Saturday, September 29, 2007

I feel good about this week. I mean really good.

QB Matt Shaub HOU - $5.50 ($ 0.17 per point! He's my guy for the duration)
RB Adrian Peterson MIN - $8.42 (All day AP. We all know that every year a couple of rookie
backs have a great season. If he doesnt have a devastating injury like he seemed to have been
plagued with throughout his career at Oklahoma, then he could be an exciting player to watch
on a terrible team. Cap space courtesy of the DEF)
RB Najeh Davenport PIT - $ 6.25 (I was thinking about going with Kenny Watson, but he's
playing NE, and I wouldnt get a chance to mention that he's The Dump Truck)
WR Nate Burleson SEA - $ 5.82
WR Shaun McDonald DET - $ 6.08 (Detroit what, scum!)
WR Roddy White ATL $ 6.36 (Looks like he's Joey Harrington's guy for now. Great.)
TE Jason Whitten DAL $ 7.46 (One of the best TEs this season.... except for Antonio Gates
who will have 150 recs this season)
K Mason Crosby GB $ 7.61 (Cheapest kicker out there, FYI)
DEF New Orleans $ 6.36 (Cant score negative points on a bye!)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Stop me before I write again

If you listened closely enough on Tuesday September 18th at roughly 12:15pm you could actually hear every ounce of sanity fleeing from Greg Easterbrook's body. In case you missed it, the NFL is doomed! DOOMED!!! and its all a certain hooded sweatshirt wearing coaches fault.

In any case, I'm sure that this is all the Jew's fault, right Greg?

The (Week 2) Champ is here!

After doubling his total points, I feel like I have a mental edge over the G-Man now.

M. Schaub (Hou - QB) $ 5.67 - I hate myself for missing him last week when he would have cost 3.50. I deserve it though for trusting Alex Smith. My Stepfather is a 49ers fan and he is so dumbfounded and confused by Alex Smith that he looses the ability to use nouns whenever I bring him up. (Since John also took him, I reserve the right to switch over to Kellen Clemens if he's starting for the Jets this week)

Ad. Peterson (Min - RB) $ 7.12 - Someone in the Vikings organization while looking over Brad Childress' resume should have noticed that the man hasn't produced a home grown WR ever, even though his employers have expended multiple high round draft choices on that particular position. The fact that the Vikings are not running the ball 60 times a game when his current starting QB wouldn't have even been able to lead Notre Dame to anything better then an 0-3 record baffles me.

L. White (Ten - RB) $ 4.71- I really wanted to try to finagle a way to get MoJo in this spot because I think he's as cheap as he's going to be at 11 bucks this week, but have you ever noticed that Jack Del Rio looks like a traumatized lesbian who just watched her partner and the rest of their family unit be brutalized over the span of 4 days? That doesn't bode well for Maurice Jones-Drew. What does this have to do with LenDale White? Absolutely nothing.

W. Welker (NE - WR) $ 5.80- Token Patriot, plus I still don't trust Randy Moss to not have another freak out in traffic.

Ca. Johnson (Det - WR) $ 6.26- In case you didn't know, the Lions are touched by God.

R. Curry (Oak - WR) $ 6.44- Proof positive that Michael Vick would have made for a better RB or WR.

V. Davis (SF - TE) $6.35- Alex Smith is his QB, so unless he breaks a 2 yard check down 50 + yards, I'm getting nothing out of him. That being said, I feel my Stepdad and I need more to talk about, so complete and utter disdain toward Alex Smith is a good place to start.

N. Folk (Dal - K) $7.42- He's the cheapest kicker available and because of that he'll remain on my roster for the rest of the year. I don't care if he dies on the field, if no other kicker in the league drops below his price, he's my guy for the duration.

Washington (Was - DEF) $ 7.58- Why? Because they're better then the Giants D, thats why.

Go face yourself G-Man enjoy your Gansters Paradise.

Welfare FFBall Week 3 (of the season, I know this got started in Week 2)

Well, the Cheap Bastards may have gotten touched up a bit, but we had a good week of practice and our install on Wednesday went well.

As follows is the line up as well as some of the inner-machinations behind the decisions -

QB Matt Schaub HOU - $5.67 (he may not be the prettiest guy at the dance, but he will put out. And he's cheap. Wait - Andre Johnson's not playing? F$#@. Oh well, at least he's cheap.)
RB Brandon Jackson GB - $5.09 (had a bad week last week and some guy named DeShawn Wynn is getting his goal line snaps - which caused him to go up to $40 in our FA Auction in my office leauge. Good times. But Im still sticking with Jackson, Im not one to jump off a leaky ship.)
RB Cedric Benson CHI - $ 6.93 (unless thats Marcell Shipp. Cutting Tavaris Jackson left me with a mess of cap space, so I went out and grabbed Ced. He's going against the 'Boys D who allowed the G-men to run up and down on them in week 1 and have the 26th ranked D in the NFL)
WR Jason Avant PHI - $ 5.54 (No idea who he is, but he averaging a point per $1. Which in the welfare leauges is like getting a beej after taking a date to BK)
WR Calvin Johnson DET - $ 6.26 (Up in value $0.75 over last week!)
WR Antwan Randle El WAS - $ 6.02
TE Jason Whitten DAL - $ 7.46
K Mason Crosby GB - $ 7.61
DEF NY Giants - $ 8.79 (I thought about sticking with the Jets this week, but Im having trouble justifying keeping a DEF that has negative production.)

Til next time, keep your nose to the grindstone...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Team that's going to decimate the G-Man

QB A. Smith (SF - QB) $7.44
RB Ad. Peterson (Min - RB) $7.49
RB B. Jackson (GB - RB) $5.17
WR W. Welker (NE - WR) $5.92
WR Ca. Johnson (Det - WR) $6.26
WR R. Curry (Oak - WR) $7.37
TE E. Johnson (NO - TE) $5.29
K N. Folk (Dal - K) $7.42
DEF Washington (Was - DEF) $7.58
TOTAL: $59.94

Friday, September 14, 2007

Welfare Fantasy Football

On an average day during football season, John and I spend about an hour talking about fantasy football on some level. I can't speak for him, but I would guess that I spend another 2 hours reading or thinking about football that on some level correlates to fantasy football. This normally isn't healthy, but when you sit in an unholy box that is commonly known as a cubicle, I believe its a means to keep us sane.

With this in mind, I had an idea that we should start a league using Yahoo's Salary Cap Fantasy Football but with the twist that we can only spend 6o million of the allotted 100 million that you are given. Thus we would constantly be searching for bargains and conceivably providing advice for those who are looking for waiver wire bargains every week.

John is currently living in 1995, listening to some Coolio and debating getting internet access, so I have to post his roster and rationalizations for his picks,

"

Hey, So Ive got my lineup set…here is the Cheap B@$st@rd$ Week 2 lineup

QB - Tavaris Jackson MIN $7.55 (at Detriot, need I say more?)
RB - Brandon Jackson GB $5.17 (against the Giants who last week got crushed by the 'Boys. There also arent many feature backs in his price range)

RB - Marcell Shipp ARI $5.41 (I really struggled with this spot, 5.40 is a good price for a legit #2 back, also in that price range were Michael Turner (going against the Pats) and his counterpart across the sidelines this week Mo Morris. Tie-breaker - He's from the U(Mass)

WR - Dwayne Jarrett CAR $4.66 (best bargain in wideouts…I might have to wait on his production because he is a rookie and playing on the same field as Steve Smith, and when he does have his break-out game he will immediately become too expensive, but that upside is tantalizing)

WR - Calvin Johson DET $6.26 (see above)
WR - Antwan Randle El WAS $6.65 (had a big week last week against the Miami with 162 yards in the receiving, plus he is a threat for some chicanery on trick plays)

TE - Bo Scaife TEN $5.90 (I'll be honest, I just like his name which has been endeared by my longstanding affinity towards the Dukes of Hazzard)

K - Mason Crosby GB $8.31 (he's a big boy and I'd really like to see his range with the NFL ball. Also, he reminds me of Hoss from another one of my favorite TVLand shows: Bonanza!)

DEF - NYJets $9.62 (tough call here, they got tooled on by the Pats last week and I think it does a disservice to the talent on this team. Also you have to love the match up against Baltimore who had 6 turnovers against Cinci last Monday Night.)"

I'll be posting my lineup tomorrow. I'll go ahead and state for the record now that I was planning on purchasing both Brandon Jackson and Calvin Johnson when I first thought of this league, so I'm not ripping him off. As evidence I submit exhibit A which should corroborate my fantasy football knowledge.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

FACE!!!

Note to self, never ever, ever, ever mess with the Humane Society.


OWNED.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

This Blog is Back!

The FJP returns from summer vacation to greet its reader(s?) with some cool summer fun stuff.

Here’s an idea to revamp the now-disgraced NBA Playoffs: Blaise Pascal was a French mathmagician who devised a way to determine odds…of things…such as what would the odds of a basketball team coming back to win a best-of-seven series after dropping the first. His formula considers the possible outcomes of the remaining games as. However, it also has to count the outcomes of games that would not necessarily be played…like in a sweep. Well, why not make them play the extra games after the series has been locked up. More games, more chippy performances and shoddy refereeing, more fights in payback games, more bitter conference rivalries could make the regular season mean something, and slowing down a team’s momentum will make the playoffs less predictable.

I got to thinking about this while reading Against the Gods by Peter Bernstein. In explaining Pascal’s above theorem, the Frenchmen himself said of people who do not allow a series to be completed, “it is absolutely equal and immaterial to them both whether they let the match take its natural course.”

The Daily Puppy: Online journal of cute puppies.

Cost of Living Wizard: Restless? Feel like packing it up and hopping the next funky flight to sunny Pittsburgh; leaving your one-stoplight town in the dust? But what about a job and my comfortably modest post-college standard of living? See how expensive where you live and work is to where you could move to. Making 40k a year in Manhattan? You could have same apartment and drinking schedule in Utica for $15,000! Are you kidding me, I bet you have to wear a suit to work in the city. You could be stoned and working behind the counter of the gas station next to Turning Stone and make 15k.

Football’s coming back: On a lighter note, with talk of fantasy drafts and training camp in the air, oh how can you wait to hear the first “Who Let the Dogs Out” chant when the Falcons go on the road… with Joey Harrington gutting it out.

But while we’re on the subject, let's go to the undergraduate world of football where the FJP Sports Editor had an idea on how to fix my beloved Syracuse Orange. Step one: fire Greg Robinson and replace him with Dick MacPherson’s son (check on existence/availability). And secondly, use helmet stickers as a recruiting ploy. Now I think this is right up the Cuse’s alley. How many fake traditions has Syracuse tried to start in the last 5 years, this shouldnt be any different? The FJP gives its express support for this idea provided that the stickers be of actual oranges. Enough tip-toeing around this one, if the team is going to be the Orange, the community needs to go all the way and become the OJ-drinking capital of the Northeast

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Run away Yi!

For his own safety, I think Yi Jianlian should sign a contract with the Milwaukee Bucks post haste. The Chinese seem to have made it abundantly clear that they do not appreciate people F-ing with their money.


On another NBA Summer League note, I am anxiously awaiting Tommy Heinsohn's first comments on Brandon Wallace (signed a 2 year deal yesterday, say goodbye to Allan Ray and his weak eye sockets). No video on him yet, but here's a bio.

Monday, July 2, 2007

On this Independence Day, the FJP Reminds You to Live Free or Die

Maciavellian Mofo:
Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee appeared on Meet the Press yesterday. At topic was the stonewalling by the White House and Justice Department regarding emails about firings of US Attorney’s. But the broader issue is the Bush Administration’s flagrant flouting of their accountability and a lack of effort to even appear transparent. The most recent case involves VP Dick Cheney’s assertion that he is not subject to a presidential order to turn over records to the national archives because he is not a member of the executive branch. Cheney believes that his role as the President of the Senate makes him a hybrid between an executive and a legislator.

Cheney has been one of the most secretive politicians in history. Since his early and continued refused to name members of his energy policy task force, Cheney has made it his mission to subvert the transparency that is so critical to the success of democracy. Patrick Leahy’s comments from Sunday suggest that at least one man has had enough, and wants to ensure that future executives do not presume they have the right Cheney’s dangerous precedent sets.

In case you missed MTP, the previous weeks episode can be viewed on MSNBC’s website.

Also, check out this blistering editorial from Sunday's NYTimes.

Senatus Populusque Americanus
An interesting article in the NYTimes yesterday details the startling comparisons between America and the Roman Empire. This quote aptly sums it “parallels between Rome’s imperial predicament and what he sees as ours: the problems of a vast, multiethnic nation with a messianic view of itself and an often simplistic view of the rest of the world, stretched too thin beyond its borders and facing mounting challenges within them.”

Mitt Romney caught riding dirty
Part of the primary process involves vetting candidates’ histories and revealing some of the more embarrassing and supposedly character revealing episodes. For the love of god, please read the description of the incident.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Draft Bio: Folding Chair

Folding Chair
F/C - 3-6' - 8 lbs. - Age: 28
MADE IN:
Taiwan

Similar Player: Oliver Miller

Notes: Chair first gained notoriety defending fellow international prospect Yi Jianlian during his first pro workouts. Though it may have been forged, markings on the back of the seat indicate this model to have been manufactured in 1979. Chair averaged 0ppg, 0rpg, 0bpg, 0apg, 0.3spg & 0tpg for the Siberia Fighting Scamp's.

Positives: A sturdy, flexible & long player, Chair is extremely versatile and is able to adapt to many different environments. Lead the league in charges taken last year and is very attentive. Held Yi Jianlian to 46 points on 23-29 shooting. Good positional defender & takes care of the ball.

Negatives: May not be mobile enough to adapt to the NBA style of play. Chair's manufactured date may be forged in an attempt to hid his age, which would lead to questions of longevity and durability. Not a factor offensively. Height may become an issue.

Summary: Given his superb defensive performance on Yi Jianlian, Chair's stock has risen. He could prove to be the best International player to come out of this draft. He should go somewhere in the range of the first 8-16 picks in the 2007 draft.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

So, How's Your Blog?

RIP Rod Beck:

From the San Francisco Chronicle: “Former Giants closer Rod Beck, whose spirit flowed as freely as his long hair, and who intimidated hitters with a Fu Manchu mustache and an even more menacing split-finger fastball, was found dead in his Phoenix home Saturday. He was 38.”
And from Sons of Sam Horn: “Rod "Shooter" Beck is probably best remembered for serving up a 10th-inning meatball to Bernie Williams that cost the Red Sox the first game of the 1999 ALCS.”

Thoughts on the NBA Draft:
There are tons of rumors flying about the Celtics trading the 5th pick in tomorrow nights draft. I won’t speculate on anything except for this…if they decide to keep the pick I hope the C’s take Yi Jianlian. My comment to a friend that “if they're going to be bad, we might as well have a big, funny, Chinese guy” led to his reply that I should stop getting $h!tfaced with Danny Ainge.

Freakonomics Guys Can Read My Mind:
Alert nucker Deebs Mullen forwarded me today's post on the Freakonomics blog. The class divide between Facebook and MySpace is something that I had been wondering about for sometime. It follows that Facebook would tend to be more white and more upper class than MySpace because it was founded on virtual college campuses (disclosure: I have never been on MySpace…one of the main reasons why I never commented on this topic), and now there is research to back up this assertion.

Freakonomics is a great book about the relationship between economics, society, and psychology. The blog and occasional series in the NYTimes Mag is written by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner.


Sunday, June 24, 2007

This Week's Dish...

A Dirty Hippie By Any Other Name:
An article last week in the NYTimes exposed the freegan (free + vegan) movement. Urban dwellers from diverse ages and backgrounds are beginning to dumpster dive (a process they refer to as waste reclamation or urban foraging). While true bums have been doing this for as long as there have been dumpsters, the freegans base their lifestyle on the moral grounds. To a certain extent they have a point, one study shows that half of all food in the US is wasted. And the practice of freecycling is something that many young people (my AC, TV and dresser) do. However, the freegan.info website is mired in hippie clich├ęs like the stance on squatting: “Freegans believe that housing is a RIGHT, not a privilege…and human needs are more important than abstract notions of private property.” Which reminds us all that reducing consumption and recycling are great things that we should all embrace, but if d-bag hippies want to live outside of society, there is plenty of space in Alaska and Montana where they won’t bother the rest of us.

Raise the Roof, Raise the Whole House, Too:

This weekend Harvard Law School dropped $1 million to move a couple of old Victorian houses. Mass. Ave between Harvard and Porter was shut down for the entire weekend while the houses, which will become law school dorms, were lifted, put on wheels, and rolled three blocks down the street. The process required all wires that crossed the street to be removed as the historical homes were moved.

Which reminds me of another house that was recently lifted. According to recent reports Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens and his son are being investigated by a grand jury for receiving illegal considerations. These include Veco, an oil company, paying for an expansion on Stevens’ Alaska home in exchange for (among other things) getting Pakistan to pay Veco the $70 million it owed for pipeline construction. The unconfirmed reports are that Stevens had the first floor of his home raised and a floor built underneath it.

This story has been covered closely by the TPMMuckraker.com, a great political blog by the people behind the Talking Points Memo. Also check out the Daily Show’s “Coot Off” between Ted Stevens and West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd. And yes, they really are the people running this country.


Monday, June 18, 2007

With So Much Drama in the L.B.C...

There's a lot going on in the world today: Two civil wars in the Middle East, gas prices skyrocketing, the Supreme Court telling us that suspending habeas corpus is unconstitutional, the bees dying, the Celts stuck with the 5th pick and the prospect of giving up Big Al Jefferson, I thought Id include some lighter items.

Mining for Gold in a Chinese Warcraft Sweatshop:
An article in the NYTimes Mag this past Sunday exposed an interesting phenomenon of the burgeoning virtual economy. Young men work 12 hr shifts, 7 days a week playing massively multiplayer online games, earning points and then selling them to Western gamers. It’s an industry that is estimated to employ about 100,000 people and be worth almost $1.8 billion dollars worldwide. And fascinatingly, it demonstrates the economics of 21st century globalization to an almost textbook effect. When the game manufacturers cracked down on the sale of credits through eBay the exchange rates jumped sharply.

The Mundanity of Modernity:
One of my favorite recent finds on YouTube is “Tales of Mere Existence.” The brilliantly simple animation and crisp, realistic internal dialogue is at once witty, lugubrious, and all too familiar.


Friday, June 8, 2007

Holy Truck Nuts! It's the end of electricity as we know it.


Wi-tricity:
Just blocks from the FJP’s headquarters, engineers at MIT have found a way to transmit electricity wirelessly. While still in its early phases, they were able to light a 60-watt bulb from 7 feet away. The implications are incredible: the end of electrical cords in the home, recharging your cell phone on-the-go, and a lot more free radicals going through our bodies. 
(Link is courtesy of engadget, a leading electronics blog that provides detailed technical and consumer reviews of emerging technologies.)

Digg Douglas!
Not the classic video game Dig Dug, but it's one of the most up-and-coming sites on the internet. Digg.com allows users to "digg" the best/most useful/entertaining web pages they visit. Links are then posted to Digg where you can see what pages are being linked the most. It's like my favorite feature on new sites, the most emailed stories, but for the entire internet. Also, it just led me to this great Erin Andrews tribute video.

Truck Nuts: Last weekend, on the way to Suffolk Downs, I noticed a black pick-up truck with a number of accessories: a 666 decal, a silver head with red eyes on the trailer hitch, and what appeared to be a plastic sack hanging from the bumper. My friend Marc informed me that they were truck nuts. And as surprised as I was that he knew about truck nuts, I was more surprised that he did, and a little upset that he hadn’t told me about them sooner. (Warning: link to Mr. C.O. Jones website where you can "Get The Swingin'est Cojones, Truck Nutz, Bulls Balls & Truck Nutz (sic)" may not be office appropriate.)





Monday, June 4, 2007

FJP Links and Thinks:

Bron Bron tells FJP to “Commit it.” In a response to the sports section’s lambasting of his lack of effort, LeBron James silenced critics by exploding in the final 2 games of the Eastern Conference Finals and catapulting his Cavs into the NBA Finals with the San Antonio Spurs. Our B.

Talkin’ About My Generation: Nadira Hira wrote an interesting article last month in Fortune about Gen Y (that’s what they're calling us 20-somethings now) in the workplace. The consensus is that we are loud, obnoxious, talented, and incredibly ambitious. Working in a young office, I can agree. It almost seemed that the management stopped hiring white males just out of college, perhaps we were getting a little rowdy with fantasy sports trash talk, or crude while rehashing the previous weekend’s antics.

Google Street View: Google, the official search engine, blog host, and email service of the FJP has added a new service to their maps application. Street View is available in for a couple cities. Using a car with a 360 camera mounted on top they were able to form a mosaic of places such as the Vegas Strip, South Beach Miami, or Fifth Ave in Manhattan. Its pretty cool, but a couple blogs, like Mashable.com, have raised concerns about people’s right to privacy while they're in public, or to be photographed in public. This blog post on BoingBoing prompted an article in the NYTimes last Friday.

Basebol been berry good: Clemens’ Strained Right Groin just became an all-time classic fantasy team name. Sox-Yanks weekend never disappoints. Also, who thought that Lou Pinella would be the steady hand needed to right the troubled ship of the Chicago Cubs?

It sucks to work for the Man, but his paychecks don’t bounce:
Great pseudo-commencement address by Daniel Brooks in the Boston Globe. His main point is that its no longer realistic to try to work for a non-profit or start a small business and try to live in Boston, NY, SanFran, etc. College, adjusted for inflation, cost us 3 times as much as our parents paid (and they got a lot more grants than we did).


Monday, May 28, 2007

Mayberry Machiavellians 'member Memorial Day

"The city of Washington was built on a stagnant swamp some 200 years ago, and very little has changed. It stank then, and it stinks now. Only today, it is the fetid stench of corruption that hangs in the air." - Lisa Simpson in "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington"

On this Memorial Day, the traditional media will focus on the war in Iraq and the senseless sacrifice of our brave and honorable soldiers there. And it would be trite on this day to impune their mission. Suffice to say, that the democracy they are defending has been blighted and dishonored with cronyism and politicization of our laws by those charged with faithfully executing them.

I am refering to the recent scandal at the Justice Department where a number of federal prosecuters are alleged to have been fired for political reasons. While dismissals of appointments have in the past been matters of scandal (Andrew Johnson's impeachment), and the whole of the executive staff "serves at the pleasure of the President," there is no precedent for firing US Attorneys in the middle of a term. This makes the motives important. Throughout the last two months top officials from Justice have been called to testify in front of Congress. At question is: what was the reason for the firings, and who made the decisions?

Those questions are straightforward and can probably be pieced together from the recent memories of the Justice officials and their emails and memos. Except the Attorney General, a brilliant lawyer and career bureaucrat, had trouble remembering who was involved in the decisions, but was pretty sure it wasnt him. It may have been his Deputy AG Paul McNulty or Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson. Was the White House involved? Its tough to tell. The White House Liaison, Monica Goodling, a vivacious blonde and graduate of Pat Robertson's Regent University Law School, could not recall what she told the White House political staff, and in particular, then White House Counsel Harriet Miers, about the potential dismissals. Likely she did not want to perjure herself, as any practiced lawyer giving testimony would...except she's not. Right after graduating law school she took a job slinging mud for Bush's campaign and then moved up through the press office to the executive office, to Justice. I digress. Goodling was granted immunity for her testimony where she subsequently admitted to "crossing a line" with respect to the civil service rules.

Thats as close as the buck comes to stopping these days. A truly disturbing anecdote was relayed through former Deputy Attorney General James Comey in one of his testimonies before Congress. Comey was the acting AG when John Ashcroft was hospitalized for cancer treatment. Apparently, the White House needed certification of their NSA domestic wiretapping program by the Attorney General. Comey had refused, seeing it as unconstitutional. So then-Chief of Staff Andy Card and then-White House Counsel paid a visit to Ashcroft's hospital to get his certification on the program, which was thwarted by Comey's intervention.

You cant make this $h!t up! This is the most Machiavellian administration in history. Setting aside Bush and Cheney's relationship to the military contractors and oil companies that have profited enormously from the war and geo-political events set into motion by the administration, its apparent they have a "give a f@%#" attitude to the Constitution, Congress, and the American people at large. You have to wonder how history will judge this time in American history where our duties to future generations environmental well-being were tossed aside, and our international reputation tarnished hopefully not irrevocably. But as Bush said to Bob Woodward: "History. We dont know. We'll all be dead."

No $h!t.

Happy Memorial Day. Ill put up some happier links and ideas in the next few days.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Move Celtics to Vegas, Its Baseball Season Now

It’s a sad day in Celtic Nation (if there is such a thing) as a chance to have Oden or Durant in green evaporated last night with a swift kick to our collective junk. My conjecture is that since the system is so complicated with thousands of numbers and a machine selecting balls, that there is no way it’s not fixed. The league might be punishing the Celts for their deplorable ownership and management, or indifferent fans.

At any rate, its where do we go from here time: Should the C’s blow up the team? It might not be a bad idea. Pierce wants to win, we have Ratliff’s expiring deal, and a lot of young moving parts. Also, there’s a chance Yi Jianlian or Joakim Noah will still be at the five spot.

One interesting tidbit, though. Deebs Mullen sent in an email yesterday stating that on May 22, 1843, a wagon trail of 1,000 settlers started off on the Oregon Trail. 164 years later the Portland Trail Blazers received the first pick despite having only a 5.3 percent chance to do so.

I’ll look to get away from the NBA in the next couple days since there’s been a lot more (though equally frustrating things) going on.

Monday, May 21, 2007

10 Things I hate about LeBron James

With the Suns losing this weekend, the NBA Playoffs are in LeBron James' hands. If he becomes Superman and lifts the Cavs to a victory, then the NBA could pull some decent ratings. Unfortunately I'm less than confident that LeBron can submit the minimum of 4 superhuman performances required for the Cavs to escape this round. I also think the Pistons are a smart enough team to see what the Spurs did to Steve Nash, and how it ended up affecting the series. I think one of Jason Maxiell's elbows has LeBron's name on it and he wont be able to shake it off like Nash did.

Not to mention, I've been waiting patiently for four years for LeBron to step it up. This season was my breaking point, I hate LeBron James. These are my reasons:

1. He's not clutch
After the Nets had gone on a 14-0 run in the third quarter and LeBron
came back in the 4th and the Cavs facing a deficit, LeBron did what all the great do: took a pass from the point guard and stood on the wing quickly darting his head back and forth. Once the game was in hand, LeBron decided to turn it on and pad the stats. To be fair, I'm pretty sure Flip Murray might be the best player he's run with over the last two years and Carlos Boozer decided to abandon him for the whiter pastures of Mormon fraught Utah (which speaks volumes about the city of Cleveland).

2. He hasn't called for Doc Rivers' head
I have to assume that if the Global Icon spoke up, Doc wouldn't cancel practices to check out his son play 4mpg for Georgetown anymore. Although, if he wanted to do something about his current coaching situation first, I would forgive him. At least Doc Rivers has a good "let's go!" clap and he smiles like a Mongoloid after a bad call. Mike Brown looks constantly overwhelmed. Nothing about the man inspires confidence and he looks like he could curl into a ball and start sobbing at any moment. Cavalier brass should just put him in one of those jumpers that you put a baby in. I've never seen a baby look concerned while bouncing around in one of those.

3. He doesn't dominate inferior competition
I understand the whole "save yourself for the playoffs" mentality, but when your 6'8 245 and the average guy who's guarding you is 6'6 210, through physics alone, you should be able to do some serious damage everynight.

4. He makes me hate Kobe Bryant less
Congrats LeBron, you may not be able to get a shot off with the game on the line, but you can make he hate a guy who raped a girl and then minutes later attempted to throw one of the 5 best Centers of all time under the bus a little less.

5. He re-signed with Cleveland
You could probably blame Isiah Thomas for this one. If he hadn't been busy trading any asset he had for the likes of (according to my main man Tommy Heinsohn) "fat" Eddy Curry, you could have created some cap space and compiled some lottery picks and LeBron would have walked to MSG. Now Cleveland fans are into the whole "he re-signed with us! He's going to be a Cavalier for life!" mindset. Now they get to watch him carry a team of corpses to the Eastern Conference Finals for 3 more years and just as he's reaching his peak, promptly leave town.

6. He cares as much about his Microsoft stock as he does about basketball
"I think I've grown as an individual and a businessman," and my free throw percentage has regressed to 70%!

7. He jumps around like Ronnie James Dio before tip-off
You've seen him do it, and if you haven't, watch Sportscenter. They've made the conscious decision to show his "slap powder on his hands and get the crowd psyched up" routine before every Cavaliers highlight. The man who's tried to ruin Black Sabbath for the past 27 years does the same thing on stage. God I hate Dio.

8. He doesn't play defense
LeBron is such a liability defensively that the likes of Eric Snow and Ira Newble have gotten bit time minutes for the Cavs. If he could cover this up by playing better help defense that'd be one thing, but that's not the case. At this point in his career and with his athleticism, he should at least be an average defender.

9. He doesn't wear those cool stickers that cover his tattoos like he did in high school anymore
This one's selfish on my part and probably varies based on your opinion, but I think LeBron needs a better ink man. Shaq's Superman tattoo leaves an impression. I don't even know what's going on with LeBron's ink. Unless his rationalization is, "I was in Vegas, I had been up for 50+ hours, was drinking grain alcohol and experimenting with peyote" then I just don't get it.

10. He's not MJ
Competition seems to be like crack to Michael Jordan. Between his multiple comebacks, his attempt to play baseball and his affection for card games, Jordan wants to beat someone in anyway that he can. There's still time, but right now LeBron seems to have no motivation or reason to crave competition.

As my associate jbg pointed out, Jordan was cut from his High School basketball team which motivated him. I agree, but I also think that it has more to do with the fact that LeBron grew up 20 years later and things have completely changed for High School basketball players. I first heard about LeBron James when he was in 9th grade, I've known about Greg Oden for about as long and I first heard about OJ Mayo when he was in elementary school. Its been written about ad naseum, but with the current system, players competitive spirit is slowly diminishing. Its not just LeBron, its everywhere. Fans care way more then the players do. Perhaps a Jason Maxiell flying elbow would....

I'm also pretty sure he's responsible for all the missing bees. I'm still piecing it all together and don't want to be libelous, so I'm holding back on that one for now.

Friday, May 18, 2007

NBA Playoffs Flop

The NBA playoffs are over. Golden State got knocked out Tuesday night by a less-than-compelling (even if Derek Fisher's daughter has retinoblastoma, they still play a ho-hum brand of basketball), though talented Jazz team. Phoenix was legitimately jobbed by the refs, first by letting Nash get smacked around (face, balls, whatever) despite playing his heart out, and then by suspending Diaw and Stoudemire for game 5 (which ended up being a gritty effort by the Suns in front of the home crowd. Kurt Thomas played the game of his career and but was clearly overmatched on the defensive end). In game 6, it looks like the series has taken its toll on Nash with uncharacteristic turnovers. Still, he hit big shots late and played with unparalleled passion. Its like that line from Rudy: “if I could put your heart in Lebron’s body…”

In the last week Ive gone from being indifferent to the Spurs to hating them. Duncan’s quiet superstar thing is tired and Manu Ginobili is every soccer-loving Euro-trash flopper I hate, and as Bill Simmons wrote Wednesday, Bruce Bowen may be one of the cheapest players of our generation (although j'aime Tony Parker toujours!). Unfortunately, the 2007 NBA Champion Spurs do everything right. And I mean everything. Their D is tenacious and closing the series at home, Parker and Ginobili both scored 30+ and Duncan was a block short of a triple-double.

Back East, LeBron James has been taking a lot of flack. In game 5, I dont think he broke a sweat (it was tough to tell though; the bartender didnt feel like seeing if the game was on in HD) in their shot at a home elimination game. Sure the Nets grabbed a big lead in the third, but the two teams went a combined 4-32 from the field in the 4th! Arent they all professionals?! That sounds like an opening round of the Special Olympics wheelchair tourney (too harsh?). This should be Bron-bron's coming out party, the stage is set, there's nothing else going on in the East. After the game, he said that he had more important things than basketball to worry about, namely his family. His girlfriend, who is eight months pregnant with his second son, was taken to the hospital at halftime. As he was sitting press conference he didnt know what was wrong with her. I’ll give him a brief pass on that because we all gots to take care of our baby’s mommas.

Last night in game 6, Bron did put up 23-8-8 as the Cavs closed out the series on the road. Really he was most conspicuous by his absence when their 15 point halftime lead disappeared as he rode the bench with 4 fouls.

Lebron's biggest problem is that his stated goal is to become a global icon. Only he's been told he would be one since he was 12 years old. MJ got cut from his high school basketball team. Gilbert Arenas wears 0 because thats how much his college coach told him he would play. He signed a $90 million dollar Nike deal while he was still in high school. He's got no fire in the belly.

The FJP is pleased to welcome a new sports editor on Monday.

- Face



Friday Items

Piece of $h!t tries to microwave daughter: A two month old girl is recovering from 2nd degree burns in a Texas hospital after her father placed her in a motel microwave. The 19 year-old father blamed stress for his actions. He had moved into the motel a week ago with his wife, daughter, and mother. He was looking for a job as a minister, following a call from God to quit his job at a southern Arkansas Sonic Drive-in.

"There is a thief among us" hailed Dean of Students Gordon Quimby over the PA. I was sitting in Music Appreciation my junior year of high school. There had been a rash of stolen graphing calculators (you know the TI-83s, 83pluses, 85s, 86s, and of course the boss 89s). They were used in every class, if not for pre-calculus equations in Math or Physics, then to play Tetris or Space Invaders in English. Quimby, a bearded ball-buster, told us that someone was stealing them out of lockers, and it was disappointing that in our community (a Catholic high school) that someone was committing such an heinous crime. While it was never officially known who the thief was, everyone had their hunches. What made me think of this is something one of my co-workers, and an avid reader of the FJP, brought up earlier this week. In our office bathrooms there is a bin for a charity called Save our Soaps. It benefits homeless shelters and the like by having people drop off toiletries. The reader dropped off two sets of disposable razors, and discovered later in the day that one was gone. As he said "the one left was a woman's style razor," which leads one to believe that the scumbag, er, person who pilfered it from the men's bathroom intended to take it for personal use. Since we work in finance for a large custodial bank, one should assume that everyone who works with us can afford to buy their own razors. So why would someone take toiletries out of bin for charity?

On an unrelated note, something has been bothering me lately. For the last few months I havent been dreaming. I dont know if this is a bad thing or not but I think I feel more tired in the morning because of it. It just seems troubling because I used to have very realistic, semi-lucid dreams. Sometimes I would wake up with a start and just think to myself "woah." The best ones were where I was skiing and I would hit a roller and then just fly and fly and not be scared (which apparently you can now do, check it out on the video on the internet site under "ski gliding"). Maybe its because Im pretty content right now so that there are not a lot of things for my subconscience to chew on.

From the Public Editor:

In more recent posts this blog has been giving the blogsphere a closer examination. With discussions on its nature and some links to personal blogs, the FJP has begun to connect into the medium that delivers is content. Regrettably, I let my personal experience and bias (of 5 straight years of raggin’ on Deebs) overtake priorities of professionalism. We tend to remember things happening the way we would have like them to…Deebs actually got into Super Bomber Man for a couple months in between Winding,net and the Super Ghouls and Ghosts era. To be frank, the legend of Deebs does embellish on the man. My apologies.

Some of the criticisms are warranted and appreciated. The editorial isses will be addressed in the form of a pledge to be more professional. First, I have forgotten that brevity is key to communication. That it is written haphazardly does not make it a blog. More time will be devoted to good writing and editing to make the content more readable and reduce the frequency of narrative asides. Second, the lack of links is an egregious breach of my responsibilities to inform readers. It will surely be corrected currently, retroactively, and in due time.

My personal relationship to blogs has been at an arm’s length because my media diet is almost entirely traditional. And it certainly tends towards Eastern liberal elite: The New York Times, NPR, The New Yorker, and the like. For this reason I haven’t read many blogs. I appreciate Deebs’ linking to his writing project and if any readers have a good blog or article, please pass it along via email or a comment post. At the same time I will absolutely make an effort to diversify my media diet. Mostly though, Ive missed Deebs’ blog for its entertainment and insight, and owe Derka much of the inspiration for the FJP.

In the early stages of this blog I did not realize that all media is a dialogue, a lesson that will surely not be forgotten. As such, I will be enabling anonymous comments in an effort to make feedback more accessible.

I will be updating old posts to provide links. Stay tuned tomorrow for a recap of this past week in NBA playoff action. Cheers and have a great weekend!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Blogs to Your Face

Here are a bunch of quick items and some links to the greater blogsphere:

This Year's Vlad: Rock critic-at-large, Vladimir Wormwood's personal blog. This Year's Vlad (ahem, of course a trip on one of Elvis Costello's finest albums) is back from a hiatus owing in large part to someone in his building now having a non-password protected wireless connection. When Wormwood says "God told me to skin you alive," he waxes existential by throwing down the most obscurely sublime punk proclamation and making it his own.

Adventures of an Unemployed Jewish Girl: Jess Winston's candid and quixotic diary of being a young professional in a Manhattan. Its a riveting and side splitting account of being "the poorest girl in Murray Hill." Winston's writing focus's on her family and personal life (something far more ballsy than my blogging, and something that will surely net her a book deal far before I am put back on staff at a national literary publication) which are indeed good subject material. "A JAPs Guide to Budgeting, Dieting, and Infrequent Sobriety" says it all.

While we're on the subject of blogging, the aforementioned Deebs Mullen admitted to me last night that he "reads more blogs than he writes." Thats not to hard considering Derka was last updated in October. (This is really little more than a thinly veiled attempt to shame Mullen back into blogging). But it made me think about the nature of blogging and something that Lauren Collins wrote in this month's New Yorker in Bansky was Here about the elusive and enigmatic British graffiti artist, Bansky. She said "the graffitist's impulse is akin to a blogger's: write some stuff, quickly, which people may or may not read. Both mediums demand wit and nimbleness. They arouse many of the same fears about the lowering of the public discourse and the taking of undeserved liberties." Talking with Vlad Saturday night I mentioned that I sometimes feel a bit arrogant that many of my posts are mere reguritations of the things that I read or see and its more than a little conceited to believe that I pay more attention to whats going on than everyone else. And maybe I am, but I hope Im not lowering the public discourse on issues, I would like to think that Im just sharing what I think is interesting. So if you are reading something and think its horse-hockey, or uninteresting...let me know. Comment, nuckas! And tell me what you want to read about.

Having said that, here's a story that caught me this past weekend. Bode Miller's cousin, Liko Kenney, a 24 year-old high school drop-out from Franconia, NH had a long running fued with a local cop, Bruce McKay. When McKay tried to pull him over, Kenney told him to call for back up (as a judge apparently told him he could do after McKay broke his jaw in 2005) and sped off. McKay cut him off a ways up the road and told him to get out of the car. When Kenney refused, McKay pepper sprayed him. Kenney pulled out a .45 and shot McKay 4 times, then proceded to run the officer over with his car. As this was happening, Gregory Floyd, a 49 year-old ex-marine was driving by with his teenage son. Floyd pulled his car over and sent his son to the patrol car to radio for help. Floyd grabbed the service revolver off the ground next to McKay's body, and told Kenney to drop his weapon. When he appeared to be reloading, Floyd shot and killed Kenney. The Franconia police department has declined to press charges on Floyd related to the shooting.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

To Deebs Mullen!


(Photo courtesy Vlad Wormwood)

Since I’ve left college a lot of people have asked me about some of the things that almost reflexively come out of my mouth: “Pack it.” “Commit it.” “Nuck your face.” I often tell them that I can’t take credit for them, nor fully define them outside of “commit it,” which is simply a colloquialism of “kill yourself.” The person who can do these things and more, though is Deebs Mullen.

Mullen was a prominent member of the de facto fraternity I belonged to at Syracuse University. His influence on our collective speech is a fascinating treatise in groupspeak. Deebs would be what Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point describes as a connector. He brought the unusually mannerisms and affectations from his upbringing in the northmost reaches of New York State to a community that was virtually self-contained. One of the first things Mullen introduced was the term “slot.” Slot was an ingenious term for biddies a few reasons, first is its evocative resemblance to gash or box. Second was Deebs’ reasoning behind its use that “the term slut was offensive, so you just call ‘em slots.”

What started as a group of a college students telling each other essentially to kill themselves and get really f^%(ed up, turned into a dialect that would be incomprehensible to an outsider (which on occasion I was told it was). And maybe that was the point. Because our clan spoke in a dialect of drunkenly-slurred modern-college English, we knew what was going on and everyone around us was slightly confused. There is a degree of security and intimacy in having a closed language, and it can only develop under the right circumstances: having a group of smart, creative people living together without taking anything, much less each other seriously.

Which brings me back to Deebs. If he weren’t such a character, a nucker, in the most literal sense, I doubt we would have come up with any of it. You can see Mullen’s definition of “derka” on his now defunct blog (Derka), its in the first post. An aside on Deebs to give you a better sense of the man, the myth… The Derka blog was not his first attempt at contributing to the great modern discussion that is the Internet. Winding.net was a half-baked site based on the apartment complex he lived in and we partied in our sophomore year of college. It was abandoned because “the semester was too hectic to commit to putting out a good product.” In actuality Deebs got pretty heavy into Super Ghouls and Ghosts (at one point vowing not to leave his South Campus apartment until he beat the game [and with Campus D providing an almost endless supply of chicken parm he didn’t need to]. Alas he eventually left when he had a finance midterm, Mullen never beat the game and it became his white whale). His current blog was abandoned as hap-hazardly and may have had something to do with his hauntingly cryptic final post.

When Mullen was contacted for comment on this article he pontificated lengthily about the nature of groupthink and how it relates to the internets’ blogsphere which creates subsets of cultures based on blah blah blah. What it really came down to, he concluded, was “pack it.”


Sorry this post was a little inside, but I haven’t really been paying attention to the world so I don’t have much to report this week. On the other hand, there’s some really exciting basketball being played by the Golden State Warriors and the Phoenix Suns which is definitely worth staying up for (and also makes me disappointed I attended a dozen Celtics games this year and not a dozen Warriors/Suns game...I almost want to, hmmm, commit it). Also, look forward tomorrow for some links to my favorite blogs.

Monday, May 7, 2007

What's Happening

Here is what people are talking about... or at least what Im reading about.

New capital markets!
- Michael Lewis, in an online piece, The Jock Exchange, for Portfolio.com, has revealed a new investment vehicle called Protrade which allows investors to bet on the future performance of athletes. Though it is currently only available in fantasy form, there is an incarnation in the works in which athletes agree to put 20% of their earnings (on and off field) into a trust out of which securities are sold. Since future earnings (endorsements and contracts) are supposedly tied to on field performance as well as marketability (JD Drew = exception rather than rule), you would actually be making an investment on a player's next contract. The value of these securities will fluctuate along with performance. It will also serve as a benchmark of how valuable players are which would have an impact on the salaries of athletes, so the market prices become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Also, as several states are enacting caps on carbon emissions, cap and trade markets are just around the corner. The Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) is currently a voluntary market where pollutants are traded, but it soon could become the world's first and therefore most important exchange. Carbon however, unlike baseball players, is likely to be a more stable commodity simply because it will be tied to regulations that will be set by the government (much like government bonds). Both potential exchanges, as pointed out in the Lewis article, will be exciting in the initial stages as fortunes are swung as hedge fund privateers attempt to expose the inefficiencies in the markets.

Esquire, “State of the World - an imaginative and chilling look at the geopolitical landscape as Bush's presidency comes to a close. The author, Thomas P.M. Barnett, points out the range of scenarios that could play out over the next 5-10 years, and even the best cases (which arent too likely) dont end too well with actors like Iran, China, and North Korea, playing a high risk game of chess with the US, EU, and Russia for control of the Mid East and Central Asia. At the same time, the prediction is that Islamic jihaddism will spread south into Africa instead of West to Europe. Good news for us, because no one gives a shit about Africa.

NYTimes, Breaking News: Investment Bankers from Elite Eastern Schools like Drinking Cocktails with Same. - Ok, maybe not breaking news, but it was a good article by Allen Salkin in the Sunday Styles section about how the richies with academic lineages of prep school and small private colleges have begun gathering at a hip restaurant and lounge in SoHo. Both of the owners, brothers Anthony and Tom Martignetti, claim that their schools were "epicenters of preppy partying," an assertion that I would assume is shared by all preppies regardless of alma mater. The article spends a good portion of its column space dedicated to the quality of biddies and gentleman a scene like this attracts (princesses and tall men). Though a great example of the gender gap could be seen when comparing the outlook from the guys "You dont meet girls here you want to hook up with once, you meet girls here you want to hook up with multiple times." And from the ladies "women come here looking for their future husbands." Sorry, girls: players gotta play.

"Do You!" by Russell Simmons - Hip-hop mogul breaks down the keys to happiness and success: yoga, meditation, and doing good. While I dont know too much about meditation, I have practiced yoga on and off for a few years now, and I seldom do good. (Lousy do-gooders like pompous Bill Coplin turned me off to that.) So I'll mark myself as moderately qualified to comment on the subjects, and I'll leave it to Simmons to explain that it's impossible to receive any sort of lasting success from the world without giving something of lasting value to it first.

But meditation's benefits should be more evident than they are, given that our biology and brains (while significantly developed) are not meant to be plugged in 24/7. I think about my day: Alarm goes off = boom snooze, then snooze again, and sometimes a third time. But after the second or third, I turn on NPR to listen to the morning news as I hustle in between kitchen, bathroom, bedroom trying to leave on-time. When I get out the door, its a 5-10 minute walk to the T, and another 40 on the train before I get to my office. In this time I am listening to music while simultaneously reading a magazine and checking news and email on my phone. When I get to the office, its email, sports, news, and oh yeah, work in additional to catching up with office gossip and the like. Then I get to the gym, where I listen to the ipod, watch ESPN, and read...then pretty much the same on my commute home. Finally I get home and what happens? TV gets watched passively while I go about the rest of the evening - dinner, emails, blogs, talking to friends on phone/aim. Then when its bed time, I turn the TV and turn on BBC news on the radio which I hear until I drift off (theres something relaxing about British accents...plus you know, I might have missed something during the day). My point is that there is literally no time I spend where I am doing nothing and just alone with my thoughts. And I dont think that Im atypical.

Which is why I like yoga. True, Im much more interested in the fact that my legs get a great strech and I can touch the ground with my palms afterward, but at the same time there are no cell phones in yoga class. And for about 10 minutes at the end you are supposed to do nothing but relax and think about nothing. Because the world is still out there, outside of you - and there are loan brokers at work, and bills at home, and crazy women everywhere else, but at that moment its just you...straight chilling, and if you can be cool with that, then you'll be alright with the world. My aunt once told me that you cant be with anyone until you can be by yourself. That's just part of why Simmons believes that all success comes from getting in touch with your higher self.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Bourgeois Environmentalism: Green Aint Just the Color of Money

I’ve been meaning to write something about the new trend towards environmentalism in America for some time now. It’s a tough topic to write about though because of its scale. Contemporary environmentalism ranges from Dick Cheney’s view that “conservation is a matter of personal virtue not national policy” through to Tom Friedman’s global enviro-political outlook. In this post I’d like to focus on environmentalism as a social trend.

Not only is environmentalism something aware and committed individuals are talking about and taking action on, but (and this is a more recent phenomenon) “reducing impact” is something Americans are starting to incorporate into their day-to-day lives. My perception might be a bit skewed because I am living in an affluent and progressive city (Cambridge) and as such I see as many people biking to work as making 100 mile round-trip commute (I’m not going to speculate as to which is more common in America but I would suspect it tends towards the latter). But through my prism of the People’s Republic of Cambridge: shopping at the Harvest Food Co-op, buying used books from the homeless guy in Harvard Square and dodging cyclists on Mass Ave; I see a first-hand bourgeois environmentalism at play.

Bourgeois environmentalism as it is know in academia is an ugly phenomenon. It describes a third world development process of clearing out slums to build things that will benefit the upper class: hotels, malls, golf courses, etc. under the assumption that these are better for the environment than a bunch of poor people living in squalor and contributing human waste to the communal drinking water. Not that I don’t agree with it, but I think that we can re-brand bourgeois environmentalism. It’s easy enough to see that acting green requires either an investment in time or money, and therefore is bourgeois pursuit.

Some may find it incongruous to label environmental responsibility in such a way because bourgeois tends to connote materialism and conspicuous consumption. However, as blogger Seth Godin writes "Zero [impact] is the new black." Buying green, as much as acting green, is status symbol in that it displays moral and social superiority. Buying organic or local foods, spending extra on the electric bill to buy from renewable sources, and hybrid Lexus SUVs are to the 21st century what steak, lobster, cocaine, and BMW were to the 1980s.

If bourgeois environmentalism has a hero, it is “No Impact Man.” Colin Beavan is married with a 2 year-old daughter living in a pre-War on Fifth Avenue in New York City. His experiment, which is being chronicled on his blog and has net him a book deal, is to spend as The New York Times dubbed it “The Year Without Toilet Paper.” A year with him and his family making no impact on the environment. This includes using no electricity, buying no consumer products and the packaging that come with them, having a compost heap in their Manhattan apartment, and not even using an elevator (no small task on the vertical island). Beavan is attempting to show that living in such a way is not just for fringe fanaticals living in the woods of New Hampshire (like the parents of skier Bode Miller) but a lifestyle for the American upper and upper-middle class.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Dog and Pony Show




(Photo forwarded via email by my mom)

Meet the world's biggest puppy (above right), 282 lb Hercules.

Question: Where does a 282 lb dog sleep?
Answer: Wherever the f&%! he wants.
+++This photo has been an interesting web phenomenon in that it is often attributed to Hercules. However, Hercules won the distinction in 2001, as reported by the Boston Herald.

He is pictured below with owner.

Modern Celebrity and the Real in Reality TV

"Is there an easier position to take in polite society than to patronize reality TV?" asks Michael Hirschorn of VH1 in The Case for Reality TV for this month's The Atlantic. According to him reality shows "have the visceral impact of documentary reportage without the self-importance and...where documentaries must construct their narratives from found matter, reality TV can place real people in artificial surroundings designed for maximum emotional impact."

This is something that has been done on reality shows from their inception. Cast members of the Real World are not allowed to have cell phones and watch TV. Big Brother made this phenomenon its entire plot driver. And girls in The Bachelor are kept cloistered to raise their emotional attachment to the title character. But things become more interesting when the line between reality and real life and the celebrity culture all blur. Which is why my favorite reality show is the Laguna Beach spin-off The Hills. In some ways the main characters are real...they have jobs, relationships, and go to actual places in New York and LA. But nothing about them can be definitively construed as authentic.

This became apparent when an article about Spencer Pratt and Brody Jenner was printed in Details Magazine, titled "Master of his own celebrity: Brody Jenner knows just who to screw to sit pretty on the B-list." It's really a fascinating read and extremely revealing about the nature of celebrity in our society. Bascially Pratt and Jenner are two young, rich, and attractive man-children who are also just savvy enough to realize that its no longer what you do, its who you are next to that makes you famous. Pratt says matter-of-factly in the article “Basically, I made it, like, my mission to try to go on a date with every girl on The Hills.” And it's working, Jenner and Pratt have an entourage and financial backers willing to keep them living the high life for no other reason that they have hooked up with other psuedo-celebrities whose only real talent is partying (Jenner has been linked with Nicole Ritchie, Lindsay Lohan, Kristin Cavallari, and Lauren Conrad).

So with that said, I think I should provide a service to all readers, The Face Journal-Picayune's Guide to Becoming Young Rich and Famous:

1) Be young, good-looking, have money and live in NY or LA
2) Be able to sip Grey Goose and smile while talking to obscenely hot girls
3) Have someone buy you a fleet of Benzs, Bentleys, and Beemers

Follow those three steps and before you know it you'll be in Us Magazine.

The best thing about getting famous from reality television is that you can simultaneously embrace and eschew your celebrity somehow without biting the hand that feeds you. The uber-cop out for reality stars is that "they dont show you everything that happened." Which misses the point. Character may be what you do when no one is looking. But it's the big moments - like a first date or a job interview, or LC calling out her friends (“He's a sucky person!”) that make up your life, and how you react to them is who you really are.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Pack It

I had meant to do more postings this week, however going out to college night at the Place on Tuesday, and the final C's game of the year last night I had precious little time to write amid working and drinking, though I promise Ive got good stuff in the bag. I meant to do some tonight as I laid low, but then I noticed that Escape From NY is on ondemand (Ernest Borgine, Shaft, and Snake Pliskin!). So have fun, drink, and enjoy spring. Oh yeah, and you all know what to do this weekend (subject line).

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Follies of a Presidential Campaign

I just got a chance to watch “Journeys with George,” Alexandra Pelosi’s engaging and revealing documentary of George W. Bush’s 2000 campaign. It’s shot almost entirely on a handheld camcorder by Pelosi (and yes, she is the daughter of the current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi which makes Bush’s casual and convivial relationship with her and much of the press corps all the more ironic).

Have you ever seen a skate or snowboarding video? You know how they have those filler scenes where the talent is in a bus or hotel room and just nucking around? That aptly describes the majority of this doc; only the talent is a freewheeling future President. And that’s what kind of gets me. Then-Governor Bush was a bull-shitter in the most sincere sense of the word (as concerned with “Alex’s” potential relationship with a Newsweek writer as staying on message) and is actually kind of likable. But he couldn’t have come off less Presidential, and Pelosi’s footage would not have inspired confidence in the American electorate, and everyone around Bush seems to understand this (Karen Hughes’ eye rolls are palpable).

The best insight “Journeys with George” provides though is a first person account of life as a journalist on a presidential campaign. It’s exhausting and exhilarating, and fueled by coffee, alcohol, and bologna and cheese sandwiches (Bush’s favorite). It’s about being part of something really big that you have absolutely no control over, being forced to work 24 hour days for little pay and even less credit. In case you aren’t a really politico or interested in this type of thing, you’ll have to trust me that the political reporter is an incredible creature: socially awkward, alcohol dependent, and can go for days without sleep or showering. The joke of being treated as cattle was overused like a racial joke at a Duke frat party. But the real joke is that for the most part the press corps are extras in the theater that is presidential politics.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

RIP Vonnegut


(Photo courtesy of The Indianapolis Star. Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis in 1922)

Up until yesterday, if you were walking down the streets of New York and bumped into a frumpy, wiry, dishevled, old man mutterring to himself, you may not have thought much of it. This archetype is almost ubiquitous in the city. But you could have just bumped into one of the most innovative, sardonic, and influential American writers of the last 50 years. Kurt Vonnegut was cut from the same cloth as other post-WWII great American novelists...middle class childhood, Ivy League education, and of course the war. The thing was that as a Hoosier boy, didnt quite fit in with the rest of the literary community. He was too young to be in the beat generation, and too tempered by the horrors of war to see their frivolties as important. Maybe he wasnt cool enough to hang with the hard drinking, high miling Norman Mailer, who in an January article for Esquire, Tom Junod wrote "this is a guy who used to beat the shit out of people, or at least try. This is a guy who got into a big fight with Gore Vidal-Gore Vidal!-and who, when he threw a party back in 1960 to announce that he was running for mayor of New York, got drunk and stabbed his wife." That wasnt Vonnegut. Kurt Vonnegut seemed like one of the characters in his book - living in a small apartment, surrounded by obscure science fiction books, at the same time a prisoner and warden of his own radical notions.

But Vonnegut wasnt just a character, he was a thinker and a writer. He will be best remembered for Slaughterhouse-V and Breakfast of Champions (by the way...Slaughterhouse-V is where the character in the novel weathered the fire bombing of Dresden as a German POW, Vonnegut himself had witnessed the attack, and the breakfast of champions is a martini). But Cat's Cradle, the opening of which is re-printed here without permission:

The Day the World Ended

Call me Jonah. My parents did, or nearly did. They called me John.

Jonah--John--if I had been a Sam, I would have been Jonah still--not because I have been unlucky for others, but because somebody or something has compelled me to be certain places at certain times, without fail. Conveyances and motives, both conventional and bizarre, have been provided. And, according to plan, at each appointed second, at each appointed place this Jonah was there.

Listen:

When I was a younger man--two wives ago, 250,000 cigarettes ago, 3,000 quarts of booze ago . . .

When I was a much younger man, I began to collect material for a book to be called The Day the World Ended.

The book was to be factual.

The book was to be an account of what important Americans had done on the day when the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.

It was to be a Christian book. I was a Christian then.

I am a Bokononist now.

I would have been a Bokononist then, if there had been anyone to teach me the bittersweet lies of Bokonon. But Bokononism was unknown beyond the gravel beaches and coral knives that ring this little island in the Caribbean Sea, the Republic of San Lorenzo.

We Bokononists believe that humanity is organized into teams, teams that do God's Will without ever discovering what they are doing. Such a team is called a karass by Bokonon, and the instrument, the kan-kan, that bought me into my own particular karass was the book I never finished, the book to be called The Day the World Ended.

Cat's Cradle is Vonnegut's attempt at the Big Question: how to reconcile humanist beliefs with the forces we cant explain? He is a self-described humanist who writes about God, aliens, and a omnipotent writers manipulating both the environments and actions of characters. His characters struggle against things they cannot control - the end of the world in Cat's Cradle, prison and perpetual motion in Hocus Pocus, yet resolution is always short and relief only comes at the end.

"So it goes."


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

C's, Baby, C's




(Photo courtesy of ESPN.com. Taken in October, at a pre-season game. In the background right of Bassy's head head are two co-workers and myself. The photo ran on the frontpage in an article related to his question by NYC police in the Fabolous shooting. Whatever happened with that?)

A promotion had viewers (should that be plural) of the Celts –Sixers game in the fourth quarter text vote, on whether if Celtics get either Oden or Durant that they will win A) 30-40 B) 40 -50 C)50+ games text season.

They’ve won 23 this year! Why isn’t that one of the text options. Doc will still be the coach. Ainge will still be the GM. Who knows that they wont trade Green and Jefferson for upcoming free agent Grant Hill and one of Scallabrine’s cousins. There's no one over 24 on the (by the way the Celts look like they have a rotation because they only have 8 players available) rotation of Jefferson, Gomes, Green, Rondo, Telfair, Powe, Perkins, and Pinkney.

So what does it matter if they get Durant or Oden, or Jo Noah…or worse in May. The way I see it is that like a lot of things, it could go either, a long way either way. But there is reason to be hopeful. This past year they were a Mike Dunleavy and decent coach from contending in the East. So who wouldn’t be optomistic with Ratliff’s expiring deal and Rondo a year older.

By the way, Doc didn’t rule out signing another guy off the street to play Friday! I can't wait to go.

Oh and Dice-K pitched decently at his Fenway opener as King Felix (along with Johan Santana the Petronas Towers of my fantasy team) threw a complete game shut out (1 hit, 2 walks, 6 Ks) by killing the Sox dreadful bottom half. I'm looking at you Tek, Crisp (.143) and Pedroia (but I'll give you a little more slack).


(Photo: Google Images. Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 
were featured prominently in the sexy Catherine Zeta-Jones, Sean Connery
 flick, Entrapment. You know the one that used Y2K as a plot device.
)



Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Ranger!


(Photo is exclusive Face Journal-Picayune content)

4 year old German Shepard, lives in NH, drinks from the toilet when parents arent looking, was bred by the Hells Angels in Quebec. When not barking at deer, squirrels, birds, and the reflection of aluminum foil on the ceiling, he can be found eating carrots and sleeping in the breezeway.

Ranger is the perfect example of the American dog. Most dogs in America have pretty good lives and are at times treated as siblings, children, and masters. Good article was run last Sunday in the NYTimes Magazine by Charles Siebert, detailing a week at a dog pound (colloquially) in Austin. It talked about how psychological profiling is now used as a tool in deciding which dogs are suitable for adoption...including using mock situations in a trailer to see how dogs react. The tough part though is that the longer a dog stays in an environment like a shelter, the more they will act anti-socially or even dangerously. But worse than that, the cards are stacked against most dogs to begin with. Many pure-bred dogs are built for work of some kind - from hunting to mushing to what my own puppy does: herding. So dogs misbehave when these instincts are not give a chance to be exercised.

Which is why I always love going back home to play with him. He loves to run and chase the soccer and tennis balls, and then not give them up and then wrestle for them. And he seems happier after it, like the tongue out panting is a smile.

As much as I miss having a dog, I knew theres now way I could own one now. 1) I have a closet of an apartment in Cambridge 2) I am routinely gone from 8 am to midnight 3) I do a pretty crappy job of taking care of myself, let alone an animal.

Note: I wish I could link to newspaper articles, but it seems bogus that they restrict access after only a week. Just have to credit the authors and hope no one sues me.... wait, its the internet, and maybe 10 people will read this, and there are picture of women doing unmentionable/unnatural things with Diet Coke and Mentos on the internet.

Coming up, Zero Impact and Bourgeois Environmentalism

Sunday, April 8, 2007

The Long View and the Big Questions

People like to talk about the "big questions." There are different types: existential, historical. Tom Brokaw said "that it's not the questions that get us in trouble, it's the answers." Which is why its not a bad thing to sometimes not have a conclusion. Sometimes asking them and getting other people to think about them is enough. This is probably the goal of real journalism (but I wouldnt know, I didnt go to Newhouse).

So here is what I got to thinking when I heard about Cheney lurking behind some bushes. I was going to link to it but the only version of it I could find had some audio commentary: "Creep" by Radiohead. That might have violated some of the professionalism Im trying to put forth. (Though I dont believe we have the need to use apostrophe anymore except where it's necessary to distinguish between words. Like "Im" is not a word so the apostrophe isnt necessary to distinguish it from "I'm." It can just be said that way, same with isnt. "Dont" and "wont" are a little more gray. Wont is a different word than "won't" but is used infrequently. I dont think dont is a word but Im not planning on doing a dictionary check on a tangent about typographic style.)

Past presidencies are know only by the mediums ability to record them. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is recited by middle school social studies students because that’s how people received the message, by repeating it from newspapers. With FDR, the Depression and WWII are seen in still pictures and audio from the radio. In post-War America, though we have video clips. Which gets us a more raw, human perception of our leaders. Kennedy’s Inauguration and assassination and Nixon’s farewell from footsteps of the helicopter double peace sign wave were captured by grainy footage though. Now, we have HD and 24-hour cable news services giving us a vast vault of clips, which are now available free, on demand, and largely without commercial editing. There will be a few defining moments of President Bush, and we will remember them in the format of our time: the internet clip. A great medium for moments from 20 seconds to 2 minutes. The arc of Bush Presidency is clear in these moments. The bull horn at ground zero, Mission Accomplished, Cheney in the bushes, and however he leaves office. I wont make any predictions.


Two more things from a great roundtable “Meet the Press” today, 4.8.07. Note: Im paraphrasing.

David Gregory (NBC News Washington):
Obama is rasing money on enthusiasm, Clinton on past debts.

Chuck Todd (NBC Political Director:
Bush is doing a potential disservice to the Democrats by vetoing a plan for pull-out. If the plan fails and Iraq falls into deeper violence and a civil war (maybe by May or June of '08...), the Democrats will be at fault as much as the Republicans.

Commiting to a blog

I ready to commit to a new blog. I tried to write one a couple months ago, but found the whole thing a little weird. There were a couple things that bothered me...first I dont like using the first person too much...and there's a real limit to how much you can talk about yourself without saying "I" 4 times in a paragraph. Second I am really wary of the long-lasting effects of people posting too much personal information, from both and emotional and personal economic standpoint. Remember that movie "The Game?" Now someone could do it to a random person who's blog they read. Nuts to that.

So having said that I decided what that this blog will not be: a running diary of what I am doing or what is going on in my life. Those things are many times way to ridiculous for me to want any historical record of other than hearsay. And chances are if it was really ridiculous I'll tell you anyway. Some exceptions would be anything that would warrant issuing a press release if I was famous: birth/wedding/death announcements, career advancement, and similar.

Here's what it will be: A view on politics, culture, and sports from the perspective of a young professional in Cambridge, i.e. my face. As such I'll try to write clearly and professionally but briefly and informally (as is the style of the times). And I'll also try to throw in some pics and youtube links. Again, I dont want to write about myself, but nuck your face...it might happen.

Cross your fingers...coming soon might be a picture of my dog, Ranger.

In the mean time here's my first real post.