Friday, March 13, 2009

Over and Under Rated 3 (2009)


College Basketball Conference Tournaments

I am well aware that ESPN refers to this nonsense as “Championship Week” and many fans view it as the unofficial start of “March Madness,” but honestly these conference tournaments make about as much sense as the Olsen twins joining Jenny Craig.  First, every team plays close to thirty games over four months to establish themselves as a legitimate national contender, now, as a big middle finger to the teams that have truly defined themselves as elite we are going to give every struggling program, team having a bad year, team with an imminent coaching change, team in a rebuilding year, team that was going to be good until the main guy got hurt, team that was going to be good until the main guy got caught cheating on a criminal justice test, team that was going to be good until the main guy got kicked off the team for “conduct detrimental to the team” or “violation of team rules,” bracket buster, bubble team, Cinderella and team that was so bad people seriously questioned whether they could even play high level AAU ball another chance to beat the teams that have established themselves as the best in the nation.  This makes no sense, if UNC beats UVA by 45 in January that should be good enough and UVA should not get a second shot in early March! I am not sure what any of this proves and if we are going to put so much emphasis on these conference tournaments and glorify teams that get hot for less than a week why do we bother with the rest of the season?  Couldn’t they just start this whole ordeal on March 1st and have it ended by April?

Also, “March Madness” gives the viewing public the chance to root for underdogs and see “Cinderella Teams” upset bigger programs (the fact that this celebrates teams that underachieve all year and blatantly punishes teams/players/coaches that have performed at the highest level since November as opposed to “turning it on” in March, and is part of America’s growing distaste for true excellence is beyond the scope of this posting). However, while conference tournaments theoretically provide this same type of opportunity to the “little guy” they realistically do not.  There are conferences where the tournament structure requires a lower seeded team to win as many as five games in five nights, in many of these leagues there are teams that do not win five games all year  (some don’t even win one!) so the idea of them winning 5 in less than a week is about as Chaminade winning the national title.  

And yes, a conference tourney is on my TV as I type this. 

HBO Sunday Nights

I know people that plan their whole weekend around being near a TV on Sunday evenings and I know other people that have actually subscribed to premium cable packages just to watch this line-up of HBO original programming...and to be totally honest it totally escape me.  “Big Love” is just creepy, I don’t want to watch a “dramedy” (how putrid is that word?) about some guy with 3 families and the joys of polygamy.  I’m not even trying to pass judgement about lifestyle choices, it’s just not an entertaining concept for  a TV show.  “Flight of the Conchords” was arguably the funniest thing on TV last year and has completely fallen off this season, I’m not sure if they are out of ideas or if once the novelty of watching New Zealand’s fourth most popular folk artists try to make it in NYC’s music scene wears off there is not much there.  There are still funny scenes, but like this year’s season of “The Office,” there seems to be something missing.  Finally, “East Bound and Down” has been highly recommended by a number of people I really respect and has done nothing but let me down.  The characters are cartoonish stereotypes, the jokes are obvious and not amusing after the first episode and the overall story is so depressing it’s hard to watch without feeling bad for all the people involved.  There is something mildly amusing about sitcom characters using the F-Word, but even that gets old by the third episode.  I am not saying this to disrespect any of my boys that love this show (I can think of at least 5 off the top of my head), but honestly, it’s not that great.  

I am so happy I’m not paying for HBO right now because between this debacle of original programming and nonstop showings of “Norbit” I’m really not missing all that much.

Giving birthday presents to people over 50

People over 50 should have everything they need and if they don’t it’s their own fault!  If half a century is not enough time for someone to amass all of the goods and services they desire I do not feel obligated to intervene.  


Under Rated

Joe Budden’s Marketing Campaign

After Joey Jumpoff got released from Def Jam he kept his name hot by dropping a series of successful mixtapes (Mood Music 1-3) and eventually signed a deal with Amalgam Digital to release his first “real album” since his self-titled 2003 Def Jam debut.  While signing to a smaller label with a smaller marketing budget would cause problems form some artists, Budden took it upon himself to use innovative tactics to keep people talking about him and salivating for his “Padded Room” album.  

First, he formed Slaughterhouse with fellow slept-on MC’s Joell Oritiz, Royce 5’9” and Crooked I in an effort to prove there is strength in numbers and accomplish as a collective what none of them has been able to accomplish individually.  I am only aware of two recorded songs by the group (both are FIRE!), a few live performances and had full knowledge that they were not featured on “Padded Room,” however, I was so psyched about this super group I had to buy anything the members put out.  Second, at the start of 2009 the rapper launched, which, after adding content for over two months consists mainly of radio station freestyles and clips of him hanging out with his girlfriend, a mulatto woman with the biggest a** I’ve seen not standing next to Sir Mix-A- Lot.  While nothing on the site is even remotely entertaining, somehow it got people talking and wanting to buy his CD.  Finally, when the album was released he employed his boys to go out in the tri-state area to buy every copy of “Padded Room” on store shelves, thereby preventing regular fans (like me) from buying the album.  I went to three stores in NYC and NJ and there were no copies, this inability to find the album produced a laser beam-like focus in me to find the CD and purchase it at any cost.  This insatiable urge finally lead me to a copy in a Best Buy in suburban NY State that cost $16, meaning I paid about twice as much as I would have on iTunes to purchase an obsolete technology.  After finally listening to “Padded Room” it’s pretty good, not great and basically serves as an appetizer to the four course meal that will be the Slaughter House album fans hopefully get by the end of 2009.  

Superhero Movies in IMAX

IMAX theaters are exactly the kind of mass produced strip-mall symbol of gluttony I usually mock, however seeing well produced comic book adaptations on a massive screen with insane sound is a truly awe-inspiring experience.  I have seen “The Dark Knight” (twice) and “Watchmen” in IMAX and left the theatre with my mind blown every time.  


TARGET is open less hours, has less selection and charges higher prices than WAL-MART, however I am willing to deal with all of these factors to not feel like destitute white trash while buying tooth paste and underwear. 

Working 9-5

What the ‘eff happened to the 8 hour work day?  Everybody I know goes to work way before 9 and comes home way after 5, even teachers spend afternoons doing lesson plans and grading papers way beyond the stereotypical 8 hour day.  If computers continue to make  jobs easier why is everyone working more? 

Sports Talk Radio

Some sports fans dislike listening to the opinions of others, I disagree with this kind of thinking. We watch sports to see people with unbelievable physical gifts perform amazing feats of strength, speed or endurance we can only dream of accomplishing ourselves.  On the same note we listen to sports talk radio to hear people with verbal gifts present well thought out, articulate and insightful opinions in ways we can not verbalize ourselves.  While this obviously doesn’t apply to every radio personality or caller, for the most part they provide a pretty entertaining drive to (way before 9) or from (way after 5) work.  Also, the other day I was listening to Mike Francesa and heard the following call:

Mike: Kelvin on the Cell Phone

Caller: Hey, Mike.  Kelvin Sampson, long time listener, 5,000th time caller.  

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