the evolution of the raptors

February 14, 2007 at 4:20 am | Posted in basketball, brian | 8 Comments

this morning i found an email in my inbox from an unknown address. i figured at best it could be junk mail and at worst a virus. i opened it, read it and realized the only thing to do was to copy and paste it to this blog. here it is in its entirety:

“i’ll skip the “dear brian” stuff since i know you think such formalities are pointless in emails. how do i know this? because i’m you, except in the future. 12-years in the future to be exact. so it’s 2019 and you (i) are (am) 40. can you believe it? sometimes i can’t. you’re probably wondering how time-traveling emails work. well, i can’t help you there. all i know is that when i was your age i got an email from my future self. actually i received this exact email. i saved it and waited 12-years to send it to past self since that’s the way it ended up coming to me. so technically, i never wrote this email. and possibly none of us ever did (and by us i mean me and you and the brian that sent me this email and the brian you’ll send this email to and so on to infinity). it turns out we were right about time: everything has already happened and nothing will ever be other than it is. (future aaron wants me to put in a joke related to the phrasing of the first clause of the last sentence. he thinks his past self will love it; i think it’s stupid. but here it is: tell your sister, you were right . . . about time-travel.) i don’t know how this email time-travels; i just know it does. it might be like that movie we never saw, the lake house, except that you can’t send an email to me, and, as far as i know, i’ll never send another email to you.

here’s what i need to tell you about the future: the toronto raptors have finally changed their name. twice, actually. first to the toronto archaeopteryx then to the toronto birds. exactly the way you and fight hoped. pretty cool, huh. but that’s all i can tell you. or at least that’s all that has ever been in this email and i don’t feel good about changing it. i worry that changing the contents of this email may ruin the entire universe. so i guess i’ll see you in the future. or rather, i guess you’ll be me in the future. just don’t kill yourself before you send this email to your past self. just kidding, i already know you don’t.

p.s. remember how text messaging is all the rage? we are so far past that now.”

it’s so weird getting this email now. fight and i watched part of a raptors game last week and agreed that the raptors really need to get a new nickname. we figured it would be best if the nickname evolved from raptor to archaeopteryx and finally to the birds. it looks like we’ll be right.

but maybe you don’t think the raptors is a bad nickname. i think it sucks and here’s why:

have you ever seen that movie jurassic park? why does dr. alan grant (sam neill) wear that scarf around his neck? do all paleontologists wear scarfs? is he trendsetting? or is it a metaphor like the scarf represents the split between his heart and mind, a split he encourages because he’s a scientist and can’t be concerned with unrational things like feelings but throughout the entire movie the split is weakened as he learns to love and care for those kids just like how the scarf becomes looser and looser around his neck? this last possibility works well with the general theme of the movie: scientific progress unconcerned with moral implications leads to disaster.

when i was a kid i thought dinosaurs were so cool especially since there was less gravity back then which meant that all those dinosaurs could jump so high. imagine a t-rex leaping 50 ft into the air to snag a flying pterodactyl. before jurassic park was even a book, nobody talked about raptors. among my acquaintances the t-rex was the coolest, triceratops were pretty cool because even though they were herbivores they could still gore the hell out of anything including t-rexes, stegosauri were ok thanks to those plates on their back and brontosaurs were lame. no one even knew raptors existed. then that movie came out and it was like raptors were the only dinosaur.

i would never hate on anyone for loving different extinct creatures than me, but the raptors portrayed in jurassic park are a fraud. real raptors were only like 2ft tall, they used their claws to slash throats rather than stomachs and were not as intelligent as dolphins or primates but they probably were as smart as tigers. so the raptors everyone loves never existed. these fake dinosaurs are a slap in the face to all those real dinosaurs whose sacrifices made our way of life possible.

but it wasn’t just 10 year old kids who caught raptor fever after the success of jurassic park; it was everyone. pretty soon raptors were everywhere. there were raptor lunch-boxes, raptor license plate covers, raptor coffee mugs, raptor’s claws (they essentially replaced rabbit’s feet) and don’t forget the raptor slap (a kind of high-five were you make a raptor claw with your hand). all of it based on a lie.

so when toronto acquired an nba expansion team they named it the raptors complete with a stupid cartoon dinosaur logo. naturally they sucked. over the years they’ve moved away from that cartoon raptor. now their jerseys are maroonish and their logo is a raptor claw grabbing a basketball. still dumb but an improvement. with their logo improvement came an improvement in play. this year they’re first place in their division for the first time ever. it seems obvious that if toronto wants to move from a playoff team to a contender they need to continually improve on their nickname. adapting the logo is no longer going to be enough; the raptors need to evolve to a new nickname. but how did the real raptors evolve?

many paleontologists and amateur paleontologist (myself included) think that raptors evolved into birds. if you’re doubting the jump from dinosaur to bird, let me introduce you to one of the links: the archaeopteryx. the archaeopteryx was probably a transitional species between dinosaurs and birds. it has has wings and feathers like a bird but teeth and claws at the end of it’s wings like a dinosaur. plus it’s skeletal remains look great.

in other words, it’s the perfect next step for toronto’s basketball team. since the raptor nickname was chosen due to the raptor-fever caused by jurassic park and since jurassic park posits the dinosaur to bird evolutionary hypothesis it’s a perfect move. not only that the toronto archaeoptryx would increase the nba’s fanbase. i know 13 people who don’t care about the nba but would instantly be fans of any team named archaeoptryx. later toronto could evolve their nickname to the birds. this nickname would be appropriate both from an evolutionary perspective as well as form a cinematic one. the raptors are derived from speilberg’s jurassic park while the birds reminds one of hitchcock’s the birds. both movies have tedious story lines that end up not mattering cause there are all these awesome scene where animals rock the shit and both movies undermine the notion that humanity can and/or should try and subdue nature.

it looks like the future is gonna be great.

8 Comments »

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  1. This makes me like the Raptor nickname even more. I always liked it, but was kind of hesitant because Jurassic Park was cruddy. Now that I know they got it all wrong, I have no reason to not like the name. Also, knowing they are only 2 ft. tall makes them a lot better.

    Now, I want somebody to name their team the Rexes.

  2. i think this might possibly be the best post ever. sorry everyone else (including/especially me)

  3. I would like for a team to be called the Rillas, and the chant to cheer the team on would be Go Rillas!

  4. [...] 17, 2008 at 6:47 am | In basketball | another sports-related email randomly ended up in my email. i don’t think this one is from the [...]

  5. “when i was a kid i thought dinosaurs were so cool especially since there was less gravity back then which meant that all those dinosaurs could jump so high.”

    That doesn’t make a lick of sense. The Earth having less gravity? That’d mean less mass, which would put the Earth in a different place than it is now (in correspondence with the sun), and it wouldn’t sustain life like this.

  6. well, it hasn’t been proven that their was less gravity when dinosaurs ruled the earth, but there are some interesting theories that posit less gravity as a way of explaining the gigantic size of not only dinosaurs but plants and animals during the time period. jurassic park aside, if dinosaurs lived today, most would be crushed by their own weight, not to mention the problem of pumping blood from their hearts all the way to their brains.

    s warren carey has an interesting theory about how the earth could have been expanding during the age of the dinosaurs and had significantly less mass that explains the difference in gravity. other theories posit the moon being closer to the earth, which may impact the gravity of the earth.

    but, it seems like the earth was a very different place before that asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs paving the way for mammals to take over.

  7. [...] but the best part of the movie was the leopard.  a tame leopard who loves dogs.  (the dog in the movie is great too.  a large part of the movie is katherine hepburn and cary grant following around the dog to try and find where the dog has buried grant’s dinosaur bone — grant’s a paleontologist, and a way better one than the ones in jurrasic park.) [...]

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