely inconsequential things to analyze.

November 27, 2007

These Things Are So Irritating

As sports fans, we have very little trouble finding reasons to disagree.

I like the Braves, you hate them.

I would pay money to see the Hawks; you would pay money to see them contracted from the league.

For some reason, you thought this was humorous. I did not. (And for the record, you are a sick bastard.)

This is just the beginning of a very long list.

But there is one thing I feel very confident that we can agree on: Neither of us wants to see the Spurs reach the NBA Finals again in 2007-08. I hate watching them, you hate watching them, hell -- even Francis Scott Key would have hated watching them if he hadn't been too much of a cheapskate to pay for cable TV back in his day.

The unfortunate news is that with a 12-3 record so far, it looks like little has changed in San Antonio this year to give us hope that we won't have to watch that gut-wrenchingly methodical juggernaut compete all the way into June again.

But on Monday night, a decidedly piddling Sacramento team handed the Spurs just their third loss of the year, and in doing so, Reggie Theus' Kings exposed the blueprint on beating the Spurs for all of the NBA to see. And as it turns out, the formula is actually quite simple. Here are the key ingredients:

1. Play the Spurs at your arena. San Antonio is 7-0 at home, 5-3 on the road. Playing them at the Alamodome is a statistical disadvantage. The solution is simple: Don't do it.

2. If you can, make sure to play them on the second night of a back-to-back on the road. If there's one scenario that can make any NBA team look weak, it's playing the second of two games in two days on the road. The home team wins those games (or at least has a good chance to win) a staggering amount of the time. That's what happened in Sacramento on Monday night.

3. Get a crucial revenge performance from a former Spur. In this case, that would be Beno Udrih, the former Spurs backup PG who lit up his old team for a career-high 27 points (on 8-of-12 shooting) Monday.

4. Get an inspired performance out of your talented but often disappointing center who had a really bad year in 2006-07 but has shown some signs of life this season. That would be Brad Miller, who went off for 17 points, 10 boards and 7 assists in the win.

5. Catch Manu Ginobili on his worst night of the year thus far. Ginobili, who averages a remarkable 19.2 ppg in just under 29 minutes, was held to 9 points on 3-of-12 shooting against the Kings on Monday.

The only other thing you have to do:

6. Shoot 55% from the field, only miss two free throws (21-for-23 on the night), take care of the basketball and have your mediocre power forward (Mikki Moore) shoot an unexpected 8-for-9 to help offset the fact that Bruce Bowen is shrink-wrapping your best offensive player's testicles. (Kevin Martin, averaging 24.1 ppg, had a season-low 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting.)

Take care of all six of these steps, or at least four or five of them, and suddenly the Spurs are very beatable.

See? There's really nothing to worry about.

I don't know about you, but I feel relieved.

November 20, 2007

A Note on Stadium Etiquette

Last week while attending a Knicks-Clippers game at the Staples Center, I happened to take notice of a man sitting on the lower level who would break into a full-scale body gyration complete with clenched teeth/overly intense game face during every timeout. His dancing (if it could be called that; it was more like a full-body dry heave set to music, to quote Seinfeld) really had no correlation whatsoever to the music that was playing -- at times, he was thrashing about when the music wasn't even turned up loud.

His shirt, for reasons unknown to me, had the moniker "Rental Man" stamped on the front. At times he wore a cape and alternated between different hats during timeouts. And it goes without saying that most fans (myself included) found him to be at best a mild source of amusement and at worst a PCP-crazed buffoon. (For reference, see the video above, which shows Rental Man, who is apparently something of an Internet phenomenon, doing his thing at Dodger Stadium.)

Eventually, an usher approached Rental Man regarding his loutish behavior and, unable to tell him he couldn't exercise his right to act like an ass, this usher did the next best thing, saving us all from further exposure to the man's dancing by forcing him to take his proper seat (which was located at the end of a row where he couldn't traipse around in the aisle).

This quietly brought an end to the Rental Man regime for that evening at least. And to tell the truth, his vomitous body motions had more or less faded from my consciousness until this Tuesday night, when I saw a different but altogether shocking example of inexplicable stadium behavior.

Late in the third quarter of the Raptors-Mavs game, as Dirk Nowitzki was unleashing a barrage of four straight treys to close the quarter, the Mavs TV broadcast cut to a shot of a fan holding a sign in the stands. The sign read:

"Dirk Will Lead the 4th Reich"

I didn't come here to give a lecture about why this sign is wildly insensitive and inappropriate (however, if you're interested, you can attend my upcoming lecture series, "Cultural Insensitivity and Inappropriate Nazi Germany References at Our Nation's Basketball Arenas"). What I will say is that if Rental Man is going to get censored for doing a shit-poor Elaine Benes impersonation at the Staples Center, then 4th Reich Boy really shouldn't have been allowed into American Airlines Arena wielding that particular piece of cardboard. And perhaps more to the point, he sure as hell shouldn't have been put on TV holding up said sign (though you have to think that someone in the TV truck realized that pretty quickly, because the shot of the sign was only on the air for about two seconds before it cut away).

In sum:

1) PCP is bad for your health.

2) Rental Man is possibly insane and definitely hard to look at, but probably harmless (though I might not recommend inviting him in for coffee).

3) If I ever see you with a "4th Reich" sign or any derivative thereof at an arena near me, I'll personally take said sign from your clutches, rip it into at least eight pieces and then dump a cup of expensive soda on your head.

Thank you, that is all.

November 13, 2007

Will Return in 15 Min.

In the event that you were wondering (which you probably were not), The OCC is currently out of the country (read: in California) tending to some very important business. Internet connection and food are both scarce, and at this point he is merely attempting to survive. With that said, new material is on the way, but perhaps will not be delivered in as timely a fashion as you would like. We appreciate your patience, and ask you to kindly sign the guest book before you leave.

If you have any questions in the coming days, please direct them to Bruce the Intern, who is attempting to keep this ship afloat despite his general inability to effectively accomplish anything.

Thank you -- that is all.

The Management

November 08, 2007

Dear Andray

Sometimes, when your brain is behaving much like a festering pile of mushy old dog kibble that sat out in a rainstorm overnight, you can simply let another person's words tell a story for you. And today, I would like to thank the Baltimore Sun for writing these words:
"Sexual solicitation charges against Andray Blatche have been dropped after the Washington Wizards forward successfully completed 'John School.'"
John School: a place one goes to learn about the do's and don'ts of soliciting sex.

In the case of Andray Blatche, the major don't is "Don't solicit sex from from an undercover police officer," which can loosely be translated as "Don't get caught."

One has to wonder what they taught Andray during the day-long seminar that is the prostitute solicitation academy. Were they simply telling him over and over again that he was really not supposed to do that illegal thing that he did? Or perhaps he had a sly, slightly rebellious instructor who decided to give the pupils the real dirt and tell them the tricks to discerning whether or not the prospective Jane (is that the proper term?) is actually an undercover cop.

John School: a place to learn about prostitution.

Enroll today.

November 06, 2007

I Love What You've Done with Your Hair

I'm not sure when or why exactly the idea first began to germinate. Maybe it's that I had just watched an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm that talked about discrimination against bald people. Maybe it's that I realized I may not always have a full head of hair, in large part because a big round number of a birthday is approaching in just five months (I still haven't decided what I'm doing for the big 6-5 but will let you know as plans develop).

Whatever the cause, the fact is that I've decided that if I'm ever going to grow a rather shaggy mop of hair atop my head, now is the time. And needing an incentive to ensure that in a moment of weakness I don't look in the mirror and immediately start sawing away at my hair with a pair of clippers, I have decided to make an official pledge in conjunction with the up and coming Atlanta Hawks.

That pledge is this: The OCC shall not cut his hair until the 2007-08 Hawks have recorded their 15th win.

If that sounds a little bit lightweight, keep in mind two things: 1) I have to look reasonably presentable at least several days a week, so there needs to be a reasonable cap on this thing so that I'm not wandering into the office looking like Gandalf; 2) though the Hawks have looked strong in their first two games (a 1-1 record against Dallas and Detroit), it could easily take them two months to get 15 wins.

One of the Hawks' primary slogans for 2007-08 is "Changing Perceptions." I have a feeling that by the time this thing is over, your perception of The OCC will have changed forever. Primarily because you won't recognize me.

Reminder to self: Do not start wearing overalls and wielding a hatchet just because you look like a woodsman.

See you at win #15.